There was an air of genuine discontent in North London as the Premier League opened its transfer window. An embarrassed Arsenal, fresh from a Europa league final mauling by an insipid Chelsea, started slowly with a reported budget of £45m, many fans criticized Sanllehi and mainly Kroenke, the owners for not investing in the club.
The beating in Baku was more evidence, if it were needed, that Arsenal no longer had the resources to challenge for even the second best cup in Europe.
Fans began plotting on social media and before you knew it a campaign was born. The “we care, do you” movement gathered pace and was the joint effort of supporters organisations, fanzines and blogs. Together they produced an open letter calling for “better leadership” of the club. It also took a swipe at invisible Stan Kroenke for his “passive ownership”.
The Emirates had become a place of deep rooted unrest for around six years and patience was at breaking point with demonstrations planned, merchandise bans and stay away days from home and away venues. At one point of time situation worsened to such an extent that punters and bookies across the world like www.worldbookies.com where offering almost negligible chances for Arsenal finishing in the top four this season.
To almost everyone’s surprise, Josh Kroenke appeared to confirm his families commitment whilst objecting mildly to the fans negativity, but it was also an opportunity to promote his vision of the club and its future.
Of course no one could have predicted that Arsenal would dominate the transfer window with a series of clever and astonishing deals that made everyone in football take note. Yet everyone it seemed, was keen to own the success. Irate fans, militant campaigners, armchair supporters, bloggers and even….the club itself.
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It’s been said that “we care, do you” was directly responsible for the sudden investment and influx of new players. It’s a heartwarming thought but it’s terribly naive, because Arsenal had to move forward by replacing players to enable them to compete for a Champions League slot. The club can’t afford another season without it and the subsequent revenue that it provides.
At least with Josh Kroenke appearing to lead the operations, Arsenal not only entered the transfer market with renewed vigour but they pulled off unlikely, imaginative and bold purchases.
Destiny is often intertwined and it’s fair to suggest that the the futures of Josh Kroenke, Unai Emery, Raul Sanllehi, Vinai Venkatesham and Edu are on the line for the foreseeable future and only an upturn in fortunes will be acceptable.
Not by winning the Premier League in the next two seasons – that’s not remotely possible until Emery finishes rebuilding – but it needs to show the ability to compete.
— BBC 5 Live Sport (@5liveSport) August 20, 2019
I’ve held a thought for some time now, having witnessed the embarrassing handling of Arsenal by Stan Kroenke. It was almost inevitable that his son would emerge as the club’s champion.
Arsenal are now in a position where a permanent Josh Kroenke is vital. It’s coming, I don’t doubt that for one minute and I’m only surprised that it hasn’t happened sooner.
It’s more likely that Kroenke junior will assume the role of Chairman when Sir Chips Keswick retires – he is, after all, about to become an octogenarian and football is the preserve of the younger man with its endless pressures and hectic schedules.
So just why is Josh Kroenke the better option ? I think it’s down to a number of factors. Stan, although very successful isn’t terribly worried about any particular sport, his aptitude is for promoting brands to attract revenue and like it or not, Arsenal football club, to him at least is a ‘brand’, one that has the luxury of being globally recognised. It’s probably just a simple case of outdated business practices and Stan Kroenke isn’t about to change anytime soon.
Josh Kroenke brings a fresher outlook and dynamic, one that seems as interested in success as it is in profit margins. Kroenke Jr. appears to follow the Premier League, understands the fan mentality and needs but above all, he maintains an obvious and increasing presence.
David Ornstein: “The Arsenal structure has changed massively since all of that [Wenger’s departure] happened. In the last 12 to 14 months, according to Josh Kroenke, made 50 appointments on the football side alone. There’s no guarantee this will succeed or be a quick turnaround.”
— afcstuff (@afcstuff) August 22, 2019
Arsenal appeared to be like the Marie Celeste, sailing aimlessly under Gazidis and Wenger. There was no radical plan because Stan Kroenke understood little about what he had actually invested in or what was required to develop it in the future. It was in the hands of the club’s two key figures who had opposing views and became a power struggle for supremacy.
As a result Arsenal limped out of contention at every level and headed into a slump that few thought possible after a period of glorious success. In Unai Emery, Arsenal have found a new vision and clarity, we may not be able to see the finished product but the outline is taking shape.
It’s clear to see his unbridled passion from the sidelines as he paces up and down, conducting the proceedings and motivating his troops. There’s a freshness, an energy and passion that had been forgotten. The idea of just going out on a pitch to express one’s self is idealistic nonsense if you want to win things against the very best football has to offer.
I have to say, I’ve been incredibly impressed with Josh Kroenke since the fans’ open letter. Unlike his father, he seems truly interested. Attending games & consistent interviews about our ambition, which has been backed up with our recruitment. He’s been a breath of fresh air.
— Patrick Timmons (@PatrickTimmons1) August 20, 2019
Emery is also unafraid to make changes and in his mind, it’s about the team and the results. An ugly win is just as good as a pretty one and the targets Arsenal have made for themselves need to be met even if it is at the expense of beautiful, expansive football.
Emery has the ideas on the field, Kroenke has the money and Sanllehi, Venkatesham and Edu are the head hunters and deal brokers, so as a new dawn begins in North London, it’s clear that there’s only room for one Kroenke – and his name isn’t Stan.
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