Arsenal fans and Stan Kroenke have had a troubled relationship ever since his involvement in 2008. As unpalatable as it is, Kroenke was brought to Arsenal’s door by the much admired and missed co-owner and chief executive David Dein.
Once he had his foot in the door, he wasted no time buying up the shares that would eventually add Arsenal to his sporting assets at KSE. In 2018, Invisible Stan won his final battle against Alisher Usmanov’s, for his 30% stake in the club which cost Kroenke a sizeable £550m but for that gargantuan sum, he took full control and left fans assuming the worst.
With Stan Kroenke at the helm, he would now be able to ignore dissenting voices and not have to explain himself to anyone. He could secure loans against the club for other investments or draw money from it without any restrictions or objections.
The simple fact is that fans had never trusted their American owner and their fractured relationship reached an all-time low during the last three or four seasons under Wenger.
The team fell out of contention in the Premier League and continued to lose stars to other clubs and with Wenger starting to wilt under pressure, Stan became the target of disenchanted fans.
Stan Kroenke showed up rarely, termed Arsenal ‘a brand’ and gave no sign or hint of any passion that might even come close to that of the fans or their former French Manager. Stan ran everything from arm’s length across the pond and installed ‘The Dark Lord’ Ivan Gazidis to oversee the daily decline in the Premier League. Ask any fan and they will tell you the same story, Stan has managed to accumulate without speculating on a massive scale, apart from the last few seasons.
For the majority of his tenure, Stan Kroenke has made Ebenezer Scrooge look like a cash splashing playboy but apparently, we are now led to believe that the locks are about to come off the safe deposit box to bail out the former Premier League giant.
Hold on, let’s all calm down a bit before we start mentioning a major spend on Partey, Disasi, Moreno, and Milik, let’s look at the initial £74m plus loses and assume that if Stan is about to cough up, he will start by soaking up the debt.
Papers including the Daily Mail suggest that the financial package will run into millions but it stops short of giving a figure. We also have to be careful not to be dazzled by this seemingly generous act by considering that Stan Kroenke can withdraw the funds again in considerable chunks as a series of repayments when the club is in a better position.
We’d be wise to acknowledge that Stan has his hands full financially, with the LA Rams facing substantial costs to complete their stadium which is believed to be a mind-blowing £1.6billion over budget.
Be well advised to forget about feeling all gooey about Kroenke. Wonky Kroenke only does things that are of benefit to him or his franchise and there’s no evidence to say that his occasional visits to the Emirates are anything more than a token gesture, like the President of the United States dropping down in Air Force one to Pasadena, just to have a photo opportunity will an 80-year-old farm sheering sheep.
He usually arrives, watches a Premier League game and goes, but not before relieving the Arsenal coffers of some cash, that’s how it’s been. From the day he took his spot on Arsenal’s treacherous board in the 2008/09 season, wonky Kroenke was paid at least £25,000 per year in director’s emoluments for every season he worked and in his first season, he was entitled to £17,000.
Then in 2013, Stan’s enthusiastic son Josh joined the board, entitling him to at least £25,000 for every season he was in his position. It’s not only the Kroenke’s who capitalise on the club’s income because in 2013/14, Kroenke’s company KSE received £3m for its services, known as “strategic and advisory services.”
However, the COVID-19 may have put a brief end to this ongoing hanky panky, especially if Stan Kroenke has to inject his own cash to offset the obvious debts left behind from an interrupted season. There’s a tendency by some to think that Stan might be mellowing in his old age but if you want to put that theory to the test, stick your arm in an alligator’s mouth and see if you can still play piano afterward.
Kroenke himself should realise that if he is looking for a pat on the back from supporters, he may be waiting some time. The majority deems his intervention long overdue because of his continuous absence, lack of communication and commitment and the handful of fans thinking that this might be the start of something good may be completely wide of the mark.
The Kroenke reputation is still a battered one and one gesture may not be enough to turn the tide. At least, Stan now has a legitimate reason not to visit North London.
Stay safe. Stay tuned