What Can Our Legends Offer To Daniel Ek? by Dan Smith
They often say that great players for your club doesn’t mean they will be successful managers for the team. Well, what about helping to run the whole club?
It has been confirmed that Daniel Ek has had two bids to buy Arsenal rejected by the Kroenke Family, with the co-founder of Spotify seeking help from Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira to own the club he’s supported since a child.
Most of the finances will come from the Swede with three members of our Invincibles being the ‘football people’ to advise and even manage the day to day running of things. For the record, combined the three’s net worth is estimated to be approx. just over 250 million.
If you want to win over Gooners, you couldn’t pick three better ex-players, all legends in North London, two with statues outside the Emirates. It’s harder for Vieira to talk about the topic in public, but he still has ambitions to continue his managerial career.
Both Henry and Bergkamp have confirmed this is not a PR stunt, this is very much real.
If the Kroenke Family can be convinced to sell (which will be a long process) this would be the first step in Arsenal adopting the Bayern Munich model.
On the current Bayern board, one of their former players is the president and deputy chairman while another three are Executive members.
After nearly two decades of being controlled by a man with zero ambition or interest this would reassure our fanbase that; if nothing else, the club they love is being overseen by people you know who care.
Many players find it easy to kiss the badge and give soundbites, but you would find it hard to find anyone who would question the sincerity in Henry’s, Bergkamp’s and Viera’s affection for the Gunners.
So they are passionate about the sport and have a romantic connection with Arsenal. That’s already more pros then the Kroenke Family, but what else can they offer? What other reasons could there be for them to be good in essentially a new line of work?
Mr Kroenke owns a large profile of franchises where his business model is not dependent on success.
That’s why since he first took power in 2011, we slowly transitioned away from being title challengers and only seemed to care about qualifying for the Champions League.
Once TV contracts (especially abroad) went into the billions, the American no longer cared where we finished in the table, because European competitions were no longer his main source of revenue.
Daniel EK plans to work with three athletes who are born winners. That’s not something that can be taught, that’s just something that will be natural to them from childhood.
To make a living out of being a professional athlete, yet alone the level they got too, would have meant sacrifices, discipline, an outlook that the majority can’t relate to.
Why so many great’s in the game can’t translate that into coaching is that they can’t relate to those they are working with not having the same standards they do.
You would hope from day one, certain things would simply not be tolerated? They wouldn’t accept 8th place as players, they would have been embarrassed, so why would they accept it now?
Under their watch the captain wouldn’t be showing up later, players wouldn’t be celebrating a draw at home to Fulham and in a semi-Final, players would show up.
If this happens, that would be 51 winners’ medals on our board, so I think they know what is needed to win.
I remember a comment Vieira made at Inter Milan. Jose Mourinho taught him that it’s okay to accept the opposition might have better players but that just means you find a different way to win.
They would equally be able to relate and empathise with the modern player. Our current regime probably couldn’t name our squad. Plus imagine being a youngster and having those three around the place!
It can’t be a coincidence that the first time Henry and Bergkamp spoke to the media about their talks with Daniel Ek, they both kept referring to our ‘DNA’ – Or more specifically our lack of one.
Let’s make it clear, at no stage has anyone promised trophies or a certain budget. They have insisted that even in the club’s darkest moment they had an ethos in how they acted and conducted themselves.
Both Henry and Bergkamp feel this is lacking and clearly would make it a priority to get that back.
That goes beyond the football pitch.
Have you ever wondered why so many players come to us from abroad and seem to form a unique connection?
How many players have you heard regretted leaving us?
That’s because many were at the club at a time when Arsene Wenger revolutionised so many aspects.
Some fans like to remind their peers that Arsenal had a history before Mr Wenger, and of course they did ……. yet what Arsenal became renowned for, their image around Europe, was down to one man.
In their twenties Henry and Bergkamp were among a group resistant to some of the Frenchman’s methods but (thanks as well to Adams, Dixon, Keown, etc) were taught the ‘Arsenal way’. They bought into the fabric of the club.
In Mr Wenger’s last year he spoke about the club being in danger of losing our proud values and he’s been proven right. The 55 redundancies, paying players to rip up contracts, players admitting being abused online by their own fans, the Super League! We no longer have that family feel at the club.
I believe Henry and Bergkamp when they say they care about getting our DNA back.
Style Of Play
I know every fan feels they have their ‘way’ of playing. How often do we hear Hammers refer to the ‘West Ham way’? With respect to our London neighbours though, they have never really had a prolonged period where a style of play led to success.
Ek’s 3 potential business partners not only were part of the club’s greatest period in our history, but became famous for playing in a manner that became renowned across the world.
Henry and Bergkamp in particular were proud of that reputation. So if they ever have to pick a new manager or recruit players, I think they will want to ensure we get back to our tradition of playing the ‘right way.’
We had zero identity under Emery, and while I can see what Arteta is trying to do he’s taken away a lot from our offence.
We know Kroenke’s motives for owning Arsenal. They want to make value off the brand for just being a brand. That’s their prerogative.
3 of the most famous footballers of all time obviously don’t need the money nor the need to stay relevant in the public eye. Therefore logically there can only be one reason why they would get involved in this project, they generally want Arsenal to return to their old selves.
It’s worth stressing that this isn’t like the ex-Man United players leading a consortium to buy Salford City (not that I’m comparing us to Salford).
My point is members of ‘the class of 92’ have benefitted from Gary Neville’s experiences in outside business ventures.
Henry does understand how business works though having been part of so many endorsement deals that in his prime he was the 9th most valuable footballer in the world. The point being that outside agencies are not going to be able to take advantage of our naive board.
If anything just by association, our three club legends could bring an increase in sponsorship.
Daniel Ek himself has confirmed that he’s willing to play the long game, acutely aware that the Kroenke’s would reject his initial bids.
If they change their minds though he is ready, and already I think he’s built a team behind the scenes who can make us better
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