Kroenke Sports & (occasional) Entertainment and the house that Wenger built.
A wasted opportunity.
Under Kroenke, AFC (American Franchise Collection), we live in a perpetual ‘transition’ period where there is always ‘potential’ within a ‘process’ (see transition). Long term planning for a future success, rather than immediate and focused change in order to bring success to our football club.
Problem is transition means moving from one state to another. Now if this is a process, it’s about the longest one ever known to mankind, unless I include evolution that is!
When Stan rocked up our club had already moved from our spiritual home at Highbury to the Emirates (the house that Wenger built) and with it we brought with us a suitcase full of debt. There was however the promise of being able to rub shoulders with, and compete, against the very best in the world for the game’s biggest honours. I didn’t believe it then and I certainly don’t now.
The self-sustaining model created in some large part by Wenger and the accountant side of his brain meant the debt amassed on the stadium left us with no real financial power to compete with those willing to buy success. And that they did (succeed that is!). Where Arsenal raised coffers through match day revenue, broadcasting and commercial activities, Sheikh Mansour and Roman Abramovich financially doped (Tm Le Prof) the living daylights into their clubs… they were Dope Dealers and enablers of the first order! 😉
With the arrival of a billionaire of our own some believed things would change, but unlike the aforementioned duo Stan stated he was not in the business to win but rather to play Moneyball (maybe he misheard and thought he was buying into Arsenal Moneyball Club?). As of 2017/18 Stan had put zero cents in neither equity or debt financing into the club, whereas City’s Sheik had put in around £1 billion in loan and equity payments since taking the reins in 2008.
They (Stan and son Josh) did take out money from the club for strategic and consultancy services at £25K p/a each and in 2013/14 and 2015/3016 two chunks of £3 million were also paid out to KSE.
Between 2010-2020 KSE (as reported by the Swiss Ramble) have invested a poultry £15m into AFC for all operations and areas of the club finances, whereas at the same time Man Utd had had £1.1billion injected. West Bromwich Albion’s owners in this same time has invested £7 million more than ourselves… Yes WBA!
Now many will argue that money does not always equal guaranteed success, and this is true and has been proven in the case of United. Money + vision and the right management of funds, coupled with an iron clad will, will usually bring about a positive and upward trend though.
However, intent is everything. At least the Will and inclination to do what they could (in the case of Man Utd) in terms of financial assistance to TRY to improve their chances as owners was evident. Stan by his unwillingness to invest in his own club shows that it is nothing more than a passive income (as someone once said akin to a billionaire’s giro cheque) … money for nothing if you will.
So, no passion for football, no lifelong love for Arsenal and no desire to invest to be the best. This was a recipe for disaster and the acceptance of ‘we are really only taking part’ has led to a culture of mediocrity that has permeated down through the entire fabric of our club. Not only within the organisation but in the fanbase where expectation is now an all-time low. Stealthily the bar has been well and truly lowered over the decades and is why 5th in the league is now rewarded with a new contract. Excuses for lack of success then became the norm.
Of course, there are other clubs and fans who would like to be in our shoes be they in the premier league or lower divisions HOWEVER I see too many wasted years of opportunity where we could have truly built upon the success that was forged before, by those who truly wanted AFC to be the greatest team the world had ever seen…
So, what is my point exactly? well, I believe whilst Stan and his KSE remain in control of our great club we will always be also-rans with ‘potential’ ‘transitioning’ as part of a greater and far distant ‘process’. They simply do not make decisions or act in the best interests of AFC in order to obtain success on the field (WHERE IT COUNTS).
Therefore, as a result of our owners’ disinterest in making us a football powerhouse, we won’t ever get the care and attention our club deserves and will as a consequence get make do, and second best. Therefore, I do understand why there is now such low expectation, but I won’t ever accept it as Arsenal are better than that! We should not be a mid-table team nor have such lowly ambition.
Almost everything is cyclical in nature so maybe one day our glory days WILL return. I’d imagine though this is most likely to occur when Stan and Co have long ridden off into the sunset.
Here’s hoping I’m wrong, but history is a great teacher.
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