Comparing Arsenal, Kroenke and the LA Rams All-In Philosophy

Comparing Kroenke’s ownership of Arsenal and the LA Rams by KJ Virani

I’ve followed Kroenke’s ownership path of the LA Rams as I lived in St. Louis when he took a majority stake in the then St. Louis Rams. He put up a fight when Shahid Khan was attempting to purchase 100% stake ownership. I personally don’t see him selling Arsenal now or any time in the distant future. His track record tells me he is in it for the long haul.

Obviously it is extremely difficult comparing team building in the NFL to the EPL. However, there are some parallels. For example Kroenke and Rams GM Les Sneed have been the most aggressive team builders in the NFL over the last 4-5 years. The “All-In” philosophy Kroenke’s Rams have followed is extremely rare in the NFL where draft picks are worth more than gold. However Kroenkes Rams are changing the calculus NFL teams have followed forever.

Partially, the Rams have had no choice because in LA there are so many sports and entertainment options available. Rams are competing locally with LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Dodgers, USC football, etc. So building the best stadium and building a championship caliber team in a sports market where fans are extremely fickle is all about survival.

Translating the Rams team building to Arsenal may not be as simple. However, one has to remember it took a few years to set up the building blocks for an eventual Rams Championship starting with hiring the youngest head coach ever and building a team around his philosophy and personality.

I feel the same is in play at Arsenal. The only issue in the EPL is there isn’t as much team parity like the NFL – in the NFL “almost” every team (32 teams) has a chance to realistically matriculate to the Super Bowl at the beginning of the season. In the EPL there is a concentration of talent at the top and I think it takes a little bit longer to change fortunes.

Maybe I’m a bit naive but I’m hopeful Kroenke starts using the same “All-In” strategy with Arsenal by adding missing pieces in the next few windows to build the Arsenal we all deserve.

By the way, this is my first post here. I’ve been an adamant reader of the site and everyone’s comments forever now and am grateful for the wonderful community here. As an Arsenal fan who lives in the USA and a big NFL follower for all my life, I just wanted to drop my two cents on the matter.

KJ Virani

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  1. Kroenke has also been building Arsenal aggressively over the last four years, since he increased his ownership to more than 90% in 2018. We can see it by the amount of money he’s spent to support Wenger, Emery and Arteta

    We can’t compare his ownership with oligarchs like Sheikh Mansoor and Abramovich, because their businesses are protected by their countries’ militaries/ rulers. But we could use FSG’s ownership of Liverpool as a measurement

    Since FSG’s takeover in 2010, it took them nine years to win their first major trophy. Kroenke’s complete takeover was in 2018, so he might need five more years to win EPL, UCL or EL

    I’m just curious about the Rams’ managerial turnover under Kroenke’s ownership. Did he change the manager every two years or did he keep them longer? It could tell us about Arteta’s fate, if he fails to get a top six finish by the end of this season

    1. @gotanidea: During the time Kroenke has owned the team outright (2010) the Rams have had three head coaches and two general managers.

      Technically, the first head coach (Steve Spagnuolo) and general manager (Billy Devaney) were not his hires so in reality in the twelve seasons he has owned the team, he has ONLY FIRED one head coach while retaining the teams main architect, general manager, Les Snead for the last ten years. It has paid off in spades for Kroenke as they have been to the Super Bowl twice under head coach Sean McVay and won it all this year.

      However, for what its worth, Kroenke’s NBA franchise (Denver Nuggets) have had eight head coaches in the 22 years he has owned the team.

      Trying to translate Arteta’s managerial fate at Arsenal to Kroenkes track record of hiring/firing managers might be a tougher nut to crack than figuring out who created Bitcoin.

      1. Thanks for the detailed info!

        So Kroenke’s managerial turnover rates at the Rams and Denver Nuggets are different. But has he been supporting Denver Nuggets a lot financially in the last five years?

  2. I think you should compare arsenal to the kroenke’s rebuilding of their soccer team, Colorado Rapids. They did well in their first year and nothing spectacular since then.

    1. Or the Denver Nuggets, who had had slow growth, but it is an upwards trend. The payoffs in the NFL are so much that it tends to be worth the investment, plus it is much much easier to end contracts in the NFL for underperformers.

      The key is having staff to identify the talent early, when the costs are lower and their value will increase with time.

      As far as the Rams go, Kronke spent to get to the top and win the Superbowl, no question.

      However, the question is, will he continue the investment to remain at the top and one of the best teams in the league?

      After all, isn’t that what we want for Arsenal? Not to buy a title or trophy, but to establish a squad that competes every year, always in the hunt for titles and trophies?

      1. I ask the questions because Stan Kronke has always been the pragmatic businessman, less concerned with the sporting aspect of his clubs, and focused more on the business side.

        Josh strikes me as someone who has a more sporting approach, actually is a fan of the clubs he owns, not such an profit driven businessman like his father.

        He tends to take the risks, and sees the short term pain (costs) versus the long term gains. Spending vast amounts now to build a competitive squad, so in the next several years he avoids the costly band-aid patchwork approach we have seen for years.

      2. @Durand: Great insights.

        Winning it all in the current NFL environment is so dependent on having a top ten QB that I think it skews the comps to other sport leagues. Rams front office, especially Snead has continuously shown they are willing to accept personnel mistakes even if it costs the team future draft picks. For example, they traded their QB Jared Goff three years removed from taking the team to the Super Bowl but lost to Tom Brady. In return for Goff they got Stafford who promptly took them to the top of the mountain.

        Is Arsenal doing similar house cleaning with the out flows we are seeing? Players that are good but yet not good enough to take them to the top of the mountain?

        Is letting Auba go equivalent to the Rams shocking move of Jared Goff? We won’t know until Arsenal finds its version of Matthew Stafford.

        1. I think the QB changes you mention are an excellent example. QB is a lynchpin position in the NFL, and maybe a striker is the closest thing in European football.

          Meaning, how those positions perform, so the team tends to perform; often but not always.

          Kronke mortgaged a lot to get Stafford as QB, let’s see if he is willing to do the same as striker.

  3. I Guess that’s why they are planning to renovate emirates stadium,part of the process but i don’t like the ticket price hike.

  4. Well written KJV and I much hope you wil contribute another article before long.
    As a Brit who knows nothing and cares nothing about all USA sports except football(soccer), I will take your word for what Kroenke is doing over in LA.

    In common with most Gooners , I have no liking for Kroenke and especially his lack of passion for our club, but I AM SLIGHTLY MORE HOPEFUL ABOUT JOSH.


    1. In common with most Gooners? I think that’s a stretch, maybe 4 or 5 years ago or in common with most Gooners on the internet, but I suspect most Gooners are neutral on Stan Kroenke. We can’t expect him to pour money in like Abramovich, Sheikh Mansour or the Saudis, but he’s sure put a lot in compared to most teams since Usmanov left. Gooner since 1955 when I saw Arsenal for the first time at Highbury. We lost 4-0 in a friendly against Real Madrid who had Di Stefano, Puskas and Gento in the team. They also had 3 goals disallowed! What a team

      1. Philip. Well it true that Kroenke has won SOME Gooners over, at least those who comment on JA.

        My view firmly remains though that if we took a worldwide poll of ALL Gooners globally, most by far would rather we were owned by someome who had a genune love and passion for our club. Money and power alone will never move mountains and as we are, albeit sadly, learning these last ten days or so in Ukraine, love and passion for something that is dear to all good people will last for ever , long after money has done its good or damage(dependant on how it is used, either for good or for bad).

        When supreme personal wealth is used almost entirely for the benefit of the individual who owns that wealth, it causes damage, not good; EG Kroenkes vast, huge and expensive ranch used for his own and his familys good only
        In my book that makes him a poor human being and thus a poor owner and I think most will agree.

  5. Forget this nonsense. Have you noticed the Rao’s William Saliba has been getting recently? Of course sycophants and idiots will justify as all within Arteta’s well laid plans.

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