Do We Have The Worst Owner In The Premiership? by Dan Smith
Mike Ashley took some of his employees out for dinner this week at which he promised them he would pay for them to go on holiday if they yet again secure top flight football, or more specifically, if he gets another year of a television deal worth billions.
Rafa Benitez, of course, would rather his boss be putting his hand in his pocket for transfers. Why this was reported of course was to further put pressure on Newcastle’s main man. Yet it got me thinking if he as bad as Stan Kroenke? In fact do we have the worst owner period?
I’m sure the Toon Army would label gooners ungrateful for moaning about the FA Cups, and top 4 finishes achieved since the American’s arrival in England. But the man in control of our destiny probably couldn’t name our squad, yet alone have the inclination to do anything to get to know them.
The Sports Direct Tycoon was at St James Park last weekend, knowing he would get verbally abused by 50,000 people, which he smiled and took in his stride. Apart from special occasions such as Finals, ‘soccer’ isn’t even the favourite sport of the man who now is our majority share holder. No one is saying only a fan should be allowed to buy a club nor is it right for any business man/woman to be pressured to treat their acquisition as a toy, a process which has changed the history of Man City and Chelsea.
If I worked hard to become a billionaire, no one would tell me how to spend my cash, especially if I wanted to leave it for my family. Through other spokespersons though, promises were made to convince board members who loved the gunners that it would be in our best interest to allow this outsider control. Promises have been broken with a lack of clarity to the customers. That’s his biggest sin. He knows he’s not liked and doesn’t even try to pretend he cares. Even from a PR perspective, surely he’s been advised to at least make out we are as important as his US franchises, which also make profit without winning titles.
Living across the pond means he is not subjected to what David Gold/ Sullivan go through at the London Stadium.
I would never condone West Ham supporters conduct at times but even after pitch protests and acts of violence, they have dialogue with the David’s on Twitter.
The one time, morally, Stan should say something is the yearly share holder meeting. At this point legally fan groups should be allowed an understanding of what’s going on behind the scenes, it’s their money as well! Last year, to get out of speaking in public, our media department arranged his one and only interview with a UK tabloid, with the agreement the press officer would choose the questions. That was only done because no longer could he use Arsene Wenger as his shield. For nearly two decades the Frenchmen was so respected the majority trusted every word he said. In his final months though the world saw through the lies. Mr Kroenke was smartly taking advantage of someone’s love for the club, realising Mr Wenger was so loyal to his place of work, he was happy to take everything on his shoulders.
While the Greatest Manager in our history was being disrespected, to the point I now get backlash for saying he was one of the greatest, Mr Kroenke was banking Champions League money while making a net profit in transfer windows, never caring about being competitive in Europe. His manager was too loyal to give any ultimatums while Gazidis could find excuses such as paying off stadium debt.
In a sense Arsenal FC is quite an easy business to run. A fan base who will complain about ticket prices, merchandise, etc, but who are too big worldwide to ever go away. It’s become an inside joke about the exaggerated attendance figures but in reality only one man is laughing. While you might see empty seats, the truth is they have been purchased, the money men couldn’t care less if they are sat in, fact is they have been brought and paid for. It only impacts the tills long term if thousands staying away affects how many pies and programmes are being sold. It’s worth remembering though if thousands left, just as many are on a waiting list.
Kroenke is not the only American unwanted in this country. Man United and Liverpool supporters planned protests against theirs and got change, we failed by aiming our energy towards the wrong person, with some having their own agendas.
At Anfield, Hicks and Gillet had enough integrity to sell when they knew someone could do better. The Glazers have taken out debt against Old Trafford but at least use it to buy big names. We will only pay big if incomings are guaranteed. Mr Kroenke would only write a 90 million cheque for Lemar if he knew Sanchez was being sold. Once it seemed Sanchez would be a free agent, interest in Lemar died, we never thought about competing with Atletico Madrid for his signature.
Worse, he had the chance to more then get his money back when Usmanov offered to buy him out for more then he paid. Despite knowing his rival had a vision to make us champions, something he cares little about, he remains.
The only hope for us is we will turn out to be a birthday gift for his son who will solely focus on our development. Younger, maybe he will have that desire to win silverware?
Maybe I’m just trying to convince myself?