Is it time for Arsenal fans to praise Stan Kroenke for a change?

A Silence of Convenience by Neil Watson

I am fairly confident this article will meet with a record number of aggrieved reactions and disparaging comments because the truth is often the most uncomfortable thing to admit. One of the best lessons you can teach the young is ‘learn from your mistakes’ and ‘be honest when you are wrong’. In that way you can learn and as a consequence you will grow mentally. By not admitting when you are wrong means you choose not to learn.

And so let’s get down to it. Stan Kroenke and the senior management of our club. The management that have spent in excess of 150 million pounds in players in the last 2 years.

When things were very bad within our club we, as fans, blamed the manager and the owners. In truth the inner issues of a club can be speculated on by fans but we never ever know. None of us know why Ozil has such a bad run of form, why Sanchez was so keen to go anywhere… loads of things involving Ramsay, Jack, Bellerin…..

So now we find ourselves on a run of form that was last achieved 7 seasons back. The same owner yet a different manager and a few new players.

In reality should fans not be congratulating the owner and senior management for securing the services of a manager that, if form is any guide, was unjustly ignored as manager of the month? Let’s be honest was he on top of anyone’s lists when the club were looking for a replacement for Wenger? Some might say he’s had easy fixtures to accommodate and they’d be right but even the easy ones need to be won. You can do no more than win them regardless of how many goals you score.

I’m part of the majority of Arsenal fans who think poorly of Kroenke. We see him turn up at the occasional home game and have zero connection with the fans. I think most of us assume, probably quite rightly, that his ownership of our club is purely for personal gain. But isn’t that the point?

The undeniable point here is that if you’re going to blame someone individually for our team playing terribly you have to praise that same person when things turn around and the results go in your favour. We were terrible and so the manager was changed, a few new players were bought and we then went on a run. We look sharp on the pitch, the team play with smiles on their faces and we can look across London at our noisy neighbours and feel for the first time in a few years our ship is once again sailing in the right direction whereas they maybe about to embark on something less pleasant.

At the end of this season we will be able to judge Kroenke for the first time without there being an existing structure in place since the day he arrived. The Wenger regime is well and truly over and we are seeing how well the senior management and ownership can run our club and what will transpire as a consequence of their new found freedom.

To précis, and stay focused on this point when commenting, if you’re like me and most, who vehemently criticised Kroenke for causing the crisis within our club over the past couple of years then surely you have to accept that the current success we are enjoying is at the very least partially due to the new structure within the club that his money created.

Neil Watson


  1. Phil says:

    Neil-I believe you are going to be hard pressed to find anyone on this site or ANY Arsenal Forum who will have a good word to say about Kronke.What I would say is that now he has 100% ownership and complete control he has an investment that will need major funding if it is to realise any sort of profit for him in the future.I look at what he has done to the LA Rams who are 8-0 in the NFL this season after he provided major funds for players to support his new young modern thinking head coach.We have Emery.He is young and forward thinking.Will Kronke support him with the money to buy the players we need to move Arsenal Football Club forward?I would like to believe he will but won’t be holding my breath that’s for sure

    1. John Ibrahim says:

      Psg provided the funds for emery and he won the title in a very tough league….

      every season heaps of funds are required?

      1. Angus says:

        Emery’s record in Spain on a budget is only perhaps surpassed by Simone. Still don’t expect miracles and Tuchel is doing better with PSG this year which was to be expected to be honest Emery doesn’t seem to have that ability to massage egos needed for a club like PSG. He does have fantastic pedigree working on a budget and that IS WHO WE ARE. Our record transfer relative to actual spending is still Bergkamp and Henry is still our 3rd highest too (which a lot of naive fans still think was a bargain signing lol.) People don’t understand that because prices have inflated, we have fallen behind massively on spending. Fans need to know our level or it’s going to be painful for them, some still cling to the idiotic belief that Wenger was holding us back. Still Emery offers hope with his work in Spain in similar circumstances where Barca/Real will always rule just don’t expect to challenge City/United/Chelsea ever long-term. Will say the idea Emery is a young forward looking coach is dumb, he’s had years and years in Spain followed by the big money move to PSG, we’re the B option because that failed. He’s not on the up he’s just very good.

        1. jon fox says:

          angus, We MANY FANS WHO WERE AGAINST Wenger(in my case for his last decade) knew full well that he could not spend in City fashion. But it is who he spent his alloted money on which distressed us. A succession of awful CB’s going back many years and no half decent DM at ALL since Gilberto left. No proper coaching in defence and a cavalier disregard for the vital importance of having a proper defence. This too for many consecutive years. We do not blame him but KROENKE FOR WHAT HE WAS ALLOWED TO SPEND. BUT HE SPENT IT STUPIDLY!

          1. Angus says:

            What are you arguing? you arguing against Emery? against the club? I’m confused. I thought you hated Wenger.

  2. Phil says:

    You only need to look at the bench Citeh have tonight to show what type of squad all teams are up against.Thats before we look at the top European teams competing in the Champions League.
    No matter how good the young players are that are coming through the ranks NO team let alone Arsenal will win the premiership unless major funds are invested for the top players.

    1. Angus says:

      It’s easy to argue that Foden/Diaz are better than Nelson/Maitland and City lost Sancho to Dortmund too! They have the best youth system in the UK by a mile and its followed by Chelsea/United now unlucky for us because it was artificial money for City/Chelsea but they will spend more than us on the 1st team too. It’s why Pep went City in the 1st place. Some delusional fans on here thought we missed out on Pep or even Klopp who went to Liverpool for the fans which is almost poetic to be honest. Yet some think we missed out on them as if either EVER considered us an option, it’s embarrassing.

  3. Midkemma says:

    I’ve said for a while that the real problem was Gazidis, he was the CEO and leading this ship, he played it safe over investing in the club.

    For so long we have had Wenger Vs Gazidis within our club and that struggle meant we wasted a lot of funds, it isn’t like Arsenal never spent but it changed, it went from getting quality to getting quantity.

    08/09 season (Gazidis joined after season had started) seen Wenger spend close to £14 million on Nasri in the summer and while Gazidis was settling in Arsenal signed Arshavin for a rumored record fee of close to £15 million. It took us until the 12/13 season (4 years!) for Arsenal to break their own record for Cazorla, it isn’t just a coincidence that our tight fisted spending over paying for bargains began when that joke of a CEO took charge from his first full season. Look how Gazidis was with Sven for most of the Jan window trying to penny pinch on the Auba deal who was a bargain at the price they was asking.

    I have pointed towards UTD and how Ed Woodward has spent while not having their American owner bankroll the signings, he made the money then spent it.
    Arsenal are a very profitable team and we are not paying for Silent Stans loan to buy the remaining shares, he has said that we can invest what we make as a self sustaining club, this means we can spend big when we have the cash…

    I don’t blame Silent Stan for not investing, I got nothing to thank him for now either, it isn’t him picking the players or setting the transfer budget, that is Sven (picking players) and Gazidis(setting budget). We didn’t spend loads in the last window which brought a lot of hope (due to new manager) and we’re making the best out of it but in all honesty we had a tight fisted window yet again. Sven saved us!

    The main people I will thank are Sven and Emery.

    1. Angus says:

      What wasted funds? The vast majority of our best players this year were Wenger signings. As far as I know the main contention in Jan was over Auba which Wenger was proved right on. He cost 60 mil and is not 1st choice striker and whilst he does a job from the wings Emery has shown he’s not remotely close to being a 1st name on the team sheet or even on the pitch fullstop.

      Had we not signed Auba we would still have Giroud backing up Laca and 40 odd mil + signing on fee/wage increase compared to Giroud to spend on an actual winger.

      On top of that Torreira was easy (All our rivals signed more expensive DM’s except City who tried to sign Chelsea’s who already had Kante.) He’s been good but it was hardly a coup it was a quirk of market inflation that made him available cheap (and we still paid over his actual release clause because we couldn’t afford him in our 50 mil budget for this year otherwise.)

      Sokratis has been a fail so far generally I never write players off 1st season still he was a 1st season signing with his age and he’s being outshone by Holding whilst Mustafi is our best CB by a mile which is hardly that high a bar although a lot higher than people give credit to Mustafi for.

      Lichtsteiner isn’t remotely able to challenge Bellerin and can’t fill in at LB either so he’s a pure educational tutor for Bellerin at this point.

      Guendouzi is one for the future but dirt cheap and hardly any different to previous Wenger signings which is kind of the point everything Sven has been praised for is the exact same things Wenger would of been slated for it’s laughable. Our attitude in the market hasn’t changed at all, it’s exactly the same as before unless your blind. Buy cheap when the market lets you, the fact it was good year for it so we got multiple players doesn’t change the fact its been the same for years.

      Leno was a must because Ospina wanted out same deal cheap clause so we got him no top teams were interested etc.

      I don’t understand praise just dumb people thinking Wenger going somehow changed anything. Emery has the same support I showed Wenger but I’m realistic without board backing we’re likely to lose 4th to Liverpool over the long-term nothing has changed.

  4. ken1945 says:

    Neil, interesting piece of work that I feel I have to reply to.

    You state that in the last two years, the club have invested £150,000,000 in players in the last two years.

    Any idea how much the club has received from players being sold?

    I did a very quick totting up and made it £120,000,000.

    So that means we have actually donated from our coffers £30,000,000 in transfer fees.

    Now let me ask you this…where has all the money from the last ten years of CL, PL, FA cup, sponsorship and match day revenue gone?
    We have just signed the second biggest shirt deal in the PL it’s been reported, but we are now being told there are no plans to sign anyone in January, except in exceptional circumstances. Whatever that might mean!!
    On top of that, it’s also being reported that Kos has been told he can leave in January as Emery thinks we have enough CB’s now!
    If you can give me a satisfactory answer to these situations
    my opinion of, not only Kronkie, but the board as well might change.

    1. Rkw says:

      Our net spend over last 5 years is one of highest around and if I recall higher than Chelsea lpool and Chelsea … Way behind the manchesters of course … But part of problem am sorry to say was kind of players your beloved wenger brought in .., or didn’t … Doesn’t mean kroenke is the kind of owner we want … I think he is a slug … Just saying

      1. ken 1945 says:

        Rkw, show me the FACTS that over the last two years (claimed in the article) that we have spent more than anyone bar the Manchester clubs, whilst were actually receiving nearly all the money back by selling players.
        Your comments are completely wrong and I notice that yet again, someone who has to bring AW into the conversation, still cannot give any idea as to where the incredible amount of money made during his tenure has gone, or is even WILLING to recognise the fact it happened.
        Your pathetic remark about my beloved Wenger shows your ignorance and stupidity.
        Grow up, check your FACTS and then we might be able to have a debate that’s interesting to everyone.

        I’ll even give you a clue where to start…wickepedia and the last two years of Arsenal’s transfers in and out.

        1. Rkw says:

          Not sure what your point is … I said over last 5 years … Either I was wrong or I wasn’t … Can’t be bothered with Wikipedia but by all means check … On the more normative issue all I am saying is that the lost decade we have gone through cant be down to kroenke alone if the facts are correct … And I would still love to see him out of club the more so given his track record with sports clubs he at least has some kind of cultural affinity which indicates he can’t return us to the top of the soccer pinnacle … i still hope that current managerial set up can deliver more than has been the case during the lost decade .. There are positive signs for me but it takes time to remove the rot of history …. That’s all

          1. ken1945 says:

            The lost decade?
            You must have been living in the lost world!
            3 fa cups
            8 top four finishes
            8 CL qualifications.

            Ask the Liverpool and Spud fans if they would call THAT record a lost decade!

            If you can’t be bothered to check your facts, why bother giving them?
            Especially if your trying to belittle me at the same time!
            You might be surprised at what actually is the truth if you invest just a few minutes, because that’s all it takes.
            The article said two years, you said five and YES you are definitely WRONG.

  5. Pat says:

    Spurs lost makes me feel better. Let’s hope we can do something against Liverpool.

    1. Sue says:

      Yes not the spanking I was hoping for but well done Riyad ?

      1. waal2waal says:

        i still scratch my head wondering why we dithered when we should have gotten Riyad when he became available. As it stands we are miles apart from the quality city have in their ranks.

        1. Sue says:

          I wouldn’t have minded him

          1. waal2waal says:

            if you can recall we were all thinking we’d get Riyad or Lemar and the tom foolery dragged on and on until eventually we ended up with neither of ’em. i guess we now at least know our perceived level having settled for a young pretender (Iwobi)

          2. ken1945 says:

            The answer is staring us all in the face…GAZIDIS.
            Why can’t everyone see this?

  6. waal2waal says:

    far as i understand he still goes by the name ‘Invisible Stan’ – it says a lot from a fans viewpoint. I think he’s an awful lot of making up to do before he’s spoken of fondly or he is ever held in high regards by this fanbase. Only thing he done right is to endorse Unai Emery as manager, hopefully he’d like to assist us further by paying for a decent centre-back and add quality to midfield would be a welcome surprise. But as has been said already i wouldn’t hold my breath as if in anticipation.

    1. waal2waal says:

      or is it ‘Silent Stan’? anyway it still amounts to the same (imo)

      1. ozziegunner says:

        ??Time will tell now he has 100% ownership. Previous history of Kroenke’s sport management in the USA has been associated with mediocre on field results. The performance of the LA Rams this season is positive; let’s hope Silent Stan or his son take a similar approach to the Arsenal.

        1. waal2waal says:

          ..that is encouraging news – thanks ozziegunner

  7. Martin says:

    Stan regards Arsenal as a business proposition with an objective to make money. Champion’s League football is sufficient to achieve that end – and winning the Premiership/CL is an unnecessary expense. Hence he has spent enough money to get into the CL and no more. Arsene was retained while he delivered on entering the CL and removed when he did not. The problem is, I want Arsenal to contend to win the Premiership & CL: which will never happen under Stan’s ownership.

  8. Grandad says:

    The slump in the fortunes of Arsenal during the past 4/5 years can be attributed to poor Management on and off the pitch.To what extent Kroenke is culpable is difficult to say but as far as I am aware he has had precious little to do with the day to day running of the organisation he owns.The fact that his Son has become involved in an appraisal of how the Club was functioning, or more importantly, was not functioning suggests to me that he is now taking his investment seriously in which case perhaps he will open the purse strings to the new Management.Despite his apparently cordial relationship with Wenger and Gazidis i suspect he did not shed many fears on their departure.

  9. Sal says:

    the day i call Mr. Moustache a great owner is the day i’ve really let my team down, probably the worst owner after Ashley and we aren’t Newcastle!!

    EVERY OWNER in the PL has more passion than this yank silent and clueless about football, we are basking in mediocrity with him at the helm, how dare you take a loan you billionaire twat!!! like we need the debt ,we just payed it up after selling our players for 10 seasons, you got the cash put into the club or F off!! stop paying yourself and the companies you represent by taking money out of the club and into your pocket, the guy has consultancy fees aswell 3 mil a year i think really?!! what does he know about football? what has he put into Arsenal since he took control, what has he given us?

    The guy doesn’t even have the cojones to say anything when fans where at each other’s throats fighting in the stand, do you think i forgot? do you think i don’t hold this Rich Greedy Yank accountable, two years of fans living in disharmony and he is fully to blame, when the ship was sinking he was in his ranch destroying another fan base by moving them to LA.

    let’s just hope he stay out of football affairs he wouldn’t be able to spot talent if messi was on his doorstep!! and his son josh no comment!!

    this must be the worst timing to say this but i wish leicester owner was still alive and we lost him instead, muppet!! My condolences to Leicester hope i didn’t offend anyone other than Kronke.

  10. jon fox says:

    Neil, you are clearly very good with using words, in this case to make a wrong headed argument , as almost all other comments have said too, at least about the wrong headed argument. I just don’t buy your argument or accept it’s premise at all. I wonder how much you have researched into your claim, as your transfer figures make no sense to me nor to others to it appears. KROENKE HAS OWNED OUR CLUB SINCE 2007 AND UNTIL Wengers long overdue sacking, sorry, his “retirement”( cue horse laughs from the stage wings) has clearly taken money from the club for most of those years in share increases and in fake commercial fees charged by one of his sham companies who “advised” the club; in other words consultancy from a man who would not know a football from a tennis ball. YOU MAKE NO MENTION , BY CHOICE OBVIOUSLY, OF ALL THE INCOMING TRANSFER FEES AND COMMERCIAL ACTIVITIES OR WHERE THAT MONEY WENT. By any sober analysis it is clear that Kroenke bought Arsenal for one reason only; to make money from the club and to impoverish it , in relative terms , by so doing. Frankly , Neil you show the one sided thinking and cherry picking, albeit in cleverly written English, of a fraudulent politician. You started by acknowledging that few would agree with you. Well done on getting THAT right. Nothing else though was remotely sensible. Though in an odd way, I DID ADMIRE YOUR SHEER GAUL IN TRYING TO DEFEND THE INDEFENSIBLE.

    1. Midkemma says:

      “taken money from the club for most of those years in share increases”

      I say this as well.
      I do believe Silent stan would prefer to utilise the wealth of AFC in his portfolio over taking funds out every year, I think he kinda realised the backlash when he took money out before and decided a couple million isn’t worth the bad relations/drop in fan spending.

      If he can double his share prices then that is more wealth than a few million here and there.

      It is why I have raged about Gazidis for years, he has failed to invest in players who went on to be worth many times the price paid and Gazidis failed on this because he was tight fisted.

      How many players did we miss out on over the years by a million or two? People have blamed Wenger for being tight fisted but wasn’t that Gazidis being tight fisted while letting Wenger take the blame (He was paid well enough for a reason)? How long did it take to sign Auba due to penny pinching and Gazidis failed to get a CB that Wenger wanted (Evans)… We have Sven to thank for pushing to get Auba as I do believe Gazidis would have buckled and would have done a panic buy on the last day… Get us another Perez (=.=’)
      Not like Wenger was around to restrict our transfer budget either 😉

      he may have gotten worse with age but not all evils are on his shoulders.

      1. jon fox says:

        Again we agree, which is becoming a pleasant habit these days. As you rightly say his wealth from increased club share price , dwarfs by comparison , his sham fees actually taken out from the club. He is clearly a brilliantly successful businessman but a scum bag of a human being to boot. WHAT A DESPERATE SHAME THAT ONE OF THE VERY FEW REAL HUMAN AND PROPER OWNERS, AT LEICESTER, SHOULD BE SO TRAGICALLY TAKEN FROM FOOTBALL, while the many dreadful and totally selfish owners like Kroenke remain behind to wreak more damage on football and its devoted fans. Seems to me someone up there in “deity” land, has got their plans wrong this week. Can you imagine all the fan flower tributes if that had been Kroenke in that awful crash. They would spread all the way round a, erm, a marble, ALL from his immediate family and none at all from his Arsenal fan admirers, as they do not exist. We could do with a snake charmer, to rid our club of Kroenke. If I wrote down what in words what I actually want, I would be , rightly , banned . But it doesn’t stop me wanting exactly that, which I dare not spell out in words. Even though evil thoughts are as bad as evil deeds, in some ways, at least for my own soul. But I will always be honest with myself, whatever happens.

        1. Midkemma says:

          We can kinda trust Silent Stan to want his share prices increased and while it would be a dream to have a mega rich die hard fan own us, I do think that Silent Stan sitting back and letting the people he hires do their job (unlike Ashley at Newcastle) will also mean that we will spend money when we have it to spend.

          Raul appears to want to reduce the wage bill and if we can get UCL football, this will all add to transfer funds that Raul has to play with alongside Sven. He wasn’t shy at spending big at Barca when they had the funds but they did have a couple frugal seasons.

          I am deluded into believing that we will be competing with City within 2-3 season, this is assuming Emery can keep doing his fine work, I honestly do believe we have some really talented younger players who will only need the odd Marquee signing to put us at the top.


          For a team of prospects and nearly their kinda players while keeping in mind players like Laca still has a few years ahead of him at the top, I think our future is looking amazingly bright. Emery has to get the most out of all these players though. We may disagree on Bellerin and I hope Bellerin proves you wrong 😛 It’ll mean he is working hard on his def side and improving. I remember when his final ball had also gone, he offered nothing def or off, he has done 50% since Emery got him focused.

          Even if he doesn’t develop his def game good enough, that team of potential means we could have a marquee signing to compliment the majority of them.

    2. Angus says:

      One of the smart folk who thinks Wenger held us back! Same guy who thinks Mustafi can’t defend when he is head and shoulders above Sokratis/Holding and WE HAVE NOTHING ELSE. Same guy who rated Lichtsteiner over Bellerin. Same guy who hates Xhaka our best midfielder this year. Seriously how many times do you need to be wrong before you admit it? Wenger went and Emery plays the exact same players you hated Wenger for playing. Honestly fans like you make life no concept of reality. Your not wrong we’re not going to spend any money but that was why Wenger had a hard time and you hated him for it so I don’t understand your point.

      1. Angus says:

        Don’t you dare turn this into an argument on the semantics of hate as word, seen you do that before as well. Answer the actual points.

        1. ken 1945 says:

          Angus, I have tried to get the answers you are asking but with no success.
          The terrible players Emery inherited finished sixth.
          One of the most realistic people on here (hope you don’t mind Phil) said that the team Emery inherited needed just a few new players to be able to challenge again. We went and got them cheaply and on the never never because of Kronkie.
          Phil is not an advocate of AW, far from it, but therein is the truth.
          Jon also said recently that Emery was prevented from buying a world class defender because of Kronkies transfer budget. I did ask him if he applied that scenario to Wenger.
          I didn’t follow up his answer due to this conversation, so Jon, is it the same scenario?
          Of course I can see what Emery’s coaching has done for the players he inherited and I believe that is a major strength over AW.
          HOWEVER, it was AW who saw the potential in these players, just as he did with the likes of AMN, Nielson etc etc.
          The one thing that it seems the majority of fans agree on is the mistrust (putting it mildly)of the owner.
          I predicted that we would learn so much more about the role of Gazidis and if people were willing to take their blinkers off, it would become clearer
          Of course he didn’t pick the team, decide the tactics and make the substitutions… that is down to AW and the last two years were so painful to watch.
          I am also aware of the mistakes he made in the transfer market (reading this Rkw? ) but isn’t he just a human being, unlike, it seems, pep, klopp, fergie etc, who never made mistakes whilst spending millions more on one player than Emery and AW will ever have while Kronkie owns our/sorry his club.
          His resignation was in all honesty a relief for everyone including AW himself.
          But we saw the potential BS rearing it’s head for Emery on here because we drew a game.
          I was expecting calls for black bin liner protests, a call to boycott matches from those who don’t even have season tickets ( Jon this is NOT aimed at you ) and chants of “we want our Arsenal back”!
          Such hypocrites. They are already saying what Emery has got wrong…team selection, substitutions, game plans etc etc. Supporters? They don’t know the meaning of the word, just so frustrating after sixty plus years of watching my club through good and bad times.
          A good dose of realism might stop some of the verbal diarrhoea, or maybe just talk FACTS.
          Nothings changed at the top table, we just have to think ourselves lucky that Emery has shown the skills to improve the quality of players AW left him, because as sure as eggs are eggs, Mr. Kronkie ain’t going to release the missing millions that the new manager needs.

          That’s the end of my tirade, I apologize to all those I might have offended, blame my passion for this great club that I am desperate to see become champions again before I disappear into the red and white yonder.

          1. Angus says:

            Anyone that ever thought Emery inherited a 6th and done team is delusional. At worst we should of finished 5th last year and that is on ref decsions alone the 4 point fap to United get lowered quickly without our focus on Europe and their lucky ref start but at this point I dont expect anyone to be smart.

    3. ken1945 says:

      Jon, glad you could see the cherry picking.
      I admire ANYONE who contributes their thoughts on here and it has provoked some good discussions.
      The one thing that stands out is the mistrust of the owner of Arsenal Football Club and his love of money.
      I wonder if he will surprise us all and give the shirt sponsorship money to Emery so that HE can go out and buy a world class defender? Something he never did for AW of course.

      Only wish you would read the club’s captain as he related the story regarding AW, but I guess you can’t admit it otherwise you would have to give your winnings back to the bookies!!!???

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