If Stan Kroenke’s refuses to sell, his evil cards are officially on the table… by T Moore
By now I’m sure that most Arsenal fans will be salivating at the idea that Daniel Ek’s second improved £2 billion bid will tempt the Kroenke’s into handing over the reins of the club. When you consider that we’re just coming out of a world-wide pandemic and economic crash, receiving £2 billion wouldn’t be such a bad thing for any businessman! But the question is, what kind of businessman is Stan Kroenke?
Digging a little deeper into how much profit that would be making the Kroenke’s – it would be approximately more than twice the likely total outlay they coughed up to purchase all the shares, which began back in 2007 when they first purchased a 9.9% stake from ITV Holdings. Whilst an exact total figure is unclear, due to all the shares that were individually purchased over time, a rough total figure was circulated to be in the region of £1.029 billion, after Usmanov had been finally brought out in 2018 as the last remaining shareholder standing in Kroenke’s way of 100% ownership.
Any investor will tell you that doubling your money in such a short space of time would be a ‘snake oil’ investment, something too good to be true… but here we are, on the back end of one of the worst global pandemic’s since the Second World War, a global economic crash dubbed worse than the Wall Street Crash of 2007, and Stan Kroenke is about to receive an offer the experts would call ‘too good to be true.’
So why would anyone turn that sum of money down, during a time like this?
The only answer I can think of is the commercial interests of the club to a businessman like Stan Kroenke, outweigh the financial interest… let alone any football interest (I think it’s obvious that isn’t in the Kroenke equation whatsoever)!
For anyone unfamiliar with what happened recently to a fellow London club, Charlton Athletic, let me tell you about their previous owner, Roland Duchatelet. One of the former directors at the South London Club came forward and exposed Duchatelet’s business strategy at the time, explaining that the owner didn’t want the club to get promoted out of League 1 as the running costs of the club would increase as a result. The plan was to keep running costs as minimal as possible and sell players for profit, money which was never re-invested and likely pocketed by the owner. There was also the small matter of charges put against the assets of the club, and loans taken out against the club as well. This of course sent the Charlton fans into a rage, and I’m sure some of you have seen the lengths they went to protest against their owner, including traveling to his home town in Belgium!
Now I’m not suggesting that Kroenke doesn’t want Arsenal to succeed in such a vein, but like Duchatelet, success is not the priority for an owner like him. The benefits of owning an internationally recognised ‘brand’ like Arsenal Football Club, are commercial, opening the doors to international markets, sponsorship, advertising, a global network to world-wide commerce. You don’t get those perks owning an NFL team, which is primarily an American audience and thus American market centred business.
If you consider Arsenal before the Kroenke-era, this is a club whose finances were so well set-up, they were able to fund their own stadium build. Yes, admittedly there were a few player sales along the way, but there was no massive debt hanging over the club, or billion pound loans to repay like certain neighbours are now experiencing.
To go from a financially self-sufficient super-power in English football, to the recent months of having multiple staff furloughed, even the mascot Gunnersaurus sacked, players asked to take a wage cut, and a Government COVID rescue loan taken out against the club, you have to ask what the hell is happening to the finances at Arsenal given the clubs past sustainability?
And when you consider the template of other owners such as Duchatelet at Charlton, the answer is obvious, the club is being run at the lowest expense to the ownership, while the owner is milking in a steady revenue stream of profit. If you want a further example of Kroenke’s sporting track record, look no further than the St Louis Rams NFL team who he purchased in 2010.
5 years later Kroenke moved the team over 1,800 miles to become the LA Rams, telling the fans that “St Louis was no longer a viable market for the NFL.” The City of St Louis are currently waiting for the Supreme Court to decide whether they are entitled to damages with Stan Kroenke included as one of the defendants.
Sounds much rather like a certain move to a European Super League does it not…