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Stan Kroenke has seized control at Arsenal... is this a revolution?
Published : 11 Apr 2011 21:49:13
There will be changes in emphasis at the Emirates, even if Stan Kroenke wants to look like a gentle owner keen on evolution rather than knee-jerk change. 'Silent Stan' rarely speaks in public, but he summed up his style last year to the US media, upon taking sole ownership of St. Louis Rams for a reported ?450million, by saying: 'I don't think it's a mystery the way we're running our other clubs. I like to know what's going on. I like to be involved. But the No 1 thing is finding the right people, putting them in place and trying to help them out.' Stan's the man: Kroenke has sealed a controlling stake at the Emirates with a ?300million swoop Thumbs up: But Usmanov is said to be disappointed with the development Are the Russians still coming? Kroenke's influence at Arsenal has crept in over four years. He bought his first shares in 2007, was invited to join the board in 2008 and has been the biggest shareholder for some time. His takeover plan was probably helped by Alisher Usmanov's appearance, as it made him look the lesser of two evils. Usmanov is not impressed by this development and has told friends he does not want to sell his 27 per cent share to Kroenke. But there isn't a lot he can do now. Will Kroenke move into London? Very unlikely. He rarely misses monthly board meetings and sometimes sees a game, but is likely to delegate. He was key to the appointments of Ivan Gazidis (formerly of the MLS) as Arsenal's chief executive and Tom Fox (formerly of the NBA) as chief commercial officer. Fox looks set to join the board and the axis of power with Gazidis and Kroenke as the old board depart. Danny Fiszman's health is deteriorating rapidly. Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith has been ousted. Peter Hill-Wood retains the chairmanship but is selling his 400 shares to Kroenke. Where does it leave Arsene Wenger? Takeovers are not normally good news for football managers. Few survive over time, but Wenger has a contract until 2014 and Kroenke made a point of backing him. Times are changing: After almost 15 years in charge Wenger is used to having his own way at Arsenal The Americans are pro-Wenger, but a younger board will bring a fresh drive for success on the pitch because of the impact it has on global commercial power. Kroenke will expect a return for his investment. Wenger is used to doing what he wants after nearly 15 years at the club. The boss would have preferred a low-key pre-season in Austria but reluctantly agreed to a summer tour this year. Arsenal were heading for Japan until last month's earthquake and are now looking at an Asian alternative, involving games in Malaysia and China. A trophy this season might have strengthened Wenger's argument, but all has not gone according to plan. Will he spend big on transfers? Kroenke will provide funds for transfers if Wenger wants to spend but the Frenchman is not a big spender. Money has always been available to him but he often appears opposed to using it. Tight budget: Wenger has been reluctant to spend money, but did splash the cash on Andrey Arshavin in January 2009 The manager prefers to develop young players in his own style, a policy reflected at Kroenke's sporting institutions in the US. When the ?80m Dick's Sporting Goods stadium was built, he surrounded it with 24 youth team pitches. Have his teams been successful? Kroenke can point to wins, but American sport's draft system means most teams get a shot of glory. Colorado Avalanche have just had a miserable NHL season - the ice hockey team won the Stanley Cup but Kroenke has been accused of losing interest and making cuts. His passion is said to be basketball and the Denver Nuggets have been considered favourites, but their fans have become disenchanted too. The sale of Carmelo Anthony to New York Knicks didn't help. Bad times: Colorado Avalanche have just endured a miserable NHL campaign Kroenke had to pass control of the Avalanche and the Nuggets to his son Josh to comply with the NFL's cross-ownership rules, after acquiring sole ownership of NFL side St. Louis Rams. Journalist Terry Frei wrote of the Avalanche for the Denver Post in February: 'Colorado's off-season strategy was to continue to show unrelenting faith - to the point of organisational arrogance - in its ability to spot and nurture young talent. Why make major (i.e. expensive and dramatic) moves when, if left alone, the young core eventually could lead this franchise back among the NHL's elite.' Remind you of anyone? What do the Arsenal fans think? The Arsenal Supporters Trust have built a relationship with Kroenke and trust his intentions. But they are advising members not to sell to him at a potentially attractive ?11,750 per share. Kroenke respects fans and has said he does not plan to make the club a private company, which he is entitled to do if he can push his ownership beyond 75 per cent. Many fans may be glad to see Wenger pressurised to produce results. Kroenke takeover puts heat on Wenger to end Arsenal trophy drought Final bastion has fallen! An emblem of English probity is turned into just another playthingWe're Gunner catch you! Confident Wilshere fires title warning to United Arsenal FC news, features and opinion Explore more:People: Danny Fiszman, Tom Fox, Ivan Gazidis, Peter Hill-Wood, Nina Bracewell-Smith Places: London, Denver, China, Malaysia, Austria, Japan Organisations: National Football League, National Basketball Association