Arsenal’s woes are currently worse than ever. Each year since 2006 there has seemingly been some sort of crisis at Arsenal whether it is the team failing to perform, selling their star player, or a lack of transfer activity. However this year is different than most. The crisis has begun after just one game, a glaring statement reflecting the many of the club’s failures over the past years. Once again as during previous campaigns, Stan Kroenke is absent.
This leads to a question: Why is he being protected?
Kroenke’s shortcomings have been evident for a while. He rarely appears at Arsenal fixtures much less shows his face anywhere near the club. It appears as though he couldn't care less about the club, and I'm inclined to believe this is true. Kroenke owns a variety of other sports teams in the United States, many of which have been just as unsuccessful as Arsenal since he took over. They do however share somewhat of a commonality, they were once successful. Kroenke was a part owner of the St. Louis Rams during their successful seasons in the late nineties and early 2000’s. He is now the full owner and the franchise has been dismal since his takeover in 2010, tallying a measly 16 wins in three seasons, a poor 1/3 winning percentage. Kroenke took over the Colorado Avalanche in 2000 and that season they won the Stanley Cup with a team that the year prior had lost in the Conference finals in seven games. The team remained largely unchanged the following year and won the Cup but that was the last of their success. Since then, the Avalanche have been in decay finishing as poorly as second to last this past season.
Coming back to Arsenal, the decay is evident for everyone to see. The sale of key players such as Henry, Toure, Adebayor, Fabregas, Nasri, Clichy, and Van Persie have not been replaced with adequate purchases. Everyone knows that Stan is a businessman, yet he is following an absolutely awful business model. Imagine if Google were to take all of their top programming employees and said, “Apple has decided to hire you guys and in return they are going to give us a bunch of money.” And then, with that bunch of money, Google hires a few interns and decides to sit on the rest as a cash balance. How little sense does that make? Sure the argument can be made that the sales took place to finance the cost of a new stadium to generate new revenue, but if that is the case, why is the revenue generated from the new stadium and other commercial deals not being reinvested in the squad.
Clearly Kroenke does not care about his investment in Arsenal. So why has no one spoken up and placed the blame on his shoulders. He should be held accountable for all the failures of the board, upper management, Arsene Wenger, and the squad. Imagine the CEO of Google had employees that failed all their main tasks, where would those employees be? Out on the streets looking for new jobs, that’s where. There’s been a hint of Kroenke being held accountable when Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith recently tweeted that she regretted selling out to Kroenke. There needs to be more of this. If the board is being handcuffed by Kroenke, call him out on it. Likewise if Wenger is being handcuffed by Gazidis and the board call them out on it. And finally if the club is being handcuffed by Wenger, the board should be aware of this and make a change. There needs to be accurate checks and balances in the system to assure that power is being spread evenly and being used appropriately to ensure that Arsenal is being run successfully in the manner it should be.