Tag Archives: kroenke

The Arsenal Revolution Will Not Be Televised…

The overhaul of Arsenal behind the scenes was far more than replacing Arsene Wenger at the helm.

Our French manager had been at the tiller of our vessel for 23 years. In that time, a person gets plenty of opportunity to build their ideal environment. It was clear that Arsenal needed a fresh impetus, a new direction though. We were slowly drifting off course and an intervention was required.

It started with parts of the medical team. Shad Forsythe came in, the esteemed medical guru who worked with the World Cup winning German team. New ideas, innovative thinking – aimed at remedying a key weakness within. Forsythe was tasked with not only reducing our walking wounded, but also increasing the resistance our players had for quickfire muscle injuries. His expertise looked to be invaluable. In fact, his recruitment was a coup at the time.

By the time Wenger had left and Unai Emery had been sworn in, there had been a raft of changes – at all levels of the club.

Huss Fahmy, contracts whizz who had earned his stripes at Team Sky, was drafted in.

Our very own Per Mertesacker was tasked with overseeing the future of Arsenal on the pitch as Academy Director.

Vinai Venkatesham became our Managing Director.

There was Sven Mislintat too – the German recruitment specialist with the nickname ‘Diamond Eye’ thanks to his propensity for spotting a figurative diamond in the rough.

Perhaps seen as the key appointment though, was Raul Sanllehi as Head of Football Relations. It heralded a change of approach – and with his departure, the transformation continues as we seek to harness player data and integrate it within our recruitment process.

This roster of changes meant that behind the playing team – the Gunners were unrecognisable.

It was meant to herald a change.

Josh Kroenke told us to “Be excited.”

Arsenal new regime

 

But recently, there seem to be warning signs that the changes haven’t entirely worked out – or we expected far more than we were ever going to get.

The first alert came when Sven Mislintat left the club a year after joining.

It has since come out that Mislintat claims that the club reneged on an offer to appoint him as Technical Director. The former Head of Recruitment – now Sporting Director at VFB Stuttgart, also spoke of the way targets would be identified.

In a quote featured in The Independent, Mislintat stated “Previously we had a strong, systematic approach to transfers, a mixture of watching things live as well as quality data and video analysis – Arsenal actually own their own data company.”

He continued “That meant that we acted independently, we knew about all markets and players in all positions that came into question. However, the new leadership work more strongly with what they are offered from clubs or agents through their own networks.”

This brings us neatly to super agent Kia Joorabchian.

The man who first hit the headlines with a perplexing deal that took Argentine superstars Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez – to West Ham. Joorabchian owned the player rights – which already sounds just plain wrong – and by hawking them both around, Joorabchian allowed West Ham to get two world class players.

The agent has his fingers in many pies and it is known that our very own Raul Sanllehi prior to him leaving the Head of Football post – and our Technical Director, Edu, are close associates of his.

In regards to Mislintat’s quote, he stated that we now prefer to use agent networks to acquire our talent.

David Luiz, the still injured Cedric Soares – both are clients of the agent.

Two of the names linked heaviest with us – Chelsea’s Willian and Barca’s Philippe Coutinho? Yep, them too.

David Luiz may well have seen his best years already, but his influence on the younger players is telling. When the kids are asked who helps their development from the current squad, invariably Luiz is named. Still, we can’t reward contracts for dressing room influence, otherwise we would sign influence – otherwise we’d sign the likes of Tony Adams up to gee up the boys before games.

And while the targeting of Coutinho is unconfirmed, it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that we will go in for him. Willian has signed a three year deal and Chelsea have taken the approach we used to have – over 30? Have a one year deal.

Like Mislintat said, we are now not using data and sound analysis – we are leaning heavily on agents and our links behind the scenes.

It points to our club not using their heads, and a worrisome lack of transfer identity.

We aren’t the type of club to rely on outsiders. We have the resources and the experts to identify who can strengthen us, but by using our ‘pal’ Kia, we could be left out to dry.

It isn’t just transfers either that we are floundering.

Arsenal striking prodigy Folarin Balogun is reported to be leaving the club this summer, after being disconcerted with his lack of first team opportunities. Anyone who is aware of this kid knows he has a shining future ahead of him, but Huss Fahmy has failed to tie him down to a long-term deal, with negotiations only starting this year.

And the decision to hire Unai Emery – which was made by those who are supposed to be returning Arsenal to the top of the game once again – is looking increasingly like a large error that has set us back longer than the 18 months he was at the club for.

Mikel Arteta appears to have the values of the club front and centre of his motives.

But with backroom staff seemingly out of sync and the departure of Sanllehi only the beginning of some hard graft behind the scenes, can Arteta hold out hope of seriously bringing Arsenal out of the funk any time soon?

This Is The Voice We Need

Some saw it as a shameful publicity act, aligned with certain Arsenal social media-affiliated names that use airtime to push their own celebrity agenda.

But the #WeCareDoYou movement was done with the club firmly in mind.

It was almost holistic. How could we as fans band together and make those who run the club, see that the direction the club is going in is filled with peril and needs a course correction to amend the alarming slide we seem to be in?

The powerhouses of Arsenal Twitter joined forces. Those that push articles on a daily/weekly basis. Crucial parts of the fanbase that circulate the Arsenal message worldwide, essentially the ripples on the water of football news.

The message was clear and avoided the inarticulate chuntering that has followed previous ‘protests.’ It pleaded with those involved with Stan Kroenke that this model of ownership has done nothing to align itself with the manifesto that was used when Stan was in the throes of purchasing all shares of Arsenal FC.

That manifesto said that they were in it to make Arsenal a European giant, a perennial contender.

Now, just like the #WeCareDoYou message states, we are further away from that than ever.

We are about to embark on our third successive Europa League campaign.

We are a huge gulf away from competing for our own domestic title, never mind battling with the big guns for the Champions League trophy.

This is far removed from what we were promised when we moved to The Emirates. This is in stark contrast to the painting that KSE Holdings showed us – a supposed vision of our future under the Kroenke’s stewardship.

Do we have a right to voice our displeasure? Damn right we do, and the #WeCareDoYou movement made their first step in the most erudite way. It garnered such a  response with their fellow fans that it prompted Josh Kroenke to issue a statement on behalf of the ownership.

WeCareDoYou

This statement made promises again, one surrounding expensive signings. The use of the word ‘expensive’ was the wrong choice, as it peeled back the veil a little on the attitudes of the sterile Kroenke clan. They think that we just want them to spend money. They think we want them to shake fistfuls of currency at the club in a glib manner, just as long as the cash is flowing.

Wrong. We want our club to compete in the transfer market, but we don’t want to be over-reliant on the Americans, nor any other. We just want what was promised to us, and what is justified for a club on our scale.

A scale that will soon start to shrink in terms of modern football powerhouses.

The #WeCareDoYou statement said that further steps would be taken should this abject approach continue, as we skate blithely toward ignominy. It is quite infuriating as we see our rivals go out and throw their weight around, and we continue to avoid strengthening to such a degree that weaknesses in the team remain even when they stare us all blankly in the face.

We want an ownership who cares, much like the hashtag infers. We want to be ushered into this new generation we all envisioned with an enthusiasm, rather than the coasting nature that we have all been privy to.

Even in our biggest matches, we see hide nor hair of Kroenke. We seem to be a mere trophy on the walls of Kroenke’s office, ignoring us as he plays with his precious LA Rams. His collection of sports teams is quite extensive, but most currently tread water. It is quite terrifying how we seem to be circling the drain to obscurity in the last few years, much like they did too.

The Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Rapids and a few more are currently in his pocket. These clubs, LA Rams aside, have not been near a trophy for quite some time.

We are dealing well with the loss of the lucrative Champions League revenue, but when our rivals are proactively strengthening their teams whenever weakness is perceived, it then sees us lag behind even more, rather than aiming to catch up.

The #WeCareDoYou movement is a shout from the fans that we aren’t happy with the current direction we are facing in. Instead of craning our neck to look up, we are staring flatly across at a hard-baked desert, with nothing of note on the horizon, just the shimmer of a promise – a mirage.

This is more than a hashtag, it is a chance for us to unite for once instead of being divided over the trivial. We all represent The Arsenal and this banner we are now flying could well make an impact on the ideals of Kroenke and co, if the first step is anything to go by.

Let us all make this voice louder than any before it. The manner in which this hashtagged group made their first move is the right one, and together we can make leaps and bounds in the new direction that we want to.

Dipping Into Deep Pockets – Spend Some Money!

Time for a game of ‘Spot the Difference.’

Farhad Moshiri.

David Sullivan and David Gold

The Srivaddhanaprabha family.

Stan Kroenke.

 

Any ideas?

They’re all owners of Premier League clubs.

They all enjoy an incredible bank balance.

The difference you’re looking for is that the first three have all invested plenty of their readies into their respective clubs – aside from Stan Kroenke.

In fact, Kroenke has actually taken money out of the club, as payment for consultancy fees.

The result of this lack of spending in comparison to Leicester City, Everton and West Ham is that instead of progressing with our supposed gameplan to haul Arsenal back into the big time, we could instead be battling it out with the above three teams to keep our Europa League status.

Never mind the Champions League for now. With Liverpool and Manchester City going from strength to strength, Manchester United and Chelsea not afraid to spend in the transfer window and Tottenham enjoying lucrative new incomes, Arsenal, now more than ever, have to break free from the restrictive budgets that are shackling our growth, and recognise the shifting landscape.

More clubs than ever can break the bank and land a superstar, and with West Ham signing Pablo Fornals, this is another piece of evidence to support the warning.

For just £24m, the Hammers have a Spanish international that has years ahead of him. Fornals has been a target of ours for some time, and to see him ship off to East London sticks in the craw a tad.

They also reportedly have another +£20m target in their sights from Celta Vigo, and are also after one of our other targets, Alexis Claude-Maurice from Lorient. Let’s say both of our bids are accepted – can we honestly say that we will offer more money than the Hammers?

So we will rely on our allure – the third biggest club in England, a host of domestic trophies and an attractive brand of football with a global fanbase.

Is that enough for the modern day footballer? Will it be enough to continue to snare the top talent? When they are well aware they can earn far more elsewhere – where the expectation will be lower? So they can enjoy the adulation for performing well within themselves?

How long can we continue to trade off the back of our reputation? Are we in danger of becoming a former glory – one that slumbers in the comfort of midtable as our owner cashes in and our rivals enjoy the spoils?

Kroenke 2

 

That may be an overreaction after our last season saw us miss out narrowly on both a lucrative Champions League spot and a European trophy, but you can’t deny that you’re alarmed when you see teams that don’t share our illustrious history or potential, spending shameful amounts of money that we can only dream of.

The self-sustaining model that Vinai Venkatesham and Raul Sanllehi are keen for us to follow keeps us on the straight and narrow and crucially – without any dependency on our owner who could give two shiny pennies whether we win trophies or not. As long as our cash udders are ripe and producing the goods, he’ll be more than happy for the status quo to continue.

Which means we stay in limbo – not quite good enough for the Champions League, but with teams all around closing the gap.

Financial Fair Play made a mockery of our frugal approach a while back, and it will continue to ignore those teams that are spending well beyond their means – which means we will not be rewarded for our mindful approach when it comes to our balance.

We were told that whatever profit we make can be reinvested into our team. Fair enough, but with us needing a big step up from our current position in order to catch up to the rest, that requires more than what we are making right now. We need to go wild in the aisles and buy the players that makes this squad Emery’s men – rather than the majority being leftovers from the Wenger era.

We don’t want Kroenke dipping in his pockets endlessly, but we do want a fighting chance to regain our standing – and we need a bit of help for that to happen.

 

 

Arsenal – The Business

The news of Stan Kroenke purchasing Alisher Usmanov’s shares – and taking him above the threshold to mandatorily acquire all remaining shares of Arsenal Football Club is news that – as a fan – should be watched very closely.

The removing of the club from the stock market, and having a sole owner, means that business decisions from Kroenke and his son Josh can be pushed through without much resistance.

The amount of fight in decisions beforehand was pretty minimal anyway, but now, KSE Holdings can act on what THEY see is fit for the club.

The key point here, is that they will go in the direction of business. If it rolls in the revenue, then fans will take a back seat. If there is a moneyspinning tour of a continent in pre-season, then by hook or by crook, Arsenal will be on the plane.

Will it be good for the team? Will it be good for the fans? It won’t matter so much.

Ticket prices, friendly fixtures, CEO appointments, and much more will now be decided by Kroenke and his henchmen. The American has hardly been a villain thus far in his time with the club, but he hasn’t exactly enamoured himself with the fanbase either.

The management consultant payments, the non-existent attendance, the stand-offishness of his appearances in the previous AGM, Stan has made it abundantly clear that this isn’t a move of passion, or love for Arsenal.

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It’s about the readies.

His sporting portfolio is an impressive one, with one of his teams in every major league sport in America. He owns the Rams in the NFL – formerly of St Louis but now LA, the Nuggets in the NBA, the Avalanche in the NHL, the Rapids in the MLS and the Mammoths in the Lacrosse League. He has even recently invested in the Overwatch League, which is a massive video game competition.

What can we expect then, if we look at these teams?

Well, the Rams have had some recent success; they won the NFC West in 2017 and made the Playoffs.

The Nuggets share their Pepsi Centre home with the Mammoths and the Avalanche, and these teams haven’t tasted success for quite some time. The responsibility of these teams falls on Stan, Josh and Ann Walton Kroenke, and the chase for glory has been a long one for each franchise.

Arsenal Football Club will be run for profit, and like it or not, we have been a business for quite some time. Money not only makes the world go round, it pushes teams into a different league, and if investment is done right, then the silverware will follow – see Manchester City for example A.

What we have to be watchful over, is that if we are to partake in more sponsorship deals, more corporate dealings and more focus on our bank balance, that it is done to benefit the team. We can all be called cynical, and that we have lost sight of the magic of the game, but we need to constantly be in the search for a new vein of gold to dig up to keep up with the Joneses.

Kroenke may well be the man for that job, his history speaks volumes, as well as his bulging coffers – but is he the man to make sure the club stays on track it has been on since day one? To ensure the link with the fans is not broken, to ensure the values of the club stay intact, to protect our standing and enhance it?

As long as the numbers keep rolling, then there will be no bumps in the road, no swerving or deviation from our current path. But now Stan has all ten fingers around the club, we are at his mercy. This may sound dramatic, but there are a plethora of horror stories of clubs falling into the pit thanks to the fiscal decisions of the organization’s hierarchy.

A large portion are distressed, but we will keep supporting the club no matter what. We do though, have the right to speak out at the club losing its fan representation – no matter how measly. We have a voice that is well entitled to raise concern over where the club now has a chance of heading.

Kroenke will not run the club into the ground – we are far too lucrative for that to happen. We can however, lose what makes us Arsenal. Our fanbase may be fractured at the best of times, but a lot of us are worried, and it is fair to worry.

When the team eventually hit a hiccup, and if a slide down the table occurs, can we rely on Kroenke to dip his hands into his pockets to ensure we rise from the canvas?

With Gazidis leaving another gap to implement a Kroenke crony, KSE have the tightest grip on the club.

Watch this space.

Wenger to leave Arsenal at end of current season

Arsene Wenger will part ways with Arsenal at the end of the season, the club and Wenger have confirmed today.

Wenger has been under increasing scrutiny this season as results have disappointed and our league placing has sunk lower than expectations. Fans have expressed their displeasure during this campaign by staying away and leaving the stands empty, and the overall feeling surrounding the fanbase is one of pessimism.

Media will create a froth over this for weeks to come, but we should now ensure we as Gooners create an atmosphere that is befitting for our departing boss, and one that says ‘thank you for the memories Arsene.’

What is abundantly clear is that our Board have a huge decision to make. We have seen with the fiasco of replacing Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, that getting the right man to head the transition is a difficult task indeed.

Josh Kroenke and his father Stan have the last say on who will come in, but the focus right now should not be who is the frontrunner for our managerial vacancy, it should be to make sure our current campaign ends in some semblance of of glory for Wenger, and we pay tribute in the best way – with our support.

The news of our long-standing manager departing breathes new life into the club, one of fresh promise and that of renewed optimism. Arsene Wenger is the reason for our high expectations, and the last few seasons we are well aware that we have fallen below them.

Finishing below spurs last season and now this season, we have fallen further, but now Wenger has declared the end is nigh, we can all unite to send this great man off with the respect, honour and dignity he deserves.

This declaration has come at the right time for the club, but perhaps a couple of seasons too late for Wenger. Still, now we know he’s leaving, can we focus on saying goodbye instead of looking at who is coming in?

We can all discuss who will take the helm next season, but what we should concentrate on now is making the stands roar for the last games of Wenger’s reign.

News of Raul Sanllehi and Sven Mislintat putting forward candidates to replace Wenger were the first seeds of this news, and this particular strand is sure to run on until the club finally declare who has the task of replacing a man who will forever be remembered at our club.

When Arsene took over the club, we were an outfit that was on the outskirts of
challenging for European places. Thanks to the Frenchman, we now expect to compete in the Champions League and challenge for honours.

If it weren’t for the changes he devised and implemented, then we all wouldn’t be so disappointed with our showings of late. Wenger placed the bar so high that over 22 years, he simply couldn’t maintain.

Plus, let’s not forget the halcyon moments he is responsible for. Two Double’s, an Invincible campaign. Players like Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Patrick Vieira who lit up games with their talents. Our famous Back Five having their careers extended with the intervention of Wenger. Countless occasions we were enthralled by the play unfolding on the pitch. Surviving with a defence that comprised Johan Djourou, Philippe Senderos and Sebastien Squillacci. Our fantastic stadium. WengerBall.

Perhaps one of the brighter lights in his glittering career? Keeping our side in the Champions League with mere pennies to spend. Keeping a squad that had no right to compete at the highest level, dining at the top table.

wenger_22

We have a lot to thank him for – and that is what we should do in every game
from now until the end of the season.

Arsenal Board Must Act

Arsenal’s ownership is an oxymoron.

The Premier League is awash with money, in fact, it has never been more affluent. Thanks to the TV rights deal that dwarves the other big domestic leagues, all Premier League clubs have larger fiscal muscles than their European brethren.


Our club are part-owned by Alisher Usmanov – an oligarch who is ranked amongst the richest people in the world, and Stan Kroenke – an American whose portfolio is amongst the largest in terms of sports teams. We also have Ivan Gazidis who was awarded a bonus for a season which is the worst placing in over two decades. 




On their own, Kroenke and Usmanov could financially back any team to the zenith of sporting achievement. They could completely transform the outlook of the league should they choose to.


Instead, with a backdrop of torrents of currency, they both choose to stand idly by as other clubs push on.

It is ironic that these ridiculously rich men who spent ludicrous amounts to garner our shares, now do nothing more than lasciviously eye each others stash of our club.


Perhaps our current problems in the Boardroom are magnified in part due to our past ownership?


The setup was always led by Arsenal-DNA. Although the loyal Ken Friars is still part of the makeup, decisions are now not made with Arsenal at heart.


Our club no longer have a hand on the tiller that is primarily concerned with the progress of our club, and it has now come to a point where it is harmful.


The good work that was put in during the late 90’s and early 2000’s gave us a headstart, one which was vital to capitalise on. The chasing pack was closing in, but we didn’t stretch our gap, we simply treaded water.


Now we stand on the precipice, caught between the ignominy of being just another member of the flock that grasp towards the top, and rekindling our groove and making ground on the distance we lost.


Manchester united may be saddled with debt, but they have crucially continued investment in recruitment. They have also shown little patience for mediocrity.


Manchester City have embraced the funds of their owners and player purchases continue unabated.


Chelsea too have dug deep in their pockets and regular silverware has been the produce from their spending.


Then there is tottenham and Everton.


Our North London neighbours have spent well and have a new stadium to look forward to. This new home has the capacity to propel them to regular contention for honours. They have not had the income of their more illustrious rivals but it has not stopped them. Of course there are many variables that may yet take them off course, but they are primed to continue their rise from where they were a decade ago.


Everton are under the stewardship of new owners. They now have the resources necessary to take them higher than erstwhile European place challengers. Ronald Koeman lost his way, but their spending spree in the summer is just a signal of what they are now capable of.


This is now the time for us to act. We have the potential in our sponsorship deals and our gate receipts to muscle in on the show that is seemingly going on without us of late. We could also overtake all and sundry if our owners acted like owners should.


At this moment we are merely a trophy on a wall, a conversation starter in auspicious surroundings whilst swilling brandy amongst the hoi-polloi.


Our previous Board members who are long since departed from the club showed how it should be done. Hell, even the dubious roubles of Roman Abramovich are evidence that not all takeovers have to be negative.


We need Usmanov and especially Kroenke to put their pennies into their new shiny piggy bank. The trouble is, they have not invested a brass farthing since becoming involved.


And it has worked in a business sense. Share prices have nearly doubled since 2007.


Maybe it is a nostalgia that blinds us. Football is a business now, but surely owners want their toys to be bigger and better than everyone else’s?


Right now, Kroenke has left his new plaything out in the rain to gather rust. We have a Chief Executive that received a bonus for a fifth placed finish so there is no incentive for improvement, which only adds to our woes.


Competition should see the strongest survive, and we are now limping behind. 

Sir Chips and Stan – the Dastardly Duo

The latest AGM received more newspaper lines than in recent years, but it wasn’t down to positive actions.

Sir Chips Keswick, Arsenal Chairman, slid the General Meeting into anarchy when he closed proceedings early when under the scrutiny of attendees questioning. Keswick’s refusal to face more questions from the crowd left a sour taste in mouths. Did he overstep the mark?


The separation between fans and the board has been a chasm in recent years and Stan Kroenke’s presence has only widened the gap. The annual meeting for shareholders is an opportunity for contact to be made, queries to be aired and grievances to be answered. It is a necessary measure for football clubs – especially ones of our stature.


Football clubs are run like a business and they need to be to keep up with the constant progression. Businesses and organisations place an emphasis on keeping tabs with their customers, whole departments even. This shows that with acumen comes the realisation that customers/fans are fundamental.


The AGM is one of the very few occasions when we have an opportunity to give the people who run our club a different perspective. They need this as they are so far removed from ground level so their view is compromised.







Events at the, well, event, started to sour when a show of hands declared their wish to replace both Josh Kroenke and Sir Chips Keswick from their respective positions. Democracy at its finest.


The next stage is an official vote. This is when things started to go a little awry. With a little over 67 percent of the shares, it meant Silent Stan had the deciding vote. He of course voted to keep the current incumbents in their positions and the hands that were raised as a show of defiance were mooted with one nod of Kroenke’s head.


Then, Ivan Gazidis took to the mic. In recent years, he has spoken eloquently and given viable reasons for our lack of success. 


This year he attempted the same, but his combination of spin and stats needed more punch if he wanted to paper over our fifth placed position last year.


He failed. Putting a positive on what was a poor season in the Premiership was not what we all wanted to hear. Honesty and a promise at an introspective look was what was called for.


This is what Arsene Wenger delivered. His emotive and impassioned speech showed that he was just as pained as we were at our failings, but he still believes that he is the man for the job. While that is very much up for discussion, his words soothed the masses at least.


Then, Sir Chips threw in the verbal equivalent of mentos in a can of Dr Pepper.


A female attendee took her chance to throw our Chairman a question she had aired for the last five years. Sir Chips’ swerving of a straight answer and his apparent indignance at having to answer such a question showed him for what he is – a terrible appointment and an antiquity being left behind.


Instead of being packed away with the rest of the heirlooms in the loft, Sir Chips is instead one of the working parts of a football club choking on the dust of our rivals.


He ended proceedings quickly. This could of course make sense of the fact that our owner did not speak – however it didn’t. We were all told that Stan Kroenke had chosen not to speak and we could read his comments in the Telegraph!


This is ludicrous and it was the cherry on top of the madness cake.


What can we do? Well, we tried the democratic route and we all saw how that paid off.


The only thing that can shake things up at board level is to hit them in the pocket, but a concerted effort to make an impact may just be passed us. The Arsenal business juggernaut is at full speed despite the hiccups in the road, and it is just the reason why Kroenke will be keen to not upset the status quo  – and also to keep his hands on his prized cash cow. 

​A Day In The Life Of Stan Kroenke

Originally posted on Goonersphere.

Hands steepled together on fingertips, he leaned forward. The groan from the plush leather chair was the only noise in the room.


“So, does anyone have any ideas?”


The faces the question was aimed at, returned nothing but blank slates. Whether it was genuine unknowing or fear of suggesting something the Boss might not appreciate – was not known. Either way, there was no answer.


He stayed leaned forward, a signal that he was taking the lead on this issue.



“Just as I suspected. I’ve no idea why I still employ you. As usual, it will be my expert business acumen that will come to the rescue.”


Still, nothing from the ring of faces.


“You there. Go get me a muffin.”


The nondescript suited person that the Boss pointed at, hurriedly got to his feet and flew out of the door.


“Right. We are here because of my mind. It was I who dragged my teams to where they are today, and it will be I who keeps them there, at the top. Now, I have some ideas in regards to plans, and I want to know your thoughts.”


The horde of faces all nodded in unison.


The face that had been sent to grab a muffin burst through the door, red faced. He shuffled quickly to the Boss, and placed the plump muffin in front of him.


The Boss looked down at the bakery product, and said nothing. He simply gave one curt shake of his head, and the faces that ringed the enormous boardroom desk all massed together on the muffin-bringer. There were muffled noises, the window was opened, and then a swift movement saw the unlucky man hurled out of the window.


“I don’t like blueberry. Now, are we all ready?”


The mass all returned to their seats quickly.


The Boss stood up and began to walk around the desk ponderously, simultaneously speaking to them all and no one.


“KSE Group is at the pinnacle of sports entertainment. Colorado Rapids, the Avalanche in the NHL, the Nuggets in the NBA and the LA Rams in the NFL – they are all the biggest teams in their respective competitions. Thanks to KSE and our expert management of assets.”


No response from the men and women again, bar one woman at the back, who arced one eyebrow at this ludicrous statement. 


She continued her silence though.


“Now, with our hunting channel showing all the glory of the kill, we stand on the precipice of the next level of evolution for our teams. How can we combine the two?”


He continued his slow lap around the furniture and faces.


“Look around you on the walls. Do these animals who have been bested by my rifle not instill in you the thrill of destroying a life? Do they not give you the first seeds of an idea?”


The faces matched the rhino, lion, tiger, bald eagle and giraffe heads that adorned the room. Blank.


“I propose to install half-time shows in all games for my clubs. These shows will capture the glamour of hunting animals or the team mascot in front of spectators. One lucky fan who will be drawn at random, will be handed a gun and an animal will be set loose on the pitch. If they kill the animal in one shot, then they get to take home the carcass as a trophy!”


He wheeled around and awaited a response.


The faces all clapped furiously, desperately trying to curry favour. The woman with the raised eyebrow refrained from clapping. 


She instead raised her hand.


“Mr Kroenke, Sir.”


He turned to face her.


“Speak.”


She stood up slowly.


“Sir, You have a fantastic record in business, and it has nothing at all to do with the fact you were given limitless funds from your wife’s family. You have not dragged your purchased teams lower than they have ever been and making the Rams switch states was a stroke of genius rather than a brainless idea which ignored fans wishes. You have fantastic business sense.”


Stan waited for her to continue.


“I think though, Sir, that bloodsport combining with ACTUAL sport, might just be a little…..barbaric?”


Gasps rang around the room. How dare she question this man? He is beyond reproach!!!!


Stan lowered his head. He then spoke.


“Mary. May I call you Mary?”


Her name was Stephanie.


“Mary, I respect your cojones. You are the only one in years that has spoken in open defiance to my genius ideas. You deserve my respect.”


Stephanie visibly relaxed, shoulders lowering and she let out a deep sigh.


“However, you are wrong.”


Instantly, her chair erupted, driving her straight up toward the ceiling, where she met the concrete with a wet noise. For a second, she stayed up there, until she crumpled to the floor.


“Now, any more objections?”


Not even the slightest movement from the rest of the room.


“Ok, so it is settled. KSE will move sports forward with this excellent idea. We will usher in a new dawn of sport! Hunting in a wonderful duet with sport! The crazed support will want nothing more than a show of blood and death! It is the next step for fans! It is the next step for us!!”


Applause, and whoops of joy. KSE, after starting their hunting channel and facing an enormous backlash, had decided to go full throttle instead of showing refrain.


After all, there is nothing money cannot do. 

Wenger’s Grip Loosens

Published on The Arsenal Review​

The fanbase is as divided as it has ever been lately.

Poor results and the lack of a concerted title challenge for a length of time not fitting for a team of our stature, has served as an accelerant to the flames which now lick lasciviously at Arsene Wenger, Stan Kroenke, Ivan Gazidis and the underwhelming players.


The root cause for our long-term malaise is also at the centre of every point of consternation between us Gooners right now. The barometer of opinion swings wildly when it comes to players, whilst Stan Kroenke and Ivan Gazidis have long been the subject of ire from us all.


Arsene Wenger though, is now feeling the heat that Gazidis and Kroenke now attract. It hasn’t been instantaneous, and there has been pockets of fans calling for his resignation for some time now – but as of right now – the vast majority of Gooners can see no successful future with the Frenchman’s hand on the tiller.






The last few campaigns have merely added weight to the claims that Arsene is not the man of old, the brain responsible for some of the brightest lights we have glittering in our history. Just like these moments now encased in nostalgia, he too is a thing that should be consigned firmly to the past.


It was perhaps the 2015/16 season though, that broke the camel’s back in terms of being able to validate any argument in terms of supporting Wenger. Leicester City of course, were the victors, as we finished in the runners-up spot a lengthy ten points behind.


The Foxes lost only three games that season, but it isn’t the credentials of Leicester that were up for question, it was the fact that the title was evidently up for grabs and with the right level of acquisition in the transfer market, as well as avoiding sloppy mistakes, could well have seen the wait for a first Championship since 2004 ended.


Last season then saw us fall further behind, as the usual suspects who had slumbered the previous season, had now woke up. It saw our team finish outside the hallowed Top4 for the first time since 1996, and it fully emboldened the groups who were calling for Wenger to depart.


Now, we look back on the beginning of the 2017/18 campaign, in the shadow of a transfer window which was an unmitigated disaster. Once again we enjoyed a great start with the shrewd purchase of Sead Kolasinac and the marquee signing of Alexandre Lacazette.


The hole in our central midfield went unheeded though. Again. This is yet another barb that can be aimed squarely at Wenger. The lack of a decisive midfielder who is positionally astute is leaving Mesut Ozil roving deeper than he needs to be to deliver passes to our strikers. It also sees counter attacks from the opposition filter through unhindered.


Lessons unlearned. Much like losses against Stoke and indeed, Liverpool. Heavy defeats that would normally see a coach get the chop, are now annual occurrences. Too much faith placed in players that have let him down on numerous occasions. Playing players in positions that do not optimise their talents.


Three FA Cups in four years have made him the most fruitful Manager the competition has ever seen, and has given him enough slack for him to continue in his work. Another season of not challenging at the top though, beckons. A 4-0 loss at Anfield saw us play so contrastingly with the vibrant Reds that it was unclear what League we were meant to belong in. It was embarrassing, and yet it has happened before, which is not acceptable.


Wenger has admitted doubting himself, but this was before deciding to sign another two year extension. He still feels he is the person to continue to push our club forward, but before he can do so – can he prove he is the man to apply the handbrake and arrest our slide?


With Man City, Chelsea, Man United and Liverpool all flexing their financial muscles and our hated neighbours looking forward to a bigger stadium from next season, can we even consider ourselves standing toe-to-toe with these clubs? Have we slipped so much that we can’t close the gap?


Wenger will not leave before his contract ends, so there isn’t much choice but to get behind the man. We can question his approach though. We can voice our displeasure just as we can roar in approval if needs be. That is every supporters right.


What is now clear is that Wenger – even if he is still capable of delivering – is now making more mistakes than he has ever done before.


We have a squad that is capable of doing so much, but with an owner who does not inject a penny of his own into the club, a Chief Executive more adept at spinning the media than propelling us into the future and a Manager who appears to be losing grip with the sharp end of the Premiership, we may be slipping into the void.


The fanbase may be divided, but ultimately, with every disappointment, it unites that little bit more for a change in direction – from top to bottom.

Usmanov Vs Kroenke

Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov recently made approaches to Stan Kroenke regarding his majority shareholding, in a bid to oust the American and take the reins of the club.


As we all know, it was entirely unsuccessful.












The Soviet-born steel magnate currently has just over 30% of the shares at Arsenal, but ever since he and Red and White Holdings Ltd started making their interest felt, Usmanov has been outspoken regarding his own views surrounding the way the club handles investment – or a lack of.

Now, Usmanov has carried his aggressive business leanings into his football interest, with a bid for Kroenke’s large lump of the club. Kroenke rebuffed Usmanov’s advances, but his statement regarding his future with the club ruffled fan’s feathers with its ironic taste. The American maintained his long-term interest in Arsenal and how he wants to ensure Arsenal are a force not only in the Premier League, but Europe.


Seeing as we are further away from this ill-timed statement than ever, Kroenke could have worded this confirmation of longevity a bit better.


The bid from Usmanov was rumoured to be around the £1bn mark, which not only would give Kroenke a bountiful profit margin, but it also serves to highlight how well Arsenal have performed on the business side of things, as the club was valued at just over £700m when Kroenke took over.


The main thing to take from Usmanov’s sudden moves for power is that he remains open to negotiations. As the mood sours towards the KSE group – much like at their other shareholdings in the NFL, NBA, MLS and NHL – could fan power tilt things towards Usmanov?


Perhaps, but it would help if Kroenke actually turned up to games to taste the negativity towards his ownership. Usmanov was once viewed as a megalomaniacal, power-hungry chaos-bringer, but such is the way Kroenke has handled his ownership thus far, Usmanov’s enthusiasm is now starting to look like a more favourable option.


Kroenke’s lack of investment in the club – whether you believe Wenger refuses to spend or not – and his insistence on taking millions in annual payments for ‘consultancy fees’ only add further to the vitriol aimed at him. Usmanov meanwhile, sits in the shadows and waits for his opportunity.


The Board at this current moment in time need to make some big decisions, managerial and in business, but the ownership of the club has not been fruitful for Kroenke in terms of opinion from fans and experts. It seems as if Kroenke has bought these clubs that now sit on his wall like busts of his latest kill on safari, so he can boast of his financial prowess. There is no sporting interest, there is no thirst to make ‘his’ club greater than they ever have been. He just wants a trinket.


Usmanov at least wants Arsenal to prosper and operate on the plain that the European giants currently do. The way Roman Abramovich has overseen the transformation at Chelsea has shown that the business model Usmanov is offering can work.


Now, the chessboard is primed for upheaval. The big moves have been made, but the game itself might drag on for quite some time yet. Fan power, if organised in the right way, could well prove to be pivotal.