Tag Archives: owner

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 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.