Written by Gooner in Exile
Ok, the day some of us (me included) dreaded has finally arrived. The ownership of our beloved club has moved into a single pair of hands, some of us have said not over our dead bodies, some of us have asked for it to be done the Arsenal way, some of us said its ok if its a billionaire to come and buy us trophies.
It is early days yet but all signs point to Kroenke amassing at least 60% but more likely around the 90% mark. And in the main it appears to have been done the right way, no ugly public confrontation very quick progression from breaking news to confirmed within 24 hours.
So what about those who wanted an end to the ownership uncertainty to allow more investment in the playing staff, well I think Kroenke’s successful takeover will disappoint here, it is unlikely with such a lump of cash required to buy the shares that there will be any loose change hanging around for injection into Wenger’s pocket for transfers.
To this end some would have preferred Usmanov to come in and pile in the Roubles, but we have seen how little respect that gains you in the football world and also how few trophies it buys you at the same time. As I type this I am watching the multi million pound assembled Man City getting a pounding by Liverpool three goals down in 35 minutes.
Allegedly (according to Mark Kleinman of Sky) Usmanov attempted to make a counter offer for Bracewell-Smith’s shares, Kleinman reported that he offered £13,000 and a lower offer earlier but she being an honest type rebuffed due to the irrevocable undertaking she had given to Kroenke. She has issued a statement regarding her sale:
“This marks the end of an era for our family’s association with Arsenal FC and we are proud to have had such a long history with one of the world’s greatest clubs. I am confident of Arsenal’s continued success both on and off the pitch and believe that Stan Kroenke will continue to develop the club in a manner true to its heritage for the players and the fans.”
And this is a lesson to Mr Usmanov, money can’t buy you everything especially from people who love what they are selling.
With Usmanov now nothing more than a thorn in Kroenke’s side we can hope that he is inclined to sell his lot for a quick buck and move on. Unfortunately for a man who is valued at $17.7 billion one must wonder what that quick profit will mean to him and this one could run and run.
Assuming Kroenke is successful in a full takeover (minus hopefully a token gesture for the Arsenal Supporters Trust) all I ask of him is to continue the work he has seen whilst he has been at the club and to recognise that what has made the club so valuable is its prudence, its trust in its managers, its loyalty to players past and present, and its ability to keep its dirty washing in house.
On that final point I hope that Kroenke lives up to his nickname, I don’t want the club to become more about the man upstairs than the men on the bench and the lads on the pitch. Say Chelsea and most of us think of Abramovich first, mention City and its the Sheikh that dominates our thoughts, the trophies are for them not for the players or managers, the staff come and go like the mercenaries and playthings they have become. This is where the Glazers have been successful at Man Utd, yes they have taken the club into debt, yes they have forced a hold on transfers, but could you really say they make you think of them first, no, you think Fergie, you think Giggs, Rooney and others before you think of the owners.
Comparisons will likely be made with the Glazers, neither they or Stan speak openly to the media and both made their money through real estate (one from trailer parks and one using family ties to build malls next to his Father in Laws Wal-Marts). It appears both have a penchant for sports teams too, although to that extent Kroenke is far more active having owned three top flight American Sports Teams, plus a couple of minor ones too.
Kroenke also insists that he will not be using any kind of debt financing to fund KSE’s purchase of Arsenal shares, although similar promises were made by Gillett and Hicks at Liverpool and the Glazers at United, all reneged and effectively put the clubs into debt to fund their acquisitions. We can only hope that the Board are right to believe Kroenke has the funds to make this happen without needing any extra finance secured on the assets.
Clearly a clever businessman, what of his sports teams. Everything I have read about Kroenke is that he is hands off when it comes to team matters but heavily involved with the financial detail. It is also worth remembering that American sports teams have to operate under salary caps, with the Financial Fairplay rules apparently around the corner it would seem that American ownership with experience of these conditions will be beneficial to the club.
Kroenke has owned 40% of the St Louis Rams since 1995, he bought the whole kit and kaboodle in 2010, but that has forced him to relinquish control of Denver Nuggets (NBA) and Colorado Avalanche (NHL) (both owned since 2000) due to NFL rules.
In his time as major shareholder St Louis Rams have won the Superbowl, but since his full takeover have been undergoing a bit of a rebuilding pinning their hopes on a Rookie Quarterback in 2010. The Avalance won the 2001 Stanley Cup, and the Nuggets whilst winning their division in his time have failed to win the conference or the championship.
But to compare trophies is probably unfair as the American system does not allow any one team to dominate year after year, for example the reason the Rams have the young Rookie Quaterback was that the season before their record was 1-15 and therefore were given first draft pick.
So all we can do now is sit and wait, to be honest I do not expect any major changes but I have one final thought before I put this post to bed.
Look after our club Stan, its ours, you may own the shares at the moment, but the people make this club, the ones that have followed in their fathers footsteps to Highbury and now the Emirates, please make sure its still in one piece so we can take our children and grandchildren on the same walk. And don’t ever forget we’re by far the greatest team the world has ever seen. Make sure it stays that way.