Before our final game of the season tomorrow – a home fixture against Brighton & Hove Albion – there will be another demonstration against the club’s owners, Kroenke Sports Entertainment (KSE).
If you’re one of the lucky 10,000 who has a ticket for the game, will you be turning up early to join the demo? Even if you don’t have a ticket are you planning to go anyway to attend the protest?
I believe most Arsenal supporters would like a change of ownership, even though there is no guarantee that things will be better under a new regime (there’s always the danger of “meet the new boss, same as the old boss” as The Who once said in their aptly titled hit “Won’t Get Fooled Again“).
KSE have done themselves no favours with their cack-handed involvement in the short-lived European Super League, a footballing institution with a briefer lifespan than anything we’ve ever witnessed in the game apart from Totteringham’s tenure at the top of the Premier League.
Meanwhile the emotional bond between Leicester City’s owner, Aiyawatt ‘Top’ Srivaddhanaprabha and his club, city and fans that was evident in the FA Cup Final has reminded many of us that it is still possible to have a wealthy owner who truly cares about his club and not just about the bottom line.
The one putative buyer waiting in the wings for Arsenal is Daniel Ek, a billionaire founder of the Spotify music streaming service. By Kroenke standards Ek is a pauper, and his enquiry about a sale was allegedly dismissed out of hand by KSE.
Nevertheless, a combination of the recent bad press around KSE’s Super League involvement – and the sense among fans that Arsenal have been on a slowly declining trajectory ever since KSE took over – may prompt some kind of action from the owners.
Some are speculating that this might take the form of an injection of cash into the club for new transfers this summer.
If I were Stan or Josh Kroenke I would see this as exactly the right time to provide Mikel Arteta with some extra financial muscle. I know that not everyone among the fandom (or indeed among the regulars on this blog) believes Arteta is the right man to take us forward, but I suspect the Kroenkes will look at the fact that we have been the third best Premier League team since Christmas and will see that as something to build on.
KSE have certainly not lost money with their Arsenal investment (‘big’ clubs with instant name and brand recognition and an international following are assets that continually appreciate), but they must also be aware that footballing success would raise the club’s value even higher.
A £200m investment, for example, would easily recoup itself if it led to participation in the Champions League for the following two or three seasons.
With that in mind there is a business reason (as well as a PR one) for KSE to consider releasing additional cash, although I have no great confidence that they will do so.
So I’ll leave you with a question: would you rather that KSE agreed to sell, with all the uncertainty that that will bring? Or would you reluctantly accept KSE sticking around if they started to invest the sort of money in the team that would allow us to seriously upgrade our personnel?