I may have missed something: I have not been in Antarctica, or testing Musk’s Mars Tesla in Outer Space; I keep at least a cuticle on the pulse of general news, sports news and especially (naturally) The Arsenal. Evidently, the entire population of the world loathes, hates and despises Kroenke Sports & Entertainment. Except me.
I just can’t see why. What has this organisation – or, to be accurate, this man, for it is Silent Stan who draws the greatest opprobrium – done, so to exercise sports fans?
He is accused of overseeing mediocrity, that his sports franchises in the US put dividends for the owner before success on the playing area.
This is not a straightforward matter to adjudicate, because of the meritocratic way that sports in America try to function. It is very difficult for a team to maintain excellence at the top because of the cap on expenditure/salaries, and the way that recruitment is pegged to previous achievement.
However, in this era that encompasses the Arsenal, the LA Rams NFL team has sustained success, including making it to the Super Bowl just three years ago, and making the Play-Offs since; the Denver Nuggets are in the current NBA play-offs; the Colorado Avalanche have advanced through the first round of the current NHL play-offs.
Not all the teams are up there, but this list isn’t as disastrous as say last year’s scurrilous Guardian article would have us believe. Additionally, while Joe Supporter would always love to see twenty new billion-pound players signed up every year, the canard that KSE don’t put their hand in their pockets doesn’t stand up to examination.
Firstly, until recently, Arsene and the Board tied their philosophy to FFP, and the belief that ultimately, a self-sustaining model would triumph, as profligacy was penalised. Unfortunately, that boat has sailed down the CAS Swanee. Megarich owners in the system as it stands can splash whatever cash they want.
Secondly, whereas one might be critical of the specific players brought in, it is impossible to claim that money wasn’t spent. If it was spent unwisely, well then, Stan has as much to gripe about as you, but the arrival of Aubamayang, Pepe and Partey amongst others cost plenty of ackers.
Maybe it’s because he is Silent Stan, with an almost hermit-like low profile, that fans deride him, and hanker after Ek. Puzzling, if that’s the case. I saw the delight on his face (why would it not be genuine?) when we lifted the FA Cup. He might not be a life-long supporter, but I’m happy to accept that he is a supporter.
Maybe it’s the opprobrium that seeped across the Atlantic, because he removed the St Louis Rams back to LA (where they mostly were in my early years). That may be a cruel decision for the people of Missouri, and I have no idea why he did it, but it is a decision that has nothing to do with sporting success or excellence.
I am hoping that a mob comes onto ArsenalArsenal and lobs grenades at me for being so stupid, and an apologist for a monster, but that amongst the vitriol, there are some cogent ideas which will clear my fogged horizons (so that I’m not guilty of closing with a mixed metaphor, the fog is due to the grenades going off!).