football.london’s Arsenal writer Kaya Kaynak believes the Gunners ownership have shown they don’t care at all about the fans by jeopardising the club’s future.
Dear Stan Kroenke and KSE,
1886. That is the year Arsenal football club was founded.
One does not reach your extraordinary level of wealth without at least a basic grasp of mathematics so you probably won’t need me to tell you that that was 135 years ago.
135 years of history that you are now jeopardising in pursuit of a European Super League that threatens the very existence of our club.
So far you have not even been bothered to justify your decision to the fans. Your nickname of Silent Stan has once again proven to be true and all we’ve heard is from the Super League’s would-be president Florentino Perez who has claimed it is in the long-term interest of the game.
“We will help football at every level and take it to its rightful place in the world. Football is the only global sport in the world with more than four billion fans and our responsibility as big clubs is to respond to their desires,” he said.
No, for you this is about moving the goalposts to ensure the value of your hideously mismanaged investment is protected.
When you first started buying shares in Arsenal in 2007 what you thought you were getting was a stable investment that looked set to deliver consistent returns for years to come.
Arsene Wenger had secured the lucrative financial package that came with Champions League qualification in every year of his being at the club. With him at the helm and near-permanent seat at Europe’s top table, churning out regularly impressive profits seemed to be a done deal.
But as hideously cliché as it might be to say, nothing in football is a done deal.
In a sport where Leicester can win the Premier League and Wigan can claim FA Cup success, resting on your laurels is simply not an option.
Having realised that the core footballing principle of earning prestige based on merit cannot be controlled, it appears these plans ensure it can.
Clearly, this decision cannot have been taken for footballing reasons.
The very existence of the European Super League essentially renders the outcome of Arsenal’s ongoing Europa League campaign null and void as things stand.
The highlights of the Gunners season such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang‘s last-minute winner against Benfica or the extraordinary victory in Prague against Slavia last Thursday will essentially have been pointless.
The whole campaign has been thrown into uncertainty at a time where stability is what it needs most.
This may be a bluff from you. An attempt to ensure that UEFA bows to your demands to ensure that Arsenal are consistently in the Champions League.
You expect that UEFA, FIFA and the Premier League will eventually give in and the big clubs will get their way.
But what if they don’t?
What if the Premier League do hold firm and follow through on their threats to expel any participants in the Super League from their competition?
Well, Arsenal could face the prospect of starting again from the fifth tier of English football at the very best.
Over a century of top-flight status gone and for what? I think we all know the answer by now.
To even enter this game of chicken knowing that those are potentially the stakes if it goes wrong demonstrates your total contempt for the history and traditions of Arsenal football club that fans have worked for 135 years to preserve.
The fans are the people who continue to make your ‘investment’ – and that’s all it is to you, not a football club – as lucrative as possible.
But I warn you Stan and Josh, underestimate them at your peril.
We know you always disliked the AGMs when supporters would finally hold you to account and that’s why you moved to cancel the event as soon as you became majority owner in 2018.
For you, fans are nothing more than a cash cow and in fairness to you, you have never tried to hide it. In 2016 you spoke of them in terms of proving that your sole aim in owning Arsenal is to extract as much profit from their loyalty to their club as possible.
“What did I learn specifically [from England]? You learn very quickly what that brand means,” said Kroenke.
“We have a gentleman who comes to Arsenal games, he flies his helicopter from South Africa, Cape Town to London quite often. It’s just an example of what a brand can mean, and what we can do in sports.
“We’re all working on that and that’s the big opportunity. Michael Jordan showed it – you can get paid a whole lot more if you can extend your brand. Manchester United showed it. They established benchmarks that people had thought heretofore unattainable, but their brand extension made people want to pay for it.”
But now as you threaten to destroy the very thing Arsenal fans love the most, surely it is time to at least do them the decency of explaining your decision.
We heard from Perez and Agnelli and in another display of how out of touch you are, you chose to include a quote from the Manchester United co-chairman Joel Glazer in the statement announcing the Super League on the official club website. But from you – nothing.
We know you may not care, but we do. So give us just that, just an explanation of why you’re choosing to gamble with something that is so much more than just a football club.