We’ve seen the #KroenkeOut protests among Gunners fans before but this time things could be different writer football.london’s Arsenal reporter Kaya Kaynak
What drives Stan Kroenke and KSE?
Well as a man who has never spoken to the press much either during his time as Arsenal owner or as the owner of the LA Rams, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche and Colorado Rapids it’s difficult to really know.
After the events of the past few days though it is pretty safe to make an educated guess.
The European Super League was sold to supporters by its founders as a way of saving football and giving the fans what they wanted.
“We will help football at every level and take it to its rightful place in the world.,” said its president Florentino Perez on the announcement of its launch just three days ago.
“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.”
Of course though that is not true. The motivator behind this was money, the only thing KSE truly care about.
Josh Kroenke may have claimed in 2019 that winning was the ultimate goal in the wake of fierce criticism over a perceived lack of ambition from the #wecaredoyou movement.
But if that were really the case then why sign Arsenal up to a competition in which they were more or less certain to lose on a weekly basis?
No, it is profit that drives the Kroenkes in their ownership of the Gunners and profit that may perhaps see that ownership come to an end.
When Stan Kroenke first started investing in Arsenal in 2007 he viewed the club as something of a cash cow.
With regular Champions League football almost guaranteed under Arsene Wenger, a new stadium already in place and a global fanbase already built up by over a century of successful history, purchasing shares in the Gunners seemed like one of the most sensible business decisions anyone could make.
It proved to be the case for nearly a decade as Arsenal dined uninterrupted at Europe’s top table and generated regularly handsome profits.
Throughout that time Stan Kroenke – whose real time net worth stands at $8.2billion as per Forbes – did not put a penny of his own money into the club, with his investment sustaining itself purely on its revenues generated largely from match days, broadcasting and commercial activities.
In fact in the 2013/14 and 14/15 seasons Arsenal actually ended up paying KSE £3m for so-called “strategic and advisory services.”
Eventually though the money stopped flowing in.
Unlike with the American model that the European Super League tried to move football towards, the financial success and profitability of football clubs is intrinsically linked to sporting performance.
To be able to benefit from the lucrative financial benefits of the Champions League you need to qualify for it.
But after more than a decade of mismanagement, the quality of the playing staff has been allowed to decline to such an extent that this is no longer possible.
Arsenal need to increase the standard of their squad in order to get back to those levels, but with the Champions League money not forthcoming, they can no longer afford to do it themselves like before.
Instead it will be Stan Kroenke and KSE who have to foot the bill.
In fairness to the Americans they have stepped up the amount they are putting into the club. Reports suggest that their funding played a key role in the deadline day signing of Thomas Partey last summer.
But having overseen 55 redundancies at the club and asked the players to take a 12.5% wage cut in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic perhaps it is overstating it to assume there is much altruism to the business decisions KSE make.
Knowing that some form of investment was definitely required in the club to make it as profitable as it had been in the past, the Kroenke’s must have been absolutely delighted when the genuine prospect of a European Super League fell into their lap.
A competition that promised hundreds of millions each season simply for being in it where Arsenal’s presence was permanently secured by virtue of the removal of the possibility of relegation seemed to fix all these problems.
It was a desperate last bet from the Kroenkes to fix the entire sport of football to ensure that they wouldn’t have to pay for the mess they had made in their ownership of the Gunners.
With the Super League now up in flames though that possibility is gone and the question has to be asked what incentive is left for KSE to carry on its ownership of Arsenal?
The club announced a £47.8 million loss for the financial year of 2019/20 and with the impact of COVID-19 and a season without fans in the Emirates Stadium still uncertain that could well get worse in the one to come.
With the #KroenkeOut protests gathering momentum and more numerous and furious protests expected ahead of Friday’s game with Everton do the Kroenkes really need the hassle?
Fan discontent has never stopped them in remaining steadfast in their desire to remain the owners of Arsenal before, but Arsenal has always been profitable before.
Now that that is gone and they will actually have to invest heavily to make the Gunners financially successful again what is their left to keep the Kroenkes interest?
From the evidence we’ve seen so far, the prospect of winning trophies certainly won’t be enough.