Have Wenger’s Aspirations become Kroenke’s for ‘Brand Arsenal?’


I held back to see what the reaction from fans and the media would be to our exit from the FA Cup. It seems that the pendulum has now distinctly swung towards the “Arsene Out” brigade. It ranges from the DT/Piers Morgan faction (and there are apparently groups of divergent opinionated fans who are prepared to settle the debate under the Marquis of Queensberry rules) to those who still want him to stay. In between there are others who agree with me that it would be better if he took a long objective view of himself and then made his own arrangements to leave.

Unfortunately, the articles I have read and the snippets on the TV do not indicate that he is going to do anything of the sort. Despite the fast growing number of disillusioned supporters he continues to ignore their opinions. Even worse, he dismisses their opinions and says that anyone who does not support the club at the stage we are at now, is merely an observer, not a supporter. That leaves me to think that his attitude is very similar to that of Kroenke who has said that he knew nothing of Arsenal and its history when he bought into it and he simply bought a brand. He added that anyone who buys a football club should not do so to win trophies. The aim is to build The Brand.  He actually related to one fan that regularly travels from South Africa to the Emirates in his own helicopter to see his beloved Arsenal. Kroenke rejoices at that and he recognises the man`s emotional attachment to the club which he himself does not have. That man`s devotion opened his eyes to what it means to have Arsenal in your blood but he recognises it only as confirmation of the value of a brand. He sees it as an invitation to profit from such devotion.

Build the Brand

Build the Brand

Whilst his acquisition of Arsenal continues to prosper and his manager is content to qualify for the top 4 in the Premier League every season, he is happy. The opinion of thousands of disillusioned supporters does not mean a jot. Why should they have any input into the profitability of the club? For possibly a different reason, Wenger shares that view. He disparages the opinions of people who are neither shareholders nor supporters.  In his view, he cannot understand why they are not satisfied with perennially failing to see their dreams come true and that some of the rewards for their loyal support actually do materialise. This season is one of three recent seasons when we were well placed in March to win the league only to fail miserably. On each occasion he advised us that “This team has quality”, “This Team has determination and a great spirit”. “This team has consistency”. If that was the case, why have we not won the premiership in 12 years? Why are we fans not entitled to make our opinions known after all that he has said about his team/s?

Wenger posing for 'Brand Arsenal'

Wenger posing for ‘Brand Arsenal’

We play Barcelona on Wednesday and realistically barring a miracle, our season will be over halfway through March. Kroenke is working on preparations for Arsenal to spend part of the summer playing and training in Florida to build up “The Brand” in the USA. Make no mistake his plans are ultimately to use The Brand to move the club ultimately to The USA and keep our Arsenal as a satellite of the Yankee one. He has a track record of moving Brands (Teams) with no regard for the fans. If you don`t think that this is a possibility, just look at replays of the soccer leagues on TV now. Twenty years ago they didn`t exist, but the crowds are increasing year on year. Once it really catches on the rest of the world will not be able to compete. Meantime his shares will go through the roof.

Make no mistake, the rewards of achieving anywhere near parity in the USA with NFL or Basketball will dwarf even the eye watering sums the European Champion League currently attracts.

As for us, where do we stand? We have to face up to it that if matters do not change, we can forget about improving any way soon. I wonder how long the man with the helicopter will continue to fly to watch a club in which the board no longer shares his love of The Arsenal that he grew up with. It is merely a dividend producing company.

I think it is time to come clean. Arsene, Kroenke and the Board need to tell the fans what input they have in the Club, if not the Company. Are they mutually exclusive? Is it the situation that our desires are not compatible with making a profit?  I understand that Arsene has a degree in Economics. Is his future going to be with the Company and if so, is he simply ensuring that financial success can be obtained with a minimum of expenditure? Certainly from a commercial perspective, his achievements of expanding the club from a 36,000 capacity club to 64,000 in a brand new stadium together with a healthy set of accounts will have made Kroenke a happy man. What has happened to the man who single handedly introduced a beautiful style of playing football?  Has “Filthy Lucre” affected him, either by design or by order to become a different person altogether, with different aims? Is he becoming a Yankee Doodle Dandy?

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5 Responses to Have Wenger’s Aspirations become Kroenke’s for ‘Brand Arsenal?’

  1. Jude March 14, 2016 at 4:46 pm #

    I believe the writer has said it all .Wenger kroenke and d board doesn’t give a dam about d fans .And d only way d fans can make them feel their impact is to boycott matches .I mean a totally empty stadium with only Wenger,d board and his team against d opposing team in an empty stadium without one single fan supporting .Then we d fans can show them our strength

  2. WC March 14, 2016 at 4:51 pm #

    You only need to look at Kroenke’s other sports franchises to see he give not one fuck about winning. His only goal is profit at the minimum amount of effort.

  3. Arsenal Circular March 14, 2016 at 5:51 pm #

    We are getting to the stage when it is easier to be anti-Wenger than pro-Wenger. However because things look “easier” is not a reason to jump on the bandwagon. Victor, whose contributions I enjoy and appreciate, is doing what a lot of others of the voiciferous anti-Wenger brigade are doing and that is lumping together a dislike of Wenger with a dislike of Kroenke. In my view Victor is wrong – Wenger and Kroenke are two entirely different issues. Let me explain.

    Kroenke is an absentee owner – Arsenal seems to mean little to him. He has no passion and no identification with Arsenal. He is alert to the business opportunities that the Arsenal brand brings and he trusts his ability to turn Arsenal into a global sports brand. The fans might appreciate Kroenke’s strengths and vision and world wide strategy but first they want to see him as an Arsenal man – through and through.

    Fans are now customers – prices are high, loyalty needs to be rewarded. Their views need to be taken into account and senior management needs to understand the rhythms and the norms and the expectations of thousands and thousands of fans who now are coming under financial pressure to continue to support their team, their memories, their hopes and aspirations.

    Wenger is another matter – an entirely different matter. Has he lost the fan base. The fans – well some of them – think so. It is time for him to go? Make the change? Bring in someone else? – as the shouts and the banners and the tweets now say. And as I have said before Wenger does have questions to answer. He is accountable. He has earned the trust and respect of fans in the good times and now he has to make himself available – when the season is over and not before – to address these matters.

    Football is rough and tough and nasty and vindictive but I am with him. Poor results notwithstanding Wenger remains someone I want to see succeed. He wants success – and here it is wrong of Victor to suggest that Arsene is content with merely getting 4th place. I very much doubt that Wenger goes into the dressing room and says – don’t worry chaps – we have 4th place.

    More about Wenger another time – shortly for sure as I never go missing when the heat is on – for the present keep Wenger and Kroenke separate.

  4. Timmalmo March 14, 2016 at 7:58 pm #

    We are here because it seems like the English seem to be so intimidated by the American… I remember how most shareholders who had been arsenal fans ganged themselves up against the Russian who genuinely love the club and sold all of their shares to Kronke…and honestly just because he is American…

    People were against him and wouldn’t sell to him even when he offered better price … This is ridiculous and here we are we someone who clearly doesn’t give a shit about football but his profits. Who to blame?

    Wenger is a SPORTING CRIMINAL…how would any manager feel satisfied in failure for more than a decade? Leicester fc has exposed Wenger miserably this season. He has no excuse when you consider where Chelsea and City are at the moment.

  5. Victor Thompson March 14, 2016 at 8:59 pm #

    Hi Graham, as always an opposing view when it is written politely and with conviction is always a pleasure to hear.

    I am not so conceited that I would try to patronise you but I feel that the points that I made were valid. There is the evidence of Wenger`s own words. I don`t need to repeat the examples I quoted in my article but I would point out that when he was questioned about his reaction to the hostility of the fans he said that when you look at his history with the club, he has nothing to fear.

    If you take his recent history, had it not been for his first ten years, he would have deserved the sack. Another club would have sacked him. However we cannot forget what he did during those years and the fans were patient and led by him by his own remarks, to believe that he had a team which was capable of delivering the championship. It hasn`t happened and the reasons are too numerous to list. The most important ones are those which he was solely responsible for, poor tactics, rigid substitution policies, failure to purchase a striker, a DM and a Centre Back. he bought two world class players in Sanchez and Ozil and he got the best keeper we have had in years in Petr Czec. Even with those three players, we haven`t been good enough. Clearly if those three can`t improve the team, then it was never good enough.

    When we are told that we have £150m in the bank, so there is no excuse. He said the days when we could not compete with the big boys are over; we can now buy whoever we want. Once again he was either misleading or wrong. In either event, he is responsible but as we know he is not accountable to anyone but himself. The only person who can call him to account is Kroenke but for the reasons I have already said, he has every reason to be happy with him.

    I don`t believe it is possible to have a relationship like that without kroenke and him singing off the same hymn sheet. That leads me on to try and speculate and I concede that it is speculation. The behaviour of Kroenke is designed purely and simply to create a profitable business. He is forthright and honest in that, so how do we try to analyse what he is after and I look at his parallel situation in the USA. It is a matter of record that he ignored the feelings of the fans and moved his club to another city where he felt that the club/company would make more money. The only thing that persuaded him to move back again was that the team did not attract the crowds which he expected.

    If we extrapolate that a little bit further then we have to ask what his ultimate goal is. He says that it is to create a global brand and to that end he is increasing the exposure of Arsenal FC by taking them to Florida pre-season. As I have said, soccer has gained a considerable foothold in the states and once it becomes more profitable in the States than it is in London, our branch of the company will be subservient.

    Arsene has all the qualifications which have kroenke to stay well out of his way in the knowledge that he will do as he has done for twenty years and turn a profit. Someone like that has to be kept in the loop. He is too valuable not to be, so I don`t think it is too unreasonable to believe that Arsene can say that he has nothing to fear because he is right. It doesn`t matter how many banners we put up. he will not be sacked.

    Despite all of the above, I would not want to see him sacked. He was a giant among managers and we owe him a huge debt for what he achieved but those achievements ended in 2004. Herbert Chapman will always be remembered and so will Arsene but Herbert`s time came and went. That is the natural progression. Arsene has had his time, subject to what kroenke has in store for him. I hope he does the decent thing and resigns. If he still has a shred of the decent man in him who first came to Arsenal, he will go before “The Brand” is brought down. Unfortunately, Kroenke may be expert in making money, but players are normal human beings and the current toxic atmosphere in The Emirates does not lend itself to good football. We are in danger of missing out of finishing in the top 4 on current form. If nothing is done to change things, we face defeat by Everton, West Ham and Man City because the morale in the team is at rock bottom. We don`t have a leader on the field to inspire the team and Arsene cannot do it off it. That is why he has to go or at least agree that he will when we have a replacement. He would demonstrate that he still has the interest of Arsenal FC at heart by doing so and instantly calm the present division in the club.

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