My timeline reached fever pitch (no pun intended) last week after the total capitulation in Munich, with a raging debate on whether or not it is time for Arsene Wenger to call it a day at The Arsenal.
Personally, I feel the time is right for him to hand over the reins for somebody else to take us forward. However, you will never hear me disrespecting one of the greatest managers this club has ever had. The sheer Vitriol and hate he gets on social media both sickens and saddens me. I am also fed up with those slagging off George Graham in retaliation. We are all Arsenal and we have been lucky enough to have them both as our managers.
However, I do feel that Wenger is no longer the innovative coach he once was, when he was ahead of the game in so many ways, when his teams played such wonderful stunning football. Now other clubs coaches have overtaken him and I cannot remember the last time we were still involved in the title race at Easter. We are always well off the pace by then. After the game on Wednesday night, he looked a broken man, the team were an absolute shambles, and the same thing keeps happening repeatedly.
Now consider this. If Arsene does leave at the end of the season, which is looking very likely now. Who on the Arsenal board are capable of making the right appointment to replace not only Arsene but also to appoint a new director of football? In my opinion, I would say none of them is.
The two movers and shakers on the board who drove the club forward and progressed Arsenal were David Dein and Danny Fiszman. Since they have gone, the club seem to be drifting with no leadership at all from Board level. Unfortunately, we are left with a couple of old duffers, who contribute nothing to the club, in old Etonian Sir Chips Keswick, a mate of Peter Hill-Wood, and Lord Harris of Peckham, who founded Carpetright.
We also have Ken Friar who has been a fantastic servant to Arsenal Football Club for more than 60 years, but is 82 years old now. There is Ivan Gazidis, a bit of a flannel merchant who talks a good game, but is more at home studying an Arsenal balance sheet than picking the next Arsenal manager.
Then we have the Kroenke’s. Stan put son Josh on the Arsenal board with a classic piece of nepotism. He spends most of his time looking after Stan’s American sporting franchises and knows sweet FA about football. We finally come to Stan. Spends hardly any time in London, rarely attends games, zero interest in football in general or Arsenal in particular. A man who would rather spend £80m on a new ranch than a world-class striker for Arsenal. It is not looking likely that this lot will form a footballing brains trust to make the right appointments is it.
However, as worrying, as it is that the above have so little knowledge of football the biggest problem the club have is the majority shareholder Stan Kroenke. I have no faith whatsoever that he will show the financial ambition required to allow us to realistically challenge for the Premier League and Champions League no matter who they appoint.
I think the club relied on FFP allowing Arsenal to compete, but that is now in tatters, with powerful club owners driving a coach and horses through the rules of FFP. We all remember Ivan saying a couple of years back that we would become like Bayern Munich. Well that has gone well has it not?
This brief video explains clearly, what’s happened at Arsenal
If you cast your eyes across the Atlantic to Kroenke’s sporting clubs in the United States you will find that none of them have been successful in a sporting sense, only as business assets making profits for Kroenke. I have seen a clip of a whole arena of Denver Nuggets fans chanting “Kroenke sucks” and what he has done to the city of St Louis is a disgrace in my opinion. After St Louis pumping millions of dollars into the building of a stadium. Stan Kroenke decided to up sticks and move the Rams to Los Angeles, as it was a more lucrative part of the country and Kroenke will make even bigger profits. Leaving the people of St Louis with an empty stadium and no team to follow.
This man broadcast a 30-second advert during the Super Bowl to criticise Stan Kroenke moving the Rams to LA
It does not bode well for The Arsenal does it. Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith, the woman who handed the keys to the Emirates on a silver platter to Stan, when she sold Kroenke her shares, to give him the controlling interest in Arsenal, tweeted on Wednesday “Wow Arsenal are getting thrashed”. She then had to lock her twitter account and go private such was the response to that stupid and incendiary remark!
It is my opinion she backed the wrong horse when selling to Kroenke. She should have sold to Usmanov. Like Abramovich, he has a murky past in Russia to say the least. However, like Abramovich he also loves football and goes to watch his team. When we lost at Stamford Bridge recently did you see Abramovich giving the high-five to the people around him in the stadium? Can you ever imagine Kroenke doing that! Usmanov like Abramovich would back his team both on the pitch and off it, unlike Kroenke whose dead hand is on the tiller at Arsenal. Kroenke is no saint either when you consider how he treated the people in St Louis.
The quint old days of the Hill-Woods having a spot of lunch in the West End before a comfortable 20 minute drive over to Highbury are a world away from where we are today. Now it’s a global game dominated by billionaires now not millionaires. After what Kroenke did to St Louis, relocating the Rams 1,826 miles away in Los Angeles for pure greed. Do not doubt that he would hesitate for one moment to relocate The Arsenal in his pursuit of money if it was at all possible. To give some idea of how money oriented he is, I read that he started doing the books of his father’s company when he was just 10 years old!
If we have to have a billionaire in order to not be left behind let it be someone like Usmanov who at least loves the game, somebody who will back us both on and off the pitch. If you mentioned the name Chapman to Stan Kroenke he’d immediately think of the infamous Mark Chapman who gunned down John Lennon rather than Herbert Chapman the man who made Arsenal Football Club what it is today, so detached is he from Arsenal’s history and heritage.
The fact is Stan’s initial investment in his shares have grown substantially. From £8k, a pop in 2008 when he started to buy them, rising to £11.75k a share when he bought the Board’s shares in 2011 and now they are valued at £16k a share. Meaning the value of the club has risen from £500m in 2008 to £1b and rising. Therefore, Stan is very happy and is not going anywhere soon, thank you very much.
What’s more, if he ever bought Usmanov’s shares and got total control of the club, he could go private and cream off the clubs profits to his heart’s content and they would be nothing to stop him doing so. It is a very bleak outlook is it not and begs the question what are we going to do with a problem like Kroenke?