There has been a lot of fan angst, understandably, about Stan Kroenke’s ownership of Arsenal.
Alisher Usmanov has said that he is willing to sell his stake, which Kroenke is very willing in terms to buy.
Thus, he can now own the entirety of our club’s equity, and move it off the London Stock Exchange (LSE).
We’re not on the FTSE 100, and will not have the equity nor revenues to justify this position. I cannot see any football club in the world earning as much as BP, Shell, Glaxo, Vodafone, etc. any time soon. And we’re talking hundreds of billions here.
However, this means that as a purely private firm, there may be an apparent lack of transparency (or comparatively less transparency), given how UK corporate law works. All public limited companies, like the aforementioned FTSE 100 members, have specific requirements and duties, like having a public AGM, or regularly published accounts.
So whilst there are negatives here, I’m going to sugarcoat it.
But then these are just some views I have on this, based on it not being as bad as others.
Could there be some silver linings here? It’s possible.
Running us down
Let’s use an analogy here. If one buys a house to rent, which is in a nice area, has great facilities, and was very expensive, then it would make little sense to let it run down. People would be less inclined to rent if it were, and the full value would not be gained. In short, in for a penny, in for a pound. KSE need Arsenal to be viable, to gain full value from us.
This may mean just top four/Europa League/domestic cups (sounds familiar, doesn’t it?) But then our revenues are pretty much amongst the highest in the world, and as a prime global footballing asset, it’s not in KSE’s interest to see us finish, say, mid-table.
He needs us, arguably more than we need him.
I like the USA a lot. Yes, it’s not perfect, but no country nor place is.
However, it’s being insulting and even bigoted in my view to say that his nationality will affect his stewardship. Liverpool has spent a lot in the window, and they’re owned by Americans. Liverpool holistically is doing well, with an expanded Anfield, heightened revenues, a top manager and players, and arguably the best chance to win the PL in years.
So his nationality is moot at best, since the USA is an emerging soccer country. Football is more respected than it ever has been, and we as Gooners know there are plenty of Americans who follow us. This surely cannot be a black mark against him.
The Glazers also have had a mixed run at Manchester United. They’ve spent many millions on players since they bought the club, and have still won trophies. The levels of debt leveraged against the club is not a risk per se, given United’s overall revenues. And they are actively looking to compete and engage, even if they comprehensively mismanaged the post-Fergie transition.
If Usmanov was always a fan, why would he do something to potentially jeopardise the club?
If he’s a Gooner, then why the talk of going to Everton? Does he support two clubs then?
Everton is a big club with a great history. And if he goes to them, and makes them successful, so be it. However, it shows that talk is cheap. People can say anything, but it doesn’t mean anything ultimately.
Is Kroenke that bad?
It’s true that since he’s been our owner, we haven’t hit the heights. Yes, we’ve got some top players. We’ve won trophies. And he sanctioned getting rid of Wenger, who let’s be frank was not performing at the end.
And we’ve sustained our revenues and brand. Whilst some may not care for this, it does ultimately affect the bottom line of things, and our ability to win and compete. So these are not bad things at all. We’re even expanding the stadium – via increasing Club Level at the least.
Yes, he hasn’t provided the vision required, and his PR has been poor. Nonetheless, I think we need to have a more balanced view of Kroenke. I deem his tenure as mostly bad (or not pushing us to the highest level), but with some good (in not running us down).
KSE has denied that any loans will be used against the club. This in turn could lessen transfer budgets, though as aforementioned he needs us to be viable to sustain his conglomerate. Any debts incurred need to be leveraged wisely, and given the lucrative nature of both the Premier League and Champions League (should we get back in it soon) means it’s worth his while to grow our potential.
So I can empathise with other fans, who think it’s dark. But whilst not sugarcoating things, I don’t think it’s all doom and gloom.