Way back in January and February we wrote about the developing links with the Colorado club owned by Stan Kroenke. Mr Hill-Wood the Arsenal chairman threw a bit of a spanner in the works, but those working on the club’s future took him to one side, calmed him down, and the progress continued.
Many of us saw the visit of the Colorado team to a match at the Emirates this season (their players spent a hell of a long time in the shop) and the link that goes back to the time when Gilles Grimandi – now head scout in France – played there briefly after leaving Arsenal.
There are numerous aims to the link. As we’ve all known from day one, Stan Kronke is a much better deal as a part-owner of the club than the Russians, so it makes sense to say to shareholders, sell to America if you have to sell, don’t sell to Russia. But also Arsenal needs a position in other countries if the marketing is to continue – and America is far more than just “another country”.
Having strong links with other teams however means far more than marketing – because partner clubs in lesser leagues means that our players can go and play elsewhere, get first team experience and be watched very closely by the Arsenal staff in London. A player of interest can be transferred to Arsenal Colorado, given a chance to develop, and then come to Arsenal if he develops the right potential.
There is even a benefit to the Arsenal Ladies team. Women’s football is much stronger in the US than in England, and the opportunity to train in the US could be a great benefit too.
This week Mr Hill-Wood was told it was time to speak again on the issue of Colorado and he duly issued his statement, apologising graciously for previous remarks and setting the records straight. Of course the media presented it as a U turn, but that is just the media. It was a far more sophisticatd move than that.
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