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June 2021

By refusing to focus on Kroenke and by refusing to pursue a boycott, fans who want change are ensuring continuity.

By Bulldog Drummond

Continuing the tale of the approaching events of Sunday, as we all know, Arsenal have to do better than Manchester City or Liverpool.  A win while Liverpool draw or lose would do it, and a win by three goals while Man City lose by two goals would do it.  Otherwise we end up 5th.

Fourth place may seem a bit unlikely, I must confess, but probably it is less unlikely than Tottenham’s collapse at Newcastle on the final day last season.  That was rather jolly and it would be nice to see that happen again to one of our rivals, and have a little celebration ourselves.

Whether it does or does not, the true supporter, to my mind, either continues to support his or her club unless it betrays its history, and Arsenal is not doing that, or that supporter looks at where the central problem is, and (rather than just going out to protest) takes action that is likely to achieve the ends required.

And meanwhile as revealed by The Daily Telegraph in March, Arsenal have been assessing candidates for a new off-field role and, to which Mr Wenger reacted dismissively, saying he has been assured such a person would not have an input that would cut across his core first-team work.

Final details on the project (and of course we only have odd statements here and there in relation to it) will be decided at the board meeting after next Saturday’s FA Cup final against Chelsea, but according to the media that claim to have an inside knowledge of such matters, there is a feeling in the club that agreement can be reached.  The idea is to have a person called  a head of operations, or perhaps sporting director.

In the US, Stan Kroenke has let it be know that he most certainly will not sell his shares in Arsenal to Mr Usmanov, which makes much of the debate pointless, since Kroenke will probably allow Mr Wenger, to map out his own requirements.  This indeed is one of the oddest of all the odd things that the anti-Wengerians have got themselves engaged in.  They make Wenger the centre of their war, whereas the key issue is Kroenke.  If they really wanted to have significant change at Arsenal the call would be for “Kroenke Out”, but instead all we get is “Wenger Out”.  It seems another sign that by and large they are more interested in the fight and their own posturing rather than the result.

Mr Wenger, responding to the situation said, “Of course we can need help to become better. I am always open to open that. I am always open to things that improve the quality and the future of the club. After that, you have to see if it’s really efficient because the titles do not always make you better.”

Which raises the question, how is the Board going to solve Mr Wenger’s dislike of the position.   It seems that they are proposing a new person who looks after what is being called off-field football operations, including analytics (which incorporates the work of StatDNA), scouting, sports science (which includes the issue of reducing the level of injuries), and youth development rather than shape coaching or team selection.

According to those who claim to be in the know, the new role as yet doesn’t have a title, but “Head of Operations” seems to be a fair favourite.   They also say that Mr Wenger has said that for him to stay, he needs control over all football activities and needs to continue to be in charge of the selection of people for his backroom staff.

But if someone does come in, no matter who it is, he/she has to be a person who is acceptable to Mr Wenger.

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So it is possible that the match on Sunday will be Mr Wenger’s last PL game – if so he will set a new record as manager of Arsenal of 753 league games, and will have set a new record for the win ratio of any manager who has handled more than 100 games.

Meanwhile journalists have started to look at how Arsenal are doing in relation to the other sporting clubs owned by Stan Kroenke.   The argument is that all of his franchises are performing at a mediocre level, with poor crowd numbers and are not achieving anything.

It has taken a significant reworking of the definition of “achieving” for Arsenal to be fitted into the category of “mediocre”.   If we take the last four seasons we will see three top-four finishes, two FA Cup triumphs, and one FA Cup runnerss-up or a third Cup win.   This exceeds most four year periods in Arsenal’s history.  There are a few exceptions of course: the first five years of the 1930s under Chapman, Shaw and Allison, the first four years of Mee’s reign, a four year period of Graham’s reign, and the early part of Wenger’s time at Arsenal, but that is about it.

So these last four years have been better than about 95% of Arsenal’s history.   Of course that might not be enough for some people, but then these people don’t want the Arsenal of history – they want an Arsenal that exceeds everything in its history.  Which is fair enough, but it makes a mockery of “We want our Arsenal back.”

Certainly Kroenke is not an owner associated with improvement which is why it is so odd that the campaigners have been focusing on Wenger and not Kroenke, and also why there has only been one game at which people have not attended.   If Kroenke is the man who is wanted out, then not buying tickets, in particular not buying season tickets would be the place to start.

I can’t validate the table below, but it has appeared on the BBC’s website…

Stan Kroenke’s sporting franchises
Team Sport Latest performance
Arsenal Football – Premier League Fifth in league, FA Cup finalists
Colorado Rapids Football – MLS Bottom of Western Conference
Colorado Avalanche Hockey – NHL Bottom of Western Conference
Denver Nuggets Basketball – NBA Ninth in Western Conference
Los Angeles Rams American Football – NFL Third in NFC West

So once again everything comes round in a circle.   If the protesters really want the change the club, rather than just get themselves in the news, they will organise boycotts of Arsenal games and goods and organise campaigns against Kroenke, not against the manager.

And yet they do neither.   A new potential owner is waiting in the wings, and yet through seeming to mishandle the protests at every level, the protesters (eternally egged on by the media who as ever have their own agenda) are actually ensuring continuity rather than pushing the club towards change.

Up next: the teams and match preview.

18 comments to By refusing to focus on Kroenke and by refusing to pursue a boycott, fans who want change are ensuring continuity.

  • Jack

    I Agree the root cause is Kroenke. However this comment from Arsene baffles me “After that, you have to see if it’s really efficient because the titles do not always make you better.”

    Winning titles may not always make us better but more often than not success bigets success. Arsenal fans have been waiting for a very long time with lot of patience for our team to lift the EPL and Champions league trophy. It is high time we win some big titles and move forward.

    It is generally believed sports is about tomorrow being better than yesterday and today. So irrespective of the past Arsenal FC must move forward.

  • Gord

    The number of titles is not a good indicator of the quality of a team. To say that Arsenal is better than team X, is to say that if Arsenal played team X many times (home and away), Arsenal would be expected to win more often than draw or lose (or however you want to say have a winning record). If it was 1 point for a draw and 2 for a win, it would mean an average points per game of more than 1.

    To say that a team is the best in a league, you apply that methodology against all other teams in that league. And then you repeat that for all teams in the league. And then you rank them. And the team in first rank, is the best in that league.

    A season of the EPL is only a single pass at this process, and is not a good indicator of which team is best.

    It should be noted, that it probably isn’t feasible to have all teams play each other many times in this manner. There is probably not enough time, people get tired or injured and so on. Hence, in some ways it is an academic exercise.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Jack….stand to be corrected, but think he was referring to job titles….specifically….director of football, as opposed to league titles.
    Can only agree with a lot of this,anyone who believes there is a problem at this club should take a look at the owner….and why would Wenger leave the job he loves if the owner keeps having him back.
    As for Kroenke, he bought into the club on the self sufficiency thing. He has certainly improved the commercials in his time, but should,you look to criticise him, it is not hard to find the reasons to….performances of his other clubs ….and taking three million out of the club for legal advice when he bought in for starters. I think he is seriously indebted to Wenger for a lot of reasons, many we have no idea about.
    As for Wengers future, worth working on the assumption the media know nothing……so I work on the assumption tomorrow could….possibly…. be the end of the Emirates, who knows.
    And another thing, Kroenke might not sell to Mr Usmanov….and he may have his reasons, but don’t forget there are supposed to be a couple of other bidders. Kroenke is a money man, with….clearly….no emotional attachment to the club….if one of these bidders came up with 35k per share,,I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Kroenke sold up….and i suspect few supporters would miss him owning the club, very few

  • Mandy Dodd

    Above…..tomorrow could possibly be the end of Wenger at the Emirates….

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    I think the bidding to buy off Kroenke’s shareholding at Arsenal has resulted in an eye opener to Arsenal supporters whose eyes are now opened to see the real cause of Arsenal big titles winning failures over the years which can be traced to the doorstep of Stan Kroenke who has appeared has no interest whatsoever to spend his personal money to lift Arsenal to big titles win. The big titles winning dreams being dreamt by the Gooners for Arsenal.

    If the status quo remains where Kroenke remains unwilling to use part of his seemingly unlimited money to lift Arsenal to big titles winning want, then the part ownership of Arsenal by him has to stop. He has to sell his shareholding at Arsenal to a passionate investor who is prepared and ready to put his personal money into Arsenal to see it win the big titles within the shortest possible time. A situation whereby Kroenke stingy method of only allowing Arsenal to solely depend on it’s internally generated fund to lift itself in big titles winning wise is no longer the preferred option as this method has outlived it’s time of sustainability in this modern football big titles winning era.

    It’s true, let the Arsenal supporters turn on him to sell his majority shareholding to a passionate football investor that is prepared and ready to lift Arsenal to greater height.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Not even sure Kroenke is always stingy with his clubs, he just doesn’t appear to send down any focus or ambition. At arsenal, all the drive seems to have to come from those under him. Basically, he is just an investor , not someone with any emotional connection to the club.
    For those of us who rate Wenger, guess at least we can say he does all he can to keep the man in place….but this could ultimately become an albatross around our managers neck . It will lead to suggestions it is just Kroenke keeping Wenger at the club, for financial reasons,rather than Wengers abilities or achievements
    Kroenke is not as bad as some owners by any means, but doesn’t seem the most dynamic or ambitious.
    But for the right price, I am pretty convinced he would sell up…the question is, to who, and would they be any better for the club

  • Menace

    Problem with Stan is he does not realise that the ball is round. His understanding of a coin being circular & notes being worth more keeps him able to grow his moustache. He is not a micro manager. His is the coin machine & the pussy that ensures his future worth.

    Watching the Arg v Eng under 20 game & the Video Ref came into play & a player got a red card. I’m sure the PGMOL would not behave in the correct manner. They would allow a murder to go unpunished like the choke hold on Alexis was not ‘seen ‘ by the media, the FA , the BBC & uncle Tom Cobbly. What chance corruption will get cleared in England’s football. The dive that wins England a penalty in injury time proves that the Video Ref is a load of bollocks.

  • para

    Kroenke Out does not makes sense. He cannot be forced to sell his club.

    So in a way it all falls on AW’s lap.

    The man(Kroenke) is preparing resources for his current and future family and Arsenal is one club that helps him do it.

    Anyway, ALL big moneys has been gained by nefarious activities at some point in the past.

    All of it. And don’t even mention lotto wins. 🙁

  • Iyke Oriji

    You know….I think av never commented here,but I must say,this is a real shame of an arsenal fans website…. To be sincere I love wenger,he is amongst my top10 idols,I love the man bcus of his principles but everyday now,he irritates me….how can someone be so cool with failure? I know kroenke is our major problem,av know that since Adam…but we can only go after arsene…he is paid so much to do a job and he does nothing, the man is an unmotivatable failure… Not even specialist in failure could motivate him…with our squad we should be doing better…he has lost that drive to inspire players… Wenger is just passing boredom with our dear club and u Unfold’s re here licking his ass and having his back.. We already had a good squad and he just needed to add last summer..spent 90 on a squad dat came second and we finish 5th…am begging to ask my self why I fell in love with arsenal its a torment right now….it is u sick fans that give excuses that make me mad….I read about referee decisions here…really? Ur mentalities re inclined with that of arsene and the board its pity dat fans like us have to suffer the shame… See spurs hunger right now…how can you make excuses for a coach dat loses 2-10 aggregate with one of Europe’s big teams in champs league…. Until we unite and force out arsene,then we can take out kroenke this club will keep going down…even if usmanov comes in and we spend 200m a summer… Don’t u get it? Arsene will still fail.. It pains me..well I love the toxic atmosphere he wenger can act all impregnable and so but I know he is not enjoying life right now in Emirates and that toxic atmosphere will start as early as August next season… The people always win the system when there is a revolt

  • Sammy The Snake

    Protesters can’t force Kroenke out as he owns the place. AW is an easier target.

    And BTW, Usmanov is the “devil you don’t know”… Don’t assume he’s any better than Stan.

  • colario

    The devil we know is the PMGOL.

    This devil needs to be exposed for the corrupt and closed shop it is not just for the sake of Arsenal and Arsene but for the sake of football in England.

    We all wanted a ‘hands off owner’ and we got one in Kroenke.

    Now we look across the park and we see chelski and mancs and say ‘we want that’.

    We ignore that this doesn’t always work cue Aston Villa. English football is littered with rich owners who have sunk the club they took over.

    I don’t want Kroenke yes he is a ‘hands off owner’ but when he does sell the club his one and only concern will be himself.the future of Arsenal will not be his concern.

    We saw this with Macrednose. He made sure he won the league in his last season but left behind one of the weakest teams ever to play for manure. this could happen to us with Kroenke.

  • Hunter13

    ‘So these last four years have been better than about 95% of Arsenal’s history. Of course that might not be enough for some people, but then these people don’t want the Arsenal of history – they want an Arsenal that exceeds everything in its history. Which is fair enough, but it makes a mockery of “We want our Arsenal back.”

    thank you,. nailed it.

    stadium transition = no money + playing with kids + against 1 and 2 billion budget teams = toughest period in arsenal history

    and they still got minimum 4h and developed the club to elite levels. if that is a crisis then we neeed to redefine the word

    fuck the haters and the historically ignorant

  • Nitram


    “Arsenal fans have been waiting for a very long time…..”

    May I respectfully point out, not anywhere near as long as Liverpool, Spurs, Everton, etc. etc. etc.

    And I don’t see too many planes flying over there stadiums, or banners held up in there stadiums, or stay away protests, or marches, or ‘anti’ blogs or legions of there ex players slagging them off !!

    “….. with a lot of patience for our team to lift the EPL and Champions league trophy.”

    Umm? Patience? Are you sure about that? As far as I can tell the whinging started about 10 years ago, at least.

    As for there being a problem with the current owners, I’m sorry I cant see it. Surely if you, as an individual, support the self sufficiency model, then surely you must agree that under that model, and given the financial disadvantages that that entails, at least when compared to the ‘sponsored’ model, then surely we have been successful.

    It is ‘relative’ I appreciate that, but I honestly cant see how Wenger, or Arsenal as a Club could of been expected, and that’s the key word, expected, to of achieved any more than they have.

    Not liking this model, and wanting either the current incumbent, or a new owner, to inject 100’s of Millions, or even Billions of there own money into the club, is a different argument all together.

    This isn’t to say I don’t want to win the PL or CL, I just don’t want to do it as Chelsea and City have. I want to do it under our current model, and what’s more I want to do it under our current manager, and I honestly believe he is our best chance of doing so.

    If we bring in a new manager under exactly the same model I think our chances will lessen, because personally I believe what Wenger has done, despite all the criticism, is actually quite remarkable, and it will take one hell of a manager to match his achievements, under this model.

    But I want to make it clear, if we did suddenly have an owner who was prepared to pump a Billion pounds of his own money in to the Club, our chances of winning both the CL and PL would dramatically increase, I don’t deny that, and that would be regardless of who was manager. It’s just that on a personal level, I don’t want to win things like that.

    I just don’t see what the problem is. Since day one both the owners and Wenger have said that this football club is going to be run on a ‘self sustaining’ model, and that is exactly what they are doing.

    If people just want Billions thrown at the Club then just say it.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Another factor, a new owner might put in a leveredged buyout….Kroenke has his faults, but he hasn’t done that

  • Oldham Gooner

    Thanks for writing this article Bulldog, I crave regular doses of level-headed perspective.

    I want billions pumped into the club, the best brand of football, a sustainable model for growth, the best coaches, academy and youth players, all the titles, the best manager (Wenger in my opinion), cheaper tickets, biggest sponsors, the leverage to fend off the cheaters(FA, PGMOL, cheating clubs, players etc) 🙂

    But my hopes and dreams haven’t spoilt my support for the team and everyone linked to our club. Kroenke may not be the best owner but he’s not the worst, a la Ellis Short at Sunderland and his ilk.

    Big businesses only change hands for a profit, and Arsenal priceless to many, is easily worth more than a billion.

  • alexanderhenry

    At last. The penny’s dropped. I’ve been saying it for years and now everyone’s saying it. Kroenke out.

  • Jared

    To be noted that the MLS team Colorado Rapids that Kroenke owns finished 2nd in the Western conference last season and nearly made the final. I would agree that his teams are hardly successful when looked at as a whole though. He’s not the worst owner, far from the best also. He(and most people as rich as him) just want a safe place to “park” their money where there’s no danger of losing it, and some potential for growth. Professional sports is a safe bet for these things. He’s good in that he doesn’t meddle and let’s professional people run the teams, and not so good in that he doesn’t actually care about results besides the bottom line financially. That’s my take on in anyway.

  • Yellow Canary

    Kronke maybe a problem but that doesn’t really become clear until after Wenger leaves. Certainly a more ambitious owner would have shown Wenger the door some years back. Kronke’s interest in Arsenal maybe solely financial but then it’s surprising he doesn’t take Usmanov’s offer and skidaddle. Maybe he just uses the club as collateral. It’s not really clear what his interest is though I doubt he was decorating his teenage room with Arsenal memorabilia.

    @Nitram, the reason you don’t see people complaining at Everton, Spurs and Liverpool etc. is because all these clubs have jettisoned managers who have not improved them. We seem quite happy just plodding along, rarely do I feel that any season will be different from the next. It’s just the same old same old and many fans find it tedious. You may remember we were sold this proposition by Gazidis and co. that we’d be competing with Bayern and featuring as a heavyweight in the CL a good many years back. Well that was all talk and nothing else. We’ve looked completely out of our depth in the CL for a decade or so.

    @Hunter13 you seemed to want to ignore Arsenal’s history the other day, making a specious claim that we weren’t a big club in Europe until Wenger appeared. You may not know this but we won two European competitions before Wenger arrived. I watched the 93 final when we beat Parma. Thanks for completely disregarding the great success we have had in Europe, proper success in that we actually won a European competition.