Is this the beginning of the end for Stan Kroenke at Arsenal?
Depends on how much the government carries through its plans despite the European Super League collapsing. And the momentum for change over the last 24 hours carrying on in the medium and long term.
As predicted on this site yesterday “the ESL clearly won’t go ahead”. But how much momentum is really there for change?
Ideas put forward among politicians include season ticket holders given golden shares and ability to vote on key decisions “like moving league, stadium or new ownership.” Golden shares could now be allowed following the exit from the single market.
A review into football governance led by Conservative MP and former sports minister Tracey Crouch, was announced on Monday, and she is known to favour the fan owned club model (50% +1) in Germany. Change in football governance was in the Conservative manifesto so that adds fuel to the fire.
The brouhaha should also speed up Helen Grant’s private members bill for an Independent Football Regulator. It aims to establish an independent football regulator in England; to make provision for that regulator to license football clubs, distribute funds within football, review English Football League club finances, and reform the governance of the Football Association; to require the regulator to take steps in connection with football supporters’ groups; and for connected purposes.
Good to see Arsenal Supporters Trust’s Tim Payton saying No 10 officials were backing the ideas at at meeting on Monday.
He said: “We’ve been compulsively forced out by [Arsenal owner] Stan Kroenke – we didn’t want to sell, we were the true custodians, we were able to go to the AGM and hold the directors to account and monitor the financial accounts.
“But he forced us out using company law.
“So, what I pushed for was with the with the government support the FA in the legal action against the clubs and in the longer term for a review that included looking at company law and how fans can perhaps, like in Germany own ‘50 plus one’ of their club or will have a golden share
“It was pleasing to get the response that the government would legislate to address competition law.”
Boris Johnson said: “These clubs, these names, originate from famous towns and cities in our country and I don’t think it right, that they should be somehow dislocated from their hometowns, home cities, taken and turned into international brands and commodities to just circulate the planet, propelled by the billions of banks, without any reference to fans to fans and to those who who’ve loved them all their lives.”
And he added: “I don’t think it right that we should forget the basic principle of competition, which is so important and gives so much excitement and joy to the sport.”
Asked about breaking up ownership of clubs, he confirmed that a root and branch review of the English game would look at German models of fan ownership.
But it is not a good time to sell Arsenal Football Club – with cumulative annual losses over the last two years of £86m – unless Kroenke sees it as an increasing liability, with the immediate quick fix removed.
There’s an interesting article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch today by Ben Frederickson: “I take no joy in reminding our friends across the pond about this, but the latest bout of Kroenke – caused sports suffering was easy to see coming.
“Kroenke’s disinterest in winning and the passion that flows through international soccer never was going to work for the fans, the people who care the most. Almost five years ago exactly, I encouraged diehard supporters of London’s storied Arsenal Football Club to suspend their fandom of the team Kroenke was leading in a depressing direction since he became the controlling owner in 2011.
“Disengage. Walk away. Find another club.
“It was insane advice for any true fan to hear, especially passionate soccer diehards, but perhaps more are listening now. What truly is insane is continuing to care about a team controlled by an owner who cares only about money and making as much of it as possible.
“If you support any Kroenke-owned team, your support always will be used against you. You care about the team. He cares only about the dollars. The relationship is built to fail, just like it did for fans of the St Louis Rams when Kroenke ran roughshod over the NFL’s relocation guidelines to send the team to Los Angeles in 2016.”