There have been many blog posts and articles about ‘Silent Stan’ Kroenke since his recent takeover bid, but I must confess that after the initial shock wore off, I was fairly indifferent about the news. There were some recurring themes in the articles across the blogosphere; what did you think about the following:
1) Arsenal FC is no longer an English club: let’s see, they’ve had a French manager since 1996, with star players from around the world including France, Spain, Netherlands, Germany, etc. Their fanbase was estimated at 27 million worldwide as of 2005. Their style of play is influenced by “Total Football”, a Dutch invention. So what part is English, exactly? The mailing address? How about the Premier League in general? Is it English? Well, here’s a list of foreign-owned PL clubs.
2) Arsenal is now controlled by one man: I admit, the jury’s still out on this one. For now, Alisher Usmanov has refused to sell his 27% share, as have the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust, thus preventing Kroenke from reaching the 90% threshold. Perhaps Usmanov is holding out for more money, or he’s shopping around for another PL club to buy. There is a possibility that he loves Arsenal and aspires to join the Board someday. I cannot say.
3) Kroenke has experience running sports teams: this should be a positive sign, but most of his clubs have not enjoyed trophies in recent years:
Denver Nuggets (NBA): never
St. Louis Rams (NFL): 2000
Colorado Avalanche (NHL): 2001
Colorado Mammoth (NLL): 2006
Colorado Rapids (MLS): 2010
Compare him to, say, Mike Ilitch, owner of the Detroit Red Wings (Stanley Cup Champions in 1997, 1998, 2002, and 2008). There’s a guy who has operated in the confines of a salary cap world – scouting talented young players from around the world, retaining a core of star players, and shrewdly acquiring old castoffs who still have one or two more good seasons left in the tank. Does that remind you of a certain football club in North London?
4) Kroenke is rich, so he’ll open the war chest for Wenger: according to Forbes.com, he’s worth $2.6 billion USD as of March 2011. Arsenal FC is worth $1.2 billion USD (and climbing), so Stan would have to invest a large chunk of his personal wealth to (a) buy up the rest of Arsenal shares and (b) start buying high-priced players in today’s market. We can only speculate on his true motives, but he does not appear to be a high-roller like Roman Abramovich or even Alisher Usmanov. In his formal offer to buy up Arsenal shares, Kroenke committed to stay the course.
Just a quick aside to discuss Arsenal’s finances: in the 6-month period ending November 2010, Arsenal had a loss of 6.2 million pounds (before tax), and a debt of 147.7 m pounds because of the new stadium. A cautious businessman like Kroenke, however wealthy, would rather pay down debt whenever possible. I don’t foresee a change in spending habits anytime soon. Feel free to peruse Arsenal’s financial statements.
So where does that leave us? Still watching our team play beautiful football every week, under the constant supervision of Arsene Wenger and the Board of Directors. Daydreaming about which star players we can acquire during the summer. Hoping for a little luck on our side, so that Manchester United may drop a few points along the way and gift us the Premier League title. And there’s no other place I’d rather be.
If you’re still starving for more articles about the takeover bid, check out this article from Slate. It is well worth a read.
As always, I would like to hear your comments on the issue. Feel free to comment below. Or, you can send your hate mail to arsemagica (AT) gmail (DOT) com.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this post reflect the Author’s point of view and not necessarily those of CanadianGunners.