In this morning’s edition of The Times, Henry Winter talks about events at clubs with worse owners than Stan Kroenke. I know you’re thinking that they don’t come worse than the American and judging by yesterday’s Guardian opinion piece, you’re not alone.
Kroenke’s ‘crimes’ are against sporting integrity; he doesn’t want to be the best on the pitch, just in the bank. For that reason, he is the worst type of club owner. A respectable veneer masks the erosion of the sporting ethos; he’s freely admitted that “If you want to win Championships then you would never get involved.”
There are others, such as Leeds, Blackpool and Orient, whose owners commit more heinous crimes against their football clubs and the FA must enforce their rules more readily in these cases. How a convicted tax fraudster can take control of a club is beyond my understanding.
Kroenke by that benchmark, is an angel, albeit not a benevolent one. His non-competitive ethos permeates the club, underpinned by a complicit board. The delusional nature of Ivan’s email is baffling; a letter never sent is how that should exist, not one which believes the start to the season dictated the view of the club’s transfer business.
In a fairy tale, he’d be the evil which robbed the land of any life; the landscape would be a charred mess.
Wrapping it all up in one package was Ornstein’s summary of the summer:
Our Motto: Blotto
There are some corkers in there; Arsène waiting to the last days to try and address the central midfield issue, as well as the inexact science of shifting players on are two which stand out. The most laughable of all is the claim that “Kroenke is desperate and hungrier than ever to win trophies”; as if.
But it’s clear we’re storing up problems for next summer. Everything about this summer struck me as saving money for next year, to compensate for the lack of Champions League revenues. The remaining £30-40m isn’t much; I doubt it’s even the fee for a decent central midfielder.
However, that’s minor compared to the other reasons to be fearful. We know Sanchez and Özil are leaving, as well as Mertesacker and probably Santi Cazorla. The latter two are squad players although the mercurial Spaniard might be the panacea for our ills if he remained fit. Maybe not; it’s easy to cast a missing player as that.
The bigger issue is how we deal with the 2019 contract renegotiations. There’s a suggestion that we’ll begin talks this winter with players such as Ramsey and Walcott. My guess is the former will be the tougher of the two. At the moment, I am ambivalent toward the latter; the former, I believe we should keep but that’s not a universally popular view. As for Theo, you can find good odds for his new club on NZ betting sites.
There are significant question marks over the future of Jack Wilshere as well. He rejected a £90k per week offer from Birmingham City this summer. That had more to do with next year’s World Cup but next summer, he will make his own deal elsewhere. There’s little sign he’s going to force his way into the starting line-up and that hurts his England claims. Miss out on Russia 2018 and there will be no consoling him.
The World Cup will be a watershed. Bellerin wanted to leave after a summer with the Spanish Under-21s; what’s he going to be like after six weeks with the senior squad? Mustafi also wants out and the club want to move him on; the defence is fast being decimated.
Changing Yet Changeless As Canal-Water
We are showing no signs of remaining in the semi-permanent weakened state we’ve been in since moving to the Emirates. Cech and Nacho are also due new deals and while I’m loathe to suggest he should be released, he’ll be 37 when his contract expires. Should he be #1 at that point?
To date Stan hasn’t put money into the club but it’s hard to see how we can replace the assets who are set to leave with the same or most cases, better models when the money and the will to spend it isn’t there.
Add into this mix Wenger’s own situation and the prospect of a disastrous spell ahead. Having left his decision on his future to the last possible minute last time around, will he do likewise this time as well, irrespective of the problems it causes us on the pitch and in the dressing room?
A further renewal of his contract is unthinkable to this blogger but this is Wenger and Arsenal; he’s renewing simply because the board are too timid to try to appoint anyone else, especially when that person has to clear up Wenger’s mess. Ferguson left United as champions but with a squad which needed a complete overhaul. They got the appointment wrong and are only just recovering thanks to a manager who loves spending and a board which backs him.
Wenger is leaving Arsenal as chumpions, with fewer funds and an owner disinclined to sign off on the major spending which needs to happen. Kroenke Sport Enterprises: our motto is ‘meh’.
Do have an unusual day, won’t you?