Back in the 50s and 60s, the puritanical among the population sought to prove rock ‘n’ roll was the devil’s work and then when that failed, that the Beatles and others put backward messages which were really satanic prayers on their records. Their children formed the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) and these Washington housewives forced and industry to heed their 1950s moral values.
The PMRC needs to up its’ game; Satan is back, twice as cunning and twice as p*ssed off. Not as p*ssed off as the New Zealand cricket team but getting there. Hell’s guardian returned in the form of a sports mogul if we apply PMRC logic here. Enos Stanley Kroenke took his initials ESK and reversed them to form his KSE empire.
It was there all along, folks; we were just too blind to see. It makes perfect sense. Kroenke wears a wig on every public outing; it’s the perfect way to hide his horns. Sunglasses hide the fires in his eyes and nobody wants to share a toilet with him after some mistook his tail for God blessing him.
We have been so slow to recognise this situation.
Fortunately, a public letter circulated today, capturing the mood of the vast majority of fans. Frustration is the order of the day with Enos left in no doubt that the European arm of his collection of franchises isn’t a franchise. It’s a football club with a heart and soul that are being rotted by the greed of modern football and the owners looking to make a quick buck.
Except Enos made it quite clear he is neither looking to win trophies nor involved for just the short-term. They succeeded in the former and are hell-bent on the latter. We are, ladies and gentlemen, royally f*cked.
Stan, Buy Your Man
There is a fundamental miscalculation on KSE’s part. The evil empire is content that the club’s value is rising. Except it isn’t rising as quickly as it should and is in very real danger of falling behind Tottenham on and off the pitch.
In Daniel Levy, Tottenham have a chairman who is commercially astute. Embracing the NFL in London makes a global statement; what do we have? Fraudulent commercial deals, occasional concerts which knacker up the pitch and rare international football matches. Still, we do a nice buffet for meetings and exhibitions.
After occupying the upper echelons of the Premier League, Rich League, and every other financial list going, Arsenal’s self-sustaining model is providing a blinkered view. Yes, we must obey FFP – more the domestic one than its’ European cousin – but other club owners are not shy of investing in their hobbies.
Kroenke’s problem is that he neither likes or understands football. It’s all left to Junior who isn’t proving proactive in returning the club to the position of title challengers. If he did, our commercial deals would surely garner more cash for the club and consequently improve the financials. No? We’ll agree to disagree on that.
The disconnect by the owners is mad, madness, and maddening. Frustrating is another good word to throw into the mix. Fundamentally, however, we are hamstrung by Enos’ craving for money rather than sporting glory. That the two are inextricably linked in sporting enterprises rather passed our owner by.
Money, Money, Money
That’s the theory, anyway, but the reality is very different. Football rewards mediocrity almost as much as success. OK, there is about a £1.5bn prize money differential when it comes to the Champions and Europa Leagues but we still make more money than clubs who qualify for neither. However, in coming years that gap will only widen. UEFA isn’t going to make a more even distribution of money; it has no incentive to.
Arsenal, under the Premier League umbrella, rejected Juventus’ idea of a Super League but only because it was ill thought out. Nothing protected domestic football which the English clubs recognised is their lifeblood. Creating a Super League meant a couple of dozen Harlem Globetrotter style teams without any connection to the cities in which they were born. Think Rollerball but without the excitement.
I’m straying into much deeper territory here, so time to get back on track.
Recent months saw us – the fans – begging for a Liverpool-style transformation. We even acknowledge this won’t be instantaneous but when you’ve endured a decade of mediocrity, what’s another year or two. The trouble is, we are exactly like Liverpool but during the Gillet and Hicks era. A clown-club, leveraged in a holding company for its’ purchase and an asset shoring up values in other group businesses.
The difference is that there aren’t two owners bickering with each other. Unless Stan suffers from split personalities but that’s a whole different ballgame.
Gillet and Hicks took Liverpool to the verge of bankruptcy before being forced out by financial institutions. Fans can influence thinking of lenders but it needs something coordinated in the same way everything happened under the Spirit of Shankly umbrella at Liverpool.
If today’s letter is the start of that, then change may happen at Arsenal. However, the pool of buyers is very shallow and no guarantees exist that the next one will be any better. As Enos proved, words in bid documents carry as much weight as pollen in the breeze.
The one thing to bear in mind is that Enos is an old-stager when it comes to fan protests. He’s ignored them in Colorado and his home state. His sense of belonging is measured only by his bank balance. Let’s face it, if you can p*ss off a whole city and not give two hoots, London, N5 isn’t going to hold any fears, particularly for a man rarely seen in the capital and certainly capable of staying away for the rest of his life.
This isn’t going to be quick.