Supporter polarisation tends to happen when a team is under-performing compared to historic and current standards set by the club, but Arsenal’s fanbase rift has mostly been about Wenger in or Wenger out.
However, in the last few years a new narrative has formed, and by narrative I actually mean misdirection.
This new tale is that majority shareholder Stan Kroenke somehow is to blame for Arsenal consistently failing to challenge for the Premier League or go far in the Champions League.
Arguments include (but are not limited to):
- He doesn’t follow football so isn’t a true supporter
- He takes money out of the club
- He doesn’t put enough money into the club
- He’s only doing it as an investment
- His son has his greasy hands all over our board room
- His moustache is ugly
- His other sports investments are underperforming
- He could be a murderer
…and so on.
But, all of this is a misdirection by the Wengerite minions, who will never assign responsibility to Wenger for anything. That attitude is fuelled by Wenger himself, who refuses to be held liable for any footballing issues.
Just a few days ago the cooky, old French bag even had the gall to blame the media for Arsenal’s poor performances against Stoke and subsequently Liverpool. Last year it was the supporters’ fault for a poor run.
Whatever happens, it can’t possibly be Wenger’s fault – after all, he won the Premier League unbeaten 13 years ago.
But remind me again…was it Kroenke or Wenger who stuck with a predictable 4-2-3-1 for ten years straight, never changing it once no matter who we were playing? Was it Kroenke or Wenger who consistently failed to tactically adapt to the opposition, leading to a number of title-dream crushing defeats since 2006?
Was it Kroenke or Wenger who omitted Kolasinac and Lacazette against Liverpool? Was it Kroenke or Wenger who started two left-backs as centre-backs against Stoke?
Was it Kroenke or Wenger who decided Arsenal’s locker room should only be filled with good-hearted nice young men, resulting in softness on the pitch?
The Great Misdirection has been mostly fuelled by a fringe fan cult called ‘Arsenal Supporters Trust’ – a group of hubris-filled quasi-experts. This group has been anti-Kroenke since he became majority shareholder, and have aggressively been pushing an agenda against him ever since.
If you’ve never heard of them, they are the ones that peddled the “£100m war chest” bulls**t a few years back, based on their own “calculations”.
They also hold annual meetings with seedy tabloid journalists as special guests, and they once claimed Kroenke had a legal requirement to meet with them. All because they owned about 0.0048% of the club at the time through investing other people’s money in something like three shares in the span of ten years.
The only thing Kroenke has done wrong at Arsenal is his decision to not fire Wenger.
Other than that, supporters need to get used to the fact that Arsenal is a business, and even more so an excellent business opportunity for an investor.
The club is financially stable, consistently competitive for league places that generate money, has a huge international fanbase, and owns prime real estate in the centre of Europe’s greatest metropolis. Kroenke is here for those things, not for the sporting event. And there is nothing wrong with that, technically.
Would it be great to have a true Arsenal supporter as majority shareholder? Sure. Is it realistic? Not really.
Gone are the days of Highbury roaring after a cheeky Thierry Henry goal and David Dean punching grown men to get a good deal on a player. We no longer live in romantic times.
Let’s also not forget one thing: the more successful Arsenal is on the pitch, the more money Kroenke makes. If your argument is that Kroenke only cares about money, you can’t say that he’s not interested in Arsenal winning trophies.
On-pitch success leads to better sponsorship deals, which leads to more money coming in, which leads to better signings being possible, which leads to better performances on the pitch, which brings us back to the start. Rinse and repeat…
Mediocre performances by the men’s first team are the problem at Arsenal. Stan Kroenke has absolutely nothing to do with that.
And if you don’t believe me, ask yourself this: if Arsenal were winning domestic and continental titles on a consistent basis…would you even care about Stan Kroenke?
He’s a convenient scapegoat, but a scapegoat nonetheless. By blaming him we are wilfully ignoring the actual problems at Arsenal.