If fans are going to dislike you because you own their football club, there seems to be two ways to go about dealing with that
On one end of the scale, there is the Stan Kroenke approach: keep to yourself and simply do what you want because the plebs don’t matter and can’t do anything anyway. Then, there’s the Mike Ashley end, the modus operandi of which is ‘do what Stan does’ but with added ‘trying to be a man of the people’ despite lacking any affection for either ‘the people’ or the game.
For all the moaning about Stan Kroenke from Arsenal fans, it’s hard to put your finger on what exactly he’s done wrong since taking over Arsenal, apart from being an odious human being in his other business endeavours. Undoubtedly, more unpleasant surprises lie in wait, but for now, if he really wants to give Arsenal fans something to cry about, he should start modelling himself on Mike Ashley. That’d really get the bin liners flying.
Think about it. The owner of Arsenal, vomiting into a fireplace because he’s drunk, not because he’s been asked to put his hand in his pocket. Stan wouldn’t find anything there, not like Ashley who carries around wads of notes like he’s got the shits and is allergic to toilet roll. What would Sir Chips think? Would Gunnersaurus survive or would extinction finally find him?
Sure, Kroenke has gobbled up the entire club like some sort of stoned Henry Hoover but at least he’s always kept his clothes on. That’s not something Newcastle fans can say about Ashley.
Both Ashley and Kroneke have owned their clubs for the around the same amount of time. As the new private owner of Arsenal gets ready for sustained protests from the fans, Mike has already shown him the way. Since Ashley bought Sir John Hall’s shares in 2007, Newcastle have spent £336m with a net of £33.9m. No. I didn’t miss a digit. Contrast that to the ‘tight’ Arsenal owner who, in the same period, has greenlit a net spend of £231.29m. Is Ashley bothered? What do you think?!
No matter what Newcastle fans have tried, they just can’t shift him from the club. Kroenke will be looking for some of that sort of steel, although fans of his US sports franchises will happily tell you that some of them now support Spurs because they hate him so much so perhaps he’s already working on a plan for Arsenal.
Isn’t it good to have things to look forward to?
In the unlikely event that Stan finds his unpopularity hard to deal with, 12 pints of lager with vodka chasers is the way to go. That’s how Mike deals with his stress and it will also help Stan produce the right amounts of vomit when required.
This doesn’t have to be a one-way relationship, however.
Ashley’s Sports Direct could certainly learn from Wal-Mart, which is owned by Kroenke’s wife’s family and which he helps run. Humiliation and broken promises are standard within Sports Direct, but at least they weren’t betting on their employees dying.
In some games, Stan plays pro while Ashley is still in the minors.