GOA has always been a staunch supporter of Kroenke and not because he was American, that was just sort of a bonus fun fact. GOA believed, and still believes, that Arsenal must modernize their organization in order to survive at the top of the elite -namely improving the commercialization and organizational aspects of the Club, which were woefully antiquated. New ownership though, cough cough ManCiteh and PSG, have changed the game.
Rumors are that Usmanov is out and about again, trying to find the shares needed to force a take over. Don’t cry for Silent Stan though, if it goes through, Stan will make a killing at the price Usmanov will pay. Nonetheless, GOA, clearly, has been on Kroenke’s side for the last couple of years. Stability and tradition, we said. Arsenal are doing fine and on the up and up we felt. Fast forward two more years and two things have begun to make us wonder differently: (1) the new PSG, and (2) Nasri’s move North.
Long-time GOA readers need not worry, the sad start of the season isn’t the cause of the change. GOA doesn’t scare that easy. Nope. It’s the system that is pushing GOA over the line. Football, like everything else, now lives in “Google Time.” The times change and they change fast.
For years, football fans have followed the ridicuous “accounting” procedures at Real Madrid and Barca out of fascination. One the one hand, it was in Spain, so at least the other teams had a chance at the CL. And, Real, at least, lived up to the hype by purchasing every big name player there was. So, whether you were a fan of Real, or not, one at least appreciated the soap opera that ensued. In Barca’s case, they engineered a new style of play that was pretty to watch. As fans, we looked to Italy for booms, busts and fabulousness too; and, lets be honest, Serie A didn’t disappoint.
The Premier League, however, suffers from too much competition and just plain nonsense. Having Chelsea and ManCiteh, means that two teams can compete for any player in the world. Even Barca, Juve, AC, and Inter have limits. As a result, these two Clubs essentially locked up two of the four positions for the CL. This leaves other teams, including ManU and Arsenal, two of the world’s biggest Clubs fighting for two positions, oh, and don’t forget Liverpool and the wannabe Spuds bring up the rear.
The strangest thing is that ManCiteh is now a powerhouse. I mean really, ManCiteh??? Who…ever…would…have…thought?
Fair play, if Arsenal were one of the guaranteed spots I might not care as much. But that’s really the point isn’t it? Arsenal isn’t and I’m a Gooner. Worse yet, Arsenal played by the rules. The Club stays within a manageable salary range; the Club developed a stellar Academy; and, in the midst of transfer madness, Arsenal still respect other Clubs. But the facts might be more brutal: Arsenal can’t keep up. And Arsenal is one of the top grossing Clubs in the world (Top 10), if we can’t keep up, we have a problem.
Now we have PSG as the new biggest shark to enter the water. Fact is, Arsenal might just need to change. Blaming Wenger or the Board is irrelevant if the entire system is aligned against you.
I’m confident that Kroenke can introduce new measures and techniques to modernize Arsenal and increase revenues. But I’m not confident that Kroenke can do it fast enough.
This isn’t a question of whether he has the money. It’s a question of whether he wants to treat Arsenal like a crown jewel or an investment. Kroenke’s an investor, he’s stable, and adds value. As a fan of the game, I love that. He makes money the Club develops, all is well.
Unfortunately, PSG, ManCiteh, Chelsea, Barcelona, and even the Italian Triad (AC, Juve, and Inter) don’t play that game. If Arsenal were in any other league this wouldn’t matter. But having two sharks plus ManU floating around means that Arsenal is at a severe disadvantage, at least for the short-term. Worse yet, we can’t rely on the “regulator,” i.e. FIFA to do anything. For all the talk, FIFA hasn’t done anything yet, the Fair Play Rules were designed to be evaded…oh, and Clubs spending big money is good for business…sigh.
Should Kroenke sell?
GOA hasn’t completely changed positions yet. Kroenke doesn’t need to sell yet. And, there is still hope for the squad to recover; the long-season and early collapse are in Arsenal’s favor. Arsenal are rebuilding and will get stronger as the season progresses -I honestly believe that. But the reality is that the Club cannot compete in salary bidding wars, or when any of these Clubs step in to raise the price of a player, and that does raise some concern for the long-term. That’s where Usmanov obviously comes in. For Usmanov, Arsenal is clearly a crown jewel for a billionaire. That means money for increased wages; that means buying players the Club need now; it means, when Arsenal bid on a player, other Clubs can’t push us out with a bid of £1-2M because we know we can’t outbid them (something many Gooners don’t seem to understand).
The times, they are a changing, so GOA is listening…change or be left behind.