Stan Kroenke called in on Arsenal’s training ground today to give Arsene Wenger’s squad a well-deserved high-five for Sunday’s trouncing of Chelsea and to further elucidate on his somewhat underwhelming three minute ramble at the AGM.
Speaking to media who had assembled for the pre-Marseille press conference, the American revealed that he had watched the weekend’s action in person at Stamford Bridge and confirmed he found the experience all the more special because John Terry had fallen on his arse to hand us the win on a plate. Well not quite…but he did say:
“It was very enjoyable. I had a great time the whole day. I walked to the stadium and the fans were having as good a day as I was. I spoke with a few of them along the way. Of course, the game was spectacular.
“Sports are a very important part of our modern society,” he continued. “I think the English Premier League particularly has a visibility around the world. It does a lot of good in a lot of ways that often aren’t pointed out so I was happy to be there.”
Many supporters who attended last Thursday’s annual general meeting complained that the Denver-based businessman had cut a rather uninspiring speaker when called upon to make a statement. Explaining his surprise at being asked to communicate with supporters, Kroenke clarified:
“Maybe it’s because I look at the Club differently. These clubs are bigger than one person. They are about a lot more things than just one person, one fan, one manager, one anything.
“This Club has been here for 125 years. It has had periods when it was up and long periods when it wasn’t so up. But I am proud of the Club.”
Having not won a trophy since he first got involved with the club four years ago, Kroenke also responded to suggestions that changes are needed to rectify the situation.
“We have been around the Club for four years at one stage or another and you always like to win trophies. We were very close last year but we didn’t get there.
“You are not going to win trophies every year. I am smart enough to know that. I think it is fair to say we have a broader experience than anybody in sports because we are involved in so many different teams. You don’t win trophies every year. You’d like to. But I have friends who are owners in the leagues in the US who have never won a trophy and they have been in it for 30 or 40 years. We have been fortunate to win a few.
“I am very proud of our management [at Arsenal] and I am certainly extremely proud of our manager and I am very proud of the way the Club has been run.”
Last week Kroenke touched on how Arsenal managed to turn his head despite opportunities to invest in other Premier League and European clubs. Eager to add meat to the bones of his initial statement, and to make clear to fans that he was a long-term investor, he continued:
“First of all, I love London. If you look at our history we are long-term investors. We don’t get involved just to be here today, be gone tomorrow, ‘flip’ and make a profit – that’s not us.
“We like to get involved in things that we can help develop over time. Maybe it’s just me but I think London is a great place to be. I think long-term if you want to attract players, it is a great place.
“Arsenal Football Club – wow! 125 years, great tradition, great manager, great model and lots of opportunity.”
A self-confessed fan of Arsene Wenger’s methods both on the training field and as a smart operator in the transfer market, the American again paid homage to the Frenchman.
“Arsène Wenger is an unbelievable manager. I think he’s a tremendous person, I just think he is as good as there is. Now, do you lose some games? Do you have tough losses? It happens. You can’t judge a manager on one game or on one stretch of games. You judge him over time. That’s how the really good ones are judged.
“Arsène has been here 15 years and you look at what the Club had as assets and revenues back then. It’s fantastic the growth that has occurred within the Club. It has been done very responsibly and they have the record for participating in the Champions League for the most consecutive years. For long-term stability and an approach to excellence, I think that’s unsurpassed really.”
There are plenty of other Kroenke quotes doing the rounds from today’s meeting with the press. For Arsenal.com’s version of events click here. For the full transcript of the interview as presented by The Mirror’s John Cross, click here.