Ahead of Arsenal’s AGM today, Stan Kroenke has reiterated that he has no intention of selling his majority stake in Arsenal.
Alisher Usmanov, the Gunners second-largest shareholder, attempted to purchase the American’s 67% shareholding earlier this year by offering over £1 billion. The Moscow-based billionaire’s effort to take control at the Emirates was dismissed out of hand and even met with a counter-offer. Another bid from a third party was also ignored.
Speaking to the Telegraph’s Jeremy Wilson with his son, Josh, the American tycoon insists he will be involved at the Emirates for the long-term, that he loves the club and that he’s not sitting on his investment as a means of getting richer.
Worrying stuff if, like the AST, you’re particularly concerned about the governance of the club.
“We get into these things [sports clubs] to try to grow them.” Kroenke explains. “You don’t see us selling things. You just don’t. We are committed long-term.”
Asked if a sale was ever on the cards, he continued: “No. Absolutely not. That’s just not our model.
“I’m at a stage in life where…what good does that do? I love Arsenal, love being involved with Arsenal. There no finer feeling than going out and winning like we did with the FA Cup.”
Just to make it utterly clear he doesn’t need the money that might come with a sale, he added: “There’s so many easier ways to make money, I can assure you. Much, much easier.”
Josh Kroenke, non-executive director at Arsenal, also touched on the decision to offer Arsene Wenger a new two-year contract in the summer, despite the club’s failure to win the league title since 2004.
“It’s easy to change coaches and people do it all the time,” he said.
“With clear-headedness, calmness, thinking for the long-term rather than the short-term. An easy answer is to do something. It’s harder not to do something. We have dealt with this a lot in different organisations and we just think that Arsene is doing a great job and he’s the right guy.
“Both sides have to get comfortable as they move forward, not just us. I’m sure he was thinking through if he wants to go on. We have a lot of respect for Arsene – we are not going to be pushy about things. I think he treated us with respect as well.”
Nice sound bite, but it’s literally not true, is it? pic.twitter.com/YaNSi14fTO
— Tim Stillman (@Stillberto) October 26, 2017
There’s nothing unusual about the upper echelons at Arsenal granting an interview on the eve of the AGM. In the past, Sir Peter Hill-Wood, Ivan and Sir Chips have done likewise. It’s all about controlling the media message before some potentially feisty questions from supporters this morning.
On the subject of fans, Kroenke Sr had this to say. “Sports fans are wonderful. They are rabid. That’s the good news. They are rabid.
“That’s the bad news. They are passionate, always have opinions and they are certainly entitled to them. The only part I worry about is how it affects the players and the coaching staff. It can have a deleterious effect on that group and that’s the last group you want it to have a bad effect upon.
“There’s going to be a percentage that really don’t like you. Thankfully, most people are in the middle. I run into fans all of the time, they are always interested in the club and I love chatting to them. I can be in the mountains in the summer and someone can come up to me and they will say: ‘Do you think you will get a striker signed?’”
If it was you who met Stan at the top of a mountain, do get in touch. We’d love to know what he had to say.
So what do we make of all this? Well, quite frankly, there’s nothing particularly surprising about anything the pair of them have said here. Ivan might as well have been whispering the answers into Stan’s ear. It’s the usual platitudes.
Actions speak louder than words Mr Kroenke…and we notice your nickname is still ‘Silent Stan’.