Josh Kroenke says Arsenal still have a ‘few boxes to tick’ as they restructure the club in the aftermath of Arsene Wenger’s departure.
The son of Stan, who is vice chairman of KSE and KSE UK and also sits on the Arsenal board, was supportive of Ivan Gazidis’ decision to recruit Sven Mislintat and Raul Sanllehi as part of a new look hierarchy and has worked closely with the latter and Vinai Venkatesham since our former CEO joined AC Milan.
Upheaval behind the scenes, of which there has been much in the last 12 months at the Emirates, rarely benefits those on the pitch, but Kroenke Jr insists that with Unai Emery at the helm, the Gunners are heading in the right direction.
“We have obviously been through a period of change following a manager leaving after 22 years,” he told the Telegraph.
“A lot of things come along with a transition of that magnitude. We knew this would be a process and, overall, I think we are pleased with our progress.
“I think if you look at where we were 12 months ago, you can see we were probably transitioning towards a North American or continental European model where there is a lot of support around the head coach.
“That job is so massive. You can see the organisational structure we are trying to implement and we are still in the process of filling out those positions.”
Having been majority owners for several years, the Kroenke family finally took full control at Arsenal in August when they paid £600 million for Alisher Usmanov’s remaining shareholding. It looks as though they are sticking around for the long-term, which is probably why Josh is happy to preach patience when it comes to implementing further changes.
“Everyone in sports wants success right away,” he went on. “When you look at Liverpool, when they changed to their manager, it took a little time. We have some things that we are trying to implement as quickly as possible but it does take time to get things as you want.
“There are a few boxes still to tick. We know the main currency in sport is wins and we want them just as much as the fans do.”
If you’re wondering why we’re hearing from Josh, it’s because on Sunday night, a few hours after Arsenal’s match with Manchester City, the Kroenke family will watch their Rams franchise – once of St Louis, but now of Los Angeles – play the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
Nobody Stateside, their own fans aside, particularly likes the Patriots. Thanks to the robotic arm of geriatric cyborg Tom Brady, a Ferguson-like coach and a willingness to bend the rules, they are quite good at doing the touchdowns.
As is the rule in sport, dominance breeds contempt. So usually, after beer, hotdogs, the Star Spangled Banner, more beer and a Janet Jackson nip slip, the nation unites against the Patriots.
Alas, these are complicated times. Thanks to Stan’s plan to turn the Rams into the darlings of Tinseltown (with a view to making a shitload of cash for himself and the NFL), choosing who to hate is, for once, not so obvious.
You’re probably already aware that the move to Los Angeles has caused huge controversy. However, for a little more context on how Kroenke ‘took a huge shit on St. Louis on his way out’ we point you in the direction of this excellently pithy article on Deadspin by Patrick Redford.
When you’re done reading it, remember that this is the behaviour of a man who owns our football club. It’s frightening.