After a manic few days for the football community, Vinai Venkatesham and Josh Kroenke used today’s Fans’ Forum to apologise for dragging Arsenal’s name through the mud.
36 hours after withdrawing the Gunners from the proposed European Super League, the pair did their best to explain how they fucked up so spectacularly and promised that any financial penalties will be incurred by KSE.
They were also given a proper roasting by members of the invited supporters’ groups who, quite rightly, vented their frustrations about the fact they’d not be consulted at any stage of the planning process.
A full transcript of the video conference can be found here.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll want to chuck your phone/computer/tablet on the floor…it’s quite the roller coaster ride.
Our focus is on the responses to questions posed to Josh Kroenke by Peter Hoest, vice president of Arsenal Denmark, and Akhil Vyas, board member of the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust. Both were zingers, so kudos to you guys.
PH: You say the trust has been broken. But I don’t believe that’s true, because as fans of Arsenal we’ve never trusted you. I know that’s very offensive but that’s the reality that you need to learn. It’s really important that you engage with fans much, much more if you want to gain our trust. Right now people are asking what would it take for you to sell the club? That’s the reality that I want you to consider really hard. I would like to ask you what will you do to engage more with fans?
JK: What will I do to engage more with fans? Well, starting with interactions such as this on Microsoft Teams. When I’m in there in person we’re going to be sitting down in a boardroom as we did over in Highbury several years ago. There’s going to be many more interactions like this. It’s not going to be a surprise. It’s going to be a scheduled appearance by myself with dialogue back and forth between the likes of us.
PH: From our perspective, we’ve never had a conversation with you and that’s so easy. There’s so many people here who would love to help you make Arsenal a fantastic club. Just engage with us, take our invitation.
JK: Absolutely, I accept. And to your point about trust I am well aware that we’ve never really had trust, and what teeny bit we had taking forward I know that’s been shredded as well. That’s why I continually say I’m here to try and build that bridge, if there ever was a plank or no planks on the bridge of trust, I’m here to start to try and build that trust.
AV: If you’re really sorry will you actually bother to engage with fans more? Considering that’s one of your key questions and you’ve never done it, are you actually going to commit to engaging with fans more? And would you ever consider reps at boardroom level? This club needs fans at boardroom level to represent. You got this wrong this week. It was a disgrace, the way you did it, it was cowardly, you launched it and did not even justify it. I don’t think you still have justified it personally. It’s clear that you don’t know enough about our game. You don’t know enough about our club. Our club is built on traditions, on values, and class. We’ve talked about that a lot.
JK: If you’re expecting to see me more, absolutely. Let’s start on this call right now. From a board perspective, we as a club came together and made the decision as a board. That’s why we put out the statement as we did, apologising immediately and if you’re hoping to interact with me on a more meaningful basis going forward, you have my word that’s absolutely the case.
Unfortunately, any hopes that the Kroenke family might look to quit Arsenal were dismissed. Kroenke Jr reaffirmed that KSE has no intention of selling up and mentioned several more times that he/they plan to be more of a visible presence.
“Be excited,” he once said. We’re anything but.
Microsoft teams… 🤦♂️
Connecting the world of fans……………….
Tells you how much they value Arsenal fans. So so valuable to them.
Fyi there is a pandemic. I haven’t been to my office in over a year. Wake up.
John please, please, please shut up mate.
No sir it’s a public forum.
I think he pointed out on the technology. Teams are shitty.
I’ve not used Teams so can’t comment, but the blatant product placement was jarring to me.
He could just as easily, or more naturally, said ‘on video call’
My youngest uses ‘Teams’ at work and so do a few of my friends, none of them refer to it as a ‘video call’ they all refer to it as ‘Teams’.
Yeah I had heard something was going on John.
My point was, I really don’t feel that Josh or his father are the right leaders for our fabulous football club in anyway shape or form. Can they please leave.
Our new Non-Transparency Partner
We use Microsoft Teams at work and it’s better than VAR. I’ve been given offside 11 times in meetings.
Yeah, the number of times on Teams when my cam comes on and people say,”Woah, that’s way over the line!” No real disagreement and much quicker decisions than VAR, too.
I don’t feel completely helpless. Now that they can’t run Arsenal like an American franchise, they may think it’s time to sell. I know it’s one in a million chance, but . . .
So you’re saying there’s a chance!
(Mary Swanson reference.)
Check the briefcase. You may be way off.
So when you say Mary Swanson what you’re saying is Cathy Newman.
His responses give me the feeling that I would want to wash my hands after shaking his.
You should also check your rings and watch are still there
And count yer fingers, mate!
I want to wash my hands after just reading the article
In some ways, I don’t blame the Kroenke family and other owners for their greed. Our anger should be directed at PL, UEFA, and FIFA for allowing football to be taken over by these people. They know that they are into this for purely financial reasons, yet they allowed them to hijack the game. Football clubs should be non-profit organizations with fans as members of the board and solid management team. Sports team ownership in the US is a way to initiate the rich into the “cult” of American elites. It’s taking over Europe as well and fans will no… Read more »
A very good point. They’re just exploiting the opportunity football authorities have given them. We’re in deep shit either way though.
Agreed all around
Football has been broken for a long time. That can be addressed by UEFA/FIFA/the various FAs, the teams, the players, the supporters, or various governments. I believe that, in reality, the only group of those five with enough influence to effect change are the teams. If a group of teams got together and announced that they were going to hear opinions, to collaborate, to reach some sort of consensus, and then to make a proposal, then I think this would have been more well received. Instead they worked behind the scenes for three years and then came out with an… Read more »
FIFA, UEFA, Sky, the Premier league all sing from same song sheet.
You, me, our families are no longer football. We haven’t been for a long time.
They would rather have £1 from a 2 million Indian PPV customers than £50 from 40,000 match going supporters.
We are inconvenient. We are unpredictable. We threaten the brand which they have spent millions sanitising.
I really hope I’m wrong but I see this as the beginning of the overt attacks on “legacy fans” not the end.
I think you could have made your point (which I agree with) saying ‘global PPV customers’. You know, the whole anti-racist thing.
I’m happy to be corrected of my ignorance, why Is that racist?
I was pointing out a large untapped market who would be interested in PL football. Substitute Indian for Chinese, American, African etc.
you are slightly wrong they want the money from Indian Fans AND match going supporters
As a business, I prefer $1 times 2 million than $50 each from 40k spectators.
Second, what is wrong with 2 million viewers? Is football to be restricted to the same city?
Why would you prefer 1 x 2m?
No. Talk about wilfully missing the point. Football is a game for all and it would be great if everyone who wanted to could watch every game.
This whole debate is about who the game should be catered towards. Casual PPV customers want high entertainment and a game shorn of boring traditional games such as Arsenal vs Burnley.
The game belongs to the fans, not the customers.
Fuck off you
Fuck off you greedy cunts
Keep your knickers on!!!
They are clueless and ruthless. They won’t back down from fucking the club over and they won’t be leaving any time soon. I want to hear more about how we, the fans, will petition the government to review the way football clubs are run. I thought that was the only positive thing in the entire transcript.
Friday’s protest must be absolutely packed. Please go if you can and take your friends with you.
Agreed. Blame the epl and UEFA and Fifa not the snake for being the snake
Don’t blame a clown for being a clown…. Ask yourselves why we keep going to the circus!!!
The owners don’t give a toss for us and the actions of the last week prove it. These greedy yanks want to import their style of “soccer” on us. Bollox it’s called football and always will be.
Hard agree. I almost think it was counter-productive to meet with Josh Kroenke at all. The relationship is broken. They need to get out.
https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/56852632 Likely this is also Boris trying to score PR points but maybe if that is incentive enough and this pushes thru, it will help convince the Americans to sell up and piss off. Otherwise they should also conciser: 1) Appointing a more visionary CEO or at least someone who is a custodian who can safeguard the values of the club. Someone like David O’Leary perhaps. Get rid of Vinnai or demote him to watching over day to day business/finances. 2) Get rid of Edu or push him sideways. Bring in someone truly experience to oversee rectruitment and sales. Campos… Read more »
O’Leary hated us when he was at Leeds. No.
”Moi young lads”
Yeah, I was surprised at Dave O’s attitude towards Arsenal during that time. I think though, ultimately, he loves the club through and through.
Check out the Anfield’89 team celebrations. The rest of the lads are bopping and singing. Dave O is standing on the edge – crying his eyes out.
Josh Kroenke looks like a twat. Never liked the name Josh.
JK: Blah! Blah!
With all due respect what white knight do you think is going to ride in and save us? The British naivety is staggering. If it’s fan owned do you think you can compete with Unit or Chelsea or City? If it’s private owned who do you think is going to come in and respect the club like we do? While this isn’t great it could be much worse. Look at barca or real right now and what their people are saying. You think United is in better shape ownership wise? Or Tottenham?
Well, I’d rather competent American owners like FSG. Otherwise I mostly agree, anyone who could afford to buy Arsenal is likely to be just as odious as Kroenke.
I think the answer is not the owners it’s the infrastructure. Anyone remember Usmanov? It’s all a joke.
They stripped the Red Sox for parts last year, absolutely angering their fans. They traded Mookie Betts, a top 5 (and young) player in the game for very little, to the team who then won the championship. It would be like us selling Saka to City for £30 million. FSG are not perfect, and the Kroenke American teams have made much better competitive decisions of late than FSG ones.
I can’t imagine the decision making at their American teams is down to them. Seems to me that KSE have put faith in the wrong people at Arsenal.
Is that because they don’t pay enough attention to Arsenal due to geography/lack of exposure to the team’s performance or is it because they don’t understand the game enough to know what the right people should look like?
Comparing the roster-managing strategies of MLB with the PL is apples to oranges, tbh. Plus, the Red Sox have won the championship twice in the past eight years—they have ambition to win, but when an MLB team (that can’t be relegated, remember) is at the bottom of the standings, it’s pretty common to see teams offload players either to shed payroll or to acquire new talent. In the Sox case, it was the former: if they aren’t built to compete for the next few years, what sense does it make to pay a lone superstar $30 million a year with… Read more »
Not sure why fan ownership won’t compete with Chelsea or City. As it stands the owners are putting minimal money in, or borrowing money against the club assets. Fan owned clubs can also raise money through (distributed) equity or debt.
Plus, the argument has never been stronger that fans – collectively, if we can organise ourselves into sensible representative structures – are better equipped to make football club decisions than the inbred thought process currently in place.
I agree. I don’t believe we can bring enough pressure to oust Stan, and even if we did, what then?
We can however mobilise to use this a springboard to steer the club in the direction we want. Force some supporter representatives into discussions. Even if it means the Kroenkes remain in station.
They fucked up. They brought a war to our doorstep. I feel like we can win the first skirmish in the battle for the soul of football.
I think this is the right way to do it. Create accountability. Liverpool seems to do it pretty well but they have their own issues.
Fan-owned German clubs seem to be able to compete quite successfully with City, Chelsea etc. And they didn’t go anywhere near the ESL.
How’s that for some British naivety?
They don’t play city or Chelsea week in and week out. If they did they wouldn’t compete, and if they did then those clubs the next year would outspend them. Isn’t that what happened to us when they took Henry van Persie Cole Nasri Cesc etc. They just three cash at them that we couldn’t afford. It’s not sustainable, in a flashpoint it works but not long term. Also, those club are not wholly owned by fans. They have cash injections particularly from high end sponsors. I’m just saying if you want to be fan owned you better well be… Read more »
One team does. One. Most absolutely do not.
I don’t see how anyone can look at the experience of (for eg.) a Dortmund fan and not be overcome with envy. Is there a downside I’m not seeing?
Dortmund are very much a selling club. Their ambition is to challenge Bayern and win a cup every third season in what is usually a 3-team league with the 3rd being a rotating member every few years as Bayern pick them apart taking their best players until one of the also-rans overtakes and resets the cycle. Sometimes Dortmund themselves fall out of that top 3 but never for long. If you think Arsenal fans wouldnt be calling for the head of the manager every 18 months were we to try and settle for that, I think you haven’t been paying… Read more »
We are currently a selling club. The moment we got Aubameyang, for example, the conversation shifted to – can we sell Lacazette? That’s the extent to which the ownership has gaslit the fans.
Rather be a fan-owned selling club. Maybe even a fan-owned ambitious club, it doesn’t take that much of an imagination.
We are, but a lot of fans dont seem to speak that way.
But surely if NO clubs were allowed one sole owner then it would bring everyone back down to the same level. Football was created by the working class, most set up and formed in a PUB just like Sunday league teams were. Give the game back to the fans and get rid of single owners of clubs
Another lame Tim Stillman article. I don’t think the ‘jury is still out on Edu”. This sort of inexperienced is delibrately put in place so Korenkes have less obstacles to control. Don’t be so daft. We have been hollowed out and systemically deprived of custodians or people with sufficient clout to stand up for us. Where we could have brought in experienced, we have gone for newbies who will feel beholden to the masters. The morals of the club went out along with Wenger when he left. This was always on the cards but too many people were obsessed with… Read more »
This is news piece by Andrew, not an article by Tim. Thanks for your input but maybe check before posting next time.
p.s. I’d rather read a dozen of Tim’s articles, backwards, than read another of your half-baked responses 😉
If they were about to sell, they’d hardly be telling us about it would they.
How did it go Josh, great dad, these muppets will swallow anything…lied through my teeth like you told me to, was very polite and engaging like you told me to be.
What an absolute load of bollocks. Didn’t expect anything else. I feel I need another anti virus injection after interacting with this creepy bloke..
Your parody is all wrong, Americans don’t say “muppet”
Then they are missing a trick.
Super League in, Super League out, in out, in out, who’s the last one out? You do the Stan Kroenke and you turn around, you don’t know what football’s about.
Ohhhh Kroenke is a wankkeerrr
Ohhhh Kroenke is a wankerrr
FFS… If they have some dignity left, they should just leave the club. Shameless bastards. #KroenkeOut
Can’t help but feel – money over dignity with these twats..
Sure, just bring out the billions you hid in your drawer and give it to them! That will show Stan.
Empty words from a hollow tinker boy. Token gestures, generalities, wishy-washy answers to serious questions. Issuing prepared statements are not engaging fans. Trust is build by doing what you say you going to do, by being open and honest about your motives and decisions, by being upfront and present when things are going bad, by being fully transparent. I see nothing of from Josh, Vinai or even Arteta, who looked totally deflated in his press conference today
Somehow, I feel that would be your reaction no matter what was spoken. Not exactly sane.
Wouldn’t it be grand if a consortium of fans, ex players (such as the invincibles) lead the way in buying out silent Stan
Meanwhile on planet earth…
Meanwhile on planet earth..
Henry, Bergkamp & Viera working with Spotify founder to buy arsenal football club
It’s a bit idealistic but not without problems. Even as Arsenal fans they would all have their own agendas and differences of views. We’d self combust. Mind you, I would even try that if it meant getting Kroenke and co out now.
Not so ridiculous as people think – flamini could have the wealth required very soon
At last! Someone else on here who has actually done some research before he opens his mouth!
Top post mate. Well said. 👍🍺
Uhhhh, what trust?
Thanks for sharing
Let me start with, no matter what, I want the Kreonke’s out. They are not the right owners.They don’t care about the game and that leads to poor management and makes them risk averse because the don’t know enough to take the right risks. I think that means we will never be a well run a club as long as they are in charge. However, Josh was right about one thing. The state of football is in a disastrous state. A team cannot be competitive at the top and be a going concern. That is an existential threat. Benign charitable… Read more »
Excellent comment. May we all take heed.
The real problem is that Financial Fair Play is a fucking joke. That lets crooks pour their oil money into buying the best players and forces anyone who wants to compete at the same level to pay insane transfer fees. So the Kroenkes and Glazers of the world who are in it for the money look for a way to make some dosh despite it all… and vomit up the Super League. The real solution is true financial fair play and clubs living within their ressources. We are not going to solve this for good as long as clubs are… Read more »
Guy starts his apology with a comment about global fans just want to watch Barca vs Arsenal every week, whereas they didn’t realize the UK fans instead want cold nights in Stoke. He’s clueless.
Get the fuck out of this club, you ridiculous wanker. You didn’t understand anything before, and you don’t understand anything now.
Not sure Aron Ramsey would agree about Stoke
Yeah the Stoke comment was ridiculous …
Here’s the full transcript (which includes that comment in the opening statement):
Look at this. https://youtu.be/jfJILuSZFIY
When estimated costs kept rising Stan said this “So it takes a lot more investment, so that’s more risk. But we’re long term. … We don’t get involved in things unless we think we’re going to be there for a long time.”
They are not going anywhere fast….bet we will be doing pre-season tours there on the regular in the not so distant future….what possibly comes after that I wonder, like Areta said “football will evolve”
You don’t say, josh… You don’t say
I don’t want another Kroenke, nor do I want an Abramovic/Mansoor – however at least the latter are there for football reasons therefore they have something in common with the fans.
Some questions I would have asked:
1. Against whom Henry scored his last goal for Arsenal?
2. What is Bergkamp’s first name?
3. Who was Arsenal manager before Wenger?
4. Where is your dad and why is he not here?
Lol who keeps downvoting on all these comments. Josh, is that you?? ;D
I was thinking along these lines, but more like ‘what colour does arsenal play in’ and ‘name one player whose image is on the side of the emirates stadium’
WHO IS YOUR FATHER AND WHAT DOES HE DO??
(hopefully at least one or two of you lads get the reference 🙂
Sorry. It was DADDY. Shot myself in the foot.
Kroenke has been a bad owner. I do believe Josh at least has his heart in the right place. It’s very, very unlikely someone is coming in with $3 billion or more to replace them. Keep the pressure on.
Can’t believe Stan still won’t show his face. Instead he throws out his son to face the media. Just leave the club man it’s obvious you want nothing to do with us
fuck the billionaires.
You just know off camera Josh is laughing at us. These billionaires and their kids live on different planets to the likes of us. They look at speaking with us as some great act of charity by them. That Stoke comment was a gem though. I’d trade anything for a wet night at Stoke.
Who the fuck is downvoting these comments? It’s often 2 downvotes. One for father and son?
Stop being so farking juvenile. Please draw on the diagram where downvotes have hurt you.
A P, John C – there’s a raft of ultra-capitalist Kroenke sycophants in these comments mate. Ignore them.
Why ignore them? Is their opinion worth less because it doesn’t conform with the majority? Do you see just how hypocritical that is? Do you understand that the majority of commenters are spouting ideological nonsense based on an emotional few days (understandable)?
Kroenke must know that there he has never won our trust, I wonder which trust is this that he claims to be shredded. Let him go and give us back our Arsenal.
Parasite owner’s son is as parasite owner’s son does.
The muppets actually think that by rolling out a few well worn cliches, that this is all going to be forgotten with the next first team victory.
Also, the obligatory:
For ‘Be Excited’ read ‘Be Fleeced’
KSE you will never ever be trusted again. It is like when your partner cheats on you and sleeps with someone else, and you find out through social media. You can never trust them again and the relationship is dead. KSE even tried to say it wasn’t our fault it was the others that started it. YOU STILL JUMPED INTO BED withthese low lifes. They obvioulsy don’t love the club or understand what it means to be THE ARSENAL and how what we do also affect teams lower down the leagues. Personally I love being drawn in the FA Cup… Read more »
Cue the flood of American fans sticking up for the Kroenkes and telling us we’re wrong for not wanting to be greedy.
American fans dislike SK more than we do for very good reasons. Also, you are massively over simplifying.
Really? Where have you been in the past 48 hours? We’ve had more Americans up in arms on here than the Wild West.
I’m no more a fan of KSE than any of you, but I think it is more than fair to differentiate between Josh having the guts to turn up and actually interact with fans and Stan.
It may not be enough, and it may be too late – but clearly the guy is better than his dad, so that is worth something. I hope.
Mate, it’s lip service, crocodile tears, bullshit – however you want to term it.
They’re just words. Words from an indifferent rich man that anyone blessed with the gift of being able to speak could rattle out with the aid of a microphone.
Seriously, there are soft touches and then there are some of you on here – whose gullibility and naivety is staggering.
Except that no owner of any of the other clubs at fault here has spoken to fans directly.
Time will tell if it was lip service or if anything has actually been learned, but in no way does that take away from the fact that Josh is clearly making more effort than Stan has done.
Super League is just a distraction from new champions league changes!
The timing of announcement and retraction without any major pushback just doesn’t add up otherwise! We should be mad about that rather than super league!
“You don’t think we’d get into a contract with that mob, do you? Jesus Christ. I wouldn’t sell them a virus.”