July 17 – Arsenal supporters groups have been rebuked by Josh Kroenke, son of American owner Stan Kroenke, in an open letter declaring that top trophies are out of reach this season for the club.
On Monday morning Kroenke was accused of “passive ownership” by the Arsenal fan base in a joint letter from fan groups and leading Arsenal bloggers. The Gunners will miss out on the Champions League football for a third consecutive season and in their letter supporters called on owner Kroenke to “reinvigorate” the club with an overhaul and accused him of using Arsenal as an “investment vehicle”.
Kroenke junior responded with his own missive saying that Arsenal fans should get excited about potential new signings this summer, but warned that Arsenal won’t be competing for the top prizes.
“We respectfully disagree about being at a crossroads,” said Josh Kroenke. “”For us, the most important thing to achieve was not simply change for the sake of change, but to ensure we put the right people in the right roles to work together in a positive environment to achieve our stated goal of winning silverware both domestically and in Europe.”
“We know this can bring uncertainty, and perhaps everything we’ve done in the past 12-14 months has brought about additional uncertainty during a period of unease when supporters, coaches, players and management are rightfully frustrated by lack of success on the pitch.
“With all the work we’ve done on the structure of football, commercial and operational departments, we would say that the club now needs a period of stability rather than additional change.”
But that stability has been in short supply this summer already with club captain Laurent Koscielny trying to force an exit from North London. Edu has come in as the new technical director at the Emirates Stadium, but while he can boast of player experience at Arsenal, a similar role with Brazil’s national team was perceived by many in Brazilian football circles as a failure.
In the past couple of seasons Arsenal’s fan base has been restless as the club has struggled to move away from the Wenger era. Last May the Gunners lost the Europa League final in Baku against London rivals Chelsea after a dramatic second-half showing. On Monday, 16 prominent Arsenal supporters’ groups and bloggers penned an open letter to the Arsenal owners. It was not the first time that Kroenke has been targeted by fans, but the current campaign has enjoyed wide support under the heading ‘WeCareDoYou’.
“As Arsenal fans we have watched with frustration as the team’s football performances have declined over the past decade,” the statement began. “When Stan Kroenke began buying Arsenal shares the club had just competed in a first Champions League final. Twelve years on, Arsenal are about to play in the Europa League for the third year running.”
Arsenal are currently on a pre-season tour of the United States without Koscielny. In the first fixture of the new season they cruised to a 3-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1574453399labto1574453399ofdlr1574453399owedi1574453399sni@o1574453399fni1574453399