July 19 – Arsenal fan websites in the United States are reported to be playing a key role in a protest campaign against the club’s owners.
Earlier this week Arsenal supporters groups were rebuked by Josh Kroenke, son of American owner Stan Kroenke, in an open letter in which he declared that top trophies are out of reach this coming season for the club. It was in response to a counter open letter from fans calling owner Kroenke to “reinvigorate” the club.
Now, a petition demanding change at the top has surpassed 100,000 signatures, three days after being launched.
Sixteen supporters’ groups, three from the US, came together to launch the ‘#WeCareDoYou’ campaign in response to “poor leadership” from Kroenke and his company Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE).
Supporters said they are unhappy with the fact that Arsenal face a third successive season in the Europa League, believe the atmosphere at their Emirates Stadium to be “soulless” and feel “marginalised” by the club’s owners.
Signatories of the petition include Michael Price, based in Philadelphia and founder of YouAreMyArsenal blog who told Reuters: “100,000 drives the ante up. It goes beyond open letters being exchanged. The engagement has to evolve.
“This is global now, when the letter came out, we had signatures from all over the world.
“It shows that US fans care just as much. We care just as much as someone who grew up in Islington (London). The only thing that is different is we cannot go to games every week, and we are so jealous of that.
“Before we had a very fractured fanbase. Some who were very unhappy about the way Arsene Wenger managed towards the end, some the way (manager) Unai Emery coached towards the end of the last year. Now we are unified, more than we have ever been.”
Emery said this week Arsenal are lining up “three or four quality signings”, which may appease fans but Price insisted new arrivals alone will not prevent further action.
“People love it when clubs spend money, and they think it (the protests) will all go away. Some of the signatories will say ‘great, we have achieved what we wanted to do’, but for those of us in the 16 blogs that set it up, that is not enough.”
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