Firstly I’d just like to stress that the following letter was not written by me. I’m posting it on here as a favour to a friend on Twitter, @jonnyth14, who asked me to do so. Make sure you follow him if you’re on Twitter, he’s a top guy.
Stan Kroenke c/o Arsenal Football Club/Ivan Gazidis
Arsenal Football Club
Dear Mr Kroenke
I have been an Arsenal fan for many years, and am a platinum/gold/silver/red member. I feel the club have made great strides over the past ten years but is presently failing to capitalise on the infrastructure that it has. I respect all that the manager of this great club has achieved in his period of management but feel that now is the time for the club to push on under your new ownership and a new Board that takes a more dynamic approach to achieving football success. For instance the Board should be encouraging Arsene Wenger to spend the money we have tied up in the transfer proceeds account and to review the coaching and support network that is built around the football team.
Season Ticket holders have had to put up with the most expensive tickets for this stadium and we now expect that club, via its new ownership structure to make decisions that will allow the manager to be able to compete for the best players on the best wages in Europe. The fans deserve a team befitting of the high ticket prices they pay. We are close to winning trophies but feel the same problems have persisted in the last 3 seasons and still have not been addressed. A few experienced signings are needed.
It also seems obvious that to stop punitive rises in ticket prices the club needs to start to be ruthless with those marketing deals that make no economic sense in the current climate, and/or find a reason as to why the ”very” highly paid marketing executives have failed to be able to sell the brand to any new partners.
The wage bill is also in danger of spiraling out of control, with many players getting a pay rise and long term contract seemingly for underachievement on the pitch. Many players are also still on the books but are not contributing to the club and will not in the future. We feel this needs to be more sensibly managed as this will lead to more pressure on the club to penalise the fans with the price rises.
Winning our group and then going through to the quarter finals of the Champions League would have earned us more than the season ticket price rise. Success on the pitch is vital for the long term future of the club.
The per game price of our season tickets are in line with our London rivals but we are forced to pay for cup games which the club would perhaps struggle to sell out otherwise. Removing these would be a start.
We are fans, we are Arsenal fans, and we expect those running the club to be on the same wavelength in wanting the best for the manager, the team, the club and the support, and at present there seems to be a huge divide between us. If action is not taken soon, divides will become larger and larger. There have already been fights in the ground.
We hope you feel the same way and will take the necessary action. Your actions will speak louder than your words.
Finally, I am concerned with the recent news that our players are prohibited from signing autographs now. The divide between fans and players is getting ever wider.
Mr A Arsenal
The letter was taken from this thread on the Arsenal forums. Again, these aren’t necessarily my opinions, nor do they in any way represent the opinion of Arsenal Football Club.
I was planning on writing a lengthy analysis of yesterday’s 3-1 victory over Blackpool, however, news of Stan Kroenke’s takeover of the club has cast a shadow over Sunday’s win.
If you want to read my thoughts on the game, however, you can click here to be taken to my article on The People’s Sports Blog, a site to which I regularly contribute. If not, you’ll just have to settle for a short review of the game later in the post.
Before I begin, I just want to say sorry for my prolonged absence. My wireless adapter seems to have broken, so I’ve been unable to access the internet for a while. Luckily Dan was able to fill in for me the other day, writing a good preview for the game.
Now, onto the big news. Stan Kroenke has agreed a deal to take control of Arsenal. He was obliged to make a formal takeover bid after purchasing the shares of Danny Fiszman and Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith. The board are seemingly comfortable with Kroenke taking over, and the Club have issued a statement saying that he will respect the Club’s ethos and continue to support our sustainable model.
So there doesn’t seem to be much change in the way our Club will be run. The board will remain in place – including Peter Hill-Wood as chairman, which I can’t say I’m thrilled about – and Kroenke has moved to reassure fans that Arsene will remain as manager.
The only thing that will change is that we’ll be able to compete financially more and pay big money if Wenger feels the need to do so. The decisions in terms of football will remain Arsene’s to make – Kroenke is nothing like Roman Abrahimovic, for example. Or Gillett/Hicks, who were at Liverpool for a short and terrible period.
In fact, I’d say he’s more like John Henry, the new man at the helm of Liverpool. He brought stability to the club, and made some smart appointments including Kenny Dalglish as manager; the man the fans wanted. I think Kroenke will bring something similar. The AST have said they are optimistic that Stan will want to work with the supporters and the fanshare. You can follow @timpayton on Twitter for more on the AST’s future concerning Kroenke and more.
It’s important not to forget the reason for the swiftness of this move – the declining health of Danny Fiszman. He’s been suffering from cancer in a while, and it seems that his condition has deteriorated. He’s always wanted the best for the Arsenal, and was a pioneer in our move to the Emirates. I’m sure he and his family will be in all of our thoughts and prayers.
There’s also been a buzz about David Dein returning to the board. Some are pleased about the rumours, while some don’t want him back. I was lucky enough to meet him just a few days before he left the board, after our 2-0 win over Bolton a couple of years ago.
He and Fiszman fell out over the proposed move to the Emirates. Dein wanted us to move to Wembley, while Fiszman was firmly against that. However, it must be remembered that Dein was the one to bring in our most successful manager ever, Arsene Wenger.
After some digging I’ve found an interview with Hill-Wood in which he makes it clear that he and Dein will not do business together if it can be avoided. It all comes down to who Stan wants at the helm – it’s one or the other. At the moment it seems like it’ll be Hill-Wood, but things could take a twist. You never know with Arsenal.
As for yesterday’s victory, it was a terrific victory against a tough Blackpool team. You have to respect the way they play football. They’re not like Birmingham and Blackburn, they don’t pack their entire team behind the ball. They go out to win football matches and in style. Fair play to Ian Holloway for that. It may not have worked against us, but it’s worked before against the likes of Liverpool and Sp*rs.
Jens Lehmann was well and truly thrown in at the deep end, and he did really well. He made some vital saves, and commanded his area well. I thought Abou Diaby also had a good game, the only sour moment being a booking for stupidly booting the ball away in petulance. He did really well for his goal, and played a key part in the third. If he plays like that more often and shows that kind of attitude (the yellow card aside) I’m happy for him to play whenever Song is injured.
That was actually our first victory this season without Song, believe it or not. It not only shows how important he is, but also how we can handle his absences if Diaby pulls his socks up.
Cesc Fabregas returned to the starting eleven, and was marvellous in midfield, spraying balls over the top for fun. Blackpool let him play, and as Thierry Henry once said; if you let Fabregas play, he can kill a team. That’s exactly what he did.