The role of a football owner hasn’t changed that much over the years. They have generally been peripheral figures or in the case of a consortium, made up of various faces that no one knows.
So, in this respect, Arsenal’s current owner, Stan Kroenke, fits the bill quite nicely.
Most fans see him as an enigma who operates the club from long distance and someone who is more worried about the money making aspects of the club than achieving success.
His visits to the Emirates are viewed the same as a sighting of the Loch Ness monster or a Sasquatch, although they seem slightly more frequent.
His move to take the club into sole ownership has roused suspicion about exactly how the bill of the £600 million will be offset and where the initial funds came from but worse still is the lack of transparency and accountability.
Kroenke now rules the roost exclusively and has no obligation to answer any questions, which has alienated the fans further.
The general consensus appears to be that it was a black day for the club once Usmanov sold up.
The Russian was seen as the guardian of the club, a man with the financial clout to one day wrestle control from the American and bring back the glory days.
His treatment was such that he felt his position was untenable, after making a significant commitment to the club and not even being allowed on the board.
Now, with a new structure in place, the fans are without a back up plan and at the mercy of Kroenke’s whims.
The AST (Arsenal supporters trust ) have voiced their misgivings about the takeover and the lasting impact it may have on the club.
There are concerns about how the club will now be managed in the light of such a heavy personal investment and if the necessary funds will be available for their new manager to get them back on a par with the top five clubs in the league.
Those reservations have already been validated by the recent comments from Raul Sanllehi, Arsenal’s head of football who said
“I don’t believe much in the winter window,”
“There are exceptions, but if you have the right plan in the summer and the team are performing at the level you expect, you should not go to that window or try to avoid it.
It’s there for emergencies, a big injury or if something is really not working and you need to recover there.”
This is exactly the type of thing the AST were referring to, even if it’s obvious that additions are needed to bolster the squad that has defensive issues.
It seems that the heads of the hierarchy may have changed but the hat remains the same.
After suffering years of lack of investment due to a the building of a new stadium, a period that saw the club slip into gradual decline and even with the prospect of a new, lucrative, sponsorship deal worth millions.
The club is responsible for maintaining a position of financial viability, I’m not disputing that but they are also accountable to loyal, paying supporters to provide a team that is competitive and can perform to an expected standard.
Arsenal have failed to do that in recent years and put simply, fans feel they are always on the receiving end of an extremely poor deal.
Perhaps things will change in the future but the nature of Arsenal archaic board room and management, resembles something out of the early 1960’s.
Arsenal remain a massive global concern, that attracts millions of pounds from television and merchandising deals, the very least the owner could do is reward the faith, loyalty and trust of the fans behind the club.
Kroenke appears to want to bake the cake and eat every slice himself and for those that mention the investment in Ozil, Lacazette and Aubameyang, I’ll counter with Van Persie,Nasri, Henry and Vieira who departed.
All sold on because Arsenal couldn’t or wouldn’t invest in the team to win trophies.
Fans don’t give a flying toss about the profit margins, especially when they see their team fail to qualify for the champions league, contest the premiership title or get knocked out of the Carabao Cup by a side comprised of welders and gas fitters.
Ian Wright said earlier this year
“The owner should come in, sit down and be here and say ‘what’s happening? How’s this working? What are we going to do about this? How are we going to get ourselves back to where the fans want us?’.
Arsenal fans look at what Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha did for Leicester City and yearn for that type of leadership and spirit in an owner.
With the imminent arrival of Stan Kroenke’s son Josh, it’s thought that matters may only get worse as his son follows his dads blueprint for mediocrity and under achievement.
Stan Kroenke doesn’t have to stand tall but he has to stand up and be counted.