Posts Tagged ‘Stan Kroenke


Getting Down to Business

Joey Christ Pose

Arsenal’s players and coaches are a little over 24 hours away from the biggest game in their young careers and yet, it’s the business end of the club that’s receiving all of the press.

As I reported on Saturday, Stan Kroenke is now the largest, no wait, the mostest shareholder having purchased some 4,000 shares from the Carr family and pushing his total up to just over 28%. How all this happened I’m not sure, but I do know that however that transaction occured it ticked off Arsenal’s largest, no wait, fattest shareholder and he reported the transaction to some kind of board (the takeover panel) that I’ve never heard of.

It reminds me of this one guy who was going to go to the prom with this hot chick and then at the last minute she called and said she was going to go with the star football player and you’re left holding a ton of shares that you paid a ton of money for.  Something like that. Anyway, it makes sense that he’d pursue legal action; he is essentially the jilted lover here. So, the courts will suss it out and everything and there isn’t much we can do.

I do want to mention, however, how funny it is that places like Arseblog and the Arsenal Supporter’s Trust were firmly against Stan Kroenke (HA HA SATAN KROENKE!!!) buying into the club, until they got a load of who else might try to buy Arsenal. I’m sure this is mostly down to the fact that Kroenke was duped by Dein in the early days but it’s still interesting how pretty much everyone is now firmly in the American’s corner. Kroenke, as it turns out, is a huge Arsenal supporter and will be good for the club. Just look at what he’s done with the web site, that’s what he’ll do with the Arsenal; update it, while keeping the heart of the team firmly rooted in Arsenal’s history.

Now, if only he could do something about the rumored green kits…

Meanwhile, Setanta is edging closer to going out of business. My regular reader knows that I make fun of Setanta but the reality is that I like having choices and if Setanta goes out of business I’m afraid we will lose choices. Before Setanta came along Americans got to watch Arsenal whenever Fox Soccer Channel wanted to let us watch them, or if we bought a match over PPV. But since Setanta got in on the action I’ve basically, over the last several years, had the fortune to watch pretty much every single Arsenal game. If Setanta goes away I’m afraid that priviledge will go away as well. We’ll have to see how Fox handles the new contracts they won, but if Setanta can’t make all those games pay, I wonder if Fox will be able to?

Finally, I have a little Arsenal America business to attend to. Some of you may know that I am the Seattle rep for Arsenal America. As the Seattle rep, I’ve been asked to take an accounting of the local supporters here in the PNW. So, if you’re a local (live in the Seattle/Tacoma area) and an Arsenal supporter, please send me an email (bostelle at gmail) so I can get an account of how many Arsenal supporters we have in our region. You don’t have to be a member of Arsenal America, just a local.


Ok, so tomorrow Arsenal play some kind of “huge” game or something and pretty much everyone’s jazzed. Wenger’s keeping the faith, Walcott’s keeping the faith, and I’m just like frequent reader, Connoly’s Agent; tired of all the talk. Let’s get it on, gods damn it.

One final note, Setanta is reporting that Robin van Persie is fit and will start tomorrow. Now, I don’t know where they got that information, but I don’t think it can be trusted. We need Robin no doubt, but I’m not getting my hopes up until I read it on the dot com. So, take it with a grain of salt.

With that, I will bid you adieu. Until tomorrow!


Injuries and Fabreflap make me Kroenke a fire, after being shot out of a cannon

If today’s news reports can be trusted Arsene Wenger has his work cut out for him over the next few days.

First, and worst, is the injury flap surrounding Nicklas Bendtner. Bendtner was substituted at the 30th minute of their match against Malta (pop: 410,000) because he had suffered a knee injury. Word on the street is that Wenger/Arsenal tried to recall the player at that point, probably to do a scan and prevent further injury. Well, Danish national team sub-coach Peter Bonde responded with a huge middle finger to Arsenal, saying:

He is here with us right now, if he is ready then he is ready. We cannot be thinking about Arsenal. We treat players well, but we will play them if they are fit. We have set a deadline of Tuesday. He is not training today [Monday] but he is receiving treatment. We will see how he responds.

Now let me make myself very clear Mr. Bonde: go fuck yourself. Arsenal are the reason that Bendtner is even in your team, so you should be worried about Arsenal. If it wasn’t for Arsenal playing Bendtner week in and week out while he has sucked ass you wouldn’t have a world class striker on your team.

But more importantly, this should be Bendtner’s decision, not yours. If Bendtner wants to risk his football career in order to play Eastpodunkia in the next match, then that’s his choice. But he needs to be given a choice, without threats of losing his national team spot, you don’t own the player.

Also, please note in that story there’s an aside about Robin van Persie picking up “something in his groin.” At least it was against a team that had some chance of getting into the World Cup.


So far, Arsenal have suffered just two injuries, knock on wood that we don’t suffer any more. I guess we should be happy with just two injuries so far, some of these matches are starting with riots.

Meanwhile, Cesc Fabregas is embroiled in two, or even three, flaps at the moment. The Hull Shiatty flap is still ongoing, with Hull submitting their “evidence” to the FA that Cesc spat at one or all of their coaches — and that he also cursed out Ethel the tea-lady, after spitting all over her. I have no doubt that this is going to be a he-said-she-said case and will be dismissed by the FA. Though, there in the back of my mind is the fact that Cesc is not English and thus, unlike Rooney’s disgraceful and caught on tape disrespect of himself, his club, and the referee, there’s always a chance that the FA will punish Cesc based on Phil Orange’s good word — despite the fact that his word has been dragged through the mud and spat upon by the man himself.

A bit of a bigger story, though, is that swirling around the constant speculation that Fabregas is leaving is some quote attributed to Cesc that he was tapped up by Real Madrid last year. At the time of the supposed incident, Cesc denied Real contacted him and Arsene said that he spoke with Cesc and that Cesc denied contact was made and that for him (Wenger) that was case closed. However, Arsene did leave the door open for future action saying

I did not allow Fabregas to talk to anybody. He denies he did. If you can get the statement he has done that and that Real Madrid, more than ever, has done that, then we will sue Real Madrid (emph. added).  His agent might have spoken to Real Madrid. But Real Madrid are not entitled to do it without our permission.

Now, it could be a slip of tongue, could be a mistranslation, could be the media making up something but Cesc (ironically while trying to put transfer rumors to bed) is being quoted as saying

It’s true that the president of Real Madrid called me personally, we spoke on the phone, but I never gave him my word, I never said to him that I was going to sign for Real Madrid. He asked about my progress and that was it.

I have not given him nor anyone else the expectation that I will join them. The same goes for anyone who represents me. I am a person of my word and I can assure you that I have never given any club reason to believe that I would leave Arsenal. Nobody can say that they have agreed with me that I become part of their project. That is clear.

There’s something funny about the quote though, I don’t see a date associated with it like “Cesc was talking to a reporter on Friday and said…” so it is possible that this is just a recycled quote from last year making the rounds (I searched and found nothing). It could also be a mistranslation, misquote, or even something made up: the Spanish press are actually more notoriously cuntish about transfers than the British press.

That said, if it’s true and recent and Real Madrid did contact Cesc Fabregas without Arsenal’s permission and Arsenal have evidence of that then Arsenal should sue the shit out of Real Madrid. End of.

More on this story as it develops. My gut feeling is that this is a non-story. Let’s hope my gut is right. But if it isn’t then the road ahead is clear: sue them, sue them into submission.

Finally, in the “meh” news category and included here just to bring you down from your emotional high; Stan Kroenke has bought some shares from Danny Fiszman.  YAY! At least it’s not Usmanov.

Well, that’s it for today, let’s all hope that Arsenal escape the rest of the week without any more injuries and without any more stories about Phil Orange or Cesc transfer rumors.

Gods I hate the International Break.


Kroenke turns out to be the right sort

The shadow of David Dein is still looming large on the Emirates Stadium but as of today, all that remains of David Dein is just that; his shadow. It was Dein who introduced Arsenal to Kroenke, it was Dein who brought in the much hated Usmanov, and it was Dein who ultimately paid the price for his own avarice.

When all this started, Dein’s main argument was that he saw clubs like Man U, and Chelsea receiving huge influx of cash from wealthy patrons and figured that the only way that Arsenal could compete was if they too had a sugar daddy. I say Man U but really it was always Chelsea. Dein, it seemed, was jealous over Chelsea’s endless flow of cash. And of course he was jealous, he was the one who had been beaten by them to the signatures of many of their most important current players (Essien, Drogba, etc) so he had first hand experience with the way that that much money can influence players and the league.

His vociferous arguments fell on deaf ears, the board had a different plan, another strategy that would see them through this period and into the next. The board was thinking long term, Dein was thinking short term. As if to highlight their differences, the board’s long term strategy was to build Emirates stadium, have 60,000 seats, and turn the old Highbury stadium into luxury condos while Dein just wanted Arsenal to play at Wembley.

His differences with the board now stark, Dein went off on his own and courted an unknown American entrpreneur and sports mogul and coaxed Stan Kroenke into buying ITV’s shares of Arsenal for an inflated price. This, thought Dein, would be the perfect partnership, his “genius” and Kroenke’s “billions.” The blogs erupted, calling Stan Kroenke “Kranky Satan” and other slurs and denouncing any takeover and especially an American one. Thus, with the threat of a Kroenke takeover looming large, it was then that chairman Peter Hill-Wood uttered his famous words about Satan (I mean, Stan) Kroenke

We don’t need his money and we don’t want his sort. He knows sweet FA about our football

Dein was summarily dismissed and immediately after his departure he seemed to sour on the club. At first the speculation was that Dein would team up with Kroenke and just take over the club. But something happened and suddenly a third billionaire was on the spot, someone far less savory, a convicted criminal named Alisher Usmanov.  No one except Dein and Kroenke and possibly Usmanov know what happened between Dein and Kroenke that summer. Maybe Kroenke figured out that Dein was hell bent on revenge instead of a serious business plan, maybe Dein asked too much for his stock and Kroenke refuse, and maybe Dein just found the biggest billionaire he could find and squeezed as much as he could out of him. Like I said, no one knows.

Dein sold his remaining shares to Usmanov for $150m, which is a hell of a return on his initial $300,000 investment, and agreed to chair Usmanov’s holding company “Red & White.” That relationship lasted a year before even Usmanov got sick of David Dein and fired him. Which leaves David Dein one of the richest and yet most despised Arsenal “fans” on the planet.

The threat that Usmanov brings has put the Arsenal board in a tricky place. I think they really didn’t want outside investors at all ever, but since Dein went and ruined that they are now forced to embrace outside investors who they think have Arsenal’s best interests at heart. Which is exactly why they appointed Satan Kroenke to the board today. After their initial reaction it turns out that Kroenke really IS their sort and really does know sweet FA about our football.

It’s funny because as an American, I get this all the time. Even here on my blog, I get people who post stuff about me being a Yank and not knowing “shite” about football. Or, when I go to London I get shit from the locals about being an American. What can I say? Like Satan Kroenke I guess I just have to keep doing what I do and eventually people will give up on their prejudices, because it’s really not our problem if you’re prejudiced, it’s yours.

As if to throw it in Dein’s face, not only did they appoint Kroenke to the board, but they have today released a statement that shows Arsenal with a record turnover of $400m and operating profits of $100m despite rising debt (to cover increased costs for the Highbury development) and salary that is closing in on $200m a year.

Regardless of how they got down this road, and it was a bumpy ride with Dein, Usmanov, and Kroenke, this latest statement about the financial health of the club makes it very clear that they went down the right path for the long term health of the club. I am proud to be a Gooner today because they seem to be doing just about everything right. Now, if they could only use some of that money to sign Appiah (right after we lock Theo up for 4 more years) we’ll be as sound on the pitch as we are in the boardroom.

Bolton v. Arsenal

By now you know that Arsenal are traveling to Bolton to take on what was, until last year’s 3-2 down-to-10-men-come-from-behind-win, Arsenal’s bogey team. I think I can get in a good match preview first thing in the morning because the late kickoff (9:30am PST) should give me plenty of time. The other good news is that the match is live on FSC and so, I don’t even have to go anywhere to watch it: I’ll sit here in my underwear and my Fabregas jersey and sing olde tyme Arsenal songs…

See you then.


He’s baaaaaack!

I love it.

The Adebayor story is back on the front page of every paper and we now have more “facts” at our disposal.

Fact 1: according to AC Milan vice president Adriano Galliani, Arsenal are telling rival clubs that Adebayor is only for sale at the staggering price of €45 million (£35.6 million).  Galliani then whines about how Milan cannot afford those prices.  Boo hoo.  He then says “while I once said that I ‘only have eyes for Adebayor’ I am now kind of staring at Ronaldinho.  It’s hard not to stare because he’s so fat.  What happened to him over the last few months?  Did he discover the chip butty? Anyway, that’s all us poor Italians can afford, fat, washed up, broken players, I really wish FIFA and UEFA would do something about this problem.”

Fact 2: Arsenal have offered Adebayor a new contract worth a reported £45,000/wk.  He isn’t signing it right now, preferring to wait and see what happens with the whole transfer/wage increase saga.

Fact 3: Arsenal rejected a £25m offer from Barcelona.  Barcelona are now preparing a £30m-ish bid for the Arsenal striker, supposedly.

Fact 4: I had it wrong, Vincenzo Morabito Super Agent is NOT Adebayor’s agent, Ade’s agent is Stephane Courbis and he is seriously nuts:

It is vital that Arsenal show their motivation (£££) to keep him.  There has been a love story between Adebayor and Arsenal and his relationship with Arsène Wenger is based on trust and respect. Emmanuel is a man of heart, not of money. (???) He is not greedy. He is a kid from the street, has sensibilities and is humble. (???) If this was a money problem, then he would have asked to leave (which he did), I know that Arsenal’s political position is that they don’t pay high salaries. Whatever they decide, the decision will be taken with respect. (???)

That’s simple then, since it’s not about the money, since Adebayor is in love with Arsenal, and since Adebayor is humble, he’ll just go ahead and sign Arsenal’s £45,000/wk offer that’s on the table.  But if he doesn’t I’m sure his humility, love, and respect for Arsenal will force him to just go ahead and play out the rest of his contract without any complaints about salary or transfers to other “dream” clubs like Barcelona.

Fact 5: Like I said, Barca are reportedly putting together a £30m-ish offer for Adebayor which means that both Arsenal and other teams (like Barcelona) rate the player very highly.  I don’t know how the Hater-Ade’s (get it? HAR!) feel about the fact that professional football managers at the very highest level (like Arsenal and Barcelona) rate Adebayor so highly.  Likely they either ignore it or think “Barcelona is crazy!”

Those are the facts as we know them right now: 7am PDT, July 2nd 2008.  Those facts may change without notice in which case I will write about them.

If Arsenal receive 1 pence over £30m, I say they should do the deal.  At that price Arsenal could buy 4-5 people you’ve never heard of, raise their price, and sell them on for a huge profit.

Speaking of dudes you’ve never heard of: Amaury Bischoff has been released by Werder Bremen and this supposedly means that he’ll be coming to Arsenal.  What do we know about Amaury?  He’s “highly rated,” he’s Portuguese, he played for the Portuguese U21 team, he’s been injured for most of his career at Bremen, and he claims he’s coming to Arsenal to play in the reserves.

In squad news, Eduardo’s early comeback is garnering some press with pretty much everyone saying that he will be able to participate in training camp and may even be ready for the start of the season.  I sincerely hope the young man recovers fully from Martin Taylor’s vicious attack.

Clichy week is in full swing and Arsenal have released a statistical look back at the Left Back’s amazing season.  You all know how much I love statistics, so check it out.

Also on the Dot Com is a podcast of the Gunner’s Greatest Players no. 50 through 21.  I like listening to the Arsenal old timers talk about their fellow professionals even if the official Arsenal podcasts are often of shockingly poor quality.  Hey!  They should call me, I’d love to produce those segments.  I couldn’t possibly do any worse.

Maybe I should call SATAN Kroenke, my fellow American, and ask for a spot on the Dot Com.  He’ll have more pull with the club as soon as he’s on the board.  Oh yeah, Stan’s not looking to takeover Arsenal, so go ahead and relax English fans.  My favorite part of that article is the 720 degree turn around that Peter Hill-Wood has taken on Kroenke.  He’s gone from “we don’t need his sort” to:

He is quiet, not ostentatious He could be a very good ally and colleague. There is some logic in him getting close to us. He is a sensible man who is a sportsperson and has got some expertise in his business and that has helped him to develop a fanbase there [in Colorado]

And finally, Joey Barton is reportedly being courted by Bolton.  I was thinking about Joey Barton and his many, many, many transgressions and I wondered “how long would Arsenal keep a man like that on their payroll?  Hell, how long would any of the top 4 clubs keep him on their payroll?”  Then I realized, that’s what separates top clubs from bottom feeders like Bolton: common sense.

I’ll leave it on that note, see you all tomorrow.

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