Articles

Kroenke: Attitude, aspirations and ambitions

In Arsenal FC on November 3, 2009 by Highbury N5 Editor

I have wanted to write a piece about Stan Kroenke for a while now, about a year ago I wrote a story about the ownership of Arsenal just after Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith left the board.

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Early on Saturday morning I was listening to the World Football Phone In on BBC Five Live and their correspondent for North America was asked about Stan Kroenke – what he is like as a guy, what his intentions may be in the future and what we would want to get out of a club like Arsenal.

It is at this point that I would like to state that all the information I am using is garnered from the respective radio phone-in and in the case it is not, I will link to the information source in the text. This is so I can’t be accused of making something up.

The latest news on the takeover front is that Kroenke has upped his stake in the club for the second time in two weeks – he now stands at 29.6%. Another 0.3% and he will have to launch a formal takeover bid at the shares at the highest price he had paid in the preceding 12 months which is £10,500 each.

Stan Kroenke: Attitude

When asked about what Stan Kroenke is like as a business person he was described as the ‘opposite of Randy Lerner’ who is thought of in English circles as the model football club owner. Kroenke’s description was a frugal type who gives little away and has an attitude that engulfs the saying ‘its my way or the highway’.

The appointment of Ivan Gazidis was seen by a few people as a Kroenke appointment, and the correspondent hinted at it too and almost questioned whether Kroenke as a control freak.

Stan Kroenke: Aspirations

Kroenke would want to make Arsenal the number one supported Premier League club in America, an area of the world where football is not the number one sport and is dominated by support for clubs such as Barca, Milan and United. It is likely that Kroenke would want success faster than some fans may realise, and is one of the richest men in the world, but here is where the clash could be – the manager is known to embrace patience for success, a power hungry and demanding new owner with funds may well demand that trend is broken. I must state this is only hypothetical.

Stan Kroenke: Ambitions

The main thing Kroenke would look to get out of buying Arsenal FC is profit in the long term. After all he is a damn good businessman who hasn’t got where he is by simply giving his money away. He is frugal in his how much he invests though and has not been known to pump money into his investments, this is why some sections of the Arsenal support have warmed to him over Alisher Usmanov who has something of a murky background to say the least.

The words cost and cutting were mentioned alongside each other though, and then you have to wonder…will he just want to pocket every bit of profit the club makes for himself and not re-invest it in for example, new players and sell off valuable assets, again, players to use an example.

This is where he needs to break his silence and assure fans his intentions for the club are good, at this stage we know more about Usmanov than Kroenke, and whilst Kroenke has a history of investing in sport he is also heard to have been very ruthless in some respects.

There is the fact that he has still not actually paid for quite a lot of the shares, it is stated here he owes Danny Fiszman £50 million, and if you have an owner you want to know that they can afford to take the club over and don’t have to borrow money that would in turn, be shifted onto the club and turning into debt.

A few facts about Arsenal’s majority shareholder:

  • his wealth is estimated to be about $3.5 billion
  • Wife is the heir of Wall-Mart
  • is the owner of professional basketball team Denver Nuggets
  • owns professional soccer team Colorado Rapids
  • owns professional hockey team Colorado Avalanche
  • owns 40% of the St. Louis Rams professional football franchise

My personal view of Kroenke has changed a little since I heard that correspondent on the football phone-in, as I can’t recall the name of the guy I can’t look into him and see if he is friendly with the Usmanov crew and David Dein – it is possible that his opinion may be bias.

I think it is inevitable that Arsenal will be taken over in the next year, I also said this last year so I guess that voids my judgment on that matter.

I must state that if I had the choice of Usmanov or Stan Kroenke; I would pick Kroenke every day of the week.

If you have any information, an issue with what has been written or just an opinion please use the comments or contact me personally.

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5 Responses to “Kroenke: Attitude, aspirations and ambitions”

  1. I think it’s tough to make too many judgments as yet (unfortunately).

    Regarding the interview…In part, if the person being interviewed was an American journo, we also have our fair share of biased reporting here as well (and may have an anti-Kroenke bias), so that must be taken into account. If the person being interviewed was a British journo, then yes, we must also consider any support that might exist for the Usmanov/Dein faction.

    While it’s true that Stan Kroenke is not Jerry Jones (owner of the Dallas Cowboys NFL team here in the US), someone who throws money at championships, I would also say that some of Kroenke’s teams have had success…especially the Colorado Avalanche (although the St Louis Rams are absolutely dreadful, but that’s not really Kroenke’s fault). Kroenke does not run teams into the ground simply for the sake of profit or titles. Not that he doesn’t make a profit, but he appears to want WINNING teams as well, and is not one to throw money at championships. Kroenke is not going to put his $3bln into the club, but I seriously doubt he would put the club into debt just to buy it (as in the case of United and Liverpool). Arsenal are making a healthy profit and that will only rise as the debt on the stadium and Highbury gets paid down. Arsenal are a successful football club that will challenge for both domestic and European titles almost every year. Stan Kroenke could have success AND profit, were he to take over, simply by allowing things to continue as they are.

    One point of note regarding any takeover chances is the likelihood that the other large shareholders needed to sell to Kroenke may not do so even if he reaches the 30% threshold. It would appear from comments from both Ivan Gazidis and PHW that ongoing custodianship is the preferred Arsenal method of operation and not one superior owner. There are a number of scenarios whereby Kroenke could reach 30% and not wind up “owning” Arsenal. Also, the AST has made it VERY clear that custodianship is crucial to Arsenal continuing with the values that make The Arsenal great. I do not expect these feelings to be dismissed easily by anyone.

    My take on this at the moment is that Arsene does not seem overly concerned about Kroenke possibly taking over. It would appear that Arsene has some confidence that, should a takeover occur, he would be permitted to continue with his management style and practice of developing talent within the club.

    Given all this, if Arsene is not worried…I am not going to worry.

  2. The journo in question is Sean Wheelock a well respected football correspondent and knowledgeable on all football matters in the CONCACAF region.

    I agree with SKAgooner, especially the 30% part.

    BTW at 30% Kroenke has to make an offer to buy the remaining shares. That’s it he just has to “offer” he will need 50% plus 1 share of the remaining to vote yes to his offer.

  3. Even if he ends up as owner very little will change. The clubs mantra is self sustainability. The board would not have invited him on as a member if they didn’t feel he shared the same ideals.

    If he does takeover we won’t see cash splurges on players but he will certainly turn a nice profit as the debt decreases. Although we are re-negotiating the highbury square loan for an extension as its currently all due by april 2010 at present

  4. As a writer on the Kroenke-owned Colorado Rapids, I’d like to give my opinion here. Great piece by the way.
    As an owner of the Rapids, Kroenke has done nothing except allow the club to exist. After all, it is his money that allowed the club to be founded and to continue. It’s not as if ticket receipts are going to cut it given the poor attendance at games. However, he cares nothing for this club in terms of any kind of emotional attachment. It is a vehicle for him and that’s it. He doesn’t invest in players, he never goes to games, he hasn’t allegedly even met the manager, Gary Smith.
    I doubt he would have any emotional attachment to Arsenal although, once Americans actually watch football, they tend to get why non-Americans love it so much. So, he could be come a convert. My guess at this point is that he would largely leave Wenger alone. I don’t see him interfering – what right would he have to do that? He may become the owner but he would surely be wise enough to leave the footballing decisions to someone who knows what they are doing. Any such decision to buy Arsenal would therefore be strictly a business one for him. It’s not as if he would become fan. Would that really matter for Arsenal? It really matters for Colorado because he doesn’t invest anything in the team. With a well-run, profitable club like Arsenal with a gerat manager, ownership could be just a sideshow and not integral to the team. If anything, Arsenal would have some major cash to work with for new players. I just wish he would spend some of it here in Colorado where the top-earning player is paid approx GBP 200,000 a year.

  5. […] day after I wrote about Stan Kroenke’s share gobbling, (check the commenter from the Colorado Rapids blog with a good knowledge of Kroenke) he moved […]

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