Exposed Kroenke is now vulnerable to Arsenal fans

When you see a headline of ‘Ian Wright sends clear two-word message to Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke as Super League collapses’, you hope for just a second that those two words were “f*** off”; after all, Tuesday night taught us that if we all scream “f*** off” loudly enough then grand but ludicrously shallow plans can crumble. We also learned that we are not perhaps as impotent as various rich men would have us believe and in this scenario, knowledge really is power.

Those two words from Wright were actually #KroenkeOut, one of several similar phrases that took turns trending on Twitter on Tuesday night as fans vented about Premier League club owners Joel Glazer and John W Henry, as well as Premier League owners’ puppets Bruce Buck, Daniel Levy and Edward Woodward. Perhaps never before have so many fans wanted so much change at exactly the same time. And perhaps none more so than those at Arsenal.

We have won this battle; now harness that anger to win wars

While feelings will obviously be mixed in Liverpool about the owners who brought in the manager and players who made them champions again, and Woodward has acted as a very useful lightning rod for the Glazers, Gunners’ fans are almost universally united in their disdain for Silent Stan, the absentee owner who was at the heart of this dastardly plan to take Arsenal into a closed shop which they were utterly under-qualified to enter.

Reports in the Athletic say that Arsenal were ‘central to the planning process’ of ‘a project that dates back years’. If there was any rush, it was not in their decision to join the plot, but in the timing to take the Gunners into an elitist project while they still (just about) had a place in Europe’s elite. If Arsenal’s executives thought that fans would be grateful at the illusion of inclusion at the top table then they were sadly mistaken; it made them a laughing stock and only strengthened feelings of disenchantment with the owners.

Stan Kroenke Arsenal ESL F365

So on Friday the fans who were planning to protest about the Super League will instead gather to protest about Kroenke, a man they already disliked who has now done something tangibly dislikeable, to add to the years of insidious silence accompanied by poor decisions that have seen Arsenal slide down the Premier League table into the kind of mediocrity that has made them this week’s punchline along with their north London neighbours.

To those who fight his corner and claim he has spent money on transfers for Arsenal – with the real failures coming on the pitch and in the dug-out rather than the boardroom – it is worth noting that the club has received no funding over the last five years from their owner. The money flows only one way, and will continue to flow that way now Arsenal owe Kroenke rather a lot of money.

“Kroenke’s been such an absent owner that he will probably just hide like an absolute coward like he has been doing all week, hoping that it just blows over,” said one board member of the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust. But the difference between now and the last time Arsenal fans mobilised in protest in 2019 is twofold: a) they have just this week seen the power of protest and b) the owner’s endgame has been exposed and exploded. With no prospect of a closed-shop European Super League and the guaranteed riches it promised, why should he stick around where he is clearly not wanted in a failing business that loses money? This might just be a perfect storm.

Of course, for #KroenkeOut to become more than a hashtag, Arsenal would need a buyer at a time when most businessmen would balk at the notion. Realistically, they need a rich fan (Aliko Dangote has been perenially mentioned) or an oligarch. But first, Arsenal fans need to make Kroenke believe that this club offers more arse-ache than opportunity. After this week, they should feel emboldened.