The fall out from today’s news about Stan Kroenke being set to take full control of Arsenal was as expected. It was overwhelmingly negative.
I have always thought life is too short to be negative about everything, especially about football which for me is a release from the Monday – Friday of work.
When the news first hit, my thoughts were simple.
“I can not wait until Sunday to have a beer with my mates and watch some football”.
You see, football is not just about the 90 minutes. It is about meeting up with friends, old and new, having a few beers and releasing the tension from the working week.
The reality is as Arsenal fans we can do nothing about Kroenke taking full control. Just like we can not do anything about South West Trains having delays every single day, or the Central Line being boiling hot.
Protests, petitions and moaning on Twitter will do nothing.
And what are we protesting? What are we petitioning? What are we moaning about? We do not know Kroenke’s intentions will be as sole owner of Arsenal Football Club. Fans are getting their knickers in the twist based in rumours, based on speculation. Based on the unqualified Arsenal Supporters Trust releasing fake news.
If the deal goes through this week, will it actually affect me, as a match day going fan? No it will not. I will still go Sunday. Meet my mates. Have a few beers before, during and after the game.
In fact, The George shutting will have more of an affect on my life than Kroenke being sole owner of Arsenal.
How about we look at the positives of the situation of Arsenal?
We have long complained about Arsene Wenger’s influence on the club. His 22-year spell at the club went on too long. His autocratic style of leadership centralised power in his office. Wenger is gone. Unai Emery is in charge.
Power has also been further spread around with the appointments of Raul Sanllehi and Sven Mislintat. No longer do we have one single man in charge of the entire football side of the club. Overseeing everything from set up to scouting, transfers to training.
We have seen the effect of the new men this summer. We have spent nearly £70million on some very good signings and moved decisively in the market.
Ivan Gazidis was also holding the club back.
Ignore the fact that he let Wenger remain in charge too long – although he was key in removing the Frenchman and if it was up to him, Wenger would have gone a year earlier.
Gazidis oversees the business side of the club. It is up to him to oversee the commercial team who bring revenue in.
For too long, this commercial team has under performed.
I ma not expecting Arsenal to be up with Manchester United. Their £268million in commercial revenue (and growing) is incredible. Alongside Real Madrid and Barcelona they are a level ahead of every other club in world football when it comes to reach, fan base and brand recognition. And that feeds down to the commercial revenue.
But to be £151million behind them is poor. To have the 5th highest in the Premier League is poor – although Manchester City’s high commercial revenue comes from within.
I do not see why Arsenal, with a motivated and successful commercial revenue team could not be close to £200million a season.
Manchester City have just signed a £50million deal with Puma; Chelsea’s deal with Nike is £60million a year.
Arsenal’s £30million deal with Puma runs out at the end of this season. Taking into account our shirt sales and brand – which are both superior to Chelsea and Manchester City – we should be looking at a minimum £60million a year from Adidas or whoever we do the deal with.
Kit manufacturers do not really care who is “successful”, they care how many units they sell. It is why Liverpool still command high sponsorship revenue despite it being 28 years since they last won the league.
We have recently signed a very good £10million a year deal with Visit Rwanda.
Under Gazidis the commercial revenue team has under performed, leaving us nearly £100million a year short of where we should be.
£100million a year is a lot of money. In very simple terms, it would enable us to buy an additional £80million player on £350,000 a week, every season.
How much better position would we be in if in the last 4 summers, we were able to have purchased 4 £80million players?
The commercial revenue team have held us back for years, and Gazidis is ultimately to blame.
If Josh Kroenke does come in as CEO, as expected, he brings a world of knowledge as president of the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Rapids and Colorado Avalanche with him. American sport is the bench mark as to what commercial revenue you can bring in.
Gazidis leaving should be seen as a positive.
Then we have the final change, the biggest. Stan Kroenke buying out Alisher Usmanov.
For too long, Arsenal have been stale, not really moving anywhere, and I am certain the civil war between the two largest share holders was the reason for this.
One had to go for Arsenal to move forward under the vision of a single owner with no restrictions. Whether you think Kroenke or Usmanov was the “better choice” does not really matter. What is important is the Arsenal Civil War 2007-2018 is over. And hopefully Arsenal can move on and rebuild as one unit.
Rather than be negative, and return to protests and divisions on the terraces, lets look at the positives.
Wenger is gone
Gazidis is going
The Arsenal Civil War is over