Stan Kroenke has been criticised by Arsenal supporters’ groups in a letter that labels the American billionaire “passive” and “absent” and using the club as an “investment vehicle.”
A two-page letter, signed by several major supporters’ groups and bloggers, claims that “Arsenal is at a crossroads. Things need to change” as well as describing Emirates Stadium as a “soulless place” on matchdays.
It reads: “As Arsenal fans we have watched with frustration as the team’s football performances have declined over the past decade. When Stan Kroenke began buying Arsenal shares the club had just competed in a first Champions League final. Twelve years on Arsenal are about to play in the Europa League for the third year running.
“Off the pitch fans have never felt more marginalised, less listened to or valued. This was sadly illustrated when Stan Kroenke forcibly bought out the last remaining supporter-shareholders without even a word of appreciation for their custodianship role in the club.
“It feels as though Arsenal is at a crossroads. Things need to change. What all of us as signatories to this statement want to see is meaningful action by Stan Kroenke to reinvigorate our football club.”
Kroenke first invested in Arsenal in 2007 and went on to become majority shareholder in 2011. Arsenal have not won the Premier League since 2004 and the 2019-20 season will be their third in a row without Champions League football. Their only signing so far this summer is Brazilian teenager Gabriel Martinelli, while Aaron Ramsey has left for Juventus and captain Laurent Koscielny is on strike.
The letter continues: “Arsenal have invested money in recent years but their approach to both buying players and paying wages looks uncoordinated and appears to lack strategy.
“There has also been a lot of turnover in the senior football personnel. A strong board would be proactively managing this.
“On a matchday the Emirates Stadium can be a soulless place. The atmosphere is poor and there are thousands of empty seats blighting almost every game.
“If Arsenal really cared they would make sure seats weren’t left empty by investing in an improved ticketing system and actively supporting initiatives like safe standing. The club uses the strapline ‘Always ahead of the game’. It would be good to see action to demonstrate this.”
It also urges Arsenal to make public their position on proposals of a European Super League that they say is “driven by greed.”