Adele vs Stan Kroenke: An Arsenal Story


Did anyone in Britain stop buying Adele’s records in 2012 when she bought a £6 million mansion in Surrey OR in 2015 when she reportedly bought a £5.7 million luxury home in Malibu, California? Did she stop being a Britain’s national treasure because she spent her own money to purchase an expensive asset? Was it even an issue?

Compare and contrast the almost negligible response to Adele’s largesse to the reaction among certain Arsenal fans when news recently emerged that majority owner Stan Kroenke had the audacity to use some of his own personal fortune to acquire a Texas mega-ranch listed for $725 million. In fact while the American media (Bloomberg Business) tied the purchase to his ownership of the Rams, an American football club that Kroenke is controversially in the process of moving from one city to another, our malcontents inevitably saw some perfidious connection between his acquisition of the largest contiguous ranch in the US to his majority ownership of the football club.

Yet the same Bloomberg publication went out of its way to assure the public that Kroenke was worth a fortune, estimated at $6.2 billion, pointing out that “along with the Rams, he also owns the National Basketball Association’s Denver Nuggets, the National Hockey League’s Colorado Avalanche, Major League Soccer’s Colorado Rapids, and two-thirds of the English Premier League’s Arsenal soccer club.”

But there was no such restraint from those Arsenal fans who are always willing to stir mindless mischief. Fresh after the news that Kroenke had added to his portfolio of assets, Arsenal twitter was afire. One tweep posted:

Imagine have an owner who put money into the club, instead of just taking money out.

Our PA colleague Andrew Nicoll, in his own inimitable style, sought to impart the facts of life to the incredulous fan:

He is naive this lad, imagines owning football club is charitable endeavour – his heart in the right place I’m sure

I must admit to dipping my toe into the thread but not for long since A5 was doing just fine. However for the rest of the week I kept asking myself the question what exactly has Kroenke done with this transaction to harm Arsenal Football Club. Did he take money from the club? Did he leverage his ownership of the club’s shares to make the deal?

The answer to both questions by any reasonable standard  is a resounding no. But it didn’t prevent a continuing stream of invectives on twitter against Kroenke. This was exemplified last Saturday when our Pedantic George was being pilloried by the multitude of trolls he seems to attract for giving a negative response to the accusations that Kroenke was stealing from the club. BTW, George was at his civilized best I am pleased to say, despite some pathetic attempts to paint him as some apologist for a mean billionaire starving the club of needed investment.

So what are the facts. It is well known that since Stan became the principal stakeholder of the club in 2011 by purchasing the shares of Danny Fiszman and Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith, his policy has been to let the club grow organically, to generate its own surpluses to pay down its debts and grow the football side of the business. No dividends have been taken, unlike what was once mooted by ownership rival Alisher Usmanov. The only money taken by a ownership-related party are payments of exactly £3m to Kroenke Sports and Entertainment LLC, disclosed in the 2014-15 Arsenal accounts, as being similar to the amount paid in 2013-14 – for “strategic and advisory services”.

Apparently the Arsenal Supporters Trust is guilty of the same naivety that Andrew Nicoll reproached the tweep above. They tried to characterize this payment as being irregular despite being fully disclosed. Would they prefer being in the position of Man United supporters who can only make futile objections to the club paying a dividend which coincidentally benefits the six Glazer siblings to the tune of £15 million per year. Yet it is all legal and above board in the best traditions of English capitalism. In fact if the payment to KSE was a shady transaction one can be sure that the minority shareholders, Messers Usmanov and Moshiri, would have long prevailed on Her Majesty’s best legal minds for redress.

What is well known, however, there is a section in the fanbase who would like for Kroenke to be a benefactor throwing money around left, right and center rather than a hard-boiled businessman making sure his investment appreciates in value without overspending.

I decided to poke around the data and to see whether there is any suggestion that his style of ownership is somehow harming the club.

Mucking around, the first thing that struck me is how widespread foreign ownership has become in England. Despite all the sound and fury that accompanied the Glazers’s takeover of Manchester United in 2005, Randy Lerner’s purchase of Aston Villa in 2006 and the acquisition of Liverpool in 2007 by Tom Hicks and George Gillett, the trend has continued unabated. Ten years later, according to a recent piece by the Daily Mail , in the Premier League and Championship combined, there are 27 clubs of 44 (that’s 61 per cent) with a foreign owner or co-owner, Of those clubs, 24 are controlled by foreign owners, who collectively paid £2.765bn for those clubs, now worth an estimated £5.788bn. Clearly these owners justifiably assessed they could make a return on their investment and have succeeded. Those objecting are chasing a train that has long left the station.

Is Stan’s stewardship comparable to the rest of billionaire owners in the Premier League? The data below, which I derived from Wikipedia, is compelling, if not conclusive.

Ranking by weighted average

Of the top nine billionaire owners of Premier League in the table above, only two (Mike Ashley and the Coates Family) could be considered English, Joe Lewis is excluded as neither he nor most of his fortune resides in England according to most reports. The Southampton and Leicester owners were excluded because their clubs only rejoined the Premier league within the past three years.

The table suggests that that most of these foreign billionaire owners have been able to consolidate their club’s position at the top of the Premier league. In the past five years City Chelsea, United and Arsenal have averaged league positions of 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively. In fact Stan could successfully argue that since 2011 he has overseen a constant improvement in the competitive capacity of Arsenal without having to spend his own money. In contrast City and Chelsea face the prospect next summer of the owners having to pour more money to reinforce their teams based on their disappointing 2015-16 season to date. Even the Glazers at United must take pause despite record earnings of over £700 million in their most recent fiscal year. They spent over £250 million in the past two years to recover from their post Ferguson decline and already seem destined to not make this year’s top-4 thus failing to qualify for the champion’s league. In this inflationary era they could easily spend in excess of £100 million on their squad next summer to get back to the top European level.

Returning to Kroenke, he must have estimated prior to investing an estimated £400 million (this figure was bandied about in 2011 but am unable to verify) to acquire majority ownership of the club:

  • I have the best football manager in the world who doesn’t need to overspend to build a great football team.
  • I invested in a club with a newly built stadium whose debt is manageable and almost paid off.
  • I just simply need to stay the course and I will easily double even triple the value of my investment as the club becomes more successful.

As Ivan Gazidis clearly enunciated in a recent Annual General Meeting the Board’s mission, and by definition Kroenke’s long term goal, is to raise the club to the level of Bayern Munich. While our simple-minded fans may think otherwise, I doubt the businessmen who run competing clubs are taking Arsenal’s ambitions lightly.

In the meantime the Arsenal Supporters Trust and the malcontents flail around like Don Quixote, attacking the Board for transfer spending and issues way outside their purview. Who is going to stand against rising ticket prices and against out-of-control tv companies who change match times at a whim with disregard for traveling fans?

If Adele can afford her mansions, why can’t Stan buy as many ranches as he wants? Aren’t they making a fortune at our expense providing the best possible entertainment money can buy? Railing against Stan may be emotionally satisfying, like a teenager kicking up a tantrum, but at the end of the day how many fans will stop supporting Arsenal because the club is the best run in all of England and playing the best football?

Am I missing something? Someone pray tell.

46 comments on “Adele vs Stan Kroenke: An Arsenal Story

  1. Excellent article. My thoughts exactly. The Adele reference makes it even better. As for the AST, they amuse (actually annoy) me. How do you want the club to take you and what you say seriously when all you do is bad mouth them to the media? Its beyond stupid. I want a raise and promotion at work but all I do is bad mouth the man who can give me the raise and promotion I seek, and then I get angry when I dont get what I want.
    The AST need to take a long hard look at themselves otherwise the club will end up alienating them and revoking whatever privilages they seem to have left.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Good stuff Shotta, Stan’s purchase of the world’s biggest ranch, replete with self-sustaining oil wells, must have been mana from heaven for all those who hate The Arsenal, even if they could never quite identify why.

    I do, however, feel ticket prices in the EPL is a separate and valid issue, but the clumsy attempt to link a ranch purchase to it, is somewhat wide of the mark, even if pricing – or at least ‘access’ – is a potential debating point for another day.

    But a great read Shots, thank you, my man.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Nothing to do with money, you should never bur Adele records because she is a dirty spud!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Insightful stuff. Do you do requests? If yes, then I’d like to suggest Tori Amos vs Arsene Wenger next time, please.


  5. We can now start comments on a post on PA as follows…

    “In the great tradition of PA another scholarly article….”

    Another superb piece from Shotta….speechless I am…..

    Liked by 1 person

  6. An erudite piece Shotts about one of the many ‘new’ phenomena that has apparently been sent to trouble the average football fan as he or she ponders the fixture list;

    ” Is my billionaire richer and likely to be more forthcoming with the spondulicks than your billionaire ?”

    Ah for the happy, innocent days when club chairmen were simple local entrepreneurs, defrauding the municipality with rotten meat in the school canteens or distributing stolen cars from its forecourts. Of dubious reputation perhaps but we felt a warm camaraderie with those sheepskin clad, Jaguar driving rogues, in our ignorance they were men risen from the same pool of scum that we generally sloshed about in day to day.

    Such are the opportunities and the pitfalls of globalisation. The lie that ‘they’ who own these clubs are anything like us, the fans, has been unmasked.

    They don’t care – why should they ?

    Liked by 2 people

  7. A5 – Deconstructing the myth of the local owner is helpful. The rush in which most sold out to foreign capital tells you how much they value their role as custodians of the cultural traditions of their local community. Every time I hear Mark Saggers and Stan Collymore engage in this hypocritical rant on TalkSport I vomit with disgust.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Isn’t Adele Dutch?


  9. The most interesting part of the the Damned United movie or novel for me was the fall out between the Derby County chairman and Cloughie.

    That was set in the early seventies!


  10. I cannot get enough of this from Andres Cantor (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andr%C3%A9s_Cantor):


    His love and passion for the beautiful game cannot be bettered from his reaction to Danny Welbeck’s winner.

    How can you contain the un-containable?

    This is how I wanted to respond to that goal!

    Imagine if we do end up winning the EPL….and trace it back to this?


  11. Chelsea v PSG tonight – the moral maze ?

    Ah sod it – I hope Chels get spanked

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Simply brilliant Shotts, you don’t have to be pro kronke to realise the anti mob sometimes just protesteth to much.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. In answer to a query? Stan the main man, borrowed the money, to buy the Arsenal shares !

    From the Deed Poll


    This is to certify that [ ] is/are the registered holder(s) of £[amount] in principal amount of the £394,048,000 floating rate guaranteed unsecured loan notes 2016 (the “Notes”) as constituted by a deed poll (the “Deed”) dated [ ] 2011 and made by the Company and the Guarantor (the “Guarantor”). The Notes are issued with the benefit of and subject to the provisions contained in the Deed and the Conditions endorsed on this certificate. Words and expressions defined in the Deed shall, unless the context otherwise requires, have the same meanings in this certificate.

    As for the ranch, an American jewel. Ignore the odious Piers Morgan, an out-of-date diarist!



  14. Nice one Shotta, gave it to them, with both barrels.


  15. Noth: Both barrels? That is incendiary to a gunner.

    Thanks for setting the record straight on the investment made by Kroenke and, unlike the Glazers, he did not leverage the club as collateral for his shares. The club dodged a bullet there. Billionaires know myriad of ways to spend other peoples money


  16. Unimpressive effort from PSG – 2-1 win though – probably had the slight edge on the fame but Chels comfortable for long periods – Willian probably the best player on the night


  17. William has been chelskis’s bezt player by a country mile this season makes you wonder how they would cope if he got injured.
    I certainly think PSG are more than capable of scoring a couple of goals at the bridge where chelski haven’t liked playing so far.


  18. Very interesting stuff. I have been a bit of a Kroenke sceptic, having relatives in Missouri…the fan share thing…..and at times, have wondered if he , or indeed the last board have always fully backed Wenger when he really needed it, but I have no evidence they have not, nor that Wenger has ever asked, or needed.
    But, Kroenke or his people have undoubtedly helped modernise aspects of the club, commercials and off field stuff much improved, and sustainable…and growing.
    I wondered if he might take the fast buck , and sell to God knows who….but no evidence of that.
    He backs Wenger…and realises what he has in him.
    We are told he has helped out with the big transfers.
    So yes, what is he actually doing wrong?
    Some clearly don’t really analyse his role, and just use him over their hatred of Wenger
    And after all, a man needs to be able to support his wife and own his house!
    Wish he could stop us getting Mike Dean though

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Brilliant Shotts. Just brilliant.


  20. Very clever Shotta


  21. As for the AST: they went from being recommended in a government White Paper on Football as a model to be followed (ignored by the government as all White Papers are…) to being ridiculed or ignored or worse by many if not most Arsenal fans.
    Truly tragic.

    One thing you didn’t discuss as it would’ve been pure speculation from us was the probability that someone had tried to launch a hostile takeover of the the club when it had been vulnerable. Three guesses. Another three guesses as to which ‘blogger’ they (still) employ.
    Not so likely now!

    I’m no fan of dodgy toupes or of Wal-Mart but if people want to find a poor Stateside owner they don’t have to look very far: Fulham were in the PL when recently purchased, now they are 19th in the old L2.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. AW did mention a difficult time when DD was booted off.
    That’s as close as he’s come to falling out with his employers in public. There would’ve been others. But he’s still here. I for one do not see the gain in constantly questioning a healthy marriage! Why would anyone do that…


  23. All I hear from AST concerns season ticket holders Fins that they want cheaper season tickets, that they want subsidised away tickets and preferably travel for season ticket holders, that they want enhanced rights for existing season ticket holders to drop in and out with reduced or no penalty, more tickets for Arsenal season ticket holders at Wembley, etcetera etcetera etcetera.

    I bet you can see a pattern here, can’t you ?

    AST is an association for the promotion of the interests of season ticket holders.They get thrown the occasional fish by Ivan and swim away happy. If anyone can show me a policy that promotes anything other than the interests of that self righteous, self promoting smug rabble then pray direct me.

    Liked by 3 people

  24. And for any who are contemplating the Hull game there are, literally, 000s of tickets up on the Exchange this morning including a couple behind the Arsenal bench at £28.50.

    Presumably put up on the Exchange by the same ST holders campaigning for more tickets for the clubs in Wembley finals ?

    Liked by 2 people

  25. I’ve just discovered a series of football thrillers written by Philip Kerr, the first being January Window. He normally writes quite clever stories set in Germany which were recommended to me by a modern linguist. I enjoyed January Window, the more so as Kerr is a proper Gooner. He has clearly done some research.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Good spot Tim – I am a Bernie Gunter fan so think Kerr is great but I see the January Window is on Kindle for £1.89

    And a Gooner you say !!


  27. Superb Shotta. Thanks.


  28. The ironic thing is the AST was created by AISA specifically to fight on the share issue problem (as it was seen at the time).
    The fact that AISA and AST do not agree on so many issues says it all really.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Come on Wojciech!!

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Has Szcz had a save to make so far in Rome ?

    Real need to spend a bit of cash and sign some quality strikers IMO


  31. Well neither of these two are going to win the CL – a bit grim to be honest


  32. It would appear that Stan Kroenke will vault from 9th to 5th largest private landowner, in the United States. According to the Land Report, 2,000 square miles.

    Plus, a multi-billion new stadium in LA, how is Stan going to have time for little old Arsenal?

    The sale of the ranch is NOT YET COMPLETED.

    No details as to the funding of either, new projects!

    The revenues from the Wagonner ranch, could buy a half-decent player, each season. For the Rams???

    Liked by 1 person

  33. broadband problems for a week, and I come back to this, isn’t the typical conversation with the anti Stan, and especially with the AST wing of the anti stan, something like this

    “I don’t like Stan cos he don’t speak like the other billionaire owners”, – I’ve never seen Blue Roman, the Glaziers or the Sheiks give an interview

    “they speak with their chequebook”, oh you want Arsenal to be a billionaire’s play thing

    “no no no, I want Arsenal run people who love the club, like David Dein” – oh the very same David Dein who loved Arsenal so much he not only brought the very Stan you hate to the club, but then his love for Arsenal seen him sell all his shares to another one of those nasty foreign type billionaires you so dislike.

    “at least Dein was ambitious” – yes he was ambitious to be head of the FA, on the back of him being high profile due Arsenal, he was ambitious to be Arsenal Chairman even if that meant bringing in the billionaires you hate and don’t want at the club.

    “I want an owner who will not price a new generation of Arsenal fans out of the game” – why does the Arsenal youth ticket priced at £10 go unsold so often, why do Cat C games priced at £26 go unsold all the time, is it only the Cat A games you want the cheap tickets for, sounds more like someone looking for tickets that can be passed on for a big profit.

    “you are just an apologist for Stan, Ivan and that senile old french cunt Wenger and you are not even from Islington or even London”

    Liked by 1 person

  34. so the PGMOL not content with their failed efforts to derail our title challenge by appointing Atkinson as ref, they have now followed it up with their very best game changer to try and scupper our Fa Cup run, with Mike Dean named as the man to end AFC’s reign as cup holders.

    Arsenal will need to perform a little better than they did on Sunday when it was 11v12, with Dean in charge we need more of how we played when the game went 11v11 after Simpson got sent off.
    the Arsenal crowd will need to help even out the playing field by being on Dean’s back like the did with Atkinson last Sunday, after it became clear that something was rotten in the state of Denmark. Atk was so bad that the fans that normally turn on our players actually done something right for once, and let the ref be the target of their ire. that is the direction they will need to aim their displeasure on Saturday too, it should be made clear by our fans, to the PGMOL, what we think of him and his one eyed bias against AFC, by booing and berating him from the off at the weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. eduardo

    On the other hand, I expect Dean and the pgmo have resolved to restore his reputation and have him give some decisions in our favour in a game we are expected to win anyway, so they can then appoint him to a game in our league run in. Maybe Spurs.

    Remember Dean gave us a penalty vs City (?) just after his non award of penalties to Arsenal vs x number of penalties for our opponents made it to the media as a story, and that’s where the story died.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Deano always gets the 4th round tie at the Ems – I like these old FA Cup traditions


  37. I appreciate that all you positivistas regard me as the next Arsene Wenger. I am honoured. So, I hope that you all see the similarities between our up and coming and exciting prospect, Alex Iwobi, and the magnificent Carlos Valdarama (mop excluded, of course).


  38. Does anyone know the costs of the investment in new physical infrastructure at Colney and Hale End? or the costs of little hardly visible improvements at Emirates – like the new floodlights? What about the investment in personnel infrastructure like new coaching and scouting staff?

    Arsenal are spending the ‘fackin’ money. And are still investing in youth – on players who may only blossom at the highest level when Arsene and Stan are in a nursing home.

    Arsenal have built up a decent war chest for new players – and can go toe-to-toe with nearly any other club for the services of some of the world’s best players – and keeping the ones we have. There is a Euro 16 tournament this summer, many players and their agents will want to be seen in the shop window and Arsenal have a genuine need to find long term replacements for a couple of our best players who have reached the age where they will no longer be able to tog out with the first team.

    It chokes me up to even type it, but Arsenal will have to look at finding alternatives for Tomas Rosicky and Mikel Arteta of comparable quality. Perhaps the players who can fill those boots are already in the club, but if Arsene feels the need to shop around – he will have the funding to support his decisions.

    Liked by 2 people

  39. shard did you see Dean’s words with the man city manager after the spurs game, don’t fool yourself into thinking he or the PGMOL are interested in anyway in restoring his reputation or theirs, neither Dean nor the PGMOL believe they have to change a thing, if anything they believe they are 100% correct in everything they do or say. Too many of the refs think they are the stars of any game, jeez Dean clearly thinks it even when he is only 4th official.

    Liked by 2 people

  40. DC I’d not be surprised if Iwobi is Rosicky’s replacement, and Elneny is Arteta’s

    Liked by 2 people

  41. There is a myth that Arsenal have no debt anymore and have paid off the stadium.

    The Club haven’t. There is still £233m to be paid off, and at a torturously slow rate.

    Liked by 2 people

  42. Having now watched the Leicester game, I do wonder if our new recruitment from LCFC, Ben Wigglesworth, has already had a big impact. It may have gone unnoticed in the who hay when he joined, and was described as a video scout, yes a lot of that involves compiling videos and analysis of potential signings but part of his job description is analysis of upcoming opponents, and in the LCFC game I noticed a very tactical approach to the game from Arsenal, it was clear that AFC had a very defined game plan, we put in over 30 crosses from wide positions, we constantly switched play, our attackers ran from out to in with the fullbacks overlapping in acres of space. There was also the tactic of using our tallest player (Per), to annoy Kasper at all our corners, I do believe we have never used him in this role before, its usually one of our forward players, and Per is used to attack the ball, but with Per stood in front of Kasper, the keeper never came for the corners, and Giroud was able to cause havoc. I would also say that with Kasper not getting his hands on our corners he also put him off coming for the crosses we put in form open play, he had been unnerved.

    So Ben’s analysis may have stopped Kasper having wiggle(sworth) room, (I know, I’ll get my coat).
    anyway if our new scout was one of the reasons for our win, then great, and gary linekar can stick his “afc got the wrong LCFC scout” bullshit up his arsenal

    Liked by 2 people

  43. yeah DC, I do love how, when this is pointed out to the WOB/AAA, they say but £20M is nothing with the money AFC have, — well its a Cech or Koscielny or Giroud (fee and wages) every year


  44. I see the FAY Cup QF v Liverpool U18’s will be played at the Emirates, two weeks tomorrow. Steve Gatting was not at all pleased with the performance of the lads v Coventry U18’s on Monday, when we got through on penalties 7-6, Keto saving 3 penalties, sheaf(wide) and reine-adelaide(hit post) had missed for us


  45. I have stole DCs post and its now the blog.

    Liked by 1 person

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