To readers of a certain age, Klondike Pete means something. To those who are too young to know, or don’t care to remember, Klondike Pete was a cartoon gold miner on the back of a cereal packet. The way people view ‘Silent’ Stan Kroenke, the owner of Arsenal, is no less two dimensional and that’s purely because of a lack of information. The cereal, rather ‘soap-opera serial’ of Arsenal’s history, was a product called: ‘Golden Nuggets’, which is similar to how people seem to view shares in Arsenal nowadays.
Of course, Alisher Usmanov, not to be compared to Peter Ustinov, has cashed in or is about to cash in his golden nuggets to ‘Silent’ Stan ‘Klondike’ Kroenke. Football has become a bit of a ‘gold rush’, just like it was around the Klondike River in Yukon, Canada, at the end of the nineteenth century. With ‘gold rushes’ come unscrupulous businessmen but I, personally, don’t think Stan Kroenke is that, despite former chairman Peter Hill-Wood once dismissing him as being ‘of that sort’. Primarily, Kroenke is a businessman, who must love sport, as why else would he own or have a commercial interest in the Los Angeles Rams and the Colorado Rapids?
For the fans, meanwhile, it seems fashionable to jump onto bandwagons and to leap into knee-jerk reactionary positions. I remember the same level of outrage, in 2005, when the Glazers bought Manchester United. People were up in arms, but I always thought the fans were over-reacting. Thirteen years later, with five more league titles, three League Cups and one Champions League trophy added to the trophy cabinet, they don’t look in the worst shape of all time to me. Didn’t they spend a fair bit of money on Paul Pogba? I seem to recall it was a record transfer fee, at the time. Therefore, my question is for all the doom-mongers out there, how is it that Manchester United can still afford to spend so much money on the transfer front if they are crippled by debt (which some people think could happen to Arsenal)?
To be honest, although I believe that in an ideal world, fans should have a say in running the clubs they support, this doesn’t always work in practice. Look at Ebbsfleet United: this was a club run by fans from 2007-2013. The result was they nearly went out of business, until they were rescued by a group of Kuwaiti investors.
Fans should really focus on what happens on the pitch rather than off it, unless they are willing to invest shed-loads of their own money. My prediction for Arsenal is their fortunes, financially as well in the football sense, are likely to improve. Change is not always a good thing, but Arsenal needed to be transformed or risk sliding out of the top four in England for good. Perhaps they have managed to reverse the trend and, if so, Kroenke should be praised not pilloried.