On Tuesday, Arsenal majority owner Stan Kroenke struck a deal with rival Alisher Usmanov to buy out the Russian's shares at Arsenal. The buy out will see the Premier League club being valued at around $2.3 billion. However, the move has not gone down well with Arsenal fans who believe that the American billionaire will not loosen the purse strings to allow Arsenal to match the spending power of the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City and Real Madrid.
Arsenal Supporters' Trust, a fan club, said in a statement that they are "wholly against this takeover" arguing that a club of Arsenal's stature is too big and important to be owned by a single person.
Speaking to Reuters, David Kershaw, an independent shareholder, fan and CEO of advertising group M&C Saatchi, said he was concerned that the deal would not lead to a better performance on the pitch.
"I think it's very sad that we're in danger of losing any transparency into how our club is run," he said. At Arsene Wenger's last game, a section of Arsenal fans hired a plan to fly over the Emirate's stadium with a banner saying "Kroenke - You're next".
Arsenal aren't Kroenke's first team with the Missouri-born tycoon owning a string of teams in America who, to Arsenal fans' concerns, have performed poorly since Kroenke's takeover of them. Here's a look:
Los Angeles Rams
Perhaps the reason why Arsenal fans are wary of Kroenke taking full ownership at Arsenal is that the last time Kroenke bought a sports team with a rich history, the fall from grace was spectacular, to say the least. Kroenke bought a stake in the then St Louis Rams in 1999 before completing his takeover in 2010. The Rams won the Superbowl in 1999 and lost in the finals two years later in 2001. The Rams were so lethal in offense that they earned the sobriquet, 'The Greatest Show on Turf'. The Rams became the first team to score more than 500 points each season for three years in a row. With the future looking bright, Rams' fans could never have fathomed their team's spectacular fall from grace. A year later, they recorded their first losing season since 1998. With five mixed seasons during which they twice reached the divisional playoffs, the Rams' downward spiral has seen them finish with a losing season twelve times since Kroenke entered the picture. The 2009 and 2011 seasons have been by far the worst in Rams' history with the team recording one and two wins respectively. Since Kroenke's arrival, the Rams won 135 matches with a win percentage of 44. With the fan revolt reaching its peak since his arrival, Kroenke then proceeded to shift the Rams back to Los Angeles. The move made him one of the most hated figures in American Football.
Kroenke bought NBA franchise Denver Nuggets and NHL franchise Colorado Avalanche for $450 million in 2000 in a deal which also saw him owning the Pepsi Center which served as the home stadium for both the Nuggets and the Avalanche. Since Kroenke's arrival, the Nuggets have never made it to the NBA finals and have only reached the conference finals once, in 2008-09 when the lost to LA Lakers. They have made it to the conference playoffs in 10 seasons but apart from 2008-09, have lost in the first round. Since 2013-14, they have never made it to the conference playoffs finishing lower than ninth in each season. Since 2000, the Nuggets have lost 708 matches while winning 752 matches, a poor record for a team hoping to challenge for the NBA championship.
Like the Rams, the Avalanche's best season under Kroenke was the first season. The Denver-based ice hockey team won the Stanley Cup as well as the Presidents' Trophy which is awarded to the team that finishes with the most points in a regular season. Since then, they have made it to the Conference finals only once, in 2001-02. The Avalanche have not made it to the playoffs in 8 of 17 seasons under Kroenke and have more or less stagnated. Under Kroenke's ownership, they have lost more matches than they have won with 667 wins compared to 693 losses.
Another Denver-based team in Kroenke's portfolio, the Colorado Mammoth, who play in the National Lacrosse League, were bought by Kroenke in 2004. Of all of Kroenke's Amercian sports teams, the Mammoth have been relatively consistent in their performance. The 2006 Champions have made it to the division semi-finals in every season after their championship-winning season. Their worst-ever season saw them miss out on qualification for the division playoffs having lost all their eight home games to finish with an overall 4-12 win-loss record. Mammoth are also Kroenke's most successful American team in terms of games won boasting a 54 per cent win record having won 135 matches since his arrival.
Bought in 2004, the Rapids were the last American team under Kroenke to win a title when they clinched the MLS Cup in 2010. They have managed three semi-final appearances and two quarter-final appearances under Kroenke's ownership while clinching 154 wins to 121 losses.
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Updated Date: Aug 08, 2018 18:39:34 IST