Guess if you were a fan of a team not involved in this Super League proposition, the last few hours must have been absolutely hilarious. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so glad it fell apart, and I have nothing but contempt for those who tried to force such a thing on us, but it’s hard to see the funny side when your own club has been so stained by it all.
It was such an irreparably horrible idea that Boris Johnson and Amazon were able to score moral points. The club owners and leaders who were complicit gave them the kind of help they could not fail to receive. Tap-ins. They could have knelt down and steered them over the line.
It started to unravel last night when reports emerged that Chelsea were pulling out. Then Man City. And from there, with thread after thread to pull, there was only one way. As there had been in Arsenal Football Club, there was nothing but silence. Not a word from the owners, nothing from the board of directors or officers, and not a social media post from a player. It wasn’t until Hector Bellerin got his head over the parapet, and whatever worries people might have about his performance this season, he had the balls to do it when no one else. never did.
– Hector Bellerin (@HectorBellerin) April 20, 2021
Then an announcement from the club and an apology.
The last few days have shown us once again the depth of the feeling our supporters around the world have for this great club and the game we love.
We didn’t need to remember it, but the response from supporters over the past few days has given us time to think and think deeply.
Following your listening and that of the football community at large in recent days, we are withdrawing from the proposed Super League. We made a mistake and we apologize for it.
People can take this at any face value level they choose. Compared to Liverpool’s statement, for example, he’s at least trying to apologize. However, in the middle of it, there was this:
We never intended to cause such distress, but when the invitation to join the Super League came in, knowing there was no guarantee, we didn’t want to be left behind for guarantee the protection of Arsenal and its future.
Let’s be clear, the decision to be part of the Super League was driven by our desire to protect Arsenal, the club you love, and to support the game you love through greater solidarity and financial stability.
If anyone thinks for a second that our owner was doing this out of a desire to protect Arsenal or support football, unfortunately they are wrong. It was always a question of money for him. We weren’t innocent people invited to do something daring by the big boys. KSE was one of the driving forces behind this thing, so we’re being lied to here. What this does then about how you perceive the rest of the statement is up to you, but if you apologize on one side and tell powerful lies on the other, it’s hard to take it seriously.
These owners (all) knew very well how this would be greeted by the fans: the people who genuinely love their clubs, who love football and love the sport itself. They pushed this without any consultation with their own managers or players because they knew they would hate it too. There’s a reason it came out of nowhere as an announcement, rather than a proposal – it was an attempted coup that they tried to put through in record time, not any sort of strategy to improve the game. So don’t insult our intelligence by saying that you are trying to do something for all of us.
Even Arsenal’s apologies were signed ‘The Board’. What total cowardice. It was Stan Kroenke. It was Josh Kroenke. It was KSE. “The board” gives the impression that this was a collective decision involving the people they employ to bid for them. It makes no sense. At Man Utd, Ed Woodward has reportedly resigned. We are talking about Ivan Gazidis who would have the ball at AC Milan (that would make me laugh). So, expect there to be a fall guy at Arsenal. Stan has probably spent the whole night polishing the sword that Vinai will have to fall on. Maybe he won’t get much sympathy, but for the past 6 weeks our owners have registered him with the European Club Association and then told him to quit and basically ordered him to shut up publicly. while this was going on. They are cowards.
What can we expect? They didn’t have the balls to provide even a one-line quote for the ad, so why would they do anything different for the takedown statement? Instead, they’re hiding behind this amorphous entity – THE BOARD – but let’s be clear Stan and Josh, we know that. We can see through it, we can see through you, and we know who caused such damage. You can fire all the executives from the club and we’ll always know who’s to blame. You will always be the butt of our wrath, no matter how many tampons you put in.
It seems clear to me now that what has always been a difficult relationship (at best) between owners and fans is now irrevocably broken. To be fair, there have been recent attempts to increase and improve communication. They weren’t always great, but in a reality like ours – when it became clear that they are here for the long haul – fans were open to them out of necessity. A thirsty man likes to drink water and all that.
Now? After this act of betrayal and self-sabotage, where are we? Protests are scheduled for Friday night before the Everton game. As far as it counts in the grand scheme of things, #kroenkeout was all the rage last night. Ian Wright, who loves Arsenal as much as any of us, took a stand last night and very likely tapped into any involvement he might have with media duties, promotions and whatever keeps him connected. at his club:
– Ian Wright (@ IanWright0) April 20, 2021
I must say that I am worried. I thought the line in the statement about their ‘desire to protect’ Arsenal was vaguely threatening. Almost a “Well, we warned you, but you didn’t mean it and now it’s all your fault.” We have seen firsthand how little they care about it. On this occasion, and in this context, they couldn’t ignore the depth of sentiment of Arsenal fans and the football world in general, but when it’s a smaller issue (in their minds), I don’t rule out not spite.
When this team needs investment during the summer, what will KSE do? What will they be inclined to do? Even if they didn’t care before, getting that kind of public slap will sting, and I don’t expect a diehard billionaire to take this lightly. I could be wrong, but this has been so damaging to the relationship between the owners / club and the fans, I suspect we are in a period of a long confrontation, and in the end, this is an extremely unhealthy thing for everyone. soccer club.
The big problem is that even if Kroenke wanted to sell, and I don’t (yet) believe he does, Arsenal’s valuation is such that there is a tiny amount of potential buyers. And at the financial levels we’re talking about, it would have to be a nation state or an oligarch or some other kind of billionaire. The chances that we will find a beautiful, a philanthropic, an altruistic one, are infinitesimal. But that’s the reality for most Premier League clubs, I guess. Is it time to think about changing the rules on club ownership? It probably is.
I’m also worried about the impact this will have had on the manager and the team. I have no doubts about their professionalism, the Europa League is now more important than ever, and I hope that their will to win this competition can replace everything that has happened in recent days. But they too were treated with contempt by the owners. There was no communication with them. They, along with all the other staff, were left in the dark, left in the heat, while the KSE cowards sat in LA or the Texas ranch as they put together plans for destroy football even more.
And there is a key point: we luckily avoided something terrible. But there was a reason they tried to make this terrible thing happen. There must be an account from everyone on how the game is performed. Governing bodies are seen by many as obsolete and downright corrupt. They and the broadcasters grabbed their pearls and screamed “But what about the fans ?!” It wasn’t out of concern though. This was to protect their ability to use and exploit the captive audiences generated by football and soccer clubs. Their cash cow was threatened. I don’t doubt the sincerity of the opinions of some of those that have been made public this week, but maybe now they need to think about the positive impact they can have from within.
Where we’re going from here, I don’t know. It’s hard not to think that it was just an opening salute, a kite flying to see where the line was, and from there they can redraw it to get some of what it is. ‘they want in a different format. What this has shown, and not for the first time in recent times, is that the collective power of football fans is greater than they think. On the things that really matter, if we can put tribalism aside, we can shake things up and stop things.
Join a fan club or representative group. We are all part of this collective, but there is always more we can do. Six avid homeowners from England, along with nine others across Europe, have just attempted the most blatant and stingy land grab in the sport we all love. They lied to us and told us it was for the sake of the game, but only for the sake of their bank balances. They deserve all the condemnation and criticism we can muster. They should be pilloried as soon as they show their faces in public. However, we cannot just sit here and think the war is won, it was just a skirmish. We cannot ignore the underlying causes because if we don’t address them something like this will happen again.
“Remember who you are, what you are and who you represent” – Arsenal fans have done it so well and so vehemently over the past 48 hours. Well done, everyone ❤️
Over the same period, the owners have also made it very clear to us who they are, what they are and what they stand for – and it is categorically NOT this football club we hold so dear. They left a stain that may never go away completely.