Arsenal’s major shareholder Stan Kroenke is set to face the ire of Arsenal supporters by attending the North London derby on Sunday, reports The Express.
Kroenke is at the centre of criticism for failing to invest heavily in the transfer market with Arsenal likely to endure a seventh successive trophyless season and even facing a struggle to qualify for next season’s Champions League. He has also repeatedly opposed Uzbek magnate Alisher Usmanov’s attempts to acquire a seat on the Arsenal board.
Kroenke only assumed control of the club in April 2011 so it is perhaps unfair to consider him the architect of the club’s current malaise. What has occurred at Arsenal is rather a culmination of causes. Firstly Arsene Wenger’s magical honeymoon period ended once his Invincibles began to depart for Valhalla. This coincided with the move to the Emirates at the beginning of the 2006-07 season. Suddenly the Arsenal team was being managed with one eye on servicing the stadium debt.
Whilst memories of the teams he had built at the club were fresh in supporters’ memories Wenger was accorded time to blood what they hoped would be the latest free-flowing, title-winning side. But as it became apparent that the next generation of Arsenal youngsters was not of the same vintage as those that preceded them, even Wenger began to come under criticism.
And with this period also representing the end of the duopoly at the zenith of English football as had been the case in the early part of the 2000s, suddenly Arsenal were now competing with the likes of rouble-rich Chelsea and latterly the oil-rich Manchester City. If anything epitomised the relative decline of the club it was Samir Nasri’s decision to leap from goldfish in a small bowl to occasional mercenary performing seal at the Etihad.
Kroenke can only be blamed for one season of underachievement. What is unravelling at Arsenal is far more deep-seated than that. The greatest irony is perhaps that the team now playing the best football in the country and challenging for honours on a relatively (compared with the likes of Chelsea and City) limited budget are their opponents on Sunday.
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