Arsenal director Josh Kroenke has responded to the recent letter signed by 16 supporter groups criticising the club’s ownership and leadership.
The letter, which was a collaborative effort between the groups, decried the club’s status and urged them to reconsider the current business and sporting model.
Speaking to the Mirror, Kroenke, who is the son of owner Stan Kroenke, declared: “For me, on a personal level, I’m not sure how to address my passion. Anyone that knows me knows how passionate I am about Arsenal Football Club.
“Is it hard to take? Absolutely. But I’m not in this business to make friends, I’m in it to win. If anyone is ever going to question anything about our ownership – which I view as a custodianship, the supporters trust us to be a custodian of the values – that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to win whilst also respecting the values and traditions of the club.
“I was there in Baku on behalf of KSE [Kroenke Sports & Entertainment], my father and family. I was down there on the sidelines, on the medal podium handing out second-place medals.
“I saw the look on our coach’s face, our players and all our staff. I felt and I saw what they felt. I felt the same way.
“The most important thing about being down on the pitch is understanding that there is a resolve there. There are some people who are also pretty pissed off that we had dropped that last match. That resolve should serve us well.
“I’ve sat down with supporters’ groups. I’ve not been afraid to sit down to have tough conversations with people because I’m transparent, we’re transparent, we don’t have anything to hide. We all want the same thing and we’re all trying aggressively to make it happen. It’s just sometimes our timeline might not be as aggressive as others would like to see.
“But we’re not going to compromise the values that have kept Arsenal Football Club the way it is for over 130 years.”
Speaking on the improvements the club have already made to the management structure, Kroenke continued: “The final piece of the puzzle, as Raul [Sanllehi, Arsenal’s head of football] said so elegantly in the release a few weeks ago, was our technical director in Edu. I’m really excited about his appointment.
“He brings not only Arsenal DNA but also a mentality that was instilled in him during the Invincible year. That championship, that Invincibles mentality, is going to serve us well now and in the future.”
“If we’re going into the finer points I’d have to defer to these guys [managing director Vinai Venkatesham and Sanllehi]. I’ve always told them we need to be as aggressive as possible.
“It’s no secret that we have a Champions League wage bill on a Europa League budget right now. That’s a fact. And one that we’re figuring out how to face internally at the moment.
“That doesn’t mean that my father or I have ever said anything about any restrictions on spending. We know where we need to be and we know the areas we need to address on the pitch.
“It’s not who you buy, it’s how you buy. There’s multiple statements to say how to skin that cat.
“While we’re not going to be in the market for some of the top players in the world at the moment whilst they are the top players, we’re actively scouting the globe to find the next big thing to become great at Arsenal Football Club. And not only will we bring them to the club, we’ll be able to retain them in the fold going forward.”
Source : 90min