Immediate Post AGM thoughts – Stan Kroenke, Silent and Deadly??

Stan - Silent but Deadly?

Stan – Silent but Deadly?

Hi everyone. I’ve been a bit silent recently due to having some issues with my internet. However, as I am writing this, Arsenal is having its Annual General Meeting, with members of the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust in attendance. Everything you read in my blog after this is purely my own opinion and not that of Gunners Town or its editorial staff or other bloggers.

I wrote this article for Premier Punditry back in January 2015 before the F.A. Cup win last season and the last 3 paragraphs of that were on Stan Kroenke, who is the current majority shareholder of Arsenal for those who aren’t aware of him, and some thoughts on the future of Arsenal in the medium- to long-term. I’m going to try to elaborate further on that in this blog.

A few things worry me about Stan Kroenke. The most major red flag for me is that Kroenke has not put any of his own money into Arsenal aside from his purchasing of club shares, to my knowledge. I think that an owner who doesn’t invest any money would also be more inclined to simply take money out of the Club whenever he chooses, without much thought to the individual people who have contributed to those coffers, e.g. the fans.

There will probably not be any drop in prices of ticket sales for fans, either. Now, I may be an overseas fan, so many England-based Arsenal fans  may not consider my opinion to be of any value, but, at current prices, I would not go to watch Arsenal play a match at the Emirates if I was in England on holiday. It is simply too expensive. I imagine many of the U.K.-based fans likely feel the same way, as they are being priced out of going to matches. In a survey done by the BBC and this picture posted by @FourFourTweet, the high season ticket and match-day ticket prices that Arsenal fans pay are shown – there is a match-day seat listed at £27 but I suspect (and please correct me if I am wrong) that this is for an away match in the Capital One Cup at a Championship-based club, where the view of the match is likely to be at least partially obscured. In my opinion, those sorts of tickets should not be listed in the first place, or should be listed at a massive discount. A season ticket at the Emirates costs a minimum of £1014 according to that survey. Correct me if I am wrong but in England, I am pretty sure you can buy an old, running car for that kind of money!

From £1000 and up

From £1000 and up

Bringing this blog back on topic to Stan Kroenke, @PR_WhoRU  posted a tweet about Stan Kroenke and Arsene Wenger being evasive about the cash reserves not being used in the transfer window. At least some of those reserves have been built up using the very high ticket prices but also through merchandising, player transfers and other activities undertaken by the Club. My own personal suspicion is that a large portion of this cash reserve will be withdrawn by Stan Kroenke in the next 12-24 months to partially fund the move of the St. Louis Rams (the NFL team that Kroenke owns through Kroenke Sports Enterprises or KSE) from St. Louis back to Los Angeles, where the Rams played until 1994. Due to Kroenke being the majority shareholder, he will not be opposed should he choose to take money out of Arsenal to fund his other ventures. KSE has already been paid another £3 million in “consultancy fees” this year. I’m not sure what exactly KSE did to earn their £3 million and Sir Chips Keswick, the Arsenal Board’s Chairman, has declined to offer some scope into this again for the second year running. In short, the high ticket prices and the ability of Kroenke to withdraw money from Arsenal has me really worried about the long-term future of the Club while Kroenke is the majority shareholder.

Lucky Recipients of Stan’s withdrawal perhaps?

The one piece of good news is that London Colney and Hale End, Arsenal’s training facilities, are to be expanded further at a cost of £30 million. However, I think that this venture is likely to be paid for by funds within the club and not from Stan Kroenke. Kroenke, however, remained silent at the AGM and Sir Chips Keswick said that Kroenke would not be answering questions. A majority shareholder who has limited or no interaction with supporters at the Annual General Meeting, a format for supporters to question the Board and ownership, must be seen as a potential red flag.

Silent at AGM as always - Alarm Bells?

Silent at AGM as always – Alarm Bells?

If you have any thoughts on this, please comment below or tweet short thoughts my way @timjbharg

Thanks for reading!

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32 Responses to Immediate Post AGM thoughts – Stan Kroenke, Silent and Deadly??

  1. So what? October 15, 2015 at 3:01 pm #

    Has anyone ever heard Abramovich speak? Anyone….? Didn’t think so.

    • Dave Seager October 15, 2015 at 3:05 pm #

      He spoke at length about his manager last week as it goes. Any way who cares about other teams? The Hill-Woods always spoke to the fans and wrote in the programmes – This is the Arsenal not the upstarts from West London

    • Dave Seager October 15, 2015 at 3:06 pm #

      Plus CFC don’t have AGMs

      • Timothy Hargreaves October 15, 2015 at 3:14 pm #

        I think CFC don’t have AGMs as Abramovich is the sole shareholder? I think the same may be the case for Manchester City.

        Abramovich funds CFC out of his own pocket re. some transfers and some wages while AFC, to my knowledge (and please let me know if this is incorrect) do not get funding from Kroenke.

  2. Victor Thompson October 15, 2015 at 3:07 pm #

    Hi Tim,

    Excellent article.

    I have written some comments regarding the issue of ticket prices, accountability, lack of communication etc.

    Your point is well made that the fans contribute to the club whereas the main shareholder withdraws millions out of it. I was not aware that Kroenke had not actually put any of his own money into the club. If he is using the £6M that he has withdrawn over the last two seasons to fund his American ventures, then he is simply using THE ARSENAL as a cash commodity. Arsenal FC is not just any club. It is THE ARSENAL.
    The fans who read this and support the club give up their cash for love of the club and it is galling to see the way their legitimate questions are side-stepped with evasive answers regarding the disposal of the club`s cash and the price of tickets.

    Bayern Munich have just issued a statement to say that the price of Tickets, especially Arsenal`s, are a warning to the Bundeslege. The influence of money is taking the game away from the fans and as a warning they say that “it has already happened in England”. One has to worry where the future of the game is leading.

    Will the steadfast supporters have to watch their club in a pub or on Sky sitting at home? I`ve no doubt that they will still buy the merchandise to show their support but ultimately the Kroenke`s of this world will kill the golden cow and Sky won`t pay huge fees to watch empty stadiums.


    • Timothy Hargreaves October 15, 2015 at 3:25 pm #

      Hi Victor. Thank you very much for your comment.

      As I said, it’s to my knowledge that he has not supplied any cash injections to Arsenal for upgrades to the facilities or player wages and transfers, a view that’s at least partially based on prior comments by Ivan Gazidis which said that Kroenke’s opinion at the 2014 AGM was that the Club should be self-sustaining, which I think was the view re-iterated earlier today ay the 2015 AGM.

      Unfortunately, the Club will be able to rely on corporate entities and foreign fans travelling in to see matches – both are mostly willing to pay anything to get tickets. This means that local fans will eventually be priced out completely, as you suggested. It’s a sad state of affairs.

    • Pearson October 20, 2015 at 7:25 am #

      Bayern Munchen did not pay for their stadium, the German taxpayer paid for it and the German taxpayer subsidises Bayern Munchen’s low ticket prices.
      C’mon Gunners, lets hurt them tonight!

  3. crispen October 15, 2015 at 3:14 pm #

    Why is the fact that Stan does not pull out cash from his pocket to run Arsenal ,a problem. That my friend is what happens when you own a good business. It is self supporting . .. and even supports you every now and then. Comparing his millions of investment in Arsenal to fans buying a 62 quid ticket is at the very least foolish..

    • Victor Thompson October 15, 2015 at 3:39 pm #

      Hi Crispen,

      If Kroenke viewed Arsenal as a successful business and therefore worth buying into, then as you say, that is what successful business men do. The problem is that this is a football club with a history and a tradition to it which made it the successful business that it is. That was built on the backs of the fans.

      The fans buy the merchandise associated with the club and the £62 you refer to is in all likelihood a sizeable slice of their income. Arsenal is not supported by thousands of Kroenkes. It is supported by thousands of ordinary people ( and some wealthy ones ). The Purchase monies spent on Arsenal were probably not his own monies but rather company money used for investments. There are tax breaks for that.

      He could have paid a lot less and bought Watford but it would have cost many millions of pounds more to make an Arsenal out of Watford. He bought what was already a self-sufficient business and if he hadn`t there were others who would have. Now he collects his dividends on his shares and £3m a year from consultancy services.

      If you read the blogs on this site and see the commitment and the passion in the contributions from fans, maybe you can understand that the derisory way that you refer to their £62 tickets is insulting.


    • Timothy Hargreaves October 15, 2015 at 3:57 pm #

      Hi Crispin.

      Thank you for your comment. Stan Kroenke paid millions to purchase shares from the previous shareholders, which is not the same as investing in the Club. My definition (and that of many fans, I’d imagine) of investing is putting time or money into an entity to ensure that that entity survives and thrives – Stan has merely bought shares and thus gains profit participation, which is not the same as investing in the Club through players, wages or facilities upgrades. The Club has not done much directly to justify the huge ticket prices over other teams, other than playing great football a lot of the time and being based in London and, well, because they can do so unopposed. This attitude from the Club ensures that many locally-based fans will not be able to see Arsenal play at the Emirates Stadium due to being priced out, which is something that Victor mentioned in his prior comment. Away fans are hit even harder. The new TV deal begins next season, which will see another surge of cash going into the Club and another likely ticket price increase because the Club can do so, not because it is strictly necessary for the Club’s survival.

      To say that Stan’s “millions in investment”, last made several years ago which did not directly benefit the Club in any way, cannot be compared to fans’ continuous purchasing of tickets is a bit futile in my opinion, as Stan’s “millions in investment” does not make atmosphere for a match in a stadium.

  4. Andy Kelly October 15, 2015 at 3:25 pm #

    The £27 tickets are lower tier seats for Category C home games. Arsenal have no control over what other teams charge.

    Kroenke hasn’t invested any if his own money because he doesn’t have to. The club has £200m in the bank. None of the previous major shareholders has invested any money into the club, either so not sure why Kroenke is getting a hard time over this.

    • Timothy Hargreaves October 15, 2015 at 4:06 pm #

      Hi Andy. Thanks for your comment.

      You are correct about Arsenal not having any say in what other clubs charge for tickets, but I think I am correct in saying that the view would likely be obscured in some way by stadium infrastructure. However, Arsenal do control what price they charge for seats at home, which they could choose to lower to benefit the match-going supporters, but they will not do so as they don’t have to. That results in supporters being priced out of going to matches and, as I said in my comment above to Crispin, supporters provide the atmosphere for matches, which should be considered vital by the Club and thus they should have their views considered by the Club.

      The money available in the game has changed a lot though since the old days (e.g. massive transfer fees, colossal wages, etc.), and I’m pretty sure most, if not all of those shareholders, did, at one time or another, provide some funding to the club – I am pretty sure the Hill-Wood family did on a number of occasions at least.

      • Andy Kelly October 15, 2015 at 4:39 pm #


        The £27 tickets are for Category C Premier League games at The Emirates Stadium. There is no infrastructure to obscure the view of these seats. In addition the club has made available seats at £10 for younger fans at 14 Premier League games at The Emirates.

        Arsenal attract 55,000 to 60,000 fans to every home game. Since the move to The Emirates, Arsenal’s average attendances have been higher than in other point in the club’s history.

        There is no evidence to show that fans are being priced out.

        The only people that have ever put any money into the club are those that bought the first 5700 shares which equated to £5,700 and David Dein when he bought his in 1983 for which the club’s coffers were swelled by about £290,000.

        There is no need for Kroenke to invest money into the club as it has plenty of cash.

        • Dave Seager October 15, 2015 at 5:20 pm #

          I am mo expert but presumably there is no need for him to take anything out either

          • Andy Kelly October 15, 2015 at 7:23 pm #

            Unless KSE is providing a service that generates at least £3m.

      • Pearson October 20, 2015 at 7:35 am #

        Why must prices be lowered if every match is sold out and there is a waiting list of people prepared to meet the asking price?
        I am for changing discriminatory law that forbids FOOTBALL fans to stand and watch whilst other sporting codes may do so.

        Bring back standing room with proper barriers, and lower ticket prices that way.A separate enclosure for young people should also be instigated in order to create commitment from young fans.. Proper fans want to stand while they watch. (Health and Safety = SQUASH)

        It is a tragedy that ticket prices are so high and that so many people are priced out of the game. This will cause irreparable harm to the English game

  5. Fat Mike October 15, 2015 at 3:27 pm #

    Isn’t the whole point of being a very well run business is that owner does not have to pump his own personal cash into it. Who cares about CFC and Abramovich, when he walks away CFC are f**ked. If Kroenke walks away, life goes on.

    • Timothy Hargreaves October 15, 2015 at 4:15 pm #

      Hi Mike. Thank you for your comment.

      Yes, those are valid points, but most owners at least show some passion and support their clubs and most of them at least value fans’ input and provide the fans with some feedback. Stan Kroenke doesn’t seem to through the very few comments he has made over the years (including the lack of response from him today) and most likely views Arsenal as an investment vehicle for supporting his other sporting enterprises, such as the Rams in the NFL.

      Would you be annoyed by Kroenke being able to remove millions out of the Club’s coffers to fund the Rams’ potential move to Los Angeles? If not, that’s cool – I can state that most Arsenal fans who have paid to watch Arsenal would be outraged at that if it happens.

    • Alex field October 16, 2015 at 2:56 pm #

      i take great exception to Andy hill and his comments i think he must work for Arsenal as like the board he has no understanding about the lengths and scacrificed people make to enable them to have a season ticket .
      The cost of which is shocking but Arsenal domt care as for every season ticket holder their are 4 people behind you waiting and many many season ticket holders sell their tickets to lots of matches to the likes of tickets .com thats why the bowl is fullof ruddy tourists but thats ok sod the ordinary guy who has grown up with the club from the days at Highbury who has an ordinary job wife and a couple of kids if he hasnt got a season ticktet there in no way on gods earth he can afford to go to watch Arsenal and dont bleat on about £27 tickets to see the likes of Sunderland try looking at the beer prices pie prices and travel costs as well it costs me roughly £100 to come to see Arsenal play i cant afford that more than 3 times a year and thats only my match ticket and travel as i cant afford to live london anymore either !!

      • Victor Thompson October 16, 2015 at 4:50 pm #

        Well done Alex.

        Guys like Alex hill are the proof the Bayern supporters need that the arrogance of the wealthy is driving fans out of the game. This reminds me of the famous sketch with John Cleese, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett.
        Cleese is on the left, Barker in the middle and little Ronnie Corbett at the end.

        Cleese turns to Corbett and says I look down on you because “I am upper class and wealthier than you”. Barker turns to Corbett and says “I look up to him, but I look down on you because I`m middle class and I am wealthier than you”.

        That is what that attitude is all about. Football originated as a working man`s game. Look at the old photographs.

        The passion the fans had was that their local team gave them a chance to break up the tedium of their lives and still does to the present day fan. The club is in your blood. All of your disappointments and anxieties are forgotten in the space of 90 minutes on a football pitch. If your team was successful their success was your success. The Ronnie Corbetts of the world were giants for a day. The excitement of the victory and the cheers of the crowd are a perfect release from the everyday troubles of the world.

        If they won a trophy you were in the clouds for the close season and you walked with your head up especially if there were supporters of your greatest enemies in the room. That is why the true fan sticks to his team through thick and thin. He cannot contemplate deserting his beloved club to go to another.

        Unfortunately, the price is getting beyond the reach of the Ronnie Corbetts.


      • Pearson October 20, 2015 at 7:54 am #

        Very poor response. You should try to shorten your sentences too.
        Your argument is; “bloody tourists” have no right to attend The Arsenal because poor YOU were FORTUNATE and PRIVILEGED enough to attend at Highbury.
        I am sure that Highbury season ticket holders had first dibs on season tickets when The Arsenal moved to Ashburton Grove.
        I personally am distressed at the effect that high prices will have on the long term future of football as a macro economic trend, not by the fact that I will probably never be able to see The Arsenal play at all

  6. steve Palmer October 15, 2015 at 3:54 pm #

    Season ticket prices are put out before they are renewable, Is you dont like the price give up your ticket and watch at home. Many supporters have been waiting for years for a ticket so there is always somebody that feels the ticket ,offers value.

    Of course if you feel, that a walk in ticket is too much money, then don’t go, offer your dismay at the price by not paying it, I am sure Arsenal will sell them and if they shouldn’t the price may reduce.

    I often wonder about the price of tickets, and wonder how they compare with west end Theatres or a night watching a movie, going to the Ballet, or an Opera, of course all these events are optional and should they be above your budget, you do not have to go,

    As for the Largest share holder taking a payment out of 3 million, why shouldn’t he 3 million a year is a small amount compared to how much he has invested. What do you expect him to do, invest his money in Arsenal shares then just leave his money in and wait for his investment to increase, Perhaps you would like to invest your life savings and leave it there until you die. Supporters even expect him to pile many more of his millions in for your enjoyment, where it may not even increase his initial investment. Would you pile in your money then keep piling more in without increasing your number of shares.

    The answer at the end of the day is, Not happy with the price, not happy with the entertainment, then don’t pay, Let people in that feel they get value for money

    • Timothy Hargreaves October 15, 2015 at 4:24 pm #

      Hi Steve. Thanks for your comment.

      Your first paragraph is spot-on, but I imagine that, over the near future, as ticket prices continue to rise, many ST holders will give up their tickets due to rising costs. It’s just not sustainable. There needs to be a better balance between ticket prices and fans.

      You are also correct about matches being optional, but many Arsenal fans want to be able to see the team play live but many, like myself, are priced out of going due to the huge prices. I’m not based in England myself but I am sure many U.K-based fans share similar views. The Club should be paying more attention to the local fans too as many of them provide match-day atmosphere week-in and week-out, something that is essential to the experience of going to a match.

      • Andy Kelly October 15, 2015 at 5:46 pm #

        Since Arsenal moved to the Emirates, ticket prices have risen 17.% (including a 2.5% VAT increase that was beyond their control). Wages have risen 23.8% in the same period. In real terms it’s getting cheaper to watch Arsenal.

        • Dave Seager October 15, 2015 at 6:00 pm #

          Andy you surprise me LOL

    • dano_1886 October 15, 2015 at 7:54 pm #

      Think this works in theory but many supporters have a deep emotional attachment to club that runs much deeper than any one film or play.

      If football was treated like other entertainment then supporters wouldn’t go to watch any football teams outside the top 6 in PL.

      It’s completely illogical, crazy, down right mental but it’s that emotional attachment that makes the games such a great spectacle live and on TV.

      The danger with high ticket prices is that it’ll eventually be too expensive for anyone but one off visitors to go and that will kill the spectacle on TV and at the ground which in turn will kill the game. You may say the game deserves it but it’ll be a massive shame to a hell of a lot of people.

    • Pearson October 20, 2015 at 7:58 am #

      I would rather that Kroenke take a dubious 3 million “fee” than if Kroenke should declare a dividend.(which he is fully entitled to)
      That would cause an uproar, therefore 3 mill is small beer.

  7. dano_1886 October 15, 2015 at 7:28 pm #

    Very good read.

    It’s interesting reading all the comments and blogs trying to make sense of what’s going on at the club.

    The only thing I’d say is I think we actually focus on Arsenal too much when discussing this problem. This is a Premier League problem not an Arsenal one.

    What’s happening is the result of selling our game to the highest bidder all those years ago. And with the money Sky and BT are throwing about it’ll only get worse.

    Liverpool, Tottenham, Everton, Newcastle will all do the same thing as Arsenal and Kroenke as soon as they get the chance.

    I feel the only way to combat it is all supporters of all teams organising some sort of mass boycott on opening day of season (when not much at stake) or maybe some sort of mass food/drink/programme boycott

    Also just to clarify on ticket prices (as mentioned in a comment above), the £27 tickets are genuine.

    These are for cat C games. Arsenal vs Bournmouth coming up soon has cheapest non-concession ticket of £27. I imagine Leciester, WBA, Swansea, Watford at Emirates will also have £27 tickets.

    This is one of the things that is never mentioned whenever Guardian, Beeb, tabloids do a story about ticket prices – Arsenal have the most expensive tickets but they also have the cheapest.

  8. DEW October 17, 2015 at 9:01 am #

    Is there any legal means to kick this type of owners and making the club fully public. The big mistake was when other share holders sold their shares to the two big ones. The fans invest a log of emotion in the team. decades of no trophies to make the club self sustaining, but at the end such things happen.

    • Andy Kelly October 17, 2015 at 9:10 am #

      The club is fully public. You, me and anyone else can buy shares in the club.

    • Batmandela October 17, 2015 at 9:10 am #

      In short: no. 🙂


  1. Ox in for Alexis to poke the Hornets’ nest? – Watford v Arsenal Preview | ArsFeed - October 17, 2015

    […] my colleagues are ready to provide you with their thoughts on Stan Kroenke and give their take on our ticket policy (and why it isn’t half as bad as it is made out to be). […]

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