Josh Kroenke, son of Arsenal owner Stan, took part of a fiery meeting with Gunners fans answering questions about the failed Super League project
Josh Kroenke told Arsenal supporters that Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE) have no intention of selling the club during a fiery fans forum on Thursday.
Kroenke, who sits on the board at Arsenal and is son of 73-year-old owner Stan, joined chief executive Vinai Venkatesham at the fans forum to answer questions on the failed European Super League proposals.
The American came under fierce criticism from supporters during the 30-minute conference call, with some saying they were embarrassed by the club’s actions and others labelleling the decision to join the Super League as a disgrace.
What has been said?
But when asked if KSE still considered themselves fit and proper owners of Arsenal, Kronke said: “I believe we are fit to carry on in our position as custodians of Arsenal.
“We were put in a very difficult position by forces outside of the club. We have the same plans for summer that we had several weeks ago and I’m still excited about those.
“So I might be met with mistrust, I might be met with skepticism, but over time I hope to establish some sort of relationship with our supporter groups and show them that we are capable of taking our club forward.”
When pressed on when KSE might sell the club and what their exit strategy was, Kroenke added: “I am not willing to answer that question because we have no intention of selling.”
What was the mood like at the forum?
If Josh Kroenke was in any doubt over the level of ill-feeling towards KSE following the past few days, he won’t be anymore.
Arsenal fans made their feelings perfectly clear over how they felt about the club’s ownership and the decisions that have been made.
“From a trust perspective, all of our trust was shredded this week,” accepted Kroenke. “I understand that, which is why I am here today to try and rebuild some sort of relationship with the supporters.
“You have my word. You are going to be seeing more of me. I know the trust has been shredded, but you are going to be seeing me try and rebuild that both now and in the future.”
What else did Kroenke say?
Kroenke apologised for signing up to the Super League and explained why the club took the decision to sign up.
He said: “As this project took shape in a very fast manner, we asked ourselves two key questions. The first question was: what is worse, a Super League or a Super League without Arsenal? That was a very tough one for us to weigh. We decided a Super League without Arsenal was the worst of both those answers.
“The second question we asked ourselves was: what do the fans want? We tried to answer that question in as many ways as possible. We were obviously bound by certain confidentiality aspects of the decision we were thinking about making, and it was a much more complicated answer than we had time to contemplate.
“I think the global fan wants to see Arsenal versus Barcelona as much as possible. I think the European fan wants to see more big matches between top clubs, to be quite frank because their domestic league is so predictable.
“I think from an English fan’s perspective, and this is what was so educating for me, they want to see more big matches. But as one Chelsea supporter wrote on a sign that I saw online the other day, you still want your cold nights in Stoke.
“I think to me that sent a strong message of the English Premier League, football in the UK as a whole and the fan sentiment across England. We got it wrong, and that is why we are here today.
And the Super League costs?
Kroenke confirmed that KSE would cover all the costs incurred by the ill-fated agreement to join the league and then by withdrawing.
“Absolutely,” he replied, when asked the direct question.
There have been reports that the bill for clubs involved could be as much as £8 million, but Arsenal chief executive Venkatesham insisted that wasn’t the case.
“That number of £8m is absolutely miles out,” he said. “It is nowhere near that number.”