Who is Stan Kroenke? It’s the question everyone is finally asking after he bought up ITVs 10%. If the other major shareholders are willing to sell, he seems the man most likely to be at the helm of any takeover. Now, at this stage, I could produce a poorly researched piece on Stan The Man’s bio. Or I could just point you in the direction of Wikipedia and stop pretending to know things I don’t.
What I did do was go and ask the people who know all about Kroenke and the benefits he can bring to a club: the fans. The folk over at the St. Louis Rams NFL team, who Kroenke co-owns, didn’t have a huge amount to say but were nonetheless positive:
“Kroenke is a straight up guy. He lives in Missouri, but owns teams that also are in Denver and has never threatened to move them. He wants to win, and will spend money where necessary in order to do so. You got a pretty good minority owner in Stan Kroenke.”
So he probably won’t be airlifting the Emirates to Missouri. Which is a relief.
The view from NHL side Colorado Avalanche was fairly consistent, whilst Kroenke is a good owner, he’s a bad, bad man. They’re not a big fan of his connections with Walmart:
“He is a great person to own your club if you want him to spend money on your team(i.e. have a winning team) You know that his pockets are almost endless. Our dynasty would not have happened without the man and his willingness to spend and his general “hands off” approach. He trusts his managment teams to run the club. On a personal level, I absolutely hate what he stands for and the personal values he holds. Anyone that is part of the Walmart ownership lacks a basic set of moral values and any respect for workers. He is bad for the American fabric and small towns everywhere.”
“Love him as an owner, hate his family.”
And so what of the Colorado Rapids – the soccer franchise that has led Kroenke to his investment in Arsenal:
“To date, Kroenke and KSE have shown no interest whatsoever in soccer or the Colorado Rapids. The GM is a business person with no soccer background. The Rapids front office is amateurish and its web-site poorly managed. Enough said!”
“What the above quote fails to mention is that KSE just spent millions on a new soccer facility for the Rapids and from everything we fans can see the budget for the team has gone way up going into the 2007 season. Kroenke is not a very public figure. He doesn’t seem to be involved in the day to day operations of the Rapids. He’s seems to see soccer as a good investment with a lot of growth potential in the US.”
“Kroenke sees sports as a business. There’s absolutely no chance that he bought into Arsenal so he could sit in the stands wearing a scarf and singing songs. And I doubt if Stan pays much fan attention to the various sports teams he is fielding. If Competitive Dwarf Tossing was to start a league, the KSE organization would be out there beating the bushes for the most aerodynamic little people they could find.
That said, Kroenke tends to run his businesses in a professional manner and delivers on his promises. When he bought the Rapids, he said that he would build a stadium and he delivered a first-class soccer complex. I think that as a businessman, Stan realizes that teams have to win in order to be profitable. He wasn’t afraid to spend money for the Avalanche and he’s taken the Nuggets from a useless collection of stiffs to a (somewhat underperforming) assortment of talent.
By the way, you don’t think that Americans are buying EPL teams for the personal gratification of owning a piece of history, do you? In the US, sports is a very lucrative business. They buy into teams because they see a wonderful financial opportunity. When you feel Kroenke’s hand on your wallets, you’ll know why he’s there.”
Interesting stuff. I’ll allow you to draw your own conclusions, but it’s worth reading what the Arsenal Supporters Trust say in the Guardian.
No transfer news today. I’m too tired for all that rubbish. I talk about it briefly on todays arsecast though.
Thanks for the co-operation of a bunch of American people.