Anti-Kroenke protests continue as fans return to the Emirates Stadium
- Credit: Adam Perry
Hundreds of Arsenal fans gathered in the pouring rain to protest against Stan Kroenke’s ownership of the club ahead of their 2-0 victory against Brighton in the final game of the Premier League season.
Chants of “we want Kroenke out” rang around the entrance to the stadium with fans inside the ground holding up “Kroenke out, fans in” banners.
Stan Kroenke’s son, Josh, was in attendance at the game alongside Arsenal chief executive Vinai Venkatesham.
It follows on from protests ahead of Arsenal’s home games against Everton and West Brom, sparked by Arsenal’s intention to join the European Super League, which the club has since withdrawn from.
But grievances towards Kroenke’s ownership have predated the European Super League.
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S’busiso Keoagile, a student and Arsenal fan at the protest, blamed the Kroenke’s for Arsenal’s struggles, saying: “They are reactive not proactive, they have led to our downfall. They are not football fans – it seems like they are just milking the club for the money.”
He continued: “Pressure needs to come from all directions, including Daniel Ek. Fans need to show their displeasure and make the Kroenkes uncomfortable. Anything the fans can do to budge them we should do, and protesting is one of the best ways to do that.
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“I have been supporting Arsenal since I was 12 years old, and these protests have been some of my proudest moments as a fan.”
The protests come in the wake of Spotify founder Daniel Ek putting in a bid to buy the club in early May.
Ek released a statement on Twitter on May 15 stating: “This week an offer was made to both Josh Kroenke and their bankers that included fan ownership, representation at board level and a golden share for supporters.”
He also confirmed that the bid was rejected but insisted his offer will remain on the table should the situation ever change.
Richard Cooke, matchday seller for the Gooner Fanzine, praised the idea of fan ownership but warned it may not solve Arsenal’s problems, saying: “Fan ownership would be good, but Stan Kroenke can sit on his ranch and be happily oblivious to everything that happens at the club. We like football but he likes a spreadsheet. He is an asset stripper like the Glazers.”
He added: “I hope the protest does make a difference. If you do not like something you have to state your opinion. Daniel Ek is not the same as Kroenke, he is a football fan and has grown up in football culture.”
The protests came as Arsenal welcomed back 10,000 fans to the Emirates for the first time since December 3 against Rapid Vienna in the Europa league, and for the first time in the Premier League season.
Cooke was excited about fans to return, saying: “It is a big relief and a long time coming. The fans will make a big difference to home form. If the fans had been witnessing what we have seen this season they would have spurred the attack on.
“What we are seeing is a lack of atmosphere at home games and that is having a big impact. This season has been a real outlier.”
Arsenal finished the season with just 8 wins at home, their worst tally since the 1994/95 season, and scored just 24 goals at home, their lowest since the Premier league began.
Keoagile was optimistic that having fans back would improve Arsenal’s performances, saying: “Fans can instil confidence into the players and hopefully motivation from the fans will help them. It is always good to create an atmosphere with chanting. It is nice for us to enjoy ourselves watching the football live rather than just watching on a screen.
“It is great for the fans to be back, it has been claustrophobic watching all of the games at home, the fans and players need the atmosphere.”