Arsenal's Kroenke: U.S. Owners Good for Soccer

Arsenal's Kroenke: U.S. Owners Good for Soccer

It was not what Arsenal supporters, or indeed any supporters of Premier League clubs, might have expected to hear in Stan Kroenke's first interview in England. Kroenke, however, made little attempt to sugar the pill. What had the Glazer family, he wondered, done wrong at Manchester United? In his deep Missouri drawl, the largest shareholder at Arsenal made it sound like they had his admiration.

"What was so tough about the Glazers' situation?" Kroenke said. "They won. And they have increased revenues by a huge amount. If I was a fan of that club, I would sit there and go, 'Wow.' Because how could you do it any better? That's what I would say."

It was put to Kroenke that United fans were deeply unhappy at how the American owners had taken money out of the club, following their heavily leveraged takeover. "But they still won," Kroenke said. "We don't need to get into an exchange here but I don't know as a fan … how could you do it much better? They have increased massively. Some of their players have taken money out and maybe they haven't performed.

"We have a whole different philosophy in the States but I think it's time, maybe, for everybody to think a little bit and, maybe I'm saying too much but I think they ought to think a little bit about who invests in these clubs. What do you want for the long term?

"Because in the States you would never get this dialogue. 'He took money out of the club.' So what? Jerry Buss [the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team] takes money out of the club. A lot of owners in the US do. No one ever says anything about it. What it's about, in fairness [is] … did the Lakers win anything? Well, yeah. They did. How big's their revenue? Pretty darn good."

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