Arsenal's supporter groups have united to send a stinging 'warning' to owner Stan Kroenke over his running of the club.
In the statement, which has been worked on and signed by 14 separate supporter groups, and has been circulating social media alongside the hashtag #WeCareDoYou?, the fans explain: “As Arsenal fans we have watched with frustration as the team’s football performances have declined over the past decade.
"When Stan Kroenke began buying Arsenal shares the club had just competed in a first Champions League final. Twelve years on Arsenal are about to play in the Europa League for the third year running.
“Off the pitch fans have never felt more marginalised, less listened to or valued. This was sadly illustrated when Stan Kroenke forcibly bought out the last remaining supporter-shareholders without even a word of appreciation for their custodianship role in the club. It feels as though Arsenal is at a crossroads. Things need to change. What all of us as signatories to this statement want to see is meaningful action by Stan Kroenke to reinvigorate our football club.”
The fans then cited Kroenke's own words upon completing his official takeover of the club, declaring: “Change needs to start with better leadership. In his takeover document Stan Kroenke said: ‘KSE’s [Kroenke’s investment holding] ambitions for the club are to see it competing consistently to win the Premier League and the Champions League.’ We see little evidence of how this is to be achieved.
"Instead our club feels like an investment vehicle, personified by the owner’s statement that he didn’t buy Arsenal to win trophies.
“It is sad that an institution like Arsenal FC has such passive ownership. All of us want to see a clear sense of purpose and direction. KSE should start by being more open and accountable and explain how they intend to achieve the goal of winning the game’s major trophies. If Stan Kroenke is going to be absent from London he needs to make sure the board he delegates to is fit for purpose. There is a desperate need for some new and dynamic appointments.”
And, while they didn't necessarily bemoan the lack of money spent by the club, they did besmirch the strategy of their spending, writing: “Arsenal have invested money in recent years but their approach to both buying players and paying wages looks uncoordinated and appears to lack strategy. There has also been a lot of turnover in the senior football personnel. A strong board would be proactively managing this."
They then turned their gaze to the notoriously 'poor' atmosphere at the Emirates, before suggesting several solutions to the problem, explaining: “On a matchday the Emirates Stadium can be a soulless place. The atmosphere is poor and there are thousands of empty seats blighting almost every game.
"If Arsenal really cared they would make sure seats weren’t left empty by investing in an improved ticketing system and actively supporting initiatives like safe standing. The club uses the strapline ‘Always ahead of the game’. It would be good to see action to demonstrate this.”
The statement ended with a wholehearted rejection of any proposals for a European Super League, and a plea for these issues to be addressed in the scheduled meeting between supporters and the managing director and head of football on July 25th.