So Josh Kroenke, What Is It You Do, Exactly?

It’s Christmas time, and our recent present from major shareholder Mr E Stanley Kroenke is to send his only begotten son down to earth from Colorado. Yes, Josh Kroenke has joined the Arsenal Board. No doubt you’ll be wanting to know what young Josh looks like, so you can recognise him on his many, many visits to the Arsenal over the coming months and years. Attending all those matches. Just like his father.
Here’s Josh’s picture from the Arsenal website:
josh kroenkeWell you can say one thing for Josh: he is young. Not as young as PH-W was when he joined the Board in about 1854, but still pretty young. And have we not been crying out for a bit of youth on the Board instead of the crusty old fart Etonians, bankers and carpet salesmen? Well, yes. But youth is not everything in this game, is it.

Announcing the appointment, Arsenal Chairman Sir Chips Keswick said: “We are delighted to welcome Josh Kroenke to the Board of Arsenal. He has great experience in running sports organisations and brings extensive knowledge of what is required to succeed as we develop our Club for the future.”

If I was the suspicious type, I might think that Sir Chips actually said nothing of the sort, but some PR guy wrote this and attributed it to him. Josh may have some experience of running sports organisations in the US, but he has none in Europe or the UK. He also has no experience of top level football. Ivan Gazidis was asked at the recent Supporters’ Drinks evening what Josh knew about football, and Mr G replied that he used to play it as a kid. Yes, he really said that.

So if not football knowledge, what does Josh Kroenke bring to the Arsenal Board? Business experience? Some, but nowhere near what the people already on the Board have. Knowledge of UK business? No. Contacts in football? No. Anything that other members of the Board don’t have, other than a longer life expectancy? Not that I can think of.

The Arsenal Board is made up of people whose only experience of British or European football is at Arsenal. You could argue, and some have, that it needs diversity, in the sense of some women or other ethnic groups than ‘Old Etonian’. But what it really needs is an influx of knowledge; knowledge from other clubs. It needs people with experience at the same level elsewhere. In no other business would the Board be so insular and made up of people who all have the same holes in their experience, even if they are not (with the addition of the Kroenkes and Ivan) all from exactly the same background. I’m not saying Arsenal always get it wrong and other clubs get it right, far from it. I don’t want a Ken Bates or Simon Jordan around, but there really is a need for diversity of knowledge and people who will actually add to the sum of knowledge currently present.

Arsenal, despite the best efforts of the billionaires, is still at the moment a public company. That means that as well as having a moral obligation to run the club for fans (ha!), the Board also has a legal obligation to run it for the benefit of all shareholders. And there are still a few hundred of those as well as the two biggest and richest. How is appointing the major shareholder’s son to a Board crying out for new experience a benefit? Josh Kroenke is quoted as saying: “It is an honour to join the Board of Arsenal. This re-affirms our family’s long-term commitment to the club.”

He may have said that, he may not. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is the PR message that the move gives us: Stan Kroenke is not going anywhere. He’s bought Arsenal and he’s keeping it long-term. He’s happy to appoint his son to the Board to make the point, even if it adds nothing to how the club functions.

Meanwhile, the second largest shareholder has remained totally silent. Doesn’t Usmanov have a comment about the major shareholder’s son being unilaterally appointed to the Board when he himself can’t get near it? He should have.

Twitter: @AngryOfN5


13 thoughts on “So Josh Kroenke, What Is It You Do, Exactly?

  1. I don’t recall in my entire time as a fan of the club any blog or newspaper article questioning Darren Dein’s role with the club. Oh, he didnt have a role with the club, other than to leech money from it hand over fist?

    Ah…. I get it – what Josh needs to do is sit across the negotiating table with his Dad on the other side, sell all our players to Barcelona and Man City and then make away with a huge wad of money. Perhaps Walcott, for starters, then Ozil, Mertesacker, Ramsey, Wilshere and so on. For this “service to the club”, Kroenke’s son will be lionised by Arsenal fans and his father will finally be accepted for doing things the good old British way.

  2. While your questions are valid Phil, I see things slightly more positively. Josh K does have an excellent marketing and management background but strictly and uniquely from a business perspective, not a Football one. this in fact may be an advantage. Look at what some Football experts have done to other clubs……better a great businessman than a failed Footballer to be on the Board.
    One of the fans major complaints (and yours as well if my memory serves me correctly) is that the Board was far too traditional, crusty and unwilling to accommodate modernization of the Arsenal. Sports teams are managed far differently in North America than in Europe and perhaps Josh K. can bring a richer, more avant-garde perspective to the Board?
    Regardless, his father will have someone on the Board that he trusts to tell him the way it is and also pass a rather discrete and iron-fisted/soft glove message when the time is ripe or as needed.
    Mr.Arsehole….Josh is paid by Kroenke holdings in the US, not by the Arsenal so relax, his salary is not going to raise ticket prices, other than yours because you are a dolt.
    Ziontrai…..right on!

  3. Ziontrain :- Did one of the Dein family kick your cat or something ? Not sure of the time line but didn’t young Darren’s dealings take place after his father had been kicked off the board by Mr Fiszman ?

    • Dein family did not kick my cat, but they did monetize the club suck money from fans pockets and conduct business practices that would be unaccepable in most publuc conpanies eg son of boatd member negotiating with his father’s and colleagues.

      Ashley Cole for example was a player Darren Dein tried to recruit as a client. Would Ashley’s 5000 per week for agent have been approved if said agent was Darren Dein instead of Jonathan Barret? Obviously.

      At least Josh’s role is clear.

      Last but not least in Arsenal’s history the board members have been…..members of the families that owned Arsenal…. duh…….

      • In the past, Board members have sometimes been members of the same families, but as no one had a majority they still had to be voted on. Now Stan Kroenke does whatever he likes.
        Secondly, in the past, when family members were appointed, no one was making any money out of Arsenal. Not directly and not from selling shares.
        So the situation is rather different now. The old Board have taken the money and mostly run, and Kroenke is pressing for FFP so he can take money too.

      • Well if he has a majority, what is the problem. Is there any reason to think from his educational background that he will be worse than Peter Hill-Wood? Nina Bracewell Smith? Ken Friar? Nope – more like a damn sight better.

        He is qualified enough and he has the votes. So, what is your real agenda, then?

      • As has probably been explain to you 57000 time, what you “like” is irrelevant when you dont own the club.

        Besides which this is the owner model that is practiced by most major clubs outside of Germany. The difference with Germany is the fans there actually put teeth to their demands to have control over the clubs.

        England in contrast is full of libertarians who accept the commercialisation of everything in their lives, but for some strange reason thing that selective socialism will occur within the worlds most commercialised football league – when it comes to the operation of their club only. Utter joke.

  4. Well, after learning a little bit about American sports, I can tell you that this article and the viewpoint is just another “bash Kroenke” opinion. Do you actually know how American sports franchises are run? Do you ever see an American franchise come out and say, “Save us. We’re bankrupt”?

    If anyone is shitty at organizing sports and managing it, it’s the Europeans. The ludicrous transfer market, the regular news headlines on teams filing for bankruptcy or close to being bankrupt, the disgraceful associations by the names FA and UEFA (well FIFA as well but they aren’t European), the growing divide which makes me classify teams as “top clubs” and the “lower grade” ones should give you a better idea of how good their management skills are. American sports are governed so tightly and the clubs are run with astute management at the top level. There is no disputing the efficacy with which they do it. For example, the New York Yankees pay absurd amounts of money on players and yet they make so much money they can afford it, despite the sport not being popular around the world. Heck, it is not even the most popular sport in America! In the NFL and NBA, you have many different winners of the Super Bowl and the Playoffs over a span of 10 or 20 years. It is almost always never a dynasty (like Man Utd). Will we ever see Crystal Palace win the league, without a billionaire investing, in the next 10 years? Or even 20 or 30? Seems unlikely to me. What kinda management appointments will make them win?

    And why shouldn’t he be hired without experience in Europe and football? That is like saying students shouldn’t be given a job once they finish college because they have no experience to contribute to the workplace. Which is true on face value, but not necessarily accurate in the big picture.

  5. If the dear son has American business know how and the contacts to go with it then he could be the right one to promote Arsenal in America.

    What we don’t know is the appointment nepotism or based on merit. Let’s hope its the latter,

  6. So what constitutes genuinely productive diversity on the Board then? A token woman perhaps? All ethnic and religious groups represented in the interests of diversity? What a lot of bogus hokum that is! So what does recruiting people only with knowledge of local conditions, limited only to the world of football whether UK or Europe, do to add to diversity of knowledge? Aren’t most European clubs stuffed with such folk with their own narrow, parochial experience of football and the business world? Appointing Josh Kroenke, with different experiences of sporting business, appears to be a perfect example of not only adding diversity but also stability of ownership which should also be seen as important.

    Usmanov’s opinion is irrelevant. He does not control enough of the shares to have a relevant opinion as far as the make up of the Board is concerned. Neither does any other shareholder.

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