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'Urgent action is needed' - Arsenal fans relaunch campaign against Kroenke ownership

The ‘We care do you’ petition has attracted more than 100,000 signatures.

Arsenal fans have expressed their unhappiness with owner Stan Kroenke.
Arsenal fans have expressed their unhappiness with owner Stan Kroenke.

ARSENAL FANS have united once again to call on the Gunners’ hierarchy and owner Stan Kroenke to take ‘urgent’ action to arrest the club’s current slide — claiming it feels ‘rudderless’.

Prominent supporters groups, websites and bloggers hit the headlines in the summer when they joined together to launch the highly publicised #WeCareDoYou campaign.

Along with a statement detailing their concerns about the direction the club was heading under the ownership of Kroenke, a petition was also launched, which attracted more than 100,000 signatures.

The campaign received an almost immediate response, with director Josh Kroenke, son of owner Stan, giving some interviews in which he said Arsenal were trying to be ‘aggressive’ in the transfer market and telling fans to be ‘excited’.

The mood was then lifted by signings such as Nicolas Pepe, Dani Ceballos and David Luiz — along with the appointment of former Invincible Edu as the club’s new technical director.

But now, just four months later, the dark clouds are hovering over Emirates Stadium again following an awful run of form which has seen Arsenal go five league games without a win, slipping eight points adrift of a top four spot in the process.

Head coach Unai Emery is under increasing pressure and speculation is rife of problems at board level, with chairman Sir Chips Keswick said to be considering his resignation due to having little power and seeing his recommendation to have David O’Leary appointed to the board rejected by head of football Raul Sanllehi.

With reports of unrest off the pitch and disappointing performances and results on it, supporters behind the #WeCareDoYou campaign have once again issued a statement raising their concerns.

The statement labels the past decade under the ownership of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE) as ‘lost years’ in which the team has ‘regressed’.

And it calls on the Arsenal hierarchy to recognise the issues that the club faces and to prove that plans are being put in place to arrest the current slide.

The statement begins: “In July we issued a statement from a number of key Arsenal groups, outlining our concerns at the direction of our football club. A supporting petition was signed by over 100,000 individual Arsenal fans who not only felt a disconnect from the club but also had grave concerns about our future.

Since then we have been told to ‘get excited’ and to support the team. As Arsenal supporters we have done both.

“There exist many issues raised in our first statement, that remain unaddressed by the club. Whilst these matters have not gone away, it is the overall alarming and desperate state of things, on and off the pitch, that need urgent action and take precedent amongst our concerns.

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“Until the club and especially the senior management structure, is running efficiently, effectively and ambitiously, then few other issues can, or will, be satisfactorily resolved.

“The early optimism of summer, around what appeared to be good business and positive signings, has given way to renewed concerns about our overall direction and the leadership of our owner. It feels like the club is rudderless and floating aimlessly, unsure of its destination.”

The statement continues: “It appears that reported unrest in the dressing room is affecting our performances on the pitch and the board’s clearly stated target of a top four finish at season end, looks in serious danger with barely a quarter of the season played.

We spoke about never feeling less valued and this has continued with an astounding lack of communication from the club. We understand it is the Arsenal way to deal with issues internally but the current communication vehicle — the drip feed and leaks to certain journalists — is unacceptable and unsatisfactory.

“As documented in our initial statement, Stan Kroenke made his ambitions for the club clear: “KSE’s ambitions for the club are to see it competing consistently to win the Premier League and the Champions League”. We still see no evidence of this, and current form would suggest that we are moving ever further from these goals.

“We raised previously the need for new and dynamic appointments at board level; people with Arsenal DNA are needed at this time more than ever. Sadly, the club’s reaction to this recommendation has been an unresponsive dismissal of it. Can we assume you are still satisfied that the right people are in the right positions, as Vinai [Venkatesham] suggested they were at July’s end of season supporters’ event? Again, the evidence so far this season implies an intrinsic lack of understanding, ambition, appetite and ability to take us forward.”

The statement ends: “Josh Kroenke made an announcement implying that an ambitious KSE had arrived to save the day and secure the club’s future. The fact is that KSE acquired a controlling share of Arsenal in 2011 and had significant influence prior to that.

The last decade, notwithstanding the FA Cup wins, can legitimately be seen as lost years, both on and off the field, when the team has not only stagnated, but actually regressed. To date, that is the legacy of the ‘Kroenke years’.

“While our away support continues to be magnificent, our home crowds are starting to deplete and this situation will be further compounded by what will soon become a toxic atmosphere, if the current turmoil and lack of true leadership at the club continues to translate into poor performances on the pitch.

“We want commitment that the board recognises the issues faced by the club, and how severe these are for the future of the Arsenal. As supporters we want actual communication and measurable assurances from the board, that actions are in place to address this seemingly inexorable slide.

“As many great managers and players have said over the years, everyone involved with the Arsenal must “Remember who you are, what you are and who you represent.”

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