Has the Kroenke family had a change of heart?

by .

Well, well.

I’m back, fellas, and I must say, it’s a fun time to be an Arsenal fan. This is now my third Le Grove column for the 2018-19 season, and if you told me we’d be level on points with Chelsea and Spurs, sitting two points behind the leaders, I’d have called that the best case scenario.

(Not. bloody. likely.)

I admit, I’ve been optimistic since the beginning of the Emery era, but pretty-much-no-one thought we’d be sitting where we are, in the midst of a 10 game winning streak, so I won’t pretend I expected this.

It’s hard to offer commentary at times like this, because what can I say that yesterday’s game didn’t declare on global television: beautiful football is back.

If the Aaron Ramsey wonder-flick the other week piqued people’s interest in The Arsenal, Mesut Ozil’s technical masterclass put us back on the map, and has raised hopes higher than I was after my trip to a reefer dispensary in Boulder a few weeks ago.

Writing as I do from the American perspective, I must say that legal marijuana is the gift that keeps on giving. Why the rest of the world hasn’t caught on that Mary Jane is fun and beneficial is beyond me, but given the realities of Capitalism, you can bet the cash flow has fascinated the mega-corporations that will ensconce the weed industry in the 21st Century.

I was just telling someone in California last week that when they first approved the program in Colorado, they had completely different systems for in-state and out-of-state residents.

Different prices.
Different rules on how much you could buy.

It was annoying, and slightly discriminatory, as why would you want to soak the tourists bringing money into your economy?

There was little sense in the rules, so as they figured out what they were doing up there, (I live 35 minutes south of the border,) the system became more efficient, and now they’ve got it dialed in.

One price for all, (tax included,) and more types of THC delivery systems than there are languages spoken in London.

The tax dollars fund the school systems, the Denver metro area is booming beyond belief, and cool-kid-states like California are racing to catch up.

Sometimes, it takes a while for major organizations to figure out what the fuck they’re doing. Typically, once the money gets rolling, and the experience levels up, positive results will follow.

In this case, I’m using the weed industry as METAPHOR for KSE, the sports conglomerate we all love to hate. (Or used to, anyway.)

Honestly, in a multi-billion dollar sports industry, can you believe how many people lost their shit over the little $3 million fee that Stan and Josh were paying themselves for “consulting” a few years back?

They insisted they were willing to spend money, did the Kroenkes, (through their mouthpiece Gazidis,) only Arsene Wenger was too cheap to take what they were offering.

According to that narrative, our former, all-powerful, manager/General Manager had a point to prove, with respect to winning without money, but he no longer had the chops to pull his vision off.

I was dubious, and personally made fun of Stan et al many times in my previous column.

It was not as much fun as mocking Mourinho, sure, but between his silly mustache, and his whole “I married Walmart money, bitches!” attitude, it was easy to mock Stan.

Beyond everything, though, was the obvious mediocrity he seemed to support in his other major clubs, the “then” St. Louis Rams, Denver Nuggets, and Colorado Avalanche.

(The Colorado theme makes sense, right?)

But now it’s 2018, Stan’s “American” football team plays in LA, and is the best in the league at present. His stadium may be behind schedule, but once it’s done, not only will his team play there, but the now-LA-Chargers will too, meaning he’ll be making mad cash off of both teams in the 2nd largest market in the US.

Even better, after years of not-mattering-at-all, the Nuggets are ALL the sportswriters’ favorite trendy-team this year, and they just knocked off the 3x champion Golden State Warriors.

All of a sudden, within the span of two years, Kroenkes Sr and Jr went from laughing stocks, (who didn’t understand the connection between brand value and winning,) to progressive owners who’ve empowered grinder coaches to build winners from the ground up.

Sean McVay, the Rams coach, comes from a famous, multi-generational football family, and is known for being young, obsessed, and ahead of the curve with his ideas.

The team spent mega-bucks on several important players, (Aaron Donald, Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks,) and is the envy of the NFL.

As for the Nuggets, their coach, Mike Malone, is also a second-generation NBA coach, and looks like the kind of guy who sleeps on his office couch, in his rumpled suit, because he’d rather eat glass than stop working.

Again, this is all public knowledge. Look it up.

The Kroenkes, seemingly out of nowhere, are building winners and brand awareness simultaneously. They’re hiring determined talent, at the player, front office and coaching levels, and entrusting them to make some fucking money.

Does this sound familiar?

I’ve already come out in favor of Unai, Sven and Raul, and I hate to repeat myself. I also pointed out last month that Arsenal now have 2 verifiable match-winners, and a newfound winning mentality.

We also have 2 midfielders who, if we had guys like that during the late-Wenger era, might have made the difference between 6th and 4th, or 2nd and 1st. (Yes, I mean Guendouzi and Torriera, both of whom I’ve name dropped in each column so far.)

Last month, I ended the blog by suggesting that after 5 wins on the trot, we’d know a lot more in a month.

Now, it’s October 23rd, (when I’m writing,) and the winning streak has doubled.

I wrote about the emphasis on development, and making players better, and we’ve had drool-worthy performances from Alex Iwobi, Danny Welbeck and Mesut Ozil, not exactly players who flourished in the previous, super-stale regime.

So now what? Where do we go from here?

Honestly, I don’t know. (We’ll have to watch and see what happens.) But it’s possible that KSE has finally figured out how to not just own clubs, but support them properly.

And even if Stan only cares about money, and figured out that winning brings more, who gives a shit?

All we want are trophies and beautiful football, and we’ve already got the latter.

Why not more?

Follow me at @jblauphoto 

325 Responses to “Has the Kroenke family had a change of heart?”

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  1. Bamford10

    I figured as much. A brief Google search reveals that “AFC Nemesis” is an Untold AKB who has long disliked Le Grove because of the criticism of Wenger that went on here / goes one here. Below is a post he made on Untold in May of this year. I’m sure people could dig up many other similar gems.

    AFC Nemesis
    18/05/2018 at 1:33 pm

    “Interesting to see the way many of those who abused Arsene Wenger and wanted him out are now starting on Mikel Arteta. I have read numerous Arsenal blogs where the ‘know-it-alls’ are making wild claims about everything. There is a type of fan (Arsenal Fan TV or the mob at LeGrove are the best examples) who seem to just live to moan.”

    The “mob” at Le Grove! That’s good, Nemesis. I guess we’re the rabble and you’re the genteel nobleman who has come to teach us his more civilized ways.

    You’re a fucking fraud, mate. You were wrong about Wenger (for years!!) and we were right. And you have been insulting this place and those who comment here for years as well. Now you come here and tell people what they should think and how they should address you? That’s rich. You’re a joke.

  2. Champagne charlie

    Did you skip the lecture on irony when doing English at Harvard mate?

    Out swinging today with the puffy chest toward Nemesis claiming his views are gash and he’s wrong etc. Your Iwobi patter is still warm, I’d save it.

  3. Marko

    I figured as much. A brief Google search reveals that “AFC Nemesis” is an Untold AKB who has long disliked Le Grove because of the criticism of Wenger that went on here / goes one here. Below is a post he made on Untold in May of this year. I’m sure people could dig up many other similar gems.

    On behalf of everyone…so what…who cares… and huh…

  4. China1

    Apparently our club all time longest winning streak in all competitions is 14.

    We are on 11 with games against palace and I forget who next week.

    dare to fucking dream

    But like I said previously, whilst our minds might wander to records and to future games, emery needs to keep the club focused on the next game only. Any distractions could derail us immediately

    But fuck me. As a supporter, dare to dream our new guy walks in the door and breaks our all time record. If we can get to the Liverpool game in tact who honestly knows

    They have a better team than us but it’s one game and the difference is insurmountable. That game could go very wrong but it’s definitely winnable.

    Let’s gooooo

  5. China1

    The difference is surmountable*

    They’re good but not unbeatable imo.

    We need to play well, take our chances and have a bit of luck and there’s a genuine chance

  6. gonsterous

    looks like a LB is more of a priority than a winger atm. If welbz leaves can we get martial on a free next summer ? would definitely be a kick up mourinhos balls.

    Didn’t watch the game, But looking at the highlights, how Did welbz not finish that when it was on a plate for him ? anyway upwards for the arsenal.

    Any one heard from GoH ? I’m worried about his health now, can someone tell him, all is forgiven ?

  7. Jeff

    Another win. Apparently we’ve never won in Portugal. And we kept a clean sheet. Auba missed his chance in a near one-to-one earlier but 1:0 away playing our second team and a clean sheet will do me just fine. Onwards and upwards. Very happy at the minute.

  8. Leedsgunner


    We play Crystal Palace, Blackpool and Liverpool all at home. Beat Liverpool we equal the record and if we beat Sporting Lisbon at home we beat it.

    Loving the new honcho’s focus that he is just looking to get better, and taking it a game at a time rather than focusing on the record.

    He is not going to let his foot off the gas though. Although he says the publicly I would bet he would love to smash it. It’d be one great way to establish his authority on the club and get the whole fan base behind him.

    After Sporting Lisbon it’s Wolves (h) Bournemouth (a) and Vorskla (a) before we face Spurs…

  9. Receding Hairline

    Pedro I wonder what your thoughts are with regards to bamfords view that le grove is a place for negativity towards the Arsenal. This is not the first, second or third time he has expressed this view. Are you also of the mindset that fans with a positive attitude towards the club stay off this blog?

  10. Leedsgunner

    What about a Ramsey for Martial swap if United will go for it? Although after Sanchez I’m not sure they would be keen. Having said that I’m sure they don’t want to lose him on a free either in the summer.

    Would be a coup if we could get it done though… it’d be fascinating to see what Emery could do with him.

  11. Receding Hairline

    Frank yea I know..bamford is best ignored or mocked but I’m just curious to know what the author of the blog thinks of a poster who always refers to being positive about Arsenal FC like its a shameful thing to do.

  12. Graham62

    I highlighted last night that due to the visible improvements in fitness, strength and motivation, Arsenal suddenly look a completely different team. Injuries are now being minimised and, although I know it’s early days, it seems Emery’s approach is to keep players hungry and eager to play by regular rotation.

    A positive mindset leads to far fewer injuries as players feel more positive and, consequently, more committed. It is so obvious that they believe in the system and structure that Emery is creating.

    There you go, no mention of Wenger(oh shite!) and positivity galore.

  13. Leedsgunner

    Le Grove has been for a long time an anti Wenger blog more than an anti Arsenal blog.

    Yes, There is a difference. 😙

  14. China1

    If Sanchez doesn’t turn a major corner sharpish (impossible with Jose there) I feel he is going to be haunted by visions and night terrors of that stupid video of him playing the piano for the rest of his life

    Make no mistake, he will be brutally trolled about this up until his career recovers, which considering his age, falling stock and circumstances could potentially never fully recover

    One word