Arsenal fans stage protest against owner outside Emirates following ESL fallout

Author mirrornews@mirror.co.uk (Freddie Keighley)
This post originally appeared on Mirror – Football

Thousands of fans gathered outside the ground (Image: Darren Wells)

Arsenal fans have staged a protest against Stan Kroenke’s ownership of the club following the American businessman’s controversial role in establishing the European Super League (ESL).

Kroenke, 73, was appointed vice-chairman of the ESL after signing the Gunners up as one of 12 so-called Founding Clubs on Sunday.

But Arsenal withdrew from the competition less than 48 hours later after they and their fellow Premier League ‘Big Six’ clubs faced huge backlash from supporters and wider society.

The north London club were forced to issue a humbling statement in which they admitted “we made a mistake, and we apologise for it”.

Kroenke’s ownership of Arsenal has been filled with controversy (Image: PA)

Although Arsenal have pulled out of the ESL, the two-day saga saw many fans’ long-term frustrations with Kroenke come to the fore once again.

The billionaire became the sole owner of the club in 2018 after originally buying a stake in Arsenal 11 years earlier.

Under Kroenke’s reign, some Arsenal fans have been dissatisfied with a supposed lack of investment and ambition.

Some fans even hung a dummy from a lamp post and wrote “Silence Stan?” (Image: Joe Cooper)
The message from Arsenal fans was clear (Image: PA)

These frustrations were apparent at the protest on Friday evening – ahead of the Premier League clash with Everton – with fans heard chanting “We want Kroenke out”.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, meanwhile, defended the rights of supporters to voice their discontent with the club’s current situation.

He said: “The fans have to express, that is their right and they have to do it freely.

“For me, what it shows is the power and the capacity when they show that determination and passion to achieve what they want.

One banner bore the famous quote by former Gunners ace David Rocastle (Image: REUTERS)

“If we can use this with our fans to support the team, I think that will be incredibly powerful and it will make us much, much stronger.

“So it’s time to leave them to express themselves and now, somehow, we have to engage them again, get them closer to us and believing in what we do.

“If we do that, we’ll be in a much better place.”

Meanwhile, Josh Kroenke – Stan’s son – echoed the apology in Arsenal’s statement by explaining the thought process behind the ESL.

Has Kroenke’s position as Arsenal’s owner become untenable? Have your say in the comments.

“Leadership is about recognising when you are wrong, correcting and apologising,” said Kroenke.

“We asked ourselves, what is worse: European Super League, or European Super League without Arsenal?

“We also asked ourselves what do the fans want? The global fan wants Arsenal vs Barcelona as often as possible. English fans want to see more big matches, but you still want your cold nights in Stoke.

“We got it wrong. It was never our intention to harm English football.”

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