Josh Kroenke only spent seven weeks at Arsenal over the winter not the reported three months.
Speaking to the media in Denver, the son of Arsenal’s majority shareholder was asked if his trip to London and being away for so long was part of the reason his other sides, namely the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche, were doing so well.
“Do you think all that time you’ve been away in London,” the Denver Post reporter asked Kroenke, “is the main reason the Nuggets and Avalanche are doing so well?”
He took it well, delivering a ‘belly laugh’ before replying, “That’s a good one.
“I’m willing to get killed, and take the brunt of the jokes. At the top of any organisation, a leader has to be willing to take the bullets, the darts and the criticism.”
Speaking in March, Kroenke said about Arsenal, “We have a saying over at Arsenal, victory through harmony. I think that victory through harmony can take a lot of different meanings, but for me victory through harmony comes from communication.
“You got to have open and honest dialogue about the reality that we are on because if we are sugar coating anything about ourselves, about our team, about our direction, we’re only kidding ourselves and we’re only going to be worse off for it in the long run.”
Kroenke Sports & Entertainment recently named Josh Kroenke as the new Vice Chairman of KSE and KSE UK, as his influence at Arsenal continues to grow.
The CEO and President of KSE, Jim Martin, announced the appointment in a statement this week.
“This appointment is a well-deserved and long overdue recognition of Josh’s many contributions to not only the Avalanche and Nuggets organizations but also his role in the overall global growth of KSE and our sister companies,” Martin said.
“Josh has evolved into a respected leader and innovator in sports business. He is already leading many of our organization’s investments in forward-thinking multimedia platforms and emerging technologies.”
Kroenke said himself about the promotion, “While the business of sport has transformed in recent years, we are still just getting started.
“Our current management structure won’t change, and Joe Sakic of the Avalanche and Tim Connelly of the Nuggets will continue reporting directly to me.
“This new position allows me the opportunity and flexibility to work closer with employees, fans, sponsors and community leaders to strategise and celebrate the power of sports and entertainment.
“I am particularly looking forward to sitting down with entrepreneurs and technology leaders to bring innovative platforms to connect and engage our millions of fans around the world 365 days a year.
“From our venues to our teams to the fan experience, I am incredibly excited about the future of KSE and about working with all of our teams and businesses to create memories that keep our fans coming back time and time again.”
Of course, the most relevant part of this from an Arsenal point of view is the appointment at KSE UK.
KSE UK is the majority shareholder in Arsenal Holdings PLC. The higher Josh Kroenke rises in the business, the greater his influence at the club.
Josh Kroenke’s growing involvement with the club reinforces the fact that the Kroenke family are planning a long future with Arsenal, something they’ve always admitted.
He’s young enough that he could remain in charge for the next 30-40 years but we will have to see how he juggles Arsenal, Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche.
Asked if he had a ‘favourite’ team by the Denver Post reporter, Josh simply said, “People always ask, ‘Which team do you pay the most attention to?’ The answer is: ‘Whatever team needs it the most.’ ”
Kroenke, who previously said he would like to see Thierry Henry as manager of the club, was expected to stay in London for three months in order to get a better understanding of how the club is run, according to the Mail on Sunday in their mid-February Rob Draper exclusive.
Arsenal insisted that Kroenke’s move had nothing to do with an imminent managerial change but it represented a serious shift in how the Kroenkes have operated, preferring a hands-off approach until this point.
It seems like it might finally have dawned on at least one of the Kroenkes that somebody should have a clue how the club is run, and that was apparently Josh’s remit.
It seems he didn’t need a full 12 weeks to work out what the problems are.
The youngest member of the Arsenal board by some 16 years (Ivan Gazidis, at 53, is the next youngest, the rest are 70 or older), Josh Kroenke is also president of the Denver Nuggets and Arsenal’s recent transfer moves seemed to smack more of NBA or NFL dealings than what we are normally used to seeing from the club.
Speaking back in 2015, when asked if Arsenal served as a distraction from the family’s other sporting endeavours, Kroenke gave an insight into his own personality and a hint of what we might expect. While he wasn’t talking specifically about Arsenal or Arsene Wenger at this point, he clearly could have been.
“I’m one of the most competitive people that you guys will meet, so I want to win,” he said.
“I want to win as fast as I can, but I also understand it’s a process. So we’re not going to jump just to try and satisfy something that someone says we should be doing. We’re going to keep building, we’re going to stay patient, and at the end of the day, we’re going to win.”
Josh was 34 when he was appointed to the Arsenal board, about which he said at the time, “It is an honour to join the board of Arsenal. This reaffirms our family’s long-term commitment to the Club.
“Arsenal is in a strong position on and off the pitch. We are enjoying a period of growth for Arsenal and the Premier League. We look forward to an exciting future that includes winning trophies, increasing our already impressive support around the globe and extending our commercial opportunities.
“We strongly feel our experience in sports management, marketing and broadcast will be an asset to an already impressive board.”
While Arsenal are not expected to replace Arsene Wenger this summer and are likely to allow the Frenchman to fulfil the final year of his contract, the club are believed to want a resolution in place before the new season starts rather than endure another season like 16/17 when Arsene Wenger himself admitted the speculation caused problems for the team.
Kroenke has previously expressed an admiration for Thierry Henry, a man he would like to see at the helm of the club despite the fact he has limited managerial experience of any kind, no Premier League management experience at all, and preferred to work as a Sky Sports pundit than dedicate himself to learning his coaching trade at Arsenal.
With Kroenke jnr finally grasping an idea of how the club is run despite being on the board for over three years, it seems we really are, finally, approaching the Wenger end-game.
What that means, where we go, or where we end up, however, is still as much of a mystery as ever.