As the world falls apart around us due to inadequate healthcare provisions and inept governments, I wondered just what Arsenal’s billionaire owner was doing to help.
One billion pounds is a lot of money. If you’re not entirely sure of the difference, sit there for one million seconds and I’ll be back with you in 11 days. Sit there for one billion seconds? Well, I’m sorry to say it’s going to be 33 years before you hear back from me and the way things are going, that doesn’t seem likely.
Wealth hoarding is a thing. It shouldn’t be, but it is because we live in a capitalist world that relentlessly tells you the amount of money you have in your bank is a direct reflection of how much work you have put in. To get more money, we must simply work harder.
Of course, those working two jobs but still struggling to pay their bills will tell you that how much you earn and how hard you work are rarely, if ever connected. Who works harder every week – Mesut Ozil or an average NHS nurse?
That we have to turn to socialism – financial help from the government – on a regular basis to deal with the latest mess capitalism has caused, would seem to make it obvious to anyone with a brain that capitalism is the cause of most of our problems.
But this is a virus, right? How can that possibly be capitalism’s fault?
Well, maybe if we didn’t allow people like Jeff Bezos to amass more money than several small countries we’d have fewer people dying of starvation because they missed two paychecks. Perhaps if we hadn’t be so set on ringing every penny we could get out of as many farm animals as possible, we wouldn’t have set the virus lose, and maybe if we hadn’t destroyed so much of the planet, we would have long ago had something to hand that might have helped more than what is at our disposal currently.
I can hear you in the back mumbling about the 1918 Flu pandemic and the plague, these things happen. You are indeed correct. They do. And as humans who can read, we should all know that and prioritise where our money goes.
Scientists have been warning there was a pandemic like this coming for years and still the Tories slashed away at our health and public services to line the pockets of people who already had more money than they knew what to do with over several lifetimes. There should be no need to scramble for fire hoses when your house is on fire if you’d only spent time setting up your smoke alarms properly in the first place, nor if you’d invested in enough fire engines.
But back to Stan.
Stan Kroenke is worth $10billion and while I appreciate he is American, he could pay the salary of 300,000 UK NHS nurses for a full year and still have half his money left.
So is he doing anything with his money?
Well, we know at Arsenal he is continuing to pay all staff, including matchday casuals while on the other side of north London, Spurs have “made the difficult decision – in order to protect jobs – to reduce the remuneration of all 550 non-playing directors and employees for April and May by 20% utilising, where appropriate, the Government’s furlough scheme.”
Arsenal have also committed to “supporting our community through COVID-19,” with £150,000 already donated which sounds lovely and is better than nothing but is also £30,000 less than they paid Alexandre Lacazette to do nothing for a week.
In the States, the Kroenke’s initially gave no commitment to support their workers involved with their basketball team before issuing a follow-up statement doing just that, but only for 30 days.
But it wasn’t his sports teams nor employees I was wondering about. What is he doing with his money to help the people who make him nothing? What is he giving back to his community? Or any community? It seems like a stupid question to ask of a man who has made a large part of his fortune by getting local governments to pay for his stadiums.
Unsurprisingly, Stan Kroenke, as well as being one of the most silent people in sport, also seems to be one of the stingiest when it comes to charitable giving. Back in 2018, when he was ‘only’ worth $8.5bn, Forbes revealed he had given a total of $1m to charity over the course of his entire life. That’s the same amount as he donated to Donald Trump’s inauguration fund. He was 70 at the time.
In the interests of fairness, it is worth noting he could have donated significantly more than that anonymously, but his foundation wouldn’t confirm either way. Unlike Alisher Usmanov’s people, who are on your back the minute you get a single thing wrong, Kroenke’s people, like the man himself, simply say nothing. His silence here, however, would seem to be damming.
As it stands, it currently looks like Stan Kroenke has done the bare minimum across all his teams – some of that at a push – and absolutely nothing to help anyone else.
We can but hope that the new world that emerges on the other side of this is filled with people who realise these sorts of wealth hoarders no longer have an acceptable place in our society.