Former Impact and CF Montreal coach Thierry Henry is at the centre of an audacious bid by Spotify founder and Swedish billionaire Daniel Ek, to buy his beloved Arsenal.
He’s been joined by former team-mates Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira as Ek builds a campaign to wrest control of Arsenal away from unpopular American owner, Stan Kroenke.
Kroenke has no intention to sell but recent events around the botched and ill-advised European Super League threatens to change football’s landscape for the better.
More than 1,000 Gunners fans protested outside the Emirates Stadium before the club’s game against Everton on Friday, calling for Kroenke to quit.
BBC Sport reports that Kroenke’s son, Josh, told an Arsenal fans forum last Thursday that his family have no intention of selling and promised to engage with fans in future - he refused to answer a question about their exit strategy, responding: “I’m not willing to answer that question because we have no intention of selling.”
On Friday, Swedish businessman Ek, 38, who is worth US$4.7bn tweeted: “As a kid growing up, I’ve cheered for Arsenal as long as I can remember. If KSE would like to sell Arsenal I’d be happy to throw my hat in the ring.”
Like the rest of the secretive, sleeked six, Arsenal apologized in an open letter to fans following their withdrawal from the European Super League and declared they had “made a mistake”. They added their withdrawal was direct result of listening to supporters and the “wider football community”.
Current owner Kroenke (73), who Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says apologized to him, is owner of several sports franchises, including LA Rams of the NHL and NBA team, Denver Nuggets.
He took a 9.9% stake in Arsenal in 2007 and slowly built up his shareholding until it reached 62.89% in April 2011. A power battle then ensued with co-owner Alisher Usmanov, but Kroenke emerged successful. He now owns the entire club.
On Saturday Henry publicly criticized the Arsenal ownership’s decision and their basic values behind their running of the club.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph Henry said, “I do not recognise my club and what happened just now, with them trying to join a league that would have been closed, makes no sense to me.
“Maybe it’s a lack of understanding of the core football values and maybe the money was too big of a temptation. But whatever it was, they got it wrong. Badly wrong.
“I was genuinely shocked like most people and couldn’t believe what was unfolding.
“I have never talked before, but what happened recently made me realise fans, this is your club. It is your club and I’m an Arsenal fan too.
“I’m proud of what the fans achieved. Not just Arsenal fans, all the fans. The result was a victory for football.”
Check out the latest, The Ball Is Round Podcast (Episode 26). Recorded Wednesday evening (21 April), the TBIR team discusses the Nashville SC v CFM clash (with special guest Wes Boling of Nashville SC Radio and Club & County podcast), looks back on the #TORONTO WIN!!!! ... and addresses The Super League Fiasco - Greed, Greed, Greed...
They talk the Montreal football issues of the week and cover all the usual favourite features... including, Eve’s Time Machine Social Media & CHOICES... Don’t miss it!
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