West Ham United 1 Arsenal 0
Those of you who are regular readers of this website will know me as an occasional contributor to the Arsenal page.
I’m a trained journalist who also happens to be a Gooner – but most of my pieces are written firmly with my hack’s hat on – and are as unbiased as they possibly can be.
Today, that will not be the case. And the reason for this is one man. Stan Kroenke.
A few minutes into the second half of today’s abject surrender at the Olympic stadium against mighty West Ham, the home fans sang one of the biggest back-handed compliments I can remember from an opposition set of fans.
They sang ‘you’re not Arsenal anymore’.
And thanks to Silent Stan, that ruiner of all sports teams he touches, we are not Arsenal anymore.
The short-sighted Gooners among our fanbase – those swept along by the wave upon wave of social media banjax, got what they wished for when Kroenke sacked Arsene Wenger last season.
And although I’m not saying Wenger’s departure was wrong – I was among those calling for a change – things are really not all that different this year, despite the ‘Emery bounce’ as political reporters might label it.
Why? Stan Kroenke.
Earlier this week Emery was hung out to dry by the American – the Spaniard being the one to air Kroenke’s dirty washing in public when he told the watching world we wouldn’t be buying anyone this January – despite the obvious lack of defensive steel and creativity in the midfield.
I’m sick of it. Completely sick of it.
But should we really be all that surprised? Let’s take a look at Kroenke’s record at the helm of his other sporting teams.
St Louis Rams
Kroenke bought a stake in the Rams in 1999 and completed his takeover 11 years later – a similar progression to overall ownership he has seen at the Emirates. After Superbowl victories and final appearances in the late 1990s, the Rams earned the title ‘The Greatest Show on Turf’.
Then after Kroenke? Well, the Rams managed just one and two wins ALL SEASON in 2009 and 2011 respectively.
Worst of all, hold your breath, Kroenke moved the Rams almost 2,000 miles from Missouri to Los Angeles. Be warned. Nothing is beyond this man’s capabilities of rubishness. He is now among the most hated figures in American Football.
Kroenke wasn’t content with ruining an American Football team – he soon moved onto basketball. He bought the Nuggets in 2000. Since his arrival the once promising side have failed to reach the NBA finals and have only reached the conference finals once, when they lost to the LA Lakers in 208-2009. They have also lost more matches than they have won since Stanley took over. See the similarities?
There’s also poor stats for three sporting teams in Colorado, but I’m too depressed to go on.
Paul Merson said on Sky’s Soccer Saturday today that while the Arsenal of five years ago settled for fourth place, the current Arsenal settle for sixth place. And while I can’t take much of what comes out of Merson’s mouth these days, how can we argue with him?
We’re not spending any money this transfer window, so Stan is clearly content with what he has.
And what he has is fifth place, and maybe even sixth by the end of the season with Manchester United now breathing down our neck.
When Chelsea beat Newcastle this afternoon – which is what they will do because Newcastle are Newcastle away from home – the gap to the West Londoners will be six points.
We’re not catching Liverpool, City or the Spuds this season, so our hopes of retaining any ambition whatsoever for fourth place will, by 7.30pm this evening, rely on beating Chelsea at the Emirates next Saturday.
And while that in itself is not beyond the realms of possibility, the thought of us being consistent enough with this group of players to get to May in fourth place, I am afraid is.
While the jostlers may have got their way in removing Arsene from the top of the tree last year, the main protagonist of this infuriating mediocrity is still firmly in place, silently killing our football club day by day.
As the Hammers sang, we're not Arsenal any more.