In any company, changes at the highest level can lead to uncertainties in the lowest level. For any football club, the highest level is the owners of the club and the lowest level are us, the fans. Usually with a new person in-charge, there will be changes afoot. It is only natural for anyone who takes over a company to impose his own style into the establishment.
However, ever since Stan Kroenke took over as the majority shareholder of Arsenal Football Club, we have hardly heard a sentence from him. Thus, the moniker, Silent Stan. The great Gunnerblog even made a really good video on this subject. The funny side apart, we are all still waiting to hear from the American. Worried that we are, that we know nothing of his plans for the club and the direction which we will move forward.
Therefore, this interview done by the Telegraph and more specifically, Jeremy Wilson, was a very welcomed story. It may not have told us much more than we already knew but it is still good to hear/read direct quotes from him. As we all heard before, he’s totally committed to the current model at Arsenal.
That includes the way we run our business on and off the pitch. That he is comfortable with the person in charge and has the utmost respect and believe in Arsene Wenger. That is music to my ears. Too often, new owners want to implement their ideas immediately and put their man in charge. That has usually failed to work.
Kroenke is also comes across as someone who is conscious of the fact the rich historical background of Arsenal Football Club and the way we go about things. Fully committed behind our self sustaining model, he is also aware of the gap between us and Manchester United on the commercial front.
No doubt, the financial pull of the reigning league champions has meant that they are able to pay huge transfer fees and high wages. A gap which we need to narrow down, should we have any hope of competing for the best, with the best. Despite this wonderful interview, I can see murmurs of discontent from the very same people who hated the fact that Kroenke never said anything before. Their dissatisfaction this time is the location of the interview. Just like what I would say to the people who created the Archie Wilshere twitter account, go get a life.
Of course, any post from now until Sunday, cannot be published without any mention of the upcoming match, the North London Derby. It is actually the first ever match I watch between two sides outside of the ones in my native country. 1991 FA Cup semifinal was the first time I’ve seen or heard of Arsenal. Even though they end up on the losing sight, my allegiance was forged on that fateful day.
This is a match of great importance to Arsenal and Spurs fans. Local rivalry and bragging rights are on the cards. Since Wenger took over, we have overseen a period of absolute dominance over them. 2009/10 was the first time that they had ever beaten an Arsenal side managed by Wenger. They repeated that feat last season, sadly, at the Grove.
In the past 2 seasons, the match has taken a difference sense of significance. If previously it meant much more to the fans than the actual competition, this time around, the match follows both routes. As hard as it is to admit, Spurs has been on the rise in the last few seasons and are our challenger for the Champions League spot. Which is why it pleases me to hear how important they players will treat this match.
Per Mertesacker must have received a lot of information from his fellow German, Jens Lehmann. In the article, he also speaks about his transfer to Arsenal. It did happened quickly but our interest were not sudden, having gone to Werder Bremen the year before but was rejected. I think the giant German has improved game by game and I think we can be guaranteed his total effort on Sunday.
There were plenty of talk going around in the papers, how for the first time, we are not the favourites in the derby. Something which Aaron Ramsey rejected outright. I know we are not in the best of form but they are not exactly firing on all cylinders either. Both side had slow start to the season but seemingly are picking up some momentum ahead of this clash.
Then, there’s the new boy on the block. The squad has done well to educate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on what this Sunday’s match means. It will be a big occasion for him to be involved in on Sunday. It will be a test of his character on whether he can handle the atmosphere and also the pressure that comes in big games like these. It is also atmosphere such as this that vindicates his decision to join Arsenal. On that note, those who attended the Barcelona home game last season will be pleased to know that you are the very reason AOC signed for us.
In terms of injury news, Sebastien Squillaci is back in training but would be hard pressed to get himself back to full fitness ahead of Sunday, having been out from before the season begun. Yossi Benayoun also returns to training and looks set for a place on the bench at the Lane. Worries about Gervinho, Laurent Koscielny and Theo Walcott are justified as they are yet to be declared fit. I hope Koscielny makes it, otherwise Alex Song might get another 90 minutes in the centre of defence.
I think we’re off to a good start for the weekend. At least we now know for sure, what Stan thinks.