Mikel Arteta’s message to Arsenal fans ahead of Kroenke protest
Fans are set to convene outside the ground at 6pm to voice their displeasure at owner Stan Kroenke’s running of the club.
Supporters were involved in a heated fans forum yesterday, which was attended by Stan’s son, Josh – who confirmed he and his father have “no intention” of selling Arsenal.
Kroenke, who is a director at Arsenal, apologised to supporters at the forum for signing the club up to the Super League, which was formed last Sunday but collapsed on Tuesday, and vowed to build bridges with fans.
The fans forum, which was conducted virutally, was a stormy affair, with one supporter asking Kroenke: “Have you ever thought that English football is not for you, and that it is time to leave it?”
The event summed up the mood among many of Arsenal’s supporters, who are planning to protest tonight against the club’s owners.
Arteta is aware fans are planning to protest and, asked what his message to supporters was, he said: “We want to listen to them and we totally respect that.
“That they have been loud and clear what they want and that they have been heard – and they are going to be heard all the time because, again, they are the soul of this football club and they are the soul of this industry.
“We are going to try do the best that we can to make them proud all the time and to make their lives better by playing the way we want to play, winning football matches and trophies.
“That’s our responsibility. But if they can help in a way it is by giving support to the team, because that it is going to have an immense effect and it is so powerful that I think they have to realise that.”
Tonight’s protest by Arsenal fans was originally going to be about the club joining the Super League, which was a hot topic at the fan forum.
One fan told Kroenke it was a “disgrace” the way the club had joined the breakaway competition and their actions were “cowardly”.
Kroenke confirmed Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, who own Arsenal, would cover the costs of withdrawing from the Super League – with CEO Vinai Venkatesham, who was also at the forum, explaining exit fees were lower than the £8million being reported.
Venkatesham also told supporters how Arsenal were not the architects of the Super League, but they got on board after fearing they’d be left behind.
Arsenal fans made their feelings clear to the owners yesterday and they plan to again tonight, but Kroenke says he and his father are determined to build bridges.
“I am well aware that we never really had trust and what teeny bit of hope there was among a small fan group that KSE would take it forward, I know that has been shredded as well,” he said.
“That is why I am here, to start building that bridge.”