Arsenal’s decision to join the European Super League led to a fierce backlash and, following the U-turn, there was a rare public appearance from Josh Kroenke.
On Thursday, Kroenke featured in a fans’ forums call where he came under direct scrutiny for the Super League decision and the KSE ownership of the Gunners.
Arsenal fans involved certainly did not hold back and put the American under an immense amount of pressure, which he did his best to find his way out of.
While the comments did not reduce the fury of the Arsenal fans, Kroenke did make a number of promises that fans can hold him to over the course of the KSE ownership in the future. Here, we’ve highlighted the six big ones he made.
KSE will pay costs for leaving Super League
Arsenal’s decision to leave the European Super League comes with financial penalties and Josh Kroenke promised that KSE will pay those fees, not Arsenal.
“Absolutely,” he said, before giving a longer response of: “Anything related to the ESL will be handled outside the club, with KSE.
“KSE is covering all outside costs related to the Super League. The club is not incurring anything.”
Super League will never happen again
While Kroenke stopped short of promising that Arsenal would not be involved of any reforms of European football, he did promise that proposals like the Super League would not have the Gunners on board.
“As that proposal was constructed, yes,” he said.
More communication with fans
Kroenke’s last public discussion around Arsenal came prior to the Europa League final in Baku in 2019 but he said that he would be more involved in conversations with fans.
“If you’re expecting to see me more, absolutely. Let’s start on this call right now.” He later added: “I want to interact more in a more meaningful way whether that’s at board level or in a Fans’ Forum.”
His most decisive comment on the matter was: “All I can say is you have my word. You’re going to be seeing a lot of me as you have hopefully the last few years more and more over in London with the club.”
Kroenke then added that these sorts of discussions will be a lot more regular in the future, adding: “What will I do to engage more with fans? Well, starting with interactions such as this on Microsoft Teams.
“When I’m in there in person we’re going to be sitting down in a boardroom as we did over in Highbury several years ago. There’s going to be many more interactions like this. It’s not going to be a surprise. It’s going to be a scheduled appearance by myself with dialogue back and forth between the likes of us.”
No home matches away from London
A pretty simple promise, with Kroenke stating all Arsenal’s home matches under the reign of KSE will be played in England’s capital: “I can guarantee that.”
While KSE will not be investing in an unsustainable manner, Kroenke referenced the transfers of Nicolas Pepe and Thomas Partey in recent seasons as the sort of ‘aggressive’ approaches that will be made.
“For us, I think we’re not afraid to be aggressive at different points in time,” he said. “Hopefully, you’ve noticed over the last few transfer windows we have been more aggressive. That was part of the discussion we had internally amongst the six clubs in the UK and in Europe.”
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Listening to fans
Crucially, Josh Kroenke’s final comment on the call was not just the fans will be communicated with but would also be listened to – something that supporters have long clamoured for.
“You’re going to be seeing a lot more of myself, we’re going to be interacting a lot more,” he said. “It’s on myself and the rest of the board to push this club forward and we’re going to be listening to you guys a lot.”