Huh. The owner of the Colorado Avalanche and the Denver Nuggets is coming under fire across the pond for failing to spend to improve his team. What do you know.
British newspapers and blogs are tearing Stan Kroenke apart.
Arsenal, a traditional powerhouse in the game they call “football” over there, was trounced four-nil by A.C. Milan in the UEFA Champions League (whatever that is) and were, according to Chuck Murphy at the Denver Post, “effectively eliminated from the tournament”. They also risk not qualifying for next years tournament.
Stan Kroenke is the majority owner of Arsenal. Kroenke Sports Enterprises, Stan’s little holding company, also owns the St Louis Rams, the Colorado Mammoth, the Rapids, the Nuggets and the Avalanche along with Pepsi Center, Dicks Sporting Goods Park, Altitude Sports and Entertainment and the Paramount Theater.
Stan is a little bit wealthy.
Despite his riches, Stan has been roundly criticized for his reluctance to spend money. The guy has never seen a salary cap he couldn’t come in under. In that respect he is the Monfort Brothers and Pat Bowlen all wrapped up in one.
It’s one thing, however, for Stan to pinch pennies here in Colorado. The Avalanche and the Nuggets plus the Rockies plus the Broncos don’t add up to one Arsenal in terms of international importance.
You might not have heard, but in Europe soccer is kind of a big deal.
Kroenke’s resistance to spending has turned him into public enemy number one if British tabloids are to be believed. The Limeys are furious – especially in light of the fact that Arsenal is worth more than it ever has been before – over a BILLION Pounds, according to the Daily Mail.
The feeling is that Stan Kroenke is more concerned with the bottom line than he is about winning. Here’s a quote from the Guardian UK‘s football blog: “Most pundits seem to think Arsenal are sitting on a hoard of money and that Kroenke is using the club just for profit.”
Say it isn’t so.
At least we aren’t alone. Taken a gander at the Avalanche roster lately?
The Broncos are under the same type of fire as this locally as accusations fly that Pat Bowlen and company were 31st among 32 NFL teams in spending last season. The Rockies, too, have famously made underspending an annual tradition.
Denver fans piss and moan and call into radio shows.
Soccer fans will riot.
They are demanding answers. And another suitor plans on taking advantage of the unrest. The Telegraph reports that Uzbek billionaire Alisher Usmanov plans to make moves toward buying the team: “Usmanov, it seems, remains convinced that he can buy Arsenal in the future and, possibly, may be about to try and take advantage of the growing sense of frustration among the fans about the current ownership led by Stan Kroenke“.
Meanwhile, according to the Denver Business Journal, Philip Anchutz, another Denver bizzilionaire, plans to purchase the Tottenham Spurs, a rival to Arsenal, for $697 million.