- Premier League
Wright urges Kroenke to end silence
Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright has urged the club's majority shareholder Stan Kroenke to end his silence and "start answering some questions", amid reports that he is about to sell his shares to a Middle East consortium.
American businessman Kroenke, who has been nicknamed 'Silent Stan' due to his reluctance to speak in public, has yet to give any hint that he would be prepared to sell his stake in the club, and Wright suspects he has no intention of leaving any time soon.
Wright, who has been critical of manager Arsene Wenger in recent years, has now turned his venom on Kroenke in his column in Wednesday's Sun.
"He is known as 'Silent Stan', but it's time Stan Kroenke started speaking," stated Wright. "Arsenal's majority shareholder needs to start answering some questions and tell everyone what his detailed plans are for the club.
"I want Kroenke to start engaging with the fans. Looking at all his sports teams, I'm not sure any of them actually win anything. Now The Gunners, unfortunately, will be going an eighth year without winning a trophy.
"Kroenke attends board meetings on the rare occasions he travels to London, but that is not really enough for me. He rarely goes to games, so you have to wonder whether he cares about the club. He seems more interested in having a business, which makes a lot of money. That's why I don't think he will sell his shares to anyone."
Wright's words are bound to receive support from an increasing majority of Arsenal supporters who have grown tired with the club's current set-up on and off the field, with last Sunday's Premier League defeat against Tottenham leaving their hopes of a top-four finish this season unlikely.
"I am not in the greatest of moods after seeing Arsenal lose to Spurs," added Wright. "Many Arsenal fans will feel exactly the same as me. It's all about bragging rights. It's about having the last word with Spurs fans. Yet at the moment, the neighbours are moving ahead.
"I wonder whether Stan is feeling this pain. I think he probably doesn't. He obviously speaks to Ivan Gazidis, the chief executive. He also talks with Arsene Wenger, but Kroenke has not asked the supporters what they think of the club and how it is being run. I think this is vital.
"Kroenke has not heard the arguments from fans who pay thousands of pounds watching their side each season. He must listen to the many fans who would like to see Usmanov involved.
"I understand why Gazidis and Wenger do not want the club turned into a Chelsea-style outfit which spends colossal sums on players. No Arsenal regular wants to see their club turn vulgar. But the club needs to offer the going rate in wages to players like Juan Mata who, it appears, was ready to join Wenger.
"Kroenke must explain why he is not prepared to go the extra mile for these excellent players. I am not holding my breath, though."