Sunday 22 September 2019

Arsenal majority shareholder Stan Kroenke on how close he came to sacking Arsene Wenger

Stan Kroenke has given a rare interview as he opened up on Wenger's future
Stan Kroenke has given a rare interview as he opened up on Wenger's future

Arsenal majority shareholder Stan Kroenke has given a rare interview ahead of the club's AGM on Thursday and revealed how close the club came to sacking boss Arsene Wenger last summer.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, the much-maligned Kroenke confirmed there was some uncertainty from both on Wenger and the club over whether they should continue their enduring relationship after a season that saw an increasing number of Arsenal fans call for a change of manager.

Yet Kroenke believes stability is a safer bet than gambling on a new manager, as he gave these comments to journalist John Cross.

"You have to approach it with clear-headedness, calmness, thinking for the long term rather than the short-term," declared Kroenke . "It's easy to do something. It’s harder not to do something.

"We always evaluate, and it’s fair to look at all the factors involved. But when you make decisions like that, you are weighing lots of different factors, but you hope that you weigh them correctly and come out with the right decision. I think we did.

"It’s easy to change coaches and people do it all the time. But the hardest thing is to replicate success and remain competitive.

"I’m sure he was thinking through if he wants to go on. If I see anything, then I think he is more focused than ever when I'm around him. Focused on winning. I really think I do see that more than ever. He wants to win these things.

"He’s really focused and really smart, he wants to win the things we are talking about.

"We have a lot of respect for Arsene — we are not going to be pushy about things. I think he treated us with respect as well and always has. We feel really strongly about Arsene."

Arsenal fans have called on Kroenke to give his views to supporters at the AGM on Thursday, with this interview suggesting the owner dubbed 'Silent Stan' by supporters who do believe he is only involved at the club to make money has belatedly concluded he needs to be more open with supporters.

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