Get Kroenke Out! His blood ‘sport’ lust has no place at Arsenal FC.
It’s trending on twitter, it’s on the front page of the Mirror, by now I’m sure you have heard about Arsenal’s Stan Kroenke’s controversial hunting channel.
If not, then here is a quick recap. Arsenal’s majority shareholder, American billionaire Stan Kroenke, has launched a UK channel called My Outdoor TV. The subscription channel, dubbed the ‘Netflix of the hunting world’, will feature animals from around the globe being killed in the name of sport, including endangered species such as elephant and lion.
For this blog, I am teaming up with my sister, who is as passionate about animal welfare as I am about football, to give our take on this controversial trophy hunter and his future at Arsenal FC.
So as a massive Arsenal supporter I was already not the biggest fan of Stan Kroenke and wanted him to leave the club immediately. As an animal lover, the news of his hunting passion has only strengthened my dislike of the man.
In general Arsenal fan ‘Gooners’ view their American owner as being distant and uninterested in the club, hoping that he relinquishes his position as majority shareholder. One of my main grievances against the man/despicable excuse for a human being, is his lack of ambition for, and even knowledge of, Arsenal. He knows little about English football and some of his quotes are unbelievable such as: “I didn’t buy Arsenal stake to win trophies.”
Another reason for his unpopularity is because he took a payment of £3m out of the club which meant there was a 3% rise in season ticket prices. Kroenke also has dodged the issue of receiving dividends numerous times in club meetings and interviews (which are very rare with him as he knows he will only receive hate).
He has also outlined his admiration for the model the Glazer family have at Manchester United (you know how much Man United fans hate them?), which was a leveraged buyout that loaded debt on to the club.
With the last year’s constant Wenger in or out debate, some fans including myself, had more hate for Kroenke and thought he was the main person to blame. Wenger got a lot of abuse from fans but many agree nothing will change until Kroenke goes even if there is a new manager.
Kroenke claims people don’t like him because he’s American but he’s not exactly liked or respected in his home country either.
Kroenke has earned a lot of hate from Arsenal fans for the way in which the club has been run. Kroenke has also warned Arsenal fans that he doubts they will be able to compete with rival clubs such as Chelsea and Manchester City in terms of expenditure. The Gunners have a lot of money which could be available to invest in players, however a few summers ago they only spent £10m on Chelsea’s Petr Cech. In the same window Manchester City spent nearly £150m, whilst Chelsea invested £62m in eight players. These two sides have won six Premier League titles since Arsenal last led the top flight in 2004 but Kroenke warned he would not support mass spending to get his side back up the table.
Things have changed a bit recently but in comparison to the other top teams in England and the world we are very much inferior and might get left behind.
Speaking at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston he said: “For me, being an individual owner, I have to have some sort of reality involved”.
“I think the best owners in sports are the guys that sort of watch both sides a bit. If you don’t have a good business then you can’t really afford to go out and get the best players unless you just want to rely on other sources of income.”
Emirates have announced today that they have threatened to pull out and cancel the sponsorship because of the association with trophy hunting and that leads to the question – will Kroenke’s position at Arsenal be affected because of this? He was already an infamous name amongst the football community but now after the launch of his hunting channel, contempt for him has only spread and strengthened. Will his involvement in blood sports spell an end for his involvement in football?
Although I would describe myself as an Arsenal supporter I have admittedly lost touch with the club since the glory days of Vieira, Ljungberg and Henry. Therefore, I wasn’t familiar with the man who owns 67% of the club’s shares, Stan Kroenke, or indeed his growing unpopularity.
His involvement in trophy hunting, and not the kind awarded at the end of the football season, has hardly endeared me to him.
Amongst the animal welfare world, objection has been strong and relentless with well-known organisations such as the International Fund for Animal Welfare, Born Free and the League Against Cruel Sports taking to social media to show their disgust.
Celebrities have also shown their objection, noticeably Jeremey Corbyn:
“As an Arsenal fan I’m disgusted that Stan Kroenke is involved in such a brutal, unethical and unnecessary activity. This is not sport.”
I don’t condone the killing of any animals in the name of ‘sport’ but especially the shooting of endangered species such as elephant, rhino and lion in Africa. In one of the hunting channel’s programs, the presenter exclaims: “There’s no other feeling in the world quite like walking up on your bull elephant.”
Their desire for killing sentient beings is often ludicrously passed off as an effort to help conserve vulnerable species. A spokesman for Kroenke’s channel claimed that only “ethical hunts” would be aired and each episode would show the benefits to conservation and local communities.
People pay big money to hunt African animals, in some cases up to £50,000 for an endangered species. However, numerous studies have shown that the financial benefit to both conservation and the local communities is grossly exaggerated. IFAW found that only 3% of the revenue is filtered back into communities.
What’s more, legal trophy hunts allow poachers to exploit loopholes. With 20,000 elephants killed every year and only 40,000 lions left in the wild, surely efforts should go into preserving life not ending it for the gross satisfaction of a few hunters?
Myth debunked: hunting does very little to help conserve endangered species. As well as being unnecessary it is quite simply immoral. No animal, endangered or not, deserves to die in the name of sport and have their death made into TV entertainment.
The public uproar condemns Kroenke’s new channel and his association with Arsenal FC. Is boycotting the club until his removal an answer? Will the pressure of Emirates withdrawing sponsorship have an effect? At this point in time it is hard to say.
What is important is for everyone who thinks there is something fundamentally wrong with killing animals for ‘sport’ and using their carcasses as ‘trophies’, to share your disgust. Be a voice for the voiceless and shoot down those hunters with words.