Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke says he has never considered selling his majority share of the club and insists Arsene Wenger is still the right man to lead the Gunners.
Kroenke has faced growing calls to outline his vision for the club after awarding Wenger a controversial new two-year contract during the summer break despite Arsenal’s fifth-place finish in the Premier League last season.
Arsenal Supporters’ Trust (AST) recently wrote to Kroenke to express their concerns over the direction of the club, ahead of Thursday’s annual general meeting at the Emirates.
The Trust also urged shareholders to vote against the re-appointment of Kroenke’s son, Josh, on to the club’s board – citing “dissatisfaction at the current ownership and governance arrangements” at Arsenal.
However, despite the unrest, Kroenke insists he will never sell Arsenal and believes the club is capable of winning both the Premier League and Champions League under Wenger.
“Just go look at our history,” Kroenke told The Telegraph. “We get into these things to try to grow them. You don’t see us selling things. You just don’t. We are committed long-term.”
When asked if he had considered selling his 67 per cent share of the club, Kroenke added: “No. Absolutely not. That’s just not our model.
“I’m at a stage in life where… what good does that do? I love Arsenal, love being involved with Arsenal. There no finer feeling than going out and winning like we did with the FA Cup.
“That whole afternoon and evening, we talked about what happened on the pitch. Wonderful. The feeling is contagious and it makes you want to keep doing it. There’s so many easier ways to make money, I can assure you. Much, much easier.”
Kroenke divided opinion among Arsenal supporters after awarding Wenger a new contract during the summer break.
The Gunners failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since 1996 under the Frenchman last season, although the campaign ended on a high note with a 2-1 win over Chelsea in the FA Cup final.
Speaking on his decision to extend Wenger’s contract, Kroenke said. “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.”
“The hardest thing is to replicate success and remain competitive,” Kroenke added. “Look, we want to be champions of everything.
“Premier League, Champions League. We have to do better but don’t sell short the FA Cup and Arsene’s record setting and consistency through 20 years. For 20 years we were in the top four, no other English club has done that and the year we fell out we had four more points than the previous year when we were second.”
Kroenke insists he is looking forward to explaining his decisions to the club’s supporters at the annual general meeting on Thursday.
“Sports fans are wonderful,” he said. “They are rabid. That’s the good news. They are rabid. That’s the bad news. They are passionate, always have opinions and they are certainly entitled to them.”