Ek gives up : Leicester win the cup

    Morning all. A quick Sunday round-up for you.

    Let’s start with Daniel Ek who, it seems, has given up on his attempt to purchase Arsenal from KSE. It’s all a bit odd, because earlier in the day it seems a spokesperson for the club denied a bid had been made, saying, “Nothing has been received by KSE. Their position remains unchanged.”

    Then last night, Ek ‘took to Twitter’ to release a statement which said:

    “Inaccurate reports emerged today saying I have not made a bid for Arsenal Football Club. I think it’s important to correct the record – this week an offer was made to both Josh Kroenke and their bankers that included fan ownership, representation at board and a golden share for the supporters.

    “They replied that they don’t need the money. I respect their decision but remain interested and available should that situation ever change.”

    I just don’t think this thing has ever been really credible. From announcing it on Twitter, to reiterating his stance on a business TV show about how shares in Spotify have fallen through the floor, to basically saying ‘Oh well, I tried but they said no so what can I do?’ on Twitter again. The ‘we don’t need the money’ rebuttal doesn’t sound particularly plausible to me either.

    It has certainly boosted the profile of Daniel Ek who, despite the ubiquitous nature of Spotify, remained unknown to most people outside the tech/music industries. He’s now a household name among Arsenal fans and his ‘attempt’ to buy the club will have made him known in the vast expanses of the football world. News feeds everywhere are filled with his name.

    I know a lot of people got really invested in this idea very quickly because of how we’ve stagnated and gone backwards under KSE’s ownership. It just felt to me like Ek was seen as a white knight simply by virtue of being NOT KROENKE, and not a lot about his presence stood up to a great deal of scrutiny. Even this statement, where he talked about fan ownership, golden shares etc, sounds too good to be true. He spoke to the AST, he knew these were things they were pushing for – and I’m not knocking those that by the way – but this feels like ‘Look at what I would have given you’.

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    I know we’ve heard from Thierry Henry a few times, and I do wonder what role, if any, his agent/close friend might have played behind the scenes. Darren Dein, son of ex-vice chairman, David Dein, knows how to play the media. We were also told that Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira were involved. Why haven’t we heard a single word from either of them, or were their names simply attached to pull on the heart-strings of fans?

    Maybe Daniel Ek is available if KSE ever change their minds, but I don’t think I’d be holding my breath sitting by the phone if I were him. None of this, by the way, makes unhappiness or disenfranchisement with the current ownership any less important. Grievances we have with them and how they’ve run the club are obvious and play no small part in where we are now.

    I just think that this Ek thing was opportunistic, cobbled together really quickly off the back of his Tweet a few weeks ago, and lacked any real substance. That he has more or less called it quits after one bid tells you plenty, I think. Maybe the knock-back he got from KSE was so strident he’s just accepting the reality, but a few days he was talking about this being a long process and how he was prepared for that.

    I’m as keen for anyone for Arsenal to have new ownership, but I want that new ownership to be as good as it can be for the club. Who it is and how it happens, those are the £2bn questions, and I don’t have the answers for that. For now though, as I think many have said before, it seems clear KSE have no intention of selling. Their stance in relation to Ek’s initial interest wasn’t part of any negotiation, it was simply the truth.

    The cold, hard reality of that was laid bare by what we saw yesterday when Leicester won the FA Cup, and congratulations to them. They were bought by the Asia Football Investments consortium in 2010, and in that time they, remarkably, won the Premier League title and now the cup. The celebrations in which the son of the late Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was involved were genuinely lovely.

    I can’t speak to how much they knew about English football or the Premier League when they took over the club, but what’s been obvious throughout their ownership is that they seem to care. They have been involved at the club and in the local area, throughout their tenure. Their presence has seen plenty of people come and go, but they’ve hired good people, made changes when necessary, and their recent success has to be attributed in some way to the fact that the owners are present and involved at the club itself rather than from afar pretty much all the time.

    I remember a while ago Ivan Gazidis cited the way Leicester won the title as inspirational for Arsenal. At the time, it sounded ridiculous, and in the context of that era it absolutely was, but when you look at how they operate, and the way we’ve been allowed to chug along and become this stale, it highlights so clearly how badly KSE have let things slide.

    Right, on that cheery note, I’ll leave you to it. Have a nice Sunday, James and I will be here with an Arsecast Extra tomorrow. Until then, take it easy.

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