Ian Wright is in full support of the Arsenal fans who gathered outside the Emirates on Friday to protest against the club’s owner Stan Kroenke and Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE) – and wants Prime Minister Boris Johnson to get involved if the 73-year-old billionaire remains in charge.
Arsenal supporters were left furious at the Gunners’ involvement in the failed European Super League (ESL) plot earlier this week and have vented their anger at Kroenke on social media.
Stan’s son Josh told a hostile fans forum on Thursday that the Americans will not be selling the north London club despite the toxic ESL saga which has soured relations that were already shot.
And fans gathered in their thousands outside Arsenal’s home stadium on Friday night ahead of their Premier League clash with Everton to make their feelings heard.
A vocal contingent of supporters, thought to be around 3,000 in strength, gathered outside and as well as chanting, held aloft banners, among which read: ‘We don’t forgiv£, we won’t forg£t’ and ‘Fan ownership now.’
The 10-year Kroenke ownership has coincided with a largely miserable period on the pitch, although the north Londoners won four FA Cups between 2014 and 2020.
Wright, who himself tweeted ‘Kroenke Out’ this week, gave his backing to the angry Arsenal fanbase and insists that the fans should take the matter to Johnson if the Kroenkes remain in charge.
The British PM earlier in the week threatened the rebel six clubs that he would drop a ‘legislative bomb’ to prevent the ESL from becoming a reality with Andrea Agnelli, the Juventus chairman, declaring after its downfall that Johnson was key in ensuring it did not go ahead.
And speaking on DAZN Canada’s pre-match coverage of Arsenal’s clash with Everton, legendary ex-striker Wright said of the protesting supporters: “I stand with them. I made it clear what I think about the owner. I think they’re right to be outside there.
“The statement from the manager as well, fans have every right to be out there saying what they’re saying. Arsenal fans made their thoughts known.
“KSE are not fit, for me, not fit to run the club, not fit to own the club. We’ve heard Josh Kroenke saying they’re not selling the club – and I wouldn’t expect them to, it’s a massive cash cow for them.
“But if they are going to stay and run the club then it’s going to have to be done under different terms.
“The only thing I can seek solace from is that the government are going to be doing a review on club ownership. Everything to do with what owners like that do and what they don’t do.
“We’re talking about a silent owner, since he’s been at our club he’s not invested properly in the way they in the way they buy at the club, the way the service the debt with the club.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta told Sky Sports pre-match, with protesting fans outside the stadium audible in the background during the interview: “We hear them, we know what they think, but our responsibility, our role, our commitment is to be on that pitch, trying to play the best possible way to win the match. That’s it.
“Obviously it doesn’t help when you have your own fans trying to stand out on a match day and saying loud and clear they’re not happy with something.
“But our job, again, is to win the football match and when that happens, everything is better. That’s our best way to contribute in a positive way.”
In his pre-match press conference the day before, the Spaniard had said: “We want to listen to them and we totally respect that. They are going to be heard all the time because, again, they are the soul of this football club and they are the soul of this industry.
“We are going to try do the best that we can to make them proud all the time and to make their lives better by playing the way we want to play, winning football matches and trophies.
“That’s our responsibility. But if they can help in a way it is by giving support to the team, because that it is going to have an immense effect and it is so powerful that I think they have to realise that.”