LONDON (Football StL) -- Wednesday night in London News 4 Sports had the opportunity to visit Stan Kroenke’s other football team. The English variety.
Arsenal, which is owned by Kroenke, was beaten in a Champion’s League game 2-0 by Schalke 04 out of Germany's Bundesliga.
The game was a large disappointment for the team and for their fans and they were none too happy about the result.
The reason News 4 was there, though, was not about the soccer, but to learn about what the perception of Stan Kroenke is in London and what the Arsenal fans think about Kroenke.
It turns out in speaking with media members and fans in attendance that they have the same opinions of Kroenke that many St. Louis Rams fans have.
For a little background, Kroenke purchased the Arsenal team just a few years ago. Arsenal is a team that has had very strong success in the past, but has not won big in a few years. Sound familiar? The Arsenal fans say they know Kroenke is a good businessman and that he cares about winning. But they also say that Kroenke is tight with putting money into the club, and that he has a longer-term vision for the team that includes fiscal responsibility.
The reason for the fiscal sanity is due to two factors. First, the team built a brand new state-of-the-art stadium that is being paid off right now. Kroenke will not incur more debt - and lose money - without taking care of the current debts. That could be an interesting development in the Rams' Dome situation to keep an eye on.
The second factor is that spending is wildly out of control in English soccer. Teams like Manchester United and Manchester City are buying players at high prices and incurring debt in the process, while teams like Arsenal are sacrificing players to meet bottom line goals. English soccer is set up more like baseball than the NFL, with no salary cap.
The Arsenal fans that we spoke to are getting very antsy about their team and are waiting to see what Kroenke will do. His ownership of the Rams actually puts him in good standing over here because it gives him credibility in their eyes. They know that he knows how to manage a sports team. But, they aren’t sure that he will deliver them a winner, and they want one now.
What does that mean for Kroenke and the Rams and what conclusions can you draw? I think the answer is that it is further confirmation that he is a great businessman. He knows how to be financially successful and make money. He has done it his whole life and that should come as no surprise.
The red flag that should stick with Rams fans in St. Louis as we wonder about the future of the franchise is though that Kroenke will not lose money in a deal for the sake of some sort of heartfelt need to win. He of course wants to win, but he will not do so at the expense of the bottom line. What I think this means is that Kroenke will not take some low-ball deal for a new stadium that will force the franchise to go into ridiculous debt. It does mean however that he will incur debt to make the franchise more financially sound for the long run. If the deal is right.
I have always believed, and maybe it comes from my heart, that the Rams will ultimately stay in St. Louis and there will be a new facility at the end of all this. But, be warned that Kroenke will not go Jerry Jones or Dan Snyder to overpay for athletes to fill a new venue that is costing the Rams money.
It was an enlightening experience tonight at Emirates Stadium. Even without speaking to Kroenke, I think I learned a little bit more into what makes Kroenke tick with sports franchises. “Silent Stan” spoke loud and clear to at least one interested observer tonight without ever saying a word.