Arsenal director Josh Kroenke admits it’s difficult to ‘truly relate’ to the passion that supporters have for the club.
Josh, the son of Arsenal owner Stan, has been a director at the club since 2013 and he’s come under-fire in recent years for focusing his attention on the family’s other businesses.
That perception was only enhanced last week as the LA Rams – one of the Kroenke’s other businesses – lifted the Superbowl after beating the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
Kroenke admits last year’s failed Super League plans was a learning curve in understanding the nature of European football fans compared to what he’s accustomed to in the United States.
And he believes that the level of passion that Arsenal fans have for the club is something that is difficult for ‘foreigners’ to comprehend.
Speaking about the collapse of the Super League plans, Kroenke told Road Trippin’: ‘I think that one of the messages that I said to our supporters and I do listen to our supporters over there, I listen to our fans here [in America] with our teams but the level of passion that is involved in European football, and support that goes into these clubs – I don’t wanna say it’s deeper than anything we have over here – but it’s way deeper than anything we have over here.
‘It’s hard to truly relate as an American or a foreigner heading into the UK the passion that really goes on from the people that support these clubs.’
Arsenal were one of six English clubs that committed to playing in the Super League but they pulled out within 48 hours of the announcement after a backlash from supporters.
Kroenke admits the family got the decision wrong and that they had to listen to fans after their reaction to the news.
‘I think that whether or not they fully understood the concept of what we’re trying to do, it didn’t matter,’ said Kroenke.
‘They didn’t want the change. That was the only thing that mattered that we were going to make changes to the system they love. I understood that.
‘I think part of being a good leader is making unpopular decisions on behalf of the group and part of being a good leader is listening to the group and understanding when to back off.
‘That’s what we did. Once we had a full understanding of what was going on – very quickly – the right thing to do as a leader was to get out of the process.’
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