Is Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke more interested in NFL?
Billionaire businessman says 'it's no fun if you don't win' as his LA Rams return to Los Angeles after 22 years away
Four months after telling fans he had not brought Arsenal to "win championships", Stan Kroenke was singing from a rather different hymn sheet as he spoke about his NFL franchise, the Los Angeles Rams.
"I've always loved sports and you have to make it make sense financially. But you learn over the years that it’s no fun if you don’t win,” he told Variety, in a rare interview as the Rams prepare to return to LA after a 22-year exile in St Louis.
His comments might not go down well with Gunners fans, who are already grumbling about the lack of new arrivals during the transfer window.
"Kroenke has vowed to turn his Los Angeles Rams NFL team into a winning franchise despite his ten years at Arsenal having brought little in the way of trophy success," says the London Evening Standard, while Metro stirs the pot by suggesting Kroenke could switch focus from the Premier League to the NFL now the Rams are going home.
"With Kroenke potentially spending to make sure his new franchise becomes a success, this could mean he won’t be putting any money in to Arsenal," says the paper. "With the north Londoners in need of reinforcements in several areas of the pitch, this development is sure to annoy supporters if Arsene Wenger continues his thrifty approach to the transfer market."
Another bugbear of Arsenal fans is the cost of watching their team, together with a perception that the club is losing its identity. Those fears will not have been assuaged by Kroenke, who gushed about the importance of having an NFL team based in LA while at the same referring to Arsenal as a global brand.
Of the Rams, he said: "We want to establish the team to be successful in the long term. Our focus is to bring the same fans now and in ten years. Our challenge is to convert our generation into die-hard Rams fans."
But he also spoke about how Arsenal would be touring the US this pre-season, while the Rams will play in London in the autumn.
"The upshot is that sports is so global and within the last few years. And that's where I think people are focusing for growth. Los Angeles is so important to NFL – some people call it gateway to South America and Asia," he said.