Arsenal fans were upping arms again this week. Now normally, this is because of a transfer rumour, or the actions, or rather, gross inaction of owner Stan Kroenke.
In a time where the only thing Arsenal fans had to worry about was whether or not Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would sign a new contract, as well as debating the pros and cons of Willian's potential move to the club.
Recently, an air of positivity seemed to be building around the club, due to positive news regarding Gabriel Magalhães, Philippe Coutinho and Aubameyang. Over the past few days, however, that sense of goodwill came crashing down.
It all started with a statement Arsenal made on their website. In this statement, the club announced that they are proposing to make 55 employees redundant, ranging from head of scouting Francis Cagiago to, depending on who you speak to, the Arsenal social media manager.
Rightfully, fans are angry about this. These are 55 ordinary people who have been told they could very possibly lose their jobs, all so the club can save as much money as they can. To rub salt into the wounds, apparently Arsenal will only save £2 million.
£2 million. That’s what the livelihoods of 55 people, many of whom most likely have families, are worth to Arsenal and Stan Kroenke. Let me reiterate; £2 million. It’s not the fact that the sale of a player on the peripheries of Arsenal’s squad would most likely be able to fund these workers. It’s the fact that this decision comes off as incredibly cheap from Arsenal.
It's not like the club are broke either. Stan Kroenke is worth upwards of £8 billion, and the club made nearly £500 million in 18/19. While it's not clear how much of that was net profit, it is still a hell of a lot of money, meaning there's no real financial justification for the decision; it just comes down to the club wanting to save what money they've already got.
Just to be clear, this is an intention to make employees redundant, meaning the club are currently reviewing the decision. As a result, Arsenal players are fighting tooth and nail to keep the employees at the club. When the playing group agreed to a 12.5% pay cut back in April, they were promised by the club that no employee of the club, no matter how important, would lose their jobs or be redundant. To them, this is a break of promise from the club; and another example of how actions speak louder than words.
The fan backlash regarding the decision has been immense as well. Most fans on social media have voiced their disapproval at the decision, in some cases labelling it “shambolic” and “disgraceful.” This, from a fanbase that, given some of the recent debates over the years, probably disagrees on which way toast should be buttered, is quite a positive sign.
These potential redundancies have also added to the popular #KroenkeOut campaign on social media, which culminated in a plane being flown over Villa Park when Arsenal travelled there to face Aston Villa saying “Back Arteta, Kroenke Out.” Now regardless on your position on the plane, or the movement on social media, you can’t argue that this sickening behaviour from KSE adds to a long list of disgraceful actions that show that Stan and Josh Kroenke simply see Arsenal as a plaything; something to brag about at cocktail parties.
The decision to make 55 Arsenal employees redundant has united the fans and playing group alike. It’s a decision that has smacked of anger, disappointment, broken promises and stinginess. It sickens me that the club with the mantra "class is permanent" have decided to treat their own like this. Could you imagine this happening under George Graham or Arsene Wenger?
The players deciding to fight the decision show that while they care, the people in the sadly boardroom don’t.
As Ian Wright put it, remember who you are.