'Massively involved, hugely ambitious' - Arsenal director defends under-fire Gunners owner Kroenke

Stan Kroenke Arsenal 2017
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The north London club's owner remains determined to bring domestic and European silverware to the club once again

Arsenal managing director Vinai Venkatesham says the club's owner Stan Kroenke is committed to bringing Champions League and Premier League glory to the club.

The majority shareholder is a controversial figure among the club's fans, who remain frustrated by their inability to challenge for the English crown. 

Having finished fifth in the top-flight this season, the Gunners need to win the Europa League final against Chelsea to book their place in the continent's premier club competition next term.

But Venkatesham insists Kroenke and his son Josh are determined to achieve success with the north London club and is heavily involved in designing their strategy.

"Stan and Josh Kroenke are in sport because they’re passionate about sport and because they want to win," Venkatesham told Arsenal's website

"So when I talk about the strategy around making our fans all across the world proud of their football club and competing to win the Premier League and the Champions League, that doesn’t come from Raul [Sanllehi, head of football] and that doesn’t come from me. That comes from our owners.

"They’re hugely ambitious around where they want to take this football club and they remind us of that all the time. They’re massively involved. Between Raul and I, we probably speak to the owners pretty much every day and we have detailed, in-person meetings with them I’d say pretty much every month, whether we alternate between doing them in London or the States.

"They’re hugely involved in what we do, they are hugely knowledgeable about sport. It’s well-known that they have an American Football team, an NBA team, an NHL team, an MLS team and a lacrosse team, so they know sport and they’re really, really passionate about Arsenal.

"They’re really passionate about how we can move the club forward, but they’re also realistic. They know we’re not going to go from where we are at the moment to delivering our ambition overnight, and they know that there’s going to be a whole load of work along the way to get there."

And Venkatesham says the Kroenkes will keep investing heavily in the team and is confident they can reach their objectives, 

"All of these initiatives and ideas about how we move the club forward are completely supported by Stan and Josh and their direction is quite simple," he said. "Every single penny that we generate as a football club is available for us to invest against achieving that ambition, and that is the maximum that we can ask from our owners because that is the maximum allowed through the financial fair play rule.

"We are feeling really confident about our ability to get there, it's not going to be easy and there will be plenty of up and downs along the way, but trust me, Raul and I feel those ups and downs as much as anyone but really believe in the direction that we are heading.

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"It’s an unforgiving league and you cannot make mistakes. The challenge is there. They understand that but that doesn’t mean that they excuse that. Nobody does, we don’t excuse that either. Knowing the challenge, we know that we need to do the right strategy that we were mentioning before.

"We need to outsmart the market, we need to make the right signings, do the right sales, the coaching staff needs to prepare the games properly like they do. It just means hard work and outsmarting the market. That’s the two, I would say, essences of success, if we want to be there.

"It’s a tough league, a very tough competition but that’s what makes the Premier League great. Everyone wants to watch the Premier League games because the uncertainty of the final result is in every game, and that makes it great."