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SOCCER FANS AND RELATED SPORTS
Kroenke "thrilled" by Arsenal move 
5th-Apr-2007 07:36 am
kvd bite

LONDON (TICKER) -- Stan Kroenke is "excited" about joining the Arsenal family and was impressed with the leadership of the Barclays Premiership club when setting up a marketing partnership, according to a spokesman for the American's company.

Kroenke purchased slightly less than a 10 percent shareholding interest in Arsenal on Thursday.

Kroenke Sports Enterprises owns the Denver Nuggets of the NBA, Colorado Avalanche of the NHL, Colorado Rapids of the MLS and Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League. He is also part-owner of the St. Louis Rams of the NFL.

The Rapids and Arsenal announced in February that it had reached a working agreement with the primary aim of building the Arsenal brand and helping to improve the Rapids and support grassroots soccer in the United States.

The 58-year-old Kroenke is estimated to be worth around $2 billion, having made his substantial fortune mainly through real estate and constructing shopping centers, retail, business and residential developments. His wife Anne Walton is part of the family which owns the Wal-Mart stores.

"Mr Kroenke is a 9.9 percent owner and is very excited about that," Kroenke chief marketing officer Paul Andrews told PA Sport. "He is also very excited about the marketing alliance that we have. We are excited to be part of the Arsenal family. Arsenal is a great brand and we are excited to be part of that."

A delegation from Arsenal is currently in the U.S. as part of the marketing relationship, and the trip was scheduled before the unrelated announcement of KSE's significant financial investment. 

The MLS season is set to kick off this weekend, when the Rapids host DC United in the opening game at the new state-of-the-art Dick's Sporting Goods Park at Commerce City.

Andrews revealed it had been during the negotiations over establishing a marketing link that Kroenke had been impressed by the Gunners.

"It is fair to say that because we spent some time with the management and leadership of Arsenal over the course of the last year in getting our marketing partnership together, we became very fond of the brand and of the leadership," Andrews said. "It is fair to say that made the investment decision even easier. We have a great relationship with them."

Despite the inevitable links with moves at Manchester United, Liverpool and Aston Villa from American investors, talk of a full-blown takeover at Emirates Stadium seems somewhat premature.

Major shareholders - which include vice chairman David Dein and director Danny Fiszman - have no intention of selling up to any interested parties. KSE would not be drawn into the rumor mill.

"We do not ever speculate in relation to our investments, or future intentions," Andrews said. "We do not do that across our business in the United States and we will not do that in the UK."

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger believes no soccer club should be totally dependent on wealthy backers.

The French coach believes just throwing money at the squad is not necessarily the answer as Arsenal look to make the most of the transition to their 60,000 Emirates Stadium.

"In the longer term, it is always better that you produce your own resources and, for us with a new stadium, I feel in the near future - four, five or six years - the club will be capable to compete on its own resources," Wenger said.

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15th-Feb-2008 12:41 pm (UTC) - Fußball Trikot
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