In news that is sure to go down badly with Arsenal fans, Stan Kroenke is planning on making changes to the nomenclature of the stands at Emirates Stadium.
The American accepts that the ‘North Bank’ and ‘Clock End’ are untouchable in the eyes of the Gooner faithful, but sources close to the Arsenal boardroom have told Arseblog News that he wants to put his own stamp on the club as he consolidates his position as the majority shareholder.
There is genuine worry on the part of some board members that some of his plans, which he referred to as ‘The Kroenkeisation’, won’t tally with the tradition and history of Arsenal, and a suggestion that he would modify the logo was rejected out of hand.
Born in Missouri, Kroenke wanted to add two bears (present on the state flag) either side of the famous cannon to represent his heritage, but grudgingly had to back down.
However, the American businessman, who has shown his ruthless side on the other side of the Atlantic recently with his plans to relocate the St Louis Rams to Los Angeles, is insistent that his ownership of the club is reflected on a day to basis.
As such, from next season on the west side of the Emirates will be known as the Clampett Stand (after Kroenke’s late father E. Clampett Kroenke), while the east side will become the Walton Stand after his wife, and heir to the Walmart fortune, Ann.
“The board felt like they had to give in on something,” our source continued. “It was all very awkward at the meeting as Stan and his son Josh were convinced the logo change was a great idea.
“They even had a presentation done with a mock-up of what it would look like and high-fived at the end. Ivan Gazidis was aghast, Ken Friar looked as if he was going to kill somebody, while Sir Chips Keswick made outraged barks so high-pitched they could be heard halfway down the corridor .
“It took Arsene Wenger to calm them down and reach the stand naming compromise, which nobody was really pleased with but they felt it was best to give him something to keep him happy.”
The source also revealed that before his decision to move his NFL franchise to LA, Kroenke had made overtures to the sport’s governing body move the team to London to ground-share at the Emirates, buoyed by the success of games being held at Wembley over the last number of seasons.
In that instance the move was shot down by the Arsenal manager who had concerns over the effect on the playing surface, and he refused to countenance even preliminary investigations into a roll on-roll off surface which would see football played on grass and American Football on an artificial pitch.
“He’s been spending too much time in Colorado,” Wenger quipped making the *smokey-smoke* gesture with his thumb and index finger.