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I live just off of Nifong Boulevard in Columbia, Missouri.  So does Stan Kroenke.  His house is massive. I too, live in a house.  He bought a hockey team. I like hockey.  He owns the St. Louis Rams. I used to live in St. Louis county.  I’ve been to Highbury.  He just bought Arsenal.

Just bought Arsenal, you say?!

Okay, so he did not buy the whole Arsenal Football Club, just 9.9% of it (article). Nevertheless,  Kroenke Sports Enterprise’s (KSE) very recent pecuniary venture into the world of English football is only the latest in a series of sell outs by English clubs to foreign big-wigs.  I should say at this point that this phenomenon (is it a recent one??) is not at all limited to buyers from the USA.

That having been said, English fans are worried sick no matter where the money’s coming from!  It’s not uncommon to read on club message boards all over the premiership comments like, “How is our club gonna compete if we don’t get bought out?  …if we don’t build a 60,000 seat stadium? …if we don’t get that new kit sponsor?” Indeed, as I write this the message board at VillaTalk.com has a thread called ‘Yank Invasion Continues’ with hours of reading on this topic.  People are afraid for their clubs, their hometown clubs which they grew up supporting and which they hope to share with their childeren.

Ever since the Glazer boys hoisted Manchester United onto their financial back and simultaneously plunged the club into the icy waters of debt it seems we here across the pond have been hearing news of club after club linking up with buyers from the United States and elsewhere.  We’ve had Ambramovich take Chelsea, Glazer buying Manchester United, Lerner buying Aston Villa, swoop attempts made for Liverpool by Arab giants.  Where will it all end??

These fears are very real, and very valid.  Need I say anything about the influence of big foreign money with regards to Chelsea FC? The simple fact is, all things considered, money can buy victories. All the right factors have to be in place, but in this day and age, with the big take over comes the 5 year plan for European football. Money has a direct correlation to trophies.

So seeing as how Stan and I are best of buds (cf. Paragraph 1), there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be fully supportive of his trans-atlantic investment, right?  After all, American buyers have to potential to raise the profile of the game here in the States, which I support.

Well, like all things in life, it’s not that easy, and never that black and white. (Sorry, Mr. President).  For instance, I’m VERY excited that Randy Lerner has injected some hope (and yes, cash) into the claret and blue cause at Villa Park.  HOWEVER, big-time cash injections and high-profile takeovers have a detrimental effect on the game: they, if unchecked, can completely obliterate the democratic and competetive spirit of that game which so many people around the globe cherish.

Free seats at the Emerates, Stan?


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