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‘Sacking Emery is the easy part’: Arsenal fans hit out at ‘absentee’ billionaire US owners as search for new manager begins

‘Sacking Emery is the easy part’: Arsenal fans hit out at ‘absentee’ billionaire US owners as search for new manager begins
Arsenal fan groups have issued a stinging rebuke of the club's billioanire US owners following the sacking of Unai Emery, saying that changes are required at all levels if they are to regain their status as a top team.

The Arsenal Supporters Trust, who define themselves as independent observers of the club's governance, followed Friday morning's removal of Emery from his post with a statement which says that they agree with the decision to sack the Spanish coach but remain adamant that further upheaval is needed at boardroom level. 

They have been fiercely critical of several members of the Arsenal hierarchy, including technical director Edu, head of football Raul Sanllehi, managing director Vinai Venkatesham, chief negotiator Huss Fahmy and Josh Kroenke - son of Arsenal primary shareholder Stan Kroenke, a billionaire US businessman. 

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"The dismissal of Unai Emery was unfortunate but inevitable. Performances and results have been far below what is expected at Arsenal," the statement announced.

"But Emery’s departure is the easy part. The more difficult challenge is to recruit a suitable successor. We are far from certain that Arsenal has the right personnel to lead this process.

"The AST has long been advocating that the most important changes needed at Arsenal are in the Boardroom where Arsenal need better governance.

"It is a sad fact that the club is now wholly owned by an overseas investment vehicle, Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, who are largely absent from London."

Stan Kroenke has been involved with Arsenal since 2008 when he added the club to an extensive sports portfolio which also includes ownership of NFL team the LA Rams, Denver Nuggets of the NBA as well as teams in the NHL and Major League Soccer.

The American completed a full takeover of Arsenal in August of last year but has come under fire from sections of support for the club's perceived lack of direction under his ownership.

In July, a total of 16 signatories across the club's supporters trust, fanzines and blogs hit out at Kroenke's "passive ownership" and a downturn in results which has seen them absent from the Champions League for the past three campaigns.

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"The club needs to be governed by a strong Board in London, one that is truly independent and has the expertise and dynamism to drive a football club forward," the AST statement continued.

"Arsenal’s Board currently has no one with football expertise. Its three 'independent' members are 85, 79 and 77 years old. None of them have football experience nor reflect the diversity of Arsenal’s playing squads nor supporter base.

"So if Arsenal are to genuinely move forward from today it requires not only a new head coach appointment but also a rejuvenation of the boardroom."