Around 3,000 fans outside stadium before Everton game
Spotify founder Daniel Ek ‘happy to throw my hat in the ring’
Several thousand Arsenal fans have protested outside the Emirates Stadium in response to their club’s attempt to enter the doomed European Super League, calling vociferously for the Kroenke family to step aside as owners.
Arsenal have been heavily implicated in the extraordinary events of the past five days, leading to apologies from the director Josh Kroenke and the chief executive, Vinai Venkatesham. But that has done little to quell supporters’ anger at their willingness to sign up to the scheme and a vocal crowd of around 3,000 gathered in front of the ground before the team’s Premier League match against Everton.
The protests were then followed by an extraordinary tweet from the Swedish billionaire and co-founder of Spotify Daniel Ek who posted: “As a kid growing up, I’ve cheered for @Arsenal as long as I can remember. If KSE would like to sell Arsenal I’d be happy to throw my hat in the ring.”
As a kid growing up, I’ve cheered for @Arsenal as long as I can remember. If KSE would like to sell Arsenal I’d be happy to throw my hat in the ring.
Supporters had begun to arrive in the area from around 5pm and, at 5.55pm, moved en masse from the “podium” area around the stadium to the space in front of the club shop on Hornsey Road. Many came with flags and placards, while banners were hung from railings bearing slogans such as “Legacy Fans 1, Billionaires 0”, “Fan ownership now”, “Give us back what’s not yours” and the variants of the ubiquitous “Kroenke out”.
“We didn’t want to destroy sporting merit for the entire football family,” said one supporter, who said he had been a season ticket holder for more than 20 years. “This was a tipping point: entering us into something that isn’t part of the game.”
There was palpable anger, much of which has been bubbling during 10 years of largely unsuccessful ownership by Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, although the protest unfolded peacefully. Chants were largely directed at the Kroenkes, with some elements of a normal matchday repertoire mixed in, and continued until the moments before kick-off. Flares in the club’s colours were also set off at regular intervals.
Both sides arrived at the stadium in advance of the protest, which had been scheduled for 6pm, avoiding scenes of the kind that saw Chelsea’s team bus held up outside Stamford Bridge before they faced Brighton on Tuesday.
“This is part of our history now and we should all be very proud of what we’re doing,” said a fan who held a banner contrasting the 55 redundancies Arsenal made last summer with the Kroenkes’ personal wealth. “Ultimately we want them to sell, and we’re here to make ourselves heard.”
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