Battleline: A Tale of Two Teams - The Missourian: Sports

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Battleline: A Tale of Two Teams

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Posted: Wednesday, December 26, 2012 7:00 am | Updated: 8:15 am, Wed Dec 26, 2012.

Unless you happen to live in Denver, it’s not very often that you will see two Stan Kroenke sports teams playing in the same city on the same weekend.

Especially when those teams are the St. Louis Rams of the National Football League and Arsenal of the Barclay’s Premier League.

But that’s just what happened earlier this year in London.

Kroenke is an entrepreneur who has a number of sports holdings.

Arsenal, based in the northern part of London (Highbury Square) is a member of the Barclay’s Premier League and currently holds fourth in the league table.

Kroenke has been the majority shareholder in that club since April of 2011.

And Kroenke has been the Rams’ owner since August of 2010.

During the weekend of Oct. 27-28, both teams were in London on the same weekend.

Arsenal defeated BPL relegation candidate QPR (Queens Park Rangers) by a 1-0 scoreline at Emirates Stadium. The Rams lost at Wembley Stadium the next day to the New England Patriots 45-7.

Both teams are very professionally run. I rate their media relations folks among the best in the game. The Rams have taken care of us since they came to St. Louis. The Arsenal FC communications team was outstanding and had no problems in credentialing a reporter/photographer from the United States.

Everything I’ve ever seen or heard about Kroenke as an individual indicates that he’s a shrewd businessman who is a pretty solid person. In other words, he’s a pretty good dude.

Kroenke has solid people in charge of each team. Jeff Fisher and Arséne Wenger are veterans in the coaching/management field and have strong reputations of developing winning teams.

But, both the Rams and Arsenal have supporters who seem to have their doubts about the direction of their teams.

St. Louis Rams fans wonder whether or not the team will stay in town as a stadium agreement looms within the next few seasons. I know the team is trying to get the best deal possible, but it’s been speculated that the team is using the stadium issue as an excuse to bolt town.

In London, there’s no stadium issue. Emirates Stadium opened in July 2006, and is a 60,000 all-seater with 150 executive boxes, a dramatic rise in seating capacity from the club’s previous home, Highbury (located not far away).

Instead, the issue there seems to be an uneasiness in the club’s direction.

While the English are very fond of Americans, they don’t seem to like them owning their soccer (football) teams. The Americans have ranged from the Glazers, who own Manchester United (and are hated by many of the fans) to American groups which have owned Liverpool, Aston Villa, etc.

During that weekend, Kroenke faced a less-than-friendly board meeting at Arsenal, where he told supporters that his goal is to win trophies.

“The reason I am involved in sport is to win,” Kroenke was quoted by the BBC Oct. 26. “It’s what it’s all about. Everything else is a footnote. I can assure you no-one is more ambitious than me.”

Despite holding third in the league table, there has been frustration.

Arsenal lost Dec. 11 in the League Cup to the aptly named Bradford City Bantams, 3-2 on penalties.

Bradford City belongs to League Two, the fourth tier of English soccer behind the Premier League, Championship and League One.

Throughout that game, the Gunners did everything but score until Thomas Vermaelen headed home the tying goal in the 88th minute. However, the home side ended up winning after the teams remained tied through extra time.

The BBC reported Dec. 13 that Lady Bracewell-Smith, a former club director who sold her shares to Kroenke, tweeted,

“Disappointed would be an understatement! [He] shows he cares very little. Why he wanted to be part of AFC I do not know. It seems that the concern of the Gunners fans is the immediate future. Arsenal is used to winning trophies and being in the hunt for the Premier League title under Wenger.

Heading into last weekend, Arsenal sat fifth in the BPL table (standings) behind its rivals, including hated North London rival Tottenham Hotspur.

And the Gunners, once one of the top few English teams, have been a seller of prime talent

Arsenal is rated the fourth most valuable association football club in the world, something which might not justify the fact they’re not keeping talent right now.

Prior to the start of this season, the team sold Robin van Persie to Manchester United and Alex Song to Barcelona. While those sales represented over £38 million, I believe the fans feel the team should be holding onto players like that instead of selling.

During the 2011-12 season, the team did much the same thing with the sales of Cesc Fabergas to Barcelona and Samir Nasri to Manchester City, which netted the team £60 million. The team made £22.33 million in the transfer market that season.

Arsenal enjoys a more stable place in its league table (standings) than the Rams, but since most European leagues are performance based (the bottom finishers in each league get relegated to the next highest league while top finishers in the lower leagues get promoted to replace them), a foreign concept to many Americans, it’s very important that the team continue to win.

Of course, it’s also important for teams here to win as well. Good teams have an easier time filling the seats, getting better television games, having the chance to make additional revenue in the playoffs, gain prestige to sign better players, etc. But finishing higher in the standings isn’t a stay-or-go type of deal.

While there are a lot of differences between the fans (Rams fans don’t sing at games or buy fish and chips or tea and a pie prior to the game), there are many similarities.

Both sets of supporters want what is best for their team. It might not happen this year or next season, but I believe they’ll get it sooner rather than later.

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Area Scoreboard

Football

Week 10 Schedule Playoff Round 1

Friday, Oct. 24

Battle 56, Washington 8

Borgia 42, Kennedy 6

Union 55, Pacific 7

Priory 49, Sullivan 17

Salem 50, St. James 27

Southern Boone 40, Owensville 24

Hermann 36, Transportation and Law 6

Moberly 42, Warrenton 0

O'Fallon Christian 50, Wright City 12

Cuba 30, Jefferson 0

Saturday, Oct. 25

St. Clair at Westminster    2:30 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 17

Francis Howell N 24, Washington 20

Westminster 35, Borgia 14

*Union 35, Hermann 32

*St. Clair 26, Owensville 12

*Pacific 34, St. James 22

Helias 56, Sullivan 3

Ft. Zumwalt East 42, Warrenton 0

*Clopton-Elsberry 20, Wright City 0

Saturday, Oct. 18

Hogan Prep 49, Cuba 6

Friday, Oct. 10

Holt 21, Washington 14

Borgia 42, St. Clair 7

Union 68, St. James 20

Hermann 32, Pacific 24 (OT)

Sullivan 38, Owensville 12

Orchard Farm 28, Warrenton 3

Wright City 22, North Callaway 18

Father Tolton 35, Cuba 0

Softball

Sectional Games

Wednesday, Oct. 15

Bolivar 17, Sullivan 2

Mexico 5, Warrenton 4

Thursday, Oct. 16

Pacific 12, Rosati-Kain 0

Saturday, Oct. 18

Quarterfinal — De Soto 5, Pacific 2

District Tournaments

Softball

Class 4 District 4

Wednesday, Oct. 8

(4) Northwest 11, (5) Rolla 3

Saturday, Oct. 11

(1) Lafayette 3, Northwest 1

(2) Eureka 4, (3) Washington 0

Monday, Oct. 13

Championship — Eureka 5, Lafayette 0

Class 3 District 3

At Lutheran South

Wednesday, Oct. 8

(4) Affton 3, (5) Bishop DuBourg 2

(3) Pacific 21, (6) Bayless 0

Sunday, Oct. 12

(1) Lutheran South 11, Affton 1

Pacific 1, (2) Notre Dame 0

Championship — Pacific 2, Lutheran South 1

Class 3 District 7

At St. Dominic

Wednesday, Oct. 8

(4) Borgia 9, (5) Wentzville Liberty 8

(3) Winfield 15, (6) O’Fallon Christian 1

Saturday, Oct. 11

At Borgia

(1) St. Dominic 12, Borgia 3

(2) Warrenton 11, Winfield 2

Championship — Warrenton 1, St. Dominic 0

Class 3 District 9

At Sullivan

Wednesday, Oct. 8

(4) St. James 12, (5) Owensville 3

(3) Sullivan 11, (6) St. Clair 1

Saturday, Oct. 11

At Union High School

St. James 10, (1) Union 5

Sullivan 5 (2) Salem 4 (8 innings)

Championship — Sullivan 11, St. James 6

Class 2 District 10

At New Bloomfield

Wednesday, Oct. 8

(4) New Bloomfield 5, (5) Belle 0

(3) South Callaway 9, (6) Hermann 0

Saturday, Oct. 11

South Callaway 7, (2) Linn 2

(1) Fatima 6, New Bloomfield 1

Championship — Fatima 7, South Callaway 4

Class 1 District 4

At Community R6, Laddonia

Wednesday, Oct. 8

(4) Wellsville-Middletown 8, (5) New Haven 2

(3) Van-Far 4, (6) Community R6 2

Saturday, Oct. 11

(1) Clopton 13, Wellsville 0

(2) Silex 10, Van-Far 0

Championship — Silex 3, Clopton 0

Volleyball

District Tournaments

Class 4 District 3

At Rockwood Summit

Monday, Oct. 20

(4) Eureka def. (5) Pacific 25-9, 25-16

(2) Northwest def. (7) Parkway South, 25-18, 25-12

(3) Washington def. (6) Rockwood Summit, 25-21, 25-15

Tuesday, Oct. 21

(1) Lafayette def. Eureka, 17-25, 25-14, 25-19

Northwest def. Washington, 25-22, 25-18

Championship — Lafayette def. Northwest, 25-19, 25-20

Class 3 District 8

At Union

Monday, Oct. 20

(5) St. Clair def. (4) Union, 25-20, 25-22

(2) Sullivan def. (7) Salem, 25-7, 25-8

(3) Owensville def. (6) St. James, 14-25, 25-16, 25-19

Tuesday, Oct. 21

(1) Borgia def. St. Clair, 25-10, 25-6

Sullivan def. Owensville, 25-20, 20-25, 25-20

Championship — Borgia def. Sullivan, 25-7, 25-10

Class 2 District 6

At Lutheran St. Charles

Monday, Oct. 20

(4) Barat def. (5) Wright City, 25-16, 24-26, 25-22

(2) Hermann def. (7) Bowling Green, 25-12, 25-18

(3) Whitfield def. (6) Montgomery County, 25-23, 25-17

Tuesday, Oct. 21

(1) Lutheran St. Charles def. Barat, 25-10, 25-9

Whitfield def. Hermann, 23-25, 25-23, 25-15

Championship — Lutheran St. Charles def. Whitfield, 25-18, 25-14

Class 1 District 9

At Calvary Lutheran, Jefferson City

Monday, Oct. 20

(4) Smithton def. (5) Otterville, 25-12, 25-10

(3) Chamois def. (6) Bunceton, 25-23, 25-18

Tuesday, Oct. 21

(1) New Haven def. Smithton, 25-5, 25-7

(2) Calvary Lutheran def. Chamois, 25-14, 25-11

Thursday, Oct. 23

Championship — New Haven def. Calvary Lutheran, 25-9, 25-16

Sectional Matches Saturday, Oct. 25

Class 3

At Villa Duchesne

Villa Duchesne vs. St. Dominic, 3 p.m.

Borgia vs. Duchesne, 4:30 p.m.

Championship, 6 p.m.

Class 1

At New Haven

New Haven vs. Liberal, 3 p.m.

Green Ridge vs. Osceola, 4:30 p.m.

Championship, 6 p.m.

Boys Soccer

Saturday, Oct. 18

Washington 1, Borgia 0 (Penalty kicks)

Monday, Oct. 20

Washington 3, Sullivan 0

Fatima 3, Union 0

Pacific 6, De Soto 1

Tuesday, Oct. 21

ECC 4, Central Methodist JV 1

Fulton SA at Calvary Lutheran    4:30 p.m.

Union 3, Warrenton 0

Hancock 7, St. Clair 0

Rockwood Summit 2, Pacific 1 (PKs)

Bayless 3, Borgia 2 (2OT)

Wednesday, Oct. 22

St. Clair 2, Valley Park 0

Lutheran S 2, Washington 0

Windsor 4, Union 1

*Pacific 2, St. James 0

Thursday, Oct. 23

Ft. Zumwalt W 2, Washington 0

Belle 1, St. James 0

Borgia 1, Fatima 0

Pacific 6, St. Clair 0

District Tournaments

Class 4 District 8

At Washington

Monday, Oct. 27

(1) Timberland vs. (4) Washington, 5 p.m.

(2) Troy vs. (3) Holt, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 29

Championship, 5 p.m.

Class 3 District 3

At Rockwood Summit

Monday, Oct. 27

(2) Rockwood Summit vs. (3) Pacific, 5 p.m.

(1) Webster Groves vs. (4) Windsor, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 29

Championship, 6 p.m.

Class 3 District 9

At Union

Monday, Oct. 27

(1) Camdenton vs. (4) Union, 5 p.m.

(2) Helias vs. (3) Rolla, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 29

Championship, 6 p.m.

Class 2 District 7

At Winfield

Tuesday, Oct. 28

(1) Borgia vs. (4) Winfield, 4:30 p.m.

(2) O’Fallon Christian vs. (3) Elsberry, 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 29

Championship, 5 p.m.

Cross Country

Saturday, Oct. 25

Borgia at Clayton Inv    9 a.m.

Washington at Class 4 District, Parkway Central, TBA

Boys Swimming

Thursday, Oct. 23

Borgia 105, Trinity 105, Lutheran/Christian 42

Saturday, Oct. 25

Borgia at MICDS Inv    7 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 28

Washington at GAC Meet    TBA

Wednesday, Oct. 29

*Borgia at Trinity    TBA

Washington at GAC Meet    TBA

*Conference Games

Racing News