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

62nd Annual Borgia Pepsi Thanksgiving Tournament

Blue Division

Pool 1

McCluer North

Normandy

Carnahan

Pool 2

Cardinal Ritter

Pacific

Rockwood Summit

Gold Division

Pool 1

CBC

Soldan

Washington

Pool 2

Borgia

North Tech

Union

Monday, Nov. 24

CBC 77, Washington 52

Tuesday, Nov. 25

Cardinal Ritter vs. Rockwood Summit, PPD

Washington 63, Soldan 62

Borgia 83, Union 50

Wednesday, Nov. 26

Carnahan 71, Normandy 46

Pacific 64, Rockwood Summit 22

North Tech 67, Union 37

Thursday, Nov. 27

McCluer North 95 Carnahan 68

CBC 82, Soldan 55

Borgia 50, North Tech 45

Friday, Nov. 28

McCluer North 93, Normandy 39

Pacific 70, Cardinal Ritter 57

Saturday, Nov. 29

Blue Consolation — Rockwood Summit 47, Normandy 38

Gold Consolation — Soldan 78, Union 59

Gold Third Place — North Tech 63, Washington 57

Blue Third Place — Cardinal Ritter 71, Carnahan 46

Blue Championship — McCluer North 64, Pacific 58 (OT)

Gold Championship — CBC 67, Borgia 66

Boys Basketball

Monday, Dec. 8

Lutheran S 64, St. Clair 48

Borgia 61, Carnahan 51

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Lafayette 44, Washington 35

Friday, Dec. 12

Potosi 72, St. Clair 45

*Washington 69, Ft. Zumwalt North 65

Montgomery Co 62, New Haven 61

*St. Mary’s at Borgia    6:45 p.m.

Bourbon 75, Union 74

Glendale 63, Pacific 46

Saturday, Dec. 13

New Haven 46, Barat 40

Nixa 56, Pacific 46

Tuesday, Dec. 16

*Pacific 70, New Haven 35

*Hermann 67, St. Clair 49

*Ft. Zumwalt South 61, Washington 50

*Union 81, St. James 74

Friday, Dec. 19

*Owensville at St. Clair    4 p.m.

Washington vs. Parkway Central, GAC/Suburban Shootout, St. Charles Family Arena, 5:30 p.m.

*St. James at New Haven    6 p.m.

*Pacific 76, Union 57

Saturday, Dec. 20

Sullivan Shootout

Owensville vs. Rockwood Summit, 11:30 a.m.

Lindbergh 67, St. Clair 46

Jefferson City vs. Jackson, 2:30 p.m.

Washington 56, Lutheran South 54

Poplar Bluff 59, Borgia 49

Sullivan vs. Affton, 7 p.m.

Girls Basketball

Saturday, Dec. 6

Cor Jesu 63, Borgia 60

New Haven 46, Moberly 39

Monday, Dec. 8

Pacific 73, Rolla 40

St. Clair 68, Dixon 37

Washington 54, New Haven 15

Tuesday, Dec. 9

*Borgia 59, Rosati-Kain 38

Union 53, Northwest 44

Thursday, Dec. 11

*Borgia 60, Notre Dame 53

Union 81, Bourbon 53

Friday, Dec. 12

New Haven 45, Principia 30

*Washington 59, Ft. Zumwalt North 32

Saturday, Dec. 13

West Plains 76, Pacific 37

Monday, Dec. 15

*Pacific 46, New Haven 28

*St. Clair 59, Hermann 50

*St. James 64, Union 37

Sullivan Tournament

Cuba 48, Principia 27

Borgia 68, Patriettes 29

Sullivan 56, Pattonville 43

Owensville 78, Farmington 54

Wednesday, Dec. 17

Sullivan Tournament

Farmington 61, Pattonville 39

Sullivan 68, Owensville 64

Principia 55, St. Louis Patriettes 42

Borgia 56, Cuba 38

Thursday, Dec. 18

*St. James 72, New Haven 21

*Union 49, Pacific 48

Friday, Dec. 19

Francis Howell 55, Washington 48

Sullivan Tournament

Seventh Place — Pattonville vs. St. Louis Patriettes, 4 p.m.

Consolation — Farmington vs. Principia, 5:30 p.m.

Third Place — Owensville vs. Cuba, 7 p.m.

Championship — Borgia 62, Sullivan 35

Saturday, Dec. 20

Union at Waynesville    5 p.m.

Wrestling

Monday, Dec. 8

Maplewood 48, Borgia 30

Brentwood 47, Borgia 36

Winfield 48, St. Clair 36

St. Clair 42, St. James 40

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Pacific 55, North County 10

Jackson 63, Washington 12

Farmington 63, Washington 6

Wednesday, Dec. 10

Borgia 36, Lutheran St. Charles 34

Winfield 54, Borgia 30

Thursday, Dec. 11

Union 72, Ft. Zumwalt East 9

Union 52, Principia 30

Union 54, Winfield 27

Saturday, Dec. 13

Union Tournament    9 a.m.

Borgia at McCluer S-Berkeley Tny    9 a.m.

Pacific at Farmington Tny    9 a.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 16

Owensville 61, St. Clair 16

Union 48, Owensville 27

Union 65, St. Clair 18

Friday, Dec. 19

Washington at Raytown S Tny    TBA

Union at Cape Central Tny    TBA

Pacific at Ft. Zumwalt E Tny    TBA

Saturday, Dec. 20

Washington at Raytown S Tny    TBA

Union at Cape Central Tny    TBA

Pacific at Ft. Zumwalt E Tny    TBA

Girls Swimming

Monday, Dec. 8

Washington at Eureka    4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Washington at Nerinx Hall    4 p.m.

LSC/OFC 134, Borgia 101, St. Dominic 83

Monday, Dec. 15

Borgia at Notre Dame (Forest Park)    4 p.m.

Kennedy 88, Washington 84

Wednesday, Dec. 17

Lindbergh 128, Washington 48

*Conference Games

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