Former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry said he does not recognise the north London club anymore following their failed attempt to join the European Super League and hailed supporters for their role in the collapse of the competition.
Proposals for a partially closed league involving 12 elite clubs in England, Spain and Italy collapsed on Wednesday when most of the founders including Arsenal pulled out amid strong criticism from fans, governing bodies and the government.
The backlash continued as thousands of Arsenal fans gathered outside their Emirates Stadium ahead of Friday’s Premier League defeat by Everton to protest against the club’s owner – American billionaire Stan Kroenke.
Kroenke has previously come under fire from fans for a lack of adventure in the transfer market.
“I don’t recognise my club and what happened just now, with them trying to join a league that would have been closed, makes no sense to me,” Henry, Arsenal’s all-time top goalscorer, told The Telegraph.
“They’ve been running the club like a company … and they showed their hand. Maybe it’s a lack of understanding of the core football values and maybe the money was too big of a temptation. But whatever it was, they got it badly wrong.
“I was genuinely shocked like most and couldn’t believe what was unfolding. I’ve never talked before, but what happened made me realise fans … this is your club … I’m an Arsenal fan too.
“I’m proud of what the fans achieved. Not just Arsenal fans, all the fans. The result was a victory for football.”
Daniel Ek, the founder and chief executive of music streaming service provider Spotify Technology SA, on Friday said he would be interested in buying Arsenal if under-fire Kroenke wanted to sell the club.
Arsenal are valued at $2.8 billion, according to Forbes.