I want you all to take a moment and just reflect on the past two years. As a matter of fact, let’s reflect on the past four and a half years and what a whirlwind it has been. April 16th, 2014, Arthur Blank announced that Atlanta would be awarded Major League Soccer’s newest expansion team. Sure there were doubts, as there are in the beginning of every new project. We heard it all: “Will Atlanta United be successful in MLS? Will people even show up to games? It’s soccer, the South doesn’t care about soccer.”
Despite all the doubts, the naysayers, the nonbelievers, Arthur Blank stood firm. Blank’s commitment to the city of Atlanta is something we should all hold dear to our hearts, because these types of sports team owners are rare. No matter the obstacle, Blank fought for this city and proved to us he cared. If you’ve ever wondered why he has the nickname “Uncle Arthur”, it’s because he sees the community as a family.
On the walls inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium lies a quote from Arthur Blank, which reads, “My promise has always been to do everything we possibly can to deliver our fans championship teams, both on the field and in this community.” The quote beautifully encapsulates Blank’s dedication to the city of Atlanta.
For years, Blank worked tirelessly to make Atlanta United happen. Unlike other MLS owners, he took the initiative and invested heavily into the club. His willingness to spend in the transfer market and take risks sets him apart from other owners. His drive to make Atlanta a soccer city didn’t just stop at the top level, as he invested to help create one of the country’s top soccer academies. When it came to Atlanta United, from top to bottom, Arthur Blank did everything in his power to make this club an instant hit in Major League Soccer.
Uncle Arthur has helped build a club that the city has embraced 110% and will continue to do so moving forward. Actions speak louder than words, and Arthur Blank’s actions show us that he cares about the city of Atlanta and its future. So as we close out 2018, just Atlanta United’s second year in existence, we head into 2019 with a MLS title under our belts. It is success that Blank dreamed of in the early days of the club, but there remains so much more to achieve.
On behalf of everyone associated with Atlanta United: from the fans around the country, the fans tirelessly singing on the terraces, the players and staff, the writers covering Atlanta United, and many more, thank you Arthur Blank. Thank you for everything you have done so far and everything that is sure to come in the future.