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Martin Samuel’s daily mail attack on Arsenal – Part 1

Untold Arsenal on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

Untold Arsenal…….Arsenal History …… Making the Arsenal …… Arsenal Uncovered

By: Anne

*Much thanks to Shard and bjtgooner for their research contributions to this article.

Last month, Arsene Wenger publicly called on Arsenal’s fans to ignore media pressure and support the team. Arsene said: “The media with us is very negative – if our fans go the way the media want them to go, we have no chance.”

Daily Mail columnist Martin Samuel apparently took exception to the above comment, which he subsequently used as a basis to personally attack Arsene in his Daily Mail column. Specifically, in response to Arsene’s suggestion that the media is “very negative” towards Arsenal, Mr. Samuel had this to say:

“You know Wenger is floundering when he talks as if the media is his enemy because no manager in the history of the English game has been treated with such reverence.

This is a man who admits he lies about his view of controversial incidents, to protect his players.

Indeed, he was quite possibly at it again on Saturday, claiming to be unsighted for Alex Song’s stamp on Joey Barton in front of the dug-out.

Yet still he is indulged.

‘Arsene knows’ was not just a mantra from the main stand.

When The Times named its 50 greatest football managers of the postwar era in 2007, Wenger came in ahead of Sir Alf Ramsey, Jock Stein, Johan Cruyff, Marcello Lippi and Arrigo Sacchi.

He is as prone to daft, illogical pronouncements as any Premier League contemporary, but remains, for public consumption, The Professor.

For such a genius, however, he has spent much of the summer acting the fool.”

In way of background, it’s worth noting that Mr. Samuel has some significant credentials as a journalist, most recently having won the 2011 “Sports Journalist of the Year” award from the Sports Journalists’ Association.

Nonetheless, Mr. Samuel appears to have somehow overlooked the fact that, when Arsene refers to the “media,” his own Daily Mail column is included in that definition. As just an example of the sort of negativity emanating from Mr. Samuel’s column, the above article in which Mr. Samuel defended the media’s treatment of Arsene was actually titled:

“Fail your Italian test and you’ll look even more foolish, Arsene.”

Samuel begins the article by invoking a familiar visual image of Arsene’s knowing “smile” that he wears when talking to the press, and continues to use it as a metaphor to cast aspersions on Arsene’s sanity, stating that:

“currently, as the evidence piles up against the confidence of that smile, [Arsene] is beginning to look ever so slightly crackers.”

Samuel then goes on to complain that Arsene has spent the summer “acting the fool,” in that:

“He demands that victory is achieved not just beautifully but ethically, economically, and with youth at its heart.

In doing so, he has imposed a set of arbitrary principles on the club that, while noble, make his task almost impossible.”

He then concludes the article by stating:

“If Arsenal fail to qualify for the Champions League, Wenger’s final justification for his methods is scotched.

Is there anyone better to manage Arsenal?

We would like to think not.

Yet in previous seasons that answer would contain no element of doubt. It does now.

At what point might that knowing smile become a rictus grin?

If Udinese win, perhaps.”

Thus, it would seem that Mr. Samuel’s reporting fits the very definition of “negative” reporting that Arsene was referring to. In way of further background, Mr. Samuel has actually been on the Untold Media radar for quite awhile now, based on the following report submitted by Shard, one of Untold Media’s Daily Mail researchers (also in August, the significance of which will be detailed later). Shard’s report below was referring to Mr. Samuel’s “match report” on Arsenal’s first leg Champions League victory over Udinese:

“I don’t think there is even one sentence in this article that can pass for fair reporting. This is purely and simply a propaganda piece, and really, it is quite amusing to picture Martin Samuel-sports journalist of the year, feeling proud of having his name attached to it.”

During this same time period, our other Daily Mail researcher, bjtgooner, also noted that Mr. Samuel’s reporting appeared to be “anti-Arsenal.”

Since Mr. Samuel chose to respond to Arsene’s comments about the media by claiming that “no manager in the history of the English game has been treated with such reverence” as Arsene Wenger, and taking the above into account, I, in turn, chose to write the following article as a response to Mr. Samuel, re-asserting Arsene’s contrary view that:

“The media…is very negative” towards Arsenal.

Furthermore, I believe that Mr. Samuel’s Arsenal coverage in particular provides us with an excellent case study that not only proves that such negativity exists, but also will allow us to demonstrate some of the finer points of exactly how it works.

Summary of Research and Conclusions

In conducting my research on Mr. Samuel, I analyzed all of his Arsenal coverage between 1 March, 2011, and the present, focusing on the following three factors:

1)      the general tone of his coverage;

2)     any possible use of “talking points;” and

3)     the volume of his Arsenal coverage as a percentage of his total coverage.

Specifically, I was attempting to determine whether any trends and/or patterns existed in Mr. Samuel’s Arsenal coverage with regard to the above three categories, and also whether any such trends or patterns correlated with specific dates. Based on this analysis, I was able to identify certain trends and patterns in all three of the above categories, along with specific date correlations. The following is a general summary of these findings:

1) General Tone of Coverage and Talking Points

First and foremost, I want to emphasize that, regardless of any trends or patterns that may or may not exist in Mr. Samuel’s coverage, his reporting on Arsenal is nonetheless worthy of further attention based solely on the level of negativity that he has demonstrated in recent months.

However, during the time period covered, I did manage to identify some trends in the tone of his coverage. In general, Mr. Samuel’s coverage was negative throughout the entire period. However, during the period from 1 March, 2011, to 30 June, 2011, Mr. Samuel made more effort to disguise this negativity, with the effect that his negative tone was more subtle than it is at present.

However, beginning on approximately 1 July, 2011, there was a noticeable shift in the tone of Mr. Samuel’s coverage from subtle negativity to overt negativity. This change in tone of coverage coincided with the emergence of certain talking points that were not present as a general trend in Mr. Samuel’s coverage prior to 1 July, 2011, and which appear to be associated with the “crisis and anxiety” talking points campaign that has been previously documented in our previous Untold Media Watch Reports on both the Mirror and the Mail.

This campaign appears to have been significantly ramped up during the month of  August, which also coincided with a sudden spike in Mr. Samuel’s:

2) Volume of Coverage

Because of the format in which Mr. Samuel’s articles are published (some single-topic, some multi-topic), it is difficult to calculate volume statistics, and I was forced to do numerous calculations to come up with statistics that I deemed credible. However, as can be seen from the statistics below, every calculation I did showed an improbable spike in Mr. Samuel’s Arsenal coverage in the month of August, when this same “talking points” campaign also appears to have gone into full force.

In the interests of space, I’m not going to go into detail here about exactly how I came up with these calculations. If you have any questions, please ask in the comments.

Findings on Volume of Coverage

Volume of Arsenal coverage as a percentage of total coverage by month (no differentiation based on category of article):

March April May June July August September
24% 13% 22% 17% 33% 62% 40%

Full Stats: Ars 6/25; Ars 2/15; Ars 5/33; Ars 4/23; Ars 4/12; Ars 8/13; Ars 4/10)

Findings: Increase from July- present with spike in August.

Volume of Arsenal coverage in Multi-Topic articles as a percentage total coverage in Multi-Topic Articles. (This set of percentages is calculated by determining the total number of multi-topic articles published in a given month, and the percentage of those articles that included Arsenal as one of the topics covered):

March April May June July August September
50% 50% 57% 50% 80% 100% 75%

Full Stats: Ars 4/8; Ars 2/4; Ars 4/7; Ars 4/23; Ars 4/8; Ars 6/6; Ars 3/4)

Findings: Increase from July- present with spike in August.

Volume of Arsenal coverage in Single-Topic articles in relation to total topics covered in Single-Topic Articles. (Due to the low number of articles in this category, I’m listing both the percentages and the actual numbers):

March April May June July August September
Total: 17 Arsenal: 2 (12%); Total: 11 Ars: 0 (0%) Total: 16 Ars 1 (6%) Total: 15 Ars 0 (0%) Total: 7 Ars: 0 (0%) Total: 7 Ars 2 (29%) Total: 6 Ars: 1 (17%)

Findings: The numbers in this category aren’t high enough for the percentage volume to be significant. However, there is some indication that Samuel has increased output in August and September.

Volume of Arsenal coverage (as topic in multi-topic articles) as a percentage of total topics covered in multi-topic articles

March April May June July August September
9% 9% 5% 6% 9% 20% 15%

Full Stats: Ars 5/58; Ars 2/22; Ars 4/77; Ars 4/67; Ars 4/45; Ars 9/46; Ars 4/27

Findings: Volume increase in August and September but not July; higher in August.

Volume of Arsenal coverage (as topic in multi-topic articles) as a percentage of total football topics covered in multi-topic articles

March April May June July August September
20% 22% 10% 14% 22% 32% 29%

Full Stats: Ars 5/25; Ars 2/9; Ars 4/40; Ars 4/29; Ars 4/18; Ars 9/28; Ars 4/14

Findings: Volume increase in August and September but not July; higher in August.

Volume of Arsenal coverage (as topic in multi-topic articles) as a percentage of total football topics covered in multi-topic articles, as compared with club receiving highest volume coverage in month (or next-highest if Arsenal has highest volume)

March April May June July August September
Ars 20% Ars 22% Ars 10% Ars 14% Ars 22% Ars 32% Ars 29%
ManU 16% ManU 44% W. Ham 15% ManU 21% ManC 22% Spurs 11% Liverpool 21%

Findings: statistically significant change in August and September; Spike in August.

Total Word Count of Arsenal Coverage in Multi-Topic Articles

March April May June July August September
2796 784 1541 422 1191 6402 1217

Findings: statistically significant change in August and September; Spike in August.

Having thus identified a spike in Mr. Samuel’s Arsenal coverage that occurred during the month of August, 2011, in Part II of this article, we will take a detailed look at the “crisis and anxiety” talking points campaign that was also in full effect during the months of July and August, as it was reflected in Mr. Samuel’s Arsenal coverage.

To be continued in Part II…

112 comments to Martin Samuel’s daily mail attack on Arsenal – Part 1

  • Walter

    After reading the article send to us by Anne I had to think at a prize they give in my country called “manager of the year”. A bit like “sports journalist of the year”. They give this prize to a manager that has made his company successful during that year. Some kind of economical magazine started giving this prize.

    So I guess Mr. Samuel has done something to get his prize? Maybe he invented the media war against Arsenal and Wenger himself and as a reward got the prize?

    But my point is that after some 10 (or more) years of handing the prize out to “the manager of the year” the prize has become something of a curse. Because almost all the “managers of the year” later turned out to be people who brought short time success to their company (and sometimes got lots of money by selling their company just in time) but not in the long run. Most of the time their company went bust a short while later.

    If I may name one of the winners (or 2 in fact) it was Lernaut and Hauspie. I think they are world famous when it comes to building an empty house. It was great from the outside but when you looked inside you could see there was nothing in it.

    And so I wonder if this Martin Samuel is the same thing as Lernaut & Hauspie were: nothing but air? Finding himself so important after having won his prize. But at the end of the day, the real great people will be remembered for ever.

    Mr. Samuel remember this: In 100 years time my grand, grand children will come to the Emirates traveling with the the supersonic Eurostar train that will bring them to London in 15 minutes. And they will stand at the Emirates and look at the bust of Wenger and say: he was the one that laid the foundations for this great club. And nobody of them will know the name of Martin Samuel. NOBODY!

    Or maybe one of my grand grand children will say: you know my grand grand father once said there was a foolish writer who wanted to bring this great man down by his writings. And the other will say: what a twat. That is the best you can hope for, Mr. Samuel.

  • Anne

    Fine sentiments, Walter, but I’m guessing that Mr. Samuel’s “sports journalist of the year” award (which I believe he has also won in years prior to 2011, if I’m not mistaken), carries certain collateral benefits that Mr. Samuel will continue to enjoy in years to come. Regardless of whether the general quality and integrity of his reporting causes it to withstand the test of time 🙂

  • Chriss

    Mr Samuel is a very negative fool himself who is blinded by hate for foreigners

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Another one to bite the dust !Keep up the good work Anne(& guys)
    I for one will not weep (nor lose sleep) when these slimeball jurnos and equally moronic pundits lose their jobs when their businesses close.

  • Anne

    @Bricksfields Gunners:

    Thank you. Actually, my article on Samuel could have been twice as long as it is now, just based on the amount of material that he generated. And since the comments seem a bit slow, I’ll go ahead and include the following list of some of his greatest “hits” that barely missed the cut on the final edit of the article:

    “It’s just another excuse, Arsene

    The problem with Arsenal is that they continue to want first prize in competitions that do not exist.

    Previously, they demanded acclaim for playing the best football – a subjective boast based only on peak performance, not conceding four goals unopposed at Newcastle United or failing to get a shot on target in Barcelona.

    Now, as Arsene Wenger’s plan unravels, another imaginary title has been secured: for economic prudence.

    This time Arsenal should be admired for the way Wenger has produced a sustainable business model, as if football is merely accountancy in shorts; but nobody ever hired an open-top bus to parade a positive bank statement around town.”

    “Wenger works it out

    And at last the penny drops at Arsenal. ‘Imagine the worst situation, that you lose Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri,’ says Arsene Wenger. ‘You cannot convince people that you are ambitious after that.’ So nice of you to join us, Arsene. What took you so long?”

    “Wenger’s talk is cheap

    Arsene Wenger describes it as Arsenal’s destiny to win the Barclays Premier League. On the same day it is revealed the club has made a bid of £14m for Anderlecht teenager Romelu Lukaku.

    Chelsea are also in the mix, and the player is clearly very talented, but somehow these destinies can sound alarmingly like another of Wenger’s five-year plans in which a squad is assembled that is going to be absolutely unbeatable.”

  • Jeez. Thanks Annie for this. As a Nigerian who loves Arsenal and is a strict Arsene disciple, I just wonder why the English Media is so anti Arsenal. It beats me greatly. Well truth and sincerity lasts forever thats for sure.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @Anne – with all this bile he’s spewing ,I won’t be suprised to hear he died choking on it !

  • Anne

    @Chriss:

    While I ordinarily do my best to shut down any lines of inquiry blaming media bias against Arsenal on prejudice against “foreigners,” I believe that there is actually something to discuss here with regard to Mr. Samuel’s coverage.

    Leaving aside his particularly offensive “Starvin Marvin” analogy (which is mentioned in part II of this article), Mr. Samuel has shown a trend of taking shots at Arsenal based on their un-English-ness. This is another aspect of Mr. Samuel’s coverage that failed to make the “final cut” of the present article:

    “In other articles, Samuel occasionally chooses to play the ‘xenophobia’ card as a means of taking a shot at Arsenal. For example, while discussing some twitter comments made by Robin Van Persie, he included the statement that:

    ‘Robin van Persie’s comments about the social activities of English players were intriguing, particularly as he has so few as colleagues at Arsenal.’

    Similarly, in an article discussing foreign ownership of English clubs, Samuel inserted the following comment:

    ‘The idea of Arsenal as a great citadel of Englishness has been stretched to the limit in recent years, too. Under Wenger it has been a French club operating in the English league, its manager, players and philosophies largely imported. At best, it is cosmopolitan and only recently under Wenger have Englishmen again begun to play a significant role in the team.’”

    So, is Samuel xenophobic? Quite possibly… However, regardless of his true motives, he certainly doesn’t seem shy about playing the xenophobia “card.”

  • Alex

    I like this article.
    I do read always Mr Samuel article and seems to me balanced one to me.
    While it is clear for everyone that the media are on us.To be honest with ourselves as well is needed.

    1)Results they didn`t go our way since the last end of the previous season.
    2)Then the journalist or reporter or whatever they call themselves they never kick a ball in their entire life and become judges on Mr Wenger.They pick always about our defence and in all honesty our players in that department they never fail to make them happy.

    August is the end of the transfer window.Little to wonder the media will pick this month to force our club to borrow money and to be distabilised like others.

  • Bobby Pliers

    Samuel and Winter were on “Sunday Supplement” stating that Arsenal’s current problems could have been avoided if they had bought both Parker and Cahill in the summer. What they are really saying is “buy British”. They questioned the signing of Mertesacker over Cahill as quote “Mertesacker can’t even get in the German national side”. They must play an awful lot of meaningless friendlies then to give him his 70+ caps by the age of 26. The English press is xenophobic in the extreme and this treatment of Arsenal is nothing new. I think it all changed the day we fielded our first XI without an Englishman, I remember it caused quite a furore at the time. If Wenger is treated with reverence I would hate to see a manager that wasn’t! Patrick Barclay, who I think currently writes for the Times, remains a beacon of sense and reason and stands head and shoulders above the dross.

  • Anne

    @Brickfields:

    With a “rictus grin?”… 🙂 By the way, am I the only person who found Samuel’s use of the term “rictus grin” (as a description of “crazy” Arsene) to be extremely creepy in the context that he used it?

    However, that being said, since we here generally hold ourselves to a higher standard of journalistic integrity than Mr. Samuel apparently does, I would STRONGLY discourage the use of any further “death” analogies in future comments. Cheers and thanks.

    (no offense to you personally, Brickfields. Thanks for commenting, and I actually appreciated that one.)

  • Anne

    @Alex:

    I’m not trying to claim that there is no legitimate basis to criticize Arsenal in the media. It’s just that I believe that those bases have been more than covered by others. What I’m trying to do here is to emphasize that a certain bias may exist against Arsenal in relation to other clubs.

    For example, in relation to the spike in Mr. Samuel’s Arsenal coverage in August, you mention that: “Little to wonder the media will pick this month to force our club to borrow money and to be distabilised like others.”

    I actually agree with you that there are multiple explanations for why Mr. Samuel might have ramped up his Arsenal coverage in August, including (but not limited to) Arsenal’s general lack of transfer activity up to that point, and certain problems that just seemed to hit the club just at that particular time.

    However, where you are incorrect is in stating that Samuel’s coverage of Arsenal in August is “like others.” Specifically, his coverage of Arsenal in August constituted approximately 32% of total coverage, whereas his coverage of the second-most-covered clubs only constituted approximately 7% of total coverage.

    This was in marked contrast to Samuel’s general football coverage in other months (see my volume statistics above, second-to-last chart, for further detail).

    So, can you explain why Samuel would have loaded up on Arsenal as a single topic in the month of August, to the exclusion of other clubs?

  • nicky

    Years ago when I was young and foolish, I used to read the Sun newspaper. I didn’t buy it of course but it was passed to me secondhand.
    Through this newspaper (and I use the word loosely) I came across Mr Samuel, one of the biggest self-publicists in the English-speaking world. Everywhere you looked in the paper, page after page, there was Mr Samuel leering out at you. Even that con-artist-supreme Max Clifford would have been proud of his efforts at self-publicity.
    It would now appear that Samuel has graduated to the Daily Mail
    which is OK because I don’t read that paper… even secondhand.
    Finally,I’m reminded of a remark once made by an astute Manager of Arsenal many years ago. He once said “It’s always bad publicity when there is neither good news or bad news about Arsenal in the papers”. Keep up with the bile Mr Samuel. It’s better than saying nothing.

  • Anne

    @Nicky:

    I remember that you commented on a previous thread about the “remark” by a former manager of Arsenal that “It’s always bad publicity when there is neither good news or bad news about Arsenal in the papers.” I appreciated your comment then and I appreciate it now.

    However, are you telling me that Martin Samuel started his career with the Sun?!?! I was unaware of this. Could you elaborate? Thanks.

  • @Nicky… The Sun!? It seems the toad literally crawled out of the gutter press!

  • David

    Impressive piece of analysis Anne. Sports journalists need to be kept on their toes, I think.

    It seems to me that there is a tendency towards arrogance in that profession. And there exists a certain underhanded sneakiness in the way they craft the pieces.

    Mr. Samuels seems to have an axe to grind about Arsene Wenger and I question whether this stems from simple personal perspective, some sort of unstated angst, or another as yet unguessed agenda?

    Or is it simply the oldest, most cynical reason of all, namely that attaching the name “Wenger” to a piece… sells copy?

    Anyway, great work. Please keep it up.

    David

  • nicky

    Anne, I’m pretty certain that Samuel wrote for the Sun quite a few years ago. Whether he STARTED there I don’t know.The thing I recall was that he constantly (and boringly) gave publicity to Chelsea (now Chelski) by continually referring to his wife or girlfriend of the time as “Shed Girl”. If it wasn’t sport, his ghastly photo appeared in startling regularity in all sorts of poses and places, with or without stars of stage and screen, so much so that I was permanently amazed that a simple hack (and I use the word advisedly) could obtain such self- publicity. I was very glad when the source of secondhand Suns’ dried up and I soon became a normal human being again.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    A few points to air:

    1. Mr Samuel is a well-known West Ham fan. You don’t need to be Einstein to know he’s not an Arsenal fan.
    2. Headlines aren’t usually written by journalists, they’re written by sub-eds or the Editor and approved at the top, usually. You could of course ring up Mr Samuel to ask if he personally wrote the headline you quote…..
    3. I do think that this site needs to be careful complaining about anti-Arsenal coverage, given its rudeness, downright lying and pejoratively superior attitudes toward other clubs, none of which is consistent with the ‘class’ that you all think so imbues The Arsenal.

    I think those who monitor what I write on this site will have seen me using satire, sarcasm, wit and occasionally ‘Do stop being a rude wanker!’ to try and slowly mould you into a self-confident bunch of adults not requiring hatred as a daily diet. If you define yourselves by hating Spurs rather than loving Arsenal, shame on you, after all……….

    Do think about why you expect politeness and respect in the media when you write hate articles about Sam Allardyce, Sir Alex Ferguson, Swansea City, Spurs etc etc etc.

    It’s very simple really: either you need to learn to live and let live, as Mr Broeckx described Borussia Dortmund being eminently capable of doing.

    Or you accept that for each ‘Anyone but Arsenal is a lying cheating shit’ article you allow to stand at this site, five or more will be thrown back at you in the mainstream media.

    I believe it’s called The Respect Agenda……

  • Anne

    @Nicky and Dog Face:

    Looking into this a bit more, I can’t find any specific link between Samuel and the Sun. However, there is a definite News of the World Link, along with an interesting history of various “awards” that Samuel has won as a “credible” journalist… In fact, the more I look into Samuel, the more “shadowy” his background appears… Here is his wikipedia entry:

    “Martin Samuel (Born 1964) [1] is a sports columnist for the Daily Mail newspaper and columnist for the Jewish Chronicle. He had been a sports writer and columnist for The Times and the News of the World since 2002 and was named Sports Writer of the Year for 2005 and 2006 at the What The Papers Say awards and in 2005 and 2006 by the Sports Journalists’ Association.

    His work has been described as “witty, punchy and illuminating” and appealing to sports fans and non-sports fan alike.[2]

    In March 2008, Samuel was presented with the John Bromley Trophy for a third successive time after being named as the SJA’s sports writer of the year for 2007, his commendation stating that “[Samuel] took the plunge back into daily papers but still maintained, even surpassed, the remarkable quality and clarity that has hallmarked his writing and thinking for many years.”[3] He won the prestigious Sports Journalist of the Year award at the British Press Awards in 2008.[4]

    Samuel is a regular guest on the Sunday Supplement.

    In September 2008, it was announced that Samuel would be leaving The Times to move to the Daily Mail, replacing the paper’s sports columnist, Paul Hayward, who was moving to The Guardian. Speculation suggested that Samuel’s salary would be in excess of £400,000.[5]

    Samuel is a fan of West Ham United FC.”

    *Sidenote: I’ll be interested to hear what bob has to say about Samuel’s links to Hayward at the Guardian…

    Moving on, here is a 2002 Times article describing Samuel’s “achievements” in more detail:

    “From The Times December 21, 2002

    Award for Samuel
    Martin Samuel has been voted Sports Writer of the Year in the prestigious What the Papers Say awards to crown a marvellous year for Times Sport. The judges commended Samuel, saying “he proves that some of the best writing in newspapers can be found on the sports pages. He is always funny, informative and highly readable.”
    Samuel, who writes a weekly column for The Times, was presented with the honour at the Cafe Royal yesterday for his work for both The Times and its sister publication, the News of the World.

    It is the first time a sports writer has won an award for 16 years and Samuel is only the fourth to receive it…”

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/article804373.ece

  • Anne

    @David:

    I think that all of the questions you raised in your above comment are valid questions about Samuel’s potential motives, specifically regarding his “axe to grind” against Arsene Wenger. Clearly he has one. And while I believe that there are many potential motives that have yet to be ruled out, I would personally rule out just selling “copy” as a motive.

    Personally, I don’t think that explains everything. Otherwise, your guess is as good as mine, and thanks for your compliments and taking the time to respond.

  • Arvind

    @Anne,All at Untold: First of all keep up the good work. I would like to suggest something though. Take it for whatever its worth..but do give it a thought..

    There are so many papers, magazines and tabloids to cover and so many authors each of whom write in a different way. Covering Arsenal in all these papers can quickly (while you guys are doing really well) become overkill.

    I mean overkill, in the sense…if you have 3 negative results where we lose badly, and then an Untold Media article comes out.. it will not be taken as seriously as the work put into it deserves. It’ll be seen as .. there they go again..complaining..etc

    Might I hence suggest, that instead of looking at Arsenal coverage in 4-5 newspapers, you and the team take 1 paper…say just The Sun… and look at its treatment of the top 5 EPL clubs by each columnist. So for e.g:

    The Sun:
    Columnist A – 10 articles in Jul 2011, 3 AFC, 2 ManU, 2 City, 3 Chelsea
    Columnist B – 7 articles in Jul 2011, 5 AFC, 2 City

    And so on..
    Soon I guess, like you have done with Arsenal, you’ll find out which columnist writes more for which club. Now look at how they write for EACH club, instead of just AFC.

    Once The Sun is done…and all its columnists have been strip searched 😉 you could move on to the next paper and so on.

    Its just like the ref reviews, more clubs covered = more faith about no bias being shown. Just my thoughts :).

    Keep up the good work… however you do it..

  • Shard

    @Rhys Jaggar

    Well said. An eye for an eye makes the world blind and all that. But even the man who said that, thought it fit to fight back against injustice. So you say we at Untold are contributing to the world going blind by shining the light on some barely disguised, or blatant attacks on our club? Your call sir, but the comparison is hardly apt. One is an Arsenal blog which claims to support the Lord Wenger, thereby making its bias clear, and relying on the facts to tell the story. The other rely on their reputation as upholders of the free media where one would presume they have a certain responsibility to be objective and fair, and using that position to carry out, what some on this site believe is an orchestrated, concentrated campaign aimed at destabilising the club, and especially targetting one man. It isn’t about HATE. I don’t HATE the media. I’m just sick of them and not giving us readers enough RESPECT. Criticism of a club is no problem, but this is something unprecedented for a sports team, and its reached a point that something needs to be done about it. To get back the RESPECT that we the fans, the readers, and even the club and Wenger deserve, as a matter of course, regardless of any criticism that they may be due. So this to me IS a Respect Agenda, and it is a two way street. We’re just claiming our side of the road.

  • Anne

    @Nicky:

    Could you please clarify your above comment? I’m not sure that I’m following you.

  • nicky

    Anne, Sorry but I don’t understand your request. Please clarify.

  • steww

    I think you do amazing work but I cannot read anything which quotes the Daily Mail. I come here to avoid the racist, sexist, homophobic reactionary filth they propagate.
    They appeal to a section of our population which would never be missed and never be mourned if it were wiped out over night by a virulent plague.

  • Anne

    @Rhys Jagger:

    1. Why are you focusing on headlines? I believe that I focused my critiques on the content of the articles, not the headlines.

    2. Based on my own “monitoring of your comments” on this site, I find you to be all over the place, and I actually agree with many of your comments. However, if you’re accusing me of “rudeness” and “lying,” I would appreciate if you could elaborate on that.

  • Anne

    @Nicky:

    Specifically, can you recall any articles that Samuel wrote for the Sun? I’ve been looking and I can’t find any. If you could give me some key words, or some more specific information, that might help. Thanks.

  • JohnW

    Whether you like it or not, Arsene will go this season. Believe me, if not in the course of the season, atleast in the Summer. There are very few people who can withstand, a sustained, coordinated media campaign against them. I some times ask myself whether a certain Usmanov is behind it, but when recently the BBC entered the campaign, I got my doubts. Just look at yesterday, Arsenal won! The team we beat had eliminated Swansea and Derby County. You might say that the Arsenal team that played on the night was at the same level with those other teams that got knocked out, but even then, that was not enough for the media! Had Arsene named our starting eleven, the media and ‘unfortunately’ some of you fans would say he panicked and could not envisage a situation where we got eliminated. So from the beginning, Arsene was doomed to lose regardless of whether Arsenal won, drew or lost against the League Two team.
    To put the argument into perspective, Man City with all their millions only drew last week, against Fulham. Now, Fulham are at the same level with Blackburn, but do you see any one in the media questioning Man City’s result?
    Many of you do not believe me, but I think Arsene shot himself in the foot.If our team had atleast 6 English first teamers, then all this criticism would not have surfaced. And to compound the situation, the players are not helping. It’s as if some of them want the manager to be sacked! They play without heart, desire, urgency, how, if you were Arsene would you win games under such circumstances?
    Finally, I really want you all to brace yourself for the media backlash, because i don’t think we will win on Saturday! Why? Because of the simple reason that for the last few years we have been losing in threes! That sounds petty, but Bolton will consider this to be their most opportune time to play us, when we are down, every one (including ourselves) ridiculing the team and the manager. So they will give it a real real go, I don’t think we will survive it.

  • Anne

    @Bobby P:

    Good comments. However, I have to say, once again, that I don’t think that xenophobia really explains ALL of this.

  • Anne

    @Arvind:

    Thanks for commenting, and I actually agree with your suggestions about Untold Media 100%. However, as I believe I said when I first became involved in this Untold Media project, the amount of actual work involved in this sort of media analysis is difficult to comprehend unless you try to do it yourself.

    Performing the sort of analysis that you envision on one particular paper would probably take an entire year to complete. During which time, all of the other “perpetrators” would be running scot free.

    Basically, my take is that we’re not going to be able to prove anything “beyond a reasonable doubt” where Untold Media is concerned. However, what I do hope to accomplish here is to provide enough evidence to raise questions. And to enable readers to follow our analysis to its logical conclusions, based on their own critical thinking skills.

    Overall, I believe that we could certainly be more organized. However, the question of how to acheive that level of organization when you’re dealing with, on average, approximately one million words on any given topic, is more difficult than it may immediately appear to be.

    Don’t know how good of a response to your comment this actually is 🙂

  • Anne

    @Big Sam:

    Thank you.

  • Anne

    @steww:

    I think you might be a bit overly critical of daily mail readers 🙂

  • Anne

    @Steww:

    Seriously, now that I think about it, your comment above is just about as creepy as Samuel’s comment about Arsene’s “rictus grin”…

  • TommyGuns

    @Rhys Jaggar

    I don’t have a huge amount to add to the responses from Shard and Anne, other than to say whether you intend or not your post comes across as patronising in the extreme:

    “I think those who monitor what I write on this site will have seen me using satire, sarcasm, wit and occasionally ‘Do stop being a rude wanker!’ to try and slowly mould you into a self-confident bunch of adults not requiring hatred as a daily diet.”

    This site’s agenda is clear: it’s pro Wenger (many would say in the extreme, of course) and always seeking greater transparency in every area of the game. What’s your agenda?

    With comments like “I do think that this site needs to be careful complaining about anti-Arsenal coverage, given its rudeness, downright lying and pejoratively superior attitudes toward other clubs, none of which is consistent with the ‘class’ that you all think so imbues The Arsenal.” the mind boggles. The posters on this site are I’m sure open to criticism etc, but that’s not what your insubstantitated statement is. As has already been pointed out, your comparisons are flawed.

    It’s hard to see what positive agenda you might have on this forum; if you think you’re performing some kind of public service in trying to steer this site and its contributors along a path of comment and analysis that YOU feel to be just, then please, spare us tghe sanctimony.

  • Arsenal1Again

    As much as it amuses me to see Martin Samuel hasn’t changed from the time I read the Mail, I find it diificult to understand why his comments warrant so much focus. I know Tony has a journalist background, but to be frank I find all media opinions regarding my Arsenal to be inconsequential unless they are the opinions of Arsenal fans, Tony is one as we know, or if they are by Arsenal Football Club, or the staff which includes any players that do or have played for the club. Martin Samuel does not fit any of these catagories.

    When I was raising my children I would not argue with them. They were the child, I was the adult. I did not take myself down to their level, and I did not allow them to feel they were on my level by arguing. I apply a similar ethos to Martin Samuel. I believe Arsene Wenger does too.

  • Tasos

    Good work Anne

    We have become such easy picking for any lazy journalist out there. If they’ve got any empty football pages to fill then jump on the Wenger bashing bandwagon. Admittedly we are not helping ourselves at the present moment but even last nights decent victory against Shrewsbury failed to curtail the barrage of abuse being aimed at our club. A victory in which, coincidently two of our English boys scored, with one of those players having the potential to become a future English star IMO.

    This media campaign carriers more than xenophobia alone.

    @John W

    “Arsenal will loose on Saturday because of the simple reason that for the last few years we have been losing in threes”!

    Interesting comment. On how many occasions has this happened in the last few years and can you show evidence of this pattern please.

    BTW My maths might be wrong but Blackburn counts as only 1 defeat in our last 4 games.

    @Bobby P

    Good point.

    If we are going to expose the many poor journalist amongst the British media in this campaign against our club/manager then I believe it is only correct to praise someone as principled and decent as the excellent Patrick Barclay. If Wenger has an ally amongst the media then its surely Mr Barclay.

  • Mike Collins

    C0me on guys what was a wonderful blog full of financial news is degenerating into an exercise in paranoid delusion. In over 55 years in supporting Arsenal I have never noticed any change in the media as they have never really liked us. In fact if you go back to the first league title in the 1930s the newspaper reaction was really hostile.
    I know I show my age as we were told the only really useful function papers had was in wrapping fish and chips. Just rise above it all and accept that is life and at the mement we deserve most of the critisism we are getting.

  • bob

    Anne,
    This is a great cliff-hanger! What does August mean in the spike to Arsene’s palms that Martin Samuel hammers?!
    There’s so much to comment on already here. In your comment you mention that whatever Samuel’s inner thoughts, he does not shy (as you demonstrate) from playing the xenophobia card.

    This distinction is really important to examine, because people will make the distinction in order to let the card-player (Samuel) off the hook, and exonerate them as not really xenophobic (or racist, or sexist, etc.) So, for another example, when Joey Barton serially attacks African players (on Arsenal and other sides, including his own), it’s not that he’s racist, but that he plays the African card. My point is that it’s actually worse to play the dirty card in public than it is to have the dirty attitude. Why? Because, obviously, when it’s played out in public, it impacts many hearts and minds (especially in a paper with huge circulation like the Mirror) and it validates and encourages and normalizes and stokes the reader’s holding and playing out the same dirty attitude in the public arena.

    Let such writers and players be the nicest, most humane, must even-handed person with his family, friends, teammates and fellow-workers; but what counts even more – far more – is the damage done in society at large by their validating and encouraging the worst attitudes, values and feelings. Saying that such writers and players are not – or may not be – personally xenophobic (or racist, or sexist, or whatever), is to overlook and fail to see that – whatever they are – it is worse that they publicly use their position of influence – whether for fame or money or some unexamined psychological reason – to toxify the public consciousness which, tragically, can too-often unfold in a vast continuum of nasty-to-violent behaviors.

  • bob

    Mike Collins,
    Your namesake would never have accepted that this, as you say, is life as it is so get on with it. In fact, here at UA/UM, not a few of us find it’s actually useful to combat the toxic newspaper tide, rather than insult the poor fish by wrapping them in it. And for these efforts, you rise to the occasion and call these efforts “paranoid delusion.” Mike, you may or may not have the skillset or mindset to diagnose our ills, but you are not shy in using this label to bash our efforts. This is more than being silent. It’s actually to tarnish and de-legitimate what we do. In that spirit, I would say that you don’t mind the world as it is; and maybe that world has been good, or good enough to you. But why not, at the very least, make room for others who have hope enough or energy enough to try to bring something that’s more fair to the pitch, to Arsenal’s prospects, to this manager’s fate, to the standard of refereeing, or to the fan’s understanding of how some of the media are warping their perceptions? If this effort makes the likes of those at UM “paranoid,” dear Mike, then I would have to say “guilty as charged” and it’s time for the inmates to take over the asylum. Surely, Mike Collins, your namesake would know which side he was on.

  • Anne

    @TommyGuns:

    Thank you for the defense. Personally, in light of the fact that I’ve appreciated some of Rhys’ comments on here in the past, I would actually be interested in hearing him elucidate the meaning behind that last comment…

    I’m not afraid of and/or intimidated by that type of criticism any more than I would be by a fact-based criticism of my research, so if Rhys can just elaborate on exactly what he’s complaining about, I’ll be more than happy to respond (without any animosity) 🙂

  • Anne

    @Arsenal1Again:

    Your comment brings us back to a debate that we’ve had many times before in these comments threads (dating back to well before the days of Untold Media). Specifically, why are these people worthy of our attention? Why bother?

    On that subject, the point I’ve made before, and which I’ll now make again, is that this type of press coverage is NOT
    “inconsequential.” To the contrary, this type of press coverage is the sort of thing that ruins the days of Arsenal fans all over the world.

    And to make matters worse, in many cases, these Arsenal fans have no outlet to turn to that will confirm their own suspicions that this kind of thing is, in fact, BS, and unfair towards Arsenal.

    Basically, I do these reports because I want all of the Arsenal fans that I described above to have somewhere that they can turn to to realize that there ARE other Arsenal fans out there who notice the things that they are noticing. And I want to provide them with a place to air their thoughts and to vent their frustrations.

    Nothing more. Nothing less.

  • bob

    Rhyss,
    If I were the headline writer for your scribbles, and I gave them a headline that you did not approve of, and then I did so again, and, again, you did not approve of them, would you do nothing? or would your name mean enough to you to have the headline writer cease and desist, or even go to the department editor and (assuming he has or hasn’t approved of the headline, which is what sells and leaves the biggest impression, mind you) and have him stop the practice, or the policy, anything to de-link yourself. I’d like to think you would take enough responsibility for what went out under your name to disaffiliate from a headline that you couldn’t abide. Now I’m being very polite with you here, but let me put it this way: the person who signs the article is responsible for what goes out into the public arena under his/her name. Otherwise, you are providing a built-in excuse for anyone to shirk and avoid personal responsibility for the message that they have put out into the world. To say, “but I didn’t write the headline” is mendacious, even if customary. And for you to defend it, openly or tacitly, is to equally enable such irresponsibility, even as you so (unrestrained) pompously and self-importantly bloviate about Respect Campaigns. Headlines that perfume our worst angels (restrained) are indicative of the writers that regularly permit them to go out over their names. Your moral standard in decoupling them can have terribly less than more consequences in the world.

  • Anne

    @Tasos and Bobby P:

    In response to your comments, I tried to look up Patrick Barclay’s recent coverage, only to find that, alas, I have to have a paid subscription to the Times to read it. However, if there is truly a pro-Arsenal journalist out there (or at least someone who is not anti-Arsenal), I would really like to give him credit here.

    @Tasos:

    Given the analysis of Martin Samuel that I’ve already done in recent days (do you have ANY IDEA how much time those statistics took me to compile? 🙂 ), I’m not really feeling up to analyzing John W’s claim that Arsenal is “losing in threes” at the current moment.

    However, I, like you, tend to be skeptical of this claim, and would like to hear some additional information on the subject. Otherwise, I agree with most of what you said, and thanks for commenting.

  • bob

    p.s. meant to end with “moral consequences” in the world.

  • Anne

    @bob:

    You want xenophobia? I can give you xenophobia. 🙂 I guess I’m giving away a little bit of part 2 of my article here, but I’ll go ahead and quote this (from Samuel’s “report” on Arsenal’s deadline-day transfer activity):

    “What a difference eight goals make. First, nobody was good enough for Arsenal then, suddenly, everybody was.

    Per Mertesacker, Andre Santos, Gary Cahill, Park Chu-young, Mikel Arteta, Marouane Fellaini, Yossi Benayoun, Wesley Sneijder, Lucho Gonzalez, Alex, Yann M’Vila, Juan, Florent Malouda, Marvin Martin, STARVIN MARVIN.

    Actually, that last one definitely isn’t true. STARVIN MARVIN WAS THE FAMISHED ETHIOPIAN adopted by accident in an episode of South Park but, let’s face it, he could be Arsenal’s new centre half.”

    Talk about xenophobia….Or could it be more than xenophobia? Could it be…dare I say…RACISM?

    Oh no, of course not… Sorry, I totally take that back….

  • bob

    Arvind,
    If we only did one paper, say The Sun, then readers will say, “Ok, that’s the Sun, what else do you expect?”, and they’d be right. So we look as we can at an array of newspapers, not just one. We are not a funded institute; which is what it would take to do a full scale content analysis, and compile the names and patterns that you call for. My suggestion is that you join in on UM’s work and help to do exactly what you ask of UM. Be UM. Be the change you ask for. And if you think that there’s any laziness or trust-fund or bank account that provides the free time it takes for the scope and depth of analysis that Anne, or Walter, or Dogface, or you on the Defense, that others customarily provide readers here with, you’d be dead wrong. So hopefully you’d turn some of your energies toward UM writer watching, or encourage others to do so. We few at UM are maxed out with what we can provide, and happy to do what we can bring to light.

  • bob

    Anne, all,
    And this from the Sportswriter of the Year! Of course he loves all people, has friends of all persuasions, understands discrimination in all its forms, has pints with his non-English colleagues, etc. etc. He’s one of us, our Martin Samuels. Good bloke. Not a mean bone in his body. Don’t mind what he writes now and then. If you only knew him, you’d strew rose petals and kiss the ground he walks on. (Anyone know how much circulation the newspaper that the sportwriter of the year enjoys each day? each year? to receive the kind of journalism that is either embraced or ignored by his association in bestowing their award? and, is that award by – I fear to ask – appointment from on high, or voted upon by his fellow sportswriters?)

  • Anne

    @bob:

    In re your comments to Rhys Jagger, I’m actually interested in hearing why he considers my comments to be “downright lying,” etc.

    Basically, the criticism that Rhys gave above is quite audacious, and nothing that most people would be willing to say to my face in most circumstances. So, if Rhys is willing to back his comment up and just clarify it a bit more, I would love nothing more than to present my counter-argument.

    I don’t know… I guess these comments threads just tend to bring out the lawyer in me sometimes 🙂

  • Shard

    @Dogface

    My initial thoughts on Sam Wallace were quite different but this is a welcome write up. Among the comments on that article, I found this gem by NiceChappie, which would seem to confirm I’m not the only one who had a different take on Wallace’s writings 🙂

    “I tend to frown – purely for health reasons – on drug use, Mr Wallace, but whatever magic potion has brought about this volte face or brief moment of clarity in your attitude towards the Arsenal can only be welcomed. Feel free to imbibe liberally.
    I just wish your well-reasoned sense of historical perspective would cut some ice among many Arsenal supporters whose understandable disappointment at our disasterous start to the season is prompting vociferous demands for Wenger’s immediate defenestration (even Ayatollah Arseblogger has now crossed that Rubicon).
    Just be careful what you wish for, I say.”

  • Anne

    @DogFace:

    Hm… I’m actually torn about the article that you cited in the link above. Overall, I think it gives good perspective on the actual signficance of a “trophy drought” in terms of a club’s footballing prospects on the whole.

    However, I don’t like the fact that it is writing off Arsenal as somehow being at the end of a “cycle.” Personally, I see Arsenal as more at the BEGINNING of a cycle, which is why so many forces are aligning against them at the current moment.

    If that “cycle” gets into full gear, all of the other EPL clubs will have to change their game as well. So right now they’re trying to stop it. That’s a VERY abbreviated version of how I see things currently 🙂

    But overall, thanks for a good article, and it’s nice to see that kind of perspective coming from the English press.

  • bob

    Rhyss,
    Do you actually think the Respect Campaign is itself worthy of respect? What are its origins? Why the need for it? How does it apply to AFC on/off the pitch? How does it apply to what UA/UM have been doing? Instead of wielding your moral club as if that speaks for itself and somehow clinches your argument, come out and be specific and have the courage to show the moral offenders the way to the light. Your detail-free moralism is such a tease; so why not come out and play in the open here, with the bad children who need your guidance?

  • BobbyP

    Anne

    Do you not think the ‘spike’ in coverage in August that you identify is simply down to Arsenal being involved in numerous newsworthy incidents in August – i.e.

    – Arsenal’s captain leaving to join Barcelona in a £35 million transfer, one of England’s biggest ever deals
    – Arsenal’s first game at Newcastle containing a high-profile flashpoint (Gervinho/Barton)
    – Samir Nasri leaving to join one of our rivals in a big £23 million transfer
    – Arsenal being the only English team to play a two-legged Champions League qualifier (and hence monopolising press coverage for those dates)
    – Arsenal suffering a freak 8-2 defeat to Man United, our worst for 115 years
    – Arsenal being involved in numerous potential transfer deals, and finally buying 5 players in the last week of the window

    Compared to Tottenham for example (only played 2 league games in August, comparatively minor transfer dealings), is it any wonder that the coverage of Arsenal is more voluminous (and given the incidents listed above, necessarily more negative)?

  • Anne

    @All:

    Slightly off topic, but in reference to bob’s comment that:

    “And if you think that there’s any laziness or trust-fund or bank account that provides the free time it takes for the scope and depth of analysis that Anne, or Walter, or Dogface, or you on the Defense, that others customarily provide readers here with, you’d be dead wrong.”

    I just wanted to clarify that I AM, in fact, willing to accept trust-fund funding for my research if anyone here feels inclined to make it available… Just saying… 🙂

  • bob

    BobbyP,
    We’ll have to see how Anne concludes, but, as you know, it’s not only the quantity of coverage, but the quality – spin, bias, omissions, intention – that will need inspection. There was plenty to write about, as you indicate; but that time is also a critical one for AFC’s 2011 prospect and Samuel does not write in a vaccuum. So, while you do bring up a key point, let’s see where the other shoe drops.

  • bob

    Sister Anne,
    Let the congregation rise and say, amen!
    Pass the plate, please….
    Arvind?

  • Micko

    @Shard
    Re: Nicechappie’s comment on Sam Wallace’s article in the Independent, “even Ayatollah Arseblogger has now crossed that Rubicon” – Arseblogger is now heavily influenced by John Cross from the Mirror (who claims to be an ‘Arsenal fan’), in fact you could go so far as to say he’s now like his lapdog.

  • Anne

    @Bobby P:

    I think that the “spike” that I identified in August could be down to any one or more of the factors that you’ve identified here. I would need to analyze Samuel’s reporting over a much longer time period to come up with any trends to which I could conclusively attribute a motive.

    However, I think that the emergence of certain “crisis and anxiety” talking points that coincides with this increase in volume makes the increase worthy of further attention.

    As I said previously, I’m not trying to draw any “beyond a reasonable doubt” conclusions here. It’s just that, I know what it looks like to me… I guess I’m just reaching out to other Arsenal fans who can call a spade a spade…

  • Anne

    @Micko:

    Interesting that you mention John Cross… I was just starting to look into him.

  • Anne

    @bob:

    Speaking of “how Anne concludes,” when exactly IS Untold planning to post part 2 of this article? Don’t expect too much… I’m afraid that, after all of this build-up, the actuality isn’t going to be too exciting 🙂

  • “I think those who monitor what I write on this site will have seen me using satire, sarcasm, wit and occasionally ‘Do stop being a rude wanker!’ to try and slowly mould you into a self-confident bunch of adults not requiring hatred as a daily diet.” – Rhys Jagger

    lol – thanks Rhys, that was a classic!

    Chaps – I think sometimes you need to take Rhys with a pinch of salt.

  • BobbyP

    Anne

    From your perspective, if Barca lost 8-2 to Real Madrid, had their two best players sold, and their worst start in the league for over 25 years, would the Spanish/Catalan press coverage not involve any ‘crisis and anxiety’ talk whatsoever?
    And if it did, would that be indicative of a deep-seated anti-Barcelona media campaign, or just a reaction to events that had taken place?

  • Arvind

    @bob,Anne: Chill. I’m really not demanding anything at all. I totally appreciate all the work you guys do. I am not trying to poke holes in what you’re doing or demanding ‘more for free’. I know how hard it is;; firsthand..been there, done that n all those cliches ;). I’m not sure where anything I said came across like that.

    All I was trying to do was offer a few suggestions, a different perspective if you may, to make your work better than it is.

    I do try and contribute to this site by means of my defense articles, from time to time.. so yes in a way..albeit not the way you have described.. I am trying to do my bit to make this an even better site than it is.

    Can I do more? Towards UM? Not right now, but I’m thinking of something… will bounce it off you guys if it materializes.

  • Anne

    @Shard:

    “Feel free to imbibe liberally. I just wish your well-reasoned sense of historical perspective would cut some ice among many Arsenal supporters whose understandable disappointment at our disasterous start to the season is prompting vociferous demands for Wenger’s immediate defenestration (even Ayatollah Arseblogger has now crossed that Rubicon). Just be careful what you wish for, I say.”

    Just in general, all of the terminology in the above comment (from “defenestration,” through “ayatollah,” all the way down to “crossing the rubicon”) bears all of the hallmarks of the words of a man after my own true heart…

    However, if you, Shard, could only frame your comment in the context of Indian history, geography, constitutional law, social justice, foreign policy, political economy (and what else is there?), I think that I would be truly helpless to defend myself against the onslaught of your superior reasoning…

    (and incidentally, I would also be relying on your superiour sense of humour to not get angry at me for being a total smartass… but only you hold these powers within your grasp, so I’m at your mercy…:) )

  • Stevie E

    Rhys Jaggar
    I was wondering if you could provide a link to some of the pages in which you’ve provided comments which include satire & wit please? I’ve been back over quite a few past articles and can’t find any? I did see a few which brought the word “wanker” to mind, but I assume that’s because you were using the “last resort” option in your moulding method. Whilst we’re on Rhys’ Moulding Method (pat. Pending ((available on all respectful football blogs)), can you tell me if you are using the “subliminal moulding” technique as I seem to have picked up the “sarcasm” method without even realising it! I hope you do continue to read and comment on UA as I would hate to be left as only a semi-confident adult… I’ve managed to cut down on my daily hate diet, replacing the bile and vitriol with a chuckle and understanding, but I have to be honest, I still really hate Spurs! I try not to let it define me but it’s so hard, they really are such tossers. Please help me!

    Sarcasm aside, I have to be honest and admit that I don’t often read such pompous, self righteous nonsense on a Untold. The 60 words in which you appoint yourself in the position of “teacher of the people” is a prime example of little man syndrome.

  • Shard

    @Bobby P

    You think this is a one off? You think, one morning we read one article and said aaahh..this makes me feel like my club is being attacked? I should spend hours of my time trying to fight this injustice knowing full well that the media speak from a position of entrenched power which people will be disinclined to challenge simply on the basis of any result we may turn up?

    What’s your take on Wenger saying those words at the beginning of the article? What’s your take on the media’s coverage for that matter? Is it fair? Is it motivated? By what, is just a matter of speculation, though I don’t know why it’s ok for the media to abdicate its responsibility in the quest of ‘hits’, or to speak in xenophobic terms without being challenged in even that. However, what the motivation is, is as I said, just a matter of speculation. But first, clarify your thoughts on the media coverage of Arsenal and Wenger. Is it motivated in any way? Is it fair?

  • Anne

    @Arvind:

    Please don’t apologize. I didn’t take your comments as offensive in the least, and I actually really enjoy your defense articles. If there’s one area where Arsenal needs work, it’s on defense, so I appreciate your reasoned analysis in that area.

    I was just trying to explain some of the complications involved in “media watching,” and I was hoping that you could tailor your advice to that specific context. Cheers.

  • Shard

    @Anne

    The Dharmashastras written in the land of AryaVarta talk of the legal as well as social order being based on Cosmic law, dharma. Those asuras (demons) in positions of power, who in the pursuit of arth(money OR meaning) will try and contribute to the ‘pollution’ of Social Order and there are 4 different policies to deal with them- sama(persuasion), dam(bribery), dand(punsihment), bhed (create dissension), and these should be resorted to in the preservation of Cosmic order.

    Are Arsenal the demons polluting society, or on the side of the Cosmic Law? Or both? Or neither? I suppose it’ll be decided by who comes out on top since history is written by the victors.

    NOW having made that ridiculous attempt at some sort of parable, tenuously incorporating all the fields of study that you mentioned……What was your point? 🙂

  • Anne

    @Stevie E:

    Lol

  • BobbyP

    Shard

    My view of the press coverage (which probably isn’t popular..) is that to a large extent (leaving the likes of Antony K of the Sun aside…) it reflects the reality of the current position.

    People here (especially those from overseas) seem very keen to assign xenophobia to anti-Wenger/anti-Arsenal coverage, but to me that makes no sense. Successful foreign players/coaches/teams are lionised in our press – the Invincibles got uniformly glowing coverage, Mourinho was deified to a large extent, and the current Barca team is treated the same way.

    The coverage of Arsenal currently will be negative, because the team is under-performing compared to expectations, a large proportion of the fan-base is unhappy, and the media reflect that. Some sections will over-sensationalize, but that reflects the current state of the British media…

    It seems that on this site any negative coverage is treated as part of a ‘vicious’ media campaign against Arsenal – whereas the alternative (coverage reflects current reality) is not even considered.

  • Anne

    @Shard:

    Oh ok, I completely get it…I fully understand all of that “dharma” s***… 🙂

    By the way, was that comment completely offensive to any practicing Hindus who are reading this site?

    I bet it was… Jesus f****** Christ, why do I feel the need to inflict my blasphemy on unassuming Arsenal fans? 🙂

  • Arvind

    @Anne: Sure, I understand. I’ll see if there’s anything I can do to make my comments better, or help UM out in any way.

  • Shard

    Bobby P

    “People here (especially those from overseas) seem very keen to assign xenophobia to anti-Wenger/anti-Arsenal coverage, but to me that makes no sense.”
    Agreed.

    “the Invincibles got uniformly glowing coverage.”
    Not true. It was grudging at times, and definitely not uniformly glowing.

    “Mourinho was deified to a large extent”
    True.

    “The coverage of Arsenal currently will be negative, because the team is under-performing compared to expectations”
    We aren’t talking of just a current situation. The fact that UM has been formed now is only because there has been frustration over the coverage built up over a long period of time. (same as can be said for the ref reviews which were started by Walter I guess)

    “a large proportion of the fan-base is unhappy, and the media reflect that.”
    Herein lies the nub. Do the media reflect that, or do they create that? Who are these fans that they are taking their inputs from? Two blokes down at the pub? Le Grove? Well forgive me but I don’t find those as good enough images of Arsenal fans, and I do not think the media ‘reflect’ anything but what they want to.

    “It seems that on this site any negative coverage is treated as part of a ‘vicious’ media campaign against Arsenal – whereas the alternative (coverage reflects current reality) is not even considered.”
    Really? Not considered? Then why am even talking to you if not considering it and trying to explain to you why that consideration doesn’t make sense to me?

  • Shard

    Bobby P

    A question to you..
    Do you consider the possibility that the media play a role in the way the world, and in this case the footballing world is run and perceived? For what other reason apart from the media’s entrenched authority and their lack of stated bias, do you find it more convenient, and perhaps comforting, to challenge the opinions of the people on Untold rather than in the media?

    Well..2 questions I guess.

  • Shard

    @Anne

    I think you’ve been imbibing too much of some magic potion yourself

  • Arvind

    Ha Ha .. @Shard,Anne: Hilarious…

    Although Anne .. the mythology lesson by Shard effectively just says… that the evil should get their dues. Now who is evil is the only question. That should simplify things 😉

  • Stevie E

    Bobby P
    “a large proportion of the fan-base is unhappy, and the media reflect that.” Not true at all, didn’t you hear the fans chanting for AW last night?

  • Shard

    Oh and as a clarification. When I agreed about xenophobia not making sense..I mean as an agenda for the press, not that it doesn’t exist in English football because I think it clearly does. In fact Bobby P.. If you’re not careful, your talk of especially those from overseas, might lead you down the same path. It has a way of sneaking up on us this xenophobia. If you are concerned about people from overseas misunderstanding England, that is valid, but I think you must also question what sort of message a lot of English football’s representatives send out, and indeed what actually happens. It isn’t as ridiculous as you make it seem, and I think there will be many ENGLISH people as well, who will agree that English football exhibits a large dose of it.

  • BobbyP

    @Shard

    Far too many questions to answer them all, but I’ll pick up on your main point. Certainly the media has an influence in the way football is perceived, but the nature of football means that the main influence is the actual game itself. If Arsenal had beaten United 8-2, do you think the coverage would have been negative towards Arsenal?

    And re. the fan-base being unhappy, matchgoers will tell you that it’s far more than two people in a pub. The chants at the Villa game and boos at the Liverpool game confirm this.

  • bob

    Bobby P,
    You create straw men to knock down. UM selects anti-Arsenal articles to critique and many of them are vicious. You can’t take that word and it sticks in your craw. So why not leave it as biased or unfair. If you find even one of the articles that UM has slated and demonstrated to be biased or unfair as being unbiased or fair, then please say so and indicate which of those articles. Those are the ones that we bring up to critique. So, when you say that “It seems that on this site any negative coverage is treated as part of a ‘vicious’ media campaign against Arsenal,” it only applies to some of the articles we cover – by definition. And I’m the sinner who used the term “vicious” to some of that coverage. I’m happy to call of the coverage that gets covered here biased and unfair. That’s what we do. As for not considering our flaws or criticizing them, well, I can only bring forward my own frequent criticisms of our not having purchased quality defense in the January window and the need for a defensive specialist. Those articles and comments that call for this have been – on this point – reasonable and on point. So, with all due respect, don’t go on about how there’s been no recognition by UM writers and/or other commentators on AFC or the media that AFC/Arsene don’t have flaws that need remedy. And, in writing this, I only speak for myself – not for all UM. So please address any pushback to me. Cheers.

  • Anne

    @Bobby P:

    Based on your previous submissions for Untold Media, I personally know that you aren’t attempting to claim that there is no media bias whatsoever against Arsenal. Furthermore, I believe that the points that you raise are valid points.

    We don’t want to end up in a position here on Untold Media where we are just “preaching to the choir,” so to speak. I think that, in future, I will need to clarify more specifically that we are not attempting to paint any and all negative media coverage of Arsenal with the same brush.

  • Stevie E

    @Bobby P
    “Arsene, Arsene give us a wave, give us a wave, give us a wave…” Noooooo! The people aren’t happy!!! Asking for a wave from AW is pretty much on a par in London with asking “are you looking at my pint?” You’re looking at a tearup for sure

  • bob

    Bobby P,
    The actual game is also covered, before, during and after by media, 24×7, non-stop and echoed everywhere. If you want to pretend that the actual game on the pitch is some kind of pure entity that exists apart from its coverage, you are kidding yourself – that is, you may be the only pure and unbiased observer of pitch reality. Are there flaws? yes. Are they correctable? some. Does the media influence the perception and the debating points? Well, maybe not in your case.

  • Shard

    @Bobby P

    Here we go again. Those chants are the RESULT of not just the FOOTBALL, but the COVERAGE (read the match reports that were covered here earlier, you’ll find at best 2 or 3 sentences about the football and the rest is just about how Arsenal are useless and why they dont buy, about Wenger looking frail etc etc.) I suppose if we sign 5 players in the last 2 days of the transfer window, and the media can only find the negatives in it (despite buying EXPERIENCE like people had supposedly been wanting) then they are justified. Come come.. Arsenal can do no right, and the media can do no wrong. End of story. Isn’t it? Just answer the last question I asked you, about why you actually find it so much easier to question Untold, when its motives and biases are actually made quite clear, but not the media. Demons attacking established order make you uncomfortable? Oh no. You’re just being fair, and I am deluding myself and looking for an escape from the horrible reality that is Arsenal at the moment.

  • Anne

    @Shard:

    I don’t think I’ve been “imbibing too much” of anything unless lack of sleep counts as a “magic potion…” Like I said, Untold needs to stop publishing these articles right before my bedtime… (although I did get several hours of sleep last night… not that it counts for much at this point)

  • BobbyP

    @Stevie E

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/competitions/premier-league/8711552/Arsenal-0-Liverpool-2-match-report.html

    ‘From those who were left in the Emirates stadium for the final whistle, a significant portion greeted the final whistle with boos. ‘

    Not sure why you’re trying to pretend there isn’t some disquiet within the matchgoing fanbase?

  • BobbyP

    @Anne

    I appreciate your courteous response and clarification – it definitely helps if things are seen in that context.

    Would still be interested in your response to my previous question though:

    From your perspective, if Barca lost 8-2 to Real Madrid, had their two best players sold, and their worst start in the league for over 25 years, would the Spanish/Catalan press coverage not involve any ‘crisis and anxiety’ talk whatsoever?
    And if it did, would that be indicative of a deep-seated anti-Barcelona media campaign, or just a reaction to events that had taken place?

  • bob

    Stevie E,
    You’re surely a naughty schoolboy!
    What! Have you not heard of the Respect Campaign!
    Now put those knuckles out on your desk right now!,
    and repeat after me: Respect the ref. Respect the ref…
    That’ll mould you!

  • Anne

    @Bobby P:

    “If Arsenal had beaten United 8-2, do you think the coverage would have been negative towards Arsenal?”

    I bet it would have… Seriously, don’t you think it would have?

  • nicky

    Anne,
    Re Samuel and the Sun, my sole recollection was the way in which he managed to appear in the newspaper OTHER than merely writing his column. It got to a stage when I would first scour the paper to see in what publicity pics he had been portrayed. A rather large guy with black hair and a full beard.

  • BobbyP

    Anne

    If Arsenal won 8-2 at Old Trafford the coverage would have been negative???

    This was from our last win there – only 1-0, but seems fairly positive to me…

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2006/sep/18/match.sport14

    ‘When Arsenal are passing the ball as well as this, when their players seem on first-name terms with the ball and they have the bit between their teeth, there can be few more exhilarating sights in English football. ‘

  • Stevie E

    BobbyP
    The “significant portion” was in reality a small number (maybe 100 or so) and lasted for a minute or so. This is a prime example of the media twisting the truth for their own ends. I’m not trying to pretend everything is rosy and the fans are overjoyed with the start to the season, but it’s not as the media portray it. Why didn’t they report the fans chanting Arsenes name last night? Because it totally contridicts the story that revolt is in the air and Wengers position is in peril…

  • menace

    @JohnW I am sorry but you are wrong about Wenger going. You may be right about the next match but I hope you are wrong. The press are mainly a bigotted bunch of badly advised money grabbing dopes The likes of Samuel must have had an unfortunate incident in his youth in August and it reflects in his pain each year. I think he dropped one of his marbles.

    The simplicity is use the word Wenger and you are assured readership. Use the word Samuel and no one gives a fig. I am not particularly happy with the way sport in this country is being supported or being run. All aspects of most sports have tinges of racism and it becomes more and more obvious if one knows the signs to look for.

  • bob

    Stevie E,
    yes, media silence is golden… as in $ilence.

  • Anne

    @Bobby P:

    Why are you presenting that question about Barca as a hypothetical? It sometimes amazes me just how myopic football fans are… Do you not realize that Barca has already experienced the same things that Arsenal are experiencing now?

    If Barca lost 8-2 to Real Madrid, it would be a Catalan tragedy until the next match. However, during the times when your hypothetical was a reality, the “Catalan press” most definitely did NOT treat Barca to the same sort of “crisis and anxiety” talking points campaign to which the English press is currently treating Arsenal.

    Not in the same way. That’s one of the main bases for my standard of comparison.

  • BobbyP

    @Stevie

    The reason the fans chanting Arsene’s name didn’t get much coverage is because it happened near the end of the game – i.e. near their deadline for article submission. Most midweek match reports will by necessity give less coverage to events that happen late on.

    Or you can believe the conspiracy/bias explanation instead…

    It’s still mentioned in the Express though, as an example:

    http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/272727/Arsenal-3-Shrewsbury-1-Gunners-seal-it-with-a-kiss

    ‘Wenger’s luck has finally turned and for once it was a case of All’s Well that Ends Well as the fans chanted his name near the final whistle.’

  • bob

    BobbyP,
    Press deadline? What about radio, TV, Talkshite, LeGrovel, other blogs, etc. etc. Do you really think there has been any proportionality in the coverage of pro and anti-Arsene chants? I appreciate that you found a counter-example. That’s all to the good. The more information, the better the account. But let’s not pretend that your one example is not the exception that proves the rule.

  • BobbyP

    @Anne

    ‘If Barca lost 8-2 to Real Madrid, it would be a Catalan tragedy until the next match. ‘

    And then forgotten??? I doubt anyone on here believes that, if they’re honest. It would be considered a massive humiliation, and the coach would be under massive pressure, and facing a barrage of criticism (sound familiar?)
    If you follow the full hypothetical – i.e. part of the worst start in 25 years, then to think there would be no ‘crisis/anxiety talking points’ is naive in the extreme.

    Inter sacked their coach after 5 games today, because his team sit 17th and have had their worst start in years. I’m guessing there were some ‘crisis/anxiety talking points’ leading up to that…

  • Shard

    @Bobby P

    What about the crisis/anxiety points when Arsenal were in the top 2 last season and fighting for the title? What about the sinking Titanic photo in admittedly the Sun which was I think even years before that? Really. You have picked a good time to argue the press is just reporting facts and reflecting the mood of the fans because we’ve had a poor start to the league. But this goes beyond the time frame you talk about, and beyond the impact of a few matches.

  • Shard

    Bobby P

    Also for your information. The belief that the media are being unfair to Arsenal isn’t just confined to this blog. You have people all over the net saying it, and the media having to defend their position as well. I say that number is more significant than you would have us believe. Ok..So what’s your take on Wenger saying what he said?

  • Anne

    @Bobby P:

    Just to be clear, are you the same “bobby p” that recently submitted a media report to me? Just wanting to clarify… I’m defending you but just want to make sure that I have the right guy 🙂

  • Stevie E

    Bobbyp
    I don’t buy that explanation, in the metro this morning they dedicated a whole page to arsenal, giving ample space for all the usual Cesc, Nasri, 8-2 humiliation (they love that word at the moment) etc but couldn’t find it in themselves to mention the pro Wenger chanting… Nor did they give much space to spurs getting knocked out last night, but then they don’t ever say a bad word about ol arry. In addition to that, I’m sure if the team was booed at the final whistle they would have reported it, that’s at the end of the game isn’t it? If you’re not at the match, I’m not sure how you feel confident commenting on events, particularly when your source of knowledge is a reporter who is being paid to dramatise events. You know, they sometimes even make up stories to get coverage. Just ask Cesc…

  • BobbyP

    @Anne

    Sorry, not me – does that mean you’re going to start attacking me now…

  • bob

    That’s sooo interesting, Anne. Two BobbyP’s. Another wonderful media mystery to figure out.

  • Shard

    2 Peas in a bobby pod, and a Bob Dylan quoting bob to boot 🙂

  • Anne

    @BobbyP:

    Well, I might… Let me go back and read your previous comments 🙂

  • WalterBroeckx

    Sorry to interrupt you but part 2 is published now

  • Shard

    Awww..but Walter..We were having so much fun 🙂

  • Anne

    @All:

    Please let’s continue this debate on part 2. -A

  • steww

    Sorry you find my comment creepy Anne. But seriously the editorial line of the Mail can only appeal to people who steal oxygen from decent human beings, how is that anything other than the unvarnished truth?

  • Anne

    @Laundryender:

    I think we may have finally discovered the basis of our disagreement:

    Your opinion is based, not on the media, but on your personal observations of the club’s performance. So, based on that, you can see legitimate reasons for the media to be negative towards Arsenal. And from that perspective, I would have to agree with you.

    However, when we say that there is a media campaign targeting Arsenal, that’s not what we’re talking about at all. It’s something more than that, and separate from it. And with all due respect, if you only read Untold and the Independent and Guardian match reports, I have to say that you really don’t have a frame of reference to understand the type of coverage that we’re complaining about.

    Specifically, how could you know whether or not the Mirror, the Sun, or the Mail is conducting an anti-Arsenal talking points campaign, if you’ve never actually looked at any of the papers?

    So, I guess what I’m saying is that I think we’re actually arguing about two separate issues here, which would probably explain why we can’t come to any agreement 🙂

  • Anne

    by the way, the above comment was supposed to be on part II of this article. Just ignore it here. Thanks. -A