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How to predict every single Arsenal result correctly and cause the end of civilisation at the same time

By Billy the Dog McGraw, Enfield Allotments, Middlesex.

I have rarely seen my old mate Tony Attwood as close to tears as he was when he approached me this morning on the allotment.  I was just nattering to that Dennis Bergkamp who grows carrots next to my plot, when Tony rushed up.

“They’re all arguing with each other,” he sobbed.  “I can’t stop them.  Some of them are getting so negative I don’t know what to do.  And I’ve just been arrested for writing a blog while driving on the A1.”

“Was that the Hertfordshire Police or the Met?” I asked, and he told me it was Herfordshire.   I assure him I could fix the issue using the technicality that the law only prohibits using mobile phones, not laptops while driving.

But Tony was not to be appeased.  “What do I do about the bloggers?” he sobbed.

“Well,” I tells him (I often say “well” because it makes it sound as if I am about to say something important, and usually I am), “well, we have to look at what the press is saying.

“Look at today’s headlines.   ‘Gerrard hails Torres as best striker in the world.’   It is meaningless of course because nobody has hailed anyone as anything for about 200 years, but it makes the supporters who know their club is bankrupt feel good for five seconds.

“And then there’s ‘Drogba urges Chelsea to keep winning‘ which is a bit like saying ‘George Brown urges bankers to stop stealing everyone’s money.’  Nice thought, but not really much related to reality.

“Even that is better than the plainly meaningless ‘Strachan still wants Middlesbrough return for Bent.’  Or ‘Begovic urges Portsmouth to seize opportunity.’

“Or how about the funniest of all, ‘King predicts top four finish for Spurs‘.  Except for maybe ‘Franco blames fixture pile up for West Ham injuries‘.”

Tony thought about those last two.  “I didn’t know Prince Charles had taken over the throne,”  he said at last, “or that the ex-dictator of Spain is still alive and supporting a club that is three stops from Barking.  Where do they get these headlines?”

“From a game called ‘Man Bites Dog’,” I told him.  “I got one in John Lewis’ last week.   You have 200 cards with words on, take five at random and have to make a headline.”  I put down my pitchfork, got out my pack of the game, and dealt out five cards.  They read

Terror, Snubs, General, Cruel, Romantic.

“That’s not a headline,” protested the poor innocent lamb by my side.  I noticed that Dennis had stopped digging also and was looking on with interest.

So I rearranged the cards and suggested, “Romantic general snubs cruel terror”

“How about ‘Terror general snubs cruel romantic’,” said Tony.

I told him that was the point.  Five words and you get two meanings.  Tony wanted to play the game again, but I told him there was more to this than a simple game.

“If you want reality you need to step outside the generated neo-transient by-modal accelerating black energy field of modern journalism and think for yourself, think hard and make it happen.  When you are right, crow about it, when you are wrong, dig a deep hole, climb into it, pull the covers over your head, dig a tunnel and see if you can come out somewhere in Shropshire.”

“Why Shropshire?” he asks still obviously not getting it.

I look at the poor mite aghast. “You know nothing, do you?” I said.  “Shropshire is where PG Wodehouse set some of his best books.  In the writings of Wodehouse you can see that black is white, green is pink, turpentine is champagne, and Dubai is on the Isle of Wight.  Just let your mind fly.

“So what do I do?” he asked.

I patted the poor goat on the head and gave my copy of  ‘Man Bites Dog’ to Dennis who started translating it into Dutch.   “You have three choices.   First, you can play the headline game and see what comes up.  ‘King predicts top four finish for Spurs’ has obviously been written in this way.   Second you can be lazy and just repeat what everyone else says.

“Third you can think for yourself.”

“My goodness, that’s revolutionary stuff,” said Tony clearly taken aback.  “I don’t think I have ever heard anyone say that before.   Think for yourself.  Bloody hell!  If people started thinking for themselves…”

“MPs who fiddled their expenses would be arrested, bankers who stole our money would be hung out on metal spikes, children in schools would be encouraged to write poetry, draw and create music all day long, and people would start expressing original opinions.”

“But that’s against the law isn’t it?” said Tony.  “Original opinion was outlawed in the Act of Union in 1707.   We would all become cultural terrorists.”

“Indeed,” I agreed.  “Fun eh?”

“Diaby kicks the ball so hard it goes into orbit, hits a Russian satellite, comes straight back down, bounces on the refs head and from there into the goal.   After that it is one way traffic,” replied Tony, and I gave him a hug.

Editor’s note

All the quotes in bold were on http://www.guardian.co.uk/football at noon on December 30th 2009.   Fancy some more fun stuff? – try Making the Arsenal

(c) Billy the Dog 2009

26 comments to How to predict every single Arsenal result correctly and cause the end of civilisation at the same time

  • Jonny

    Wow! Lots of crazy people on Untold today!

    This could be a tricky tie but most importantly if we take it comfortably it will show the team is genuinely starting to believe. This to my mind is the only thing standing in the way of our success (AND INJURIES!!)

    Seriously though we (not Man City) have the best squad in the premiership we just need the boys to grab this vein of form, forget their fears and fucking run with it.

    Here’s some Arsenal porn to get you all in the mood

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/6907122/The-Arsenal-side-Arsne-Wenger-created-truly-were-the-Invincibles.html

  • burnz

    i wonder why you keep posting these unusual things that i cant understand, maybe i am a bit dumb, but i really dont get it

  • Well, burnz, part of the answer is in the name “Untold Arsenal” – the site is dedicated to doing things that no other site does, and that includes introducing types of humour and irony that is not found elsewhere in relation to football.

    Another part of it is that football journalists are themselves making fun of us, the supporters, with their crazed pieces like the famous “Crouch next in line for Arsenal” and rubbish like that. So it only seems just to turn the tables and treat them with the contempt with which they treat us.

    Next, most of these bizarre stories come out of more serious discussions – in this case a discussion of whether we should always be positive, or whether it is a good idea to express our concerns as well. I was trying to have a bit of a laugh at myself, because I am almost always very positive. So I suppose to get the story you need to read the last couple of posts before this one.

    Last, it seems from the correspondence that some people do like this. Not everyone, but if one tries to write for everyone all the time, inevitably you head for the middle ground, and end up saying nothing new.

    Overall I would say that there are thousands of Arsenal blogs out there, and this one tries, as part of its self-imposed brief, to be different in every way possible. We don’t always do that, but just sometimes. I’d say that if you just find one in four posts to be of interest, and to your taste, that is fine.

    Tony

  • Tommo

    I thought that was terrific! It is utterly astonishing the tripe people will believe if they read in the sun or any other newspaper that scrapes the barrel of journalistic integrity.

    Example: One of my mates, a ManYoo fan (from Kent, no less) was talking to me about Nasri’s stamp saying he should be banned etc etc.

    I asked him if he had even seen it. He said no.

    I showed him the footage, and his reaction?

    “Fuckin hell, he only stepped on his toes”.

    It’s phenominal the amount of sway the british media have over the masses. It’s endemic and poisonous. Wouldn’t it be just beautiful if people actually thought for themselves and made individual judgements as opposed to ravenously digesting and regurgitating the popular comment of the gutter press as though cliche’s and bullshit headlines are some sort of crack?

    One can dream….

  • Brilliant Tony. Very funny.

    To add to the question as to why most people find it easier to be lazy and follow the masses rather than think for themselves – there’s an old adage that says you should never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers.

  • Simon Bailey

    i reckon you should sneak into billys shed. tony, and see what he is growing/brewing/distilling in there. especially with dennis hanging round all the time.

    burnz, i would rather read this than ANR for example. todays post is just a diatribe focussing on wenger not playing arsh in the fa cup semi final because he is having a power struggle with gazidis. pure speculation and bs. another favourite, le grove, is rueing our supposed missed chance to sign shay given last season. the evidence coming from a friend of a friend who is in the same social circle as shay given. what a bunch of arse.

    this blog sees to follow the old line- if youve got nothing to say, say nothing. all the serious articles on here are factual and often groundbreaking. the rest are just a pure laugh.

  • Peter (Thailand)

    Tony, Billy, whoever… I have only recently discovered your blog and I REALLY enjoy everything you guys do. For those who cannot understand, maybe it’s that you don’t understand the sense of humour, irony, sarcasm, whatever you want to call it.

    The three top blogs in my opinion are Arseblog, Goonerholic and Arsenal News – in any order you like.

    Happy New Year to you all and I look forward to laughing along with you through nest year. Brilliant!

  • Diaminedave

    Hi All
    Tony your post with no score being issued for the Portsmouth game seems to be working in a very strange way.
    The Grauniad (sic) is reporting that HM Revenue and Customs has issued a winding up order.
    Incredible foresight Tony!!!

  • Diaminedave

    Hi
    Tony your post with no score being issued for the Portsmouth game seems to be working in a very strange way.
    The Grauniad (sic) is reporting that HM Revenue and Customs has issued a winding up order.
    Incredible foresight Tony!!!

  • Diaminedave

    Whoops sorry got caught in a dejavu moment!! apologies

  • And tonight’s chant must be…

    Paid in a minute
    You might get paid in a minute
    Paid in a minute
    You might get paid in a minute…

  • Emperor Song

    Humanity is ready for the next stage of evolution, always been ready.

  • Hartwick89

    Tony,

    A great model to follow! I often put my words in my mouth and would like to jump in a hole and come out in Shropshire. As well I was nevery good at follow the leader! So I will follow your Churchill model! I only wish that everyone could read this article…Here in America we are experiencing the laziness you cite. And, now laziness has equipped the next phase which is concern about speaking out. What’s that old story about speaking out until it’s too late? As for irony Burnz’ comments straight out of the gate! That had to be you? It was just too perfect and your rebuttal was almost as good as the original article. Poor Burnz he is probably why some people don’t get!

  • gerald

    Hi Tony,
    What do you make of Chelseas’ financial headline of being “virtually Debt-free”? I am stuck at “virtually”. I think it means “without considering anything russian”.

  • LRV

    Don’t worry burnz, even Tony sometimes laughs his head off when he re-read some of his pieces.

    Seriously though, Simon B has explained it very aptly. Heed his words and you’ll get to understand the bitting humour.

  • I would say to Burnz and everyone who doesn’t like the silly pieces, you are probably in the majority, and it is not an intelligence thing. We all see the world in different ways, so different humour appeals to different people.

    But as for the KGB in Fulham what they seem to have done is simply changed the debt (which was at zero interest but with the right of the owner to call for it to be paid at any time, with just six months notice) into shares, which obviously don’t have that call-in ability.

    So there is no formal debt to be paid back, NOT because they have paid the debt off, but because of a nifty bit of paperwork. Abramovich can now start selling the shares piecemeal, without rocking the club.

    The KGB in Fulham lost £57m in the year just finished, as compared to Arsenal’s profit. The club is technically debt free, but the issue now is who will pick up the debt from now on? The banks? New investors?

    What also has changed is Peter Kenyon’s promisel that the club would be breaking even by 2010. They lost £65m in the previous year so this is an improvement, but still nothing like break even. But they are still talking about break even, and that means a radical change in style – or else a new source of finance – unless Abramovich goes on printing new shares and handing over new money.

    All in all it is probably a way of getting round new UEFA rules about finance and debt, and if successful it will mean Manchester Arab will go the same way, leaving Manchester IOU and Liverpool I out in the cold. Along with Portsmouth. Still awaiting news of the Revenue and Customs move on that one.

  • JediKnut

    Another brilliant one Tony. Absolutely enjoyable, and I love the headlines game!

    The chant is classic. Wish I was at the ground to hear it! Hope someone obliges by recording it tonight!

  • paul

    Tony another great read. I don’t know how anyone couldn’t get it? Maybe we all don’t share the same sense of humour but anyone should be able to read the post and enjoy the writing. There are tons of so called writers who are adored by the masses and despised by the few. Who is right? Who cares. I always enjoy the serious posts as much as the silly ones. If you can’t laugh at yourself………….then what’s the point?
    I’m going to try to aviod the score today and watch it at 6.30pm my time ( Canada )
    Great chant and I will be listening out for it.Keep up the good work and lets hope we play well get those all important three points

  • henrykissinher

    really enjoyed the blog tony. always like the humorous posting style.
    just a quick question if chelsea have turned the debt into shares does that devalue the clubs shares? there must be some down side to what they are doing.

  • Henry – the downside is that with the previous system Abramovich could give six months notice that he wanted his money back, and the club would have to find the money. If it could not then it would go into liquidation (just as Portsmouth look likely to do – see the latest post) and he would be the major creditor.

    However that never looked like a very serious option since he wouldn’t get that much money back in such a fire sale.

    This way he has the shares, and he can start selling them bit by bit. I don’t know how many shares there are but if there are 1 million and he values them at £500 each he could sell them in batches of 1000, and so get his money back slowly that way.

    The fact is, if you lend money to a company at zero interest it is because either you like the company or you hope to get something out of it at the end, like the selling of it.

    I have a feeling this new approach although more likely to allow him to off load some of the debt, will have a problem with taxation, but you would need an accountant to sort that one out.

  • On the issue of tonight’s game, Portsmouth have been served by a winding up order by the UK government’s tax collection department.

    There is a new post on this site, covering this new development.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Really enjoyed this post Tony .There is an old saying that ” when God limited women’s intelligence ,he forgot to limited their stupidity.
    Replace them with politicians ,government servants ,football club chairmen ,managers and/or journalists or any of your pet hates ,it still rings true.

  • Wonderinggoon

    There is an old saying that ” when God limited women’s intelligence ,he forgot to limited their stupidity.

    You’ve got to be kidding me. If you actually believe that and happen to be interested in women, my friend, I can only see doom and bleakness ahead of you (or behind you, depends).

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Sorry , it should have been …forgot to limit their stupidity.Well Wonderinggon , there was a time in my youth when I did believe it.Lets just say I’ve toned down my views somewhat but not completely abandoned it-
    I’m married you see, and have a teenage daughter.One day you too will see the light.Cheers!Happy new year !

  • steve sayer

    Untold arsenal has slowly become my favourite gunner site. The texts are extremly well written, and when not true so very witty, I was wondering if you distantly related to Terry Prachett?

  • Sadly no I am not related to Mr Pratchett, although I do love his books.

    I would put down the two big influences on my writing as

    a) PG Wodehouse
    b) Douglas Adams