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What on earth can we ordinary supporters do about this mess?

THE FOREST FOR THE TREES

Don McMahon

There is a certain trend or barely discernible pattern in Football lately that has been bothering me and disturbing my inner peace. Is it my overactive, hyper-vivid imagination on steroids or perhaps a justified intuition based on some very bizarre coincidences that nag at my consciousness, or is it simply indigestion? Well here goes, anyway!

This week, the Europol investigators released a report stating that corruption and organised crime are rampant in football worldwide and that their investigations have uncovered serious fraud, bribery, influence-peddling and manipulation in leagues and competitions across the world.

My first concern with these revelations is that both Fifa AND Uefa stated their total surprise at these findings and as usual excreted their traditionally bland and generic support for such anti-corruption efforts. My question is; why aren’t Fifa and Uefa taking the lead in promoting and encouraging their own investigations and enquiries instead of being made to look like clueless fools to the world Football community?

The Europol report mentioned that there was evidence that they had simply scratched the surface and like an iceberg, and that there lay a vast conspiracy underneath the surface that could dwarf their current investigation’s findings.

They also mentioned that the reputedly pristine British Football world was, in fact, falling victim to the corruption rampant elsewhere. The FA chairman then stated that he’d bet his shirt (or something like that) on British Football being innocent of any contamination!

Yet we see, in Scotland, a most storied and historic club, Rangers, being demoted and its reputation permanently sullied by tax evasion and fraud charges! Europol implied that there was an EPL Club involved in the above corruption investigations as well.  My question is: what are the FA and its minions, stuffed suits and vested interests trying to hide and why?

We football fans, regardless of our allegiances, viewpoints and loyalties, desperately want to watch attractive, fair and competitive football at affordable prices. We have been deprived of this for a long time, what with ever escalating ticket prices, transportation costs, taxes and the like, as well due to the hegemony of a few privileged clubs profiting off their superior resources to monopolise the competitions.

The fairly recent  arrival and subsequent domination of inter-club mega-deals, hyper-greedy agents, win-at-all-cost football tactics, billionaire shady or autocratic owners (or wannabe owners) and mercenary players willing to jump ship at the drop of a quid or two more than their current clubs offer raises some more profound questions: why is the FA NOT interested in adopting and/or applying its own fit and proper ownership rules and Financial Fair Play regulations with any vigour and severity? Why is the FA not interested in controlling the agents’ unbridled greed and unregulated behaviours.

Closer to home, and perhaps among my wildest speculations and musings are the strange circumstances and, may I say, coincidences that seem to occur at AFC. I am talking about the constant and incessant deluge of criticism, negativism, anti-Wenger, anti-Arsenal rants and raging which coincide with the loss of our ¨stars¨ to our competitors thanks to, in most part, Dein the younger’s encouragement and the Alisher-in-the -box appearances the AAA’s beloved Mr.Usmanov seems to display at strategic moments, timed to play off the ¨sentiments¨ of a tiny minority of , but excessively vocal inter net malcontents, many of whom seem to live in the same residence and use the same computers.

My questions are: is there a provable,concerted and orchestrated attempt by the media, Mr.Usmanov, the invisible AAA, and even the football hierarchy (including the PGMOL) to vilify, demean, discredit and dismiss Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal’s credibility, reputation and philosophy, thereby rendering a great Football force for good, ineffective?

If this is so, is the Arsenal the only Club to be targeted or are their other football paragons in their sights? Finally, what role do British Football authorities play in this situation and is this a sign that corruption has indeed penetrated pure Albion’s sacred shores?

I know that some will say ¨pure rubbish¨ and ¨totally paranoid ranting¨, while others will moan that I dismiss all concerns and questioning of our club and football in general with disdain and blinkered naivete. I can accept the former but not the latter, as I believe dissenting options, positively expressed, supported by clear and logical fact-based logic and honestly presented are essential for the ongoing health and balance at our club.

That said, I am continuously disturbed and distressed by the concerted attacks on our beautiful game by nefarious forces inside and outside football, and by the evident disinterest, laissez-faire attitude and downright inertia displayed by our supposed leaders. this leads to my last questions and the most important of all: Just how deep has this criminal malaise penetrated football worldwide and what can we, as supporters, do about it, if anything?

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The books…

The sites…

13 comments to What on earth can we ordinary supporters do about this mess?

  • avatar DR

    The media are on Arsenal’s collective back because they love a good story and the common man’s mistrust of intelligence and subtlety plays right into supporting the hearty Englishman, snobbish as that sounds.

    Usmanov wants control of the club, you can argue till you’re blue in the face about *why*, maybe he really does love the club, but what is clear is that he’s happy to use PR to undermine the current regime, fair enough given they do the same but it’s difficult to ignore the Dein connection too.

    Why we seem to get worse treatment from the refs, I don’t know, maybe for the same reason as my first point.

    I don’t think there’s anything concerted, just a few things going against us that seem worse when considered together, but it’s worth remembering that anyone truly corrupt doesn’t give two hoots about Arsenal but merely wants the money, they’re not all out to get us they simply don’t care.

  • avatar Matty Dee

    i think everyone is reading into these stories a bit too much, until clubs/players are actually charged with anything it will be impossible to know how bad it is.

    FIFA UEFA and ecah countires FAs are pretty useless, however i do think our FA is pretty hot on these things and in general i would like to think that our game isn’t corruptable.

    i’m usually the first person to say that we’ve been done over by a ref taking a bung, and i do imagine when fergie pops his clogs we’ll see a jimmy saville style media circus about all the times he’s done this and that.

    but i think england will come out of this looking good.

    anyway thats just my poorly formed opinion on the matter

    (bored at work)

  • avatar Mandy Dodd

    I certainly think there is an ongoing collective bias against us by the agencies, and for the reasons already mentioned. the media are desperate for anyone, but especially spuds or Liverpool to knock us out of the top four, why….half of them seem to support those teams. But that said, they do seem fond of our Jack!
    Whether this bias constitutes anything criminal is anyones guess, wenger has stated today, in this league , he thinks not

  • avatar bob

    “and in general i would like to think that our game isn’t corruptable.”
    Matty Dee,
    I would like to think that too, but surely your exceptionalist choice of tenses – “would like to” – and what is rife in the rest of the world, plus the SKY-high stakes balling industry would make for a bet I’d gladly take up, if you were a gambling man.

  • avatar WalterBroeckx

    Mandy,

    I think you should reread those words from Wenger again. And his Wilshere quotes.

    I think he is driving the media in a corner from where they cannot move any more…unless they turn against the future hero (better said current hero) of the England team.

    He praises them in public saying there is no corruption in England (not even from the refs), he praises the media in an unseen way. He points what a great player Wilshere is and how important he will be for football in England.

    In one movement he puts pressure on the refs to protect the England diamond, he puts pressure on the media to support Wilshere, he puts pressure on the media to investigate anything that might hint at corruption. And before they know it the media cannot but support Wilshere+Arsenal to stay in line with what the English football wants to hear. And most importantly maybe the non-corrupt refs will do all they can to protect Wilshere.

    I think that is what Wenger is trying to achieve. I do think that at Arsenal they are fed up with the bad treatment they got in the media and are now planning a strategy to change this and turn it around.

    Is it me or have I noticed since the signing of the British core that the media are a bit less negative?

    Maybe something to follow up in the next weeks or months.

  • avatar bob

    “many of whom seem to live in the same residence and use the same computers.”
    Don,
    It’s not paranoid, but highly credible of you if you have/would share anything of the basis for this claim about the disloyal opposition.

  • avatar John

    Don’t be surprised when the press start the “Arsenal in struggle to keep Wilshere, .. RVP urges Wilshere to join MU… Wilshere the natural successor to Scholes..”stories.

    Thereafter, Wilshere will be mentioned always as having been “linked with etc..”

  • avatar elkieno

    Yeah maybe the ‘media’ will think jack is better off at UTD, so keep the stories coming. Someone will aak rvp if ‘Jack would fit in at UTD’ to which he says ‘of course he would fit in most teams’. So the headline reads, ‘rvp wants jack to come to old toilet’.
    I can see it already…

  • avatar Dave C

    Walter is spot on. Wenger is using subtext. The English media dislikes him because he’s French and brought in a bunch of foreigners. Arsenal lacks an English spine is a common compliant we often hear. Now Wenger is building one and is letting the media/officials know that the negative treatment may indirectly have a negative impact on the national team. He’s telling them, ‘ don’t bite the hand that feeds you’.

  • avatar Dave C

    I also have to give some credit to John and Elkieno. The media have become so predictable to the point that it’s embarrassing.

  • avatar Linz

    The media don’t “Hate” Arsenal ;i can name 5 Arsenal supporting journalists off the top of my head,John Cross (been going since he was a kid),Matt Scott( great,great grandfather played for Royal Arsenal),Brian Glanville,Henry Winter,and Steve Stammers.There are many more.
    Picking sides seems to sum up the childish nature of some football fans.You’re either “pro someone”,where you pander to their every word like a good lickspittle and rage against anyone who says something slightly negative.Hence the constant dismissal of anything in the press as “agenda driven” or “shit stirring”.Or you’re “anti someone” where every mistake or blundered decision is met with howls of “someone out” and general fury and protest.Most human beings are actually capable of being rational and don’t fall into either group,preferring instead to judge each decision on its individual merits.Incidently the aforementioned Matt Scott,an investigative journalist,is currently leading the way re looking into match fixing.Football needs its own equivalent of David Walsh to lift the lid on corruption and lies, and lets hope this time everyone listens.

  • avatar Domhuail

    Bob….Walter and Tony have repeatedly banned posters who use different addresses yet are the same person, so I guess there are many who follow a script. Walter and Tony have also noticed that these multiple personalities tend to use a common negative approach or follow a uniform thread, including the same vocabulary,syntax and grammar, which indicates posters based on a common script.
    I am certainly not computer-savvy enough to figure out how they do that but I have seen on DKD’s now closed website that the same poster used multiple ID’s and spread the same BS about Arsenal week in and week out. When I confronted him or her about this duplicity, he or she suddenly disappeared.
    I hope some people actually read my article and are asking the same questions I put forward.

  • avatar Stuart

    Bob, you can notice these people with multiple personalities in the comments section occasionally from their avatar. They change their name but crucially, forget to change the email address so the picture stays the same.