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At last we are laughing at the media commentators.

By Tony Attwood
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You can just imagine the anger and frustration in the sports editorial rooms of England’s national press.  Red faced editors scream and rant at picture editors, desk sub editors, tea boys and cleaners.  “Where is the knocking copy?” they shout – by which they mean, “we haven’t done an Arsenal melt down story for a week!  What the hell is going on here?   Get Jonathan Pearce.  He knows how to tell it like it is!!”
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So step forwards The Daily Telegraph with “Exclusive: Captain’s departure to Old Trafford is another blow for Arsenal.”  It wasn’t much of an exclusive though because at the same moment ESPN had “Vermaelen agreed to United switch” (which sounds somewhat like an installation of electrical gear but you get the idea).
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The Metro would have none of it with “Vermaelen’s agent denies striking United deal” and the Express tried to sort it out with
“Arsenal skipper Thomas Vermaelen verbally AGREES to …”
well you can guess the rest – the sudden changes to bold and block caps gets a bit wearing after a while so I stopped at that point.    But none of this is enough for the Daily Star which turned it into  “Manchester United agree stunning deal to sign Arsenal …” etc etc
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So another summer of stars queuing up to leave Arsenal.  But as we know, its only a press story.
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In fact the departure of Vermaelen was always possible not least because he’s only got one year left, has been injured a lot and is not going to become first choice again except in the case of an injury to Kos or Per.  And Man U is a fairly obvious location with Ferdinand and Vidic out and a surfeit of cash.
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As for the notion that this is a stunning deal, that comes from the notion that despite his injury history of late he’s getting a £1.5m a year pay rise – but then I think most people ask for a bonus if forced to live in the north west.
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Meanwhile contrary to the view that Arsenal got nothing out of the Fabregas move to Chelsea, the most recent reports suggests that £6m ends up with Arsenal out of the deal.  And yes, as we could all imagine, the reason is Arsenal don’t need Fabregas and Mesut Özil in the same team.
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But one thing that hasn’t emerged is whether Fàbregas has Chelsea DNA in his blood supply.  The DNA story which took Fàbregas to Barcelona was one of the looniest media tales of all time, although I must admit some of the correspondents of Untold do try and outdo it on a regular basis.  Walter and I try to keep out most of the craziest of commentaries – like one that turned up this morning…

You recognize therefore drastically with this topic, developed myself visualize the item originating from a number of a number of perspectives. It is like both males and females are not curious except it’s think about execute together with Girl coo! Your own personal stuffs wonderful. Always keep it up!

One wonders if the perpetrator of such chit-chat isn’t actually the script writer for Jonathan Pearce, the totally incomprehensible and utterly wild ranter on the BBC.

Now the basic requirement of a commentator on TV is that he/she speaks English and can offer the sort of insight into football that the average viewer doesn’t have without holding racist or sexist views.   This cuts out Richard Keys and Andy Grey, although no one seems to have told BT Sport, who still think they are “a good thing”.  The ability not to be cynical, sarcastic or flustered by the heat (all three of which cut out Adrian Chiles) is helpful.  The ability to watch the game and know the rules is good to (and that cuts out Pearce).

Juninho Paulista and Fabio Cannavaro fail the comprehensibility test, and because of that it is impossible to value them on the insight test.  At the other extreme Thierry Henry is demure, insightful, funny and speaks perfect English and is infinitely more articulate than Jonathan Pearce who I remember having a go at in the earliest days of Untold.  It is extraordinary to think that he managed not only to survive but also to get promotion.  In fact a Pearce and Neville show would be a hilarious comedy act – they ought to have their own radio programme.  Or failing that Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse could do them in their next series.

While Martin Keown played his usual calming. sensible, studious self trying to tell Pearce in a polite way that he had fundamentally misunderstood concepts such as “hitting the post”, “deflection”, “the ball going over the line”, and “the passage of time”, Pearce dug a hole, jumped in it, dug on and on and on, ranting as he went.  He’s probably still there shouting that he’s just discovered a colony of fairies living at the Earth’s core.  Here’s his wild ravings as France scored from a rebound off the keeper.

“Look at this again! “We’ve seen so many spurious goal line technology replays!!  And it signals no goal!!!! No goal has gone up on the screen!!!!!!!!! The fans have heard it, the Honduran players have seen it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Oh my goodness me!! They’ve changed their minds now! Does goal line technology work or doesn’t it?!?!?!?   Well which replay are we supposed to believe? This was supposed to be a flawless system!!!  The whole goal line technology debate will flare up again because it was not good enough, was it!?!    One moment we are seeing a goal given by the assistant referee, then the next thing we are seeing it’s not over the line in the replay, and then we are seeing it is over the line on the second one!!!!!”

The problem is of course that this was not a one off.  Pearce is regularly like this, and yet still he keeps his job which tells us exactly what the BBC thinks of football supporters.

But there is more.  Look again at just one phrase in the midst of the wild ravings, and you will see why.

“The whole goal line technology debate will flare up again.”

It is the same type of comment as the

Captain’s departure to Old Trafford is another blow for Arsenal”

from the Telegraph.  It is wild raving journalists trying to tell football fans across the Earth how to think.  Many of the AAA do accept this kind of lunatic raving not as the output of a demented hedgehog but as the way things are, but I think most supporters (or at least those who I speak with) have long since realised that the media is there not just to entertain (which sometimes it does exceptionally well of course) but also to tell people how to think.

And indeed the reason that George Orwell’s novel “1984” gets mentioned on Untold more than any other book except the ones I’ve written, is because when it was published 66 years ago, it portrayed exactly how the media would increasingly be used – from the spying on the populace through digital technology, (as per GCHQ and the National Security Agency) through to the manipulation of thought by the way the news is reported.

That football should be used as a way of telling people how to think is not surprising, because it is an emotional topic.  But what has changed in the last few years is, in my view, that supporters have started to laugh at the media for its attempts to manipulate.  Of course there are still those who phone 606 and the curious equivalent on TalkSport, the name of which escapes me, and who take the whole circus seriously, but the movement certainly seems to be away from that perspective.

The media has become risible.  We don’t need such people to tell us what is important.

And that change of view can only be a good thing.

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The price of ‘Three Lions and an Anorak’ will be reduced to £3.99 (inclusive of postage) on both Tuesday and Thursday this week between seven o’clock and eight o’clock (between the first and second World Cup games on each of those evenings). Again, to take advantage of this offer Arsenal fans simply need to buy the book directly from the authors via this Amazon link:

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35 comments to At last we are laughing at the media commentators.

  • wam

    I couldn’t stop laughing at his goal line technology commentary. I remember sitting there thinking, how thick is this chap? I didn’t know who it was, but his remarkable efficiency at grasping for wrong answers was surprising. It was clear, 1 replay, ball hits post, no goal, ball moves across the line, hits keeper and goes in, goal. This 2 stage process had him beaten. Never give thick people the ability to broadcast/spread their ignorance.

    It just makes one wonder what the rest of his life is like. He must be disappointed when his toast come out the toaster unbuttered.

  • “Pearce is regularly like this, and yet still he keeps his job which tells us exactly what the BBC thinks of football supporters”

    I think they are busy wading out p*********s from their broadcaster/presenter lineups now, wading out morons wouldn’t be on top of their list .!!

  • Shard

    The power of the media in shaping public thinking is nothing new. A few years prior to Orwell, there was a German named Spengler who in his ‘Decline of the West’ wrote

    “The press today is an army with carefully organized weapons, the journalists its officers, the readers its soldiers. The reader neither knows nor is supposed to know the purposes for which he is used and the role he is to play.”

    This was written in 1918, or at least that’s when the book was published. What’s a little scary is that this has only become more true in the last 100 years.

  • oldgroover

    I’ve got no problems with Jonathan other than he’s a bit subdued these days. I preferred him in his wilder period.
    The ones I really dislike are the co-commenters like Chris Waddle, Robbie (Donald Duck on acid) Savage, Andy Townsend and Kevin Kilbane, mostly because I can hardly understand a word that they say. If you’re going to be a professional broadcaster work on your diction.
    The studio experts are a pretty mixed bunch really but I miss Roy Keane as he usually managed to keep the idiot Chiles under control.

  • Oliver

    To be fair to Pearce, he was happy to raise the point that the World Cup was a rather obscene spending spree.

  • insideright

    Re Vermaelen – let’s not forget that Hangerland and Lescott are now free agents and that we were (supposedly) in for both of them in the past. Where are the headlines? Djourou anyone?

  • john

    It was also amusing to see Patrick Vieira put Adrian Chiles in his place.

  • oldgroover

    insideright
    The headlines today are for Smalling & Cleverley. Hopefully complete Bullshit.
    One of the commenters in the Swiss game mentioned that Djourou had signed a 5 years (I think) contract with Hamburg. He was Ok with us, except when played out of position.

  • Valentin

    Talking of commentator not doing their homework, cometh Clark Carlisle.
    Ecuador is a good team if Jackson Martinez can’t even get in.
    Meh?, Meh? Jackson Martinez the Colombian international player can’t get selected into the Ecuador first team! Stop the press!
    Soon, how can the Italians leave the Ox from their starting eleven!

    It’s incredible the number of stupid, lazy, ignorant, incomprehensible, monotonous voice commentator the BBC and ITV can find. It must be some kind of quota. 40% of morons must be on TV at all time.

    It’s a World Cup, do a little research before coming on screen. Serge Aurier has been voted best right back in the French Ligue 1, before him Sagna and Debuchy had received the accolade. The fact that Wrighty, Dixon had never heard of him does not mean that he is not a big name.
    How can a pundit, not know that Joel Campbell belongs to Arsenal?
    How can they mix Bonaventure Kalou and his brother Salomon Kalou?

  • Shakabula Gooner

    Valentin,
    To add to that, the live commentator to the satellite TV coverage of Ghana vs. USA broadcasted to Africa kept referring to the Ghanaian team not as “Ghana” but as “the Africans”. I never heard them call “Germany” the Europeans or “Costa Rica” the South Americans.A little practice at saying, Ghana, Ghana, Ghana, before he went on air would have helped not to leave the impression on everyone’s mind in Africa that he must be a pretty parochial fellow, called upon to show forth his nonexistent international credentials.

  • WalterBroeckx

    That is unbelievable shakabula Gooner….
    Oh well the Europeans (Belgium) play the Africans (Algeria) tonight 🙂

    How stupid can one be….

    Lucky we don’t play any Martians yet as Blatter once dreamed ….

  • bjtgooner

    The Vermaelen to Manure story was reportedly denied yesterday by his agent. We know that all stories coming through the press are usually fictional, but at this stage I would give slightly greater weight to the reported denial by the agent.

    @oldgroover

    You are right about about the poor diction of many of the commentators, they struggle with English – never mind trying to pronounce Ozil, Rosicky or Cazorla!

  • Rupert Cook

    Henry thinks looking like a disgruntled and somewhat aloof pundit makes him look cool. I disagree. The man barely smiles, still I guess being stuck in a studio with the smug Lineker is enough to wipe the smile from your face.

    Dixon is ok. I enjoyed his debate with Vieira over Muller’s overacting. Dixon has the old fashioned belief that sportsmanship still exists in football peculiar to the English it seems, as Viera staunchly believes trying to get a fellow player booked is all part of the game. What a depressing belief.

  • Pat

    You are wrong Rupert. Thierry Henry does smile. And he laughs. He is utterly charming and also speaks intelligently about football. Unlike some others.

  • Shakabula Gooner

    Rupert,
    I disagree with both yourself and Dixon on the Muller/Pepe situation (though, being resident in “Africa” I couldn’t have possibly heard the exchange between Viera and Dixon).

    In the replays, clearly, Pepe threw a strong arm across Muller’s face. Muller fell on his butts and could be seen nursing his face without looking up at all either to complain to or bring the situation to the referee’s attention at Pepe’s expense. Clearly, in a contact intensive sport such as football, there should be space and allowance for players feeling some pain to work it off; especially, if they are doing so without interfering with the play, screaming to the referee or rolling on the ground as if they need emergency airlift to the nearest hospital.

    What happened thereafter and at justified cost to Pepe’s continuance in the game was an ungracious and unwarranted verbal attack and physical threat to Muller by Pepe – while the latter was completely unaware of him and of his angry approach.

    With all the adrenaline pumping, it was simply asking for the impossible to imagine that Muller wouldn’t get up and square up with Pepe as he did. Even at that, Muller was still pretty restrained. His replied the verbal assault but ensured that the physical threat was just short of what the referee could have punished him for.

    It is unfair to assume that playacting was going on on Muller’s part or that he wasn’t being sportsman-like at any stage of the unfortunate incident.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Shakabula Gooner, I hardly think it was a strong arm. Pepe barely touched him and Muller went down as if he’d been struck by a kicking hippo. Muller doesn’t have to complain, all he has to do is roll around clutching his face like it’s on fire to get the desired effect from the ref. I’m not defending Pepe, he obviously had to go but Muller milked it for all its worth and yes he was restrained but Muller may just be a lot calmer and cleverer than Pepe.

    Playacting in my view but you’re welcome to think otherwise.

  • Mick

    @bjtgooner
    You are right about so many of our media friends struggling with the English names judging by how many of them continue to pronounce little Jack’s surname as Wiltshire (which was a county in Southern England last time I looked), rather than the fairly easy correct version Wilshere.

  • bjtgooner

    @Shakabula

    First let me agree with you regarding the commentators calling Ghana players Africans. The motive can only be conjecture, but it is not good enough for commentators to take that line.

    Secondly re the Pepe & Muller incident. Pepe’s arm had no business being across Muller’s face. That in itself is a disciplinary offense. I don’t know how much force was involved but it does not take much force to drive a finger or finger nail into an eye.

    My take on the second part of the incident was that Pepe knew he was going to get his marching orders & deliberately tried to provoke Muller into retaliation, hoping that he also would get sent off.

  • Jerry

    Tony, don’t forget the rest of the Vermaelen rumor, Arsenal are demanding Cleverly also to sit on our bench for missing out on Fabregas! Some of these rumors make no sense!

  • MO11

    Great post Tony. I sense a bit of a conspiracy theorist in you. Which to me at least is a good thing by the way. (I will let you wear my tin foil hat if you haven’t already got one lol)

    Bull shit propaganda is what keeps everything ticking over the problem is that most people who may come across as intelligent and who probably are, have becoming so condition to just accepting everything they read or watch as true without asking the very simplest of question, which unravel the lie. I would suggest checking out John Pilger a proper journalist

  • GooneressNo1

    Jonathan Pearce, Clive Tyldesley, Andy Townsend… in fact all football commentators anywhere the script they are all so happy to read from is the reason the ‘mute’ button was invented – an absolute God send. The only downside of course is I miss the atmosphere but still it has to be done.

  • Mick

    @Jerry
    Apparently Wenger has been an admirer of Cleverly for some time!! Smalling is also being mooted to be included in the exchange deal as well.

  • Jerry

    @Mick,
    yeah I read that too and was like really? I couldn’t recall Wenger ever saying much about Cleverly like other he has about some other players. I think I was actually more surprised they didn’t link us w/ Chicharito coming this way like they did last year.

  • Robl

    Don’t know what the problem with Cleverly is, we all have to wake up and recognise that in the current area of multiple games a week you need a big squad to cope and stay competitive, to be able to handle all sorts of tactics and systems, and the bloke inside the Gunnersaurus costume is not getting any younger.

  • Gord

    Trivia – More Emoti are coming

    A new version of unicode (7.0) has been released, and it is adding 2834 characters. Of these 2834, 250 are called emoji and are like emoticons (smilies). We won’t see this until other software starts supporting Unicode-7.0. If you want to learn more, Ars Technica is running the story.

    Vermaelen still on the bench for Belgium.

  • oldgroover

    Gord

    My life will now be complete

  • AL

    I think Rupert doesn’t like the fact Thierry doesn’t agree with the Savages and the Shearers as someone like Dixon will readily do. Thierry’s insightful analysis is quite refreshing, he’s witty and I think he’s the king of cool.

  • AL

    And Shakabula, agree 100% with your analysis of the Muller/pepe incident. Muller was nursing his face facing down, not appealing to anyone in particular, and the ref had let play continue. Pepe, being the idiot he is, first made the clearance, then for reasons only his small brain will know he marches back to the sitting Muller and attacks him. Adrian Chiles is a t**t, and Dixon was a fool to try and support him. Not surprisingly Vieira and Fabio didn’t agree with the both of them.

  • Micheal Ram

    I think the France vs Honduros goal line reply was not to conclude whether it was a goal or not but to conclude the scorer of the goal. The first goal line inspection shows no goal thus Benzema wont be credited then the second goal line inspection showed it was an own goal. No problems, no issues in fact perfect reply demo for everyone. Moron commentators. By the way, Pepe derserved the red card for intimidating the opponent in a physical way. Fully justified.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    IMO, Henry was polite but determined to say whatever he wanted because he doesn’t need the job as pundit. He looked amused at Savage’s silly comments

  • Mick

    @Micheal Ram
    The BBC commentator on the Brazil/Mexico match last night again made reference to the goal Benzema line technology incident and still hasn’t grasped the logical sequence of events that just about everyone else is having no trouble at all grasping. He must be an idiot is all I can think.

  • Mick,

    I heard the same from the moron. He is an idiot. He reminds me of the BT Sport commentators struggling to grasp the Emirates cup point system. The bigger question is why do idiots like this keep getting this high paying jobs? My wife’s football knowledge isn’t great but she understood immediately why the 2 sequences of GLT were used. She surmised instantly that it was an own goal by the keeper, thanks to GLT. But for highly paid commentators? Nah, that concept is too difficult. It’s almost like the fool was trying to discredit the technology. Or is it just me?

  • menace

    Muller & Pepe were both wrong. Both should have been carded. Pepe deserved red. Muller held Pepe first which drew the outstretched arm – it is a natural reaction. The arm was not aimed at the face, but happens to be at the same height. The ‘going down’ by players is in my opinion a way of drawing attention and should be penalised if there is no justification.

    In my opinion Brazil should have had a penalty against Mexico when Marcello was pulled back from his shoulder. Hernandez on the other hand is a cheat and his diving antics are consistent. He will ‘draw’ a ‘foul’ at any point in the game. Sadly a foul doesn’t have to be deliberate.

    Arsenal players have been coached to avoid going down even if fouled (hence very few penalties).

    As regards using the nationality or continental origin of players, I believe in World cups commentators should be trained to pronounce the names of players. If that is an issue then the number of the player with the team name is acceptable.

  • bob mac

    Strange that the media slag BFG for two years, and constantly say Ozil is a complete waste of money.

    And yet they are both first choice for their country, who happen to be the best international team in the world!!!!!!

  • bob mac

    Only way to watch any football on TV is to;………….

    1) switch on 1 min from scheduled KO time.

    2) put the TV on mute.

    3) do the washing up at half-time (TV still on mute).

    4) turn off TV on the final whistle and go to bed.

    Oh what joy.