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Guardian joins BT Sport in the forefront of this anti-Arsenal season

By Tony Attwood

Politically I much prefer the liberal credentials of the Guardian to the right wing approach of the Daily Mail.

But credit where it is due.  The Daily Mail has actually done its own analysis of this coming season’s prices and come up with, among other thing, this little gem…

  • Tottenham’s £1895 season ticket works out at £90.24 per game
  • Arsenal’s most expensive season ticket costs £77.42 per match

But elsewhere the notion that this season should be a real Anti-Arsenal season in the media is running full swing.   It is as if, given the reaction of some Arsenal supporters to what Arsenal’s media partner BT Sport has done, the media has decided to sneer at us even more.

BT Sprout are trying to undo a little of the damage they have done by running an ad focussing on Arsenal in the FA Cup, but it is, in my view, far too little too late.  For this dire cock-up by Arsenal to be redeemed we need a fulsome apology from Vinai Venkatesham, Arsenal’s Sales and Marketing Director, or in the event of his dismissal, a statement from Ivan Gazidis, saying this sort of situation will never happen again.

Meanwhile, the Guardian, in the form of an article by David Conn, who really ought to know better, seeing the mess Arsenal have made of things with this public link up with BT Sprout, have decided to put the boot in.

Unfortunately, while the Guardian is superb at things like covering the story of Edward Snowden who revealed how the American state spies on its allies and their civil populations, as well as on its enemies, it is not so clever at doing things like knocking football clubs.  Much of its reporting is third hand at best, and generally takes on the role of kicking the man when he’s just made the worst contract decision of his life and wishes he could run away and hide.

Although despite the fact that Arsenal fans have indeed been betrayed by the club’s marketing department, at last some of the fans are fighting back.

Here’s the Guardian’s opener:

“Arsenal, whose £62 away-ticket price sparked a near-boycott by City fans when the two clubs met last season, will, as ever in modern times, be pricey to support. The cheapest adult season ticket at the Emirates Stadium is £1,020 – although that includes early-round cup matches, making for 26 games in total. The most expensive tickets, at a club that began building its new stadium in 2004 with the express aim of maximising income from more supporters, are more than £2,000 for a ticket and £129.50 for the most expensive single matchday ticket.”

Now let’s see what’s wrong with this.

First, yes Man City fans did object to the price of their ticket for one match, and many of the seats were not sold.  So Arsenal made the spaces available to Arsenal fans, and the area was sold out.  That fact tells us something about support levels, commitment and the like.  It doesn’t change the prices but it is a relevant fact.

Second, the next time around Man City fans abandoned their protest, and bought up all the tickets at the same prices.

Third, the away ticket price was the same as the home ticket price for equivalent seats in other parts of the ground.  A detail worth mentioning if the full picture is to be given.

Fourth, if we are looking at cheap prices, Arsenal is below average when it comes to the cheapest tickets on offer for Premier League matches – another detail worth mentioning in passing.  Tickets for Man C games are in the top category, because Man C uses the oil revenue of an Arab state in order to buy in success – which it has successfully done.  If they hadn’t done that they would probably not be a Category A club at Arsenal.  If they were like Southampton, QPR, Leicester and the like, they’d be Category C, and below the league average in price.

Finally the cheapest ticket is £10 for League Cup matches.  Chelsea benefited from this last season despite the high cost of games at Stamford Bridge.

Now, going back to the Guardian’s apparent alliance-of-minds with BT Sprout, you may be aware of how BT Sprout spent last season’s Emirates Cup laughing and joking about and generally deriding the complexity of a competition in which team got 3 points for a win and one for a goal across two games each.

Clearly Mr Conn thinks that this level of maths is beyond all of us.   It says, “United’s lowest-priced ticket for this season, of which there are very many fewer than in the days of standing, will be £31.   That is cheap compared to £65.50 at Arsenal (for the highest category games),”

Now even the most dyscalculic of supporters will see that they are comparing the lowest price they can find at Very Old Trafford (opened 1910) and the top priced games at Rather Newer Emirates (opened 2006) which is 94 years later.  Yes Very Old Trafford has been updated over the years but it has nothing like the quality of the Emirates because VOT is endlessly trying to accommodate a 94 year old location.  (94 years, Mr Conn, is almost a century.  I know BT Sprout won’t know this, but you ought to).

Mr Conn also says, “This season, Liverpool’s cheapest matchday ticket will be £46.”

Somehow Mr Conn forgets to say that at Arsenal it is £30.50, apart from when it is less.  Arsenal’s cheapest price is only two thirds of Liverpool’s cheapest price.   But don’t say it Guardian, because it doesn’t fit with your story.

The BT Sprout policy of laughing at Arsenal by claiming 1 point for a goal is too complex, and the Guardian’s selectivity with the facts and figures, trying to suggest Arsenal is the most expensive club, do not represent a unified campaign, for clearly the Guardian is doing nothing but jump on a bandwagon of a story the Independent launched two days before.

But they represent a push against Arsenal that needs to be resisted.  And most of all it needs to be resisted by Arsenal, not supported by them with Vinai Venkatesham saying how wonderful it is to have BT Sprout on board.

What should happen is that Vinai Venkatesham should come out now and say, “We extended the BT Sport contract in good faith, and were very disappointed that our faith was repaid by an advertising campaign that repeatedly knocked Arsenal.  We are in discussions with BT Sport to ensure that this cannot happen again, and have invited them to apologise to Arsenal fans.  We understand the campaign by BT Sport has resulted in a number of Arsenal fans cancelling their contracts with BT Sport, and we can fully understand this stance.  As a club we hope this move by fans shows the TV broadcaster the danger of signing up a partnership contract on the eve of a knocking campaign.

“Football fans can be very unforgiving, and we fully support Arsenal fans removing themselves from any association with BT Sport.”

That’s what they should say.  Or they could sack Vinai Venkatesham.

The books
The complete Arsenal Anniversary series is to be found on the Arsenal History Society site.

78 comments to Guardian joins BT Sport in the forefront of this anti-Arsenal season

  • alex

    Also, most things in Manchester/ Liverpool cost less than in London.I know a lot of home supporters at a game travel from outside the city the team plays in, but this must make a difference too.

  • will

    Good to see an arsenal blog actually sticking up for arsenal it is taken for granted that arsenal must be attacked by the media someone or paper needs sueing

  • GoingGoingGooner

    It would be interesting to see what the contract between the two says about quality control or editorial content. Sadly, I suspect nothing. On the surface, one would agree on the grounds of freedom of speech but on the other hand a business partner would expect to be treated well.

  • para

    Would be glad to get some type of reaction from Arsenal.

  • HR

    Two things.

    1. You obviously have an anti-Vinai Venkatesham issue which you appear to be pursuing. But have you contacted the man himself? Written? Phoned? Detailing your concerns. That would be a reasonable ‘first step’.

    And 2. Repeated iterations of the phrase “BT Sprout” may sound fine in your head, but most of the rest of us stopped doing that sort of thing when we were eight. If you want to be taken seriously then you would be well-advised to write as such.

  • oh give it a few more days.. others will join these two in bashing us… its the medias favourite pass time.

  • f.o.y.s.

    it strikes me that the commercial side have no morals,they have taken money at the expense of the fans,i concur that venkatesham should be fired

  • Great blog.why are we such a target for the media.we behave in a much better manner thN most clubs.are we paranoid? Don’t think we are. Let’s hope the players can use this to their advantage. Us against the world would make any success all the sweeter. NO GOONERS ££s TO BT.

  • Ryan F

    I’m an avid Arsenal fan and yet am deeply embarrassed by the views on this site. Persecution complex much?

    First it was “OMG, all the referees are biased against us!”, and now it’s “evil media conspiracy!” Time to stop the Chicken Little act and take off the tinfoil hats.

    I could search the internet and find a hundred anti-Spurs stories, or anti-Liverpool, or anti-whoever. Suddenly we get some stores painting Arsenal in a bad light, and it’s time for a big old rant.

    Seriously, everyone knows that newspapers talk absolute rubbish, the sports sections even more so. Anybody who takes any of this stuff seriously really needs to take a look at themselves.

    Take off the red-tinted glasses and pretend you’re a neutral for a second. It may have hurt like hell but you can’t seriously argue that Liverpool away wasn’t the most dramatic, action packed and downright freakiest game they showed last year. For the casual fan, it was an epic. Can anyone seriously blame BT “Sprout” (how mature) for showcasing what was their most prestigious and talked-about game last term?

    A couple of years ago Betfair had an ad that focused on Man Utd losing a lead against Everton (thankfully the cash-out option was available). A Man Utd supporting friend of mine just laughed it off with good grace.

    A reaction much classier than I’m seeing from some of the Arsenal contingent sadly.

    Feel free to shout me down or disagree. We may be divided on this topic but in the end we are all Arsenal fans and that is something that binds us, even when we disagree on other matters.

    Peace, love and COYG.

  • Martin

    The reason the media hate Arsenal is because we keep coming up with ideas to screw more money out of them. Sky hate us for mooting the European Super league which would have cost them an extra £1 Billion. I don’t believe people realize how close this came to happening. Coupled with the fact that were being run by a bunch of spineless so and so’s

  • oldgroover

    Ryan F

    Funny you should say that, because the Guardian (the fiver) are really sticking it up United & Liverpool lately.

  • zico59

    Well, as soon as my contract with “Sky” was up at the end of august, i was going to switch to a BT phone/broadband package, even though they had old “Splinters” (m. owen) as one of their commentators. Now though, that’s changed thanks to their take the piss campaigne. I will now re-new with Sky, as there is no way in hell i’m going to help BT with their profit margins, as small as they may be from me, i can imagine there will be a few more like-minded people around who’s thinking the same. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you eh!

  • HR – there is nothing wrong with being childish. As for me being taken seriously… now there’s a thought.

  • Godfrey

    Have you noticed the size of coverage they give to our new signings? Always small captions. But these papers are treating van gal to be the biggest thing that has ever happened to the premier league. It shows some hidden agenda.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    @Ryan F

    Almost all fans of all clubs believe that they are not getting a fair shake from referees. What makes this site unique is that it actually has made an effort to quantify this through basic statistics. Are some of us paranoid?..for sure!! but some of the results are actually quite compelling. I would recommend that you take a bit of time to review all the referee review that have been done by Walter and his team. If nothing else you will learn a lot about the rules of the game and something about statistics, too.

    As for the media…the same thing probably applies. Supporters believe that coverage of their club is inadequate, biasied and doesn’t fully recognize all that is beautiful about there club…fair enough. Again, what makes this site different is that we try to approach it somewhat scientifically by either quantifying the work or by dealing with what is said logically.

    If you are still embarrassed with this site then I would suggest that you avoid it as it is probably not worth your while.

    Cheers! and Up the Arse!!!

  • ClockEndRider

    Tony,
    A couple of further points.
    1. “The cheapest adult season ticket at the Emirates Stadium is £1,020 – although that includes early-round cup matches”. Connman fails to point out that the early round cup matches he describes are qualifiers and then group stages of the Champions League as well as FA Cup. He makes it sound as if it’s the Johnstones Paint Trophy.
    2. Re the man City fans “revolt”. Nowhere does the cretin in question point out that Citeh charged Arsenal fans £55 for the reverse fixture. £7 is hardly a huge premium is it? Further, the cost of provinces-London return travel is cheaper than London-provinces return travel. So in all Arsenal fans are likely to have paid more overall than City fans.
    Still, why should he let the facts get in the way of a good story. No doubt he’ll be off now to laugh with his chums on the news desk hacking a dead girls phone.

  • JW

    Frankly I’m pleased BTSport aired it, a stark reminder to the players.
    Also, let’s not forget that Mr Conn resides with the politics of envy.

  • Robl

    @Ryan F,

    For me it’s personal
    It’s Arsenal ’till I die
    Those defeats on the ads pysically HURT
    Rubbing my face in it brings the pain back
    & To insult my club is to insult my family

    So yes, I may be a little emotionally retarded but I find it very painful for my club to get in bed with BT sport, and yes I have emailled Arsenal, and have received the “aim to respond in 3 days”

    Do I condemn you for your views? Nope you are welcome to them; as an Arsenal supporter I’ve surfed massive highs, and plumbed the depths of despair and know that without one the other is meaningless; but other views are equally valid (even if totally wrong!!!)

  • HR

    @Tony …

    There’s everything wrong with being childish IF you want to be taken seriously.

    And since you avoided addressing the point I take it you’ve not brought your concerns directly to the club which diminishes your goal/point/post. That said, it does seem somewhat cowardly to attack a senior employee at the club in this way. Of course, this kind of thing occurs all over the web, but I would have thought your elevated view of your ethics would have prohibited such behaviour.

    Inconsistent, hypocritical, cowardly, unintelligent, and childish. I guess Vinai Venkatesham still has the edge on you.

  • bob mac

    Price to watch Emirates Cup (sit where you like) is £14 (AOP) for both games in one day.

    £7 a game is cheaper than a Whitby Town friendly against Hartlepool

  • nicky

    I wish all this criticism of BT’s failings would cease. True supporters of Arsenal FC can easily ignore the rant of the AAA and its associates.
    Better by far to remember the loyal millions who look to BT and other broadcasters, in order to watch some Arsenal games (with the mute button firmly depressed).
    It is perhaps sobering to remember that by far the greater number of these viewers will never, ever, see their heroes in the flesh.
    You folk who attend the Ems and write these anti-BT comments should bear this in mind, before over-doing the hatred.

  • Goondawg

    Sack Vinai Venkatesham??

    Why? He’s not responsible for our most humiliating defeats last year. Surely that falls at the feet of wenger. I have a lot of respect for Wenger, but since our 8-2 defeat at the scum up north I have become disillusioned since he has sold our best year in year out and perhaps being hindered by higher ups hasn’t re-invested in the squad to the best of his abilities. Hopefully this year is a sign of change. I still believe we need a world class DM as Arteta is on his last legs.

    Im not even angry at BT sports for the humiliating ads. We are a big club and those two matches showcase how exciting the league is and is a great advert to promote their package. In future I suggest we try and avoid pants-down pummelings, and perhaps the manager can address this to avoid embarrassment at the hands of the media. Simple.

  • Ryan F

    Thanks for the well-measured replies, guys – it’s nice to have a measured debate without descending to insults or trolling!

    I think the relationship between Arsenal and the media is a symbiotic one – papers, websites and broadcasters NEED the club – to gain readers, to generate clicks, to increase subscriptions. Writing about our club is a means to an end for them. Positive or negative, Arsenal is a hot property, and focusing on us will generate revenue for them.

    On the other hand, Arsenal need the media also. A large proportion of our income comes from TV deals, and we can negotiate great sponsorship deals because of our high profile in the media. If BT Sport wants to give us a load of money for some sort of link-up, then we’d be fools to turn it down, regardless of the content of their ads.

    Yes it can be tough reading a negative article or seeing highlights of a loss, but in the end we have to accept that as part and parcel of being one of the biggest clubs.

    Strange as it may seem, the media is good for us and we are good for them, even though the marriage gets a bit rocky sometimes!

  • Rufusstan

    @Ryan F — If they were laying things out straightforwardly, I’d have no problem with it, take the: ‘London is expensive; suck it up’ approach and move on.

    Instead, they throw some numbers out at random, with no context and no attempt to compare like-with-like, and then point at Arsenal. That is what is annoying, especially since it comes from one of the few media sources I normally respect.

    Worse, the Guardian has been throwing out the same sort of misleading crap for a few years now.

  • Ryan F

    BTW, if anyone wants a daily dose of how much rubbish sports journalists spout, I would highly recommend the daily-updated Mediawatch page on the football365 website – just to prove it’s not just Arsenal the papers are wrong about…

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    Tony, this is greatly written, but could it be that the media are allowing the PGMOL rather than leading them? Could it be that Riley and his ilk are looking for anything on the field (such as Kos breathing air) to defraud us from the title? That is my opinion. The Prem has hired the PGMOL to get us.

    Not all referees are rotten to the core, and I think that there is some sort of hierarchy, with those closest to Riley being both empowered and most likely to have an anti-Arsenal bias. The most obvious example is Anthony Taylor and his display in our opener against Aston Villa. In fact, he was also fourth official at Chelsea, and he kind of spotted an irrelevant handball. This anti-Arsenal racist called Marriner on his set and forced him to dismiss the “Arsenal left back” causing the exit of Gibbs while the Ox stayed on. If I see this referee, I will know the PGMOL is targetting us.

  • H Bo

    I don’t get why they find the point system so daunting it’s been about for a long time, they used to use it in the Amsterdam tournament which was around for the best part of 30 years.
    I actually think they are just imbeciles.

  • Will

    This should be sent to the marketing team of Arsenal and as an open letter to the Guardian.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    They’re back! Those wonderful Church Bulletins! Thank God for the church ladies with typewriters. These sentences actually appeared in church bulletins or were announced at church services:

    The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.
    ————————-
    Scouts are saving aluminium cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
    ————————–

    The sermon this morning: ‘Jesus Walks on the Water.’The sermon tonight:’Searching for Jesus.’
    ————————–

    Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husband
    ————————–
    Don’t let worry kill you off – let the Church help.
    ————————–
    Miss Charlene Mason sang ‘I will not pass this way again,’ giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
    ————————–
    For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
    ————————–
    Next Thursday there will be try-outs for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
    ————————–
    Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
    ————————–
    A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.
    ————————–
    At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be ‘What Is Hell?’ Come early and listen to our choir practice.
    ————————–
    Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
    ————————–
    Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered..
    ————————–
    The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.
    ————————–
    Pot-luck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM – prayer and medication to follow.
    ————————–
    The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.
    ————————–
    This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.
    ————————–
    The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the Congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.
    ————————–
    Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.
    ————————–
    The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy..
    ————————–
    Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.
    ————————–
    And this one just about sums them all up
    The Associate Minister unveiled the church’s new campaign slogan last Sunday: ‘I Upped My Pledge – Up Yours.’

  • oldgroover

    Rantetta

    Arsenal and Islington council have a very good working relationship that goes back nearly a hundred years, so to say they are anti Arsenal is so ridiculous.
    This is a noise and local disruption issue and I’m surprised they allow even one concert in such a heavily populated area.
    The judge’s comments were a bit blunt, but true all the same.
    ISLINGTON COUNCIL ARE NOT ANTI ARSENAL!

  • Pat

    I’m with oldgroover on this one.

    Living near a park where big concerts are played, I know how noisy and disruptive they are to local people. Noisy concerts should be played indoors in properly soundproofed premises or, if outdoors, far away from population centres.

  • Goondawg – it is interesting that some of the people who write critically used to write about not getting a trophy, and we debated here where their attack would go after we won one. I think you are reflecting the new approach well – the humiliation of the big defeats. No mention of the huge victories, and the humiliation we have poured upon teams by beating them with 6 or 7 goals, no the humiliation of Tottenham, but just of how bad it felt to us. An interesting perspective.

  • Paul "The Gooner"

    Mourinho,Scholes and Owen on BT Sport.Gentlemen, lets all sit back and wait a few months.We will be on this very good website posting articles about these people.I believe things will get much,much worse.Tony is correct.Our press office sit back and do bugger all about the anti Arsenal coverage.Would ManUtd do the same!No way.

  • WalterBroeckx

    The moaners need to moan, Tony. Imagine feeling good and happy for a moment… must be a scary thought for them. Or imagine feeling happy about your club for 90% of the time….

  • wengerson

    @ oldgroover

    You mean like:
    Arsene and Ian Wright had a very good working relationship that goes back nearly twenty years, so to say he is anti Arsene is so ridiculous.
    This is a noise and local disruption issue and I’m surprised they allow even one FOOTBALL MATCH in such a heavily populated area.

    I see your point…

  • HR – I think these topics you raise are going to be very boring to everyone else, but as you have raised them twice I will answer them – but then let us just agree that we see the world from very different perspectives and leave it at that.

    In my view, in a working life which has pulled together psychology and writing, it is possible to craft a publication in virtually any form one likes, and there will be readers. I created Untold all those years back because I felt the blogs, press and broadcasters were not reflecting a view that I, and a few friends had. That Untold is regularly the top rated independent football blog (see the number on the left as a guide of where we stand today) and that our numbers show up to three quarters of a million views in a month, suggests that my original thought that it was just me and a few friends, who were interested in this view was way out.

    Of course some readers like you are against the style and approach I and others have developed, but the evidence suggests that most readers like what we do.

    As with many publications, no matter what the format, we mix some humour with the serious approach. Sometimes we keep them separate – most Billy the Dog articles do this – and this is the traditional style that newspapers use. But it is an interesting approach to mix humour, even childishness, with serious topics. And why not? Just because it is not the norm does not mean that it is not possible.

    Untold has always been experimental – if I was being portentious I would say ground breaking. Some experiments work, in my view and the view of those who work with me on Untold, and others don’t. If you don’t try, you don’t know. Personally I think it is amusing to call them BT Sprout and quite possible to do it while making a serious point. You think the rest of the world disagrees. I guess that is our difference.

    I am very aware that most of the time I don’t know what others will think. Articles that I think are not important, not good, or whatever, get huge positive readership. And the reverse. Thankfully I am right most of the time, but not always. We’re experimental, that’s it.

    So are we taken seriously? There is considerable evidence that this is so – and I suspect it is because we don’t follow the boundaries that are laid down by other publications and “common sense”. Many readers of Untold accuse us of being in the club’s pay – which is rather amusing when we look at your commentary, and vice versa. We are not – but the club has been very good to us, and has listened. Of course we don’t agree with everything the club does, but we applaud a lot – that is the stance of Untold.

    A most senior member of the club did tell me a few years ago how incredibly annoyed he and others were about the way the media was treating Arsenal and how pleased he was to see our regular exposes of the duplicitous thinking that runs within the media. The issue of the statues I have mentioned many times before, and I’ll go to my grave smiling over the fact that it was I who suggested it, and that the club still recognises that. And to bring it up to date, I can’t tell you how knocked out I was that the first Puma video ended by focussing on my volume “Making the Arsenal”, complete with my name in full you.

    And all that is without remembering the couple of times Mr Wenger quoted us – once quoting one of my jokes. I admire the man enormously, so I enjoyed that moment enormously.

    Yes in these ways I can be like a little child, just thrilled that the club does recognise me – not just by selling my books in their shops, but by going a step further.

    So I think we are taken seriously, and I think it is recognised that we are not bowing down to the club but can sometimes be angered.

    As for writing to a person first to say, “we’re going to blame you” no, the media doesn’t work like that for practical reasons. If we did we would have to stop the story to give the individual time to respond, and that would take away the topicality – and it is a story that is relevant now, because of the approach of the Emirates cup.

    But remember the gentleman in question was the one who was quoted at length in the Arsenal press release, and thus the one who takes the plaudits and the blame for the policy. He couldn’t possibly change his stance now in a public statement back to Untold or a private letter to me. It would be the same as resigning.

    He has gone public, and he has to stand by that – he doesn’t need me to write to him and say, “I’m going to quote your statement that you made for public consumption and criticise it.” It is the nature of public relations, the media, and everything else that we are involved in that when a PR piece is launched one can do what one will with it.

    I think the club’s stance over BT Sport was ill-founded at every level, and the person who puts his name to it has to answer to the consequence. On this issue I profoundly disagree with Arsenal, but the club knows that 99% of the time Untold is totally positive about Arsenal, the club, its manager, its players and its policies.

    That, HR, I think is it. Let’s leave it now. If you dislike my writing, or Untold in general, fine, of course you are with many others. Why not do what I did? Set up your own blog, and push your own point of view. It’s time consuming, but ultimately very interesting.

  • Rupert Cook

    Good post Ryan F. I really can’t believe some fans are getting upset over BT Sport focusing on a heavy defeat for their ad campaign. Cancelling BT Sport subscriptions over that, how stupid. Really, stop acting like little babies just because we get some negative nonsense every now and again. It’s embarrassing.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Tony, which team did we beat by 6 or 7 goals last year that was live on BT Sport? When did we humiliate Tottenham? I remember the away game was backs to the wall trying to defend a 1-0 lead. I’ve never known such a bunch of sensitive fans. BT Sport can laugh at our defeats, after all they were laughable performances. The one thing about the English is that we are capable of finding humour in adversity, we like to laugh at ourselves, it’s our way of shrugging off disappointments. Some of you should try it.

  • oldgroover

    Wengerson
    What a really stupid comparison.
    Ian Wright is a shit brain ex footballer who’s contributions to life in general is a shouty type TV show and some unintelligible football punditry. Islington Council is a democratically elected local council that puts the needs & requirements of it’s electorate into action, and does it very well as I can attest from the years I lived there.
    To compare the noise from a football match (which isn’t constant) to that of a rock concert which is continuous and amplified is even more ridiculous.
    Have you actually ever been to either of these two events?

  • oldgroover

    I get the feeling it’s going to be one of those mornings.
    How does this blog attract so many complete fuckwits?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Not sure we should expect any less from the Manchester Guardian

  • M18CTID

    Can I just point out that the much publicised “boycott” by City fans in protest at Arsenal’s £62 ticket price 2 seasons ago wasn’t a boycott at all and it is the press that has dressed it up that way.

    Don’t get me wrong, there were dissenting voices amongst our fans about the price of those tickets (it was an increase of £11 on the corresponding fixture the previous season so was bound to be a hot topic) but these were complaints from individuals and people made their own choice whether or not to attend the game – there was nothing in the way of an organised protest by a group of fans despite what the press would have people believe. The club actually requested the full allocation of tickets from Arsenal but made a bizarre decision to return around 900 tickets almost 3 weeks before the match took place. It could be that tickets weren’t shifting as quickly as they normally would for Arsenal away but given that it was Christmas when the tickets were returned that isn’t particularly surprising and I’ve little doubt that if the club hadn’t been so hasty then they would’ve sold all the tickets eventually anyway.

  • oldgroover

    I’m usually a supporter of the Guardian and their tongue in cheek attitude to all the Premiership clubs, but todays headline of Steven Gerrard telling Surez that he “was too good for Arsenal” was bit on the wrong side of balanced.

  • Wengerson

    @ oldgroover

    Like I said, I see your

    “How does this blog attract so many complete fuckwits?”

    Its so funny because that’s exactly what I asked myself when you defended rupert.

  • bjtgooner

    It is interesting that once again when a new poster attacks UA our resident attention seeking troll appears and does his best to hang onto the dissenter’s coat tails. Very typical trolling behavior.

    The question of BT and the Manchester Guardian should really be seen in the wider context of an overall snide and tasteless approach by the press/media to all things Arsenal. At the same time the press/media cannot see the level of bias exhibited by the refs – this bias has cost Arsenal points, possibly titles and additionally player injuries.

    Incidentally, the AAAA clots, including our resident troll, also cannot recognize ref bias.

    So why is there biased refereeing and why is it protected by inaccurate/incomplete reporting? Is there a Mr Big or a consortium somewhere in the background pulling the strings?

  • Rantetta

    oldgroover & Pat (7:41&7:46)

    As I wrote – look out for the judges comments.

    I don’t see Islington council as anti Arsenal.

  • Gerry

    Tony, I am curious about the last paragraph in your robust defence above;

    ‘ I think the club’s stance over BT Sport was ill-founded at every level, and the person who puts his name to it has to answer to the consequence. On this issue I profoundly disagree with Arsenal’

    Are you at liberty to tell us what Arsenal get out of this deal, and your objections to it?
    For example, do they supply the camera crew and equipment that go to make up the Arsenal match day coverage on the ‘Arsenal Player’, available ‘as live’ the following day when covered by BT, but often two or three days later when shown live with Sky? Are they assisting in the Arsenal Media project, such as Man U and Chelsea have on Sky? Or is it just a pure cash deal?
    I am just curious ..
    For those wishing to change or indeed take up one of the broadcasters for the forthcoming season, I have an additional bit of info regarding a cheap way to watch Sky Sports:
    If you can get a ‘fibre’ connection, sign up to the NowTV bundle(currently £20 per month), you can add the whole Sky Sports bundle, ‘live’ over the internet (again, subject to speeds to sustain live coverage) without having to have a dish. And if you support Tony’s campaign, you cannot receive BT Sports … although the Arsenal player will be available.
    You see, I am all for balanced comments.

  • oldgroover

    Wengerson

    So that’s what it’s all about. I thought there must be a reason for you trolling me, now I know.
    Defending Rupert was I? Go back & re read the thread.

  • oldgroover

    Rantette

    So who was “anti Arsenal”. Surely not a completely impartial judge or the media for reporting it, as it’s also in the very pro Arsenal Islington Gazette’

  • jambug

    If, as some suggest, ALL Cubs get equal amounts of bad press answer me this.

    For at least the last 4 or 5 years we’ve had this issue regarding ticket prices run in the Press.

    Every time the aim is the same. A blatant, premeditated attempt to infer how Arsenals are the MOST EXPENSIVE tickets around and how our fans are being ripped off.

    Our Friend Durham at Talkshite suggests buying a season ticket at Arsenal is tantamount to a slap round the face.

    Addressing these points, this site has shown, time and time again, that although not cheap of course, our season ticketing pricing, overall, is fair, and sits comfortably in the profile of most similar status Clubs.

    So please, could the ‘apologists’ for this particular line of false, misleading, ill informed bullshit:

    a) Show me a similar line of attack against Liverpool, Man Utd, Man city etc.

    and

    b) Explain to me why, if not as some part of an agenda to paint us in a bad light, they do it?

  • Mandy Dodd

    there is certainly an agenda Jambug, and expecially against the manager, a disgraceful agenda since day 1. Even this summer, back page headlines about our players doing pretty much what young footballers sometimes unfortunately do. Knowing a journalist or two, I can tell you for a fact there are far more interesting, lurid, and downright horrible tales on far higher profile footballers…and ex footballers out there, but whenever they can, the UK media go for Arsenal players, often scraping the barrel if they do so.
    I think some of this agenda has taken on a momentum of its own, it is always open season on the club, players and manager. What intrigues me more is where did this agenda originate from and why. I for one do not know, but what I do know is the best thing is for the team to get out there and ram their agendas straight back into their faces. Just like we did last May. Just like we did when we closed a ten point gap on our media darling neighbours despite the best efforts of Mike Dean allowing Bales diving. Just like we did when we signed Ozil, Sanchez, and maybe even A.nother. Hope they use this to motivate the team, siege mentalities can be very effective when managed properly

  • jambug

    Mandy Dodd

    You ask:

    What intrigues me more is where did this agenda originate from and why.

    A valid and perplexing question.

    I have heard it cited on hear many times that it all started on day one when Arsene point blank refused to be drawn on the disgraceful and malicious rumour’s that followed him from the east.

    I see some validity it that theory but surely that cant be all, can it?

    My personal take is that a lot of it boils down to just 2 things.

    Prejudice.

    Jealousy.

    Prejudice:People can deny it as much as they like but I believe we in this Country still harbour an inherent dis like of the French. A massive generalisation I know, and I realise that many will find this accusation distasteful, misguided, or just plain wrong, but there you go, that is what I believe.

    Jealousy: Up pops this erudite French man, apparently from nowhere. Not only that, but he immediately imports a boat load more of his Countrymen. Not only that but they then proceed to show us all how football teams should be assembled, how football teams should play and how Football Clubs should be run.

    He’s Multi lingual. He has a degree. He’s teaching us how to play our own game. He’s doing it in our own back yard, and pain upon pain, HE’S FRENCH.

    And the morons in the media just cannot get over it.

    And what’s worse is the mindless xenophobic masses that swallow there every word and just lap it up every time the media ‘stick it’ to that stuck up know it all Frenchy.

    Jealousy. One of the worst of human emotions, and one of the hardest to control and the one I believe is the biggest factor behind this pathological media hatred of Wenger.

  • Gooner S

    @Tony

    A good read in my lunch hour. Thank you.

    I was amazed that Arsenal announced their deal with BT Sport after the way that BT Sport has been treating Arsenal. I wasn’t surpised in the least by BT Sport though; they are the new kid on the block and they are trying to attract attention and improve subscriptions. Simple really. I don’t currently subscribed to BT Sport because of the combined cost with Sky Sports. I’m not paying out twice. I might reconsider next season or I might just ditch paying for Sports altogether.

    It’s also nice to hear that the club approaciate the ‘Untold’ do.

    Lastly, it’s nice to see a publication, even if it is the Daily Mail, quote the correct costs per game, per club, to attend football. The others are just lazy journalists.

  • HR

    @Tony

    Thanks for the reply.

    I don’t dislike your writing as such, though I think we can both agree you’re no Booker Prize winner. And I’m perfectly happy on the occasions when you support the club with effort that few of us afford. But in the same way that a website like Le Grove is a magnet for Arsenal malcontents and nihilists Untold Arsenal seems to gravitate towards paranoia.

    The Guardian, in my experience, is not anti-Arsenal and neither is BT Sport. BT Sport is a business and part of that business model is to actively engage in ‘colourful’ and controversial pundits and commentators. (Please don’t let me have to detail why.) That’s it. Ask any supporter of any club whether they get a fair deal in the media and through season-long refereeing decisions and they won’t just say ‘no’, they’ll shout it. I, myself, had to shut the BT Cup Final commentary off it was making my blood boil, but then we were still losing at that point – so that wasn’t helping.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that David Conn’s article in The Guardian was poor, but in no way was it ‘anti-Arsenal’. Unless you really don’t think the club’s match-day revenue is one of the highest (if not the) when compared with almost every other club in Europe then I’d like to see the data. It’s a fact that’s become part of the consensus narrative on ticket prices and because of this it gets cited whenever pricing is addressed. Do you really think David Conn is going to be forensic and revisionist?

    But my real problem with your article(s) relates to you singling-out Vinai Venkatesham for criticism and worse. To this reader it seems to be based on assumption and bias. That’s your crime here.

    Most rational people will make sure of their facts before they go as far as to call for someone’s dismissal. Does any club have the ability to edit content with BT, or does BT have a free hand? Have you any idea what our contract with BT entails and what it brings to the club? Does Mr. Venkatesham have responsibility for all that’s upset you or does Gazidis (or someone else) bear blame? Do you actually know enough to justify seeking an apology and a sacking or are you mimicking the worst kind of journalism. The thing is, by the same standards as you employ, would Vinai Venkatesham have a case in citing you as being anti-Vinai Venkatesham?

    And just for the record I neither know nor have met the man. He could be the biggest incompetent at Arsenal or its brightest spark of marketing genius. But that’s the thing – I don’t have that knowledge and I doubt that you do either. That’s why I proposed that you should contact his office – to get information that was concrete. Not for any other reason.

    Let’s put things another way. What if an ad comes out on BT showcasing our FA Cup victory one week and then the next Liverpool’s Anfield win last season. Would that be biased or balanced?

    And lastly. Agitating fanbases is part-and-parcel of increasing revenues. So why are you doing BT’s work for them by writing articles like this? For them it’s shooting fish in a barrel. But what’s your goal? Does that make you just as wily/bad as BT or just an honest sprout.

  • dan

    Gerrard talking crap, just like his game.

  • finsbury

    “I can remember board meetings where we sat and thought ‘how can we survive’…now we can compete again. We got through the storm without too much damage.” – Arsene Wenger

    “I would say disregard everything you read. It’s very seldom close to what we’re thinking.” – Ivan Gazidas

    http://www.si.com/soccer/planet-futbol/2014/07/24/arsene-wenger-arsenal-ivan-gazidis-gedion-zelalem-alexis-sanchez-red-bulls

    Plenty of coverage of Chambers wearing the No.5 shirt but very little plunditry available upon these quotes from the above interview. Strange or predictable?

    The Manchester Grunt has an Arsenal Expert hack on their books. I understand that they have been in touch with Untold in the past to protest over being referred to as a hack. Did they protest too much? Over the last decade I have seen very little evidence in the Manchester Grunt of any expertise or ability to point out the bleedin’ obvious, as evidenced in the above quotes. Why? We all knew this.

    Why would an Arsenal ‘supporter’ ignore these quotes of which there are many other examples over the years, not forgetting the ability of the average human to use their common sense? It took years for paint and decorations to go up around the new stadium after it was built when it was left as an almost bare concrete shell. This was because the money to put up the drapes and curtains was not there right after the initial build. If I could see this with my own two eyes every time I went to the stadium during that period…well…what excuse does a ‘journalist’ have for ignoring the evidence that was staring them in the face? Not many I would suggest.

  • oldgroover

    Finsbury

    The above article (which you link to) is from a US publication, so it’s not surprising that it would be mostly missed by the British media, and there might be some copyright laws banning it from being reproduced in mainstream publications, but I’m only guessing at that.
    Hope I’ve not misread your comment, but it looked like you were saying it’s being deliberately ignored by English media.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Wengerson, I sincerely hope you’re not Wenger’s son because I’d certainly feel sorry if he spawned someone as dumb as you. I expect your bjt gooner’s brother.

  • Rupert Cook

    Strange how the media have this pathological hatred of Wenger when most journalists seem to enjoy interviewing him and get on with him really well. It’s a contradictory world, so it is.

  • wengerson

    @ AAA cook (05:21)

    Well, the journalists (and you, for that matter), keep hoping he’ll fumble/stumble all over his words, like these other overrated, simple minded managers. Naturally, he’s always on point, much to their (and your) annoyance!

    Also, strange how you have this pathological hatred of Wenger when you spend a lot of time on a pro-Wenger blog. Your world is very contradictory indeed.

  • bjtgooner

    @Rupert the troll

    I see you have brought me into the debate you are having with Wengerson. Perhaps you are doing this because you realize you made a fool of yourself on an earlier thread.

    I don’t think you are in a good place to make sarky comments about anyone else when your contributions at 5.19 and 5.21 would not stand examination.

    Wengerson has answered your 5.21. Regarding the abusive nonsense posted by you at 5.19 – I don’t think it justifies a response.

    Oh – you should not call Wengerson dumb – he has very neatly turned your 5.21 back on you!

  • finsbury

    Yes.

    We can see plenty of concern over copyright laws in the daily glut of football transfer rumours. Goor point! Or, maybe not.

    I don’t see where a copyright law infringes or impacts upon a person’s ability to comprehend that the Arsenal stadium was delivered as essentially a vary bare Shell and Core fit out, with a bit bling in the fogies reception, upgraded when, amazingly, when the money was available. It takes effort to ignore all those cubic meters of exposed concrete. Week after week, year after year (the curtains went up about, ’08?).

    Blow me down with a feather duster but I don’t understand where copyright laws stop a journalist or long standing supporter who obsesses over every aspect of the club from being able to spot that the club might have had a tight wallet for a few years after building a stadium in the heart of one of the worlds financial capitals (high costs).

    Disingenuous? No doubt about it. Not even a smidgen.

  • oldgroover

    finsbury
    I’ve obviously misunderstood your post (I did politely make that point) as I thought you were accusing the English media of deliberately ignoring the article you linked to, so offered two explanations why this might have been, that was all, I just was trying to be helpful. Doesn’t seem to work with some people.
    Your sarcasm leaves me completely unconcerned.
    Have a nice day!

  • finsbury

    I did. Very nice indeed.

    To repeat:

    Why would an Arsenal ‘supporter’ ignore these quotes of which there are MANY other examples over the years, not forgetting the ability of the average human to use their common sense? It took years for the paint and decorations to go up around the new stadium after it was built. This was because the money to put up the drapes and curtains was not there right after the initial build. If I could see this with my own two eyes every time I went to the stadium during that period…well…what excuse does a ‘journalist’ have for ignoring the evidence that was staring them in the face? Not many I would suggest.

    Least of all being the publication of an article in the US ten years after said stadium was built. Better luck next time.

  • finsbury

    It’s not as if football journalists deserve the support, is it?

    Connsidering that between the lot of them, twenty four hour TV and radio stations etc. they still can’t manage to ask the FA why they do not invest in UK Football, years after Untold first published a table of the differential with rivals in Germany, Spain etc.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Agree with your earlier post Jambug. Xenophobia……to some, the acceptable face of racism

  • Bill From manhattan

    Jambug, You are spot on. Living here in New York City I have met a lot of ex-pat Brits who have resided here for quite a while. One of the first things I ask them is where in England do they come from and what team they support. I have met over three hundred Brits from cities from the south coast to the Scottish border and beyond. Those days there was no football on American cable t.v. If you wanted to watch a match you had to go to a bar or pub that showed football games. You paid ten dollars at the door and you watched the footy. In all of Manhattan there were a total of three bars that showed games. Nowadays every bar and pub shows footy and you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own house to watch the games on the telly. As I said, I’ve know a lot of Brits and almost all of them told me that the reason they left England is because they hated the backward thinking and the xenophobia they experienced over there. Plenty told me of the distrust that people of the north had of people that came from the south of the same fucking country let alone the foreigners. Just like they do in Italy. Arsenal isn’t paranoid, But that don’t mean that they ain’t out to FUCKING get us. YOU BEST BELIEVE ‘DAT

  • Sav from Australia

    Interesting article, thanks Tony. And quite the debate. Appreciated the views of a Man City supporter wading into the mix.

    I see the troll and his quiet supporter are still active. Same person? Are all of ‘them’ the same person…I do not know enough about IP addresses and other fancy things to tell from my side.

    And Finsbury is spot on about ignoring the Sports Illustrated interview. Shocking! Nope, hardly.

  • bjtgooner

    @Bill

    Nice to see you posting again.

  • Micko

    @Sav from Australia
    “I see the troll and his quiet supporter are still active. Same person?” – yeah I have been thinking that as well. Originally Oldgroover said that he was not aware of who Rupert Cook was, whereas now, they both seem to regularly be online together.
    I suppose Rupert does need backup, even if it is from his alter ego !

  • oldgroover

    That’s interesting, we’re “online together”. Like everyone else is online at the same time. I suppose they’re all the same person too. Maybe you two are the same person. Think it through, if you’ve got anything to think with.

  • Micko

    That seems to have hit a nerve.

  • oldgroover

    Everything hits a nerve Micko, yours hit my funny bone though.

  • Quincy

    Excellent article, Tony. The Guardian is terribly disappointing. I wonder how they ever won favour with Mr Snowden. Perhaps it’s one of the better papers, but that isn’t saying much, to be honest.

  • jambug

    Hi Bill

    Echoing bjtgooners post, welcome back.

    Nice to see you haven’t mellowed at all 🙂

  • oldgroover

    Yeah, was a bit remiss of me not to welcome good old Bill back, bit more subdued than usual, but always welcome.

  • Ziggy

    Jam bug, you’re response to MandyDodd was spot on and to finish of the media France went on to win the World Cup with no less than 4 arsenal players who were unknown /average at the time of signing and became World class World Cup winners. Generally, the Frenchy, who was not supposed to know much about our football rubbed their noses in it and he has never been forgiven.Cue the jubilation the day he steps down/resigns/gets sacked.