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Amazing what a couple of convincing wins can do.

By Tony Attwood

It is a regular complaint made about Untold: the main writers are too pro-Wenger, too biased, and surely should be more middle of the road, able to applaud when the manager, the team, the board and the catering team get it right, and condemn when they don’t.

Unfortunately such an analysis doesn’t have much to do either with why I set up the blog, nor with the way I see the world, nor indeed much to do why most people set up blogs, newspapers, radio stations, TV stations, political parties…

Of course I can only infer why most other people set up and maintain their outlet into the wider world.  Some seem to do it for money, and some it seems for self-aggrandisement (something I’ve often been accused of) but almost everyone (if not actually everyone) do it to put forward a view.  You only have to see how many use phrases like “Arsenal fans will be worried that…” to see just how much these people want to tell you how to think.

I started Untold first because I felt there were things in football and about Arsenal that were not being said that should be said, and second because I felt some of the things said about Arsenal were untrue, unfair, or so horribly biased as to give a completely false opinion of what it is like to support the club and go to games.

That hasn’t changed.   Take a look at this from today’s Independent newspaper – a paper whose very name, and whose proclamations state that it stands aside from established positions and tells it like it is.

——————

Not all Arsenal fans want Arsene Wenger out

After disgraceful scenes after the recent defeat to Stoke in which a group of Arsenal fans abused Arsene Wenger as the Gunners travelled back to London, there was a real show show of support this weekend with many singing the Frenchman’s name after the final whistle at the Emirates. It comes after two 4-1 victories, the first against Galatasaray and the second against Newcastle. Amazing what a couple of convincing wins can do.

——————–

Now read again that last sentence.  “Amazing what a couple of convincing wins can do.”

The implication is clear, Arsenal fans were against Wenger and the team a week ago, now we all love the manager and the team.

And that leaves aside the factual inaccuracy – most of the singing was before the final whistle.

And all that from a paper that claims independent thought.  Indeed it’s football journalists have the same mindset as those of other papers, that football fans are fickle, lacking in loyalty or knowledge, and willing to be led by the nose through a vast array of generalisations and half truths without any evidence being put forwards.

That is a point of view, and I think it is utterly wrong.  I think there are millions of football fans who are intelligent, who can make up their own minds, and who have a clear idea of what is really going on.  All I do is dig up a few stories that these people may have missed, in case they want to read them here, set forth a few opinions just in case the readership finds them interesting, and offer others the chance to write articles or make comments.

From all that I, and my fellow writers, try and draw together patterns, and ultimately set up theories to explain what is going on.

So the issue of being balanced (mentioned recently) doesn’t come into it.  I am interested in covering the stories other people don’t (the clue is in the name of the blog) and putting forwards what I think are interesting issues which help us explain why x y and z are happening.

Why is PGMO so secret? Why didn’t Arsenal sign another central defender?  Why are England so bad in international matches?   How can we explain what has happened at Portsmouth, Leeds, Rangers?  Why do Tottenham keep appointing and sacking managers?  Why has Arsenal stayed in the top four since moving to the new stadium, but not won the league?  Why do newspapers and TV have the clear agenda that they have?

On that last point, I can’t see how we could reasonably have expected any more during the years of building the stadium and finding ourselves (unexpectedly, because there was no forewarning) up against clubs with virtually unlimited wealth and who were determined to get to the top within a season or two.  OK, others see it differently, and there are thousands of blogs out there that support the position that we could have done better, but I just can’t see how, unless we had had a crystal ball.

And even if we had known what Chelsea and Man C would do, what else could we have done, given that Islington Council would not allow the redevelopment of Highbury into a much larger stadium?

So, we look at issues, try to make sense of them, come up with Untold stories, and sometimes expound explanations.

We started off with rotational fouling and rotational time wasting, and went on in this way, always looking at issues that others ignored, or at least didn’t think through in terms of all the implications there were.  The issues included

  • Finding why England does so poorly at internationals
  • The secrecy of PGMO and asking why it has to be so
  • FFP and the way it is affecting clubs – a topic that regularly bring abuse and accusations of a lack of knowledge from supporters of other clubs, but we are not doing too badly in our predictions so far
  • Whether referees are biased, through an analysis of their games over time
  • Why we get so many false rumours in relation to transfers – which led to a comparison of football with the software industry, and the theory of Vapour Transfers
  • How TV is bending the reality of football
  • The corruption and/or incompetence within the FA, including the way the FA wasted the money it was given for grassroots football by Sport England – a topic on which the national press merely reprinted the FA’s press release as fact, when it was anything but.
  • How some club purchases and transfers have simply been money laundering through a new channel
  • The way the media twist and turn stories to create their own agenda – and what that agenda actually is.
  • Arsenal’s injuries month by month compared to other clubs’ injuries

In fact what we are trying to do is to change the agenda, and to stop it being set by the press, TV and radio, and instead ensure that the agenda includes issues that we think are important.  And this is what makes Untold worth publishing, in my opinion.

Of course that doesn’t mean that people simply read our stuff and then say, “oh yes, you are right,” but I think there are signs all over the place that we can nudge the agenda on and influence the way people think about the game.

This is not to say that I want people to think like me.  But I do want people to think, to get away from the simplistic “Enough is enough” t-shirt slogans and consider more deeply what is going on.

I want people to ask why PGMO is such an utterly secretive organisation.  I want to point out that saying that England is poor at international football because we have so many foreigners playing in our country is just a supposition, and that there are facts and statistics which can show us exactly what it is that other countries do and which seemingly leads to success.

I would like everyone who reads all the rumours about transfers to think, “hang on, how come 99.999% of these never happen?”

And that I guess is what marks Untold out from the AAA sites.  Their view is that you can look at the world, see it in simple common sense terms, and draw valid conclusions.   The Untold vision is more that the world is complex and not straightforward.

In the simple vision, if Arsenal want a central defender we look for the best, pay what it takes, and he comes and fits in.  In the real world, he might not want to come, his club might not want to sell, his agent might make demands that are just so bizarre that they can’t be met, his wife might not want to move, there might be a long term worry about his health, there might be concerns about his mental health, he might not want to live in London because of the tax or the climate or the intrusive nature of the media, etc.

To me, people who don’t take all this into account haven’t read their history of Arsenal in which various managers and others do on occasion reveal the torment that goes on within players’ minds.  It’s all out there, and it isn’t all common sense.

So Untold digs and tries to find what goes on.  This really hasn’t got anything to do with the common sense notion of balance, or  the middle ground, any more than such every day concepts as gravity or time can be explained through common sense observation.  Gravity and time are there, but what makes them happen and why, are much harder to understand.  You need analysis, research and theories.

That’s all very inward looking I know.  But don’t worry, we’ll soon be back to the real world, with an article delving further into Monaco, and a review of the ref in relation to the Man U defeat.

But if you have been, thanks for reading.

 

34 comments to Amazing what a couple of convincing wins can do.

  • Pete

    More power to your elbow Tony!

  • proudkev

    Great articel Tony. Well done for supporting the club and its employees and for giving those of thus fed up with the negaitivity in the media, somewhere to feel good. I have no doubt that the AAA are a tiny minority, who the press motivate. The point about the 9 years always made me angry. The media and every fan knew we had to finance not only a stadium but the redevelopment of Highbury. They knew Chelsea were bankrolled by a Russian. They knew the Monsours had bought Man City and were spending silly money. They knew we were selling our best players. They knew all this. Yet we got the ‘9 years’ recycled and repeated. This is the problem. Nobody is interested in telling the truth. Positivity does not sell, negativity does. And like most jouranliasts, a certain demographic of fans are thick. Well doen once again, great blog that re-inforces just how special this great club is.

  • Pete

    Off topic – but see Hayden has returned from injury in last night’s U21 game. Could be important?

  • Stuart

    I think everyone, no matter what their opinion, can see that you guys have your principles and you stick to them. Personally I respect you for that. Ultimately, we’re all fans and it’s a shame we are so divided right now but that’s football; it wouldn’t be the game it is if it didn’t generate such strong opinions.

    We all should understand that the media nowadays is about generating clicks, and that Arsenal have been shown to have one of the largest web reaches so of course we will see a lot of,”Arsenal in crisis” stories because they’ve been proven to sell. It’s really nothing personal, but if upsets people then the only way to fight back is to ignore it.

  • The_Legend

    I started reading your website during pre season. It was a fresh breath of air. I stopped reading all others bar Arsenal.com. Well done and continue the good work.
    The only thing I will see is get out there with your facts and help support our club. Use facebook, twitter and dissipate the information to the massess. You are sitting on a gold dust, please utilise it. I would love to see untold compile ref errors and put it out there, not just on this website. The more people see it, the better.

    Goodluck guys

  • TommieGun

    Tony thank you very much for this post and for the blog. Don’t really wanna know what I would have done without you guys, as the rest of the web’s coverage of our club is between depressing and downright stupid.

    Keep up the good work and don’t take any vacations ! 😀

  • Zedsaunt

    The bait for a click line does work, but the three real issues of the Premiership – the utter lack of transparency of the PGMO, the bankrolling of clubs by the super rich, the distorting of a reality by 24 hours 7 days a week rolling TV – goes beyond the Premiership. An agenda is being set for how society functions and what people can expect from that society.

    This site keeps to its roots and that is its strength.

  • AL

    Another excellent post. I think there are two mainly broad categories readers of untold fall into; those that do deeper analytical thinking and those that just take whatever the media spouts as fact. Naturally, the analytical group reject most of the dross served in the media (and this is the larger group of UA readers) while the less analytical group rejects most of what UA publishes. The analytical group has stacks of evidence to support them, while the second group has, erm, zilch.

    There are very few, if any, articles published on UA that aren’t backed by mostly solid evidence. And that’s where UA rises head and shoulders above the rest. The naysayers are usually dismissed with the contempt they deserve (by the likes of me) because they usually sound like bleating sheep, just bleating about something over and over and over without putting a solid argument forward. Take for example the argument that Wenger is treated badly in the English media, the less analytical group just dismisses this as paranoia. But look at someone like mourinho, he does and gets away with stuff that if Wenger were to do one tenth of that he would be crucified in the media.

    For instance, three chelski players blatantly dived at the weekend, but mourinho had the cheek to say his players don’t dive. Only a few months ago he accused west ham of playing nineteenth century football, and a few days later he turned up at the Emirates and did just that! Yet you never hear those in the media call out such obvious hypocrisy. But if Wenger just as much as complains about a simple issue like how the loan system is open to abuse, all hell breaks loose. He’s called anything and everything. Is it so difficult to thar?!

    Long live UA. It’s such a shame you don’t cover other news such as the economy, politics, world news, etc, or I’d never ever have to read anything else!

  • Thank you Tony for this article – but more importantly for setting up this site. I am a relative newcomer to the online world of Arsenal, and was amazed to begin with how many different sites there were. Finding Untold was a great bonus, as was discovering Positively Arsenal. I tend not to bother with many others, although occasionally visit Le Grove to see what rumours are being generated there, and also ACLF to confirm my view that Alexander Pope’s description of Joseph Addison and people like him is as true today as it ever was.

  • bjtgooner

    Nice article Tony. I don’t think UA has to justify anything, it is committed to supporting the team, manager club – end of.

    There will be a number of people who will not like that, some are obvious AAAAs, some will be subtle in their criticism – but criticism will be their only offering – stuff them!! – they have an agenda somewhat similar to the brain dead AAAAs.

    There is no way UA needs to “broaden” its viewpoint – why should it – there are more than enough self important backstabbing blogs out there – mostly specializing in the half truths and downright untruths.

    It takes courage and determination to plough your own course, UA has done that and the course is the correct one – lets keep the faith and maintain the fight!!

  • Thiery just announced his retirement as well as his next job… yeah (sky sports pundit)

    please please please please please tell me he won’t become one of them.
    He won’t become like Anal smith.. right?

  • jambug

    proudkev

    “I have no doubt that the AAA are a tiny minority, who the press motivate.”

    Alas it often seems it’s only there point of view they are interested in.

    The Sun did a ‘should he stay/should he go’ article on Wenger on Friday.

    Who’s fans view did they canvas?

    Yep, you’ve guessed it ‘Le Grove’.

    Why not Untold?

    I wonder ??????

  • Pete

    I am confident that, like for the infamous Blackburn match in 1997, people will look back on this period as a small blip in an otherwise smooth upward trend. The money is being generated faster, FFP is starting to have some impact, the PGMO is coming under increasingly public criticism and so on.

    Statistically, we always under-achieve after a World Cup (and to a lesser extent after Euros). We have also been killed by injuries this season – even by our standards.

    However, provided we can keep the same squad together – perhaps with replacements for Arteta and/or Rosicky who are starting to age significantly – we are in a very good place for a title challenge next season. I can’t find any betting odds but will be looking out for.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    I just heard that TH14 is going to be joining Sky as a pundit. I must say that I am uncomfortable with this. Not that he is incapable of speaking intelligently but whether he will be persuaded to be as lazy as the others and start spouting anti-Arsenal nonsense.

  • Far East Gooner

    Tony, you sum it all.

    Thank you. COYG.

  • gouresh

    On the subject of titi, what happens if he criticizes AW and Arsenal? What will you all call him?

  • Micheal Ram

    I still think Theiry Henry will succeed Arsene Wenger. As he is taking up the pundit job, he is also actively pursuing the coaching badge. Arsene will extend for another two years, then Henry and Pires will be ready to take over. Fingers crossed!

  • AL

    Gouresh
    We will cross that bridge when we get there. Meanwhile, it’d be nice if you channel your energy to get behind the team and stop focusing on negatives.

  • Mick

    The first comment about Thierry Henry on Talkshite (Hawksby and Jacobs show) ‘We will be talking about TH, is he tarnished by the handball’. Of all the positives to talk about the first thing they bring up and focus attention on is the (probable) only negative. What a bunch of wankers.

  • proudkev

    TH14 loves our club and the Manager. He will not sit there and allow the usual suspects to spout their negative nonsense. Unlike the other pundits, he is a proper legend and not some English dinosaur like the usual suspects. Alan Smith is wetter than the Thames and a well known Wenger critic. Merson is a Chelsea season ticket holder who fell out with AW over incorrect allegations in his book about doping. Jamie Rednapp is ex Spurs/Liverpool and repeates the same garbage, while trying to pose. Carragher is just another in the line of dinosaurs who chip away at Arsenal. Ironcally, the best one is Neville and I never thought I would say that! At least he tries to be fair. So I would much rather have TH14 sitting in the studio reporting on our games and actually wanting us to win, not lose. Welcome to Sky Thierry.

    PS> Mick. Talksport has to be the most anti-Arsenal media outlet. Hawksbee (laidback Spurs fan) and Jacobs (angry, aggressive Chelsea fan)are often on Wengers back but not as bad as that clown fella in the evenings, Durham (Peterborough) and Gough (Spurs). Mind you, Alan Brazil (Spurs) is pretty unkind to us too. Is their a common denominator there?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Thank you , Tony for setting up this site and fighting the good fight for all AKBs the world over . I’ve never had the need to go another site to get ‘more info’ as its all here.
    I also have thank you ,as I’m now so appreciated ( and celebrated !)in so many diverse cultures and countries ! I think millions have read and enjoyed my jokes and stories ! As well as my one and only article article for UA !
    Others get much joy when I poke fun and swat the AAAAA !
    Not as much as I do , but still……
    As for what TH 14 will do to those co-commentators of his – well he will chase and hound them ;pluck them stupid brains out ; tear them from limb to limb ; beat the shit out of them ;cook their goose ; violate them in indescribable ways and piss on them, naturally !
    Cluck , cluck , you say ?
    Watch this and you’ll get the idea !

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u08NGTmxp-E&feature=youtu.be

  • Gooneress No1

    Great post Tony.

    I am very appreciative that you set up this site. The articles are always thought provoking, wonderfully informative, entertaining and they provide much needed balance to the madness

    The comments are also a welcomed breath of fresh air pushing away the putrid stench left by others, most notably the tools in the media.

    One of the many things that I admire about Arsene Wenger is his self belief and determination to do what he believes is right… and it’s not what’s right for him but for the club.

    That’s some kind of backbone to display at any time… but at a time like this… others would have wilted long ago… nay they wouldn’t even have tried.

    The pressure the Agenda has put him under is mind boggling but he hasn’t wilted and thankfully neither has Untold Arsenal.

  • proudkev

    In a day where players kiss the badge only to leave for more money, we have Wenger. A man who remained loyal and bought into a clubs dream, despite personal sacrifice. And that is also the difference between Untold and the AAA.

  • Mandy Dodd

    thanks Tony, as ever, your points articulated so well.
    Agree Proudkev, will be good to have TH in the media stirring things up, I am sure he will be objective, but surely such a man will never be turned. he will make some other pundits look the biased agenda driven buffoons they are

  • François

    I very glad Henry has chosen this path.
    It could be the best thing that can happen to Arsenal since some years!
    Why is that? Well, we all know the bias of the media against Arsenal and we are all frustrated with it. It even get to the brain of some fan, talking them into thinking the Arse is so rubbish (why, everybody say so, no?).

    This will give us a positive media boost. Counter balancing the actual tendency and maybe it will switch things around. The repercussion might be massive!
    What would happen if Thierry ask for a missing replay? Or just state he thinks the ref decision is wrong?

    Maybe it’s a long shot, but with some more positive advertisement, the ref will be more exposed and would be more on the spotlights with biased mistakes.

    Lot’s of maybes, lot’s of conjectures, sorry, but I feel it could just be the think we were missing for some years…

  • Th14thesecond

    Hey thank you Tony it’s purely our pleasure. Really appreciate this blog, it’s so refreshing and is packed full of truth- sometimes way more truth than people are ready for. Keep it up! COYG

  • Hisham Hashim

    Thanks Tony for sticking in and speaking up for us who love Arsenal through and through. Has anybody said that you could be the TH14 of Arsenal bloggers

  • gouresh

    Al. I critize when we make the same errors every single time. Thats all. All our ex-players are branded media stooges without any evidence for pointing out the obvious. Titi will suffer the same fate.

  • Gord

    While it might be nice to think that in any sport where competitions are designed such that there is a winner and a loser, that the best team will win. There is a tendency for this (best team wins) to happen more often in high scoring sports. Football is not a high scoring sport. And even when the officiating is fair, it is common for the (arguably) best team to not win.

    A fan (fanatic) is a person who supports a team. The support should be reasoned, as outlined above, even if the fan is supporting the best team, it is never a foregone conclusion that a win by that team will be the outcome. As you don’t need to pass a test in reasoning in order to buy a ticket to attend a game, we do end up with non-reasoning people in attendence. While I suspect that these people call themselves fans (because they like the word?), should we (the reasoning supporters) call these people fans? More on this below.

    Why should we attend a game “our” team is playing, if we cannot be assured of getting a win? I suspect for some of us, we are there with the expectation that the team will try hard to get the win. This expectation places a measure of performance requirement on the players who take part; if players do not put in a good enough effort (however that is defined), they will be graded lower in the eyes of some.

    Another reason to attend the game, and watch our team play, is because we enjoy watching that particular game, or we like the style of the game played by our team. The English game (or maybe all the football play in the UK?) tends to be more physical than on the continent. Has it always been this way, or did it evolve this way? Do fans like to see players suffering broken bones? Broken noses are common with head butting. Broken cheek bones could result if a defender is trying to pick a ball away that an attacker is trying to overhead kick (diving headers as well). Broken collarbones are known (Beckenbauer), but I think the most commonly broken bones will be of the lower legs and feet, followed by the lower arm and hand (from being stepped on). Do fans go to the game to see this? Trying to play a skilled game, when many teams are trying to create injuries would be difficult.

    While some teams will change style with a change in manager, this is more common with a change in ownership. But what does the fan who liked the old style do? If the change in style came about from a change in manager, just seeing the manager change again may not bring back the old style. Similarly for change in owner. How many fans would switch teams under a change in style?

    It is hard to think that any fan disillusioned with a change in style, would stoop to the behavior of the AAA from row 9. I just can’t see that person being classified as a fan by any reasonably sane person. But does that even matter?

    Personally I think the AAA from row 9 is “furniture”. What else does one call a lump of matter at a game, that doesn’t cheer any action and is visibly not happy?

  • omgarsenal

    Gouresh….unlike you TH14 knows how to handle himself and has extensive commenting experience AND expertise on TV, alongside some other top pundits. As well, unlike you, he respects Wenger, the Arsenal and knows that despite some mistakes, most of the time they perform well above what the media pretend they are capable of. Many of our ex-players are media stooges or so anti-Wenger, or anti-Arsenal that they literally feed and manipulate people like you and fool you into believing that all is a disaster and that Wenger is at fault. Show us your ¨evidence¨pointing out the ¨obvious¨ or sod off and watch cricket instead.

  • Gord

    Re: More Below

    Ars Technica is running a story about how to tell the difference between someone who doesn’t believe in climate change (a denier), and a climate change skeptic.

    http://arstechnica.com/staff/2014/12/skeptics-deniers-and-contrarians-the-climate-science-label-game/

    Here is a paragraph, about another group of deniers:

    > Again, this isn’t limited to climate science. Peter Duesberg, who thinks that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, also seems to enjoy telling biologists that their understanding of cancer genetics is all wrong, too. It’s dangerous to psychoanalyze anyone based on a few public utterances, but the enjoyment of going against the grain and the attention that it brings seems to be a key motivator for at least some of the contrarians.

    Doesn’t that last sentence sound familiar to Untolders?

    The article is only 1 page long, but the comments now stretch to 3 pages. There are probably some useful comments, and a lot that aren’t.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Gord – Like the AAAAA , even in nature , animals do the darnest things !
    http://www.ba-bamail.com/Content.aspx?emailid=13358&memberid=763708

  • omgarsenal

    Slightly off topic but salient but salient to my upcoming article: http://www.upworthy.com/a-famous-nhl-goalie-put-a-bullet-in-his-head-and-he-wants-everyone-to-know-why?c=upw1

    Warning-some rather gory scenes and very moving testimony from an athlete that has literally seen it all.

  • Sleekwhale

    I will always be proud of UA, and as I have discovered, only really intelligent people read untold and understand where they are coming from and where they are going. If u’ve tried having a conversation with a red-head about football relating to the inconsistencies within the game, u’ll find out that most understand not what you say – more like an alien discussing without communication gadgets and can’t speak ur language. TH14 by now should have learnt so much from watching AW to wriggle through tough questions, and I believe that he’ll be a voice we’ve not had in the media for a long time – if it doesn’t work out that way, I’ll be disappointed with him, but he said he’ll have to prove himself over again to become Arsenal manager so, what better way to do that than to speak out defending what he believes in without fear of being kicked out of the Sky. Keep up the good work @UA. I’ve discovered that I can’t read other media outlets without gnashing or getting pissed.