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Scholes joins the no-evidence “its true cos I say so” gang.

By Tony Attwood

Paul Scholes has now set himself up as a spokesperson for the “Arsenal is in decline” movement claiming that “Over the years, the big players who were really ambitious – Vieira, Thierry Henry, Cesc Fàbregas, Robin van Persie – have all left,

“They left for the simple reason that Arsenal are not in it to win league titles any more. Those players have realised that if they want to win championships then they have to move elsewhere.”

So, let’s think about this.  First off, there is no evidence given; it is just a claim leaving us to have a look around for ourselves to see if there is evidence.  I could say, “Over the years lots of the best journalists and commentators have left the Independent.  They have left because they are sick to death of following a rigorously imposed editorial line of denying that there is anything amiss with referees, or the referees’ organisation, and a similarly strong diktat that one can only write negative things about Arsenal.”

The point about the Scholes statement and mine is that they  have something in common.  Neither of them give us any evidence.  If we dig a bit we can see a lot of sports writers leaving the Indy, and a lot of top players leaving Arsenal.

But both are misleading, because they don’t dig into the question of Why?  Why did the journalists leave?  Why did the players leave?  What evidence supports the case?

Which is interesting, because I don’t think Scholes is a twirp.  I think he knows perfectly well what he is saying and doing, and he knows about the holes in his argument.  He just thinks we won’t notice.  It is a case of treating the reader with contempt.

But when we do look we see interesting things.  First, lots of players have left Arsenal, many to go to Barcelona but not all have been hits.  Vermaelen has gone and not had a game.  Hleb went and got a handful of games before quickly being shipped out again, his career wrecked.

Marc Overmars, Emmanuel Petit, and Giovanni van Bronckhorst all went to Barcelona, true, but all in the days when we most certainly were winning things and were clearly going to win more before the building of the new stadium started.

Marc Overmars became the most expensive player in Dutch football history when he went to Barcelona for £25 million in 2000 – hardly a moment when Arsenal were falling and never winning the league again.

He made 141 appearances for the Qatar funded club and he eventually left without winning a trophy in 2004.

Petit did even worse, and got 38 games.  In his autobiography he points out he was constantly played out of position and the manager had no idea what to do with him.

Thierry Henry could have moved in 2006 and Arsene Wenger has often said that he allowed Henry to choose as a tribute to all the man had done for the club.  He stayed another season but was clearly on the wane and the £19.2m for him from Barcelona looked good business.  He did poorly in his first season for Barceona, but did had a good season thereafter.  Mind you he cost Barce £250,000 a game – which is quite a lot of dosh.

Barcelona ran a remorseless campaign for Fabregas – a campaign of inducing a player to leave that is supposed to be outlawed by Uefa, but they just carried on with their DNA nonsense until he went.  He lasted three years and there was nobody crying when he opted to leave.  Real Mad fans were laughing however.

As for Alex Song, quite why Barca signed him is anyone’s guess.  He lasted two seasons before finding his level with WHU.

And of course it is not just that Vieira played for the Juventus side that were stripped of their title for match fixing and relegated.  It was said everywhere that he wanted to come back to Arsenal, and indeed one source inside Arsenal who certainly knows confirmed that to me – his phrase was “he was here every day begging to come back”.

In the end he moved on to Inter for half the fee Juve paid for him playing about half the games or less each season.

RVP was given a salary and contract length that at the time Untold said was ludicrous, for a player who had had one injury free season.  True he managed a second season injury free, but since then Man U have not exactly had full value for their investment.

My point is that players leave for many reasons – not the fact that Arsenal won’t win things (Overmars, Petit, Gio are the obvious proof).  They leave because the Arsenal manager thinks it is time for them to move on, or because they are suckered into the Barcelona myth, and the chance to play in a two team league.  RVP was clearly after the money, and equally clearly Arsenal couldn’t pay him at the time – and certainly not across a new four year contract.

The truth is that there is an absolute hierarchy of wealth in football, and although Arsenal are near the top they are not at the top.  Real Mad however are under investigation, Barcelona have been banned from, buying, and Chelsea and Man C not only have money beyond belief, they are both seemingly experimenting with ways around FFP, Chelsea with a mass loan and high price sales system and Man City with their Ethiad in every continent approach.

Still, Scholes he is working for the Independent, and at the foot of his notorious article there was an advert for another article with the headline “Arsene Wenger’s latest transfer decision will terrify the fans”.

It’s always good to be told what to think.

The books

33 comments to Scholes joins the no-evidence “its true cos I say so” gang.

  • JohnW

    I also wonder why a man who spent all those years at one club and has inside knowledge about it does not choose to write about it more often than he writes about Arsenal! I don’t think ManU is all rosy, and we would also like to know what is going on betweem LVG and Giggs,Why the team plays without a distinct philosopy, what Ferguson is up to right now, etc, and good old Paul is in a position to know. What if he has seen that Arsenal is beginning to be the force it once was, and it is making him uneasy?

  • TailGunner

    Scholes would say that wouldn’t he!
    Of all that so called “golden generation” of United players he was always the most unpleasant on & off the pitch. Why should he be any different now that he’s become a regular rent a mouth.
    What he didn’t say was that at least two of those players he mentions were in decline at the time of their transfers out which was very good business for the club.

  • nicky

    As much as Scholes couldn’t string two words together, during his tackling days, following retirement he now suffers from verbal diarrhoea.
    I much preferred the years he spent earning the standard yellow card in most games in which he played. In my home we used to have a sweep on how long on the field before he was carded.

  • Laughing Lizard

    RVP was clearly after the money, you say. You appreciate evidence for everything so where’s the evidence for this? Did RVP say that or is that what you conclude? I think I read somewhere that RVP was disillusioned with Arsenal’s lack of ambition though of course that maybe untrue as my memory may be faulty. Anyway he went and won a title at Manu and I reckon that’s not bad value as far as Manu fans are concerned as he was a key component for that side.

    The rest of the article makes some valid points, certainly some of our better players that left where not the same after they left us. We got the best years out of Henry and Vieira. I think one of our biggest losses was Petit’s exit.

  • Jayramfootball

    Scholes is a horrible little man and was a vastly overrated and nasty footballer. He won a lot of trophies because, let’s face it, Manchester Utd had refs and officials cheating for them.
    As a player for England Scholes was dog shit. Not at the top level of footballers like our media try to portray.
    Just a shame we have to put up with the little twerp on TV.

  • Dhanesh Prabhu

    Scholes is another example of not every intelligent footballer is going to be an intelligent pundit. The fact is, he just wants to have a dig at Arsenal just before the game against the club he played for. Little bit cheap, considering the fact that he should have dug his own club and their underachieving players like Di Maria, Falcao and Judas RVP.

  • Micheal Ram

    Every great player had talent, but hardwork made them great. Scholes in my opinion had it easy because he was Alex F-Word favorite, he’s English so he can kill an opponent on the pitch and still walk away, he’s the best technical player at Man Utd at the time where everyone was just shit with the ball and never need to worry about defending because Man Utd always had bone-crushers in defense. I can think of more than 50 midfield players better than him across Europe at the time he was playing for Man Utd. He had one praise from AW and the French players then media went ass-kissing frenzy. He actually own Arsenal FC for the fame he got. And he repaid them with studs up and now he’s doing it again differently. Classic c**t!

  • Josif

    First of all, I’d beg to differ regarding Scholes’ quality. He was a top-drawer midfielder and it’s no wonder he had been praised by Zinedine Zidane himself. There is no point in denying his quality just because…

    Well, just because he was an Alex Ferguson’s typical thug (remember that tackle on Reyes?) and become one-brain-cell-pundit afterwards. I mean, he could have mentioned Bacary Sagna as well – Sagna had left Arsenal last summer to join City even if he knew that Pablo Zabaleta is one of the best right full-backs in the world. What Sagna got after signing for Manchester City is a safe place on the bench, no trophies (Arsenal have won this season), a very remote possibility to win either the league or the Champions’ League and W0D1L2 against Arsenal with a goal-difference 2:7.

    Scholes doesn’t say why Vieira had been sold at the first place. Arsene Wenger explained it years ago – all combination worked in the center of our midfield had worked apart from the obvious one Vieira-Fabregas. And, Wenger decided to rely on a 18-year-old super-intelligent midfielder with non-precedent pass completion rate and vision for his age instead of a 29-year-old with a huge salary, a huge injury record and disciplinary problems (remember Vieira’s statements before our double in 2001-02?). Given the project Emirates Stadium, it was a logical decision back then. Vieira himself had had an unsuccessful spell in Serie A before Arsenal and saw Juventus’ bid as an opportunity to settle the score with the Italian league. Fabio Capello had been in charge of Juventus back then, Buffon, Thuram, Cannavaro, Ibrahimović, Trezeguet, Nedved, Del Piero…were there. It was a perfect team. At least on paper, that is. Personally, I was more thrilled with the signing of Aliaksandr Hleb, the ambidextrous genius from Stuttgart, than I was nervous about Vieira’s departure. In fact, I’ve always felt more disappointed with the fact Vieira had returned to England to join Manchester Oilers instead of Arsenal as I will believe – as long as I’m alive – that we would have ran away with a double in 2010-11 had we had his presence on the pitch.

    Henry – the best Arsenal player of all times had had a very poor (for his standards) 2006-07, constantly disrupted with injuries and it was obvious he had been in a decline. He had had a massive wage and the club had to sell him for everyone’s well-being. And, we had Van Persie, Adebayor and Walcott waiting for their chance to shine.

    Fabregas was a different story to both of them. He had been nurtured by Arsenal, raised to the level of a superstar, to the level that Barcelona wanted him so badly. He had been given the armband and a licence to lead the team. He “thanked” to the club by leaving Arsenal for Barcelona in the most difficult period after the move from Highbury to Emirates. If he had had any spine, he would have never joined Mourinho in Chelsea – if not for Arsenal and their fans, then because of those clashes in El Classicos.

    Van Persie… Well, like most of the players Arsene Wenger had accepted when their off-the-pitch behaviour and injuries had threatened to overpower their talent (see Nasri, Adebayor, even Bendtner), he had a huge hunger for money. Yes, there was also a desire to win the league and to do it with FAnchester United and Alex Ferguson, but instead of becoming a legend for two big English clubs that had worked with two greatest managers of Premier League-era (and beyond that), Van Persie won’t be remembered fondly in either of two clubs. United have been Wayne Rooney’s club for a decade and it will remain that way until he finishes his career.

  • Gooner S

    @Tony

    To be fair to Scholes they are his opinions. It’s what he is now paid for. I don’t think he is representing them as fact. The trouble is some other football fans and in particular some Arsenal fans take them as facts and then repeat them as facts back to those (including me) who don’t agree with those opinions.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Would be Interesting to hear Scholes thoughts on the current plight of Bac Sagna. Hi didn’t mention Danny Welbeck either as far as I know, or rooneys multiple attempts to leave Utd ……which may have been attempts to extort money out of them, but how are we to know what is in rooneys head?
    So the press wheel out the manc mafia before a Utd game. And no doubt monotowen (can’t claim credit for that one saw it on another forum) will be wheeled out if we do not get a good result.

    On another note, has anyone seen the lead article on Arseblog today…..The life of Riley?…..could almost be something out of untold although they do not go as far as some on here might on institutional….and other forms of bias.Mr Taylor gets a prominent mention in this article.

  • porter

    You sound surprised ” seemingly experimenting “with ways to get round FFP. A blind donkey and his dog knew that they would and also knew that their accountants being pro-active would always be one step ahead of a re-active football association.We live in a capitalist society , greed and commercialism go hand in glove which is why wringing your hands and bewailing the financial situation as so many do , is not the answer .Other means be it it fair as we do to others or foul as others do to us have to be found to bridge the gap between the haves and the have nots.

  • jayramfootball

    Michael Ram

    Scholes did have a lot of technical ability, but more than Ozil who is also attacking? Nope not even close. Scholes was average on every measure you can apply to football. How goal scoring record was about 1 in 5 which is the same as Mesut Ozils for Arsenal Read that last sentence again and then take it in the context of Scholes recent attacks on Ozil.

    In terms of assists Scholes created a goal every 4 games compared to Ozils 1 in 2.

    I could go on but in every stat you will find Ozil beats Scholes and look deeper and you will find that Ozil has ACTUALLY IMPROVED ON HIS REAL MADRID OUTPUT since joining Arsenal.
    People go on about how Ozil can’t tackle – but Scholes was the worst midfielder I have ever seen for tackling and yet that was treated like a joke by the media as opposed to him ‘not caring’ or being a let down.

    Scholes built his name not on reality, but on a media dream world – in which they even went as far as soliciting (and changing) quotes from the players like Zidane. The Utd love in at the time he played extended right through the media as well as the FA and set of referees at the time.

    Scholes is basically spouting shit at the direction of his new masters – whether its about Arsenal players leaving and the reasons why or his disgusting attacks on Ozil.

  • Josif

    @Mandy – it’s not just Rooney. I used to joke that if I ever have an agent, it would be Nemanja Vidić’s wife. Whenever Vidić had wanted a bigger pay-check at Manure, a story about the desire of Mrs Vidić to move to warmer place than Manchester would “suddenly” pop out in the media. 😀

  • Mandy Dodd

    Good point Josif on Vidic. Have also just read that Scholes believes jonny Evans didn’t spit the other day, despite clear TV evidence. This alone shows his bias and in my opinion at least makes anything further he opines null and void.
    Would be interesting to hear what Giggs really thinks at the moment thought.

  • para

    Scholes only purpose is to try to unsettle Arsenal by his comments that’s all.
    The timing of the utterances speaks volumes to me.
    He must not have much confidence in Manu to need to resort to those tricks.

    They won’t bother us again after Monday.

  • insideright

    Scholes seems to have joined that small coterie of ex-Manure players (the Neville brothers included) who have interspersed some quite good commentary on the game with outlandish outbursts paticularly relating to the violence that they meted out to Arsenal sides of the past (because they couldn’t cope with a higher skill level) or with the violence that they would have meted out if faced with the Arsenal of today.
    The fact that they laud this style of football is further underlined by the Scholes comments relating to Ozil ‘taking the easy option and joining a team without leaders’. The Scholes list of past Arsenal ‘leaders’ only seems to include those whose ‘physicality’ gained the respect of the Manure teams in which Scholes played.
    I know I’ll get hounded for saying it but the Tony Adams style of ‘leadership’ (praised by Scholes) included taking young players out once a week to get so drunk that they could hardly stand. The likes of Parlour and Merson didn’t do badly for us – but might they have been even better players and enjoyed longer careers with us if perhaps the ‘leadership’ of the time had adopted a different team bonding strategy?
    Pundits are paid to talk and, increasingly, to create clickbait but they have to be encouraged to think more about what they say and examination of the facts that support their argument (or not) is a good place to start.

  • john

    I always thought Scholes was over-rated as a player. No doubt he was a media favourite, but the level of adulation for his supposed technical ability was undeserved.

    I was also disgusted by the jocular way in which the media referred to his inability to tackle, whilst failing to identify it as simply as the thuggish behaviour it was. However many yellow cards he got, it was nowhere near enough.

  • rafuuru

    i basically read the first 3 paragraphs of the article and pretty much decided that scholes (or anyone similar to his position and “expertise”) should NOT be allowed more attention than the first 2 paragraphs.

    scholes is a big name, thats all he has got going for him. we are the arsenal faithful and that is all that should matter, and not what the colour of our neighbours dirty underwear is.

    really, does anyone think such media-whoring (scholes) needs any more attention? especially from us? let him keep blabbing, let us football!

  • Josif

    “I was also disgusted by the jocular way in which the media referred to his inability to tackle, whilst failing to identify it as simply as the thuggish behaviour it was.”

    @john, don’t forget that Scholes is an Englishman so his tackles could always be threated as something romantic. I can’t help myself thinking that white English/British players can get away with stuff that many other players either non-white or non-English/British can’t (just compare Terry and Suarez). I mean, if a non-British player had done what Charlie Adam did to Alexis, he would have been crucified by now.

    Racism is like any other virus – it mutates and returns. It’s now down to people who make vaccines against it.

  • Man U are presently below us on the EPL log, they will most definitely be by season’s end, and Scholes and his ex-Manures know it. They are just trying to distabilise us. They are scared shitless of Monday. Even their manager is giving an excuse in case we blow them to kingdom come, that the top four is more important to them than the FA cup. If he actually said this, I cannot say. But I know that if he did, then ….

    Paul Scholes is not very sharp as a pundit and he is only using the media-created false image of Arsenal to distabilize us and deflect attention from the deep sh*t Man U finds themselves in. We are fine and are guaranteed top four. They are not and are not guaranteed anything. We are going upwards , they arenot. Imagine that they are now fighting for the same top four that they were deriding us with. They will not get it, and Scholes should continue counting the number of years they have not won anything, without being in the top four.

    Van Pur$ie was the difference between us and the title-winning Man U. If he had stayed one more year with us, with a full commitment that is. But he sold out literally, and as we can all see, lost out. He most likely has won his last title in England. Imagine an Arsenal team with Fabregas, Song, and Van Pur$ie for a further year. They allowed themselves to be used against Wenger who made them in the first place, to destroy our team. Rather than go into decline, Arsenal has been on the ascendancy since then. Shame on our detractors.

  • samrat

    the guardian seems to have taken a leaf out of your book with this “Is spitting at an opponent worse
    than a leg-breaking tackle?”
    http://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2015/mar/05/spitting-worse-leg-breaking-tackle-papiss-cisse

  • Zedsaunt

    Selling Van Persie to ManU for £24 million was great business. It gave Fergie his title. It didn’t do anything to rebuild what he was in charge of.

    A £24 million vanity project that fed the egoes of the manager, the fans, the likes of Scholes, the media, and lasted no longer than a few months, and then the next season started and David Moyes had to sort out the mess, the same mess which had been there the previous year, and the year before.

    Expecting Scholes to write about this is a waste of expectation. He played football for twenty years and never learnt to tackle. Ho ho, what fun!

    Sky TV should open a new channel, this to feature two videos – the first is called, ”Why England have not won anything since 1966,’ and shows twenty years of Paul Scholes tackling, with frequent breaks for assorted pundits to declare, ”he is the best midfielder in England.” The second is ”Brazil 1 Germany 7” again with frequent breaks for pundits to declare, ”that lean languid one is called Ozil and plays for Arsenal. He’s got no ambition.”

    How do you rebuild a team with a season permanently underway? How do you recoup 5 billion spent on acquiring TV transmission rights?

  • Many thanks Samrat, for the link. Makes for interesting reading. Very valid points and hard to argue against. If only all media houses can take this same standpoint. The lengthy bans to Evans and his comrade-at-arms Cisse, are hypocritical, misplaced and not in good faith when viewed against the background of how many career-threatening (or rather career-ending) tackles get overlooked by refs. Many professionals have had to call time on very promising careers prematurely.

    It is such a shame and a great travesty of justice that some ex-professionals advocate such styles and shamelessly promote it as a standard. They forget that younger generations are watching, and will most likely buy into this despicable example. Suppose they themselves were at the receiving end of such tackles? Would they have gone on to have such ‘illustrious’ careers? Someone like Scholes,for example? He should for example thing deeply on the number of people whose dreams he had helped to kill, by either perpetrating or promoting reckless and downright dangerous tackles.

  • If the English media houses can just find it in themselves to be less hypocritical about dangerous tackles (and the refs inaction that promotes it) and actually see to it that they campaign against it, I would forgive them all their ‘sins’ and am sure many more would most likely consider to do the same too.

  • Laughing Lizard

    @Stan The Man, I doubt Manu are scared shitless about Monday seeing as they beat us at home and our record at OT in recent years is abysmal. As much as I hope we’ll finish above them in the league I don’t think they assume we’re going to and I’m not sure we’re guaranteed top four yet. What deep shit are Manu in? They have a hefty bank balance and a squad that should finish at least fourth. Some shit!

  • Gord

    Not a Scholes article, but it dates to a Scholes time. What one might hope for tomorrow of Coquelin, from a Pires point of view. Nice article.

    http://www.dailystar.co.uk/sport/football/429543/Arsenal-Robert-Pires-Francis-Coquelin-FA-Cup

    Oh, if someone starts talking about the atmosphere at Old Trafford; it is about 20% oxygen, just like everywhere else on the surface of Earth.

  • Clockendrider

    Scholes is the man who at the age of 30 retired from the England team due to a terrible eye condition….,,,
    Which somehow didn’t preclude him fro playing for ManUre for a further 7 years.
    Clearly not a word he says or writes is to be believed.

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    “Those players have realised that if they want to win championships then they have to move elsewhere.”
    …or for cash.
    Whats the betting on us getting kicked off the pitch at Old Toilet tonight?2-1? All winnings go to Mike’Manure’Riley?
    And remember,its better to be the Arse than some form of faeces…
    COYG! FOYS!

  • Brickfis Gunners

    A lady walks into a bar and sees a really cute guy sitting at the counter. She goes over and asks him what he is drinking.

    “Magic Beer”, he says.

    She thinks he’s a little crazy, so she walks around the bar, but after that there is no one else worth talking to,goes back to the man sitting at the bar and says,”That isn’t really Magic Beer, is it?”

    “Yes, I’ll show you.” He takes a drink of the beer, jumps out the window,flies around the building 3 times and comes back in the window.

    The lady can’t believe it: “I bet you can’t do that again.”

    He takes another drink of beer, jumps out the window, flies around the building three times, and comes back in the window.

    She is so amazed that she says she wants a Magic Beer, so the guy says to the bartender, “Give her one of what I’m having.”

    She gets her drink, takes a gulp of the beer, jumps out the window, plummets 30 stories, breaks every bone in her body, and dies.

    The bartender looks up at the guy and says, “You know, Superman, you’re a real asshole when you’re drunk!”

  • finsbury

    The contrast in protection for England’s No.10 (he is indeed blight t’s best tennish player – no idea why uncle Roy has played greener and lesser players in the role…) week after week and that well documented and recorded allowance afforded to Paul Scholes by the PGMO representitives, it is quite a contrast.

    I suppose it all evens out in the end. Davis, points deductions, Keown, Riley, Eduardo & the “some muvvers don’t like it up ’em Oooo er missus Carry On now” break a leg era whenever they challenged (including bruised bones too of course!) etc.

  • proudkev

    Evening all………

    I want to beat those Mancs so badly it hurts. They have had every possible advantage going for them over the years and how many times have we seen them play with 12 men? Far too many, as Newcastle found out Saturday with Anthony Taylor. Shocking.

    Paul Scholes is as odious off field as on it, just like the rest of the North West dominated pundits he likes to stick the boot in The Arsenal. (Why so many ex Man Utd and Liverpool players doing punditry? – as bad as the NW heavy PGMOL).

    Seriously, we are a club that should be respected for everything that is good in the game. We are the only club that has given another team a replay, due to an act of gamesmanship. What other club has offered a replay where one of their players has demonstrated a degree of ‘gamesmanship’/’cheating’?

    We didn’t even get sympathy when Mike Riley proved beyond any doubt that bias officiating exists in the Premier League. If Arsenal had benefited from a referee blatantly cheating, I guarantee he would not be promoted to head of the PGMOL. He would be stacking shelves in Carlisle or some other godforsaken outpost.

    Look, if these imbeciles and buffoons who follow football cannot understand that from 2005 onwards we had both legs tied behind our backs, there is no point trying to debate with them. They are idiots.

    Remember, arguing with an idiot is pointless – they just drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    PS: Didn’t Ronaldo leave Man Utd for Real Madrid? Can’t recall Man Utd having financial restrictions, so much for the biggest club in Europe boast.

    PPS: By the way, RVP quadrupled his salary by leaving us. We offered this ageing, injury prone player a two year deal. Man Utd doubled our offer AND gave him a four year contract. Dig the calculators out and if you are still struggling, you are as stupid as RVP and that little boy he has inside him. And the North West dominated pundits we are force fed almost daily.

  • Andy Mack

    He always ‘bad mouths’ the next team due to play his beloved united. It’s not important if he believes it or not, just that there’s a vague possibility it may effect the opposition. On the rare occasions he writes/talks about a team that they aren’t playing, he’s much less of a twat. He’ll even make mildly negative comments against united but won’t accept that they had the support of the pgmo or that any of his colleagues were cheats.

  • Jayramfootball

    Wonder what Scholes has to say, or the Nevilles… Very quiet in the media since the game… Hmmm
    Is Ozil still lazy and rubbish?