By Tony Attwood
It has, both for those people who play fantasy football and for the journalists who base their regular commentaries around fantasy football, while nicking their news stories without checking from wholly unreliable news stories, been a bit of a topsy turvy season so far.
One minute Arsenal is in total meltdown and Lionel Messi is absolutely most certainly not going to stand trial. And that was all because Arsenal lost a Champions League match and AS, that most unreliable of outlets, published a muddled headline.
Meanwhile Ozil is the guy who nicks a living and shows how bad Wenger is at transfer dealings and the next minute he’s in the official EA Sports team of the week.
Then before you know it, Arsenal is the greatest team in the multiverse and Lionel Messi stands to get a couple of years inside for defrauding the state of vast amounts of revenue.
What sort of world is this?
For the Telegraph, Charlie Eccleshare was given the unenviable task of making the paper’s erratic and often downright misleading reporting make some sort of historic sense.
Of course the Telegraph take no responsibility for telling us that Messi was not on trial and have quietly forgotten that they were hammering Arsenal at the start of the seaso. Now Alexis “has been back to his irrepressible best in the last three games, with six goals and superlative performances bristling with energy and purpose.”
So that’s all right then?
Well, no because he “limped off” in the last match. Do you ever notice that no one ever walks in the world of journalism. And Alexis “limped off”.
And then, showing Arsenal’s naievity in the process he “headed straight off to Chile to link up with his national team for the South Americans’ World Cup qualifiers against Brazil and Peru.” Dumbo Arsenal. This wouldn’t have happened if Alexis had been a Chelsea player. Mourinho would have boarded the flight, screamed “I’ve got a bomb,” been let off with a warning because he is, well, Mourinho, and Alexis would have stayed put. But Arsenal are so slow in such matters.
So now the approach is on whether Arsenal should forget the Champions League, put out the kids and then make sure they don’t get into the Europa either, or should go for the Europa so that at last they get a trophy – which can then be called a non-trophy, a bit like the FA Cup apparently.
In papers like the Telegraph, you get statements like, “After all, winning consecutive FA Cups earned Wenger a stay of execution”. So he’s on trial is he?
But here’s the laugh. The Telegraph reckon the board has told Wenger that he must not pull out of the Europa league because they don’t want to give refunds on the season tickets which entitle us to seven cup games (excluding the league cup where admission is £10 of course – although the Telegraph forgot to mention that).
Of course what the papers love to do is blame Wenger for all sorts of things, get some of the non-attending supporters (aka the aaa) to complain and then blame the supporters for not having faith in their manager and calling them fickle.
So we get
“Supporters have long complained that the manager doesn’t give enough game time to players such as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and overburdens key players like Sanchez by playing them in every game.
“Then when he does make changes, as he did for the matches against Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiakos, he is pilloried for weakening the team.”
So nothing to do with the Daily Telegraph then. Never mind, time for them to get back to attacking Mesut Ozil.
Aston Villa bought Jordan Ayew who isn’t scoring and the media’s favourite (until last week) Tim Sherwood splashed lots on Idrissa Gueye, Jordan Veretout, Adama Traore and Jordan Amavi (the latter costing £10m).
Chelsea bought Pedro for £21.4m and £17.7m on Rahman. Falcao came in on loan, and those loans still cost lots and lots.
Everton don’t splash cash big time because they have eight consecutive years of accumulated debt to try and sort out, but they did buy Ramiro Funes Mori from River Plate for around £10m for reasons that have not become clear.
Man U paid £27,9m for Memphis from PSV. Maybe others see more in him that I do.
But for the real fun we need to look at Newcastle. Florian Thauvin, £13m, Georginio Wijnaldum cost £14.5m and Alksandar Mitrovic cost £13m. Ivan Toney was Northampton’s youngest ever player, but I don’t know what the transfer fee was on moving to Newcastle. He has played once for them.
A little extra note: I’m about to go on holiday. If you have an article you’d like us to publish, please forward it to WalterBroeckx@hotmail.com Thanks. Tony.
- 11 October 1890: First recorded appearance of Jack Humble as an “umpire” (ie ref) v 93rd Highlanders. Newspaper reports suggest that he should in future stick to administering the club, which he did.
- 11 October 1902: Arsenal beat Bristol City 2-1 in front of highest league crowd thus far: 16000. Gooing and Hunt scored.