If you are a regular reader of Untold you’ll know that over the weekend there was nothing published after the ref preview. Things went wrong, and it being the weekend I didn’t have the technical resources to sort matters out.
Obviously we try hard not to have this happen, but if you value Untold you might like to do this. If you can remember this link https://www.facebook.com/UntoldArsenalToday you can simply go to it and see what we would have posted here, on there, whether you are a member of Facebook or not.
But if you are not a member of Facebook, you can join up. You don’t have to join in all the Facebook thing, you can create any identity you want, and not put anything on line. But if you then go to https://www.facebook.com/UntoldArsenalToday and click the like button, the Untold stream will click on as and when anyone tries to take us down.
So you will still get your Untold.
Just remember, on Facebook, we’re UntoldArsenalToday. I’m not going to move across to the Woolwich Arsenal site in future when things go wrong, as this time that only made matters worse. So, Untold goes down, we go to UntoldArsenalToday on Facebook.
Meanwhile, here is a short article I put up this morning on the Facebook page. It’s nice to be back.
There is an article this morning in the Guardian from Amy Lawrence, credited on the website as being at the Emirates Stadium Sunday 14 February 2016 18.08 GMT.
Amy Lawrence is of course a very highly respected journalist, and I am certain that she undoubtedly was there. (I sometimes have my doubts about some journalists from other papers, but not the Guardian) Yet she chose to write a piece which omitted what was, for most of the spectators there, the major issue: the referee.
Now of course I didn’t interview 30,000+ people to ascertain that this was indeed the view of the majority, but I sit amidst a regular array of supporters (not with a bunch of Untold Arsenal writers), and most of them don’t know of my association with Untold.
And I listened to my regular neighbours in the ground, to the crowd at large, and the booing and jeering of the referee from the moment he started to give what looked like a load of ludicrous decisions – including of course the penalty and the early yellow cards to Arsenal.
And I know that we have had multiple issues before with this man. Indeed if you read our preview of the referee written, as previews generally are, long before the match, you’ll know we suggested there may be trouble ahead.
But what particularly interests me is that here we have a piece in an esteemed newspaper by an esteemed journalist that totally and utterly omits any mention of what seemed to most of the people there, to be the main issue.
That is not to say that I am suggesting Ms Lawrence should actually be agreeing with us, of course not. I am saying that if one does a report on a game, or a commentary after a game, writing it in a way that is utterly divorced from the expression of opinion of many (maybe not most, although it seemed that way to me) of the people there, is dangerous.
It divorces the commentary totally from the reality that the rest of us perceived. And once that happens it divorces the newspaper from its readership and potential readership in a way that doesn’t happen if one mentions the events, but then disagrees.
So why do it? Of course it is possible that Ms Lawrence was in a sound proof box and didn’t hear the crowd. And didn’t see what the rest of us saw in terms of the ref. Or maybe she has the view that “the Arsenal fans always blame the ref” – although I don’t think I have heard such an outpouring of disgust at the officials for a very long time. (And the ability of some Arsenal fans to blame their own team is legendary in football).
Or is there some sort of unwritten rule in football commentary that one doesn’t mention the ref? I suspect so.
We know that Alan Greene on Radio 5 used to be very critical of referees but then suddenly stopped. It seemed very odd at the time. We know that the TV companies, with their huge financial investment in buying TV matches, won’t ever mention the ref except to say that our referee in the studio says that the ref at the match “got it spot on, on that occasion”) – just like they hilariously don’t show any crowd trouble during a match even when some drunk turnip has wandered onto the pitch, as at the Arsenal Coventry game. (If you get to see a full video of that match do watch – there is a long period where you are looking at the grass and nothing is happening).
But to extend this to the papers… that seems odd.
But to make my point clear – I am not saying Ms Lawrence should have agreed that the ref had been bought by Leicester in a version of Type I match fixing we have rarely seen before, but rather that to ignore what was to many people the key issue in the game, when writing a report, seems odd.
It is a bit like doing a piece about life in Carlisle without mentioning the floods. Or writing a piece about November 13 this year and not mentioning that it is Remembrance Sunday. Or writing about gravitational waves and not mentioning the overwhelming intellect of Einstein.
One is bound to ask, what sort of reality is being painted here?
Interestingly Barney Ronay in the Guardian did touch on the refereeing issue saying in an earlier comment, “a game that was sadly dominated by some debatable refereeing calls from Martin Atkinson.”
OK, not as strong as we would say, but strong for the press. Later he adds, “Riyad Mahrez dived in search of a penalty but was not booked. Not the greatest day for a referee who was barracked relentlessly by the home fans.”
My point is not that each journalist can mention everything, but the issue of the ref so dominated the game from the perspective of the home fans, that not to mention it is just… odd.
PS, don’t forget, https://www.facebook.com/UntoldArsenalToday. I may have said that already.
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