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October 2016
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Creating the football myth, and how American troops are being used against Texas

By Tony Attwood

There has been, on the internet, You Tube footage of armed US soliders marching down streets in American cities.  It is presented as evidence that President Obama and his cohort are indeed doing what many have said, and let’s face it, what many actually believe: the administration is about to wage war on the American people.

Among the many explanations for the mass troop movements with weapons at the ready is one that says, “They are trying to incite violence so that they can enact martial law”.   Actually that isn’t an exact quote, as the English in the report isn’t very good, but that’s the idea.

Quite why the American government is looking to wage war on its own populace is not clear.   The confiscation of firearms, which is one of the President’s main aims and on which he has made virtually no progress – although the mass shoot outs at schools etc continues on a regular basis, is one reason given.

The code name for all this activity is Jade Helm 15, and it is a routine military exercise, the sort of thing that all countries (except Costa Rica which doesn’t have an army) do on a regular basis.  The story about the civil war between the government of the US and its people spread across the internet like wildfire and as a result the Governor of Texas, Greg Abbot, ordered the state guard to monitor the military’s activities, presumably so that they could be prepared for an invasion of Texan soil… by Washington.

Now I open with this because it is a perfect example of something I have been trying to put across for a little while.   It is something that has been covered in the well-respected weekly UK magazine, “New Scientist”, and was mentioned recently by the American Institute for Behaviour Research and Technology in California.  “Technologies are rapidly evolving that can impact people’s behaviours, opinions, attitudes, beliefs on a massive scale – without their awareness.”

I won’t take up your time by repeating all that is in the fascinating article “World Wide Warp” – it is in the 20 February issue if you want to take a read – but I do want to relate this to our prime topic – football.

A few days ago I was critical of Amy Lawrence in the Guardian for totally failing to mention the referee Martin Atkinson’s involvement in the Leicester match.  My point was not so much that she was wrong, but rather that there is a danger in reporting something in a way that is totally contrary to the visions of so many of the people who were at the match.   She might not have agreed that it was right or necessary to boo Atkinson to such a degree, but to ignore what was for so many people the utterly dominant input into the game was dangerous.

Not as dangerous as spreading a rumour that says that the President of the US is about to send soldiers in to attack his own people, of course, but still dangerous, because social media has meant that many people are more influenced by the reflected reality that it portrays, than of the truth.

I remember being particularly reminded of this during the days of the black scarf movement at Arsenal when a number of press, radio and internet reports were to be found of mass protests against Arsene Wenger.  I attended one, not, obviously, supporting the movement, but to watch from a distance.  It was written up in the press as a major event, although no one spoke of the total number there.   I reckoned it was about fifty.

Out of interest, I stayed watching the “protest” on the little roundabout just beyond the west stand near the media entrance, right up to kick off time.  A small number left at about 2.55pm to run to their seats, the rest drifted away – they were not going to the match.   Maybe these were the people who we were endlessly told of, who had torn up their tickets.  Or maybe they were just fed up with not having a ticket.

Anyway, Ms Lawrence was at the game yesterday, and this time she DID write about the referee, although crowd noise about his activity was far less.  She said, “Arsenal had a couple of penalty claims, early on when Mohamed Elneny’s shot was blocked by Alex Bruce’s arm and later when David Meyler tripped Calum Chambers. But Mike Dean was in a – well – Mike Deany sort of mood, so gave whatever he fancied, which in this case was no penalties.”

Now that is interesting, because our headline for the referee preview on Friday was…

Arsenal v Hull The Match Officials. “His knowledge of the rules is excellent as is his imagination in applying them”

Maybe Ms Lawrence read us and liked the idea (which would be nice – I certainly make no complaint about that) or maybe she reached the same conclusion, or maybe upon reflection she did think that the previous week’s report was a bit out of context vis a vis reality.  I just find it interesting to speculate on such things on a sunday morning before toddling off to see the grandchildren.

There is beyond any doubt a media reality in relation to referees and their level of accuracy – which is that this is not news.  So for many people it is not news, because they never get to hear about it.

There is another reality stoked up by the bloggettas and their fellow travellers in the media that suggests that Mr Wenger is a total moron and the average person watching the TV report of a match (itself a manipulated affair) could do a better job – just as all the pundits could – by just applying common sense.

There is a further reality portrayed by Untold, which draws on statistics and analyses, which shows that many media stories (such as the one saying Arsenal get more injuries than anyone else, and they are all Wenger’s fault, or the one the that “it all evens out in the end” is rubbish, or the one that says that most transfers make a difference, or the …. oh well, if you are a regular reader you know what I mean) are simply unrelated to the world of facts and analyses and make no sense.

Football is not the only part of life that is being misreported by the traditional, mainstream and social media, and the false realities created by these reports are trivial when compared with the stories put out by the maniacs working for Islamic State, but they are still important.

Football is very often not what you are told in the media (of all kinds).  It is very often something very, very different.

Recent Posts

The Untold Books

The latest Untold book is Arsenal: The Long Sleep 1953-1970 with a Foreword by Bob Wilson, available both as a paperback and as a Kindle book from Amazon.   Details of this and our previous and forthcoming titles can be found at Arsenal Books on this site.

And the anniversaries

  • 21 February 2009: Arshavin’s debut coming on as a substitute to replace Carlos Vela on the hour.  The result was Arsenal 0 Sunderland 0, one of five consecutive draws for Arsenal in the league.
  • 21 February 2015: Crystal Palace 1 Arsenal 2.  Having been 8th in the league after 12 games, Arsenal climbed to 3rd after 26 games.  Cazorla and Giroud got the goals.  It was the second of eight consecutive league wins for Arsenal.

23 comments to Creating the football myth, and how American troops are being used against Texas

  • ClockEndRider

    It is about time La Lawrence is called out. She makes great noise about her being an Arsenal supporter and Islington bred, then serially tows the standard media line rather than printing what actually happens. I think she is symbolic of the new kind of journalist, without any desire to produce insightful or challenging pieces. Her sentences tend to be long, involved and ultimately devoid of destination. She is not without talent but chooses simply to follow the herd rather than report the truth. I don’t blame her necessarily as she has her own financial well being to think of. I just think she should simply cut out the stuff about her being an Arsenal fan as she manages to sublimate her alleged fandom to such an extent in her articles and interviews that you wouldn’t know her from a common or garden Martin Samuel. You can’t have it both ways Amy.

  • serge

    If you asked her I’m sure Amy would love to contribute an article to Untold. She’s done it for 7am & is regularly on Arseblog, so you wouldn’t then need to question the motives of a really good pro Arsenal journalist.

  • blacksheep63

    because i was work yesterday this was one of the very few matches I’ve missed attending but I followed it on twitter and the last 20 minutes on BBC radio. According to those I follow on social media we should have had tow penalties and Kos should have seen red, Dean was up to his old tricks and their keeper was amazing.

    According to the BBC (well ex-Chelsea Pat Nevin) Wenger was to blame for not playing his best side while Bruce was to be admired for making 10 changes and still holding out the mighty Arsenal. Plucky Hull ‘got a result’ that their fans will be happy with despite the fixture congestion and it was oh so funny that the Arsenal manager spoke out in favour of replays and then got exactly that.

    I wasn’t there and it sounds like we were a bit unlucky, a bit hard done by and a tad profligate (nothing new there).
    Journalists have stories to write and Amy (for all her Arsenal credentials) is no different. I’d love her to write a piece for Untold (hint hint Amy/Tony) about the business of football journalism and some behind the scenes stuff. That I would read – as many of you know I gave up reading the rubbish printed by Fleet Street’s finest long ago and would (again) urge you all to do the same.
    Ignore them, they are are (mostly) pond life (Amy and a handful excepted)

  • Serge – I do not deny in any way that she is an excellent journalist, and I certainly don’t question her motives.

    My thesis is that within the media there tends to be a vision of what is important and what is not, what is to be written about and what is not. I know from a spot of time working with an evening newspaper in the days when they carried news, once the paper was created in the morning we’d watch the 1pm news on the BBC to make sure that we had guessed right what was important in the day’s national news. And there was a lot of grumbling from on high if we had gone with different subjects.

  • serge

    Ok Tony. Sorry.

  • JohnW

    We will win anyway in the replay ( so I think or hope?) But the way the media covered the story, it was as if it was the worst performance by any football club of all time.I don’t know what they will say if we beat Barca on Tuesday.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Good point, would be excellent to hear from Amy on here.
    Watched MOTD, apparently ….according to the pundits, we should have had the Bruce handball penalty, but the Chambers one was a good tackle that got the ball! Completely astounding, and contrary to the clip shown just before, and after said pundit made the Chambers assertion. In fairness, the presenter did challenge Kilbane on this. But not as far as asking what would have been Deans response if Vardy or Kane had been involved, and what the media response would have been if they weren’t given penalties in these same circumstances……I suspect the referee would be given a very rough ride.
    This news manipulation , heightened by the Internet and social media is worrying. We Brits have a very important decision to make in June over the EU, I lean one way, but can certainly see the other side. But a lot of people on both sides will be making this nation defining decision based on hype rather than anything resembling reality or consequence.
    As for Arsenal, if the club cannot or will not take on the PGMOL/FA, just hope they get some shooting practice in during coming weeks.
    But just don’t waste any time practicing penalties Arsene, leave that to the likes of Spurs and Leicester.

  • Rantetta

    Clocker, spot on.

    Amy has contributed here in past years, (Cross John too).
    That Amy even made reference to Deanery is a miracle.
    Out of character, I’d say.

    There’s nowt from the supposedly Ars fan journo’s that’s written without the necessary anti-Arsenal (& anti-football) narrative).

    Don’t forget, sage GNev once talked about Ars & Wenger performing an amazing feat in building the stadium/using youngsters/making the top 4!
    But that was it. Everything else he says about Arsenal before or since is negative, inc. showing replays of incidents and justifying the refs decisions, etc. MOTD showed the trip on Chambers. Killbane says No Pen. That’s why he’s got the job (and his ilk-ettas).
    So ‘having a job’ could well be an explanation as to why Amy and CrossJohn hold back on most things truthful about Arsenal (for the last decade), and instead – go along with tried and tested footy groupthink – in slagging off everything Arsenal.

    Well done for mentioning Dean though, Amy.
    (But as with GNev, Linekar, et al, I’ll not expect you to see Arsenal as anything other than failures).

  • Rantetta

    Bah, could’ve saved my ultra slow 2 (fat) finger typing, as Mandy D had already articulated my thoughts, very well.

  • finsbury

    Looks like ms.Lawrence is simply following her herd, as usual?
    This week they’d chosen to quote Untold (“it all evens out in the end…?”) or themselves to be precise (a hack quoting a petty plundit whatever next!)l in the build up to another fudge by Dean:

  • Rosicky@Arsenal

    Was going through vsrious Arsensl sited today as was having free time at home.One of the poster was saying that we have a very crap team and only have ozil sanchez chec kos n monreal worthy of Epl.

    I was wondering what kind of Arsenal fans are these. I was laughing at such fandom.They admit that atleast 5 players are fit to be in an Epl team rest are useless.There knowledge of football is so limited that they forget we have Another 3 excellent players in Santi Bellerin Coquelain all of them are brilliant and worthy to play for any top class club.

    They further forget


    All of them are good players who play for there national sides.

    These supposedly Arsenal fans are a disgrace for the club.

  • Rosicky@Arsenal

    Such Ffs fans forget that no Epl team can have 15 world class players.Not even City cheski n manu even with the loads of oil money etc.

    For example take City for instance do they have 12 wc players.They also have 5 or 6.If they think Fernando n Fernandino n Navas n Zabaletta are Wc then maybe i am wrong.Only kompany Silva Aguero kdn n Toure could be called wc imo.

    Same with chel$e.Manu mayb worst.

  • “there is a danger in reporting something in a way that is totally contrary to the visions of so many of the people who were at the match.”

    Yep, happens a lot..

  • Jacobite Gunner

    A wee solution would be to use twitter and tweet Amy Lawrence every Untold Arsenal article about referee (usually poor) performances and let it hopefully build from there…

    Does anyone do this already?

  • Jacobite Gunner


    If the UK goes for a Brexit then at least the only good thing that would come out of it would be that no concentrated and comprehensive media bias from the BBC, Sky, all the fleet street and broadsheet newspapers (mostly owned by nomdoms with the registered business based in tax dodging havens) could stop me getting an independent country in our own referendum.


  • colario

    Jacobite Gunner
    February 21, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    I don’t do twitter but I think your idea is a good one so I will in the very near future begin to do ‘twitter’.

    Most of these ‘know all pundits’ do nothing about but twitter when it comes to football and they use ‘twitter’.

    Hence the expression. ‘Twitters who are twits twit the same twits.’

  • colario

    February 21, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    I long ago abandon Metro but I think it is time to return to it.

    Thanks for the link.

  • Jacobite Gunner

    And/or, we could create a list of journalists we should target and tweet them interesting/relevant articles. Anyway, it’s common knowledge from the past that some papers and even the BBC have pinched info from Tony, Walter, Untold contributors on Untold Arsenal before…

    Aye Colario, ken, I’d tend to agree wit ye

  • finsbury

    I wouldn’t! 🙂

  • sunil nambiar

    I’m a regular reader of your blog, and prefer it to virtually any of the others, though i do browse most of them. One of the things that puzzles me is that often I get the feeling that I seem to have seen a completely different game from most of them, particualrly when Arsenal loses or draws.

    Take the recent Leicester game for instance. What I saw was a game in which Arsenal ripped apart Leicester repeatedly, effortlessly, for most of the 90 minutes. I’m told that Leicester was heroic, magnificient, especially in their defending and that the match is still evidence of their title credentials.

    How does one rave about a defence that allowed Arsenal 22 shots from inside their penalty box??? Really?? On another day, that would have been a 5/6 – 0 thrashing of Leicester. Koeman was atleast brutally honest in his statement that in 18 months of his managing Southampton, no team had opened up their defence and created as many in-box chances as Arsenal did, despite it being a draw.

    Any manager would rather have a team that creates as many in -box chances as ours, since statistically, sooner or later, the goals will come. If Man Utd.s goals have dried up, it’s simply because they were scoring a statistically large amount of goals relative to their chance creation in quite a few of their games earlier

  • Josif

    If I were a gambler, I would put some serious money on the media praise of Tottenham’s “smart” defeat against Crystal Palace in order to focus on the league and Europa League. I’ve already seen a praise of Tottenham’s display today for “creating chances even if Lloris and regular central defenders were out”. I can’t recall if Lloris has been known as an Özil among goalkeepers but every day one can learn something new.

  • Menace

    There is a very sad train of thought that seems to be permeating through the recent football events. There are very few world class players at Arsenal!! There are an abundant amount of world class football referees in England & all of them officiate for PGMO. There is Tipster the best football critic ever to set foot on planet earth & many of his anti Wenger mates that really have won all there is on offer in Fantasy Football.

    As I said it is a sad train of thought.

    Dean is without doubt the most stupid cheat ever yet his actions are favoured by the FA who deem his actions as professional. It shows the FA up for the worlds best prats. The sad part is that none of the wealthy Arsenal supporters know football. They are happy sitting in the bandwagon waving flags while keeping their cash in the bank. It needs a law suit against the FA for abuse of priviledge.