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October 2016
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Danny Murphy as pundit of the year, refs are perfect, Arsenal are useless at every single level.

By Tony Attwood

In one way Untold seeks to turn the world upside down.   The media’s view is that the thing one should do is attack Wenger and the club, and throughout the season they have been going into this BIG TIME.   Our view is that we should not be attacking the manager, the players and the club, but rather the media who portray football in a very, very warped way.  It’s a reversal of vision type of thing.

Because each part of the media has a vested interest in its bit of football (because it pays so much money for it, or because it is desperate to hold on to readers) the media constantly warps what football is about and pedals a wholly false image of the game.

This has been going on for years, but now it is at such a level that all you have to do is stand back for just one minute you can see how bizarre it is.

Supporters of Arsenal and the management, and the players are now under constant, wholesale attack.  Indeed over eight years I have been writing about the media’s attitude to Arsenal I have never seen attacks of the top that we have had in the last couple of days.

I suspect it is happening because Untold’s theme (that the media influences the perception of football in a wholesale manner) has been taken up by a few others, and the word is slowly getting out.  The newspaper industry, for years the arbiter of what was right and what was wrong in football is in total collapse, as newspapers meander in the mire, unable to find any way to make money either from printed papers or on line.  The live football TV companies have paid so much money to show their product they cannot possibly criticise the product they have bought (and indeed what they can show and say is incorporated into their contracts).  The recorded highlights TV companies are out on the fringe and so rely on pundits to put across their point of view, creating “personalities” to turn out their vision of reality, even when those of us present saw something quite different.

But all the while lurking in the wings are other media outlets, like little Untold Arsenal.  How come we get noticed?  Well, maybe its because our view of reality is what you actually see when you look properly, and shock horror, it is backed up by evidence and logical analysis.

Let’s take one of the Guardian’s pundits of the year, “Danny Murphy”.  According to the Guardian, “Murphy and Jermaine Jenas are the jewels in the BBC’s footballing tiara, the quality of their analysis a couple of steps ahead of the corporation’s other regulars. Murphy is particularly eloquent, and admirably unlikely to stumble into random footballspeak.”

And so what did he say this Danny Murphy, as Match of the Day had to pick itself up from its joint Leicester/Tottenham 1, 2 celebrations on Saturday night.  I have run the tape back half a dozen times to get it word for word.

“Penalty was a dive, it kind of killed the game, it was a turning point, not a turning point, Newcastle played well, it was the end of the game for Spurs, I hate seeing that…”

I am planning to run a weekly report on the wild ramblings of Match of the Day men (for they rarely seem to invite women on the show) next season just to examine the Guardian’s perception of Murphy.  Every word, Mr Murphy, every word.

The Guardian then does a fans’ view of Arsenal’s season.  It is from GoonersDiary – a blog that has links to lots of other blogs, although not to this one.    Here’s a recent take…

Not many of our spoiled, far too entitled fans would’ve lingered for the post-match lap of appreciation, if Newcastle had failed to do us such a fabulous favour and doubtless the protestors banners’ will be back with next season’s first defeat. Yet even if it should’ve prove fleeting, it was great to be able to enjoy the emotion

Which is fair enough.  But what the author then wrote for the Guardian was…

In the stale micro-climate around London N5 there’s scant consolation in a top-four finish. We’ve blown it, big time. With the big spenders failing, this should have been our time to shine – and it would have been if our blinkered stars had shown 10% more desire. The laissez-faire approach of our scientific gaffer might have been OK if we’d had a genuine leader on the pitch – but without one we’re starved of inspiration…

We need a 30-goal striker. At the back, why couldn’t we have signed Alderweireld, instead of a liability like Gabriel? It’s hard to imagine Arsène will spend his way out of our depression.

It’s funny but the two approaches and styles don’t seem to match, and I wonder why this is.  (Incidentally “laissez-faire approach of our scientific gaffer” doesn’t make sense to me either, but maybe I read New Scientist too much.)

But still the Guardian got their rampantly aaa piece and the attack’s momentum was continued (although to be fair to GoonersDiary if they hadn’t written such a negative piece someone else would have stepped up for the glory of appearing in the Guardian).

Moving on, at least the Telegraph gave us a laugh by running the headline, “Is Arsenal v Tottenham really one of the most one-sided rivalries in sport?” and then failing totally to answer the question.

The Independent tried to join in that sort of fun but got a bit confused running the headline, “Arsenal players and fans labelled ‘pathetic’ for celebrating second place and finishing above Tottenham” and then failed to tell us who and where and when anyone labelled Arsenal players and fans “pathetic”.

As you will know if you are a regular, it was Robbie Savage who said, “pathetic, pathetic, pathetic” to an Arsenal fan who called in to “606” on Five Live.  But he didn’t call the players pathetic.  Still, evidence eh?  Who needs it.

But it is back in the Guardian that the most worrying development is seen in its column “Guardian gripes of the season”.  Tom Davies, a sub-editor for Guardian sport, did this one, and his article is preluded with a note inviting Guardian readers to vote for their ref of the season.

The article has the usual gripes such as “The return of the Euro Super League breakaway threat ritual,” “Shockingly poor penalties,” and “Pointless badge redesigns” but tucked away in between these is “Excessive focus on referees”.

So this is the Guardian’s new stance – let’s have a referee of the season, and avoid excessive focus on referees.  The two seem a little contradictory to me, but still, it’s the Guardian sport.   Let us not talk about the extreme oddity of PGMO which runs refereeing.   It’s ultra-secrecy, its closeness to some of the clubs, its decision to organise refereeing in a way completely different from anywhere else in the whole of Europe (apart possibly from Albania), its decision to have such a tiny number of referees that clubs can get the same refs six times in a season – enhancing the dangers if any ref were to be bought, its refusal to answer enquiries from without, its refusal to engage properly in the video ref trials, its refusal to instruct refs to follow the same rule interpretation as happens in the rest of Europe (except possibly Albania)…

These are the questions which in the past the Guardian would have loved to dig into, not because there is open evidence of wrong doing, but because quite often scandals are revealed by looking into situations that just don’t look right.  It is how investigations into the most awful aspects of British society come to pass (police incompetence and cover up at Hillsborough, local council incompetence and cover up in the Rotherham sex abuse case etc etc etc etc etc) and it is the same method that can be used for much lesser things, like match fixing.   It doesn’t mean that Type III match fixing does exist, it just means that there is a lot of circumstantial evidence, and logical analysis suggests something could well be dreadfully wrong.

But instead the Guardian says, “there remains an excessive focus on referees – their mistakes, foibles and perceived biases – that perhaps most obviously manifested itself in the removal of Kevin Friend from the Stoke v Tottenham match in April, even though Friend supports neither side.”

It’s a clever piece.  No mention of course of the week by week analysis that we have done, nor that by referees supporting various clubs on Referee Decisions.  No – just a statement.  My goodness, with that lack of evidence or supporting logical analysis, the article could have been written by a rant-raged paid-up member of the aaa.

But still, there are some hilarious moments in the article, such as this one

“When do you see him get a major decision wrong?” asked former referee Mark Halsey in an homage to Mark Clattenburg earlier this year.”   One might mention the entire Chelsea Tottenham game.

But no they won’t do that.    Instead in a clever bit of manipulative writing they now elevate that game into mythology by calling it the Battle of Stamford Bridge, and describe it as “a marvellous evening of cartoon violence which could have been ruined by a more fussy official.”  (No mention of two points deducted from Arsenal after a bit of handbags at 50 paces against Man U).

(Oh, and just in case you didn’t study history in an English school, The Battle of Stamford Bridge took place at the village of that name in Yorkshire on 25 September 1066, between King Harold Godwinson’s English army on the one hand and the Norwegian army of King Harald Hardrada and Godwinson’s brother Tostig on the other.  It was after this battle that the Anglo Saxon troops then had to march to Battle in Sussex to have another pitched fight against the Normans and lost.  Just thought I’d clear that up).

Now take a look at this comment, from the same Guardian article….

Let’s not kid ourselves – it is easy to blame referees for the various injustices visited upon our teams and of course they often have bad days at the office and get things horribly wrong. But in a high speed game where they are forced to make split-second decisions without the benefit of TV replays, it seems churlish to criticise match officials for making mistakes in an environment where the players they are attempting to police are constantly try to con them.

And the truthful version would be…

Let’s not kid ourselves – it is easy to avoid all the embarrassing evidence that something is wrong when you are determined to write a newspaper article that supports your investment in football.  The high speed game where refs are forced to make split-second decisions without the benefit of TV replays has only come about because of the abject resistance to TV replays by PGMO for whom the refs work – it is their decision, and you cannot use that as an excuse for the failings of their employees.  It seems it would be churlish not to criticise match officials for their appalling performances given that they have chosen to accept employment from an agency so secretive that it makes the Masons look like a Come All Ye down at the local pub.  If the refs are straight, they could stand up against the monopoly employers of referees, and speak out against the route English refereeing has taken all on its own (with the possible exception of Albania).

Recent Posts

Insult of the Day: (for the Guardian team who made “Danny Murphy” the pundit of the year, and instituted a ref of the season award while asking for less focus on refs)

What! you poor, base, rascally cheating lack linen mate!  Away, you mouldy rogue, away!  Henry IV (part 2)

And elsewhere… 

17 May 1966:  Bob Dylan played an electric set at Manchester’s Free Trade Hall and one man stood up and shouted “Judas!”    Dylan’s response was to turn to the band and say “Play it fucking loud”.  They played “Like a Rolling Stone”, a song which utterly transformed the whole concept of what rock and roll could be and what rock and roll could do.   If you are interested in Dylan, there’s Untold Dylan, just like Untold Arsenal, but with music instead of football.

(“Insult of the day” along with “And elsewhere” appear near the foot of the home page every day).


21 comments to Danny Murphy as pundit of the year, refs are perfect, Arsenal are useless at every single level.

  • Col

    Someone should bookmark all the anti-Arsenal rhetoric in the media. Arguably they are (one of) the best placed to improve out of any of the top teams, having money, a stable core and no major surgery needed. But will Arsene buy a striker?

  • Leon

    It’s difficult to work out what’s going on at the Guardian these days. In a separate article the football writers all expressed their opinions on pundits, referees, players etc. and in the referee section not one of them mentioned Murphy (and to their credit they liked Souness & Hargreaves) yet Simon Burnton who wrote the article referenced by Tony puts him third out of Five.
    It’s not a even matter of the left hand not knowing what the right’s doing, but more like the left hand not knowing what the lefts doing.
    Shame really, because I usually have a lot of time for the Guardian in all matters.

  • Josif

    Damn you, Tony, for making an article I wanted to write! 🙁

    The whole EPL review by The Guardian writers is a dark comedy.

    For instance, Jacob Steinberg has picked Arsene Wenger as the flop of the year after Arsenal finished second (meaning Arsenal got one better than they had been projected to finish by The Guardian Writers before the season kick-off). The same writers that were almost anonymous in their verdict that Leicester City would go down due to Ranieri’s appointment.

    I won’t mention factual errors because it seems everyone make them these days (Mr Wenger made three in the last month and half: we weren’t champions away from home, we didn’t create more chances than anyone else and we didn’t have 15 clean sheets but 17 before the City game as Ospina also got two to his name) bar one: Tottenham haven’t conceded fewer goals than anyone else, United have (though United can still make that claim correct if they concede two against Bournemouth).

    Pochettino gets praised for…I don’t know what.

    Cech doesn’t get in the choice for the best signing. He came to Arsenal as a second keeper at Chelsea and won The Golden Glove by getting more clean sheets (16) in 34 games than our goalkeeping trio had got last season combined (13) in 38 games.

    Ozil doesn’t get in the choice for The player of the season despite 19 assists, second best result ever (never mind all those created chances). Arsenal came second, didn’t lose a single game against the rest of Top 4 and were the only team to beat Leicester – only team above Arsenal – twice.

    Barney Ronay deserves a credit for consistency though. He has been under fire by myself and Walter for suggesting we shouldn’t talk about the refs at all but at least he stuck by his word when his colleagues were singing praises to Clattenburg et al.

    But, that’s English thing these days, I’m afraid. That’s a view of point where Rose is better than Monreal (LOL! LOL!), where Walker gets in the same sentence with Bellerin, where Townsend gets a call-up for the national team ahead of Walcott, where Alli is praised without a handbrake despite obvious problems with his temper, where laissez-fair approach from economy gets applied in tackling so that the boundaries between rugby and football get so blurred that you can’t say what sport do you watch.

    To paraphrase a punchline from the joke about a Scotsman who threatened to quit borrowing papers from his neighbour if they keep publishing jokes about Scottish austerity, I’m so glad I read English papers for free.

  • Arthur

    I am actually glad that we are hated by the evil media. If evil people like you, that means that you are evil as well! We are the good guys and they should hate and ignore us. I think that it would be horrible if Danny Murphy or Robbie savage liked my team.

  • kenneth

    Danny Murphy should show little respect to arsenal and the management this is part of British ex-players and media propaganda to remove wenger.

    A team that spent less than the teams that finished below them and teams that have been relegated should be respected

  • asmart

    The guardian is lost and just can stand the sight of arsene and arsenal playing the game the way it suppose to.
    Light and darkness never go together so also there evil mind will never appreciate the good mind.

  • nicky

    I have some sympathy for all the anti-Arsenal types, the Wenger- Out brigade, corrupt match officials and the so-called pundits.
    Despite all the odds, Arsenal FC, in true historical fashion, have finished this season in the toughest league in the world, as runners up, a mere 10 points behind the hillbillies of the city of Leicester.(no disrespect to them although they surely have to thank a number of referees for bestowing a number of the most generous decisions in their favour).
    Another time we will play much better and not finish so well.
    The fury, chagrin and downright envy felt by so many rivals is palpable and you can’t blame them.
    From a clear struggle earlier in the season, due to key players being absent hurt, Arsenal managed scant advantage of a series of bizarre results involving our closest rivals.
    Yet in the end we came good, qualified direct for entry into next season’s CL proper and pipped Spurs into second place in the EPL.
    What a season.
    Now we have to take advantage in the Transfer Window of a bulging war chest, coupled with the need to strengthen the squad in a number of positions. In doing so, we should bear in mind the importance of the current market value of those potential signings rather than Arsenal’s own valuation.

  • Seydlitz

    What’s poor Albania done to untold?

  • Luscious Lisa

    For me, the most absurd comment by Murphy on MOTD was the bit that included ‘I was right’ saying Arsenal wouldn’t win the league because of xyz. Putting aside that the real answer Arsenal didn’t win the PL is because someone else got more points, eighteen other teams also didn’t win the league (for the same reason). If Murphy had said 9 months ago “Arsenal will end the season behind Leicester because of XYZ” then I’d have to bow to his insight. Not sure he said that though.

  • Catch22

    Most of the pundits who criticize Arsenal for being runners up, were the same critics who were sure that Man City or Chelsea would win the league at the beginning of the season. Chelsea, 21 points behind Arsenal,were a pathetic joke this year although you might think they’d finished above Arsenal, judging by the attacks on Arsene Wenger and the Gunners.
    There again, I suppose if you’d been daft enough to tip Chelsea as champions you wouldn’t want to draw attention to your own bad judgment. Also I notice that some critics on Talksport have been criticizing Leicester for celebrating too much. Why ? Let them celebrate as much as they like.
    They deserve it !

  • Mick


    ‘Also I notice that some critics on Talksport have been criticizing Leicester for celebrating too much.’

    That was the resident arch idiot Adrian Durham and his pet dog Darren Gough.
    He also got his usual sarcastic Arsenal dig in about our doing an open top bus celebration for coming second, with Gough sniggering in the background.

  • Gord

    Stopping by the front page, I see that someone must be running a survey for Player of the Year, as their is a request that we vote for Ozil.

    At the bottom are two twits from Flamini. It seems he has been interviewed by Financial Times about his company. I tried to get a URL to the article, but it seems that you must be a subscriber to FT to read the article. I can tell you it was published yesterday.

    And finally, there is a tiny heading on the right side of (my version), that Keown is teaching football in Ethiopia. I think Martin should give up being a muppet, and do things like this instead.

    My hopes for next year? Get rid of flash as a component of the website. Having flash installed in just asking to have your machine over-run by viruses and malware.

  • norman14

    SHOULD Bournmouth score tonight, Chec WILL have the Golden Glove award to himself. If not, he will share it with de Gea.

    No mention of Loris!

  • norman14

    Josif – didn’t Ozil get 20 assists with the one on Sunday?

  • para

    It looks like we are going to have to put up with the ramblings of the punditry next season too. Ah well, did’nt expect anything else.

    How about running a piece on refs; that they create a ref league table based on performance to promote a healthy rivalry between refs to become the best they can?

    Maybe it will be taken up in a few years.

  • bushido

    why should we be surprise of the reaction by this so call expert pundits and media. to them there is 1 rule for Arsenal and another rule for other clubs. maybe they all cant stand and dont like what Arsenal had achieved, is it bcos Arsenal is the only team to go all season unbeaten in the premier league era or maybe after the stadium move they all expect Arsenal to collapse.maybe they all just realize if other club in premier league move to the new stadium that club could never emulate what Arsenal had done under A.Wenger stewardship(qualify to the CL every season).what amaze me most is that, mostly people who criticize or bad mouth A.Wenger is people who never be a football club manager or a flop at football management. maybe they cant stand Arsenal bcos the club stick to their principle, victory through harmony and play football with intelligence.never once i see in the media after battle of the bridge said that is a bad influence for every kids who watch that game.for them thats how football in England should be play but if Arsenal were involve in that kind of behavior on the pitch can we imagine how the club, the manager and the players of Arsenal football club will be portrait by the media.they all were blatant hypocrisy when it come to Arsenal

  • Gord

    SkySports has published the Woodwork League. How many times shots at goal have hit the crossbar or posts and not gone in.

    1. Arsenal 21
    2. StateAid 19
    3. Spuds 19
    4. Everton 18
    5. Liverpool!!!! 16
    6. Doha 15
    7. Fabianski’s Home 14
    8. Southampton 13
    9. Crystal Palace 12
    10. Norwich 11
    11. LeicesterPenaltyTakers 11
    12. Manone’s Home 10
    13. West Brom 10
    14. Watford 9
    15. ToiletUtd 8
    16. Bournemouth 8
    17. Aston Villa 7
    18. Newcastle 6
    19. Stoke 5
    20. Chelsea 4

    Is there some meaning behind Chelsea coming in last in this league? Didn’t shoot much? Exceptional accuracy? They were not trying shots on the edge?

    Evening Standard has some team of the year picked on a statistical basis. It seems to be flash based, which means I can’t scroll through the display to find out who is on the team. Life is too short to allow flash on my computers.

  • Pete

    I know the author of GoonerDiary and have previously engaged in extensive offline correspondence with him. He is a loyal gooner but somewhat disgruntled this season. I wouldn’t characterise him as an out-and-out WOB.

  • Ben

    Should it be worth to mention that even when we did not buy an outfield player in the summer we still ended up in 2nd place?

  • Rantetta

    That’s a very good point, Ben.

  • Jammy J

    Danny Murphy as pundit of the year.. Jesus Christ, that’s probably one of the most damning strikes against punditry in general. I really don’t understand why people just don’t keep away from anything like MOTD, Talkshyte, Sky Sports and the likes. It genuinely angers me when i accidentally catch some of the drivel these twats come out with. I’ve got my money on Terry becoming a future pundit; he fits the bill perfectly.