By Billy “the Dog” McGraw
August: the headlines continue to be dominated by “Arsenal lose out to” in relation to the transfer market. No comparison is made between the amount spent by clubs and their league position. Stories abound in relation to Arsenal trying out “untried rookie” defender / midfielder / winger”.
The media proclaims that Twitter went into meltdown over the fact that Arsenal, for the tenth year running spent less than Manchester City, Manchester Utd and Chelsea in the transfer window.
September: Arsenal’s usual injury crisis is highlighted with no reference to either
a) how many injuries Arsenal actually had in comparison with other clubs in past years
b) how many injuries Arsenal have in comparison with other clubs this year.
c) how many injuries Arsenal sustain by players on “international duty”.
During the international break there is no mention of the corruption of Fifa, the support of Fifa by the FA, the fact that the government has once again not removed it massive tax payers’ grant to the FA despite threatening to do so for the ninth year running, or the fact that the world cup is going to be played in a country whose entire sporting system appears to be focused on drug cheating.
Paul Merson declares that Stewart Robson is right and has always been right.
The media proclaims that Twitter went into meltdown over the fact that Arsenal striker Chuba Akpom has scored fewer goals so far this season than Manchester City.
October: It suddenly becomes apparent that after having brought through Coquelin, Iwobi and Bellerin in the last three years, Arsenal are doing it again, with not one but two home-grown players who become first team regulars. The press greet this development with headlines concerning “Arsenal injury crisis.”
Indeed Arsenal’s “injury crisis” is deemed to be the fault of Arsene Wenger, despite Arsenal being mid-table for injuries so far this season and have half the number of certain other clubs, which cannot be mentioned for legal reasons.
The media proclaims that Twitter went into meltdown over the fact that Arsene Wenger appeared to smile in a TV interview after drawing a match 2-2.
November: A national agreement between newspapers never to mention the cost of Elneny is upheld rigorously after he wins the national Player of the Month award for the second month running. When Mourinho pushes an assistant referee over, his argument that the assistant was waving his flag in an aggressive manner is accepted by the FA and the allegation that Mourinho called the assistant “a two faced blind bat” in Guatemalan dialect is rejected and so no punishment is given. The press agree that justice was not only done but seen to be done, without explaining what they mean by that phrase.
December: The media give mass coverage to the fact that a group of 12 Black Scarf protesters gather at the entrance to the Arsenal AGM claiming that the board are destroying the club, and that although Arsenal are top of the league they would have been far further top of the league if only Lacazette had been signed. The fact that Lacazette has been injured all season is not mentioned.
January: Mourninho drops £600m worth of transferred players from his team in an effort to improve results. The media note that five of Arsenal’s under 9 squad are currently out injured, and banner headlines relating to the injury crisis and it all being Wenger’s fault are to be seen. According to the media Twitter goes into meltdown over the quality of coffee served at the Emirates at half time. For the first time ever Untold Arsenal supports a twitter campaign, only to find that meltdown is caused when five or more people write on the same topic. With Arsenal five points clear at the top of the league the media goes frantic over the lack of signings in the January window. Arsenal beat Man U in the FA Cup but the match is not reported on radio, TV or in the press. It is the first FA Cup match in 78 rounds of the cup in which Man U have not been shown live on TV. The FA demand a replay and warn Arsenal as to their future behaviour.
February: Twitter goes into meltdown (allegedly) after Piers Morgan calls for the sacking of Arsenal Wenger because of the lack of injuries. Arsenal beat Real Madrid 1-0 away in the Champions League after Ronaldo is sent off for digging a hole in the pitch with a bucket and spade. Twitter goes into meltdown and there are demands for Arsenal’s head groundsman to be sacked, despite protests from the club that the incident took place in Spain. Black Scarf organise a protest for the match against Watford. Two banners are spotted. Twitter goes into meltdown.
March: There are protests across football when it is realised that the cost of a lower tier ticket for the League Cup semi-final against Crystal Palace is £10 at the Emirates. Arsenal are denounced for disrespecting the competition and there is general agreement on Sky that all the club has done is make themselves look foolish. There are demands for the price to be quadrupled. Twitter goes into meltdown. Arsenal puts out a team which includes six players that have come up through their ranks and not cost a penny in transfer fees, and are immediately denounced for undermining the economic fabric of English professional football.
April: Tottenham announce that work on their new stadium has been abandoned after it is discovered that the “largest terrace in footballing history” is too heavy for the support structures below it. Their chief scout and head of recruitment resign. Neither story makes the press. Jose Mourinho assaults the referee at half time as the players walk off the pitch, but the FA accept the explanation that he slipped and should therefore not have any punishment save being given a warning to wear shoes with more grippy soles. The Independent announces that the story about Heathrow Airport’s railway connection with London being the most expensive railway line in the UK is indeed about AFC Bournemouth which is why it has been running on their football page for a year.
May: Arsenal conclude a satisfactory season by winning the double. Black Scarf announce that their protests against Wenger will continue as success can only mean winning the Champions League. Twitter goes into meltdown as the Telegraph refuses to print the results of the Fair Play League table for the second season running. The Guardian does a review of how Arsenal blogs have reacted to the season, but fails to include Untold. Man U complain that the FA Cup is their’s by right, and the FA uphold the appeal, awarding them the trophy in absentia.
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Untold Arsenal has published five books on Arsenal – all are available as paperback and three are now available on Kindle. The books are
- The Arsenal Yankee by Danny Karbassiyoon with a foreword by Arsene Wenger.
- Arsenal: the long sleep 1953 – 1970; a view from the terrace. By John Sowman with an introduction by Bob Wilson.
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football. By Tony Attwood, Andy Kelly and Mark Andrews.
- Making the Arsenal: a novel by Tony Attwood.
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal by Mark Andrews.
You can find details of all five on our new Arsenal Books page