By Tony Attwood
Every weekend the journalists who have spent a little too much time in the saloon bar the night before and haven’t come up with a semi-decent invention to parade before the fake football news department of the paper for whom they work, generally slink away and cook up their “Ten things to watch out for” gibberish.
So I thought I’d see if I could sink to their level and do it likewise.
Ten things to watch out for if engaging with the media this weekend. And you chance to win a non-existent prize by scoring points.
1: Quite a few newspapers got excited about the bizarre antics of the referee in the PSG Barcelona match. But will the topic be set aside now on the grounds that the referee was foreign and so doesn’t know the rules? There have been a number of articles questioning what referees get up to – could this be the weekend when matters are taken further?
Points for spotting an article on the referee being incompetent: 10
Points for spotting an article on the PGMO as a bunch of mindless loons who adore secrecy but know nothing about football: 1000.
2: We are told the aaa will be out in force – which means their numbers might actually get up to 250. And we all know that there are a lot of people who go to the away games who do not see the occasion la s a time to protest but rather a time to support the team. How will it pan out? Certainly if the aaa have really spent a load of dosh to get a plane to fly over the ground with an anti-Wengerian message on, you can expect coverage of the match on TV to stop. Don’t expect too much in terms of an analysis of the percentage of supporters in the Arsenal section who support the aaa. At the last match it looked like around 0.3% which doesn’t make good headlines.
Points for spotting a piece that says: “The protesters are out in force again” 1
Points for spotting an article in which the writer gives the estimated number of protesters, the estimated size of the Arsenal crowd at WBA, and then works out the percentage accurately within 10 seconds: 501.
3: The mass exodus stories are underway, with the entire team now due to leave in June. Don’t expect anyone to point out that this was exactly the same story that was run last summer. And the summer before that. But do expect it to be run again.
Points for spotting a mention of a player who is “said to be leaving this summer”: 1
Points for spotting a mention of the fact that all 20 members of the first team squad were noted as being likely to leave last summer: 74
4: The list of managers who might come in as the next manager of Arsenal is considered a bit dull because most of them are foreigners who no one has heard of.
Points for spotting the name of someone you have never heard of who is supposedly a highly rated manager in Uzbeckistan: 5
Points for spotting a proper piece that evaluates five managers who might seriously one day come to Arsenal, all of whom you have never heard of: 10
5: Wholesale changes to the Arsenal backup staff are being mooted, by are largely held back by the fact that most journalists don’t actually know who the backroom staff are or what they do.
Points for suggesting someone is going to leave: 1
Points for suggesting that Mr Wenger has raved and shouted at a member of the medical staff and refused to take that person’s advice and is now going to taken to court 100.
Points for an article that says Mr Wenger has never raved and shouted as a member of his medical staff in any of the many languages he speaks: 1000.
6: Arsenal’s hopelessness in Europe is well documented, and there will be no points for noting such a situation, but… if you can find such an article which then also notes that everyone else is out of Europe except Leicester then you can score 10 bonus points.
Mention that Leciester are still in because the referee was conned by a Vardy dive: 10 points. Plus 10 points bonus if Leicester is spelled wrong.
Mention that Vardy does this sort of thing quite a lot: 100 points.
7: Mentions of the word crisis in every other sentence likewise are no longer point scoring points. But if you could find a piece about Arsenal of at least 500 words you get 10 points for finding a piece of 500 words about Arsenal (as long as it is not just the same 5 word sentence 100 times). And if there is no mention of an Arsenal crisis then at all in the piece then have 200 points bonus.
8: Any suggestion in an article that the players brought in this season should not be measured as to their ability until the end of next season, because players like Bergkamp, Henry, Pires and so forth never really got going until the second season gets 500 points.
9. Any article that list 10 things to look out for this weekend, gets minus 152 points.
10. Any article that claims to list ten points but only has nine because the 10th point is clearly just added in to make up the number, gets a cream bun.