Yesterday this was the only blog that linked phone tapping to football. Today the news confirms what I could only hint at yesterday: football is very much involved in the phone tapping story.
Sir Alex F-Word and Alan Zebra have now both been named as people whose phones were tapped by the News of the World. We already knew that Gordon Taylor, chief exec of the Professional Footballers’ Association, had his phone tapped. He sued the NoW last year.
Now the story goes further. Some of the messages that were tapped into on Gordon Taylor’s phone came from a police officer investigating an alleged crime involving a Premier League player.
Other taps included a discussion of Arsene Wenger and Jamie Redknapp. The Guardian today says that there was discussion of “a prominent Premier League player who had a cocaine problem.”
The Guardian also says today that “two other figures from the world of football also sued and were paid a further £300,000.”
So where does this take us?
1. We know that at the very top FIFA has been proven in court to be totally corrupt.
2. We know that there is a long on-going enquiry into financial and other forms of corruption in football, and that the manager of Tottenham and two directors of Birmingham, plus others, continue to be under arrest but released on police bail. That of course does not mean they are guilty.
3. We know from every day experience often reported here that football journalists make up stories, and then reprint them (the Arshavin case is a perfect one, and as was pointed out today and yesterday, Rosicky is now getting the same treatment.)
So what are we, as people who want to discuss football in general and Arsenal in particular, to do?
Basically I think all we have left to go on is what the club tells us (in that I cannot recall a situation in which the club has put out false news) and for us to use logical judgement and reasoning.
Of course people like Lewey005 have a different view. His idea is that the youngsters we have brought in are no good at all, and that we should spend money to buy new players.
That is a legitimate argument but it is not one that has any logic to it. Consider the post that starts “I’m seriously” published at lunchtime today (friday). This is not only not an argument that I agree with it does not have a coherent argument within it – it is a statement of random facts and concepts about the chairman, Cesc and everyone else you want to throw in. I believe the arguments also fall down in terms of his analysis of our young players (but of course that is a harder one to argue – even the stats can result in people saying, “you can prove anything with stats”), but more it falls down at the end.
Lewey005 says, “Please don’t kid yourselves that we are making progress because we have not. Arsenal will have a nice healthy bank balance but Man United, Real Madrid and all the other big teams will be winning the big prizes and that, after all is what football is about.”
For me, that is not what football is all about. It is about at least two other things. It is about supporting my tribe – the Arsenal, whom I have supported since the age of 7 or 8. And it is about survival.
Lewey005 will disagree or say it is irrelevant, but I do not believe that Manchester United and Liverpool have the ability to continue as they are going on and will fall, just as Leeds United did.
What we actually have is a world of football that is corruptly ruled at the top, in which at least two newspapers are repeatedly using illicit means to gather information, in which most papers make up stories which are quite untrue, and in which a number of clubs have debts which are utterly unsustainable. A debate which does not incorporate such matters is not a complete debate.
(c) Tony Attwood
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