The universal description of Arteta’s speech as a “rant” raises serious questions




By Tony Attwood

Football has a problem.   A very simple problem, and like all very simple problems there is a simple solution – if only those in authority didn’t actually prefer the problem.

The issue here is the reporting of Mikel Arteta’s response to the VAR events in the Newcastle game – in particular the repeated use of the word “rant” in multiple publications.   As in…  “Mikel Arteta’s rant was went too far but Premier League referees are a laughing stock” says the Telegraph  [and no that “was” is not my mistake – that is what the headline says, at least at 1106 today.  It has since been changed.]

The article begins, “There is no doubt that Mikel Arteta overstepped the mark by labelling the officiating “embarrassing” and “disgraceful” following Arsenal’s defeat to Newcastle….”

As they say, “The second part of the Var review, the push by Joelinton on Gabriel, should have ruled the goal out. The Newcastle midfielder has his arms outstretched and straightened which alludes to a clear and obvious shove, “

The only conclusion one can reach about why Arteta’s response was wrong is that Arteta failed to shut up and accept his punishment as if he were a child who had been hauled up in front of the headteacher in a school.

But this is not school, and millions of pounds are at stake here, and there’s no doubt VAR was wrong.   Indeed as the Telegraph says, “The decision to allow it to stand was a clear case of Var not performing to the standard it should be and failing to advise Attwell on numerous occasions.” 

Which raises the question, why then focus on Arteta, calling his statement a “rant.” And in what way did it go “too far”?   How can one go “too far” when officialdom gets it wrong and millions of pounds are potentially at stake?

But “rant” it was.  And not just in the Telegraph.  Football.London, anxious as ever to knock Arsenal put up the headline “Every word of Mikel Arteta’s furious VAR rant after Arsenal’s ‘disgraceful’ Newcastle defeat.”  

And the Mirror also uses “rant” as in “Arsenal news: Mikel Arteta launches incredible rant as David Raya questioned once again.”

The Daily Star says “Mikel Arteta goes on epic rant over ‘embarrassing’ Newcastle goal after three VAR checks” 

TBR come in with, Alan Shearer issues two-word verdict on Mikel Arteta’s rant …

Football 365 comes in with “Arteta rant revealed.”

And so it goes on and on – always that same word when in fact one might expect independent writers with some basic grasp of the language at least to express their own opinion by using other nouns and phrases such as “tirade”, “pontification”, “bluster”, “harangue”, “diatribe”, “broadside, “onslaught” … But no, all we get is “rant”, “rant” and then again “rant”.

So what does this imply?

One might suggest a lack of imagination by journalists of course, but the fact that this word “rant”  was used to describe Arteta’s expression of annoyance in mutiple publications, which suggests a certain implicit agreement among journalists as to how the events were going to be described.

But why would they do that?

Quite simply because if most people writing about an event describe it in the same way, then very quickly in the readers’ minds the story becomes established as factual.  The story is “Arteta’s rant” not the fact that VAR made an absolute pig’s ear of the situation and got it totally wrong.

And that matters because if most media outlets portray a situation in the same way then the readership tends more and more to believe in the media.  After all, if they are all saying the same thing, then surely it must be right!

Indeed if everyone says that the earth goes round the sun, then we accept that to be true, even though the passage of the sun across the sky each day suggests the opposite.

But there is an important point here.  First, we are not getting independent journalism and reporting here; we are getting an agreed way of portraying a set of events – agreed by the journalists and their copy editors (the people who write the headlines).    In short we get no suggestion even of doubt – let alone an expression that Arteta was right in what he said.  We are getting a unified view from the media – even down to an agreement on what word to use to describe what happened.

This shows how determined the media is to influence how we think about situations.  It also shows why nothing is being done to tackle the problems within PGMO.  The media agree, this is not an issue.  So, it’s not an issue.

Because virtually all the media agree Arteta’s comments should be described in the utterly negative word “rant” (meaning a person talking in an impassioned way without any logical basis or accuracy in what they are saying) that now defines Arteta and Arsenal.  Whereas in fact the people who are actually ranting are the journalists and copywriters.  They are, in this unified manner, telling us how to think about Arteta and Arsenal while removing all attention from the referee and VAR.

Why the media do this is of course a matter of a different debate which we’ll come to that later.   But for today perhaps we should just note the unified way in which the media is projecting Arteta negatively, while protecting the referee and VAR assistants rather than examining their actions.


10 Replies to “The universal description of Arteta’s speech as a “rant” raises serious questions”

  1. Tony

    “Why the media do this is of course a matter of a different debate which we’ll come to that later. But for today perhaps we should just note the unified way in which the media is projecting Arteta negatively, while protecting the referee and VAR assistants rather than examining their actions.”

    And this should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone as they’ve been doing it for years and as I have pointed out many times recently, they have been doing to us over the last few weeks as with these examples I have highlighted elsewhere:

    “Dermot Gallagher explains the process for the VAR not overturning Goal”

    Well what a surprise.

    Justifying utter incompetence is what the media do. And lets be clear here, Gallagher is part of the media. He works for SKY.

    We all saw Howard Webb bending over backwards to defend Michael Oliver’s decision not to send off Kovacic with:

    “There were some small differences that led the VAR referees to feel that the decision on the field was not a clear and obvious error, and they felt that if they had intervened it would have been a re-arbitration of that decision by the referee in the field.”

    Again on SKY. Being paid by SKY

    More evidence the media don’t actually want the referees to apply the Laws Of The Game correctly:

    This is how Danny Murphy deemed to justify Oliver’s incompetence on MOTD:

    “I actually like what the referee’s done there,” the former Liverpool midfielder continued. “Not every tackle you miss should be a yellow. Michael Oliver’s a good ref and he’s from a tough part of the world so he knows what he’s on about.”

    “That’s the problem, exactly that, and that’s where people get frustrated,” he said when asked about refereeing calls in other games. “Recent events we’ve seen, that’s two yellows, but I’m glad he [Oliver] made the decisions he did.”

    So he admits it was the wrong call but he was glad he made the wrong call. You couldn’t make it up.

    Ally McCoist also admitted it was the wrong call but said it was ‘refreshing’ that he didn’t send him off.

    So lets be clear on this, McCoist thinks it’s ‘refreshing’ that the referee made the WRONG decision. Again, you couldn’t make it up.

    This shows there is absolutely zero desire to hold the officials to account, let alone see them apply the Laws Of The Game.

    But the ultimate proof of this lack of desire to hold the officials to account came from an article in The Sun by Mark Irwin, who clearly doesn’t want us looking too closely at how Stockley Park works. This is what he said in reaction to Howard Webb’s suggestion that referees could be Mic’d Up so we can hear how they come to their decisions, and my reactions to them, taken from an article a couple of weeks ago:

    Mark Irwin

    “What exactly is refs’ chief Webb hoping to achieve with match officials Mic’dup?”

    Hmmm. Accountability perhaps? openness perhaps?

    “Because we really don’t want to hear him and Michael Oliver telling us how VAR has f***** up”

    Hmmmm. Don’t we? I thought that was exactly what we wanted?

    “We’re already well aware of the wrong calls the Premier League’s elite officials have made this season”

    Yes, we are. But it’s not just this season is it? It’s been going on for years.

    “Replaying those errors with running commentary from Stockley Park is just going to p*** us off even more”

    Is it? Not really. What does p*** us off is people like you Irwin, that really don’t want to face up to them. To MAKE them accountable. Why is that? Is it perhaps, despite your faux outrage at the sheer incompetence of it all, you DON’T WANT to face up to them? Maybe the truth is you DON’T WANT to make them accountable?

    But it’s in the last paragraph that the real double talk exposes the reality. He says:

    “So maybe Webb should stay silent if the best he can come up with is ‘yes, we’re useless, but at least we are honest about it’”

    Well, actually he did come up with more than that by the suggestion that referee’s should be Mic’d up and Irwins response was to say he didn’t want it!!!!

    Yet again you couldn’t make it up.

    Mikey also saw through all this Bull**** huffing and puffing when he made this observation after the Man City debacle:

    “It was fantastic to hear Webb come out and say, “we’ve taken steps” in respect of ensuring there is no future VAR debacle as happened in the Spuds/Liverpool game. (Shame the media didn’t bang on about the Brentford offside against us!!).

    Although the big question is what does “taken steps” actually mean. He didn’t say what steps, he didn’t say how this would rectify things, he didn’t say what sanctions would be taken against those who cocked up, and he didn’t say why they couldn’t do the same again (and if they did what punishments would be meted out).

    It the same old secretive, unaccountable PGMO mafia. Nothing will change but they’ve given a meaningless statement to the media so everything is now ok. Farce!”

    Exactly. An utter farce.

    Which leads us back to what Gooner Murphy said at the top:

    Premier League already Close ranks to hide their incompetence. “Dermot Gallagher explains the process for the VAR not overturning Goal”

    There is absolutely zero desire from the media, from the referees, from the PGMOL, The FA or The Premier league to sort this debacle out.

    And what is happening again today with the media turning on Arteta on mass rather than addressing the real issue of diabolical officiating is just an extension of what those idiots above did last week.

    They admit, like today, that the officials made an absolute pigs ear of things, but not only do they not care, they applaud it.

    As I keep saying, you couldn’t make it up.

  2. Arsenal should sue VAR. Why did VAR not ask the ref to look at the video, if it was deemed inconclusive?// It all looks a little dishonested and highly suspect.

    I love your report. You always tell the truth and you tell it how it is. This is why the fans prefer your articles over the other robotic copycat journalist, who are not imaginative or unbias to write the truth as the fans truly see it. They lack spine and credibility in their misleading boring copycat articles. Keep up the great reporting, you are the fans champion and the first to always print the truth.

  3. Same old Arsenal always whinging,

    Soon to be heard in every northern game we play in .

    Unfortunately there are too many people that will take pleasure from the decision not only in the media but on every terrace that doesn’t contain the word Emirates.

    Arteta’s job now is to use this to motivate our players just as George Graham did when the F.A deducted the famous 2points before the North Bank and Clock end told them where to stick them.

  4. Chris

    Thanks for that:

    “Arsenal Football Club wholeheartedly supports Mikel Arteta’s post-match comments after yet more unacceptable refereeing and VAR errors on Saturday evening,” the club said in a statement on Sunday.

    “The Premier League is the best league in the world with the best players, coaches and supporters, all of whom deserve better.

    “PGMOL urgently needs to address the standard of officiating and focus on action which moves us all on from retrospective analysis, attempted explanations and apologies.”

    Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

    To be honest I’m beyond caring if we get retribution because I’ve given up on any notion we are on a level playing field anyway.

    This is the time to face ’em up and lets see what happens. Lets hope there’s a ground swell of decent football fans that say yes, we agree, this is just getting ridiculous and cannot go on.

    Unforetuneately I have to agree with porter. It will all go against us, but I say f*** em.

    Well done Arsenal FC. Lets take the fight to them.

    Yes we will probably loose but I’m sick to death of it.

  5. If we look back again at history, the accurate version, as wonderfully provided on this very site, we can take some hope that the gambling industry will provide the incentive for football to clean up. We need the gambling public to place their bets based on referee’s biases, club ownership, media bias and the fact that the Arsenal will not be winning a title. Betting firms are supporting football to a great extent, they have influence. The VAR outrages come thick fast, patterns are forming and enough games have been played to see where the entertainment will be at season’s end. The gambling industry needs to be hit, I believe that will be the most effective strategy.

  6. The referees are not incompetent. They are bent. Stop calling them incompetent; they know what they are doing.

  7. Andy Madley – VAR at Newcastle yesterday, referee at Luton today, both televised on Sky, neither away team won – pure coincidence, of course…

  8. A very interesting statement from the club, and a long time coming.
    Arteta has played for a number of different teams and coached at City, he will be well aware the refs treat Arsenal differently to some clubs he has worked for.
    Richard Garlick , also on Arsenals payroll knows a thing or two about how things work in this league.
    Arsenal could now suffer at the hands of the PGMOL for exposing them, but they will be armed with evidence and I suspect a number of apologies.
    Good on the club for finally taking this on

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