- How different referees respond. Who wins is as much a case of who is the ref, as anything else
- Arsenal’s protest over VAR shows club have had enough, and the disgraceful bias of much of the media
By Tony Attwood
Although for the most part I am focussing on a wild and whaky attack by the Daily Mirror’s website on Arsenal FC it should not be imagined that they are alone in launching multiple attacks on Arsenal today. The Guardian for example, which likes to be seen as a bastion of liberal democracy runs the headline, “Arteta’s rant blows issue out of proportion.
That’s an interesting point, both in the use of the pejorative word “rant” (in that he didn’t raise his voice, but answered a question from a journalist) and in regard to the fact that the League title and places in the top four can often be decided by a single point. (2021 was an example – not that long ago). And a team getting into the knockout section of the Champs League, even if it goes out at the round of 16 will earn £25m plus the TV money and gate receipts on top of that, so the loss of a point could be expensive in the end).
So how can the response to the loss of a point through an error by the video referee meaning a loss of at the very least £25m, be “out of proportion” and hence a “rant.” Sadly the Guardian chooses not to tell us.
What the Guardian does however, and to its shame what it often does, is use language in a pejorative way suggesting Arteta was “close to spontaneous combustion” (no it wasn’t) and suggests his answer to a journalist’s question was an “undignified rant.”
A newspaper journalist, asks a manager a question which the manager is obliged to answer, through a contract he had no part in agreeing to. The journalist doesn’t like the answer and so labels the answer a “rant”. That truly is “cake” and “eating it”.
Then, outrageously, Louise Taylor, the Guardian journalist adds, “The thought occurred that had a female coach reacted like Arteta did, they might expect to be labelled as hysterical, unbalanced or overly emotional.”
Yes well, that is the thought of a journalist on other journalists. Is the reaction of journalists relevant at this point when the PGMO is being accused of gross incompetence? It is hard to see how it might be especially when the manager is suggesting the whole of PGMO is rotten to the core.
But then it gets worse as Ms Taylor adds, “On the balance of play, Arsenal should not feel they were entitled to a point at St James’ Park.”
Now that is an absolute leap into the dark because nothing that I heard Arsenal staff say or do suggested any feeling of entitlement. Indeed how could it, as this is a club that across the last seven years has finished 8th (twice), 6th, 5th (three times) and second (once). In that period the club has won one trophy – the FA Cup. How does that give a sense of “entitlement,” especially when Arteta found the club in 15th position in the Christmas after he first joined. And also found almost the entire football journalist community suggesting it could be time for him to be sacked on 7 September 2021, when the club sat pointless at the foot of the league.
But maybe that’s it. Maybe they can’t stand it that after the way they treated him in 2021, he is still there, still managing, and took the club to second last season when most of the mass media was suggesting he should have been sacked the year before.
They know they were made to look fools then, and have been trying to get their own back ever since like a … well I had better not say.
Thus the Guardian writers, like their less eloquent journalistic colleagues at the Mirror, are using language in a singularly pejorative way in order to suggest others are stupid while they are all in the know.
“Picking through the wreckage of Arteta’s attack on VAR, it is worth remembering none of his anger would have been required had David Raya simply claimed Joe Willock’s cross. Arteta’s call to drop Aaron Ramsdale in favour of Raya was invariably going to invite pressure, and with every game it is hard to shake the notion that he has manifested a problem that did not need solving.”
So the keeper makes a mistake, and it is Arteta’s fault because he signed this keeper on loan and selected him and… what???? That excuses a mistake by VAR? Where is the logic or sense in that?
But this is of course the use of insinuation which much of the media, including to its eternal discredit the Guardian, does. There is a difference in style and approach between the Guardian and the Mirror but what they are each trying to do is the same.
Consider the Mirror’s website which today has come up with these articles – and yes they all appeared today…
“Owen points finger at ‘classless’ Arsenal and Arteta after Newcastle controversy”
“Arsenal statement on ref standards heavily criticised by Neville.”
Not convinced. Never mind there was a third article: Arteta left with egg on his face as comments on Liverpool VAR decision resurface
Oh and just in case we felt that it was only the Newcastle match that showed Arsenal up as a bunch of raging incompetents they also run this morning “Petit urges Arsenal to rethink transfer target – “I wouldn’t sign him”.”
But then it is straight back to the main thrust with yet another article… “Carragher questions extraordinary Arsenal statement with Liverpool comparison.”
And if we haven’t got the message it is then another piece says “Arsenal demand referee standards “urgently addressed” in extraordinary statement” and because we know anyone with the name Neville knows far more about football and is far less balanced than any football manager we have Neville doubles down on Arsenal theory after controversial Newcastle winner
And yes, all of these headlines have come out one after the other this morning in the Mirror’s site and that is still not enough because there is “Carragher sends Arteta fresh warning over “problem” player.”
And it is of course the fans’ fault too because “Newcastle duo receive vile racist abuse following Arsenal win” (and if you are a regular here you’ll know everyone at Untold condemns racist abuse, but here it is being used as another weapon to knock Arsenal with. Every club has racists somewhere in its support, and most clubs including Arsenal works hard on getting them out).
But hang on we might have missed something so then we have, “Full transcript of Arteta’s furious rant as Arsenal boss rages in interview.”
And all of that is in the aftermath of one interview that Arteta gave, as he is contractually obliged to give, through the deal between the Premier League and the media. Since he is forced to be there, why shouldn’t he say what he wants? That surely is the prime question, which of course the Mirror and others won’t tackle.
The Mirror and most of the media ceaselessly support the PGMO and refuse to contemplate the statistics that show there is something seriously wrong with PL refereeing. That we know. But this lunatic outburst from MGN who own the paper surely takes us to a new and highly unedifying level.
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