- The media centric world which just doesn’t understand what it’s like to be a fan
- Will Haaland and Man City be penalised
By Tony Attwood
The media is playing a double game when it comes to football. On the one hand they are suggesting that “Arsenal set Mikel Arteta sacking deadline as former Chelsea manager lined up” (that fromAaron Catterson-Reid described apparently with all seriousness as their “Football Trends Writer”) and then they later write “Mikel Arteta sacking looks more ludicrous by the day as Arsenal reach new marker with Spaniard”. That from Tom Canton described as their “Arsenal Writer”
And in case you thought that maybe by now their Football Trends Writer was sacked after such a ludicrous misreading of the runes, no, Catterson Reid is still at Football.London and he is still writing negative Arsenal pieces such as “Oleksandr Zinchenko breaks silence on major Arsenal error following Wolves clash”. In a world where people’s job titles reflected what they actually did this man would have been in a division called “Imaginary Muck Raking” – but sadly no, the Mirror has given him a job. (Meanwhile in the Guardian Tottenham H is no longer “spurs” but depleted Tottenham).
Now the point is often made that one can ignore these ramblings (the Mirror’s ramblings I mean on this occasion, not mine) and just get on with supporting, but although I find most of the season ticket holders who sit around me are perfectly content with the way things are going, there are some in this area of the ground who love to shout abuse at Arsenal players for any perceived mistake.
It is of course a sign of a certain level of mental instability since a) by and large the player can’t hear and b) even if he could he is being told after the event how crap he is and c) he is being told by a person who looks as if he hasn’t even played football at even an amateur level – or if he has, not for quite a while.
But for those who are not fortunate enough to have a season ticket the wild literary gesticulations of Football.London and its stable mate the Daily Mirror, must seem as if they hold a certain level of truth, since they are pounded out five or six times a day, every day.
Worse, even though most of the stories never have a grain of truth anywhere near them they are believed because a) they are published relentlessly day by day and b) some other sites and newspapers pick up the same gibberish. And yet…
…this is not to say that all is fine within Arsenal, for as the table above shows, we are currently four points and four goals behind where we were last season.
But that may not be the disaster it seems, for as we have noted before, Arsenal had two dips in league matches last season. One was in February where the club picked up two defeats and a draw in three consecutive league games. The other was in April and May where in eight consecutive league games Arsenal gained just two wins. Three games were draws and three were defeats.
As a result on April 8 Arsenal were five points clear of Manchester City, at the end of the run on 20 May we were seven points behind them.
The point is that Arsenal must ensure that this season they don’t get in a bad run like that. They will of course draw and lose the occasional game (last season Manchester City drew five and lost five), but drawing six and losing six overall by Arsenal was just too much.
Put that way the margins seem quite narrow which is probably why many of those in the media are relentless in their support of Manchester City. Whether there are kickbacks for their support or not, of course, I have no idea, and of course, equally I can’t prove that what the media write about Arsenal and Manchester City has an effect on the players.
But what I do know listening to the people who sit behind me, and who I meet in the bar before the game, and what some of those who write Arsenal columns in some of the less intellectually demanding media, is that there are a lot of people pumping out the anti-Arsenal rhetoric all the time.
And that can affect the players.
Thus my argument is that Arsenal are not only playing whichever team is next up on the schedule, they are also playing the media, and a fair number of people in the home crowd who are stupid enough to believe what they read and hear on the media.
Manchester City however don’t suffer from the problem and I am not sure why that is. Maybe it could be argued that their players never make the mistakes Arsenal players make, or maybe their fans were so starved of success betwee their League Cup win in 1976 and their FA Cup win in 2011 that they will take trophies no matter what the cost.
Of course, we can’t do anything about that – except of course support the manager and the team. Unfortunately, some people in the Arsenal stadium don’t quite seem to get that. We are there to support the players and the manager, and to enjoy ourselves, not constantly to denigrate the players and the manager and have a miserable time.
- How far down might these points deducations take clubs?
- Big clubs that foul less lose fewer players of their own to injury
- What takes clubs up and down the league: attack or defence?
- Referee Extremism: the situation in Spain and in England
- Didn’t appreciate KO time, M1 is a disaster, but watching Arsenal is a joy