There are issues in football that lurk in the background and will cause enormous harm



By Tony Attwood

The essence of Untold’s argument of late is that there is a whole range of issues in football which are of considerable importance, but which often are simply ignored by the media at large.  And through not being discussed these issues then fester, get worse and are left unresolved.  Our main beef, as you’ll probably know, in this regard is with PGMO.

But of course that is not the only problem within football, and it is not true that everything is getting worse or at best staying the same.   For example, there was a time, maybe up to about five years ago when any mention of a player having psychological issues would immediately be answered by statements about the need to “man up”, and comments along the line that players can’t have psychological problems when they are doing a job everyone would love and earning loads of money.   

Little was done to address such comments, and thus players who were suffering psychologically were forced further into the darkness, often getting no help at all with their difficulties.   The concept of England as a caring society was well and truly thrown out the window.

But fortunately, “psychological issues” are now something we can talk about as with the comment in the Telegraph (not always the most enlightened newspaper when it comes to social and psychological issues) reporting in a very straightforward way that “Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal’s goalscoring issues have become a psychological problem for his players after his team were once again punished for failing to convert their chances.”

(My pleasure in seeing that piece is of course not at all related to the fact that since last season Untold has been talking about the psychological impact of the “dips” that Arsenal have suffered.)

Mikel Arteta is reported as saying “Probably it has become psychological, especially after today, more than it was against Fulham or West Ham before that. That is why I think we need to reset. This break is good. It comes at a good time.”

However the problem with discussing psychological issues – as we looked at the other day is that professional football contains within it a huge amount of arrogance.  As just one example, the top league in England has for years been called “the best league in the world” without any real investigation into what that means.

There was perhaps a case for such a title when season after season different clubs won the league.   But in the 19 years since Arsenal last won the league Manchester City have won the league seven times, Manchester United five times, and Chelsea five times.   That is not real open competition – for it means that just twice have another team won the league (Liverpool and Leicester, once each).

Indeed if one wanted a word to describe the state of football, then arrogance would surely be that word, and in fact just in the last 24 hours we have another little arrogance problem after it turned out that Manchester City are “being sued for damages over the use of the words Super Dry” — a type of beer sold by one of their many sponsors, on their training kit.

The claim, reported by Law360  against the club is made by the SuperDry clothing brand, and interestingly they claim that they could be losing sales because fans of other clubs would now not buy the SuperDry brand.  The allegation within the report that Manchester C simply went ahead in placing the brand name on the kit, without checking.

Of course, arguments about club crests and designs come and go all the time,and Aston Villa are now finding out how pesky such arrangements can be as Unai Emery wears the club logo on his tracksuit, as it appeared on kits before the 2023-24 campaign.   But there is a different crest apparently also on display, which was introduced by the previous owner, Randy Lerner.

It’s all getting a bit fiddly and difficult, and that is before we get to the upcoming issue of players who have gone to Saudi Arabia and now realise that living in an illiberal mono-religion society can be more of a pain than they thought.

Used to getting their own petulant ways, some players are reportedly now telling their agents to get them out.  Given that they are not slaves (at least not yet) they probably can leave, although at quite a cost in terms of buying out their contract.

This is because to avoid UK tax on their earnings these players who are said to be regretting their hasty moves have to leave the UK for the rest of tax year (which starts 5 April) in the year they departed in, AND for the whole of the following tax year.  Otherwise, something like 42% of the money earned has to be paid back in tax to the UK authorities.

It is, as they say, a funny ol’ game

One Reply to “There are issues in football that lurk in the background and will cause enormous harm”

  1. 116 charges 🤣

    Henderson seems to be having problems balancing his posturing with his wages. He’s only been in Saudi for 6 months, and now wants out. It’s a hard life.

    What’s this I hear about another US consortium preparing a bid for Everton?

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