The season is over but slowly journalists are realising something is not quite right…



By Tony Attwood

With the season over there is a sense in the media of something being not quite right.   Somehow they can’t quite put a finger on it, but in one way or another they know this isn’t how it should be, and it can’t go on like this.

For football journalism this could actually be a turning point.   Maybe.

Of course there is all the usual stuff about the players of the season, which we always get, and quite rightly in this regard Declan Rice and Martin Odegaard get quite a few notices – see for example “With the reassuring presence of Rice alongside him Odegaard, the pair have dovetailed seamlessly in Arsenal’s midfield.”

But beyond that there is a feeling that something has to change.   And for English football journalism that is very unusual, and slightly encouraging.

There is even a recognition that “A total of 89 points with a +62 goal-difference Arsenal would have won the league last season and in more than half of the Premier League’s 20-team seasons.”

But that is where the worries begin for as the Guardian (the source of the above quote) goes on to say, “what City are doing is out of step with what used to be considered normal.”

There is mention of the 115 charges, and a suggestion that competitiveness has gone out of the window.

This is seen because last season the top two read


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 38 28 5 5 94 33 61 89
2 Arsenal 38 26 6 6 88 43 45 84
Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 38 28 7 3 96 34 62 91
2 Arsenal 38 28 5 5 91 29 62 89


And when all the journalists can do is pick out the fact that Manchester City scored two more and Arsenal three more, Manchester City let in one more but Arsenal let in 14 fewer, and Mancheseter City got two more points and Arsenal got five more, suddenly the realisation happens that although details are important, should there not be something more.

At this point, a desperate need to avoid talking about Tottenham has crept in.  However, there is criticism of the club flying to Australia immediately after the season’s end to play a friendly.  Surely with the most profitable stadium in the league (so we are repeatedly told) there is no need to do that!  I have family in Australia and I flew to see them last Christmas and that 10 hour time difference can be a killer – and remains a killer even if you have done it lots of times before.

But there is more to the dissatisfaction now coming through.   The big seven clubs are in the top eight positions (only Aston Villa have broken up the old firm feel), and last season’s three promoted clubs are this season’s three relegated clubs which makes it all seem a bit pointless.

And big clubs that have fallen, and stayed fallen, like Everton: 16th, 17th and 15th in the last three seasons, with their new ground still not open next season. 

But there is more to be concerned about.  The bottom three actually got among the worst-ever points totals in the league’s history.

OK there are quite a few commentaries about Manchester United and the fact that they have shown that you can go on paying more and more in salaries but it still doesn’t bring in success.

All of which seems to forget the biggest shadow lurking in the wings…. except it is starting to get some mentions.   As the Guardian article quoted above also notes Manchester C “won the league by two points in a season when teams with far fewer charges were docked eight points and four points for breaking rules on expenditure.”

At last – a glint of realisation that this season might not yet be over!

But it is also interesting to note what else is not being mentioned.  PGMO is the prime contender because it is never mentioned.  But there is also how the £1bn Tottenham stadium financed, including the government grant.     

And something else turned up this week in quite a few columns.  The use of the word “gaslighting,” one that we have considered before, but which the media has previously avoided, because it is what they do.

Yet it is a powerful concept and one that absolutely fits what is going on at the moment in connection with football.   It always takes the media a while, but sometimes they get there in the end.  Now about that issue of what happens if Man C are found not guilty…


In case you are interested here is the original series on gaslighting. It was all about refereeing, but the same approach has been used about Manchester City’s finances.  At least until now…

Gaslighting: how refereeing in the Premier League is manipulated, and why the media never speak about it.

6 Replies to “The season is over but slowly journalists are realising something is not quite right…”

  1. Rumours are circulating that ManCity have paid off officials and third party witnesses, but it only takes one disgruntled employee to eventually spill the beans.
    As for the Tottenham stadium scam. People are starting to question how it was financed by local corrupt government officials, brown envelopes etc.
    The opposite situation with Arsenal where by the local government offered no help, in fact instead of offering financial help they did the opposite by blackmailing Arsenal into buying the local government a recycle plant and uplifting and refurbishing the local tube stations. Arsenal got no financial support from local government just blackmail in my opinion, where by Tottenham got full financial support in the hundreds of millions from corrupt local government in my opinion. They must have JR from the series Dallas making their dealings. It should really be investigated as unfair Financial Fair Play. Whether it be player purchasing or stadium purchasing it should be considered answerable FFP officials. This is of course just my opinion as there is no real evidence at this present time. Time will see if reporters ask the right questions as mentioned by Tony at untold-arsenal, but it is just opinions with a little smoking gun.

  2. IMHO, any club not owning it’s stadium ought to pay rent in relation with the value of the stadium, which naturally shows up in the expenses column and means there is less to be spent on players and coaches and any activity/item relevant to FFP.

    So the rich owner just paying the stadium and giving it like a birth present to the club cannot happen and if it did in the past needs to be included in the future yearly accounts. I have no idea if it is part of FFP, and if it is not…it is a missing piece.

  3. Supposedly Saudi is pressuring UK government on the city charges. If City comes clean out of it then ill say the clubs will most likely form a new league.

  4. We need to cherish Arsenal’s recent success more than we are as Gunners. Finishing 2nd two years in a row, and improving our points tally and GD steadily for a few years is great progress. Mikel, the management and the boys are doing a great job.

    On Man C charges, I think the bottleneck is the fact that they are owned by a very wealthy country that happens to have a lot of investments in England. There must be worries and political pressure, something that Everton or Forest did not enjoy (and hence the swift points deductions).

  5. I agree with Sammy wholeheartedly, Arsenal’s slow but steady improvement should be seen for what it is real progress. We have a very young team who will push City and others even harder next year. On City’s charges I dont think that the Premier League has the cojones to expel them or deduct more than 20 or so points, if they did it would lead to the case being tied up in court for years.

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