The media are the enemies of journalism – and youngsters are there to balance the books


By Tony Attwood

There has been a general decline in trust in journalists and journalism in the UK for many years, and this has been bad news for many newspapers, for few would pay to read a publication they do not trust.

Indeed recently former Daily Mail editor Geordie Greig appeared to lay part of the blame for declining trust in news with right-wing newspapers which supported Britain leaving the EU.

He also blamed the Mail for the fact that the Conservative Party look likely to lose the forthcoming election in the UK, pointing out that the Telegraph that supported Liz Truss’s who was Prime Minister for 50 days before resigning (and in case you blinked and missed it, probably not just the most incompetent PM ever, but even more incompetent than most football managers).

The Daily Mail editor went on to describe the media not as “enemies of the people exactly, but perhaps enemies of accurate, prescient journalism.”  Which brings us to football.

For what football reporting shows us is that in the media there is now no dividing line between news, valid opinions, utter confusion and total fantasy.  

For example the Mirror runs the headline “Ben Crawford Arsenal transfer demand,”  At which point (and this is only the headline) we might be confused since it can’t be at all clear what an American actor who played the lead role in the Broadway production of The Phantom of the Opera for five years has to do with Arsenal.

In fact the story is the Mike Arteta has been “told” by Piers Morgan (!!!) to sign the Spanish winger Nico Williams because of his performances in the Euros.

As for Ben Crawford it turns out that this was not the famous actor but a relatively unknown journalist whose own website boasts the lead story that Ben McFadyean – a PhD student – has written that “It t was an honour to be interviewed by Ben Crawford for his study on the well-trodden path and development potential of English academy players, like Jamie Bynoe-Gittens, Jadon Sancho and Reece Oxford.”

So when we finally get to the story that “Mikel Arteta has been told by Piers Morgan to sign Spanish winger Nico Williams” it is all starting to look pretty confused.

But in fact it seems we are behind the times as “Arsenal move quickly to secure first deal of the transfer window” has already appeared.

That story tells us that, “Arsenal activate David Raya’s buy option”  At least further into the article they have the decency to admit that this was always the plan – although they omit to say it was arranged this way in order to avoid an FFP problem.

Thinking of keepers, in the top ten goalkeepers from 442 we have ex-Arsenal man Emi Martinez at number 8 which rather took me by surprise. especially as Aston Villa conceded 61 goals last season in the league.  That is more than twice as many as Arsenal – and yet they had the eighth best goalkeeper in the world, at Villa.  Still I am sure these journalists know what they are talking about.  Or maybe there is something valid in that general decline in trust in journalists.

However to be fair, that report did point toward an analysis of the money to be made from selling younger players .

This is where Chlesea are aiming to balance their books in terms of Financial Fair Play because in the period 2019 to 2023 they made more than any other English club from youth player sales: €307m.

Now that figure has to be taken with some caution as it includes money from add-ons (often the profit the buying club might make if they then sell the player on again) but reading the small print we can see that this is included even if the add ons were never received by the selling club!

According to that chart the clubs potentially making the most out of selling academy players were  Chelsea (€307m), Mamnchester City (€205m), Aston Villa (€188m),  Tottenham (€167m) Aston villa (€188m), and Arsenal (€127m).

Now these are phenomenal profits to be made on young players, and if those figures are anything like accurate it suggests that the bigger clubs are engaged in a policy of taking in as many youngsters as they can in order to make money out of selling them on, rather than specifically looking to keep som,e of the players for the future.

Of course Arsenal do keep some young players and Arteta has given some playing time to Folarin Balogun, Miguel Azeez, Ben Cottrell, Charlie Patino, Ethan Nwaneri and Charles Sagoe Jr.    But Balogun, Azeez and Cottrell have all now gone, and more could follow.   Youngsters it seem, are somewhat impatient – but mostly as a way of balancing the books.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *