As a follow- up to my previous article, “Untold Arsenal Media Watch: The Other Side of the Sun,” in which I detailed the Sun’s apparent use of a “talking points campaign” to target Arsenal, I decided to take a closer look at the activities of one particular Sun reporter whose coverage featured heavily in that article. This reporter publishes under the name of “Antony Kastrinakis,” and as I believe I made clear in my last article, Mr. Kastrinakis doesn’t seem to like Arsenal very much. Not even the slightest little bit.
So, in light of that, I thought it would be interesting to look at the evolution of Mr. Kastrinakis’ Arsenal coverage over the last few years. Specifically, I wanted to see if I could pinpoint any particular origin and/or motive for this negativity. And while I was unable to determine any specific motive for Mr. Kastrinakis’ conduct, what I found in my research was nonetheless highly interesting.
Because apparently, Mr. Kastrinakis was not always as negative towards Arsenal as he is now. In fact, the negativity of his coverage, in conjunction with the prevalence of his use of certain “talking points” (as documented in my previous article), appears to have increased in leaps and bounds over the past several years, and even in intervals that can be traced back to specific DATES when his coverage of Arsenal changed.
My analysis on this subject is based on a data set compiled from the website Journalisted.com, which provides an archive of Mr. Kastrinakis’ entire body of work for the Sun, going back through 2008. This archive can be found here, if anyone wants to double-check my conclusions:
So, getting straight into the research, let us begin by looking at the way that Mr. Kastrinakis covered Arsenal in the year 2008. The first factor that is of interest in this area is the overall VOLUME of Mr. Kastrinakis’ coverage of Arsenal, as a percentage of his total football coverage. This volume during 2008, in relation to his coverage of other clubs, is (approximately) as follows:
Manchester United: 22%; Chelsea: 16%; Arsenal 15%; Spurs 11%.
(full data set: 2008: 233 Total Articles; ManU: 52; Chels: 39; Arsenal: 36; Spurs: 25; Intl: 21; LP: 14; Match Reports: 7; Madrid: 7; Milan: 5; Inter: 4; Stoke: 3; ManC: 3; Portsm: 3; Barca: 3; Wigan: 2; Newcastle: 2; Basketball: 1; Everton: 1; W. Ham: 1; Roma: 1; Middlesbrough: 1; Bristol City: 1; Reading: 1).
So, in 2008, Mr. Kastrinakis’ Arsenal coverage, in terms of volume, appeared relatively consistent with his volume of coverage of other top clubs (although this would change later).
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Another interesting factor about 2008 is that, compared with more recent years, the tone of his coverage towards Arsenal, while often negative, was certainly not as negative as it is at the present. The use of “talking points” was also not apparent as a clear trend during this time period.
In general, the majority of Mr. Kastrinakis’ Arsenal coverage from the year 2008 dealt with transfers, and a good example of the more positive tone of his articles during this time period can be found in the following match report, detailing an Arsenal draw against Seville:
Arsenal 1 Seville 1
CARLOS VELA fired a spectacular opener as Arsenal’s youngsters survived a Seville bombardment to clinch a draw in the Amsterdam Tournament.
Lucasz Fabianski was the hero with a sensational performance that kept the Spaniards at bay.
The Poland international made at least TEN spectacular saves to avert a disaster. Yet 10 minutes from time, sub Ernesto Chevanton finally found the net to give Seville a more-than-deserved draw. Arsene Wenger was impressed with Fabianski’s shift which ultimately helped Arsenal retain the trophy following Inter Milan’s 1-0 defeat of Ajax.
Boss Wenger said: “Fabianski played very well. He was spot on with his decision-making and, technically, what he did was impressive tonight. “We have two great goalkeepers – but that is what I thought at the start.” Wenger added: “Today we were very young but we learned what it is like to defend, what we are not used to. It was a good lesson for us. “Overall I am pleased because we lacked a bit of experience but we got a positive result with 1-1, even if Seville had many more chances.”
Wenger changed his entire team for the Gunners’ second clash in as many days at Ajax’s futuristic Amsterdam Arena… [he] gave most of his promising youngsters a run-out – and they did not disappoint. Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey started, as did Mark Randall, Kieran Gibbs and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas. Wilshere made an instant impact shortly after kick-off when he released Nicklas Bendtner with a reverse pass. The Dane got his shot away but Javier Varas Herrea dived well to push it for a corner. Just four minutes in, another highly-promising kid – Carlos Vela – put Arsenal in front with a wonderful effort. …
So, to sum up, during the year 2008, Mr. Kastrinakis’ coverage of Arsenal was both positive and negative, and constituted only around 15% of his total football coverage.
However, in 2009, we begin to see some HIGHLY interesting trends emerge in relation to Mr. Kastrinakis’ coverage. In fact, Mr. Kastrinakis’ coverage of Arsenal in the year 2009 underwent so many abrupt changes that it actually needs to be analyzed in relation to 3 distinct time periods: First, from 1 January, 2009 through 31 June, 2009; Second, From 1 July, 2009 through 24 November, 2009; Third, post-24 November, 2009.
In the first of these time periods (1 January through 31 June, 2009), the volume of Mr. Kastrinakis’ Arsenal coverage was generally consistent with what we witnessed in 2008. Specifically, during this time period, as in 2008, reports about Arsenal constituted approximately 14% of Mr. Kastrinakis’ total football coverage (full stats: 2009 Pre-July: Total articles: 139; Ars 20).
During this same time period, the overall tone of Mr. Kastrinakis’ Arsenal coverage is generally consistent with what we saw in 2008 (ie, some positive, some negative, low frequency of “talking points”). An example would be the following article from 12 March, 2009:
ARSENE WENGER praised his young Gunners as they marched into the Champions League quarter-finals.
Arsenal held their nerve and saw off Roma in a dramatic penalty shootout in the seething cauldron of the Olympic Stadium. That made it four English teams through to the last eight. And Emirates chief Wenger said: “I am delighted and proud – very proud of the mental strength because that is a quality that has been questioned a lot in our team. “You could see we have improved tremendously on that front.”…
…”I was apprehensive after the first game because I knew that here they would give absolutely everything. And I believe that England can be very proud to have four teams still in. I was very concerned that for us to be the only team to go out would be detrimental for the team and our progress so it really helps us that we went through.”
Theo Walcott… said: “We showed great character and great spirit. We are really pleased and proud of what we did here tonight.”
So, in this initial period of 2009, we see essentially the same type of coverage as we saw during 2008.
However, during the time period from 1 July, 2009, through 23 November, 2009, we see the first signs that this is all about to change. The first change of note concerns the volume of Mr. Kastrinakis’ coverage of Arsenal as a percentage of the total volume of his football coverage.
As previously documented, prior to July, 2009, this volume tended to be around 15%. However, from 1 July, 2009, through 23 November, 2009, Mr. Kastrinakis’ coverage of Arsenal suddenly jumped from 15% of total coverage to THIRTY-NINE percent of total coverage (full data set: 2009 July – 11/23: Total articles: 97; Arsenal 34).
In other words, during this time period, his coverage of Arsenal more than DOUBLED from what it had been previously. And that’s not all. Accompanying this abrupt change in volume, we also saw a pronounced change in the TONE of his coverage as well. Specifically, his reporting became increasingly negative. We also began to see the first emergence of the regular repetition of the “talking points” that I detailed in my previous article.
An example of this change in tone can be found in the following article published on 17 October, 2009, detailing an Arsenal draw against Birmingham. Note how the tone of this article differs from the tone of the previously-cited article from 2008 covering Arsenal’s 1-1 draw against Seville:
My darkest day
ARSENE WENGER relived one of the most traumatic games in his career saying: “I feared Eduardo would never play again.”
Arsenal host Birmingham today, their first meeting since the St Andrew’s draw that wrecked the Gunners’ 2007-08 title hopes.
Martin Taylor’s X-rated tackle left Eduardo with a double leg break and also shattered his team-mates.
Gael Clichy gave away a last-minute penalty which cost Arsenal two points and his howler led to then-skipper William Gallas’ sit-down protest as the Gunners’ dressing room imploded.
Gunners would have opened up and eight-point gap on the chasing pack had they beaten the Brummies. But after that agonising draw against Birmingham, shell-shocked Arsenal went on to win just one of their next eight league games and handed the title to Manchester United.
Wenger said: “What sticks in the mind? That we didn’t win the game and that Eduardo was severely injured. There were a lot of incidents. The penalty, Gallas’s explosion a little bit.
“I still believe that was a big blow. We lost Eduardo for the season and we dropped two points. We couldn’t win after that…”
… Rarely does a game have such huge impact on a club but it certainly did for Arsenal. Wenger said: “I don’t believe we fell apart. It was a shock. With these things it is difficult to measure the percentage impact it had on whether we lost the league or not. We lost at Liverpool in the Champions League…After that everything became a bit of a snowball effect. It is difficult to isolate one single incident.”
Yet TV images of Wenger striding out on to the pitch almost 10 minutes after the final whistle to drag Gallas – sitting on the pitch – back into the dressing room gave a graphic account of the disintegration of the Arsenal dressing room…
The above article is only one of many examples documenting Mr. Kastrinakis’ change in tone towards Arsenal during this time period, and more examples can be found in the Journalisted.com archive.
However, the above-referenced changes in volume and tone are hardly worth mentioning in comparison to what occurred immediately FOLLOWING 23 November, 2009. Because, beginning on 24 November, 2009, the volume of Mr. Kastrinakis’ Arsenal coverage made another sudden jump.
Specifically, on 24 November, 2009, Mr. Kastrinakis’ Arsenal coverage again made a surprising leap from 39% of total coverage, to a previously unprecedented FIFTY-ONE percent of total coverage. (Full stats: 2009 Post 11/23: Total Articles: 33; Ars 17).
So, just on 24 November, 2009, Mr. Kastrinakis’ Arsenal coverage jumped an ADDITIONAL 11% from what it had been before. To give some idea of the impact of this change, it means that, from the beginning of 2009, Mr. Kastrinakis’ coverage of Arsenal more than TRIPLED prior to the end of 2009. This tripling in volume of coverage occurred within a relatively short period of only 5 months.
And once again, the volume is not the only aspect of Mr. Kastrinakis’ coverage that changed abruptly. On 24 November, 2009, accompanying this change in volume, we also saw the general NEGATIVITY of Mr. Kastrinakis’ tone towards Arsenal rise to a level that was previously unprecedented (whether with regard to Mr. Kastrinakis’ coverage of Arsenal or of any other club). Also on this date, we first saw the “talking points” documented in my previous article truly come out in full force.
Mr. Kastrinakis appears to have actually inaugurated this new phase of his Arsenal coverage with an article criticizing Arsene Wenger, which was published on 24, November, 2009, and demonstrates the change in tone that I’m describing:
Arsene F-word Theo rant
ARSENE WENGER last night launched an incredible F-word rant over Theo Walcott’s World Cup chances.
The normally cool Arsenal boss went wild after he was asked whether the winger should be part of Fabio Capello’s England plans next summer.
Wenger blasted: “For f***’s sake the World Cup is in June. Is he on holiday until June 11?
“You cannot be serious. For me, the big season is with Arsenal, not at the World Cup. We do not pay players to go to the World Cup, we pay the players to do well for Arsenal. The first pride of a man is to do well for the guy who pays you in life, not to go to the World Cup.”…
…The Frenchman then sent off another four-letter message to Walcott, 20, and the rest of his Arsenal team-mates. Wenger added: “Listen, a guy who has a poor season has a poor World Cup…Because the players are not afraid of you if you do f*** all the whole season.
“You have no respect from the manager if you don’t do anything at your club. The only experience I have of players who won the World Cup was with Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit. They won the Premiership, they won the FA Cup, they went to the World Cup and they won that…”
On a side note, raise your hand if you believe that Arsene Wenger actually said this? Me neither.
However, moving on…In 2010, the details of Mr. Kastrinakis’ Arsenal coverage are somewhat murky and strange. And the reason for this is because the Journalisted.com archive of Mr. Kastrinakis’ work, during the year of 2010, appears to either be erroneous or to have been tampered with. Specifically, it appears that a large number of articles may be missing.
For example, while the volume of Mr. Kastrinakis’ overall football coverage is generally consistent throughout the years of 2008, 2009, and 2011, we see an unusual drop in the volume of his total coverage in 2010, which can be linked to certain specific months:
Jan: Total articles: 30; Ars 13; (43%); Feb: Total: 15; Ars 11; (73%); Mar: Total: 19; Ars 9; (47%); Apr: Total: 22; Ars 8; (36%); May: Total: 24; Ars 13; (54%); June: Total: 9; Ars 2; (22%); JULY: TOTAL ARTICLES: 4; ARS 0; (0%); Aug: Total: 17; Ars 4; (23%); SEPT: TOTAL: 5; ARS 1; (20%); OCT: TOTAL ARTICLES: 0; NOV: TOTAL ARTICLES: 0; Dec: Total: 11; Ars; 4; 36%.
So, during the months of July, 2010, and September, 2010, Mr. Kastrinakis is reported as publishing only 4 and 5 TOTAL articles, respectively. And then, during the months of September, 2010, and October, 2010, Mr. Kastrinakis is reported as publishing ZERO total articles. This is such a significant drop in volume that I have difficulty believing that these statistics are accurate.
It’s certainly possible that Mr. Kastrinakis was simply on holiday during these months, or that there was a drop in volume in his reporting that can be explained for other reasons. However, I am more inclined to believe that this anomaly is likely due to some type of error in the Journalisted.com archive. Either that, or that the articles during these months might have been deleted for some unknown reason.
However, whatever the reason for this anomaly, the upshot is that I am currently unable to compile data about the volume of Mr. Kastrinakis’ Arsenal coverage in 2010, because I am not convinced that the data set is complete.
However, with regard to the overall tone of Mr. Kastrinakis’ Arsenal coverage during the year 2010, it appears consistent with what we witnessed beginning on 24 November, 2009. For example, the following article was published on 14 May, 2010 (note the “talking points” that I’ve highlighted):
(Accompanied by gigantic photo graphic of the sinking Titanic labelled “Arsenal,” and Cesc Fabregas “escaping” in a lifeboat)
Photo Caption: GUNNERS DISASTER … Cesc Fabregas is ready to quit Arsenal’s sinking ship – and Wenger could be close behind him
If Cesc Fabregas jumps ship next week and quits Arsenal, he will leave behind a club rapidly sinking into the abyss.
Arsenal’s status as a top four Premier League outfit is already under intense scrutiny, especially with bitter neighbours Tottenham now breathing down their necks.
Losing Fabregas, 23, at such a fragile moment in their history is a devastating prospect. But it could get even worse.
For the sum of all fears at the Emirates is this: Could Arsene Wenger follow?…
…That uncertainty must be praying on Fabregas’ mind. If his manager is not signing a new agreement, why should his player?
The Arsenal skipper has grown frustrated at the club’s inability to challenge for honours. All he has to show for eight years with the Gunners is an FA Cup medal.
Wenger’s tight purse-strings policy has kept Arsenal financially on track. Yet it has left giant empty spaces in the trophy cabinet – and that is the main reason Fabregas is on the verge of going as Barcelona offer the virtual guarantee of silverware…
…Pep Guardiola’s team ..thrashed a depleted Arsenal in this year’s Champions League quarter-finals and are universally regarded as the best team on the planet, despite crashing to Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan in the semi-finals.
Arsenal have flattered to deceive again this season and there is no sign of Wenger changing his youth policy and spending big.
Yet club chief executive Ivan Gazidis has constantly insisted, ‘The funds are there for Arsene to spend if he wants to’.
A banner was unfurled during the 4-0 home win over Fulham last Sunday, which was curiously removed at half-time. It read ‘Signings or Sign Off’ and was aimed straight at the Frenchman.
When I asked Wenger later if he would finally accede to the fans’ demands and sign big, he once more repeated the mantra that so frustrates supporters. He declared: “I have one thing in common with the fans. I love the club and I want to win things. But we have to pay our wages at the end of the month. Some can afford to do anything that way but we have to respect our business rules.”
So do not expect Franck Ribery or Gigi Buffon to be landed …The feeling around the club is Wenger may not even sign a new keeper, despite Lukasz Fabianski’s clangers and Manuel Almunia’s erratic form…
…Fabregas…was bold yesterday at a press conference in Port Aventura, Tarragona, admitting “You see your former team-mates triumphing there and it makes you dream tremendously, because we have worked together for many years.”…
…Wenger has meticulously planned the development of his current side. But if your best player is ready to exit, it means it is time to question the entire set-up and make radical changes to your approach. Or leave yourself.
The following article from 30 December, 2010, is also worth mentioning, because it is yet another match report covering an Arsenal draw. Compared with Kastrinakis’ previous match reports cited above, this article further highlights how Kastrinakis’ Arsenal coverage has “evolved” during the time periods specified. This article in particular is interesting in relation to the earlier 2008 article covering the 1-1 draw against Seville, because Kastrinakis is covering some of the exact same topics, but with a completely different spin:
Wigan 2 Arsenal 2
WE wanted to see if Arsenal have finally come of age.
Instead we saw Arsene Wenger play Russian roulette with their title hopes.
The Gunners boss made EIGHT changes from the team that trounced Chelsea on Monday night.
Critics were already saying the triumph over the champions was another false dawn for long-suffering Gooners. And Wenger’s gamble backfired as his side conceded a late leveller against 10-man Wigan, having wasted enough chances to put the game away…
…It looked all over as Wigan’s Charles N’Zogbia was sent off for head-butting Jack Wilshere 12 minutes from time. But, three minutes later, Sebastien Squillaci headed into his own net to leave Arsenal floored…Wenger gambled a lot and gained very little by starting with Theo Walcott and Samir Nasri on the bench…
…This was the type of game that in all of the previous five seasons has been the litmus test for an Arsenal campaign. Up north in the bleak mid-winter against a team fighting for their lives. And it was against the side that mathematically ended last season’s title challenge.
Lukasz Fabianski, in particular, was back to the scene of his crime. He was dubbed Flappi-Handski after gifting Wigan two goals as they came from two down to snatch an injury-time win last April…
…Even if Arsenal do defy the odds and take the title it will have been despite Squillaci and Laurent Koscielny – and not thanks to them. Right from the off Hugo Rodallega broke down the right and crossed…Within seconds, Koscielny lost possession and Tom Cleverley’s cross was again just in inch or two away from Rodallega.
And, with 17 minutes gone, Wigan got the breakthrough as N’Zogbia ran 50 yards unchallenged before Koscielny stretched out a leg. There seemed little contact but referee Lee Probert gave the penalty and Watson beat Fabianski to leave Arsenal rocking. Abou Diaby then went off injured after just 27 minutes, although Wilshere’s arrival as sub gave the visitors a huge lift and six minutes before half time Arshavin’s wonder goal put them back on terms…
…But, before Arsenal fans could breathe more easily, 10-man Wigan had levelled things up.Watson swung in a corner which Rodallega nodded back from the far post and Squillaci headed into his own net under pressure from Wigan skipper Gary Caldwell. Wenger immediately threw on both Nasri and Walcott but it was too little, too late.
…Fair play to Wigan, who dragged themselves out of the bottom three. They did themselves justice and got the rub of the green. But with Manchester City due at the Emirates on Wednesday, Arsenal fans were once again left thinking ‘what might have been’.
You can understand why Wenger made the changes just 48 hours after beating Chelsea. But so many? And with a full week to rest before Roberto Mancini’s men come calling? For all the flak they will cop, Arsenal are still in the race. But it could have been so much closer.
Moving on to the year 2011, we once again have a data set that will allow us to determine the overall volume of Kastrinakis’ Arsenal coverage. However, as in 2009, analysis of 2011 once again needs to be divided into separate time periods: First, the time period prior to 28 June, 2011; Second, the time period following 28, June 2011.
The total numbers for Mr. Kastrinakis’ Arsenal coverage in the year 2011 are (approximately) as follows:
Arsenal: 46%; ManU: 10% Real Madrid: 8%; Liverpool: 7%.
(Full data set: 2011: 150 Articles; Arsenal: 69; ManU: 15; Real Madrid: 12; Liverpool: 10; Barca: 8; Spurs: 7; Match Reports: 6; Chelsea: 6; Man City: 4; Marseille: 2; International: 2; Everton: 1; W. Brom: 1; Sunderland: 1; Wigan: 1; West Ham:1 ; Wolves: 1; Shalke: 1; Villa: 1; Newcastle: 1).
Thus, the total volume of Arsenal coverage in 2011 appears consistent with the volume that we witnessed following the last abrupt change on 24 November, 2009. In addition to the volume, the unprecedented negativity of Mr. Kastrinakis’ tone towards Arsenal remains unchanged from that date. As an example of Mr. Kastrinakis’ negative tone as it continued in 2011, the following article was published on 17 May, 2011:
THOMAS VERMAELEN tore into Arsenal’s ‘awful’ flops in a damning assessment of their disastrous end to the season.
The Belgian returned from eight months out with an Achilles injury in Sunday’s 2-1 home defeat to Aston Villa…
…Defender Vermaelen, 25, said: “I’m happy to be on the pitch again but the game was awful.
“The second half was good because we were the better side but in the first 15 or 20 minutes we were really bad. Our mentality was not good enough.
“I don’t think we can accept that as an Arsenal side. We should work on that because, otherwise, it’s not good enough.”
Arsenal have won just three of 14 games since the shock Carling Cup final loss to Birmingham…
…If Arsenal finish only fourth they will face a Champions League play-off in August — yet Vermaelen admitted players did not seem to realise the importance of the Villa game…
…Vermaelen’s team-mate, keeper Wojciech Szczesny, also rapped the team for the way they started on Sunday as Darren Bent struck twice in the first 15 minutes.
Pole Szczesny, 21, said: “It was very disappointing, especially the way we conceded the two goals. That is actually not the way we usually concede goals, so it was very disappointing.
“I don’t want to blame any players for the goals but we just looked like we didn’t want to be there in the first 15 minutes of the game. It was weird.
“I wanted to be there, I want to play for Arsenal and every time I put on the Arsenal shirt I’m buzzing. So I’m talking about the body language of the players. It was disappointing…”
On a side note, raise your hand if you believe that Vermaelen and Szczesny actually said these things? Me neither.
However, moving on…In recent weeks, we have witnessed YET ANOTHER sudden and abrupt change in the volume of Antony Kastrinakis’ coverage of Arsenal. For example, the volume Mr. Kastrinakis’ coverage of Arsenal during the month of June , 2011, was generally consistent with what we have seen since the post-24 November, 2009, period. Specifically, Mr. Kastrinakis’ coverage of Arsenal from 1 June, 2011 through 27 June, 2011, constituted approximately 55% of his total coverage. (Full data set: 2011: 6/1-6/27: Total articles: 20; Ars 11).
HOWEVER, beginning on 28 June, 2011, Mr. Kastrinakis’ coverage of Arsenal made yet another sudden jump from approximately 50% of total coverage, to ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of total coverage. Just to repeat for emphasis: ONE HUNDRED PERCENT OF TOTAL coverage. In other words, beginning on 28, June, 2011, Mr. Kastrinakis has not written one, single article about any club other than Arsenal. (Full data set: 2011: 6/28-7/16: Total articles: 21; Ars 21).
So, in recent weeks, we have seen YET ANOTHER 50% jump in Mr. Kastrinakis’ coverage of Arsenal. That means that, from early 2009 to the present, Mr. Kastrinakis appears to have increased his total Arsenal coverage by a whopping 85% (approximately).
And although, as I’ve documented above, it would be virtually impossible for the tone of Mr. Kastrinakis’ Arsenal coverage to become any MORE negative than it already was (beginning on 24 November, 2009), this trend of negativity combined with the frequent use of “talking points” has certainly continued in full force up to the present date.
Just as an example, the following article was published on 11 July, 2011 (rather than highlight the “talking points” this time, I’ll let you pick them out for yourselves):
Cesc is torn – but I think he’ll stay
ARSENE WENGER did not even wait to be asked about Cesc Fabregas.
Against all odds, the Arsenal boss claimed his captain will stay a Gunner…
…The Emirates boss said: “So does Fabregas stay? We already answered the question…”
…Wenger did not bury his head in the sand or try to fudge the Fabregas saga.
After six trophy-less years, and three summers of speculation about a return to Barcelona, Spanish star Fabregas’ dream move seems closer than ever – particularly after he stayed at home for Arsenal’s pre-season trip to Malaysia and China with a “muscle injury”.
Wenger put it all in a nutshell. Yes, Fabregas wants to go back to Barca. No, he’s not unhappy at Arsenal. He is torn between the two clubs…
…And, remarkably, [Wenger] is confident that Fabregas, 24, will stay.
Optimistic is a more realistic assessment, of course. Hopeful, even.
Wenger even admitted he would let Fabregas go if that will make the midfielder happy… if the Catalan giants meet Arsenal’s demands over their captain…
…Wenger added: “Cesc has always been torn between his love for Arsenal and the desire to play for the biggest team at the moment in the world.
“Yes, I had a meeting with him. I cannot speak about the meeting at all but he knows that I want him to stay.
“He can’t force his way out – but you can only be in if you are completely in. He is the leader of the team. He has to be completely focused and convinced that he wants to stay…”
…Wenger assured fans that Nasri will stay – because otherwise Arsenal could not call themselves a big club…
…”For example you say about Fabregas leaving, Nasri leaving… if you give that message out you cannot pretend you are a big club.
“Because a big club first of all holds on to its big players and gives a message out to all the other big clubs that they just cannot come in and help themselves.”
“Imagine the worst-case scenario and we lose Fabregas and Nasri. You cannot convince people you are ambitious after that.”…
…So, after weeks of the drip-drip effect of propaganda from the Catalan capital sapping the morale of Gooners fans, Wenger finally set the record straight. The Arsenal chief would stand for no more of Barca’s dirty tricks. “It’s all a matter of time” the Catalan rags kept telling us. “Wenger’s agreed to let Cesc go”, they yelled. Barca president Sandro Rosell even denigrated Fabregas publicly claiming “he’s worth less than last season.”
Wenger did admit Fabregas could yet decide to leave – but he vowed the saga will end one way or another very soon. That could be as early as next Sunday when Arsenal return from their tour. If not earlier…”
On a side note, raise your hand if you believe that Arsene Wenger actually said this? Me neither.
But anyway, moving on, and summing up…I personally don’t know what to make of the above statistics regarding Mr. Kastrinakis’ unprecedented negative coverage of Arsenal, and particularly the way that it has “evolved” in recent years, and apparently at specific intervals.
However, I do strongly believe that the Sun owes its readers, many of whom are Arsenal fans, an explanation for the trends that I have documented.
On the question of Mr. Kastrinakis’ motive for all this, I’ll leave you all to form your own conclusions. However, way back in 2006, Arseblog.com documented the exploits of one Antony Kastrinakis (who was apparently working for News of the World at the time), in relation to a certain fabricated story regarding Arsenal fans “booing” Thierry Henry. Arseblog’s conclusions on the subject were that:
“Antony Kastrinakis = Liverpool supporting hack.” (although they weren’t clear about the precise)
However, on a similar note, a commenter responded in the following manner on the comments thread from my previous article that mentioned Kastrinakis:
“I’ve known Anthony Kastrinakis since our teens.He is a Liverpool supporter who never got over 26th May 1989. He hates Arsenal with a passion FACT. I can assure you this individual does not need encouragement to stick the boot into Arsenal. His poisonous attitude to AFC is known to all who know / knew him for years and years. I am not the least bit surprised by this.”
And while I certainly can’t vouch for the veracity or the accuracy of this claim by a particular anonymous commenter, it’s at least consistent with what Arseblog previously reported.
So, could this be the answer? Is Antony Kastrinakis a “Liverpool supporting hack” whose bias against Arsenal could explain all this? If that’s the case, then I’d say that the Sun certainly has an obligation to its readers to ensure that such a person doesn’t end up on an Arsenal beat…
Or is it possible that there could be more to the story than this? Personally, I don’t know, and I’ll be interested to hear what all of you think in the comments sections.