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Antony Kastrinakis: defacing the Arsenal. The story of one journalist’s obsession.

Untold Arsenal on Twitter  @UntoldArsenal

By: Anne

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, 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).

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:

Spot-on Gunners

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 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 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 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):

They sink it’s all over

(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, 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.

Phone hacking and football; refs and club owners

Untold Media: Launch of new media section, and we need your help

How one paper has read Untold and changed its mind about Cesc

The index of recent articles, and links to the various sections of Untold can be found in the Untold Index. For Arsenal  History there is (rather logically) an Arsenal History Index.

From the Arsenal History site…

Are you related to anyone involved in the original Woolwich Arsenal club?  Player, supporter, manager, official, director…  If so I need to hear from you

Making the Arsenal: the antidote to modern journalism

129 comments to Antony Kastrinakis: defacing the Arsenal. The story of one journalist’s obsession.

  • Francis m

    I couldn’t agree with you more based on the level of baseness this guy exposed I don’t read the sun at all even it’s given to me free ridiculous. Wouldnt be surprised if he was one of the hackers trying wenger’s no while he was at NOTW(RIP). Idiot guy

  • Stevie E

    Great article, there is something seriously wrong with the Rupert Murdoch press empire which goes from the very top to bottom, revealing itself the bile we see written daily. Maybe we should confront The Sun with these findings and demand answers? If each person who reads this article sends an email to The Suns editor, they surely can’t ignore everyone? Lots of contact details here – but surprisingly no contact details for complaints…

  • Ben

    Spurs have quite a following from Jews, Norwegians and Greeks.
    Maybe that is the cause of being bias?

    How is he when writing about Spurs?

  • willybilly

    Very very interesting read, it does pain me but what can be done?.

    Our press is based on freedom of expression as long as it doesn’t provoke civil unrest!. Unfortunately certain people having a vendetta against a given team is just “opinion” and as much as it makes me sick to read the treatment Arsenal get, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

    In essence the game itself is based on a “tribal” loyalty system, so to see this reflected in our media is not surprising.

    What is disappointing as a gooner are the REASONS why we get the amount of grief. Call it paranoia, but it seems to me that there is a slightly Xenophobic undertone to a lot of negative Arsenal press about. There seems to be a fascination amongst pundits, that we need more English players. Even when we were winning all the time there was this feeling, but because of our success it was stifled. It seems now that we are not doing so well that all the “pent up” hate of Arsenal is coming out all at once.

    I believe another reason that we are slated a lot, is that our style of play “compromises” English values. I personally believe that there is a underlying resistance to the continental style in England, we are just about coming round to the idea of total football now, but I is there another country where Matt le tissier would not have made the national team!?

    I think that a fair amount people in the media take pleasure in Arsenal’s failings over the last few years, because it vindicates the physicality of English football,which in term vindicates our national team. Power and heart are about the only positives that has come out of the English game (and this is reflected in the prem) over the years, I’m sorry but it is the case.

    What would be an interesting thing to investigate, is the press reports from around EUROPE after we beat Barca at the Emirates. There was a massively negative tone in the English press saying we got lucky etc (not true if you see the stats, or the game). But apparently the tone of the European press was very full of praise of arsenal and the Wenger way. So why the difference?

    Arsenals financial limitations are always an afterthought in most articles and the fact that we are trying a very continental style is hardly ever mentioned or given at least some respect.

    Does anyone agree that it is an undercurrent of xenophobia in the media towards Arsenal?, and that in some way we are seen as a threat to English footballing values?


  • Arvind

    That’s a ton of work…and just for that…well done, and keep it going. I wonder though, if a newspaper would pay a guy to just write AAA articles. Based on the tone of the articles that you’ve listed..that answer could be a resounding..YES!!. But maybe sometime down the line, it would be nice to look at if there had been any positive or at least rational articles.

    The point I’m trying to make is, maybe these guys are terribly negative at times. But maybe at times, there also is a point and we need to look for that message. Yes, a large part of football fans will just react to the ‘strong language’ used by the author in the article, but is there a point in what he says? Maybe going forward, Untold media could work on that 🙂

    At the rate we’re going though, we need more hands…love the work though. Kudos!!

  • nicky

    A well-thought-out dissection of one of the media’s biggest creeps, worthy of an eminent pathologist…..but crikey, did the guy really merit such an effort?

  • Did the guy deserve such an effort? Oh yes, and for the simple reason: why did he do it.

    Consider some reasons…

    1. Either the Sun decided that it could build up quite a readership with a long term attack on Arsenal – either coming up with the idea at editorial level, or accepting the journalist’s idea.

    2. Or maybe someone from outside wanted to de-stabilise the club and suggested to the editorial team or to the journalist that it would be a good idea to run these articles

    3. Or maybe that someone in point 2 offered some extra money in return for these stories.

    Now point 1 does not have an outsider involved, and if there is no outsider then we have to consider why the Sun bothered to take such a strident line. Points 2/3 have an outsider involved. If there is one, these questions are posed…

    a) Who is this person
    b) What benefit does this person gain from de-stabilisation

    Just for raising those questions this article is 1000% worthwhile.

  • Dark Prince

    A long article. But a great article nonetheless. I think it also shows the journalism is a big popular medium, and when it gets into the hands of wrong people, it could become biased and can eventually change people think about something.

    But have to say, cheers Anne!! 🙂 keep it up!!

  • bob

    Kudos, Anne,
    It’s super research: a compelling and enticing analysis. If readers offer further details or context on any surrounding issues or events were going on at each/any time period that Anne has identified – in football, at/in AFC, EPL, CL, etc. etc. – then we’d together enrich our understanding. It all adds up.

    Ben and Willybilly,
    From your words, you seem to agree that ethnic/cultural biases as the main or sole factor in driving these articles (if not most negative articles) against Arsenal. Whether or not these factors do drive Mr. Antony K., and we cannot know with certainty, neither of you touch on the PATTERNS that Anne has shown to be at work.

    Let’s face it, this writer is hired to do a job, he reports to an Editor, and his not inconsiderable output factors into the Sun’s earnings as (after the late NOTW) the second biggest daily circulation in the Murdoch media. It is a Murdoch paper, yes? Are you not, then, impressed by the differences between a self-sustaining economic model (like Aresene/Arsenal’s) versus a billionaire takeover model (like Murdochs’) when it comes to the EPL and BSkyB (and, alas, other business ventures such as football leagues)? And would you think that Murdoch embraces Arsene/Arsenal for championing (whether out of virtue or necessity) the opposite business/economic model? Or does it not all come down to ethnic/cultural explanations – Wenger, Gazidis, hmmmm. As you know, that “foreign” factor is the Sun’s stock in trade, to have us biting on that hook and thinking, yep, gotcha.

    But there’s other factors at work, whether in Antony K.’s specific writings or not. And one productive way to come to know this – and to take Anne’s work seriously – is to help provide detail on what was going on in the EPL/Arsenal football world during each of the PERIODS that Anne has found to define this bloke’s hired writing product. Writers – and surely SUN writers – do not write in a vacuum, but in approved and marketable patterns. Hopefully you guys would consider offering a few details to help paint this fuller picture?

  • willybilly

    What would also be interesting to investigate are the press reports from around EUROPE after we beat Barca at the Emirates. There was a massively negative tone in the English press saying we got lucky etc (not true if you see the stats, or the game). But apparently the tone of the European press was very full of praise of arsenal and the Wenger way. So why the difference?

    Plus, does anyone agree that there could be an undercurrent of xenophobia in the media towards Arsenal?, and that in some way we are seen as a threat to English footballing values?

  • Wrenny

    Superb work Anne, I can’t praise you enough!

    I have to say I’m a little disappointed that some of the commenters seem to feel considerable apathy about the situation, though I can understand that many people will now be desensitised to this sort of tripe and pay it no mind. I personally consider it very serious. We are talking about the biggest publication in the country, and they have an individual whose job has now become entirely dedicated to producing relentless anti-Arsenal propaganda! In the past month this has been on a DAILY basis. A whopping 21 articles in around 18 days – all of them about Arsenal, all of them negative.

    Having Arsenal being portrayed in this way is clearly causing damage to the image of the club, which is of course the whole aim of Kastrinakis’ bitter campaign, and The Sun are complicit in this as they happily publish what must be everything he produces. We can’t just stand by and allow this to happen.

  • bob

    “The guy” is a symptom of something deeper. The pattern of his hired product is more than just “the guy,” and so, yes, the depth of analysis is a way to open a window on to that more. The writer generates a work product, and the pattern has dramatically changed (as Anne documents) at different times, and the man’s editor(s) have clearly not discouraged those changes. That’s where the fun begins, figuring this out.

  • nicky

    This is surely beginning to sound a bit like paranoia. The readership of a newspaper affected by the longterm attack on a football Club. Someone from outside trying to de-stabilise a Club through the print of a newspaper.
    I may be naive but I’ve always thought the sports pages of newspapers were compiled by near-humans, albeit with preferences for personalities and Clubs. Surely not a propaganda crusade such as you have in mind. As I said, am I naive?

  • willybilly

    @ nicky

    Why is hard to believe that a newspapers stance on a football club could effect its readership?

  • bob

    So, a question arises: what was was going on in football during the 3-4 different periods in which Anne has found spikes in this Sun-Ray’s output and negativity in order to inflict damage the image of the club, as you aptly put it. I’d welcome your further thoughts on this.

  • willybilly

    @ Bob

    Are you suggesting that Murdoch has a problem with Arsenal because its self sustaining nature in some way undermines the way he has built his empire?

    My talk of cultural bias seems more feasible than that.

    What other factors do you believe to be at work?

  • anatra

    Just an amazing read. Well done Anne for all the diggin’!

  • bob

    You’re might be naive, but more so, you just aren’t connecting some dots, which, when put on display, you call being “paranoid.” There are patterns that are produced and reasons they are produced, and Anne has offered up some patterns. And selling papers doesn’t exhaust the possibilities of writing these so-called mere news articles. Even if it were all just to sell papers, then what about the spikes in this writer’s output at different periods. What made more of his type of product more “sellable” at the times? It seems that if we could know what else was going on at those times, then we’d gain a better insight into what might EXPLAIN what happens at the Sun/the AA press. I find labels like “paranoia” put full stop, and get in the way of raising further questions, however discomforting they might feel to us at first blush.

  • nicky

    All I was suggesting was this, are we reading into an alleged biased attitude by a newspaper and/or its hack, something that just isn’t there. If we ARE, then a paranoid atmosphere is on the horizon. If it can be proved that black forces are about in an attempt to “de-stabilise” (say) Arsenal Football Club, I would like to hear (a)the underlying reason and (b) why our Club has been singled out. After all, we haven’t been at the top of the pile waiting to be toppled over….not of late,that is.

  • bob

    I am hypothesizing that, yes, the success of a self-sustainablility model, FFP rules, salary cap/restraints, fair refereeing – all of these being Arsene/Arsenal positions for year – would have far reaching and unwanted effects on the current way that Barclay’s EPL is run.

    And, as for “plausibility,” as you wish, here’s another time I post this link to Arsene’s 2009 interview in which he spells out his business/political views:

    The man, Arsene, who says these words does not offer a way ahead that welcomes 100$ ownership of a BSkyB – the football platform hereabouts – nor does he welcome billionaire takeovers. Please read it some time and let me know, thoughtfully and openly, if you think that it’s only (or mainly) cultural/ethnic factors that have driven Murdoch media into consistently slating most things Arsenal? I wouldn’t deny that foreign-bias doesn’t sell those papers, but there is more afoot that only selling papers, as the last few weeks events might have suggested.

  • willybilly

    @ nicky

    I believe a reason that we are given a rough ride by the media, is that our style of play “compromises” English values.

    I think that a fair amount people in the media have taken pleasure in Arsenal’s failings over the last few years, because it vindicates the physicality of English football, which in term vindicates our national team.

  • jayj

    Antony Kastrinakis if indeed is a liverpool fan he cant be a genuine one, LFC fans have boycotted the sun along time ago!

  • bob

    @Willybilly: sorry, please read the number above as 100 per cent.
    @Nicky: yours are fair and honest questions. I’m offering what I wrote above to Willybilly, as a possible alternative model of explanation, one to be explored – as opposed to being dismissed out of hand – for what MAY lie behind Anne’s findings. I have no more proof positive of this hypothesis than you do of your rejection of it. But I don’t call you an “ostrich” for not considering what I raise; whereas you’re somewhat free to toss about ye old “paranoia” saw. I’d be happy to find that this hypothesis proves wrong – then I’d better understand the world and how it works. I hope you’d feel likewise if something were to emerge that challenged your assumptions about how it works. Anyway, let’s continue and hopefully others will contribute far more than we two on such matters.

  • bob

    I think that’s right – didn’t the Sun write horrible things about Liverpool which, to this day, led to a boycott of the Sun? I don’t know the details, wasn’t around, but would you go into that a bit more?

  • bob

    p.s. and there was a billy bragg song about it, right?

  • willybilly

    @ bob

    Thanks for the link, I will certainly read it and come back to you. Just to clarify, I don’t believe that it is all cultural bias, and I am prepared to look for other reason carefully.

    Just before I go and read, what do you make of my point about Arsenal undermining traditional English football, as a reason as to why a lot of people seem happy for them to fail, and, that it in some way vindicates our national style if a team like Arsenal can’t hack the physical nature of the prem?

  • bob

    Yes, I do think you’re right, that it sells to that set of people. But I believe that this “selling point” is really what works – like an ideology – to advance underlying commercial and power interests. So it’s not either/or, really; but, and I’m glad you push me on this, it’s the relationship between the “English steel” thing and who benefits by having so many people buying into that perception. (Also, it’s clever because it offers people something tribal to hang on to console them for English defeats in the several international competitions). The two dimensions, I’m saying, cultural and power-economic, can truly work hand-in-glove, and I do believe that’s the fullest and best hypothesis to ponder. Cheers.

  • nicky

    On your suggestion that our style of play may be a reason for an anti-Arsenal movement, I must confess I’d never thought of that one. But you may well be on the right track, Sherlock.

  • bob

    sorry, the above (5:57) was to you (and why not, Nicky a well), so let’s keep on with it.

  • Prasanna Veeraraghavan

    @ Anne:

    Words cannot really describe the feel here. What an article it is. Thanks alot for the time, mind and what else you would have put in there. It really makes me feel wowwwwwwwwwwwwwww………..

    I believe most people here would accept that there exists only three clubs with some kind of history in the Premier League namely Man United, Arsenal and Liverpool. Of this Liverpool is not one of competitive nature these days. Its one of those also rans. So there really exists no need to malign Liverpool.

    Who next? Arsenal. They are the brand that sells next to Man Utd. Why undermine them? Because they are selling alot. They have a great fan system, their tickets sell in full, they have supporters and they are really admired alot. Oh ya not to forget even after this big stadium built the season tickets all have takers and further they break even and ya they are SELF SUSTAINING unlike all the other soccer teams.

    We should understand Sun and its siter concerns have a direct and indirect survival impact on the basis of this Premier League. These days thanks to heavier competition with respect to sports channels Premier League, Formula 1 and Cricket telecasts from some nations are the ones which feed the coffers of these sports channels in the Indian sub continent.

    Like this the basis of income in other nations too deeply rely on Premier League.

    When a season starts the Sky network plans it in such a way that they show X matches live and Y matches deffered live. With other programmes clashing and other live events like the usual F1, Tennis and blah blah blah they plan it in such a way that an X team is more shown. Usually Man Utd.

    So any change in the standings will mean not only change in their plans but also change in the revenues. Like somebody wrote in some other column of this same blog, Schalke were not expected to come to the Semis but then it went too far so Schalke was decimated. If not for Man Utd better play there would have been other routes to go on. Some bad decisions, some worser game plays had Schalke taken the lead in the first game. This is what kind of happened with Arsenal. Arsenal won the first game so it was a firesale in the return leg at Camp Nou. RVP got sent off. Some bad refereeing and a sad pathetic display but I believe Arsenal players were bamboozled from the word go but the plans were already there. It was not Arsenal’s destiny to reach the finals because Arsenal in final would mean loss of revenue in many fronts.

    Like the same way Sun would want Arsenal to lose matches, lose viewership, lose fans and lose base because it would mean some goes ot Manchester United because while Arsenal loses its Man Utd that wins. It would mean there will be more takers for their channels in the nations where they show.

    Arsenal had taken a good step forward by touring Asia. They can goto Vietnam or Indonesia soon. May be to Japan too. The more they visit these places the more they are reached and more people will follow.

    Also Arsenal will have to sign some super star. Its not because of football talent and all. I know well and support well that Arsenal is one of the best examples of how a soccer club is to be run. But a super star means there will be more takers and he will be widely followed. More and more people would like to watch him and thus channels will be forced to do a bit of haggling with their telecasts.

    I foresee Jack Wilshere becoming a force in the foreseeable future but what we need is one big one now like Rooney of Man Utd or Messi of Barcelona or Ronaldo of Real Madrid etc.

    A single play who will be identified with Arsenal(I kind of hate this but then its a jungle out there….)

  • Let’s try it this way. Newspapers are businesses, and they aim to make a profit through advertising and purchases and perhaps to influence the political views of the readers.

    To do this they have a readership model, and they aim to please that readership through their writing and pictures.

    The Sun, when taken over by Murdoch was a perfect example of this – it had the aim of selling Thatcherism to the working man – something that looked on the face of it impossible. And yet it worked brilliantly, through the set of articles provided, the change of style it introduced, and of course the pictures of the page 3 girls.

    That approach, and the change from the old Sun to the one we now have, is well documented, and easy to see – you just have to go back to look at pre-Murdoch copies of the paper to see the difference.

    On this basis, all articles can be judged to be part of the effort to develop readership, and increase advertising, and perhaps push a political or economic point of view.

    I am saying that the articles about Arsenal in the Sun must be seen in that way because there is no other sensible way to see them. The writers in national papers are not there to spout their own views – they write in a particular way.

    No one, for example, writes an article in the Mail or Express in the UK, in favour of the EU, because the papers are utterly anti-EU. I am arguing that football is part of the process and must be judged in the same way.

  • bob

    Prasanna Veeraraghavan, jayj,
    On your Liverpool points: what did the Sun do to Liverpool in the past that caused the fan Boycott of the newspaper that, I’ve heard, lives on to this very day? Was it at a time when Liverpool was top flight? If so, whose interests – dare I say? – were served in trying to defame Liverpool? Perhaps an Arsenal fan boycott is something worth pondering?

  • Sorry for swimming against the tide here but I didn’t see a very obvious point being considered in the discussion.

    Could it be that this change is directly related to demand from the public (not overtly expressed). As someone said, Sun has the highest readership … I’d think that shows they know what readers want and provide it. Right now, any negative story about Arsenal seems to get hits. I have noticed a change in the tone of virtually all publications. This seems more like a reflection of what fans want to read rather than what Sun wants us to read or what a journalist’s motivations are.

    Don’t you think the Sun’s readership will have more non-Arsenal fans (all other clubs’ supporters) than Arsenal fans? Won’t those people enjoy reading negative stories about the Gunners (Those fans might also have some pent-up hate or xenophobia)? Add to it the gullible element of our own brethren and it’s not hard to see why such articles would become popular.

    Could it be that the editors or whoever takes these decisions noticed which articles were getting hits and decided to promote the tone and content of those pieces?

    I am not judging whether that approach is the right one or whether media has a social responsibility, etc. Just trying to see if there is a simple explanation. To me it seems there is.

    BTW Anne, excellent research and very well written article. I for one believe those quotes are real and I have a feeling I have heard some of those on ATVO last season.

  • willybilly

    @ bob

    I would agree that it is clever to play on the English steal thing, you are right that it does provide a very “them and us” situation, and it is just unfortunate for us that Arsenal are the “them”.

    It is unlikely that we will ever see articles printed in the mainstream press with the tone of “MAYBE if more English teams were like Arsenal English football our national team would be closer to Spain’s.” This seems a no brainer to me, but the resistance to change in this country is huge. We have been in denial about the standard of our national team for so so long now, and the castigation of a team like Arsenal just shows me that our national team will not get better for a long time, because the people in England simply don’t demand the same standard of football as the fans do in Spain. In turn our very young kids get chosen for being big and strong for their age, not for their technique. In spain they get chosen for their technique first, physicality second.

    A good example of this cultural difference is Mr Mourinho, in this country and Italy he is seen as a tactical master and an utter genius. In spain his negative brand of football has met with a lot of criticism, I predict that he could win the la liga and still get sacked if the fans are not happy with the style that the team plays. If fans in this country rewarded skill and technique over power and strength like they do in spain, I think we would have won a world cup in the last 20 years.

  • bob

    Prasanna Veeraraghavan,
    And Sky and The Sun (besides dominating the heavens), are as you come so-close to saying, are both part of the same media empire. So each one reinforces the overall benefit of the larger structure to which they supply revenues. This model works the same the world over. Anne, from Atlanta, has pointed out recently that their sister, Fox Soccer channel, does not broadcast Arsenal matches or even re-runs, if I remember it right, but only ManUre matches. So, if Sky and Sun dominate the Heavens, and an earthly being dominates the Sky and Sun, then this creature must, in fact, be divine. Would you say?

  • Prasanna Veeraraghavan

    Lionel Messi is scheduled to visit India this September with the Argentine soccer team and play some charity games and run some soccer clinics.

    Who will be the biggest gainers? Its the Barcelona FC, its the UEFA, its the La Liga because the Copa America, the World Cup are all short term events but the Champions League and La Liga are annual and happen almost on a weekly basis.

    Barcelona FC would surely send Messi to India because they know well its free advertisement for them.

    Arsenal has also teamed up with Tata Tea to train 30 youngsters for four months and 16 of this kids would now be playing at the Arsenal International Soccer Festival beginning this coming Monday, like this Arsenal can do more and more and this would mean a wider base which cannot be conquered by the marketing and media gimmicks.

  • willybilly

    @ desi

    You are right, the Sun would not mind a bit losing out on Arsenal fans, as the amount of people who dislike Arsenal will massively outweigh them. Coupled with the fact that if they print overtly negative Arsenal stories, the “indifferent” readers won’t really notice, but the anti arsenal will buy loads and lap it up.

    So considering we are so disliked, it would be financially prudent for a publication to target Arsenal. In my opinion this is more than feasible.

  • mike in atlanta

    good job once again anne. i have spent ten years publishing and edititng my own titles and i can assure you no self-respecting editor would allow any staffer to load up on a single topic as Kastrinakis has, unless the editor had assigned him a job that needed highlighting for the benefit of the readers. unless he had a goof-off for an editor, Kastrianikis’ strident tone and sudden increase in volume had to have been directed by his editor or someone at the paper.

    the simple explanation could be xenophobia. someone at the paper doesn’t like the club’s manager, his modus operandi or his style of play. i have searched the interwebs trying to find a definition of this “english steel” that commenters on various blogs have encouraged arsenal to purchase. the inference is that english players somehow are more dedicated than players of other nations or will clear the ball with the man when their penalty area is threatened. i believe it’s called a “shawcross” or being “tailored.”

    so because we don’t have any english or british players in our defence, we are destined for failure. it seems to me the england under 21 and senior teams have a surfeit of “english steel” in their ranks but lack “continental creativity.” the sun’s editors/owners could be resentful of our style of play and have instructed their minion to make life hard for us. but i don’t think it’s the full story. i believe we should follow the money.

    arsenal’s way of doing business underlines the validity of the financial fair play rules. the financial fair play rules undermines the viability of several powerful clubs and several powerful people attached to those clubs. if the FFP is enforced and several clubs get dropped from the champions league, look for uncontrollable upheaval from the fans and unwanted attention from governments. that would not do. better to undermine the symbol that shows FFP can work, then launch an attack on FFP itself.

    ask yourselves this: is the Sun waxing apoplectic about man city’s obvious end run around the FFP? i would think not.

  • bob

    I see it as a chicken-or-the-egg thing. Many – but far from all – people are conditioned by CLEVER repetitions that play to their cultural prejudices. Repetition normalizes anything. And when everyone around you is repeating what has been repeated, then one feels weird to think and do otherwise. This much is obvious. When Tony notes the changeover of the Sun to Murdoch’s Sun, that message then enters a media echo-chamber where other affiliated newspapers and broadcast radio and TV outlets are repeating the same messages and patterns of messages. Anne’s talking points in her previous piece offer a great example. That message gets repeated and reinforced by (former) NOTW, BSkyB, Fox SC, which reaches many millions of people – and it’s what they mostly hear and regard as normal. THEN the same media can turn around and say – like, alas, you just did – that they are giving the people what they want. But these viewpoints have been created in the first place by so much repetition; so that, it’s all people know and they then want what reinforces what they think are their own beliefs. And, to a large extent, the do appear to be their own beliefs, because they have been told that these are their own beliefs. Desi, please consider this social process, as your own fantastic blog could help shed light on this darkness.

  • mike in atlanta

    @bob. the man who pioneered the method was joseph goebbels to some success.

  • bob

    Mike in Atlanta,
    I could cry with joy as I get to your last two paragraphs. I couldn’t agree more with your analysis! And I think that further grounds for it are in Arsene’s key 2009 interview where his openly becomes the symbol and substance of self-sustainable models, FFP, competitive football, more equitable revenue sharing – all anathema to he who must be obeyed – until the last two weeks, that is. The article, fyi:

  • willybilly

    @ mike

    You have just echoed a lot of my personal sentiment. Thankyou

  • bob

    Mike in Atlanta,
    p.s. and the fact is that he gave this interview in the London Times, where Ruppie has ownership, but not-day-to-day content control (if I have this right) as per his purchase agreement. So, here you have Arsene walk into the lion’s den, Ruppie’s flagship paper, and give an interview that challenges the model that Ruppie stands for. Arsene has (dare I say it) commendable balls. And yes, they’ve been going after him with growing vengeance. I’d love to know any further thoughts on this?

  • bob

    Anne, Tony, Mike in Atlanta, etc.
    Is it just possible, in your views, that Arsene/Arsenal’s very pro-FFP position, especially in recent months when (if I’m right) that FFP become more focal and on the front burner [as Tony’s articles have shown] have in fact coincided in time the massive upticks (89% was it in toto) in Antony K.’s attacks on the Arsenal?

  • bob

    p.s.: so sorry, I meant to write: “coincided WITH the massive upticks… in Antony K’s attacks on the Arsenal?”

  • Prasanna Veeraraghavan


    In India Arsenal matches are shown but when it comes to crunch situations its only Man Utd matches that are shown. Rest are either not shown or deferred live.

    Assume this situation, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool fight for the top and Man Utd is languishing in the sixth position. Then Sun consortium’s match day revenue becomes bizarre. First of all I believe there is a tacit understanding in which matches will be shown.

    A cursory glance on Premier League in wikipedia will bring out the following words

    Promoted as “The Greatest Show On Earth”, the Premier League is the world’s most watched sporting league, being broadcast to over 600 million people in over 200 countries worldwide,often on networks owned and/or controlled by NewsCorp, which owns BSkyB and thus the primary UK and Ireland TV rights. In the United States, coverage is shared between Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Soccer Plus and ESPN; NewsCorp sometimes buys pitch-side advertising boards with the Fox Soccer Channel logo replacing that of Sky.

    So this is where it starts. Revenues.

    In Asia the Newscorp telecasts matches in 17 nations(taking into consideration the current deal running till 2013…) namely Pakistan, Srilanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Indonesia, Mongolia, Maldives, North & South Korea and also in partnership with Astro network(one another Rupert Murdoch like business baron run channels) in Malaysia and Brunei.

    This deal actually covers all 380 matches to be shown live but as far as I know the final day coverage was limited to only Manchester United match for the last season.

    The simple reason can be a) Man Utd has won so there is no point in showing all the other matches or b) Man Utd has more viewership and with title decided why bother about other matches and just bet on the won horse and make hay while the sun shines.

    Wikipedia actually throws some interesting reads. Especially some comments by Kevin Keegan the then Newcastle boss about how Premier League has become a thing to do with Big Four namely Liverpool, Man Utd, Arsenal and Chelsea.

    This comment was made in 2008. Also a point to be noted is since 2004, 20 of the 27 domestic tournaments were shared between Stamford Bridge or Old Trafford(based on a BBC link which I have given below..)

    On this previous performance basis the tv channels plan to show a particular team hoping that they will win. So if things don’t work the way they want, its the second part of the job is to implement other measures to make things run the way they want. It can be anything.

    One small but a loud thinking which I have carried for sometime now.

    When Arsenal went from 0 – 4 up at St James Park to 4 – 4, when Phil Dowd wrecked our chances nobody would have really expected Man Utd to lose 2 – 1 to Wolves at Molineux.

    I always believe Fergie had it in his hands to do an invincibles last season until that particular match when things really were beyond his plans. This happened somewhere in February if am right.

  • Faaji

    Wow, what a brilliant article! I really must commend Anne for the effort that went into this. I would like to contribute to the discussion by asking a few questions. Why are some people so eager to shout ‘paranoia’ or ‘conspiracy theorists’ whenever suspicious events or trends are analyzed and presented rationally. Anne simply analyzed some data readily available in the public domain and here we have Nicky talking of paranoia. After the events of the past few weeks in which atrocities were revealed to have been committed by the now happily defunct NOTW, including the subornation of police officers, why do some people refuse to accept the possibility of the media having other agendas than the reporting of the news. Nicky, if you were Italian, you probably would have never accepted the possibility of corruption in the ranks of Italian football referees no matter what trends was analyzed and presented by concerned members of the football-watchig public, at least until the arrests began. If there is anything wikileaks has taught our generation (I’m 25), its that we can never be too cynical to what we read in our newspapers or watch on our tellies

  • bob

    Prasanna Veeraraghavan,
    Your Wikipedia citings are extraordinary. Btw, did the Referee of that “unscripted loss” to the Wolves get some serious stick in the media and accusations from Fergie!? Do you recall? I seem to think so.

  • Prasanna Veeraraghavan

    @ Desi Gunner:

    Primarily any fan would not really like to have an anti Arsenal article than a pro team article. If am a Rover fan, I would like to read more about Rovers trying to buy Honda than Rovers trying to sell Samba to start with.

    Hatred is different from being a fan of a particular football club.

    A hardcore Man Utd supporter would obviously love to read a criticallly charged up anti Arsenal or anti Liverpool article with such a love but I don’t really know if that would be the case with a hardcore Wolves or a Blackpool fan because they will always understand that consistently their team has been performing below the top standard and this is not gonna affect in anyway the outcome of their team.

    First of all for any content to get hit would for the same to be posted. The editor would obviously understand that a non UK reader like me would come to the website from lot of other sources like for example I came to this blog through and there will be other sources for The Sun getting hits through lot of fan forums.

    So the editor would rightly place the articles in such a way that they get the hit and thereby the message is sent.

    Am not ever gonna really contribute the revenue of the Sun ever by hitting the link and reading the content but the article might potentially contribute me to be a future Man Utd fan there by pushing a bigger target audience to the Man Utd matches where Sun’s sister concern ESPNStar has the telecast right in my region and it ups the revenue model.

    I really don’t know the finances of Sun but being a businessman myself I understand how some smaller loss making businesses at times help sustain a bigger profit making business thereby compensating for the losses of the smaller unit.

  • Faaji

    Desi, shouldn’t your point about more anti-arsenal readers than arsenal fans apply to all other clubs? Specifically the other clubs at the top of the EPL. You say that perhaps writing negative articles about arsenal generate a lot of hits, wouldn’t this be true about say man u or chelsea or liverpool? I can’t claim to know what exactly is going on but when a sports (or football?) journalist at the second highest-selling paper (?) in the UK stops writing about other teams and writes exclusively on arsena (all negative) I must believe something is going on. The posters on this thread are just trying to figure it out and come up with rationale albeit distasteful explanations

  • mike in atlanta

    it always ends up at the same place guys. “show me the money.”

  • Shard

    Ok lets see. The contrary point of view seems to be that the poor coverage of Arsenal is down to.. xenophobia, associated continental football and lack of steel, and pure profit from the general public lapping up the negative stuff about Arsenal.
    So why only Arsenal? Who is the xenophobia directed against? If it’s the manager, then other teams have foreign managers too. If it’s the style of play, well ManU pass the ball around too(even if not as well as us) and are ALWAYS applauded for it. If it’s about ‘steel’ then when we had steel there was criticism of the number of red cards we got. If it’s about producing English players then we are now producing directly for the English national team, and even if they are young, and even hailed as the next big hope in Wilshere’s case, why is none of that goodwill transferred to the club?

    In my view, xenophobia, and the lack of Englishness is only a story spun around to attack Arsenal, but not the real motive. And why is writing negative stuff about Arsenal good business? It well might be the reason as DesiGunner said. But still WHY is it good business?

    I think Arsenal are attacked because we are different. The biggest way we are different in is that we do not have a sugar daddy. If anybody watched Channel 4’s expose, even though it was dramatised, it becomes quite clear just how many people stand to gain money, and huge sums of it, out of the sale and purchase of football clubs. It is an existential risk for the clubs, but that won’t matter for those people. The prices are going crazy simply because the prices are arbitrary. Just how do you decide the worth of a player, or even the club? Is ManU really worth 1.5billion pounds? If Arsenal succeed in this path that we have set down on, then it shows other clubs and their fans, that it is possible to succeed without putting your future at risk. They then might seek to follow, bringing some sanity back to the market, but driving the rich guys chance to get richer out the window.

    Paranoia, conspiracy etc etc can all be called on that. But what do we know. a) there is no sense in the transfer or wage market anymore. b) clubs make losses c)clubs are sold on by old owners to new quite often d) clubs do go under at times e)owners can and do pass on costs to clubs and owners never go under with the clubs f) it is impossible to know who really owns which club in most cases g) UEFA and FIFA roll around in money and are corrupt so there is no disinterested party providing regulation h) the referees do not do their job properly i) the media do not talk about any of the above which indicates that they are either manipulated, and/or have a vested interest in status quo, which Arsenal’s working model threatens.

    That is a lot of points and apologies if it was confusing. I was thinking as I went along. But I think if we look at all of that together, then the xenophobia, and simple profit motive are only the narratives which hide the real ideas behind this ‘hatred’ for Arsenal.

    If Wenger’s name came up in that documentary instead of Ferguson’s (prominently) and Redknapp, McLeish, Bruce, and Hughes, do any of you really think that the newspapers would have been so circumspect about mentioning it? If not, then why not? Because this is actually potentially a more hit generating, money spinning story than Arsenal in crisis and to finish out of the top 4 (like last 5 seasons)..

  • Shard

    @mike in atlanta

    The channel 4 documentary sort of did show the money. Try and find it if you haven’t watched it.

  • VInod.P.K

    I am a great Arsenal fan and the match reports you mentioned are my feeling also.Even I tried to switch over ,but can’t do so far.Gallas, Flamini,Helb…., When we think it’s over Aw projects Djorou,Almunia,Diabby,Denilson,Clichy,Bendter capable of winning the league.I think the reporter is like me loving Arsenal more and more but slowly getting frustrated by the way the mistakes getting repeated and repeated finally starting to hate.Every thing got a time factor.AW of 2008 is far different from that of 2011.Either way.

  • Shard


    His being a Liverpool supporter, and hating Arsenal do not explain the sheer number of Arsenal related articles. You would expect he would write a lot more about Liverpool (in positive terms) and ManU (in negative terms) even if Arsenal scarred him for life with the ‘it’s up for grabs now’ goal.. I know you don’t think it is down to him supporting Liverpool, but just saying that..

    Oh, try and watch the documentary that Channel 4 did titled ‘How to buy a football club’.. It’s obviously not ‘proof’ but I think you’ll find it very interesting.

  • snowy

    great article anne, well done.
    i havent read the sun in a couple of years so this was an interesting read.
    as for the liverpool boycott of the sun?? the sun ran with the front page headline “LIVERPOOL SCUM” the day after hillsborough.

  • nicky

    You guys have mentioned, with not a litle pride, Arsenal’s stand in favour of the FFPR. Being a realist, I feel the “sugar daddie” Clubs will find some way of by-passing the Regs.
    Now let me put this proposition to you. Either Kroenke or Usmanov buy the other out. The winner then becomes our “sugar daddie” and starts to spend accordingly. What happens then to the Arsenal stand?

  • bob

    Anne, Shard, jayj, all:
    Ok, here’s why the bloke is certainly “not a real Liverpool fan,” as jayj put it: This from the other day’s Guardian by the singer Billy Bragg who wrote (and now updates) a song called “Don’t Buy the Sun.” And this is why:

    “For the past 22 years, people in Liverpool have boycotted the Sun newspaper because of the lies that it printed about the behaviour of Liverpool FC fans at the Hillsborough disaster. Ninety-six people were crushed to death at a football match at Hillsborough in Sheffield on 15 April 1989. The Sun ran a front page story that accused Liverpool supporters of variously robbing and urinating on the dead bodies of the victims as they were laid along the touchline. The reports were totally unfounded. Since then, many people in Liverpool have refused to buy the Sun on principle.”

    So, how could a true Liverpool supporter even WORK for the Sun? Anyway, do read it and listen to his song there for yourselves:

    Alas, the C4 website is not making it available State-side. Also, the guy can’t be

  • bob

    To embrace a full-billionaire takeover as the only way forward would be total hypocrisy given all of the positions that have been taken. Is it possible that people would continue to support Arsenal under that scenario, each will then have to search his/her heart and see whether it is the same team that you were in love with. Do you expect such a takeover? And how would you then define your allegiance?

  • Shard


    It disappears like much of the good in this world 🙂

    But seriously, I don’t see that happening right now. At some point maybe. But a smart investor (which they both are obviously) would hold onto the shares until the debt is paid off, new commercial deals are signed, and we have a few trophies to further boost the brand. My hope is though, that it won’t happen. I quite like the stability that multiple shareholders offer. Still even that is a thing of the past I guess.

  • Shard


    IF that were to happen, I’d still support Arsenal, but much depends on how we conduct ourselves. Having an owner does not necessarily mean going down the sugar daddy route, or that the owner draws dividends. It also doesn’t mean that we simply hire mercenaries and conduct ourselves on the pitch the way Chelsea did under Mourinho. Now if that were to happen, I would be happy if Arsenal were winning, but there would be no pride in the success.

    It upsets me deeply when we dive to win a penalty, rare as that is. (Though I’d be more than happy to take that against ManU, or win the title that way because we’ve had simply too much go against us for years now) and I have thought about this, with Chelsea as an example. Chelsea are no longer the club they were. They can try and gloss over that fact and point to the trophies, but the club lost its character with Abramovich’s takeover. The same is happening at ManCity. ManU were always glory hogs with a sense of entitlement so nothing has changed there, except that their owner loaded them with debt (HAHA!!)

    I think it is harder for Asenal to lose what makes us Arsenal because our history is rich. Liverpool will remain Liverpool, ManU will remain ManU, and Arsenal will remain Arsenal. But if we did lose our identity, I just might stop following.. Still as I said, I don’t think that can happen.

  • shakabulagooner

    Great work.
    Accept my sympathies though.
    We wanted all the dirt and you’ve delivered.
    However, we didn’t realize you will be digging deep into a sewer.
    Please send your requisition to Untold Towers for oxygen masks for you and your team members.

  • bob

    Speaking of billionaire ethics, have a listen soonish to the Billy Bragg song on the Guardian website in light of today’s thread and the anti-Liverpool slander that Sun launched in 1989. It was “news” to me when I looked it up. Quite stunning the lengths that Sun will go to, and casts into total doubt I think any claim that Antony K. is merely a disgruntled Liverpool fan still taking their bad Anfield loss out on Arsenal.

  • Shard


    I read about that some years ago. I’d forgotten about it to be honest, but when you brought it up, I remembered it was something horrible to do with that disaster. It also ran stories contrary to what happened in terms of safety, I think by implication, blaming the Liverpool fans’ uncouthness for their own deaths. Just from memory, but it does say something about the Sun, and even more about Kastrinakis’ alleged loyalties (will I ever remember that name and not have to look it up each time)

  • nicky

    I have supported Arsenal since the middle 1930’s, through joys and sorrows in equal measure. What that experience has taught me is to accept that being a fan of Arsenal is simply not for the fainthearted.
    Being a pragmatist, ever since the arrival of Messrs Kroenke and Usmanov I have felt there is a particular piece of history about our Club, still to unfold. Neither man is there purely because of love for Arsenal. Something has to give.
    Whilst it is commendable that our Club pursues the policy of self-sustainability, unless it brings success I can see our two main shareholders taking an extremely militant attitude towards the need for change. It will then be an impossible task for anyone to oppose an inevitable free spending era with all that implies.

  • Prsaanna Veeraraghavan

    @ Bob:

    I don’t really remember anything skeptical about the refereeing or with respect to any other officials in that particular match. Still I persisted and went again searching and found in Mirror that certain disputable calls went the Man Utd way.

    Most probably this is what Dowd uttered when Fergie called him…

    for all what I could do at St James Park, am sorry I could not officiate at Molineux. 😛

  • bob

    Shard, all,
    Yes, and if Liverpool were among ManUre’s big rival then(?), the incredible lengths the Sun would go to destroy Liverpool’s image and legitimacy. (Urinating on dead fans!!!) I’m too new to really know, but need to ask: Was this Liv-MU rivalry in the very forefront then? Was the Sun a Murdoch paper in 1989? Are there any parallels between this in 1989 and the matter at hand today?

  • finsbury


    Both the post and many of the comments.

    Good spot there Bob. How/Why would a Liverpool supporter work for The Sun?
    Pass the oxygen mask!

  • Shard


    Wikipedia says Murdoch bought The Sun in 1969.. About the Liverpool supporters, it says that the Sun claimed that they picked the pockets of the dead fans, and urinated on paramedics who were attending to the victims, and that they assaulted a police officer who was ‘giving the kiss of life’.. Still low, and understandable why Liverpool fans would shun the Sun.

    Liverpool were the biggest team in the country at that point, and Arsenal were probably the second biggest. At least we had the second highest number of titles. I think ManU and Liverpool have always had a rivalry though.

  • C4

    Wow, I’m impressed with this article…
    Well done Anne, for picking up on the pattern and exposing this guy. I hope it propagates across the web the same way his garbage does.
    Out of curiosity, do sun articles have comments sections? Would we be moderated if we posted a link to this article in such a comments section? I wouldn’t know, because I’m allergic to the sun…

  • bjtgooner

    A great piece of work Anne – once again. I admire your industry.

    I would assume that Mr Kastrinakis has been writing rubbish about Arsenal not just because he is a Liverpool fan but because he has been told to do so by his employers. The owner and editor are obviously happy to go down this route. (Was there a change of editor around late 2009?)

    I suspect Mr K is only a small unsavoury pawn in the larger anti Arsenal campaign.

  • bob

    so far, the developing consensus is that he’s probably not a Liverpool fan. see above.

  • Anne


    Jesus H. I didn’t even know this was up! I was still waiting for Tony to get back to me to find out whether he would be publishing it or not 🙂 Ok, I’ll try to get caught up on the comments thread, but give me a little while. 🙂

  • Anne

    @Stevie E:

    I think that it is an ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC idea for everyone here to contact the Sun’s editors about this issue. In fact, I agree with you so wholeheartedly that I’m going to copy and paste your entire comment:

    “Maybe we should confront The Sun with these findings and demand answers? If each person who reads this article sends an email to The Suns editor, they surely can’t ignore everyone? Lots of contact details here – but surprisingly no contact details for complaints…”

    Also, “Antony Kastrinakis'” PERSONAL email address at the Sun is:

    So, go ahead, tell him what you think. Anyone who can dish out a cheap shot should be able to take one, right? 🙂

  • Anne

    @Stevie E:

    Dammit, I messed up again with the links and I’m awaiting moderation in my response to you. I’m going to go ahead and re-post it, which means that this post will eventually appear twice. Sorry guys.

    I think that it is an ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC idea for everyone here to contact the Sun’s editors about this issue. In fact, I agree with you so wholeheartedly that I’m going to copy and paste your entire comment:

    “Maybe we should confront The Sun with these findings and demand answers? If each person who reads this article sends an email to The Suns editor, they surely can’t ignore everyone? Lots of contact details here – but surprisingly no contact details for complaints…”

    Also, “Antony Kastrinakis’” PERSONAL email address at the Sun is:

    a.kastrinakis (space, added by Anne)

    So, go ahead, tell him what you think. Anyone who can dish out a cheap shot should be able to take one, right?

  • Anne


    Ideally, I would have liked to do this same sort of “negativity” analysis for all of AK’s reporting, but time just didn’t allow. However, I have looked at the other coverage, and although his reporting generally tends to be negative towards everyone (ie transfer rumours and the like), I can tell you with absolute certainty that NOTHING he has done with regard to any other team really even compares to what he has done towards Arsenal.

    Based on my initial impressions, the only club that even comes close to Arsenal in terms of the negativity of AK’s coverage
    is Liverpool. (although I want to emphasize that it doesn’t REALLY come close) He attacked Rafa Benitez on a regular basis, and only laid off after Liverpool’s ownership changed (interesting, I think). He also was very antagonsitic re Fernando Torres transfer rumors.

    As for Spurs, he hasn’t covered them nearly as much. However, I believe that they ARE in fact the only club in the EPL (aside from Arsenal) who have been treated to his “Titanic” analogy. But the way he did it to them wasn’t nearly as harsh.

  • Anne

    @Dark Prince:

    Thank you for your kind comments. And I have to say that it makes me feel even worse for cussing you out last week. You know I didn’t really mean that, right? 🙂

  • Anne


    Cheers. And don’t worry about commenters who aren’t taking it seriously. Honestly, the biggest indication for me that an article had flopped would be if no one disagreed with me 🙂

    However, I would raise the question of whether this is actually “Kastrinakis’ bitter campaign,” the Sun’s, or someone else’s.

    Honestly, I’m not even convinced that “antony kastrinakis” is anything more than a pseudonym for one or more different writers.

  • Anne


    Yes, you’re naive. If you’re not naive, then you’re a disinformation artist. No offense.

  • Anne


    Thanks 🙂

  • Anne


    “If it can be proved that black forces are about in an attempt to “de-stabilise” (say) Arsenal Football Club, I would like to hear (a)the underlying reason and (b) why our Club has been singled out.”

    Well, congratulations. You’ve just asked the 10 billion euro (conservatively) question. Can anyone out there think of someone who might have a motive?

    And btw, I’m WAY behind on this thread, so if you guys have already been discussing this topic for the last hour, just disregard. I’ll catch up 🙂

  • Anne


    I don’t think that AK is a genuine Liverpool fan 🙂

  • Anne


    I deliberately left the question of motive open in my article, and your take is a fair assessment of a potential motive. Pure profit. But if it’s all about demand from the public, wouldn’t you have to say that the public, as a whole, would much rather see ManU get trashed than Arsenal? Am I wrong about that? And if not, why aren’t ManU the ones taking the hit?

    And as for your comment that you believe that the quotes are real, are you telling me that you believe that Arsene Wenger actually said:

    To Theo Walcott: “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.”

    And this: ”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.”

    Are you saying that Arsene said all of these things, or that maybe I was just mistaken about some of them? (I haven’t checked)

    Otherwise, thanks for your comments. Cheers 🙂

  • Gooner S

    What a waste of time. All of this ‘research’ and you don’t know what to make of it! Arsenal are news for all sorts of reasons at the moment: boardroom struggles, want away stars, disgruntled fan base etc etc. It is one of the biggest stories in domestic football at present – that is why The Sun is writing about it. It sells newspapers.

  • Anne

    @mike in atlanta:

    THANK you for being the one to finally point out that editing issue (aside from bob’s valiant efforts of course 🙂 ). We definitely should get together for a match or something once the season starts.

  • Anne


    I still haven’t had time to look at Arsenal’s support of the FFP rules in relation to all this, so I don’t know whether the timing coincides with anything re AK’s coverage. However, my current take on this is that, when searching for a motive, we should probably be looking at dealings BEHIND the scenes above all else.

  • Anne


    Thank you. You’re a man after my own true heart 🙂

  • Anne


    I will try to take a look at that documentary. I didn’t know about it, so I’d be interested to see it. And thank you for being the obligatory party to point out that AK being a “Liverpool hack” doesn’t even remotely explain this. I was counting on someone to do it 🙂

    I essentially agree with your points in your earlier post, but I would probably take it a step further than that. And by the way, if you’ll EVER get around to submitting your email address for Untold Media, I’ll be able to give you a much better response than this. Just saying 🙂 (

  • Anne


    “Now let me put this proposition to you. Either Kroenke or Usmanov buy the other out. The winner then becomes our “sugar daddie” and starts to spend accordingly. What happens then to the Arsenal stand?”

    Of the two, which do you think is more in favor of the “sugar daddy” approach to football?

  • Anne


    Thanks 🙂 But don’t worry about me…I’ve long had a masochistic habit of digging deep into the press “sewer” to uncover the facts, and I’m happy to use my life experiences in this area to help Arsenal. Honestly, this is far from the worst that I’ve encountered. Cheers 🙂

  • Anne


    I think you make good points about the ownership issues. All owners are most definitely not the same. What if one potential “owner” was only attempting to acquire ownership in order to prevent a hostile takeover by the other?

  • Anne


    Thanks. And yes, the Sun does have comments sections, and no, I’ve never looked at them 🙂 Feel free to try your luck posting there if you want to. I’ll pray for you 🙂

  • Anne

    @ bjtgooner:

    Thanks. I completely agree with you. 🙂

  • Anne


    Sorry, I just realized that my first response to you was a bit harsh. I’m just trying to dash off answers to everyone as quickly as possible, and I didn’t mean that to come across quite the way it sounded. I respect the time and effort that you put into your responses to my article, and I’m sorry that I didn’t respond with equal time and effort. And I definitely wasn’t trying to be mean. Sorry.

  • Anne

    @Gooner S:

    Glad it was such a waste of time that you took time to read it and register your comment. That means a lot to me, so thank you 🙂

  • Anne



  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Anne – awesome body of work -hats off to you .Very enlightening , very impressive and very well done.Keep at it and maybe there could be a book to write at the end of it .

  • Shard

    @Gooner S

    I think if all you’re looking for is ready made answers and someone to do your thinking for you then you are probably in the wrong place. There are no simple answers that any research provides. Only possibilities. The explanation you give and the motive you attribute to the Sun, is ONE possible explanation, but not necessarily correct or complete.

  • Shard


    Good point about ManU being the best target for it if it is only to reach out to people and generate stories. A recent survey found that ManU was the most hated brand in the UK. Not just in football, but in all brands. Surely there is a bigger market out there for negative ManU stories than there is for Arsenal.

    And again. Why is there such muted reaction, so as to be almost non-existent to the Channel 4 expose that showed investors fronted by Bryan Robson ManU’s global ambassador, who try to buy and run football clubs in breach of the rules, and which named Alex Ferguson (and some other managers) as someone who will be willing to loan his players out to any club that is bought through the said fund. Surely that is newsworthy and will bring huge profits? And if anyone claims legal worries and talks of defamation, all they have to do is repeat what Channel 4 said, not make any claims themselves. This is quite shocking to me.

    Oh and Anne, I’ll just send you a mail 🙂

  • Anne


    Thank you so much for the time that you put into responding to this article. I suppose the main reason I haven’t responded to your points re Xenophbia was because I got into a discussion about that on my last comments thread and I’m a little burnt out on it 🙂

    So, I’ll just quote you what I said before:

    “I disagree that the reason the media is against Arsenal is because of the foreigner aspect. I think that a lot of people have the impression that that’s part of the motive because a lot of these news reports have an undercurrent of Xenophobia about them. However, considering that I view this as a deliberate talking points campaign, which is intended to propagandize and turn people against Arsenal, I believe that the anti-foreign angle is strategic.

    It’s something that you see all the time in politics. Politicians, when they write their own talking points, will often attempt to trigger feelings of xenophobia or national pride, with the idea being that this will cause people to support them for emotional reasons (ie, not based on reasoned analysis about the merits of their platform). I believe that we’re seeing some of the same tactic where Arsenal is concerned.”

    And as for the media coverage of the Arsenal victory over Barca in the CL, I’ve only seen England and Spain. (US as well but US is same as England). In England, they gave so little credit to Arsenal that it made me want to start throwing things. In Catalunya, they gave more credit to Arsenal than the press in England did (which is really saying something considering that Barca is their home team), but still not as much as Arsenal deserved. But Barca is their home team, so you can understand that.

    In Madrid, they gave plenty of credit to Arsenal, but only in a self-serving, gloating sort of way to have one over on Barca, so it wasn’t intellectually honest. I’d like to think that there is some media outlet somewhere in the world that gave Arsenal as much credit as they deserved for that victory, but so far I haven’t seen it.

    That’s why I go out of my way to give Arsenal (who, based on that performance, have the right to temporarily claim ownership of the “best club in the world” monicker unless Barca earns it back from them), as much credit as possible for that victory whenever I’m given the opportunity. (Including the should-have-been victory in the 2nd leg).

    But on a happier note, I haven’t seen all of the European coverage…I’m guessing that Arsenal got a great reception in France 🙂

  • Anne

    @Brickfields Gunners:

    Glad you liked it. But a book…? I don’t know… 🙂 on the other hand, I guess if you took all of my articles and comments on Untold thus far and combined them together, it WOULD probably be the length of a book…But one that was extremely erratic and disjointed, and full of WAY too many swear words 🙂

  • Mandy Dodd

    A very interesting piece.
    I have heard from various sources that right from the beginning, Wenger took on the English hacks over some truly horrible rumours some were helping perpetuate. Not only that,maybe part as revenge, he gives most of his exclusives to French journalists, like Philippe Auclair and feeds either very little or sometimes, false info to some of the Brits.
    A number of these journalists / pundits support Liverpool , Spurs or Chelsea, most shamelessly grovel to the man most of English football grovels to.
    Combine these factors – there is genuine animosity from some Brit journalists towards Wenger, and now he is perceived to be down, they are putting the boot in. Make no mistake, many of these people want to bring Wenger down, the stakes are that high.
    It is no coincidence Wenger and the team are viewed in a much more positive light worldwide than in England.
    Liverpool – last trophy 2005, hardly gets a mention. Arsenal, in contrast…….

  • Anne


    Do you have a link to this channel 4 documentary? Apparently, I need to watch it. 🙂

  • Anne

    @Mandy Dodd:

    Thanks for responding. Personally, I can completely understand why Arsene would want to give interviews to the French media as opposed to the English media. From his perspective, I imagine that talking to the English media seems almost completely pointless. Whatever he says, they’ll twist it to fit their pre-determined agenda.

    And as for people putting their “boot in” on Wenger when he is down, I guess I can understand that as well, even if I don’t like it. Didn’t they once try to behead Galileo for claiming that the earth was round? 🙂

    I suppose the lesson to be learned from that is that being right doesn’t always make you the most popular 🙂

  • Now we mustn’t get too carried away Anne

    Galileo said that the Earth went round the sun, and was investigated by the Inquisition in 1615. He was found not guilty but the belief was found to be contrary to the Bible’s teaching and so wrong. He got a yellow card.

    But in 1632 Galileo came back to the subject in his major work and this time was tried and found guilty of heresy and spent the remainder of his years under house arrest. A red card.

    I think we ought to have a similar warning system for journalists

  • Anne


    I stand corrected about Galileo. Obviously, I should have done more research 🙂

    As for journalists, I don’t know how much good it would do. Whenever it comes to the calling out of specific journalists, I always, for some inexplicable reason, find my mind inevitably straying back to that old James Bond quote from Goldfinger…

    “Go ahead and kill me. 008 is waiting to take my place.” 🙂

  • Micko

    “I would assume that Mr Kastrinakis has been writing rubbish about Arsenal not just because he is a Liverpool fan but because he has been told to do so by his employers. The owner and editor are obviously happy to go down this route. (Was there a change of editor around late 2009?)” – Yes there was a change of editor in the Sun in 2009. Dominic Mohan took over from Rebekah Brooks (née Wade) in June 2009. He lives in Wood Green in North London, not far from White Hart Lane !

  • bob

    Dominic Mohan came from their Gotcha! magazine, before he replaced Brooks, right? Would you know or look up who their Sports/Football editor(s) might be?

  • bjtgooner

    Thanks for the info. The plot thickens!

  • Dark Prince

    @Anne- lets be honest…when you cussed me last week, u really meant it, but u only meant it for that small period of time when you said it. But i believe u dont mean them now.

    Hope u now know that i’m not always negative!! 🙂

  • bob

    Today, menace posted this at the end of a previous UA article:
    “The abuse of Arsene Wenger’s private life by the Murdoch press is another area that needs to be investigated. He has had to ignore several variations of innuendo and subsequent chants from scum fans.” Did any of these – from the past season, right? – get attributed to Antony K.? As these were character assassination pieces, it would be interesting to see if Antony K., or who – if any writer – actually took credit for these articles? Also, if Antony K. is actually a group of writers deployed on the “get Arsenal” beat (or project), their inside joke has got to be that its initials are AK (as in let’s get the Arsene Knows crowd). Also, as a tiny p.s., the Arsene on vacation on the yacht photo might, however innocent, would make sense for the paper (News of the Week, right?) to have run as a nasty reference to its previous set of pieces that attacked Arsene’s character. The timing of these personal attacks could also be interesting to take note of in terms of the various time periods you identified. Anyway, all and any ideas are welcome.

    (And, please folks, this is not to stir up anything against Arsene as a person at all; but to shed light on how he/the team have been hard done by in the Murdoch and related tabloid media and when they did it. The willingness of The Sun, to stoop to far worse in its no-holds-barred slanders against Liverpool fans in 1989 is still unsurpassed in my book.)

  • C4

    I tried sending an email to antony’s address at the sun, it bounced with a message claiming the address doesn’t exist…
    Oh well, no sweat, I’ll find someone else over there to interrogate. 🙂
    Cheerio, I’m off to post links to this article across the net.

  • bob

    Nice one, C4. The email address he/they provided does not exist. So, either they’ve pulled in the reins after Anne’s piece, or the email didn’t exist in the first place, or there’s a spam list that only a few people can get through. Maybe he was put on to a phone-hacking assignment and suddenly went on vacation? Jeez, I’m baffled: How unlike The Sun not to be accountable for what they put out there to public reaction. Ah well, so the mystery deepens: will the real Antony K. please stand up and be (ac)countable?!

  • Anne


    Very interesting piece of info there. Thank you 🙂

  • Anne


    Thank you SO much for taking a more active role in this and attempting to spread the info around and contact the Sun. I’m not surprised that your email to AK was bounced back. Honestly, I’m REALLY not sure that he’s even a real person 🙂

  • Anne


    Thanks for bringing that post by Menace to my attention. I think he makes some good points. Could you tell me which thread he posted that on so that I can respond to him? Thanks.


  • Anne

    @Dark Prince:

    I don’t mean them now. I was just angry about a perceived insult to Tony in one of your earlier comments that day, and I lost my temper. Thanks for being understanding 🙂

  • bob

    Anne, menace, Tony, Walter

    menace’s interesting set of observations on the tabloid’s anti-Arsene personal attacks are from today at 1:24 at:

    Also note menace’s reference to: “I still believe there was something untoward with the Diego Forlan switch when he came to UK for an interview with Middlesboro.” menace, does this refer to the charge made in the Dispatches doco that players are brought over and then shipped out to lesser teams here to improve the new club’s value? can you/anyone further clarify your meaning on this point?

  • Prasanna Veeraraghavan

    This is what Sun has to offer for us today. I believe it most probably sprung out of Wenger’s interview where he has confirmed all’s not over with Samir Nasri yet.

    I also don’t understand the word MASSIVE 115,000 a week salary wording here. If 115,000 is massive then what is the one offered at Man City or the one offered at Man Utd for Rooney?

    They are FIRE SALES.

  • C4

    Interesting one about Nasri. No sources, no quotes, nothing…
    The sun just never sets over there. It seems to shine particularly bright in North London, doesn’t it?

  • AZ

    is this the guy? sorry the pic is too small, but you could maybe identify the guy doing ‘research’ around the Grove :p

  • AZ

    So, it seems Rob Beasley is a Chelsea lover who despises Benitez, Liverpool or both.^ Then this journalist mentions on his blog that Beasley once pushed down Antony down the stairs.* Anyone else make the connection?



  • Anne


    Good find! This is consistent with the photos of AK that the Sun has posted on some articles.

  • bob

    AZ, Anne,
    Can’t get that video to work. Absent that, does the video prove to you/all that there IS an AK as opposed to his name being just a mail drop for whoever’s on the Sun’s AA project?

  • Anne


    I just tried the video again and it worked for me. Took awhile to load though. Try it one more time. The Sun did include a picture of “Antony Kastrinakis” in some of its articles, and the pictures are of the same guy who is being interviewed here. So that would tend towards the idea of “Antony Kastrinakis” being a real person 🙂 However, I’m still not sure that “Antony Kastrinakis” isn’t a pseudonym, or that all of his work is attributable to this one guy.

    To me, it remains an open question. Mainly because, a lot of the Sun’s other Arsenal coverage is very similar to what this guy is writing, both in the tone and in word-choice. Some of these articles are attributed to different writers, and some are unattributed. Another explanation for that could be that this anti-Arsenal bent is being added at the editor’s desk, as opposed to by any particular reporter. I don’t know.

    Oh, by the way, it appears that AK hasn’t written anything at all for the Sun since this article was published. An abrupt change in volume. And it appears that the Sun hasn’t published anything about Arsenal either. Don’t know the exact reason for that, but I hope they keep it up 🙂 I’ll be watching.

  • Jack

    Hi Anne if you want to get hold of AK’s 2010 twaddle you can get it from if you’ve got a London library card.

  • Jack

    Just checked. 0 articles between 4/9/10 and 2012/10. Probably having his lobotomy.