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Know Thine Enemy: From a long weekend in the Untold Media Trenches

Untold Arsenal on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

by bob

Though it’s been hard to shake the “In X-Cesc” soundtrack in my head, news of Gervinho’s 3-match ban proved just enough to fast-track me back into exposing how some journos spun our first match.

For full disclosure, the Guardian has been my news paper of choice. That said, I find its current Arsenal coverage a very different kettle of fish. Indeed, its writers’ spins on Saturday’s match amount to an un-flagged case of sharpened cleats up. And though the Guardian’s coverage is subtler and more educated than say, The Sun’s (cough), their clever wordsmithery proves just as one-sided by treating Arsene as their personal piñata.

As I see it, Guardian Arse-beat is currently a continuum of writers, ranging from relatively fair-minded to openly hostile: that is, from Jacob Steinberg and David Hytner, to Louise Taylor and Kevin McCarra, to Barney Ronay, Alan Gardner, Richard Williams and, most hostile, Paul Wilson. All are clever, informed, football-savvy wordsmiths. And, whoever is the paper’s Football Editor (yet to be determined), there’s a shared set of talking points and complementary omissions. In general, there’s now an entitlement to undermine Arsene himself, as this media watch will show.


On August 5, Alan Gardner helped set the tone with this: “Udinese may be known as the little zebras but they’ll provide a stern test for Arsène Wenger’s My Little Show Ponies.” Glib and table-setting, his way-too-young-to-succeed talking point would be repeated like a mantra from the pre-match period and continuing through the match into this very week.

On August 12, Louise Taylor chimed in with this bit of field work: “Arsène Wenger’s mood, hardly mellowed by painfully slow goodbyes from Cesc Fábregas and Samir Nasri, has been further darkened by logistical disruptions. When the Arsenal manager discovered his team’s intended hotel on Tyneside was hosting a Geordie wedding party he switched the booking to a less conveniently situated property in Durham City.” Taylor’s anthropological factoid was a symptom of the current campaign.

The Guardian’s Sports Blog of August 12 was accompanied by a very grey photo of Arsene, set against a very grey backdrop. Grey on grey, if you catch the visual intention.

Richard Williams helmed this Sports Blog, which gave Arsene some schtick with a vengeance. Williams’ real message lay less in any content than it did in his tone and style. In characterizing Arsene’s pre-match Friday press conference –set on the cusp of Cesc’s departure – Williams characterized Arsene in this sequence: as defiant, borderline mendacious, delusional, careening, eccentric, and undemocratic. The real message lay in Williams’ manner of speaking:

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“Yet the manager would not give an inch on Friday in his contention that the two players remain part of his squad.” (defiance) Again, “When all other means of defence had been exhausted, he resorted to a piece of semantic blocking.” (mendacious)

“Asked, in what seemed like a point-blank question, whether he expected Fábregas and Nasri to leave, he replied: “I expect nobody to leave the club.” (delusional) “By turns thoughtful, jocular, obdurate and mildly exasperated, Wenger dead-batted all discussion of deals yet to be concluded.” (careening) “‘Society dies on speculation,’ he said in another freshly minted axiom.” (eccentric) “His interrogators,” Williams continued, “were more than usually aware that they were asking their questions on behalf of Arsenal’s increasingly frustrated fans.” (undemocratic)

And then, without a peep on referee Phil Dowd’s mendacity (for full details, see The Untold ref review: Newcastle Dowd – Arsenal Williams moved in like a matador: “Wenger continues to deny the existence of a flaw that was most visible in the match at St. James’s Park in February, when [Arsenal] led Newcastle 4-0 at the interval only to collapse to a 4-4 draw…”

And now for the kill: Arsene has lost the plot: “This seemed a strange and unconvincing litany of excuses from a man who once said: ‘A great player is one who makes his team win. Anything else is just talk.’” But Williams’ slight bow to Arsene’s track record would morph into a claim that Arsene has lost the plot: “But Wenger has earned the right to do things his way for at least one more season, even though his latest choice of captain – Robin van Persie – looks no more likely than Henry, William Gallas and Fábregas to fit the mould of Patrick Vieira…” and the rest of our former pantheon. Like much of current mainstream media, it would appear that Williams wants Arsene abject, then out. To my yes, protective eyes, this reads like character assassination.

For what it’s worth, I replied to Williams with this online posting:

“Wenger owes you nothing and entertains you with juicy quotes and non-quotes. Who are you to speak for the fans and the other journos, as you openly say? Seems a bit presumptuous. Anyway, here’s my quid pro quo: for my having read through your rather snide description, I challenge you to dissect one of Fergie’s press conferences this season, in the run-up to his/MU’s 20th, with anything even approaching the not so quiet contempt that you visit here on Arsene Wenger. Cleverness can only take a writer so far before the ill-concealed bile starts to bore. You will so miss him when you drive him out of town; and, like a famous writer who used to cover Muhammad Ali in his heyday once said, ‘he was so much nicer to us than we ever deserved.’ You might consider that when you play verbal darts with AW next round.’”

During the match

The Guardian’s Live Coverage blog was manned by Jacob Steinberg who did produce even-handed coverage whilst managing to be clever. (Yes, it can be done!) Witness his in-game characterization of Barton’s actions: “ 86 min: The irony about the whole sorry affair is that Barton dived … moments after getting so furious about a dive.” The problem, however, was one of omission: Steinberg offered not a word of analysis (let alone of criticism) of Referee Peter Walton’s decision-making.


Enter Paul Wilson who described Gervinho’s fall: “Gervinho was lying on the floor attempting to make a meal of minimal contact in a fair challenge by Cheik Tioté when Joey Barton came across to tell him to get on with the game.”

In “Wilson-speak,” the tripping is called “fair” and minimized; and Barton’s manhandling becomes a snide ‘get on with it’ (in my view): Wilson did admit that “Barton probably did not need to fall down as if poleaxed, though he did, and Peter Walton probably did not have to produce a red card, though he did.” But he also considers Barton’s yellow carding “possibly slightly harsh” as he pairs it with the prior fact that “Alex Song went unpunished after an earlier stamp on Barton, which was caught by the cameras.” And then instantly on to his (analysis-free) snap conclusion: “The Newcastle player was far more sinned against than sinning here.” (Wilson would later return to cinch this on Thursday.)

I then posted this on Wilson’s Guardian blog:

“Paul Wilson, you have left out so much of the dynamics of the Gervinho-Barton-Taylor incident and the ineptitude at best of so-called Referee Walton and his “Three Blind Mice” enablers that your account makes readers with eyes to see what happened wonder whether you’ve already received your invitation and punched your ticket to Ferguson’s coronation-to-be at season’s end. This report is seriously one-sided and all I can say is thank god the Guardian has better sense than to put you on to its brilliant phone hacking coverage. I will use this in my writing as exhibit A in writing an opinion piece (read hatchet job) that masquerades as proper reportage.”

A mere 1:20:00 after his first, Wilson filed a follow-up story as commentary on Arsene’s post match remarks. His sole focus was Gervinho-Barton: “Last season it was Abou Diaby, this time it was Gervinho, making his English league debut. Alan Pardew insisted he dived, Arsène Wenger claimed he did not, but the salient point was that after Barton had hauled him brusquely to his feet and told him to get on with the game the Ivorian became involved in a scuffle and clearly slapped the Newcastle man.”

But why is the “clear slap” the salient point? No mention of Gervinho’s being tripped. No mention of Taylor’s false remonstrations. No assessment of the merits of Walton’s call and when it was made. No commentary or insight into Barton’s strategy. No. For Paul Wilson, the “salient point” in all of this is the slap. Yes, it is clearly a factor; but by choosing it as his primary focus, Wilson showed his hand.

Then he’s straight on to a juicy quote by Barton’s coach Pardew: “He was just incensed at an opponent attempting to con the referee and I don’t think that makes him a villain. He’s just an opinionated boy, that’s all.” Any analysis of that comment from Williams? No. He cleverly sidesteps any hint of that by immediately changing the focus to Arsene’s bemused reaction at the press conference: “Even Wenger could not disagree with that assessment. Showing remarkable good humour in the circumstances, the Arsenal manager noted that Barton was the obvious link between the two dismissals in the last two games and claimed he had ‘got away with it’ on both occasions.”

Wilson goes directly to his bottom-line – to construct the reader’s takeaway impression: “Wenger was somewhat less relaxed about the visiting Arsenal supporters telling him in no uncertain terms to spend some money as his players ran out of ideas in the second half. Clearly frustrated by the apparently inevitable departures of Cesc Fábregas and Samir Nasri, and the lack of replacements being lined up, the Arsenal fans high up in the Leazes End twice chanted that Wenger needed to get his chequebook out.” That, in the end, was Wilson’s point.

Exaggerated? Well, he’s nothing if not consistent. Paul Wilson would next preside over yesterday’s (Thursday’s) Sports Blog. Its headline: “Barton-Gervinho debacle proves FA needs to invoke strong arm of the law. The events at Newcastle on the Premier League’s opening day show the game is becoming impossible to police.” “Impossible?” With four referees and Barton’s well-known history?

And who’s the Offender? Yes, Arsene. Witness Wilson’s opener: “Thank goodness the FA was not seduced by Arsène Wenger’s sophistry and did the right thing in upholding Gervinho’s three-match ban for violent conduct. The decision was about the only sensible, logical and justifiable reaction to all the silliness that surrounded Arsenal’s fractious first-day encounter at Newcastle.”

And if that’s not enough, try this: “While it was clear to all on Saturday that Barton acted far more aggressively than Gervinho, he was not stupid enough to strike his opponent. Grabbing an opponent by his shirt front and giving him the benefit of your forthright opinion may be sailing close to the wind in terms of acceptable behaviour, but it stops short of violence. I am still not really sure what Barton did to warrant even his yellow card.”

Say what?

Yep, he knows he’s stirring a shit storm: “For the past few days,” he notes, “people have been arguing that Barton was guilty of perpetrating a bigger con on the referee than Gervinho. I don’t think so, because Barton was on the end of a clearly deliberate assault, however feeble its execution.” Ladies and Gents, meet Paul Wilson: my (beloved, alas) Guardian’s Designated Hitman on all things Wenger.

On Tuesday, Walter alluded to his feeling in a Julius Caesar-like ‘Et tu Bruté moment’.  I felt the same betrayal when my esteemed paper ran a gratuitously cruel Fan Poll late Tuesday. Unclaimed by any writer, I’d lay this Frankenstein at their Sports Editor’s feet:

Are Arsenal heading for the Europa League? Their captain has left, their manager is unpopular and their best striker is always injured – are the days when Arsenal could confidently expect to finish in the top four over? YES ___ NO ___ (check one)

This past Monday, my “balanced” David Hytner returned to the fray and produced my own ‘et tu David’ moment by focusing readers on Arsene’s state of mind going into Tuesday’s match with Udinese: “The pressure is stifling,” David assured, “but Wenger remains unmoved.” The match is a referendum on Wenger’s competence. “There are different readings of his mood and, on one level, it is hard not to admire his stoicism and faith… The alternative view on Wenger is that his stubbornness is verging on the delusional, that he is teetering on the brink.”

Then Hytner has his “Gotcha!” moment: “When he was asked for the absentees against Udinese, he said that Nasri was suspended [a Freudian slip] and his face creased into a wide smile.” Then to sum with Hytner’s choice word: “Wenger, though, has called for unity at this precarious time and his overriding message was heavily defiant.”

Defiant toward whom? A self-righteous media? Now, every Arsenal piece is a test of Arsene’s character. You see Hytner could have ended his piece by admiring Arsene’s “stoicism and faith”; but, instead, he chose to end with the alternative view – Arsene being thought “delusional” and “defiant”, at “this precarious time”. Make no mistake, the mass media has put Arsene Wenger on trial.

Yep, re: Arsenal v. Newcastle, that’s what they’ve been saying. But just as important is what they are not saying. And here’s just a fraction of what a little context could have added. Consider this from one extremely intelligent commenter on UA: That “Andy Garratt, the same linesman who did not see Vidic’ handball a few months ago, but did see Arshavin (I think it was) offside against Sunderland when he was not.” Won’t reporters remember?

Or consider this from a second extremely intelligent commenter on UA: “The actual process of events, from Gervinho being fouled by Tiote, to Barton fouling Gervinho when he was on the ground, to Taylor hitting Gervinho, and Gervinho hitting Barton… to then come out with a situation where we didn’t get a penalty, and we were the only team to lose a player.” Won’t reporters try to establish an exact sequence?

And try this from a third extremely intelligent commenter on UA: “I am staggered by the number of people defending the sending off of Gervinho whilst only issuing the instigator with a yellow. There has clearly been a loss of perspective by people concerned about the social problems in Britain. Barton play acted by falling after receiving a minor arms length slap- after provoking Gervinho by grabbing him by the shirt off the ground in an act of aggressive violence. In my view there has been a tendency of Football authorities in Britain to disproportionately punish the victim of aggressive behaviour for reacting to aggression for far too long in English football- without doing anything about the instigators. This is a classic example. It is blatantly unfair and is contrary to the rules of natural justice which underpin common law in Britain. Arsenal need to take this blatant act of injustice to the European Court of Human Rights.”

Hyperbole? Maybe, but does this not raise the unspoken – but obvious questions? Why won’t most media?

All this is to say that our players’ reaction to “Bartonian Abuse,” whether immediate or deferred to other games, is reliably drawing flags and suspensions. Just ask Diaby, Sagna, Gervinho and Song. It’s not enough to dismiss their reaction as some do, as simply “unprofessional.” There is, alas, more to this. Indeed, to win Saturday’s match, Barton/Taylor brought a dimension and sparked a battle that must at least be considered. Whatever is truly in their hearts and minds, their willingness to play a rotten card has tarnished the game. Why do they have to view all this treachery as just “Joey being Joey,” and “hey, what else is new?”

But Barton aside, big media is now filling its post-Cesc story vacuum. “Cesc Leaving,” their two-year profit center – and reliable magnet for readers and advertisers – is fast being replaced with Arsene Out – a relentless Arsene-Watch with no holds barred. Arsene’s every move is now a test of legitimacy. Any departure is proof of his failure. And any mistake is used to enflame the crisis that many insist on.

It appears to me that the intended knock-on effect of all this is to try to discredit Arsenal itself as a destination for new signees. Judging from some coverage, nothing will satisfy but to bring Arsene down. They’ve loosed blood in water and now they can smell it. But some cracks in the media still do exist, and Bob Wilson just blew the whistle.

As a fourth extremely intelligent UA commenter alertly reported to UA readers: “Anyone listen to Bob Wilson on BBC radio 5 last night? When questioned about the fans unrest, Wilson responded; ‘I think the press are baying for blood, you can’t just put it down to the fans, the campaign to get Arsene Wenger out of this club and out of this country….don’t you underestimate what is happing on a daily basis in our media.’”

This said, it seems well past time that we, as Arsenal fans, rallied, one and all, to resist the media’s spreading cynicism and to fully defend our team and our coach. And also to help keep UA Media Watch alive and well.

Editorial note: thanks much to bob for this particular article, and to all other members of the UM team. Your contributions have most definitely not been forgotten J I’ll be compiling it all in the coming week. Cheers. -Anne

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Arsenal v Udinese: the Catering Report

Untold Index

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Making the Arsenal

87 comments to Know Thine Enemy: From a long weekend in the Untold Media Trenches

  • walter

    Bob and all Untold media watchers, this is a great article once again.
    One that makes you wonder how on earth this is happening.
    I know some media are just criminals. Sometimes they get unmasked like with NOTW. But others are having their own agenda and are doing things that go further than “reporting news”.

    Like you say they are clearly out for Wenger to be sacked. The influence the fans who are not willing to think for themselves and try to see the full picture.

    I hope the board does not give in to this. And I think Arsenal supporters also should realise that we may and must not give in to this witch hunt. We must fight it.

    Opening the eyes of people is one thing to do and I think Untold and their media watchers is doing this.

    This week I also read an article in the London Evening or whatever also another doom and gloom article. I wrote a comment on the article asking him why he wrote this and asked the writer if he was part of some kind of organization to spread doom and gloom amongst Arsenal supporters.

    I think I touched something as the comment was not published.

    So we really are up against a very powerful beast and one who can write what they want and also can censor how they want. So it is not easy to get another message heard or read.

    Well, like Tony said: we over here are the Arsenal partizans. And so we can only fight with the weapons we have against a very big enemy.

    PS for reporters reading this: I know you are not all the same but I can tell you that some of your colleagues are a disgrace for your profession.

  • walter

    Could it be that someone who could have an interest in bringing Arsenal down is paying some people to write such stuff?
    I think we can all think of some persons who for different reasons could have an interest in bringing Arsenal down and who have enough money and influence to do such things?

  • Byron

    Great work went into this article!!! Top notch. These same reporters will be the first to slam the board when we crash(after Sacking Wenger), which is becoming inevitable, sadly!

  • Gooneraside

    Thanks, Bob, for a well-researched and well-written article, long yet still interesting from start to finish.
    I must agree with all you say – this is one of the reasons that I stopped reading newspapers many years ago. Now I restrict myself to fiction, which I know is fiction, and worth-while blogs (O.K., I do read historical The Arsenal books – even though I understand on good authority [Tony’s] that these too contain some fiction).
    But, Walter, it would seem that this is done just to sell newspapers and not as a conspiracy against Arsene. After all, given his past successes he’s become an easy target for those so-called news reporters with deadlines and nothing to report.

  • Arvind

    Excellent research and writing Bob. It may well be worth keeping track of this in an Excel sheet somewhere(which you might already be doing) so pattern finding becomes so much more easier. Keep up the good work!!

  • Abhishek Kumar


    You dont need to tell the honest reporters how bad their colleagues are.. they already know it well…

    Just like you know about the (not so)honest referees.. I dont know when will the campaign of Liverpool not yet won a league in last 20 years will start.. Or no trophies in last 5 years.. Or tottenham never ending above Arsenal in XX years.. ManU being thrased against Barca twice in 3 years..

  • ak47

    good job, i noticed summit a while back on le spurs. one of the writers i remember vaguely said one of his mates writes for the guardian. they think they can see the end game cos their choices have been fruitful so far. lets hope the red and white prevails.

  • mick

    Brilliant article Bob but I think you have scuppered your chances of ever getting a job at the Guardian!

  • Gooneraside

    Just a question for you.
    Is there any reason that this article is not more easily found by UA readers? No reference up top, just under Recent Posts. I’d hate any readers to miss this one.

  • bob

    They’ve already bowed to light as the best disinfectant so to speak and offered me (unpaid) work as their Football Section’s official ombudsman. Don’t worry, I won’t forget the neighborhood where I came from. Cheers.

  • bob

    A bit more on Guardian’s “Is Arsenal heading into the Europa League poll”: The anonymous pollster (prankster?) did achieve a substantial division among respondents, with 43% answering in the affirmative – that yes, Arsenal is heading southward at the speed of light. However, the total number of respondents was not provided, so there’s really no way to get a count and think further about how much harm may or may not have been caused. Nor were was there any Comment section provided under the poll so that people could have the chance to weigh-in on the fairness (or toxicity) of this poll itself.

  • bob

    Does anyone know the name of Guardian’s Football editor or overall Sports editor?

  • bob

    I think that the “Arsene Out” mantras are pretty much going to be the same basic ones that have surfaced so far. I tried to ID the main ones. There could be a massive number crunch at some stage, but I’m not sure it would add much to the qualitative analyses that people will be doing. And, on that note, it would be great if people decided to adopt a media outlet and watch it in close detail — even for just one match, or every so often, before during and after any match. And working with Anne as UM editor is terrific.

  • Amazing article and i am sure there are some dark and stupid forces working against Arsenal and Arsene for years. But the fact at the end of the day is that they would be proved wrong by Arsene. Reading all the quoted posts reminds me that the journos in my country are far better than these bunch of illiterate idiots. I am sure not all the true fans would give into this article but i am sure those who are in the brink would surely believe this c**p and follow the AAA-league 🙁

  • @Bob

    I would like to know if the journos are really educated or picked up from the streets of various other football clubs 😛 . I am sure they would be paid a hefty wages to write these stuff but how could once generate so much of negativity without any common sense or proof ?

  • Stevie E

    Really good article, it (almost) makes having to read the bile on a daily basis worth it. The things I’ve seen in just a short space of time is the parrot-like nature of the reports (The Metro will print essentially the same article with different headlines in the SAME PAPER?!?!) and the volume of Arsenal reports. Over 3 days (Mon – Wed), The Metro & Evening Standard produced over 40 Arsenal articles. All had the same theme, all mentioned spending money, Cesc, Nasri, transfers, AW losing it etc etc etc. I know they are free papers but this is journalism of the worst kind.

    If we can’t fight the press directly, why don’t we go to the big source of their income, the advertisers? I personally think one of the main reasons the NotW was closed down was because all the big names who advertise with them didn’t want to be associated with the frankly disgraceful practices the paper was engaged in. What do you think?

  • Laos gooner

    Thank god there is someone out there with the time to put down in a detailed account what I have been thinking for a couple of seasons now. We need more blogs like this to bring the fans together and get behind the club. Very good read Thanks.

  • bob

    Stevie E,
    Yes, several advertisers did pull out of NOTW when it became public that they hacked the phones of the grieving family of that poor girl, and it seemed to snowball once one pulled out. imo, newspapers like TV and radio shows are basically for-profit delivery-systems that bring audiences to advertiser messages – even the freebies, of course, as their circulation drives/sets their advertiser fees.

    And, on that note, its really stunning what you say about Metro and Evening Standard running the SAME story under different headlines in the same issue of the paper! Could you give an example of that from the 40 Arsenal stories you found in 3 days?! Also, did it pan out that LeGrove was found to be a regular content-provider or column for Metro and/or for ES? or was that only once or just once in a while? It would be interesting to know. Cheers.

  • Thanks Bob for this apt and down to brass tacks article on the spin and disinformation campaign against Arsene Wenger in particular, by some of the British media outlets. I had always suspected this and I now have confirmation in your above quote by (yourself?) Bob Wilson ‘I think the press are baying for blood, you can’t just put it down to the fans, the campaign to get Arsene Wenger out of this club and out of this country….don’t you underestimate what is happi(e)n(nin)g on a daily basis in our media.’”

    To counter and fight this level of hate articles and diatribe on the person of AW all AFC supporters must rally behind the team. We should call an immediate ceasefire to the in-fighting and name calling, transfers or not. Blogs like this must persist in pointing out to the hack writers that their game is up and that the fans will not accept it. AW is not perfect but he is trying his damnest best to put AFC back into reckoning as a trophy winning club. While he is doing that they should open their eyes and read the sign post on AW’s door “Genius at work – do not disturb”!

    Around here there is is a saying that goes thus: “it is only when there is a crack in a wall that a lizard finds a hiding place” – meaning – if all AFC supporters united as one against the Wenger haters they would fail in their scheming to cause disaffection and ill-will towards him. Now is the time to start not after the Liverpool match tomorrow and sustained indefinitely.

    UA media watch should counter every anti-Wenger article, without exception, none should go unanswered. I recall Anne’s blog on a writer with The Sun about the tabloid’s negative media campaign (talking points) on AFC and AW some 2 or 3 weeks ago on this site. I have since noted that the writer has stopped writing about AFC or AW and others have now taken it up where he left off. Whether that writer has only taken a leave of absence or not is irrelevant; Anne succeeded in shutting him up for a while by clearly telling him that the game is up. You may also like to note that I have stopped my subscription to the tabloid for their undisguised but open hatred and biased reporting on AW or AFC or both.

    If those rotten journalists think that all supporters of AFC will continue to buy their hatchet jobs as fair comment then they need to think again. In the said tabloid I recall an article that had nothing to do with soccer or AFC or AW for that matter but they ended up linking him with the scenario being condemned in the story! How low can you get?

    Those journalists have declared a war on our beloved AFC and therefore on its supporters what more persuasion do we need to fight back and reclaim what is ours? I don’t think they would drop all attacks and do a hasty and permanent retreat but knowing that their ploy is now an open book will make them more cautious and discrete until we shut them up by ending the trophy drought this season.

    We should be prepared for the long haul in this fight and be at rest in the knowledge that they need AFC and AW to sell their media more than AW and AFC needs them to survive.

  • Stevie E

    I don’t want to spoil anything Anne is going to submit but the following headlines are from the SAME REPORTER (James Olley) on the same day in the same paper –

    Early Theo Walcott goal fails to mask Arsenal’s soft underbelly &
    Italians taught us a lesson, says Theo Walcott

    Basically the same story, both match analysis, both just saying exactly the same the thing (Cesc, Nasri etc). The only real difference is the 2nd story has a reworded Theo quote. Shameful

  • Stevie E

    Sorry missed the Le Grove question… Not that I saw but it is only 3 days… Funnily enough there wasn’t a single Arsenal story in this mornings Metro, but because of the Barca/Real match, the managed to get in “Ex-Arsenal Captain Cesc Fabregas).

  • Bergkamp's The Man

    An excellent piece, Bob. I find it very easy to see through the stilted rhetoric to the underlying agenda of these pimpled scribes. Rather than become ennervated, I have simply reduced my redership by one from their circulation. Ultimately these pimple pickers rely on some foprm of circulation/readership to drive their individual success in the market in which they endeavour to compete. Your effort to shine this bright light under their sordid, cracking, bed sheets is highly commendable -but I fear that the ears for which it is intended are similarily engaged under sordid sheets and so unlikely to pay much heed. May I commend “Goonerholic” as an altogether more rewarding and deserving read? It’s right up there with Untold Arsenal (and has less flashing lights.

  • Mahesh

    Somehow, my comments are not making it to the discussion 🙁

  • bob

    There’s lots more coverage that was left out or the piece would go on to next Wednesday. For anyone who’s interested in a bit more of it, here’s parts of the Guardian’s live Match Coverage of Arsenal vs. Udinese, as was covered by Barney Ronay (from this past Tuesday). Read it and/or weep and/or laugh and/or get angry, as I excerpt a few of: (a) Ronay’s own comments; and (b)the Tweets from people watching the match which Ronay CHOSE to post on the Guardian match blog as the match unfolded. Please analyze and see for yourself:

    [time?] “Andrew Fyffe [a Tweeter] is putting the boot in. And it hurts. Crash! “Let us not not beat around the bush, Gervinho, Chamakh and Koscielny (I.e Wenger’s last three big signings) all look like they’re barely good enough for the Europa League, let alone this. Wenger wants value from players and that’s fine, but he’s clearly forgotten what quality looks like.” Ooof!

    [53 mins] A vast army of substitutes is warming up near the Arsenal bench. Most of them are about 14. Udinese are still pressing and now they have a corner.

    [56 mins] Djourou, we hear, has a hamstring problem. He’s only been on for nine minutes. And here comes Carl Jenkinson, who could barely get a game for Charlton and who will now play at right back in the Champions League qualifiers with Sagna at left back. This, to me, looks really bad for Arsenal. The team has goen lop-sidewd, Udinese are pressing. You really need leaders at a time like this. Cliche I know, but it’s true. They could really do with Fabregas out there. And Vieira. And Bould. And Brady. And McLintock. And Charles Buchan.

    [62 mins] Rosicky is giving the ball away with monotonous regularity. He really should try to break things up a bit by passing to his own team. Something different perhaps. Sorry, but they are really missing you know who. Udinese continue to press. The ball belongs to them right now.

    [67 mins] Udinese just look that bit more organised and seasoned, albeit it’s supposed to be Arsenal who have all the Champions League experience. Would Gary Cahill or Scott Dann really make any difference to this performance? Arsenal need something more profound. They need a 26 year old Roy Keane, or five Xavis, or a giant venomous spider to play in central midfield.

    [70 mins] Oh dear. Arsenal’s first effort “on” goal of the half. Walcott sprints through the middle like Ben Johnson on crack leaving everybody for dead, and then tries a ludicrous chip on his left hand side that just sort of flats vaguely like a stray balloon and is disdainfully caught with one hand by the keeper.

    [74 mins] Yeah. So Frimpong makes an immediate difference by giving away a free kick 30 yards out. Di Natale curls it beautifully and Scab-Knees pulls off a very athletic save diving to his left and palming well clear.

  • Stevie E

    this guy is a dick

  • Sharky

    Excellent article which I totally agree with. The insidious way that hacks put there biased opinions out there for the masses has, to some extent, swayed some Arsenal fans views of our club.

    I’ll admit that I myself have been critical of Wenger’s tatics and purchases over the years. I like to think that I’m of moderate intelligence, I form my opinions from seeing with my own eyes what has been going on with our club for a number of years. I don’t need to read newspaper articles to convince me of the bleeding obvious.

    I don’t want Wenger to go but something surely has to change. As Keegan once ranted on Sky, ‘I would love it if we beat them’ them being every Arsenal critic out there, myself included, but the reality is that at this moment in time we look weak to everyone and his dog.

    Perceptions are everything and we need to change that very quickly or the Jackals will keep hounding a wounded Arsenal until they get their prey and enjoy the feast.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Bob about your 1.45 comment… If you just see how many times Untold Arsenal has to block people commenting under different names it is no wonder that those people would produce such things like you show…

  • Anne

    First of all, just want to second everyone who has complimented bob on an excellent article.

    @Stevie E:

    No reason to worry about giving away the future plot 🙂

  • Stevie E

    Oh and by the way, EUFA have opened a case against Arsene for communicating with the team whilst banned. Bastards

  • David

    Excellent piece there Bob. Although I would argue that Gervinho neither “hit” nor “slapped” Barton – it was more a dab!

  • Anne

    @Stevie E:

    I can’t believe it! They never even opened a case against Mourinho after he publicly admitted sneaking in in a laundry basket! (I think it was a laundry basket 🙂 )B*******. 🙂

  • bob

    Stevie E,
    The upshot of a negative ruling on this will be that they remove Arsene from the next leg at Udinese. This has its obvious terrors. Then again we get RvP back. It will be important to watch the media coverage of Arsene’s potential banning. Does anyone know if there’s an absolute ban on any contact with the bench; or whether Arsene was set-up via a miscommunication about the nature of permissible contact? Vigilance! Go Gunners!

  • Anne

    @ Our anonymous commenters referenced in this article:

    I just wanted of you to know that bob’s article above initially included the names of the UA commenters that he directly quoted towards the end of the article. I took them out because I didn’t have anyone’s express permission. However, if anyone would like to step forward and claim credit, just let me know and I can assure that it happens :)Cheers. -A

  • Stevie E

    Anne & bob
    Somebody mentioned on an earlier post that there was no way that they could prove who was speaking to who (on their mobiles) unless they hacked into their phones or got hold of their phone bills. I honestly can’t see this going any further, it’s just more shit being hurled at AW in an attempt to break him.

  • Anne

    @Stevie E:

    I agree.

  • bob

    Stevie E, Sharkey,
    Sharkey’s term “hounding” is spot on. While nothing can be proven without them (uefa security?) hacking Arsene’s phone, he’ll have to answer questions about this and they’ll try to distract him and the team from their necessary focus in all the upcoming games. The relentless questioning on this will be the next phase in the multi-level “hounding” As far as Arsene’s “contact” with the bench goes, the fact that he was banned because of Basura’s ref-shite, and Basura became chief of refs while Arsene gets regarded as a CRIMINAL for possibly contacting his bench coach is the way that media will be framing this, I fear. The game is perception-management and it’s something to watch for in the next few daze and to push back on.

  • michael ikoro

    Excellent article Bob. There is an agenda to rubbish Arsene Wenger and Arsenal. It is a pity most fans don’t see it. What can i do? I am tired of begging so called Arsenal fans to put issues surrounding the club into a proper perspective. Arsenal deserves our support. I read everything about Arsenal on a daily basis. I go to Le grove, i cry at the level of negativity that persons who call themselves Arsenal fans spread online. Arsenal is not in crisis forget what the media say. Arsenal is a giant which is on a mission. We will rule England again please have some faith.

  • Anne


    I hope it’s not inevitable that we sack Wenger… sigh…

  • Anne


    “They’ve already bowed to light as the best disinfectant so to speak and offered me (unpaid) work as their Football Section’s official ombudsman. Don’t worry, I won’t forget the neighborhood where I came from. Cheers.”

    Wow, you should really have disclosed this conflict of interest 🙂

  • bob

    Thanks for your inspired and serious comments! I’d have to thank the “fourth very intelligent UA contributor” for the Bob Wilson information. (Actually it was posted by him/her on UA a couple of days ago.) If he/she comes forward and takes credit for it and hopefully supplies a direct link to the BBC 5 broadcast we would all be the richer for it.

  • bob

    omg, I must have fallen asleep at the keyboard in the wee hourse when I found out about my “appointment” as Guardian of the Guardian football section. I’ll now have to publicly abandon that wished-for “conflict of interest” and go back to my humble interest in conflict. Ah well, a guy can dream. (That would be my dream job, mind you!)

  • Anne


    I certainly agree that I hope bob is keeping an excel spreadsheet on this. Must say that I was highly impressed with the quality of the research here. Better than I came up with 🙂

  • menace

    An excellent article. This however, concentrates on the press and does not pick up on the FA who in my view are corrupt to the core. They did not chastise Barton or Newcastle or apologise for their poor officials. There is no doubt that The melee was caused by Newcastle players, there were 3 of them having a go at Gervinho after the disgraceful assault by Barton, closely followed by Taylor. The FA have in their normal racist manner blamed it on the ‘black man’ and banned 2 of them while their glorious example to all children ‘white boy’ Barton was not punished. Their message is ‘kids, go out there and start a riot because it’s the people like shop owners who react that will be punished’.

    The appointed FA officials on the field were unable to keep up with play and did not uphold the Laws of the Game. What is the point of having referees that are so useless that the Game is being brought into disrepute?

    I am totally disenchanted with the Football authorities and the way they pander to corrupt media. It is time for true football fans to make a stand against this abominable corruption.

  • Anne


    I found the following info on the Guardian’s football editor (Sean Ingle, apparently?) and reporters:

    Guardian Unlimited Football, part of the, is based at:119 Farringdon Road
    London EC1R 3ER
    United Kingdom

    Individual journalists may generally be emailed using this formula: or

    Contact the editor
    The editor of Guardian Unlimited Sport, Sean Ingle, can be contacted on
    To submit a football-related question, contact

    Urgent problems
    If you have an urgent need to contact Guardian Unlimited Football telephone 020 7239 9869.

  • Anne


    In response to your earlier comment, I just posted contact info for the Guardian’s football department, their editor (Sean Ingle, apparently), and their reporters. This is the info that they provided at least. However, I’m awaiting moderation because of the number of links. So, expect it in just a little while. In the meantime, I’d like to respond to your comment about this football poll:

    “A bit more on Guardian’s “Is Arsenal heading into the Europa League poll”: The anonymous pollster (prankster?) did achieve a substantial division among respondents, with 43% answering in the affirmative – that yes, Arsenal is heading southward at the speed of light.”

    First of all, considering the obvious “answer” that was provided by the poll before they even asked the question (as you pointed out), I’d say that it’s actually a positive sign that they weren’t able to get a majority “positive” response. 🙂

    However, I think your overall point is valid. Basically, how do we know that we can trust these polls…? Really, someone could just go in and vote over and over and over again… Just saying.

  • Anne


    Good points about the FA. This is a little bit outside the Untold Media beat, so I’m not going after them directly… You could do it though… and submit something 🙂

  • Anne


    However, further along those lines, I would be interested to know your opinion on this fairly recent article from the Guardian (ironically enough), about the FA:

  • Anne


    Thanks for your response. I’ve made this point before about AAA fans…My inclination is to think that this MUST be a minority position…It just doesn’t make any real sense. However, not living in England, I’m not in a position to have much contact with many Arsenal fans. But I do hope that this isn’t how most of them feel… I would think that they don’t, but maybe I’m just an optimist 🙂

  • Anne


    thank you very much for your compliments on my previous work. I accidentally overlooked it the first time I scrolled through the comments. But cheers 🙂 -Anne

  • Anne

    @Michael Ikoro:

    Excellent point, and I completely agree w/ you. I’m glad to know that there are Arsenal fans out there who can see these facts.

    However, as I can see that I’m now just having a lengthy conversation w/ myself, I’m going to be quiet until someone else responds 🙂

  • bob

    On the Guardian’s “Europa Poll” – I think their mendacity is not so much in whatever the percentages are but more so in their displaying such an incendiary poll-question at all; and to pile on with it on a day of Arsene/Arsenal’s sky-high vulnerability (Cesc leaves/Udinese leg one), all to add gasoline to the fire and enhance the impression that the wheels are coming off the bus, the team is imploding, the manager has lost the plot, maximal chaos. They don’t even publish the number of respondents, only the alleged percentages which, as you say, might be complete bullshit due to multiple voting (although they have had controls on this for other “counts” like preventing someone from posting and then voting to recommend your own posting). All this said, I’d lay permission for them concocting and displaying that disgraceful piece of tabloid shite at the feet of either the football editor or the overall sports editor (if they are not one and the same person). There has to have been permission granted at some meeting or via some email exchange to have displayed that poll.

    In one sense the poll seems small change; but in another sense it feels like a kind of key or window on to something greater – just a hunch. It’s the one anonymous piece of all their Arse-Beat related excretia of the last week. I would hope that any of this will help rein in the football section and restore some semblance of quality and fair play which is what first attracted me to their high-calibre news section. It would be great if some anonymous Guardian staffer wrote in to help explain – or even take issue – on what appears to be a massive gap here.

    Are some of their senior staffers left over from the legacy of its having started out as (and for decades been called) The Manchester Guardian. That’s just a hypothesis I’m putting out there as one possible and partial explanation; because this selfsame football section has been consistently Fergie-worshipping. He is the reigning deity thereabouts, and I do mean deity. Take, as a wee example, the way that Jacob Steinberg (who did an even-handed Match Day minute-by-minute blog on our Newcastle match) goes into rapture-mode at the START of the Manure-WBA match last weekend (14 August): “Number 19 is in the bag. The quest for No 20 begins in earnest at The Hawthorns, one of five grounds where Manchester United won on their travels last season. Five wins away from home and they still won the league. Improve on that this time and the rest might as well forget about challenging them this time.” In other words, he is the TRUMPETER for the Rednose XX. It’s on, y’all. All hail Lord Football. And so it begins…

  • Abhishek Kumar

    Hey Bob

    I think I voted in telegraph. they asked if Arsene will be there next year.. To look at the result I voted too and the reult was same that you told..

    Yes 54%
    No 46%

  • bob

    Michael Ikoro,
    Thank you for your insight and sensitivity. LeGrove is smart and toxic. Relentlessly Arsene hating, except for the one match when we beat Barca at the Ems when they went into raptures and literally did a mea culpa and forgave Arsene and accepted their wrong-headed analysis. Once our season started to go south, almost immediately with the extra matches and the Barca loss, they instantly reverted back to type and have been on a Total Mission to bring Arsene down. They can argue their side pretty well at times, so I go there to sharpen my own counter-arguments and perspective. But the chronic negativity and nihilism is regularly too overwhelming for even reasonable mental health.

  • let me say it again folks. if no arsenal bloggers association exists it is time to form one and urgently. the word must go out to the fans (not just the bright ones that read UA) that the press is gunning for our manager. some of us may disagree with his methods but that doesn’t give them the right to knock on the front door and demand a plate.

    get the arsenal bloggers to unite or we may end up with capello in charge. i must admit were i in arsene’s position, i’d have long since taken my millions and moved back to france where i would transform lyon into the best team in europe. luckily, he’s a lot thicker skinned than i am. i can’t help but feel that were wenger british, the stories would be different. don’t the press realize there are 19 other managers they can beat up on from the safety of their press box?

    it’s so easy to sit in front of a computer and type a few words. it must be so hard to run a world-class operation like arsenal. these little men and women of the press would better serve english football by investigating f.a. and referee corruption. but that would look like work wouldn’t it?

  • bob

    Abishek Kumar,
    You’re right, the same percentage in both polls. Does the Telegraph report how many respondents have taken the poll so far? or how many now that it’s over? Guardian did not. And if they didn’t, that too would also be curious. Again, like I was saying with Anne, I think that even having that poll question repeated on the airwaves “normalizes” the thought and builds momentum toward an outcome – bringing down Arsene. Showing an almost evenly divided split can give the impression that the Arsenal fanbase itself is that evenly split on Arsene. It’s a fake referendum on Arsene which is not really that at all. imo, it’s designed to build momentum toward a 50-50 split that, if it were to be replicated within the Arsenal fanbase could help sway Arsene/Arsenal to part company. I’ve overstated this a bit, yes; but I think there is a kind of psywar thing going on here – a total relentless atmosphere to oust Arsene and fully destabilize the team. I’d be so happy to be wrong in thinking down this path, but the intensity and non-stop nature of this campaign, at least at this early and highly-vulnerable moment in the season points my antennae in that direction.

  • menace

    @Anne the article is more about the business rather than the sport. I will post my abbreviated views on the business aspect which incidentally is so far outside ‘legal’ that it makes a mockery of the game. The balance is weighted to the wealth and is so open to corruption and money laundering.

    I am initially concerned with the very blatant abuse of power of the associations (both National & European) and their meteing of penalties like Gods.

  • Kentetsu

    I stumbled upon Untold somewhere last year and due to the quality of the articles it didn’t take long to become my prefered blog. It’s in fact the only blog of any kind where I have ever commented. Untold offers a lot more than just an outlet to spout your opinion. I am glad to see that the quality only gets better and better.

    Onto the debate about the support for Arsenal. It is clear that we don’t have to expect anything from the media, but I believe that this year again only a small number of fans have cancelled their season ticket – a number that is not any different from years before. And still there are more people on the waiting list than fit into White Hart Lane. The support is clearly still there, otherwise why go to the match at all?

  • Anne


    I will look forward to your “abbreviated views”

  • Anne

    @Abhishek Kumar:

    That’s a really interesting observation about having the exact same percentages… Almost bizaare really. What are the odds of that? Well-spotted 🙂

  • Anne

    @mike in atlanta:

    Cappello in charge? Wow, that just sent shivers down my spine…

    Thanks for reading and responding, from a fellow Atlantan 🙂

  • menace

    @Anne this may be a little different but it is honest.

    The two aspects of football today are the game on the field and the business off the field.

    In this précis I cover my view of the business. Each and every club should publish a budget in June exposing the total capital available and expected expenditure for the approaching season. Those clubs who are within budget should get a larger percentage of the financial rewards. Those that are outside their budgets should have reduced financial reward and pre-determined penalties. These can be based on proportions of the total capital budgetted.

    The UK clubs should be given a year within which all their investors must be brought under the UK financial umbrella and be subject to local law, taxes and money laundering control. The use of off shore holding companies and overseas stake holders are detrimental to the game and its rewards to the UK tax system.

    I also believe that director loans should be limited to a maximum and any amount above the maximum be allowed as an ‘non-returnable’ gift. The clubs in order to compete must have a cap on investment and personnel (playing staff) numbers. This will ensure availability of quality players to teams rather than the loan system that now allows the wealthiest clubs to ‘hog’ these players whilst loaning them to clubs and improving their own position by only allowing the players to play against their opponents. This effectively gives the loaner clubs more than 11 players competing in the division. A little like having more than 2 cars in an F1 team.

    The FA’s Lords are so deep into their own pockets that this kind of system is a pipe dream.

  • bob

    mike in atlanta, Tony, Walter, UA,
    As to mike’s call, there are a few smart pro-Arsene/Arsenal blogs that on their face seem to be kindred spirits. I haven’t been around long enough, so don’t know the in’s and out’s of their relationships over time. But if there’s merit, wouldn’t it make sense to suggest potential allies in a common front. And, mike, in specific terms, how do you see kindred websites concretely acting in support of a common defend Arsene/Arsenal position? Any specific ideas? For what it’s worth, I’ve found three others – Desi Gunner and A Cultured Left Foot and the one with the Goonerholic guy – to be sound, ethical and smart. And, whilst critical of Arsene’s moves at times, it’s not been mean-spirited based on my semi-frequent visits. Over the last two years, I think they’ve been solidly in Arsene’s corner. But again, mike, what might be some common actions that a coalition could take now, and without individual sites like UA compromising their independence?

  • @bob, the bloggers, and it needs much more than three, should be asked to write a piece declaring their support for the club and the manager even if they want to hedge their bets by also saying they think there are areas in which he could change.

    then they should bring to their readers’ attention your findings on what the press are doing by linking to this excellent article. next, they should publicize walter’s ref analysis by posting a regular link to it on their pages.

    next, they should contact other teams’ bloggers, such as there are to encourage them to start their own ref watch for their clubs.

    next, they must ask their supporters to email the f/a and ref association when they discover any serious breaches of conduct by refs or managers, bombarding them with a large quantity of protests until someone reacts.

    then, each blog should develop a cadre of letter writers who will email their mp, congressman, mayor at the slightest hint of corruption/favoritism in the game.

    and, each blogger must email the sports editors or comment on the sports pages whenever they see the type of nonsense being perpetuated by the sports writers.

    lastly, the government must be alerted to the possibility of corruption among r/a and f/a in concert with the press. if the italians and germans can ferret out corruption, so can you guys. establish links with the betting and gaming folks who have the most to lose and bring the force of numbers to bear on the jokers running the game. and somehow try to tie it in with the state of the national team that is usually handpicked by journalists in their columns. and you know what the results have been.

  • @ Anne: go atlanta gooners!

  • bob

    Sean Ingle, the Guardian Football Editor stated this in an EFW (European Football Weekend) Interview:
    Q: Do you have time to read any football blogs?
    A: I read several regularly – including yours, Zonal Marking, Arseblog etc – as well as popular club message boards.

    @ Sean Ingle,
    If you’re reading this article, please consider resigning right now from the “Arsene Out” campaign that’s been going on at the Guardian over the last three weeks at least. You may feel that you cannot afford not to be an Arsene/Arsenal-basher (or lose out to the competition). But your coverage is bankrupt on many levels; and Untold Media will be exposing what your football section is doing, week after week, as long as you keep doing it. You’ve either approved this tack, or are not in control of it, but Richard Williams and Paul Wilson and Barney Ronay’s work, in particular, and not only, have been especially disgraceful and one-sided in the extreme. The evident pro-MU bias that imbues the football section should not be wielded as a weapon to de-stabilize Arsene and Arsenal, or any other MU rival. Your team, if you’re actually in charge, have run amok and we will call them, by name, on every iota of unfair reportage until your your names and Guardian Football become cliches and synonymous for biased and nasty reporting of all things Arsenal. And btw, it would be great and commended if you’d showed the same courage and skill in covering referee performance as the Guardian’s excellent news section has done in the phone hacking scandal. Speaking for myself here at Untold Media, I would both ask and expect you to close that glaring gap and commend you for doing so. Perhaps a dialogue here with you would be a first step. I hope you’d show the courage to take it.

  • Anne


    if you want to say that to Sean Ingle directly, his email address is as follows 🙂

  • Anne


    That’s some really good info about Arsenal season ticket holders. And I think that says more about the truth of Arsenal and Arsenal fans than anything that the media has to offer.

    and btw, do you want me to credit you in the article?

  • Anne


    Very good points. I particularly agree w/ your 3rd paragraph. I’m sure if we ever had a beer together or something we would have lots to say on this subject 🙂

  • Anne

    @bob and mike in atlanta:

    I think that this talk of possible proactive solutions is a very positive thing… I also REALLY like Stevie E’s idea about advertising. I’m thinking that, in future articles, maybe we should provide just a list at the end of the primary sponsors for whatever publication we’re covering. Any thoughts?

  • bob

    Yes! I’ll write the same letter directly to editor Sean Ingle, so many thanks for the man’s e-mail address. I hope that everyone and anyone here will also write to him and let him know your positions on Guardian football coverage patterns re Arsene/Arsenal. Untold Media is a great tool if we use it. Perhaps, going forward, UM/UA readers can regularly be provided with links to be able to write to the specific sports editors and writers of their choice. A keyboard is a terrible thing to waste! Go Gunners!

  • Anne


    Go Gunners, indeed 🙂

  • menace

    @Anne – It would be a pleasure chat – you’ll find my on Untold’s FB page.

  • bob

    As a parting shot absorbed from and turned back at the Guardian’s mendacious coverage, I ask you to behold the photograph of Arsene on top of this afternoon’s Guardian FIVER blog. The pictures say it all – so much that I had to reach for the airbag and have not yet been able to suck it up and go back to read their words. I new low IMO in Guardian Football now going toe-to-toe with The Sun for my nomination for Untold Media’s most vicious coverage possible award. Behold:

  • bob

    Tony, Dogface, Walter, UA, All:
    With blood in the water, The Guardian has exercised its sense of entitlement to dehumanize one man and turn him into a grotesque cartoon. As I say above, it will mark Guardian Football’s lowest point to date. I feel that it’s really time to activate Woolwich Peripatetic’s idea of yesterday — to actually counter this type of eye-shite with counter-images. Yes to engage in a war of images, because with images like this pair being sent out there, our words are great, but not quite enough. Perhaps UA/UM could develop an image/slideshow Section where we could post our counter-images and videos, etc. to be able to compete and overcome. Text is essential, but it isn’t sufficient, imo, to effectively fight back.

  • bob

    Signing off for today (Friday)… and see everyone tomorrow! So many thanks for sharing with great heart and intelligence. Writing for UA/UM is really rewarding and you make is a privilege and a joy. On to counter-imagery? (Of course the best counter-imagery is video-replay. But that’s for yet another day.) Go Gooners!

  • Laundryender

    Re @Bob

    This is an outstanding dissection, it makes me proud to be a Gooner and to be associated with this clubs fan base.


  • Anne


    I’ll look for you 🙂

  • bjtgooner

    @ bob

    Just caught up with this article – what a magnificent post. As you rightly point out the Guardian reports did not allow the facts to interfere with their anti Arsenal bile.

    What we don’t have is the ref report and these days with so much emphasis on freedom of information I wonder how legal it is to restrict such information. The FA used technology to retrospectively ban Song, but not Barton – because the latter was protected by a yellow card. However, as technology showed that the ref did not see the incident between Barton and Gervinho how could he write an accurate report, especially when his nearest linesman was overdue his trip to the optician.

    Are there any legal grounds to force the publication of ref reports? Such a release to the public sector might result old red nose to requiring a change of underwear!

  • jbh

    Looks like Arsene is getting more into highlighting the corruption. From Arsenal dot com today re the Press conf:

    “When you look at the game again it’s quite surprising. It’s difficult to understand. We had a penalty turned down but when Barton grabs Gervinho in the box the ball is [live] in the game. Why is that not a penalty? Why does the linesman not intervene? There are a few questions to be answered.”

    Will any of the hacks publish this quote? I doubt it.
    Keep up the good work.

  • Tasos

    Thanks for the compliment although I cannot claim full responsibility as I was informed by a family member of the BBC Radio 5 “Bob Wilson” interview on returning home from the game on wednesday evening. The whole interview was available via the Beebs website. Radio 5 live schedule from 7pm Wednesday 17th.

    I must also add that Lee Dixon threw his two penance into the heated debate and defended our manager with some very rational responces.

    On a side note…. Old red nose has somehow contrived the fixture list again this season. Not only will Man U play us at Old Trafford after our exhausting CL second leg qualifier next week, they themselves have the advantage of playing every single (6) Premier league matches at home after a sometimes ardious midweek CL group match. Meaning CL new boys and noisey neighbours Man City will have the misfortune to play away from home in the PL after each of their 6 CL group games. How very favourable the “fixture computer” has been to Sir Alex, once again?

  • Goonergerry

    Great detailed research Bob.
    Look I am well aware that I am not one of you- (Arsene Wenger lovers), but I don’t hate hime either. Unlike you, I support the team not the manager and hope we can be successful with our present team- but fear that we we not be.
    Journalists don’t inhabit the world of truth- they inhabit the world of commercialism so loved by contributors to this site- whose primary job is selling newspapers or representing the people who give them snippets of information.
    The Guardian journalists may not inhabit the world of made up lies like other English media outlets,- but they do inhabit the world of stereotypes and uninformed opinion dressed up as fact.
    I happen to think Sean Ingle talks a lot of sense most of the time. But it does not make him any better at forecasting football than my 13 year old daughter.

  • bob

    I can appreciate your distinction between support for the manager and support for the team. My analysis is that right now, what’s afoot is to ruin the team by ruining the manager – that is to discredit the team as a destination for would-be signings. By devaluing the team to that extent, the only recourse would be to have a rescue by a Saviour – namely, one Zillionaire. If that’s what you mean by supporting the team vs. supporting the manager, then we part company there. If you support the team on a different financial basis, then I think, at this time, supporting the team and supporting the manager are the same thing. What do you think?

  • Kentetsu

    @ Tasos: Nice discovery about the fixture list. They pave the road toward Rednose XX the best way they can. And can we then conclude that Man City is considered the main rival this season?

    @ Anne: Everything I post on Untold can be quoted somewhere else on Untold, either in comments or articles. Feel free to credit me 🙂

  • bob

    Morning mates,
    I’ll be on to this posthaste, but lest there’s any doubt, Operation Wenger Out continues full-bore under the name Paul Wilson with this unholy trinity – Photo, Headline and Article:
    And, hey, if Paul Wilson’s poisoned chalice isn’t quite your cup of tea, then there’s always Le Grovel: Today, they’ve set their all-time low by (do sit down) likening Arsene to Chemical Ali, the miscreant Sadaam Hussein’s deluded media spokesman. I do wish I were making it up. But, in truth, I’ve never felt so proud of (full disclosure)being flushed (read banished) from their urinal.