Arsenal fighting back against the media campaign? Finally

“Growing Crisis” Continues to Engulf English Media: But Are Arsenal Finally Fighting Back?

By: Anne

The constant media chatter concerning Arsenal being in a state of “crisis” should be well familiar to any Arsenal fan by this point. For example, it has become virtually impossible to open any paper at all these days without seeing headlines similar to the following:

Defensive shambles deepens Arsenal crisis

Arsenal crisis: five reasons behind the problems at the Emirates this season

Gunners Their Own Worst Enemy as Blackburn, Own-Goals Add to Crisis

Manchester United vs. Arsenal: Gunners in Crisis After 8-2 Defeat

However, in recent weeks, there are encouraging signs that this ongoing media campaign may finally have reached such a fever pitch that it is drawing a concerted counterattack from the club itself. The following are some of the factors that are currently leading me to this cautiously optimistic conclusion:

1) The club is making a concerted effort to reach out directly to Arsenal fans.

As was noted in the comments section on my previous article (detailing Martin Samuel’s exploits for the Daily Mail), published an article titled “Club pays tribute to loyal supporters,”  which thanked Arsenal’s supporters for their large turn-out at the Carling Cup match against Shrewsbury, and which appeared to be intended to counter certain false media allegations regarding low fan turnout at the same match.

Similarly, Arsenal Player posted a free clip of Arsene Wenger thanking fans for their support, titled “Wenger on the fans: Gunners boss hails Arsenal faithful for Tuesday’s support.”

2) Arsene Wenger has made several public comments recently directly responding to negative media coverage.

For example, as I noted in my previous article on Martin Samuel:

“Last month, Arsene Wenger publicly called on Arsenal’s fans to ignore media pressure and support the team. Arsene said: ‘The media with us is very negative – if our fans go the way the media want them to go, we have no chance.’”

More recently, Arsene said the following in response to media questioning following Arsenal’s victory over Shrewsbury:

“Wenger, looking visibly angry at questions over his future, said: ‘Whether I work here for the next 10 years for the club or the next day, I will let others assess the situation. I focus on doing well for the club. And I must tell you something, I’m not bothered at all by all this speculation, not at all…I am completely focused on doing well. I can understand that people are unhappy and criticise but you know as well as I know people are very quick to go overboard…When it goes well we must not completely believe what people say and when it does not go as well, we must not completely believe it.’”

3) In recent weeks, Arsenal’s players have been more vocal than in the past regarding their support for Arsenal and Arsene Wenger, and also denying speculation that the club is in “crisis.”

See, for example:

Gervinho: Don’t forget what Arsene Wenger has done for Arsenal

What crisis? Walcott insists Arsenal are ‘bubbling’ after deadline-day spree

Van Persie: We’ll fight out of crisis

4) The Media Watch section on Arsenal’s website appears to have undergone some changes recently.

For awhile now, Arsenal has had a section on called “Arsenal Media Watch (News, Gossip, Opinion). I have long been aware of this section on the club’s website, and I have also long ignored it; the primary reason being that, whenever I looked at it, I couldn’t believe that Arsenal would actually link to “those types” of articles on its own website.

However, at my most recent glance, Arsenal Media Watch now appears to be attempting to highlight articles that create a positive spin for the club, as opposed to just whatever press coverage happens to be out there. If my observations are correct, this is a welcome change in direction. Also, the Media Watch now appears to be including material from some Arsenal blogs, where it did not do so before (based on my own recollections):

For example, the following articles provide a sampling of the sort of material that currently appears on the site (in addition to the usual transfer rumours):

“The Online Gooner says Arsenal fans can play their part to get the season back on track Online Gooner

Meanwhile ‘A Cultured Left Foot’ reflects on a positive experience for the Club’s young talent. A Cultured Left Foot

Former Lyon coach Claude Puel and ex-Gunner Remi Garde have both given their backing to Arsene Wenger. Sky Sports

Emmanuel Frimpong is confident of a top-four finish in the Premier League despite the team’s disappointing start to the campaign. Sky Sports

Summer signing Gevinho says it is important to remember what manager Arsene Wenger has done for the Club. Sun

Cesc Fabregas has denied giving an interview in which he appeared to criticise Arsenal’s trophy hopes. Mirror.”

5) And finally, my primary reason for believing that Arsenal may have changed its media policy is the fact that Ivan Gazidis appears to have said as much himself:

“Q: Ivan, what are you here for? What are you doing today?

GAZIDIS: I’m here at the offices of Bloomberg in the city. They have this magnificent building where I’ve been doing a breakfast with sports industry executives, a number of interviews with TV and some media and beginning the process of a discussion with the public about what’s happening at Arsenal.

Specifically, Gazidis has been making the media rounds lately, delivering a clear and coherent message of positivity regarding the future of Arsenal football club. Fans will most likely be aware that Gazidis has made public statements recently due to articles like the following:

Arsenal back Wenger, deny crisis

However, based on my own research, none of these articles convey the extent to which Gazidis appears to have actually been working the media. Although it appears that Gazidis has actually given more interviews than the ones cited below, what I’ve chosen to include here are the transcripts of the three interviews that I could find on video, (mostly) unedited.

Given the extent to which Gazidis’ comments have already been edited in most media coverage, I kept my own edits to a minimum, and only edited to the extent necessary to minimize the length of this article (It’s still long, but feel free to skim through any parts of the transcripts that don’t interest you). The portions quoted are transcribed directly from the videos of Gazidis’ interviews. In reading these transcripts, I hope that you will note the way in which Gazidis appears to be clearly on-message in all three interviews, conveying a positive message about Arsenal.

I might even go so far as to say that Gazidis appears to be delivering some pro-Arsenal “talking points,” that may perhaps have been drafted to counter the negative talking points being distributed through other media outlets? On that subject, I’ll be interested to hear your opinions in the comments section. What follows are my excerpts from the transcripts of the three recent interviews with Gazidis (the bulleted topic headings were added by me):



Q: Ivan, what are you here for? What are you doing today?

GAZIDIS: I’m here at the offices of Bloomberg in the city. They have this magnificent building where I’ve been doing a breakfast with sports industry executives, a number of interviews with TV and some media and beginning the process of a discussion with the public about what’s happening at Arsenal.


Q: You’ve been strong and robust in painting a positive picture about Arsenal football club. What are you trying to say?

GAZIDIS: In terms of the overall direction of the club, if we look at where we are, we’re in the place that other people want to be in. We’ve got a really strong position financially. We’ve got a young squad, still together with experienced players. We’ve got a great manager. We’ve got one of the world’s best stadiums, and we run the club in a sustainable, responsible way, and that means we stand on our own two feet, we don’t have to rely on anybody to be successful except ourselves. Everything that this club has built, everything it represents, it built itself. Nobody gave us a God-given right to have the high expectations that we have, and we’re in a good position within the game. Let’s not  lose that sense of perspective.

The reason we’re not disappointed is because the expectations have been set so high, because the bar is high for this club, and I welcome that. I think that’s a good thing and that we should be disappointed, but in terms of the overall position of the club it’s healthy, it’s strong, it’s vibrant, we can look forward with real confidence. Do we have to make adjustments along the way? Do we have to address some of the issues? Absolutely we do, but in terms of the overall picture, other clubs want  to be in the position that Arsenal is in. Arsenal represents, I think, the best of the future of the game. It represents the responsible vision for what the game can be, a sustainable vision for what a football club can be, and something that can provide pride to its fans. I know there hasn’t been a lot of that in some of the recent performances, I know we’ve fallen short there, but overall Arsenal fans can feel proud of this club.


Q: You portray the club as a role model, and you even used that term in your discussion today, but the general picture of Arsenal at the moment is, maybe not a “club in crisis,” but it’s a downbeat position, so how do you explain that?

GAZIDIS: Well, we are seen as a role model, you know, even in these difficult times. If you go around the world, people look…within England people look toward Arsenal as the way a football club should be. People admire the way we try to play great football, they admire Arsene’s vision of how the game can be played. Are we going through a difficult patch at the moment? Of course out of that.

But that’s not the overall story of this football club, and the further you are away from the the daily media stories and the radio chats and the online commentaries that go on… The further you are away, the more perspective I think people have, and the more there is admiration and respect for what Arsenal has done. And within the game, every club is trying to get into a position like Arsenal where they can be self-sustaining. Even the big spenders of today are trying to work out plans that will put them in a position like Arsenal. And we achieved that by our own discipline, our own responsible management of the club over a long period of time, and also by virtue of the way that Arsene Wenger has managed this club responsibly. With great inspirational vision but also with responsibility, and that’s a challenging line to walk but he continues to do that.


Q: You mentioned Arsene Wenger there, he’s been portrayed in a negative way as well. You’ve come out fighting, you said he’s not a broken man or anything like that and he’s determined to turn things around at Arsenal.

GAZIDIS: Arsene is very focused, the more we’ve got to do. He’s as passionate about this club as any human being could possibly be and wants this club to achieve success more than anything else. That’s his wish, his desire, his focus, morning, noon, and night, and that’s what he works towards. We don’t support him out of sentimental reasons because of what he’s done for this club in the past. We work with him every day, we see the kinds of pressures and challenges that he’s under and the magnificent way in which he responds to them, and I think the current portrayals of him…You know, the media likes to paint things in terms of black and white. Either you’re a success or you’re completely humiliated, and the truth is, that every single day in this business is a competition , is a battle, and we’ve got a man who is recognized around the world as being not just an inspirational leader but also a battler and ultimately a winner, and I believe for very solid reasons that he’s the right man to get us back on track.


Q: This talk about the transfer window, what are your general thoughts about it? Because a lot of business was done, even though there was perhaps a slight departure from your previous policy.

GAZIDIS: You know, the overall strategy remains the same. In fact, if you look at the new signing s in terms of the average age, they’re not very different from the players we’ve had depart, so we remain a very young team overall. The strategy remains built around signing top young players and developing them through the game. We have tactically made an adjustment in this window which people will recognize by bringing some more experience into the team, and I think that will pay dividends.

I think that will give a more secure environment in which some of the younger players can really develop to their full potential. Not many people have seen many of the young players, really. Miyachi and Alex Chamberlain, for example, but I think they will see more of them and I think that they’ll like what they see..


Q: You discussed financial fair play and it is coming, it will happen, and do you think that will put Arsenal in a positive position in comparision to other clubs?

A: Well it certainly will. I mean we’re very well-placed financially and we’re running this club on a sustainable, responsible basis. I think, as I’ve said, the rest of the game is trying to move into that position and FFP is designed to get the rest of the game there. If UEFA enforce it the way they say they’re going to, which is openly, transparently, and firmly, then I think we will certainly see other clubs having to amend some of their spending, which will be very positive for us, but we don’t support it only for that reason.

I think there’s a much broader reason. If you care about the game and the direction in which it’s heading you have to ask yourself questions about how we bring more stability into the game so that we can create an environment where we get better owners, not just at the very top end, but throughout the game. People who can come in and say look, this makes sense as a rational place to put some money, I’m not just going to lose my shirt, but I can support the club, and I think you get some really top class owners who bring new ideas to the table and I think it will be good for fans as well. Also I believe these proposals are good, not just for Arsenal FC, but for the game as a whole…


Q: Just talking about the fans, do you feel you’re in tune with what they’re thinking at the moment?

GAZIDIS: I am. I mean, I’m sharing those emotions. You know, none of us can… So much of our self-esteem, our self-worth, is tied up in this team. It’s not an entertainment event. Yes it can be great entertainment and for many fans perhaps it is entertainment, but I think for those people who are at the heart of the club, the people who are most deeply connected with the club, these feel like personal blows and certainly that’s the way it feels to me and others in and around the team. We need in that type of environment to respond positively.

We need to find a way to pull the team together and to find them their confidence, so they can move forward. I’m convinced we’ve got a deep and strong squad, a good mixture of youth and experience, a lot of players Arsene rates very ,very highly in the squad, and if we can get this team on track and beginning to put a run of games together… You know the performances in the Champions League, we went to some very difficult places. Winning at Udinese and getting a good result at Dortmund, these are not easy teams and not easy places to go, so it has shown character. I think it’s the inconsistency that we need to address.


Q: Do you have a message for the fans?

GAZIDIS: I have. I mean, I’m sharing, and everyone at the club is sharing, the pain of some of the last few weeks. I think it’s important at a time like this that we come together, that we all care about the club, that we all want this club to move forward. I’m convinced the people will do that. I’m convinced that people will retain their belief, and I think if we can give the players our support, I’m convinced that they can turn around the performances and we can look forward to a more positive string of results this season.



Q: Ivan, it’s been a tough time, hasn’t it, for Arsenal of late? You’ve lost your best players in the summer transfer window, I think it’s the worst start to a league season in 58 years, you’ve suffered some humiliating defeats like the 8-2 defeat to Manchester United… Just how traumatic of a time has it been for the club and for you recently?

GAZIDIS: Well, it’s been a difficult time to be an Arsenal fan. Certainly, we’ve had a lot of inconsistency in our performances and some bad defeats as you mentioned, but there have also been some very strong performances in difficult environments, in the Champions League, so it’s been a slightly perplexing mix of results. But what we’re doing is focusing on what we need to do to make sure that what we think is a deep squad with a good mixture of youth and experience can turn this around and start to get more consistency.


Q: Some are saying the club is in crisis. Is it?

GAZIDIS: No. It isn’t in crisis. In fact, it’s in a very, very healthy, strong position. We’ve had fourteen years of success in the Champions League. There are not many clubs that have achieved  that. When I came in 2 ½ years ago I was told that we were falling behind Aston Villa and Everton. That was the story at that time. There is a constant news cycle that revolves around saying there is a “crisis” and those sorts of things, and dramatizing things.

The reality is that this club is in a very strong position to look forward with confidence, standing on its own two feet with a strong sustainable model built around development of youth. We have some very, very strong youth players, young players coming through in our squad.  Not just Jack Wilshere but a number of players around him as well. We can look forward to the future with a lot of confidence based on that platform. We have issues that we need to turn around and address, absolutely. Can we do it? Yes.


Q: Does there need to be a change in philosophy and strategy when it comes to the transfer market? Some kind of adjustment, do you think?

GAZIDIS: Well, I think you’ve seen an adjustment. I don’t think you’ve seen a change in strategy. The  strategy remains built around creating and developing young players and making them into star players, but I do think you’ve seen us sprinkle that with some more experienced players. Overall in the transfer window we actually became younger, but we did add players with some real experience and know-how, and I think it’ll take a little bit of time for those players to settle, but once they do I think we’ll have a very strong squad….


Q: Will it be too late by then, though? I understand the principle that you don’t want to necessarily spend everything that you have immediately but you’ve missed out on certain players and the fact is that fans believe that with a little more money, just a little bit more, paying a little bit over the odds, but at least you’d have secured the likes of Jagielka and Cahill. Other clubs would still have them or wouldn’t have bought them, and you’d be having a better squad right now. Do you not think that, on reflection, you could have done it better?

GAZIDIS: You know, there is a lot of speculation that happens in and around the transfer windows, around all kinds of individual players, almost all of it is incorrect and misguided. There’s only one person who knows exactly what we were doing, actually two people, Arsene Wenger and myself. We’re very happy about the players we brought in, who are the players that Arsene wanted. We’re very happy to have Per Mertesacker for example in the defense, somebody who’s got over 70 caps for the German national team. We think we ended up with a good mixture. In terms of the ins and outs of how we got there, Arsenal has never commented on its transfer business as it goes along, but it’s exactly as Arsene said it was going to be. We did business early, and we did it late. We explained that up front but that’s how we saw things playing out, and it played out pretty much exactly the way we thought it would, and at the end of the window we’ve ended up with a good mixture of youth and experience. People haven’t seen some of the younger players that we’ve signed yet. Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain will be playing tonight against Shrewsbury Town. We’ll get our first real look at him, and we think we’ve got more than people realize.


Q: What do you think of the criticism that Arsene Wenger is suffering right now? Some say he’s out of touch, that he’s too stubborn, that he needs to be replaced. What do you think of that?

GAZIDIS: Well, there’s no division in the club, and I think that that sometimes infuriates people. They can’t understand it. We work together. Arsene is as passionately engaged as he’s ever been, driving this club forward, making sure that we can be as successful as we possibly can. He’s a manager that has done extraordinary things for Arsenal football club, and his ambition is not finished. Of course he’s frustrated, as any Arsenal fan would be at some of the results and some of the performances, but he’s very very focused on what we have to do to put that right, and we’re right there with him

Q: Are some of the attacks on him harsh?

GAZIDIS: I think they’re completely misguided. I mean, I don’t mind people saying harsh things. That’s the environment in which we live in. I just think that they don’t understand the way he operates and what he’s doing to drive this club forward and what he has done.

Q: So, some suggest that, because of the success he’s enjoyed in the past, and the length of time he’s been at Arsenal, he’s effectively “un-sackable.” It’s simply impossible for you to even get to a stage where you would even countenance the idea of replacing him. Is that true, or do you …How bad would it have to be, for example, for you to even make a tough decision?

GAZIDIS: Well, you know, we’re not going to even get into a discussion about Arsene’s position with the club. He’s secure there and he’s done a wonderful job for this club. We’re going through a difficult period, as all clubs do at some point. It’s a cycle. We will work our way out of it, as we have in the past. We’re one of the most consistent performers at the top end of the game since Arsene has been here, and if we get so into this short term-ism we will do more damage to the club by reacting to that than we will by working out what’s wrong and taking the steps that we need to to fix it with a manager who’s one of the club’s biggest assets.


Q: Just a couple of very quick questions…A lot of fans would like me to ask this. You have two major shareholders in Stan Kroenke and Alisher Usmanov who are two of the richest men in the world. They cannot understand, therefore, why it is that: a) the majority shareholder is never seen. He’s not visible, and why, given that wealth, you lose out to the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea when it comes to wages and transfer fees. Can you explain those two elements of that? The lack of visibility, and the lack of hands in pockets?

GAZIDIS: Well I don’t think there is a lack of Stan Kroenke speaking. There is this moniker, “silent stan,” which is very wide of the mark. He’s engaged with fan groups in the past and he will again in the future. When he next visits the UK, I’m sure he’ll do some media and speak directly, but there are an awful lot of statements that Stan has made along the way that make it very clear what his position is with respect to the club.

You only have to read the documents he produced in and around the takeover. He’s been limited during that takeover period in what he’s allowed to say and able to say, but he’s been incredibly supportive of all of the things that we want to do.


GAZIDIS : This club is founded on a sustainable, responsible model. That’s the way that football is moving. If football wants to have a stable future, and a good future, people in the game recognize that it needs to move towards that model. And even the big spenders are trying to get towards a point of self sustainability. You only have to look at their statements. So people are trying to get to the position that Arsenal is already in. We represent the best of the future of football and in that stable environment, we will see better ownership coming in, a better environment for fans, and a better environment for the competition, so we will welcome that, not just from Arsenal’s standpoint but also for the good of the game. We will be unmoved in the way that we do things.

We’ve built this club by standing on our own two feet. Everything this club is, everything it represents, it created itself. We will continue to do that and we will continue to drive this club forward and we’re not going to be swayed by the ups and downs and the “crisis” stories that we see along the way. You’ve got to have a better sense of perspective than that if you want to be successful over the long term.


Q: Finally, in summary, what would your message be to Arsenal’s fans, who are suffering right now, Ivan, as I’m sure you know. They don’t want to see bad results. They want to see trophies. They’re annoyed at the ticket price increase that they’ve been hit with recently. What’s your message to them, in summary?

A: Well, I think we understand some of the emotions that they’ve been through, and certainly everybody at the club has been sharing in that emotional roller coaster. We understand their expectations are high and we share those expectations. I think that’s a measure of where the club is in the game that we have expectations to win trophies. Many other clubs don’t have those expectations and would be delighted to be in our overall position. I do think we need to stick together at a time like this. The club is about community, we need to hold together and make sure that we support the team and get them back on track. I’m convinced we can do that, that we’ve got a deep squad with a good mixture of youth and experience, we’ve got a great manager , and a lot of the angst, I think, comes from the fact that expectations are so high. Last year, for example, we played some of the best football in the Premier League, and then we self-destructed at some important moments, and that’s something that, if we could eliminate that from our game, this team has fantastic potential, and that’s what we need to do.



Q: Your manager, among everything else, is an economics graduate, and he said today he thinks there could be a crash in three weeks or three months. Do Arsenal think that football’s heading for a cliff, and is that part of the reason there’s so much desire to be sustainable?

GAZIDIS: I think that football revenues, particularly in the Premier League, have continued to grow dramatically over time and I think that has masked…provided revenues keep growing, it masks underlying issues that might be there. I don’t believe that something that can’t go on forever will.


GAZIDIS: If I could simplify a little bit, the football business, which is relatively small for these clubs, and then you’ve got what we’ll call the brand value, which is enormous. Clubs like Arsenal, like Manchester United, like Chelsea, like Real Madrid, like Barcelona have followings all around the world that are extraordinary. The value of those names ranks up there with multi-national corporations, multi-national brands. Football clubs, though, haven’t yet realized that full potential and so what you’re seeing I think with owners coming in and pushing money into the game is essentially that the football business is irrelevant to them. The size of that business is an irrelevance. What they are looking at is to associate themselves with the brand, the brand of the Premier League, the brand of the football club.


Q: As a human watcher, it’s quite upsetting to see Arsene at the moment. He looks extremely exhausted and haggard, and you have commentators saying he looks “broke.” You know, as a human to human, it’s something you work with everyday. At the moment it’s a sad situation to see.

A: You know, again, he’s not broken. I think again that the portrayal that is one of these black and white portrayals…You know, you read this “flying high,” and everything is great, or you are a broken failure, and to see him portrayed because he is responsible as some kind of idiot is profoundly damaging, not to Arsenal and actually not to Arsene but damaging for the game.

41 Replies to “Arsenal fighting back against the media campaign? Finally”

  1. Anne, one word: WOW!

    Is that a word actually? 😉

    I really hope we can answer those twats most and for all ON the field in the next weeks and then shut them up off the field also.

    Great job once again!

  2. Once again Anne, the amount of effort you have put in is incredible and it brings me great joy to see that we are responding positively. It’s just a matter of time (not much methinks) before matters a pitch reflect the same as well.

    Fine post, keep going…


  3. Great work Anne. Specifically in tracking down Gazidis’ interviews. I saw the one on the BBC, and thought that he spoke to some other publication as well. But a lot of his views were heavily edited as you said.

    I’m pleased that Arsenal are finally reaching out and getting their point of view across. The media has to report it. Of course they still try and twist the facts to make it more negative. The good thing is that they are having to resort to simply more and more ridiculous stories. Because Gazidis gave only a positive view, they try to get across that Wenger is unhappy with him as Gazidis talking, only puts Wenger under more needless pressure. LOL

    Plus the club’s official site exposed them as liars by releasing the article on the attendances at the Carling Cup match.

    I like this new approach. 🙂

  4. I can show another indirect campaign hampering Arsenal. Tomoorrow’s match is not gonna be shown live. Both Mancs matches are being shown live by ESPNStar. Infact the Chelsea game is being shown live in ESPN HD but no Arsenal match.

    This is the second Arsenal match they are not showing live. The Swansea game was not shown live.

    Please understan Sky has the most coverage across Asia and I believe its not just India alone but the game won’t be seen by Maldives, Srilanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan etc.

    The irony is ESPN is showing some cricket games which in any case they are showing live in Star Cricket.

  5. @Prasanna. The match is live in some countries. It’s live on Setanta in Canada. In know as I’m watching it over breakfast. maybe you could find a live stream on the internet?

  6. @Walter:

    Shutting them up on the field would be the best solution of all. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for that one, but either way, it’s still nice to see Arsenal actually taking the offensive a bit against this kind of thing.

    Just seeing Gazidis discussing the situation at Arsenal with a positive spin, as opposed to the usual negative spin that we’re so accustomed to seeing in the media, actually made me feel better about everything. And that’s saying something, considering that I’ve never had any difficulty recognizing the negative spin for exactly what it was.

    I guess a positive message really does make a difference. 🙂

  7. @ Paul:

    I know its being shown live in some places and not live in some places. The concept here is simple.

    India is an emerging market for soccer and a big platform for teams like Arsenal which has lesser exposure than Manchester United whose market right now I believe is kind of stagnated.

    By repetitively abstaining from showing Arsenal matches they are actually killing the following the club might get from India.

    Me I can always watch some stream and other sources but not all.

    The swansea game was atleast retelecasted, I don’t see even a retelecast for this game. It really baffles me that ESPN is happy to show the CLT20 which anyway is on live in Star Cricket. Two channels showing the same cricket match for reasons which I cannot fathom.

    P.S: If anybody is working on the Guardian’s articles here is one which I felt is outright crazy stuff and somewhere there the writer is unethical and ought to have been somehow stopped from contributing further.

  8. @Jay Desai:

    Glad you liked it. I thought that something like this would be a welcome change from all of the anti-Arsenal crap that you usually have to slog through to read one of our media reports. Something fun for a friday 🙂

  9. What a fantastic article, following on from excellent deep analysis in previous postings. Please keep ’em coming!

    Have to say, I can’t disagree with a single thing Gazidis has said.

    Although when he was asked to give us a wave against Shrewsbury – Arsene did so – very quickly. I think he needs some love!

  10. Anne this is another great piece of work.

    I really admire the work you put into these articles – so well written and so well researched.

    It is encouraging to see the club beginning to counter the anti arsenal media campaign with a combination of approaches as you have outlined above.

  11. I click on news on the page a couple of times a day, and since the beginning of the season, I think I have noticed only one or two occasions that ‘Arsene Wenger’ hasnt been in the section headed ‘in the news’. There are only ever 10 names or places or groups etc mentioned in this list, and arsene has been in it almost constantly.
    Mostly, the stories that are linked are the same old rehash of the same old bollocks, will he go?, who didnt he sign?, why not?, wenger is losing the grip, etc etc.

    It is as if the vultures can smell blood and are circling.

  12. Anne, great job as usual. i suggested on this blog two or three months ago that it was time for the club to become more pro-active when it comes to media affairs. time now to take it a bit higher up the food chain. stan needs to start making the rounds with the media owners (i trust there are others apart from murdoch) and pointing out to them that what their minions are doing is not cricket.

    a tea and crumpets meeting among the bigwigs could put an end to all this nonsense soon enough. the small fry doing the writing and editing at places like the sun will be told to go back to journalism rather than club assassination.

    if smooching doesn’t work arsenal should pull a fabregas on one of those hacks. should even that not work, they could try a fergie: cut them out of the media loop on match day. it’s time to start the carrot and stick game with the hacks and push them back into their holes. if the club doesn’t do that, they will be held responsible for allowing outsiders to tarnish their (our) brand while they did nothing about it.

  13. Great article Anne. Interesting the official site quoting online gooner, I often have my say on there, there are a variety of posters and articles many very interesting but also a lot of negative stuff about the club too, still free voices and all that.
    Glad to see that the club appear to be fighting back against some of the stuff in the media. Must applaud cesc in getting damages from sport magazine and making donations to charity this week.
    For a good insight into wenger , the media, worth checking out latest podcast on arseblog, which includes an interview with author Alex Flynn who knows a thing or two about wenger, and also the personal hardships he has the faced in the last year or so. No wonder wenger has become so wary of the media, he certainly has not lost the plot but under his recent circumstances, I would not blame him if he did. According to this podcast, He has had a very tough time recently, has kept things quiet. Nothing to do with his ability as a manager but should be considered with all these negative comments about his demeanor

  14. Anne if that is the case its great news ….. Its baffling really that a club like Arsenal linked to those stories in the first place.

    Keep up the good work.

    Tony here is a question for you on Arsenals finances maybe you can turn it into an article or something if you get time among all your other projects.

    Today there are a few articles in various media outlets about

    ARSENE WENGER admits Arsenal could lose FIVE stars next year because the Gunners cannot compete financially.
    Skipper Robin van Persie, Theo Walcott, Thomas Vermaelen, Andrey Arshavin and Johan Djourou are in the final season of their contracts.

    They went on to mention RVP on 80k a week not sure if that was accurate or rubbish.

    Firstly what state are Arsenals finances really in I dont expect to us offer 200k a week wages to players its not sustainable.

    How can we get it to 150k a week and prevent these situations year in year out.
    Who is responsible for improving the clubs finances is it Gazadis and what has he done for us since joining ? The asia tour aside ….
    I would like to know how we improve from here its clear we need to on some level and how you think it can be achieved and just how much financial fair play etc will help.

    Just asking really for an update on Arsenal not that I dont enjoy reading about rangers or chelsea etc …But in the light of those stories and this summer it would be interesting in hearing your thoughts going ahead for this season next season etc.

  15. Unfortunately, Wenger has created something he cannot complete… He has transformed football in England and the world but just too late in regards to full the mental faculty in which he began in his excellent career! It was so good and so audacious it required him with his thinking and his perfection to be done before technology ever caught up with him and his temperament. He will walk away soon. Because this is not the way he thought it would be up to now! And, as a close follower of him and our club I thought we would be better than this at this point! But, not so! Perfection is something only one man has been able to pull off in recent history… And, to get caught up in perfection when we started is like a captain on sinking ship. The requirement of him occurred only a fort nite ago. And, with it we saw him in his prime and glory. And, as a result Arsenal, the World & English football experienced a change of thinking in football! One that required either adaption or relegation… The clubs that adapted did so patiently and are now benefiting. The relegated one’s are even helping themselves to our despair! The question is why? And, when did this change? And, can Wenger at the helm get this club back on track? And, the answer to me is yes iff Wenger can come to grasp with his power in what he has done for football thus far. Currently, what I see is an icon trying to keep up with what he has created. And, although not a bad thing to walk away from… And we have seen it many times in professional sport i.e Mohamed Ali, Maradonna, and recently Tiger Woods: it never ends well. But, we have also seen exceptions as well! And, that I believe is what is needed at this point! And, even more so now! Thank-you Arsene for your invention in football! Now… Finish the job! Finish what you started just 15 years ago! Put the media to bed… And, make us Gooners proud… Please reinvent yourself and our proud club… So we have to stop making excuses… Please complete what you promised or step aside! And, it requires the dedication and foresight you had when you first came here… I still believe in you! Now show me!

  16. Great job, Anne!

    But we’re 17th on the ladder and have won 3 games in 16(?) league matches. That’s not media conspiracy.

  17. good work, keep it up we need to keep the positive part of arsenal up and running. it is a war between the arsenal fans and the media and am sure we shall win

  18. fantastic stuff… Probably the best arsenal-related article/blog I’ve read this year… Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like this before. Thank you enormously!

  19. Just saw Wenger’s pre match press conference. He certainly is fighting back against the media. Particularly the one journalist I think. But also giving a message to everyone else. Was fun to watch 🙂

  20. Yeah a defiant Arsene is a sight to behold lol, he was throwing in the no comments in the press conference lol. Really hope we can win today to move up the table and try get a run going.

  21. @Shard:

    Gazidis actually gave more interviews than that. Notice at the beginning of the Arsenal Player interview where he says:

    “I’ve been doing a breakfast with sports industry executives, a number of interviews with TV and some media and beginning the process of a discussion with the public about what’s happening at Arsenal”

    If you just do a general search of all the media reports on Gazidis’ recent comments, you’ll notice a number of direct quotes that don’t appear in any of the above three articles. I just wasn’t able to track any of them down in their full context.

  22. @Mandy Dodd:

    Glad you liked the article. And you’re actually the second person now to link me to that podcast, so I’m definitely going to have to watch it now 🙂 Thanks.

  23. @Well-Endowed Gooner:

    Glad you liked the article, but I really think it’s too early in the season to be overly worried about where Arsenal are on the “ladder.” Too few games played. It could still change really quickly. Let’s just hope that we have some cause for optimism in a few hours 🙂

  24. @Waffling Wenger:

    Thank you very much. I have to say that I haven’t seen anything like this myself. Glad the club is finally giving us some positive coverage to read 🙂 I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for more of this.

  25. Great Work Anne. It is about time we started fighting back. I have no doubt whatsoever that fightback On The Field of play will start to manifest quite sooner than expected.

  26. @Shard, All:

    Wenger’s pre-match press conference was indeed good. 🙂 Here it is. Very much worth the read. I included some notes highlighting my favorite parts 🙂 :


    Q: Following the defeat last weekend, how important is it to get back up on the horse against Bolton?

    A: We of course want to go back and win our games

    Q: Honestly there’s been a lot of criticism around Arsenal at the moment. Have you been able to insulate the players?

    A: Well, we are guided by the way we want to play football and by our values, that we want to get in every game. Our job is to live with that and as I told you the other night to take the right distance with that.

    Q: What’s the feeling like within the squad?

    A: Very positive

    Q: What gives you the confidence and the self-belief that you can recover from this start to the season?

    A: The quality of our players, the spirit of our players, and the quality of our team play.

    *NOTE: This is a great series, where Arsene basically tells them all to stuff it about transfer rumors.

    Q: We heard Ivan Gazidis earlier this week talking about the fact that he has given you his full support. Is there still any part of you that would ever consider strengthening your coaching team by bringing in someone else?

    A: no

    Q: Why not?

    A: I’m responsible to choose my coaching staff and so you have to leave that to me.

    Q: There was a report today saying that you were considering bringing back Dennis Bergkamp?

    A: I just gave you the answer.

    Q: We can rule that out?

    A: You take my answers for yes or no. If even I say no it’s no usually.

    Q: Yesterday Owen Coyle said that he expects Arsenal to come back and make an improved offer for Gary Cahill. Will you?

    A: no comment

    Q: Why don’t you want to talk about a player you tried to sign?

    A: (Arsene interrupts) I’ve spoken the whole summer about transfer negotiations. Now we are in September, just over transfers, so I say no comment. If you want to speak about transfers, come back in December.

    Q: Did you try to sign Joey Barton?

    A: no comment

    *NOTE: Great sarcasm in this next response.

    Q: Talking about the two manchesters, is it too early to talk about a 2 horse race?

    A: Well, people talk because it’s their job to talk, and I can understand that, when you talk a lot, you’re not always right. It’s too difficult to be always intelligent when you talk always. It’s impossible for anybody, so you have to let people talk.

    Q: We’ve seen United and City look almost unbeatable at times in the first five or 6 games. Will they slip up?

    A: I hope so. That’s why I don’t want to talk too much, because I might say something that is not true. But I must say, at the moment, I’m more concerned by Arsenal than by them. If they do a perfect season, they do a perfect season. Until now only one team did it.

    Q: Who’s that?

    A: Arsenal Football Club

    Q: Just looking at the stats, just the three wins in the last 16 league games?

    A: Well we just… if you include… It’s quite funny that, the statistics, you take them like you like them. We’re in a new season, and I don’t know why you should just take now the games at the end of the season, where we were under special circumstances. I think I agree with you, we have only one win in the first five games, and that is, of course, a concern, but we played three times away from home, and until we get good momentum, we have a chance to an interesting position, but it’s time for us to respond.

    ***NOTE:*** Absolutely BRILLIANT dodge of the question about Arsenal’s defensive weaknesses here. You can actually see Arsene looking annoyed as the reporter’s asking the question, and then, at the moment the reporter mentions Shrewsbury’s “high ball into the box,” you can see Arsene almost burst out laughing for a second.

    Because he’s thought of his answer, which succeeds in completely deflecting any further questioning about defensive weaknesses. And he’s still smirking a bit as he starts to respond. 🙂

    Q: You talked about the defense needing to cut out..Van Persie has said there’s only so much you can do…we continue to see it time and time again, even against Shrewsbury it was another high ball into the box, wasn’t defending properly…get punished for it again?

    A: Well, that is, first of all, a strength of of the strengths of the English game, you know, and it’s a difficult part of the game for everybody. Chelsea conceded a goal on a free kick last week, because in England it’s one of the things of the teams, and everybody’s good in the air, everybody’s committed. That makes the attraction of the league as well.

    *NOTE: A couple of subtle digs at the press here.

    Q: Do you think the media’s reaction to your poor start has been over the top?

    A: It’s not down to me to judge that. I have to take that with a little bit of distance, and I don’t judge that. I just think that’s part of life today. Football is a very popular sport, there’s a lot of competition between the medias, and everybody wants to make the headlines in the society, but when you’re in a big club you have to live with that and be strong enough to deal with that. That’s where I always feel it’s a good test, but it doesn’t mean that everything that is said IS RIGHT, but we have to live with that.

    Q: Is the expectation of fans too high? Is it realistic for them to think you can win every competition you enter?

    A: Look, we tried last year to win every competition. Where we didn’t get ANY CREDIT is because we didn’t win anything, but if you look well at all the competitions we have done quite well, and we will try the same again, because we want to do as well as we can in every competition, because it’s what our fans expect from us, and what I expect from my team. So at the end of the day, if you don’t win anything, you get of course punished, but we have the same attitude again.

  27. Ok, everyone:

    Let’s all take a moment to laugh at the Sun’s Stephen Howard, who already started, and will now have to abandon, his Arsene Wenger “new low point” campaign, that was predicated on Arsenal dropping to last place following their loss to Bolton. Good effort anyway, Stephen 🙂

    Steven Howard: Arsene Wenger has hit a new low point

    STEVEN HOWARD – Chief sports writer

    IT’S hard to believe things could get any worse for Arsenal.

    Yet should Bolton win at the Emirates tomorrow and the match between West Brom and Fulham end in a draw, the proud old Gunners will be bottom of the Premier League.

    Yup, that’s Arsenal, ever present in the top flight since 1919.
    The last time they propped up the table after a minimum of five games was in October 1974.

    Seeing Bolton have lost EIGHT of their last nine league games, form isn’t exactly on the visitors’ side.

    But right now anything is possible with brittle, battered Arsenal, while Owen Coyle’s team will have been buoyed by their midweek 2-0 Carling Cup victory at Aston Villa.

    Should this scenario transpire then Arsene Wenger will have no one to blame but himself.

  28. Anne
    Thank you for this article and the transcript of the Arsene interview earlier today. When taken as a whole, the comments made by Gazidis & Wenger expose even further how the press like to manipulate words for their own end. It’s inspiring to read the words of men at the helm of the Club without edit, as much as I have faith in what they do, it’s nice to be kept in the loop 🙂 Your contribution to Untold is amazing, taking what was already the only Arsenal blog on the net worth reading to a totally different level. I refuse to believe you’re a Barca fan, you’re Arsenal 100% 😉

  29. @Stevie E:

    Thank you so much. That might be the nicest compliment that anyone has ever given me. 🙂 And I still haven’t forgiven Barca for the Cesc transfer, so we’ll see where that goes 🙂

    Oh, and speaking of comments by Wenger about the press… Check out this bombshell from the post-match press conference. I’ve asked Walter to actually update the article to reflect this comment, but here it is for now:

    Wenger: Media “consistent in wanting to get me out”

    Q: Arsene did you receive a call from Inter Milan over the past week?

    A: I won’t say that to you now. Anyway, I think in one thing: you were consistent in wanting to get me out and I was consistent in wanting to stay in and to show my commitment to this club and so we have both been consistent.

    Q (mumbles) I never wanted to get you out..unclear…

    A: What?

    Q: I never wanted to get you out, Arsene.

    A: (with sarcastic smile) Oh, thank you.

  30. Anne,
    What a Fantastic quote from Arsene’s Press Conference!
    Is there any way you/anyone can know or find out the name of the jorno that Arsene was speaking to, and then denied that he said “I never wanted to get you out, Arsene”? (I don’t think Arsene would have ever had this type of ad hominem interchange before? Anyone?) This person’s writings could be checked and made a focal point for all to see. For rest assured, whoever it has will have prompted someone in the media to write that Arsene is now certifiably “mental”: Here’s the expectable subtext:
    “Dear readers! Can you actually believe that that Arsene Wenger, the Frenchman who has lost the plot, is so paranoid as to now have a “persecution complex,” thinking that your media (of all people!) are actually now out to get him! Sacre bleu! What an old git, the fool on the hill…. le professeur has surely gone mad…’es barmy! Quick, ring up the ambulance service… Get out the straight jacket… Poor Arsene, we never knew you were so fragile… Always thought he could’ve used some English spine…”
    I say:
    Bravo to Arsene for calling him (them) out on their non-stop word-shite.
    Bravo to Anne for bringing this forward.
    Bravo to Walter for his clarion call for Gunners to unite and push back! Alons! Go Gunners!

  31. @bob:

    As I pointed out in my comment on Walter’s thread, I’m acutally not expecting that comment to generate any media narrative at all. I don’t think any journalists are going to want to draw attention to that kind of direct accusation from Arsene, and it looks like this one is already heading for the “dead and buried” file. So, what can we do about that? I asked for suggestions on the thread for Walter’s article.

  32. @ Anne:

    Repetitively pointing it out and circulating it out to our fellow gunner forums will bring in a kind of awareness which the media cannot support. I am taking this to facebook Arsenal forums right now. I also know Walter & Guys have facebook groups.

    It might never be reported by the press(birds of same flock sh*t together)but they cannot keep it off free reporting.

  33. @Prasannna:

    I think what we actually need is a superior headline. We can generate those here, you know 🙂

  34. Anne, it seems that another “The Sun” employee, Shaun Custis, has taken over the role of overhyping the non-existent hype?


    I personally can see nothing in the reported quotes to suggest such a leading point?

    It would seem to me that an overaged copy boy is too dim to be another other than a football reporter!

  35. Notoverthehill
    This “story” is all the net this morning, totally overshadowing a complete lack of match reports etc against Bolton. Even when we win, they have to find something else to try to knock us with.

  36. Brilliant article! Untold’s timing in starting a Media sub-section has to be commended. Articles with deep analysis such as this are rare gems compared to the endless and mindless negative press in the mainstream media and ‘fan’ blogs in a time when negative results have been blown out of proportion and wins have been smeared with doom & gloom.. (see Kevin Palmer after the 3-0 Bolton win, and John Brewin after the 2-1 Olympiakos win.. amongst many others)

  37. Anne, All,
    I wonder if there’s ever a rotation policy when the UM microscope falls on a particular Arsenal-hating jorno? We could look into that: did someone replace AK on the beat arsenal beat at the Sun? Such as Saun Custis, as Notoverthehill notes; or David Hytner at the Guardian?, as I’ll shortly be looking into, etc. Not to say we’ve got much to do about their sweet nothings, but just maybe?

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