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August 2021

Untold Media watch: Spurs- Arsenal

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Spurs-Arsenal Media Watch: Party in North London, but did the festivities obscure the facts?

By: Anne

*Much thanks to Shard for his contributions to this article.

While Arsenal certainly gave the media plenty to lament about following their loss against Spurs, the press coverage of the derby nonetheless managed to go overboard. Specifically, not one of the main stories that emerged following the match was primarily concerned with the football that was played during the match.

On that note, I’d like to begin by raining on the media’s party just a little bit, and covering what should have been one of the biggest stories of the match, but which failed to make it into virtually any of the subsequent press coverage. Yes, I’m referring, of course, to the Van der Vaart handball, which was incorrectly ruled a goal, and which ultimately cost Arsenal a point in the match.

And it’s not as if the media had no opportunity to cover it. The handball was actually one of the first subjects mentioned by Arsene Wenger in his post-match press conference. Arsene criticized the linesmen for failing to make the call, and also asserted that Van der Vaart’s handball was deliberate, and should thus have resulted in a second yellow card. Arsene made these comments during the following exchange (available on Arsenal Player):

Arsene:  (The loss is) frustrating as well because that first goal is hand ball… Their first goal is a handball…I wonder what the linesmen do in these situations?

Q: Have you watched the replay?

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A: Yes. It’s a second yellow card as well because it is already a yellow card.

Q: Celebrating?

A: No, for handball. On purpose.

Q: They also said that Van der Vaart should have gotten a second yellow for going into the crowd?

A: I’m not a fan of that. I can understand it. The guy celebrates a goal and there has to be some spontaneous reaction when you score goals, but I feel the goal is not valid. The second goal, I feel we didn’t defend properly and we were punished for it.”

However, despite Arsene’s rather assertive condemnation of this officiating error that cost Arsenal a point in the match, the first big news story that emerged from the derby was as follows (courtesy of the Standard’s James Olley, on twitter):

@JamesOlley : Altercation between Wenger and Allen at the final whistle. Wenger refused a handshake twice, Allen appeared to call him a c***…”

This same angle managed to emerge in most media outlets following the match, as is exemplified by the following report from ESPN:

“At the end of the game, Wenger appeared to have a row with Allen, with whom he had a spat after last season’s 3-3 draw, and the Spurs assistant first-team coach said on Sunday: ‘He refused to shake my hand. He says he didn’t see or hear me, but he’s two-bob, he is.’

Allen was accused of swearing at Wenger but added: ‘No, I didn’t call him any dirty word.’”

So, rather than choose to cover the football in the match, the press instead chose to run with the “playground fight” angle, reporting (with no small amount of relish) that Clive Allen had called Arsene a “two-bob,” and possibly a “c***” (although some controversy remains on the question of whether any actual naughty words were used during the alleged exchange).

However, Arsene Wenger actually denied during the post-match press conference that any such “altercation” had even occurred in the first place. Here’s what Arsene had to say on the subject:

“Q: Tell us what happened at the end with Clive Allen?

Arsene: Nothing.

Q: It wasn’t nothing, because we were quite close to it.

Arsene: Sorry?

Q: Didn’t look like nothing because we were quite close to it. You refused to shake his hand.

Arsene: I shook the hand of the manager and the assistant manager, how many people do I have to shake hands? Is that a prescription, or?

Q: But it seems that there were words exchanged…

Arsene: There were no words exchanged.

Q: When you beckoned him down the tunnel, what was that, was it just to say ‘what’s the problem, ‘or…?

Arsene: To?

Q: You appeared to beckon Clive Allen down the tunnel….

Arsene: There was no word exchanged.

Q: You did go back and shake his hand, didn’t you?

Arsene: Look, if the story of the game is Clive Allen, ask him. I shake the manager’s hand and the assistant manager and I can only repeat that.

Q: He seems to want to make himself the story?

Arsene: Exactly, you know…”

While the Wenger-Allen “playground fight” story is somewhat silly, and easy to laugh off (whatever level of truth it may or may not contain), some of the other questionable reporting following the match concerned much more serious matters; specifically, allegations that Arsene Wenger ruled out an Arsenal title bid on the season, and also on the subject of the conduct of Arsenal fans during the match.

Looking first at the question of whether Arsene actually ruled out an Arsenal title bid, the answer is (as would be expected) that no, Arsene did not rule out an Arsenal title bid at this early point in the season. However, that didn’t stop media outlets like Sky Sports from claiming:

“Wenger Rules Out Title bid

However, here’s what Arsene actually had to say on the subject:

Q: Arsene, can you still win the league?

Arsene: That’s a question that…

Q: Do you think, in your mind, has the league gone? Do you still think you can win it?

Arsene: I don’t think like that. I think at the moment you have to set ourselves realistic targets get into a Champions League position. To say today that we will win the league is not realistic. If we come back to a better position, at the moment, we are 12 points behind Manchester United and Man City. That’s not realistic to say today that you win the league, but we have to fight to come back into a better position. It’s a reality.

Q: On the other hand, can you see yourself dropping into the relegation zone?

Arsene: No”

Although I suppose that the above comments by Arsene are somewhat open to interpretation, it seems quite clear to me that Arsene was attempting to say only that questions about Arsenal winning the league were inappropriate at the current time. However, he did not rule out a title bid entirely, and actually indicated that such a bid would still be possible if Arsenal were to “come back to a better position.”

The second, more serious, allegation that the media appears to have exaggerated following the match, is more sensitive, and concerns the behavior of some Arsenal fans during the match.

At the outset, I want to emphasize that this story has been exaggerated, but not fabricated. And I want to make it very clear that my intent in making this argument is not, in any respect, to exonerate or condone any such behavior by the Arsenal fans involved, anymore than I would excuse the similar behavior by the Spurs fans who were involved.

It appears that there was, in fact, a small segment of the Arsenal fanbase who did engage in offensive chanting, apparently concerning Emmanuel Adebayor. There was also offensive chanting by some Spurs fans, which led Arsenal and Spurs to issue the following joint statement on abusive chants:

“Both clubs were extremely disappointed to hear the chants from supporters at yesterday’s game. Neither club tolerates foul language, racist chanting, homophobic chanting or any anti-social behaviour from its supporters.

We shall be working closely with each other to identify the individuals involved.”

Arsene Wenger also made the following statement on the subject during the post-match press conference:

“Q: There was some pretty disgusting chanting from both sets of fans, Arsene, were you disappointed by it?

Arsene: Yes, we respect everybody and we want as well to be respected.”

So, just to re-emphasize: I do not condone, in any way whatsoever, chanting by any fans of any football club, that is racist, homophobic, xenophobic, or that falls into similar categories.

However, at the same time, the media appears to have heavily emphasized the behavior by a small number of Arsenal fans in this regard, while finding the similar behavior of Spurs fans to be worthy of a much lower level of attention.

The following article in the Standard, headlined “Scott Parker wants offensive chants dealt with,” provides one of many examples of the above, and also of the manner in which the media appears to have exaggerated the conduct of Arsenal fans:

“Parker insists he did not actually hear what was being said at White Hart Lane

However, the 30-year-old has been around long enough to know what goes on in football grounds and he does not believe it is acceptable for stadiums to be the last bastion of verbal abuse….

‘Just because you play for an opposing team doesn’t give people the right to abuse you. I didn’t hear it at the weekend but I have seen some of the stuff that has been written. If that was the case, the people who were involved need to be dealt with.’”

So, here we have Scott Parker offering a hypothetical condemnation of Arsenal fan conduct that might have occurred, but that he himself acknowledges that he didn’t actually hear.

However, the question that arises is, if the chanting at issue concerned such a small number of fans that it wasn’t even audible to the players on the pitch, does it truly justify the level of condemnation of the Arsenal fanbase that has arisen in the media as a result? Also, what was the news value of printing the above article in particular, when it apparently provides no new information on the subject that it purports to cover?

However, questions of chanting aside, the main point that I intend to make in this media watch is that, in all of the above stories that emerged from the derby match, the one aspect that is lacking is any reporting about the actual football that was played during the match.

And that’s a real shame, considering that there were a couple of stories about the football that should have been covered but weren’t. The first of these is the Van der Vaart handball, which was discussed above. The second was the foul by Assou-Ekotto on Sagna that completely changed the tone of the match, and which resulted in Sagna’s leg break.

And as has already been demonstrated by discussions on this blog, there are multiple points of view that could be taken on either of these two incidents. However, does this alone not signify, in and of itself, that these incidents were worthy of being covered in the media? And if that’s the case, why were these not the lead stories following the match?


67 comments to Untold Media watch: Spurs- Arsenal

  • Shard

    Regarding the chants.. Might I also say, that the media was actually playing up the abuse Adebayor would get from Arsenal fans BEFORE the match. Harry Redknapp too was happy to justify Adebayor’s celebration from what was it, 2 years ago?(for which he was punished) because he was getting ‘dog’s abuse’ from Arsenal fans. No mention that the ‘dog’s abuse’ was a song coined by Spurs fans. Of course, people who chant racist and homophobic songs deserve to be punished, regardless of the club they support. Just saying that the media perhaps even created this issue, and I guess were only to happy to emphasise and exaggerate once it did happen.

  • chukx d goona

    The press these days is against arsenal. They are trying 2 make d fans get at each other. They want 2 make our players unhappy and make Wenger get a sack we hav 2 stand up and show we wont back down incase anyone is in contact with any of our former legends we can come out of this. Go gunners

  • Anne


    The media was DEFINITELY pushing the chanting story ahead of time. If it had been just one drunk jackass in the upper levels who was chanting, it still would have been the headline.

  • Anne

    And on the above note…


    Was there anyone who attended the match who actually heard the chanting? Or anyone that heard it on television? I was listening for it while watching because of the advance press coverage, but I didn’t hear anything. I would be curious to know if anyone did.

  • nicky

    Until we have video equipment in professional football to eliminate human error, we will continue to have these posts mortem which really only infuriate the supporters of the aggrieved side and nothing else.
    On the subject of obscene chanting, this unfortunate disease was, IMO, spawned after the end of WW2 when the football opposition was substituted for our enemies in war. Obscenity, generally, has spread even today in the comments on internet posts, invariably by those with an extremely limited vocabulary, although blog authors are often the guilty party.

  • Anne


    I always appreciate your historical perspective on things.

    But when you say “blog authors are often the guilty party,” was that somehow directed at me?

  • bjtgooner

    @ Anne & Shard

    This is yet another great article, well written and thought out. I agree the media seemed to be more interested in reporting trouble, real or imaginary – e.g. the attention given to Clive Allen and his alleged spat with Wenger.

    I was not at the match but watched it live on TV, I could not make out any chanting. It is possible that chanting could have been filtered out, but I am not certain that Sky would have wanted to do so.

  • Anne


    Thanks for the compliments, and I’m glad that I’m not the only one who couldn’t make out any chanting. I was starting to wonder if I was going crazy 🙂

  • nicky

    Having been properly brought up, I would never cast nasturtiums on a lady.
    I well recall though, a Gooner site not so long ago entitled “7 a.m.” edited by a foul-mouth called Tim, in the US. We can well do without that sort of ignorant idiot who seemed to enjoy displaying his lack of the acceptable English language.

  • Anne


    I agree with you, and thanks for commenting.

  • Anne


    I’m not too familiar with 7amkickoff myself. I’ve heard that they’re a good blog, but they said some things about Untold following the Newcastle match last season that I didn’t like.

  • Mandy dodd

    All this is just more of the products of arry cultivating relationships with hacks. Notice how they left him alone when spurs fell apart at the end of last season, in stark contrast to someone I can think of.
    He spends hour a day as mr rent a quote, wenger has as little as possible to do with the uk media, and we all know why!
    I do not like any of that chanting, but also wonder how ade can play for those fans, he is a man without shame

  • nicky

    The blog has been incommunicado for some time now, thank goodness. I had cause to remonstrate with the author on a number of occasions over his ignorant use of obscenities instead of reasoned argument……..unlike Untold.

  • bjtgooner

    @ Anne

    One story the media were primed to report about but couldn’t was an Adebayor goal. They probably had a story pre-written for both the goal and the anticipated reaction from the Arsenal fans. Poor media, one could almost be sorry them – perhaps they had to resort to the Clive Allen fantasy as a space filler.

  • tg

    I was at the lane for the game. The song in question was clearly audible, no doubt about that. However, I’ve done enough aways to know what we sound like ALL giving it the full monty and it wasn’t. There were plenty of takers though. Also, a few times that chant was headed off by more supportive chants such as “we love you Arsenal”.

    The loudest chant from the home fans was their famous party piece … When they started up with that in earnest about Arsene in the second half it generated more of the Adebayor song.

    It did happen, but I think it’s been vastly over played in the media. All clubs support do dodgy chanting mostly a lot worse than we are famous for. If tptb don’t want to hear it in the stadiums, they can stop selling tickets and turn the volume down on the satellite feed.

  • Anne

    @mandy dodd:

    I agree that the double standard is indeed deplorable. And thanks for commenting. One of the (rare) things that the UM team agree about is that we all love your comments. Cheers 🙂

  • Anne


    So basically this guy is a jerk. Wouldn’t disagree with you 🙂 And I always appreciate your comments here. -A

  • Anne


    I think that’s a very good point. Actually, I thought the Arsenal defence did an amazing job of shutting down Adebayour for most of the match. He wasn’t seen or heard from, was he? It’s just a shame about the Sagna injury, because I think Arsenal wouldn’t have lost without that….

    But yeah, anyway, cheers and I agree with you.

  • Anne


    THANK YOU for getting back to me on this. Because I really couldn’t hear it on any of the broadcasts.

    Is there anyone aside from tg who can give us details on what was chanted during the match? Thanks, (and thanks especially to you tg 🙂 ).

  • Steve D.


    As usual a great article, but did you run out of the letter ‘U’ (in behaviour) or have you got an American spell check?

  • Anne


    Sorry, I meant to say behaviour 🙂

  • Anne


    And glad you liked the article 🙂

  • Anne

    By the way, I’m American for anyone who didn’t already know.

  • nicky

    So you’re one of our colonial chums. And now we are nearly the 53rd State!! Talk about the wheel turning full circle……

  • Shard


    Thank you for your comments. However, Anne is far too generous with her dispensation of credit. She deserves all the appreciation for yet another great article.

  • Walter

    I had the feeling that in the days before the game the media was trying to light a little fire. maybe in the hope that some/a part of the Arsenal supporters would step out of line.

    In fact I think Arsène Wenger himself had seen this coming and tried to focus on the game itself.

    I think by the state the media are right now I wouldn’t even be surprised that they even would invented a “chant” if nothing would have been done by the Arsenal supporters.

    They even invent quotes from players and they also do this even from court cases. Thanks someone for the link a few days ago which I cant find back for the moment. (About the way a paper quoted people in the Amande Knox-case)

  • Walter

    Yes Pete. Thanks. I think Tony should make a permanent link to those websites because this is also what we are facing.

  • Andre

    I took on Darren Lewis on twitter following a piece he did on Arsene’s comments after the game about out title chance. all he did in his piece was twist everything Wenger said at his post-match press conference removing some important words from the actual quotes from the press conference to suit his agenda. When I put this to him and showed him the link to Wenger’s quotes on Arsenal website, his defence was he got an email from the manager after the game and his piece is based on the email which he claimed he quoted word for word. He went as far as saying Wenger blamed Chezza for the 2nd goal when in his press conference he only said that the keeper was disappointed because the defence did not close down fast enough. I have sent an email to the club to clarify Darren Lewis’ claim that he got an email from the manager which is completely different from the official quotes on the club’s website and why is it that he was the only one sent this email as he was the only one to run that story the way he did. Club responded that they are looking into it and will get back. I also took him on about the Chezza story he did that he said he should be the captain and asked him if he actually interviewed him but he decline to answer and I said to him he should be careful running a story he doesn’t know the source but he said he has a copy of the interview and that he actually said those words when he wasn’t actually there. the following day when Chezza denied the story I twitted his to come and engage but he refused.

  • Pete


    Sounds a bit like the recent made-up “review” done by Sport magazine in the UK a few weeks ago, for which they had to print an apology!

    If nothing else, Untold has been a real eye-opener for me, in terms of helping me to realise just how much of what we are told in the media is completely made up or twisted to suit an agenda.

  • Pete

    Sorry, meant “interview” not “review” 🙂

  • Notoverthehill

    Anne, you really should look at 7amkickoff, and make up your own mind whether Tim is a misbegotten American?

    I find Tim’s site one of the best Arsenal sites, if not the best. He is an intellectual Shakespearean type who tries to be informative, educational and humourous. I do advise him to look at Untold Arsenal for the historical archive! I would suggest that Arseblog in particular has led Tim astray in his usuage and abusage of the Anglo-Saxon swear words employed by the inarticulate cretins.

    Anne your work on the media treatment of The Arsenal is well matched by Tim’s work on the statistical side of The Arsenal performances!

  • bob

    As a footnote to Anne/Shard’s great work, one media trick to watch out for is how often there’s a headline which does not match the content of the piece. So the headline says Wenger says THIS; but the piece may not even be about the headline, or might have a quote that’s been distorted by the headline, etc. When we find examples of this, it would be well worth bringing to our collective attention. More to come on this…

  • Anne


    I wouldn’t be surprised if the media were to make up a chant. In fact, the only reason that I don’t strongly suspect it is because the club itself appeared to acknowledge that something went on 🙂

    But I’m still very curious about it, because I wasn’t able to hear anything myself, and apparently Scott Parker couldn’t either. Tg said above that he did, I would still be curious to get some more feedback on this.

  • Anne


    I’m very impressed with how proactive you’ve been about this! I would actually be interested in possibly posting your exchange with Lewis as an article, but I would need your permission first. Could you either link me to it here, or (preferably) send me an email? You can find my email address at the end of the following link:

    Thanks very much for making us aware of your efforts, and, again, I’m impressed!

  • Tim

    Am I banned from posting on here?

  • Anne


    Thanks so much for letting me know that our work has been an eye opener for you. That’s why I’m doing this in the first place, and it really does mean a lot to me to hear that it’s made an impact.

  • Tim

    Evidently not. There must be a size limit. In which case: this is what I posted earlier…

    I would appreciate any criticism to be leveled directly at me on my blog, on twitter, or via email.

    As for “badmouthing” Untold, after the Newcastle 4-4 with Arsenal I wrote three pieces dissecting what Dowd did wrong and where his bias lay. Then there was a piece written on Untold in which they stated that the matches were being fixed and accusing referees of taking bribes which was picked up by the national media.

    Here’s what I said, exactly (linking back to the source):

    “Unfortunately, things are going to get weird because the BBC ran an article on Thursday which highlighted another Arsenal blog called Untold Arsenal and their work in accusing the Premier League of being bent. Saying that the EPL is “fixed” and that it’s a “bribesville” without any evidence has no positive outcome as far as I can see.

    Don’t get me wrong, they have some good ideas. I’d love to see matches publicly reviewed. I’d love to see foreign officials brought in (though that’s no guarantee that they can’t be “bought and sold”). And I’d love to see referees given a scorecard. And maybe that will be the positive outcome from all this, but given the FA’s extreme reluctance to change even small things I just can’t see them take on this task in any meaningful way. It’s certainly not going to happen this year and so, Arsenal have a season to play and trophies to fight for and we need to do that with or without the referees.”

    That’s not “badmouthing” anything. That’s simply disagreement over the extent of the problem and whether or not it’s helpful to accuse people of bribery when there’s no evidence of that happening. I mean, if there’s evidence that Phil Dowd is on the take, call the police. I’d be the first to clap while he hung high.

  • Tim

    But the real problem is that it seems like Arsenal fans aren’t allowed to disagree anymore even over a minor point. For some strange reason our fandom must be ascribed to categories such as “Untold Arsenal” versus “7amkickoff” or “Arseblog” versus “Le Grove” and the always quaint “AKB” (Arsene Knows Backgammon?) versus “Glom and Dumbers.”

    That’s the saddest part of my last three years as a blogger.

    As for my use of language, I feel like I’m in fine company. After all Shakespeare once used this to describe the 6th age of man:

    And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
    Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
    With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
    His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
    For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
    Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
    And whistles in his sound.

    “A world too wide for his shrunk shank” always makes me laugh and wonder what Shakespeare would have said about those little blue pills so popular today.

  • Anne


    You’re absolutely correct that I was way to quick to criticize Tim from 7amkickoff. I try to respond to all comments, and every once in a while I just dash something off without really thinking about it, and that was the case here. As I said, I’ve heard from many people that 7amkickoff is actually a good blog, and I’m not too familiar with it myself. So, thanks for calling me out on that one. You’re correct and I retract my comments 🙂

  • Anne


    Good timing. I actually just responded to Notoverthehill (above) retracting my criticism of you, and I wrote that out before I noticed you were here 🙂 As I said above, sometimes my responses to comments are overly hasty, and since I was a commenter on this blog long before I was an author, I sometimes have a tendency to forget that the words I say carry more weight now, and I need to be more careful about what I say.

    I’m actually happy that you’re here, because it gives me the opportunity to apologize to you directly. I’m sorry. Now that I’ve said that, I’m going to go back and respond to the substance of your comments.

  • Anne


    The above article is not the one that I had a problem with, and I was actually unfamiliar with it. And I also very much enjoyed your actual coverage of Dowd following the match. The following are the comments that rubbed me the wrong way, which I was referring to above:

    “It has been brought to my attention that at least one other Arsenal blog is claiming that the refs are bent (and that they have the inside scoop into a bribery scandal) and you know what, I read their content and I have to say it reads like a gods damned Moon Landing Conspiracy site.”

    If this comment did not actually refer to Untold, then I owe you an even bigger apology than the one I gave you above 🙂 But I believe that it did, and I thought that dismissing Untold’s content in its entirety as “a gods damned Moon Landing Conspiracy” was both unfair and somewhat cheap.

    Later in the same post, you also seemed to aim these comments directly AT Untold, when you said the following (when you started to use the word “you”):

    “Maybe those guys will prove that someone has been handing brown envelopes to Phil Dowd or Howard Webb in which case, kudos to them. But in the far more likely case that you prove nothing, well, then you lose credibility which is not something I want to trade in.”

    So, when I said above that 7am “said some things about Untold following the Newcastle match last season that I didn’t like,” I stand by that, and I don’t think that it was unjustified, as it relates to the comments quoted above.

    However, that being said, reading the comments about Untold that you included in your post, I can see that your actual view of Untold is much more considered than the comments above would indicate. And I know as well as anyone that we all have our moments 🙂

    So, in the same way that I don’t think that you should have called Untold a “moon landing conspiracy site,” I shouldn’t have been so quick to refer to you as “a jerk” in my response to Nicky above. I don’t really think that, and I’m sorry I said it.

    Also, I personally have absolutely no problem with any blog that takes a different perspective from Untold, so long as it is done in a way that doesn’t equate to just taking cheap shots at the club (and your blog would be included in this category). I would much prefer the Arsenal fanbase to be united rather than divided, so completely agree with you there.

    Let’s see, is that all? 🙂 Oh yeah, and I have absolutely no problem with whatever language you choose to use on your blog. That was Nicky’s comment, and if I gave the impression that I agreed with him I didn’t mean to. I’m not exactly innocent in that area myself, so far be it for me to criticize you.

    Finally, I’m not sure what Nicky was trying to say with his references to you being American. But if he was intending to be critical about that, I obviously don’t agree, because, as I pointed out above, I’m American as well 🙂

  • Anne


    Just out of curiosity, how did my comments here come to your attention in the first place? The only reason I ask is because, if it’s being discussed in your comments section, I’d like to apologize there as well. Going to check myself, but if I miss it or something, please do let me know. Cheers.

  • Anne


    Thanks for pointing that out, because it actually occurred in the Sky Sports article I linked to above (about Wenger “ruling out” an Arsenal title bid). This is indeed something that happens all the time. I’ve noticed it myself, so I’m glad that you drew attention to it.

  • Tim

    @ Anne

    I can’t remember specifically who I was thinking of though I know it was in response to a link someone emailed me.

    So, I did a search and turned up this page:

    I love a lot of the work that you guys do but hyperbolic headlines claiming that “matches are fixed” with content that is entirely circumstantial and argumentative falls so far below the level of “proof” that it’s in the realm of conspiracy theories.

    “Proof” is a strong word. Do I have evidence of bias? Yes. Dogface and Zach from A Beautiful Numbers Game have both shown that the numbers for certain referees are highly unusual, both against (and this is important) in favor of Arsenal. Is that proof of match fixing? Hardly.

    You don’t have proof of match fixing. You have a belief that there is a widespread conspiracy to fix matches in the Premier League. That is, by definition, a conspiracy theory. And most conspiracy theorists gladly stand by their belief, which it looks like you all do.

    Maybe I can be a little less irascible in the way I say things and maybe “moon landing” was a bit hyperbolic. I apologize for any hurt feelings in that regard.

    But I stand by the basic critique: if you or anyone has proof of match fixing, bring it to Scotland Yard. Bring it to the attention of the major newspapers. They would trip over their own dicks to publish that story. If not in England, why not the NY Times? Any paper, the world over would die for a story that big:

    “Biggest League in the World Proven Corrupt.”

  • Gooner Gal

    I am glad you guys are monitoring the rubbish James Olley is writing because most of it seems like a cut and paste job from blogs. It’s as if he looks for the most negative statements and then extrapolates this as being representative of all the fanbase. There is barely a day that goes by without a poorly constructed fictional piece being written by this guy.

    I note that up until today, he wrote solely about Arsenal – but something must of happened as he didn’t get to write the daily silly story about Arsenal and he stopped calling himself chief football correspondant too. Instead Dan Jones (who had been quite reasonable up until now) decided to write up a silly piece about the Manchester United loving Jabba the Hutt being good for Arsenal. His defence of the man was rather shakey as acknowledged the man’s very shadey past.

    I am guessing that Jabba is in a financial tight spot and called upon his Russian compatriot who owns the paper Dan Jones writes for, to put a PR piece in there. When really what he should of done was to divest in our club and used the money to invest in the club that he loves when they float the shares in the far east soon.

  • Anne


    Not sure what you mean by this comment:

    So you’re one of our colonial chums. And now we are nearly the 53rd State!! Talk about the wheel turning full circle……”

    Does it bother you that I’m American?

  • Anne

    @Gooner Gal:

    Give Stevie E credit for first bringing James Olley to our attention. If you haven’t already seen them, I think you’d really like his comments that we posted in our first Standard media watch, because he seems to agree with you. I also had some comments on Dan Jones 🙂 Here’s the link (Standard coverage at the end):

    Aside from that, it’s seriously getting really frustrating for me because there are SO many journalists out there who are worthy of some, I guess I’ll say, “individualized” attention 🙂 I just don’t have time to cover them all! I’ll keep Olley on the list though. Thanks for commenting.

  • Anne

    @Gooner Gal:

    Oh, and also give Shard credit for bringing that James Olley Twitter to my attention.

  • Anne


    I think it was your use of the term “god damned” at the beginning of your comment that really caused the tone to come across as insulting, as opposed to just being a difference of opinion :)I also strongly object to the use of the word “conspiracy theorist” as a derogatory term. Just because you have a theory about a conspiracy, doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily deserving of ridicule on that basis alone.

    However, I want to make clear that, at the time I found your comment offensive, I wasn’t associated with Untold as anything other than a commenter. I just didn’t like it as a fan of the blog. However, as I said above, I should have been much less hasty in being critical, because it has an “official” connotation to it now 🙂 And the last thing I’m interested in doing is rehashing this argument at the current time.

    Overall, I respect the work that you do, and I have no problem whatsoever with your blog. Aside from that one sentence that you wrote eight months ago 🙂 And I’m more than happy to agree to disagree with you on this subject. Cheers. -Anne

  • Shard


    As a reader of both blogs, I’m concerned about this seeming outbreak of hostility, but at the same time I can’t help but find it amusing. It just seems like much ado over nothing really. Sure there were/are differences in opinion, and maybe more about how those opinions are expressed. (Such as ‘conspiracy theory’. The connotations of that term go beyond the dictionary definition, and a lot of the real findings are dismissed as being a conspiracy theory. If you feel moon landing was a sensitive term, I fear you might just have made it worse with that.) However I see no real contradiction between the two blogs. A few of the readers here are regulars on your blog.

    Regarding the talk of ‘proof’. I left a comment on your post where you said moon landing. Part of it was “As regards the moon landing conspiracy site (heh), I think I know the one you refer to and I am quite a frequent commentor on it. I agree that they do go overboard at times about claiming certain incidents as proof, and things like that. Still, they do try and put up some numbers to prove that theory, but more importantly what they are doing in my view is claiming accountability from the FA and refs. Perhaps that’s not the best way to go about it, but most people are just not willing to countenance the possibility of there being corruption in the English game…”

    Anyway. I love both blogs, and this whole thing isn’t really worth getting worked up about.

  • Anne


    It seems that (not for the first time) we’re thinking along similar lines 🙂

    We’ve been over this whole conspiracy/”evidence needed” argument so many times in these comments sections that I’m really hesitant to even go into it again.

    However, the one thing that we seem to be in complete agreement on is that neither of us has any problem whatsoever with Tim’s blog ( Check it out, people. It’s good. 🙂 ) So let’s just leave it at that.

  • Gooner Gal

    @ Anne, I have to admit that I haven’t been able to read as many of the articles, as I would of liked, but I will have a look at the one you’ve linked.

    The endless negative James Olley articles are vexing, especially when Arsenal actually buy advertising space with the paper. If you didn’t know any better, you would think the club had been relegated from the continous negativity being churned out. Worse still you would think that Arsenal was the only premiership team in London when there are actually five.

    Comments about Chelsea are always measured and very carefully written so that players, manager and owner are not shown in a poor light. Cashley Cole shot a poor teenager for goodness sake, they have a novice as their new manager who has to win them the Champions League, the club makes serious losses year on year, Abramovich is being sued for billions in the English courts and their ground is about 1/2 full for premiership matches – but yet they don’t think there is anything to investigate or write about. Strange

  • bob

    Some two more bits on the head-lice, er headlines angle:

    First, I’m finding that the paired combination of headline/subheadline/photo image is purposeful: often together carrying the full intention of the article; and that the article’s substance itself is secondary. It’s all about exposing the too-busy-to-read reader (very many in this “fast food” climate) to the specific headline/image that is the actual game. So, in a way, the story content, however well or poorly crafted, becomes an excuse for the headline-photo combo that does the true nasty work. I hate to think that this is so, but I do think that spending the time reading is fast becoming an endangered thing of the past. That is, that the headline/image combo is the print or online equivalent of the TV or radio news fleeting one or two sentence news “report.” So the sizzle eclipses the steak; the medium overtakes and becomes, as McLuhan predicted, the actual message.

    Second, as for the online experience, a busy site like Arsenalnews lists scores of accumulating articles on a 24×7 basis, which, of course, means browsing a list of headlines only. When the vast majority of individual story headlines there are so negative toward Arsene/Arsenal, the overall synergistic effect is one of Unanimous abject disdain and discrediting of them – a toxic tsunami. It makes it tougher, except for the more tough of mind, to withstand the manufactured trend of intended media conformity. It is made possible and compounded by each media outlet feeling on safe ground when it stays within the box of “der konsensus.”

  • Anne

    @Gooner Gal:

    I share your general frustration. However, I hadn’t even heard about Abramovich being sued. Could you give me some background on that? Do you have a link? Thanks.

  • Anne


    Just in my personal opinion, I think that the above comment is one of the most prescient that you’ve ever left on this blog. Basically, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head in almost every respect.

    The media DOES present headlines that overstate their point, and if you do read the accompanying articles, it’s actually fairly easy to see that the author is overstating the point. But how many people actually read the accompanying articles? Headlines have a certain degree of power.

    And you’re also correct in pointing out that photos are often chosen to reinforce the point in the headlines. Ever since the media began their “Arsene Out” campaign (to use your phrase), how many photos have we seen of Arsene looking haggard, weary, ect.? This is very much a deliberate tactic, and I appreciate that you pointed it out.

    However, the one area where I disagree with you is that people are actually falling for this. I personally believe that Arsenal fans are smarter than that, and that the farther the media takes this campaign, the less impact it’s actually having, due to lack of credibility. I guess we’ll see 🙂

    But seriously, very good comment. And also, could you clarify your comments on “McLuhan?” The name rings a bell, but I’m not sure exactly what you mean. Thanks. -A

  • bob

    Marshall McLuhan was The big media guru/theorist of the 1960s and 1970s in the Anglosphere. (He appears on a movie line in the old Woody Allen movie (I think it was) “Annie Hall.”) His main idea was that the medium (means of media delivery) was itself becoming the message; so that the content of a media message had far less impact than the means of its delivery. It occurred to me that in many of the football articles, the frequent “disconnect” between the content of the article and the Headline/Image combination was an example of the medium (the news package – headline plus image) having far greater impact on so-called readers than the actual content of the article [in fact, perhaps many don’t read past (or too far into) the article itself] So, someone can have “read” the news by just browsing the headlines or headline/image combo without really getting into the details/content of the story. All this to say that at UM, we would do well to look at the headline/image combination as something to pay special attention to; rather than just bypass it and only regard the content that we analyze as all that matters (or necessarily the most important element).

  • C4

    Maybe Untold should start employing the headline + image tactic to induce the a positive effect. Positive headline with decent picture. The difference would be that the content will be relevant and TRUE.

  • Yes Mr Mc loved the work of Mr Allen, and comes into the movie queue where a prat is pontificating about the media, and says, “You know nothing of my work”.

    But on headlines, I do change them quite often from what the writer of the article has put. I do this in order to try and attract readership if the reader is seeing the headline on goonernews or somewhere like that. but I still try to make the headline right for the story.

  • C4

    @ Tony
    Sure, but let’s make them more sensational, and throw in a picture to boot.
    For example, after we beat Sunderland, if Arsene says “…we played with a good tempo and moved the ball around well. It showed in our possession, and we were able to take our chances well.”
    The headline can read: “Arsenal 3 – 0 Sunderland: Wenger’s Arsenal Too Quick, Sunderland Barely Touched the Ball”
    And of course, a nice, smug, relaxed picture of “The Frenchman”, as so many like to constantly call him. Just in case we forget where he comes from…

  • bob

    C4, Tony,
    Might be a very exciting turning of the tables in C4’s juicy ideas. The medium is the message and why not try one out just as a test case to make the point. Maybe there’s a couple of flattering Arsene photos that could be paired with the next kick-butt victory that we get to inflict against a nemesis – whether of the ref or other side variety.

  • C4

    I like the idea of a test case. We have countless examples of distorted headlines to choose from, even from games which we won. We can simply pick one and replace the name of our opponents with “Arsenal”.

  • C4

    Goodness, I looked into the dreaded Mirror, and found this interesting one. I thought I’d drop it here because it’s an Untold Media thread:
    It’s David Moyes, complaining about the refs. He says “You know, we keep having meetings and they tell us the image of the game is vitally important to the Premier League – the conduct of the players, the conduct of the managers, to make sure the image is right”.
    And then he goes on to say “But I think at the moment it is the decisions of the referees that are giving the Premier League a difficult image because people are saying the decisions were not good.”

    “The image of the game is not being tarred by the players. The players are enhancing the image with their quality. The Premier League has some of the best managers in the world which is why so many want to manage here. So the players and managers keep the image up in this country.”

    “But the Premier League will need to see if they they think they are getting the same from the people who run the referees.” (emphasis added by me).

    So it sounds like he’s implying that the problem lies with the guys who run the refs, namely Riley and Co.

  • Anne


    Interesting link there. Thanks for pointing this out.

  • Anne


    Thanks for getting back to me about McLuhan. I’m thinking I might have actually studied him during a sociology course in college :)And I think looking at this headline/image trend in the context you described it would be a great project for Untold Media. Let me know if you’re interested in working on it 🙂

  • Anne


    I personally think that Tony does a fine jobs with the headlines on Untold. However, your idea of taking a news article and replacing the name of our opponent with “Arsenal” might be an interesting thought experiment in general 🙂

  • bob

    I think the headline/image dimension should, when pertinent, just become a habitual part of how UM continues to analyze articles. I’ll come up with some as we move forward.