Manna for conspiracy theorists



“Making the Arsenal” – the book of Arsenal’s decline and rebirth

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By Don McMahon


I recently and most regrettably came upon an article in the FootballTalk website entitled; ¨ Arsène Wenger Is Disrespectful To The Fans ¨ basing itself on the ¨testimony¨ of two ageing, purportedly Arsenal supporters who were cornered after the recent AGM was ending.

They were ¨interviewed¨ in the parking lot at the Emirates and the questions they were asked were patently leading and suggestive of ¨troubles¨ with Wenger’s respect for the fans and the Club’s self-sustaining model. The two gentlemen interviewed differed widely in their interpretation of the ¨questions¨ and, despite each being a different type of fan than the yuppie model often seen at games, held very divergent views as well.

The interviewer desperately tried to get the first victim to say nasties about the Club, Wenger or the Board but he steadfastly refused. The second was more cooperative but he sounded like he’d been rehearsed for the part and was prompted by the ¨interviewer¨ with an agenda.

Flushed with success after the interviews, the AAA ¨journalist¨ made vast and generic statements about how Arsène showed continuous disrespect to the AFC fanbase and how the Board had lost touch with their fans and the public in general, all this based on some discontent displayed in the AGM itself and the two geezers who were manipulated and guided towards the interviewers chosen conclusions.

Nazi Germany’s most pernicious and Machiavellian media manipulator, Herman Goebbels, was quoted as saying, ¨The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.¨ Its as if he was talking about the current British media!

I had a tendency to question our stalwart Untold Arsenal cohort who regularly maintain that there is a media and referee conspiracy to undermine AFC and AW’s best efforts, that is until this article appeared and the attacks that temporarily demolished the UA website occurred.

I am, by nature a conservative and cautious supporter and prefer to research what others say are the facts, but which to me appear more coincidence or serendipity, fortuitous and hazard. This attitude prevents me from believing nonsense simply because it is written or stated in a blog or in the media.

These last week’s events have motivated me to ask the obvious and crucial question; WHO would benefit from AFC and its supporters entering terminal meltdown? This is a very difficult question to discuss intelligently and fairly as it opens the door to paranoid speculation, AAA blamer-moaners and amateur sleuths whose ignorance of the facts is rivalled only by their ill-conceived notions about what is going on. So with that out of the way, here goes my hypothetical shortlist of possible candidates for the illustrious title of Arsenal arch-villains, in no particular order:

1)      The Sugardaddy and Oilygarch supported clubs seeking to destroy self-sustaining models,

2)      Hate-filled, ignorant and bitter supporters of competing clubs aiming at hurting AFC,

3)      Certain media moguls with an axe or two to grind seeking to diminish our stature and class,

4)      Supposed AFC fanboys who rejoice at the prospect of ruining AW’s image,

5)      Racially and xenophobically motivated hate groups taking aim at our multicultural Club,

6)      Organized criminals involved in illicit activities, who fear being unearthed by UA’s acumen,

7)      The PGMOL and Mike Riley personally, leading a chop campaign against AFC,

8)      The players’ agents seeking to remain hidden in the shadows of their unscrupulous deals.

There may be more candidates but for the moment lets look at these, one at a time and in the light of realism and some objectivity.

1)      There is no coherent reason for Rich Clubs to try and discredit or demean AFC but Barcelona did it all last season in order to get Cesc Fabregas so maybe this could be a sufficient motive. If AFC fail to maintain their current superiority, their top talent and youth will (according to this logic) seek greener pastures, probably at one of the rich clubs. Is that sufficient reason to mount a disinformation campaign. You be the judge but it has worked for Barca and City fairly well so far.

2)      While our WHL rivals can be Neolithic in their behaviour and hatred of all things AFC, it seems a dangerous and counterproductive approach to hurting the Arsenal, as this is a two-edged sword and can be easily turned against the wielder IF they are found out. I would not underestimate the depth and profundity of the Spuds stupidity however.  There is little or no proof that such a conspiracy has been generated by the Totts fans or Club but there are other Clubs who might be better candidates.

3)      I personally like this one as I can fantasize about Rupert Murdoch glowering in his multi-billion pound mansion, while he dictates the upcoming weeks anti-Arsenal theme to his breathless minions awaiting his slightest whim. However, this possibility has been mentioned by others and while it seems a rather tenuous possibility at best, it is a possibility as he does have the means and motivation to accomplish a character assassination of epic proportions.

4)      While it is clear that some of the most inveterate and irreconcilable AAA fanboys seek only the worst for AW and Arsenal, it is difficult to fathom them wanting to brutalize the Club they claim to adore to the point of fratricide. From what I and others have seen on the net, it is still a slim possibility that these dark creatures would go to such depths in their vitriol and hatred.

5)      This particular theory holds more water for me, but I live overseas in a very multicultural, generally welcoming country. I also live beside one of the largest racist and xenophobic countries in the world, the good old USA. Watching the latest headlines about Terry and Barton, it occurs to me that there are large swaths of the British public, and therefore a significant number of Football fans who support the xenophobia and racism seen in Football today. Are these ethnocentric cretins capable and willing enough to attack AFC because we have so many races, cultures and ¨foreigners¨ and have had such success with them under LeProf?

6)      As my beloved grannie would often say, ¨lift up a rock and the vermin will scuttle away into the shadows¨. She was, of course, referring to the politicians she hated but this holds true for criminals (including politicians) and their ilk as well. UA has been doing a bang-up job of shining a light on questionable practices in Worldwide Football and shady British machinations in particular. AFC represent values (as Wenger has said) that are antithetical to immoral and illegal purveyors of  money Football. We have made enemies and evil always bites back.

7)      Riley is vulnerable to pressure as Dalgleish showed recently. The PGMOL is not the most transparent or open organization in British football and has come under increasing scrutiny and criticism from numerous sources, including the British Parliament and the EP managers. Small men like Riley could resort to sneaky retribution for the crime of questioning their infallibility, but the vastness of this presumed conspiracy seems beyond them.

8)      While this idea has not been explored in depth, it offers one of the most interesting theories I have seen. Last season, agents made 72 million pounds in fees but paid almost no income tax on this income. Apparently HMRC is now taking a far more intense interest in these critters, as noted in this article from by Hamish MacKay:

So with the news that the FA will now be sending Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs full details of all the agents fees for the 2010/11 season finally we can see something done about the professionals in football who appear to give nothing back to the sport. It is estimated that the way that agents are paid their fees cheats the public coffers out of millions each year and HMRC are determined to clamp down on this tax evasion.

HMRC said that intends to audit all of the deals made last year in order to find out how to close down the current loopholes. Football is notorious for widespread corruption from the lowest to the highest levels and with the transfer market exploding at an exponential rate it is important that we propose checks for those involved in it so deeply, as agents are.

There it is, so lets start thinking about what we’re up against before it gets out of control.


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24 Replies to “Manna for conspiracy theorists”

  1. Hmmm… no mention of certain entities that may wish to lower the share value of Arsenal in order to launch a cut price takover then?


  2. Missed that option Dogface but it sounds entirely plausible as well…however I couldn’t prove too much there as AFC’s financials are kept fairly secret and certainly the Fat Russian’s plans are an enigma within a mystery or something like that!!!

  3. @Dom:

    Once again, you have gotten a jump on me with something I was planning to cover. I had that same football talk article on the list of topics that I was thinking of writing an article about. No complaints, though. Guess I can move on to something else now 🙂

  4. Interesting article. I think there might be something in most of the enemies you have cited.
    Even after this weekend, the usual suspects are out having a go at our defending, whilst many of them, astoundingly are head over heels over a performance Spurs put in by beating, in my view, the worst team in the league, at home this weekend.
    I think there are all kinds of things that go on in the shadows that are far from a product of conspiracy theory. Maybe things follow the likes of Primorac to this day, maybe Wenger too. Refs certainly play their part, one was despatched to make sure we did not get past Barca, though a similar thing happened to Chelsea against the same team. Not going as far as blaming anyone at Barca, not sure they would even view they need such help but EUFA are a different matter. We all know they are suspicious at the power of the EPL clubs, but aware of the global support of some, Barca beating Utd in the CL final suits them down to the ground.
    Then, as mentioned, the would be owners.
    But at the frontline, I think there is xenophobia, there is a desire to pay Wenger back for not co-operating with the UK media, and maybe not making friendships with some of the British managers?, and there are the swathes of pundits and journalists who support Spurs and Liverpool who maybe have the most to gain by hitting this club, though I am not sure this explains the likes of Wright, Merson, Graham and Tony “Make no mistake, Arsenal are in a relegation dogfight” Woodcock.
    But this good news, as things stand, who or whatever is behind what you describe look to be failing miserably.
    The bad news, this may inspire them to try even harder.

  5. Or…. Ancelotti and the Premier League Managers Association who has been impatiently waiting in the wings to take over. Untold has a tag line which goes against everything said in the media, ‘supporting lord Wenger’ – that was just like a red rag to a bull.

  6. Anyone who wants to see un-racist (Is that an actual word?) the UK press is should watch the weekends Sunday Supplement on Sky. After talking about the Terry situation and if true how disgusting it is they then began (admittedly Martin Samuel’s argued against this) to offer up excuses and platitudes.

  7. My nitpicking Gran (who cleans at the Emirates) asks “Who was this HERMAN Goebbels? Was he JOSEF Goebbels’ brother?”

  8. Putting some historical perspective into this, pre-2004 the press was rather complimentary to Arsenal, despite our woeful performances in the CL. So the idea that the press hates us is actually a rather recent one.
    The EPL as a brand became a lot more attractive post-Abramovich because it created three genuine title contenders (Us, the small club in Fulham and Tunbridge Wells United).
    The problem is that the English footballing culture, which makes the EPL so interesting (in addition to the relaxed attitudes to player nationalities) is A) the reason why England are so poor at tournament football and B) at threat from a club with the resources to do an Ajax and not go bankrupt.
    That the club having a go at the original Ajax model is us and not Manchester United is down to the fickle nature of their glory-hunting fan base and their current ownership. Their youth project is a lot older and previously more successful than ours, given time and opportunities they too could do what Ajax did and Barcelona are doing.

  9. I’m starting to see a pattern with our friend Ancelotti, AC Milan and now Chelsea full of OAP’s. Wonder why the media wants this guy to take over our club with a promising youth policy?

  10. For me, I lay it down to just two broad points:

    1. Xenophobia (the polite word for racism); the almost surrealist love for the Northern Caucus and the apopletic ineptitude & bias of the FA & other Football Administrators of the EPL.

    Does anyone remember the popular George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” cliche: “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than the others.” or “Two legs good; four legs bad”?

    2. An inordinate Uzbeki ambition to own, at all cost, the toy called AFC.

    Just my opinion.

  11. @ Dan, the UK media thought that with their previous track record of hounding managers out of their jobs, they could finish Wenger off by dangling Ancelotti as a carrot to Arsenal fans, when in fact his name is synonymous with the word capitulation to me. I still respect the Liverpool fight back, but Ancelotti’s AC Milan were 3-0 up at half time and should of won the match. He as manager should shoulder some of the blame for that CL final defeat.

    Ancelotti actually seems like a decent guy, but is totally wrong for Arsenal. He would do very well at Man C, so I am glad Man C are sticking with Mancini for the time being.

  12. I have completely lost any respect I ever had for Carlo ancelotti , shamelessly touting himself for wengers job, at the same time saying he would be happy to manage spurs, I never want to see him anywhere near this club, I am sure the board will feel the same.
    The man lacks class it seems, at least if those reports were accurate

  13. I’m not yet ready to put money on it, but we may have just given our next manager a lesson in attacking football…
    Seriously though, AVB is very tactically astute, known for being incredibly thorough in preparing for matches, committed to attacking football and almost certainly going to be sacked when Abramovich’s patience runs out!

  14. Nicky….Haha….Hermann was Josef Goebbels evil,cloned twin who is now Minister for disinformation in the UK shadow government led by Ancelotti and Redknapp. Thanks for pointing out the error…red faced embarrassment!!! Anyway all them Nazi’s look alike, right??

  15. Hey

    Sorry for being off topic.. Newcastlle scored 3 goals but BBC shows only 2 shots on target… Now is this conspiracy .. Just curious.. 😉

  16. Going by the timing of this AAA movement, I think it came up as a result of Wenger’s decision to jettison the idea of spending big money on the transfer of star players and focus more on developing the talents in the academy.

    The agents saw this as a direct attack on their means of livelihood and such a model must be discredited and not allowed to work at all costs since it would hurt them badly if it succeeds as other clubs may follow suit. They in turn solicited for the cooperation of the media who on their own part too will not have many sensational transfer news to write again if the project succeeds as that will reduce their sales, hits and income ultimately forcing them to write well researched articles which they don’t have the time and possibly talent to do. So, the only option is to ensure that Wenger is kicked out, the project is frustrated and discontinued.

    But how do you kick out a successful manager? Work out a way to ensure that the team no longer succeeds by

    i. turning the public against the club by peddling half truths and outright lies

    ii. chasing out all their key players and discouraging the good ones from joining

    iii. manipulating the fans to think that it is the difference in their mode of operation that is responsible for the lack of trophies and

    iv. influencing the officiating of our matches.

  17. @Abhishek Kumar

    The shots on goal stats, and some other stuff like that often causes confusion. What it means is, they do not count the ones that resulted in a goal. I think that has become the norm now, whereas earlier it was total shots. Also I think earlier, shots that hit the woodwork were counted as shots on target (since they could result in goals as well), but now are considered off target.

  18. I wouldn’t worry about the alleged comments of ex-managers of Chelsea.

    Whatever the conspiracy theory, they all rely on one thing and that is for Kroneke, nobody else, to scrap the self-sustaining model. Since he has supreme control over all things Arsenal regardless of what disgruntled fans say or do, regardless of what Martin Samuel writes to amuse people and regardless of what Usmanov wants to do despite his inconsequential millions – Stan Kroenke will yawn and bat all of it away with a bored flick of the wrist.

    Stan Kroenke loves, absolutely loves the self-sustaining model and he has in so many words said Arsene Wenger is going nowhere. This means that any conspiracy theories are not worth the screen space they are written on.

    I think if the self-sustaining model causes Arsenal to average an 8th place finish in the league every season for years to come – Arsene will still be the manager despite being in his 70’s then. You can discern a lot from Kroenke’s attitude when he say’s things like, “Some games you win, some you lose. It’s normal to have a string of losses from time to time. Arsene Wenger is as good as it gets and I think he’s the best man to look after MY Football Club. I admire what Glazer has done at Manchester United and although I have no plans to use Arsenal as security on loans, I find such a thing normal to do. You guys need to look at how we do things in the States and start getting used to it.” (I am paraphrasing here).

    “WE are in for the long haul.” – Stan Kroenke

  19. Not quite completely on topic but today is a big day against match fixing. The Pakistan cricketers. If they get jail, as is possible, up to seven years in some cases , will referees, managers, players,or whoever dare risk such things in the uk in the future in any sport?
    We have to see what sentences they get, but strong sentences could at least help stop match fixing in the uk.
    I think there are some very nervous sports people and officials out there this very moment

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