Untold Media: Call to Arsenal Fans to Reject Unwarranted Media Pressure on RVP


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Untold Media: Call to Arsenal Fans to Reject Unwarranted Media Pressure on RVP

By: Anne  (a story in five parts)

*Much thanks to Shard and bjtgooner for their contributions to this report.


I. Introduction and RVP Message to Arsenal Fans

Before getting into the particulars of the current campaign in the media to portrary Arsenal as a “one man team,” and the future implications of that selfsame campaign, I would like to direct attention to the following words to fans from RVP himself , which were published in Arsenal’s Official Matchday Programme back in October:

“‘I want to say something about my commitment to Arsenal because there have been many stories in the media lately,’ said Van Persie.

‘I am committed to Arsenal, and that’s how it is, despite people [in the media] making up stories. For example, they said I was selling my house, but that’s nothing recent, I moved house last year.

‘I see stories which make me laugh, but I can see how frustrating it is from the fans’ point of view. But I am committed to Arsenal. I am captain, and fans should not believe everything they read.

‘As for that house story, the house has been for sale for a while, but I’m not living on the streets or anything, I have found a really nice house, and yes, it’s in London! So I want to put that straight, I am committed, and I will show that on the pitch.'”

As for whether RVP has followed through on his promise to fans to show his commitment to Arsenal “on the pitch,” his recent performances for Arsenal speak for themselves. However, we at Untold Media would like to further assess his warning to fans about the media “making up stories,” how they “should not believe everything they read,” and what may have motivated this preemptive refutation of such stories from RVP.


II. Arsenal is a “one man team.” Or are they?

In order to further assess these matters, it is first necessary to analyze the development of the current RVP “one man team” angle that was highlighted in our previous media watch report , and which the media has continued to promote following Arsenal’s decisive victory over West Bromwich Albion.

We will begin this analysis with the Sun, whose West Brom match report once again highlights this tired and overwrought “RVP one man team” angle:

“ROBIN VAN PERSIE led the way as Arsenal’s revival continued.

Dutchman RVP has quickly emerged as the Gunners’ MVP following Cesc Fabregas’ summer exit.

And Van Man led by example again, scoring the opener before setting up Thomas Vermaelen….

all the talk was of goal machine Van Persie, whose opener made him the first player since Kevin Phillips 12 years ago to score 11 goals in the opening 11 games of a Premier League season.”

In reference to the above, I would like to harken back to a point I made in my earlier report on the Mail’s Martin Samuel, about journalists using their own talking points campaigns as evidence  to further bolster those selfsame campaigns. We have another example here, where the Sun reports that “all the talk” surrounding the match concerns RVP.

But the real question begged by this report is the question of who exactly is responsible for all of that “talk” about RVP? I’ll give you three guesses…

However, Football-Talk  was kind enough to render all guessing unnecessary by spelling out this methodology rather clearly in the following article:

“After Arsenal’s well publicised crisis at the beginning of the season, and in the absence of Jack Wilshere, it has been Robin Van Persie who has dragged the Gunners by the scruff of the neck and help lead them on a run of six unbeaten games since they were humbled by rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

Yet after this incredible goal-scoring run by Van Persie, the question of whether Arsenal are over-reliant on their number 10 keeps popping up all over the media. This is dismissed feverishly by all involved at the club…”

So, thank you, Football-Talk for that candid assessment of the media’s role in peddling this misleading angle on Arsenal’s recent team performances, and about RVP in particular. Further examples of this practice abound, with  more such “talk” coming from the Mirror’s Paul Smith in his WBA match report , which led off with the following:

“Arsenal brushed aside a rather lame challenge from West Brom as the Gunners’ revival continues to gather pace.

This was their fifth straight home win in the Premier League, and once again the architect was Dutch captain Robin van Persie.

He scored one and made two more to secure the points for an Arsenal side mining a rich seam of form.”

So, the general line here seems to be that RVP scored Arsenal’s first goal against WBA, and was responsible for the second two as well. More along these lines can be found from Ben Findon at the Telegraph :

“We don’t need Batman, we’ve got Robin, reads the banner draped from the top tier of the Emirates stands. Quite so. Robin van Persie’s clinically dispatched 13th goal of the season pointed Arsenal towards another comfortable success in an increasingly golden autumn.

And, just for good measure, the Dutchman laid on the opportunities for Thomas Vermaelen and Mikel Arteta to complete victory.”

Likewise, Malcolm Folley of the Daily Mail  reported:

“Another day, another goal from Robin van Persie. But if that is predictable news, like announcing that dawn will be following night, Van Persie also heavily contributed to Arsenal’s other two goals at the Emirates yesterday.”

As a sidenote, thanks to UM contributor bjtgooner for pointing out that this selfsame Malcolm Folley was up to similar mischief in the Mail post-Chelsea :

“Sunday Mail report on Chelsea v Arsenal dated 30 Oct 11

Reporter: – Malcolm Folley.

Headline: – Terry the fall-guy as Chelsea hit skid row.

Secondary Headline: – Van Persie so ruthless as Arsenal turn more heat on Blues captain.

The headlines seem to be misleading; the main headline implies that Terry was at fault for Chelsea losing rather than Arsenal winning. The second headline uses the word ‘ruthless’ to describe RVP; ‘clinical’ would be a better term. ‘Ruthless’ can have unwanted derogatory implications. ‘Turning the head on Blues captain’ could almost suggest a personal motive for what was really a superb team performance.

Folley started his article concentrating on Terry – almost as an excuse, rather than on Arsenal’s positive play.”

Thanks again to bjtgooner for the above report. We will be keeping a closer eye on this Malcolm Folly as the season progresses. But moving on for now….

In general, this particular RVP “one man team” angle diminishes the excellent performance that Arsenal put in as a team to defeat WBA, and also puts a great deal of unwarranted pressure on RVP. The truth of the matter is that, while RVP’s performance against WBA was, indeed, exemplary, the goals that these media reports are crediting to RVP alone were, in fact, “team goals” in every sense of the phrase.

For a better, and more accurate description of these three goals, including the team buildup, I turn things over to the following “match report” that was kindly compiled for me by UM contributor Shard:

“Arsenal’s first goal came as a result of Vermaelen intercepting the ball ahead of the WBA striker at the half way line, and then being fouled. From the quickly taken free kick, Ramsey released Walcott, whose shot was blocked by WBA keeper Foster. But the ball fell kindly for RVP, who then just had to turn it into an empty net.

In general, Arsenal looked more threatening from corners, as was shown by Vermaelen’s near miss for a chance to score his second goal. His first and Arsenal’s second also came from a corner, where Vermaelen stayed up after the ball was initially cleared.

Song hit a wonderful chipped pass to the far post, to find Van Persie, who hit it first time, back across goal. Gervinho couldn’t quite reach it, but the ball deflected into Vermaelen’s path, and he provided a composed finish, to bring the Arsenal lead to 2-0 before half time.

The passing throughout the game was almost effortless from Arsenal, and that continued even after the substitutes came on. The third goal came from RVP’s good work in receiving the ball near the half way line, and then turning and running into space.

A little give and go with Rosicky brought RVP into the penalty area, where he found Arteta waiting on the edge of the box. Arteta provided a neat finish into the bottom corner, bringing Arsenal’s total goal tally to three.”

Thank you, Shard, for the above analysis, which, unlike the media reports above, also managed to account for the vital roles of Vermaelen, Ramsey, Walcott, Song, Gervinho, Rosicky, and Arteta (in addition to RVP), in  scoring  Arsenal’s three goals against WBA.

Perhaps Shard should send his resume to the Sun, the Mirror, the Mail, and the Telegraph, along with the above example of a match report that is, in nearly every respect, superior to what their current employees were able to generate? However, it is unclear whether such a superior quality match report would be truly consistent with the overall interests of any of the above publications.


III. The “one man team” angle: a means to an end?

In addition to just diminishing the team’s overall performance, these types of “one man team” reports appear to be setting up the following two angles that lead us directly back to the “Arsenal in crisis” chorus that we became so familiar with at the beginning of the season:

1) RVP is prone to injury (following example courtesy of Michael Wade at Talk Sport ):

“Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger used his post-match press conference against West Brom to sing the praises of star striker Robin Van Persie, claiming he is world class but because of his injury record he is put in the nightmare situation of whether or not to rest him in order to maintain his fitness.”

*NOTE: Arsène did not actually say the above in his post-match press conference. Arsène’s actual statements on the subject of RVP are included further below.

2) Also, the corresponding “Arsenal is too reliant on RVP. What would we do without him?!” angle (exemplified here, courtesy of Danny Griffiths at Arsenal-News.com ):

“An intriguing question, with eight goals in four games, and receiving the Premier League’s player of the month for October, are we indeed getting too reliant on Robin Van Persie and could that get to a point where he decides he has had enough of doing it all and being relied on to grab the goals himself in that striker position?

It is a known fact we do not have a competent replacement at present for him if the unthinkable happens, and he gets injured or has to miss matches for any other reason, with Chamakh being the waste that he is whenever he plays and new signing Park Chu-Young who has yet to be fully tested after playing just two games in the Carling Cup so far, since signing at the end of the transfer window at the end of August, it looks pretty bleak, but at the same time we cannot wrap Robin up in cotton wool.”

First of all, as a self-proclaimed fan of Marouane Chamakh, Griffiths’ claim above that Chamack is a “waste…whenever he plays” really ticks me off. Had to say that. And his slight on Park is equally objectionable, given that (as he admits himself), Park has hardly even played. I myself would go one step further and say that Park has played very well on the occasions that he has been given the opportunity. But moving on…


IV. The (inevitable?) “RVP Transfer Saga”

In addition to the above, we here at Untold Media have predicted in the past, and continue to predict, that the above press angles are, in turn, intended to set up a third angle: The upcoming, much-dreaded (or much-anticipated, depending on which side of the fence you fall on) “RVP transfer saga.”

We are currently expecting this new “transfer saga” to heat up as the time remaining on RVP’s contract continues to wind down. Indeed, the Sun has already foreshadowed this coming onslaught by comparing RVP to Cesc in the same West Brom match report  highlighted above:

“Dutchman RVP has quickly emerged as the Gunners’ MVP following Cesc Fabregas’ summer exit.”

However, all foreshadowing aside, Football-Talk was once again courteous enough to provide us with an overt (albeit entirely inadvertent) expose of this upcoming media angle, in the same article  that was quoted above in relation to the media’s role in the RVP “one man team” angle:

“Van Persie’s current deal expires in the summer of 2013 and Wenger has to start negotiations as soon as possible, lest he find himself in a repeat of the Samir Nasri saga that ruined his whole summer.

However, working quietly to renew Van Persie’s contract will be nigh on impossible for the Frenchman, as speculation and pressure will continue to build until the matter is resolved one way or another. For Arsenal, this is massively important as Robin Van Persie could represent their only chance of continual qualification for the Champions League, and his departure would deprive the Gunners of yet another world class player and drop them further towards the realms of mediocrity.”

Once again, we would like to thank Football-Talk for their openess and honesty where this matter is concerned.


V. Time to fight back

However, the question now becomes, what action can be taken in advance to diffuse this story before it reaches the heights that the Nasri and Cesc transfer sagas reached in the past?

Naturally, we here at Untold Media will be doing everything in our power to track and expose this coming (?) attack as it unfolds, and hopefully to diminish its impact. However, the most significant role to be played here comes from ordinary Arsenal fans.

Because, dear reader, the only reason that the media even bothers with such campaigns in the first place is in order to influence the opinions that ordinary Arsenal fans (like you and I) form about Arsenal as a club. If it doesn’t work on us, it doesn’t work. Period. So, let’s keep that in mind as we all move forward.

Also, in addition to the direct refutation from RVP that was quoted at the beginning of this article, there are other hopeful signs that Arsenal as a club may be intending to be more proactive in countering the media spin this time around.

One example of this is Arsène Wenger’s press conferences, in which he himself has attempted to head off this angle and diffuse the pressure on RVP (without diminishing the amazing quality of RVP’s recent performances for Arsenal). In the following excerpts from Arsene’s last four press conferences,you’ll notice that Arsene has taken two tacks of late.

The first is that, whenever a journalist attempts to focus on RVP, he gives RVP credit, but then attempts to shift the topic of conversation to the team’s overall performance. The second is to specifically ask the press to not put unwarranted pressure on RVP. This can be demonstrated in the following press conference excerpts:

1) Post-WBA Press Conference

*NOTE here that Arsène’s actual comments in this press conference are in direct contrast with the spin that Talk Sport attempted to put on the comments (above).

Q: (inaudible) the match this afternoon, there’s no stopping Robin Van Persie.

Arsene: No, at the moment, it’s difficult to stop him, and he wasn’t only a goal scorer but a provider today, and that’s what I like, with strikers. And overall it was a controlled performance, where we had complete domination of the game. It’s good pace in the first half, in the second half the pace was just a little bit off, but… we are getting stronger, and it’s a positive afternoon. We scored five goals last week, we scored three goals today and didn’t concede, so overall it’s a very positive afternoon….

Q: Arsène, you’ve had some brilliant strikers over the years..(inaudible) Bergkamp, Wright? Where does Van Persie rank in his current form?

Arsène: (sigh) I don’t know. The only thing you know is he’s world class… When I was a kid, they had in Germany always a ranking. National class, international class, and world class. And world class we always knew four or five players, or ten players, I don’t remember… I would put him in that calibre.

Q: Do you think there’s any better striker in the world?

Arsène: There’s some quality there, and of course certainly Messi will win again… best player in the world, deservedly so, because he won everything. But let’s not put too much pressure on Robin and let him enjoy a full season, and I think then we can make a better assessment after…at the end of the season.

2) Post-Marseille Press Conference:

Q: Was it your decision from the start (that Robin Van Persie didn’t start) or why did you choose that?

Arsène: Well, he was tired, you know, it was fatigue. That’s why I did that… You know, we’re playing 50 games in the year and he cannot play 50 games.

3) Post-Chelsea Press Conference:

Q: (Inaudible) says a lot for Robin Van Persie, getting a hat trick today…

Arsène: He’s…of course he’s on fire, but he takes advantage through his class from the fact as well that we attack a lot, and that we create chances, and overall of course itelligent of his movement around the box and the accuracy of his finishing is exceptional…

Q: What’s the latest on Van Persie’s contract situation, Arsene?


Arsène: The latest is the latest of today is the latest of yesterday… (everyone laughs)

Q: In talks still, or what’s the…?

Arsène:   I said yesterday in the press conference, it’s nothing to add on that.

4) And as for what Arsène said “yesterday in the [Chelsea pre-match] press conference”:

Q: I could keep going on about Robin Van Persie, but there was a headline yesterday about how you’ve started talks. Could you clarify the situation?

Arsène: No, I don’t want to… There’s no need to clarify. I don’t want to speak about that anymore.

Q:  Have you started talks with him?

Arsène: I will not talk in every press conference about contract negotiations with Robin Van Persie. There’s eighteen months to go. That’s finished.

Q: It’s only because, apparently, there was a headline yesterday that said that…

Arsène: I’m not responsible for the headline, I am responsible for how we run the club.

Overall, please consider this story to be a work in progress. We’ll be keeping an eye in the future on both the media’s latest maneuvers, and Arsenal’s response. And I hope to hear from all of you in the comments about your opinions on this topic, and any relevant news reports that we may have missed. Cheers.  -Anne


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51 Replies to “Untold Media: Call to Arsenal Fans to Reject Unwarranted Media Pressure on RVP”

  1. Not quite sure what the point of this article is. RvP IS a genuinely world-class player, and at the moment, by far our best player. We would be screwed without him (not in a relegation sense, but in a potential top-4 sense). You may like Chamakh, but he has been a stiff since November of last year and looks completely without confidence. And Park has not played enough for anyone to trust that he could do an adequate job. We are very, very reliant on RvP and his goals and general excellence of his play up-front, and the media are correct to report that. We look constantly dangerous with him playing, and without him have looked generally toothless. And they are also correct to report that most Arsenal fans are terified of him getting injured again, due to his recent track record. I think many of us are holding our breath and praying, because we have all seen this story before in RvP’s career.

    I read most of the reports after both the Chelsea and WBA games (the two you primarilly refer to) and although most did indeed lead with comments about RvP, they also spent a long time highlighting the influence of Aaron Ramsey, Arteta, TV, and Walcott, among others. You are guilty of cherry-picking specific parts of stories to support your arguments here. For example, here is a later part of Malcolm Folley’s WBA match report:

    “In Ramsey, he has a young man revelling in the role of playmaker vacated by Cesc Fabregas, who returned to Barcelona.
    Ramsey looks to take receipt of the ball anywhere. His touch is compact, his vision unclouded by those trying to diminish his impact.
    When he departed in the 71st minute, to rest for another, more urgent challenge than the one presented by Albion, the crowd rose to applaud him.
    On the touchline, Wenger shook his hand in appreciation of his contribution. In Alex Song, Wenger has a quick, sharp player to tidy up, competently, often in midfield.
    In Walcott and Gervinho, he has pace on the flanks. And by demoting Per Mertesacker to the bench, Wenger had a central defensive partnership of Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen who looked comfortable in each other’s presence.”

    That doesnt sound like someone obsessed by RvP.

    Let’s face it, given what happened with Flamini, Cesc, Nasri and others it is going to be a story until RvP has his contract sorted out. You may not like it, but as one of the finest players in the country, RvP is indeed news, and clubs all over Europe will be watching his status with great interest. He has won nothing in his career and he could earn a far greater salary elsewhere. If someone offers to double his salary it will be a very difficult decision, given that he is 28 and the next contract he signs will probably be the last big money contract he signs. He has given great service to Arsenal and I for one could not blame him if he wanted to maximize his earnings for the final few years of his career. We as fans may not like it, but he has to think of the rest of his life.

    I hope, nay pray, that RvP stays with us. But until he signs a new contract then his future is a big story, especially given our recent history of retaining world class players into their mid-to late 20’s. We may not like it, but those are the facts and it would be far more surprising, given his goals, injury record, and contract status, if the media DIDNT make RvP a primary focus of their reports.

  2. That might work Darius it is what Red Nose does and he seems to get respect from the journos.
    Brilliant analysis Anne keep up the good work.

  3. Paul Collins,

    RVP won the FA cup with Arsenal. We all remember the last kick of Vieira but Robin Van Persie also scored in that penalty shoot out.

    In fact he told this story about that penalty shoot out on the Dutch TV a few months ago (and I quote it from my head not litteraly):

    “After the game Wenger asked who felt good enough to kick a penalty and I immediatly volunteered. This was a big risk if I would miss but I was very confident when I told him I would kick. But then I started to doubt myself before I had to kick.

    I remember going up to the penalty spot and it looked like a very long walk. I then took the ball and put it on the spot and then when I looked up…. the world had gone. I could see nothing. The moment I lifted my head I felt dizzy and I looked in a black hole for a moment. The whole world was moving in a strange way. So I had to get myself together or would just fall to the floor and faint.

    I got myself together and scored. I never felt more relieved in my life after the ball went in…I could not imagine what would have happened if I had missed that penalty”

  4. Hi Tony,

    Apologies this is a bit off-topic but is on my mind because of the e-petition regarding Tottenham getting public money.

    I’ve heard many Spurs fans arguing that Arsenal received public funding for the Emirates. However, this is disproved by David Lammy here:


    “Arsenal received public money for their stadium, why can’t Haringey Council do the same?”

    “This is another common misconception, brought on from an insinuation made in a statement from Club Chairman Daniel Levy.


    Islington Council have made it quite clear that no public money was given to Arsenal at any point over the building and development process.”

    So basically Daniel Levy has flat out lied in a club statement – shouldn’t he be getting called out on this?

  5. Thanks, every1 at Untold, for your objectivity, to put it simply. Here in Kenya Arsenal has more fans than any other European club (fact). Did anyone notice how the commentators in our Chel$ea match, in the 1st half, couldn’t stop harangueing about our defending while ignoring that Chelsea were equally, if not more glaringly, unstable? I absolutely loved how in the exhilarating 2nd half they had no choice but to talk about Chel$ea’s hopeless defence as the goals kept going in. And no one was mentioning that the ‘celebrated’ Petr Cech was being amateurishly beaten at the near-post and under his legs (Santos’ goal). The Media bias is so shameless! Thanks to Untold, and a few other blogs like DesiGunner and A Cultured Leftfoot, i now know rubbish journalism when i see/hear one, from a hundred miles off! Am a Gunner for G (for good)!

  6. Mare St. Gooner,
    you comment would have been right on place in the latest article from Tony…

  7. Paul Collins,

    Of course RVP is a world class player and makes a big difference to our team, no one is denying that but same is the case with rooney and silva. Without rooney the man u attack looks as good as dead without silva city wont be the same. But the journos never describe manu as a one man team, do they? With rooney in mid field the man u attack looks toothless but the journos dont mention that, do they?
    Why are we being singled out is the question we are asking here.

  8. Paul Collins, I somewhat agree with the cherry picking comment, and at first I started thinking they were just praising a man that did actually very well in certain games. But this is how the media work, they build up their subliminal messages. They slowly get you thinking in a certain way. VP is very important to our team, but the way they make it sound we would be worthless without him. This is just the start. Where was all this praise in the past few years. Suddenly because vp is actually playing we’re over reliant on him, where did that come from. Not too long ago they were arguing that we should just get rid of him because he’s injured all the time. And to be honest, regardless of whether he signs a contract or not they will still link him with other teams. Because he’s that “it” player for us right now. Even if he comes out and says we doesn’t want to leave (as Anne already mentioned) they will still link him with a move away. The biggest give away is their sudden focus on him, they’ve given up on the whole arsenal’s team can’t cope and are now running the whole they can cope but only because of van persie. It’s the most dynamic argument against us and it’s going to take many different shapes over the year. And god help us if a big club suddenly gets very interested in signing him

  9. The speculation about RVP and his future will die despite many efforts to breathe life into the story. Why..because he is a class act and unlike others in the past will state he wants to finish his career at Arsenal. End of. Viera,Cole,Nasri, Fabregas etc all wanted out mainly for more money hence the speculation. Henry left when Wenger said so.

  10. @Darius:

    People have been suggesting that in the comments here for awhile now, but I don’t think that it’s something that Arsenal is ever going to do. It seems like, if they haven’t found grounds based on what’s gone on up until this point, they’re not likely to 🙂

  11. Anne, once again this is an excellent and well constructed article. You have very clearly identified the media attack moving to the “one man team” theme as a fall back position when they cannot easily attack/undermine the team in any other way.

    @ Paul Collins

    When you accuse Anne of cherry-picking on the basis of her analysis of Malcolm Folley’s article (Sunday Mail 06 Nov), the facts do not support your accusation.

    Folley’s article covered most of p7 of the Sport suppliment. The page was illustrated by three photos all of which majored on RVP. The headline was “That man Robin is a hero for Wenger again…IT’S SUPERVAN” – last two words in large caps.

    Folley’s article contained 22 paragraphs. The first 7 paragraphs were about RVP. Para 8 described the first goal, scored by RVP but did mention Ramsey and Walcott in the build up. Para 9 was about Batman/Robin.

    Paras 10 & 11 revised our bad start to the season and once again mentioned our loss to the Manures.

    Paras 12 – 15 are the ones you quoted – where some of our other players were mentioned.

    Paras 16 – 18 did not discuss any players.

    Paras 19 – 20 did mention our quality, goals 2 & 3 were described players involved – RVP, Vermaelin, Song, Rosicky, Arteta.

    Para 21 – 22 did not mention any players.

    So the headline, the photos and the majority of the article were all weighted towards RVP. Consequently I cannot buy into your comment that Anne was chery-picking.

    The point that the media should be making is – yes RVP is a world class player and we are very proud to have him in our team, but there are 10 other guys on the pitch and they are becomming a class act – all of them are good players and some like RVP, will also become world class players. It is not a one man team.

  12. @Paul Collins:

    It sounds as if you DISAGREE with the article, as opposed to not knowing what the point of the article was.

    As for your cherry-picking accusation, naturally I’m selecting parts of the articles that highlight my arguments. That’s how you go about making an argument. If I quoted the entire article every single time, all of my reports would be at least 10 pages long.

    However, I do provide the link to every article that I cite, so that every reader has easy access to the entire article, in order to double check any conclusion that I draw if they so choose. So I find your implication that I’ve been dishonest in my reporting to be somewhat disingenuous.

    Also, if you believe that the quote from Malcolm Folley that you included refutes my argument, you obviously didn’t read my argument closely enough. I was complaining SPECIFICALLY about the fact that, at the outset of his article, Folley essentially credited RVP with all three GOALS that Arsenal scored.

    The first few sentences of an article will always have the most impact on readers, in terms of what they take away from it. I personally thought that the goals Arsenal scored against WBA were the quintessential examples of “team goals,” as I said, in every sense of the phrase. So I was offended by the fact that Folley started off the article by only highlighting RVP’s role. I felt it created a false impression (in kind of a sneaky way), and that’s what I was complaining about. And the excerpt that you quoted didn’t have anything to do with the goals at all.

    Finally, as for whether the current media pressure on RVP is just “normal,” if you can’t see that it isn’t normal on your own, I don’t know what I could say to convince you.

    I’ll just ask you, how many other EPL players currently have 18 months remaining on their contracts? Can you think of any? And if you can, how many are subject to intense transfer speculation at the current time? Get back to me on that. Thanks.

  13. @bjtgooner:

    Good timing 🙂 Apparently, we were working on our responses to Paul Collins at the exact same time, and still managed to complement each other’s arguments 🙂

    Thank you for your compliments on the article, and thank you as well for your own contribution.

  14. @Walter:

    That’s a great RVP story, and thanks for sharing it. I had never heard those comments (obviously, if they were on Dutch TV 🙂 ). And even if you’re paraphrasing, I have to say, you have quite a good memory!

  15. @Mare St Gooner:

    I don’t mind if you go off topic in my comments threads, so long as you are raising something that is worthwhile (which you are here). So thanks 🙂

  16. @Odhis KenyanGunner:

    Thank you for taking the time to comment. Match commentary is something that we haven’t ever had time to touch on here, but I still know exactly what you’re describing. It’s like the announcers are in a contest with each other to see who can come up with the most negative and snarky comments about Arsenal.

    The thing that I find really interesting is that this is a phenomenon that seems to occur globally. I get my matches on Fox Soccer Channel in the US, and it’s the same here. Obviously, it’s the same in England, and apparently in India and now Kenya as well. So, that’s four different continents right there!

    The reason that it’s the same here is because FSC just uses the commentary from Sky. Whose commentary do you get in Kenya?

  17. @Sahil:

    Thanks for the compliments, and I also agree with your response to Paul Collins. Why IS Arsenal singled out? Seriously. Oh, and incidentally, I agree with you about Silva and ManC. While you can hardly hear a mention of ManU without a glorification of Rooney at the same time, I’ve felt that Silva has never gotten quite the credit he deserved in his role for City. I don’t like city at all, but I do like Silva, so glad you brought that up.

  18. @Mahdain:

    Thanks for the compliments, and thanks, once again for the great links. That first article in particular just left me with my jaw dropping open… I didn’t even know what to say after reading it! Apparently, you must have felt the same, because I notice that you’ve linked to that one on more than one thread 🙂

    It’s an article I’ve thought about writing up but probably won’t have time for. On the other hand, if you feel like writing up one or both of those articles, and exactly how ridiculous they are, I would most certainly be willing to edit and post it as a UM report under your name. You know my email address 🙂

  19. @Iniez:

    I agree with you 100% about the subliminal messages bit of your post, and I’m impressed with the way that you were able to break down what is going on here. So, I would recommend to everyone that you go back and read Iniez’ comment if you overlooked it the first time around.

  20. @Anne, thank you for the kind words, I’m sure its not all me though, I’ve been reading your articles for so long you’ve helped me notice a lot of things. Just glad the real pro’s are working hard here on untold, keep up the great work 😉

  21. @Iniez:

    Le-Grove is an interesting piece of work as far as Arsenal blogs are concerned. I’ve felt the same way that you have about them, and I have my doubts that they are real Arsenal fans, to the point where I’ve done some digging on them in the past. Not sure if I will ever write it up (for various reasons).

    But the things that interest me most about them are how QUICKLY they were able to jump to the levels of success that they have now (they only started in September of 2007), and also their relationships with some of the largest papers in the country.

    Only a year after the blog started, Pete Wood (Pedro) was being quoted in the likes of the Mirror and the Telegraph, naturally supplying the requisite quote from an Arsenal “fan” to support some article that was slagging off the Arsenal. John Cross at the Mirror has quoted him twice. And it’s also been pointed out in these comments sections that their blog has some sort of relationship with the Standard (I believe it was, not remembering the details of that).

    In short, what I’m hinting at here, is that both of the factors above suggest to me that this blog is being backed by someone. I could be wrong, and it would definitely be impossible to prove something like that, but I have wondered more than once. Be curious to know what you think.

  22. By the way, the above was a response to Iniez’ comment on a different thread, if anyone is confused about where it came from 🙂

  23. Interesting article, especially from here in hockeyland, where the level of discourse generally matches the sport itself. What a tremendous amount of painful, tedious work it must be wading thru shite in order to write these pieces. Better you than me!

    But I have problems with your entire argument (yes, every bit of it) when I read this:

    “Because, dear reader, the only reason that the media even bothers with such campaigns in the first place is in order to influence the opinions that ordinary Arsenal fans (like you and I) form about Arsenal as a club. If it doesn’t work on us, it doesn’t work. Period. So, let’s keep that in mind as we all move forward.”

    It’s good that you’re describing the blinders you are wearing. It would be SO much better, though, if you didn’t make the assumption it’s all about us, the fans, and then tailor your arguments to support that. That’s what religious dogma is for, and football is far more important than religion.

    With respect to the media and those who ‘earn’ their pay from them, all the toadying, jejune and witless writing or verbal commentary, the endless, mindless repetition exists because it, in some way, serves the interests of the controlling shareholders, or the bookies, or the advertisers who pay the bills (or some other interested party I don’t know about). In the famous words from the movie “All the Presidents Men” — follow the money.

    Your articles would be far more interesting if you always kept asking ‘cui bono’ (rather than assuming the answer, then writing). You just might, like refwatch, through its careful, dogged observations and recording, learn some really useful stuff and effect a change.

    BTW — This 2005 NYT opinion piece provides several levels of illustration about the task you’ve taken on. Its starting point, for the American history-deprived, was the revelation (30 years after the fact) of the identity of ‘Deep Throat’. ‘Deep Throat’ was the inside source who made the ‘Watergate’ exposé possible for two young (read: not-yet-corrupted) journalists. It’s also highly instructional to see how corruptible at least one of those journalists was as his career progressed. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/12/opinion/12rich.html?pagewanted=all

  24. “In short, what I’m hinting at here, is that both of the factors above suggest to me that this blog is being backed by someone. I could be wrong, and it would definitely be impossible to prove something like that, but I have wondered more than once. Be curious to know what you think.”

    I have always suspected the same thing, especially given the timing of when the blog first appeared, which was shortly after the sale of a huge chunk of shares to the first major outside investor and the set up of a certain colourful holding company.

  25. @you must be joking:

    I guess you’re right that that one paragraph was overly simplistic. That wasn’t really intended to be the main point of the article anyway. As for the rest of your suggestions about the things I should be covering instead, feel free to submit an article yourself 🙂

  26. @you must be joking

    Having resd your comments it looks as if you might be wearing blinkers (or blinders) tourself – or do you write in jest?

  27. @youmustbejoking, I’ve had the privelege of reading Anne’s articles for quite some time now and if you’re able to say the same then you should know how much hard work and analysis goes into these articles. You talk of “cui bono” but if you’ve been reading Anne’s articles you’d know that the media and their motives has been discussed in great depth already and if every detail was to be mentioned again we would be here for quite some time. It seems to me like someone didn’t approve of your writing so now you need to try and show off your grasp of the english language by talking down someone who’s articles get so much praise. You sound a bit over zealous to me though, and I’m not sure who shot you down but you’re just coming off as bitter, not someone sharing their opinion. Also if you’re going to nitpick and only look for flaws, you’ll eventually find them. To quote a great movie “if you keep knocking on the devil’s door long enough, sooner or later someone’s gonna answer you” (yes we can quote movies too). In all due respect, you can deep throat my cui bono

  28. @Anne, thats really interesting. I’ve noticed the big names in the media alluding to their work before. Something definetly seems fishy about them but I also don’t want to get too paranoid myself. Some fans out there are really just bitter, but it wouldn’t surprise me for a second if I found out they weren’t real fans or were being put up to doing what they do. Just look at the About, Rules, and AKB guide on top of their page. They’re basically the same thing, preaching acceptance but enforcing that they don’t agree with wenger or those that agree with him. They seem more caught up with disagreeing with arsene and “akb’s” than actually following the club. Their comments section is an orgy of negativity, really it’s something out of a nightmare. Even their slogan “a blog where you can have an opinion not get one”, it’s so provocative. It gets you riled up before you even catch a glimpse of an article. Such a simple sentence but it means so much. It’s basically saying that everything other than what they say is forced on you and that their opinions are just. Now I’ll admit I don’t read that many of their articles but I almost always see their titles on goonernews and thats usually enough to get the jist of what they’ll be saying. In my opinion it simply isn’t possible to love a club but hate everything about it, logically it makes no sense. Their whole site screams controversy. Plus I never understood why they call themselves ‘Le’ Grove, theres nothing french about arsenal except wenger and they hate him, crazy..
    I may not be as efficient as all of you here on untold, I’m just a simple arsenal fan, but if you have any ideas I would be more than happy to help. I’m used to reading quite a bit so maybe its time for a grove watch? Honestly I’m tired of sitting back and doing nothing while my club keeps getting stick, and as much as want to distance myself from the word conspiracy I just feel there’s nothing else that can explain what happens around our club, its just absurd

  29. Also can I add that the story “Wenger Out! – In Arsene We Trust!” has been run three times now. First by welcometothegunnerstown, then by footballfriendsonline (though they’re both related apparently), and now by footballtalk (and football talk changed the end a bit). Here are the links for whoever wants to see:

  30. @iniez

    “In all due respect, you can deep throat my cui bono”

    Fucking classic. Just simply brilliant. That might be my favourite post ever 🙂

  31. @Iniez:

    I’ve heard from many people many times over that they ban anyone from their comments sections who even disagrees with them. Is that not the truth, guys? Do you not get banned from le-grove if you disagree in the slightest?

  32. @Anne&Iniez

    I take the pain of reading le grove everyday and going through their comments section….ya i sort of have a habit of dancing with the devil…. and yes people who disagree with them get banned i have seen it myself. Their comment section is a free for all and anyone who even hints of supporting arsene and the club gets slaughtered out there.
    But what surprised me a few days ago was that Pedro was invited by the club along with one other blogger to visit arsenal’s new medical center. I wonder why they chose him instead of so many other bloggers out there.Maybe they are trying to reach out to them, it did surprise me his selection that is.

  33. About Le Grove : They not only ban people but they edit comments of people who disagree to make them look stupid.
    I was a victim of this a few years back. The only mistake they made was that they used an idiom which I didn’t know in English at all. So I knew for 1000% that they had changed it. Because when you comment a lot it could happen that you think: oh, did I write this? But because of the idiom (something since then I enjoy exchanging idioms with Tony behind the scenes) I knew I couldn’t have written it.

    And when I confronted them with this, the just spouted first some more abuse to me and then banned me. I think I still have the print screens on my computer of this.

  34. @Walter

    Over the last few days I have noticed some Le Grovel and also Daily Mail headlines – mostly about potential departures in January. I cannot be sure if this is just an attempt to gain attention or if it is an attempt to destabilize when there is nothing they can criticise.

    PS I do open the links to Le Grovel – having formerly made that mistake – never again!

  35. Happily, I’ve been banned from LeGrovel for calling them racist, xenophobic, and fascistic and cited exactly where they proved the point. Their pit bull, Geoff, has been all this blatantly. Pedro is the calmer, more cerebral one, thereby enabling Geoff to smear the feces. (And, yes, there’s been a tie in to the Evening Standard.)

  36. youmustbejoking,
    Did you look in The Mirror before slating UM for lack of detail? Go over any of the pieces in UM’s index and find lack of detail, whilst going detail-free yourself. Citing Watergate as your touchstone? Are you serious? Unfortunately I think you are seriously out for blood.

  37. Haha cheers Anne and Shard.

    I’ve tried commenting quite a few times and only once have they actually posted it, but I do sometimes see a few comments slip by their screening, not enough to spoil the soup though. But ya definitely, they try not to let anyone express their opinion if it clashes with theirs. On a side note wasn’t it last season when they got an early glimpse of the new arsenal jerseys for the 10/11 campaign? My memory might be off though, but maybe another link with some outside sources?

    @sahil, that other blogger goes by the name of TheRealGunner but she’s basically the opposite of le grove from what I’ve read so far..maybe it was just a public event or they just have special privileges? Maybe she can help us answer how they got there?

  38. i never visit that blog and i stay away from all the negative links some of my followers tweet and that goes to all the negative blogs…decided to drop in and try a little wind up and see what happens 🙂

  39. A little late and I don’t know if anyone’s even checking this thread anymore, but about inviting bloggers to the medical centre, I think this is the club’s way of countering the claims (which have become established fact) about our injuries being worse, and the medical staff getting blamed for it. Last week they had invited Arseblog and Goonerholic to the same facility, and they also have an interesting video up on Arsenal player with the medical centre tour. I think that video is free as well, so even non members can watch it.

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