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August 2021

Opting out of Arsenal. The media’s agenda behind the transfer sagas

The media’s agenda behind the transfer sagas; what really happens when a player decides to opt out of Arsenal

By: Anne

One interesting aspect of this Robin van Persie “transfer saga” is that it has made clear to me, as never before, the specific agenda of these “transfer saga” media campaigns where Arsenal fans are concerned. Specifically, this is the attitude that they want Arsenal fans to take (which has never been stated so openly in any other “transfer saga”):

The bloke can score goals. Apart from that, he is no different from the man who delivers your or my pizza. It’s only about money, nothing else…and Arsenal will only keep their top players when they are able to pay what Man City can. Until then, get used to seeing the annual exodus.”

So, that’s what they want from us. To get used to the “annual exodus,” and not let any of it bother us. Specifically, where fans are concerned, it would appear that the agenda of the “transfer saga” (i.e., what they want us to do) can be summed up in some manner similar to the following:

1) Don’t look closer than what’s reported in the media;

2) Don’t respond emotionally to player exits; and

3) Once a player “announces” his “desire to leave,” take no proactive action to affect the outcome. Just accept that he’s gone.

Up until now, I’ve been responding to “transfer saga” campaigns with the implicit assumption that the campaign was intended to cause me to take some kind of action; for example, to turn against the Club, or to actively reject a certain player and force an exit. However, looking more closely, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Rather, it appears to me that these “transfer sagas” that we see in the media are actually intended to keep Arsenal fans satisfied with superficial information, and uninvolved in whatever else might be going on behind the scenes.

Or in other words, they’re telling us: “Look away, move along, nothing to see here.”  And unfortunately, I think this aspect of the campaign has been quite successful where Arsenal fans are concerned. Specifically, I think that Arsenal fans are (or have been until now) allowing the media to control our perceptions about these “transfer sagas,” when we should be looking more closely and asking questions.

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Which isn’t good. Because if they want us to look away, then it’s in Arsenal’s best interests for us to look more closely. And if they want us to accept our players leaving with resignation, then Arsenal needs us to care, and to take an active interest in keeping our players. And more particularly, we need to look more closely at exactly why it is that these players are deciding to leave Arsenal in the first place.

Because I’m not going to lie. The following “news reports” from this RVP “transfer saga” have left me completely unnerved:


Arsenal have six weeks to sell RVP and bed in a replacement before the season starts. Much better than last year, when we lost Nasri and Fabregas after the season had started.

Well done, Arsène and Ivan. And well done for running the club as it needs to be, and not as one prima donna wants it to be.

But honestly, we have no idea of what goes on behind closed doors. Let’s hold on to the abuse for the moment. Let’s hear both sides of the story. And if Van Persie is being a mercenary like Nasri, he isn’t worth our abuse anyway.

Loyalty is dead.”


*That last part is the photo caption, and appears underneath a photo of Arsène and Robin together.

Example 2:


As with the thunk-thunk-thunk of your childhood pets dropping dead in succession, you’d think you’d have become used to it by now.

“It happens almost every summer these days that Arsenal lose a star player. Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry, Emmanuel Adebayor, Cesc Fàbregas, Gaël Clichy and Samir Nasri have all left since 2005…This year, it’s Robin van Persie’s turn to ride off into the sunset.”


Example. 3:

“We here at Pies are..intrigued by [Robin’s] new grey locks. Maybe the stress of leaving Arsenal has prematurely aged the (now) silver fox-in-the-box?”


Example. 4:

“The problem is that Arsenal have previous. United and, particularly, City will know all about the Fabregas and Nasri sales. They will be happy to wait. Arsenal cannot afford to.”

I really don’t know what to say in response to the above “news reports” other than “what the hell?” However, I do think that these reports certainly have some extremely nasty connotations, which indicate to me that it’s time for Arsenal fans to be taking a closer look at what’s really going on behind the scenes of these “transfer sagas.”

So, let’s begin doing that by taking a closer look at the Cesc and Nasri “transfer sagas” from last Summer. Recall that the version of events that fans have received from the media is that both Cesc and Samir ultimately “forced” these transfers on Arsenal; Cesc with his “desire to return to his boyhood club,” and Samir with his “desire to earn more money.”

The following are some of the news reports from the RVP “transfer saga,” and how they have referred to the previous departures of Cesc and Nasri:

The loss of Van Persie carries the same desperate implications that came with the departures of Fabregas and Nasri. Wenger swore that he could keep the players he saw as the future of the club, then found himself scrambling desperately to fill some of the empty spaces in the last days of the transfer window.”

“The manager’s plans were thrown into chaos last summer when he attempted to keep Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas but saw both leave.”

Let’s think about this. Arsène Wenger “swore that he could keep” Cesc and Nasri, but failed. And he “attempted to keep” Cesc and Nasri, but they left anyway. Theoretically, Arsène Wenger has the power to decide which players he keeps and which ones he doesn’t. So, how could Cesc and Nasri leave against his wishes, thus throwing his plans for the season “into chaos?”

Specifically, if Arsène wanted to transfer Cesc or Nasri, or knew that he was going to have to transfer Cesc or Nasri because the player was “unsettled,” couldn’t he have planned for it in an orderly way?

First, let’s consider the question of whether Arsène really was planning to keep these players and had his plans disrupted, or whether he was planning to transfer them all along.

Cesc was transferred on 15 August, after the first match of the season (Newcastle) had already been played. Cesc hadn’t played at all in the pre-season and didn’t play against Newcastle, because Arsène Wenger said that he had “injury” concerns. In the media at the time, the fact that Cesc wasn’t playing was portrayed as related to the “transfer saga” because Cesc was too “unsettled” to play (or something like that).

At the time Cesc was transferred, there were only 15 days left in the transfer window. And it seems that, if Arsène Wenger had been planning to transfer Cesc, or wanting to transfer Cesc, he would have done it before then. If Arsène had kept Cesc into the season, it appears that he was intending to keep him throughout the season. And if Cesc was so unhappy and “unsettled” that Arsène couldn’t play him in the pre-season, it seems that he would have transferred him during the Summer. Also, Arsène had not bought a replacement for Cesc.

Considering all of the above,  it seems to me that Arsène, going into the season, was confident that Cesc was both willing to and emotionally capable of playing for Arsenal, and was planning to keep him. So, I believe that these circumstances are consistent with the idea that Arsène “attempted to keep” Cesc, and then somehow “failed” to do so 15 days before the close of the transfer window.

But on the other hand…. How does that make any sense?

The following is what we know about the circumstances of the transfer (and it’s not a lot):

“Reports of the deal surfaced at halftime of the first leg of Barcelona’s Spanish Super Cup match against Real Madrid on Sunday, which ended 2-2.

“The club announced Fabregas’ departure just before 10pm last night – half-time of the Spanish Super Cup first leg between Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Bernabeu which finished 2-2 – with Fabregas already en route to Spain.”

“The Spanish champions later revealed, on their official website, that Fabregas will undergo a medical at Barcelona Hospital at 0700 BST on Monday, before undergoing a further test at Barcelona’s medical centre at 0930 BST.”

So, 15 days before the close of the transfer window, on a Sunday night when Barcelona had a match, Barcelona and Arsenal reached an “agreement in principle” for the transfer of Cesc Fabregas. Cesc was already in the air, and Barcelona announced that Cesc would be taken directly to the hospital the next morning. Cesc was presented as a Barcelona player the next day.

And the reason that this supposedly occurred was because Arsène Wenger suddenly realized that Cesc wanted to return to Barcelona, and that it would be wrong to keep him at Arsenal for the remainder of the season.

Right…..Personally, I’m having difficulty understanding how Arsène Wenger would suddenly reach this conclusion in late August, at a time when transferring Fabregas was going to be damaging to Arsenal’s season, but not before.

Likewise, the version of the Nasri transfer that appears in the media narrative similarly defies all logical explanation:

“The France midfielder trained with Arsenal yesterday morning as they prepared for the second leg of their tie with Udinese, looking to defend a 1-0 advantage and secure another season of Champions League football.

But instead of travelling to Italy, Nasri instead made for Manchester for a medical.”

So, Samir Nasri was training with Arsenal in the morning, and was apparently a planned part of Arsenal’s team that was going to travel to Udinese. But then, a transfer was suddenly agreed, and Nasri was taken directly to the hospital in Manchester. The supposed reason for this was as follows:

Nasri is a situation where the player didn’t want to extend his contract with the proposals he had somewhere else…What kind of commitment can you have when the player is not there long-term?”

I’m sorry, but this makes absolutely no sense. The morning before Arsenal travelled to Italy to face Udinese, Arsène Wenger suddenly realized that, since Samir had decided not to renew his contract at the close of next season, then there was no point in keeping him for the remainder of this season because he wasn’t “committed” to Arsenal? And Arsenal fans are supposed to believe this?

The following is the announcement that appeared on Arsenal’s official website regarding Nasri:

“Arsenal can confirm that they have agreed terms for Samir Nasri to move to Manchester City,” said a statement on the Arsenal club website. “The 24-year-old midfielder, who has spent three years with the Gunners, has been omitted from Arsenal’s squad which flies to Udinese this afternoon and instead will travel north for a medical.”

I chose to highlight the actual wording of Arsenal’s statement here because, contrary to the narrative reported in the media, Arsenal did not include the portion about Nasri training with the Arsenal squad that morning. Rather, Arsenal merely said that Samir had been “omitted from Arsenal’s squad which flies to Udinese this afternoon.” Which would appear to suggest that Nasri might actually have been elsewhere at the time that the agreement was announced. Just like Cesc was “already on a plane” to Barcelona, at the time when his transfer was announced.

But the question that hasn’t been answered here, regarding Cesc in particular, is where exactly was Cesc before the transfer was announced, if not at Arsenal? Where was Cesc before he boarded this plane to Barcelona? For example, at the conclusion of the Cesc “transfer saga,” Cesc supposedly made the following statement:

“I am sorry I couldn’t say anything for the last two and half months, Arsenal would not allow me to talk, I was disappointed and upset about that but it had to be like that. I still have, personally, a great relationship with them and I am disappointed to have maybe lost [the affection of] some of the fans. I am sorry I couldn’t say anything…”

So, why exactly couldn’t Cesc say anything for two and a half months? Because Arsenal refused to let him? That sounds shady to me. And there’s also the following:

CESC FABREGAS is planning to release a recorded goodbye to Arsenal supporters as soon as his protracted move to Barcelona goes through….

Providing Arsenal sanction the deal, Fabregas will be on his way to the Nou Camp and People Sport understands he is considering recording a video farewell to Gunners fans in which he will thank them for their support.”

So, consistent with how the “transfer” actually unfolded in the end, it appears that this news report (from 31 July, 2011) was already aware that Cesc would be heading to Barcelona whenever the transfer agreement was announced. Or in other words, it was known in advance that Cesc wasn’t at Arsenal. But if Cesc wasn’t at Arsenal, then where was he?

And before anyone jumps on me for being a “conspiracy theorist,” I’ll go ahead and say that I know that the implications from the following news report are completely far-fetched. However, I do at least want to draw attention to the fact that the Mayor of Cesc’s hometown in Spain apparently claimed that Cesc had been kidnapped during his “transfer saga.” Unfortunately, I can’t find this statement in its original context, so I don’t know what it was really all about (for example, I don’t believe that the Mayor actually accused Arsenal of being the party who “kidnapped” Cesc, or whatever he might have said happened):

‘Cesc Fabregas is experiencing a kidnapping’

But anyway, taking all of the above into the account, I can’t think of any way to conclude this article, other than to ask:

What the hell is really going on in these “transfer sagas?” And even if Cesc wasn’t actually kidnapped, then where was he? And where is Robin now (can we see him, just to make sure he’s alright)?

And most importantly of all, I believe that we, as fans, should be keeping a closer eye on whatever might be going on behind the scenes in the Robin van Persie “transfer saga,” along with all other such “transfer sagas” that are presented to us in the future. Because whatever it is, I’m forced to the conclusion that Arsenal fans are most definitely not getting the real story.


Ordinary is Pointless






83 comments to Opting out of Arsenal. The media’s agenda behind the transfer sagas

  • Kevin

    I read through this story in the hope that it would end in some “profound” insight. Sadly, it ended with one of the most obvious statements that can be made about football transfers: Fans are not told everything that goes on.

    Nothing new there.

    However, what was very disappointing was the very clear implication that Arsenal is doing something nefarious during these transfer “sagas”.

    What exactly are you implying with these statements?

    And even if Cesc wasn’t actually kidnapped, then where was he?

    And where is Robin now (can we see him, just to make sure he’s alright)?

  • CB

    Isn’t it a case of the papers going ‘we don’t know what’s happening so let’s make something up to sell papers’?

    My advice is to look at on the first day of the season and the last day of the transfer window to see how we are placed and not get drawn into any of the rubbish beforehand, particularly not from any site called clubcall, talksport,, footylatest etc etc.

    Otherwise you’ll waste a lot of time and emotional energy that should be saved for supporting the team during the season. ‘Will RVP stay or not’ is a typical issue that can take up a lot of time and effort. If he does great, if he doesn’t we will adapt and survive. Wait and see…

    Note: the Olympics is on.

  • Ben

    don’t really know what you’re on about. reads like muddled ideas scribbled erratically. what’s your point? seems like a lot of fuss about something things only the club CAN know and something that we can’t affect anyway.

  • Georgaki

    Dear Tony et al

    You really need to add a little more editorial control over the content that is posted. This was a pointless, if hysterical, post that devalues Untold Arsenal. Some of us gooners hope for a sober and balanced place to discuss our team. With more ‘paranoid’ posts like this your reputation will suffer.

    To the author Anne,

    The media want and need your attention to secure advertising revenue….that’s it, nothing more nothing less!

  • Alan

    The point laboured somewhat!

  • Alan

    Did it cross your mind that possibly the transfers were sanctioned only when Arsenal were happy with the fee’s being received. Player transfers are not as simple as you think.

  • bob

    Just to clarify, are you interested in knowing more than you/we currently do about last summer/this summer’s transfer window? Or would you prefer not to know more than you/we currently do? If it’s the latter, why not just say so. Whether Anne is on to something or not, have you seen any image of RVP since the Euros? Apart from the website statement, have you heard anything directly from RVP? Does the delay in Cazorla’s signing not at least raise a question as to what is going on and why? All this to say, what Anne does is pick up on the lack/refusals to be transparent and, as I read it, demands greater transparency for fans. I don’t see how you draw the implication that Arsenal is necessarily up to no good. Perhaps Arsenal’s hand is being forced? Or Wenger’s hand is being forced in some way from some source? We don’t know and Anne has the courage and chops to say look, we’re being told not to ask questions about our team, or given reasons by the media not to ask questions. So, if you don’t want to ask questions, or have questions asked, then say so. If you do want to ask questions, or have questions asked, then ask away or stay tuned. That is, you could be clear to yourself and to readers here about what you actually mean. Yes, things are not transparent, and there’s nothing new in that. But, as a fan, you might consider that there are other positions to take than being bored (or secretly annoyed) that someone raises questions where otherwise there is either silence or cliche to help you/us get by.

  • smartie1947

    Having watched the mainstream media distort to horrendous degrees the situation at Rangers over the last 6 months, I can assure you the campaign of misinformation habitually waged against Arsenal is relatively small beer. The only solution anyone can adopt is to either completely ignore those newspapers/sites who print the most obvious twaddle or better still flood their online editions with “source?” or “who actually said?” everytime their article states something like “an Arsenal insider” or “a friend of the player”
    Not only does it show the article as less than reliable, it also spreads the message to others who may be more gullible.

  • bob

    The media only want to sell papers, nothing more nothing less, end of story? How can you be so absolutely sure of this? by ignoring history?

  • bob

    p.s. yes, to gain advertising revenue is what you say. but my point still is the same. you cannot have been paying attention to the world for the last 100 years and say that the media (as if it’s all one entity) only is always concerned to raise ad revenues.

  • bob

    without getting into a useless pissing contest about who was done worse by the media, I’d like to point out that what you call “small beer” with respect to Arsenal is bollocks. If you were paying attention to the scale and virulence of the all-media all-the-time attacks on Arsene/Arsenal last summer, you would hardly have the cheek to call it small beer. This in no way is to diminish the shite that Rangers fans have had to endure, and I would bow to your experience of that and, from what I’ve been able to follow, express my condolences and more. But before you dismiss what many fans have endured, especially last summer and fall, at the hands of a craven media as “small beer,” you might reflect on how it feels to be a Rangers fan and not pooh-pooh away other side’s being f*)(d over by them as well.

  • Kevin


    I hate to say this but your response is equally as abstruse as Anne’s. I would like to point out that while all answers are responses, not all responses are answers.

    However, you do make one statement and one assertion. I feel obliged to answer both of them.

    First, you say ” I don’t see how you draw the implication that Arsenal is necessarily up to no good.”
    –Well, I drew that “implication” from the two statements in Anne’s article:
    And even if Cesc wasn’t actually kidnapped, then where was he?

    And where is Robin now (can we see him, just to make sure he’s alright)?

    While these may have been purely rhetorical questions, they are a little puzzling.

    Second, you say the following:
    “But, as a fan, you might consider that there are other positions to take than being bored (or secretly annoyed) that someone raises questions where otherwise there is either silence or cliche to help you/us get by.”

    Presumably you are addressing that comment to me and not the Arsenal fan universe as a collective. I totally agree that asking questions is important. However, asking questions for the sake of filling white space and not being prepared to respond to follow up by others is not a very useful thing in my opinion.

  • GoonerPete

    Here we go again…

    It’s pretty simple really.
    Wenger could never come out and say “Yes we are going to sell Cesc and Nasri” Because if he did, then it would right away lose about half the values of the transfers.
    By always tating he intended to keep them he kept their values up.

    Nothing more than that from Arsenal’s side.

  • Hausner

    smartie1947 I agree with you totally. Only that most of the speculators and lie peddling articles in the sites leave no option for comment as they know well the kind of response to expect…

  • goonerbegood

    hello fellow gooners,
    for me i feel there are mols in the club, individuals whom for one reason or another are passing club informations to other clubs e.g man u,man city,chelsea ,totenham etc.
    These ‘mols’ as i call them are unhappy with wenger or gazidis ,and feel the only way to revenge is by going to talk shows to do their dirty work.
    Arsenal as a club has become vunrable cos of the success that it has achieved over the years without having huge debts like man u,chelsea etc.. these other clubs are envious of what wenger has achieved ,and the only way they can stop us is by having people within our club passing information to them which should not happen. these mols in my eyes include, gary megson(whom is a chelsea fan but in the eyes of many he acts like an arsenal fan ,which he is not),then you have robson,darren dein, ) our club has to get rid of these type of people . we are the envy of all europe, with a new stadium, with debts almost paid off, with agreat ,honourable manager, with a chief executive who i feel is now getting things right.
    The way we can go about it i feel is by , harmony within the dressing room,the club doing all it can to strenghten the team,having proper spirit with the fans, we as a club have to win a trophy this season , to shut up all these so called wishy washy pundits, e.g hansen( i remember the season before liverpool went out of the champions league, he went on about how liverpool would get the 4th spot, am sure he prayed for it to happen, ramsey’s leg got broken by shawcross instead of not allowing such ,he went on about how shawcross was doing is not to blame, same with eduardo, …..
    i have not watched a game where the pundits say anything good about wenger , be it hansen, gary linekar, etc and i ask myself why, and the answer is jeaoulosy and envy,and to combat against such we need to keep a tight ship, get rid of all the bad eggs upstairs .I mean look at the case of frimpong, saying on twitter that he needed a prayer and some spuds fan is praying for him to break his legs, and what did the fa do, punish frimpong for responding.
    The individuals that hate us are going to extra lenghts to make our players uncomfortable telling them we have not won a trophy in 7yrs but forget that tottenhamm has not won a trophy in the past 52 yrs, liverpool cant even make champions league but nobody complains,there is nothing we will do that will ever please anyone , so we have to back our manager this season, all the way, show him that he has our love and respect cos at the end of day, gazidis wants to win titles, wenger wants to win titles, we the fans want to win titles, and am sure RVP our MVP wants titles as well.

  • Raw Veg

    to bob,
    yes the media lies about things, giving angles to protect their money masters, hence all the wars we’ve seen and are about to see. But this is football, not war. Or maybe I’m wrong…

    Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence. In other words, it is war minus the shooting.
    George Orwell

    Just a little anagram you might like.
    Weapons of mass destruction
    US team swoop find so scant

  • bob

    AS I read yours, all you’ve said in your response to Anne’s article is this: “nothing new there” and how you are “disappointed” and how she is “filling white space” without “being prepared” for follow-ups.

    I’m defending this/any writer’s right to raise questions. If you want to be so dismissive of this, that’s your move and choice. And you too are “filling white space.” But there is more than filling white space there, or (presumably) we wouldn’t be arguing. Why don’t you direct some specific questions at the writer (or specific challenges), and see whether there are specific or useful follow-ups to them? That might be a more “useful thing” in my opinion than the tired “nothing new there” mantra that abdicates any responsibility to ask, or otherwise insist on/or offer something specific into the mix.

  • bob

    Raw Veg,
    yep, agree with the part that suggests that war and football can justly appear in the same sentence. Football today is economic warfare, being played out on the pitch and in the suites, by the combatants. Alas, it is not mere sport (anymore?), Oh yes, and played out in and by the mainstream media – with a nod and cheers to goonerbegood! – on behalf of the warring parties. Except for honest brokers like Stuart Robson, of course. 🙂

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Putting my evil schemer’s hat on:
    Why would journalists from rival organisations follow a similar narrative?
    If I want to sell adverts, I want to make my content stand out from the crowd, not parrot the same crap they can get anywhere.
    MY NEWS IS BETTER THAN YOUR NEWS, MY EDITORIAL IS BETTER THAN YOUR EDITORIAL – if selling page impressions is the way to make money then that’s the way to sell page impressions.

    Shall we fire up the hypemobile on the Nasri transfer:
    Arsenal holds Sheikh to ransom over Nasri transfer – ambitious French attacker Samir Nasri’s move to Manchester City threatens to break down over insane fee demanded by the North London club. A source at the club let slip “we don’t need the money, he can rot in the reserves with the juniors unless the fee is too high for us to refuse.”
    Or Cesc?
    Cash-strapped Catalan giants beg for the return of the prodigal son – Barcelona face an agonising wait as Arsene Wenger toys with the future of club captain Cesc Fabregas. A source in the Spanish super club reveals “we’ve been streamlining our expenses, stopped using colour photocopiers, all to rescue Cesc from his exile in London”

    Did anyone see any articles like that in the press? No because we get exactly the same bollocks from all angles. If I read the Gruaniads coverage I can’t be bothered to look at the Torygraph or the Mail because they won’t tell me anything new. So why the homogeneous nature of the press coverage?

  • bob

    Great posting! Why, indeed, is there a “party line”?

  • ASNLthruNthru

    This article makes thepress reports that it criticises look “fair and honest”.What a load of R*bbish!

  • Kevin

    Okay Bob,

    Here is my original question directed towards Anne, and if you would like to provide your answer please feel free:

    What exactly are you implying with these statements?

    (1) And even if Cesc wasn’t actually kidnapped, then where was he?

    (2) And where is Robin now (can we see him, just to make sure he’s alright)?

  • iniez

    Are you trying to say that arsenal not wanting to sell an arsenal player is kidnapping? I believe it’s called holding a player to their contract, that’s what contracts are for, permitted “kidnapping” if you will. Also, in cescs case, with only one potential suitor, and said suitor doesn’t want to match the valuation, is it kidnapping to play hardball and try to get a transfer fee? I can’t see you right now, should I assume things aren’t ok?

  • Raw Veg

    to bob
    Along the conspiratorial line, isn’t it funny how qatar foundation appeared on barca shirts shortly before qatar (footballiing powerhouse nation) got the 2022 world cup?
    What is said qatar foundation? Is it an organization that looks into human rights violations within the country?

  • Thundertinygooner

    This is the second extremely muddled piece I have read from this author. It is an interesting device to spin an elaborate conspiracy theory and then rebuke people for labelling her as a conspiracy theorist
    A few hard facts about these transfers ( and most affecting Arsenal)
    They tend these days to be very complicated involving many parties. This holds up deals and the announcement of deals (eg Cazorla).
    When foreign people use English and it is translated by non- nationals strange words are used.The Barca official was saying that Cesc wanted to leave and Arsenal were holding him against his will ( rather like a kidnap victim).
    The media distort stories,rehash gossip and frankly in some cases invent situations that are fictitious to fill column inches. I rarely bother to read such gossip unless it comes from a credible source. The Internet ensures it gets recirculated interminably.
    Wenger had a gentleman’s agreement with Cesc who had been prevailed on to stay the season before.It was similar to Henry’s situation.but he wanted the best possible deal for Arsenal’s sake.
    As for Nasri,I understand his change of mind after originally suggesting he wanted to sign a longer contract was a great disappointment to Wenger and again he wanted to screw as much as e could out of Citeh.
    I haven’t seen Thomas Vermaelen since the end of last season but I have every faith he will turn up when the season begins.RVP has been at the training ground every day but is probably being advised by all parties to say nothing and after all what he can he say that is not being swooped on by media and fans alike?

  • rockofgilberto

    I’m not one of those “Where Has Our Arsenal Gone” types, but I’m becoming one of those “Where Has Our Untold Arsenal Gone” types. This piece made absolutely no sense. The author quotes, as factual, various websites known to all and sundry as being purveyors of spurious information (at the best of times); all this to back up her thesis, which isn’t entirely clear but I take to be that Arsenal don’t tell us everything and “the media” (which must be a collective term for useless transfer gossip sites) are attempting to maintain the status quo. The author never draws one clear conclusion as to how the club or the media benefit from this seeming subterfuge, and uses quotation marks as some sort of conspiracy-lock key whilst typing.

    Tony et al, we beg that someone exercise some editorial control. We have become used to encountering some well-reasoned and written essays on all things Arsenal and football. Please don’t let the site devolve into one of the “media” referred to in the above investigative cow-flop.

  • Kevin


    Actually, I am asking Anne what she is saying in those two questions: (1) and (2). The two questions were in the original commentary.

  • bob

    You and I can both hypothesize possible answers. What we would hypothesize would probably differ, or overlap(?) The fact is that there were/are demonstrable gaps in the documented/visible record. Would you deny that? To me it is not “useless” (as it seems for you) for a writer/researcher to point out that there are gaps in the public record that ought to be answered, and that beg further questions. Would you agree or not that there are gaps? would you agree that there are questions begged? I don’t/can’t know the meanings of these gaps at this point. Nor do you, presumably. But to imply that there is no meaning to these is unsupportable. That’s what your “nothing new here does.” Also, to suggest that they are massively important is, as yet, unsupported. But a gap (any gap) is not nothing. It is a gap: an invitation to the dance, which can be accepted or rejected. To me, your “noting new here” is a rejection. For me, I’m eager to read Anne’s response to your questions and, if she wishes, to our dance. I’ve given you my answer, for now, until then. We’ll have to (or may want to) see what’s to follow; then reconvene should you wish (as I do), to thicken the plot.

  • bob

    p.s. My above to Kevin.

  • bob

    Raw Veg,
    Let’s see. It replaced Unesco, didn’t it?
    And Barca, even in bank-challenged Spain, seems to be re-entering the transfer markets, hmmm? Surely Dein the Lesser (agent for Alex Song) seems to have noticed. 🙂

  • GoonerPete

    Anne used to write some really great thought provoking stuff.
    Her last 3 or 4 articles though (starting with the Arsenal players being injured on purpose article) have really started to turn me off this site.

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    Raw Veg,
    Exactly; they are also founding any UNSC resolution to help propagating sectarian criminal acts in another country. And they fund such criminal acts. And the press are treating these issues exactly the same way they treat AFC and player transfers from and to AFC. Recently, we have witnessed the fact that most “famous” journalists in the USA are nothing more that paid advertizers to special interests. This includes sports and the many biases of ESPN.
    I remain a Gooner and a Libertarian for life.

  • Georgaki


    I am a bit of a historian in my spare time and I am a professional scientist during work hours. That means I live by evidence-based opinion. I survive by using transparent and auditable methods, by citation of my sources of information and by recognizing that I work in a self-correcting discipline. I’m afraid that little of what I am accustomed to applies to journalism in general and sports journalism in particular.

    There are hacks that love Arsenal, hate Arsenal, admire Arsenal, respect Arsenal, detest Arsenal or belittle Arsenal, take your pick. I bet the same can be claimed for any other club. I will concede that Arsenal and Arsene Wenger are far more interesting than most other clubs……

  • iniez

    Appologies I missed that part, damn those late nights

  • bob

    Agree that scientific self-correction, when practiced (minus outside interference) is incommensurable with (especially) sports journalism. Sports journalism, arguably, is an oxymoron, as practiced these daze! That said, I would ask you to be evidence-based enough to list one or more of the Arsenal lovers that you assume (mind you) to exist in the mainstream media? Is that fact-based or assuming a balance that might not be there on closer inspection? 🙂

  • bob

    p.s. As for history, there are so many examples of media agenda’s (beyond merely upping the advertising revenue) that we could spend an entire blog discussing them. Would you not agree?

  • finsbury

    The certainly are a lot of budding editors reading Untold.

    Nice post Anne. There were some sightings of Robin on the arsenal website showing some training sessions. No hand cuffs in sight. Some weights, I saw those. And some footballs. But no chains.

  • Jeremy

    It is taking too long for Cazorla to be officially unveiled .

    Can’t help but had a very uneasy feeling.

    We were also anticipating a big name signing this very time last year before we lost out to Inter.

    We could be well chasing shadow afterall.

  • Claver

    Firstly; in my view, Arsenal is the center of attention in European football, for better or for worse.

    Superlative football, the best maybe in Europe, an enigmatic manager and intriguing alternate transfer policy mean there is a lot more to write about.

    Second; Arsenal ARE the story. Powerful enemies/opponents…thank you Fergie, Murdoch, Mancini, the Tottenham billionaire clan, Mourinho and Barcelona.

    Third; Arsenal are a rich football club without the swagger. Whereas on others it reeks…Arsenal’s rich hits you when you get close and examine the books.

    Fourth; you cannot play with the confidence of Arsenal, under a manager like Wenger, in a stadium like New Highbury and expect nil envy. Ask Martin Jol.

    Shall go on?

    Fifth; Arsene dragged English football – I’m looking at you Fergie – from the lagerhouse to the penthouse. Even the old Scottish geezer now does prawns and wine.

    Sixth; Arsenal bear the price of leadership. Someone has to do it. Arsenal want M’vila?, so do Tottenham and Newcastle.
    Arsenal want Sahin?, so do Man U.

    Arsenal want to sell some arrogant so and so?, please make a straight-line counting up to ten.

    Seven; Pep Guardiola admires Theo Walcott.

    If you are an Arsenal fan like me, you kinda get used to leadership. 1st English club to beat Real Madrid at theirs, then 1st at San Siro etc etc. First unbeaten in the EPL. First to consecutive EUFA appearances. Ist EPL team to build its own stadium.

    Media agenda? It has always been thus…maybe the day the media stops talking about Arsenal is the day the EPL ceases to entertain.

    But, wait. I thought Man U were bigger in Asia than Arsenal?

    Let’s hope GOD takes care of the Arsenal and Wenger. And gets rid of Stan?

  • Kevin


    That is a troubling thought but it is one that has crossed my mind recently as well.

    It would be nice to have the Cazorla saga concluded far sooner than later.

  • zdzis

    I’m sorry if this sounds offensive, but the article in its current form sounds more like a draft missing the talking points. Right now the only point seems to be: assumptions are drawn without a reality check. True, true, but it really is “nothing new”…
    To the question “Where is Robin?” which was followed up (by bob) with “Why where there now photos of Robin after the Euros?” – Why, there were, and twice – before the Asia Tour and after. You can see them on There’s no disappearing act involved here, which might be one reason why some of the press warms up to the idea of RVP staying put.
    “Where was Cesc?” – that’s a tough one, but in this case, I’m convinced he really was pushing it and forcing Wenger to cross him out. The “kidnapping” story was, as far as I recall, related precisely to Arsenal as the club that took the kid Francesc at 16 and was loathe to give him back after that. It was a stupid story to irk the fans, and some fell for it. Let’s face it, people are stupid. (I know I am.)
    Where did Nasri go? It makes perfect sense that he did go to Manchester while missing the Udinese game – given the ultimate result of this transfer saga, I don’t think there’s really that much to speculate about in this case.

    There are questions that should (or could) be asked, however, like:
    1) Why did Wenger claim he was expecting both Cesc and Nasri to stay if he knew both were “unsettled” (“wantaway” is another stupid word the press uses in such cases)?
    2) How do media establish what the player do, talk, and think in absence of any firsthand reports?

    Ad. 1) The first logical answer is – the decision was made behind Wenger’s back. For some reason, the board decided to sanction both moves over Wenger’s head, and yes, they may have waited ’til the valuation was high enough.
    The second possibility is Wenger consciouscly deceived fans, knowing all along he would eventually sanction both deals, because he wanted tickets/players to sell better (for a higher price).
    The third possibility is – there may have been a release clause, at least in Nasri’s contract, which may have been triggered. I know next to nothing about how these things work, so I won’t go into details.
    Anyway, I’m not certain here (and maybe there are other possibilities), but the 1st option sounds the most logical (however – implicitly – anti-Kroenke).

    Ad. 2) I firmly believe the media have established a finely carved structural model for articles about Arsenal. It includes several key elements.
    a) Arsenal are a selling club (implication: they would sell anyone);
    b) Wenger doesn’t spend (implication: all players are more or less “wantaway”);
    c) all Arsenal players desire trophies (implication: all Arsenal players are easily “unsettled” by top clubs);
    d) Arsenal “target” every player who’s nearing the end of his contract, is under 25, is not English, has an injury history, and is cheap (implication: Arsenal NEVER buy established players – if they do it’s because they’re cornered);

    The list could go on. Among the most curious myths I encountered was the one about the money Arsenal pay some of their less impressive players (Bendtner’s 52K, corroborated solely by his shirt number), another one about Kroenke being personally responsible for Arsenal’s finances, and so on, and so on. In other words: the media don’t even need to know anything about reality to write a piece about an Arsenal player being “poached” or Arsenal “poaching” a player.
    What I’m getting at here is that the transfer sagas are only the tip of the iceberg formed of all the Arsenal transfer rumours. Just look them up – we’ve been linked with between 50 and 100 players just this summer! Some of those stories become protracted, even if there seems to be no justification for them from the club in the first place. (Though there was seemingly no Arsenal offer for M’Vila, you can still hear the rumour reverberate in such clear tones!) The media habitually derive knowledge about the real goings on between clubs and players from Twitter feeds and empty speculation. Which might be why the infamous RVP “wantaway” statement was so rarely analyzed with relation to what was going on at the club. You know, the only thing that has changed since then was that we (almost) bought Cazorla. So why do so many papers now claim RVP’s “likely” satisfied with the current state of affairs? There is a logic to it: many arsenal fans will read such a piece. Some will want to abuse RVP for being a pr*ck and abusing the club; others will rejoice that our captain is back; yet other will say someone finally talked some sense into Wenger’s head. Ultimately, though, it ain’t worth it – the piece could just as well have been written by an automated article-writing program and rarely has anything to do with the truth. If RVP stays, it won’t prove the author right anymore than it would prove all the others wrong. In a 50-50 situation, with no facts to base his story in, he chose option 1 and struck gold. And they pay people to do it. Nuts!

  • zdzis

    And sorry for the length of this post…

  • zdzis

    Oh, and about Cazorla: this is his latest tweet:
    “I am officially an AFC player. Deal done. Señoras y señores, se ha hecho. Soy oficialmente un jugador de la AFC. Anuncio por suerte mañana.”
    So, I think it might be a case of fairly complex paperwork, but the tweet’s been there for some 12 hours and no one’s taken it down. It’s also the ACTUAL official Twitter to Cazorla, the one that rejected an earlier claim the deal was done.

  • Paul

    Since I started reading Untold three years ago. I’ve always enjoyed reading something different about Arsenal. There’s enough anti Arsenal blogs out there to keep the the most unhappy of Arsenal fans happy.
    Judging by some of the comments Anne’s srticle may not have been widely received but one thing it has done and Untold continues to do is provoke thought.
    If I wrote an article with the headline:
    Arsene’s the best manager. He should stay forever. I’m sure there’s be tons of response.
    And if I wrote:
    Wenger’s rubbish they should boot him out.
    There’d probably be just as many responses if not more.
    Just like when people comment on how they could run the club better than Arsene.It’s so easy to comment on other peoples work and be negative.
    Think about how long it took Anne to research and write the article?
    My Father always told me. “If you’ve nothing nice to say about soemone then don’t say anything at all”.
    Gooner for life.

  • bob

    Good stuff. Imo, the best posting in reply, so far; as it offers some plausible hypotheses for filling in some of the gaps. I think that the departure of x-Cesc last summer is especially troubling and not adequately addressed anywhere (because the details have been covered up, one way or the other) and your three scenarios give us ways of rekindling that discussion and debate. Fans are always served up “explanations” that masquerade as facts and especially in the media. I feel there are ethical and unethical ways of raising and framing questions, and, imo, both you and Anne have done this. We as fans are starved and starving for real information and easy to manipulate. But the need to pose the right questions and pressure for, if not demand, information is essential. Cheers for your thoughtful analysis.

  • bob

    p.s. sorry, to be crystal clear: “that both you and Anne have done this ethically.”

  • colario

    In my opinion this ‘blog’ is way below the standard I’ve come to expect from ‘Untold Arsenal’.

  • Georgaki


    This is rather pointless. Of course newspapers have agendas, right wing, left wing, nationalist etc., but specifically biased in football? It’s just not important enough for me to lose any sleep over.

    As for known gooners, Matt Scott of the Telegraph (although critical of Wenger lately), Amy Lawrence (Guardian), John Cross, Phillipe Auclair, Julien Laurens.

  • Georgaki

    I’m watching Perry Shakes-Drayton, a gooner, come in third in the 400 m hurdles.

    Anyway, I can see that I’m not alone in finding this post well below the standards one would expect here at Untold. Please, Tony don’t let this blog deteriorate to something like Le Grove!

  • Stuart

    I’m with GoonerPete in that Wenger was covering Arsenals (Directors) true intentions in order to keep the value of the players up which in turn keeps his spending kitty up. I also go a step further in saying I would reckon he was told to sell and the sale price was already known, it took so long to go through because Wenger had to go through his long list of potential replacements until one of their clubs agreed to sell, hence the busy rumour mill.

  • Goonersundheit

    I think ultimately there was a battle between the board and Wenger about the transfers. There was a lack of unity with the people at Arsenal, hence a lack of overall preparedness and the transfer scramble on the final day. The loss of Nasri and Fabregas ultimately represented the end of Wenger’s youth experiment and I think he was resisting that. Now there’s a new era at Arsenal demonstrated by this summer’s encouraging transfer business. Therefore the RVP saga is not as disastrous as what occurred last summer. It also seems a lot less murky overall, although his “statement” makes him seem like a possible pawn. Don’t forget Usmanov’s response to it the very next day and don’t forget that Darren Dein represents RVP. Worth considering anyway.

    Hopefully any fan with a brain will be able to see through the official line to believe that there is always more going on and will also be able to see through the subsequent media spin. All the media want to do is stir up controversy and anxiety; they’re not particularly interested in the truth.

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis

    A gravatar indeed

  • bjtgooner

    There are some similarities between the departures of Cesc, Na$ri and the present situation regarding RVP. All have been protracted affairs and yet closure has been eagerly anticipated in the press.

    I suspect Wenger knew that Cesc would succumb to the multiple tap ups from bankrupt Barca, but had trouble getting a decent value for Cesc – not helped by Cesc not wanting to go anywhere else. This delayed the transfer and provided the press with ample opportunity to write more nonsense than normal.

    Wenger hoped that Na$ri would take over the Cesc playmaking role in the advanced midfield, but Na$ri’s lust for money and the Dein factor scuppered that plan. However, it took some time for City to meet the Wenger valuation – so again the press had the opportunity to write nonsense about this deal for a protracted period.

    With RVP the press seem to be trying to write comments which could be used to lower RVP’s value, to our detriment and to the advantage of any prospective buyer. This seems to be a consistent theme. I note one perspective buyer would like to acquire RVP – but way below Wenger’s valuation.

    We need to remember that the parasitic agents are responsible for a lot of the silly transfer stories that the press all too eagerly latch onto. But, do certain clubs and/or individuals have a vested interest in slanting transfer stories – most certainly!

  • Goona Gal

    I am of the opinion that Arsene Wenger wields enough power and respect from the board to have the final say on who goes and stays at Arsenal and neither Cesc, Nasri or any other player would of been sold without his tacit agreement. The negotiations of their replacements on the other hand is a different matter.

    @ Anne – If I recall I had a disagreement with you regarding your staunch defence of Barca & Cesc last year and I have to say I disagree with you again over RVP. I outright disagreed with your last piece about RVP’s statement and I have to say I found this one quite befuddling.

    I am of the opinion that some Arsenal fans need to take a step back and deal with the media message less emotively and resist the urge to engage and thoughtlessly regurgitate gossip. The club on and off the pitch is doing a lot better than the narrative continuosly perpetuated by the media.

  • Adam

    @Anne the last link you gave is a site owned by Leonard Blavatnik who has been amassing media companies as well as funding Oxford universities new Blavatnik School of Government I just thought you might find this interesting as you kind of mentioned perception management.

  • PNW Gooner

    While I did find Anne’s article to be a bit of a ramble, she does hint at the real issue that we, as football fans, have: professional football is comprised of two distinct, but related, games and we only have real insight into one of them. We now enjoy unprecedented access to the game on the field, whether in the stands or on TV, but have almost no access to the equally intriguing game that goes on in the transfer market.

    By necessity, business negotiations are conducted behind closed doors and the majority only come to light after the parties have agreed to all of the terms and the deal is done. Few of us think twice about this outside of football, and it would be odd, and probably against the law, if Apple or RBS continuously leaked info about its next business acquisition. It is much harder to accept this when the business negotiations involve something as close to our hearts–and that we are used to having as much access to–as our football club.

    We want immediate access to details and, if the club is not willing to provide it (which, from a business perspective, they shouldn’t), other sources will fill that void. In reality, most of us will never know the true story behind any Arsenal transfer–or any other club’s transfer–and we will always be relying on half the facts mixed with a healthy dose of conjecture and supposition.

  • Adam

    @Anne, Leonard Blavatnik’s access group have just acquired the bleachers report. For a reported $175million.

  • alex

    For me you are a good writer in a sense that I read your articles fully.I am not patient to read to the end of some articles.
    Having said that the content is skilfully written but the end point has no substance.
    Thought you will shed some answers in regard the transfer but you let me down.
    Please give some facts in the conclusion if you have one.Otherwise you can conclude with your own opinion so that a reader like me can take or leave it.
    In conclusion your previous article on Van Persie transfer request and this article sound more conspiracy based theory rather than a serious article.
    One reason that many people come to this site is because Untold is about facts.In that next time please add some tangible facts on your lovely writing.

  • Laundryender


    So sorry about the idiot responses, must be new here, I always find your articles very well considered and provocative.

    2 points

    1. Players come players go
    2. You buy delivered pizza!!! blimey

  • bob

    Detecting spin (good) and knowing exactly what is going on are two different things, as you well know.

  • bob

    “Pointless?” Ok, by your opinion of what’s pointed. Your not losing sleep over media bias toward/against certain teams, of course, does not prove there is no bias. Your distinction between football and the rest of reality may not be as watertight as you suggest. And, in any case, to each his own. For example, your listing of media gooners is outdated; based on reputation but not more recent performance, including last summer/fall’s orgy of Arsene/Arsenal-bashing. Very evidence-free I would say. Then again, this is all “pointless,” you say.

  • MikeSA

    Are you suggesting that Arsenal might be playing the fans for patsy’s?

    The thought has definitely occurred to me on more than one occasion that the club might well have wanted to sell players on to maintain a positive cash flow, and have fudged the details to limit the fallout from the fans and season ticket sales.

    Take RvP right now, does the club really want to spend 5m pounds on a bonus and up his salary at this point?

    We are talking about an injury prone player from an historical perspective, and one rapidly approaching the end of his career.

    From a money pespective, it would be worth selling RvP for an amount above 20m, but below that it might well be a good ROI to keep him for 1 season then let him move on.

    From an asset perspective, the 2.75m (or whatever) spent on his purchase 8 years ago has long since been depreciated to zero.

    Perhaps AW and the club DO know what’s best for the club long term, but don’t neccessarily trust the fans to see it in quite the same light or in the medium to long term?

    Looking at some of the diabolical drivel sprouted by many who fail to understand basic economics or business principals, if you were AW or the board, would you trust the fans and their opinions?

    I wouldn’t.

  • Sharpehunter

    I have to say that this is probably one of the most bizarre articles to ever appear on Untold. It doesn’t make any sense, has no actual clearly defined point and merely rambles aimlessly on about various random press stories and PR statements.

    The real issue around Fans and the Media is that after a while many people including Commentators, Pundits and Former Players find themselves unable to distinguish between fact and fiction. I find it alarming and unfortunate that such a highly regarded footballer and Arsenal player as Ian Wright seeks to justify his fees from certain nefarious newspapers by writing absolute rubbish. There are many other examples as well. Wrighty likes to imply that he has his finger on the pulse, that he has some insider knowledge. He doesn’t, and neither do the press hounds masquerading as Journalists.

    The ‘Truth’ is simple: It is usually the barest, most meagre and least detailed element of the article. In the RvP case. All anyone outside of RvP’s family / Mgt and all anyone outside of Arsenal knows is what was in his statement. Fact!

    His Mgt team may well use disinformation to plug, manipulate, enhance, influence and direct proceedings. I have no doubt that Arsenal have the ears of certain people which enables us to undertake the same type of activity to counter act the tactics of RvP’s mgt team.

    To put this simply. In any ‘transfer saga’ scenario, with almost any club, as a fan, observer, pundit, journo or ex-player it is basically like watching a game of chess between a two groups of people who have changed the rules and the desired outcome to such a point that only they know what Check Mate actually is anymore.

    Delightfully, I have found the RvP saga an immensely interesting ‘Saga’ from a business, negotiation and information management perspective. I stated quite clearly over 4 weeks ago on multiple blogs and various linkedin groups that Arsenal had won the hand and forced theirs. I still think I am right.

    Don’t believe what you read, don’t react negatively to co-ordinated reports and press releases. Keep a clear head, stay loyal and just know that it is a tough game played by tough people who really don’t care what Mavis the housewife or Bob the Banker actually think. Our job is to watch the football, cheer, support and encourage. Not to scrutinise every bloody comment or article that emanates from some Journo’ with less education that a cockroach.

    PS: Ann – you ain’t no writer!

  • Goona Gal

    @ Shapehunter – excellent comment, I agree with you.

    Though I don’t think there is any need for the dig at Ann. I think respect should be shown to anyone that takes the time to produce an article for the Untold Arsenal site, whether you agree with them or not.

  • Goona Gal

    It’s the worst kept secret, but about bloody time!!! Shall we take bets on how long it takes for some ‘supporters’ turn on him?

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Nice to know curiosity is safely dead and buried.
    Perhaps we should start our own alternate news feed for Arsenal fans? If I could be bothered to read every tiny article that pops up I can respin most of them in about a minute each.

    Arsenal do a bank job in Malaga for Spanish ace – cash strapped Andalucian club forced to sell prized player to keep the wolves from the door. “It is totally disrespectful, Santiago is worth at least twice what they offered. No club should have to deal with this sort of insult, they never let their players go on the cheap, why should we?” said a source at the club. No-one at Arsenal was available for comment.

    It’s pathetically easy.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Or this one:

    Wenger in RvP sales blunder – source reveals club has already spent the money they expect to get selling star player as bids fail to make the grade.
    Arsene Wenger’s plans were left in tatters as it emerges the club, busier than ever in the transfer market have already spent the proceeds of selling their captain WITHOUT managing to sell him. Sources suggest the club were keen to cash in Van Perise, 27-29 but unlike last year, no-one is keen to play ball with the gunners over the injury cursed player.

    You’ll note that these mini-bites are critical of the club but are totally off-message as far as the mainstream press are concerned. I’m slaughtering Wenger and Gazidis for their aggressive buy-low-sell-high arch-capitalist approach to the transfer market but I’m not following the script that Arsenal are skint, have to sell players to keep afloat, can’t keep hold of star players etc. In my narrative (based on research rather than agenda) Arsenal are ripping off buying and selling clubs because they are sitting on a pile of cash, a youth project that works and a manager who can attract players on the cheap.

  • bob

    “Our job is to watch the football, cheer, support and encourage. Not to scrutinise every bloody comment or article that emanates from some Journo’ with less education that a cockroach.”

    You might write well in your many appearances as you self-proclaim, but your advisement to fandumb is not in accord with an informed citizenry capable of any critical thinking, which is what a democracy, or something approaching that requires. You may sneer or not at this sentiment, but what you have produced here, in the name of avoiding the idiocy of cockroach journalism, is the “job” of a fan: to watch our medicine, snort approval and clap hands, and not think critically. Do you think that message actually works for many people who come to this website to actually think critically and share and debate their considered analyses? The implication of your advisement are not what education for democracy ought to be about. Presumably you are comfortable advocating this job description for fans. I find it disturbing and out of step with what happens in these spaces every day, both in the comments and the articles. As for your job description, many here have already quit the position.

  • Georgaki


    Outdated list of gooner hacks? Come on, stop being silly. Let’s be clear, I am not that bothered about the evidence for or against Arsenal bashing by the media. It won’t affect my mortgage repayments or supporting my family. Get serious man!

  • 175 million dollars for Bleachers? My goodness – clearly the writers on Untold are not making enough up.

    More please ladies and gents. My pension fund is in need of your input.

  • bob

    Ok, our definitions of sport and its role and influence and what’s worth discussing and why are way different. I’m glad you’re not losing your sleep, and applaud your concern for your mortgage and your family. There are social aspects to everything – both sport and your private sphere – and you might find interesting interconnections if you didn’t insist on their absolute separation. Sorry, then, to be so unserious. 🙂

  • bob

    p.s. as for serious, I find your avatar/image there a bit, well, social darwinian to be frank. 🙂

  • Goona Gal

    @ Tony – I thought the same thing when I heard about Bleachers Report too!

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Your wish:
    Going for a Song – not content with stealing one Spanish club’s best player, now Wenger returns to the Iberian peninsular, waving his wayward defensive midfielder under the noses of debt-stricken Barcelona. “If we can get a decent price for him and cripple them financially, win-win. He’s a lovely fella but we’ve got a couple of English lads who can do a job in there on much lower wages” said a notorious Arsenal supporting rent-a-quote.

  • Goona Gal

    Is Arsenal endorsement by Cesc to Cazorla an olive branch, or Cesc doing what he did regarding Hleb to Barca? I am happy and excited that we now have now recruited Big Mert, Jenkinson, Podolski, Gervinho, Giroud, Alex OC, Arteta and now Cazorla, who are players who are genuinely estatic to be at the club.

  • bjtgooner

    I think some contributors who have criticised this article have perhaps missed the point. Anne is an extremely intelligent lady with with a mind trained and sharpened in legal matters. She has tried to present the conflicting press statements in such a way that each of us can draw our own conclusions. Probably each of us will have a different conclusion.

    But, the pattern of inconsistency in the press wrt a particular story can suddenly change from random spoof to a universal spin – a fascinating change resulting from strings being pulled – a certain danger sign.

  • bjtgooner


    Interesting, but Bleacher is so speculative and erratic that it is not worth opening.

  • zdzis

    Thanks for the positive assessment, appreciated.
    However, I’d ask you to reread Sharpehunter’s comment dated “August 7, 2012 at 9:38 am.” You seem to have misread it.
    The quote you’ve taken from it (instead of reading it through) has a different meaning than you claim it has. It’s not a call for fans to stop thinking critically of what the media produce. It’s a call for fans to focus on the club first, as what the media produce is almost always at odds with reality. In other word,s the operation you performed on this comment isn’t far behind what the media do with Arsenal.
    I think what’s lost in this discussion is the distinction between the value of Anne’s contribution (in this particular piece) and the merit of discussing media coverage of Arsenal.
    I really want us to “keep a clear head,” like Sharphunter says, and see through the game the media play. I believe its rules are so simple we only need to take a step back to see the very, very basic structures journos employ while slagging Arsenal (or Arsene). You don’t need a degree to understand these people no longer REPORT – they PRODUCE, and their product is fashioned according to the same pattern all the time.
    However, what Anne did in her article was merely to hint at this kind of a discussion – which is a surprise, as she has already done some work into it before. This is where I reject her piece – and I think a host of others feel the same. I don’t think our job is to read anything into the media reports – it’s rather to read through them, but not to find the same old crap, that they are often pure fabrications. Let’s just focus on that, those of us who feel strong enough to deal with it. The others should simply dismiss media reports of Arsenal’s impending doom. It would yield better results than having all fans, regardless of their intellectual strengths, thinking critically about every piece on Arsenal they find.

  • Sharpehunter

    I need only to point anyone to yesterdays article in The Guardian ( Alex Song, let’s just digest:

    ‘Alex Song has caused irritation at Arsenal with his desire to explore his transfer market options in the face of interest from a clutch of leading clubs’

    I have researched, dug, scurried and scrounged everywhere and have failed to find a single quote from Alex Song which actually states the above in his own words. Song 1 – 0 Journo

    ‘But his stance has gone down badly with the manager, Arsène Wenger, and the board, who feel that Song ought merely to have ignored the approaches to his representatives and continued to show gratitude for what the club has done for him’

    Say’s who? No quote, no reference, no statement anywhere to verify this. Song 2 – 0 Journo

    ‘The friction has built to the point where Wenger has questioned Song’s worth to the team and even wondered whether he may sell him if a large offer were to come in’

    Now forgive me here, but if there were any friction, and I very much doubt that there is, it certainly doesn’t appear to be visible in training ground photos, video footage or anywhere else. Who believes that Wenger would share any internal discontent with the media anyway? Song 3-0 Cockroach

    I could go on. Now my point here and my point regarding the main article is this. Already there are numerous respectable Arsenal blogs who have written disparaging articles criticising Song, alleging a breach of trust by Song, indicating that Song and his agent have gone behind Arsene’s back. All unfounded, not one single iota of fact or actual reference amongst them.

    Twatter is buzzing with people now claiming that Song isn’t good enough anyway, he isn’t solid, dependable or consistent.

    This story began in that veritable tabloid of truth and justice The Daily Mirror. It has been escalated to back page news by those very cockroaches who rely on the simple mindedness of the kind of people who read this stuff and attribute some basis of truth. The same people who think that Kroenke and the Board are milking vast sums of money out of the club, the same people who believe that the club has no interest in success and winning trophies, despite the simple commercial fact that succes, trophies and growing support = commercial prowess, financial growth and less risk.

    If people simply viewed much of what Arsenal do or are alleged to have done or be doing from a ‘business’ or ‘commercial’ perspective, they would more often than not arrive at something much closer to the truth.

    I’m not suggesting that we all become economists or financiers instead of fans. But step back, take a view from a different perspective and put to one side that stunningly pleasant aura that envelopes you as a Fan and look objectively at all the facts. If you were a Man United fan and did this, you would be wearing blue come the 18th, if your were a Liverpool fan and did this, you would be wearing blue come the 18th. But as a Gooner, whatever perspective, from whichever angle you will still be standing proud and shouting your head off and roaring in the Clock End come the 18th.

    We have so much to be proud of. Strategically, commercially, financially, ethically, integrity and sheer Belief in doing things the Arsenal way, sets us apart from the trash.

    There is no conspiracy, there is no strategy to play us, to manipulate us or to mislead us. We / Arsenal just do things quietly, with style and we do them right, most of the time anyway.

    As an example I said at the beginning of the RvP sage that there was no financial or commercial merit in an another club paying £20m and £200’000 per week wages for RvP. I said from the beginning that he has been manipulated, probably by a whole entourage with some sinister influencing by Usamanov. All their tactics have backfired. Arsenal / Arsene have maintained dignity, professionalism and confidentiality throughout. Not a single journo, pundit or former player stepped back and viewed this whole thing from a commercial perspective, from a business perspective. Not one of them asked themselves – “Why would Fergie pay £20m for a player with no resale value, an atrocious injury record and who could be a massive liability, when it is totally against everything he is or has ever done before..” You can apply a commercial or financial logic to all of the supposed suitors.

    More importantly no journo asked “Why would Arsenal sell a potentially guaranteed 20 goals next season, who could they buy immediately with that level of guarantee and offset the risk for £20m…?” Nobody. Apart from Messi and Ronaldo there isn’t another player in Europe to match RvP last season. So £20m or the PL title? £20m or the CL Final? Because at the end of the day, that is what it comes down to.

    I will probably eat humble pie when RvP catches a taxi to City later this week. But I hope not.

    Objectivity in every media report is critical. In Bahrain there never was a Pearl Square, it was a roundabout and had been for over 20yrs. But Square was more in keeping with the homes of attempted and successful revolutions in Chine, Egypt and Tunisia in recent times. Or so the BBC thought.

    By the way, there is no cheese on the moon either…

  • bob

    You say: “There is no conspiracy [against Arsenal], there is no strategy to play us, to manipulate us or to mislead us. We / Arsenal just do things quietly, with style and we do them right, most of the time anyway.” Then you say: “I said from the beginning that he has been manipulated, probably by a whole entourage with some sinister influencing by Usamanov. All their tactics have backfired.” Sorry, but this has confused me. To me a conspiracy doesn’t have to succeed to still be a conspiracy.

    You put the Daily Mirror at the center (or start) of the misinformation. It might well be; but the jorno that you quote at the outset is David Hytner, who, starting last summer with Richard Williams and Paul Wilson of Manchester Guardian Pest Central then spent months as part of a media-wide Arsene-Out Campaign. You do recall that? Yet you don’t/won’t/can’t call that a conspiracy? I do call it a conspiracy of temporary to long-range interests, some of which are indeed Commercial; and several of us wrote as much last summer and fall (called Untold Media, there’s a link), in order to bring it up for discussion, debate and commentary among UA fans.

    The interests that conspire or converge or act in conscious concert are in part, but not only media interests; as the media do not exist in and of themselves in isolation from Commerce, as you do seem to point out. I would argue that there are media operatives – allies – among competing interest groups that, in fact, do conspire to win their battles and wars.

    My feeling about Song and conspiracy is that:
    (a) there’s a repeat of the tapping up pattern that surrounded Cesc last summer, now emanating from/around Barca – via Busquets and Iniesta, who are being quoted and spread in the media. Of course it could all be made up by isolated cockroaches, but it wasn’t made up at all with Cesc last summer, was it? No, it was actual tapping up in concert with Barca’s and its commercial Allies connivance and/or approval.
    And (b) yes, to see things commercially as you advocate, the players under discussion – Cesc, RVP and Alex Song – all do happen to have the same elite representative in their respective teams of agent/advisors/confidantes – namely, one Darren (The Lesser) Dein. Yes? Cesc last summer and Van Persie and Song this summer. Yes? And this man has and does continue to broker mega deals with the biggest clubs (Barca, Citeh, Madrid). Yes? And would you not say that several major Arsenal assets (Thierry, Clichy, Adebayor, Cesc, RVP, Song) have been his top clients/representees?
    And (c) would you agree that agents and cooperating media allies and highly interested high-roller football clubs do plant and/or run with media stories that accrue to their benefit? Yes? That is, that there are cultivated alliances that have abiding interests and are willing and able have their interests voiced in the media. Would you agree?

    Now I would call any specific instance of this behavior, or any pattern of this behavior, by its proper description: a conspiracy of interests. And in this case, it stands against Arsenal. It may succeed, wholly or in part; or it may fail, wholly or in part, now or later. But conspiracy is as real a standard operating procedure as oxygen. It may or may not be personal, depending on who’s dealing with who. But in June, this June, Arsene used the term “destroy” when he referred to an actual attack on his work in the losses of Cesc and Nasri. Now that is where Commerce and the Personal can come together. (The man has a great book to write.)

    And it’s not that Arsenal is the only such target. Nor is it that Arsenal is sheer victim and cannot succeed in defending itself. Nor is it that Arsenal cannot be successfully ambushed. It has been and can. I think anyone can stand back and see that Arsenal and Arsene Wenger have been targets. And even realize, a year later (if one still has a memory cell or two), that last summer’s media orgy is a demonstration of how a conspiracy of commercial interests can play out to destabilize a targeted-entity (whether it’s a football club, or otherwise).

    If I read you correctly (and, as a flawed creature, I may be missing something big but am eager to learn) you are warning everyone off the idea, the possibility, the evidence that points toward a possible conspiracy of commercial interests. Is that so? Indeed, the cockroach-jornos would be small players in this; but often some opinion leaders (and these do exist in the media) are necessary links in these predatory commercial chains; indeed in player transactions and their table results that have multi-millions if not billions of dollars at stake. To speak financially, I think it clear that football is economic warfare, would you agree? Either way, I don’t think it serves the fans’ or the overall public understanding to insist/assert (even ignoring your own Usmanov example) that there is or has not to date been a conspiracy of interests against Arsenal/Arsene Wenger. In any case, I do welcome the opportunity to clarify our positions and perhaps overlapping understandings.

  • bob

    I did appreciate much of what Sharpehunter wrote as well as your laying out some different possible scenarios to consider. In the interests of everyone’s stepping back, as you advise, and observe what you rightly call “the media product is fashioned according to the same pattern all the time.” As a service to Arsenal fans (as well as, yes, to the general public), I would ask you to spell out “the very, very basic structures” that you indicate are there. Any further differences on Anne’s article or my drawing distinctions (you say distortion) with Sharpehunter pale in comparison to that genuine need. So to help us all to keep a clear head, how about offering such a needed list of these points as a primer for Arsenal/any fans.

  • Anne


    Thanks, man 🙂