Cesc “verbal agreement” hoax one of the most successful yet

The hoax story run by Cardena Ser Radio that Cesc had reached a verbal agreement with Barca to join them this summer must be counted as one of the most successful yet from the Spanish hoax factory that churns these tales out.

In the olden days it was generally agreed that you could only run a hoax story once, but as with the “Arshavin didn’t realise he would lose all this money in tax” story (now replaced with Arshavin and Wenger don’t get on) the last year has proved that it is possible to keep even the simplest of hoax stories running over and over again.

The question is why?  Why do people pick up such an old story and keep repeating it?

Clearly one reason is that there are now so many blogs willing to cut and paste any story that suggests that Arsenal are in trouble.  Since the club clearly isn’t in trouble (just about the only club making a profit and with repayable debts, just about the only one of the big clubs with a young rather than seriously aging squad, and hence the only only club with a sustainable growth policy, and just about the only major English  club that currently meets the UEFA criteria for entry into future Champs Leagues), it is necessary to clutch at straws.

But it is not just the blogs that ran the “verbal agreement” hoax story.  Even such august newspapers as the Telegraph picked it up and ran with it.

So here’s some reasons why they do it…

1.  Stories like this are a deliberate attempt to destabilise Arsenal, and those who print them when they are still live are clearly part of that movement.  You can’t get away with saying, “I ran it because it was news” because blogs and papers and radio stations can pick anything they like as news.   Untold didn’t touch the story until the hoax had run its course – and we didn’t seem to run out of news.  No one pointed a finger because we didn’t mention it at all.  And I don’t think we looked particularly stupid because we were talking about other things.

2. It is quick and easy give-away news – you don’t have to do any research, you just cut and paste everyone else’s story.

3. It is a great lead in to further speculation.  In this particular hoax the normal line was to say, “it is believed that Fabregas has decided to leave Arsenal because…” and then make up some reasons.   What was so clever about this particular hoax was that virtually everyone picked up on the same reasons that were “believed”.

Hoaxes are great weapons when you have a willing bunch of clones who are far too busy to go and investigate a proper story.  You come up with the hoax, plant the story, and let the unthinking drones do the job for you.

Arsenal supporters who really want to support the club could do worse than register on the Manchester United forums and start running the story that the Glazers are planning to liquidate Man U the moment they have redeemed the PIK loans – which they will be able to do by selling off the training ground and the 100 year old Trafford ground and pocketing the money.

They will then make a tidy profit (since the club didn’t cost them anything) and it is unlikely anyone will be able to take over the club since they won’t be able to afford the “football debts” which have to be paid before the club can be re-admitted to the league.

Now that’s a story worth cut and pasting.

(c) Tony Attwood 2010

PS I thought the second half last night was quite jolly.  And even the guy a couple of rows behind me who hates Bendtner shut up for a while.


  • Arsenal 100 years ago – read the rather amusing and quite adventurous MAKING THE ARSENAL novel  click here
  • Want to write for Untold Arsenal?  Send in your idea or your piece to Tony@hamilton-house.com.  Please send as a word document, include your name as you want it to appear in the article, and please assert that the article has not appeared and is not on offer anywhere else.  Articles must be in keeping with the style, wisdom and general elegance of this site.

22 Replies to “Cesc “verbal agreement” hoax one of the most successful yet”

  1. With my bad character I would say: yes let us just create some hoaxes on other clubs.
    But my good heart tells me we are much better than those hoax makers.

    But must say it is very frustrating at times.

  2. Tony, Those D & G’s will not stop what they say about us but really we are “the Invincible” and non of them will never surpass that.
    A proud Gooner.

  3. Laporta denied these stories but can anyone seriously believe this guy?we all know what he promised the barca fans when he got elected.
    Awesome quote about the criteria for the future champs league,because i think it was that idiot(PLATINI’s) way of trying to restrict Wenger’s policy but Arsene has ALREADY Prepared for it,lol!

    Same ol Gerard…always cheating. Sorry but most of my mates are liverpool fans and r complaining about the pen.

  4. Hi, i have read this blog for a few months, and i must say it is excellent.
    I am looking to start my own blog and would be grateful for some advice and how to start, run and maintain a popular blog about arsenal.

    Thanks Tony,

    Martin Doyle

  5. The good thing about this hoax is that Barca for the first time denied a news report in the media. I really liked that part because they never denied anything before.

    And also, Cesc’s interview:
    “They have denied it, I have denied it. I just want to focus on Arsenal,” Fabregas told Sky Sports.
    “I think Arsenal Football Club is above everything, every single player in its history and their fans, and the club, and myself – I think we deserve a little bit more respect.”

    Regarding the thing about creating hoaxes regarding other clubs, I’m with the good heart of Walter’s. We are much better than them and this difference should remain.

  6. I don’t know which penalty they saw yesterday for Liverpool ?
    Just the ref’s view:

    Handball against Vermaelen in the first half ? The way I saw it was that Vermaelen had his arm up but the ball hit him on his body. I didn’t see any other images that showed the ball actually hit his arm. So no penalty.

    Second half: Gerrard went down but he just ran in the back of Diaby. If anyone made a foul it was Gerrard who ran in the back of Diaby and made Diaby fall over.

    The last minute handball from Cesc ? First off all 2 Liverpool players dived to get a free kick (Gerrard and Kuyt) and got it. Kuyt just threw himself to the ground with Song in his back who did nothing. The Gerrard attempt was so ridicoulous (even to the match commentator) but on to the hands.

    Cesc standing in the wall had his hand before his head. The ball hid his hand and the ref could have given a free kick for this BUT NEVER A PENALTY. Cesc was standing outside the penalty area so at the most Webb could have given a free kick some 2 feet out of the penalty area.

    Just my guess is that Webb by then had realized that he had given a very very soft free kick and gave the advantage to Arsenal with the handball and considered it as a valid face protection.

    But no penalty in this game had to be given. Also not for Arsenal in my opinion with Bendtner going down and getting a yellow card.

    Must admit that Webb had a decent game from a refs perspective seen. One can always argue every foul in the game but like the last minute foul he gave but the mayor decisions he got them right I think.

  7. good article,
    but here is one more more reason why such hoaxes seem to run:
    one can link it to all sorts of other transfers as one big transfer leads to a chain reaction (and this ultimately satisfies, again, the cult of the personality – the golden calf of the media and the “spend big, spend now” brigade). example: daily mail yesterday, claiming that danni alves would be sold to free up the money splashed on cesc. they could run this even further. alves to chelsea means either ivanovic or bosingwa have to be sold… hmmm, how about ‘ivanovic on milans radar’ or ‘inter set to swoop for out-of-favour bosingwa’ – the latter story would then enable some hack to ‘understand’ that maicon is on his way to man shitty – and so forth. it basically fills countless ‘working days’ for tabloid hacks which simply must be a good thing…

  8. @walter……
    it’s evens-stevens…..i think u all remember kuyt pull on hleb in the penalty box…..clear penalty denied…cl semifinal denied and who knows a trophy denied…..it was amusing, very satisfying, very pleasing watching kuyt waviing his hand trying to tell refree, fab hand was involved in deflecting grr..ard free kick……and refree rightly denied it………….IT WAS HAND OF GOD….

  9. Critic, don’t talk to me about that CL encounter. I even wrote an article about it last week because of the Dutch ref who didn’t give the penalty is a Feyenoord fan (ex team Kuyt) and before the game you could see that Kuyt and Ref Vink almost kissed each other.

    Now ref Vink was a bit in a mess last week as he had failed to give a penalty against Feyenoord in the game with Ajax and so I wrote about it and on the fact how you sometimes can be unlucky with the refs you get without knowing it. But never sent it to Tony as I was thinking by myself : what the hell writing an article about something so long ago… ?

    But it still makes me furious….

  10. Tony,
    The one part of the”hoax” that had me a tiny bit concerned was the fact that Cesc did not sign off on a 30mil re-up for future… But then I realized the source and it made no sense anyways…

    The other part of your article which has me critically thinking is UEFA’s new stringent criteria for CL. It seems that there are a lot of offender’s currently. When does this take effect? Who are the clubs in jeopardy right now? And, if there are so many ineligible wouldn’t it be in Platini’s character to give up on it? Or have some sort of bailout for the “big Teams”. Kind of like GM in the USA.

  11. Walter, if you don’t want my wife forbid me to read this blog stop criticizing Feyenoord and people from Rotterdam.

    But its not far from the day when we ll have serious hints from reliable sources that Cesc is target for alien abduction, and as Sky get trough their resources, its quite sure that if we dont win anything this season, there is huge possibility abduction may take part this summer. And as Fox Moulder said to Setanta, when you watching at Fabregas you can already see he have predispositions for playing in Mars Premier League. All serious analytic agree he already have “height” proper for Marsian football, and now all he have to achieve is color, which he can get if we don’t win anything this year.

  12. Oh yes, alien abduction, I can see it all now.

    Sorry must dash, have got to write this up. “I was abducted by aliens while managing Portsmouth” declares Arry Redknapp. “They used a probe and….”

    The rest is censored but can be read in the Sun on pages 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 12, 14, 15, 16, 18 to 24, 27, and most of the rest of the paper.

  13. On a matter unassociated to this particular blog post, but related to the ethos of the site;

    Tony Pulis has somehow emerged as a rare voice of reason in the discourse about financial sanity in football.

    He apparently said: “(Clubs) have a responsibility to keep going because that club means so much to so many people”.

    It’s such an important point!

  14. Tony, I believe that they first reason you gave up there is the main reason why they do it. You may however, also wish to stress Lazy Journalism as very high ranking reason.

    Ole G: Tony Pulis should have woken up from his slumber long before now. He should have agreed when the main voice of reason in the EPL warned them about the impending Financial doom.

  15. What a midweek.. sure keeps me going.. and tony did ‘Arry mention where exactly he was probed (by the Aliens not the Lawyers!)? The best part of wednesday was… well, what was it… the wolves popping ‘Arry’s beloved bubble? Chavs and Mancs dropping points? or the scousers getting hoofed? well just too many of them.. Well, even honest Arsh has come out and spoken up our title chances for once.. its good see the players keeping the faith.. whats the use if that codger Tony keeps the faith :)? 12 games unbeaten anyone? Keep the faith!!

  16. oops meandered a bit there.. the hoax was officially launched by Goal.com.. they claimed to have got it from that spanish radio.. and today Goal.com reports that the claims have been denied.. so who fucked up here? Goal.com? The mysterious spanish radio? Joan Laporta (That guy is still the barca prez right?)? Well, its useless to try and figure that out now.. I urge you guys to check out the interview which IndianGooner has quoted.. Cesc sounded harassed.. I dont think he is pissed with the radio or Goal.com but with our very own D&Gs who keep speculating bout his future more than anyone else.. I guess the players do read the blogs and imo they get pretty pissed bout what most blogs dish out.. If he goes the fans are to be blamed as much as anyone..

  17. I also do think so 0.9 calibre.
    Those players are all young lads with lots of time when not training and are kids off this generation and all will have internet and so.
    Must be very nice for some to see how the are “””””””supported”””””” by their own “”””””””fans”””””””
    Ore how you are doubted for your commitment…

    I think you shoud support your team where ever you are, when ever you can and not only in the Emirates or so but all over the world.
    Let the fans of other teams try to bring our players down but no fan with a lot of common sense must ever do this.

  18. It’s also because the Barcelona presidential elections are coming up. There’re probably a half dozen candidates jostling around Cesc, trying to get him to agree verbal terms in order to boost their election attempts.

  19. My Quote of the day.. This time from Cesc’s father:
    “I believe all this talk should stop, because Cesc belongs to Arsenal.”

  20. These sorts of ‘Cesc is off’ stories do require a fairly pithy and brief response.

    The acronym WALOFB usually does the trick.

    Perhaps its time to start running stories that Real Madrid took mafia money to go on their £250m spending spree? You think Perez would appreciate that?? Don’t know if it’s true, but most money in gambling cities is dirty, wouldn’t you say?? Course it’s not…..

    How about Barcelona conspired with Platini to fix the match against Chelsea last year?? Squeaky clean Barca eh?? Surely not…….

    How about Chelsea fixed the FA Cup semi final last year by making sure that AA wasn’t starting? Couldn’t possibly happen could it? Any more than Wayne Rooney, fully fit, was left at home the next day due to there not being enough wazzers to satisfy fans at half time……must just be coincidences…….

    How about LFC bribing Collina to stop their local boys in Blue from reaching the group stages in 2005/6?? Nah, didn’t happen, did it?? Although a Scouser did try and imply to me that EFC shouldn’t be allowed in the tournament and then started talking about ‘what it was worth to them and to us’, which might imply that money flowed. Don’t think it did though…….

    How about a few stories about the BBC running gambling scams on Sports Personality of the Year?? Couldn’t possibly happen, could it?? Any more than being on the inside of 33-1 winners at Royal Ascot, eh?? Impossible……..squeaky clean BBC? Scions of multigenerational racing families?? Couldn’t happen…….

    I wouldn’t worry about the ‘Arsenal are bankrupt’ stories: anyone who can read accounts knows that’s bollocks. So unless the Directors are signing off fraudulent accounts and the auditors are in cahoots with them, it’s just Press rubbish.

    What Arsenal don’t do well enough though is market players in a way which makes top transfer fees and wages still profitable. Perez knows how to do it. Arsenal don’t. You’ll see: they’ll turn a profit from Ronaldo……

    Lesson there for the future, perhaps??

Comments are closed.