You couldn’t make it up.

by Tony Attwood

Monday 3 February 2014 17.42 GMT

The Guardian

Swansea chairman dismisses rumours over Michael Laudrup’s future


The Guardian

Michael Laudrup sacked as manager of Swansea City


In true “1984” spirit the former headline does not appear as part of the backstory, although to be fair to the Guardian, they have not tried to remove it totally from the web site, in the way the Times has been known to do.

Still, I wonder what “irony” is in Welsh.

The problem is of course that people in football do make all types of comment, generally when pushed to do so by the media.  So the media say, “what’s your reaction to the story?” and the chairperson curses a bit but then speaks even though he knows it is going to be thrown back on him.

The only person I’ve ever seen handle the media pack with aplomb was Mr Wenger right at the very start of his reign, when on day one the media gathered at the foot of the steps of the East Stand of Highbury – the entrance with the Chapman bust – demanding a statement about rumours that he had been thrown out of Japan for the most appalling crimes.

The story was of course untrue, and I won’t specify the details.

Inside the stadium the board and advisers told him not to go outside and face the hounds.  “You don’t know the English media,” was the sort of comment made, “They’ll tear you to bits.”

But from the off Mr Wenger was his own man, and he pushed aside his bosses, and went out.

“What is your comment on the rumours?” was the shout from the horde below as they saw him, saliva dripping from the lips, recorders and notebooks poised.

“What rumours?” said Mr W.

“You know, the rumours from Japan?”

“What rumours from Japan?”

OK, I admit, I have told the story before, and it is written up on the Arsenal History site, but it is one of my favourites, because it was a perfect turning of the table.

If any of the baying bloodsuckers at the steps had dared repeat the story, then they would most certainly have been guilty of slander and Mr Wenger would have sued and won.

So they couldn’t say anything.  Instead all they could do was say, “What about the rumours?”  Eventually they got bored with the sound of their own voice and Mr Wenger’s endless return question, “What rumours?” and they went back to some very annoyed sports editors who had cleared the back page, and in some cases the front page too.

Mr Wenger alluded to the incident a few years back when another salacious story circulated to the effect that he was having an affair with a waitress in Paris.  Mr Wenger said something along the lines that “I have been subject to the most appalling slurs and slanders since I first came to England and I have not commented on them at any time.  I’m not starting now.”

He’s got it right.

Maybe the chair of Swansea should have said, “You make the rumours up, so you can make up the ending,” and left it at that.

How much influence the media had on getting Michael Laudrup sacked I have no idea, but one way or another a man who seems to be a thoroughly decent and competent guy has been given the boot.

I hope he gets good compensation, and I’m sure he’ll get another job in football soon.

But in a country with a less crazy press.

Anyway, I’m now off for a few days to try and escape the endless rain, the continuous flooding, and our hopelessly unprepared government (most likely quote from the Head of the Environment Agency: “When I was told about climate change, no one actually told me the climate would change.”)

Walter’s now in charge; I’ll be back next week.   Give the guys a shout from me at Liverpool.


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33 Replies to “You couldn’t make it up.”

  1. Enjoy the sun (you know the one in the sky not the one that is printed) Tony.

    I will try to keep the Untold ship afloat. With all that water should be no real problem I think 😉

  2. Is this the same Laudrup that people told we should get in to replace Wenger one year ago?

    I rather liked Laudrup as a footballer and he still seems to be the same gentleman he usually was on the field in his playing days. Well that is my memory of him anyway.

    But if you look at the numbers and he only can show 6 wins in 24 matches for Swansea this season so that is worse than last season.

  3. Tony the problem is not that you told the story before; it’s that you told it no more than a few weeks ago 😀

  4. Btw something not worth of mentioning in headlines this morning say:

    “Arsenal line-up shock Wenger replacement”


    “Arsenal news: Dane was earmarked to replace Wenger”.

  5. How does one implement a long lasting footballing philosophy that transmits through the whole club, without time. Another stupid dismissal in my opinion, I believe even relegation is preferable if a strategy can be implemented completely throughout the whole squad, reserves & youth setup. The coach merry go round is extremely expensive & quite frankly useless & still most likely ends up with said team being relegated.

  6. TommieGun,

    Although I have heard the story many time before, I agree with Tony that it cannot be told enough. It is the origin of the media’s hatred for Wenger. Not everybody knows this and I think they should. The story needs repetition for the sake of those who haven’t heard it before and because it continues to entertain those of us who have.

  7. Heard it today on the radio on the way to work , and was a bit disappointed at the news.
    He was an awesome player and was hoping that he would be a success in the EPL ; but the curse of the League cup winners seems to have struck the Swans too.
    They played some good attacking football ,but have fallen well below their usual standard of late.

    Bony or Michu for us in the close season ?

  8. God created the poet, then took a handful of the rubbish that left and made three critics. (T.J. Thomas).

    Shocked ? Me too ! Only three ? Where did the rest come from ? The devil you say ? Oh , makes sense now !

  9. The only difference between doctors and lawyers is that lawyers merely rob you, whereas doctors rob you and kill you, too. (Anton Chekhov).

    At least we show you the funny side of death !

  10. Nice that you repeated the Wenger story. I must have hear it before but I forgot. I’m the same age as the Boss and he will no doubt be forgetting to remember selective information. His frown and his smile are so effective in his media dealings, it is a pleasure just watching him.

    Swansea have made a grave error in getting rid of Laudrup. His injury hit squad have not performed but will turn soon and results will flow in. It is sad when Boards have no faith in their management. More importantly, it is a shame that Boards blame management when in reality it is ultimately their own fault.

  11. It’s an unwritten law in the sports pages of newspapers that “there’s nothing hated more than success…..unless it’s success achieved by a foreigner”.

  12. Ask any Swansea fan what they think of laudrup and whether he should be sacked? They will focus more on that he had success with Brendan Rodgers squad in winning the league cup. They will also point 9 wins in the last 39 matches. To put that into perspective arsenal have taken 60 more points than Swansea in that period

  13. @ Brickfields –

    A lawyer and a doctor meet up at a party. The doctor says: “It’s so annoying! Every time someone hears that I’m a doctor, they start telling me about their medical problems, it’s endless! I can’t take it anymore!”

    So the lawyer tells him – “that’s easy. Whenever this happens, send that person a letter the day after, requesting your fees for giving medical advice. Soon enough people will know that you don’t give medical advice for free, and will stop bothering you”.

    “That’s great advice! I’ll sure do that from now on!” said the doctor.

    He was not so happy the day after, when he found a payment request sent by the lawyer waiting in his mailbox…

  14. 1 win in 10, 2 points off the relegation places – you’re going to have a bad time.

    Swansea fans saying that Laudrup had kicked up in the summer and fallen out with a few key people on the board, followed swiftly by underperformance in the league and the writing was on the wall. Is it right? Probably not…seemed a decent guy and a half decent manager who deserved a swing of the bat, certainly more so than he’s been given.

    To blame the press is a bit far fetched – it still took the chairman and the board to sanction his sacking and that, if we’re being honest, is where the buck stops.

    p.s. Tony – you asked about my e-mail address yesterday. Received some rather…interesting…e-mails from some of your regulars a couple of years ago when I came on under a different name and, while I’m not saying it was given by you or whomever else is involved in the site, why take the risk?


    I had never heard that story. If I had I’m sure I would of remembered it, because as you suggest, it could be, in fact almost certainly is, the moment that has underpinned there dislike of Wenger from the very start.

    Too clever for them by half.

  16. jambug,

    It’s a wonderful story that shows the genius of the man called Arsene Wenger. I’m pressed for time or I would have searched the link for the original Tony’s article for you but check it in the history site. I’m sure that you’ll thoroughly enjoy it and wouldn’t mind hearing it again.

  17. Bootoomee.

    Thanks for that.

    My God. I have never ever seen that. Of course I have heard the rumours, but perhaps part of why I never saw it was because I treated with complete and utter contempt anything I heard that even related to the topic.

    Reading that actually bought a tear to my eye.

    To hear someone you have grown to admire and respect so much being subject to such vile, unsubstantiated and disgraceful behaviour from our shameful press makes me sad.

    Why he never turned tail and left immediately is a miracle in itself and says so much about the Man, his integrity, fortitude, and sheer purpose of will.

    He would not allow such people to blight his life.

    Is that right that it took united 14 years to even address the vile chants? Well as you say it hasn’t worked.

    Shame on them.

    But more to the point shame on us as a Country.

    Because as a Country we have allowed this vile chanting to go on virtually, in fact totally, unchallenged.


  18. I asked a question on yesterdays article asking why Arsene has been so hated by the media and the category 3 set of fans, now I understand by reading the link Boo gave. thanks a lot bro. that I think was actually the beginning of the whole hatred against Wenger.

  19. jambug,

    You said “Of course, I have heard the rumors”
    Are you a member of the press?
    Just kidding.


    Just to rub it in, the Boss told the stupid journos that he could get the team to go a full Premiership season undefeated, being ridiculed by the lazy bottom feeders, and then delivering and sending them packing to their stinking s**tholes.
    I will tag this as “the second Annunciation” as I am Catholic and entitled to do such things; I am even eligible to be Pope.

  20. Ray…

    The ‘Invincibles’

    And yet according to some it was no big deal as there was so many draws.

    As someone said yesterday, if we won the quadruple they’d still find something to moan about.

  21. @jambug
    Not only were there too many draws but we lost a couple of cup games as well so we were not invincible. According to the chief Arsenal hatchet man, A Durham!

  22. @ Tommie Gun – We had a similar case in our Lodge ,when a Brother who was a lawyer agreed in the committee to send a letter of demand to claim a sum of money due to us.
    He promptly sent it ; payment was duly received ,but the shock came when his own firm sent us a bill for services rendered ! When asked about it , he replied that he had acted on behalf of the firm and not the Lodge .
    And it was all the cost of typing a letter on his stationary and the postage .

  23. Didn’t want to even mention the pricks name but yeah he is the main, though not only, prat to deride the achievement. An achievement that will very likely never be repeated. At least not in my lifetime.

  24. There’s an extract from an AW biography here that includes, amongst other interesting stories, the details of this shameful press action and a reference to the involvement of Sp*rs fans in the spreading of the internet lies:

    Clare Tomlinson, you ask, press officer, yes the same Clare who is a Sky presenter and Tottenham season ticket holder!

  25. Near the beginning, Tony had a question. I believe the answer is:



    Laudrup needs a replacement. I haven’t read much of the thread, but you have to admire the staying power of M18CTID. If that person has a footballing brain, sign that person to manage Swansea.

  26. A Doctor Poker Player
    A doctor answers his phone and hears the familiar voice of a colleague on the other end of the line.
    “We need a fourth for poker,” said the friend. “I’ll be right over,” whispered the doctor. As he was putting on his coat, his wife asked, “Is it serious?” “Oh yes, quite serious,” said the doctor gravely. “In fact, there are three doctors there already!”

  27. A Dime of Luck –

    Ned was down on his luck in Las Vegas. He had gambled away all his money and had to borrow a dime from another gambler just to use the men’s room.
    The stall happened to be open, so he used the dime in a slot machine and hit the jackpot. He took his winnings and went to the blackjack table and turned his small winnings into ten million dollars.
    Wealthy beyond his wildest dreams, Ned went on the lecture circuit, where he told his incredible story. He told his audiences that he was eternally grateful to his benefactor, and if he ever found the man he would share his fortune with him.
    After months of lectures, a man in the audience jumped up and said, “I’m that man. I was the one who gave you the dime.”
    “You’re not the one I’m looking for. I’m looking for the guy who left the door open!”

  28. There is another way to look at it. Granted the situation wasn’t handled in a particularly good way. But did Laudrup deserved to be sacked. Tony claims that “another a man who seems to be a thoroughly decent and competent guy has been given the boot”. How do we know that Michael Laudrup was competent manager? Here is an interesting insight into world of top football managers:

    “The more soccer we see, the less we know”

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