By Tony Attwood
Everywhere football cashes in. Set up a blog and print your club’s fixture list for the season and you’ll get a letter telling you that you have broken copyright law and owe the Premier League a lot of cash. (Don’t worry, Untold didn’t, and hasn’t).
As a result no one who pays for football coverage is going to expose corruption in football, and risk losing the audience it has spent a fortune trying to build.
So Fick Fufa is a backdrop, but let’s get on with the real thing says the media – le’s watch the games. Corruption exists, but only in other countries not here… it is the same old message all the time. Maniacs exist on the pitch, but let’s watch the game. Managers are incompetent but they are mostly foreign. Someone shines a laser light in the Ruassian keeper’s eyes, but hey, he’s foreign too.
A side effect of this is that when the media finds someone they can lash out at, while keeping their viewers or readers, they will do it over and over and over again. The message is copied from one media outlet to another, until it becomes mainstream thought, while only those who don’t depend on mass audiences to feed advertisers can go their own way.
A perfect example of this comes with this article which is on the Guardian web site at the moment. Have a read through, and see where even in a supposedly funny piece the reality is warped so the casual reader finds it harder to see what is a joke and what not.
“There are a number of things that signify summer. The grass is brown on the lawn, eyes are red raw with hayfever and Arsenal are being linked with every striker under the sun. And just as the grass will come green again come August downpours and hayfever will become the grinding colds of autumn, winter and spring, so Arsenal will fail to sign any of the names they’ve been linked with.
“Arsène Wenger wants two more strikers in the next month or so, having ushered “strikers” Nicklas Bendtner and Ju Young Park to the door marked “Do One”. He has apparently decided Loïc Rémy, Mario Balotelli and Mario Mandzukic are as good as anyone.
“The Milan chairman, Adriano Galliani, though has begged to differ. Like an aged grandfather attempting to get to grips with modern life, Galliani has been talking to his club’s website. After repeatedly asking it “to do the googles”, he has finally given up and said Balotelli is going nowhere.
“Undeterred, Wenger will turn his attention to the fallout from the Starvin’ Luis Suárez affair. Should the Liverpool striker be about to depart for Barcelona or Real Madrid, then Wenger will chase Alexis Sánchez, Karim Benzema andAlvaro Morata around Spain in an unseemly fashion. He’s also on the lookout for a new midfielder, and thinks Lars Bender might be his man despite having a £15m offer last summer slung back in his face like a wet fish. Next, he’ll head to Newcastle to lure Mathieu Debuchy down south. Alan Pardew will ask for Carl Jenkinson and a sack of cash in return.”
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Tucked away in the middle of all that is the bit about the Balotelli transfer not happening – but you will notice it is put down to Milan saying no to Arsenal, thus allowing anti-Wengerians to claim that Wenger was to blame by not moving fast enough, not being willing to spend enough etc.
In fact, anyone who has been watching Wenger’s interviews will know that it was Mr Wenger who said that he was not interested in Balotelli.
Indeed as I commented the other day, the whole Balotelli story didn’t fit into any known model of transfer rumour – it wasn’t a Vapour made up by Arsenal to throw others off the scent, nor was it a Phantom transfer invented by an agent or selling club in a desperate attempt to up the price and move the player on.
As it turned out it was a new kind of phantom transfer – one invented by the player’s sponsor – Puma.
Of course once you know that this story is gibberish, doubt is thrown over all the rest of it, but it all moves at speed, so everyone comes back for more and just blames who they want to blame for the non-happening of invented media predictions.
It’s all a bit foolish – but is clearly set up in order to encourage the anti-Arsenal Arsenal to have a way of attacking our manager. If any of these players were to turn up at Arsenal the Guardian can say “told you so”. If not, they can claim that Wenger “dithered” while playing beach volleyball in Brazil.
Here’s the list again… perm none, one or two from eight.
- Loïc Rémy,
- Mario Balotelli
- Mario Mandzukic
- Alexis Sánchez,
- Karim Benzema
- Alvaro Morata
- Lars Bender
- Mathieu Debuchy
- Don’t worry we’re getting closer
- It is not about Suárez: it is about protecting the players he plays against
- Arsenal’s summer transfers: how Puma got involved and other moves.
- Monsieur Cannibale: the referee’s view.
- The power of the world cup sweepstake
- Should Suarez be ordered to play in a muzzle?