Do you ever feel you are being treated with utter contempt?

By Tony Attwood

The level of twaddle in the newspapers started this summer at hyper and has now reached beyond double plus insanity.  Twaddle, that fundamental of all football columns in the press, comes in seven levels:

  • Invention
  • Nonsense
  • Gibberish
  • Pure Twaddle
  • Hyper-twaddle
  • What the f*** were you on last night?
  • Would you like to come this way sir?  Just lie down here.

Such is the speed at which we move up (or is that down?) the twaddle chart of crazed copy writing that sometimes I find myself staring at a page of print or a page on the screen in total and utter disbelief.

Are these newspaper copywriters so high, I wonder, that they actually believe this stuff, or do they not even notice what they are writing, or is it that they are treating football fans with such utter contempt that they just throw down any old garbage to fill up the page?

Or could it be that they are not writing for us at all, but for a group of people who proclaim an interest in football but actually never go to a game?

Over the years I have had the opportunity to take people who have never been to a football match to Highbury or the Ems, or indeed at the grounds of smaller clubs, and have watched them look in disbelief at the crowds, the stadium (especially the Ems) and the passion.  And yes I do think you can watch the passion – it is there on the faces – as well as hear it.

Each time I’ve done this it is clear that these people – men, women, young, old – really had no idea what football was like and how much it mattered to those inside.

For goodness sake, it even matters a huge amount to those gathered in a pub to watch a game together.

So yes, I am starting to think that newspaper football reporting is written for those who don’t go – not because they can’t (anyone can go and visit their local club, anyone can buy a red membership at Arsenal and get a ticket to certain games) but because they choose not to.

And then I had a further thought.  The people writing this rubbish themselves don’t go to games, and indeed don’t know what being a supporter is all about.

What started me down this line was the headline in the Telegraph, “Arsenal fans prepare to bid goodbye to Vermaelen” and I thought “what?”

And then again “What???”

No, this is nonsense.  Arsenal fans went to the opening day at the Ems to say goodbye to Dennis Bergkamp.  But if he does go to Man U we’re not saying goodbye to Vermaelen.  Vermaelen was a player who made a huge impact for Arsenal and looked like a great purchase, but who lost his way through a series of injuries and a failure to recover his top form.  He behaved with dignity and propriety throughout, and now with a year left on his contract has agreed to be sold on.  That’s the reality.

The notion of saying goodbye is just dumb – to anyone who has been to the ground. I am sure there are some, like me, who are sorry that in the end it didn’t work out for a guy who seemed a thoroughly nice and decent chap, but there it is, on we go.  He was paid more per week than I earn a year, so the hardship to him will have been mitigated a little, I feel.  No need to go out and say goodbye – even if I knew where to.

It’s not even a metaphorical goodbye.  It just isn’t goodbye.  But such nonsense sets the scene for all the players we are signing today

Talksport, the radio station, say “Arsenal are set to complete their first signing of the summer with Mathieu Debuchy arriving from Newcastle United, according to reports in France.”

Ah the old “reports in France” ruse.  And the writers of these reports in France?  Probably the Parisian equivalent of the Telegraph nutter who said we were saying goodbye.

Anyway Debuchy is the man to replace Sagna it seems.   Debuchy, who is 28, and who is in Brazil, has spent 18 months in the north east, for reasons that will not become clear at this point, and cost Newcastle £5.5million when he moved from Lille.

The story is also in the Independent, who say that PSG and Monaco – the two FFP busting clubs in France (although Monaco, not being in the Champs League last season, hasn’t been investigated yet – but expect explosions when it is) are going after the fella.

Back in the fantasy world that is now the Telegraph, Morgan Schneiderlin may be moving to Arsenal.

Which is interesting because that self-same story in the Daily Mail was headed EXCLUSIVE.   Anyway, you know him – he’s a French defensive midfielder playing for Southampton.  But Southampton don’t want to sell him.  However apparently Arsene Wenger, has “commissioned club scouts to keep tabs on the 24-year-old.”  Well, yes.  And?

And “recent newspaper reports have strongly linked the Southampton midfielder with a move to the Emirates,” which rather takes us around in circles.

Because that is what happens.  The papers are now reporting the papers who are reporting the papers.   Including the notion that the fans of Arsenal (that must be us) are looking for a person who is Arteta and Flamini rolled into one.  With a spot of Vieira too.

But just in case not Arsenal are also looking at Sami Khedira, Lars Bender and Javi Martinez – apparently.

“Arsenal fans expect…”  “Arsenal fans will be…”   Really?  Has anyone asked you?

Have you ever thought that as fans, maybe we deserve better than this?

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34 Replies to “Do you ever feel you are being treated with utter contempt?”

  1. Good morning Tony
    agree with your article 100%.
    However, I agreed with yesterdays too, and I posted a comment…….but it didn’t show(nothing abusive, derogatory, racist, sexist or anything else-ist)… you have problems with the site?

  2. Do we deserve better than this? Of course, but to be honest, I got so bored reading so many obviously untrue transfer rumours over such a long time that I eventually taught myself to either ignore them or treat them as the equivalent of the satirical news reports in Private Eye. When you get to the stage that it feels like every keeper who makes a decent save at this world cup is linked to the club by the time the last replay is shown, you know you’re in fantasy land, so why bother getting upset?

  3. I cannot believe you are reporting that all these things are happening. Who told you?

  4. Again?

    C’mon we know a lot of it is made up B grade entertainment and the “papers” aren’t trying very hard to be taken seriously.

    Just go with the flow.

    Utter contempt, IMO, is to see Arsenal being linked with Kalou for 4 seasons straight. LOL, they need to treat us more seriously by inventing nonsense that we want to hear.

  5. Don’t you just love the one about Wenger “commissioning scouts to keep an eye on” Morgan Schneiderlin? I mean, it is off season and the guy is on holidays out there somewhere and some Arsenal scouts are commissioned to keep an eye on him, in case he gets involved in the odd beach soccer or some casual kick about with friends…never mind his years of playing the playing professionally in EPL under Wenger’s gaze.
    However, it cannot be too strange. After all, the same Wenger was seen sending a long questionnaire to Remy’s former manager in France on such stuff as his table manners, bedtime habits, pet peeves, whether he prefers dogs to cats, etc.,before he decides to line him up for Arsenal.

  6. @Black Hei
    Yes, i agree, take it all with a pinch of salt, but enjoy it all too.
    I for one love to speculate on who we will sign, it helps me to be aware of players i would probably have never hear of.

  7. What is it about Southampton FC that the Club seems to churn out player after player lusted after by the top clubs of our land.
    If only they could retain their young (or become an official nursery for
    Arsenal!) the club would be a force to be feared in the EPL.

  8. It is actually funny for Arsenal to be linked to every player on earth that has maybe a decent game at the world cup. No other club, let me emphasize that “NO OTHER CLUB” generates more transfer rumors or speculations like Arsenal Football Club.
    We are linked to even players I have not heard anything about. I am just waiting for Le Prof to do his magic once again.

  9. Bertie Mee – hmmm …. clearly there is a something missing in the communication between writer and reader. Hey ho. It happens.

  10. Johnny – there is a continuing problem with Word Press and comments – if you have posted a comment and it doesn’t appear within a five minutes, and you have not had a note to say it is in moderation, try again, but change the wording very slightly.

    Occasionally comments that are perfectly fine get caught in moderation, but they are then released because all moderated comments are checked by the moderators.

    I know its a pain, but the cost of going beyond Word Press to a more upmarket more secure site is beyond us at the moment. We spent our money fighting the hackers.

  11. Why should we support newspapers who insult us with fantasy stories, support or camouflage appalling refereeing and support the football administrative status quo? My view is save your money.

    Similarly, why provide hits to blog sites that contemptuously provide a daily dose of made up rubbish? Surely such sites are worse than a total waste of time.

    Be patient and wait for the announcement(s) from

  12. Yes, we are treated with contempt.

    But not just during the so called silly season.

    The so called silly season now lasts all year round, and has done for a while now.

    I also agree with what Bjtgooner has to say at 10.02am.

  13. I don’t know if we are being treated contemptuously. It’s a matter of what you chose to believe, how you process that info, and how you react to it.
    I’m not so naive as to believe all I read (even on Untold), and seek out information from trusted sources, but if I see something that is so obviously BS I just ignore it and move on.
    I regularly read the online versions of various British newspapers but was raised on The Daily Mirror’s Peter (“the man they couldn’t gag”) Wilson and The Mail’s Ian Woolridge both of whom were so opposite (in their presentation), but still utterly believable. There are one or two of the current writers I like, but none come anywhere close to those two.
    I just make the best of a pretty poor bunch of sporting journalists, but don’t think most of them set out to be contemptuous, they’re just not very good at what they do.

  14. I agree with all things you have said Tony, in fact these newspapers and website stories just end up creating an animosity between the fans and the club. Imagine how frustrating it would be to read that Arsenal are considering signing a mediocre mid-fielder after rejecting the opportunity to sign Fabregas, or being linked with a mediocre or untested striker who has scored a couple of goals recently. I, for instance, end up having heart-burns imagining that even if there is a single grain of truth we are heading towards another disappointing season. Especially when the last few signings by Arsene, barring Ozil, have been very questionable.
    But all said and done, it is still frustrating to see that while other clubs are constantly strengthening their sides, and acting on transfer decisions quickly; Arsenal on the other hand keep dragging their feet on transfers and keeping the fans completely in dark. In the end the club derides the fans by signing players like Kalstromm and Park can be considered world class (remember Wenger’s statements that we will only sign world class players?).
    The gist of my question to you is that do you think that it is only the newspapers that treat us with contempt or perhaps our beloved club is also treating the fans with contempt? Of course we the penniless wretched have not invested millions in the club, but we do invest our time, petty ticket money (or cable subscription fees and the money spent in pubs), and most of all our love and emotion. Let’s not forget that the players, the manager and the directors all take home a pretty big package at the end of the day!

  15. I would say that the Ozil transfer was a perfect example of how Arsenal can justify their secrecy. The fact that Tottenham tried to put a clause into their contract selling Bale to Real Mad which would have prohibited Real Mad from selling Ozil to Arsenal shows how murky all this is.

    It is wrong to say Arsenal always drag their feet – I recently cited several players who were signed at the start of the transfer window or even before. It just depends who we want and how difficult it is to get him.

    But above all, the earlier comment is right. If you look at the news accumulation sites of all the teams, Arsenal have about 10 times as many transfer rumours as most clubs – and certainly more than anyone else.

    Why, I don’t know, but that is the fact.

  16. @Arsenal is my Religion
    ‘Especially when the last few signings by Arsene, barring Ozil, have been very questionable.’
    Which ones in your opinion have been very questionable?

  17. You reap what you sow .

    Juan worked at a meat distribution factory. One day, when he finished with his work schedule, he went into
    the meat cold room to inspect something, but in a moment of bad luck, the door closed and he was locked inside with no help in sight.
    Although he screamed and knocked with all his
    might, his cries went unheard as no one could hear him. Most of the workers had already gone, and outside the cold room it’s impossible to hear what was going on inside.

    Five hours later, whilst Juan was on the verge of
    death, the security guard of the factory, eventually opened the door and saved Juan’s life.

    Juan then asked the security guard how he got to
    open the door, as it wasn’t part of his work routine, and he explained thus: “I’ve been working in this factory for 35 years, hundreds of workers come in and
    out every day, but you’re one of the few who greets me in the morning and says goodbye to me every night when leaving after working hours.”
    ” Many treat me as if I am invisible. Today, like every other day, you greeted me in your simple manner ‘ Hello ‘ at the entrance when resuming for work. But curiously, after working hours today, I observed I’ve not heard your ‘ bye! see you tomorrow ‘. Hence I decided to check around the factory.” I

    “I look forward to your ‘ Hi ‘ and ‘ bye ‘ every day. To you, I am someone. By not hearing your farewell, I knew something had happened.
    Then I Sought and found you!”

    Moral Lesson to reflect upon: Be humble, love and respect those around you. As life is too short! Try to
    have an impact on people in ways we can’t even imagine,
    especially the people that cross our path every day. Someone seemingly so insignificant and irrelevant today could be the only help you can get tomorrow.

  18. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye.”
    – Miss Piggy

  19. “Beauty in things exists in the mind which contemplates them.”

    – David Hume

  20. The lack of coverage by the dedicated football media, twenty-four hour news stations etc. of the shenanigans going on at the club formerly known as Glasgow Rangers is all the reference that is required. That football club that used to exist in Glasgow was probably the third odd biggest club in Britain. So why the lack of any coverage?
    It’s not like journalists didn’t have access to blogs run by fans that detailed all they needed to know before the grit hit the courts.
    Even more disturbing has been the invitation of the current (new and in trouble) owners of the club once known as Glasgow Rangers onto the BBC in order to ask fans of the former Rangers for their money this summer, without insisting that their guests inform these fans that the money that they are pleading for has already been spent to cover an existing loan, and will not go to the club next season. Strange behaviour. Very strange.

    Then there’s the fact that many hacks and their hangers on don’t even seem to like football, unfortunately this includes former players who conform to any narrative. Two comments worth repeating by the funny and insightful @muppetgooner:

    ‘English commentators are clueless. They don’t grasp that an Ozil first touch and pass is where an english player would have lost the ball.’

    ‘The new price list:
    15m: Agent’s fee
    25m:Average player (Eng)
    35m:Good player
    45m:Very good player
    80m+: Overrated uruguayan and welshman.’

    It was only yesterday that it was in the news (hehe) that the English Cricket Board had gagged senior English Cricket Players from making public comments that would upset Sky/NewsCorp/Murder Inc. even though this may undermine the current captain of the English Cricket team. And I think it is fair to say that we all know that football is far more important to ‘Sky’ then cricket. If they can gag senior players from the national cricket team, then…?

  21. Brickfields
    I’ve struggled with words (not really surprising as I can barely type and spell!) when opposite beautiful eyes in the past. Thanks for those quotes 🙂

  22. @ finsbury – I had to deal with excessive and copious salivation ! And poor eyesight ,and body odour ,and ….well, you get the point !

  23. Hi Brickfields. Your factory story is old but worth repeating as its very true. I do this at the checkout in my supermarket. I am always polite and friendly in a business like way. For them its work they have no time to chat. If I learn the woman or man has kids I ask about their family. I always get good service and nice a smile.

  24. @ colario – to be honest ,pleasant , courteous and genuine to others in the normal course of our daily routine marks one as a true gentleman or lady .
    Daily I come in contact with 50 or so patients and having ‘served’ them for 23 years and they respond by their loyalty to me by supporting my practice.
    This despite the fact that 99% of my patients are of a different race and religion .
    Many people are surprised that I have ‘survived’ all these years.

  25. “If you can walk with the crowd and keep your virtue, or walk with Kings-nor lose the common touch; If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you; If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds worth of distance run- Yours is the earth and everything that’s in it, And-which is more-you’ll be a man my son.”

    ― Rudyard Kipling, If: A Father’s Advice to His Son

  26. “Seven Deadly Sins

    Wealth without work
    Pleasure without conscience
    Science without humanity
    Knowledge without character
    Politics without principle
    Commerce without morality
    Worship without sacrifice.”
    ― Mahatma Gandhi

    I’ll add a 8th( just to keep off the moderators!)- football without beauty and passion !

  27. Mick

    Just switched on and like you read ‘Arsenal is my Religions’ wondering what he was talking about.

    You did more than wonder, you asked.

    I see you’re still waiting for an answer 7 hours later !

  28. At Brickfields factory.

    The word ‘tip’ has the meaning to give extra than the price to be paid, ie. the taxi fare costs £10 you give extra for the service of the driver.

    It is said that the word took on this concept from a Lloyds coffee house in the City of London where the coffee was free.

    However at the exit door was a large box, above it the words ‘To Insure Prompt Service.’

    If you threw some money into the box the next time came you were served quickly but if you didn’t (dare I say it) cough up with cash, you were kept waiting for your free coffee the next time you called.

  29. I think a problem is that the muppets, feel numbers must always climb. We paid X amount for who the last time, any rumour about less than X is ignored or discounted. And so the muppets can try to drive exponentially growing transfer fees and wages.

    Damned muppets.

  30. @Tony

    I honestly believe that some of your comments are being a little challenging and perhaps a little off the mark.

    In a thread a couple of days ago you dismissed the fact that Arsenal were really wanting to buy Suarez suggesting as there was no evidence to support the fact (even there were comments about the bid from Wenger and indeed from Liverpool’s CEO) meaning that the whole episode was a phantom .
    Today you state as a fact that Spurs wanted to bar Real from selling Ozil. Quite simply, other that rumour where is the evidence?

    Also you state as a fact that Arsenal have about 10 times more rumours about transfers than any other club. Sorry that is just not the case indeed, I counted up the number of press reported transfer targets that Chelsea have had in the last month and without even having to think hard I counted 16.

  31. Rumours are hearsay; they are told, believed, and passed on not because of the weight of evidence but because of the expectations by tellers that they are true in the first place.

    Sums things up!!. Blogs are merely rumour vehicles and its a sad man who believes all he reads without proper evidence and an even sadder one who over reacts.

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