On the Arsenal web site this morning (20 October) there is a lead story about Fabregas’ contract in which Cesc comments on a piece in a Sunday paper, which says that he has refused to sign a new contract with the club.
The fact is that Cesc hasn’t refused to sign. In fact there is no new contract to sign. The whole thing is made up.
Meanwhile in the more serious press today, there is a story aboutOleg Deripaska, a man who was once tipped by the press to be about to buy Arsenal FC. He is a friend of Lord Mandelson. What this guy did was set up a scheme to discredit Michael Cherney, who is suing Deripaska for a share in one of his businesses worth some $4bn (£2.3bn). (This is what Russian rich folk do these days, they sue each other).
Deripaska ran a press campaign against granting Cherney the right to entry into the UK.
The story seems to be (and I say seems because obviously I don’t have inside info on the doings of Russians) that Cherney, who part-owns Levski Sofia, wanted Leeds Utd. The aim was to start a public debate about him being a fit and proper person and result in lots of slagging of Cherney on football web sites.
The story would then be fed to the press who would run it, largely because they are forever making up stories and to have one given to them from the outside would save them having to make anything up and allow more time down the pub.
It worked and Leeds fans got very worked up (in that funny northern way they have) about Cherney. (Actually I think they got even more worked up when it all turned out to be untrue and they got Ken Bates instead, but that’s another story.)
All this came to light because of a court judgement on a case involving Cherney and Deripaska. LordMandelson has denied any impropriety. The judge said that the documents he inspected seemed to be real, giving that much credibility to the tale.
So what connects our Cesc with all this nasty Russian stuff? Simply one fact: both were based on invented stories. Cesc has no new contract to sign, and the Russian never wanted to buy Leeds (I mean why would anyone ever want to buy Leeds – either the club or the city?)
But – and this is the big point – in both cases people who ought to have known better started to believe it and got worked up.
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All football supporters have a choice – you can either believe what you read in the papers, or you can think, “this guy just made this up”. The Cesc story was made up because the paper had no news and needed to fill a page. The Russian story was made up because one person wanted to get at another. The motives vary but the result is the same.
Don’t believe the tripe. If you do it only encourages them.
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