After the sex toys: the media takes stock of their cock-ups.

by Tony Attwood

The one thing you can be certain of.  The newspapers never did anything wrong.  Despite getting 99% of all transfer stories totally upside down, despite, endlessly predicting that players who were never in a million years going to this or that club, despite falling for the ridiculous story that Welbeck was off to Tottenham, no it is not their fault.

In fact their error rating which hovers around 99.999%, which would result in anyone else (apart from a banker) losing their job and having to pay compensation for incompetence, the journalists who told us that Arsenal were on the verge of signing Balotelli over and over again, and the 100,000 other stories (a fraction of which were reported here, just for the laugh) are still there, scribbling away.

And worse they are still churning out the same old stuff.  “Arsenal star plots January exit” was one such that came out within a day of the transfer window closing.  And so it goes on.

As part of this perfidious exercise the Guardian is back with its Said and Done column.  In one sense it is slightly amusing, as with Alex Ferguson in 2012 speaking on what makes United different:  “It’s not just the transfer fees or the salaries, it’s the agent fees. It’s getting ridiculous now … That’s the difference between United and the rest – we can play 18-year-olds because it’s part of our history. It’s like a destiny for us. No other clubs can do that.”

It is indeed slightly interesting, but we knew it already – Sir F always trotted out such nonsense in soundbites to the media that would lap up every word all the time.

The rest of Said and Done is however depressing and overall it is utterly misleading.   For example

“This week’s Uefa anti-discrimination conference – [was] hosted in Rome a month after Italy’s FA president Carlo Tavecchio called black players “banana eaters”. Tavecchio says he’s enjoying plenty of support: “Joseph Blatter sent me an email today where he expressed his support for the Italian FA. I really enjoyed this email, and would not expect anything less. This is a great FA, and Fifa knows it.”

“Also last week: Sepp tweeting his approval after Grêmio were thrown out of the Copa do Brasil due to fan racism. “I’ve said football MUST be strong in tackling racism. Brazil has sent the right message.”

All this needs to be recorded and Said and Done pulls loads of such stories together.   But the problem is that this award winning column never once mentions the gibberish that the journalists and their newspapers publish.  Indeed it was pretty well left up to Untold to record the nonsense of the press day after day in the transfer period.  But of course, part of the point of Said and Done, and its award, is to make sure the finger never is pointed at the media.

So we are off again with, from the Telegraph:

  • United vow to buy ‘a Suarez every year’
  • Manchester United will have to pay Real Madrid an extra £4 million if Argentine international wins Ballon d’Or and
  • Liverpool tried to sign me, says Shaqiri

while the Guardian goes with

  • Real president denies Ronaldo row
  • Hodgson promises England will definitely qualify for Euro 2016
  • Real asked Di María to sit out final
  • Sex Toys and Man United’s soul (more on this anon)

and the Independent has

  • Real Madrid refused to pay me what I’m worth (unless I managed to win the Ballon d’Or) (which is another story about di Maria)

And remember these are the “serious” papers.  The Star is still there with “Former Arsenal target still wants Premier League move” and “Manchester City and Arsenal go head to head in battle for £25m German World Cup star.

Caught Offside, never one to ignore a secret (and utterly imaginary) medical taking place (there must have been 100 or more of these they ran in the summer) has “Arsenal aim to pip Man U to signing of Italian midfield prodigy.”

Sportskeeda, still pumping out the AAA story day after day runs, “Arsenal’s failure in the transfer market could still be rectified in January”

It goes on and on and presumably lots of people still read it and still believe it, despite the abject failure of most of the media most of the time to predict an eclipse, let alone a transfer.

I guess it says a lot about football supporters who believe this stuff.   Maybe it is because the big teams have so many supporters who can’t get to the games and whose only take on their club is through the media, that this flourishes.

And so Caught Offside’s massive dose of transfer rumours and negative stories, even though we are three months and three weeks away from the transfer window, and only three games into the season, presumably has a big readership, as with

  • “Arsenal and Man U stars both disappoint”
  • “Arsenal and Man City in two way battle to sign Bundesliga Star” – which actually you might recall, turns up in the Star too.

Just occasionally there is some interesting news around however.

Emmanuel Frimpong has moved to FC Ufa in Russia on a three-year contract.  You’ll remember Frimpong – looked like he had loads of talent (well at least it looked that way to me), got sent off, and never really got going.  Went to Barnsley on a free last April and then they cancelled his contract.

FC Ufa were founded three years ago and won the third division in the first season, the second division in the third season, and now are in the top diviion.  That story did get a bit of coverage but not much.

But let’s end with the Guardian – who did give the drollest headline of the week with “Sex toys and Man United’s soul: lessons learned from deadline day”.  That story also tells us that “Chelsea also have a ludicrous 26 players on loan” and it does indeed look as if the loan system is being used as a way to get around FFP.  Trouble is no one is covering that story, so I guess Untold will have to.  More bloody research to do!

So here’s a final word from the Guardian talking about how a fan ran up to a reporter who was talking gibberish about a non-existent transfer on deadline night, and waved a sex toy at the screen: “Interactions between a disenfranchised public and beleaguered TV reporters are now more noteworthy than the transfers being reported. Sky may have to rethink its rules of engagement, perhaps its slogan too. Stubbornly some people still want to believe in better.”

Quite so.

The books
The complete Arsenal Anniversary series is to be found on the Arsenal History Society site.



17 Replies to “After the sex toys: the media takes stock of their cock-ups.”

  1. It says a lot about supporters who believe this..never a truer word. Anyone can write a transfer story..and I’ve just wasted five minutes of my time responding.

  2. The media quite simply have let the thirst – and need – for viewers, web visits, engagement and subscription money take over completely. Journalism (not just in sport) is a dying profession. What sells is what is reported. The truth be damned. Who really wants the truth these days. Speculation, excitement, possibility and fantasy are far more interesting so that is what makes up the news (especially relating to football – but not limited to football). Graphics overload, over excited presenters, an attractive woman and ‘expert’ pundits ‘in the know’ make for a well watched TV show.

    When you understand that everything you see on TV – including ‘news’ on very serious issues – is just an entertainment show where the truth is only told if it attracts viewers and readers then you can move on from even watching or reading it (or at least if you do, then see it for what it is) and focus on finding out what is going on for yourself through ‘personal’ journalism – which is the only REAL journalism being done these days.

    In the words of a rather good entertainment show from the eighties – the truth is out there. You just need to find it for yourself.

  3. Great reply Jayramfootball.coupled with the other days post of “Why the AAA behaves as they do”,these are two of the most accurate and lucid points ever made, well done UA keep it up.

  4. The media lost it when Jose came to town and they printed his every word like it was from Jesus himself. They fail to show where he lies and is caught out in the lies. they fail to point out his contradictions and they fail to point out, he is a repugnant little man who spouts out vile insults.

    They also fail to point out that teams like Man City and Chelsea buy titles and spend far more than they make but love to remind the world that The Arsenal have won nothing in 9 years. I put that down to jealousy as they realise they will never be the man Wenger is and he is far, far more clever than they will ever be.

    I prefer to watch what goes on behind the scenes. The Dutch guy who worked with Barca and Munich youth teams and the American strength and conditioning guy taken from the german national teams. Both men deemed to be at the very top of their respective professions. that to me speaks far more than what any sad little journo wants to report on.

  5. Apart from the rubbish turned out by gutter press the AAA a gender is still very much alive for years sky has used negative interviews played down commentaries to undermine the Manchester BBC blog writers are complete AAA and any team they talk about both show a clip of them beating arsenal all subtle AAA stuff

  6. jayram hits it on the head. Even news journalism or current affairs by the television networks and newspapers are of very poor quality. If you really have an interest in something and want to know what’s going on, you have to trawl the internet looking for independent writers, organisations, blogs, etc. Not easy, considering all the trash on the web, but that’s the only place you can find something worth reading and investing your time in, in those few websites worth reading, like Untold.

  7. Excellent Post this morning…who reads the papers and speculation…?Oh those who have no life – sorry forgot!
    VERY well put

  8. Perhaps one reason why so many of the 24/7 football broadcasters have never covered the influence of super agents in the game such as Special Agents Mendes (involved in transfers totalling £200M+. That’s just for this Summer…*coughs*) is because they are more frendly with the agents and their agencies then with many clubs. This is undeniabley the case.

    Certainly this logic could help to explain some of the inplausible gibberish written consistently about Arsneal Football Club. And other hype.

    I guess it’s true: Don’t believe the hype.

  9. For the first time in its history more members of the NUJ – the good old National Union of Journalists – work in PR than work in journalism proper, proper as in getting stories, defending the weak against the mighty, exposing the crap, etc etc.

    Global TV audience figures are the place where PR ventures get defined. The story therefore has to be made, and once made, it has to be maintained. What happens in reality doesn’t happen when reality doesn’t happen. Hit those global TV audience figures and keep on hitting.

    It’s all good. Brand your last breath. Arsenal fits into every narrative that gets sold to us except for one moment – when it works as football.

    That’s the problem with football.

  10. Thing is, Arsenal is changing football in the UK so much that it is probably only going to be much later when these achievements are recognised by ALL the footballing world.

    Maybe it is a subconscious defence of the pundits and media to react like this, or just plain mischievousness on their part.

    Arsenal (once a stream) is now like a river gorging a canyon throughout the landscape of football, and is leaving its mark plain for all to see.

  11. Fortunately, most of us read only one daily newspaper and tend to log on to only two (at most) of the internet sites.
    My Sunday paper today states that a new Hollywood film will claim that Princess Diana was murdered. I wonder how long it took the writers to decide whether the ending would be murder or road accident.
    Publicity, ratings and salaciousness have a lot to answer for.

  12. Another great article, I think of the media as represented in the 70’s film “Network”, once I realised how much they annoyed me with getting away with saying or printing what they wanted no matter how much removed from truth or fact I managed to walk away from it, I now read or watch for a laugh and then to vent truth or fact, if and when it actually gets past the moderators..

  13. “journalists” nay media hacks. It seems the name of the game is no longer enlightenment but something akin to soap-operas. That may be the reason these hacks continue to keep their jobs. Sensationalism, fantasy, billionaires, entertainment, soap-operas – its all a veritable circus. Yet, they wont come clean and own up. These toads continue to dress up as, yes … journalists!

  14. He he he i pity the whorelists they can not even hint on arsenal’s new signing Theo’s come back because they fear all their demonic beliefs will be shattered. Welcome back Theo.

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