By Tony Attwood
One of the most amazing things this season is to see how quickly fans of various clubs can turn on their club’s management. That is interesting in itself, but there is more. For I have had confirmed something I have suspected for a long time: that bad news draws fans to blogs in far bigger numbers that good news.
I suppose that is why so many blogs focus on the bad – it brings in the audience and so hopefully gets them up the rankings and with more clicks on the adverts.
And it is something that has always driven the British press – good news is not news – only disaster, tragedy and failure is worth running. It is a view that seems to define us as a nation.
I thought of all this on hearing the commentaries of Liverpool supporters on various radio stations and in blogs, and in hearing the news from a colleague who works in the media and who have access to all this sort of thing, that the number of hits that the main news accumulation site for Man U news gets, is up 700% on this time last year.
It is as if the activities of the AAA, instead of being seen as a dire warning – a way to make your club worse and worse – has been seen not as a warning but as a blueprint for success!!!
There can’t be any doubt that one way to bring your club down is through remorseless attacks in blogs and the media. It has been going on at Arsenal for about eight years, as it happened in the the 1950s and in the 1930s. and nothing positive has come out of these attacks, at all. Now it seems Liverpool and Man U are getting a load of it.
Of course it is not just the fans and the results – for both can win games and do ok – it is not all doom and gloom. No, part of the problem is the way the management of certain clubs react to the situation.
Liverpool, for example, must always have known that dealing with Suarez was going to bring a certain instability, even if it brought a profit. Now the manager has not particularly done himself many favours by saying that his replacement – Mario Balotelli – was the “last viable option”.
You might recall that Untold took the line all the way through the summer that there was no way Arsenal were going to sign Mr B, first because he wasn’t that good and second because he was not of the right emotional style for Mr Wenger.
Now with the mighty Basel laying Liverpool low the manager has started to criticise his own player. The Liverpool managers (B Rodgers) is now also backtracking saying, “I always said it was about availability and affordability of players, Mario was the one right at the very end who was available for that. I said when he came in that it was a calculated risk and it’s something I have to work on to try to make it work for the team.”
Well, up to a point. All transfers are risks, and you can only sign players who are available. That has been a prime argument against the AAA – they say, “why didn’t we sign x?” and Untold endlessly answers, “just because x is said to be available in the press doesn’t mean x is actually available.” Not indeed available to us. There are signs from within that some players actually note what the fans are like, and decide where they are gong accordingly.
While some Arsenal fans fretted about who we didn’t get, Liverpool fans started doing the same. Alexis Sánchez came to us, Loïc Rémy went to Chelsea and Divock Origi is back on loan at Lille.
In my view Mr Rodgers also made a mistake with the “let’s blame everyone else” tactic. The current blaming is on England’s training routines (apparently they caused Daniel Sturridge’s injury) although the comments do seem to have ensured that Hodgson has left out Sturridge for the game against the might San Marino.
Hodgson has also had a bash at Rodgers saying, “If I am under pressure to give each player two days off between games we won’t train at all. If every time we give two days off, we will be down to 20 days’ training in the course of the next year and a half. For me that is unacceptable. We need to work with the players.”
It’s a spat, but a significant spat for all that.
Under Fifa rules once a player plays for his club – even for just a minute as a sub he is deemed fit to play for his country. And of course until this point Liverpool have been talking up their credentials in having several players playing for England.
The biggest problem is that Rodgers talks a lot. He said, when it was clear that Suarez was going, that he would buy one or two very top players, not half a dozen mid-range players. Now he talks of buying the only guy available.
And also Liverpool did come close last season, that was because of the attack – the defence was ok, as long as Liverpool attacked and attacked, as they did against us at Anfield. They can’t do that now.
And of course there is the injury to Daniel Sturridge, plus as we all observed before, Gerrard is getting older.
And it is interesting that while Mr Wenger never speaks of the urgent need to get players back from injury, Rodgers does that – which does not give much positive thought to the guys who are playing as replacements.
What’s more, his “It is vitally important we get back to playing as a team,” was a criticism of everyone together. Coutinho is reported to have had “words” with Rodgers at the last match, while Gerrard had “words” with Mignolet. Mamadou Sakho walked away from the club when told he was not in the squad against Everton.
Put it all together and it doesn’t look a happy place.
And the response of the blogs: attack, attack, attack. Even a win offers only limited respite.
There’s an index to the most recent articles on the home page.
- Clubs are showing signs of fighting back at journalists
- Are Arsenal really making progress, or are we starting to slip back?
- Luton 3 Arsenal 4: maybe it is time to say positive things
- Luton v Arsenal – the referee, the team, Saka and Cliff Bastin
- Luton Town – how do they play the game. The tackles, fouls and cards.