Being ahead of the game, behind the time and raging against the dying of the light.

By Tony Attwood,

Quite often it seems that football moves at an extraordinarily slow pace.

Or at least that is how it seemed to me on returning to England from Australia to find a bit of a broohaha exploding about the fact that a group of the worst musicians in England played (I use the word lightly) along with supporters as they sang “Fuck the IRA” at the England Scotland match.

Discovering that this song is sung in parts of Scotland now, 16 years after the IRA announced its final ceasefire and started the process of writing itself out of the future, seems to cast the media into a bit of a time warp, but being behind the times has never really slowed reporters down too much.

Just like the discovery this week by some of them that Jack Wilshere can play in a number of positions in midfield, following this same match; they seem to be getting excited about stuff that most of us who actually go to matches have known about for rather a long while.

But in football stuff goes around and around.  Indeed if you are a regular reader of Untold you might have noted that occasionally we point out those odd circumstances where Untold says something that hasn’t been said very much before in the context of football, and then a few days or a few weeks later, the story starts to appear in the media.

Of course it can be coincidence, or it can be that others noted the issue but we just got there first.

Sometimes such media awakenings follow within a few days (as when Walter highlighted the issue of video referees), sometimes it can take a few years (with his work on giving referees a mark for each performance across the season, and then working out a league table).

Sometimes the media can drift in with the story about six months late (as with the issue of flares), sometimes they turn up by mistake (as with time wasting by goal keepers), sometimes they look a bit hesitant as they gradually follow (as with criticising the FA as an institution), and sometimes I can’t help feeling that they’ve been flipping through all the old copies of the blog to find something to write about (as when the Guardian picked up on Arsenal’s groundhog day).

And sometimes I mention it and sometimes not.  Indeed mostly it is just a passing thought within the Palace of Untold (to where our editorial offices have now moved, following renovation work on Untold Towers).

But the latest incident of someone picking up on Untold’s unique journalistic style and approach seems so strange that when I saw it, having got back home from Australia, unpacked, fallen asleep and then woken up without the foggiest notion of what day of the week it was, let alone what time of day, I thought I was still asleep.

This is what turned up when I turned on the BBC 1  “Gossip column” page on Thursday as I sought to catch up with all things football after two days on a ferry, on a train, on a plane, on another plane, and in car.

A tweet by Queens Park Rangers midfielder Joey Barton was re-tweeted or favourited over 650 times on Wednesday.  “Do not go gentle into that good night.  Rage, rage, against the dying of the light” tweeted Barton.

Which you might have seen 11 days before if you read Bulldog Drummond’s piece Arsenal v Clwb Pêl-droed Dinas Abertawe – the preview.

Now I don’t want to be prejudiced here – after all there is nothing in the human rule book to say that an Englishman who has (it would seem) an occasional collision with violent behaviour, should not also read Welsh poetry, but I am not sure that Barton normally quotes poetry, and for him to turn up with the same poem as we did just 11 days after we did seems, well unlikely.

But why go on and on about people copying our stuff?   I suppose in part it is because of the “Untold” name – the idea of the site on its foundation was to go into stories and use journalistic approaches that other media outlets don’t use, and quoting the occasional poem in a football preview is just one example of doing this.

Anyway Joey, whether you got it from us or you have the Collected Works of Dylan Thomas at home, I do hope you did read and contemplate the whole of the poem, and grasp its fullest meaning.  It really is staggering in its breadth and its beauty.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


Thus in the same summary as the BBC reported on Barton, we also have “Arsenal have agreed a deal in principle to sign Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Chech, 32, who is currently playing second fiddle to Thibaut Courtois at Stamford Bridge” which turned up in the Daily Star.  They report that without any hint of irony, or the recogition that that we have a quality first team keeper, a second team keeper signed this summer (who is injured but will be back by January) an Argentine third choice player who was performed very well each time he has been called upon, and a whole plethora of juniors below that.  One must ask, what is the benefit to Arsenal or to Cech in such a deal?

Untold: the future last week



18 Replies to “Being ahead of the game, behind the time and raging against the dying of the light.”

  1. Tony,
    Those who are fortunate enough to attain old age should not rage, burn or rave about anything.
    Better by far to remember the wonderful changes they have witnessed since their youth and patiently await a higher life to come.
    And welcome back to the Motherland, my friend.

  2. Palace of Untold ? Has a very nice ring to it ,your Lordship !
    Being all lofty and above the mundane and the unwashed .
    Will the serfs be getting a raise then ?

  3. An absurd rumour which makes no sense at all. So then, just like all the other transfer rumours. Cech wants to move to get first team football, which he obviously won’t get here. The rubbish journalists think up.

  4. TBH Quincy, I’m not sure I buy the idea that Cech wouldn’t play here. Szczesny isn’t a bad keeper, and keeper certainly isn’t Arsenal’s biggest need, but I don’t think you could make a reasonable argument that Woj at any point in his career has been an upgrade over Cech. The guy was clearly still one of the best in the world last season, and was key in both European trophies they won recently. He’d start here, even if it would be a silly use of funds that could be better spent elsewhere.

  5. I believe Szczesny won the Golden Glove award last season. Cech isn’t garuanteed to be first choice here. It’s well know the faith Wenger has in Szczesny. Plus we have Ospina. The transfer makes no sense.

  6. Numerous reports saying Jose categorically stating Cech going nowhere,in Jan. Not,that I would believe a word he says.
    Unless there is something going on with our number 1 keeper ….or for that matter, Ospina we don’t know about, we have no reason at all to replace such a talent.
    Cannot see he has done a lot wrong, mistakes have been made upfield of him.
    In two months time, we will have two top international keepers competing with each other and a decent number 3

  7. Chief Tony, welcome back to your site. I hope you had an exciting journey to remember and look back to. I think the press not knowing the injury recovery state of Ospina decided to tailored a rumour of Arsenal bidding for Petr Cech. I too thought Arsenal may sign a top goalee if Ospina failed to recover by Jan. Which I myself was thinking along the line of the press. Nonetheless, Mr Jose Monrinho has dismissed the rumour as a Mickey Mouse press transfer rumour. Now let’s look at the serious business at hand as the Gunners will be hosting the visiting RedDevils of Manchester town tomorrow evening. There has been a rivalry between them and Arsenal. And this rivalry is still very much there. The rivalry will soon once again be played out at the Emirates Stadium. Considering the boss and LVG press conferences of today, their players updates have kept both the Gunners fans and those of the RedDevils on the edge of uncertainty as top Gunners and RedDevils are said to be doubtful. We can only know their excert line ups when they are revealed. I am sure the Gunners are fully awere of the huge task ahead of them which they MUST successfully complete. I am not the Arsenal coach. But I want to tell the Gunners not to give the RedDevils any freedom of space to operate during the entire course of the 90 munites plus of the match. The Gunners should close down any RedDevil that try an incursion into the Gunners half. Infact the Gunners should not allow the Reddevils to play the game. The Gunners must be breaking down the ball playing by the RedDevils to frustrate them totally out of the game. And more importantly, the Gunners must totally concentrate on the entire course of the 90 munites plus. Any momentary loss of concentration by any Gunner could be punished by the RedDevils. The Gunners must never fall behind in the game. They must take the lead and keep that lead throughout the 90 munites plus of the game. The Gunners must pick their spots calmly and confidently and place the ball. There should be no missing or hitting the woodwork by any Gunner. And lastly, Per Mertesacker and Chambers must be careful with their venturing out far. As their lack of recovery pace could be exploited and punished by the RedDevils pacy attackers. I have been in a state of mourning since my beloved Super Eagles of Nigeria refused to collect the 2015 Equatorial Guinea Afcon tickets handed to them on a platter of gold. But they instead decided to pass over the tickets to RC Congo by allowing the Bafana Bafana of South Africa to hold them to a 2-2 right there in their backyards at the Uyo International Stadium in Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria. Chief Tony, can you imagine the Super Eagles will decide to start passing the ball rather to shoot it to goal when the Ref awarded them a free kick at the death just outside the Bafana Bafana’s 18 yards area which I believe would have scored had they shoot the ball to goal. Gunners, please learn from this kind of mistake and don’t do it. I must be made happy on Saturday by the Gunners to console me of the Super Eagles lose by binding and casting 3 arc RedDevils from the Emirates Stadium turf in to the Arsenal dungeon.

  8. Apparently Dave Whelan got a wink and a nod from some people inside the FA that nothing would come of the investigation into his comments.

  9. Hmmm… Maybe Joey Barton plagiarised Untold. Or maybe he’s just been watching the recent cinematic blockbuster Interstellar where the quote features heavily.

    Which is more likely I wonder…

  10. I think the problem with AAA is that they think just because Arsene spent money this season, they should win everything. That’s not how Wengerball works. Arsene spent many years building the ‘Invincibles’ squad with the commitment and loyalty of the players played a major part. If the players can maintain such progress, the whole world is on their feet in coming years. Sanchez might considered whooping ass now, just imagine next season. And those morons say if Arsenal FC is run like a business, then we should demand like customers. I don’t change or run my business the way customers want! Especially if I’m providing a professional service rather than selling a cheap-sake product. So is Arsenal FC. They are not selling a product! Supporting a club is not self-interest but fulfilling a passion. Similar like busting your wallet for an original Nike cap in Oregan rather than settling for a similar looking crap in Shanghai.

  11. Ah I dont watch blockbuster interstellar movies so I missed that. Silly me, how embarrassing.

    I did watch Inception by Christopher Nolan on the way from Dubain to Birmingham on Thursday morning and thought it was jolly good.

  12. As Joey Barton is one of the games great pantomime villains it seems appropriate for him to quote from a villanelle.

    Tony will say nothing but I told you so.

  13. Panto? Joey Barton needs to have a sex change and frolic with John Terry – that would fetch a few quid for charity!!

  14. A blonde goes to her local pet store in search of an ‘exotic’ pet.

    As she looks about the store, she notices a box FULL of frogs. The sign says:


    Only £20 each!

    Comes with ‘complete’ instructions.
    The girl excitedly looks around to see if anybody’s watching her. She whispers softly to Pete the man behind the counter, ‘I’ll TAKE one!’

    As Pete packages the frog, he quietly says to her, ‘Just follow the instructions!’

    The blonde nods, grabs the box and is quickly on her way home.

    As soon as she closes the door to her apartment, she opens the instructions and reads them very carefully.

    She does exactly what is specified:

    1. Take a shower.
    2. Splash on some nice perfume.
    3. Slip into a very sexy nightie.
    4. Crawl into bed and place the frog down beside you and allow the frog to do what he has been trained to do.

    She then quickly gets into bed with the frog and to her surprise . . NOTHING happens! The blonde is very disappointed and quite upset at this point. She re-reads the instructions and notices at the bottom of the paper it says, ‘If you have any problems or questions, please call the pet store.’

    So, she calls the pet store. Pete says, ‘I’ll be right over.’ Within minutes, Pete is ringing her doorbell. The blonde welcomes him in and says, ‘See, I’ve done everything according to the instructions. The damn frog just SITS there!’

    Pete . . . looking very concerned, picks up the frog, stares ‘directly into its eyes’ and STERNLY says:


    I’m only going to show you how to do this ONE MORE TIME… ‘

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