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?
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