Spotting the April Fools – sometimes it is hard to tell

By Tony Attwood

I tried my best with a silly April Fools gag today, and then looked around at what the rest of the world was doing in terms of April Fools in football.  (I should explain it is a day when one is supposed to tell stories that are really silly but are dressed up in such a way that for a moment people think they might be true).

The trouble is that the newspapers have become so whacky in the last couple of years that they regularly do say the craziest things, so there is no way of knowing if they are having us on or not.

The Telegraph has a story in pictures (they do that a lot these days, undoubtedly reflecting the literacy level of the audience of the increasingly odd sports team at the paper) of which the headline is “who are football’s most over rated managers?”

Cultivating the aaa vote they nominate Arsene Wenger in third place, forgetting in their profile anything about a couple of doubles, an unbeaten season, finding the finance for a new stadium and making Arsenal the most successful FA Cup side of all time.   So what you get is a big pic of the manager (in case you had forgotten what he looks like I suppose) and three lines of explanation.

April Fool?  More like a bit childish, but that’s the way they’ve been going.

The Independent has a story tonight which alerts us to the fact that Chelsea “will win the Premier League title by a staggering 13 points this season with Arsenal finishing ahead of Manchester City in second, according to a simulation run by Sports Interactive, makers of the Football Manager series of video games.”

That’s interesting – are we supposed to take Football Manager seriously?  I thought that idea was laughed out of town with the 12 year olds playing the game and having Arsenal win the league, and thus showing that Mr Wenger was rubbish.

And what of their language? Was that the April Fool?  I mean 13 points is a big gap, but is it staggering, when we had a difference between first and second of 12 points in 2005, 11 in 2004, and 18 in 2000.

Actually I think it is the work of a PR agent who knows journalists are lazy and a journalist who mentioned the other big gaps, but then forget to remove “staggering”.

“The simulation also settles the top four conundrum in which Manchester City, Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Southampton and Tottenham have been competing,” says the paper, although “settles” again seems a bit odd since we are still playing the season.

Forthcoming results are expected to be…

  • Arsenal 2-2 Liverpool
  • Manchester United 2-1 Manchester City
  • Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United
  • Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea
  • Chelsea 2-2 Liverpool

The Indy also has an article “WHY ARSENAL CAN STILL WIN THE TITLE” – they are a bit fixated on capitals – in which they say

Olivier Giroud in particular is on fire with nine goals in as many outings. The Gunners can also point to a settled goalkeeper with David Ospina’s performances relegating the dropping of regular No 1 Wojciech Szczesny to a minor side issue. Even Mesut Ozil has been living up to his £42.5m price-tag of late.

So that’s what I call backing both horses.  What is the betting that whichever one of Arsenal or Chelsea win the league, that is the article they will gently remind us of, while quietly burying the other.

The Guardian decided to avoid April Fools however and go for a bit of good ol’ sarcasm instead, telling us

Mesut Özil has been quietly impressive, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain one of their most consistent players, Alexis Sánchez has fallen away a little but is still one of the signings of the season, Santi Cazorla has evolved into a slightly different but hugely impressive player, Olivier Giroud has been scoring goals.

Plus, there’s Danny Welbeck, Theo Walcott and Tomas Rosicky in reserve. All very good. The front of their team looks set. All peachy up top. Some fine attackers there. Don’t really need any more. Now if they can just buy a rascal of a midfielder, a proper goalkeeper and perhaps a more consistent centre-back, then they could be on to something. A bit of steel in their side. No new flighty attackers though. Loads of them already. Well stocked in that department. No concerns there. Don’t waste your time trying to buy more of those.

And then quote one of their own invented stories…

“Arsenal are expected to make a bid of around £11.8m for Milan forward Stephan El Shaarawy in the summer”?

Of course the issue is “expected by whom?” but no, the Guardian won’t tell us that.  Nor will they tell us why they are applauding some of the purchases while they have spent most of the season denigrating Arsenal and saying how utterly hopeless the side is.

Maybe if one of the newspapers had come out and said, “Actually we haven’t got a clue what is going to happen, we just knock Arsenal, and are under the strictest of instructions never to cast any doubt on the probity of the referees’ organisation despite its extraordinary behaviour” then we might actually wonder.

I mean, whoever heard of a newspaper’s football department telling the truth?

Now that would be an April Fool

23 Replies to “Spotting the April Fools – sometimes it is hard to tell”

  1. Did you notice that the April Fool articles are no different of the everyday articles? 🙂

  2. It looks like the fire is midway between the British Museum, and a place called Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Expanding the scale a map further, I would say that the Emirates are about midway between WHL and the fire. So, I think it is unlikely that Spurs are looking for land tho buy there. 🙂

  3. An offshore owned club from Middlesex announce a £65 million profit in a market of vastly increasing revenues yet will receive a public subsidy. April Fools!
    On that subject on another, unmentionable site a poster has suggested their new stadium be called Shadow Lane!

  4. Nice post and nice comments .
    @ bjtgooner April 1, 2015 at 7:50 pm – you be bad !

  5. The telegraph is really an embarrassing publication now, almost to the same levels as the mail, star and those other rags. Can’t remember when the last time I clicked on any of their links was. Disgusting.

  6. My daughter sent me a quiz called ‘Arsene v Aristotle’. I got 9 out of 11. It’s good fun and shows Arsene has said some very wise things, which we on Untold know of course. So has Aristotle by the way. I would send you the link, but I don’t know how to. Maybe you can get it on google.

  7. Good game! good game!
    Here’s a fact on topic – Jamie Redknapp is a result of ‘aristotle.

    Needs a ‘little’ thought.

  8. @ Menace – April 2, 2015 at 1:28 pm – Just guessing !

    No notice is taken of a little evil, but when it increases it strikes the eye.

  9. 8/11 for me. Maybe they could do another, how about ‘arry Redknapp/Albert Einstein.

  10. How about two ‘deep’ thinkers ? Presenting – Descartes or Joey Barton . An odd choice but then it all even out . Note – some may be requoted quotes !

    1). In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act.

    2). You just keep pushing. You just keep pushing. I made every mistake that could be made. But I just kept pushing.

    3). Somewhere in those high echelons of NUFC, they have decided, I am persona non grata.

    4). I am accustomed to sleep and in my dreams to imagine the same things that lunatics imagine when awake.

    5).”I’ve seen this happen, in other people’s lives and now its happening in mine………..”The Smiths…….”

    6). It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well.

    7). Its a British trait to be embarrassed by sounding to positive, we are not aware of our own self worth as a democratic society. Embrace it.

    8). Everything is self-evident.

    9). To control negative physical and verbal actions, it is necessary to get at their root, the mind, and tame it.

    10). An optimist may see a light where there is none, but why must the pessimist always run to blow it out?

    11). Come what may, all bad fortune is to be conquered by endurance.

    Check your answers here –

  11. Brickfields – I’m just a simple guy with a simple sense of humour –

    Jamie Redknapp is a result of ‘aris totle. (‘arry Redknapp)

  12. Brickfields

    Divide and conquer is a very useful strategy in engineering. But I don’t know how to apply it to PGMO.

  13. @ Menace – April 3, 2015 at 12:37 pm – Nice !
    @ Gord – ” Fete one to defeat the other ” ? Not only does it seem to rhyme , it also makes sense! Well to me it does ! Should I coypright that saying ?


    The Italian Lover, a virile middle aged Italian gentlemen named Guido was relaxing at his favourite bar in Rome when he managed to attract a spectacular young blond woman. Things progressed to the point where he led her back to his apartment and, after some small talk, they retired to his bedroom where he rattled her senseless.

    After a pleasant interlude, he asked with a smile, “So, you finish?” She paused for a second, frowned, and replied. “No.”

    Surprised, Guido reached for her and the rattling resumed. This time she thrashed about wildly and there were screams of passion. The sex finally ended and, again, Guido smiled and asked, “You finish?”

    Again, after a short pause, she returned his smile, cuddled closer to him and softly said, “No.”

    Stunned, but damned if he was going to leave this woman unsatisfied, Guido reached for the woman yet again. Using the last of his strength, he barely managed it, but they ended together screaming, bucking, clawing and ripping the bed sheets. Exhausted, Guido fell onto his back, gasping. Barely able to turn his head, he looked into her eyes, smiled proudly and asked again, “You finish??

    Barely able to speak, the beautiful blonde whispered in his ear… “No, I Norwegian.”

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