The French agree, the British journalists are after Arsenal

It has been a regular theme here that British football journalists make up stories morning, noon and night. I say that because in an earlier life I worked as a journalist.

During this time I worked for a year in Algiers where the main source of news for me was the French papers. From day one I was surprised how very different the French media were in reporting football. Instead of making it up day by day they actually tried to make sense of the stories, and to a far greater degree than the British.

This wasn’t just an issue of degree – this was a wholesale difference. Instead of talk about crisis, meltdown and the like, they would deliver reasoned argument and debate.

I haven’t thought of this difference for a while – until Manu Petite spoke up about what the British press had done to Gallas. This was followed by an article in Aujourd’hui Sport in which it was commented on the way the British press had gone out of their way to attack and destroy the credibility of William Gallas.

The British press, where they have picked up on this reasoned commentary, have treated it with their typical “silly Frenchy” approach, and laughed it off, but for me, the story is certainly true. At the very least it deserves a reasoned answer. None has been forthcoming.

It is not that the press are in essence anti-Arsenal, they are anti-French, and because Arsenal has a French manager and he chooses to employ a significant number of French players, the media looks for every way to boost their standard strategy of showing that there is something odd about the French.

This has been there for a long time – remember the way they treated Anelka? Or the way they treated Pires with the accusations of diving? Or the way they handled Vieira with the endless talking about his cards rather than his performances. Only Henry escaped – until they hit on the idea that Henry was a second rate player because he couldn’t hack it on the European stage.

And when that started to falter, they had a go at saying every few seconds that he would leave.

If that is not enough proof, think also of the way Wenger is treated, and compare that with Ferguson. He won’t speak to most papers, and never to the BBC, but he is treated with respect, while they run stories about Wenger not seeing things etc etc.

3 Replies to “The French agree, the British journalists are after Arsenal”

  1. Couldn’t agree more. And they just won’t let up on Gallas until he is hounded out of the country. Now they are putting critical words in Gael Clichy’s mouth, which I don’t believe he said, based on his interview on Tuesday. To make it worse it’s not just the media, it’s also the bloggers who jump on it and treat it as gospel because it fits their personal agenda.

  2. Tony
    Spot on, certainly with regard to print journalists. I am not a journalist, but some of my friends are and this fits perfectly with what they have told me about their time working in newspapers.
    “think also of the way Wenger is treated, and compare that with Ferguson. He won’t speak to most papers, and never to the BBC, but he is treated with respect, while they run stories about Wenger not seeing things etc etc.”
    And you can add to that that he is always polite and open – always tries to give an honest answer unless it would damage the club or the team or a player.

    @don’t believe the hype
    Clichy’s comments do sound real to me, especially if they were originally made in French to a French publication. Although they may be selective quotes, as you say. In any case, they are almost certainly over a week old – the reason I think that is because magazines have a longer lead time than newspapers and because what he said is a description of how the rest of the squad felt * at the time *. There is no reason to think that the team have not begun to move on – Tuesday was a team performance and comments made just before and after that game support that impression. As Tony says, it is the newspapers’ timing of the repeat publication which makes it look as if Gael is opening old wounds. Some will say Clichy shouldn’t even have said publicly how he/they felt, which is a fair criticism, but sometimes it doesn’t hurt to be honest.

  3. Thanks for that clarification Fungunner – I didn’t realise the comments were from a magazine – I saw them online and they were not attributed, so they could easily have been made up and poetic license was no doubt used in the translation to give it a critical slant.

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