The 2014/15 Season’s 4th Place ‘Trophy’ Battle & The Media Hypocrisy

By Bootoomee

There is nothing new about the media being negatively biased against Arsenal in their reporting of everything that the club does.

If we perform well, we get reluctant praise through gritted teeth, with compulsory caveat about us slipping soon. If we fail to win, especially from a winning position, it is always reported as a kind of calamity.

Jose Mourhino’s almighty Chelsea got dumped out of the FA cup at home from 2 goals up by a third tier team and the Manchester Billionaires also went out 2-0 at home to a 2nd tier team but apart from the well deserved praises that both giant killing teams got, the two most tipped teams to win the Premiership got away with little media criticism.

Neither Mourhino nor Pellegrini got any serious stick for losing to such lowly oppositions. The football press spent all their energy on praising Bradford City (most especially) and Middlesbrough for their feats.

On the other hand, I recall vividly the amount of stick that Arsenal and (more vociferously) Arsene Wenger got for losing 1-0 to Blackburn at the Emirates and via penalties, after a 1-1 draw, to Bradford City in the League cup. I think back to these and I cannot help but wonder how Jose Mourhino got away with it.

While Bradford might get praised to high heavens (and deservedly so), I just can’t see how Arsene Wenger would have received virtually no media blowback for capitulating a 2 goal lead to 2 goal deficit at home to a League 1 team. All hell would have broken loose. The mockery would have been widespread – led or encouraged, sadly, by our own aaa. BTsport would be producing their next pre-season advert using the humiliating footage right now. And so on, and so on.

The English football media have a clear negative bias against Arsenal and their hypocrisy is best epitomised by the coverage of the 4th place battle of this season. This season, the fight for the CL places has been described using positive adjectives. It is “interesting”, it is “competitive”, it is “important”, and achieving it has been described as “vital” while failure to achieve it has been described as “disastrous”. If I just woke up from a coma, I would think they are talking about something else and not the much derided 4th place trophy.

I know you might be wondering: “but what did you expect, the 1st place is already settled”. You would be right except this has been going on even when it was a 2 horse race before Manchester City’s inexplicable implosion.

In the past when it was Arsenal against teams like Tottenham, Everton, Newcastle etc with the Gunners always securing the position, the achievement was ridiculed. Ironically, the other contenders were usually hyped and we got told that pipping us to the CL place would be great for them. As soon as we secure the position though, the story always changed. We get mocked for celebrating a hard fought objective for which we were still unfancied in the last game of the season.

I recall McManaman at Newcastle saying at the beginning of the last game of the 2012/13 season that Tottenham would beat us to the CL place only for him to whine about our players celebrating after they’ve proved him wrong. It is one thing to complain about a team celebrating an achievement that you expect them to BUT how could anyone moan about celebration against a team that had just proven them wrong by achieving that which they said they couldn’t?

This season things have been different. The media have been reporting the fight for the Champions’ League places differently and it easy to see why.

Manchester United came from being champions in 2012/13 season to finishing 7th. They did not build a new stadium. They did not have a mass exodus of players of any kind. They had virtually the same team (+ Juan Mata & Marouane Fellaini). They were still the same financial juggernaut as they were the season before. Nonetheless, the champions dropped 6 places, ended the season trophyless and failed to qualify for any of the European competitions.

What is most interesting about the Man United crisis of last season is that it was caused by the singular most prescribed cause of action for Arsenal: manager replacement. “Wenger Out” is almost a trademarked term invented by the aaa and is frequently used whenever we fail to win (rival fans use it to mock Gooners when we win, exposing the fickleness of many Arsenal fans).

The media latched unto this meme and ran with it. Terms like “he is past it” are frequently used and before the last season FA Cup win, many were certain that Wenger will never win a trophy again. The campaign to have the manager replaced is not subtle and while the hacks may try to blame our delinquent fans, there is no doubt that they were goaded on and given platforms by the media.

Man United replaced Alex Ferguson with David Moyes, a safe choice considering the latter consistently finished around 5th to 7th in the Premiership with a team with considerably less resources. I am not going to bore you with how that ended but one must wonder how quickly things could have fallen apart for us if the Arsenal board had replaced our faithful manager as was being widely prescribed by the whiny faction of our fans and their media enablers.

There is little doubt that football fans are treated like idiots by the media but that is because far too many are stupid crowd following, cliché spouting lemmings. They take their cues from the media and run with it. With Manchester United and Liverpool fighting to get a CL place, all of a sudden it becomes important again. I wonder what they will say if either of Man United or Liverpool get the 4th place at the expense of the other and their players celebrate. Would they be mocked like Arsenal were in 2013?

At the time of writing, Manchester City just lost 2-1 against Crystal Palace to sit in 4th with 7-8 points separating them and the trio of Liverpool, Tottenham and Southampton. Arsenal in 2nd are separated from 7th placed Southampton by 10 points.

While our position is fairly secure, anything can still happen in the remaining games. There could still be lots of drama as the season closes starting from next weekend when 3rd and 4th face off in a derby and battle royale for the 4th place ‘trophy’. A ‘trophy’ that was once derided by the media and rival fans (especially those of Man United) when Arsenal were the only ones consistently fighting for and winning it but which is now being seen by the same Manchester United fans as Arsenal fans do i.e. as an important achievement and one that must be consistently attained for finance purposes but more importantly, for top player recruitment.

It is interesting that as soon as securing 4th became the number one priority of Manchester United and Liverpool, it suddenly becomes important to the media. If they’ll only give credit to the team and manager who have made this achievement a routine now that they’ve come to the realisation that it is indeed a vital one.

I hope that the battle for 4th really goes to the wire and not settled until the last day of the season. Let’s see how the players of whichever team that secures it walk off the pitch and how the media report it should they do what normal people do after last gasp escapes or triumphs.


The books

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63 Replies to “The 2014/15 Season’s 4th Place ‘Trophy’ Battle & The Media Hypocrisy”

  1. You know I’m with you all the way with this Boo.

    One thing that got/gets regularly touted by our detractors is something along the lines of:

    ‘Aiming for a top 4 finish is just not good enough for Arsenal’

    It’s the ‘aiming for’ that riles me.

    At the start of every season, despite our financial handicap, and the fact we often as not had lost our best player, Wenger/Arsenal NEVER ‘aimed’ for a top 4 finish.

    Wenger always said, first and foremost the target was to win the PL. That is what we aimed for.

    Then the CL.

    Then a TOP 4 finish.

    Then the FA Cup.

    Then the League Cup.

    That list, in that order, is exactly how Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool would set out there targets every season.

    Even though, despite accusations to the contrary, we have been competitive in the Premiership at times, we unfortunately have not been good enough to win it. But neither has anyone else other than the 2 ‘OILERS’ and United, the richest Club in the WORLD.

    So, like everyone else other than those 3, we are left to battle it out for the third prize, and that prize is a champions League place, and Arsenal are the only side that have been good enough to achieve that ‘minimum requirement’ year after year after year, and you know what, it just made everyone else sick.

    Now it’s a battle involving not only us, but Liverpool, Man Utd, Spurs, Southampton and possibly even Man City, it’s true worth really comes to the fore.

    As you say, funny that !

    But whatever you do, don’t call it a trophy, and for pity’s sake don’t celebrate it.

  2. “On the other hand, I recall vividly the amount of stick that Arsenal and (more vociferously) Arsene Wenger got for losing 1-0 to Blackburn at the Emirates and via penalties, after a 1-1 draw, to Bradford City in the League cup. I think back to these and I cannot help but wonder how Jose Mourhino got away with it.”

    ” it’s a disgrace for a big team to lose to a team from a lower league”
    ” me and my players must feel ashamed”
    ” frustration is not the right word, embarrassed would be more appropriate ”

    These are some of the things Mourinho said after his defeat to Bradford.
    That’s how you head off any media onslaught after an embarrassing defeat, you give them nowhere to go by being the harshest critic possible.

    If Mourinho ever decides to change his career and become a politician , he could be very successful at it.

    Also , it helps to avoid some criticism after any defeat to a lower leage team , if you win the league last year ( City) or have a winning record the kind Mourinho does.

  3. Bootoomee
    Agree completely with your article and all the comments. We’ll never convince the haters in the media nor the aaa. And we shouldn’t have to; we support a club we can be proud of, year after year. Right now, I’m really enjoying the football. Beautiful, powerful and fluid. The four goals against Liverpool would be hard to top for the pure footballing talent displayed by the scorers. Each one a gem. The run of form we are in and the football on display is the reason I follow the sport. One would be hard pressed to name another club providing this level of play. Certainly not in the PL.

  4. Would love for Manu to be 4th if they are going to get any CL place, see how they do in qualifiers, so City to beat them i hope else a draw.

    We are over the up down cycle of performance, as we need to perform every game now and as long as we perform and focus, we have done all we can.

  5. Tom,

    Mourhino will make a successful politician because unperceptive rubes like you will fall for his childish antics. I used to wonder why people like that get employed into office and then I started meeting people like you and immediately stopped wondering.

    I knew from the moment that Mourhino went to the Bradford dressing room to congratulate the team for his humiliation that the media’s focus will change and people like you will fall for it. Although you hate to hear this but all Jose did was throw the media and people like yourself (who are the vast majority of the public) a gigantic bone. Mourhino said before the game that it will be a disgrace if his team lost to Bradford. He said that because in his eternal arrogance, he believed it was never going to happen. After his team lost, the most PRAGMATIC cause of action is to beat himself up as badly as possible BUT that shouldn’t stop the media from piling on. I know it wouldn’t stop them if it were Arsene Wenger.

    Now, using the slain giants’ past record to absolve them is just cheap cop out which again, says a lot about your reasoning because THAT is precisely why their losses was a huge fucking deal. It’s funny to see you write this on another level because you insinuated here that Arsene Wenger, unlike Mourhino and Pellegrini, has never achieved anything before the losses highlighted in the article.

    I love debating you. You always make me feel smart.

  6. jambug,

    I knew you’ll enjoy this 🙂

    But pal, I HATE it when the 4th place is called a ‘trophy’. My usage here is sarcastic as shown by the inverted comas.

    I disagree with you about celebrating it though. If it’s secured before the last game or you go into it in pole position to secure it in the last game, I don’t think it’s worthy of big celebration BUT if it s nicked on the last day against rivals, I believe the team has every right to celebrate it. It is an important achievement even if not a silverware.

    Celebration, of any kind, is based on expectations and outcome. Look at this 2 contrasting examples:

    1. We won 2-0 at Monaco but didn’t celebrate as we lost due to away goal. Monaco, despite losing on the day, celebrated.

    2. Neither of Schalke or Real Madrid celebrated after the latter was beaten but still went through on superior goals difference.

    These 2 cases can be interpreted in a number of ways but Madrid’s muted celebration is down to the expectation being much greater than the outcome. The reverse is the case for Monaco, hence their celebration.

  7. True this. The likes of Tom will try and justify the criticism aimed at our club versus that aimed at other clubs, but we all know the media would still change their tune even if that were to be the case for Arsenal (having won the league the previous year). In my view having a club worth nearly one billion pounds is even more reason to slaughter said club should they be eliminated out of a cup by minnows. Anyway, let’s use Toms logic for a while, utd were eliminated by mk dons this season but I don’t recall it being such a big deal. Liverpool were eliminated by Northampton two years ago, but again not much was made of it.

    There’s special treatment reserved for Arsenal and their players; be it us getting a 1 nil win (Arsenal were lucky, but if it’s Chelsea or another club they say that’s the mark of champions, ticket prices, transfer of players who we are not even after… The list is endless. It’s got nothing to do with when a team last won something. Rather it’s got everything to do with who you are. Cowardly reporting = biased reporting.

  8. Bootoomee, fantastic stuff, really enjoy your take on things.

    Tom, in short, I think you’re mistaken.

    (In not short) I can only infer you believe there are right and wrong words for Wenger to say to the press. This in turn implies a basic level of reasonableness and trustworthiness from them, and also that there is no strong dislike or bias from them towards Wenger.

    For me there is a staggering amount of evidence that that isn’t true. It could be said that a lot of that evidence of mine is subjective, but, ah, it isn’t.

    The second important point is : do we want a truthful manager, or a game-player? Particularly because of my belief that people are unlikely to be honest in one domain, dishonest in another, alongside my belief that while honesty doesn’t guarantee goodness, it’s well over halfway there, I really really like the club being managed by someone who, in football terms and probably by any reckoning, is a thoroughly honest person.

    Honest, but not stupid. I’m sure he makes all sorts of tactical omissions, and inclusions maybe, but he also clearly seems to have made a conscious decision long ago to continue to answer almost every question he’s asked, and to do so without calculating the effects of it. In the long run, I think it might be a characteristically intelligent move : if every conscious decision we make requires a little bit of energy, while complex calculations take up a fair amount more, that adds up- scheming and worrying about the press and trying to manipulate them- to a lot of energy over the years, all of which can be better spent elsewhere.

    And this is doubly so if it is not in your nature to scheme and manipulate. Once something is established as behaviour, to a degree you no longer have to make decisions in those situations where the behaviour occurs. And so, in the long run Wenger’s otherwise perplexing willingness to co-operate with people who time and again aim to make trouble for him, and abuse the good faith he shows them, makes remarkable sense.

    Ferguson by contrast, I’m pretty sure I heard or more likely read, was in the habit of spending (may have been for an hour) his first part of each day with his press officer reviewing everything that had been said (you can guess for what purposes); while Mourinho reportedly takes an even keener interest in the press, and apparently likes to cultivate a few extra special, close relationships. It may work for them, if Wenger was an entirely different species of man it may, with his intelligence, have worked even better for him, but…f*** that.

    Your final point again brings us around to the respective conditions in which Wenger, Mourinho, Pellegrini, or Ferguson or anyone else managed. The press will ceaselessly zoom in and out- sometimes partially allowing for the fact that each club at each moment has different conditions, and therefore different reasonable expectations; sometimes making no allowances and entering the fiction that such things don’t matter or that our conditions were other than they have been- but that’s the press, in other words that’s a bunch of largely untrustworthy ,in the extreme, characters, and we are free to see it differently.

    Apologies for length of post, but there are things I can’t attempt to say while keeping it short.

    My main point,though, is that it would do him no good, trying to second guess what the press will make of whatever comments he makes, then coming up with the ones he think will earn him the least criticism. Those comments from Mourinho, in the same position, spoken by Wenger, the press would absolutely make hay with them.

    Say, ‘Wenger SLAMS shameful players for disgrace’ ; ‘Embarrassed Wenger sounds like man who has run out of ideas and doesn’t know how to fix things’ ; ‘Sorry Wenger admits to shame and embarassment

  9. Bootoomee

    No need to make it personal. We have done done that already and it’s quite boring to be honest.

    You were wondering why the media didn’t run with the story ( Chelsea losing to Bradford ) and I gave you the reasons why.

    Not much of a debate really.

    As for me , the” unperceptive rube” voting for politicians the sort Mourinho might become – nah, sorry to disappoint , again.

    A actually help putting people like Obama in office ,and proud of it.
    A white, middle aged guy with means ,voting against his financial self interest – yea, unperceptive rube just about sums it up 🙂

  10. As fans we’ll always see/interpret the various media reports through rose tinted glasses and understandably so. IMO, the reason the media has been purportedly anti-Arsenal is that many have been disappointed that we haven’t challenged, considering the quality of player we have had, the style of football we have played and the fact that for a few years we won nought. If we had won as much as Chelsea have over the last decade or even a few baubles like City then I doubt the criticism would have been as vociferous.

    However, until we win the league again the media will always be a bit sceptical and scathing about our results, particularly in the big competitions against the big teams. However, this team is beginning to turn heads and if we can perform well against UTD. & Chelsea and lift the Cup then we could be well on the way to something special.

    Part of the problem is that since we last won something really big the media situation has changed remarkably. Social media and it’s use in everyday life has taken on a life of its own-We’ve had to endure a barren spell right during the advent of the social media storm, thus only exacerbating the situation. Everyone has a say and it’s said “right now”!

    I wouldn’t be concerned about the purported media bias-besides it’s better they’re speaking about us than not at all! Even bad PR is better than NO PR the saying goes.

    In all fairness to the media, we did provide them with lots of ammunition during our barren years and we seemed to back up what they all kept saying. However, now it seems that the tide is turning and Arsene and his charges are moving in the right direction again.

    If we were a club, like the small one down the road, the scenes in 2013 @ Newcastle wouldn’t be derided-however, a lot of the media (Michael Owen aside) would like to & expect us to do better than we have done in recent times & thus their criticism/derision.

  11. Tom,

    Again thanks for making my last point. I read your last comment 3 times and still couldn’t tell what exactly your point is.

    So you voted for Obama (who I love but obviously couldn’t have voted for)? Congratulations on being 1 in 65 million!

    Unless you are a millionaire or billionaire, I don’t see how your vote for a democrat could be one against your interest. On the other hand, if you are indeed a man of “means”, I don’t think you score any brownie points for voting against your interest just so you can flaunt such in an online debate. I urge to vote your interest because that is what I have always done. I think it is the intelligent choice.

    I still think you are rube for falling so easily for Mourhino’s antics.

  12. Bootoomee, Another gem from you. You hit the nail squarely on the head. For years all we heard from the British media that 4th place is is nothing to write home about. They raked us over the coals for celebrating it. But now the media darlings Man. U. and Liverpool are fighting for 4th place it all of a sudden becomes a significant achievement. Total hypocrisy. You were also correct about the media castigating Wenger about losing to lower league opposition and when the very same thing happens to Chelsea the little Portuguese eye-gouging weasel gets a free pass. The media is so full of shit it is dripping out their ears. the Little translator was doing damage control and the stupid media and idiots like Tom fell for it hook, line, and sinker. Everyone who comes to this site knows just what a contradictory little scumbag Tom is like, So the less said about that motherfucking asshole the better.

  13. If we were to win the league this year (or next year) the mantra would be that it means nothing if we don’t repeat. Having said that though there are ways we can be proactive.

    As a schoolteacher I find myself face to face with angry parents from time to time. It doesn’t really matter if I have done something wrong or not, there will be no solution as long as emotions are front and center. After they have vented their spleens, I generally acknowledge one thing…they are the experts on their children and then I ask them how I can help. It’s not a gimmick or treating them as rubes…I am giving them their due and I am showing some humility. I believe the Arsenal FC could do more to defang the critics by acknowledging the fans more. Arsene Wenger’s comments are analytical and aimed at maintaining club harmony but sometimes he might consider aiming his comments at the fan base. I don’t remember too many public apologies for our poor performances. That is not to say that players should be thrown under the bus or that the club should let the fans run things but there could be more fan outreach.

    As for Tom’s comments on Jose…some of what he said makes sense. Give Jose his due – he may be a hypocrite (or not) but he understands la grande geste.

  14. Cheers Boo, another good article,the BS of the press towards AFC and AW has been amazing, only too glad that people like you and Tony and Walter and the many Untold posters have been writing about and exposing it for the crepe it be.As always I love your passion.

  15. GoingGoingGooner,

    Did you just ask that the Arsenal make “public apologies for our poor performances”?


    No, seriously I really want to know why they should and what good the public apology will do you as an Arsenal fan and Arsenal itself as a football club.

  16. Great article

    ” I cannot help but wonder how Jose Mourhino got away with it.”

    He’s friendly with the same Apecial Agent who many hacky slappers work for as advertisers? He is in fact a specialist in signing overpriced tat from te special agent. Like others. City, for example. Money to burn?
    That’d help explain the volume of transfer tittle tattle and gibberish as well , the lack of any decent talk or coverage of the actual football? Possibly.

  17. A good article Bootoomee and a very timely one. The media really are going overboard with their new “eureka moment” – the discovery of the importance of 4th position and hence CL qualification. As you correctly point out, 4th is important this year but not so important in previous years.

    Poor Tom, he wants to disagree but can’t really decide how to do so, perhaps he needs some Brickfield jokes on indecision.

  18. Great points put forward, Arsene has truly worked miracles in keeping Arsenal consistent in a top 4 finish with all the problems we’ve had from finances, top players leaving etc; now the joke has become reality for other team, long may the phoenix keep rising… COYG!!!

  19. Bootoomee
    What is with us Arsenal fans and the perennial siege mentality! I have said this before and will say it again- we are not singled out by the media for criticism. You keep recycling this so called ‘media agenda’ against us- taking any evidence that supports that claim, and ignoring any that contradicts it. It’s called confirmation bias.

    The media thrives on negativity- wherever they can find it. So when Arsenal went 8 seasons without a trophy, they preyed on us. Man City?- look how the media have changed tack from ‘a squad capable of fielding two full strength BPL elevens’ to ‘an ageing squad that can’t break down resolute defences’. They were certainly criticised after Boro, for returning late from Abu Dhabi, not prioritising the Cup etc. That last accusation was levelled against Wenger as well after Blackburn (for benching Walcott and Wilshere). The media live in the moment, plain and simple- and they lose all sense of perspective, and all analysis gets thrown out. But that loss of perspective is not solely directed at Arsenal. You, as an Arsenal fan, were bound to read more about Arsenal as compared to other clubs and over the last decade, a lot of crap was written about us. So it’s only natural that you might tend to think that we are under attack.

    You spoke about the fourth place suddenly being a ‘trophy’. True, the media were probably bored of Arsenal continually finishing there quite often. This season may have piqued their interests a little bit more due to the fact that Arsenal are probably not involved in it. They justify the boredom by insisting that ‘Arsenal should achieve more’- that is where they lose perspective sometimes without mentioning the costs of the stadium etc. That is not to say we haven’t got praise- even Gary Neville spoke well about how we handled it over the past decade. And he wasn’t by any means alone, there were plenty of people who did the same. But was that the prevailing view?- certainly not, a trophy-less Arsenal was way more interesting than an Arsenal managing their financial constraints well and qualifying for the Champions League.

    Please do not include the nonsense emanating from the fickle section of our fan-base as an evidence for the supposed media backlash. Arsenal are probably unique in that way- how some sections resort to ‘Wenger Out’ every time we lose/draw. That amplifies the stick that Arsenal and Wenger get, yes- but can we blame the media for the mess that some of our own fans create?

    And just like how surprised you are about Going Going Gooner demanding an apology from Arsenal for ‘poor performances’, I am surprised at how some of the posters here frequently demand apologies from the media. The media should apologise if they report false information as facts and wilfully print defamatory material intended to hurt- and while they do they that a lot otherwise, the stuff that you have mentioned does not go there. You can’t ask them for being sorry for having an opinion, however misguided that opinion might be.

  20. Jerry,

    Where is Jamie Carragher’s article expressing outrage at that picture? Where I ask and what is taking him so long?

  21. hrishi,

    Your long (almost article length) comment in 2 short sentences:

    1. The media is not the problem, Arsenal is.

    2. Untolders are paranoid media blamers who wouldn’t hold Arsenal’s feet to the fire.

    These are opinions just as my article is but your anger at my charge of hypocrisy at the media (whether you agree with me or not) is troubling. And most vitally, if you are this outraged by charges of bias and hypocrisy against the media I must wonder why you come to Untold because this is what we do. We call out the media for their biases against us and the general hypocrisy in their coverage of the game.

    I am sorry if the article upsets you so much but honestly, you are not my target audience. Apologies for the time you lost reading and composing your verbose retort.

    Here is an idea: maybe you should write and send an article to Tony, detailing those evidences you claimed to have against the notion of the media being biased against Arsenal. Contrary to the caricature of the site that Untold critics so love to paint, Tony will publish your article as he has on many occasions with those who don’t necessarily agree with Untold. Why not give it a try as the world clearly needs to hear what you have to say.

  22. @hrishi,
    In your post, you state “The media should apologise if they report false information as facts and wilfully print defamatory material intended to hurt.”

    Do you not read what the media prints about Arsenal and Arsene Wenger? The first articles were titled Arsene Who? trying to deride the manager and the club.

    I agree with your perspective on the influence of social media, but disagree with your view that when we win the league again, the media will suddenly change their view. The media will just change the goal posts: First it was Arsenal can not win a trophy (we win 1), then it’s been 10 yrs since we won the league (we’ll win soon), then it’ll be we haven’t ever won Champions League.

    In our barren years (05/06-2014), Chelsea had a transfer NET SPEND of £365 Million, Arsenal had a NET PROFIT of £1 Million. That is an incredible disadvantage for the team to overcome and for the media/aaa to not consider in context.

  23. The transfer numbers were from for those wondering where my transfer numbers came from

  24. Top work Boo. The hypocrisy is breath-taking but it was always going to be like that this season once Man U needed to re-join the top table. Apparently being second doesn’t count for anything this season because we have never properly challenged for the title, so should we stay second and fail to win the FA Cup this season will be seen as regression rather than progress. I think Orwell had something to say about all of this.

  25. Starting lineup for augmented Arsenal U21 versus Stoke U21 (according to Daily Mail)

    Iliev, Maitland-Niles, O’Connor, Bielik, Ormonde-Ottewill, Diaby, Arteta, Gnabry, Wilshere, Crowley, Iwobi

  26. ‘If we perform well, we get reluctant praise through gritted teeth, with compulsory caveat about us slipping soon’ oh my God I keep it saying it on here but it’s so nice to know that i’m not alone in noticing that. Feels like Arsenal are the pretty girl/handsome guy in the college that most others seem to hate. Amazing because I think if you really really love FOOTBALL then Arsenal under Wenger should be a joy to behold not to begrudge. Crazy.

  27. Sorry me again just finished reading the article and comments… Great article and great comments (aside from the siege-mentality one, all I will say is we are CLEARLY targeted unfairly in terms of getting bad press)! Top form all over 🙂

  28. This article was my belief a few months ago but I changed my views a little when I tried to find out why the media/pundits were constantly negative towards Arsenal….Just in case anyone still doubts if this is the case, or if such views are only present on Untold, here is an article from Dalglish or this old one from Roy Keane

    Some writers, use the negative stories as click baits. Any crisis or negative article about Arsenal surely gets a lot more clicks than similar stories about other clubs. At the time of writing, this article about Man City losing to Palace only has 99 comments ( If this was about Arsenal, it would have been in the hundreds

    Then there is a fight for relevance from Liverpool ex players. You will hardly find an ex Liverpool player (especially the recent ex players) being positive about Arsenal. Seems Carragher and Owen are trying so hard to earn their stripes. They just can’t stand the way the club is run plus how the club built Emirates while at the same time finishing top 4 each season without spending £100m in one season.

    Some are jealous of Wenger and his football philosophy, so they beat him with the stick each time we lose, win ugly or draw.

    Eventually, we get our revenge when they are proven wrong. Luckily, neither the board nor Wenger are affected by the negativity.

  29. Not that Arsenal FC need to make public apologies but that the players and the coach could. Personally, I don’t need it but it doesn’t hurt to talk directly to your fans and say something – to take ownership of a poor performance or conversely of a good performance. It is the difference between using a passive verb and an active verb. If the team played poorly and knows it, it certainly doesn’t hurt them to talk to their fans and say that they will do better next time. At the very least it gives the impression that the relationship between the players and the fans is not one-way.

  30. The subs are Huddart, Pleguezuelo, Dobson, Zelalem and Mavididi.

    At half time, it looks like Iwobi is trying to teach the “newcomers” where the goal is.

    3 – Diaby shoots over bar from distance.

    5 – Iliev saves close shot from Ricketts-Hopkinson.

    8 – Iliev redirects R-H cross to Shenton, scores 0-1 to Stoke.

    12 – Wilshere over cross bar with 20 yard free kick.

    19 – Wilshere to Gnabry to Diaby, who is tackled in the box.

    23 – Gnabry forces good reaction save.

    24 – Iwobi drives in, heats 2 defenders and scores 1-1.

    28 – Gnabry misses O’Conner with a cross.

    31 – Gnabry collect ball, passes to Diaby who shoots over.

    39 – Gnabry and Diaby feed Iwobi, who shoots wide.

    42 – Diaby gets ball to Iwobi who scores 2-1 to the Arsenal.

  31. @ Bootoomee…

    That was a proper boo to the media from you. OK…that was a pathetic joke. Brickfields waiting for some good ones from you.

    Now that Man City occupy the 4th place, suddenly 4th place finish has been termed as an important achievement for any club with an ambition to win the title the following season. Now thats hypocrisy of the highest order.

    Mr Wenger never said 4th place was a trophy, as the media wants us to believe. He said that his priorities of the trophies are 1PL, 2 CL, 3 top4 finish, 4facup, 5 league cup. Its crystal clear isn’t it. Top 4is not the aim. But bare minimum. And has more weight than fa cup or league cup. If ARSENAL considers not finishing top 4 as equal to relegation, then its not something to he laughed at. Its something we should be proud of. The standards are set that high. No margin for errors.

    I hope both the media darlings ManUtd and Liverpool don’t make the top 4. And also hope Chelsea crash gloriously and we do the double…..

    Will be such a laugh. Such a laugh. For a side that was expected to slip out of the top 4 spot…..

    Go gunners, fight hard. To the end.

  32. yea Bootoomee, I once asked if Hrishi works for the Daily Mail. Or perhaps scrapes the web for BBC football’s gossip column. He seems to have the kind of slippery approach that comes with practicing impartiality.

  33. GoingGoingGooner,

    Thanks for your response.

    You wrote:

    “Personally, I don’t need it but it doesn’t hurt to talk directly to your fans and say something – to take ownership of a poor performance or conversely of a good performance.”

    There are 3 possible outcomes of every football game (2 in knockout games): Win, lose or draw. As Bradford City and Middlesborough showed us against Chelsea and Man City respectively, these outcomes are ALWAYS possible irrespective of the opposition.

    Now, why should the club apologise for getting one of the 3 possible results from matches? What is scandalous about losing a game, any game that will require “public apologies”? The demand that people make for apologies for all sorts of flimsy reason nowadays insult people who are actually being offended. You know people who suffer from genuine discrimination, people who are under genuine repression, people under brutal dictatorships?

    The team that you support just lost a big match….so bloody what? You want an apology for that? Get a grip! Arsenal is more successful than 99% of the football teams in the country. What should these other clubs be doing – get a permanent time slot on TV for their public apology broadcasts?

    I have really tried GoingGoingGooner, but I just cannot understand why any club (but Arsenal in particular) should ever apologise for poor performances (which is a euphemism for not winning). It is interesting to know that you don’t “personally need” the apology yourself. That says it all now doesn’t it?

  34. Arsenal 13
    The ideal scenario would be for both Liverpool and Manchester United not to make it in the top 4. But that’s not going to be possible as who would take 4th spot. Southampton would be the preferred choice but highly unlikely.

    As others have already pointed out, whatever Arsenal achieve becomes less important. When we won the FA cup it suddenly became a third rate trophy. The day we win the CL it’ll suddenly become necessary for a team to win it more than once before they can be deemed worthy winners. Does anyone honestly think Michael Owen would say sterling is better than di Maria? No way, otherwise he’d lose his job. But he was adamant sterling is better than Ozil. If you ask me that’s not a statement he actually believes in, but one he made thinking it’ll give him another 15 seconds of fame. Just like how Barton tried to say Sanchez was just a flat track bully. Ditto Scholes. Are Ozil and Sanchez some of the worst performers in the league, absolutely not. These guys know that to get media mileage they have to attack Arsenal and their players. Noone will say hang on, let’s examine this statement, they’ll just run and rerun the same story over and over. And then you hear Tom saying there’s no media bias….

  35. Bootoomee
    Do you seriously think that I was outraged or upset?! If, by any chance, it came out that way, let me set that straight- not outraged or upset, just amused- at both the media and your reaction.

    I would have liked to summarise the post the way you did- succinctly. I, however, disagree with the contents of the summary:
    Media not the problem?- What would ‘lack of perspective’ and ‘living in the moment’ suggest?- the media are a problem, just not Arsenal’s alone.
    Arsenal is the problem?- Where did I hint at that?
    Paranoid Untolders- I will give you the benefit here- my ‘siege mentality’ comment could have been extended to arrive at that. Even so, let me clarify that I meant no such thing. Just a thought that the supposed agenda is a natural by-product of our annoyance at the media’s shallowness. I suggested a probable cause for the reinforcement of that bias as well- confirmation bias.

    I can’t contest the verbosity accusation but about me not being your targetted audience- seriously? Are you targetting an opinionated article only at the ones who are going to say- ‘Totally agree with you! Well done- keep up the good work’? Is that consistent with the spirit of this site?- You also seem to suggest that I would subscribe to the view that this site stifles debate. I would do no such thing, though your response would necessitate a rethink.

    ‘Arsene Who’ is an example of how short-sighted the media can be. Get the most catchy soundbite, throw all analysis out of the window and print it. That gets people to read it. That said, was it defamatory?- hardly.

  36. The games is over, with Iwobi continuing to lead the way.

    48 – Ward (Stoke) shoots, but Iliev saves the 25 yd free kick.

    54 – Cohan shoots wide.

    64 – Mavididi shoots from close range.

    68 R-H (Stoke) shoots over Iliev from close range.

    73 – Mavididi converts rebound from Wilshere volley for 3-1 to the Arsenal.

    76 – Shenton wide from 10 yd.

    80 – Mavididi shoots, keeper saves.

    90 Iwobi races into box and chips keeper to score, 4-1 to the Arsenal.

    Game over.

    As near as I can tell, successful game for Arsenal. Iwobi gets the hat trick, and Wilshere, Arteta, Diaby and Gnabry get 90 minutes in. As near as I can tell anyway.

  37. Bootoomee,

    Thank you for the invitation! Not there yet though- I prefer commenting in shorter bursts for now. Know what you’re thinking- my posts, though long (and verbose ;)) , are not article length yet. Taking your article as a standard, my posts ought to be two and a half times longer to measure up…

  38. As all UA faithful know, the media start from the concept that Arsenal is only as good as their worst game so with that as a philosophical backdrop, it should come as no surprise that the media excoriate AFC at the drop of a point or two,three!
    How anyone can claim that we are suffering from a siege mentality or that the media treats all clubs equitably is impossibly blinkered and in total denial. UA has repeatedly shown that AFC are treated differently than other clubs with regards to officiating, media treatments, the FA and even EUFA on occasion. That said, at least EUFA regards Arsenal as the model all other clubs should follow financially speaking.

  39. @hrishi,
    Do you honestly believe that Arsenal and Arsene do not get more defamatory articles than other big clubs? Defamatory = damaging the good reputation of someone

    For example after the Liverpool game, the Independent runs an article yesterday claiming the players are at fault, not Brendan Rodgers’ tactics.

    In November, the Independent runs an article stating that Arsenal coaches and staff are concerned about Wenger’s defensive tactics, while ignoring Steve Bould, yet no names beside Merson and Wright’s opinions.

    Can you name Mourinho’s or Brendan Rodgers’ assistants without a Google search? Yet, everyone knows Arsene Wenger’s due to the many articles claiming he doesn’t do tactics or listen to his assistant manager.

    Even after last year’s 5-1 loss, the Independent ran an article listing Liverpool’s biggest wins over Arsenal. Many of the articles try to damage Arsenal’s and especially Wenger’s reputation. Yet the same criticism does not apply to Liverpool, Chelsea, or the Manchester teams

  40. @Jerry,
    The way you use ‘defamatory’, just about anything could be qualified as defamatory. The Independent article ‘defamed’ Liverpool players then. By the way, the article was a statement from Rodgers saying that his players were to blame- predictably twisted of course. And right now, some in the media are criticising him for the dressing room unrest at Liverpool.
    No, I cannot name Liverpool’s or Chelsea’s assistants- that’s probably because I am an Arsenal fan, and not a fan of Liverpool/Chelsea. Sweeping generalisations from a narrow perspective…
    And the article after 5-1?- That’s as routine as it could get after a 5-1.

  41. Jerry,

    BTsport produced adverts showing ONLY Arsenal losses with rival managers chuckling about our humiliation. When did you last heard anyone in the media mention the last time Liverpool won the league? When Wenger’s successes can no longer be ignored, he get pseudo praises overloaded with caveats of his failings. What has Brendan Rodgers ever achieved in the game to get him so much latitude, the sort that the far more successful and distinguished Arsene Wenger is never accorded?

    We know what we see every day in the media. Those who see things differently can catalogue their different experiences and enlighten us using a broader platform. The problem with centrism and eternal quest for impartiality and the middle ground is that the proponents soon make it the end in itself rather than a means to an end that it is.

  42. @hrishi,

    So you’re basically saying many of the articles that have been written about Arsene Wenger criticizing his tactics, his ability to manage Arsenal, his selection of players, his defense of players, the mindset of the team, etc… are not defamatory? What do you consider defamatory then?

    Yet many of his colleagues do not receive the same criticism as Arsene Wenger.

  43. “Now, why should the club apologise for getting one of the 3 possible results from matches? What is scandalous about losing a game, any game that will require “public apologies”? The demand that people make for apologies for all sorts of flimsy reason nowadays insult people who are actually being offended. You know people who suffer from genuine discrimination, people who are under genuine repression, people under brutal dictatorships?

    The team that you support just lost a big match….so bloody what? You want an apology for that? Get a grip! Arsenal is more successful than 99% of the football teams in the country. What should these other clubs be doing – get a permanent time slot on TV for their public apology broadcasts?

    I have really tried GoingGoingGooner, but I just cannot understand why any club (but Arsenal in particular) should ever apologise for poor performances (which is a euphemism for not winning). It is interesting to know that you don’t “personally need” the apology yourself. That says it all now doesn’t it?”


    I believe you have misunderstood my comments.

    When I taught in Germany our head teacher was an incredibly cerebral man. We would have the best bun fights about things. I consider him a friend and I will always think of him as a top notch educator. However, one of my colleagues – Suzy (from Sheffield) heartily detested him. She would literally scream in frustration during staff meetings. David was unable to meet her needs because he kept trying to explain things to her when that was not what she needed. She needed to be heard and valued. Perhaps nothing needed to be done beyond showing that he listened. I don’t think she was stupid per se but she communicated on an emotional level.

    Many of our supporters do not communicate analytically. Perhaps what they need is a big fat hug (sarcasm intended). I can’t really relate but I get it that that is what some people need. That is what I mean when I say that personal outreach from Arsène Wenger and perhaps some players to meet the needs of this segment of our support base may be needed. Would it be an apology after a particularly crappy display…yes, perhaps, or perhaps another way of showing that they are heard and understood. Note, I wouldn’t apologize after every loss, particularly not those caused by refereeing disasters, but after a particularly poor display – and the players know whether they have played well or not.

    I am no fan of Jose Mourinho. I will condemn him for poking someone in the eye but it is a bit beyond the pale to fix every evil known to mankind to him. I don’t know the man personally but I would say that he probably has some good qualities and these are picked up by the players that play for him. It seems to me that it wouldn’t hurt us to emulate some of the good things he does and not be so stiff-necked in our self-righteousness that we ignore that which is good in what he does.

  44. The manager a while ago revealed dt he patronizes MOTD so as 2 knw ao his team is perceived bt is discouraged and even prefers “to watch the programme with the Volume switched off” coz their criticism seems channeled 2wds hurting him, d players n d club.
    At the beginning of d season, he revealed dt we were out in d market looking 4 a Centre back, but will not coz of necessity settle for mediocrity n wastage of funds. The press n d aaa neva seem to consider dis in their continues nagging dt dt decision cost us the league. According 2 dem if Wenger had got d extra defender, we’ll av bn closer 2 d title if not already ours 2 loose. However, they r still of d “opined-fact” dat Arsene is not d one 2 take us 2 d next level.
    To buttress Bootoomee’s point abt unfair criticism n extreme bias of d media 2wds Arsenal, I somtyms imagine wat wud’ve bn d narrative had Arsene got Gabriel earlier but due 2 injuries n bedding in of new players, n post-world cup stress resulted in us being where d Tiny totts or scousers are-imagine d calamity.
    I dnt envy those journalist, more so d aaa, their emotions n perspective is one hell of a wreck.
    There has bn so much beauty dis season 2 cover up 4 d disappointments. Not surprised dey cannot c it, talk less of feel it. Gunners Forever

  45. Bill from Manhattan – Dude I love your turn of phrase!!

    Boo – excellent post.

    Whilst I was in India I noticed the commentators & cameras always picked on Wenger having problems with his zip on his coat. Apparently that has not been the case here in UK or has it?

    hrishi – you try to sparkle like a cowpat in a rainstorm.

    Bias is very much a part of media position. Arsenal draw more than their fair share. Untolders know that & ensure a post to balance truth.

  46. @Bootoomee,

    I agree completely, the BBC advert of Arsenal losses is another great example of media bias. I feel the standards are so low when these “journalists” write about Arsenal compared to other big clubs that many people can’t even distinguish between what is normal standard commentary and what is defamatory. Another example is the constant reminder of the “specialist in failure” comment every chance the media gets. Yet the media conveniently forget only 1 of those 2 managers actually won a trophy last year (and it wasn’t the eye poking, conceited one).

  47. @Hrishi

    I disagree strongly with your belief we have it no worse than others from the media, but I thought you made your points well there.

    Easier for me to say, because it was not my opinions you were disagreeing with (not directly anyway), but I don’t think you resorted to any cheap shots (maybe you did- again, if it was me, I’d be more sure, and would re-read it before responding), and I think you made the argument- that Bootoomee, and those who fully agree with him, are wrong- well, and as well as it can be made.

    Confirmation bias in particular is a a strong point. I wonder about it myself (if only occasionally), though I can at least partially refute it…by confessing to having, in recent years, read about all clubs way more (Rui Faria is one of Jose’s main lieutenants- I like to think of him as Rui Paul- and I’d recognise the name of his fellow gits if I saw them) than someone making exceptionally good use of their time could manage

    It’s true that when a manager is actually dead meat-i.e very close to being sacked- the media here can be absolutely savage, with cheap shots galore, no mercy and little restraint, but typically it is only then, and in fact even then it is only foreign managers who are likely to come in for the treatment.

    Villas-Boas last year. Ouch. Once he was in deep trouble, they went after him in a way which immediately brought to my mind the viciousness, massively exaggerated (negative) selectivity and disrespect I usually only see them use on Wenger. But, if I remember correctly, this coincided with the same manager making a stand against them.

    Interestingly there was, though you’d never know it now, a period when the more repellant aspects of Mourinho’s behaviour came in for a lot of stick here- even though he hadn’t changed whatsoever and was merely behaving the same way he always had, when they were lauding him- this was in the Inter years, I think, maybe the Real ones too. All of which is very easy to explain once you realise how much of football journalism is ruled by power and self-interest. If you have a powerful manager who can and will hurt you, you tend to tread carefully. Also, there is a sizeable element of the sports press who simply worship power.

    I see plenty of scope in my arguments for comebacks- for instance,isn’t Wenger powerful? why aren’t they respectful and afraid of him?,etc- but I’d better leave it there.

    The great Wenger media hate-fest, if it exists (which it does), cannot be attributed to any one thing; ultra personal as it seems, it can probably be explained by a number of general media tendencies, some of which I believe you mentioned, some I did : he’s a foreigner; they take a simplistic view of things, and thanks to that simplistic view, their dead-meat tendencies (or rather dead-foreigner-meat tendencies), have been activated -by a club falling from perennially winning or coming close to winning the title, to a level below that- only to be thwarted by Wenger time and again rallying, and the collapse they are so desperate for not occurring, bringing ego into it (once they have slammed a manager’s ability, success for that manager makes them look wrong and foolish; they do not enjoy that, and become more eager for him to fail, and the next time they get a chance their criticism is even stronger- but still they don’t get their wish; and on and on into the farcical territory of one Adrian Durham).

    Normally they judge it well, and don’t go into kill mode when a manager has a good chance of surviving, especially not when he has any real chance of turning things around and winning big prizes again; but, for many reasons (their total enthralment to the power of an immensely powerful and ruthless rival being one), they went for him early, and there is almost no precedent for a manager still being there doing his stuff a year, let alone a decade, after they’ve done so. Hence the often absurd treatment of Wenger and Arsenal. We’re in unchartered territory.

    In the end, Wenger is quite possibly unique: great managers do not tend to stick around when conditions- money, really- become adverse. With their stock high, they move elsewhere, wherever will give them the best chance of winning and preserving their status (most great managers score highly for egotism). And great managers also probably tend to be bastards, who will use their power to maximum effect against anyone, including newspapers. These and yet more factors are what accounts for the unique treatment of Wenger from the press here.

  48. Rich

    No , I wasn’t implying Arsene Wenger should’ve said the same things Mourinho said after Chelsea defeat to Bradford City. I quoted the whole paragraph from Bootoomee’s article because quoting only the last sentence, where he says he wonders how Mourinho pulled it off, would’ve been confusing.

    I actually agree with you that Wenger is above any gamesmanship and all his answers are as genuine as can be.

    Besides , what works for Chelsea and Mourinho , in all likelihood wouldn’t work for Arsenal.

    Any harsh words spoken publicly about his players would’ve done more harm then good, such fragile was their state of mind after those defeats to Blackburn, Bradford City or even Birmingham city in the League cup final.

    I am in total agreement with you.

  49. ” Everyone who comes to this site knows just what a contradictory little scumbag Tom is like, So the less said about that motherfucking asshole the better.”

    Great to see you are still at it Bill.
    I truly am sorry about your small penis and or erectile disfunction causing you so much anger that you fell urges to do physical harm to bloggers you disagree with( Le grove).

    Keep venting.

  50. Rich,
    I think that the key phrase in your post is ‘uncharted territory’. Wenger is certainly targetted quite unfairly at times. They don’t feel the need to mention circumstances when they criticise. Had it been any other club in Arsenal’s shoes, would the situation have been different?- Hard to answer that definitively, but I think the answer is no. Immediate success is perched highest in the list of the media’s priorities and for them, finishing fourth (or third) in a competitive league despite constraints is just not exciting enough for them. Another thing that the media loves is ‘change’ and ‘variety’. The stick that we got was because we, in their eyes, had both boxes unchecked.

    I sometimes feel that had Arsenal dropped out of the Champions League in between and then come back into it, things could have been different with the media. That is precisely why fourth place for ManU seems ok for them now. You see the total loss of logic in their thinking there. Had Arsenal dropped out of the Champions League, the task would have been doubly harder. We did not- we ensured a constant stream of significant revenue that was vital for our financial health. Wenger’s biggest mistake, then, was to have over-achieved. The negligible value that they place on consistency and long-term vision is shocking.

    Great clubs and great managers get criticised all the time. The circumstances that make them vulnerable to criticism are unique. You mentioned Mourinho and Villas Boas. Take Barcelona after their humiliation at Bayern’s hands. The internet was full of ‘7up’ memes and the ever myopic media cashed in, calling them boring, predictable and fragile. Or Guardiola after Bayern’s UCL loss to Real Madrid. Or Rodgers at the beginning of the season. We are not alone.

  51. Say what ?

    Wonderful misusage of English from Around the World

    In a Bangkok Temple:

    Cocktail Lounge, Norway:

    Doctor’s Office, Rome:

    Dry Cleaners, Bangkok:

    A Nairobi Restaurant:

    On the main road to Mombasa, leaving Nairobi:

    On a poster at Kencom:

    In a City restaurant:

    In a Cemetery:

    Tokyo hotel’s rules and regulations:

    On the menu of a Swiss Restaurant:

    In a Tokyo Bar:

    Hotel, Yugoslavia:

    Hotel, Japan:

    In the lobby of a Moscow Hotel, across from a Russian Orthodox Monastery:

    A sign posted in Germany’s Black Forest:

    Hotel, Zurich:

    Advertisement for donkey rides, Thailand:

    Airline ticket office, Copenhagen:

    A Laundry in Rome:

    And finally, the all time classic, Seen in an Abu Dhabi Souk shop window:

  52. In truth , I feel all icky whenever those slimy media persons seem to drool all over us and seem to be kow- towing to us of late .
    That commentator at the Liverpool game seemed to have bouts of paroxysmal verbal orgasms each time we scored. I was expecting jizz to shoot right out of my tv !
    Was he smoking something ?

  53. Great article Bootoome.
    Anybody who doesn’t believe there is a media bias against Arseanal is deluded and I don’t think its the medias job to get “tired” with “Arsenal underachievement”, especially when that under achievement affords them the best hospitality in the EPL, but worse to me are Arsenal “fans” who think its as easy as playing Championship Manager, buy this player, get that manager ( invariably these guys go bankrupt in the game 1st season).
    Ask 14 other teams supporters in the EPL what success is.
    If Wenger had used words like disgraceful or ashamed when losing to a lower league team the media would have said he was being disrespectful, Nuff said!!

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