In the war on Arsenal, the Telegraph is not giving up.

By Tony Attwood, with thanks to Nick the Gooner


Maybe it is to hide the embarrassment of their total cock-up in failing to cover John Henry’s revelations about how he lied concerning the Suarez transfer, or maybe they think there is good readership to be had by knocking Arsenal day upon day, but whatever the Telegraph continue to dig themselves into the deepest of holes with the drive to make themselves the house paper of the anti-Arsenal movement.

This latest scattergun approach started by denouncing Wilshere’s leading of the chant that anyone who attends an Arsenal match will hear.  Their headline about Arsenal’s FA Cup victory being overshadowed by the affair was only exceeded by the subsequent, “Jack Wilshere’s foul-mouthed rant spoil north London celebrations after Arsenal retain the FA Cup.”

Now we have, “Two goals for midfielder shows Hodgson, not Wenger, has discovered the ideal place to play the Arsenal man” as if every match is the same, as if the England squad is equal to Arsenal’s.

While the Guardian retain a semblance of order with “Wilshere’s stunning double” and the follow up line including “Jack Wilshere fired in two brilliant second-half goals in the Euro 2016 qualifier,” the Telegraph seems to be fighting its own war on the club.
I was reminded of the Telegraph’s remourceless and indeed increasingly fanatical approach to Arsenal by our regular reader and correspondent Nick the Gooner who pointed me back to an earlier Telegraph rant (and this, unlike Wilshere’s chant leading really is a rant) in which Jonathan Liew has yet another bash at the club.
Liew is the man who recently said
Look, if you want to skip this article and go on to the next, then I can hardly blame you. After all, what is there left to say about Arsenal? Along with Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, they are London’s longest-running show, a production that keeps turning out season after season, even though everybody already knows the ending. The butler did it, and Arsenal finish fourth.

In a more recent post Mr Liew considered teams who have played in at least three of the last five Premier League seasons, including the current season and compared their number of fouls, yellow cards, red cards and penalties. From this he concluded Arsenal don’t commit too many fouls, but when they do, it’s generally a pretty big deal, “which fits the impression of Arsenal as the sort of team who defend with one hand covering their eyes”.

As I noted at the time this of course only works if referees treat each team the same.  But there is no supporting evidence to show this is the case, but a lot of evidence to suggest this is not the case.   By refusing to recognise the assumption he has made without evidence (and of course the writer won’t admit it because to do so would invalidate this entire thesis), he tries to pretend that the growing number of people challenging the situation among PGMO refs are just wild ravers without any stats, while he is the man in the know.  It is of course, the reverse.

Now, he’s been back – Jonathan Liew that is – with this

Diaby is the player who best sums up the last nine years at Arsenal, which is a strange thing to say because he was there for so little of it.

The Diaby years have also been the Bendtner years and the Almunia years and the Andre Santos years, but no player has quite expressed the beauty and the curse of late-Wenger Arsenal like he did: a man trapped in the bubble of his own unfulfilled talent, a hostage of his own misfortune, and yet the very embodiment of a heartbreaking and fundamentally human optimism.

Just as Wenger would always meet the camera with an inscrutable smile and insist that next year would be Arsenal’s year, next year would always be Diaby’s year. Next year. Just you wait….

Wenger’s love for Diaby was unconditional: based on little more than a hunch and a fading memory and a fervent belief that this guy would eventually come good, against all evidence to the contrary. Wenger believed in Diaby because he believed in Diaby. And that was that.

Call it blind faith or stubbornness if you want, but I find it pretty endearing. Even now, after his release, Arsenal have allowed Diaby to continue training there while he searches for a new club. There is even hazy talk of a new deal in the pipeline.

[Just a word in here from me – the “hazy talk” is the talk of journalists like this Liew character – the club and the player have said nothing.]

If we’re honest with ourselves, most of us would quite like our club to treat people the way Arsenal have treated Diaby. In an age of advanced player analytics and forensic scouting networks, there was an essential humanity to Wenger’s relationship with Diaby that is increasingly rare these days.

So if Arsenal really have decided to finally cut the cord, it says a good deal more about where they might be heading than signing Mesut Özil or Alexis Sanchez or finally playing a counter-attacking style against Manchester City or anything else. It symbolises a realisation that a club cannot be run on faith alone; not even a faith as unshakeable as Wenger’s. It marks an embrace of cold reality.

It’s a strange piece, because it acknowledges the horrific injury that started this saga, but forgets to acknowledge the way the player’s manager defended, defended and defended the perpetrator and what that (far more than anything Mr Wenger has said or done) says about the state of English football and the way it is reported.

Kevin Ball then manager of Sunderland said, as I reported the other day, “Smith is not a malicious, dirty player and I think it’s unfair to make that call on him and say he deliberately went to do it.”  To Sunderland’s eternal discredit Ball is now senior professional development coach at Sunderland.

The phrase “not that kind of player” then entered the language to represent all that was wrong with the management of certain English clubs.

Dan Smith only played three games for Sunderland. It was a mark of his ability and reliability that his longest spell with any club at all was 11 games with Gateshead.  It seems that each club discovered that just like Shawcross he was indeed exactly that kind of player.

As Nick the Gooner pointed out to me, “Our club’s treatment of Diaby is to be rewarded not put down as an Emblem of under achievement. Our loyalty to our players is what creates the bond that is now turning us back to winning ways.”

The Liew report, typical of all the man writes, omits key facts.  For example it fails to say that in 2008/9 Diaby did play 36 times for Arsenal.  The following season it was 40 times.  And even 2010/11 when the injuries returned he managed 20 games.

And then what?  Were we supposed to break his contract and say “sorry mate you can’t work any more?”   That is the world Mr Liew seems to want.  A world spoken of by Lloyd George in his election addresses in 1910, when he spoke to going with miners, now crippled with the diseases they picked up from inhaling coal dust, and asking the mine owners for a penny so the man could buy a loaf for their family.

“And you know what they did, as we stood there?” asked Lloyd George as he recounted his experiences as he campaigned in the general election.

“They set the dogs on us”.

The Telegraph’s world vision has always been a trifle to the right of Attila the Hun, but this seems to be getting ridiculous.  But then this is the newspaper that recently sacked its own chief political commentator for writing about the evil lurking with HSBC.

The paper’s dislike of Arsenal is odd, as it seems to incorporate a desire to pander to the anti-Arsenal movement as if it were a majority.  They also have developed an ability to ignore the repeated nature of what is going on with Arsenal.  As Nick put it…

“If it was not for a string of assaults on our players we would have had more success

  1. Particularly the year Eduardo was brutally hacked down with what turned out to be a career ending tackle (lets face it he never reached the height he was capable of, he could of become a Suarez/Sanchez)
  2. And the similar assaults on Ramsey, Wilshere, Walcott, Ramsey – all at least nurtured back to full health

“We treated Rosicky in the same way – taking time to pull him back from an unexplained hip problem – his contribution to the team over the last two season justifying our approach entirely.”

But the story reminds me of something else for this is not the first time the anti-Arsenal mob has been active and has gained the support of the media.

I’ve now posted an article covering how the anti-Arsenal mob worked in the 1950s.  Different technology, same methodology.

Anniversary of the day

15 June 1925: Arsenal announced that the club had bought the Highbury stadium, and some additional land around it, and that the lease of the site had ended.  Sir Henry Norris’ huge gamble in taking the ground on a full-repairing lease had paid off.



36 Replies to “In the war on Arsenal, the Telegraph is not giving up.”

  1. The problem Jonathan has is that even his own colleagues don’t think he’s really any good as a sports journalist:
    My own opinion is that despite his young journalist of the year award he’s still far too young to have any insight into the culture at Arsenal. His knowledge is of at the most the past ten years; how can he make a valid assessment, so he he just attempts to be controversial and falls flat on his face.

  2. Thanks for this Tony and Nick. I was thinking how clubs treat their players and workers in general after reading that Newcastle let Gutierrez go via a phone call. He seemed pretty pissed by it, and I would too.

    You ask yourself what drives certain statements and actions, and all I can say is, the treatment handed out to Gutierrez must be what some people mean when they say Arsene should be more ruthless or brutal, or whatever works for them. I mean, the man was there for seven years, and only just came back from his fight against cancer. Not to mention, he scored one of the goals that helped Newcastle escape the drop.

  3. ”Liew is the man who recently said
    Look, if you want to skip this article and go on to the next, then I can hardly blame you. After all, what is there left to say about Arsenal? Along with Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, they are London’s longest-running show, a production that keeps turning out season after season, even though everybody already knows the ending. The butler did it, and Arsenal finish fourth.”

    Evidently Mr Liew knows as much about Arsenal as he does about the Mouse Trap. It wasn’t the butler. It was……..?

    For Menace. Tony also quotes from the article which I gave a link to and said was a disgusting attack on Arsene.

    You disagreed with me.

  4. colario – I still go with ‘Liew had praise for Wenger with the handbrake on.’

    While Arsenal have set records for European Cup qualification, the Telegraph has set records for remaining in the sewers of journalism.

  5. Many of the earlier Telegraph attacks occurred while Mihir Bose was their sports editor. He has a history of writing poorly researched partial anti Arsenal articles. It seems the Telegraph is simp,y following a well worn course by employing yet another talentless halfwit.
    Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose….,

  6. I’m amazed by the logic failures of ordinary people when discussing Diaby and his injuries/contracts…but when the same stuff is coming from mainstream journalists it really is something else.

    The great lie is that Diaby’s injury troubles were completely predictable- if so, why don’t they name the current players who will suffer disastrous misfortune in the next five years and so shouldn’t be bought/ handed good contracts? Oh, yeah, because the future hasn’t been determined and they are not psychics.

    Probably worse than that ,though, is the willfull ignorance of what a contract even means- you sign it at a particular point in time, and do so after considering the situation at that time, and are bound to it. So the only thing worth analysing, if you must, is what the situation was at that time.

    As far as i can tell, Diaby’s last long term contract may have been signed as far back as Jan 2010 *- he played nearly 40 games the year before, and did play 40 that season. At that point, he was a brilliant young player, who appeared to be moving clear of his injury woes, and who would have been interesting to any big club with sound judgement in the world. Offering him a long contract then was totally correct. If you were at least half-pyschic, or the extremely cautious type, and only offered him a shorter deal, well, he would have been more than entitled to say, and surely would have, ‘no thanks, I’ll get a better deal elsewhere’

    Had he done so, experienced better luck with injuries, and gone and enjoyed an immensely successful career- as he surely would have done if injury free- elsewhere, the press would have called it Wenger’s greatest mistake, an unforgivable one, and so would the same chumps who insist errors have been made in issuing contracts to Diaby.

    That lots of ordinary people can get these things wrong isn’t particularly weird, but for journalists to do so certainly is. Can they really have such inexplicable gaps in their reasoning skills, or are they playing games and banking upon ordinary people having those gaps?

    One final thing to consider : how much have Diaby’s wages cost over that contract in comparison to Falcao’s this year? Falcao, a guy who had just suffered an awful knee injury, for the second or third time in his career. For one year. If it was about supposedly wasted money and poor risk assessment, there would be no way they, as honest credible people, could avoid at least the same amount of criticism for Utd over that decision. But there has been…hmm, let’s check…not a single piece of criticism nor accusation of wasted money.

    Me, I would, if the medics can offer any encouragement, sign up Diaby again today if there is even a slight chance he can play again. But it wouldn’t be a long term contract, and the wages could not be at the same level as before, because that no longer makes any sense.

    * does anyone know anything different? My internet search- Diaby signs Arsenal contract- brings up 2009, 2010.

  7. Thank you Tony (and Nick). Saw this too and felt compelled to register an account on the DT site to register my displeasure at the inaccuracies in that article, but then didn’t bother after seeing that about 90% of the comments were slaughtering mr lie or whatever his name is. He’s a complete moron. And no, the fact he only knows about the past 10 years of Arsenal history is NOT an excuse and should be dismissed with the contempt it deserves.

  8. I know this Liew idiot from reading his other idiotic articles. This is not his first ‘stunt’. The problem with this kind of people is that they are pure parasites. They have no stand, principles or ethics. He just looks at others either with envy or jealousy. He is so-called the ‘Bubble Brain” according to my culture. Just say and act without thinking or any proper research. The article about Diaby has many logical and history errors despite his commonly out of reach bombastic words. I was amazed how a national media can actually hire such c**t. I only have 1 year of professional experience as football player, amateur experience of coaching and refereeing and no degree in anything what so ever but I’m so confidence in putting his ‘say everything but know nothing’ brain in deserved place if pit us in a public debate about football. What a t**t!

  9. Regarding the Media, this type of thing is a major reason why,

    a) I detest them with a passion.

    b) Believe it has a massive effect on why we/Arsenal are perceived so badly in the general populace.

    The problem is, the average football fan that reads that, even Arsenal fans, just take it on board as fact.

    For those without a propensity to dislike Arsenal it will not mean much, perhaps hardly even register, but none the less it will subconsciously seep into the mind that yet again Wenger/Arsenal ‘got it wrong’.

    But more importantly, for those with a propensity to dislike Arsenal/Wenger it is manor from heaven. Because he we have, yet again, proof positive of Wenger’s incompetence.

    Perhaps they don’t even know the truth of Diaby’s entire story, but do they even care? Of course not, because this is what they want to be the truth.

    I pointed out a similar piece of alternative truth making by Martin Samuels in the Mail earlier this year.

    He took a 3 Month sample of data to support Mourinho’s whinging that they where being treated poorly regarding penalty decisions.

    A big headline: Mourinho right about being victimised.

    And sure enough, for 3 months they hadn’t come out so well.

    But it’s funny how he chose to completely overlook the preceding 10 years, which clearly show Chelsea’s penalty statistics are MASSIVELY in there favour. Better than almost every other team, and significantly better than ours.

    These past statistics are what, as a ‘Quality journalist’, he surely knew. But he still chose to completely ignore them in favour of his ‘micro’ sample that supported his beloved Jose.

    But that is just the background to my point which is more about how easy it is to dupe people, especially when they want to be duped.

    The comments section in the Mail was filled with comments such as:

    ‘How refreshing to see such a well researched article’

    ‘Take a bow Martin’

    ‘This proves the Chelsea haters wrong’

    It continued in this vein throughout.

    A massive proportion of the replies swallowed this piece of Chelsea propaganda, hook, line, and sinker.

    Well researched?

    It was one of the most deliberately misleading piles of shit I have had the displeasure to of read and the numpties lapped up every word of it.

    Altering the truth to suit there version of the World is what the scumbag media do and this Liew character sounds even more odious than most.

  10. Al

    Following my post, then reading yours, at least it seems that there is at least a limit to what disgraceful Journalism people will swallow.

    To use such a sad case as a mere excuse to bash Arsenal/Wenger is surely one of the more sicking depths to which ‘Journalism’ (in it’s loosest possible sense) has sunk.

    The guy should be truly embarrassed and hang his head in shame.

    Sadly I suspect the complete opposite to be true.

  11. Jambug
    I’d like to hope there’s a limit but it did look like it was just a rally by some Arsenal fans to voice their disgust at such a sick article. It was on the day the article was published so not many comments at the time but I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of comments have been reversed by now; 10% against the article, with the rest for.

  12. Apart from leaving a copy in a prominent position around the house in order to to impress callers like the girlfriend’s parents, the only reason to read the Telegraph is during the Summer for the cricket results and statistics. 😉

  13. That’s where Cricinfo is useful 🙂

    You can even look up the key stats for your favourite players. A shame they got subsumed into te horrible ESPN web page formats but the content is still good.

    Great article. Thank you Untold. There’s something about the solvent debt peonage free model that really seems to upset these (economical) extremists.

  14. @Tony

    Jonathan Liew has a certain entertainment value. I replied to the tweet that had the link to the article that you are referring to. My reply was “This is a poor article. There really is no story here on the basis that you propose. Cobbled together nonsense.” He favourited my tweet.

  15. Gooner S

    First off, I don’t tweet or even understand how it works so bear with me if the following question makes no sense.

    By ‘favouriting’ (if that’s even a word) your tweet is he implying he agrees with you?

    If so, doesn’t that make the nonsense he has written even more disgraceful as that indicates it is written purely out of spite and with intent to agitate, in the full knowledge that what he has written has no basis in fact what so ever ?

  16. Not necessarily Jambug.

    It is probably pretty close to how twitter intended it to be used, but nothing forces you to use it that way. Twitter does allow for people to block others, which is an all or none type thing. But if you declare something a favorite, there is probably more tools for analysing available. If you mark as favorite, all twits that annoy you, you will be able to see who is being most annoying. If they reach some particular level, than you can choose to block that person.

    I will guess that is what the whorenalist in question is doing here.

  17. Speaking to a member of the great British gutter press at a recent party he told me that the reason for so much of the Arsenal derision in the written and the audio ( Durham ) media is because of the reaction they glean from the supporters taking the bait . He said that an article criticising Arsenal would get almost double the reaction as one having a go at another Premier league team.
    The answer is in our hands :- Ignore them and they will look for another target.

  18. Porter

    Which backs up something I was told some time ago by a colleague at work. I have stated this on here before actually.

    This guy had a relation who had worked in the media and he told him that they where, more or less, under instruction to right a negative Arsenal article every other day, and a positive Man Utd article similarly, because it sold papers.

    He said they where pretty much told if you haven’t got anything, dig up something from the past, or worse, make it up.

    He is a United fan, a good lad, and said himself he thought it was ‘pathetic’.

    So you may have something, but if it is the football community in general, and not just Arsenal fans, that lap this shite up, as it seems it is, what the hell can we as Arsenal fans do about it?

    I cancelled my daily order of the Sun and Mirror on the back of the abuse and only now get the Sun when horse racing is on tv, as well as severely limiting the time I listen to sports radio. I never listen to Durham.

    I know from what I read on here others have done similar.

    I can only assume it is the AAA types who ‘lap it up like titty milk’ (with all due acknowledgement to the wonderful wordsmith that is BILL FROM MANHATTEN) that play into there hands.

  19. BBC not giving up either. On the sports page, they are now running an article supposedly asking if sports stars having lost track of reality. The picture to go with the caption, Jack Wilshere singing about Tottenham.

  20. In referencing media and how they affect Arsenal fans views, I read a message from one of my friends in a group a few of us Arsenal fans share, basically saying Arsenal are a disgrace for letting The Ox go to Chelsea as part of a swap deal for Cech, apparently it was mentioned on Sky Sports News, I didn’t bother getting involved in the following discussion as when one of my other friends said it would never happened the reply was “when were you appointed to the board” although he didn’t ask himself just when did Arsenal or Arsene go mad to allow such a ridiculous transfer…

  21. porter: The answer is in our hands :- Ignore them and they will look for another target. 🙂

    I think this is the default way of dealing with this type of thing anyway, but i suppose Untold can’t as it’s Untold’s decision to support Arsenal by highlighting these idiots and making at least some readers realise what idiots they are at the telegraph.

  22. Having ignorant fools working in the newspaper medium is not all that uncommon the world over .

    These four classified ads appeared in a Gujarati newspaper on four Consecutive days.
    The last three hopelessly trying to correct the first day’s mistake.

    For sale – K Shah has a sewing machine for sale.
    Phone 92555-00707 after 7PM and ask for Mrs. Mani
    who lives with him cheap.

    Notice: We regret having erred in K Shah’s ad yesterday.
    It should have read – ‘One sewing machine for sale cheap.
    Phone 2555-0707 and ask for Mrs. Mani, who lives with him after 7PM.’

    Notice: K Shah has informed us that he has received several annoying telephone calls because of the error we made in the Classified ad yesterday.
    The ad stands correct as follows:
    ‘For sale – K Shah has a sewing machine for sale.
    Cheap. Phone 92555-00707 after 7PM and
    ask for Mrs. Mani who loves with him.’

    Notice: I, K Shah, have no sewing machine for sale. I smashed it. Don’t call 92555-00707 as I have had the phone disconnected.
    I have not been carrying on with Mrs. Mani.
    Until yesterday, she was my housekeeper but she quit.

  23. So if guns kill people, I guess pencils miss spell words, cars drive drunk, and spoons make people fat…
    Stewie Griffin.

    And ostriches like Jonathan Liew ….?

  24. @Jambug

    Sorry just seen your question. Well it means that he read it! But I think by marking my tweet as a ‘favourite’ he is being a little facetious.

  25. OB……that is what I suspected for quite awhile now….afterall getting a rise out of idiots like your friend who actually believe the press BS about Cech for the OX is their bread and butter. Does this indicate that many Gooners are simpletons?

  26. omgarsenal

    “Does this indicate that many Gooners are simpletons?”

    Either that, but more likely brainwashed.

    The Ox in part ex for Cech must be one of the most ludicrous transfer rumours I have ever heard, and given the competition that is pretty damning.

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