How four guys with personality disorders created the doom and gloom movement

The Rise of the Catastrophist – finally explained

If you came today to most Arsenal blogs for the first time, you would be excused from believing that doom and gloom is everywhere.  In the last couple of days there has been talk of “mass protests” at the Emirates Cup games, defection of half the squad, serious attempts to discredit the manager,  and a debate as to who is going to be our new captain.

Just as I write this, one correspondent has written to Untold saying that Cesc has said lots of times that he wants to leave – without citing where and when this has been said. Another begins by saying, “I don’t know if this is true…” and then spend his whole email saying that the club is in disaster mode because it (whatever the current negative story is) is true.

So how did this happen? How could such widespread intellectual incoherence affect so many Arsenal fans all at once?

I’ve been trying to understand this issue of the Rise of the Catastophist for well over a year now – since a group of doom and gloom merchants decided to target Untold Arsenal for the first time.   What I have found is a bizarre series of events, one which I would not blame you if you didn’t believe it.

The fact is that I have held back from making it public for some time, because a) I doubted that it would be believed, and b) because I feared the catastrophists would be annoyed at being exposed for what they are, and might try another attack on this site.

But the hysteria has reached such a pitch that after a few discussions with Arsenal friends, I have decided to set out the tale.

It is long – twice as long as the normal Untold post, so apologies before I begin.

This is the story of how a tiny group of disturbed (and probably unemployed) people who have managed to influence the mass media, and get themselves a little bunch of depressed disciples who now make a lot of noise.  Between them (the oddballs, the media and the depressives) they give the impression that they are the majority, and that they have some sort of argument that deserves debate.  They are in fact a tiny minority and the argument, whichever way you look at it, deteriorates into a set of bland statements which fail to take into account the economic, political and corrupt reality of football today.

Before I begin I am going to deal with the current debate: Cesc.  I have no inside knowledge if he will go this summer or not.  What I know is that this hysteria has gone on every transfer window since we signed him, and he hasn’t gone.  But I also know that Anelka, Henry and Vieira all went, and that Wenger has a habit of letting players go when they are ready to go.

I also know that each of those three has failed to live up to expectations upon departure, and although Anelka came good in the end, it took him nine years to rekindle his Arsenal form.

But in many ways that is not the point at all.  The point is that in the broader scheme of things, the departure of Cesc doesn’t mean much.  If he goes, we can buy someone else; he’s not the only player in town, and if you look at our results over the last two seasons when he has not been there, we have not done that bad.

However what the Catastrophists and merchants of doom have done is somehow talked Cesc going into a big deal, so that if he does go, they can define this as the end of Wenger.  They ignore the fact that Wenger might see Cesc as now too injury prone, and a bad risk, so 40 million Euros now would not be a bad move given that player X (who we have probably never heard of) is on the horizon.

And that’s what this is about.  Defining the agenda.  Much of my story is about how a little bunch of nutters have succeeded in doing just this – defining the agenda.

The first attack

I first started to become aware of something odd happening in the world of Arsenal blogging when I found a group of people taking comments from this site and posting them elsewhere.

I started to ban these people, and suggested to other sites that they do the same.  But they wouldn’t – which struck me as odd.

So I investigated further and found something rather bizarre.  Although each poster seemed to have a different email address it became clear that they were all using one of three computers to post the messages.  It took me a few days to tumble that the fifty or so apparent posters who were taking messages from one site and posting them on another, were actually just three people all writing under different names!

Obviously I blocked the relevant addresses – but then other people started to pop up, and this time they really got going, with a continual stream of anti-Wenger and anti-Arsenal propaganda.  They were fighting back.

They also got more sophisticated – avoiding the cut and paste and instead  commenting on each other’s posts building up the picture of doom and gloom.  If you read Untold you won’t have seen too many of these, because they and I were playing a cat and mouse game, of me trying to spot and block them before they got too far.

So they talk to themselves. One made a negative point, and five minutes later the same person with a different email address and screen name would come on saying, “Good point,  what’s more…”

It took me a while to trace this back – and this time I found another four computers, generating emails in no less than 85 different email addresses!  In other words the entire Anti-Wenger postings came from a handful of people.

But it didn’t stop there. Suddenly someone popped up on one of the leading sites linked to a broadcaster, using my name.  Now I must say that I am not so self-centred as to think no one else in the world is called “Tony Attwood” – but it is one of the more unusual names, it has variant spellings, and some people with my first name called themselves “Antony” or “Anthony”.

Then (and this is where it gets freaky) someone else started criticising “Tony Attwood” (were they attacking me, or the other “Tony Attwood?).

I got a bit pissed off at this point, and wrote to the site in question.  They refused to act so I wrote a reply trying to do a bit of taking the high moral ground.  My piece appeared, and some people replied quite positively.  That seemed to be that.

Next thing I knew, although the original post was still there, my reply vanished.  I went back to the web site owners, protesting, and they said, “oh technical problems, sorry”.

The technique of the catastrophists

The catastrophists changed computers and started again with emails saying  “I don’t know if this report is true or not but…” and then continue to accept that the report (of something they defined as a disaster at Arsenal) is true, and then call for Wenger’s head.

A variation on this involves making up a Wenger quote, quoting it (obviously without a source since it is made up) and then laughing at how anyone could be so stupid as to say this.

The media join in

Of course this was gold dust to any journalist looking for a simple story that could be replicated without work.  Today has been a perfect example.  Most of the broadcast media, and most media websites are running the Cesc to leave story, but when you look closely they are all using the same unattributed sources for Cesc’s statements.

You can also see this in the way BBC Radio 5 debate players leaving.  Last week one journo on the site said, “Arshavin’s obviously going – he says so every week.”

In fact he doesn’t – the media says so every week.  The media repeats itself, but this gives the half a dozen or so catastrophists who run the show the chance to find stories to run with.  In other words the media creates the story, brews up a storm, and the player thinks, “this is ludicrous,” and so says, “look, I don’t need this media stuff, I think I’d like to leave.”

In other words the action runs:

  • Catastrophists make up a story
  • Media pick up and repeat as if fact
  • Player eventually has enough and leaves

Put like that it is a total miracle that Arshavin and Cesc have survived this long.

Indeed reading the doom and gloom catastrophist blogs you could be excused for thinking that Arsenal is Leeds, Doncaster or Chester in their darkest moments, combined.

Why should Arsenal get this level of attack, I wonder.  I am not sure but  my father told me that it was much the same in the 1930s when we had the world-beating team.

Maybe today it is because Arsenal has developed something unique, which others cannot stand.  The extraordinary new approach to play, the world-wide scouting project that has delivered top players cheaply for years, the youth project which has just resulted in two  Academy League trophies and one Youth Cup in two years, the profits, the doubles, the unbeaten season, the 49, the ten years where Tottenham cannot beat us, the reduction of Tottenham to a laughing stock that has to issue DVDs just because they manage to draw…

If I had to pick one of those I would say it was the profit.  The media is very reluctant to look seriously at the £3bn that the EPL owes, just as the financial media didn’t want to touch the total disaster awaiting the west through its dependence on dubious mortgages.   Look at the papers today and they are full of Liverpool and Man U buying millions of pounds worth of players while they blame Portsmouth’s demise on a bunch of funny foreigners.  They absolutely cannot grasp that football finance is as bent as Fifa.

Comparing the blogs to the ground.

There can be little doubt of the affection felt for Wenger by the majority of people who attend matches at the Ems.  In the ground on the final match of the season, he got huge cheers and chants.  Indeed the same affection can be felt in every game.  Wenger isn’t booed, he isn’t ignored, he is cheered and cheered, and his name is chanted with pride and passion.  One might ask, how many times do you need to hear, “There’s only one Arsene Wenger” to understand what it means.

Now this gives another insight.  Not only is this group of commentators a tiny number of people knocking out emails under hundreds of different email addresses, they have no following in the ground.  And yet it can feel as if they are the dominant force.

But they always fall over in the same place: the anti-Wenger bloggers give no evidence only statements.  One wrote on this site recently, something along the lines of, “Almuni, Denilson, Diaby should be sold.  I rest my case.”  There is in a statement like that no case, because there is no argument.

Football is an astonishingly complex business involving finding the best players, persuading them to come to Arsenal, balancing the books, keeping the players happy even when not playing, keeping the wages under control, knowing to sell when necessary, and all the times taking on clubs who are willing to run themselves into debt, and clubs who have access to far more money than Arsenal has.  All the while we survive – which is a miracle.  Additionally we have the most wonderful stadium.  Additionally we are always in the Champions League.  Additionally we have a stunning youth team.  Additionally we can challenge for the league title with our reserve team.

And so they complain, and complain and complain.

There is also no answer to the “Wenger as Chapman” debate.  Chapman is rightly revered at our club as the man who used the foundation laid by Sir Henry Norris to build a modern successful club.  But he had five years in which the club won nothing, and had an infinitely worse league record than Wenger.   Would the dozen catastrophists bloggers andd their 500 email addresses have kicked Chapman out as well had they had the technology in the 1920s.  Probably.

So why to the catastrophists and the doom and gloom people do all this?

Firstly they have real power.  There are only a handful of them, and yet they now have control over many of the Arsenal blogs on the internet.  They nearly took over this one, and it took me quite a few hours to track down the IP addresses of the computers they were using and prove to my own satisfaction that they were just a little bunch of people writing under multiple addresses.

Second, because they hate Arsenal.  That is quite a sweeping statement but I think now that it is true.  The doom and gloom brigade hate Arsenal, which is why they want to destroy the club through their resourceless attacks.  And let’s be clear – attacking the players and the manager in this way could lead to a decline in the club’s fortunes if it is allowed to go unchecked.

Third because these people are relentless.  They work through the day all day.  If they have jobs, they have jobs where they can spend time sending out negative emails to web sites all the time.   They are in fact obsessive neurotics.

Fourth because they feed on the press, and the press feed on them.  It makes life easy as a journalist.  Want a sensational story?  Easy, read the blogs and run what they say.

Fifth, it is a damn site easier to be a negative blogger than a positive blogger.  As a negative blogger I could say, get rid of Walcott, he’s useless.  Bring in a good winger.  Just like I might have said for two seasons, “get rid of Flamini, he’s useless.”  Had we done we would have missed the one (and only) good season of his career.   In saying, get rid of Walcott I might say, bring in X, ignoring whether he would play for us, how much he wants, if he is for sale, how we deal with the 50% tax plus 10% national insurance, plus 20% VAT (after the budget) plus the closure by the Revenue of the Virgin Island tax loophole regarding image rights.

That’s why being a catastrophist is so good.  It is so utterly simple.

So what are we to do?

As every game at the Ems shows, there is huge support for Wenger and the team.   The doom and gloom approach with its catastrophist members is run by a tiny group of people with a personality disorder, and they are very good at getting their message across on the blogs, and they are supported by the media and their fellow-travellers who don’t have tickets.

And maybe, just maybe, that’s the key.  These catastrophists resent the fact that they don’t have tickets.

Of course there are some season ticket holders who dislike Wenger.  And there are many non-ticket holders who love him. I am talking in general terms.  Exceptions are always there.

I’m not sure if we should do anything, other than pity these depressive neurotics.  They are not really Arsenal supporters, because to support Arsenal means to support Arsenal, not hack away at them and encourage your top players to leave.   Their obsessional delusional behaviour is something they are stuck with and for that we can be sorry for them.  It’s not nice.

Really guys, I am sorry you are so depressed.  I quite enjoyed last season.

Tony Attwood

The Untold Index to Everything Positive and Nice (except Fifa and its bent world cup)

Woolwich Arsenal – now there is a club on the brink of disaster

The Book – not as useful as the Hitch hikers guide to the galaxy, but still, quite good for a read during the summer break.

101 Replies to “How four guys with personality disorders created the doom and gloom movement”

  1. There must be some people out there with a very, very, very sad life.
    And I also enjoyed the season.

  2. Apparently Cesc is off because he flew back to London from Barcelona. Naturally, the only possible reason that he did that was for showdown talks with Wenger, and not because that’s where he lives.

    It’s s shame how Arsenal fans buy into it really.

  3. Perfectly put, Tony.

    Quite simply, there is no joy for these people, the catastrophists, in following The Arsenal. There is no appreciation of the football, the Club, the players or Arsene Wenger – for if there were joy and appreciation, they could not embark on such a destructive and divisive enterprise. It’s truly unfortunate that their influence is seen as “the majority view” instead of what it actually is – a couple of pi$$ed off guys with 85 email addresses and too much time on their hands.

  4. Very good written. These guys are not true gooners.
    If Cesc leaves we will have a lot of money to spend and can therafore strength in more positions.

  5. This blog, though with some good points, is increasingly becoming irritating with its idiotic defence of everything Wenger does as if he is God. How can you say if Cesc leaves then it means he wasnt really good any way – “as we do play better without him” – so that is why Barca will want to spend £30-50m for him?

    Cesc is a very very good footballer, and at 23 will definitely get better if he stays at Arsenal. He may even become among the top 5 footballers in the world in a couple of year’s time. Wenger’s useless youth project has had the name Cesc Fabregas as its centrepiece for the past 5 years, therefore you know what my comment will be if he does go. At the moment I prefer to wait rather than react on speculation.

  6. Excellent article, it confirms what my little blog-analyzing app has been telling me for a while: a few people are cross-posting the same negative points over and over. Some of them are just obsessive-depressive but for the a sizeable chunk there are many coincidences: same expressions, same spelling errors, same insults, same way of shortening players names etc posted methodically across the entire Arsenal blogosphere and over time, like the comments were drawn from a base. I wouldn’t be so sure those people aren’t paid to do that.

  7. Very well written update Tony. These ‘catastrophists’ really ought to be more appreciative for what Arsene has done for the club and you make a very good point about how it is easier to blog negatively than positively. These people must be very sad and have a lot of time on their hands. It’s sad that the media portray the view of these few idiots as a majority opinion.
    You mentioned how the catastrophists unsettle our players and cause them to leave. There may be some truth in that but the Spanish press are responsible too and the players and staff of Barcelona. I was watching SSN earlier today and an insignificant Spanish journalist (I think) was reporting how Fabregas was to have showdown talks with Wenger today regarding a transfer to Barcelona and the SSN presenter fed on this and presented it as fact. Isn’t Mr. Wenger in France at this moment anyway preparing for WC presentation or something?

  8. Just kidding. 😛
    Arsenal have done well and next season they will be better. Fabregas won’t leave he has too much pride for that. He wants to win trophies for the club and not just take the easy way out to Barca. He’s 22, the Captain of Arsenal and from next year a part of the best team in the world (Arsenal not Barca). Also he loves Wenger, why didn’t Barca give him a contract when he was 16? They didn’t see his talent. Arsene did. Fabregas may not owe anything to Arsenal but he owes his career to Arsene Wenger and his mum.

  9. Tony,

    I’ve read your blogs regularly now for a year or so, and don’t think I’ve commented before. before I go any further, I’d like to say I agree with the majority of your views such as the beneficial effects of strong financial managment, the development of a broad-based scouting network, the strong investment in youth. My particular love of the modern Arsenal (the club, not just the team), is the undeterable desire to run itslf in a professional, responsible and gentlemanly (mostly) way.

    Now, having said all that, this post truly beggars belief. I generally regard the doomsayers on the blogs in one of two ways.
    There is the foreign brigade. They generally scream for Arsenal to invest in any any all big-name or up-and-coming-potential stars. I say this, as I live overseas, currently in SE Asia (although I’m from, and grew up in North London). This seems to be true with the majority of overseas fans. I have no firm statistic to back this up, other than experience and memory.
    Then there is the domestic minded “fan”. Whereas I don’t believe they are the majority of Arsenal fans, I have always assumed they represented the majority of Arsenal fans who comment ONLINE. This is quite normal in my eyes. Blogs and other such online media have become an easy place for the disenfranchised to comment on most matters. However, I find the suggestion that the dissenters are so small in number quite hard to believe.

    Is this really true?

  10. I know what you mean. I have been seeing people with the same names and different names sending Anti-Arsenal comments all over the web. We must stop this. All must know!!! ARSENAL (L) WENGER (L)

  11. You are right with what you say about some people bringing unneccessary comments or false reports, and I agree it is wrong for people to do that (especially on your own blog), but i see some inconsistencies. You argue that these blogs must be accountable and not substantiate facts, but you turn around and say:

    “In other words the action runs:

    Catastrophists make up a story
    Media pick up and repeat as if fact
    Player eventually has enough and leaves”

    There is absolutely no proof of that, or, if there is, please provide an example or risk ruining your credability. I have never seen a news source link a blog for their story (if anything they link nothing) and I have never heard a player say the reason he left Arsenal was because of the “media pressure”. So your causation theory is just as bad as the people who create false transfer rumors; unsubstantiated facts.

    I am not a “catastrophist” or a supporter who madly follows “lord wenger”, but someone who looks objectively at the team and tries to figure out the best path forward financially and on the field.

  12. Dino Gunners what is this?? You are as bad as the fakers. You probably are one! You know what Tony means…
    So stop falsely lowering his credibility with your nonsense. Have some respect ffs.


  14. Fascinating Tony.

    You could argue that these catastrophists are:

    1) employed by Real Madrid…..they want AW that badly

    2) employed by the French football Federation……they want AW SO badly that they are operating a two pronged attack. The other prong is to do things that will make Arsene so furious he will want to run the national team. I.E. leave Nasri out.

    3) …..the most likely scenario……..Mainstream media hacks…or gofers/under-hacks…….if such a thing exists…….who define the ‘mood at grass roots level’…….in order that the newspapers have a story to pick up and run with.

    I wonder if they use the same tactics across the board….in politics and such like.

  15. I posted this up on ACLF, but I know that from Untold Towers they have made a few trips to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, so I thought this Vogan masterpiece would be appropriate today:

    Ahem (clears throat):

    As plurdled gabbleblotchits
    On a lurgid bee
    That mordiously hath bitled out
    Its earted jurtles
    Into a rancid festering [drowned out by moaning and screaming]
    Now the jurpling slayjid agrocrustles
    Are slurping hagrilly up the axlegrurts
    And living glupules frart and slipulate
    Like jowling meated liverslime
    Groop, I implore thee, my foonting turlingdromes
    And hooptiously drangle me
    With crinkly bindlewurdles,
    Or else I shall rend thee in the gobberwarts with my blurglecruncheon
    See if I don’t.

  16. I was having a beer with an old colleague of mine last night and he asked me why I was always so optimistic about all things Arsenal. My reply was that I really don’t see the point in not being optimistic. If you support a club you do it for a variety of reasons. You obviously enjoy watching football and you probably have some local pride in the club if you were born near the ground (as I was to Highbury). But you also do it because it gives you a sense of belonging and both a social and emotional outlet. Being negative about the club is counterproductive to your enjoyment of your own life which, let’s face it, will have far greater dramas and upsets in it than a player leaving or a Cup Final lost.
    And being pessimistic is even less logical with our club than just about any other – for all the reasons that Tony has listed:- finances, youth development, current achievemnt levels etc. etc. Every aspect of what I see at the Club shouts promise. Wether Cesc leaves or not (and I think he has finally got sick of the violence of the English game)the future for Arsenal is far rosier than for 99% of other clubs. And I might be wrong – that may be 100%

  17. Thanks Tony for the dose of comman sense, everytime I come on the net I feel like i’m drowning in a sea of anti Arsenal blogs, it’s hard to keep focus on what’s real anymore.
    Maybe the club should issue a statement condeming these stories and get the lawyers involved.

  18. You should have named them Tony give us a chance to all avoid them maybe even pay them a visit with reverse psychology 🙂
    Interesting article I often wondered who the hell myles palmer supports to be honest and why the hell he bothers writing.

  19. What suprises me the most if fans who start slagging cesc and saying, “We made you the player you are, ungrateful prat” etc. These are just rumours that occour every transfer window. Albeit cesc might leave someday, it won’t be untill AW has a replacement ready to take over. And that is not the case at the moment I believe. Maybe in a few years when Ramsey is ready for the task.

    We all know that as we didn’t win anything all our good players will leave us as we are a selling club and AW is not interesting in winning anything but making money for himself and the board. (sarcasm)

  20. Great article, keep up the good work. I love Arsene Wenger and the work he has done and is doing. If Fabregas wants to leave then fine, he can go for the highest price possible because we hold all the cards. No player is bigger than Arsenal.
    Can anyone please tell me what’s wrong with Ian Wright, i heard him on the radio, seems like he really hates us…
    In Arsene We Trust!!!

  21. Dino Gunners

    Fair enough on your comment that Tony cannot prove his causation theory. Thing is, I can tell Tony is a bit irate at the moment. As am I. Have you been on Le Grove? It is nothing short of completely depressing. There are a good few bloggers (or good few bloggers names) on that site who are a total disgrace to the club and the man who has brought more success to it than any before him. There is a dominant attitude on Le Grove that Wenger is, and I quote, just a c*nt. He has lost his marbles or he has destroyed the club or he is stupid.
    I have been on there and written huge spiels, basically telling them not to act like spoiled little brats, knowing full well it’ll get me kicked off the site. It honestly does feel like they do hate the club; they certainly hate Wenger, the rest of the managerial staff and all the players. They are not supporters because by definition they offer nothing in that sense. Its absolutely pathetic.
    Catatrophist is a perfect term and Tony is right. It is so easy to be negative. Takes strength to be positive and actually support the club.
    Keep it up on Untold Tony, there are enough of us behind you.

  22. tony I know exactly what you are talking about, I am a regular on another Arsenal blog and only a week ago we had a tiny totts troll come on claiming to be a Gooner, all negative, sack Wenger, etc etc, comment after comment backing his view from a whole host of posters, turned out at last count the one troll had used 27 different screen names in two days, and has used a fair few since, I had spotted early on it was the work of a troll and I alerted others to it, and put up anti spurs comments to his arguments, and he lost it and revealed he was a troll (one who had been banned serveral times this season), blogs like le grove, to me are only Arsenal blogs by name and not by nature, just like myles palmers Arsenal news review, I call blogs like them tiny totts troll sites, the problem is too many real Arsenal supporters have fallen into the trap

  23. I think that these people are employed by other clubs or someone sinister that wants to see the demise of arsenal fc. to actively focus on creating so many email address’s and create so many posts on a regular basis seems more than fanatical and sociopath but a carefully planned strategy, where someone has seen an opening (alot of impatient and irritated arsenal fans)and just added alot of fuel to the fire, more like a bomb to the fire.. and so far its been working without a hitch (until untold exposed it all). I hope you can make further inquiry and expose these filth and scum peddlers for who they are( personally i think they spuds or manures minions posing as gooners)

    thanks for the insight.. have a good day all(except the scum peddlers)

  24. Very enlightening article. Since reading this, I have gone to other Arsenal sites and have seen exactly what you are talking about. Does this happen to blogs for other clubs? I’m sure Liverpool blogs are completely negative. Keep up the great writing.

  25. Hillarious, and not altogether surprising.

    For my money, it’s more an intelligence thing than a hate thing, you either get the Arsenal story or you don’t.

    No matter how hard you can try to show them the light, what goes in, comes out twice as fast.

    Bless em.

  26. There is a lot of doom and gloom surrounding Arsenal at the moment. A lot of it comes from seeing the way other clubs spend silly money on players as if it’s the norm. It isn’t the norm and sadly, clubs like Chelsea and City have ruined football in too many ways to mention. I can understand a bit of anger from some Arsenal fans though. If Cesc does in fact leave, it will be yet another big player to leave and probably not replaced. I buy into Wenger’s plan but if your main men keep leaving, just when you need to strengthen, it’s like 1 step forward, 2 steps back. I, of course wouldn’t boo Wenger or any Arsenal player but it can be frustrating to see a team in permanent transition.

  27. interesting piece tony. i am sure that many people would call you delusional or paranoid or even a conspiracy theorist, but i tend to believe that there is a concerted anti-arsenal movement out there unlike any other. don’t get me wrong, plenty of people hate the spuds and united and chelsea etc, but i can’t see a concerted effort to undermine these clubs.

    if we can agree that this anti movement exists, it would be nice to be able to narrow down the short list of who is behind it.

    if it is just a bunch of unemployed spuds then that is one thing, but if it is an organised effort then we have to assume that there is some purpose behind their actions.

    tracing ip addresses is pretty difficult and it needs court orders etc. if you are able at least to note the ip addresses of posters, maybe when their name appears above their post, their ip address could be shown above it as well. that way we can all see who they are and reply accordingly.

    as for legrove, the two main writers, i believe, are father and son. even though they spout some fantastic stuff, i wouldn’t class them as anti arsenal. depressed – yes, expect too much – yes, self righteous – yes.

    i personally believe that all of this lies much deeper in english football, maybe even as deep as the epl and the FA. they don’t want arsenal to be the shining light that everyone should look to because our style of management, play, training etc is anathema to them. if they can destabilize the club and affect our performance then we would become less successful and therefore not the shining light.

    this is, i believe, the reason why our lack of silverware over the last few years is so readily mentioned by just about every pundit, commentator and blogger. apart from a very select few in the EPL, none of the other 20 teams has won anything for even longer than us, however it’s only us that get this ‘no trophy’ tag wherever we go.

    the internet is a marvellous invention and has truly changed all of our lives, but in the wrong hands it can also be a very dangerous tool. it is also very simple to start a mis-information campaign that will eventually snowball out of control.

    everybody has different motives for blogging, and i think that everybody has the right to say what they believe. i was advised to take up blogging by an author friend of mine as a good way to get writing experience.(there is at least one good book in all of us). but the dangers are all too apparent.

  28. Haha, so you enjoyed those 10 minutes at Wigan eh?? or the the two big four matches at the grove? well, its your call anyway.

  29. will the true arsenal fans please stand up to these agents of red and white holdings (allegedly?) and boycott their sites, i was on one i hadnt visited since the beginning of the season and i couldnt help telling a commenter off as well as the poster for calling wenger an idiot, naturally i was moderated, and that left just six comments on the article over 72 hours, it got me thinking just who has the time for that sort of reciprocity, and just how many people had said the wrong thing and been asked to leave ,so to speak,what the hell was in it for them? and i think that is the crux of the issue whats in it for these pond life?

  30. A brilliant insight into how the modern communications revolution can be used for both good and bad. Well done Tony and thanks for bringing some rational context to a ridiculous day. I, as I suspect many other Arsenal fans across the globe, like to grab a few minutes each day to check the latest news as it relates to the club. This brings up the usual bunch (have they invented a collective noun yet for blogs/media outlets?) of potential ‘sources of information’. As with the other forms of media it soon becomes apparent which are reliable, interesting and informative sources (take a bow Untold) and those which eminate from deepest LaLaland. A situation that would be equally apparent to anybody connected with the club or players. If as Tony suggests, players might be negatively influenced by the catastrophist mentality, surely they would also be influenced even more by the sane elements and take heart that the real fans appreciate them and want them to continue performing for the club?
    Basically, if Cesc was ever going to be influenced (even a little bit) by the rubbish he might read, he’d be even more influenced by the decent stuff he would also see. We can support the club dfrom the stands when they’re playing, maybe we need to support them just as much from these pages and leave the likes of Cesc and Le Boss in no doubt that they are hugely appreciated.
    I hope our best players stay as they agreed to when they signed their lucrative contracts and we manage to attract some new players to add to the squad. I suggest all real Arsenal fans would think likewise?
    If you’re reading this Cesc, we love you and want you to stay mate!!!

  31. A good point well put will people never tire of writing us off pre season, as you say in the ground its rare to hear doom and gloom. Even at the chelski game which was obviously a downer only one bloke near me was getting stuck into Arsene.
    People seem oblivious to the grander picture and want instant gratification even though this has been the undoing of so many big clubs in our country. As Spains economy teeter’s on the brink Barca and Madrids business outlook may yet become grave. We are a sustainable club that will be here for generations and at the very top soon I am sure of it.

  32. Yes! Yes! Yes!
    Tony Attwood
    The voice of truth and reason
    Exposing the haters and like a fresh breeze dispersing the fog that is the doom and gloom catatrophists
    In Arsene We Trust
    Keep on bloggin my gunner from another mother!

  33. Steady with the ‘Doncaster’ reference Tony- Donny, as far as I know, are the only other side who attack ‘Arsenal style’ home or away WHEN THEY CAN. They get the same rough teatment from other sides- just like Arsenal and sometimes, the same poor level of protection. And also Donny often play a team off the park and lose- they did that to Newcastle twice this season for example. And they won the Championship fair play award!! As for your main drift- I have always suspected either Spurs fans or journos for the anti-AW diatribe. Every Arsenal fan with average or above intelligence knows he is a genius to achieve what he has this last 5 years. Don’t underestimate the fear other managers and media have for him. He is not ‘one of them’,he is not on a personal ego trip and is a purist with a project dedicated to the Club, to football and the future of the game. We need more like him (and Sean O’Driscol) because the SAF Brigade and their acolytes in the press and media are 10-a-penny and care only about winning at any cost– never the game.

  34. If Barcelona want to throw £30 – 40m (+ Yaya Toure) our way on a player who will not make any difference to the strength of their 1st team (Fab is fab but he’s still not as good as either Xavi or Iniesta, which is why they always start ahead of him for Spain and why they will always be on Barca’s team sheet before him), then I say it will be a fantastic deal for us. I watched Barca’s last game the other night and Toure was immense. He’s just the sort of player we need, and we will then also have £30m to spend on another playmaker or two. Toure + say, Arteta and Mesut Ozil (according to Sky Sports, Ozil has recently stated to German press that he would like to move abroad, and I reckon Arteta would jump at the chance of CL football this season and greater potential to make Spain national squad) or Toure + Gourcuff (Bordeux are out of Europe next season and an offer of £25m would be a lot for them to refuse) will make us easily stronger. And thats just from selling Fab. Then there’s the £30-£40 AW already has at his disposal for new players. As Fab has asked to leave then no loyalty bonus will be paid and with his £100,000 per week wages freed up, most of this money can go on transfer fees for one or two excellent defenders.
    The future still looks very bright to me – but AW must get it right in the transfer market.


  36. quite frankly, I will not blame Cesc if he goes, as he has more class and fight in him that some of players that I do not care to name combined…

    to the writer: no offence, but letting such modern club icon go is just laughable, Cesc is what, 23?

    not even in his prime: ‘it’s nice of you to keep him fresh, now piss off’…

  37. A very enlightening read Tony. Has anyone else noticed that a lot of the rubbish comments around seem to be written using a keyboard with no space-bar. Or one that inputs multiple ???? and !!!!

  38. This was one of the best Untold articles I have read. As someone who gradually spent more and more time on blogs I found that the first place these people started was at ESPN soccernet. I am almost 100% certain that the average age of that site was and probably still is, 15. These teens are full of testosterone and every comment was a slag off. The funny thing was that the Arsenal articles always had about 5 times the comments as any other team and so slowly, pretty much all the fans of all the teams accumulated into the Arsenal posts. This resulted in many anti Arsenal posts as you can imagine. At first the posters would get verbally destroyed and as you can imagine a 13 year old likes to throw in lots of name calling etc. Over time these other posters started to learn more about Arsenal so that they could come up with better arguments. By this time I had found my beloved goonernews and left these people to themselves. My point is, that slowly these kind of people filtered into the Arsenal blogs because of the same kind of thing. There are a lot of Arsenal blogs and nobody wants to talk about a boring team like… well the rest of the prem… So we get these “fans” of other teams who want to read and comment on football but will never admit to being so pathetic that they read another teams blogs, so they let people assume they are Arsenal fans and slate everything. This happens mostly on sights that are negative anyway, and sights like this are less effective. I think the biggest way to combat it is for people to comment more. The thing is that there are less of these people then there are fans, but every time they read an article they make their negative comments. Most Arsenal fans are contempt to read the article, some of them don’t comment because its depressing to read through all the negative ones, THIS HAS TO CHANGE! If you support Arsenal leave a comment! Even if its just a “lets go for the title again next year” or something. Tony, I think you should write an article or add something on the end of one that just reminds the true fans out there that their voices need to be heard and believe it or not, every single comment counts! We have to to back our own blogs!!!

  39. Tony,

    You have really made my day, I unintentially spent 3 & 1/2 hours defending AW & Arsenal team on supposed Arsenal fan sites. I was left quite upset by the level of negativity. I even considered writing to requesting that the ones linked to the site were removed or better moderated. I gave up in the end as I had to go to work!

    Arsene Wenger deserves a knighthood for what he has done for the club! Last year the blogs and papers were going mad with assertions that we would finish 5th or 6th and a fire sale would held due to lack of CL money. I am guessing the rubbish stories coming out daily on the blogs, in the papers and 2nd rate journalists are another attempt to destablise and upset true Gooners.

    There are blogs saying that AW doesn’t know how to win, which I found ridiculous as I reminded the plastic fans he was the mastermind behind the ‘invincibles’. No one is happy the way the season ended, but from 4th to 3rd is improvement and with very bad injury list throughout the season.

    I have really been pondering over the last few weeks what you brilliantly articulated. No respect is ever given for style of play and what that adds to the game in general (tell me how much would Sky earn in pay per view and ad revenues if all teams played like Stoke & Blackburn everyweek – no one wants to see football played like that. The whole league would be affected. The english red top papers seem to concentrate on doing a nationality count of the team – implying that having different ones was a bad thing (very strange for a nation vying to host international sporting events). I noted one Sunday that Liverpool were not treated the same even though on one occaision they only fielded 1 englishman.

    I suggested recently on a couple of blogs that instead of being negative about Arsenal, we get behind them and instead all start writing to the FA regarding the poor refering decisions and lack of protection of players and found that I was moderated!

    Please keep up the good work Tony I think you do a really valuable service shining the light on something I have been begining to suspect for a while now.

    In Arsene we trust!

  40. Keep doing what your doing Tony, This “positive” site is a joy to view. Being from islington and from a family with a long history of “ARSENAL WORSHIP” Win, lose or draw we know how to appreciate the gift that is our club. To be an Arsenal fan at times is frustrating and somtimes disapointing, addmittedley but thats football. I support the club. Players come and go. Managers come and go. But whilst they represent my club, they have my support. now i`ve seen how bad football can get (i was at highbury as the hillsborough disaster unfolded i was 13 at the time and to hear supporters cheer when deaths are announced was disgussting, i don`t think people realised what was going on). so If people think that your team finishing 3rd in the league, quater finals of the champs league is a bad season. At least your alive to have your small minded opinion.

  41. Top analysis Tony and what’s more, this strategy has actually been blatant and obvious for many years now following the achievement of the Invincibles, and the frank realisation that Arsenal is now one of the top 2 or 3 scouting and youth-player development clubs in all of football!
    As a consequence, there is always an unsavoury undercurrent of spiteful, jealous comment and feeling, and downright xenophobia, when it comes to our team whenever one listens to or reads the prose of the English press, and the international media outlets owned by Murdoch.
    What is now very clear from the torrent constantly being hurled at Arsenal and Arsene Wenger is that it is all driven by fear. Why does the media always choose to hound Arsenal’s matured players out of our club yet leave alone matured players at other clubs? The answer is that there is a clear recognition amongst all of the so-called footballing elite, that Arsenal are very soon going to become the only self-sufficient, one of the richest and consistently successful football clubs in the world. The vast recruitment and player-development empire that we now have, aligned with Arsene’s phenomenal financial prudence is testament to this. The crazy football financial bubble has now burst alongside the world economic crisis (just look at how few transfers took place in the January window)and it’s now becoming clear that trying to hound Arsene away from the Ems is the only way that the competition in England, and Europe will be able to compete in the very near future. The departure of Cesc, whenever it happens, will not be a big issue as the foundations that Arsene has been building since the moment he came will still remain.
    The Lord Wenger is the key to the vast riches that are inevitably coming our way and all that we must now do as the real fans is to now be more direct and practical in our defence and support of our club and Arsene. The saboteurs have clearly seen that our time is now very near following another great season and that our unstoppable success will begin as night follows day.
    Strength and honour in the face of subversive adversity ladies and gents!

  42. Top analysis Tony and what’s more, this strategy has actually been blatant and obvious for many years now following the achievement of the Invincibles, and the frank realisation that Arsenal is now one of the top 2 or 3 scouting and youth-player development clubs in all of football!
    As a consequence, there is always an unsavoury undercurrent of spiteful, jealous comment and feeling, and downright xenophobia, when it comes to our team whenever one listens to or reads the prose of the English press, and the international media outlets owned by Murdoch.
    What is now very clear from the torrent constantly being hurled at Arsenal and Arsene Wenger is that it is all driven by fear. Why does the media always choose to hound Arsenal’s matured players out of our club yet leave alone matured players at other clubs? The answer is that there is a clear recognition amongst all of the so-called footballing elite, that Arsenal are very soon going to become the only self-sufficient, one of the richest and consistently successful football clubs in the world. The vast recruitment and player-development empire that we now have, aligned with Arsene’s phenomenal financial prudence is testament to this. The crazy football financial bubble has now burst alongside the world economic crisis (just look at how few transfers took place in the January window)and it’s now becoming clear that trying to hound Arsene away from the Ems is the only way that the competition in England, and Europe will be able to compete in the very near future. The departure of Cesc, whenever it happens, will not be a big issue as the foundations that Arsene has been building since the moment he came will still remain.
    The Lord Wenger is the key to the vast riches that are inevitably coming our way and all that we must now do as the real fans is to now be more direct and practical in our defence and support of our club and Arsene. The saboteurs have clearly seen that our time is now very near following another great season and that our unstoppable success will begin as night follows day.
    Strength and honour in the face of subversive adversity ladies and gents!

  43. All Arsenal need to do is to make a statement on that Cesc is not for sale.

    The rumors have precipitated to an absurd level where truth and rumor have merged into one, and it’s not helping anybody but the morons in the asinine tabloid press.

  44. Great read, i’ve been asking myself if there are as many real arsenal fans as their were before. Blogs like le grove are just funny in my opinion, i always read their blogs just to laugh and see if there is anybody new that they are critising, but i jus laugh at their stupidity every time, the doom and gloomers are always around even when we win they still find a player/s or even the manager to take to town. But i am always taking untold arsenal and a very few other sites seriouslly with the true facts and even when sometimes i am unsure you guys always reassure my opinions and beliefs! Great work tony

  45. Tony, I must say, I’ve not read your blog in a long time, but this is by far the most intriguing piece I’ve read. Whilst the rumours of Fab admitting his desire to go back to Spain this season are concerning (even more so, as I had read this on skysports, who I (used to) think was a reliable source of news), I was still skeptical given that it was Guillem Balague who had ‘heard’ this. I mean, how on earth did he know what was said in what was apparently a private conversation?

    Anyway, truth be told, your post is very reassuring. I always come to your blog if there’s a bizarre rumour floating around just for that bit of sanity, so for that, thank you. And like some of the other Gooners, apart from our last few games, I think we’ve had a decent season. I really wish the media had limits imposed on them, in terms of what stories they could run, but I guess we’re getting into socialism and communism there. Oh well. Here’s hoping the rumours surrounding Fabregas are false.

  46. @ AaronGsi. So you think Fabregas is not as good as Xavi or Iniesta. Where are your facts? Get them before i lose my temper. The reason why these guys start ahead of fabregas is that they both play in spain and a top team at that. I believe if he were to be playing for barca, he would have been nominated severally for awards. And if the king-fabre-pass was to leave(God forbid), i have so much faith in Lord Wenger to find a suitable replacement. He found him remember. And to the article, Tony, i say ‘Spot On’. We have a large group of fans here in Nigeria who have been infected by these catastrophists.

  47. I think this article for the most part is brilliant and I appreciate the constant optimism coming from this blog in general. In the event that Cesc does end up leaving, I disagree that it’s something to be brushed off lightly.

    Saying things like “the departure of Cesc doesn’t mean much. If he goes, we can buy someone else; he’s not the only player in town”, it seems that you’re taking the complete opposite stance as the catastrophists and not giving due appreciation for that fact that some players like Cesc are just that important and that good and will be missed. He’s more than a brilliant playmaker, he’s always been incredible on and off the field.

  48. somebody in this article’s comment said that maybe Fab is given something like ultimatum from Laporta that if he doesn’t join now he’ll never be joining the Barca team. It could be true as Fab has said that he wants to clear his future before WC..
    but if i’m in his shoes, i’ll stay to make my mark in EPL as Arsenal is just starting to gearing up to top speed. The sweetness of glory within is just incomparable..and Fab knew it..

  49. Classic stuff, Tony! )Ou might be wrong when you say “unemployed” though. I wonder if their income could be traced all the way to a certain Uzbek tycoon!

  50. As a 100% paid up member of Paranoids Anonymous, it’s worth remembering that even paranoiacs have enemies!
    For all the time I’ve been supporting the Gooners we have been disliked. Jealousy being the primary reason, aided and abetted by the swamp dwellers down the road who still believe they were shafted in 1918.

    But the latest Cesc story…who started the ball rolling? Balague. Barcelona born. Barcelona supporting. The man is a bloody menace.


  52. Damn have you people ever heard of paragraphs?

    You know, those things that make it easier to read what you write.

  53. Tony, I have no trouble in believing the possibility of a conspiracy. But isn’t the most likely source the loser in the recent intra-Arsenal war? One David Dein.

    Dein was/is Arsenal through and through. He truly believes that Arsenal cannot compete without big bucks. Isn’t that the default position of most/all of the catastrophists?

    On the other hand, why would any skilful player want to play in the EPL? Cesc’s World Cup has been endangered by another reckless, career threatening tackle. Birmingham again! Against some EPL teams Cesc gets kicked every couple of minutes. As was Hleb, as was Reyes. You don’t need to look to the internet for a conspiracy. Diaby, Eduardo and Ramsey. Ridgewell’s tackle is what Theo can come to expect. I wouldn’t stay if I were Cesc.

  54. Reading through the comments this morning there’s one that struck me as the exact example of what I am trying to write about. I am going to reprint it here, with my comments. Fortunately the writer wrote in BLOCK CAPS so my replies are in normal typeface.


    The abuse about me being outside reality is fair enough – if one writes on the internet, that’s what one gets. But it is interesting that the writer is “laughing at me” without any real evidence. To suggest no one knows the financial situation in a plc is very odd – Arsenal plc lives by all the rules that we have in the UK for controlling such firms, and it has to make documents available to its shareholders – and AST make those documents available. To suggest that Arsenal is breaking these company rules suggests that at any moment the fraud squad will be knocking at the door. I hear them knocking at the door of Arry, but not at Arsenal. Evidence would be good.


    I can’t speak for others but for myself I have written a couple of pieces about injuries, and put forward four hypotheses as to why we have had more injuries than in earlier years. I don’t think that can be called “hiding.”


    Now that’s an interesting claim. What it does is typical of catastrophist argument – it leaves out points and then says why can’t we do that. There’s the question of who has done all that Wenger has done, on the limited budget that Highbury offered – I can’t think of anyone. And it ignores that we are up against clubs that either have unlimited funds (Chelsea, Man C) or have bankrupted themselves to try and win the league (Man U, Liverpool).


    Another interesting point. “Just cause (sic) an Arsenal fan disagrees with Wenger hes (sic) not a true fan or mindless or uneducated?”

    I really don’t think I have said anything like that. I have reported a true story about a bunch of people who have behaved in an odd way, that’s all. I know people who express doubts and concerns about Wenger, but do so in a way that allows debate and discussion. They put forward facts and theories and those theories are tested out against the facts.

    What I am arguing against are the people who just make assertions without facts. I don’t call them uneducated – although I do admit to thinking it is bizarre behaviour to act as some of these people do.

    The point is that this writer has had his say, but there is no point on which we can debate, because there is no argument just assertion.

    That seems to sum it all up.

  55. Gooner 89, if you want to be taken seriously the first thing to do would be to stop writing under different names

  56. Leeroys
    I too thought the comment was strange, and have written a full reply to him this morning.

  57. Very insightful article, Tony. I’m of those fans that follow latest news on Arsenal on daily basis but rarely comment. There are lots of fans out there who are just like me that are gradually worried reading most of those anti Arsenal articles and comments. Unfortunately, these unsubstantiated articles when repeated enough time will gain support and will ultimately be accepted as gospel truth. We must never underestimate the force behind their motive. Thus, your blog and hopefully other true arsenal blogs must continue to expose them for the benefit of the vast majority of gunner fans. If I may just share my thoughts, a few suggestions would be the following : Create a special blog to discuss specifically on journalists, commentators and expose their bias reportings and unsubstantiated articles. Let it be known to them that their biasness are being read by millions of arsenal supporters worldwide. Create a specific channel to also expose the dirty tactics of the referees where it concerns arsenal. It has been obvious to all arsenal fans that generally referees do not provide sufficient protection to arsenal player and sometimes blatantly encourage anti football tactics against us. I know arsene realize this.
    I can only think of various reasons behind the anti arsenal sentiments from the media, the referees as well as the EPL.
    1) Arsene is a French and like most people know, he is not
    ‘one of them’. The high accolades being accorded to him
    by millions of arsenal fans is just too much for them to
    2) The lack of number of british players in arsenal team
    contributed to the victimisation too.
    So Arsene must know how to play the game to overcome the problems at hand.

  58. Brilliant stuff dude, keep up the good work.

    If nothing else, it is quite clear that next season we will play Premier League football, being able to put 11 quality players on teh pitch. Wenger will have them playing in a style it makes you proud to watch and ensures every game is a treat. Whoever we sell or sign, the team will be full of quality and have a chance to challenge for the title, that is clear.

  59. its funny becoz I also read Le Grove.
    I’m with Tony on this, it’s all pure conspiracy to put Wenger or Arsenal out of the title race.

  60. Funny how the abusive posts, sticking the boot in to all things Arsenal are IN MASSIVE WRITING WITH NO CARE FOR GRAMMER!1!1!1!

    Anyone would think you were as thick as pig sh*t, Gooner 89.

  61. I’m bored of the Fan v Catastrophist anti support debate.

    Not that you’re not completely correct Sir Tony. You are.

    You’re right that they’re generally less informed, not very clever, and a small number of very digruntled people.

    From the comments on the 4 or 5 Arsenal blogs I read, I even know their identities by how they write, what they say and how they say it.

    It’s boring. It’s old.

    It’s hard to completely ignore them. But it’s easy to elevate them.

    I used to be worried they were influencing people. But I’ve long since realised not many of them do. On most Arsenal blogs, these guys are laughing stock.

    Most people, even the goons at Online Gooner realise that the direction the club has taken is the direction the club has taken, and Wenger has done a great job.

    I’m rambling now. My point is sooner or later, this squad will win trophies in addition to all the other good work the manager and board have done.

    It’s a question of when.

  62. Once apon a time we had a manager called Terry Neill, who we didn’t have much faith in. For a laugh and to prove it could be done three of us went to Highbury for a match and before the game we went to the main entrance, where the gossipers were and took turns bumping in to each other saying “Have you heard, Neill’s being sacked and Malcolm McDonald (who was doing well at Fulham) is going to be manager”
    We did this over and over and I must admit that it tickled us when the people around were taking notice.
    On the following Monday The Sun ran an exclusive that Malcolm McDonald was to be made manager of Arsenal.
    The main entrance to Highbury are blogs now.

  63. The simple fact is that Wenger’s failure to build a side around one of the greatest young talents in Europe has cost us that very same player. Not a side that huffs and puffs to third on the back of the top two having a average season in terms of quality, a real quality side that challenges. One that achieves things and not dreams of them like most of the deluded mentalists that fill our ground week in, week out wearing the latest European special third kit competitively priced at £60 with Fabregas 4 on the back!So here we, Arsenal, by far the greatest team, the world has ever seen, with a first choice goalkeeper who is not one of the five ‘keepers in his national teams preliminary squad of 30! Smashing!One centre half of any note contracted to the club! Ideal!The fans new hero being an average second choice right back who has now played virtually every position on the park! Wonderful!Players in the paper spouting off about how nobody talks to a certain team mate and another prepared to suck off whoever it takes to get himself his dream move to Barca………………..sorry I should be clearer on who that is as we have two candidates, I was talking about Arshavin!The fulcrum our side was to be built around now wants it on his toes. This is not about money and this is not purely to do with Barcelona being his childhood team. This is about Arsenal Football Club and Arsene Wenger being complacent and believing that chucking the armband at Cesc was enough for him. Why would such a supremely gifted footballer want medals, trophies and success when he can be placated by wearing a sweatband around his bicep……………….good fucking thinkin

  64. I am not gloating when I say some of you told us this was coming. It is fucking terrible but the signs were clear and they were ignored, they simply couldn’t be missed! The squad was never strong enough, the board is fragmented and distracted and too much importance has been placed on one man who has failed to deliver despite promises from his own lips!Why some of you lot choose to believe in Wenger when out captain clearly does not I do not know and let’s be clear, Cesc knows more facts than us!Blind faith or sheer stupidity?Enjoy the clubs silence followed by the mind-bending bullshit you love swallowing!

  65. That’s a very interesting point or two Scythe. Now if you would like to give us some evidence, I think that would be helpful. For example

    Players in the paper spouting off about how nobody talks to a certain team mate

    Now if you would explain a) why you believe what the papers say on this topic, and b) why we should share your belief, I think that would be a start.

  66. Did you notice how Scythe is using the keyboard without the space-bar I referred to yesterday.

  67. Great article Tony. I’ve always pondered why so many “Arsenal Fans” would write so negatively. Now we have some insight.
    These people are obviously twisted, and from what we’re seeing with these comments…………relentless too.
    So keep up the good work Tony, your blogs really do speak the truth. But remember nothings as important as your health :)!!!

  68. I’d rather finish third the “Lord Wenger” way, than first the Abramovich way!!! Victoria Concordia…………………………………………………………………….

  69. If you can point out anything on there you don’t believe to be factual then I will quite happily back it up with evidence.I am not asking you to share my belief I am presenting to you facts and reasoning!

  70. Well done Tony.
    WE as a fan should support our team thru bad and good. I think those blogger are nothing but a spud or chavski fan trying to put a negative thought on our team or maybe just a dole blugger.
    I just ignore the people who make bad comment about our player or team, those people are NOT supporter.
    And you right Tony, we didn’t win any trophy this year but we’ll challenge the title next season.

  71. We are very fortunate to have this type of investigative journalism. It’s disgusting to actually see this destructive behaviour and dishonesty.

    Tony why can’t you publish the list of catastrophist site’s. And, if you can’t maybe link them so I can either fight back w/you or just stay away.

    Last comment are these sites on your link spot? If so I hope you have deleted them.

  72. It’s slightly more complex than that Tony.

    1. I am depressed. But not a catastrophist. And I don’t run a website.
    2. The media pick up on my comments, 85% of which are pro-Wenger/Arsenal, maybe 15% aren’t. That’s fair dos for someone who spent £13-15,000 in the past 4 seasons following the Club (don’t do the accounts exactly, but it’s in that range). With a waiting list for tickets, you don’t throw the toys out of the pram precipitously without saying your piece first, do you??
    3. The media then distort those comments in certain ways. So if I said I fancied XYZ for Arsenal, you’d see a story saying that City, Spurs or Utd were in for them. Each time. Beyond coincidence. Statistically significant.
    4. I might write an amusing song, nothing more than that and you might think, if you were a cynic like me, that certain matches were fixed as a result. I’m talking about Real and AC Milan departing in the last 16 of the ECL one year amongst others……can’t supply proof, but the correlations exist.
    5. You might think, based on my betting patterns (limited) on Real Madrid that they fix them for me to lose. Again no proof, just correlations…..and a 4-0 defeat to Alcorcon, of course…
    6. You might think that only my comments can trigger a player coming into Arsenal. I truly hope not, as I’m not the manager and I’m not paid. I refer to the signings of Nasri and Mikael of Man Utd fame…….amongst others……..I didn’t know Nasri existed and I certainly didn’t call for the older chap to be signed……..
    7. You might wonder why I say things like this. I can say, with a measure of humility, that I made numerous suggestions to Arsenal at the end of 2006/07 season, all of which were specific and affordable, all of which were done in the past 3 years. I refer to non-playing matters. I wrote an amusing skit on Allardyce being Real’s manager the day he resigned from Bolton, didn’t share it with anyone, next thing I know Capello’s picking Beckham at Real again, he’s out at the end of the season, England hire him and in his first week Alladyce is out at Newcastle. Facts, although the chain of causation is not razor-sharp.
    8. One reason I always post with my own name is that it is the only way to justify criticising or raising concerns. I can’t stand anonymous names criticising. You can’t go and knock on their front door or follow them to a pub to take them to task then. Course, if they’re called Bill Smith you might be challenged to find the right one. But I’ll wager a lot I’m the only Rhys Jaggar in the UK…..

    There’s a lot of skulduggery that goes on in the media Tony and I suspect Arsenal FC put their oar in occasionally too.

    Comments not judgements, you understand.

  73. Scythe I am still confused.

    You have said you were talking about Arshavin, in your piece. But you have sent me a link about Nasri. While it is true that Nasri does say that he doesn’t talk to Gallas, the whole piece goes on to say that this is not abnormal in a football team at this level. So I would have thought the whole quote might have been helpful.

  74. Wonderful article and I can’t thank you enough for your dedication to transparency.

    I post frequently at another sight and over the course of this season, I have noticed how a small group of posters, anti-Wenger, have chased off many others, literally attacking anyone who didn’t support their extreme views (in my own mind I compare them to tea party fans).

    Anyway, I keep posting positive commentary because I only attribute their cynicism and sarcasm to immaturity, and a sense of entitlement. Your article now reconfirms that something more sinister might prevail, which will on fuel my support.

  75. One thing you might like to think about Tony.

    If Arsene Wenger bugs people’s PCs that’s not friendly, is it? So he should take some flak for that, shouldn’t he?

    The Allardyce skit I wrote on Real: Wenger knew about that and said, in the Press, without me distributing it, that ‘Real will get better next season’. Nothing to it, most likely. Once is happenstance, after all….

    I wrote another about Eriksson at Man City, which Wenger also knew about before distribution. He said, in the media conference ‘I like people who negotiate hard’. A quote of my skit. Amazing that he and I experience ESP, isn’t it??

    Strange isn’t it? Wenger bugging my PC. Why?

    Bugging my PC started in 2001 in Manchester.

    I wrote a skit on Mr A. buying Chelsea in about 2003. Sent it to the BBC. It was a skit that D. Dein would be amused by. Because it was an accurate portrayal of the world, couched in humour and maybe a bit of poetic license. Didn’t mean a thing. Was just a bit of fun. Didn’t mean it was true. Didn’t mean it was what I wanted. Was just a bit of humour. Didn’t realise Denis Wise would be on my back for life as a result…….

    Wrote another skit in 2005, prefacing it to the BBC with the clear implication that it was satire and I didn’t agree with the opinions apparently expressed, although a lot of it seems to be coming true now. It was used to do some Olympic lobbying I understand, along with an Ali G skit with SGE and a few other things. Dein made a comment in the Press about it, talking about ‘multiple footballing philosophies. Arsene has a great one. But it is only one.’ Or the like. James Lawton had journalistic indigestion. Ker-splutter of indignation. WTFITG? Just a bit of negotiation for a new job, you know……John Simpson thought it hilarious.

    Let me ask you something Mr Attwood.

    If Wenger is so great and all others are so jealous, why is HE bugging other people’s PCs? No benefit to that, as his insight is so much greater than anyone else’s, isn’t it? Only beneficial if there’s something to be gained. If not info, what else, eh? Le Professeur and sordid spying? Surely not……

    Why was HE so annoyed about Bergkamp getting a testimonial to open the Emirates? Was it because I suggested it in summer 2005 when I was down choosing my seats at the new stadium on a PC?? I didn’t demand it, just suggested it. Nothing wrong with a suggestion, is there? Hardly undermines the manager, does it? All that’s needed is no response. Because I didn’t run a campaign in the Press, did I? Just mentioned it to one AFC employee off the Caledonian Road. Hardly Hitler about to launch Operation Barbarossa, was it?

    I could go on.

    But you’ll get the point, I suspect……..

  76. I think a lot of the vile critisism stems from the frustration and jealousy at seeing Man Utd and Chelsea as top dogs. Its not Arsenal or Wengers fault that Chelsea have bank rolled their success or that Man Utd have bought theirs on the never never.

    Arsenal football club will (hopefully) never go down that road. There was a quote about winning the league Chelsea’s way of finishing third the Arsenal way. Its the Arsenal way all the way.

    Any Chelsea supporter must feel in their heart of hearts that the success they have experienced is ultimately hollow and meaningless because they did it the easy way. I take nothing away from the Chelsea team, full credit to the players assembled who got the job done. But without the money behind it all they would never have played together in the first place.

    Finally for all those frustrated and angry so called Arsenal supporters. Your venting your anger at the wrong people. You should be protesting at the FA for letting those clubs be taken over and essentially allowing them to erect Everest like cash moutains on what used to be a fairly level playing field.

  77. I read a great quote once about football journalists. I can’t remember it word for word but it went along the lines of “The average football writer is an alcoholic, ignorant, lazy arsed, southern based, Tottenham supporter” The problem with this is that most football journalists are nowhere near average. In fact outside of Patrick Barclay I can’t think of one whose opinion I respect, whether I agree with it or not.

    If you look at how the media has whipped itself up into a state of almost orgasmic joy in the way they are reporting the fact that Cesc might be leaving you have to ask yourself a question. Why would people whose lively hood depends on football and spend most of there time claiming the PL is the greatest league in the world be so happy to see one of it’s very best players leaving?

    All the while ManU are preparing the ground for a lack of signings (which has nothing to do with a lack of money by the way). What are they going to do next year when Giggs, Neville & Scholes either hang up their boots or just cannot perform at the top level anymore?

  78. This is a message for Scythe who keeps putting up silly posts on this site…..can I suggest you go on Le grove or other similar blog forum which are more suitable to your way of thinking…..are you a Spurs fan in disguise? If so I hope ‘arry works his magic like he did at Southampton and Portsmouth!

    Tony, I would rather you wrote another brilliant article than respond Scythe’s ramblings, whch are sort of reminicent of the ex Hull manager – Phil Brown, come to think of it following a match against us – he’s got alot of time on his hands…..

  79. Sometimes the best way to shut people up is to ignore them. Dont give them so much time Tony, they are not worth it. we all get frustrated by it, but lets not give them any more attention than we have to!

    In some ways it strengthens my faith in the club, players and manager. they are still managing the club sensibly with a long term vision and plan for success, despite the constant whinging and media hullabaloo. (new stadium, continuing to use the best sports tech in training (recent gazidis interview), making sure we continue to have a strong youth program, not breaking the budget for short term success, or changing our club philosophy)

    Fans need to realize:

    We do not have a right to success. man u, chelsea and everyone else have just as much right to that as we do, and they work hard in their own way to achieve it. i like the arsenal model and the way we do things, its why i love the club.
    we wont win every season so your support has to stem from somewhere else, winning is a wonderful bonus to being a supporter, not a right.

    you have to get behind you team, if you cant, you need to seriously look at your reasons for supporting the club!

  80. In a mediation, negotiating between two disagreeing parties, certain ground rules of behaviour and discussion is set…for example two minutes each, no interruption, no name calling etc…it is up to the parties. Nobody does it in the land of blogs, so its lawless land as you mentioned Tony…anything goes and it excellerates to the point where I am now…following my belief in being an Arsenal supporter I am left in a social sport where I search for my fellow supporters, try to find a refreshing new perspective, peck on his shoulder and get; Cesc is not good enough for Barca (Hill wood supposedly a few months ago), he hates us (I want things (undefined) sorted out before the world cup), “Guillem B knows” (he has intimate knowledge)…finding another quote, like Hill-Woods today, taken out of its setting and glued together in an enigma of an article and basically…made into “we (Arsenal)are a stack of cards, don’t take him out it will all crash, CRASH(!!)”.

    I once had a girlfriend with the same irrational thinking about my whereabouts; she based her knowledge on a very loose perspective, listened to every perspective but mine, thought I cheated which I did not; simply, I became tired and I left her. No sympati needed, we have dried our tears long time ago, and she blessed me with a lesson 🙂 . Anyway, not saying Cesc will leave us behind, but saying it must be tiring having this every transfer window for how many years now. And from my own experience, distrust usually has the opposite affect and rather creates distance. All in all though, what matters for him must be as any of us; not the gossip at the local hair parlour, but rather what actually happens at his own workplace. So the biggest worry is not what is written in the blog, just as long as his team mates do not subscribe to gossip and keeps business going. External pressure more commonly unites, the lack of it creates a weaker bond and internal fractions. So would be more concerned about team unity, than one single player. And that seemed more prevalent than several years in the matches last year, in how they fought back. That is one substantive issue telling that team unity seems fine.

    The land of Arsenal blogging is basically a land with no rules; in the setting of a mediation it can be compared to people jumping behind one persons back at one point shouting “I got an idea, an idea (!!), take quick leaps across the room behind the opposing party, pulling up a hand and saying “that was a very good idea, we might come to an agreement”. This becomes very tiring and boring; as this would make the climate of a mediation impossible, it seems to make the land of Arsenal blogging an excellerating more irrational and emotional climate; a place where everyone quotes the guy running and pulling up his hand behind their back. In such a climate it is hard to find what is substantive issues and not. Without substantive issues, it is hard to find the truth…this issue of the mystical prankster basically reminds me of a book of spot willy

  81. Tony, I thought you said you didn’t censor comments as long as they weren’t racist, sexist or otherwise offensive to modern liberal sensibilities? What’s this I’m hearing now, that you were actively censoring and blocking readers?

    And the doom and gloomers have good points: poor tactics; persisting with poor players in the hopes they’ll get better; terrible injury management. Even if it’s coming from 4 people with 100 different email addresses, they’re still valid points and should not be that effected by financial restraints not to attempt to fix.

  82. A very interesting post Tony and one i took the opportunity to raise with Pedro over at Le-grove.

    In fact, i did a little experiment and demonstrated to him that the wordpress engine does not prevent the same computer using multiple identies.

    He raised a very good point.

    Why not publish the ip addresses of the individuals responsible for the attempts to spam Arsenal blogs?

    That way, all Arsenal blogs have the opportunity to block these IP’s and make it a little bit harder for them to succeed?

  83. About publishing the IP addresses – I don’t know – that is a bit like having spy cameras and CCTV and the like which I also don’t like. If I can’t control the situation, maybe yes, but for the moment I think I am managing to find and ban people without that extra step.


  84. I was thinking more from the perspective of enabling other sites to also spot the fraudsters – even if those IP’s are not published. An email to the site owners along the lines of “are any of these ip’s posting on your site” may prevent the spread of their poison.

  85. Very good article. I have thought that there is some such anti Wenger / anti Board campaign for a while. Although it could be just a few mindless idiots, I don’t think that this is unrelated to the issue of ownership and control of the club.

    It is a very cheaap way to destabilize a club, particularly when you realise what a gormless lot the regular media are, willing to print any half baked rumour as fact. And also knowing that if you say something enough times it can in the end a way of getting the outcome you want.

    So the question for me is it a few unemployed idiots with nothing better to do, or a campaign financed by someone wanting to takeover the club?

  86. QOS

    Same as the anti Glazer campaign at ManU (but without the justification). Get a popular revolt against the incumbents and put yourself forward as the answer. Doesn’t guarantee it will work, as can be seen with the Glaziers. Does seem to have worked at Liverpool but the case here was pretty strong.

    It may also be a competitor too – there are a few clubs who might want to weaken Arsenal. Football is a big money business now and such tricks come with big money.

  87. FAO Tony, Can you tell me is there a way to stop a persistant troll from coming on a blog, over the last week or so one tiny trotts troll has used over 50 id’s, the moderator removes the posts and bans that ID but more appear one after the other, he had 20 on the go at the one time. He is also using the private message option on that site to plague regular memebers, especially those who argued against his anti wenger and anti arsenal posts, originally the troll had used a couple of Id’s claiming to be a dissatisfied gooner, a few of us rumbled that it was a troll at work and it was banned under a couple of ID’s, but since the season finished it has gone beyond a joke. The user has claimed he works in IT and has loads of free time during work to keep registering with new ID’s.
    So tony is there a way to get rid of a troll once and for all

  88. You are aware how paranoid and slightly bonkers all this sounds I suppose? Ever heard of the concept of the shared IP? No? Anyway….

    I have a lot of Arsenal fan mates, not many of whom are particularly interested in blogs or the online fan community. One of them, who used blogs and forums casually, wrote a long piece over a year ago about the nature of Arsenal fans. If I could remember where it was posted I would link it, but although she did blame online communities for some of the change in attitude, her theory was much more grounded in reality than this piece, in my opinion.

    It’s quite simple really.

    Arsenal had been a successful club for 18 years, up until the 2005 FA Cup win. George Graham arrived in 1987 and we were winning or seriously competing for trophies every year, pretty much, until Arsene Wenger decided his youth project was more important than competing.

    What you have now is a generation of fans who have known nothing but success, suddenly having it taken away. They don’t know what it’s like to be losers and didn’t, unlike some of us, have to endure Terry Mancini and company in the mid 70s. The attitude is entirely shaped by the lack of success, the selling of our best players and the continued faith in players who are not up to it, are talented but have no spine etc etc

    If there’s a doom and gloom movement, it has nothing to do with online campaigns and everything to do with what’s going on on the pitch and the lack of progress in the last five years. The online communities are not that important. Honestly. I know those who use forums and blogs have some distorted view of how vital they are, but they’re completely unimportant with, in the main, tiny readerships.

    The best blogs and forums are largely supportive of the manager, the club and his policies. The more extreme end of the spectrum are tiny and largely irrelevant.

    If you want to blame something for the doom and gloom, you could and should make a start with a manager who claims third place is a trophy. If I was a player, let alone a fan, hearing that kind of talk I would be off like a shot. Can you imagine Cesc’s kids one day saying to him, “Hey dad, I hear you were a really great player but where are your medals?” and him replying, “Well I didn’t win anything but we qualified for the Champions League every year when I was at Arsenal”.

    The doom comes from the club and what it is doing, not some little group of fans organising themselves.

  89. “Ever heard of the concept of the shared IP? No? Anyway….”

    What a strange approach – to answer a question and then presume to answer it without allowing myself to answer – as if somehow you know my mind better than I.

    The fact is, what we found were sudden bursts of emails from people all sharing the same IP address who had never come to the site before. We tracked these bursts several times, and the behaviour of the writer was abnormal compared with the correspondence we get. Using a tracking system (which is not something I understand) it was possible to work out where the computer was that was being used, and we actually put the point to one of the “people”, who admitted what was going on (on pain of revealing to an employer what the firm’s computer system was being used for).

    It is interesting that you counter the proposition in the argument which is built on a slow accumulation of facts with this odd statement “Ever heard of the concept of the shared IP? No? Anyway….” and then give a list of opinions with no clear reason why your vision should be understood as opposed to anyone else’s.

    One might be tempted to respond

    Ever heard of the concept of the argument that is developed and based on evidence? No? Anyway….

    But that would be as insulting as your opening.

  90. Tony, can you not publish the ip addresses? That way we could all ‘have a look’ at them.

  91. This question has come up several times, and I think not. The IP addresses are not provided by the originators openly and willingly, and these people have committed no crime – they are just being irritating and a bit childish, in my view. I’ve stopped them coming on here, so I think that’s enough for now.

  92. The name’s Bond, Tony Bond 🙂

    One of the two over at Le Grove is better than the other. I forget which. Geoff, I think. Semblance of a brain there. Or then again. maybe not.

    I read them every single day. Gives me good laughs.

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