At last, after years of our waiting, Arsène Wenger changes his approach.

By Tony Attwood

When Arsène Wenger arrived on his first day at work at Highbury, he found, somewhat to his surprise, that there was a large gathering of journalists on the steps of the Marble Halls.   Enquiring within why they were there, he was told that no, this was not how press conferences were held in England, but rather than they were after a story.

That story was a set of evil accusations without a scrap of evidence anywhere – accusations which later Man U saw fit to allow to be sold as part of a Man U collection of supporters’ songs.

Both events – the gathering of the journalists, and the selling of a CD of songs and chants with such appalling slanders on them – marked a low point in football from which it has never recovered.

On the day the board at Arsenal begged Mr Wenger not to go outside and confront the journalists but he did, and got the better of them.  In fact he ran rings round them.  “What do you think about the rumours Arsène?” they shouted, and he simply said, “What rumours?”

A brilliantly simple ploy.  If any of them had repeated the rumours Mr Wenger could have sued for slander.  Only if he said anything could the journalists be free to print with impunity.

Ever since the press has hated Wenger and vowed retribution.  In the face of their endless taunts, falsehoods and downright lies the media with their allies in the aaa have continued the assault.

Mr Wenger, before he started dealing with the press


Today we are in a situation in which, if you take the last two years, there have been six domestic trophies available (2 x FA Cup, League Cup and League).   Chelsea have won two, Man C have won two, Arsenal have won two.

But still, despite achieving that without the billions poured into Chelsea and Man C, and while building a totally new style of stadium, widely considered the best stadium in the country, the derision and insults continue.   His victory over the journalists in 1997 never forgotten, the grudge eternally there.

Throughout Mr Wenger has continued to be polite and calm, gently inviting the pathetic mob to grow up and enter the adult world.

It has been an impressive performance, and I must admit many is the time I have wished he would just tell the journalists to grow up and behave like adults.   But he hasn’t and he is the one who has  to face the pack of the semi-skimmed each week, so I am sure he knows best.

Or at least, he hasn’t until today.  Today he gave the horde a little taste of what he thought.  He was mild, gentle even, and to the point.   He spoke courteously and calmly, and what do the little children do?

Here’s the Telegraph headline

Wenger threatens to walk out of press conference

It is all the usual journalistic tricks of course.  By telling journalists they were being boring, they burst into life with

Arsenal manager loses his cool

No guys, what he did was he told you what you should know, that you were being boring.

And even the Guardian, which usually makes some sort of semblance of being within the educated part of humanity lets rip with

Arsène Wenger has launched a furious attack

No, he called the journalists “boring” and the pundits “depressing”, and who can disagree with him.  That is exactly what they are.  That is not a furious attack.  My A level English teacher would have eaten the press pack for breakfast, (although he did once write in my report “what this boy does to the English language should be a criminal offence” so maybe I’m not much better).

But worse, what these extraordinarily silly people do is attempt to create a footballing agenda which by-passes many of the key indicators of what is going on, instead feeding us with lines about how what happened in the last game is all there is to know.  One minute of one game.

David Ospina scored an own goal.  He is not the first goalkeeper to do so, nor will he be the last.   But suddenly this goal is a

calamitous own goal

Mr Wenger has spoken about how Cech had a medical alert at Leicester, and how he wanted to rest him.  Also we know that Ospina was magnificent last season after he replace Fabianski.  Indeed Walter will have more to say on this in the next article.

So, a bit of gentle chiding is more than a reasonable response, and the press turn this into

he reacted furiously 

And then, at last, we heard what we have been waiting to hear all these years.  In calm and measured terms Mr Wenger said,

“I think you lack a bit creativity in the press, you all follow a bandwagon that is very, very, very, very boring.   I don’t go along with that. If you have any interesting question about Sunday’s game I will answer, but you cannot keep coming back to the same story. Come to the game on Sunday and you will see who’s in the goal.

“I think you have not watched well the game on Tuesday night. To come always with the same story. I have two world-class goalkeepers. It’s the easiest choice I have to make, to pick one of those two. A goalkeeper can make a mistake and you have to accept that. If you watched really the game and you come to the conclusion we lost because of Ospina I question your knowledge in football.”

But of course the press won’t take that lying down (apart from having a brief sojourn on the way home from the pub).   The Guardian hilariously calls this “a spiky moment” and speaks of “an awkward press briefing”.

No, for the first time it was Mr Wenger telling the journalists that through all these years he has been the grown up and they have been the little children.  But like a kindly adult he was patiently answered their stupid questions and lazy assertions, until today he decided he didn’t want to.

At which point the Guardian decides that

Wenger threatened to storm out

What he actually said was, “Stop that story or we stop the press conference,” which apparently in Guardian-ese means “I will storm out”.

He really was on form, adding, “One pundit says something on television and all behind that repeat the same thing. It’s quite boring because nobody came with numbers [to show] why the game was won or lost. It’s quite depressing to see that. They all come to the same conclusion – we lost because we didn’t play well. Yes, the goalkeeper made a mistake but we could still have won the game despite that.”

Well, yes.  100%.  Complete, done, a clear answer.

Except of course the press – even the Guardian – won’t leave it at that.   Arsenal have Theo Walcott, the man who has scored 12 goals in 13 starts – an incredible record and one that Henry would have been proud of.  And what does the Guardian come out with today?

Walcott is 26. He cannot be a great hope forever, living in a limbo of possibility, forever on the verge of breaking through without ever quite doing it.

It is getting to the point where gibberish isn’t actually a strong enough word to describe what is going on.

And this is after two seasons in which he started a total of 13 league games something the Guardian mentions in its article and then in true journalistic fashion, fails to link to the key point.   Which is that despite a total wrecking of his career for two years, he is now scoring in game after game after game.

So when the article says 0f Theo, “Little wonder his career feels as though it has never quite got going”, we might actually read that as “Little wonder journalists are held in lower regard in the UK than bankers!  In fact just on 10% less than bankers.

I wonder, do they ever ask themselves why?   Why are we less popular than the evil bastards who destroyed the economy, and threw hundreds of thousands of honest straightforward hardworking people out of work and onto the scrap heap?   Maybe the way they behave in situations like this one might be an insight.

But back to Theo.  “He still gets caught offside too often.”

The Guardian clearly never actually saw Henry play.  Game after game he did the same thing – standing on and just below the defensive line, getting caught off side.  Until the right ball comes through, and hey, he is on-side and runs through.  It is a clever ploy – not that secret – although secret from the press rooms it seems.

The choice for the media is always there.  Come and join the grown up.

If you dare.

42 Replies to “At last, after years of our waiting, Arsène Wenger changes his approach.”

  1. After having seen lots of comments on twitter I couldn’t wait to see the press conference myself… and this was nothing as they described it at all.

    I was expecting Wenger to throw around with thing, stamp on the floor, shouting and yelling…

    I think Wenger was even very kind to them. I would have kicked them out a long time ago.

  2. He is feeling the pressure.No doubt it. Another loss will be such that clamours for his head will grow louder.

  3. Wow, very well said.I am from outside of England supporting Arsenal for years. To me the issue may be racist or something, because AW is not English or British, nor is English his mother tongue. Against these so- called English media he clearly has a disadvantage, but he has always sought to be gentlemanly with the press. At times you recall how Arsenal was criticism for not fielding a single British player, yet it is arsenal who are developing the local players most (Theo, Ox, Gibbs, Rambo, etc.). So for once the press should stop being Jose Mourinho’s spokespeople and should focus on real football. That’s why they love JM to bits for his theatrics in front of the press.

  4. Alas. we live in a society where sensationalism sells news. AW’s character allows them the opportunity to keep niggling away at him. If intelligence, honour and respect could be bottled within the ranks of the press, there would be but a thimble-full to go around. AW has always maintained a dignity and intelligence far above the cretins who spew out their bile on a weekly basis – just look at the tripe dished up by Adrian Durham as a prime example.

    Sadly, most morons choose to follow unhinged predators like Mourhinho, whose spiky exterior and uncomfortable obsession with AW borders on the psychotic. AW will never win – as already alluded to he upset the press on his arrival, plus he has always maintained a decency standard way above the comprehension of those who can publish and be damned.

  5. The press is in love with Mourinho as Wenger wants told them. One time Mourinho was asked whether he was under pressure after defeat and he said he wasnt, but the refuges were.

    Do they expect Wenger to respond that way too? Poor press. Imagine if it was Wenger who had given that kind of response. As long as it is their boy friend Mourinho, its fine.

  6. Man utd game on Sunday, Olympiacos game last Tuesday, but no lets talk about Mourinho…. sad really. He really should have walked out, no one would blame him; well except a few….

  7. As I have said before in Untold I have followed Arsene Wenger from the day I discovered that it was he who persuaded Glen Hoddle to play for him at Monaco. I was curious as to why Glen went to Monaco a middle table club at best at that time in France.

    In saying that the English media is boring when it reports on football Arsene as usual is being polite.

    The treatment that Arsene receives from our English media makes me ashamed to be English.

  8. At Arsenal Player, I just watched the complete press conference. And the way the “journalists” kept on “asking questions” was ridiculous. After a minute in to the conference they started to raise their own points at Wenger and kept on trying to make look as the villain and a “thorn” in the club. They went on and on to stamp their view on Wenger, that they are right (Ospina, goalkeepers and other media created nonsense) and Wenger is utterly incompetent and wrong.

    With journalists and the media like this, combined with the FA, PGMO and Richard Scudamore’s Premier League, I am afraid to say that English Football as a whole (League football and mostly the National Teams) is on a serious decline compared to the other bigger footballing nations. And it will continue to do so, if all these people are still continue to act likewise.

  9. HaHa – Arsene just treats them like the jumped up, shite spewing, uneducated, self serving scum that they are.

  10. Another thing about the media – Yesterday, the word “legend” was used to describe Ian Wright and Charlie Nicholas. Wrighty is – Nicholas isn’t – an Arsenal legend!

  11. Meanwhile the Chelsea doctor situation just won’t go away. This continues to – rightly – corrode Mourinho’s credibility – and the FA are now in the soup as well. That is where the media should be focusing their attention. Can you honestly ever imagine Wenger ending up in that kind of mess? Wenger is almost always polite and respectful to other managers – unless they have attacked him first – but can only think of two obvious examples off the top of my head. One of whom I referenced above.

  12. @ Pete – if this were AW, he would have had to leave the country. The witch hunt grows new talons with every day that passes. Maureen is ‘Teflon’ and seems to always escape – irrespective of the fact that he is an ignorant obsessive.

  13. A] front four including 1]Walcott & Ozil Never works against best opposition even with sanchez. No height

    2]Giroud & Ozil + sanchez OK best option

    3]Walcott & Ramsey + sanchez ok -walcott is a winger at best
    need extra centre forward with them.

    B] midfield also needs some height/strength-
    oxlade chamberlin is a mid fielder-not yet a top winger. unlikely to progress with ozil/walcott

  14. Tony,

    The journalist who kept on mentioning Mourinho’s comments, Ospina’s selection and all that nonsense, his name is Andy Burton from Sky Sports.

    Here is a brief background of this “journalist”

    “Andy Burton is a pitchside reporter and commentator, currently best known as a touchline reporter for Sky Sports. He has worked for Capital Radio[1] and Bravo. He hit the headlines after punching presenter Richard Bacon in the face in 2007.[2] He was the main commentator on Bravo’s Football Challenge joined by Andy Goldstein.[3] He commentated for Sky Sports, on Premiership football matches shown in their Saturday evening highlights show, Football First.

    On 25 January 2011, Burton was suspended by Sky due to his involvement in the sexist comments made about a female assistant referee, Sian Massey, which also involved Andy Gray and Richard Keys.[4] However, unlike Gray and Keys, Burton has since returned to his regular duties at Sky.”

  15. I am from India and this is a fucking awesome editorial man. Totally agree with you. English media is shitty to the core. Salute to the person who wrote this piece of genius

  16. English media has led to retardation of their own league and players. If ospina was an English I totally doubt whether he would have faced all that critics. Take it or hate u guys over esteem mistakes made by foreign players as though they were the first or the last to do so. We all love arsenal even if we’ve never been there but believe me u need to change your ways of writing.

  17. Arsenal were not beaten by a team who played for each other, moved quicker, reacted as a team to changes in a gamer faster, none of these, Atrsenal lost because Ospina made mistakes.

    No wonder Arsene Wenger told journalists they didn’t seem to know so much about football. What’s the lesson from World Cups, Euro’s, Champions League, non-stop football on TV around the planet – any team can beat any other team. Not so for the English media. A team loses because a goalkeeper makes a mistake.

    Mr Wenger’s response today was spot-on.

  18. If anybody is interested; I understand from a very reliable source that Mourinho called Dr. Eva Carneiro “Daughter of a Whore”.
    He was heard by a Portuguese season ticket holder who complained to the police and to Chelsea FC.
    The FA have done FA about it.
    The offended person isn’t even asked to give evidence.

  19. My mind smacks against the lunacy of it so often I barely even feel it now, but today was a bit different : today I thought properly again about how nonsensical the ‘no pressure’ meme is.

    The press- behind only the board in terms of who can put pressure on a manager, thanks primarily to the stupidity of many (a majority?) of their audience- who every last week ask Wenger the most difficult questions they can muster, suggesting to him there might be a lot of truth in him not being under enough pressure, or not under any at all?

    It’s truly bizarre stuff. I can’t find a decent comparison, so my best effort is to say it’s a bit like someone swinging punches at you while saying ‘so, what do you make- swing- of this talk- swing- that nobody ever- kick- tries to punch and- kick- kick you then, mate. I mean- swing- that’s- swing- surely not right,is it?’ swing [oh…nearly got him…well, actually no, it wan’t close, but, oh well, there’s enough there to write my shit anyway’.]

    The frigging question itself is an obvious act of exerting pressure on a manager. Add that to the fact they know there is pressure from some unhappy fans, so what on earth are they talking about?

    What extra pressure do they want,exactly?

    More unhappiness from fans? That’s up to fans.

    More criticism from the press? If they had an honest bone in their collective or individual bodies, they’d admit there’s a lot of that already- one prize twat makes a career of it on the radio and in print- and, anyway, what’s there to ask Wenger about on that front when, as with fans, that’s an individual choice for journalists.

    That leaves only the board. Generally, there are only two states between board and manager which, for good reason, are ever visible to outsiders- not been sacked or just been sacked- so there is literally nothing for Wenger or any manager to discuss with the press on that front. Nothing.

    So what are they talking about? Truly nothing within the bounds of sense. They are just playing along with Mourinho-ish games because, sadly and as we all know, they are far more suited to that garbage than to the better way of doing things Wenger embodies.

    They don’t really deserve the attention of anyone’s critical faculties, is the main point, but every now and then, if you’re to stick with football, you need to give it a go and rediscover just how f***ing pathetic football journalism in this country really is.

    Maybe he should have responded with ‘look, do you think you should be under more pressure in your job. You know what I mean : should your bosses be more displeased with you, and your readers, and your colleagues? Don’t you think you fall below the standards? Don’t you think you could and should do better?’

    In a way,though, i guess he says it all the time in his responses, today he was just a bit more direct about it. Difference is, he’s right.

  20. just watched the conference on AFCPLayer and I don’t think AW came across as a man under pressure, he seemed irritated by the stupidity of the journalists and their lack of football knowledge. I share his frustration.
    Interesting to know what went on with Schniedlerlin transfer, I wonder in United gazumped us

  21. I want to add, is not only the Boss that felt the presure when results on the field of play went against us. The Gunners and we the true Gooners also felt the presure of failure when results are bad for us. I believe the Boss and the Gunners are well positioned now to humble LvG’s Man Utd side at least 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium, when they come knocking at the door this Saturday afternoon’s. My starts for that game are no other than: Cech. BellerinRhino’DeAbreuMonreal. CazorlaCoquelin. RamseyOzilSanchez. Giroud. My bench: OspinaWalcottDebuchyChambersGibbsOxladeKamara. We don’t have Arteta, Flamini & Koscielny available. Hence, I am including Chambers & Kamara to start from the bench. De Abreu has the superior pace to neutralize Martial’s pace when he runs at him. But Rhino’ should be extra vigilant to stay well in his position, but can come out for the set piece and runs back fast. Bellerin & Monreal should be well prepared for Martial’s pace. And arch RedDevil Rooney must be bound & cast out of the game.

  22. Brillaint Tony.

    The way Wenger gets treated in the media is a disgrace. I have been saying this for years, he is so badly treated you wouldnt think he was a good guy.

    We have gangster owners, clubs buying success, cheats, Managers abusing their medical staff yet the focus of hatred is Arsene Wenger.

    Is it because he is bright? Is it because he took on the dinosaurs, the drinking culture, the long ball up and at em football – I dont know.

    But he is a respectful man who has fought for our club against every obstacle imaginable. He is a good guy, surrounded by those wouldnt know good if it smacked them in the face. He doesnt abuse female doctors or poke other managers in the eye. he doesnt call other managers names.

    I hate the media in this Country with a passion. I hate the way they treat Wenger, our club and us loyal supporters.

    It has really come to something when good is treated as evil. No respect any more.

    Fuck em. Gloves off Wenger, lets spill some blood and I’m your corner man.

  23. The trouble with the media of today is the need, in order to preserve of increase ratings and/or circulation, to obtain an off-guard quote, preferably contentious.
    Watch many a TV interview. The questioner will constantly interrupt if the replies are factual and not controversial enough.
    Of course the Wenger press conference attenders have no time for him. They find his professorial manner irritating because he regards them as folk who do not understand the subject under discussion.
    Which just about sums them up, really. 😉

  24. What is wrong is that Arsene Wenger has more class in his little finger is better educated, knows the game of Football which he loves and respects and stands head and shoulder’s above these people because the man has class. If these moron’s lived ten lifetimes they could still not manage that and their in lies the truth and they hate him for it. What Wenger does he does with honesty and with Arsenal FC at the for front of his mind always. These moron’s just can’t clasp that concept and never will but love Moanio because in lots of ways they are just like him.

  25. That was well put, Tony

    Now, I don’t subscribe to your theory of the press hating Wenger because of what happened in 1996. One hint of a scandalous rumour and they are all over it like a rash- they just can’t help it. Don’t forget, much of it is driven by our own tendency to consume such crap but I digress.
    We always seem to refer to the press as one entity and sometimes forget that there are a lot of sensible people among the press who respect him.

    Andy Burton, being the moron that he is, was not among those, I suppose. Not only was he disrespectful, he was trying to bully him outright. Trying to hit him when he is down- it was an absolute disgrace. Wenger to his credit, in spite of all the pressure that he felt, was almost polite to a fault- except when the Mourinho question came up. And not even then did he walk out in a huff as some might have done.

    Many of you speak about how Wenger and Mourinho get treated differently by the press. The difference between the two is almost like a cheap movie that did very well at the box office and an Academy Award winner that didn’t do as well. Mourinho, the trawler that he is, gives the seagulls in the press the sardines that they so badly want (appropriate credit given to Cantona on that one). Wenger is above all that. He is educated, bright and insightful- not words that anyone should, even by accident, use to describe Mourinho. History will certainly be kinder to him.

  26. Tony
    Everyone’s comments & opinions duly considered but did they read your post? AW bested the media the first day he arrived and has continued to do so. Despite their inanity he’s been gracious in victory and defeat. He exudes class. They can’t stand it.

  27. “It is getting to the point where gibberish isn’t actually a strong enough to cover what is going on.”

    I’ve been referring to it as gibberbollocks for a while now.

    Will that do?

  28. “We have to take the initiative and be better on defending – that’s where we are guilty.”

    Yes, but the lessons aren’t being learned, are they? What’s different now than say, after Monaco or Anderlecht? I’m not particularly upset though; long since accepted that this is a facet of football under AW. Hope for the best, expect Arsenal.

  29. The fact that Arsene has managed Arsenal for 19 years , and probably will ,one day , hold the record of being the longest serving EPL manager , shows that he HAS won ! No amount of negativity from the press , pundits and other so called experts has deterred him from the vision that he has for the club.
    Some of us too may not be able to visualise his dream , but we still give him the benefit of the doubt , in the knowledge that he KNOWS best .I for one don’t see anyone in the near horizon who remotely can eclipse his achievements .
    Like most of the AKBs on here , I too am going nowhere soon , and will continue to support his lofty ideals and dreams until he calls it quits on his terms. I will forever cherish his contributions and the joy he has given over the last 19 years .
    Those who come after us will get to see his statue outside the stadium , and believe me , it will cast a very big and long shadow .

  30. And all the more annoying how he gets treated considering the behaviour of Ferguson in foul mouthed rants at rooms of Journalists and banning certain papers, the BBC etc. All just swept largely under the carpet and then they all went back to only asking the questions he wanted.

    Sad that so many so called rsenal fans have allowed themselves to be brainwashed over time and repeat the hacks and pundits rubbish as fact.

  31. Wenger has not been treated particularly well by the press this week, that is true. Where this article gets slightly ridiculous is when it implies there is a specific personal vendetta against him. I Completely disagree with this, the press are after a story (manufactured if necessary) and don’t really care where they get it from. By losing 3 of the last 4 games, 2 of which Arsenal could have been expected to win, Wenger is quite exposed to a press that sense blood. Much as I dislike Mourinho, the same thing has begun to happen with him. It will to any manager, particularly of a top 4 club.

    The counter argument to this is of course Alex Ferguson. However, I would argue he was merely better at deflecting the press than anyone else. Partly this was straightforward bullying and intimidation, but it also obviously helps when you consistently win things. Wenger generally is pretty good at deflecting the barbs too (generally a subtle twirl of rapier wit rather than Ferguson’s over-sized cudgel), but with a few bad results he is understandably a little more tetchy, exposed and unable to defend himself. The nature of the game on Sunday intensifies this effect – lose it and Arsenal will have lost 4 from the last 5 games, which by any standards is not a good position to be in – the press know this and are setting themselves up for the ‘kill’.

    I actually think there is a lot of sympathy for Wenger in the press and amoungst the pundits – they have to watch a lot of football as part of their jobs, and they cannot help but prefer what they see at Arsenal. However, their job is to sell newspapers / generate clicks, and they will do whatever they have to do to achieve it.

  32. Usama Zaka
    October 2, 2015 at 2:55 pm
    Spot on Usama. I wonder if anyone noticed the BBC referring to Wenger as the Frenchman? To me that is the undercurrent of racism that some in the media keep alive. Very little is made of this but I believe that racism starts with choice usage of race in comments. I would be interested to know the ethnicity & religion of those that question Wenger in the press conference. Sky had the usual alcohol free Merson spitting bile aided & abetted with gentle nudges against Wenger. It is quite sickening how the media behave.

  33. Tony – you state that Ospina scored an own goal. Do you have any evidence that clearly shows the ball over the goal line? I know Ospina dropped the ball on his goal line but palmed it out before it crossed the line. That is what I saw from Block 102 row 6. I could not be 100% but I have not seen any clear evidence. Until that evidence is made public, I believe the Goal line official cheated & assumed rather than saw the ball go over the line.

  34. Menace, no I don’t; I’m just reflecting on the fact that the goal is given, and trying to set the issue of whether it was a goal or not aside, because I wanted to focus on Ospina overall. But I take your point. We don’t know.

  35. I have seen the media rant and they find less creative banters, Arsene just makes their choice of banter and rant more childish. I must admit being unhappy about losing the mid-week game and honestly, it was as he said, which was almost similar to what he said when we lost our first game of the season. “we forgot the basics” was what he said. Now, the pundits know that on our day, we can win any game-nobody likes that but I’ve learnt to enjoy the game and that’s about it. Nothing changes fact that it hurts when we lose games we ordinarily should win and I expect us to have learnt from mistakes. One major joy is that Mou has gone so low, he makes Wenger look genius.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *