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October 2020

Untold reaches 1.17 million readers and other ups and down of 2015.

In the first part of Football Winners and Losers for 2015  I nominated

  • Man U – Loser
  • Jose Mourinho – Loser
  • The Anti-Arsenal-Arsenal – Loser
  • Arsene Wenger – Winner
  • The Premier League – Winner

So here’s some more.

6.   Mesut Özil – WINNER

He was a winner at Real Mad, but now he is up there with the very, very best of them.   He reached a record-high 20 assists in the Premier League in 2015, provided the assist that took us to the top of the league, surpassed Thierry Henry in terms of assists in a calendar year, with our Terry Enry getting a mere 19 back in 2003.

He’s the eighth Arsenal player to win the assist chart for a calender year, the others being Bergkamp, Fabregas and Pires (who have each won it multiple times).

He is now certain of his place in the eternal records of Arsenal, and has given us that wonderful opportunity to have a very good laugh at the “nicking a living” turnip, Neil Ashton of the Daily Mail, not to mention David “the jury is still out” Moyes.

To be fair Ashton did actually tweet a couple of days ago… “Those moments when you wish you had taken a deep breath before typing. Thank you for all the retweets this year.”   But even so.

7.  Fifa – WINNER

You might expect Fifa to have been a big time loser this year, but far from it.  Yes ok some of the more outrageous characters have been rounded up and carted off, but Jack Warner is still living the high life and cocking a snook, Qatar still has its world cup, and Russia got away with not handing over its emails.

Worse, not one single solitary member country has resigned from the organisation, and there is a growing sense that Fifa will just sail through, the countries will bid again for more insane world cups, and everyone will pretend that things are all right because Blatter has gone.

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Quite honestly, once they get behind their closed doors, the only thing that stops the executives who are left are from crying with hysterical laughter, is that their tears might drip onto the dollar bills.

This was the opportunity to do away with all of it – and that opportunity is slipping away.

8.  Bolton, Blackburn, Leeds, Charlton, Fulham, QPR – LOSERS ALL

Clubs that have one way or another really screwed up not just this year but over time.  In 2005, Bolton finished sixth in the league, and got into the Uefa Cup.  They are now bottom of the Championship and can’t pay their players.  It took 10 years.

In 2010 the Venkys bought Blackburn, promised to win the league and made the famous “how hard can it be?” comment.  They are 16th in the Championship having been in the Premier League until 2012.

Leeds were at one time one of the top teams in the country and the rivalry between Leeds and Arsenal was singularly intense.  Charlton finished 7th in the Premier League in 2004 and the fans pushed for a change of manager, seeking one who could “take us to the next level”…  At the moment they are 23rd in the Championship which is a relegation slot.

Fulham were a regular mid-table club in the Premier League until 2013, while QPR thought they could buy success with Arry Redknapp and endless money, and are now 15th in the Championship.

It just shows, if you are looking to change owners, as with managers – be careful what you wish for.

9.  The Transfer Window and Deadline Day – LOSERS

There seemed to be no end to the hype surrounding transfers.  If you didn’t buy you got nothing.   By not buying an outfield player this summer (despite all the transfers of the last two seasons including Ozil and Alexis) Wenger was clearly a disaster.  You could measure him on that alone.

As far as I know only one little organisation took up the challenge: Untold.  We focussed on evidence based football analysis, and showed that only 25% of big money transfers work in year one, so as a way of solving an immediate problem, that is a very risky business.

We pushed the utterly obvious fact (which no one had previously seemed to notice) that players can’t just be told to leave nor other clubs told to sell.  And particularly a top DM isn’t going to come to Arsenal to be backup to Coquelin.

We stressed the phenomenal success we have with players brought through the ranks – either from our youth set up, or bought in early: Coquelin, Bellerin, Ramsey, Gibbs, Wilshere, Walcott, Campbell.

And we started to publish our league table with extra columns showing the amount that each team had spent on transfers – which showed once and for all how little relationship there is between spend and position.

Then along came Sir Hardly Anyone making fun of those tiny blogs (renamed “bloggettas” for no reason other than the fact that we thought it funny) that told us that Arsenal had already signed everyone, only for it to become apparent that they were quoting a disreputable English newspaper that was quoting a tiny Spanish news agency that was quoting a disreputable English… well, you get the idea.

We thought we were just poking fun at a lunatic belief system, but in fact in turns out we were doing a bit more.

For now we find headlines like Winter warnings: 20 summer buys that should give clubs the chills in January window  from the Telegraph, and slowly, very very very very very slowly, there is a shift.

I am not saying that as yet everyone recognises that transfers are actually just a small part in the whole evolution of a team, but there has been a slight change in direction.  We’ll keep up the pressure, and see if we can make things move along a bit more.

10.  Untold Arsenal – WINNERS

Untold began on 15 January 2008 with the post Arsenal witness the end of football   I think it might have got a few dozen readers at the time – mostly my mates and the odd robot.

Just under eight years on we have these figures for 2015

Page views (ie the number of times people have looked at an article on this site in the past year):


Users (ie the number of different people who have come to the site in 2015).


But there is more than that.  In my note above I suggested we may have had a bit of an impact on the way people see transfers.  That doesn’t mean that Sky and BT etc won’t be full of the transfer window – but rather we have just changed the emphasis a little.

I’ve also noted that I think Walter and his colleagues have had some influence on the way people think about refereeing in the Premier League.

Of course I can’t call a witness into the box and have him say, “Yes guv it was the Untold what made me change my mind” but either one can believe in endless coincidences or say that our campaigning approach maybe has made a bit of a difference.

It first occurred to me that we could make a difference when I saw the Daily Telegraph run an article on why England does so badly in internationals, which used the figures and analysis that I had sat down one Saturday and patiently worked out on my computer.  I know for certain those figures did not exist anywhere else, because I searched for them before writing my piece.  But there is was, the Telegraph reversing the conventional wisdom that to win the World Cup we need more English players in the Premier League, and instead saying “actually it is all to do with the number of coaches.”

It is an interesting example because the FA constantly proclaim the need for stronger “Home Grown” rules while ignoring the fact that analysis shows this is an irrelevant factor – and it does it to hide the fact that unlike virtually every other country it uses its courses for coaches as a money making venture, rather than as a way of improving the England team.

The same has occurred with the media’s approach to refereeing.  The phrase “it all evens out in the end” is used far less now, people are aware of PGMO, and all that it stands for.

There have even been some attempts at direct rebuttals of positions taken up by Untold, and virtually no one else.   Our constant view that Barcelona were guilty of serious offences in the child trafficking scandal may not have led the Independent to publish a press release from the President of the club as an investigative interview.

So it goes on.

Apart from the campaigns I have mentioned and our constant vision that Wenger is a totally brilliant manager, we’ve looked at

  • Having more refs and a more evenly balanced regional selection
  • More transparency concerning the accuracy of referee decisions
  • Exposing sloppy journalism that tells us what we are thinking or might think at some time in the future (rather than actually going out and doing some real research)
  • The ignoring of key issues by TV companies and instead only showing issues that fit their own agenda and support the retention of their licence to show football.
  • Exposing the gross incompetence of FA, the way it wasted money given to it for grassroots football (eventually leading to its grant being withdrawn), its massive redundancies following the throwing of endless money at Fifa, etc etc. etc.
  • Financial corruption in football and the use of football clubs for money laundering.
  • The way in which clubs manipulate the transfer market with phantom transfers, vapour transfers and the like – which the bloggettas and mainstream media seem to be quite ignorant about.
  • The fact that injuries at Arsenal were not to do with Arsene Wenger.  Indeed I think our work on this not only discredited Raymond Verheijen’s assertions but also influenced the thinking of some poor saps who might have employed him.

I could keep writing this all day, but I’ve already bored you enough.

So to wrap this up…

Particular thanks to Walter for his tireless support, his numerous articles on refereeing, and his constant covering for me when I vanish, to Blacksheep for his all his ideas, most especially his notion that we should have a banner in the stadium – a banner that is now on permanent display in the ground, to Andrew for his work on the refereeing analysis, youth teams and women’s team, to every other contributor throughout the year, and of course to all the people at Arsenal who have supported what we do and our ideas.

If you were reading in 2015, very many thanks.

Tony Attwood

PS: There will be more on the transfer of Mohamed Elneny shortly – he hasn’t yet signed as he doesn’t have a work permit.

New on the home page of Untold Arsenal: Insult of the day.

From the anniversary files.  More of today’s anniversaries on the home page

  • 1 January 1995: News of the World ran the headline “After 98 games, two years, four months, two weeks, two days, one hour and 19 minutes Jensen scores!”
  • 1 January 2001 Charlton Athletic beat Arsenal for first time in 44 years.  On 3 February 2001 Bergkamp scored to give Arsenal their first away win since November. Within a year there was early talk of Arsenal going through a whole season unbeaten away from home.



39 comments to Untold reaches 1.17 million readers and other ups and down of 2015.

  • And the Boss says he’s going to be busy in Jan . Couldn’t be happier great start to the year HN Year everyone !

  • nicky

    An excellent review of the year.
    The only worry concerns FIFA and the absence of bravery by footballing nations, demonstrating their displeasure over the widening corruption.
    It would only take one…….

  • colario

    Arsene has said that he will be busy this month. We have 5 games in January, 6 if we beat Sunderland at home in the FA Cup.

    We can safely say that Arsene will be busy this month – but then isn’t he always busy on behalf Arsenal?

    The bloggers, the no news newspapers, Radio and TV will be busy about Arsenal’s activities or lack of activity in the transfer market. They will be 100% wrong.

    The only reprieve the UK media have is that ‘sometimes the jokes are funny – sometimes’.

    With regard to FIFA if the national associations had not invested so much in FIFA they would have left in their droves. In my opinion they are staying as close as they can to FIFA in the hope that FIFA survives and allows the past to be the present and the future.

    Another possibility is the greedy piggy eyes of the national FAs are so low in the pig bin they can’t see the new light of day that is dawning over FIFA

    Happy New Year everyone.

    A news item for Mr Silent Stan. Shareholders do not take money out of the club,if any they put money into the club.

  • Andy Mack

    I agree with this ‘part’ entirely.
    Although part of me still hates Leeds, it is a great shame that such a big club have been run by such a bunch of incompetents. They have (had?) a massive following like Newcastle but like Liverpoo they also had a massive ego. No doubt one year they will scramble back to the PL and immediately consider themselves as the CL champs ‘in waiting’ again….
    As a side note, Elneny shouldn’t have problems getting a work permit as he’s a regular fixture in the Egyptian National team, unless they’ve changed the rules again.

  • tunnygriff

    Assuming that Arteta, Flamini and Rosicky will leave at the summer (they have been great servants to our great club) then the signing of Elneny could be an excellent one. People are moaning that he’s not good enough, probably because he doesn’t cost £30 million.

    We now have our analytics system who will have taken in all his data and reccomended him. He would then have been watched numerous times. 23 years old he is one for now and the future. Has played over 50 times for his country, is a key member of a decent Basle side and is versatile.

    Some of his stats are really good. Over 90% pass rate and last season when his side got to the last 16 of the CL up until that point he had covered more ground than any other player in the competition. He can play DM and b2b roles

    There is talk in the paper today that we’re after Rabiot as well. IF! and I say IF, this is true that would be our midfield sorted for the next4/5 years although Santi would need replacing eventually.

    All we’d need in the summer would be a RB, CB and a world class forward at the level of Alexis and Ozil.

    We really are in a good spot squad wise to maintain our challenge in the future.

  • Andy Mack – the rules have changed again, sad to say. The rules about being a regular player for your country only apply if your country is in the top 50 in the world and Egypt isn’t.

    So Arsenal will have to appeal. From what I hear that should be ok, but of course with the mindless idiots who govern such matters I wouldn’t be surprised if they list him as an illegal economic migrant. Anything to knock the Arsenal.

  • bjtgooner

    A nice anayysis.

    Happy New Year to all AKBs!!

  • WalterBroeckx

    Up to more Untold in 2016!

  • Josif

    Happy New Year, may it be even more successful for Arsenal and Arsenal supporters!

    On ElNenny: he has experience in knocking out Spuds out of Europa League (2012-13), beating Chelsea in CL (2013-14) and knocking out Liverpool out of the group stage (2014-15). One of his performances against Liverpool last season were described as “powerful” and the other one had encouraging moments in the final third (by

    Also, he had topped the list for kilometers covered in Champions League by Round of 16 Champions League last season averaging over 12 kilometers covered per game (97 kilometers). Nemanja Matić was second.

  • Usama Zaka

    Tony – Well considering he has played 3 years in Europe in the Swiss League, and that Chelsea’s Kennedy Age 19 Uncapped international player (Brazil) and Liverpool’s Firmino (Not much Intl caps for Brazil before signature) got work permit, I think El Nenny should also get a work permit.

  • Usama Zaka

    This is Egypt Football National Team’s Ranking in the last six years. (Year ending ranks.)

    2010 – 9th
    2011 – 31st
    2012 – 41st
    2013 – 41st
    2014 – 60th
    2015 – 57th

  • serge



    Somebody actually dislikes your “Test”
    Can you believe that?
    It’s about time Tony dropped this silly like/dislike feature.

  • From Nigeria

    Happy New Years to the Untold Braves and General Tony Attwood .

    2016 is The Year of the Wengerian Football Triumph in the British Isles and Global Fussbal .

    God bless you all in Jesus name .Amen

  • Mandy Dodd

    Congratulations Untold for all you are achieving and the brilliant articles, this site and one or two others are essential reading at times when all others are losing it.
    As for FIFA, watch this space, have a feeling that they could still be bankrupted, and wound up should the U.S. Impose their powerful RICO laws……..racketeering influenced corrupt organisations.
    I am glad it is the U.S. going for FIFA rather than the softly softly let’s not upset anyone or risk being accused of neo colonialism so let’s do nothing because we are also compromised……European approach.

  • Gunnerjoe

    Happy new year to everyone on this great site keep up the great work.

  • Cannot by any means have enough of Untold Arsenal. The job you guys have done is that good, attested to 5million times. That is a 5 with six zeroes. I mean, awesome. This is proof that many more people are tired of the rubbish from the garbage mills that the popular mainstream news outlets have turned themselves into. Many people want something anchored in reality, to help them remain closer to reality. Untold Arsenal has been offering that with so much consistency for some years now. Long may it continue.

  • Apparently someone is p*ssed with all the praise UA is getting. Truth be told, UA is a success story and aint nuphin’ they can do to change that.

    Now am actually gloating…

  • Jerry

    I hope you are right in regards to Elneny, but don’t hold your breath. Arsenal transfers for some reason get delayed due to work permit issues (i.e. Campbell, Silva, etc) and we have to send players out on loan, whereas other teams get approved(i.e. Willian to Chelsea) when the transferred player has had no international caps!

  • Mandy Dodd

    I would imagine quite a few people are pissed off with Untold

  • Jambug


    I noticed that.

    Gave me my first big laugh of the year.

    To be fair though it has got 2 likes as well. 🙂

  • Mandy Dodd

    Predictions for the remainder of the season
    1/We will be seeing a lot of Dean , Atkinson and Taylor in our tricky away games and I am sure some home games
    2/ Tottenham will be given the fair wind that Liverpool were given a couple of seasons ago. I don’t think ultimately the Spuds are good enough to take advantage, but if they get closer during latter stages, the AAA and media will go into anti Wenger overdrive. Tottenham doing well is the dream for those with an agenda against Wenger, including unbelievably, some Arsenal fans.
    3 / city will be better in the second half of the season

    Conclusion…..Arsenal can do it, but will help if we have our key players back, our key players to stay fit, and the fans not to wobble over short term setbacks. The likes of Untold and PA can provide sanctuary in the all pervading gloom the odd defeat will bring in the testing months ahead.
    If a ref is consciously doing the team, the fans need to give the ref absolutele hell, not the manager or players.

  • Andy Mack

    serge, I like the ‘like’ system. It’s easier to judge how many idiots are reading the page…..

  • Jambug

    Another test

  • Jambug

    Anyone else having trouble posting?

    A couple of brief posts (including this one if you are reading it) have posted, but a couple of longer pieces haven’t, and this despite word press saying I was trying to ‘duplicate’ a post.

    Anyone any ideas what may be happening?

  • Gord

    Jambug, trying clearing your cookies for this site. Might help. Just a generic suggestion, I have nothing to base it on really.

    I didn’t like or dislike your test. I am “one of those idiots” who regularly dislike people bad mouthing Arsenal on this blog.

    I don’t understand this Egyptian midfielder business. I know it isn’t news until it is on I had seen reports Hull, too many slivers. And he is a midfielder. Pretty soon, we should be able to field an entire team of midfielders.

    In the news today, is an 800 year old “Alien” mobile phone in Austria. One website published the contents of the speed dial list, Sir F-Word is there!

    Now why would aliens want to talk to Sir F-Word so much?

  • Gord

    Oops, this is what I get for posting in my sleep.

    > I don’t understand this Egyptian midfielder business. I know it isn’t news until it is on I had seen reports Hull, too many slivers. And he is a midfielder. Pretty soon, we should be able to field an entire team of midfielders.

    Hayden is supposed to be coming back from Hull.

  • Gord

    It looks like Jambug has solved his posting problem, and is keeping it a secret. 🙂

    One thing I would like to see in 2016, is for all web sites to drop flash. We really don’t need all the security problems that comes with this adobe product.

    With respect to changes in football, I would like to see “timing” included in all game reports.

    Actual time of game start:
    Actual time of 1st half end:
    Actual time of 2nd half start:
    Actual time of 2nd half end:
    (similar if extra time needed).

    Duration that ball is within boundary of field:
    Duration that ball is within boundary, but play suspended:
    Duration that play is suspended while home team medical is attending a home team player:
    Duration that play is suspended while visiting team medical is attending a visiting team player:
    Duration that play is suspended that an official is being treated by medical:
    Duration of official time wasting:

    That last one needs a little explaining. The time from when a ball is first placed down on the ground by a player in the hope of restarting play, to when the ball is actually kicked to restart play. This includes time used to adjust the ball so that the needle hole location is in a good place, trying to set the ball in a different location after setting it down the first time, time to get the ball sitting just perfect on the grass leaves, and so on.

    This is something “easy” to do with a video feed and a watch, and hence can be checked in part by fans.

    Lets see where that 90 minutes goes, officially.

  • Jambug


    No I haven’t. Or at least I don’t think so.

    When I first tried to post the ‘Long’ post earlier I just lost it in the ether. I took the trouble to re type it but saved it in my ‘drafts’ (cut and paste).

    It didn’t post. I retrieved the draft (cut and paste again into ‘Leave a Reply’) and it didn’t post. I tried many times. I re typed it again, this time slightly shorter. It didn’t post. I saved again. Tried again. Eventually getting that I was trying to duplicate the post. Eventually 3 or 4 versions of the same fairly long post have failed to appear.

    As you can see other, shorter posts seem fine.

    Thanks for trying to help but as I have mentioned to you before I am useless on computers. Put it this way I don’t even know what a cookie is, let alone how to clear them.


    If this “Long” post appears then…..well I’m even more baffled.


    Sorry to be posting this sort of thing but I was actually wondering if Untold had with held my post for whatever reason.

  • Gord

    I have seen the duplicate post message before, and I remember that there is another message (but no specifics). But the typical response is that on pressing post, the thread is redisplayed with the new post added (at or near the end).

    Are you saying that the thread is redisplaying, but there is no additional content (from you)?

    Your description seems odd, but I have no way to look into things. I am just trying to draw out data that Tony or one of his people could use in debugging.

    Does exiting your browser, and then restarting it help.

    I guess I will have to figure out something to explain cookies to you. What browser are you running?

  • Jambug


    No, it’s just refusing to post.

    I keep re ‘cut and pasting’ it into ‘Leave a Reply’ where it appears as if just typed.

    I press post.

    It does the ‘twirly’ thing at the top.

    Then nothing appears in the thread.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    1.17 million people on here ? Sounds about right ! Congrats , Tony , Walter , Andrew and the rest of the regular writers / contributors and , AKBs all the Untolders worlwide.
    Am hoping to get more ,’ WOO HOO , HOOs !’ on this year !

    A very Happy New Year to all !
    Cheers !

  • Gord

    On some desktop environments, the twirly thing is instead an hourglass emptying of sand, flipping over and going some more. It is just showing you it is waiting for a reply of some kind.

  • Jambug


    Re started computer.

    Retrieved post and pasted in to reply box.

    Re posted.

    Word press error ‘it seems you have already said this’ comes up.

    I have just been through that process and yet the post most definitely has not appeared.

  • Gord

    Well Jambug, that shows that you aren’t imagining that you were posting things. 🙂

    Something in how Tony has wordpress set up, is stopping that posting from displaying. But it still has a record of it (I suspect what it saves is a checksum of a posting and not the posting itself, which makes it more difficult to debug on Tony’s end).

    I suspect that when anyone posts something, some aspects of the posting are not preserved (such as “excess” whitespace). So, adding whitespace to a note and reposting is always viewed as trying to repost a note. I don’t know if it does other things.

  • Jambug


    Safe to say my friend the moment has passed anyway.

    It was very frustrating at the time but 2 hoppy beers, a bottle of wine, and a nip or 2 latter, (I know, it’s not even 6 O’clock but in my defence it is new years day…..and we are top of the table) and it doesn’t rile quite so much. 🙂

    Anyway thanks for trying to help and have a great day.

  • Gord

    It’s 11am here, and no beers (hoppy or otherwise), wine or nips. I have had 2 coffees.

    Martinez is coming off a thigh injury, and wasn’t quite ready yet for Wolves. He was not in the starting line up or on the bench.

    With the talk of Hayden coming back to Arsenal from a largely failed loan to Hull, I see in the other Championship game today that Akpom didn’t even make the bench.

    What is this? Try to maximize the aggravation felt by Arsenal youth players at Hull?

    I did see on the Arsenal website, that Cazorla did some kind of twit thing with Toral. I have no idea what, as all I can understand is English. (Well, I understand FORTRAN, C, Perl, TeX, sh and a bunch of other languages too, but none of you do.)

  • ColG

    Personally, I want to read a balanced assessment of all things Arsenal. I don’t like endless Wenger bashing, but equally he is not infallible and I find this site a little too sycophantic at times. For example, if Wenger decides not to buy anyone, then we keep hearing about how buying players is not the way to succeed, until he actually does buy and suddenly the ‘buying is bad’ theme magically disappears. I think it should be possible to critique the manager’s decisions without being accused of being ‘anti-Arsenal’. Ultimately, Arsenal is bigger than any one person, and that includes Arsene Wenger. Granted, he is probably Arsenal’s greatest manager, but Herbert Chapman, Bertie Mee and George Graham are right up there too, IMHO. And although Terry Neil isn’t, he did provide me my greatest youthful football memory – beating Man U in the 1979 cup final, and upsetting the legions of plastic mancs that existed (even then).

  • Menace

    ColG – There is nothing wrong with intelligent criticism nor with constructive criticism of Wenger. He is after all the Manager of the club & the Coach reports to him. His impact on football in UK & across the globe is legendary.

    I am sure my fellow Untolders will not ignore worthy comment.

    Wishing you & all those that love the Beautiful Game a wonderful year with Arsenal winning yet more glory.