Attending a football match doesn’t make them experts anymore than standing in a garage makes them mechanics.

Consistently wrong but never in doubt

by Don McMahon

While surfing various Arsenal and Football websites this week I was impressed and astonished by the number of spurious and unsolicited, unsupported and undeniably wrong posts that misnamed supporters feel it is their democratic right to publish.

There are numerous memes that filter through the Ethernet and countless opinions that rise like gas bubbles out of a swamp, expand temporarily then burst under the weight of their own putrid and noxious hot air.

However there are certain things that ring true when these posters appear;

  • They are almost always way off the mark, but they are never in doubt about the validity of their opinions.
  • The Arsenal family is wonderful and sweet but like any great mix it has its share of nuts.
  • It must be frustrating that they know all the answers but nobody is asking them the questions.
  • Wisdom comes with age but in their case sometimes age comes alone.
  • The last thing they want to do is hurt the Arsenal but it’s still on their list.
  • Light travels faster than sound so these people appear intelligent until you hear them speak.
  • If we agreed with them we’d all be wrong.
  • They claim they don’t say its Wenger’s fault but they’re still blaming him.
  • They used to be indecisive but now they aren’t sure.
  • To ensure they hit the target they shoot first and call whatever they hit the target.
  • Attending a Football match doesn’t make them experts anymore than standing in a garage makes them mechanics.
  • They are never too old to learn something stupid.
  • They never grow up but a small minority of them do learn how to behave in public.
  • They never let their prejudices interfere with their ignorance.

I know this tongue-in-cheek humour will be seen by some as sarcasm and unfair but as Monty Python aptly demonstrated, it is possible to have a sense of humour transplant.  Indeed despite taking themselves very seriously, the aforementioned moaners will still be rebutted by us on UA.

And beyond all that, there is a special group of people whose place in journalistic Hell is assured, simply by their incessant stupidity, laziness, perfidy and divisiveness; The Media!

Arsenal seem to be their preferred target whether it is a positive or negative story(which is their favourite bad news go-to target). They refuse to do basic research and due diligence before launching into a diatribe about supposed Arsenal failings, transfer rumours or what AFC supporters are supposedly thinking.

They excel in exaggeration, hyperbole or bold-faced provocation.  They have the nerve to pretend there are players nicking a living by inventing pseudo-dramas, rumour-mongering and then re-inventing themselves once their delusions are exposed.

What does it take to become a media muckraker? I am retired and would like to earn money doing nothing……if anyone on UA knows the secret, please let me know!

A reply, by Tony.

Actually Don, I do know how they do it, and it really isn’t too difficult.

First, write the name of each players in the “25” list on individual pieces of paper (or if you think you might do this more than once, on bits of card).  Then do the same for the half dozen under 21s that we are regularly using or looking to bring through.

Now put all those cards in a hat, a bowl or anything else that comes to hand.

Next, write a list of complaints about players.  For example, “not a team player”, “gets injured too often”, “goes missing in big games”, “can’t shoot straight”, “won’t track back”, “a mercenary – he’ll soon be off”, “nicking a living”, “hates London”, “wants to return to Spain / France / Uzbekistan…”, “demanding a new contract or he’s off” …

Put that lot in a separate container.

Finally, build a third collection of cards each with a comment about Mr Wenger.  Here are a few to start you off: “Is too stubborn and won’t sort it”, “Uses out of date training methods”, “Won’t listen to advice”, “Insists on doing everything and won’t delegate”, “Won’t spend any money,” “Is out of touch so nothing gets done”, “Really has no idea how to handle this,” and so on.

Now pick one card from the first pot, one from the second, and one from the third.

So you might get

Pot 1: “Mesut Ozil”

… is …

Pot 2: “Demanding a new contract or he’s off”

… but Mr Wenger …

Pot 3: “Insists on doing everything and won’t delegate”

The more cards you put into each pot the more stories you get.   Nicking a living? – that is exactly what the journalists are doing.


 Anniversary of the day

5 December 1981: Last game for Pat Jennings, the first man to play over 1000 senior games.  Arsenal beat WHU 2-1 with Hollins and Whyte scoring.  It was the 5th of 6 consecutive wins, but the 6th game was not played until January 20 because of bad weather.

All the anniversaries of the day are published on the home page.

24 Replies to “Attending a football match doesn’t make them experts anymore than standing in a garage makes them mechanics.”

  1. The whole beauty of the internet is that ordinary people can find a forum to express their opinions.
    I visit five Arsenal blogs daily and comment regularly on three of them, and while I don’t claim that my comments are correct or even particularly valid they are my comments and I’ll stand by my right to make them until the blogger says I can’t.
    Why do blogs exist if not to encourage enthusiastic amateurs to participate?
    Of course having their spelling and grammar corrected is rather demeaning & discouraging isn’t it Don?

  2. @Leon

    Populism, democracy and free speech are important pillars of liberal democratic society but without a hint of restraint or order the results are rarely useful. I for one do not believe in Constructive Chaos.

    I think the thing that grinds is that the million monkeys on a million typewriters have NOT produced the works of Shakespeare but rather a lot mean spirited discourse.

  3. That well thought out and written Post brought a grin to my physiognomy for its humorous castigation of people having views or opinions that seem off kilter to the author.

    That is the crux of the problems between fans, of course, as one man’s meat is another man’s poison, for each fan (let’s say in group A) is ineluctably convinced that he is correct in his beliefs, while to someone else (let’s say in group B) believes he is abjectly guilty of writing/typing spurious and unsolicited opinions that are unsupported by verifiable facts and are undeniably wrong.

    You see, there is no universally accepted fount of wisdom to which either fan can go to arbitrate on such footie matters, so the tables are frequently turned on the party in group A, by the one in group B who feels wrongly accused of the above ‘spurious, unsolicited (?) etc comment(s).

    There is, however, a third group to which I find myself drawn. That is (let’s say group C) whose ‘members’ are often undecided about the facts of certain matters (was it a penalty or not, for example, or did player X dive or was he genuinely fouled) or uncertain over where the responsibility for a mundane performance should lie — and is therefore open to persuasion and prepared to listen to the opinions of others while retaining an element of judicious scepticism in order to protect their sanity.

    Sadly, in my experience, it seems that there are very few members of group C, but we are always open to all applicants! 😀

  4. So to combat the percieved moaners you write a whining piece full of ironic condecension. There are a handful of obsessives who post on here and some are quite hostile but for yourselves the problem always remains elsewhere. My humble opinion is that this site does not really get football and so perhaps it is a good thing Mr Atwood has a all-consuming hobby away from the game. Leon seems to be the one sensible voice here and you would do well to follow his more compassionate approach. The incessant nasty name calling on teams such as West Ham are Barcelona are worthy of thinkers more to the right of things. I hope you get your drift.

  5. Leon,Walton………….correct spelling and grammar is a minimum obligation on the net, with numerous aids and software that can provide ample help if needed.

    Do you feel targeted or threatened by my comical post lads? You try and maintain that one poster is the only person making sense and showing compassion here! That’s fine lads, as your convictions are unique and you are entitled to them but just because you wrote it doesn’t mean it must be true….
    The drift we are meant to ¨get¨ is rather obscure and irrelevant to the nature of UA, which is an open forum encouraging rational and reasonable arguments. We have 20 or so contributors and rest assured Leon is not the sole ¨champion¨ of compassion, or sensibility or in actual fact a particularly good one. His opinions are his own and may or may not have merit but he is not exceptional, nor am I…..we are all Gooners of a sort.

    Maybe we don’t ¨get¨ Football, although that opinion came without any proof or support, so it seems to me to resemble so many other memes that are flung at the wall, hoping one will stick.

    I am neither hostile nor particularly into name-calling, which I find counter-productive. I get fed-up with bad media reporting like Leon often does, and I abhor snipers who come on here,drop their load and then run for cover, never to reappear to face the music or defend their statements.

    I repeat my sincere challenge; Leon, Walton,Ben and anyone else who can clearly do better, please write an article. Tony will most certainly publish it provided it is not libelous or vulgar….common take up the challenge, if you dare!

  6. FA has decided not to charge Fabregas for slapping Fernandinho, saying:

    “Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas will not face any further action in relation to an incident involving City’s Fernandinho.”

    The referee hadn’t seen the slap but yellow-carded him for aggressive behaviour.

    The panel reviewed the incident but didn’t think a slapping an opposition player warranted a red card?

    This plus the fact that Cahill escaped a red card earlier in the game – makes me want to bet on Chelsea winning the title this year – the PiGMOLe will make it sure it happens.

  7. ‘please write an article………..common take up the challenge, if you dare!’

    So that I can be like you?
    I think I’ll pass on that one thank you very much.

  8. Sam,

    As you suggest, this match has provided ample evidence that Chelsea are being favoured. The charge of failing to control players will no doubt result in a token fine.

    In similar vein, no surprise that Ibrahimovic has got away with kicking an opponent in the head.

    Different rules apply to Arsenal, as has been evident ever since the Paul Davis case.

  9. Let every reasonable opinion or comment by any football fan be allowed to voice and be heard on this site provided it is not abusive, insulting and insolent to the Arsenal fc, it’s management staff, managerial staff, the Gunners and any member of the respected society.

    In as much as this our site is well known for being a typical Arsenal fc and manager Wenger support site, to listen to the voice of the other side of the opinion divide is imperative. Otherwise this article posting which is directed at castigating to the extreme the opinion of that other side of the divide will not have been written imho.

    It’s good if the opinion of one’s opposer is uttered so that the primary opinion mover of a subject matter can take another look at it’s view to know if it has erred or not in selling his opinion to the public to buy for consuming. In this case, a particular football public. If the primary opinion of the opinion mover becomes bought by the majority of the public of opinionists and commentters on the subject sold, it can thus be said the opinion mover has succeeded in selling it’s beliefs or is succeeding in it’s drive to sell it’s beliefs.

    In this wise, it has become glaring to all the UA readers and the other divide of opinion that the UA have succeeded to sell their many beliefs on football matters to the football public concern. And can still succeed more as they strive to break new grounds in quest to support Arsenal fc and Mr Wenger as time goes on.

  10. @Sayyed and Sam.
    If the 3 man FA panel that reviewed the ugly physical charge at each other by Fabregas and Fernandinho of Chelsea and Man City says, they don’t considered the slapping Fabregas gave to Fernandinho which resulted to Fernandinho retaliating by grapping Fabregas’s neck as a serious offence to warrant the FA to charge Fabregas for violent conduct but charged Fernandinho same instead. It’s pertinent therefore to ask what precedent has the FA set or laid down? Does it mean any player can decide to slap the opposition player during an argument brawl and the FA will overlook it?

    Sayyed and Sam, I don’t want you fans of our dear Arsenal fc to worry on any purported plot against Arsenal by the Pgmol officials to debarred Arsenal from winning the PL and even the FA Cup too this season. Such a wicked plan will ultimately becomes null answer void at the end as Arsenal are already destined to win the PL title in particular and will also champagne it by winning the FA Cup too. No Jupiter of a Pgmol officials plot can hinder or stop Arsenal from realising their aims and objectives in this current season’s campaign by God’s grace. Amen!

  11. Leon……surely you can surpass my humble contributions or maybe you’re too fragile to manage the risk of being criticized and mocked? Why would I want you to be like me? You are already a piece of work as you are, unable to contribute positively to any discussions here and cowering in your corner rather than contributing an article or two so we can appreciate your sage expertise!

    I challenged you to write something so that we could profit from your experience and viewpoint, which may not be like mine and that is fine but I see you lack the courage of your convictions and decline to be exposed to public scrutiny, other than through your snide certitude that you know better. Nevertheless, I encourage you to take the plunge and sincerely hope you have the stones to accept this opportunity. It’s your choice but don’t complain if the many on UA find you to be less than credible!

  12. @ OMG – AWESOME !
    One of the funniest but truthful articles on UA . Thank you.
    A few of the comments from the usual crappers also made me laugh out loud too .
    Their , ” Why ,only me ?” , comments were quite amusing, but not totally unexpected .
    For truth to reign , all you need is a mirror . Say what you must in front of one and if your reflection agrees with you , with a straight face , then go for it !
    Me ? I always seem to crack mine up . Figuratively speaking , of course !

  13. ‘ Ships don’t sink because of the water around them. Ships sink because of the water that gets in them . Don’t let what is happening around you get inside you and weigh you down .’

    No ship ever went down because too much knowledge ever weighed them down . Instead , let knowledge be your ballast ,buffer and guide , and sail on.

  14. Really!
    Some of UA’s writers are the tiniest bit precious aren’t they.
    I see Jokerboy is getting his retaliation in first. Expect an article from him any time soon.

  15. So a slap in the face is not worthy of a red card anymore? LOL I remember when Hleb did the same thing in the 2007/2008 season and got banned for 3 weeks. Not all slaps to the face are the same for the FA. Who deserve a slap in the face.

  16. To remind them (FA panel) of the instructions to the refs: an attempt to slap, punch, spit, kick an opponent or a slap, punch, spit, kick towards an opponent is a red card offence. You don’t even need to hit the other player. Just trying to do it is the same as having done it.

  17. Walter
    Since you’re up & about early this morning, could I ask a favour of you. Please could you study technical offenses & errors for your match reviews. Things like foul throws & goalkeepers handling the ball outside their areas are being overlooked. The match commentators often pick up on these in real time, so it shouldn’t be a problem for post match detailed scanning.

  18. Leon,

    The problem with most of these things is that we have to find images that give us 100% evidence if a player has made a foul or not. Certainly when a keeper kicks out the ball going outside his penalty area is rarely shown in replays. A keeper can come outside his penalty area when kicking the ball as long as he doesn’t handle the ball outside the penalty area. So having the ball in his hands above the line of the penalty area is no handball. So if he throws the ball up when he is on the line he will end up outside his penalty area as a result of the forward movement but that is no foul.

    Foul throws… it is sometimes amazing to see how many professional football players make a foul throw. But as this would give us a few hundred more things to look at each week…. the task would become impossible for the little team we have.
    Just with the important decisions we cover it takes many, many hours to make the clips and then to look at them and to judge them.

  19. Walter
    I guess the handball is pretty difficult to detect. I was in conflict with Menace on this issue in the West Ham match, but it’s resolved now.
    Take a look anyway when you get the chance, and I agree about the throw ins, a time consumer.

  20. Is this where the experts are?

    I needed a little break, and made a “Poisson” league. I started with 20 teams in a league, all of which score goals from a Poisson distribution with an average of 1 goal per game. And they play a 38 game season, just like the EPL does.

    I’m just trying to get a feel for this league, so I only let it run for 100 years. Lowest point total to win the league was 59, highest was 77. Highest point total to get relegated was 48, lowest was 36. To let the model run longer, those extremes will push out a little bit. I don’t know if it will push high enough on winning the league, to see 90 or more points to win the league.

    But, the EPL is not a 20 team all the same league. There is at least one league which is a single “better” team, with a bunch of others (Germany), and there are a few leagues with two better teams. The EPL seems to be said to be a 4 team league, I don’t know if it is necessarily 4 teams, it may be more than 2 groups. I can easily see it be something like 3, 3, 14 in the early years, now possibly transitioned to 4 or 5, 3, 12 or 13.

    What the heck, I did a run on a 1000 years. Relegation is reasonably close, min is 34 and max is 48. (points obtained by the highest placed team to be relegated.) Those numbers might be a little high, but not bad. To win the league was between 58 and 82 points, average is 66.

    Even though all of this data comes from Poisson distributions (identical ones), the variance of the winning points or the points of the highest placed team to be relegated are not remotely close to those means (a little less than 16 and 5 respectively).

    Took some more breaks, added in a group of 4 “elite” teams to go with 16 “ordinary” teams. The ordinary teams are still averaging 1 goal per game (Poisson), and went looking for how many goals the elite teams average to come up with some kind of winning/relegation statistics which seem vaguely like what we see. I am guessing our elite teams are averaging a bit more than 2 goals per game.

    But, if someone wanted to go through the EPL data, and look at how many goals are scored by either side in games that don’t involve elite teams, that would be nice. I am guessing the average is about 1. For most of the EPL, ManC is not elite. Arsenal is probably always elite, ManU was always elite, may not be now. Your choice on how to fill out the “4” (or more). It varies a bit with time; Blackburn was elite for a little while, and so on.

    Staring at the data more, I will suggest the number of elite teams was more typically 3, and there is another group of about 3 which has tended to sit between the elite and the pack. I think elite is fairly firmly 4 teams at the moment. I think there is a tendency for the newly promoted teams to not even average 1 goal per game, but there are exceptions.

    Just feelings, no calculations yet.

  21. Ben……please clarify your two comments as your intent escapes me for the moment…..old age you know!

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