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June 2021

When people with no expertise are allowed to run the debate, it’s no wonder the commentaries are unreliable.

By Tony Attwood

One of the multiple problems with the way the mass media reports football is that it does it by themes – or what some journalists like to call “talking points”.

These themes are said to be the issues that are on everyone’s lips and so they are hammered away at until either they so obviously don’t fit reality, that they have to be dropped, and then a new “talking point” comes along.

The media’s excuse for pushing football into small theme segments is that the issue (whatever it is) is what everyone is talking about.   But the reality is the theme is what they force everyone to talk about because it is simple, and everyone can have an opinion, no matter how bonkers.   Try and go a different way and you will be frozen out, or called “out of touch”.

Take the theme of Alexis’ personality one of this week’s “talking points”. Here’s a few headlines


13 comments to When people with no expertise are allowed to run the debate, it’s no wonder the commentaries are unreliable.

  • John L

    Tony, I echo your comments about Souness. After his series of complete failures as a manager, he really should learn to keep his ill-informed comments to himself.

    On a matter of inconsistent reporting by journalists, there is now a glimmer of criticism of Neil Taylor and the “not that kind of player” excuse, even though it does not lead to the logical next step in examining why such assaults happen. Contrast this with Shawcross, who was defended and comforted by Ferguson, Redknapp etc. because the “poor lad was distraught”, at the same time that Arsene and Aaron were vilified for failing to console him.

  • Mandy Dodd

    I think Arsenal must have done something to upset Souness.
    Would add those brilliant coaches /managers Merson ,(surely Walsall should erect a statue of him) and 24 day Southend management legend Stewart Robson …….who now seem little more than rentagobs wheeled out to lay into Wenger and his team.
    However, in contrast, Gary Neville seems to have been a bit chastened by recent experience, is showing humility previously lacking, and making some fairly sensible comments over Wenger these days. I would take that as a sign of a man with more intelligence than some of the aforementioned, a man willing to learn, there could be a decent manager in there yet.
    Some interesting recent comments from Xhaka and Ozil in interviews, which seem at odds to interpretations of the British msm

  • HenryB

    A very interesting viewpoint and it has a lot of merit.

    Manipulation of what is deemed important is common place with the media, as at base they are a bunch of guys earning a living, and a few (many) are happy to slip in contentious opinions just to generate public interest, and it matters not, to them, which way the pendulum swings.

    The biggest culprits in terms of being convinced they are authoritative and specialist in all matters football, are bloggers, who in the best traditions of barrack room lawyers, not only are oracles in the best, and the worst way to play football, and also how best to manage at Premiership level [never having had any experience in playing, coaching or managing professionally] — but hold on — they are also able to mind read, and can recount in detail what the manager, the players and the Boards are thinking and saying, without the need to be party to any of the relative matters.

    Bollix, of course — but the bloggers concerned are happy doing so, and there are others who are credulous to happily go along with them and accept their crap — rather like those who think Trump is normal.

  • Gord

    Perhaps indicative.

    When I do a search at Google News now, for football corruption, the most relevant link I am presented with, is a short article with no proof, on the Chelsea part of Vital Football, of the old Tottenham claim that Arsenal bought there way into the top league oh so long ago, and hence Arsenal should not even be in the EPL.

    Anything remotely like proof, requires one to follow a link. Presumably to a Tottenham page on this ancient issue. Which Tony has addressed here, and at the Arsenal history site in the past.

  • Leon

    Just watching Ox-Chamberlain in the WC qualifier. He’s been OK, but I’ve only just discovered that he has powerful shot in either foot.

  • Josif


    You didn’t watch Community Shield in August 2015?

    Ox has physical and technical skills to be a world-beater. It’s up to him to finally put it all together.

  • Leon


    I don’t remember the game TBH.
    He was pretty good today and has been recently. Just in time to leave for Man City by the look of it.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    ‘ Nowadays , the only time a politician is telling the truth is when he calls another politician a liar !’
    Alfred E. Neuman.

    I guess it also applies to the media , pundits and experts.

  • Equalizer

    So unless you are recognised as an expert in your field you are not entitled to an opinion on ant other matter. Sounds like something the manager would say.

    Yet the author regularly goes on about US politics among other things. Bet the irony is lost on you.

  • Equalizer, it is awfully good of you to think that Untold Arsenal might be considered to be “running the debate”, but I fear that might be something of an exaggeration. But nice of you to feel that we have that much prestige.

  • Jared

    This is the story of politicians. Occasionally have experience in subjects they have authority over, most of the time do not. But they know better.

  • Equalizer

    Your very welcome Tony. In fact I would think you have a far greater audience of Arsenal fans reading than the Sun, Mirror or any if the other rubbish. Most of you stuff is far more entertaining.

  • Nitram


    “So unless you are recognised as an expert in your field you are not entitled to an opinion on any other matter”

    I don’t think it’s necessarily that they are not entitled to there opinion, of course they are.

    I don’t think them having an opinion is the problem.

    It’s more to do with the fact that they can air those opinions, as if they where an ‘expert’, no matter how accurate or ludicrous they may be, without ever having to verify them, because unlike UA, they do not provide a platform on which those opinions can be questioned.

    That’s the problem.

    Tony and others from UA may sometimes produce articles on, and make comment on, topics that they are not neccesarily experts. That is certainly true.

    But the difference is, when Tony, or whoever, does this, you have a forum on which you can question what is being said, and put forward a counter argument, as you have done.

    Try doing that with the Sun, the Mirror, the Mail, the BBC, TalkSport, Sky, BT Sport etc. etc.

    When Stewart Robson makes his ludicrous claims on TS, where’s the opportunity to refute whatever he says?

    When the Mail claims we have the worst injuries in the history of injuries, where’s the opportunity to refute that?

    When SKY allow the PGMOL to claim they get 97% of there decisions correct…….Well you get the picture.

    If only they provided a platform for debate then a lot of the ‘fake news’ that is out there could be exposed for the bullshit it is.

    The problem is these dullards wouldn’t dare say half the things they do in the first place, if they thought for one moment they would be asked to actually verify what they where saying, hence the articles headline:

    “When people with no expertise are allowed to run the debate, it’s no wonder the commentaries are unreliable.”

    The truth is that the ‘commentaries are unreliable’ simply because they do not allow debate. They ‘run’ the debate because they are the only ones in the debate.