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June 2021

Every game on TV; Arsenal have three players scoring 10+; and the fight against football journalism

By Tony Attwood

Way, way back, before the dawn of time (well, March 2015 actually) Untold published its article Football for the fans: the visions of three Arsenal supporters   Within days the Guardian rushed out its article  Reclaiming football for all: presenting the manifesto for a better game by David Goldblatt.   From the length of the recommendations, through to what those recommendations actually were, their list was remarkably similar to ours.

At the time I made the sarcastic comment, “Sometimes one wonders what the papers would do if we stopped publishing.” and there the matter rested, although from time to time we’ve gone back over one particular issue: how to reform Football on TV.

The view that we started to evolve in that article was this: every match should kick off at 3pm saturday, and be available on TV.  The argument is that with PL clubs it doesn’t matter if the game is on TV or not – many people like to go and watch.  Indeed lots of us travel quite long distances – my round trip to each home game is 180 miles or so, and I normally only miss one or two each season due to family events. I could sit and watch them on TV, but I like to be there in person.

Anyway, I am not sure whether Simon Jordan (former Crystal Palace manager) reads Untold but he’s now come along and taken up our idea and Ben Rumsby in the Guardian has written an article about it.   He’s also picked up on our article about a potential crash in the income from broadcasting rights (If TV football audiences really are in terminal decline, as the figures suggest, then what?)

Jordon spoke at The Telegraph Business of Sport conference, and argued that all 380 games should be available on TV, saying, @there are challenges where football does not run its own business because, if the broadcasters change their tune and they do want to pull back on the financing, you’re going to find this Warren Buffett moment, where the tide goes out and you’re going to see who’s wearing shorts.”

I was getting ready to write that up when I saw by chance Jacob Steinberg (again in the Guardian) said that “Arsenal have had moderate success in their new formation”.

Now as far as I remember Arsenal started the wing back approach in the game against Middlesbrough which would mean the results since the change are

  • Middlesbrough 1 Arsenal 2
  • Manchester City 1 Arsenal 2
  • Arsenal 1 Leicester 0
  • Tottenham H 2 Arsenal 0
  • Arsenal 2 Manchester Utd 0
  • Southampton 0 Arsenal 2

That is six games, and five wins.  The games being against a mix of teams: relegation threatened, mid-table, top four, and an FA Cup semi in which presumably both teams tried rather hard.  And that was “moderate success”.

I pondered on this because I am forever trying to understand what it is that the media does which is, to my mind at least, so utterly destructive.  I mean it is nice in a way that they nick some of our ideas, but there is something else that really does get to me.   And I think these two reports help me clarify (at least to myself) why I go on and on and on and on about football journalists.

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First, they choose the agenda.  Untold proposes putting all matches on at 3pm and on TV, and we are not mentioned, because well, we are just football supporters, some of whom are crazy enough to have season tickets, and really we don’t matter.  The agenda only becomes important if either the media says it, or some bigwig in a conference says it.  If they report it, it is news.  If they don’t it does not exist.

Second, therefore, we don’t count, even though without supporters football is nothing.  Not becoming dependent on Sky and BT Sprout has nothing to do with us and the inconvenience we suffer of times and dates being changed at short notice.  It’s just money and control.  We mean nothing.

Third, they manipulate the language.  You may have got totally fed up with me going on and on and on about Amy Lawrence writing, in August 2016, “Only Giroud (16) and Sánchez (13) managed double figures in the Premier League last season,” but to me it was important.

That phrase suggested that somehow Arsenal were way behind most teams – and yet when I came to look at the data, I found that a more accurate representation of the season in question would have been “Arsenal were among the tiny minority of clubs that managed to have two players score in double figures last season”.

That twist of the phrase was typical of what is going on.  Amy Lawrence followed the bulk of her professional colleagues by manipulating language to make her point in a way that didn’t tell a fib, but certainly gave an utterly false impression.

So, the media choose the agenda, take the view that supporters are ignorant turnips who don’t matter, and try to manipulate our understanding of the game through their choice of subjects and their use of language.

Now all this came to mind not just because our idea two years ago about playing games at 3pm saturday and showing all of the games on TV has come up again, and not just because of the notion that winning five out of six and getting to the Cup Final is “moderate success” but because I have been keeping an eye on goal scoring.

And Giroud’s goal last night means (to use Amy Lawrence’s turn of phrase) “”Only Alexis (20), Walcott (10) and Giroud (10) have so far managed double figures in the Premier League this season.”   And of course you will want to know the bits of info that Ms Lawrence failed to give us when she touched on the subject:

a) what have other teams done and

b) does it mean anything?

In answer to a) Tottenham and Liverpool also have three players in double figures.  Chelsea have two such players… and that’s it.   Three clubs with three players and one club with two.

In answer to b) yes, but not quite in the way that is sometimes suggested.   Romelu Lukaku has scored 24 goals this season and is the top scorer in the league.  That is a danger because an injury to him scuppers Everton’s approach.  It also shows that having the top scorer doesn’t mean you will be top of the league.

Football journalists attempt constantly to manipulate the way we think about football, about our club, about our players, about our manager.  Only by exposing their manipulative ways can I find a way of exposing their perfidious approach.

If you don’t find it important, I am sorry to bore you.  If you do, thank you for reading.

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19 comments to Every game on TV; Arsenal have three players scoring 10+; and the fight against football journalism

  • GoingGoingGooner

    I am fed up with Amy Lawrence. She professes to be an Arsenal supporter but she’s like all the rest of those parasites that try to kill Arsenal just so they can feed off the bones (i.e. get paid to slate us in the papers)

  • Norman14

    The British media never ceases to amaze me.

    On Monday, we had reports that Bayern were going to offer £65 million for Alexis. Now, the Metro would have us believe we’ll “hold out for €40 million (£33.7m)”

  • Norman14

    One for Sir Hardly…

    Daily Star sez Welbz off to Fenebache for £16 million 🙂

  • Lukacu-24goals

    sanchez can usurp rumelu answer win the EPL golden boot.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    I find this article posting important because manipulation is a deliberate attempt by the manipulator to deceive the mind into believing malice as the truth instead of the actual truth. This is done by twisting the facts, figures and the actual truthness contained in the topic subject being discussed.

    In the case of Amy Lawrence, I believe she is an Arsenal supporter – a Gooner. But I don’t have any fact at my disposal to back up my believe other than she wouldn’t have said so if she is not one of us.

    What I believe is more of importance for us now is for us to focus on our bogey PL away match against Stoke City on Saturday evening. Let’s leave the Guardian newspaper and Amy Lawrence anti-Arsenal publications aside as we read them. Because I think no amount of debunking their toxic stories by the Untold Arsenal to debunk any derogatory publication on Arsenal under Arsene Wenger by the Guardian newspaper and their paid writer – Amy Lawrence will stop them from continuing with their hate agenda for Arsene Wenger’s Arsena. Save if Arsenal sue the Guardian newspaper for libel and defamation of club image.

  • finsbury

    Thank you!

  • Leon

    Sorry to be such a pain for continuously supporting her on this issue but I feel that Amy Lawrence is being very unfairly criticised here. That “only two players…. double figures” is being quoted completely out of context. She was making that assessment in support of Wenger stating that his players did not score enough goals, so really there was no requirement for her to make comparisons with other teams at all, it was an Arsenal only issue. How many goals the rest of the PL teams scored was not relevant to Wenger’s complaint or he would have made comparisons.
    And yes, congrats to our players for getting three into double figures this season.

  • gouresh

    The bimbos on talk shit were saying yesterday that the manure and celta game was the game of the century.

  • MickHazel


    ‘I am fed up with Amy Lawrence. She professes to be an Arsenal supporter but she’s like all the rest of those parasites that try to kill Arsenal just so they can feed off the bones (i.e. get paid to slate us in the papers)’

    Ditto John Cross! He’s worse if anything.

  • Will Simmons

    Newspapers and the journo’s they employ are paid to reflect what the owner and editor’s thoughts and beliefs are. If it involves telling a few porkies to get headlines and then print an apology or retraction on page 8, 2 inches by 2 inches then no problem. Job done, attention gained, they pray mainly on the uneducated elements of society, the mob culture. Politicians are from the same pod, only tell lies when their lips move, all the same. That idiot Piers Morgan’s say’s he is a Arsenal supporter, god in heaven who would want to be saddled with that… We would be seeking re-election to the Football League if anyone with half a brain listened to him. Keep up the good work always a great read.

  • Norman14


    The down side to ignoring these comments is that it removes another section of those who disagree with the media. By doing so, it seemingly increases the number of “haters” as you put it, by default. If you disagree with something, but don’t say anything, then in effect, you are agreeing.

    Or that is how they spin it.

  • Polo

    Good piece, it is better than some of the gossip garbage from mainstream media.

  • Mike T

    Simon Jordan Crystal Palace manager?

  • para

    It’s so true how they use a seemingly innocuous statement to be offensive.
    This is in all media as i have noticed, not just football media.

    It seems to me that the whole “official” world media is telling us that they decide what entertainment is, who is good at it and we can shut up and like it.

    Yet they do not hesitate to steal any ideas. Their advantage is that they reach many people and only by turning the TV off all the time and only watch when you are watching can we get their attention. Don’t use it as background noise.

    They will monitor usage and start to take notice i would think?

    There seems to be no room for what the masses (the masses who generate all the cash) want to enjoy.

  • Did I say Jordan was Palace manager? Sorry, that was pretty dopey. I meant to say “owner”. I think the stress and strain of running Untold Arsenal is just getting too too much, and I need a rest.

  • tgx

    The reason for the 3PM TV blackout is not Premier League attendance, but rather the fear that people would stay home and watch the broadcast instead of attending matches of their local Football League or non-league club. Perhaps the lower leagues could stagger their match times to avoid the conflict.

    Note: I’m writing this from across the pond where all 380 PL fixtures are broadcast.

  • para

    If it was too easy you would have given it up long ago i’m sure. 🙂

  • ron de jonge

    way to go Tony, I m glad you wrote it: the ‘moderate succes’ blew my mind.
    the so called reporter just wrote it to back up his earlier story that the new formation was already out of fashion and Wenger proved him wrong. But that can offcourse never be admittes, hence: moderate

  • Additionally… Is september 27-28 little early.