Why Arsenal seem to get more negative publicity than other teams


This article by Jambreck initially appeared in the comments column of Untold Arsenal following a discussion of why Arsenal seem to get more negative publicity than Tottenham. I was reminded of it by the discussion on Radio 5 on Monday night which included clips of multiple Liverpool supporters calling for their manager to be sacked, with the commentary team saying that he should not be. 

I wanted to publish it earlier as an article, but then the transfer rumours expanded, after that there was the Swansea game, and so on, so it has been delayed.  It is reproduced as an article with the author’s permission.


 What Wenger said, what Pochettino said, and what the journalists made of it all.

This is how managers’ press conferences and the subsequent reporting of them work: journalists ask questions; manager answers as best he can; journalists quote manager selectively and without any mention of the original question, simply in order to create a story.

In this instance, a journalist would have informed Pochettino that Wenger had criticised the likes of Spurs for getting praise despite not winning trophies. Said journalist would then have asked Pochettino what he thought about that.

Pochettino would have had no idea what Wenger actually said so he would have answered the question as best he could, given what the journalist had told him. In the circumstances, his response was very respectful, saying that Wenger is an outstanding manager but that everyone occasionally makes mistakes and that he had made a mistake by talking about other clubs in such a manner.

The point is that the fault here lies with the journalists, not with either manager.

As to Pochettino getting away with saying that football isn’t just about winning trophies, you need to remember what the media’s ulterior purpose is. It is to sell. Sell papers; sell advertising; sell satellite dishes and programme packages. So they tailor stories about each club primarily to reflect the respective zeitgeist of each club.

And right now, a large proportion of Arsenal fans are hugely dissatisfied with their club and their manager, and have been so for a number of years. By contrast, Spurs fans have rarely been happier with their club and manager in modern times.

That’s not to say that the media doesn’t still needle away at Spurs at every opportunity (with all of Kane, Alli, Eriksen, Lloris, Alderweireld, Rose, Dier and Pochettino imminently leaving; with Spurs never winning trophies; with Spurs being bottlers etc.). It’s rather that the criticism directed at a club is targeted – designed to prey on each set of fans’ particular fears for and criticisms of their club.

It’s also important to consider context. 14 years ago, Arsenal went undefeated in winning the league and finished a massive 45 points above a Spurs team that was in very real danger of relegation until the final few games. And Arsenal were just about to start building a huge, new stadium that would only widen the gap. Spurs, after all, would never be able to afford, or even need, such a stadium.

It genuinely seemed that there might never be a true north London rivalry again. And yet…….in the years since, Arsenal went on a 9 year trophy drought of their own. And with every passing year, they looked less and less likely to win the Premier League or Champions League.

Furthermore, Tottenham finally showed signs of stirring back to life after a 15-20 year decline. They became regular qualifiers for European competition again. Along with a newly wealthy Man City, they turned the top four into a top six. And they will move into their own huge, new stadium later this summer.

Arsenal are still ahead by most measures but the gap no longer seems like a yawning, unbridgeable chasm. Unthinkable back in 2004.

That context is why Pochettino gets away with it now but Wenger doesn’t. That won’t last, though. Because, just as Arsenal fans were trained to expect more after the early Wenger years, so Spurs fans will be too. And when Pochettino fails to meet those expectations, some fans will turn on him and the media knives will be gleefully sharpened.

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28 Replies to “Why Arsenal seem to get more negative publicity than other teams”

  1. Well-done man. Pardon me Tony, but this is an example of a balanced, objective article. You’d do well to take some notes imho

  2. Nice comment.

    And right now, a large proportion of Arsenal fans are hugely dissatisfied with their club and their manager, and have been so for a number of years.

    All that is needed is the word dissatisfied. Hugely is

    The media tends to use nebulous measures of counting. If 11 people get hurt, they report tens of people got hurt.

    We have:
    _ 1: an
    _ 2: couple (sometimes refers to 3?)
    _ 3-7: few
    _ 8+: many, large

    Most – should refer to a fraction larger than 0.5
    Many – smaller than most, larger than Minor
    Minor – a fraction larger than 10%, probably in the vicinity of 1/3.
    Trace – smaller than Minor, probably 1% or less.

    If you are talking about data in percent, never refer to a measure of dispersion on the number in percent.


    In other news, I see Chuba Akpom desires to be seen by Walter more often, and is on loan to Sint-Truidense in Belgium.

    And Giroud has moved to Chelsea.

    Good luck to both of you.

  3. OT.
    Would Le Boss resign Alex Song who has been reported seen traninig with the fist team and hovering around Arsenal since he was released by his Russian club? If Song is still a top Premier League material that he was at Arsenal before he left for Barcelona, and since there is a vacant slot in the 25 after Coquelin, Walcott and Giroud have all left the Emirates Stadium this window that’s closing in 2 hours time. Would Le Boss then gives a contact to Song if he’s worth it as he once gave Sol Champbell and Mathue Flamini contracts after they left the club but begged him to give them contracts? Since Coquelin left, Arsenal don’t have a true and out holding mid-fielder anymore. But Arsenal could have one again if Le Boss does resign Song I would think.

  4. Walcott has bagged a brace against Leicester, another stick the media can use against us.

  5. Bull I don’t think you’ve quite grasped Untold. It is not designed to be balanced, but has always been intended as a counter balance against the unidirectional media.

  6. One of the reasons Giroud joined Chelsea was Conte…. Chelsea 0, Bourmouth 3… Will Conte have a job in the morning.?

  7. Samuel Akinsola Adebosin
    Song was not a bad player for Arsenal and was probably sold rather than him wanting to leave me thinks contrary to popular opinions. How old is he?

    I think Lacazette should train as a DM and slowly change from being a striker.

    Tony Attwood
    “Bull I don’t think you’ve quite grasped Untold. It is not designed to be balanced, but has always been intended as a counter balance against the unidirectional media.”

    Aha, i did wonder. 🙂 (not a serious comment).

  8. Good Luck to Olivier Giroud (if not to his new club ;). He was a fine servant of the club.

  9. More moves.

    Loan: Jeff Reine-Adelaide to Angers.
    Sold: Debuchy to St.Etienne
    Loan: Bielik to Walsall

    Good luck all!

  10. By that u mean unidirectional, just in the other direction? In other words just as biased, but this time in arsenal’s corner? Interesting.

  11. The 2018 January transfer window has come and gone this night and left Arsenal concluding 2 major deals of Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang and a potential deal of Mavropanos all for the Gunners.

    Nevertheless, I was hoping Arsenal will further conclude 2 more deals for a top quality centreback and that of right winger signings before the window closes. But that wasn’t to be. We have no complains other than to be contented with the 3 signings Arsenal had done this last January window.

    Thinking of what the Arsenal 25 senior team squad list will look like for the continuation of the 2nd half of this season’s campaign, I think Le Boss will bring in Reiss Nelson and Eddy Nketiah into the first team squad to replace Cuba Akpom and Reine Adelaide who were in first half of season 25 list but now have been sent out on loan. And I think Mavropanos is intended to replace Mathieu Debuchy whose contract at Arsenal has been revoked.

  12. Tony what are your thoughts on the fact that we’re 26points behind the league leaders, much closer to being relegated (19 points off)? Considering that this is a stick you’ve always used to beat the Spanish, German and French leagues. Does this mean the premier league is now the least competitive, effectively a one horse race? And does it mean you have no justification to look down on teams like alaves, Augsburg and Nantes from those leagues as our beloved arsenal are showing as little fight against their respective top dogs as we are against ours?

  13. Ok lets hang on. We have replaced walcott with lacazette. upgrade. giroud for aubemayang… many will say upgrade. i love giroud so im waiting to see but lets be honest, aube faster and more clinical. sanchez? fuck him. we didnt lose top4 with chamakh, we lost it with alexis. 100 times suarez and his biting. 100 times. pires was no left winger jusy exceptional footballer cm at metz, right footed. but mikhi can be left side playmaker ala rosicky kaka zidanne that era in 433 where the ten played left. we can do that. jack is looking to getting serious. important player for midfield. xhaka? sell. rather play willock. more alert, nippier. sad to lose giroud. velvet touch. Wenger is silver fox and will turn it around and sign 5 year deal. best troll ever. you dont kick a man out of his house like that. all you bastards abusing him and hoping he goes are forgeting what he has done for your miserable club of alcoholics finsihing 7th and 12th…..like taking a thRid world country and turning into a switzerland with its high class infrastructure, stadiums, training centres, medicals, ultra solid economy, ISO 6400, class and dignity AW1.

  14. Yes the game at swansea was a disgrace to the cannon…players should be ashamed. Steve Bould..dear sir… you do not permission from 67 year old to kick some ass…..

    You are appraently old school..balh blah…graham era blah blha… You and Jens..fingers out.

  15. Spuds while building their new home have an extra income from the sale of 30-40 000 extra seats. Moving to Wembley financially was a good move. Okay the team is riding high at the moment so home team spectator interest is higher but even if it was on a low, spectator interest would remain high as everyone wants to go to Wembley especially if the is a chance of beating the home team.

    Our boardroom shyed away from such a move and lost the extra income and spectator appeal in the process.

  16. @Colario If memory serves we tried playing at Wembley and the interest was there but the results weren’t. If I am not mistaken this helped us decide to build the Emirates.

  17. Bull, no you still haven’t got it. Untold means not told elsewhere. It also incorporates a theory of what the media is and how it behaves which I have reiterated many times.

  18. Bull, I’m not going to give you a set of answers to a long list of questions about my personal views since I think they come across in the blog moderately well, and readership of the blog (last time I looked) is a voluntary activity. I’m happy to have so many readers, and that some agree with the viewpoint that we put here, but that’s all.
    I think it a tragedy that the PL has gone the way of other leagues, and I think much of the pleasure I had at watching the 3 league titles under Wenger was that they were not one horse races – indeed look at the league table of the unbeaten season part way through the season and you’ll find Arsenal behind, and in the papers being highly criticised, putting in the worst performances ever seen by our fans, according to one paper at one game.
    So yes the PL has gone the way of other leagues – it could have been stopped by serious financial management but it was allowed to happen. The only positive is that much as I adored ZZ as a player, he’s managed to slip up as a manager, so maybe there is a ray of up – as well as with the Fifa investigations into child trafficking.
    I am not sure that that I have put down Alaves, Augsburg and Nantes in the past, and certainly I can’t think why I did. As I have oft reported I retain a deep affection for, and occasionally watch, teams that I have supported in my past along with Arsenal – Poole Town and Torquay United for example. And since my father took me to Arsenal at a time when we were a very modest team, and I watched Arsenal not just in the Double of the 1970s, but also the two very near escapes from relegation under Bertie Mee, I have a certain sense of perspective I believe.
    I don’t quite know what in my writing gives another impression, but you seem to have got a different end of the stick from me.
    But I think that is enough – anything else you want to know about my view of football I am sure can be gleaned by reading old copies of Untold. The entire 10 year series is still on the website.

  19. Let’s see what we did this transfer window –
    – Brought in some fine attacking players .
    – Got rid of non performing /not so regular players .
    – Signed our best player to long term contract .
    – Sold some unhappy / disruptive players.
    – Signed youth /potential for future.
    – Spent some fucking money ! 11.12 Million Pounds in this transfer window .

    But if from the beginning of the season , it appears we actually made a profit of 3.01 Million.


    Very good piece of business indeed !

  20. Well, IMHO we lost the one guy with steel….the only Gladiator we had in the team.
    I am very excited by Auba amd Mkhi being reunited, and more so by Ozil re-signing but i’m not convinced we’ve got what is needed to explose bus-parking teams, and with pretty much any team past 7th or 8th place potentially relegation material, we are going to see many more such teams in the months to come.

    And Olivier was the one weapon we had there in the middle of the box.

    This is not to criticize other players, just a characteristic of who he was, how he could fight and I believe I’ve not seen many others with that resolve. Maybe Jack and sometimes Ramsey, but they don’t play inside the box.

    Thne maybe with the speed (and precision passing) we just added to our line-up, it will change the way we play and we may end up being much more efficient on the counter attack ?

    I just wonder how long Auba will take to adapt to the PL.

  21. But surely given there history one league cup in the last 10 years. Not a single title since the 80’s would leave “a large number of Liverpool fans hugely dissapointed” but I haven’t seen them get anything like the abuse from the media we do.

    Sorry but I just think this article is making excuses, and pretty poor ones at that, for the medias constant abuse of our manager (tacticly clueless, poor training, dithers in the transfer market) blah blah blah. Our players (No leaders, soft, not good enough) blah blah blah. Our club (tight. Poorly run, un ambitious. Most expensive. Worst value).

    The range of abuse is as broad as it is long.

    Sorry but if anybody, let alone an Arsenal fan, cannot see the massive disparity in the abuse we get to others far more deserving of it then I think they should open their ears and eyes.

    It harms our club. It turns our own fans against us, but worse than that it creates an atmosphere under which being screwed by referees is accepted without a word and having our players maimed is all our own fault.

    As for an Arenal fan making excuses for it.

    Well that just beggars belief.

  22. I only used Augsburg, Nantes and Alaves as examples of the teams in those other leagues, those leagues you have lambasted for being uncompetitive, those leagues where arsenal would probably have sharing the titles with the only 1 or 2 relevant teams.
    Let me summarize, IMO in every league there are teams that are willing to do whatever they can in their power to compete at the top and then there are the others (like arsenal) who are just happy to participate. The first group will compete anywhere, the latter will hang around anywhere, even if u sent them to the Maltese league, except they change their attitude

  23. Nitram,

    I believe many of the reasons for the abouse we get are right on.
    However, I do not see other teams getting that kind of abuse for worse results.
    Pool!! is an example of such.

    One ca say they have fallen off the roof in the past 25 years compared to before.
    Yet they get such positives.

    And don’t get me started on Sp*urs…..

    So in this regard, I believe the author is wrong in his conclusions. I mean, when was the last time a discussion on TV was really nailing Pool!! or Sp*urs ? Can’t remember that

    The other thing that keeps me wondering is how the ex players of Arsenal are the ones seeming to lead the pack. I could understand it if they had been mishandled during their career at Highbury, but I don’t know that they have been. In mean, one of thme even has is freaking statue in front of the stadium. At that level of gratitude, your minimal decent attitude is to be supportive….. but no. All of them just go for any negative slant they can find. This too is something I cannot see from ex-players at other clubs. And it feeds the negative narrative, it even gives it a legitimacy : if he is saying it and he’s been there, so it must ne true. Really this is a mystery to me.

  24. Maybe they’re just saying it how they see it. The truth as they see it, just the way you’re speaking yours here. They don’t have to all agree with you, you know. Truth doesn’t have to be negative or positive. Arsenal won the fa cup last year, is fact, not positive. Arsenal hasn’t won the league in 14years is also fact, not negative.
    About gratitude, I don’t believe saying the truth necessarily should mean, being ungrateful. To be fair, those pundits not only talk about their perceived flaws in the team, they also suggest solutions.
    Finally, I’ve seen every pundit lambast the clubs they represented, yesterday Gary Neville tore into man utd, schools was rebuked by miurinho recently for having a go at pogba. Jamie carragher I’ve watched countless criticize Liverpool’s defending. I know the next thing you’ll come up with is that arsenal’s case is worse, well for one you can’t even measure that, before we waste our breadth debating that thought.. Or maybe you have a criticometer at home

  25. Personally I’m still waiting for Talkshite to have a daily anti Liverpool or anti Spurs or anti anyone else other than Arsenal for that matter, section, as they have had for us these last 10 years. Yes that’s 10 years ffs.

    That alone is at least an indication of that stations anti Arsenal stance.

    Liverpool no titles in over 25 years 1 league cup in 10.

    Spurs no titles since black and white tv and 1 league cup in 10 years.

    Why is that no worthy of Talkshites vitriol on a daily basis?


    To name but 5 who constantly criticise Arsenal.

    Everyone knows that all clubs get criticism at some stage. Nobody is saying they don’t.

    But we’ve just won 3 FA Cups in 5 years. Reached another final. Finished 2nd 3rd 4th 4th and 5th these last 5 years yet the abuse we get is far far worse than either Spurs or Liverpool and in the last 5 years they’ve won zip.

    Sorry but if anybody can’t see it then they must just not want to see it.

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