Why has the upmarket mainstream media changed its tune over Arsenal?

By Dr Billy “the dog” McGraw

Something odd is going on.

The mainstream upmarket media appear, for the moment at least, to have gone soft on Arsenal and are picking on everyone else.  The bloggettas however, oft written by robots as they are, are staying with their long term objective of knocking.  Such is their programming.

Where the two groups join is, in an absolute demand that new transfers should perform at their highest level at once, whereas the one survey done on the subject suggests that only 25% manage to do this, but by the start of Year II 75% of big money transfers are doing the business.

Let’s take the typical bloggetta knocking.  Here are just the first headlines I came across this morning.  They are by and large attempts at knocking Arsenal

  1. Paul Merson questions why Arsenal didn’t sign proven 30-year-old defender
  2. Sanchez joining United a’once in a generation’bargain, says former Liverpool director
  3. ANOTHER Arsenal striker could be sold in the summer – Jamie Carragher makes HUGE claim
  4. Thierry Henry admits he’s sad about Arsenal January transfersThe Sport Review
  5. José Mourinho reveals why he snubbed Arsenal star Mesut OzilGiants Football News
  6. Mkhitaryan endures miserable debut as Arsenal slump
  7. West Brom boss Pardew raps Arsenal over late Evans offer
  8. Carragher: Arsenal haven’t fixed problems with signings
  9. Are Arsenal just ordinary?

So now let’s try the newspapers, who are normally pretty much in line with the bloggettas, but now have sauntered out on their own, and instead are shooting at other targets.  Just look at these negative pieces…

  • West Ham crisis: Henry suspended, players unhappy, Brady ‘scuppered’ Slimani deal
  • Leicester City Club left to pick up pieces from Mahrez transfer fallout
  • Chelsea Patience and time running out for Conte at Stamford Bridge
  • Crystal Palace Academy director suspended pending under-18s probe
  • Manchester City De Bruyne backs Guardiola complaints about tackles
  • Blackpool Oystons miss deadline for £10m payment to Belokon
  • Big-money transfers mean little without basics
  • Agents’ gravy train to be derailed in bid to curb huge fees
  •  United’s midfield failings and backline of pumpkins fall short
  • I am overachieving, insists Conte after rout
  • Riyad Mahrez faces £200k fine after missing third day of Leicester training over collapsed Man City move
  • Why can’t Jose Mourinho get a tune out of Paul Pogba?
  • FA still investigating claims Roberto Firmino racially abused Mason Holgate

It is an extraordinary range of complaints and tales of the negative.

So what is going on?

As we know, sowing the negative tales has taught newspapers the sad lesson that negativity sells.  And this has been enhanced by the fact that most people who watch football don’t go to matches.

As Bloomberg reported “during the 2014-15 season, the league was broadcasted in 730 million homes, where it reached 3 billion people. But declining viewership since then shows sports’ weakening power to prop up traditional TV. Indeed, compared with the 2010-11 season, EPL audiences are down 22% per game this year. The fact competition among top clubs is currently fierce – with just three points (or one win) separating the second- and fifth-place teams – should compound this anxiety further.”

Turning to Business Insider, they reported that in 2011/12 the average BT Sport audience for a game was 500,000.  Since then it has dramatically upped its bidding, and is now spending far, far more, with the aim of getting many more top matches.  Its audience in 2016/17 was 600,000 on average, up 20%  despite a much, much higher spend.  As for Sky they were getting 1.3 million average for a match in 2011/12 but by 2016/17 the average was 900,000.  Yet again they are paying far, far more per match.

Down, down, down goes the audience, while the money bid for the games goes up, up, up.

What we also notice is that the number of people watching a match on TV is generally six to 12 times as many as are in the ground.  What this vast majority of the audience for a game get is the endless positivity that TV companies are ordered to put out as part of their contract.  Negatives are ignored, and it is all good entertainment.

To contrast with TV the rest of the media has gone another way (as far as their contract to publish fixtures allows them to go) and they have focused on the bad side of things to be different from the TV. And because articles on Arsenal generally get a bigger readership than those on most clubs, they get the most negative coverage.

However in many  social psychology experiments we find there is a boundary at which point people have had enough of the endless negativity.  It is not that they don’t want knocking any more, but rather that they have had enough of knocking that particular thing.  That “thing” might be politicians of a certain party, the BBC, the unemployed, local councils,  or in this case Arsenal.

The bland TV model of football being fine all the time is ultimately unsustainable because to most fans it is unbelievable and out of tune with the online and newspaper reporting.  The upmarket newspapers however appear now to have sniffed out a change in the atmosphere at least when it comes to Arsenal.

Will it last?  A bad match on Saturday for Arsenal would probably mean a return to the instant knocking as the up market newspaper experiment is ditched.  But a solid Arsenal win could lead to another week of positives, leaving the bloggettas isolated, which would be quite amusing and interesting.  For yes, even social psychologists can have a laugh sometimes.

But for now, let us celebrate.  Today, at least, in a couple of papers, Arsenal are the good guys.

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15 Replies to “Why has the upmarket mainstream media changed its tune over Arsenal?”

  1. I honestly expected a lot of positive press around Pierre based on his Dortmund record in oder to put him on a very high pedestal from which he got be gleefully knocked down. Just wait until he goes two games without scoring, they’ll all then start slagging Arsenal/Peirre/Arsene off for allegedly failing (allegedly again).

  2. Billy

    Despite your opitimism it seems nothing much has changed on the Ian Wright front.

    This from the Metro reproducing what he’s had to say on Instagram apparently:

    While some have praised Ozil for committing his peak years to Arsenal, Wright hit back at a fan who asked why he wasn’t shouting the news from the rooftops.

    “Why? Because he’s played a couple of decent games and now he’s signed a contract?’ the former striker responded on Instagram. ‘Didn’t see many clubs beating down the door and he was free. Let’s hope he’s consistent now he’s signed.”

    Maybe it has something to do with what he said back on the 20th December:

    “Ian Wright says Arsenal should have sold Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez in the summer when it became apparent they weren’t signing new contracts. The Arsenal legend has accused those in charge at the Emirates of making a dreadful decision that has cost the club £180million”

    But he has signed a new contract Ian. So you got that wrong.

    And this is what he said back on the 11th of January:

    But it looks highly likely he will leave and when Wright was asked if Ozil’s move to United would be a good transfer for the player, he told Sky Sports’ The Debate:

    “Yes I do.

    “I think he is that kind of player”.

    “He is not going to drag a team along but if you’re playing well he is going to sprinkle like stardust”.

    “When you watch him he is awesome”.

    So when Wright was still mistakenly droning on about Ozil leaving us for United he says about him, and I quote:

    “…..he is awesome”

    It’s never good when you’re made to look a total dipstick time and time again is it Ian?

    You really are a prat aren’t you.

  3. To be truthful and to be kindid, we cannot have all things our ways at Arsenal. Sometimes we might need to put up with having 2/4 things as done at Arsenal during the last winter window and accept them as they currently are at Arsenal at the moment.

    True, to complete the Arsenal senior team more especially the regular starting XI part of it, Arsenal ought to have signed a proven high caliber centreback and holding mid-fielder during the last January transfer window if the efforts of the Arsenal starting XI will be complemented, enhanced and becomes stable since the only one and out true defensive midfielder in Coquelin that Arsenal have has left the club probably because he stopped being a Premier League regular starter for Arsenal due his inability to sake off the lingering hamstring injury that keeps recurring in him. And the suspect Arsenal backline should have been solidified to make it stronger to stop it leaking in goals during PL matches of which goalkeeper Petr Cech is a serious accomplice to it with his failings in his series of unforced errors in his goalkeeping job for Arsenal. Maybe if Cech will not improved on his goalkeeping errors at Arsenal that includes his incapableness to save a penalty for Arsenal, Ospina or Macey should be called on by Le Boss to takeover from him as Arsenal Premier League, English football League final match and Uefa Europa League Cup games starting goalkeeper henceforth with this season.

  4. Ian is broke! Nuff said!

    Interesting choice of word search at the telgraph, nice title, where did I hear something like that before?

    It’s 26 points to City. And yes destructions for the tip 5 here, there and……

    We get a game for free, and I need my passport, we aren’t going to pull Zenit, I can feel it.

    My friends baby is due and jean Zenit/Arsenal! Am doing money, I ain’t got to worry about nothing.

    Conte is leaving, he’ll look to get sacked for a slice of that severance, Chelsea will do it, hoping for the Matteo bounce; but he played a team on its last dice, all desperate to win a trophy they sponsor.

    Hazard aint scoring against Real say, Courtois will let goals in for anybody he prefers. William is just too loyal. Pogba is missing Turin and knows Real, woo! De Gea is sold.

    Henry better be talking absolute nonsense, and tactically analysing us a sister thoghbhe were special.

  5. As though he were special, Jesus this phonenand language prediction, with grammar and spelling. Selectively leaves mistakes, changes whole sentences! Me and J were having this problem!

  6. If Wright is broke maybe he should get a job.

    I mean other than that in which he is currently employed, which seems to consist of nothing more than slagging off Wenger and Arsenal every day of his pathetic life.

    By all accounts managing a football club pays pretty well, so maybe he should try that, after all, he seems to have an endless stream of ideas as to how it should be done.

    In my eyes his legend is tainted beyond repair. I cannot understand for the life of me why Arsenal as a club, or more bafflingly Wenger, would ever entertain his presence at the club.

    Personally I would take his statue down.

    Then again I’ve never had much time for treacherous b******S.

  7. Well Amy Lawrence may have been rather positive….now comes a colleague of hers with the negative slant in the Guardian.
    They just can’t stop it.

  8. Dear Tony
    I humbly disagree. Hope you don’t mind!

    Not venal gibberish from the squealers at the Manchester Grunt: for such earnest critics i note that Arsene Wenger provides these genius’ with plenty of copy 😉

    “Ozil the highest paid player in the league”?

    And other guff.

    Barney Ronaycan be observed to be a disingenuous tripe monger of the lowest order. The prose of this failed novelist is arid about the same level as his understanding of Football (please refer to the minnows humiliated by Iceland, Costa Rica etc.).

    Speaking of which, hope you and anyone else lucky enough to see the football tomorrow have a top evening!

  9. Did BR or any of his Grunting colleagues ever list the wages earned by obese and stinking mules like Mangala?


    There’s a surprise!
    What a bizarre and telling fixation on Sanogo’s earnings given what happens elsewhere.


    transparent and disingenuous at best.

  10. Chris replied to you on last article you replied to Jammy.

    Love it Nitram!

    Love more this:

    “Did we get everything done? No! What ‘I’ wanted to do, we have done. ‘I’ couldn’t do everything, ‘I’ wanted to do more. Yes (I regret not getting a defender) because our defensive numbers aren’t not good enough and that’s where we needed some strengthening as well. We have to improve our defensive numbers. We want to go in the top four.”

    “I believe we have to find an internal solution to our defensive problems, and that means everyone putting more effort in. Buyback overall I am happy with the way things went in the transfer market. Defensively, it is not a lack of effort, it is a lack of focus in vital moments of the game. Sometimes we do well and sometimes not.”

    “For example, at Swansea we had 75% possession and you always think to attack, attack and forget to defend when you lose the ball because you are so obsessed with wanting to win the game. It is always difficult to find the balance when you have so much of the ball.”

    “I don’t want to come out on specific names – I think it Ian more of a team problem and a responsibility problem. Take individual responsibility for a defensive role.”

    I love that I’m reading a hymn sheet I can’t see.

    So he isn’t going to give soundbites on names, Jose always goes wrong here, but he is aware that it is a catalogue of individual errors and some people are responsible and. Ot taking responsibility, and possibly set out the need so a DM.

    Elneny was brilliant, nothing that went wrong was his fault and he even vacated the position to overload without putting us at risk.

    I do t know what some people are thinking.

    Dortmund are annoyed wen took not only exceptional backroom staff but a first team player, who will surely bring about the exit of Pulusic to Bayern and Reus hopefully to us.

    Bundesliga over! One horse race!

    They also prevented us moving on Giroud and forced putney hand in terms of Chelsea. But a small Wenger said, Girouds wonderful service meant that after the recent birth of his third child and as an EU citizen he dodny want to leave London and can move to a SW which in my opinion Ian the best part of London to live and raise a family.

    biut they will try and keep Pulusoc is Bashuyi works out, Bundesliga should suit him well enough.

    Leicester, well point proven, dangerous game with your best player, don’t lie to people.

    The hold up was Debouchy and Dortmund. We couldn’t work out the balance sheet until we were done, and we’ve dobe better than anyone with clearing the books. With permanent the deals. The remainder are all wanted and goikgnto the World Cup.

    But we will accelerate the development of some U23’s let’s see if they’ve grasp it with both hands.

    Chambers is on it and has looked good. Similarly with Niles. Nketiah and Nelson can rotate in for 15mins provided the first team do their job.

    Iwobi is now understudy and needs to come back down and refocus.

    The way to make the point is to drop people, not name and shame. Cech needs a mental break and i think Macey should get a game. The next fixture is worth the punt, we aren’t going to lose itv vecause we use him, we’ll lose it because no people aren’t focused.

    Wilshere Mkhitaryan Ozil mean we have total footballers in a triplet with a player ahead aware he has a demon breathing down his neck.

    If you wanted to be careful you could simply go back to the three and use

    Monreal and Mustarfi either side of Koscielny with Sead and Bellerin

    Which give some you Jack Elneny ahead of the attacking triangle of Ozil Mikhi and Andrei.

    That would give security to try the GK with promise, you never know he could make the he plane. Pickford should , Hart shouldn’t.

    Still I like Butland.

    Cech should retire with Per. Great coaches. I thought he could do back up. But Macey and a Butland, that would spur both. Am doing the ‘experts’ indeed have him at my suggested £16m mark. Unless we are going to ask Athletico to release Oblak am doing take back Courtois, which would force the De Gea sale, by making PSG up the anti.

    We need to get involved either way and ask questions about the top GK who suit us. Which is pretty much Oblak or Butland.

  11. I like that Santi has been placed on the Europa roster.

    1. It now shows Tony why Physioroom has been quoting that Santi is injured all season. They knew that Santi could be playing at some point. 🙂

    2. It is a carrot on a stick to Santi. He has extra purpose to put to his rehab. Who knows, maybe he can play in the final?

  12. In reading about Santi in the Evening Standard website, I see that Micki has taken number 77, following what Gordie Howe started in hockey. Mr. Hockey could probably show Felli-elbows a thing about using elbows.

  13. Pep Guardiola says he would not give up on a title race if his Man City side were in the same position as Jose Mourinho’s Man Utd.

    Boxing clever!

    Ditto, even if I was in 6th 26 points back! If I can halve that, I know I can emulate that next season and do better!

    77 is a good number!

    God knows I pray Santi is fine, low centre of gravity, little weight to bare! Positive guy!

    Two much is given, much is tested!

    COYG 4 the quad we go Supernova!

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