“He turned football into an art.” Ivan Gazidis notes the Untold banner

By Tony Attwood


It is interesting when following an unexpected event, to see how long it takes for the mainstream media to come in with one of their conspiracy theories – which is to say, an explanation for events for which there is no evidence at all, and which requires quite a stretch of the imagination to make it fit the facts that are known.  Indeed if we go on at this speed by the time we get to the West Ham game the fake news teams will be out denying that Arsene Wenger ever was manager of Arsenal.

Thus it was about two hours after the announcement came out that Mr Wenger was leaving that the Guardian ran with its “Fear of sack persuaded Arsène Wenger to walk away from Arsenal” headline.

It then ran two sub-headlines

 Arsenal’s board increasingly alarmed by team’s domestic form
 Wenger to depart in summer having led club to three league titles

Very quickly the headline started being copied, although not by the mainstream media, which for once actually scratched their heads in puzzlement at where the Guardian had got that one from.  Newslocker.com and news.us.uk both went with it in variation formats but otherwise everyone took a step back at least for a moment.  Others may have followed; I really couldn’t be arsed to keep checking.

The banner pictured above was paid for by readers of Untold, and has been in the Emirates for several years now.  I’m very hopeful that even when we have a new manager the banner will stay at the ground, as a tribute especially since Mr Gazidis particularly mentioned the phrase we quote in his interview.

It is the phrase which has been on the top of this site almost since the day we started and I’m really pleased that Mr Gazidis thought of it when speaking to the press.

Were the board increasingly alarmed – so alarmed that they forced the manager to announce his resignation at this moment, before the most important games of the season?  It is possible on the grounds that in effect, anything is possible, but is it likely?

I don’t have deep enough contacts within the clubs to know what really happened, and any scraps I have picked up are very much on a “don’t quote me” basis but on that basis, no I really don’t think so.

So why did the Guardian run this piece.  Well, if we look at the three articles the Guardian journalist David Hytner wrote immediately prior to that highly speculative piece presented as a factual summary, we can get a clue as to what is going on.  His three articles for the Guardian prior to that one were…

  • FA Cup victory would not change Tottenham’s life, says Pochettino”
  • Wembley factor can help us win FA Cup, says Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen
  • Harry Kane on target for Tottenham but Pascal Gross earns point for Brighton

And no, I haven’t selected them from a long lists of pieces.  Those were the three stories that preceded the piece about the board sacking Mr Wenger because they were alarmed – presented of course with no evidence.  What we see is that for the rest of the time this writer gives us one fawning Tottenham article after another.

Not everyone was quite this awful.  Miguel Delaney of the Independent in fact was rather good I thought when he wrote, “Working as a journalist covering Wenger, the bottom line was this: if you asked him a proper football question, you got a proper football answer – and usually a whole lot more.”  As when on being asked to comment on Danny Welbeck being accused of diving in the AC Milan game Mr Wenger said, “I haven’t seen the incident,” before smiling and adding “Do you want to accuse the English players of being divers?”

Delaney added, “When it came to his press conferences, every journalist there gained the debate-starting quote for a big issue in the game, a comment that was so brilliantly insightful that it would pretty much have to be referenced any time the discussion came up.

“Wenger remained by far the best at this in the Premier League, probably rivalled only by Jose Mourinho, who is supreme value for such discussions when in in the mood. Even the Portuguese, however, wouldn’t go to the sociological levels Wenger was willing to.

As indeed in his classic line, “What has changed, is the society.”  If you recall Mr Wenger then went on…

“We live in a society that is more demanding, that is more opinionated. The overall problem in Europe is that the respect for basic things has been lost, or is less strong than it was 20 years ago. As well you have positive things: people are better informed, people are better educated. People have more knowledge of the game. You have to think of balance.”

But “balance” and the football media never meet.  Not once, not ever.


From the Arsenal History Society



32 Replies to ““He turned football into an art.” Ivan Gazidis notes the Untold banner”

  1. Arsene turned football into an art.
    Arsene thanks for the memory.
    All the best in future endeavour.

  2. Certainly, the press – the perceptive ones and the mischievous, follow-follow rabble – and the pundits will be high on the list of those who will miss Wenger the most….

  3. He is a man of integrity and loyalty who fiercely protected his players and, without any doubt Arsenal’s greatest manager.
    Perhaps he stayed too long but didn’t deserve the criticism and abuse from some supporters, not to mention the media and the ‘so called pundits’. They will have to look for someone else now.

    All I can say is au revoir mon ami and thanks for some of my greatest memories.

  4. Tony

    “Very quickly the headline started being copied, although not by the mainstream media”

    The back page headline in the Scum this morning:


    Didn’t take them long did it.

    I haven’t got a clue where it got it’s information from, or even what it says, as I don’t read, what is essentially toilet paper with print on, but you can bet your life it’s nothing complimentary.

    Unbelievably the sub heading on the back page says:


    And who are we being led to believe are writing these tributes?

    IAN WRIGHT !! Ian f***ing Wright. Are they serious ? The pathetic piece of shite hates Wenger.

    KIDD !! FFS. The man has done nothing but insult Wenger for as long as I can remember.

    ASHTON !! Beyond laughable.

    As I say I haven’t read, and wont be reading a word of it.

    I actually find it quite sickening that they even have the audacity to print the word ‘tribute’ to a man there clearly hated and had absolutely no respect for AT ALL.

  5. My mind wandered over this in sleeping.

    Most reasonable people recognize the value of Arsène Wenger. We all have finite lifetimes, so mankind has only ever hoped to capture the memories or essence of a person forever.

    But computing science has considered artificial intelligence for a long time. I don’t know if we yet know enough to capture a person in memory and algorithms, but there seem to be lots of researchers who think it is possible.

    It would be exceptionally difficult to do this after a person has died, or suffered some injury/illness such as a stroke or dementia. It would probably take a while to accomplish, and having access to the person full-time might be required.

    What would one do with an AI version of Arsène Wenger? It could have access to all the data on every player in the world. Is this the means to compete with a rich nation-state?

  6. In essence, the replacement for Arsène Wenger is Arsène Wenger!

    [ I am not useful in French, but it seems to me there is some saying in French that is appropriate here. ]

  7. I feel utterly distraught by the shocking news that Monsieur Wenger has left our darling Club,Arsenal.Literally I shed a tear or two.I want to believe that he was frustrated to resign.The English media, the so called fans that has forgotten what this man had done for the club for 22 solid years are all contributing factors to his frustrations.He turned the club into a brand that every football enthusiast would want to associate with.He changed the face of football in England.He gave us an identity.He taught us to know that football is an Art.These few years hasn’t been good to him in terms of the League title and competing strongly in the Champions League.But we shouldn’t forget that the trophy drought (league title) started when we moved to a new stadium and we had to sell our best players so as to service the stadium debts.That was the begining of Wenger’s suffering.We couldn’t compete with teams with “sugar daddies”.The club suffered.Our best players went to teams that offer them more money.Wenger lost in that area.He became disillusioned.We had to make do with average players or embark on viable youth projects.In all of this we were assured a top 4 qualification and a champions league berth.The ungrateful fans are quick to forget.This man gave you 17 major honours and you treat him like sh**t.You called him all manner of names.Well it’s all done.He is leaving at the of the season.I am not saying Wenger should remain at the helm forever but the manner he was being treat especially the English press who acted as a catalyst for shameful fans is disgraceful.
    I say to a Great Man,Thank you for all you have done for the Arsenal.God bless you.Good luck in your next endeavor. #MerciArsene

  8. Tony,

    Here is a guy abusing Ian Wright. I mean, it’s Ian Wright for God’s sake. Club legend. He’s won us multiple trophies. He is a hero. An inspiration. Who is this guy to abuse him? I believed you didn’t publish such objectionable words! That too about our second highest goal scorer. Or does it only apply when someone abuses Wenger? Abusing Wrighty! What kind of Arsenal fan does that?

  9. Thing is Gord, once the Ai version of AW is there, would it ever have the potential to grow further? If not would the Ai version be a bordered phenomena (ie the same reaction to reactions computed/stored), if theres a loophole (and there would be many due to flux and mutabilty of all things( especially the mind) what would happen? Could the Ai learn or not learn?
    But if people are adding algorithms and systems to the Ai AW, what then? Is it AW or AWAi? Each and everyone one of us is unique but Entanglement and Superposition mean theres far more possibilities through just being in contact (with an AW person)-like a candle lighting another candle?
    Is it a relay in a space (where there is no outisde-which is impossible to think of?) thats expanding an contracting in flux where all thought adds and through reaction subtracts,then later adds again, but metamorphosises?
    But nobody knows where the relay will go, except by some ever changing guidelines, but all is possible, depend on the need, will (usually lack?)etc? And that includes counter support structures who also wish to experience certain positions?
    In that, is Ai stuck or can it grow? And what if Ai said ” this is absurd”?
    Personally I have no idea.

  10. Nitram http://untold-arsenal.com/archives/68356#comment-942646

    I suppose in parallel with having Wright presenting a tribute to Arsène Wenger, I see that Stuart Robson has lost little time in bad mouthing Arsène Wenger.


    Sportskeeda had an article on the Swiss Prosecutors Office and football.



    Arsène Wenger had problems being misquoted in the medja. On the CBC New website, is see this for a headline:

    Is it possible to have too much transparency in journalism?

    * It’s not standard operating procedure for news organizations to
    * release full transcripts of their interviews. But it could be a
    * useful practice, particularly for contentious interviews,
    * according to the Poynter Institute’s Al Thompkins.

    These transcripts should be available in the sports media. And having a more transparent process is certainly needed with anything having to do with The Premier League, The (sweet) FA and PGMO.

    Some “bad” news of sorts. We are 1 point away from St. Mahgnirettot Day.

    Hopefully we will soon be back to St. Totteringham Day.

  11. Kenneth Widmerpool http://untold-arsenal.com/archives/68356#comment-942651

    I don’t see why an AI version couldn’t continue learning. One of the things it would have to do, is to “learn” the other managers. Unless they all became clones of each other, it would have to continue learning there. Could you imagine a league with one Arsène Wenger and nineteen Tony Pulis?

    I am a number cruncher when it comes to computers, but I see a lot of articles about AI and machine learning going past me.

    For me, part of the training process requires “fuzzying” input data with some random content. Hence, any constructed “AI” is just one particular realisation of an infinite ensemble of possible realisations. What you are hoping, is that if one was to observe the average behavior of an ensemble of these AIs, they would on average match the behavior of the real person.

  12. Nitram
    I believe the Sun (fairy)story claiming Wenger was sacked emanated from Ian Wright who claimed that as Wenger always honoured his contracts he therefore must have been sacked. Just his opinion and pure speculation but that is what the Sun have based their story on.

  13. Nitram my thoughts exactly about ian wright the piece of shite he is a gprofessional hater!

  14. Thanks mick.

    And typical of Wright.

    So even now Wengers decided to leave, and in what is laughably called a ‘tribute’, Wright continues his agenda of sticking the boot in at every opportunity.

    The guy really is nasty piece of work.

  15. Gord-Imagine the coding for Ai!
    Would a stumbling block be compassion? Compassion is absolute relativity, the medicine for all(?)…so to much compassion would mean walking away from the game completely and not enough, and the mind boggles at what could go wrong.
    Another interesting point is how long would it take for Ai to learn? Imagine if it had been something from the world of 1950s football( I only use this as an example because it seems-although it isnt- far away from the contemporary game)that had been cloned, could it learn and survive or be bounded by its conditioning?
    Also and incredible amount of psychological inferiority would have to be retain in any clone at the basic level, so it would want to compete. Could this have implications, in that the Ai would just end up like other humans and going of at the deep end every now and again?

  16. I don’t think there is any shortage of stumbling blocks in trying to make an AI Arsène Wenger.

  17. The Times repeated the claim this morning.

    For my part, I do not believe a word of it.

  18. Richard St Michaels Ojei

    Well said.

    I am sure Arsene Wenger was not sacked. But I would not be surprised if he was forced out. Because the owners, Ivan Gazidis etc, only really care about the money and the product when it comes to the crunch, and the negativity from press and ‘fans’ damages the product.

    For them football principles are not the main thing.

  19. By the way, the Telegraph reproduced the full quote about football as an art above a nice photo of Arsene and his Invincibles.

  20. “FOOTBALL is FIXED‏ @footballisfixed · 18h18 hours ago
    In 12 years of #FootballisFixed blog, no team has suffered negative referee bias as much as #Arsenal

    A key input to Arsene Wenger deciding to leave #Arsenal was #EPL decision not to implement #VAR as, via the voting method, criminalised entities can ensure VAR will never arrive”
    I believe it!

  21. It is irritating but entirely predictable that there is a portion of the press doing nothing but saying that Arsene was sacked. Pathetic numpties. And, wouldn’t you know it, Wright is right in the middle of it.

  22. I think most of the media got as close to the truth as we’re likely to get without a definitive statement from Wenger…..that he was given options……and took the face saving one.
    He most certainly was not sacked, but who knows what would have happened had he chosen to see out the contract.

  23. I don’t think AW was sacked or forced out, I think the restructuring behind the scene has significantly played a part in his decision to leave. I think the club gave AW their plans for further restructuring next season (Director of Football, change to scouting, revamp the coaching staff) and AW decided he doesn’t see himself to be part of that plan. AW is a football traditionalist and he believe in the old model where the manager should control every aspect of football related matters.

    I don’t have evidence but only my opinion after digesting his announcement :
    “After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down,”

    ‘Careful consideration’ he must have been provided something to consider.

    “To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. My love and support forever.”

    ‘Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club’ . Why ‘take care’? It only suggest the club is moving away from its current football structure.

    If the club was going to sack AW I’m sure somebody at the club would have leaked it to the media.

  24. @ Nitram – I believe that the people listed do deep down have huge respect for Wenger, they are just paid to say otherwise, which is infinitely worse in my eyes.

  25. Vivek Arulnathan – Ian Wright took every single opportunity that he could to take a swipe at Arsenal, both the manager and the players, so what he has done on the pitch does not negate the years of abuse that he has directed at the team he proclaims loves.

    I mean, how often did you hear him say anything positive about Arsenal? He completely sold out. Everyone knows that for an ex-Arsenal player, all they need to do to get back into the headlines is insult our team and Ian Wright was more than willing to take a paycheck to stab Arsenal in the back.

  26. Untold banner prominently displayed two minutes prior to start of USA television broadcast.

  27. Lol @vivek, the lord Wenger is “He who must not be criticised”. Do that at your own peril

  28. Hope the boys win the Europa league for him!
    Sad to see him go but now is the right time to say goodbye I think!

  29. How I wished he got some good support for once.
    No English spine
    Arsenal are softees kick them hard
    Be in their faces
    The team has no character under Wenger
    Wenger has no ambition
    Even with FA Cup arsenal has not won anything in 6 seasons
    Spurs only finished ones above arsenal before this season but got praised above Wenger
    Arsenal beat spurs 2:0 and spurs responded by 1:0 even with poor red and that proves that arsenal players not good enough
    Arsenal beat Chelsea 3:0 last season and Wenger still got the stick
    Wenger said I believe this can go a season unbeaten and got insulted and bad refs but got it the next season
    Arsenal not English enough
    Arsenal cannot win with children when viera left but with Fabregas and other kids beat viera and got to champions league final
    Henry who missed many sitters has the guts to condemn arsne

  30. Roy Keane captioned it best none of the pundits and journalist has done anything better for English football than Wenger

  31. @Jammy

    He has criticised the manager and the players and rightly so IMO. But he always speaks with love and passion for the club and when he criticises Arsene Wenger or the players, I find that he’s more hurt than angry or abusive, like Nitram. hear him speak in the Arsecast, you will find how much love he has for this club. Henry, Adams, Merson…..they’ve all come down hard on the team and the management when they’ve massively under-performed and I strongly believe that doesn’t warrant abusing a club legend.

  32. thanks arsene. you create a beautiful in this sad world!!!
    We are happy to be on the journey with you.
    it was an eye opening to a hijacked world we live where things are manipulated.
    arsene the great, your unquenchable light shines forever!
    thanks to the untold for giving a platform for enjoying arsenal when the world is increasingly frustrating by the day.
    surely, we the true arsenal supporters as ever before will be continuing supporting the the manager, the players and the club!
    to the moarners, arsene has left you to continuing wallowing in your misery.
    Arsenal is now in transition, whatever comes, Support is all i have for my beloved Arsenal!

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