How do Man U get treated by the media compared to Arsenal?

By Tony Attwood

I wrote a little piece yesterday taking a snapshot of how Tottenham Hotspur are treated by the media in relation to Arsenal, and it raised a little amount of interest so I thought I would have another go today with Manchester United.

This piece of course as with the Tottenham jottings is far from being 100% reliable since these are just the first 12 stories I saw this morning about Man U and its current and future states. But I do find the comparative approach of those interested in each club to be worth considering.  (If you don’t, stop reading now, because that is what this article is about).

By way of introduction, our regular analysis of the way the media treats Arsenal shows that overall is extremely negative – so that when an eventuality might be seen in either a positive or negative way there is a fair chance (I’d guess around 80%) that the negative will be chosen.

What particularly stimulated the idea of comparing Arsenal with other clubs was the fact that for the past three years we’ve tried to record all the transfer rumours surrounding Arsenal, and found that the media had an accuracy rating of just 3%.  Indeed we’ve currently got six players tipped to be the first Arsenal signing of the summer, which clearly indicates an 83% inaccuracy level.

In each of the past two summer windows over 110 players have been linked with Arsenal, but at the end of each window instead of people noting that the media utterly screwed up in its predictions, it is the club that is blamed for not signing the players that they could have signed!

So how do Man U fair, on a snapshot of stories each of which has appeared on Sunday morning.

1: Bale to Man U.  The Standard says Man U has to wait as Bale is now waiting to see who the new Real Mad manager is.

2:  Marco Verratti  Man U’s number one target.   This appears in a few places and with a very positive commentary.

3:  “Ryan Sessegnon move plotted but he prefers Liverpool switch”    The Express runs this one and it is a very gentle form of what Arsenal get daily – that the players the club want won’t come to Arsenal, with the implication always being the club is too slow or not offering enough money.  One player wanting a different destination is not that strong a negative – it would only be so if many more of the stories went down the same line.

4:   Man Utd line up new £75m marquee signing – and he’d be perfect for Pogba

That is in GiveMeSport and the Sun; a very positive piece.

5: And yet it seems there are “fan’s concerns” as revealed by the headline in the Manchester Evening News: Manchester United player Anthony Martial calms fans’ concerns amid transfer talk.

Apparently these concerns were that “Man Utd player Anthony Martial had some fans worried after he deleted his Instagram feed last month.”   Well guys, if that is all you have to worry about, try reading the media about Arsenal and then think what it is like for us!

6:  So yes, a lot of this is indeed positive as with the story in HITC that “23-year-old who Newcastle boss axed last year is linked with Manchester United”.

Now if this were an Arsenal story the implication or overt statement would be that Arsenal are planning to sign a “Newcastle reject” but here HITC are suggesting that Newcastle have made a mistake and Man U are jumping in quickly.

7:   There is no dithering either as “Jose Mourinho will complete first signing next week” according to the Express.  That player will be Fred, oft tipped to be going to Arsenal in the past but apparently we could never match his club’s estimate of the value.

8: Of course there is no question of limit on spending – at least in the articles I reviewed this morning in the snapshot, and Man U are placed in a number of comments as being equals in the spending arena with Real Madrid – as with the battle to sign Marco Verratti.

9:  I was also particularly looking out for comments by ex-Man U players, for if you have taken note of what any ex-Arsenal players have said about the current set-up you’ll know about the very high level of abuse Arsenal men get.  Keown seemed to take leave of reality this season with his ceaseless assault on Ozil, while the one decent player we did have (Alexis) Arsenal couldn’t hold on to, or so we are told.   So it went on day by day with Sky particular  virulent and ceaseless on the attack.

So I was interested to read “Gary Neville: What I think about Man United for next season” and he seems very positive.

The headline reads, “Gary Neville has insisted that he is feeling optimistic about Manchester United heading into Jose Mourinho’s third campaign in charge.”   Ah optimism.  I read about that once in a book.   (The media didn’t even have optimism for Arsenal during the Unbeaten Season during which the Times reported that Arsenal fans felt performances were the worst they had ever seen.   At least we can celebrate that comment each year on the Anniversary files and have a chuckle).

10: As for when it comes to players possibly leaving, there is no talk of dithering and meanness over new deals.    Manchester United determined to agree deal with 22-year-old attacker makes it clear that a deal will be done with Martial.

This is, like the Tottenham report, just a snapshot.  But in many ways the occasional reviews of the media’s commentary on Arsenal is that also, and there it is moan, moan, moan, disaster, collapse, destruction, the end, uselessness, ineffectiveness….   Indeed I sometimes wonder how such an ineffective club could have won a trophy on average every other year in Wenger’s reign.  Not the level that Ferguson got, of course, but still, not bad.

11:  And indeed when there are negotiations to be done they are done at speed and with assuredness, as in the headline “The 3 players Man Utd are in advanced negotiations to sign this summer” in Give Me Sport.

12: And finally, returning to Fred, not only are the club certain to get him, they know what they are doing with the follow up: After Fred’s arrival, Man Utd want €86million star as marquee signing says Calcio Insider

So there we are: just a tiny snapshot from a couple of hours and it is positivism all the way.

But why?   Why does Arsenal get such negativity at every turn?   I know the answer from the anti-Arsenal-Arsenal movement and their friends in the award winning Arsenal Fans TV, is that Arsenal are atrocious at everything they want to mention.  But the reality is that those people have got what they wanted – the removal of Mr Wenger.  And yet they and their friends in the newspapers and on TV are as negative now as ever.

Maybe it’s genetic.  It’s not a hating Arsenal thing.  It’s just a remorseless desire to proclaim oneself an Arsenal supporter and then knock the club at every turn.

8 Replies to “How do Man U get treated by the media compared to Arsenal?”

  1. From my little corner in Africa.. I strongly believe Arsenal is a club with a very big following… Not just fans but rival clubs fans too want to see how we are doing for whatever reasons… As such the media struggles with content and a result very opinion… Gets published.. No matter how rubbish… Then due to the big following the rubbish content will be viewed multiple times escalating it in search engines and even making the news in some countries… This is a club of immense potential…

  2. This is about the gutter press acting like used car salesmen trying to keep the cash rolling in, nothing more.

    They build their stories based on their perceived wisdom of what the fan base of each club will react to. That can be fear, optimism, success etc.


    – Spurs fans are supposedly fearful of their young team breaking up; cue constant links to players leaving for pastures new (only one, Kyle Walker, has left in the last four years and he’d been there for eight years so had done his time)

    – Man Utd fans knowing their team is the richest; cue constant links to the imminent signing of new galaticos (since Fergie’s departure players are no more likely to go to United than any of the top 6 unless they want the wages eg mercenaries – you cannot tell me Sanchez went there to play for a better team)

    – Arsenal and Spurs fans fighting over who is best; cue constant links to the same player to stoke up the rivalry (can you name me one clear fight for a player over the last ten years, nope thought not!)

    – Arsenal fans seem critical of their team and especially Wenger; cue constant criticism of players (has Ozil been any worse than Pogba, not in my opinion and I’m a Spurs fan here in peace)

    Etc etc

    Most of the stories are made up or contrived to stoke up false interest. Eg

    Was Arteta really an option, strikes me press didn’t have a clue?

    Was Poch ever going to Real; the story changed five times in two days but the reality was he signed a new deal a week ago knowing full well a big job could materialise, who does that?

    Great article, accurate with research, keep it up!

  3. We shoild all ought to have known that the media became anti-Wenger soon after his arrival at the Emirates Stadium due to the fallout between the press men and him which was never mended till he left Arsenal.

    Nevertheless. But now that Arsene Wenger has left Arsenal after 22 years of warring with the media, the onus is on the media now to turn a leaf in their negative reporting of Arsenal to become friendly in their disposition to Arsenal and their manager, Unai Emeri in their reporting about Arsenal as time goes on.

  4. Bu-fucking-hu. Where was all that positivism throughout the season, when everyone and their mom had a go at United on every opportunity. Even when we played well, we’d get hammered by the media because we didn’t win 4-0, and despite the fact that we, City aside, won the most points in matches against the other top-6 teams.

  5. Not ManU related.

    Turkish Football has a headline:

    ‘Shame How We Didn’t Built A Team Around Him’

    which predictably is talking about Mesut Ozil. I don’t really think it is ever a good idea to build a team around a player, but it may be that this idea works in some leagues.

    First off, it requires the player in question to be healthy all the time. No getting colds or the flu, no food poisoning, no accidents.

    Second, it requires the player to be reliable and consistent.

    Third, it means the league you are playing in has no teams like Stoke.

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