Arsenal v Manchester City: how the media continues once more to have no idea

By Tony Attwood

Quite why some of the Manchester City supporters felt like singing “Only one Arsene Wenger” during this game, I am not too sure although I’ve never understood northern humour.  Perhaps it was not a recognition that one could win the League and FA Cup across a number of years without the input of Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan bin Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyanthe deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, minister of presidential affairs  of Abu Dhabi – but they had chosen not to do it that way because they like rabid dictatorships, stoning, detention without trial…

Or perhaps it was a recognition that they put winning the League above issues such as forced disappearances, illegal detention, torture in custody, access to counsel, flogging… or maybe just the realisation that in the land their owner governs freedom of speech, religion, the media and association are guaranteed and they might lose their season ticket if they speak out too much.

Which in turn raises the issue, does it matter who owns your club?  While that is a matter of much debate at Arsenal, it isn’t at Manchester City which says a lot about their supporters.  Perhaps if any supporters speak out against Mansour they get their season ticket curtailed, I wouldn’t know.  At least at Arsenal people are free to protest against owners and managers without looking over the shoulder.

To the rather bizarre Man C chant, many Arsenal supporters responded with “He’s won more than you” sung in very fine voice, which made me wonder if it were true.   And yes, during Mr Wenger’s reign, it was true.  Both clubs won the league three times.  Manchester City won the FA Cup just the once – Mr Wenger won it seven times.

Of course in some fields Manchester City did do better.  With the much prized and highly regarded League Cup they outdid Mr W 3-0 so perhaps the Man City supporters were remembering that.  Oh but if we are counting the League Cup let’s count the Community Shield – they won it twice.  Mr Wenger won it seven times.

But maybe Manchester City fans were recognising their club’s great history throughout their time in the league.  They’ve won the league five times (twice more than Mr Wenger in his 22 years) and the FA Cup five times (two fewer than Mr Wenger in his 22 years).  Arsenal have won the community shield 15 times to their five, although again they outdo us on the League cup five to two.   We’ve won the league 13 times and the FA Cup 13 times.  That’s nice and easy to remember.

As for after the match it was clear that the media were not going to change anything.  After all they have bored us stupid with the same stuff year on year and watched sales and reputation decline, so they were unlikely to change.  There were of course “5 talking points” here and “10 talking points” there and none of them really reflected on what I heard people talking about after the game.

So we had the notorious Transfer Tavern going overboard with its rancid anti-Arsenal rhetoric with “I never want to see Xhaka in an Arsenal shirt again” according to a fan, according to TT.  “Emery made a stupid mistake when he didn’t banish Arsenal man from the Emirates this summer” was just another of their post match comments.  Perhaps I sit in a different part of the ground from their people – I never heard anything remotely like that.  Nor come to that did I see it.

But it was the Guardian which once again proved itself to be watching football from another planet.  “It was strange seeing someone other than Arsène Wenger there,” their article says.  Really?  I think most of us sitting in the East looking across at the bench would have been extremely surprised to see Mr Wenger there.

And it went on… “While Arsenal had become accustomed to their manager staying seated…”   I suppose from the press box (from which it is very difficult to see the Arsenal bench) one really doesn’t know, but from where I sit directly opposite the bench, I was very used to Mr Wenger getting up, pulling his trousers up in that way he has, walking up and down, sometimes wiping his hand over his mouth, pointing, sometimes even arguing…   Goodness me, does the Guardian not remember Mr Wenger’s imitation of Christ on the cross when he was sent to the stands at Manchester United?

The article continues “It is not difficult to imagine what the audience reaction would have been had Wenger plumped for such a similarly experimental line-up.”  I suspect it would have been the same as normal.  Some, those who follow the likes of Football.London, Transfer Tavern and indeed the Guardian, would have made a bit of a fuss, and most of us would have wondered what he was up to, remembering that some of Mr Wenger’s more bizarre and unexpected re-arrangements did work.  As did some of his transfers.

So the media saw the game, and the crowd, differently from me – no change there.  And the fact remains that if we have to be owned by one person (which is the tragedy of the last 90 years of Arsenal as the club has moved from a multiple ownership model down to a tiny cabal and then one person) I am also pleased that we are backed financially by a man whose biggest crimes seem to be a desire to run a TV channel showing the killing of animals (on which he backed down – in the UK at least) and not investing in his sports franchises.

Those crimes are annoying indeed, but nowhere near the crime of running one of the most appalling human rights denying family based dictatorships in the world.

Maybe one day reporters will actually seriously mingle with football supporters so that they know what it is like.  The cancelled trains on the way to and from matches, the gross and unsafe overcrowding on trains and platforms, the security checks on entering the stadium, the crowds at half time, buying a hot chocolate and being given a black coffee…

The media, rather like those Manchester C supporters who sang “One Arsene Wenger” have really got no idea.




17 Replies to “Arsenal v Manchester City: how the media continues once more to have no idea”

  1. Play from the back.I am not criticizing the new manager.
    The epl is different from the other leagues.Fouls which are not tolerated there are deemed acceptable.
    The buildup with the passing game slows it down. A quick interception is how MC scored the 2nd goal.
    France won the wc playing with speed mixed with slow build up.
    If you play at snails’ pace with passing the opponents will sense it and a quick incisive pass will rip the defence and before u can say bingo Arsenal are 1 down.
    Next stop Chelsea.Lets see how the gunners respond.
    Fans wants to see a winning team not entertaining soccer and getting beaten regularly.

  2. some time ago, i promised myself never to read any guardian football stinking gibberish
    as dear old departed willy deville used to sing, “i broke that promise”, and when silva scored – what a goal!!, hats off, young man – i had to take a look at their live report
    they didn’t disappoint: the guy in charge had just written that the place (meaning the “emirates”, i suppose) had to be “de-wengerized”!!!
    do these so-called “journalists” know that words do have meanings? shouldn’t a “journalist’ have a clue about the connotation of such coinage?, and of course, the main question: where may such a level of hatred come from?
    felt like puking, really
    (supporter corner): liked the young torreira a lot

  3. Are you totally oblivious to the fact that your clubs primary sponsor is the National Airline of the same UAE regime and controlled by the deputy president of said regime.Or a you working on the assumption that Dubai Arabs are morally superior to Abu Dhabi arabs.rals.

  4. We had Manchester City yesterday. Chelsea are up next. Two very difficult games. In my mind I was thinking let’s see what the line up and tactics are against West Ham after we’ve played those two fixtures. I think Emery will learn an awful lot from those two games even though we may emerge pointless. He will have a much better idea by then, from competitive circumstances, how his team are adapting to his tactics and approach. Even then it’s going to take some time. By November we should have a good idea of whether things are coming together well or not and what his preferred 11 is. It will be fun finding out.

  5. Mike dolan, you really do seem to have a very restrictive view of how one might see a club. Allow me, if I may, to spell it out for you. I support Arsenal, as I have done since 1958 when my father first took me to the club. On moral and political grounds I am 100% not in favour of the sponsorship of Emirates Airlines of the stadium and indeed have tried to avoid using the given name of the stadium on this site (although I am sure I have slipped on some occasions). Indeed when taking long distance flights I even make my own life more difficult by avoiding Emirates and using another airline – even though that means a more difficult journey to an airport. (I can thoroughly recommend Korean airlines to Australia if you are interested).
    Do you really live in a world in which in order to support a club you have to support the sponsor of the shirt? If so, I think that is a very restrictive view. And before you start asking, as it happens I never had an 02 phone contract either. I retain my independence of thought – at least to some degree.

  6. I also would like to add that there is a big difference between a sponsor and an owner.

  7. Dear Tony

    I can understand your feelings concerning the chanting from Manchester City fans re Arsene Wenger, etc. I empathise but am not surprised at such banter!

    Mansour et al are the owners of City – they are representative of a country not recognised for its support of basic human rights amongst other things.

    Unfortunately, many football followers in the UK and elsewhere appear never to consider the underlying political and social consequences of such owners, especially the why and wherefore of how the money and power has/had been acquired in the first place by such persons.

    Thus, some (many?) Arsenal fans are no different to City fans. Supporters of Mr Kroenke, the Arsenal owner, through the company KSE, will support him and KSE without any problem, if money galore is poured into Arsenal FC. Such supporters will not care that he is not known for his altruism. (St Louis Rams supporters, who no longer have a local NFL team to follow, will testify to that! )

    Mr Kroenke, is married to the heiress of the powerful Walmart group. Walmart, an economic force, with an anti trades union standpoint and associated policies of asset stripping companies it has taken over resulting in leaving some communities in financial jeopardy and poverty. Not quite as bad as the City owners……….hmm?

    Your magnificent series about Sir Henry Norris and the lies surrounding the autobiography of Leslie Knighton still does not address the fact that Henry Norris represented a political party that was not supportive of working class people at that time (indeed, is it now?).
    Furthermore, the Hill-Wood family that followed was a merchant banking family and again represented the powers that have tried to oppose the positive financial well being and welfare of ordinary working people. When has the Arsenal boardroom ever been transparent?

    How ironic then that at the moment such owners still need the support of ordinary working people on the terraces in order to help maximise profits, despite having contempt for such people.

    Likewise, football followers/supporters will still support their teams hoping that success will come through their club winning trophies and only apparently criticising football owners when less money is invested in the club. Moral and ethical issues unconsidered……..

    Politics should be left out of sport, I often hear people argue. Really, Mr Kroenke and other owners would love that to happen………..

  8. I’m sure that anything connected with the Arabian Peninsula governments won’t stand too much scrutiny. Neither would most if not all owners of any top football club. Sure the governments there are shit and should be a legitimate target for those who genuinely want a fairer world. That has to go hand in hand with how our own government acts, how multinationals act. I won’t pretend I’m happy with where the investment in our club has originally come from, I wouldn’t be happy if it came from a dodgy oligarch, or a dodgy media baron or any dodgy multinational company associate. It’s truly out of my hands as is how the Premiership is run or how FIFA act is. I do believe in arguing for a fairer better world across the board. That includes the UAE, that includes those suffering under intolerable conditions in factories, mines and wastelands created by multinationals the wars run for their benefit (including the Yemen as mentioned). The argument for me has to be about a  fundamental system change not just to other governments but our own and those we pretend are fair and right. I still regard the USA as the great Satan when it comes to world politics. Responsible for more unfairness more war more poverty more corruption more propping up of vile regimes more hypocrisy and we are complicit in it too. The worry for me is that this sort of thing will be used to beat us with even by those who are just as complicit even if it’s less obvious.

    Still, at least it’s something for you to hold on to, grimly, instead of acknowledging that the media are there to report it as they see fit, not just to fit in with your peculiar, rather sour view of the world. We Blues have had to put up with regular character assasinations of our players and our club and we’re pretty ticked off with it. However, the broken record that is this blog would rather repeat unfounded, wild allegations of season ticket removals if we were “to speak out”. You’ve absolutely no basis for such nonsense and yet you continue to spout it.

    Your wilfully blinded arrogance knows no bounds.

  9. I know it is hard to imagine, but Fat Sam has advice for Emery. 🙂

    Probably something like which hamburger shops have the greasiest food.

  10. I rather wonder then, since you obviously have a deep understanding of all that this blog is about (and remembering there are over 8000 articles on this site) you have spent so much time with something you find so distasteful. Why not spend some time with something you enjoy?

  11. AKH – just one point of detail – although Sir Henry came up as a councillor, then Mayor of Fulham and then for one term the MP for Fulham, I don’t think he ever had Conservative party politics. That probably didn’t matter too much when he first stood for election to the local council, and the fact he was invited to be Mayor after just 3 years was due, I feel, to his administrative genius, not his politics.
    The fact is he was in favour of equal pay for women, pensions for servicemen after the war, the nationalisation of the railways, state subsidised fares for commuters, the abolition of the maximum wage for footballers… none of these could fit remotely into a Conservative party manifesto. He was also always in favour of free trade.
    I think he chose the Conservatives because they approached him at a time when he was still very much the outsider – the oik who had left school at 14 and set up a building company. Certainly when his term as an MP ended he broke totally with the Conservative Party and had nothing more to do with them at all.

  12. DearTony

    I thank you for your observations and comments re Henry Norris. Your own research pertaining to the evidence of the man, as posted through your point of detail, does indeed suggest a person that would not have had such close ties with that political party over a long period of time, during the early 20th Century. I shall endeavour to read up further the history of the man and thank you again for your comments.
    May I take the opportunity to urge other Untold readers to read your history of Sir Henry Norris at Arsenal as featured on the Arsenal history site.

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