by Sir Hardly Anyone
You need a certain type of mind these days to be a football journalist. A mind not cluttered with issues of reality or the detail of mere fact. A mind that is allowed to run free hither and thither, gambolling across great swathes of fantasy unhindered by any notion of reality, realism or anything else starting with the letter “r”.
Take a look at any such football journalist and you will note his or her coolness; the ice forming on the upper slopes of the lips (ok it might be beer froth but you get my drift I am sure) as he/she dons the posture of one who, for the first time in his entire life has been refused a fifth slice of cake.
Indeed the more one sees of football journalists the more one feels there ought to be a law governing them. Something has got to be done to preserve this sub-species or the else whole fabric of civilised behaviour will collapse, and pretty damn stupid we will all look then, when negotiating our new trade deals.
But, for the moment, the law says these chumps should be allowed to roam free, and so it is my solemn duty from time to time to report on their evil munchings upon reality.
Take the Gooner, for example. It understands that “agreement has been reached with Belgian club Genk to buy winger Leandro Trossard for €25 million at the end of the current season.”
An interesting thought given that we have just taken a winger on loan. But there’s no telling these days. I mean what would it be like if it didn’t understand. Would they say, “I don’t understand that we have not signed a full back”?
But the story does contain an element that is central to all Arsenal tales these days: an approach that sees the club rather like a knight from the days of olde; a knight now long since past his prime but who still valiently gets on his steed and charges with lance raised across the neatly cut lawn, only to collide with a tree.
And this is pretty much the essence of the “No money for Chambers” tale that is doing the rounds. It is said that Mr Emery told his employers that due to the defender crisis he wanted Calum Chambers back at the club last month. But BBC Sport journalist David Ornstein is alleged to have understood that there were no funds available to allow this.
So is this a big revelation? Well, not really in the sense that the source also said he was told that Arsenal had “vaguely” looked into the “possibility” of a return, but it would have meant spending some money and so was was dropped.
But here’s the thing. How do you look into a deal “vaguely”? Needing to know I dictated an email to the Consolidated Ministry of Journalism in Mudd Alley, telling them that football rumours are not put in this world for pleasure alone. I mean there were days when managers would fear the sharp sword of repartee from a journalist more than the journalist would fear a tongue lashing from the barmaid at the Bollard after another pint had been spilled, but these days I think are gone. These days people do tongue lashings for fun. I mean what sort of a world is that?
Meanwhile there is of course big defender news however. Sokratis is back in training. Sports lens assures us that is true.
Medical support has been called, along with some pointing out of the utter cheapness with which Guendouzi was garnered from our chums at Lorient, and the fact that this season those of us who actually attend matches have managed to catch sight of such academy luminaries as Bellerin, Ramsey, Maitland-Niles, Jenkinson, Gilmour, Medley, Nketiah, Pleguezuelo, Willock, Saka, and Smith Rowe
Still, these details are confusing for those who work at higher levels and Mr Sherwood may not remember that under his guiding hand Tottenham managed to finish ten points behind Arsenal.
But never mind; transfers there will be, and I know this because I have read it in the media. Arsenal are going to sign Adrien Rabiot according to David Ornstein who will be out of contract at PSG at the end of the season. (Rabiot not Ornstein).
Pain in the Arsenal has a different tale for us however, telling us the problem is the lack of chances created by Arsenal. Now that is interesting since clubs don’t get points for chances – points come (and I know this will shock many journalists when they find this out) from scoring more goals than the other lot.
So if we have a look at the league table based just on goals scored we can see if Arsenal really are in a shocking position.
So we have scored 75% of the goals of Manchester City, same as Tottenham. Chelsea have scored 66%, and by the time we get to the seventh highest scoring club (AFCB) we find they are only just over half the goals scored by the top scoring club.
With that thought I went to my first reception of the day. It was one of those jolly, happy, beer swilling receptions where you down six pints before you speak, and then decide not to say anything at all. For safety’s sake.
Sir Hardly Anyone is chief football inventor for the Rutland Daily Gleaner.