By Sir Hardly Anyone
One of the key things to remember with football blogs is that a number of correspondents who, well, not to put too fine a point on it “correspond” with the blog, don’t actually read the series of articles on which they are commenting (nor even all of the most recent) as has been shown in recent comments on Untold
In one way however this is a good thing, because it means they are acting in the same way as most football journalists and many bloggers, all of whom have an agenda, but no real interest in what is actually happening.
Never let the facts get in the way of an article, as they say in journalist school.
Which brings us of course to the Toppled Bollard which until recently had the ancient motif over the entrance to the saloon bar proclaiming “Context is everything” with the word “context” crossed out and “alcohol” written in, in crayon.
Now as you may know, there is never silence in the Toppled Bollard, drinking den of the established football journalist, where gibberish is created on a minute by minute basis and people come to lose their souls, their minds, and any semblance of the truth, in relation to football.
The Bollard of course stands in the heart of Holloway Road’s famous Bohemian and artistic quarter. If you threw a brick from any of its windows, you would be certain to hit some up and coming prize winning novelist, or perchance an ancient Vorticist sculptor or maybe even a writer of 19th centre French vers libre in favour of the European Union’s approach to the Irish question.
It is thus a public house within which there is never anything even remotely related to silence even though many of those who attend it’s daily soirees are themselves effectively dead, in so far as the mumbling of the wretched souls within has no relation to any form of reality known to the rest of us.
And as it happened mumbling was there a plenty, for now the Bollard is abuzz with another new story to tell, and a new hero first to elevate and then soon to crucify. For as This is Futbol put it in a headline, “Get him in first team’ – Many fans drool over ‘On fire’ Arsenal teen: ‘Too good’, ‘Ridiculous’
Disentangling the syntax one may find that these thoughts preface the story that Mr Joe Willock scored twice in an under 23 match but was not in the squad last Thursday night,
But then word spread quickly that this was not the big one, or “Le Grand In” as they proclaim in foreign parts and as we were forced to say in the days of Wenger, but there was another story that was even bigger, and it was broken by the fine lady journalists Amanda Lay, regional duchess and chief football correspondent of the evening edition of the Daily Excess.
Picking up her phone she uttered a sound somewhat akin to a matador swallowing a whole lamb whose dimensions (due to a failure of translation between metic and imperial) he had rather impressively underestimated.
Ms Lay’s tale was quickly translated into journalese by the nearby scribbler from Sport Journalist who stated that “Arsenal Fans Happy For Mattéo Guendouzi To Be Sold, If They Get Kylian Mbappe.”
Now the story here is that Guendouzi is up for sale for £60m in order to raise money, and this money could be added to the £40m the owner has said the manager could have from profits to spend in the summer. Providing wages are reduced.
The questions of whether PSG would sell their star asset and whether Mbappe would come to play for a club that is not guaranteed a place in the Champions League, let alone standing a chance of winning the pot, and whether he would at the same time take a pay cut, were rather surprisingly not raised.
But it seems Matteo Guendouzi is not flavour of the day at the Bollard as the man from FootballFanCast spelled out in his headline: ‘Poor man’s Hleb’, ‘Looks so clueless,’ these apparently being things that Arsenal supporters had said. Quite how we know they are Arsenal supporters and not supporters of other teams, or even writers of rival blogs, in disguise just working to make FootballFanCast look silly, we don’t know.
At this moment there was excitement in the Bollard as I.M. Boring of the Metro engaged us with his old falling off the bar stool routine, and of course the first aid team of the Bollard swept into action using the first and indeed only item on first aid covered in the journalists’ survival course: squirting the soda water bottle over the reclined gentleman. It worked – which is to say the old man raised a hand.
But meanwhile, finding themselves on a roll Mike Stand and Nic O’Time regulars at Bollard and allegedly close friends of This is Futbol quickly published the headline ‘Kick them both out’ saying that Ozil, Xhaka and Iwobi were about to be deported by patriotic fun loving Arsenal fans – and the management.
Elsewhere the Metro has turned to more higher level matters noting the appointment of a new Director of Certain Things at Arsenal. “Arsenal want to make major appointment immediately to save season” shouted their man Woody Forrest, and that major appointment it seems is Marc Overmars as director of football, and he must come immediately.
I was interested in this particular tale since earlier I had seen Woody get out of a taxi and pay the driver only to stand on the pavement for a good ten minutes outside the Bollard trying to remember why on earth he had told the man to drive here in the first place. A real problem for a high flying journalist as you can imagine.
Now this story is, as befits the Metro, at least two and a half years old, and even if it were suddenly true that Arsenal wanted Overmars one more time, he is currently director of football at Ajax. Indeed both the Mirror and the Mail have caught up on this and are saying Arsenal will have to wait until the summer. Mind you the Metro is always two months short of season.
As might be Caught Offside with its tale that “Arsenal consider replacing big name with transfer of England international” – that man being Nick Pope a goal keeper who isn’t actually in the first team at Burnely at the moment. I seem to recall we have four goal keepers in our squad anyway. Is Pope really better than our current third choice keeper who is an Argentine international? Caught Off clearly think so.
Seeing me look at his scribbled notes as he sipped his point the Offside man said “That is what they won’t do anything else for but,” and I think with that most of us have to agree and perhaps should leave it there.