“Arsenal on the back foot”. How the media misrepresent Arsenal’s situation

By Tony Attwood

So the story continues: the Arsenal budget is £40m or £45m.  Maybe it is.  Or maybe it is a ploy by Arsenal to try and get prices reduced or maybe the £40m might just be an invention by journalists desperate for a story – any story – to knock Arsenal.   Who can tell when the source of this information is a bunch of journalists who happily submit stories each story which endlessly add to the list of players who Arsenal are about to buy?   (Almost 80 so far this summer).  Certainly whatever their sources, they are neither rational nor reliable, since they have done the same each summer for at least the past four years.

And what will they do as and when Arsenal do exceed £40m or £45m?  They will run the story that Arsenal were panicked into action after a backlash from their own supporters.

So the Telegraph says, “It already feels like Arsenal are on the back foot, desperately trying to regain their composure, and we are not yet halfway through July.”   But that is just how they want their readers to feel.  It actually feels to me like Arsenal once more have a strong man in control, a guy who ain’t going to take any rubbish from players who have read newspaper reports and mistakenly taken them for the truth, rather than a load of invented tosh; the ravings of a bunch of increasingly desperate bunch of men who have no idea what is going on, but who are contracted to write something negative.

Indeed it is strange that in these days in which everyone knows that fake news is everywhere, football journalits are the one group left who still believe that they can get away with “news” which has no basis in reality or logic.  But that is how it is

The Telegraph is right when it says, “These are early days in the dispute, yet it seems clear at this stage that Koscielny is far from clued up on the ins and outs of employment law in the UK,” and that really should have been the key point.   I’ve no idea how bright Koscielny is, but this has all the hallmarks of an agent wanting to stir up some difficulty for the club, the agent telling his client, “Arsenal will give in” and showing him a few newspaper headlines about the chaos at Arsenal.

Indeed it all gets a bit stupid (if it wasn’t stupid enough) when the paper goes on to say,

“What does it say about Arsenal, for example, that the club captain is so desperate to leave that he has willingly taken a torch to his professional reputation? What will it say to the rest of the squad if Koscielny gets his wish? What will it do to Arsenal’s season if Koscielny is kept at the club, loitering at the training ground with no hope of regaining Emery’s trust?”

What it says about Arsenal is that their players can be manipulated by agents anxious for an extra transfer and by journalists who will endlessly print stories about Arsenal in chaos.   As for the rest of the squad – well why doesn’t the Telegraph interview Bellerin if they want to know.  He’s articulate, speaks excellent English, and usually tells journalists what he thinks.

As for Koscielny “loitering at the training ground,” only a journalist could be pathetically stupid enough to think that this is what would happen.   UK employment law makes it quite clear that an employee who refuses to work or is disruptive in the work place can be sent home.   Really, does no one in the legal department read what they are writing about at the Telegraph with a view to correcting these mistakes?

The piece continues with vague allegations about Arsenal’s dire financial position – all of which are ludicrously untrue.  The club made a significant profit in the last two seasons for which figures have been reported on this site, and given that the last season reportedly had one-off payments of over £20m to staff who left, the club already had a boost to its figures for last season, before we factor in reaching the Europa final.

This piece is just another appalling pieces of gibberish I have yet seen published in a UK newspaper, and show for sure that the Telegraph will continue its battering of Arsenal, no matter how many fantasies they have to invent, secure in the knowlege that the rest of the newspaper industry and all its coat-tail-hanging blog followers will back up the story over and over again.

But it comes against the backdrop of over 100 years of articles knocking Arsenal, and since no one else will tackle subject of the media’s long term (and I really mean long term) bias against Arsenal I thought I might write a piece on the theme The media v The Arsenal.

It was meant to be a little piece, honest, but it has turned into a quite a long piece.  So I’ll be publishing it in a series of episodes, following shortly.

12 Replies to ““Arsenal on the back foot”. How the media misrepresent Arsenal’s situation”

  1. I fully agree with your assessment.

    I have always believed, rightly or wrongly, that the northern media back in the 1930’s did not like it when the great Mr. Herbert Chapman reinvigorated Arsenal to become the dominant force in English football, as before then the northern clubs ruled the roost as it were.

    Before then there was a saying up north with regarding thos ein the south as being, ‘southern softies.’

    I also wonder why sky sports seem insanely obsessed with another northern team, no need to mention.

  2. @ Drew

    I quite agree. And I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the vast majority of referees come from the northern half of the country either.

    Looking forward to the series Tony.

  3. Well, the media is one thing but, as a member of several Arsenal Facebook groups, there are thousands upon thousands of fans making up negative stories as well – something I find very disappointing. Arsene Wenger was ridiculed throughout his last decade as manager when arguing the importance of achieving a top four finish and how difficult it actually was to do that. Many fans need to take a good look at themselves and what it means to be a fan and a supporter of Arsenal.

  4. T2T – I am not sure it is thousands and thousands making things up. A lot of the people who do the making up have multiple accounts, and of course many take a story and repeat it as their own.

  5. Arsenal paid 17.6million to sacked staff in accounts for may2018.and still made 70mill pretax profits

  6. Yes Mike, but it is possible to find big losses for most teams if you do it on this basis. Sales and acquisitions do not always march hand in hand. One might buy a number of players one summer, and sell quite a few the following. In running my company (of course a fraction of the size of Arsenal) we have seen the same up and down largely due (in our case) to the changing market with the arrival of email as a marketing tool and the decline of postal promotions. The key issue of course is the removal from the Champions League – we had that money for 20 something years, and despite the “4th is not a trophy” jibes, that gave us a huge boost to the income. My view is the club gambled on getting back into the CL at the first time of asking, and so did not immediately adjust. I’m not trying to defend the club, and certainly not its owner, but I do think accountants love to see each year in isolation so they can fit it neatly in their financial report. The real world isn’t like that.

  7. Tony
    Top form article
    I am heartened if the management are taking back being in charge and making contracts mean something. At my advanced age I can remember when George Eastham signed for Arsenal. The then holder of the spot Eastham was destined for (jimmy Bloomfield who I really liked) complained to the press that Arsenal had not talked to him about the move. A couple of days later he was moved to Leicester for his comments. I also like the position of Glasgow Celtic who are insisting that their under contract left back will only leave when their valuation is reached. It is a business not a love affair.

  8. Tony


    For me the biggest irony is that the main issues are

    1) FFP as it currently is scripted works against clubs who have , like arsenal, operate on a “ sustainable model”.

    2) CL is very much the icing on the cake. Income from the EL lessens the blow of not being in the CL for more than a year or two requires a complete re work in terms of budget and that is where I think Arsenal are at this point in time.

    As you will know I am no Arsenal supporter but I am both amused and indeed confused as to how many Arsenal supporters can’t grasp the fact that the £200 million or so that CL football put into Arsenal PLC made a massive difference. It’s almost as if they are in denial as to what AW actually bought to the table. I can remember posting something along the lines of be careful what you wish for. I also posted that I wondered if AW was getting as much or maybe even more than any one following him could.

  9. Tony, I’ve always considered that £45m figure as a made up rumor. It didn’t make sense considering the competitive football climate we’re in, also arsenal doesn’t seem so poor to me. I always wondered why you would brazenly base many articles especially the ones castigating kroenke on that info, which had not been verified or based on a quote from a reliable source. Please don’t deny you wrote articles based on this as a fact, it would save me time digging up such articles. Could you tell us why you believed it as fact or did it just tally with your theory on mr kroenke?

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