The BBC has taken the decision that last nights FA Youth Cup final in front of around 34,000 spectators did not take place.
There was no mention of it at all in the first hour of its saturday morning news show on BBC Radio 5 Live, no mention of it on its teletext sports pages and not even a mention that I could find on its web site (although to be fair they may have hidden it away).
Quite why the BBC should pretend that such a glorious and sparkling game did not take place is not clear although it is most likely related to the stance the Corporation has taken over the stories that the Lord Wenger is going to leave because of supporter unrest.
That story was, as we now know, largely a hoax. There are of course some people who are critical of the manager, but they represent a tiny minority.
However half a dozen or so people who had an interest in destabilizing the club used the tactic known as Paging, in which they use a host of different pseudonyms to post articles in the correspondence columns of hundreds of blogs. To keep up the volume, articles from other writers are simply lifted and posted over and over again, as if they were the Pagers own.
Untold Arsenal suffered from this with two of the Pagers attacking this site. One – “James Le Beak” – was outed when one of his copy and paste exercises was noticed after it appeared on these pages.
Even more curiously, after he was banned from this site, the writer tried to slip in another article this time in praise of Arsene Wenger!!! So having written hundreds of letters stating that the manager should go, he then produced a hymn of praise to our hero. The piece was deleted prior to publication.
The effect of this campaign is to make it look and feel as if there are thousands – hundreds of thousands maybe – of people who believe Arsene Wenger should go. There are of course some, but of the 60,000 who go to each game they must represent maybe one half of one percent.
In the world beyond maybe they represent a bigger percentage, it is hard to say, but I suspect it remains at about that level among serious Arsenal supporters.
However the BBC invested a lot of editorial time claiming that the anti-Wenger attitude was a mass movement, and having had it pointed out to them that they (and I must admit like many of us) have been conned by a handful of internet anarchists acting with all the finesse and style of a gang of RBS banking yobbos in a champagne bar after a hard day of stealing our money, they seem to have gone into retreat, removing all Arsenal stories from their programmes and their teletext.
It is a great shame that such a wonderful game of football should be written out by the BBC in this way. We all knew about Jack, and I’ve been raving about Murphy, Sunu and Coquelin for a while, but the staggering ability of Jay Emmanuel Thomas left me (and I think a few others) gasping. The score actually was 5-1, but a very bent, or very drunk, linesman ruled the last goal offside, even though everyone was more than a yard on side when the pass was made.
No wonder Stuart Pearce was there. He can’t believe his luck to have this bunch of players able to play for England, all playing together in one club, all coming of age at the same time.
I doubt that the half dozen or so nutters who have run the anti-Wenger campaign watched the match – they were probably all too busy copying other people’s articles and pasting them on blogs, but the rest of us can revel in what was one of the most exciting games of recent years.
And we can be very excited about what the Arsenal team will look like in two years time.
(c) Tony Attwood 2009
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