The lessons to be learned from the “Arsenal player shot in the eye” story

by Sir Hardly Anyone

Would you like to be a big time blogger bringing in a huge audience?   Or maybe work for a national newspaper’s website, with tens of thousands of readers hanging on your every word?

Actually it is dead easy and you can do this in five simple steps.

1: Think up a dead simple but dual meaning headline.  Like “You’ll never guess what Aubameygang said,” or “Arsenal footballer loses sight in eye after being ‘shot in the face’ in Argentina.  Both appeared recently and got huge readerships.  I’ll come back to them in a moment

2: Write four lines of anti-Arsenal retrospective about how it has all gone wrong for Arsenal and something needs to be done

3: Quote the Sun, Express or Football London on a completely irrelevant story.

4:  Get your mates in the pub to say something, or if you don’t have any mates, follow the most rabid anti-Arsenal twitter sites you can find and just copy what they say.

5: Get a free wordpress site and publish.

To see how this works we might take a look at one of the most notorious tales of recent months which came with the headline:



Arsenal footballer loses sight in eye after being ‘shot in the face’ in Argentina



This headline in the Daily Star appeared on 6 November and immediately became the most read Arsenal story of the day.

The story itself related to Arsenal Fútbol Club of Buenos Aires, although to avoid any confusion with Arsenal of London they are normally referred to as Arsenal de Sarandí, this being the district of Avellaneda Partido, Greater Buenos Aires in which the club plays.

They play in the Primera División, the top division of the Argentine football league system and were founded in 1957.

The events in the story were a total tragedy for the player of course, but not a matter of prime concern for the sports news pages in the UK, and so its selection by the Star as a story to run can be seen as deliberate (although of course I have no access to the news room or bars in which the Star staff make such decisions).

The story is in reality little different from the 97% of transfer tales which circulate about Arsenal each summer: cynically made up and then reported by people who simply blame the tale on someone else.  It was set up to sound like a story about the Arsenal club we support, when it wasn’t that at all.

My point is that the sheer volume of these stories does influence the vision of many of even the most cynical readers and the narrative becomes the norm.

So if we take Read Arsenal’s headline, “‘He could stay and build something for 10 years’ – these Arsenal fans want to see 41 y/o replace Emery” and thousands like it, the implication is that the manager is going to go sometime soon, and there is no doubt he ought to go.

The fact that the track records of most of the managers who are nominated as Mr Emery’s replacement are little better than his is ignored.  Instead arguments are there put forward about the validity of the statistics (in comparing track records should one include Mr Emery’s results at PSG where he got a sensational win rate, because of the dominance of that club in the league?   I thought not, but one can do the figures that way of course.)   Should we include Mr Rodger’s results from Celtic where that club has also dominated the league?  Does it matter to the overall point being made that the figures failed to include the last three matches?  Etc etc.

In short one can always argue against a broader point by questioning issues of detail, but that doesn’t change the central issue in the argument.  In that particular piece the argument was there is no guarantee that in the Premier League as it now stands that a new manager will make that much of an improvement on the results.   There might well be the normal new-manager psychological bounce, but overall, maybe yes maybe no.  And because of that the story becomes as irrelevant to Arsenal of London, as was the tragic story of the injured player in Argentina.

And so, continuing the theme, we read in the Metro “Raul Sanllehi blocks move to have Arsenal legend appointed to club board” – with the implication but no explanation as to why it is that only Arsenal has such an awful board of directors who want do what obviously needs to be done.

Mind you to be fair, most blogs don’t even go that far, and at the moment are content at blaming just the manager, as with This is Futbol’s headline, “Emery the only one to blame for £49.5m-rated man’s Arsenal demise”.

My point is that it is not just the immediate irritation of being fed ludicrous and irrelevant stories that is the issue.  It is the overall feeling that is created of chaos and disorder within the club when in fact the chaos and disorder is being deliberately created by the media simply to get readership.

In short, the media create the stories that suit them.  It has nothing to do with reality.




4 Replies to “The lessons to be learned from the “Arsenal player shot in the eye” story”

  1. Today in the Express, headline:

    “Inside Arsenal turmoil with Raul Sanllehi prepared to sack Unai Emery on one condition”

    And their first line of the story is:

    “Arsenal chief Raul Sanllehi has backed Unai Emery….”….sorry, that doesn’t make sense, that’s exactly the opposite of the headline!

    So how do the come to the conclusion that this means he wants to sack Emery? That’s easy the article goes on to say:

    “But the Daily Mail say that Sanllehi IS prepared to pull the trigger”.

    So Sanllehi didn’t say it at all and the Express have no evidence to support the story. They just quote some totally speculative nonsense from another shoddy rag.

    Now it’s not important whether you think Emery should be sacked or not (well it is, but not in this context), what we have is just more stories that cannot be substantiated but that are designed to destabilise Arsenal Football Club.

    The club would be so much better off if the “supporters” actually took out their frustration on the bullshit that appears in the media (and the PGMO of course) rather than believe the nonsense they read and have a go at the club.

    “Supporters”, support.

  2. OT: Man$ity to Avoid Ban?

    That fellow “reports” has been busy.


    How does fining a team that has screwy financials led by too much suspicious income improve anything?

    PlanetFootball ran across a listing of “How many pubs are within 0.5 miles of stadia”. And top of the list at more than 3 times the number 2 stadium, is Newcastle with 108 pubs. The rest of the stadia (21 in total) listed, seem to follow some kind of a smooth distribution. Chel$ea is 6th and Arsenal are 7th.

    Why 0.5 miles? How does this distribution change as this distance changes?

  3. Why would any newspaper deliberately want to destabilise Arsenal, as opposed to the scum, Mnnure or anyone else?

    All they are interested in is selling papers and getting clicks.

    If they can find a vulnerable source then they will flog it to death, with truth or otherwise because there are plenty of idiots out there who will see the story and buy or click.

    They are doing the same with Meghan, and now Prance Andrew and will do it to someone or something else tomorrow.

    If the true fans just ignore them, then they will move onto some other poor sucker.

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