By Tony Attwood
We are used to seeing some pretty weird headlines in the last couple of weeks as the media work hard to outdo each other in knocking and indeed destabilising Arsenal. The reporting of any sort of real news seems to have vanished to be replaced by speculation even wilder than that associated with the transfer rumours that pass for news every summer.
Indeed if you are a regular reader of Untold Arsenal you might recall that each year we run a list of all the players tipped to be coming to Arsenal by the media, and have been finding a 3% success rate in their predictions.
So expectations are not high when we look at media coverage of Arsenal and Tottenham and their issues regarding a manager. Headlines such as
from Goal.com would be funny if they did not seem to be pieces of serious reporting.
Others such as Playing for 90 took a more everyday view with
Five coaches Arsenal should consider to replace Emery
But the one that really caught my eye recently was
Jose Mourinho would never have considered Arsenal over Tottenham.
which appeared in Football.London.
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Now FoLo is a blog owned by the Daily Mirror, which publishes among other things about 45 stories a day (yes a day) about Arsenal. It’s aim appears to be to put out so much stuff that after a while readers stop realising that 103% of it is complete fantasy and the rest is nonsense. (My calculator may have slipped there, but it is generally very hard to find anything on that site that is real).
Anyway, the move of Mourinho to Tottenham was obviously seized upon with relish and of course they pointed out that “Mourinho has spent large parts of the month being linked with the manager’s job at Arsenal.”
Obviously what they don’t say at the end of that quote is “by Football.London but we were completely wrong,” largely because they never ever ever apologise for getting things wrong. And that is simply because if they did that would take their number of Arsenal stories to around 120 a day (given that they would probably get the apologies wrong and have to apologise for them too).
But after Mourinho went to Tottenham, the blog that had been regularly posting headlines such as “Jose Mourinho tipped to replace Unai Emery as ex-Manchester United boss linked to Arsenal” instead quickly switched to “according to Duncan Castles, a sports journalist for The Sunday Times and numerous other publications, Mourinho never considered taking over the Gunners and has had his heart set on Spurs as he sees them as a better option.”
So it wasn’t FoLo suggesting Mourinho would go to Arsenal then. Ah, my mistake.
They then went on to quote Duncan Castles who works (I use the word in its broadest context) for the Sunday Times as saying
“Tottenham have a better stadium. Tottenham have a better training ground. Tottenham have a better squad. And Tottenham have far better finances.
“If you look at the last financial figures that Tottenham released, they made a record profit for a Premier League club.
“Record revenues of £380million, and their wage bill for that season was just £148million which is just less than 40 percent of turnover, which is an incredibly low rate for a top-tier club.
Of course what such opinionaters never do is look under the mattress to see what else is lurking there. And what is lurking is a net debt of £366m and that debt needs a) financing and b) repaying over time. (Arsenal accounts show no debt, despite what some people who write in each time claim, saying that Arsenal have fixed their accounts and have never paid off the stadium debt).
It was therefore no surprise that the Guardian also ran the headline “José Mourinho told Tottenham have no money to spend in January” which is understandable given the uncertainty of Champions League revenues next season. And indeed as we pointed out recently the number of players at the club who are in the last year of their contract and have no intention of signing new terms – and will thus leave for free.
Anyway the eccentric and bombastic Sunday Times man (I’d like to say he is one of a kind, but sadly he isn’t) then went on to tell us that Mourinho didn’t choose Arsenal because Arsenal have failed to win any of their last four matches, dropping down to sixth in the Premier League table.
We might therefore look at Tottenham’s recent history.
|01 Oct 2019||Tottenham Hots v Bayern München||L||2-7||Champions League|
|05 Oct 2019||Brighton and H v Tottenham Hots||L||3-0||Premier League|
|08 Oct 2019||Colchester United v Tottenham Hots||D||1-1||Football League Trophy|
|19 Oct 2019||Tottenham Hotspur v Watford||D||1-1||Premier League|
|22 Oct 2019||Tottenham Hotspur v Crvena Zvezda||W||5-0||Champions League|
|27 Oct 2019||Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur||L||2-1||Premier League|
|03 Nov 2019||Everton v Tottenham Hotspur||D||1-1||Premier League|
|06 Nov 2019||Crvena Zvezda v Tottenham Hots||W||0-4||Champions League|
|09 Nov 2019||Tottenham Hots v Sheffield United||D||1-1||Premier League|
|12 Nov 2019||Gillingham v Tottenham Hotspur||L||2-0||Football League Trophy|
Taking all competitions, (and you can pick and choose if you wish to make the figures seem nicer) up to this last weekend) Tottenham have won two in ten. Or none in five in the Premier League.
But Mourinho chose Tottenham because Arsenal had failed to win any of their last four????
He also added “Tottenham have a better stadium”. It is newer than Arsenal’s ground, true, but it has the disadvantage of the construction of the South Stand as a single unit, meaning there are no boxes or executive accommodation on that side thus reducing income.
And it also has the problem that it is done and dusted. While Arsenal’s stadium is now debt free and so being upgraded each year, Tottenham’s is stuck. If there is anything that is not 100% with it, I doubt that there will be room for changes for a few years.
The article went on to claim that “Tottenham have a better training ground, Tottenham have a better squad. And Tottenham have far better finances.”
The first I can’t debate because I have never been to Tottenham’s training ground, the second would seem to be doubtful given the clubs’ position in the league and the third is certainly wrong given Tottenham’s mega debt.
But Mourinho was out of work, and Tottenham offered him a job, which he has. And perhaps the writer of that funny article didn’t realise that 80% of the PL clubs that have changed their manager in the last 16 months are now in a lower position than they were when they changed their manager.
We can only hope that record continues.