Why the media’s unified view of Arsenal is so utterly dangerous

by Tony Attwood

Prelude: If this article looks to be in a strange format, my apologies.  We are trying to get rid of a bug in the system to ensure that Untold looks ok on all devices, and for the moment there appear to be problems throughout the site.

I live in a country in which the majority of the newspapers support one political party, and spend a fair bit of time telling anyone who cares to read that another political party is dangerous, full of idiots, and liable to rob readers of their rights and their money while enslaving their womenfolk.

OK I may have exaggerated a trifle, but the reality is that right-wing newspapers in England greatly outnumber left-wing newspapers.  But we have a democracy, and so within the laws of libel and incitement, one can slant the daily news in whichever way one wants.

But you might think that in football there would be a more balanced spread of opinion on any particular matter – after all the game is the game and simply needs describing.   And yet curiously this is not the case.

Now this lack of a balanced view not come about because of some sort of political bias, but rather through a process of most blogs, newspapers and broadcasters, all doing three things.

First they go for simplicity of message. Keep it short, keep it simple.  “What Arsenal need is a new defence” – that sort of comment.  You hear it so often it becomes true.

Second they often tend to go for maximum clicks above originality of content, which means a buzzy headline – but one that is often unrelated to most of the copy that follows.

Third they tend to stick to the three or four general points over and over again, which then implies that this is all there is.  Arsenal need a new defence, a new manager and a to give the kids a chance.  You hear it so often it sounds like it must be true because… well, you’ve heard it so often.

Thus what we get is the same, simple message repeated and repeated – and that means repeated not just by one blogger, or one newspaper, but by loads of bloggers and multiple newspapers and all the broadcasters.

To take the Arsenal situation, the idea went about that Arsenal needed a lot of new players, despite having spent over £100m in the summer.  All the media jumped into this idea.  Then came the notion that Arsenal needed a new manager.  Again everyone writing and talking about Arsenal joined in.

And now along comes the idea that the new manager will need to buy another load of new players.  That becomes obvious because we know we needed new players before.

What no one did was to recognise that this talk about needing more players earlier this season, despite all the buying, could itself affect the psychology of the team.  Or maybe that it was a tactical issue.  Or maybe Arsenal are once more having referee problems.  Or maybe the booing of the team by the fans was the problem.

In other words no one breaks ranks.  No one considers that there might not be money made available.  No one considers that some managers or players might not want to come to Arsenal because Arsenal fans are always moaning.

There is no doubt that the media has its own agenda, and few publishers and journalists are willing to experiment with stepping outside of this.   This is as true of newspapers, TV stations and bloggers as it is of football supporter groups.  There is a central ideology and most stay within that – irrespective of any hard evidence that might be presented to the contrary.

The herd instinct dominates and it is the story many supporters come to believe.

The story is simple: the media have an agenda, not for nefarious purposes, but because if they all follow the same straightforward tale, it cuts down on the cost of any research and enquiry and makes life simpler because quite quickly everyone will believe that this is THE story and there is no other tale to tell.

But it does mean we are not getting any real insights into what might be going on.  Only the same old suppositions all the time.




14 Replies to “Why the media’s unified view of Arsenal is so utterly dangerous”

  1. monbiot agrees with you, tony:
    hope many of you untold regulars are about to sing “oh, jeremy corbyn” all the way to the polling station – and not only because he’s “one of us” arsenal fans
    a labour victory tonight would be a fabulous encouragement for sanders voters in the us, and mélenchon voters, here in france
    you can make a real difference, don’t let this opportunity go by

  2. I voted to leave. I don’t want any other outcome. Corbyn is not wanted by his own party. So a Conservative majority please and let’s do what we voted for democratically 3 and a half years ago. Make this country great again and not feed Europe with our money. Use it to help our citizens not the fat cats in Brussels

  3. I admire your ability to keep reading these articles in the media. I find nowadays there are so many that I just refuse point blank to look at. Talk sport being an example of a so called news site that I would not let next door’s goldfish anywhere near. I now check where an article has come from before reading. I am happy to read pieces that some site put up which are clearly listed as opinion but have long since seen through the click bait headlines that just bore me senseless. I am a supporter, I will always be behind the team no matter what some idiot has written to acquire clicks with because his life is so small and empty. Possibly clicks have become the new sports car and click numbers are a penis size compensation for the insecure. If anything all these strange articles have done is to reduce the amount I have to look at as one after the other they go into the spud list as I feel that they could be written by tiny people from a swamp a couple of miles north of us. Breakout of the boredom and stop reading. Nothing they can write will change how I regard The Arsenal. I do not follow some online scud ball I follow The Arsenal and always will no matter what is written.

  4. OK, so how many articles do I have to bring up as evidence that what you say is untrue? 5? 10? 20? 50? Just give me the number and I’ll go to work. Let’s see whether truly the media only talks about the points you mentioned or indeed other issues get discussed

  5. @ Mark

    80% of the UK media is owned by five right-wing billionaires, none of whom pay any tax in the UK and very much want it to stay that way. They’ll be so pleased you’re willing to make personal sacrifices to help them achieve that……………unless of course you’re a billionaire too in which case you’re quids in too.

  6. @Mark

    With all due respect

    you are so right…..
    And your comment on a blog paper talking about how the press is not really doing it’s job is kind of, how to phrase that, strange.

    Visibly you either did never see the statement about the hundreds of millions of pounds to be gotten back each week for the NHS nor about the European Union border that everybody knows is just a few miles from Damaskus…
    All involved in reporting these ‘facts’ (and others) now have rolled back all their promises, basically confessing to blatantly lying to all people.
    Did the press pick up on it ? Rip them up ? Criticize ? Publish a mea culpa ? Correct the statements ? Apologize ?

    As for feeding Europe with UK money, coming from a citizen of a country who got Brussels to grant it a ‘Thatcher rebate’, this sounds kind of funny, doesn’t it ?
    As for the money to ‘fat cats’ in Brussels, the total expenditures of the UK budget are 842 billion pounds (UK Treasury 2018) and the net amount sent to Brussels (before billions coming back via EU financing) is 13.2 billion pounds.
    So we are talking about 1,5 % of the UK budget that is the cause of so much harm done and a reason to break away. I guess 98.5 % of the UK budget cannot be used by HM’s governement to help UK citizens ?
    All the misery in the UK is caused by 1.5 % of the UK’s budget and neither the government nor parliament can do anything about it.
    As MacEnroe used to say it : you must be joking.

    Finally, as Untold is more a football blog with an interest in Arsenal and an axis on cleaning up football rather then a political blog, I imagine you see no harm in Arsenal getting the same referees all over the season, which in any other eurpean country is not possible and is considered a open door to manipulating league results. I imagine that because the press does not talk about it or when it does, it says : no, it does not happen.

    So I do not understand your statement. But then, we (still) live in a democracy and voicing opinions and discussing them is a liberty we still have.
    So you are welcome to state your opinion and must expect a discussion ensuing.

    Thank God for that.

  7. On the subject of football, I wonder if anyone can help.

    Having conceded ten over two games against Bayern a couple of years ago we were absolutely pilloried in the media and it is still referred to regularly by both the media and the moaning section of the fan base.

    The reason I need some help is because all that seems to have been said about another club who has recently conceded ten goals to Bayern over two games is that they have a fantastic player who was man of the match in a 3-1 defeat last night. There’s no derision, no barbed criticism, no outright mockery or shows of utter contempt that we suffered. I just wonder whether anybody else has actually found anything in the media to suggest the Spuds had actually done a bit poorly?

  8. @ Mickey,

    did not see any trace of a meltdown on NewsNow. No mention of 10 goals shipped. Praise for ‘youthfull’ team….bla bla bla
    Did even find mention of Ray parlour being positive about Spurs….but then, him being an ex-Arsenal player being paid for his opinion, what do you expect ?

    But then we know that were Arsenal to win the CL, all these pundits would be screaming murder anyway.

    And I can imagine the screams had M. Wenger told anyone a game against Bayern was just information gathering as the chosen one has said, he would have been crucified for lack of respect of all things football.

    Reading Spurs fans comments is another interesting thing. Nowhere as negative as Arsenal fans after an Arsenal victory. Yet they got shipped 10 goals….Maybe the owners of Arsenal should buy Spurs fans….

    All that just confirms what Tony is writing.

  9. It would be rather foolish to give a number since I don’t believe that the media only talks about the points I mentioned. But you can of course do as you wish.

  10. Chris

    Well said.

    Yes lets give all the money to the following:


    “60 lies of Boris Johnson: Tory leader’s curious relationship with the truth”



    Treasury 2018) and the net amount sent to Brussels (before billions coming back via EU financing) is 13.2 billion pounds.

    “Exit Failing Grayling: the £3bn master of disaster bows out …”

    So he alone has wasted at least 20% of that amount.


    “Disrespectful’ Jacob Rees-Mogg lounges on frontbench during Brexit debate”


    “Jacob Rees Mogg is now part of the Cabinet – let’s remind ourselves of his views

    The Old Etonian’s big moment has arrived after he was made Leader of the House of Commons in Boris Johnson’s Cabinet reshuffle. So let’s not forget his views on gay rights, abortion, food banks and zero-hour contracts”


    So lets not !!!!!


    “If you’ve forgotten all the lies told during the Brexit referendum and what the truth has turned out to be, let me remind you”


    Yep that lot are much better at spending our money, telling the truth, and looking after us workers aren’t they.

    I mean just look at this:

    “Between April 2010 and April 2018, the median pre-tax weekly earnings of an employee in the UK fell by around 3% in real terms.”


    Compared to CEO’s:

    “Top pay in UK up by 11% as workers’ wages fail to match inflation”


    So go on Mark, you keep worrying about those ‘fat cats’ in Brussels, meanwhile I’ll keep my eye on the ones in my front Garden masquerading as our saviours.

  11. Mikey

    You highlight yet another example of how Arsenal are treated compared to others.

    I highlighted just the other day how Chris Sutton was extoling Pochettino for building an ‘EMPIRE’ at Spurs whilst in the next breath berating Arsenals record over the last 10 years, all despite Spurs winning nothing and Arsenal winning 3 FA Cups over the same period.

    But as you say, Spurs fans, in fact no other fans, abuse their own club as do a far too large a proportion of ours.

    The problem we have, as you and I (and others of course) have highlighted, is that the 2 sets of fans are led in completely different directions by the media.

    Ergo, Spurs fans should be happy, nay proud of their 10 – 3 defeat, where as Arsenal fans should be embarrassed by their 10 – 3 defeat, despite Bayern arguably being at the absolute peak of their powers when we were turned over.

    The media are a joke, our fans that follow them like lemmings are a bigger joke.

  12. I never thought that I would agree with Neville until he commented on the notorious lying narcissist who is currently in 10 Downing Street.

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