So it looks like it’s Arteta. Now for Battle 1: Arteta vs The Media

Arsenal and Ozil: Why Mesut should be allowed to speak his mind – the video

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By Tony Attwood

Has there ever been a new Arsenal manager that the media have rejoiced over?

Certainly that is not the case now as the media outlets are falling over themselves to turn Arsenal’s potential appointment (it may of course no longer be “potential” by the time you read this – it could be “completed” or “failed”) into a disaster.

The Guardian is already telling us that the Manchester City are unhappy with Arsenal’s tactics, and note that “The episode threatens to create bad blood between the clubs.”

HITC meanwhile are telling us that “Everton and Arsenal are making Daniel Levy look a shrewd operator,” while the Metro puts in another level of doom and gloom with “Xabi Alonso kills Arsenal fans’ hopes of joining Mikel Arteta as his assistant” – just in case we ever thought it was all going to be smooth and simple.  (Actually I didn’t know we were hoping for Alonso, so I wasn’t too affected).

And it is all going to be a disaster because the first team squad want someone else to take up the reigns as Transfer Tavern tells us in the headline,”Report: Arsenal first-team squad prefer coach who won just one of his last 10 games to Arteta”  Oh yes and that is a “report” not an opinion.  Let’s be clear about that.

But all this stuff about Arteta is nonsense of course, as the daily Cannon reveals that “French journalist claims this manager is Arsenal’s number one choice: Not Arteta”.  Mind you, to use Tony Adams’ old phrase, “he’s French so what does he know about English football?” adds to the negativity with “Arsenal are desperate – Arteta talk fails to convince Campbell.”  Not sure which Campbell that is but still, it’s bad news.  Or so they tell us.

And Read Arsenal state that “Arsenal players wanted to see 60 y/o appointed instead of Mikel Arteta”   Seemingly it doesn’t matter who he is as long as he is 60 years old.  That’s my application in the bin then.

Oh yes, and just in case you felt you were getting the hang of all this football chit chat, Football 365,  come up with “Who do Arsenal/Jeremy Corbyn think they are?”   Well, I met Mr Corbyn when he did the launch of my book on Woolwich Arsenal and at that time he seemed to me to have a very clear vision of who he was.

And so we might cast our minds back to 1 October 1966 and the issues that followed on from there when Mr Wenger was appointed.

Now Mr Wenger’s problem was that the media never take to someone who can outsmart them and in the first month in the job he did nothing but outsmart them.

You may recall that scurrilous rumours had started to circulate about Mr Wenger before he even stepped off the plane – rumours that said that there was a reason for him leaving Japan, where he previously worked, that had nothing to do with football and Arsenal.   Rumours of behaviour of the most awful and appalling crimes committed.

Sensing a story happening just a few miles from their offices, and having no worry about destroying the career of a man on the back of a rumour whose origin no one quite knew, journalists began to show an interest while of course not reporting what the rumours were.

Eventually after this had been going on for a couple of weeks with rumours still circulating one news agency did publish the story, but then quickly withdrew it.  As ever hordes of the evil entities (ie journalists) gathered at Highbury and to the dismay of the directors, Mr Wenger went outside to meet the throng and looked down on the mob.

“What have you got to say about the rumours, Mr Wenger?” screamed members of the hoard.

Mr Wenger, although seething, smiled benignly and looked down. He opened his mouth to speak and 100 microphones were pointed at him.

“What rumours?” he asked.

“You know, the rumours,” screamed to mob, for given that the news agency had quickly removed the fake story about evil doings in his past, none in the mob now had the gall to spell it out and face a court case for slander.

“What rumours?” Mr Wenger asked again.

It carried on like this for a few moments, until Mr Wenger changed his approach.

“What do you know?” he said.

“You must have heard the rumours,” shouted the journos.

“‘If you print anything, I will attack,” said Mr Wenger (meaning, “I will sue”.)

And gradually the mob fell quiet. They had expected the man, just a couple of weeks into his post, to be unable to outsmart them. After all they had been outsmarting football directors for years.  And anyway he was foreign so obviously didn’t know anything about football.

But they were bright enough to know that if any of them had said a word about the nature of the rumours, they would be opening themselves to a legal case which they could never hope to win. What they needed was for Mr Wenger to mention the rumours himself, and then they would be safe to print his “denial” complete with innuendo and “no smoke without fire” commentaries.

But with Mr Wenger not saying a word they were forced to return to their offices and face very angry editors who had seen a story slip away from them through the use of a very simple ploy.

The rumours were never published in the newspapers. Mr Wenger was free to get on with his job.

But f course, it was not all over. From that point on, the order from editors to their hacks was, “Get Wenger” and they kept on thereafter. The fans of Manchester United, who quickly became the key rivals to the new Arsenal that Mr Wenger built, took up the cause on behalf of the journalists with awful, vile chants and it took that club no less than 14 years to print an article in the programme saying that they wanted those chants to stop. The chants continued.

And so, on 1 October 1996, on day one of his utter and complete re-development of Arsenal FC, the battle began with his appointment. The first forays ran for over a month, peaked in early November, and ended with an apology from one of the news agencies, mid-November, and a demand to stop from Man U, 14 years later.

Does Arteta have the strength of mind to take on the howling mob?  If he is appointed we shall quickly see.

19 Replies to “So it looks like it’s Arteta. Now for Battle 1: Arteta vs The Media”

  1. OT: Tierney has successful shoulder surgery.

    Good luck with your recovery Kieran.

    Clueless Paul Merson is still running around like a headless chicken, spouting no end of nonsense.

    And none of the other ex-Arsenal players with their name in the medja seem to be helping the situation either. Most seem to be keeping quiet, which is better.


    I will wait for announcements at vis a vis who is or isn’t manager.

  2. OT

    Referees for the next four games have been announced. So by the time we get to the 1st January we will have had six referees twice or more and those six will have refereed us a total 15 times in 21 games.

    Meanwhile there are 19 refs listed the Premier Leagues website. Eight of them have not refereed us once.

    I don’t what other people think of that but I know what I think.

    One thought on the next four refs stands out. For the Bournemouth game on Boxing Day it’s Stuart Atwell. Now I don’t know if he has a thing for south coast clubs but the only other time he ref’d us this season was against Southampton. Some of you may recall he gave them two yellows for a total of 19 fouls whilst for our 13 fouls he managed to wave a yellow six times. Just one of many refereeing anomalies so far this season.

  3. @Mikey,

    one could use these facts to hedge their bets and get better returns ….. it is so blatant…

  4. Wow, what a cool story about Arsene. Tony could you please send me a link to the story of Wenger vs the press when he first came, I’ve searched far and wide on Google and I can’t find any link to the story. Now I understand why they hated him and can tell friends this is why. It sounds really unbelievable


    And while I was searching for that story, I came across this article from way back 2013, funny it isn’t even untold arsenal but defended Wenger well, and this was far back 2013. So Tony, you haven’t been alone. But I read the comments in your last thread and I must say you need to allow both sides of the debate. The comments section in this article was so much fun, everyone was allowed to have his say both for or against Wenger’s management, with respect it seems

  6. Mikey

    It’s ironic we have Stuart Atwell again on Boxing day given recent comments we have had from, Freddie, and now Adrian Clarke, regarding our approach to tackling, or should I say ‘fouling’, sorry, ‘tactical fouling’ or should that be ‘Cynical fouling’ or should that be ‘professional fouling’ or should we just call it what it is, ‘cheating’ !

    Anyway this from Adrian Clarke today in his ‘breakdown’ on

    “When you lose to the better team there are always lessons to be learnt, so hopefully the Gunners will pick up on some of the things that worked for Pep Guardiola’s side.

    (Over a clip of an Arsenal breakaway)

    What we see here is a terrific interception from Guendouzi that sparks a rare transition from the men in red, and City were stretched, but the attack was stopped in it’s tracks by a cynical foul from Mendy.

    The Champions are ‘streetwise’ in the way they make cynical fouls. Arsenal don’t have that same mentality yet.

    (Over a clip of City’s 3rd goal)

    If Guendouzi can’t win the ball here I think he needs to foul De Bruyne. He’s too honest. The defenders back off and we find ourselves 3 down.

    Our defenders need to be more hard nosed.”


    Honestly, is Clarke seriously suggesting we should start fouling more? Start committing ‘cynical fouls’ ?

    Has he not seen how we are refereed?

    Did he not see the match against Southampton you mentioned in which, even given our lack of cynicism, we somehow still managed to receive a card every 4.7 fouls.

    Did he not see that even without this much admired cynicism, the last time we had Atwell he still somehow contrived to book our players at a rate of 1 every 2.2 fouls !!

    FFS if we do get a bit ‘cynical’ against Bournemouth we’ll be lucky if we have a player left on the pitch.

    Does Adrian, does Freddie, do the lads on not see how ridiculously harshly our team is, and has been for many years, refereed.

    Not only do I disagree with the principal of cynical fouling, I know we have absolutely zero chance of getting away with it, at least to any beneficial degree even if we did engage in it.

    All this says to me is perhaps our club really cant see just how we are being screwed by POGMOL, or perhaps they just don’t give a f*** ?

    Either way I find this latest mindset absolutely mind boggling.

  7. Corr:

    Sorry the card per 4.7 fouls is our rate of cards this season, not the Southampton match, that paragraph should of read:

    ‘Does he not realise, even given our lack of cynicism, we somehow still managed to receive a card every 4.7 fouls.’

    The point is it’s utter madness to think for one second we could get away with what City did on Sunday,

  8. If he is appointed, Arteta is going to need all his “emotional intelligence” dealing with the players, the media, the fans and whatever else is out there waiting for him.

    The assumptions have already been spewed to unsettle him.

    ==== The team is a mess
    ==== None of them get into Man City squad
    ==== The task is too big for M.A. according to “Paula Emerson”
    ==== The Players are inept can’t execute “Guardiola-Ball”
    ==== M.A. has no experience
    ==== The “elders” in the team would prefer the hexagenarian
    ==== M.A. is taking a major risk
    ==== Jurg n’ Pep combined couldn’t fix this team
    ==== Now they are really “smoking something” at the Emirates
    ==== Etc.

    The next step…….. easy ….. wait for announcement … at will….. wait for First Presser … at will…..first game … at will…. (the result is irrelevant) win, draw or lose their minds will conjure up negatives. Remember when we were third they wanted us to know how undeserving we were. And when we turned the West Ham game around, they pointed out that we were ahead but didn’t merit it.

    Also remember our unbeaten run last season….after a relentless campaign of casting doubts and doing everything but wager or which weekend the run would finally end they finally managed to “shout” us off our perch.

    Whoever comes in would have to endure much “roughhousing” The club has a duty to back him and his coaches to the hilt because there will be bumps and with each bump, there would be multiple “coordinated” attacks from the usual suspects. The club has already buckled once and we all know how that turned out.

    There is still half a season and a little bit left. All the best.

  9. Tony, no single link? I find it hard to believe you are the only one who has written about the story. And considering that its untold reporting it, I can not convince anyone using a story only untold narrates

  10. Arteta is and was arsenal player, executed high level of professionalism. He is under tulage of Pep. Pep is highly respected coach and I’m very sure that he has showed him the best tricks of coaching.
    What Arteta could do is first to first hand experience as headcoach even at lower level as champions and groom a club get promoted to premiere league. For example Wenger was brought from Japan where he had first hand coaching experience and had previously coached in french ligue.

    Our brother Arteta, whom I’ve respect for, with all due respect is at same level of coaching of Per Metersack our academy coach with due fairness.Same level of qualification to my guess but Per is a full coach of academy and unlike Our former captain Arteta deputy to Pep. So if I may ask aren’t we looking for an experienced coach at level of Kloops, Pep and more so Wenger attribute.

    Well it’s now time we think about how Wenger was the only and best coach we had. IT IS NOW A DRY WELL NO MORE WENGER MAGIC WATERS.
    BUT ALL IS NOT GONE GIVE ARSENAL FC BOARD TIME. It’ll give us fans the best coach.

  11. Nitram

    Those comments by Adrian Clarke are astonishing. It certainly looks as if, despite all the evidence, Arsenal insiders have not taken on the way we are refereed. This is incredibly disappointing.

  12. Pat

    Indeed it is.

    As much as I like Adrian Clarkes analysis as a ‘critique’ of Arsenals performance, he vary rarely, if ever, comments on some of the diabolical refereeing performances we have endured.

    I remember him making reference to how the high press intensity of Southampton was such a big part of their draw without ever mentioning the fact they got away with just 2 cards for 19 fouls and we received 6 cards for just 13 fouls.

    Now I could at least understand why he/they don’t want to be ‘controversial’, and to a degree I get it. I don’t agree with it, but I get it.

    But these comments are different. These comments suggest they cant even see what’s going on under their very noses. Under the present way we are being refereed to suggest we should be more ‘cynical’ is unbelievably naïve to the point of stupidity.

    These are the statistics from our last 3 home matches.


    fouls = 32

    Yellows = 10

    That’s a card every 3.2 fouls.


    Fouls = 54

    Yellows = 7

    That’s a card every 7.7 fouls.

    Those figures are a disgrace and absolutely damming of the way we are refereed in comparison to our opponent.

    It’s absolutely pathetic that our own club cant even see it, let alone comment on it, and God forbid do something about it.

    And just to show how utterly deluded and ignorant they are, their answer to our woes is to foul even more !!!

    You couldn’t f***ing make it up.

  13. Nitram

    I couldn’t agree more. We pick up cards for non-cynical fouls. We saw Xhaka (I think) get a straight red against somebody a couple of years ago for a shirt pull on the half way line with not even a sniff of a goal scoring opportunity.

    In one game this season we picked up 3 cards for a total of four fouls in a game. Two of City’s players committed four fouls each. No other team has committed even 20 in a game this season. It’s a disgrace to let a club get away with 24. They don’t even get disciplined under the five cards in a game rule (I assume that still exists). We’ve received more than five cards twice this season. In both games we committed 13 fouls!!!

  14. @Tony, so no media outlet reported this story, no blogs did, nobody else remembers it, nobody but you? Come on man! In an era where everybody is looking for a story to tell?

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