by Tony Attwood
If you are a regular reader you might have noted a few little pieces I have been publishing of late which put forward the thesis that the media has created and now propagates an image of football which is in its own interest rather than having much to do with the reality of football that we see at matches.
The series started with
Thereafter we published
- WeCareDoYou: how has the carers campaign been doing?
- How supporters are being weaponised by the media; we’ve become their playthings
- Arguing with Zombies: how football fans allow the media to control the debate
- Deluded Arsenal fans shamelessly exploited by misleading publisher
The point overall is that football journalism in all its forms has created a narrative which encourages the fans to take on the belief that my club is wonderful and your club is made up of cheating conniving bastards who have never been honest and truthful in their lives.
In short, the fans have been weaponised; encouraged to hate each other and each other’s clubs in order to give the media something to play with. A side effect is the view that if their club is not top of the league then that is the fault of the manager and/or owner because their club clearly deserves to be at the top, so all we need to do is kick out the people at the top, buy a new team and we’ll be where we have a right to be.
Now in writing this series I didn’t really expect much comment or activity, and I’ve been surprised just how many people are agreeing with me.
And then strange things happened. For first the Telegraph published an article that contained statistical evidence that was clearly and palpably untrue: we reported it in Daily Telegraph presents completely false data to try and bolster FA’s case
This article tries to show that having restrictions on how many foreign players can play in the Premier League is essential – but the data is utterly faked. It was a perfect example of how the story of football run everyday in the media is being developed to support a set agenda – and with the notion that football supporters are so thick they are never going to notice.
Even after that I thought matters would die down. After all this is just an Untold campaign, using the period of the winter break to set out our notion that the media is not reporting football, but manipulating the message for its own end of having a story that justifies the existence of the media, and hides that fact that certain footballing issues are regularly hidden from public gaze.
And then to my total shock and amazement, the Guardian publishes the article “Is the atmosphere at football matches too angry? Tell us your experiences”. Straight after my series about anger and the weaponisation of the fans by the media.
Now in one way they are following up exactly on the story that is told in the articles listed above. The point here is that football journalists have never really known how to report football, and so they have promoted tribalism and ignored the actual real experience that we, the supporters are put through.
The journalists sit in their protected zone, they have their own special media entrance, their own approach to analysing, and treat fans’ views as rather quaint notions which can be wheeled out when they have a few moments airtime to fill. We are treated as being such idiots that running 100+ fake transfer stories all of which are reported as coming from another publication (not the one we are reading) can be considered suitable transfer window fodder.
We are so thick that we are not going to notice the gross misuse of statistics (when we get any stats at all) by publications like the Guardian and Telegraph.
This is what the Guardian says in its article about football supporters…
“They throw missiles, shout racist slurs, yell at referees, taunt players about their dead relatives, punch horses, throw banana skins and travel abroad to support their country and end up embarrassing their country. Spend long enough at a football match and you will see some supporters who are so pent up with anger, frustration and rage that you will be left wondering whether they enjoy the experience anymore or whether they would be better off doing something else with their Saturdays.
“We are often told that these fans are “a small minority” but is that your experience of going to football matches? Has the atmosphere changed over the last few years? Is it getting worse – or are we just more likely to take notice of the problems and report them? Perhaps you think the atmosphere is improving? Whatever your experience, we want to hear it. Are supporters mostly respectful and polite, or are an increasing number of fans becoming abusive and angry? Tell us in the form below.”
Is it a coincidence that this appeared a day or two after our little series on the contempt with which journalists treat supporters?
Of course it might be. But, that is quite a big coincidence after years of ignoring the issue.
Anyway I’ll do them the courtesy of dropping them a line. If you want to the article and reply form are here.
- Arsenal’s finances: another loss but going the right way
- WSL 2022-23 Arsenal v Everton – Match Preview
- Which Arsenal transfer tale is being repeated the most often?
- How much have Arsenal’s rivals spent on transfers in recent years?
- Why is it becoming so difficult to find a sponsor for new football stadium?