Even by the standards of football on the internet the website HITC’s recent concerted full-on attack on Arsenal through a series of stories about cock-ups and disasters has been extraordinary.
And it is worth noting because although this set of attacks has been extreme it is probably a sign of how things are moving. Whether Arsenal are going to respond by renewed PR initiatives to counteract this sort of attack remains unclear, but given the way websites copy each other, we could be seeing even more fanatical assaults in the weeks to come.
The attacks started innocuously enough with
Sold by Arsenal for £5m, 14-goal star reportedly wanted by Manchester City
That came out from HITC at 3.38pm yesterday and on its own looked like a bit of old news: the story that Manchester City want to sign Serge Gnabry who exercised his right to move from Arsenal when he thought his progress to the first team was not going fast enough. Given Man City’s problems with Uefa and Gnabry’s current value it might seem a little unlikely at the moment.
Report: Arsenal set to sell one of Ljungberg’s favourites for just £800k
This story told us that Arsenal’s under 23s captain Robbie Burton is “set to leave the Emirates for just £800,000” in a move to Dinamo Zagreb.
Of course we don’t know if this is true – but clearly it can’t happen at the moment since the transfer window is not open, and it would seem a bit strange to set up such a deal now. Of course the source of the story is not HITC – they won’t take responsibility – and seems to come from Sportske Novosti via Football London and from there on to HITC although it is FoLo that has come up with the transfer fee.
Then HITC also ran the headline
Arsenal starlet pictured in new club’s shirt, move left Gunners ‘in shock’
and I guess other people like me would have looked at that story and then gone looking for the picture. But under that headline although there are various pictures of Robbie Burton included in the tale, all of them have him playing in an Arsenal shirt.
But not to be put off just half an hour after that one HITC gave us
Our View: Arteta can’t recall £6m star, could be first mistake at Arsenal
Their view was that Eddie can’t be dropped for psychological reasons. They are not very clear what those psychological reasons are other than a vague sense that the player might be upset, but apparently Eddie has to keep Martinelli out of the team because of Eddie’s psychological state. Or something like that.
Now three negative stories in a row within the space of an hour might seem a bit much but a bit of looking around revealed that these pieces were just the tip of the berg
Some Arsenal fans react to Pablo Mari’s performance for U23s
But we were quickly onto meatier stuff for we also had
Arsenal talent Bukayo Saka has been linked with Liverpool.
And of course the forthcoming match in the Europa League was not forgotten, as an earlier post had given us the information that
Our View: Previous meetings suggests Arsenal will have to fight against Olympiacos
At that stage I reached the conclusion that we probably knew more about past matches between Olympiacos and Arsenal than HITC did and so I called a halt to the reviewing of their gory tales and went looking to see who HITC are.
Previously known by their full name of “Here is the city” they proclaim that “HITC is a fast growing source of news and information on the web. Started in 2000, the site initially focussed on finance news and became a trusted source of information for that readership. In the past 2 years it has expanded its verticals to include Tech and Sport, experiencing rapid growth as those markets also come to recognise the brand.”
Their information page has a list of over 30 people involved in HITC, although a few are freelancers, but the chief is Vic Daniels who, we are told “has worked in online publishing for almost 2 decades. He has enjoyed previous leadership roles in financial markets recruitment and the banking industry.”
His pieces seem not to be on football, but on social matters, and really offer little insight into his views. For example his piece asking what is causing the epidemic of knife crime in England ends with a list of ten causes under the headline Here are some of the theories:
1. Drug abuse 2. Disenfranchised youth 3. Deprivation 4. Broken-families / Lack of role models 5. Bragging rights / looking big 6. Protection 7. Gang initiations 8. Threats and intimidation 9. Social media revenge attacks 10. Youngsters playing violent video games acting out their alter-egos in real life
And by and large I think we knew all that. It is one of those lists that fails to ask the real questions, like “why is there so much drug abuse?” – which again gives us the thought that maybe in-depth isn’t their thing.
But HITC does seem to be leading the anti-Arsenal brigade at the moment, and their agenda in terms of stories selected is directly linked to AFTV. That does not mean that HITC and AFTV are linked – but with two major sources of anti-Arsenal activity now going at the club hammer and tongs I suspect the rest of the media will be jumping on this band wagon and returning to the “Arsenal in chaos” approach to reporting in the very near future.
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