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The day Arsenal broke the Premier League: the view from overseas

By Christophe Jost

I must be transparent. I do not live in the UK, I am of German and Swiss descent, work in France and Switzerland, and have lived in quite a few countries so far in my life.

Some of the countries are rich, some are poor. So my vision may be a galaxy away from that of an English (wo)man – but it is neither better, nor worse than anyone else’s.  It is just mine.  And I certainly don’t perceive it as being in any way superior to anyone else’s vision.  It is just the vision of someone not living in Britain who likes to speaks his mind.

As you may have guessed if you have seen some of my earlier contributions, I am an Arsenal fan, but then some issues are so much bigger than which club we each support, that this is of no importance.

However, it gives me an entry point, a small window into topics I can explore across borders and languages.

And to make it clear, I’m the owner of a small business, working across borders and continents.  Which means that I am basically for a free flow of goods and services, for freedom of movement, for free enterprise.

I believe that every worker deserves to be paid correctly and try to respect people as much as possible. And I believe in the freedom of opinion.   Yet I hate intellectual dishonesty and fight it with sarcasm (or silence.)

In terms of news, I keep on reading some weekly magazines in paper format, and, on the web, I try to read daily newspapers electronically.   My sources, therefore, are multi-national: Switzerland, Germany, France. UK, US, Cyprus, Mauritius, Senegal.

And my rants are those of a humanist who hates intellectual dishonesty, sheer injustice and greed and hubris.

These days, with the pandemic spreading, I am amazed at how different countries are adjusting, preparing, fighting, protecting.  And I find it amazing how the press, paper and online community in each country is reporting the developments.

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I am no anthropologist, but I am certain there will be material for hundreds of doctorates in years to come studying how this plague is being addressed across Europe – or the world.

So, I’ll try in the weeks and months to come to give you another perspective on what happens in other countries, which mostly because other languages are spoken there, may not be understood or even be known about elsewhere – mostly because no one reports it.

As I said I am an Arsenal fan. Well…the paper I read the most in the UK is the Guardian. I just find it funny that reading the Guardian for the past 10 days, only one team gets regularly cited in regards to ‘coronavirus’.

Just one. You’ve guessed it: Arsenal.

Arsenal broke the Premier League. That is a fact.   On March 12th.  Like this:

March 12: Arsenal in lockdown after Mikel Arteta tests positive for coronavirus

March 13: Premier League prepares for suspension after Arteta tests positive for Covid-19

Brighton v Arsenal game on Saturday is postponed

Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi also tests positive.    This story run with a picture of the Arsenal welcome sign outside Colney, but none of Mr Hudson-Odoi.

Then another story on the same day: Premier League and British football shuts down until April due to coronavirus – as it happened.   This with a picture showing the Arsenal emblem behind a woman wearing a protection mask, followed by the sentence

“Chelsea in lockdown after Hudson-Odoi tests positive” (but no picture of him).

March 19th: Mikel Arteta recovering well as Arsenal reopen training facilities (although the re-opening has nothing to do with football…just maintenance….)

March 23rd: ‘Everything happened very fast’: Mikel Arteta opens up on a positive test.

This headline is followed by the first two sentences of the article: “Season stopped after Arsenal manager’s coronavirus diagnosis.  The club says it would be ‘irresponsible’ to restart training.”

So we’ve got a positive looking title, and then well, Arsenal broke the PL.  And Arsenal are hindering the PL from re-starting.

By the way, I did not find any news of Mr Hudson-Odoi, at least not in the form of a story although it may have been mentioned somewhere in a feed. But then again, he is not an Arsenal player.

Sure, you’ll tell me Arsenal are a big club and this is interesting.

But then by that logic, I guess Chelsea is not a big club and readers do not care about Chelsea, nor are they interested in an interview of their manager or of Mr Hudson Odoi.

And I guess no other PL club had issues with Covid-19 so far, so it is normal only Arsenal are mentioned… yeah… and no other club had to reopen facilities neither I guess.

Well, from a marketing perspective, as PT Barnum, the American showman and hoaxter said, “I don’t care what the newspapers say about me as long as they spell my name right.”

Thus from an Arsenal perspective, this is free SEO fodder.   Yet from a news and reporting perspective, and from the perspective of giving a fulsome coverage of the new it is just miserable bullshit.

20 clubs in the Premier League

More than 500 players, 20 managers, 20 staffs, 20 whole organisations, at least a dozen of billionaires, oligarchs, countries as owners. I’d say the global footprint of the PL must be more than that of the Bundesliga which employs around 55’000 people.

And yet this the only thing is what the Guardian can come up with as a recurring subject: Arsenal and corona?   Obviously their reporters are either sick at home or busy covering other emergencies.

It reminds me of a US presidential election where the aim is systematically to say the name of a competitor in the same sentence as some negative adjective.   Trump is the master of this with Mayor Pete, crooked Hillary and all other competitors.

Just always talk of Arsenal, show the Arsenal logo or an Arsenal player and say coronavirus, or PL lockdown, or whatever synonym you can come up with.   It is one of the oldest tricks in a dictator’s handbook and it is being repeatedly used by the Guardian.

I just try to imagine the young reporter starting out there. How is he re-trained?  Maybe the Guardian sends them to the same school as PGMOL uses for new referees who, as they have themselves stated, needs to be re-trained.

If you compare that coverage to the one in Germany, you get a picture of two different worlds. But we’ll come to that in another article.   In the meantime, in case you have doubts, or have come back from the jungle or Big Brother:

– try to stay at home

– if you cannot stay inside, keep your distance to anyone outside 6 feet at least

– always carry a bottle of hand sanitizer and use it when having touched anything

– stay calm, help your neighbours if and when you can and accept help from your neighbours if and when it makes sense. Show solidarity.

No one knows for now if your country is well prepared for what is coming. But just look at Italy. 10 % of people who got contaminated did not survive.   In Spain, it is at 7%

The UK is at around 5%, France is at 4%, Switzerland at 2%, Germany at 0.5%

We are at war, and each of us has a target on its back.    Take care all of you and thank you for reading through my rant.


Continuing our review of football from outside England, our next article comes from Don McMahon, retired professional referee from Canada.

7 comments to The day Arsenal broke the Premier League: the view from overseas

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Christophe and all ‘untolders’,

    I’m lucky in that my house in suburban south east London has a large garden in which I am enjoying the sunshine, a cup of tea and a biscuit. I am currently joined by the UK’s smallest bird a wren busy gathering nesting materials (plenty in my less than pristine garden)

    I have four adult children all with families with six grandchildren from 3 to 18. I’m 70 and, since my wife died last August live on my own.

    I am symptom free at the moment but of the 14 in my immediate family two adults are quite poorly, one has got a temperature and four of the grandchildren are also affected. The geographical spread is London to Bolton.

    The official figures simply have to be wrong by a very long way unless I am simply unlucky

    I have just had a text from the Government instructing me to stay at home.

    GOV.UK CORONAVIRUS ALERT
    New rules in force now: you must stay at home. More info & exemptions at gov.uk/coronavirus Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.

    Doesn’t leave me a lot of wriggle room!

    Wherever you are stay safe

  • Gord

    Best wishes to all.

    Andrew, I was once hiking in the desert at Red Rock, just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. I think I had tripped over a rock, but in any event I found myself about 6 inches from a rock, and in between me and the rock was this little bird about the size of a quarter. I believe it lives in the cactus.

  • Porter

    Andrew you look after yourself . You can’t help worrying about your family,we all do .My concern is more for my 6 year old granddaughter than for myself
    .I am in excess of my three score and ten and have had plenty of fun to look back on but she is just starting out and both her parents are still working and obviously endangered.
    Guess I too will have to stick around just in case . Hopefully we all come out the other side and get to Finsbury Park again. I am sure that we are all looking forward to that at least.

  • Joe

    Same again. Mobile view from a PC

  • Chris

    Andrew,

    Here in one of the hotspots, there is no question that :

    1) it is deadly
    2) people need to avoid contact and be civic
    3) it is going to last

    Be aware of it.

    And, as with all storms, this one will at some point come to an end and the sun will shine again.
    The fascinating thing is that the world it will shine on is going to be much different and maybe some things will (be able to) change for the better.

  • Gord

    About that bird. While there is a wren which lives in the “Sonoran Desert” and vicinity, it is one of the largest wrens. I am going to guess that what I seen was a juvenile verdin, which is a much smaller bird.

    Not much happening for the virus in my vicinity. Northern Alberta is supposed to have a couple of cases, but it is not specified as to east or west. Northern BC is supposed to have 4 cases, again not specified as to where (maybe 20 towns and cities, quite widely separated). Supposedly the Northwest Territories has closed its border to non-essential traffic, and they are discussing whether the Alberta/BC border should close. How they can close that border, when The Peace is partly in BC and partly in Alberta, I don’t know.

  • Gord

    COVID-19:

    Maybe I should expand on “vicinity”? Much of Northern BC is filled with mountains or muskeg (bog). Not so much for roads. To go up the Alaska Highway from southern BC, you pretty much have to come to Dawson Creek (where I live, which is about 11 miles form the BC/Alberta border (you can take a shortcut at Chetwynd, it doesn’t save you much). When the BC government said this morning that Northern Health now has 9 cases (out of a population of maybe 200,000?) it really doesn’t help. Prince George is the largest population centre at about 75,000. The distance (by road) from Dawson Creek to Prince Rupert (both centres are 12-13,000 people or so) is a little over 1100 km. You can go further west (Haida Gwai), but you need to get on a boat. The furthest place to the NW in NorthernHealth is Dease Lake at a little over 1200 km. Quesnel is about as far south as NorthernHealth goes, at 10,000 people. Vanderhoof is a bit west of PG at 4400. Continuing west some places are Houston (3000), FtStJames(2k), Burns Lake(2k), Smithers(5.4k). To the north and then east, we have Mackenzie (3500), Chetwynd (2500). To the south of Dawson Creek is Tumbler Ridge at 2700. Up the Alaska Highway and points north, we have FtStJohn at 20k and FtNelson at 3400. My rambling total of those places is almost 160,000; so maybe all the other communities add in enough to get to 200,000 people?

    The Northwest Territories closed its borders to non-essential traffic after getting their first case or two. About 42,000 people scattered around 1.3 million square km of land. Almost half the population is in Yellowknife (20k). Next biggest population centre is Inuvik at 3.3k.

    But at the end of the day, telling people in NorthernHealth there are 9 cases, isn’t in any way useful information. If someone sneezes in Prince Rupert, nobody in Dawson Creek is going to catch the virus.

    It might be interesting to see what the affects on the winter cold and flue season are, with this social distancing. Perhaps cold and flu season will be less noticable for the next few winters?

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