By Tony Attwood
It is interesting that the amount of space in the media given over to the rejection of the demand for a pay cut by Chelsea to its players, is much smaller than the coverage of the alleged refusal of Ozil to go along with the pay cut demand by Arsenal.
But that is the difference in the way clubs are reported. There is a headline in the Telegraph today that says “Chelsea rejects players request for smaller paycut” but it sits alongside the news that Arsenal is planning to reopen London Colney and the rather old news that when football restarts it could be at a number of venues. It gets nothing like the coverage Arsenal got over its paycut story.
The Guardian makes the Chelsea story the ninth piece today on its website under “Coventry stun Spurs after extra time to win first FA Cup”. The Chelsea headline under that is “Chelsea reject players’ offer while Villa’s take 25% reduction.”
Five headlines higher in the Guardian we have “Arsenal to return to individual training at London Colney”. Is that more important?
In the Daily Mail the first Arsenal story is “Borussia Dortmund ‘eyeing Arsenal left-back Bukayo Saka’ with the 18-year-old’s contract set to expire in 2021 after a breakout season for the Premier League side” That story can now run and run, either as a “fact” or with the word “reportedly” tucked in among it somewhere.
The Chelsea salary saga for the Mail is news, but of little interest – it comes in 18th on their website – but at least it is there with “Chelsea pay deal hits the skids as club confirm they have NOT agreed wage cuts with first-team players…but Blues still hope for salary drop resolution.”
It all goes to prove what we have all known for a long time, that football in the media comes with agendas.
And actually in this regard the Mail’s lead story is quite interesting, not because of the news it breaks (there isn’t any) but because of the way it reveals something about the thinking of the editorial team. It reads…
“OLIVER HOLT: Denying Liverpool the Premier League title or refusing Leeds promotion because you loathe them is no reason to void the season… ending it now is about clubs trying to dodge what they deserve because it allows failure to wriggle off the hook”
Indeed that is true, doing pretty much anything because you loathe that company, organisation, individual, place or whatever is not normally a good reason for any action. But the second part of the sentence doesn’t actually carry on the logic. It seems rather hard to do anything at the top other than give the league title to Liverpool, although perhaps with an asterisk for future generations to note that it was a shortened season. But relegation is quite different.
There is little certainty about who goes up and down in any league, and clubs most certainly can argue about the fact that they have played fewer games than others. And indeed that they have had a harder set of games than others. That is where the big problem lies, and simply writing a headline in the sort of giant type that the Mail is rather fond of, doesn’t actually make the argument.
If I were involved with a club that was sitting second or third from the bottom of League One, but which had had a particularly tough run of games, with several more readily winnable games to come, I’d be fairly annoyed with being relegated without finishing the season, and would protest long and hard.
The media has long since been critical of Arsenal: and it all goes back to the two Arsenal men who were banned from football for life – as we covered in the story through that link.
But it goes on. For example, back in 2016 we did a snapshot of the reporting of Arsenal and found theme after theme that was circulating at the time that was negative about the club. There was nothing remotely like this about other clubs.
And then we asked why people so negative about Arsenal Plus we asked Why are the media so critical of Arsenal? analysing how the habit developed over time. And then one of our readers took on the almighty task of analysing a whole raft of media stories. It is a most revealing article and the full research is here.
Contrary to popular belief, we don’t just sling down opinions. Of course there are opinions here, but unlike most people, we do actually try and do some research. It is not always perfect research, but it is invariably better than no research and mindlessly expressing opinions.
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