Invented Arsenal stories + a rundown of all the clubs that have gone bust

After those of us with a bit too much time on our hands gave the Mirror and News of the World a bit of a run around over their “Everyone wants to leave Arsenal” campaign, they’ve retaliated twice – once with the old-fashioned “snub” standby, and now today with with Wenger clearout story.

The “snub” game doesn’t really merit much attention. “Unknown player who you have never heard of and was probably made up by some guy in Latvia has snubbed Arsenal and intends to sign for Bratislava Hedgehog.

The “clearout” is a new one – at least as far as I recall in the Wengerian era. The Mirror is positing the end for Eboue, Gallas and Ade. They have also been running a Man IOU clearout story, and a Wales clearout story (Ramsey apparently was good in the Wales friendly on friday).

To put this all in perspective we might recall the story from January this year which appeared in the Times. Not the Times of Algiers but THE Times, the one they do in London. The paper of record.

The Times published a list of up and coming giants of the game and included at number 30 (and I quote exactly)…

Masal Bugduv (Olimpia Balti)

Moldova’s finest, the 16-year-old attacker has been strongly linked with a move to Arsenal, work permit permitting. And he’s been linked with plenty of other top clubs as well

Don’t waste your football betting money on this one. The fact that the guy did not exist was revealed by the wonderful Fake Associated Press pieces linked the imaginary player with Arsenal and Zenit St Petersburg and increased the player’s value by saying that he had played loads of internationals.

The Times then did something very interesting. If you have read “1984” by George Orwell, you will recall that Winston Smith (the hero – if that is the right word) works for the Times rewriting the news – removing stories from old editions that no longer fit Big Brother’s political vision.

In a fascinating move the Times of 2009 did the same, and instead of apologising and saying “we was duped” simply removed the story from its on-line site as if it had never been there.

Now if we also remember my favourite Mirror story which in June 2008 told us that Crouch was going to come to Arsenal, we can see the way the press work.

Rule 1: Make it up
Rule 2: Don’t check any “facts”
Rule 3: Make it up a bit more.

Maybe those players (Eboue, Gallas and Ade) will go this summer – but given that the Mirror said it, I am not putting the mortgage on it.

Meanwhile, just to show that insanity exists outside of the hallowed walls of the Times and Mirror on the economic front we have:

West Iceland Utd: must be sold by July, but no deal forthcoming.
Portsmouth: sold to a sheikh, to become richest club in world
Sunderland: sold to a Yank, to become richest club in world
Liverpool: no news on the £350m debt which must be refinanced by end of July
Southampton: so bust that they are no longer paying anyone, but one consortium bidding to buy bankrupted club
Accrington Stanley being taken to court because they can’t pay Revenue and Customs
Darlington FC: went into administration for second time in two years and I can’t find anything that says they have come out – in fact the story seems to be they are about to fold.
Chester City having been relegated from the 4th division have gone into liquidation.
Halifax Town for a long time a league club have either been wound up or put into administration – there are reports of both.
Stockport County went into administration on 1 May
Fisher Athletic were wound up on 13 May and are no more.

As Arsenal fans we might not care too much about these clubs – especially the smaller ones – but when we consider that of the EPL clubs not mentioned virtually all of them are either hopelessly in debt or for sale or both, we can be proud of where Arsenal stands on this.

If you know of any other financial stories of this type affecting English clubs do let me know and I’ll try and keep and update running.

Finally, speaking about made up things, the best ever made up thing about Arsenal was, to me, The Arsenal Stadium Mystery. I knew it always as a black and white movie – a light hearted murder mystery which featured a number of Arsenal players.

What I didn’t know until the last game of the season against Stoke was that it was also a novel. There was a two page spread on GCR Books who have republished the book, in the programme for the Stoke game. Seems the company have been working on other reprints of Arsenal books too, and I’ve had the pleasure of a really good chat with the owner of the company.

I’ve been promised a review copy of Arsenal Stadium Mystery, so I’ll come back to this later, but meanwhile you can read about and order copies of their reprints at

Lastly, lastly, last of all, re the comments recently about this site’s rankings. There are two counters on the right hand side from different firms that rank sites. When we were first registered we were below number 100 – thank you to everyone for reading and thus pushing this site ever upwards. Without you there would be no point.

(c) Tony Attwood 2009.

5 Replies to “Invented Arsenal stories + a rundown of all the clubs that have gone bust”

  1. Nothing ever changes with the media.

    After their anti-Wenger stories backfired leading to an outstanding show of support from almost all true quarters Arsenal on the last day of the season, the media in general appeared to back off to rethink their next assault plan.

    At first glance it would appear that their strategy is to target our players in Alphabetic order.

    Firstly we had their linking of Adebayour to every club from Inter Milan to Manchester City to Chelsea. This was followed by blatant attempts to polarise Andrei Arshavin’s position from the first the manager and then the fans.

    The media stated that AA was baffled at why he was being played on the left of midfield. The accurate quote stated that he was baffled by how well he was playing on the left of midfield.

    Then the media tried to make him look greedy and detached from the fans by claiming that he wanted to renegotiate his contract alredsay to allow for the new 50% top tax bracket.
    Dennis lachter his agent is a barracuda in the world of sports talent representation and I would be very surprised if AA’s contract like many others in recent years is based on a figure net of tax.
    So with ADEBAYOUR and ARSHAVIN ticked on the list, let us not be too surprised if so crayon-worthy tabloid rag of the masses or an even lower publication like say…The Daily Mail invents a story involving either the departure or potential replacement of Manuel ALMUNIA. Of course in his case they may just flog out the xenophobic reactionary response to the idea of him playing for England befor moving on to Amaury BISHOFF who no doubt will be leaving for first team opportunities and blah blah blah.

    Quite formulaic when you take a few steps back and view it form a distance.

    Enjoy the cup final!

  2. Terence I think you may be on to something with the alphabetic thing as apparently we are going for Robert Green to replace Almunia as he has turned down a new contract at West Ham. Bendtner has scuppered their plans by stating that he wants to sign a new contract and stay here for many years. As for Ade, I doubt if he is going as he is front page, main story in this month’s Arsenal magazine and I’m sure that would have been pulled if Arsene had already decided he was no longer part of his plans.

    BTW Tony, the Crouch to replace Ade did make a brief reappearance recently – but I think even the hacks were too embarrassed to push that one very far!

  3. Tony – I think that we could be adding Charlton to your list quite soon. They posted huge losses during Jan (It was in the region of £10 million) and have now been relegated to the 3rd tier of English football, I cannot see how they can survive.

    The media have to accept a major part of the blame for the current culture. During the FA Cup Final build up yesterday the pundits were analyzing Everton’s recent history and asking how they can take the next step. The only answer – A billionaire to pump in loads of money. To many fans of to many clubs are to easily influenced by second rate, lazy, irresponsible journalism and think that a sugar daddy is the solution to all of footballs problems.

    We currently have Chelsea, Man City, Villa, Liverpool, Sunderland and soon to be Portsmouth all owned by billionaires who are going to turn them into the biggest, most successful club in Europe (the fact that Liverpool are saddled with debts that they cannot repay or refinance is overlooked). Newcastle’s multimillionaire / billionaire has decided that he doesn’t fancy it anymore. Only 1 team can win the domestic league and the CL. Why is one billionaires money better than another? Why will Arab money be more successful than American money?

    Everton are a good club with a capable manager, if the authorities were to implement rules limiting wages to a percentage of turnover and transfer spending to profit made or cash reserves then good clubs would progress and poor clubs or poorly run clubs would sink. A natural order that is sustainable and fair.

  4. Amen Tony. I took the liberty of posting on A Cultured left Foot your list of clubs either dead or on life support to support the manager and club against the doomers who are seeking to undermine what has been one of the most courageous strategies of any manager currently in the top-flight. It is simply unbelievable the results acheived by Wenger’s youth policy against all the other top-four clubs who have blown billions of pounds to acheive short-term success. As the current financial crisis is proving, this dependence on debt financing is unsustainable; the only winners here are a small coterie of lenders who are milking every penny of interest from these clubs. The media’s complicity in this dire state of affairs is shameless and to cover themselves they use every opportunity to undermine the manager, the players and the club. As I write I am listening to a bunch of ignoramuses on Murdock’s Fox Soccer Channel, led an old English pro and pundit Warren Barton, who have concluded that the only way Moaninho can improve Inter-Milan and win the champions league is by spending millions more of the owners money to, I guess, buy more players like Quaresma. Do you remember this time last year and right through the summer, this same overpriced Quaresma was the toast of the English press and bloggers who demanded that he be signed by AFC. It is the same Quaresma, who the Moaner sent on loan to Chelsea and who after two appearances was never to be seen again after the arrival of Huddink. Without the Moaner’s spending and egotism Wenger led us to the semi-final of the Champions League while Inter was blown away in the Quarter finals. Try explaining that to the press.

  5. Hey remember those Charlton fans that were complaining about Alan Curbishley on the basis that he had taken the club as far as it could go and that it was time for new blood?

    I wonder how they feel about him now?

    Do those fans remind you of anybody recently?

Comments are closed.