The media influence on supporters

by Walter Broeckx

What is the impact on watching a game in front of your TV compared to watch it in the stands?

Yesterday evening when I had finished my match report for the Arsenal Benelux website I went to our forum where the other fans from our supporters club give their view on the game and other stuff. I was in a good mood for various reasons after we had won the game.

Normally we have a rather optimistic view on things and we are happy with every win. But when I went to the forum yesterday I saw a lot of unhappy people. There was a lot of moaning. I even found it necessary to point out towards my other supporters that:

It was one year ago that we had won an away game in the CL: so yes there could and should  be some joy for this.

We had an entire team first teamers out injured or on the bench to give them some rest: so yes we could have fielded a much stronger team out there but still we managed to win the game.

Our best players like Cesc, Van Persie, Vermaelen from last season and our best player of the start of the season (Walcott) were not playing: so we there is still a lot of room for improvement that we can expect in the coming months.

Partizan Belgrade had only lost one game so far and that was a narrow 1-0 defeat away to Shakthar Donetsk. A team that has not lost in six games and had only conceded 1 (one) goal in their league so far. And I know that you cannot compare the Serbian league with the EPL but whatever league you are in this is not a bad thing I would say.

We played a team that is very strong at home and has an intimidating atmosphere in their ground and we had to cope with that with some 18 and 19 year old players who just are starting their career like Wilshere and Gibbs.

And yes after a slow start we took over and showed them what we can. The only regret is we missed to much chances and we kept them in the game.

And then I told them that you just cannot expect us to win any game with 6-0. Oh yes, I would love us to do so but this just isn’t possible. So one has to be realistic in his expectations.

But after reading Tony’s article on how biased against Arsenal the match reporters have been I started thinking if this suddenly negative view on our performance was not down to what they had been hearing all evening from those match commentators.

Because we exchange the streams we get on our forum and so we look at the same stream most of the time and it was the English stream yesterday. Now I must say that I hardly listen to what those people say. I’m to busy looking at the pc, write my comments down at the same time. So I only listen carefully when they say the name of who scored as sometimes the streams are too bad to make the difference between Arshavin and Wilshere for example.

And after my little rant at our forum people told me that they hadn’t looked at it that way and yes in fact it was a good result, certainly after what happened last weekend, and yes that we should enjoy it and not act like old grumpy fans after a solid performance away from home in what is the Champions League after all.

So I am wondering if this sudden form of negative thinking came as a result of being told for 90 minutes that we are rubbish? Of being told that we have no decent goalkeepers? Of being told that we lack steal? Of being told whatever they have told?

And if it would be true that our supporters have been influenced by the negative comments from the match commentators I really wonder how many fans are influenced by this. All those fans who have to hear it all the time they see us play. After all we live in a society where the influence of what is being shown and said on TV is taken as “The Truth” by many people.

So after reading the article from Tony today and the unusual negative comments from some of our fans 1984 came to my mind. The ministry of (dis)information at work in 2010?

The season before we had an issue with our sporting channel. We felt that they were so anti-Arsenal in their comments that our supporters club had written to them and asking them to be more neutral in their comments when they showed a game from Arsenal. We suggested them that we could suggest our fans to stop their subscription and look at internet streams or even take a satellite dish and look at other channels who broadcast the EPL.

And much to our surprise they did answer and told us they didn’t realised we felt this way and they would take a look at it. And I must say that since then our complaining between each other about the negative comments on the channel has stopped. So I think they had a word with their match commentators about it.

So maybe writing to the advertisers telling them you will not buy their products as long as they support the anti Arsenal approach from the sporting channel they pay,  could make those sponsors react and pass it on to the sports channel. Because if there is one thing that sponsors hate, it is the fact of being associated with liars and bad people.

Companies advertising with Sky Sports (the list will be extended – if you see any more please drop a note in so we can add them to the list)

  • Ford
  • Gillette
  • Bose
  • Mazda
  • The Times
  • Next
  • DFS

Partizan v Arsenal: The most disgraceful, appalling, awful, inept…

36 Replies to “The media influence on supporters”

  1. Most of the time (if I can’t get down to the stadium for the game, or it’s an away game, and I watch it on the tv) I put the tv on mute so I can’t hear what rubbish the commentators are saying. I always used to listen to the commentary, but then i found myself making stupid AAA/glory-hunter comments in my head while watching the game, and I’m not like that at all, so yes, it definitely DOES influence people.

  2. Well done Walter! That performance is absolutely unacceptable. I’m doing my bit now by writing the listed sponsors whose products I use. I’m not asking for butt-kissing of Arsenal, just plain old neutral commentary.

  3. Although I do not agree with starting a campaign against advertisers (the media have always been anti-Arsenal AND I LOVE IT!!!!!!! It makes winning far more enjoyable!!!!!!!) I have to agree that last nights was a terrific win, and anyone who cannot see that is being rather silly.

    That was exactly the type of away match in Europe that continually caught out AW’s early teams (even the Invincibles) and we won easily. After a nervy beginning we could have scored three or four times before they got their penalty, and after they equalised we settled quickly again and dominated again.

    The day the media love Arsenal is the day we are a crap team. This type of things starts young, and Arsenal are the classic “love them or hate them” club that inspires no middle ground. Many in the media would have grown up drooling over Liverpool or Utd and absolutely despising Arsenal. I would really worry if the media started a love-in for Arsenal. Let them hate us. We are Arsenal.

  4. Paul C

    I disagree. I think the media will love us very soon when we have the brightest English players all playing in our first team. Every little discrepancy will be ignored and glossed over. It’s coming very soon.

  5. Honest Bill – Nah, we’ve had loads of English players in the past and the media have still hated us. Arsenal are loved by their fans and hated by everyone else, that is the way it has always been (although AW has certainly turned a lot of neutrals towards us in the past 10 years). If we have loads of English players then the media will simply find another thing to hate us for. It has been that way ever since I have supported the club (since the 70’s) and well before that, all the way back to the 1930’s, when we were hated for breaking the northern domination of football and being rich and from London.

    I hope that in years to come the media hate us because we dominate. That would be nice.

  6. Paul C

    Yes that would be nice. But you are forgetting that although we had a lot of English players, we also had a fair amount of Irish players in the seventies to hate.. You know that evil terrorist country?

    Mnay of the media praise us too, as i said in the other post, i think it is always more noticeable when something negative about your own club.

    Man united fans, for instance, feel that the media is anti-united. Which i’m sure we can all agree is patently untrue.

  7. Honest Bill – the Irish players we had were predominately from the Republic, which is not an “evil terrorist country”. Individual players are not disliked (O’Leary and Brady were loved by the media, so was Rocastle and Adams in his later years) but our club in general has always inspired extreme views. The media are simply a reflection of the society in which they operate. If the public grow to love Arsenal then the media will eventually reflect that fact. But Arsenal are still hated by more than they are loved in general (especially among older fans, who would have grown up with “boring Arsenal”) and so the media simply reflect that attitude. Moaning about it is silly in my opinion, as is trying to get the media to change. You are basically asking people to change their personal opinions which just isnt going to happen.

    In years to come I can see change occuring, as younger fans who have grown up seeing AW’s teams win AND play great football mature and take jobs in the media.

  8. Paul C.

    Ignorant people don’t make such distinctions, they just group the Irish together trust me..

    But yes i agree that as soon as the dinosaurs have all died out, there will be no more blatant Manchester United or Liverpool biases

  9. The media also seem pretty pro Spurs at times – their win against 20E this evening will probably go down as one of the great feats of European football with some publications / pundits.
    I think I read somewhere, possibly on Myles Palmers site that Wenger gets a hard time from Brit journalists because he gives all his best scoops to their French counterparts.
    Myles should know, do not think I have ever seen him write a good word on Wenger

  10. Much more motivating to win when everyone is talking the club down. Look at L’pool. Always being tipped to finish above Arsenal, yet they have only put in a real challenge for the title once in the past 15 years and end up losing motivation. Yet when we are tipped for 4th and we finish higher we get slagged of for not being able to win it. Nothing is good enough, Arsenal are different and have changed a lot of things in PL with all these foreigners, youth academy and tippy tap football. We will only get praised as a club when we are winning something on a regular basis every year.

    I chose to ignore a lot of the critiscm, but I won’t go as far as not shaving 🙂

  11. Myles Palmer is a strange one. He is of course a die-hard Spurs fan, but got in with David Dein in his early years as a writer/journalist and so for a while had an “inside” scoop on Arsenal matters. Things seemed to go bad when Dein left the club and Palmer found himself shut out completely. A lot of people think Palmer is actually an Arsenal fan, which is quite amusing. He was simply a writer who got some scoops about Arsenal affairs for a couple of years and suddenly thought he was the expert on everything Arsenal. In the past few years Palmer seems to have been on a personal crusade to get Wenger sacked, probably because his book on Wenger didnt get him back into the inner circle of the club. Wnger doesnt give “scoops” to anyone and that infuriates Palmer, because he expected to be the guy who got all the scoops after writing his book.

  12. Interesting take on Myles Palmer – did not realise he is a Spurs fan but certainly knew he was not an Arsenal fan.Your take explains his seeming bitterness towards Wenger
    Never read his book but the reviews I have seen are not encouraging!
    I often read his blog and regularly take the exact opposite of what he writes as something approaching the truth.

  13. What the media prints or says about a Club is, in my opinion, vastly over-rated. The newspapers want to circulate, the TV broadcasters want the viewers/listeners to remember their names. For example, in the case of TV, viewers will remember (say) Alan Hansen for his player assassination, rather than his constructive criticism. Or Andy Gray for his boring attempts to make a simple game look like rocket science. The end result is that football supporters would be well advised not to assume that what they read or hear has much credence…..except in the minds of those in at the birth.

  14. There’s no doubt that the media have a huge influence on football fans and their opinions. Much of the the displeasure with Wenger from a section of Arsenal fans has been instigated by the press. Their constant ‘x years without trophies’ reminders, while ignoring the enormous strides the club has made in that time, have morphed into a concerted effort to turn fans against Wenger and force him out of Arsenal.

    As Paul C alluded to, much of the current football press grew up with the Liverpool and Man Utd as the dominant force and many have adopted one of those clubs. Arsenal’s financial strength, combined with their emerging youth talent, gives them enormous potential to become the dominant British club. Wenger has spearheaded this transformation; he is a huge threat to all those ‘Pool and Utd fans in the media.

  15. I listened to a radio program (Probably by Wright, not sure) where a caller railed(really railed) about AW and all his foreign players, and how English players are not being developed or played by AW! Being in the US, I was surprised to hear this on British radio. Is it the responsibility of AW to develop players for the England national team?
    It looks like we are fortunate here not to listen to all the anti-Arsenal commenters you have there. When I catch our games on line, I turn out the volume mostly.

  16. Well said that man.
    I watched the Spuds game on tv tonight, and was amazed at some of the decisions of the officials, unintentional handballs given at one end, but not given at the other.then when the so called experts analise the decisions after the game, they seem embarrased to come out and say what they realy beleive, had it been an arsenal game they would have slaughtered us, i advise Gooners everywhere, dont take any notice of them they know f all

  17. The negative attitude of the media cannot simply be dismissed as standard .
    We have recently discussed that the key area for growth for Arsenal is their commercial revenue where we are lacking behind our peers. Whilst we spend money to promote our brand, we have giant network media deliberately decrying it for free.
    SKY were at one point a 10% shareholder of Man Utd with the intention of purchasing the club before integrity was enforced upon them. The relationship stuck.
    Arsenal had Granada as 5% shareholder and this £56 million deal gave them access to our CL games freezing out sky. Granada being part of the ITV set up, were always the enemy of both SKY and The BBC so the club that had a close relationship with them was always going to be in the bad books of the larger broadcasters.

    I am looking forward to choosing a new razor and shave gel tomorrow. A change is as good as a rest.

  18. HI Gooner Murphy from that Land of Terrorist’s You people Just don’t get it! having Supported Arsenal since 1970 & worked In London living just across the road from the ground, the English media / Press See Arsenal as a forgien Club It use to be because of the large Irish support / Players we had,Now it’s Because we don’t have or breed English Players & worse of all A French Manager who Knows More about the game of Fooball than any of them ever will so complain to Sky,BBC,5live Lets have fare balanced Reporting of the facts “Come on the Gunners”

  19. Honest Bill or f-king stupid Bill.
    I was born in london with Irish parents moved back to ireland at 11 years of age, I was never accepted over there or in london, the accent was wrong in Ireland or my parents nationality was wrong in england.

    You are not whats wrong with football supporters but what is wrong with civilization.

    People support a football club because the love the club not the nationality of who plays for that club.

    seriously get a life.

    Honest Bill
    September 29th, 2010 at 9:11 pm
    Paul C

    Yes that would be nice. But you are forgetting that although we had a lot of English players, we also had a fair amount of Irish players in the seventies to hate.. You know that evil terrorist country?

  20. Better to be “hated” by pure jealousy (since Norris’ day) than “loved” for being a Fat Sam, ‘Arry, Pulis or superOaf Phil Brown(remember him?).Welcome to the ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE!!

  21. if it had been 1-1 last night, i bet some of the blogs wud have linked us with their keeper… :p

  22. Re Arsenal relations with the press – it was sated on the Sunday Supplement last weekend (yes, I know it’s on Sky) that Wenger is the only manager in the in the Premiership who does have particular favourites amongst the cadre of British journalists. There was general agreement amongst the journalists on the panel that they knew of no journalist who gets ‘taken out to dinner’ by Wenger in order to plant stories or get his views across via a particular favourite mouthpiece. The implication was strongly that all the others do exactly that – indeen the Sun jounalist who appears on the show about once a month actually shows off about his personal relationship with Chelsea and how he relishes the failure of other clubs. Martin Samuel of the Mail admits to being a West Ham fan etc. etc.
    The conclusion that you come to is that there is huge in-built bias that is natural and historic or has been cultivated by clubs/managers in order to get their point across. Arsenal appear to have adopted a completely neutral approach, treatinf all journalists the same – indeed they have always been known for providing the best reporting facilities and hospitality in the country. Presumabably the strategy is to be liked by everyone and loathed by no one. But it results in being loved by no one either – resulting in no journalist feeling any particular duty to provide blinkered support.
    Given that it’s bad news that sells newspapers (or creates clicks) and given that very little of what comes out of Arsenal (be it playing quality or finance) falls into that category then it has to be manufactured. Hence we end up with the situation which we believe we have.

  23. When it comes to viewing matches on tv, i must admit i don’t turn off the sound. Firstly it kills the atmosphere and secondly ever so often a commentator says something (even if trivial) that I didn’t know. So its ok for me.

    But I seriously don’t believe the opinions of the pundits and analysts they have on at half time etc.. They may have played the game but they do not know more about the laws and rules. Moreover, they all carry their inherent biases.. I listen to them talk about say wigan because i don’t know much about them. But when it comes to the Arsenal, they do not know more than me, or any other fan. How can they? We follow 1 club. they have to follow (at least notionally) several.
    Oh, that, and they are cowardly muppets who only dare to talk in cliches(not clichys) because everyone else is doing so. 🙂

  24. @red gooner,

    I think honest bill, in all his honesty, was actually being ironic. I would give him the benefit of the doubt at least.

  25. Not all media hate Arsenal- some support Arsenal-e.g a well known female Observer writer.

    Paul C- I cant quite believe that Myles Palmer is a Spud.he seems to be attached to us in some strange way. Whatever his site is its not an Arsenal news review- unless the intention is to make the reader suicidal. Your managers crap, your teams crap etc etc.

    The best way to treat a biased media is to starve them of information- stop talking to them. Stop offering intelligent comments to a bunch of pondlife whose only interest is to twist everything our manager says around. Let them write us off- the place to answer is on the pitch not in their papers or on the TV.

  26. I am happy this has come up as talking point as up until recently I believed that us Gooners had to just had to accept the poor standards of the media, but a few weeks ago I decided to speak up as I’d had enough of watching games on mute because it takes away from the game. So I fired off an email to ITV. I admit I could of constructed the rant better (I was seriously peeved), but I got my point across and felt better for it. At least ITV have got some feedback and my voice has been heard.

    I have pasted below email and response:-

    Thank you for your email regarding our Football Commentary

    I can confirm that your comments have been noted here at ITV Viewer Services

    May I take this opportunity to thank you for taking the time to contact us here at ITV



    ITV Viewer Services | ITV plc
    Tel: 0844 88 14150 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 0844 88 14150 end_of_the_skype_highlighting |
    Hours of Opening: 08.00 – 19.00 Mon-Fri, 10.00 – 19.00 Sat. Closed on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

    ITV plc Head Office Tel +44 (0) 20 7157 3000 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +44 (0) 20 7157 3000 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

    Please consider the environment before printing this email


    Sent: 16 September 2010 00:11
    To: ITV Viewer Services
    Subject: A/F Poor Football Commentary

    I have never officially complained about anything before to ITV, but felt stirred to do so by incredibly frustrating dialogue that proceeded the Arsenal Champions League game tonight. I will briefly outline below:-

    Adrian Chiles
    Firstly there was lazy and inaccurate soundbites from the studio which increasing highlights that Chiles is out of his depth and not suitable for live football coverage. His laid back approach (or tired due to the early mornings) is not in keeping with the excitement and air of expectancy that surrounds the prestige of the CL. I actually like the guy but he is much more suited to presenting a ‘highlights or clips’ show.

    Any Townsend
    Andy Townsend continually makes baseless and mindless comments about every thing. There is no questioning his footbally pedigree, because he has none and therefore not really qualified to be a comentator of european football. The quality of his punditry make you feel like your watching a championship or league 1 game. He uses phrases and a similies that are not easily interpreted and for the most part indecipherable. The CL could be considered one of ITV’s flagship shows, so why not have better quality in these key anchor roles? Andy Townsend does not provide much insight into a match watched moments ago and just comes across as the poor man’s Terry Venables. He is overly critical of Arsenal and unable to discuss a game on its individual merits in an unbiased way, proving time and time again that his position in the studio is redundant.

    The Running Commentary During The Game

    I have long learnt for the benefit of my health to turn the sound down on games, but I shouldn’t have to! Cliche, after cliche, no real attempt at any research, just regurgetation of Sun headlines and promotion of rumours and speculation (why must they talk about the Cesc/Barca thing every game?). It used be a respected skill or art form if you will, but now the live commentary actually seems a bit disconnected to the action taking place on the pitch. I wondering if it could be shaken up with different people? Fair enough they don’t have to like and appreciate the Arsenal style of play, but surely a more balanced or at least a less negative discussion can be asked of them throughout the game?

    The Saving Grace

    I will be the first to admit that I have been very shocked that I would ever care what Gareth Southgate has to say, but he has been a total revelation. He gives the ITV production an air of respectability as he is seems to be the only one in the studio that understands the rules of the games, deployed tactics and player mentalities. He is able to articulate his thoughts and opinions of a team, player and match to a commendable level. He is not afraid to say something different to the other people on the show and his analysis well communicated to the viewing audience.

    Matt Smith should really swap shows with Chiles, but for some reason his presenting talent is not given the recognition it deserves.

    I believe that if ITV were to invest in the show and make improvements, you would have more people tuning in and stay tuned in after the match, which would result in increased advertising revenue.

    I hope this feedback is passed to the people responsible for the show and not dismissed off hand. I don’t believe my views are in isolation and would willing participate in any other established feedback mechanism you might have in place for recording my concerns.

  27. RedGooner.

    I don’t see how the point you’re making?

    I didn’t say anything about supporting the team due to the nationality of the players, i was talking about the media’s perception of the team.

    Are you saying that people didn’t accept you over here because you’re Irish? because that pretty much reinforces what i was saying. The ignorant masses did not, back then think ‘oh don’t worry he’s from EIRE he’s fine.. There was very strong anti Irish feeling in England at the time…

    In fact i don’t quite understand why you felt the need to insult me, unless you thought i actually thought that Ireland was an evil country. If i gave that impression then i can assure you i didn’t intend to. I was just using rhetoric to make my point about why there might have been anti-Arsenal sentiment in the media during the seventies.

  28. Ok HONEST BILL you’ve clarified the remards Now get off your Butt and start writing to SKY BBC ITV 5 LIVE about the Dishonest way they treat our club Don;t forget the Press etheir

  29. I love listening to the shite commentary, I think up super cheesy quangos in my head whilst I am watching it and chuckle as I sit back and think;

    “Those guys are getting paid a mint for that!” 🙂 Hehe

  30. Here is another for the conspiracy list.
    During the Partizan match the big ad for Fifa10 came on except it was abbreviated to leave out all Arsenal images.
    At the end when they said “Whether you are 1,3,5 or 9, we will always be 11”
    The 7 in the original add is 7 hot girls(no doubt slagging our team off as being girls) but this part was removed for thsi cut of the add.
    Other teams are promoted but we are left out.

  31. There’s no question that some journalists are biased. Many times I read on Sunday reports which simply didn’t tally with what I saw with my own eyes. The fact that some did made me sure that I wasn’t mad………

    The first thing I suggest to all Arsenal fans is to assume that all ‘gossip’ in the Press is lies. If I could be bothered I would record all the ‘stories’ and mark them for accuracy within 12 months, on the basis that if a deal wasn’t done within 12 months then the story wasn’t worth it. You’d find almost nothing to be accurate……….

    The second is to ask whether it is only Sky. If you look at Hansen and Lawrenson on BBC and how they talked about LFC and Arsenal, you’d see a clear bias. It’s fine to say Arsenal weren’t as good as Man Utd in certain seasons, because it was true. But to consistently imply that Arsenal are about to implode and LFC are about to be champions isn’t consistent with a public sector broadcaster, which has a charter to be neutral. Lawrenson is far less biased than Hansen……….at least Arsenal can get their oar in with Dixon and Keown now………I guess the BBC now suggests that as long as a multiplicity of opinions are expressed, that’s fair. The thing is: Hansen gets more air time and is the senior pro in MOTD. And he’s biased. I must say I like the guy’s style, he was a superb player and a lot of his analysis is good. But he’s still LFC through and through………

    I must say I get less of the Sky bias as if you go to the pub, you only get the 90 minutes and none of the analysis pre match, half time and after the final whistle. There was some real shit about Walcott last year, a concerted campaign. It was a campaign to get him out of the World Cup. It worked………much good did it do the National Side, I must say…….

    It might also be well for some folks to draw up a list of journalists who write about Arsenal and find out who they support. You’ll find that it’s usually someone else if they write consistently anti-arsenal………difficulty is, they’re not required to answer your responses if they don’t feel like it.

    Ditto for ‘pundits’ on the telly.

    Just remember, it’s more important for Arsenal to get their oar in with pundits, as Arsene isn’t the rottweiler that Sir Alex is. And English isn’t his first language……….

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