By Tony Attwood
Before during and after the quarter final match involving Arsenal, Talk Sport which had the licence to broadcast the radio commentary for the game could have mentioned that a win for Arsenal would keep them at the top of the semi-final appearances table. They might have noted that Arsenal have won the FA cup more than any other club. They might have mentioned, in summary, that Arsenal were, and are, the most successful FA Cup team in the history of football.
But no, instead they focused on what they called “the notoriously leaky Gunners’ defence.”
As we showed in yesterday’s article that was drivel pure and simple. Arsenal’s defence has let in the same number of goals as Tottenham and Chelsea – they are equal eighth. For their comment to be valid they should be saying the same thing about the defences of those two clubs.
They might have also mentioned that Sheffield United have the third best defence in the league (better indeed than Manchester City’s defence) and we put a couple past them.
But no, it was “notoriously leaky Gunners’ defence.” I suppose in return we could call Talk Sport the “notoriously inaccurate sports station” but if we did we would be falling into the same nonsense area as Talk Sport themselves – making a judgement without having access to most of the facts. This is one inaccuracy from the sprout. I get the impression they are constantly useless in the matter of facts, but I’d need to have the details to say that.
However the number of semi-final appearances is a matter of fact – and that, during the broadcast, they utterly failed to mention. They could have slipped it in (perhaps instead of the inaccurate comment about defences) but no. TalkSprout is institutionally anti-Arsenal, so no, they wouldn’t do that. Here, again, are the facts, in this case the total of semi-final appearances including this season…
|West Bromwich Albion||20||10||10|
But it is not just TalkSprout. This is what the media does all the time; they give give wild, raving, inaccurate, unsubstantiated opinions as fact, and even when (I suspect) half the listeners could point out that this is gibberish, they just keep going, never researching to get the facts right in the first place, never correcting the vast number of errors they make, and never ever apologising for misleading.
Of course if they were equally negative in the handling of each club then we could all ignore them all the time, but by and large the jabberers and scribblers tend to be negative about Arsenal but more positive about Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and to a lesser degree Manchester United.
If we take the current situation in which Arsenal may well drop out of Europe next season, this is being reported as if it has never happened to a big club before – it is the ultimate demise and collapse of Arsenal. And yet as recently as 2016/17 Liverpool were out of Europe. Same for Chelsea. Same for Man U in 2014/15.
Yes there has been applause for Liverpool this season for their achievement – and quite right too. But the 30 years gap since the last league title is somehow reinvented as a badge of honour rather than a note as to how far down the order they slumped. As pointed out the other day Arsenal, who are now portrayed as hopeless, have won four titles in those 30 years including one in a previously thought impossible: unbeaten league season. And in terms of cup wins, Arsenal have become the most successful at that. But mention it? No – defensive myths were the order of the day.
The fact is that the last time we got this far in the Cup it was 2017 when we beat Manchester City 2-1 in the semis and went on to win the trophy thus achieving the record number of wins for the club, and for a single manager in terms of Mr Wenger.
So two questions: why does the media not bother with facts, and why does it dislike Arsenal so?
The lack of facts can only be pure and absolute laziness and a total unwillingness to do their job in a professional manner. A bunch of biased shirkers is the best way to describe them.
As for the bias, much of this can be traced right the way back to the earliest days of broadcasting in the 1930s, when the BBC began doing commentaries on football matches on radio. Despite the fact that the person doing the commentary was an Arsenal director, Herbert Chapman didn’t like the broadcasts, and he persuaded the rest of the Arsenal board that the broadcasts were harming the club and so should be stopped. A board meeting was held without George Allison, the Arsenal director and radio commentator, and the vote was passed that the BBC should not be allowed into Highbury any more.
Quite why Chapman took such an extreme view is not at all clear. He certainly had the board in the palm of his hand, having delivered Arsenal’s first three trophies, and he may have been having a private battle with Allison over something which neither of them chose to reveal in their respective writings. Or Chapman may have believed that the broadcasts allowed other teams to understand better Arsenal’s tactics. Certainly the point that Chapman and the board made public – that it was harming the level of the crowd at Arsenal games – is not backed up by any evidence.
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