Even by their own awful standards, yesterday’s radio commentary was dire

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…

Team Appearances Won Lost To play
Arsenal 30 20 9 1
Manchester United 30 20 9 1
Everton 26 13 13
Liverpool 24 14 10
Chelsea 24 13 10 1
Aston Villa 21 11 10
Tottenham Hotspur 21 9 12
West Bromwich Albion 20 10 10
Blackburn Rovers 18 8 10
Newcastle United 17 13 4
Sheffield Wednesday 16 6 10
Wolverhampton Wanderers 15 8 7
Manchester City 15 11 3 1

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.



10 Replies to “Even by their own awful standards, yesterday’s radio commentary was dire”

  1. Tony,..mate.
    There can often be prejudice against Arsenal in the press. Often seems uncalled for and misrepresentative but accept it. We can’t control people’s points of view.

    Also, I see quite a lot of comments from ex-players showing Arsenal massive respect as a club. Only Paul Scholes and Mark Lawrenson can’t tap into anything praiseworthy.
    Enjoy reading Lawro’s predictions that Arsenal are going to lose, possibly draw. Let it cheer you up. Because he is often wrong.

    In short, don’t worry what people think.

  2. Tom, I think you are not taking into account the effect of the constant negativity that the media puts out, on the supporters. While you and I may live in realities in which what the papers etc say does not matter, this is not the case for many supporters who, on seeing and hearing negative reports all day long, start to believe it. Then, encouraged by social media such as AFTV they start to produce banners demanding the manager should go, or start booing individual players, or both, and from there on players who have several clubs to choose from when they are thinking of moving, decide that Arsenal is going to be the last on their lists because they are such a shambles.

    So it is not the effect on me that is at issue, but on the public at large and on players.

  3. Similar treatment in BBC MOD2 highlights: Dion Dublin, Gabby Logan and Alex Scott (another example of a former Arsenal player conforming to the media anti-Arsenal narrative.)

    In their summary:- Arsenal have good young players, but they are hampered by lack of suitable role models among senior players: defence has been weak for more than a decade, Mikel Arteta is a good coach, but is denied the backing from the Board which is needed to allow him to buy outstanding players, including two dominant central defenders.

    Dublin added that world class players don’t want to sign for Arsenal because it has no chance of trophies (forgetting that we are in FA Cup semi-final for a record time) – not because of the hostile media bias, the unfair treatment by referees and the increased chances of being kicked out of the game or being red-carded which result.

    Their summary appeared to follow an editorial line that was expecting (hoping) that we would lose, and that Sheffield United “getting in their faces and effective set-pieces approach” would defeat us. It must have been disappointing for them that we won.

    Finally, an honourable mention for Paul Tierney (not Kieran’s cousin, surely?) for a fair performance. He could have been stricter with issuing cards, but did not exhibit the anti- Arsenal bias which we have come to expect. No way would Dean, Taylor, Atkinson, Moss etc. have awarded our (perfectly justified penalty) so decisively, if at all. Also the VAR was operated correctly on this occasion.

  4. Why would anyone take notice of box tickers Dublin and Scott? Disappointed you have not said anything about Arsenal and other clubs kowtowing to a neoMarxist organisation that is basically supporting anarchy in the US and UK. I for one, will not be renewing my season ticket as I will not be indoctrinated by the FA or Arsenal. I would have liked to see how the fans would have reacted to the recent BLM shirt wearing and ‘taking the knee’, the powers that be only took that option in empty stadia because they knew they would get away with it.

  5. For your information.My email addess change from jnsfourie@ngelarduspark.org.za to kfourie06@gmail.com I try again.Indirecly linked to the subject.Well,well, well. Al doom, gloom and shame for Guendouzi and Arsenal from all over. Not to condone wrong action but just a little bit of realim and perspective (how refreshing!) from Jamie Redknapp. “…it happens. It happened since day dot in football and it will always happen.

  6. Tom

    There you go again talking rubbish.

    Of course it affects the fans and in turn the team and fans like you who are prepared to just let it continue unchallenged a joke.

    Stop being part of the problem and get a back bone.

  7. Tony while you have valid reasons for calling out the media bias, it is giving them publicity that is not warranted. I think it is better to create our own in headlines.

    Untold success in the FA cup by Arsenal.
    Untold wealth of Arsenals youth process.
    Untold bias by officials selective vision.
    Untold PGMOL invisible ethnic minorities.
    Untold broadcasts of lies lies and more lies.

    The headlines do not publicise but get the reader curious. It is quite strange seeing PGMOL taking a knee considering their very curious organisation.

  8. During and after the Norwich vs Man Utd game , I learned from the commentators that Man Utd would reach an unique record of 30 appreances in the FA Cup , if the won . This was constantly being drummed into my skull, ad nauseam.

    Somehow I seemed to have missed the fact that Arsenal would also be achieve it, if we were to win . Which we did . But no ackowledgement of this fact was forthcoming .

    Or I may have totally missed it , what with me constantly ignoring the crap commentary , and useless pre , halftime and post game prattle ,as is often my wont !

    While we are lauding the Arsenal’s record , let it be not forgotten that in winning the old first division in the 1990 -1991 season , we lost only ONE league game.
    And conceding only 17 goals in the process .

    By the way , anyone mentioning that we have been in the top division since 1919 ?

    Untold facts matter !

  9. A woman gets cheated by her husband.

    Devastated, she doesn’t know how to continue to live her life. She hears that there’s a very wise monk who lives up in a mountain, and decides to go there to consult him.

    After few days of traveling, walking, climbing, she reaches the top and meets the wise monk. “I have spent my whole life with him, my youth was dedicated to support him, take care of him. And now he has left me for a young woman. My life is stolen, and I’m left with nothing. I don’t know what to do”.

    The monk gives her a cookie and asks her to eat it. After she finishes eating, he asks: “Was the cookie delicious?” “Yes”- she answers. “Do you want another one?” “Sure, please”. The monk looks her in the eye and says “Do you see the problem now?”

    The woman thinks for a while, and then slowly speaks. “I guess human nature is greedy. You got one, then you want more, maybe a new one, bigger one. It’s never enough. And nothing lasts forever, everything is impermanence. We should be aware and not disappointed by that”.

    The monk shakes his head. “No, I mean you are too fat, you should eat less.”

    Not all posts have a spiritual lesson !

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