By Tony Attwood
In the UK, as indeed in America and some West European countries, we tend to hold our opinions in very high regard. We take our opinion or view as an ultimate reality. I see it this way, I think my view is right, and so I am right!
Extend this one step, and if you hear someone espouse the opposite view, then that person is an idiot. It is self-evidently so, because one’s own view is right, and the other person can’t see it.
Out of this comes “fake news”. A person in the USA hears a report that says that America has had more deaths from coronavirus than any other country and simply denounces it as “fake news”, without any enquiry into the facts, is delivering the standard “I’m right you are wrong, I don’t need to know anything else,” view.
Roy Keane did this on Sky Sports, after hearing Aubameyang call his manager “Mikel”. Keane said on Sky Sports, “They didn’t show him respect when they called him by his name Mikel. He is the manager, the boss, the gaffer. That’s respect. Not ‘Mikel’.”
There’s no evidence presented, no background, no nothing. Just a statement. Keane is saying, “I am right, this is definitive, trust me I know.” And the notion that respect can be defined through the use of one word is a very narrow measure. For most people I think respect comes from much deeper than that.
The trouble with this approach is that first, the asserted statement could be wrong, and so would be misleading. But there’s no time to establish that because already we are onto another false statement and another and another.
Take the case of Elneny, which we have looked at a few times already. A number of people said he was useless. The only reason I could see given was that he didn’t pass the ball forward. I then remembered Gilberto who was known for sideways passes. Not a bad model.
But supposing Elneny’s job was to break up attacks, to intercept, to do quick tackles if necessary, and then pass the ball to an accurate long-distance passer.
Now we really are back to Gilberto Silva. When he first came to Arsenal he got negative publicity, first because most people didn’t understand the “invisible wall” concept, and second because Gilberto was adjusting to Arsenal and his fellow players. But fortunately Wenger knew how to shield his players from the immediate statements and conclusions that poured out from the media and fanbase, and Gilberto’s confidence grew.
I am not saying that Elneny is Gilberto, but I am saying that he is the sort of player whose value to the team can be missed by people like the Keane chap, who love to make immediate points. Keane might have been a great player but he is not a great at understanding other people and helping them develop, which might explain why he has been so awful as a manager. With Sunderland he had a win rate of 42% while at Ipswich he had a win rate of 34.6%.
Mikel Arteta after 40 games has a win rate of 57.5%. Unai Emery after 78 games had a win percentage of 55.13%. Arsene Wenger after 1,235 games had a win rate of 57.25%. Even Bruce Rioch who is not generally held in high regard as a manager of Arsenal had a win rate of 46.81% from his 47 games and so was better than Keane. But it is Keane’s voice that is heard.
I’m not saying someone like Keane should not be paid for his opinions, but it would be good if TV and radio could balance that with the opinions of someone who has been successful in football.
But the media seems to like opinion, because facts are very inconvenient.
- The home and away scandal: ignorance, or cover up?
- The reason why Liverpool and Man C are ahead of Arsenal.
- How which referee a club gets has a major impact on the result of each game
- The statistical evidence that shows PGMO are biased against Arsenal
- How European football has taken up the fight against clubs breaking FFP