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Football: the huge problem that simply will not go away

By Tony Attwood

Super League logo 2017.jpgI am regularly taken to task for going on and on about the same subject over and over.  At the moment it is the impact of the media on the debate about the arrival of Super League that is occupying my thoughts.  In the past the same objections have arisen in terms of my writing about…

a) The way refereeing is arranged in the Premier League and the bias of referees

b) The fact that the English media don’t cover the situation within Fifa and the legal action that has been running on against for years and years when the media in Europe does.

c) Transfer rumours and the fact that something like 97% of them turn out to be untrue but the same process goes on and on – each writer citing some other publication that has mentioned the transfer first.

d) The way the stadia in Qatar have been built and how, although the media rightly supports the Black Lives Matter campaign it has made no mention of the use of slave labour

e) How referees are very uneven in their treatment of clubs through calling fouls and giving yellow cards, and how Leicester used tactics to trick referees over tackles and penalties – but it suddenly stopped when we pointed this out!

f) The refusal to recognise that Arsenal have been repeating and repeating the same approach to overcome its present difficulties rather that recognise that this approach of recent years has not worked.

g) How Xhaka was attacked and attacked by fans and media alike for his performances when he had the best statistics of anyone in the current Arsenal team.

h) How there have been regular demands that Arsenal need to change its defence when in fact we have one of the best defences in the league.

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In fact what often happens is that when one of those eight topics is selected and I am admonished for writing about it again there is invariable a lot more to say about a topic than can be put in one article.  Nor indeed that because few other people are writing about this topic this means that if one thinks it is important, one has to write about it a lot to get it noticed.

Of course, I would also point out that unlike most blogs Untold has a name that was specifically chosen to reflect what it was going to do: “Untold” as in covering stories that most of the media doesn’t touch.  And when that is the case, then the stories need to be covered from every angle possible – since no one else is doing it.

And that’s what it comes down to.  With a topic such as the way PGMO and its allies are twisting statistics to try and show that referees are doing a great job, and are not (for example) unduly influenced by the crowd, with everyone else just ignoring that subject, all the articles on it need to be covered by Untold – or at most Untold and a few other blogs.  If we don’t touch it, most of the time no one does.

Plus of course the media is doing what we are accused of doing.  Endlessly harping on about the same topic!

But at least everyone has a choice.  People don’t have to read Untold.  I’m glad when you do, because it means we can have a debate, but there’s no obligation.

As things stand at the moment, we have a reality in which the media likes, and indeed needs, a crisis.  Indeed the bigger the crisis the better.   A crisis increases circulation and readership and if one can be created without spending money on research or taking up the time for some original thinking, so much the better.

At the moment the crisis in football is being developed further and further with headlines such as “How can we ever work with these people again?” (concerning Super League) from the Athletic.

They then make the point that, “The interim judgment the European Super League obtained in a Madrid court on Tuesday, on the very eve of its collapse, is seen as a big step towards confirming the right for a breakaway to exist and rival the established competitions run by UEFA and FIFA.”

That, they say, “goes further in challenging the dominance of the football governing bodies than any previous attempts.”

But just because the clubs have the right to form their own breakaway group that doesn’t mean that the English six will leave the Premier League and join the new league, nor that the mainstream leagues won’t throw them out.

The Athletic argues that, “Legal fights between governing bodies and upstart competitions have been fought before, with courts recently coming down on the side of promoting more competition in wrestling and ice skating, among others.”

So they argue it might not be all over yet.   But what they have not considered is how many fans would see this as an absolute betrayal of their club and of football in general.  Supposing the courts said yes the Super League could go ahead, and the clubs decided to have another go, would all the fans and players who have been getting very angry simply say, “OK, we’ll watch the Super League in that case.”

Would the clubs then be pushed out of their domestic competitions?  Would players risk not being picked for their country?   The Mail is reporting that if the case goes to court, the breakaway clubs will be likely to get all they want.

Which will mean the power will be with the fans.  Do we walk away from Arsenal if Arsenal is part of the new Super League?  Now that is an interesting question.

8 comments to Football: the huge problem that simply will not go away

  • Nitram

    Tony

    I was lucky enough to come across Untold Arsenal I think it was about 10 years ago, and have been an avid reader and poster ever since. I utterly agree with it’s/your underlying principles and points of view and support you in much of, if not everything you say.

    I just want to say that personally I would take the accusation that you repeat yourself, or basically, and to put it in laymen’s terms, you keep ‘banging on about’ something, as a compliment, because it takes a certain amount of stoicism to keep swimming against the tide, no matter how fierce the waters, no matter how strong the current, and you have it.

    All I can say is Tony, just keep ‘banging on’ because if you don’t I don’t know who will.

  • Michael

    Keep up the great work Tony! I believe these past 15 months have thrown sport-tradition into jeopardy (stateside we play 7 inning baseball games now on occasion and no one blinks, NFL going to 17 games, etc…). I wholly accepted the ESL and our participation, at the end of the day past-times are meant to pass time in an entertaining fashion. I still don’t understand the vitriol against it on behalf of UEFA (who else was bound to lose?) from the fans. As a consumer, more quality matches to watch, more money for my club to waste on agent fees and the odd transfer, and (BONUS) a reduction in UEFA’s power!

  • Ando

    For me, Untold is a unique voice in the wilderness…raising discussion points that no other media source seems to be bothered about, which is to be applauded.
    The vast amounts of money at the ‘top’ of the game & in the gambling industry associated with it, has made it into a farce attracting the worst kind of carpetbaggers.
    Even yesterday’s result at Wembley brings no satisfaction at Spurs’ defeat, since the vast wealth at City’s disposal just means ‘business as usual’. MoTD has become meaningless as a window on the game, with pundits careful to parrot the same old guff.
    I’ve just about lost interest in the pro game and am going to follow Mousehole FC next season.
    Keep up the good work, Tony

  • Dec

    Stand tall and proud Sir.
    Untold serves a worthy purpose and has done so for a good many years. From supporting Arsène against the looney brigade to standing against PGMOL, from highlighting the scandal that is the Qatar WC to opposing the attempt to turn the greatest sport on the planet into an American NFL style sport/pantomime.
    ‘Banging on about something’ is another way of saying ‘having a consistent viewpoint’. Would there was more consistency in the modern world instead of the more usual flitting to whatever populist nonsense looks shiniest attitude.
    Untold has opinions on matters it deems important, it consistently articulates those opinions and offers evidence in support. More than that, it encourages reasoned debate be it for or against and rejects the unsubstantiated, frivolous, nonsense that other less worthy, populist publications spew out.
    Thank you for being steadfast.
    Thank you for being fair.
    Thank you for being the standard to which others should aspire.

    To answer your final paragraph question, after supporting Arsenal for almost 51 years I found myself last week for the first time trying to figure out how does one stop supporting their team. Don’t think there’s a form for that. I hadn’t come up with a solution before I was rescued from the task with the collapse of the ESL. What I discovered was that supporters can’t get transfers, supporters can’t resign, supporting a club is a life sentence. That’s our greatest strength and our greatest weakness. It’s what Stan hates about us and yet depends on.
    ‘Arsenal til I die’ as my Sunderland friends sort of say.

  • Mikey

    I’m with the others. I also found UA about a decade ago and it was such a relief to find that it wasn’t just myself and the people with whom I attended games who held these views about the media, the authorities, referees, etc.

    I noticed recently a couple of posts saying you were repeating yourself and that this was boring. My immediate thought was, “why read it then”. There are plenty of other blogs out there…….I’m led to believe!

    The message you are banging on about (as Nitram so succinctly outs it!) is a message that is being ignored and needs to be repeated. The more we can spread the word the more likely something will change. Anybody who thinks you said it once so should stop, simply hasn’t understood. I admire the commitment and hard work and 100% support it. Thanks.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I do believe that UA has made a difference in the way fans think about the Arsenal.
    I don’t read nor follow any particular media outlet of blog .

    But I do like to follow this particular thinking man’s blog . That is whenever I can , as I prefer to read it at work , and not from my phone.

    Do keep up the posting of Untold stuff , so that we too may learn new things. Ignore the morons and others who like to wander occasionally in an attempt to derail us.

  • Walter Broeckx

    Keep up the good work Tony!

  • Derek Paget

    Hear,hear, hear – to all the above. Keep on keeping on, Tony – where would we be without you?
    From a rare poster, but a regular reader!