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How the Daily Mail’s war against Arsenal treats fans as Neanderthals

By Tony Attwood

Here’s the view from the Daily Mail…

“It’s been such a miserable year again for Arsenal, you do genuinely wonder whether they’ll now be mired in mid-table mediocrity for years to come.   There will be no European football at the Emirates Stadium next season for the first time in a quarter-century and the post-Wenger regression continues apace.

“Mikel Arteta knew the scale of the rebuilding job that awaited him at his old club but it’s still been a hugely disappointing season and he’ll soon be gone if it continues in the next campaign.”

That is an absolutely damning comment on Arsenal, and undoubtedly the Mail has got a lot of its readers following that view, even though as a commentary on Arsenal last season it achieves the near impossible of ignoring every single fact and every single element of reality.

For example, it ignores the sensational improvement in the last two thirds of the season, which shows that far from pondering “whether they’ll now be mired in mid-table mediocrity for years to come” anyone with an ounce of understanding of Arsenal’s position will actually be pondering whether the club can maintain its sensational form improvement since Christmas.

P Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 25 21 0 4 64 20 44 63
2 Manchester United 25 13 9 3 45 23 22 48
3 Arsenal 24 14 5 5 43 21 22 47
4 West Ham United 24 13 5 6 41 28 13 44
5 Chelsea 24 12 6 6 29 22 7 42
6 Leicester City 24 11 6 7 42 33 9 39
7 Liverpool 24 11 5 8 32 23 38
8 Tottenham Hots 24 11 4 9 43 31 12 37

There is also that interesting phrase about “post-Wenger regression” – interesting since it comes from a newspaper that led the charge against Arsene Wenger and spent years telling us how awful he was.

Then there is the notion of “a hugely disappointing season” ignoring the phenomenal improvement in player form which led to the CIES analysis showing how “eight Arsenal players swept into the top 20 table in Europe”

The key to what the Mail is up to comes with the ending comment re Arteta, “he’ll soon be gone if it continues in the next campaign”.   It is unlikely that the owners, directors and executives of the Mail are quite as pathetically stupid as to believe this gibberish in the light of what the statistics shows.  But it is clearly a fact that the Mail expect their readers to believe it.

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And indeed they continue in the same vein…

“The only real optimism has come from the way youngsters Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe have stepped up and Arteta needs to be building the whole team around them.

“With the Kroenke owners attempting to paper over the widening cracks by signing up to the European Super League, fan anger is reaching boiling point.”

Of course none of this makes any sense, but that “paper over the widening cracks by signing up to the European Super League” really seems idiotic to the point of calling in the men in white coats.  Manchester City, who as we saw in the last report, can buy their way into winning almost any competition, also signed up.  So were they trying to paper over the cracks?  If so, what cracks?

It probably took Adam Shergold 30 seconds to write it, and his lack of knowledge is in part explained by the fact he is a Boston United fan who normally writes about lower league things.

But the Mail appears to have a vested interest in writing untruths about Arsenal.  And that I think is because that is how they feel football fans should be treated.

I reached this view when yesterday I presented the CIES findings to some Arsenal supporters and one immediately dismissed the statistics on the grounds that he’d seen stats showing that Arsenal had the best passing ability, but since all the passes were backwards, that was clearly nonsense, so all stats should be ignored.

Now that view is in fact a method of undermining much of our civilisation and returning us to the Stone Age in which pure emotion and being the biggest rules the day.  Analysis, facts and figures, detailed review… these are the things of modern civilisation.  Dismissing them in favour of “the evidence of my own eyes” really does return us to primitive times – which I suspect is the aim of the Daily Mail.

For sadly it is true, the Stone Age attitudes reign supreme in football journalism.  (I was going to write “Neanderthal attitudes” but that would be an insult to Neanderthals).

The four dangers that could stop Arsenal’s return to greatness

7 comments to How the Daily Mail’s war against Arsenal treats fans as Neanderthals

  • Zedsaunt

    Reality doesn’t happen with the Daily Mail. It’s a balloon, an adjunct to a description of the world. To be read.

    It’s amazing to go around the UK on public transport and see the readers of the Mail, better still, on a Sunday find a cafe, the radio plays music that you all know and have heard a thousand times, the menu hasn’t changed for decades, the only paper available for customers to read is the Mail, you ask yourself what country am I living in?

    Mr Wenger was a foreigner. Every word used to describe him came from a lexicon designed to open into a series of assumptions. Nothing was left to chance. The Daily Mail is a daily report from a foreign country.

    Thanks again Tony for the article.

  • Nitram

    The article seems beyond laughable but the saddest thing is a lot of our fans will believe it.

    And not only that we still have posters who constantly deride us as paranoid over the media with claims that all clubs get treated the same.

    Of course they do.

  • mick shelley

    Arsenal are in such a terrible place and our managers and players are so useless that we have only won FOUR FA cups in the last eight years.
    This is clearly a disgrace and cannot be tolerated.
    But hang on a minute.
    Shouldn’t the Mail be writing this crap about other more deserving clubs who have won bugger all in the last eight years and counting.
    Spurs immediately springs to mind, (one measly League Cup in the last 30 years, no League title for 60 years) yet they appear to escape the vitriolic criticism we have to put up with.
    All they get is the occasional slightly critical article written in an understanding sympathetic style, not the savage demolition jobs we are subjected to.
    I should be used to it by now at 77 years of age, but it still makes my blood boil.

  • Nitram

    mick Shelly

    You took the words right out of my mouth.

    I don’t mind the odd bit of criticism. We as a club, the owners, the managers and the players, none are perfect. But as you say, the vitriol with which the criticism against us is delivered is astonishing.

    Yes of course all clubs get a bit of criticism but none like us, and some as you say such as Spurs it could be argued do actually warrant some vitriolic criticism because quite honestly their recent history is diabolical.

    I’m still waiting for those guys who claim we’re paranoid to show us why we are. Aint gonna happen.

  • John L

    I would expect nothing but crap from the Daily Mail on any subject.

    However disappointing the outcome of the season, it should also be remembered how VAR had a negative impact on Arsenal, in addition to the disadvantages caused by the selective failure to refer to VAR over marginal calls which might have gone in our favour.

  • Absolutely with you on that Mick

  • Emilio

    Sir Henry Norris gave The Daily Fail a tough time! That should explain everything.