The anti-Arsenal conspiracy. Here’s the evidence.

By Tony Attwood

Untold Arsenal began publishing in January 2008 – over 13 years ago, and from the early days one of our themes was that the media had a particularly negative attitude toward Arsenal.

That negativity has continued, but really, there never has been the level of assault on Arsenal such as we are seeing going on at this very moment.

Of course the negativity didn’t start in 2008 – the media has been against Arsenal from the earliest days for a number of reasons, the most obvious of which was that  League football was originally a north of England and West Midlands affair, and it was Arsenal who brought the professional game to London.

At that time (1893) the main coverage of football in the papers was, inevitably, totally northern based and so the journalists, responded to their readers’ feelings by showing a strong anti-London prejudice.  Players in the south were soft, the cockney crowds didn’t understand the game, Londoners always thought they were superior, the London government didn’t treat the north and the west midlands fairly, and if a southern team beat a northern team, it must have been through cheating and referee bias.

Matters got worse in 1913 when the Arsenal chairman Henry Norris went to watch a Liverpool match, and found the spectacle so outrageous that he openly alleged match fixing in a subsequent newspaper article.  The League (with its HQ in the north west in those days) did not take kindly to this sort of reporting and rather than investigate the game, they instead warned Norris that if he ever repeated the allegations in terms of any match, he would be banned from football for life!

The League officials probably regretted that action when, after further match fixing allegations the following season, in 1915 another Liverpool match was so blatantly fixed that the bookies refused to pay out to any punters who had placed a bet on the game.  Uproar ensued, during which Henry Norris never once said, “I warned you”.

The League did eventually find the match was fixed (it would have been impossible not to), but the only people punished were the players.  The management of the clubs, who must have been aware as anyone as to what was going on, were let off without any blemish on their esteemed names.

The media of course never forgave Norris for making chumps out of them, and nor did the bookies, after Norris took a bill through Parliament prohibiting gambling on football matches.  Nor did the League clubs forgive Arsenal – especially when Norris brought Chapman to the club and Arsenal became the first southern team to win the league.  Indeed in that nine year spell Arsenal won the league five times and the Cup twice.

The media however finally got their revenge after the second world war when Arsenal’s manager from 1919 to 1925, Leslie Knighton, published his autobiography which was in part serialised in a Sunday paper.

By then Knighton was very short of cash, and when the paper demanded dirt on Arsenal, he happily gave it, not least because Norris had by then passed away and could not fight back.

It was a cowardly act by Knighton and subsequent investigation into his claims shows he made most of them up, (although many writers still write up Arsenal’s history as if the allegations were true.)  But the Hill-Wood clan who now ran the club were the people who had forced Norris out, and so did nothing to set the record straight.

And even today the media still fight these ancient battles, as for example with a piece in the Daily Mirror in March last year with the headline “Inside England’s match fixing scandal that involved Man Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal”.

The article has nothing about any match fixing by or involving Arsenal, but that didn’t stop them running the headline!  And the headline was all they needed to spread the word – although as author of the definitive history of Henry Norris at the Arsenal I can tell you there is not one shred of evidence to back up the claim that Arsenal were involved in any match fixing.

Today the media are playing a different game, but one that is equally devious and equally intended to show Arsenal in a bad light.    Quite simply they are telling us that last season was appalling and that there are no reasons to believe that Arsenal can do any better next season unless half the team (or more) are changed.

What they will not tell their listeners and readers is that for the last two thirds of the season Arsenal were the second best performing team in the league)

What’s more, the highly regard Football Observatory figures show that eight Arsenal players were in the top 20 Premier League performers in the final month of the season.

Here is the table of the league for the last two thirds of the season, in case you have not seen it before.  

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

I think this battle with the media knocking Arsenal will continue because it is cheap and easy to run.   Meanwhile Untold will continue to report the media’s behaviour, because, if we don’t, I’m not sure many others will do.  If you find it boring, sorry, but I find it very important to fight back.

12 Replies to “The anti-Arsenal conspiracy. Here’s the evidence.”

  1. Strongly agree, and that Simon Mullock (*cough* bollocks *cough*) guy in The Mirror just writes absolute pro-City crap all the time.

  2. Tony

    Despite these pages and pages of evidence you produce showing this endless stream of Arsenal negativity in the media, much of it exaggerated or just plain untrue, we still get posters like Tim Hogan, A Man City fan and seemingly a decent guy, claiming he sees this type of whinging everywhere. (See Pepe article) He said:

    “With respect to your recent articles regarding the press “bashing your team” I can read this sort of article widely on almost any fan website”.

    Well that may be so but we, or rather you Tony, don’t just say it, you produce the evidence to support what you claim.

    Do the others? We have Arsenal fans that come here who are similarly dismissive. I repeatedly ask them to show an equivalent about of criticism that is similarly fake and similarly vitriolic in nature. I am still yet to see one single response, ever !!

    We all know of course that every club gets criticised at some point and probably deserve it, as do we at times, but none, I repeat none come close to getting what we get.

    Or perhaps they do ? Perhaps the amiable Tim Hogan can point us in the direction of similarly relentless, fake and vitriolic abuse to what we get, aimed at someone else, after they’ve stuffed the Chavs of course 😉

  3. So, the anti-Artetal media journalistic journalism in the media, and the PGMO anti-Arsenal match officiating refereeing in Arsenal Premier League games us the Arsenal fans have been witnessing that have all refused to abate to go away altogether didn’t come or happened out of the ordinary.

    But has a much deeper Northern and Midland of England hatred, jealousy, envy and vengeance origin root to it against Arsenal FC. Than it is thought it’s just an envious kind of a thing by the Arsenal fans. But who are not English natives and may not know the deep root of English football history that’s behind the constant journalists anti-Arsenal attacks in the media.

    But since this is the case behind the media constantly knocking Arsenal FC. Which the Untold Arsenal (Story) has now openly revealed to the public to know. So that the neutrals who have not yet known what is it that is actually behind the English media journalists constantly knocking of Arsenal is all about will now start to know what is behind it.

    But whatever be the case, as regard to the now revealed journalists motives behind their constantly knocking of Arsenal FC in the media. My take on this is, Arsenal should however draw strength from the journalists anti-Arsenal stance in the mainstream media. And move forward from the unrelenting media toxic onslaught against Arsenal FC continuing with doing their things as they deemed them fit to do them always moving the club forward to the next level in football matters.

  4. Well, as was an absolute certainty before kick off, a hugely wealthy football club bought yet another trophy………

  5. Surely it’s where arsenal are at the end of the season that’s important.
    There’s no trophy for being good for two thirds of the season. One thing is certain, 8th isn’t good enough for arsenal. Also, we’re behind teams such as Leicester and West Ham, teams that have not spent more than us and barely ahead of teams such as Leeds and Aston Villa who have spent less than us.

    Regarding the press, they speculate and print all sorts of gossip about all clubs- so what? That’s their job and they speculate in particular about arsenal because it’s a big club.
    We should be flattered.

  6. I don’t agree with that point Kingsmurf, and I’m sorry I have not expressed my thoughts clearly. I’ll write a new article, quote your comment and then answer it as best I can.

  7. Following the Champions League Final, did anyone notice the hobnobbing of the officials with the Chelsea players and management?

    It was so damned obvious that the calls went Chelseas way including the penalty claim and the Red card challenge on de Bruyne that fractured his cheek and eyesocket. The consistent fouling on Mahrez and Sterling being held and obstructed.

    The very obvious bias needs to be addressed.

  8. If every ‘BIG’ club is expected to do well in their respective leagues , where does it leave their respective countries ? I suppose that they too are expected to win everything on show . Please explain England’s showing in the European and the World stages . Take your time !

  9. A non blonde neighbour was telling all and sundry that it was very much safer to fly if you were married . When asked how she came to that conclusion ,she responded , ” I read a report on the worst airplane disasters in history, and it said that in all of them , every single passenger perished !”

  10. And since I’m on a roll…. Female flight attendant : ” Can I offer some free head phones ?” Guy : ” Definitely , but how did you know my name is Phones ?”

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