The central theme of this last season was the change in the way newspapers report football. The Times preoccupation was rewriting the news – in one case (Bugduv) they even went so far as to remove previous entries on the story from old pages of their web site. Just as KGB Fulham do with their fans forum when unwelcome comments are made.
The Mirror and the Mail work a different way – take a story, run it, get the denials, and then run it again a few weeks later. The Arshavin contract story is a perfect example. Here’s my top 10.
1: Hull Spitty and their “manager” Brown. They were admired for their attacking style, and applauded at many grounds, until their idiot manager sat the players on the pitch at half time and waved his finger at them. Went on to make wild allegations all over the place including the notorious spittlegate incident. Regularly hauled up before the FA who regularly bottle dealing with his outbursts, allegations. He has proved that you can make any allegation to take attention away from your own misdemeanors
2: The Tiny Totts. If it weren’t for the fact that they do it each season they would be the laughing stock for their predictions that they are about to break into the top 4.
3: Manchester Arab. About to buy Kaka for £100m they found that, as Bob Dylan said, “when money doesn’t talk it swears”. Kaka didn’t want to be sworn at so went to Real Mad at half the price. Spent the whole of the year claiming to be signing God and his Son but they meandered through the Oooze rather than walking on water.
4: Daily Mirror. Arsenal will buy Peter Crouch to replace Adebayor it said in the summer of 2008. Even more oddly in May this year The Mirror ran the story again without a trace of post-modern irony.
5: The Times. Having told us that West Ham were safe and had been rescued so much that they now had a £20m transfer kitty, the next day they changed the story and said that West Ham were about to go bust and that they could reveal that the new owners were actually the same as the old owners. Only they forgot to tell us that it was they who ran the original story. Stand up Winston Smith – 1984 is here and this is your Times.
6: The Times (again). I’ve done this story before, but its a beaut. In January this year The Times published a list of up and coming giants of the game and included at number 30 (and I quote exactly)… Masal Bugduv (Olimpia Balti) “Moldova’s finest, the 16-year-old attacker has been strongly linked with a move to Arsenal, work permit permitting. And he’s been linked with plenty of other top clubs as well”. He doesn’t exist.
7: Newcastle Zebras and their owners offered on EBay. Need I say more?
8: Spirit of Shankly. A Liverpool supporters group that generally does good stuff and cares about the tradition of its club. I may not like Liverpool but I can admire genuine support. So it was a bit of a shame that at their end of season bash this year they had a comedian on stage who did a long piece making fun of the Munich air disaster. Spirit say that the man was not invited but just got on stage. Maybe. But he stayed there for 15 minutes, according to reports. Not very clever after taking the moral high ground over Hillsborough.
9: The FA and the EPL. Faced with clubs on the edge of bankruptcy they do nothing. And then again, nothing. After that they did nothing, and then just to make sure we got the measure….
10: Arshavin wants contract talks. The Daily Mail ran this story in May, and then they ran it all over again in June – and as with the Mirror rerunning the Crouch story so they forgot to tell us that this was a reprint.
What did I miss?
Next up – Real Madrid’s finances. It is either the work of the insane or they have found a way to buy players for nothing. I’m running out of envelope backs in trying to work out which.
- Everton v Arsenal and the oddity of referee behaviour
- With Balogun will Arsenal be heading toward goalscoring records
- Everton v Arsenal this saturday lunchtime: just what are Everton playing at?
- What the media doesn’t tell you, part 6. There’s a financial problem…
- The Big 7 clubs, how much they spent and what good is it doing?