In football the objective is to fool all of the people all of the time

By Tony Attwood

The attitude of the media concerning football – especially in relation to Arsenal – is that you can indeed fool all of the people all of the time.  So having made up a story and kept it running for as long as possible, when their tale turns out to be untrue they back off with all the grace of a hyena playing table tennis.  As with the Mirror which proclaims that “Emile Smith Rowe is ready to end speculation surrounding his Arsenal future by signing a new long term contract.” 

Which is a tad graceless since it has been the Mirror and its buddies at Football.London which have talked the story up over and over again.   Now they conclude that there was a “final bid” from Villa which “was reportedly one that would have smashed” Villa’s transfer record.

Reportedly indeed.  And what does “reportedly” mean?  I think it means, “Someone said it, but we are not telling you who (because it was the Daily Mirror).”

And of course the Newspeak continues as they tell us that “Arsenal have finally confirmed their first signing of a decisive summer transfer window for Mikel Arteta after a disastrous first full season as manager at the Emirates, while Hector Bellerin’s future remains uncertain.”

Well, one man’s disaster is another man’s triumph.  Transformation of tactics, final two thirds of the season played as the second best club in the league, third best defence in the league across the whole season… ah well.

As for Hector, the Mirror, whose credibility is now so low it is like a very low thing that has slipped under the floorboards and vanished into the foundations, says, “Arsenal remain unwilling to accept a loan bid with an option to buy for right-back Hector Bellerin.  That’s according to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, who claims the Gunners would prefer to sell the Spaniard on a permanent deal.”

Oh a transfer expert no less. And yes according to 90min, he is one of the “most trusted” transfer-related pundits in the football business.  We shall see.  Three days ago he said “Arsenal ‘still confident of signing Ben White’.”   And there you see the trick.  If Arsenal do get that deal then he has predicted it – if not it was Arsenal who were at fault for being over confident.  Clever eh?

Of course the Mirror loves to play games, as with “Houssem Aouar sends social media message to excited Arsenal fans over transfer move.”

That sounds promising except the article itself says, “Houssem Aouar has moved to dampen speculation about an imminent transfer to Arsenal, after rumours surfaced on social media.”  Ah yes, on social media.  That would be somewhere like Football.London which is owned by the Daily Mirror, and which last week said “Negotiations at are an advanced stage” in that particular transfer.  But “excited Arsenal fans” eh?  Poor little cherubs, getting all excited when we know our club will always fail to deliver.

In another headline the Mirror has told us that “Arsenal warned they could lose ‘so many players’ at the end of next season”.   How many?  Apparently “so many”.

The article states that “Arsenal have been warned that they could see a mass exodus of players if they don’t change their approach in the transfer market.” It then speaks of “mounting interest” for Smith Rowe from Aston Villa.

Mounting interest????   That tale emerged in mid-June with the Telegraph newspaper saying a bid had been rejected on the 16th.  The gossip mongers grabbed onto that and have been hammering at it ever since, so the interest is mounting because…. because the newspapers etc keep talking about it.  They are talking up the enthusiasm, to give themselves a story.  

And this becomes plain through the Mirror line that, “The playmaker is reportedly weighing up his options with the north Londoners in a rebuild phase.”   Rebuild phase?   They are just so out of date.  That was the first third of LAST season, in which the new tactics were worked out and Arsenal sank to 15th in the league.  Goodness me, we’ve explained it to the silly dolts enough times, complete with statistics and evidence.

But hang on, what about “Arsenal warned they could lose “so many players” at the end of next season”.   Who said that?   Well, actually no one, although the Mirror tells us that Emmanuel Petit is concerned that “Arsenal are not showing enough ambition in the market.”

That gives them a lead in to “The Gunners endured a poor season”, and so the story goes around and around once more.

And what does Manu Petit know about this?  He was a superb player who I loved to watch, who has been an ambassador for the Homeless World Cup movement for many years and he can also be outspoken as when he called the attitude in France toward Thierry Henry’s retirement as “smug, untruthful and hypocritical.”

All good stuff.  But these days he works for BT Sprout, where as you may have noticed, pundits and commentators are only retained if they say something outlandish.   Saying everything is fine, just relax….   Well that is not a way to stay on air with that company. 

The Glorious 2021 Revolution

11 Replies to “In football the objective is to fool all of the people all of the time”

  1. OT Wait for the media blaming Saka for England failure.
    Where were the “senior” players in the shoot out?

    Sympathy also for Rashford and Sancho.


    Italy 62%

    England 38%


    Italy 840

    England 440


    Italy 20

    England 6


    Italy 6

    England 1

    The best team won. For all the platitudes we are still a bang average side.

    On the subject of Saka and the media, personally I don’t think they will give him much stick, but we will see. To my mind he should never of been down for the 5th penalty. Stirling ?

  3. BBC just showed slightly different stats to the source I saw on the interweb thingy, Either way they are still damming.

  4. I’ve said it before. The players must learn technique of kicking a ball. Most of these professional players do not know proper technique of kicking a ball.

    It would make the difference in the penalty shoot out but more importantly it would not be necessay as you’d probably have won the game.

  5. Italy were the best team in the tournament and that was obvious from day one, but this is England, a country of sixty-odd million that simultaneously cannot create a successful national team nor be happy following the vast range of club teams available.

    At some point between 1966 and the present day, winning something as a ”national team’ became excruciatingly important for some of the English, even when they had clubs that won titles in Europe. According to my memory – I went through it as a twenty year old – winning the World Cup happened in 1966 and other things quickly happened. A week or so later you’d forgotten all about it.

    As for this ”Football is coming home” when you raise kids in different countries, as I have, you quickly realise using your feet to kick anything is as instinctive as walking. Every kid with a ball regenerates the game of football.

    Playing football is as human an activity as reading and writing. This is what we do as a species – read, write, play football. Now as I understand it, the human skill of writing was developed in Mesopotamia on the banks of the Tigris, modern day Iraq.

    You don’t hear modern day Iraq demand that the Nobel Prize for Literature should come home to the banks of the Tigris so why do the English feed themselves with this nonsense of ”Football coming home?”

    It’s all too weird for the focus needed to take penalties. Throw in racism, it’s toxic. Nitram said it –


    My heart is with you. You did us proud.”

  6. When I saw that Saka had missed his kick , I felt bad for him. That he plays for the Arsenal would be enough to get the knives out. I hope that he too gets the sympathies that Stuart Pierce or Gareth southgate got when they missed their decisive penalties all those years ago .

    Why , I’d lay a bet that he too will follow in their footsteps and coach England !
    Ant takers ?

  7. I felt heartbroken for Saka when he missed. But what on earth did Southgate do? Bring on two players in injury time of the extra time ? I think the first time they felt the ball was when they kicked their penalty. Never let a player who is not “in to the match” take a penalty is an old football wisdom. They didn’t play so they weren’t in to the match and as a result missed. No manager should have allowed Saka to take the last penalty. If the other players were to afraid and Saka volunteered he should have been the first out to kick it. It should have been Kane or Sterling to take the last penalty. Not a 19 year old kid.

    Having said that Italy deserved to win. As so many times I saw a team that started well but didn’t go for the second goal. No England just didn’t go for it and it cost them the title. Because …well this Italy side isn’t the greatest neather in my opinion. But with their experience in defence and a real world class keeper (who wasn’t really troubled until the penalties) in goal they got the mix to win it. I would have hoped for a Danmark upset to win it because of what happened to Eriksen.
    But in a way glad to say Arsenal is coming home 😉

  8. Walter, was the officiating good in terms of what this match was and the volume of children watching?

    My opinion was that the Italian captain should have been red carded for his pull on Saka, almost choking him with the ferocity. The assistant was touching distance away and should have been more insistent in the red card.

    The tackle on Grealish was studs first and eventually ended up on his knee and thigh. It was also a red card offence that the referee chickened out of.

    The unfortunate selection of penalty takers is a shameful indictment of the lack of foresight by the on field hierarchy.

  9. Menace,
    I really wonder how the ref would have acted if it would have been a Dutch Eredivisie match. I think the Italians would have lost 2 players. But for some reason the VAR opted not to interfere with the decisions on the field. I have seen enough evidence that in the Dutch Eredivisie they would have acted. So I wonder who the VAR ref was to be honest. If he was Dutch I think it was a clear instruction from UEFA to do so I think.

  10. Menace and Walter

    I agree that the foul on Grealish was a Red Card without question. I also think there could of been no complaint if the pull on Saka was also a Red Card.

    Overall the referee was good but sadly when it came to perhaps the 2 biggest decisions he got them both wrong, much like the referee we had in the semi final that got both the Sterling dive and the possible penalty call for the foul on Kane wrong, and in all 4 cases it was very telling that VAR was conspicuous in it’s absence.

    It suggests, as you do Walter, that there was an instruction from above that VAR kept it’s nose out of it, which begs the question. WHAT IS THE POINT IN IT ??

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