By Tony Attwood
Obviously players, like all of us, get their information from a variety of sources, and when an offer of a transfer to Arsenal is on the table there is sure to be a lot of information bandied around.
But because of the rumour system that runs in England with multiple sites picking up, and quite often creating, stories about what this or that club is like, it is possible for players to get all sorts of impressions about playing for Arsenal, and indeed playing in England.
The events at Wembley and thereafter were recognised around the world, and it is a fact that rightly or wrongly England is seen in many countries as being a place where racism exists unchecked. The attacks on black players after the international would seem to confirm that
2: Failure of Arsenal
The fact that Arsenal continued to win the FA Cup during the Wenger reign is often set aside by English as they focus on the success of other clubs in winning the Premier League. No one (apart from Untold) is writing about how Arsenal can challenge the clubs above them, and so the belief is that Arsenal have no hope of trophies – because that’s what the media says.
3: Inexperience and failure of manager
Mr Arteta belied this notion with his dramatic change in tactics in the first third of last season, having won the Cup the season before. But none of the media will admit to this phenomenal change of tactics, and so he is reported by many to be inexperienced and having failed. The implication is he won’t last – and a change of manager can mean further wholesale changes.
4: Regular changes of manager
Players are generally convinced to come to a club by the manager or by the manager’s team. Besides the above we’ve had three managers in four years which doesn’t bode well.
5: Fans at matches
As Wikipedia says, “… the perception of Arsenal fans as being hard to please is an old one. Even at times of success antagonism was noted. Such was the experience of the title winning teams of 1953 and 1971. Not even the figure behind the legendary 1930s team successes was spared: Herbert Chapman complained of the activities of the “boo-boys” and title-winning George Graham was vociferously criticized over choice of players and tactical strategy.”
And that’s without even starting to consider the “Wenger out” campaign.
6: Attitude of media
While journalists tend to be critical of all teams except Manchester City and Liverpool, they have been more vocal in their condemnation of Arsenal than most. The refusal of the media to recognise the staggering turnaround in Arsenal’s fortunes in the last two thirds of the 2020/21 speaks volumes for their desire to propagate only bad news about Arsenal. And it is that news that potential signings read.
7: The intrusiveness and racism of media in England.
Many nations have a press that feels it has a right to intrude anywhere, but I think there is a growing feeling that the media in England is now behaving rather like that in a third world country. All signs of decency and civility seem to have gone – and the clubs are doing nothing about it.
8: State of our rivals
Given that Manchester City are considered to be the team likely to win everything there is a view among some players (of all ages) that they are better off playing in Germany or Spain until Manchester City come knocking, rather than spoiling their chances by going to Arsenal or a similar team first.
The level of violence in English football was seen to be a thing of the past – until the Euros, and it has not gone unnoticed that the organisation that was running the Euros this summer (the FA) is the organisation charged with overcoming the violence. “Believe it when I see it” is the sort of attitude that appears to be around.
10. Competitive League
The Premier League has been liked by many because it did not just have one or two clubs that could win it. The sudden arrival of Leicester was an encouragement, and the fact that six clubs have won the league this century is a further good sign. But take out the two clubs who have only won it once, and Arsenal not winning since 2004, and we are down to three title contenders. Not quite as bad as France or Germany but similar to Spain. The PL simply isn’t as competitive as it used to be.
Add in much higher tax rates and a most erratic and strange refereeing system unlike anything else in Europe and you can see why the country is losing a little of its charm.
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