Arsenal are a failure without Europe; Spurs would be better off without Europe

By Dr Billy “the Dog” McGraw

F.C. Paços de Ferreira.svg

Arsenal as we well know (having been told so many times) are a failure, because after a record-breaking run of appearances in European competitions, this year they are not in Europe.  Utter, total disaster, a washout, a wreck of a club, a flop, a decline, a collapse, a mess, a sinking ship, a botch, a bungle, a fiasco.  And that’s just the Daily Express.  (OK I exaggerate, but you get the point).

The Guardian’s Nick Ames summed Arsenal up in May this year, “Eleven hours and very possibly a sleepless night after the worst moment of his managerial career, Mikel Arteta was asked to rake back over the debris. Arsenal have been condemned to a year in the shadows and he was left to discuss why things have gone so badly wrong after, in his words, “investing every drop of energy emotionally” in a project whose credibility is teetering on the edge. “So far it has not been enough and this is when the question mark comes: why is it not enough?” Arteta said. “Is it just a thing? Is it the manager? Is it other stuff? What is it?”

That was 7 May.  Arsenal were in the midst of a run of their last eight Premier League games of the season resulting in six wins, one defeat and one draw – and the Guardian saw fit to publish that rampage, quoted above.

You can imagine the anticipation that we had in looking forward to how the Guardian would report last night’s Tottenham defeat to Paços de Ferreira, a club founded in 1950, a club with a stadium holding 9,000 people, a club that has never won the Portuguese League in which they play and whose entire trophy cabinet since they were founded in 1950 is one League Cup and one Portuguese Cup.   (They have however outscored Tottenham in one way: Paços de Ferreira has won the second division in Portugual four times.  Tottenham have only won Division 2 in England twice.)

So can you imagine the utter joy, derision, hammering, excitement, etc etc etc there would have been among journalists if Arsenal had played Paços de Ferreira and LOST?  Five pages on Arsenal’s collapse at least.  And that would just be the Evening Standard.

But when Tottenham lose to Paços (I’m told their name translates as Piece of Chocolate, although that may not be right), what do we get?  Here are a dozen headlines from last night that came in one after the other.

Now imagine what the headlines would have been if that had been Arsenal.   Last season Tottenham were one point better off than Arsenal and thus gained entry to the Conference – but the headlines were all about Arsenal missing out on Europe.

No celebration of being the club that had managed the second longest run in Europe ever (only Real Madrid going for longer).  No mention that the other big clubs had had spells in the second tier of English football, which Arsenal had not in over 100 years.  

It was fair enough that there was no mention that the team was affected by a coronavirus outbreak before the game against Brentford which kept Abuameyang and Lacazette out of the team.

But really, the headlines concerning Tottenham’s defeat in the Conference are, well, modest to say the least, to the point sometimes of being sympathetic and understanding.  No tales of cock-ups or serious underestimations of the opposition in those headlines.

Arsenal are shoved aside by a media onslaught, Tottenham are treated with kid gloves.  Of course I am sure somewhere there has been some more virulent reaction, but those headlines were not cherry picked – they came in one after the other roughly between 10pm and 11pm last night, UK time.

Why Arsenal are treated this way is generally due to the way in which journalists simply copy each other in their approach – few ever want to stand out from the herd.  Arsenal mostly negatives, Tottenham mostly excuses.

Arsenal players will need double the resilience that they would need at any other club to cope with what is being thrown at them daily.  Tottenham players experience will never experience anything like it.

The media’s take 

18 Replies to “Arsenal are a failure without Europe; Spurs would be better off without Europe”

  1. The media never mentioned spurs fielding a team with an average age of 17. We have to stop blaming the media for our demise and obsessing about spuds. It’s us fans who have been walking into this mess for years now with blind faith.

  2. The media will say whatever it wants. You seem to think different competitions are the same thing (called “Europe”). As far as the actual competition goes the sooner we are out of it the better, Nuno seems to think the same. Everyone wants Champions League football, that’s where the money is. The Europa at least carries a Champions league place if you win but its financial value is questionable. This third tier competition is a joke. I don’t think any premier league team is going to take it seriously.

  3. They are allowed to hate us. We are a big team, one big family that requires not their support.

  4. Why the snobbery about not qualifying for the ECL?

    The prize money of course isn’t close to the CL money but it’s not to be sneezed at

    For the 2021–22 season, group stage participation in the Europa Conference League awarded a base fee of €2,940,000. A victory in the group pays €500,000 and a draw €166,000. Also, each group winner earns €650,000 and each runner-up €325,000. Reaching the knock-out stage triggers additional bonuses: €300,000 for the round of 32, €600,000 for the round of 16, €1,000,000 for the quarter-finals and €2,000,000 for the semi-finals. The losing finalists receive €3,000,000 and the champions receive €5,000,000

    It would give playing time to squad and potentially academy players the winner will get a 22/3 EL place and co efficient points.

    Without Europe it’s possible that Arsenals season will be just 40 games . You have a very difficult draw against WBA who aren’t the most subtle of teams and they will go 100% team selection wise and at the Hawthorns they will have a mainly home crowd cheering them on.

    Not that long ago English clubs thought the same of the EL now it’s not thought of in that way indeed you ask WHU or even Leicester supporters what they think and they probably see it as an adventure.

    The trouble is supporters at clubs like a Arsenal, like Chelsea, like Spurs have become used to the top table and in truth celebrating 25 years of participation in European football should be celebrated but that is now history and with English football losing a EL place the sooner clubs embrace this tournament the better

  5. Tomg I am not sure anyone blames the media for Arsenal’s situation. They do what they do. The problem is with people who profess themselves to be Arsenal fans who believe that the media is right. But I am shocked that Tottenham put out a team with the average age of 17. that’s amazing.

  6. @Jod, in one sense all UEFA competitions are the same. They all carry points that go towards each member country Association Coefficient. It is that Coefficient that determines how many clubs enter into the various individual competitions. Eventually abject performances will result in England’s Coefficient being overtaken by other countries and we won’t have 4 teams in the CL, 2 in the Europa and one in this competition you decry as a joke.. Tottenham are in it, take it seriously and win the thing!

  7. bdsb

    But you seem to be missing the point here completely. Yes, given our fantastic, remarkable and unique achievement in qualifying for Europe 25 years on the bounce, not qualifying for Europe could indeed be seen as ‘failure’. And yes of course we are all disappointed. But that’s all.

    But that’s not how the media report it is it ? It’s the gross over reaction from the media, and on the back of that many of our fans. Chelsea and Man Utd have slipped out of Europe, Spurs are in and out, but none of them attract the same negativity as we do.

    Just look at this. I was delving around the internet looking for something else relating to Arsenal in Europe and stumbled on this from a publication I had never heard of. This was their reaction to us failing to qualify for Europe for the first time in 25 years:

    “So much for Arsenal being one of the elite football clubs in Europe.

    Three weeks after being among the instigators of the controversially closed-off and ultimately ill-fated Super League, the English team is facing the ignominy of being shut out of continental competition for the first time in 25 years”.

    So 25 years of European football means nothing then ?

    We have to face the ‘ignominy’ of being out of Europe ? Ignominy !!

    This is the OED’s definition if Ignominy:

    “Public shame or disgrace”.

    How on earth is missing out on Europe by 1 point, for the first time in 25 years in any way a disgrace or shameful?

    As I say, yes maybe a ‘failure’, in relative terms at least. Certainly disappointing, but shameful? Disgraceful?


    And that’s the problem because that kind of gross over reaction wasn’t and isn’t unique to that particular publication, you only have to read the diatribe from the Guardian to know that.

  8. Tomg – I was fascinated by your claim that Tottenham put out such a young team for the game we noted. But I fear you are either mistaken, or your comment was a rather feeble attempt at humour.
    A very quick check on the first few players in the lineup shows
    Average age of 17

    GoalkeeperPierluigi Gollini  – age 26
    DefenderCameron Carter-Vickers – age 24
    DefenderMatt Doherty age 29
    DefenderCristian Romero – age 23
    Defender/MidfielderBen Davies (captain) – age 28

    I didn’t bother to check the rest because with those ages it would mean that the rest of the team would have to have an average age of 10. Looking at them I don’t think that is likely to be the case, and I fear you are somewhat mistaken.
    But still, such mistakes can easily happen.

  9. Tony & Tomg

    Again the point is, if Arsenal had fielded a team with an average age of 17 and performed as Spurs did we would of been slaughtered for disrespecting the tournament. Whether Spurs did or didn’t is irrelevant really as it’s about the reaction.

  10. Tony – list the entire team and bench. You will then see where the average sits.

    Other fans and the media laugh at us for comments like this. Sometimes I despair with our fan base, it’s embarrassing.

  11. To be fair not one of the squad that beat Man City travelled to Portugal. They’ve been pretty battered in the papers today but no mention of that. I think because we are so poor at the moment this media thing is in our heads.

  12. Frankly guys, do you remember how the press was destroying Mr Wenger and Arsenal when Fabregas was on the verge of joining Barcelona ? When he wanted out ? or about Nasri to Citeh ? Have you read ONE single piece in the press criticizing the so-called drama around Kane ?
    I have not. All I read are pieces that say : yeah, he’s got an point and Sp*rs have a point. Everybody is great, etc etc
    Aubameyang misses a game and all hell breaks loose. Yeah he was sick with covid but from what you could read, Arteta and Edu were idiots for letting him go to Barca and all sorts of other nonsense.

    Then, the other way you can look at it is that no one gives a damn about Sp*rs because they are a nobody in terms of football success – may I remind you that for their 2 league wins in the past, we won the league twice at their home and more then 6 times more at other places, just for starters. And St Tottringham day was not invented because of one season…but a REPEAT failure of Sp*rs to be significant. Same thing for the ‘mind the gap song’ : play, fail, repeat for Arsenals 25 years of play, qualify, repeat. Yeah, these past years are more difficult, so what. Others have been through that and all and sundry were so soooory for them.

    Arsenal are in this regard kind of like football royalty (like I ought to say Pool! and Manure) not new wealth like Citeh and Chelsky. Which means there are a lots of idiots reading and believing all lies published the same way as any stupid rumor about Windsor Palace : Royal family to buy a space castle built by SpaceX !

    Thing is they believe this crap which explains how some things in our world are going from bad to worse.

  13. I really don’t think that is necessary – the facts are clear, and anyone who doubts my conclusion can spend the time I’ve spend on this, and reach the same conclusion. The general approach with statistics is this: if someone doesn’t believe some that are published they can do the work and check. If they refuse then we can draw our own conclusions.

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