By Tony Attwood
In the end it was 134 players who we noted as being predicted by the media as coming to Arsenal this summer. Exactly the same number as last summer.
Of these the journalists got six right, which is a success rate of 4.5%. If a footballer or a club ever failed at this sort of rate it would be called “embarrassing” but publications don’t seem to feel that emotion.
Now I wonder if there are any other jobs in the world in which a success rate of 4.5% would not only be deemed acceptable, but would also encourage the employee to criticise others (as pundits criticise managers) for not doing enough.
I mean, if you were running the packaging process for Amazon – would it be ok if 4 or 5 products in every 100 were successfully wrapped and delivered to the right person? Possibly not.
Now it might be argued that it is not the fault of the pundits that Arsenal are so incompetent that although these players are out there ready to be purchased, Arsenal just can’t get the deal together.
That of course could be the case, but since the papers and the bloggers have been doing this for years, and since this rate of 4.5% success is actually THE MOST SUCCESSFUL THEY HAVE EVER BEEN surely it is time to ask questions such as…
a) Why is the media treating us fans with such contempt? They know they get these transfers wrong every summer. And yet they keep on coming up with these fancies. How would you feel if you doctor said, “I think your foot needs to be amputated,” and so gets a surgeon who cuts your hand off, even though there was nothing wrong with either hand or foot? Not pleased, I’d guess.
b) And how, after such an abject failure in the whole of their summer’s output, can they still have the nerve to tell us what is wrong with Arsenal and who they need to buy?
c) Why, if they are so good at picking the best players – and indeed so much better at concluding the deal than Edu, who was mercilessly criticised throughout the summer – don’t they work for a football club?
It is a weird situation, especially when we consider how many attempts some of the newspapers and websites had at telling us who was coming to Arsenal this summer.
Obviously we didn’t have the resources to monitor every “outlet” (or “drainpipe” as seemed to be a more appropriate word to describe them this summer) but here are a few totals showing how many players each source identified as Arsenal bound.
- HITC = 77 (Current headline ALL OVER THE PLACE’: GARY NEVILLE SLAMS ARSENAL’S ‘STRATEGY’ AS CLUB BREAK TRANSFER RECORD)
- Express = 40 Current headline “Arsenal star Granit Xhaka branded ‘negligent’ for refusing Covid-19 vaccine”
- Mirror = 35
- Football London 25
- Just Arsenal = 24 (Current headline “Should Arteta ask Sol Campbell to help coach Arsenal’s defenders)
- Sport Witness = 23
So the situation is, having got it all so terribly wrong in the summer, these self-same “outlets” are now telling us how Arsenal should put things right – as if people with a failure rate like this have any idea how to make changes at a football club.
At least with the pundits, some of them are occasionally found out to be horrific nincompoops of course, and they vanish.
A few however seem to realise just what fakery it all is. Barry Venison for example seemed to pack up and move into property development. Alan Hansen also appeared to have a sudden insight into what he was really up to, and just simply walked away.
Gavin Peacock also saw the light, although it was a different type of light, for he left Match of the Day to become a fundamentalist religious proclaimer, telling women that it is their duty according to the Bible to submit to the will of their husbands.
Robbie Earle was one of those players turned pundit who also turned a bit naughty and was caught out being involved in passing on tickets to places where they shouldn’t be. So he upped sticks and now pundits in the US.
And who could forget the idiot Atkinson of the Ron variety, who at the drop of a whatnot could come out with the most awful appalling racist commentaries (although to their eternal discredit, MUTV have made use of him occasionally.)
As for Andy Gray, he is now working for a broadcaster whose concept of women’s rights more or less suits his own vision as revealed in his work with Richard Keys for Sky.
All of which does raise the point: surely the broadcasters know of the private views of these people when they hire them – or if not they certainly must know what they think once they start broadcasting – and yet they continue to employ them until inevitably they make some appallingly awful racist or sexist comment and have to be sacked.
But those who are left, and the many pundits who have never worked as footballers, all carry on with their own opinions, and no recourse to evidence to back up their views.
And yes I know, I pontificate on football, and I’ve never been a professional footballer, but at least I try and back up some of my comments with some facts – so that if you disagree, the facts (rather than opinions) are there to be argued over.
That surely does make a difference. Or at least it seems to, to me.
But here’s the thing that gets me most of all. These people who got all their predictions wrong through the summer, have never apologised, and are still out there telling us what we ought to think about Arsenal, and how awful the club is. If only these pundits would admit they screwed up totally and got the transfer window hopelessly wrong – but no, they seem to insist that it is Arsenal who got it wrong by not buying the 100+ players the pundits suggested.
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