Predicting Arsenal’s transfers: journalists score 4.5% accuracy rate

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.

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.

What happened to the 134 players said to be coming to Arsenal last summer?

8 Replies to “Predicting Arsenal’s transfers: journalists score 4.5% accuracy rate”

  1. Not sure what IUntold is trying to achieve by banging on about transfer “predictions”
    If seems anyone mentioned as coming, possibly, to Arsenal is counted as a prediction of outcome. Which it plainly isn’t. You could turn the argument around and say that the media was 99-% right in that 99% of the players not linked with Arsenal, didn’t move to Arsenal!
    In any event, The 4.5% accuracy statistic is totally spurious. We are talking about idle media gossip and tittlle talttle. Does anyone, other than this site, think a mention regarding a transfer possibility/probability in a blog actually means anything?
    To be fair to the media, anyone devouring Arsenal news over the summer would have got an idea of some moves in and out that did happen. Which is why we follow the gossip. Doesn’t mean we run down to the bookies based on what we read.

  2. The point about such commentary is that it drowns out other discussion and gives the impression that these rumours are in fact the main news in football. Worse, there is a long history of the media subsequently blaming Arsenal for not signing certain players.
    The argument which is repeatedly made on this site is that also the tittle tattle of the rumours drowns out any chance of a discussion of such issues as Arsenal’s performance in the last two thirds of last season, and the approach which ignores the tactical change which Arsenal introduced in the last two thirds of last season.
    Sadly very few other people are writing about how this approach to football news is drowning out serious commentary. Hence we do it.

  3. @Dublin Gooner,

    how many times have we read about Arsenal ‘having to’ sign this or that player, being close to, having the player wth the pen in hand, and then when he is signed by anyone else, the same outlets lambast Arsenal as totally incapable of doing the job and losing said player. They just bring out anything, pretend they have some serious source – which often is some other outlet of the same bunch, and then use that against Arsenal saying : we told you they could not do it.

    They just peddle in lies and deception yet want to pretend doing journalistic work. At least one outlet is keeping tab : Untold. As for not running down to the bookies, well, just look at the way some Arsenal ‘so-called’ supporters have been made ‘ennemies of the club’ (if you look at their behaviour) by such BS that they decide to believe ? History is full of drama, war and catastrophe brought my this exact behaviour/phenomenon.

    Can you name me one club whose stadium was ‘self-financed’ by earnings and that won trophies in the last 20 years ? And name the manager who was the magician getting it done ? You may…the press and the so-called press just has decided it did not happen. Arsenal are a total failure and that’s it. there is an agenda, whatever the reason.

    Considering that, can you expect them to do any serious investigative work ? Or simpler to count ? Like Amy Lawrence screaming to all and sundry Arsenal were having only 2 goal scorers in the 2 digits when Arsenal were the only one or only one of 2 teams in the whole of the PL in this situation : ONLY. If this is called journalism, then let me respectuflly start asking what was the quality of the ‘journalism’ for dead serious subjects as : Covid, Brexit, Afghanistan, Trump, climate change ? Was it the same crap ?

    So, in the end it’s like in a house when rats are at the door. Let one in, and it is over. Untold tries to get the rats out by putting the light on them.
    And at least Untold are trying hard to figure out the facts, studying numbers in sources in different countries and languages, analyzing and publishing an opinion based on a set of facts rather then getting drunk down at the pub or alone in the home office and then writing some crap up to earn advertising revenue from gullible clicks. Well maybe the drinking part does happen…but I guess after work ;=)

    And, frankly. why not rub their noses in the own s..t ?!!? I mean these self-proclaimed experts cannot get facts right. They peddle ‘pub-drunkard-stories’ and just try to fomment trouble. And I am dead certain they do the same for all other teams by the way. They are, in terms of ‘news’, totaly uselesss. As for the ‘entertainment’ part, well as long as people are willing to play the idiots being entertained…

  4. Dublin Gooner

    Okay then, how many fake stories about you in the papers would it take before you decided enough was enough?

    Sounds to me like you’re the sort of doormat that these kind of people love.

  5. You think being described as a doormat is abuse. Really ?

    Just answer the question!

    How many fake stories about you would you put up with before complaining. A simple enough question.

  6. Dublin Gooner

    I see you haven’t managed to answer a single question posed by either Chris or myself.

    Oh well, being the sensitive soul you are you’re probably still getting over being described as a door mate.

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