Nothing is gained by teaching a parrot a new word. The tragedy of English football.

by Tony Attwood

“Nothing is gained by teaching a parrot a new word.”

At 1300 GMT Untold Arsenal published its commentary on the Guardian’s piece  “Talking points from the weekend’s action,” reviewing an article written by the editor of “Intelligent Life” which seemed to have no grasp whatsoever of Arsenal’s current form.

At 1407 GMT the Telegraph reported, in an email by Daniel Zeqiri, and sent to its subscribers that “Arsenal did not kick a ball this weekend but for the first time this season are officially favourites to beat Manchester United, Tottenham and West Ham to fourth and the final Champions League qualification spot.

“West Ham and Arsenal are the two most cohesive and structurally sound teams, although both were frustrated in their attempts to add a striker in the January transfer window and look shy of goalscorers.

“The inverse is true of United and Spurs, who have bountiful reserves of attacking firepower but suffer from defensive fragility and are still searching for their best starting XI combinations under new coaches Ralf Rangnick and Antonio Conte.”

It is an interesting reversal of everything we have been hearing.  Through the transfer window there were ceaseless demands for Arsenal to buy and the transfer window was considered a disaster – 

And on and on. 

And not just this last window.  For in the previous window there were more and more of the same, such as “Arsenal transfer nightmare to come true”  from Team Talk.  And indeed you could go back through virtually every transfer window and find more of the same. 

So, to try and find some balance I searched for “Arsenal’s brilliant transfer window” but I couldn’t find anything.  Instead what I found was a return to the old tactic of running transfer stories.

Barcelona playmaker wanted by Arsenal,  (The Hard Tackle)

Arsenal plotting surprise bid for Chelsea star branded ‘real deal’ by Martin Keown  (Daily and Sunday Express)

Then the Athletic came up with a counter approach which focused not on Arsenal’s failings (something very hard to maintain seriously given their position across the last six league games) but on Manchester United’s situation.  That story appeared under the cover of “subscription only” here but recognising a sudden change of direction when they see one, the Manchester Evening News, TeamTalk, Give Me Sport, the Sun, Sports Keeda, Sky Sports, Sporting News, Bleacher Report, the Express, the Star, and many many more all had the story.  It read…

“When I look at Manchester United, I see chaos, a team lacking any kind of discernible identity and an institution bereft of strategy, whose last three managers, if you include Michael Carrick, have been temporary appointments.

“They have become an interim football club — a club of caretakers, where authority has become diluted and players inhabit a world of excuses — who have spent an absolute fortune to become truly unexceptional.

“On the pitch, they are frayed and ragged, edgy and bad-tempered…” and on and on.

Now where on earth have we ever seen something like this before, in which one day Arsenal are the club in chaos, the club that cannot sign a player because they dither, a club with an owner running it from afar, a club that can’t score and can’t defend… and then the next day there is no mention of Arsenal but instead, it all switches over to a criticism of another club, in this case “a club of caretakers…”

Well, forget football if you can, for just one minute, because this sudden switching of criticism and praise was brought to our attention long, long ago, and it had nothing to do with football, but it told us all we need to know about football journalism today.

As the Atlantic reminded us, citing a comment by George Orwell from 1946 (yes 76 years ago), “Nothing is gained by teaching a parrot a new word.  What is needed is the right to print what one believes to be true, without having to fear bullying or blackmail from any side.” 

Do these journalists who pour out this identical format football reporting day after day, and who are utterly afraid ever to criticise anything a referee does, and who dare not mention how many times Arsenal have had the same referee over and over again, believe what they are writing?  I doubt it very much.

But they are parrots.   And let us constantly remember, “Nothing is gained by teaching a parrot a new word.”


14 Replies to “Nothing is gained by teaching a parrot a new word. The tragedy of English football.”

  1. I think it serves to buttress the point that every club gets it from the media. As long as you are not doing well enough (forget about who the judge is), you’re gonna get it. It doesn’t matter wether you’re arsenal or Manchester utd

  2. @ Glenn

    Correct apart from the fact that other clubs have to be appalling to receive the level of criticism we get even if we are doing better than most. I think the previous article on Untold more than adequately demonstrated that point.

  3. The youngest team in the PL, which had been coming 8 lately, is fighting for a top four place while dodging dodgy officiating week in week out. Pretty compelling stuff I say.

  4. Hi Tony!
    I realised today that we are now fully a half-season away from our (and Wolves’) false start in the league, so I wondered what the league table of last 19 games might tell us (from

    Pos Team P W D L GF GA W D L GF GA GD Pts
    1 Manchester City 19 8 0 1 24 6 8 2 0 25 7 36 50
    2 Liverpool 19 6 2 0 21 5 6 3 2 28 13 31 41
    3 Arsenal 19 7 2 1 18 6 5 1 3 16 10 18 39
    4 Chelsea 19 4 5 1 21 10 5 2 2 15 7 19 34
    5 Wolverhampton 19 4 2 3 8 7 6 2 2 11 7 5 34
    6 West Ham United 19 5 1 3 16 13 4 2 4 15 12 6 30
    7 Manchester Utd 19 4 2 4 10 14 3 4 2 15 14 -3 27
    8 Tottenham Hots 19 5 1 4 16 15 3 2 4 9 14 -4 27

    I didn’t expect to see that, on half-season form, we are playing at a higher level than Chelsea, and that Wolves are playing exactly at Chelsea’s level.
    It would not be unreasonable to say that we have been playing at Liverpool’s level for half a season (we both have 12 wins from 19).
    By my calculations, if the above form was continued to end of the season we will finish tied with Chelsea in 3rd/4th place on 72pts.


  5. Matthew that’s an excellent point, and don’t worry about the formatting. I’ll put the table in an article which can be formatted correctly. Glad you drew it to my attention.

  6. Thanks Tony – that would be great.

    I guess I must have known subconsciously that we had gained 12pts on Spurs (as they were 9 points ahead of us after three games, and we’re now 3 points ahead of them), but to see 39 points vs 27 pts in a table, makes is rather stark!!

  7. Arsenal are capital city biggest guy on the block toffee-nosed London southerners. Along comes Mr Wenger who is literate, speaks different languages, has been a manager in Japan, knows the difference between a Fassbinder film and a Fellini, not only recruits black-skinned players but obviously takes time out to talk with them.

    He’s crossed every line you can think of.

    In short, you cannot respect him and, keep to the values you had before he came along. Therefore Arsenal must be hammered. As the big guys London toffee nosed club they have to be driven into the same calamitous drainpipe most clubs fall, get out of, fall back into fifty shades of consistent failure most clubs inhabit. As a club created by Mr Wenger, to be admired and respected, there must be be better ones around. Man City under Pep. The Chelski of Roman and Vladimer. Mr Arteta must get tips from Pep.

    For PGMO it is worse, Mr Wenger went a season unbeaten as a manager with an Arsenal team. Which England do they guard? Has this ever been asked of them? Has there ever been an article examining the attitudes of referees to Mr Wenger’s Invincible season?

    You stare back at the table and one question stares back at you for a decade and more – How does a referee’s organisation supplying referees for a national, televised football league get away with no referees from the nation’s capital? No referees from London? This is a small island. It is not a huge landmass.

    Why do you never see a newspaper article examining this inequality? Why do you never see a newspaper article explaining to readers that because there are no referees from London, every week a PGMO team are shipped into London, shipped out of London, like a Maersk container, to officiate an EPL game watched before millions in countries around the planet?

    Where do they stay? How long do they stay? How do they get home? We do not even know if their FA affiliation is just the necessary paperwork PGMO fills out. Michael Oliver of Durham Football Association – does he live in Durham? Does he live in London? The referee has to be protected, obviously. But in the process of protection, does the secrecy of protection conceal the corruption of the PGMO?

    Riley of Leeds can go to his bed and put his head on the pillow knowing his ultimate victory over Mr Wenger is not only there is no London referee ever stepping onto Elland Road to officiate, nor stepping out with a whistle in Manchester, Leeds, St.James’s, Villa Park, Carrow Road, they are not even stepping out onto the turf of any London Premiership club, even if they live in the neighbourhood.

    Riley has regained what Mr Wenger took. A definition of the EPL covering the length and breadth of the nation – the actions of the referee.

    He can turn around to every football person shaken by Mr Wenger and say, ‘ I fucked him, you didn’t.”

    Ten years on the shield is visible.

    If the corruption of the PGMO is the organisation’s failure to correct the bias of the PGMO officiating operatives, the bias so structured into the PGMO as an operating organisation game after game – think that sign ”No Irish, No N*****s, No Dogs’ – the resonance of the bias, no referees from the country’s national capital in the country’s premier national football league, televised around the planet, watched by millions, this resonance so overwhelms the tangible, visual inequality, that tangible first question – how can this possibly be fair when there is no referee from London at any EPL game? – no media can go behind it. It is the magic screen put up by every charlatan.

    Easier every day to fill their pages with the details of how they delivered themselves on their knees before the screen with their eyes shut. Mr Arteta for example, so without ideas, he has to go to Pep Guardiola for tips.

  8. Pre-match pep-talks in the back of limousines during the long journey down the M6 from MediaCity to London, while the appointed scribes ask their carefully framed (and pre-authorised) questions.

  9. @Zedsaunt,

    to me it is not corruption, but just total incompetence.
    Riley was not a good referee, unable to take the high road of neutrality.
    And he gets to manage an organisation of referees ?
    In Africa they say a fish rots from the head – so true.
    And you expect such a person, capable of doing a manager a ‘refereeing’ favor to be competently running an organisation supposed to be neutral ? I mean. seriously…. any referee knows about the final game of the unbeaten run and can see what happened. Can that referee and the organisation above have any credibility being the boss of referees ? Just try to imagine discussions inside the organisation. And what about Fergie time ? It is a well documented FACT that ManUtd and their manager were getting more time to salvage a game depending on the score after 90 minutes. Everyone has accepted it as a fact, as part of the rule of law. How can that be ? We’ve seen how Arsenal player after Arsenal player were injured in ways that would have sent the perpetrator to jail had it not happened on live TV with a PGMOL referee as a facilitator, in a few cases destroying their careers and one can imagine their lifes.

    And one thing leading to another, what is becoming the new norm is one red per game against Arsenal.

    This organisation is rotten from the core out, from day one, from the top. So much so that it pays referees to shut the f..k up once they leave it.

    In today’s world, money from corruption surfaces. And it would thus be visible after all these years. But in today’s world, intelligence and competence are not pre-requisites to management positions or some form of success. Old Boy’s Network, tit-for-tat, quid pro quo, that can all replace competence. And losing face and risking legal problems makes many people avoid shaking up things.

    Thus PGMOL is still existing and muddying, destroying the beautiful game.

    What is still a mistery to me is how and why owners accept that.

  10. Chris

    Some great points.

    One thing though. You ask “What is still a mystery to me is how and why owners accept that?”.

    But you answer your own question really when you say “And losing face and risking legal problems makes many people avoid shaking up things”.

    It’s too risky. And even if you had the will to do so, there is no recourse. There is no procedure to even ask questions.

    When a referee blatantly contravenes the laws of the game, as the referee clearly did in the WPL game against Man City, and you end up being fined for questioning it, what hope is there ?

    -There has to be open debate about referees performance.

    We all know criticising referees if not allowed.

    -There has to be an acceptance from the referees that they make mistakes.

    They clearly do not accept that as fact as they claim to get 101% of all decisions correct.

    -There has to be a desire from the media for the referees to referee to the laws of the game in a balanced and fair manner.

    This is clearly not the case as they will accept diabolical refereeing without question as long as it is suits them.

    If, as I think it clearly is, the desire is for referees to apply the laws of the game differently depending on whom they are refereeing, then inconsistency and incompetence is an essential part of their armory.

    Yes the media kick up a little stink now and then, especially if one of their darlings is adversely affected, but do they really want consistent, balanced, even handed refereeing ?

    The answer to that has to be a resounding no because if they did the media would of hounded Riley out of office years ago.

    So why hasn’t the media done so?

    Because, although he may be incompetent, at least he incompetently does exactly what they want him to do, that’s why.

  11. @Nitram,

    the media are the rats of the gravy train.

    The owners are in the PL for the roulette/get-rich-by-selling-to-some-rich-guy-or-nation part of the ‘business’, not for some club glory and figuring in the clubs museum or statue on the grounds.

    The media want to kowtow to the ‘stars’, have their VIP access, their names on the web, as ‘authors’, be seen as ‘journalists, appear on TV like te experts, etc. etc.

    So rats do what rats do : they jump into the sewers and latrines and feed on the BS they are served which is easier then questionning who feeds them the BS they report. As thus they have become symbiotic with the system and depend on it. Thus they even go out of their way to present stuff the way that keeps then fed.

    Only ‘independent’ outlets like Untold can and will talk about the forest instead of the tree that others are using to hide it.

  12. Great comments. So heres my two penn’orth : When you read the headline ‘Nothing is gained by teaching a parrot a new word ‘ was anyone thinking this must be about that lot up the road in the Armitage Shanks Kharzi because dont they have some kind of sick parrot on a beachball emblem ? Anyway thanks for yet another well researched work and as has been stated before this is my go to site when I need to see truth and honesty,so all the best never give up never give in , up the Gunners.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *