Does publishing totally false information to knock Arsenal, actually matter?

By Tony Attwood

Infantino is using Fifa for his own global policy with a sense of impunity; Russia is declaring war on the rest of the world with a sense of impunity.  The PGMO runs the refereeing system with its multiple mistakes with the media refusing to take a look.  The Daily Mirror misdirects fans into the vision of Arsenal as a struggling failure, with blinking a metaphorical eyelid.

There’s a theme here: organisations concocting their own vision of how the world is without any recourse to the truth.

And in pondering this I am grateful to arseblog for reminding us in a tweet of Arsene Wenger’s comment two years back in which he said, “We lost our status as Invincibles against Man Utd in a game where referees shared some of the responsibility. It wasn’t deserved. When I die, I’m going to ask God where the referees are before I choose between Heaven and Hell.”

As we watch, Infantino, under investigation in Switzerland is using Fifa for his own global policy with a sense of impunity; Russia is declaring war on the rest of the world with a sense of impunity.  PGMO runs refereeing with a sense of impunity.  The FA can’t organise a European final at Wembley without it descending into chaos.

But no one calls on the FA to wind itself up, just a no one pointed a finger at it when it allowed the wholesale abuse of children to develop spread throughout the entire world of football.

Instead, the media has recreated the daily world of football as a tale of mistakes by idiot managers, written up by people who have no experience of successful football management and who are perfectly willing to manipulate and omit facts to suit their own story.

Now of course football is a trivial matter compared with the thousands of deaths that are resulting from Russia’s invasion, but that is not my point.  It is that the process being employed in Russia to excuse the invasion of Ukraine is the same as that used by newspapers to suggest that Arsenal are not doing well and that chaos lurks around every corner.

This is not to merge the importance of these two processes but it is to suggest that this approach is universal.  Hiram Johnson more or less said, “The first casualty of War is Truth”.  But that is no longer the fact.   The reality is that the first consequence of reporting is misdirection.

Arsene Wenger knew this perfectly well, as he said, “We lost our status as Invincibles against Man Utd in a game where referees shared some of the responsibility. It wasn’t deserved. When I die, I’m going to ask God where the referees are before I choose between Heaven and Hell.”

I’m not sure I’ve lived a good enough life to get the chance of choosing where I go after death, but if by some odd administrative error I were to be invited into heaven, I’d certainly ask where the football journalists and their bosses are.

Let me give just one example of what is going on.  Recently we have been showing that if Arsenal and Chelsea continue to get results as they have been of late, Arsenal will end up in third place above Chelsea (Why Arsenal will finish above Chelsea in third place this season.)

Perhaps by coincidence and perhaps by choice the Daily Mirror then came out with a piece on whether Arsenal’s games in hand will be enough to get them into the top four.   They said, “a closer look at the games Arsenal must make up suggests there are no guarantees these will help them close the gap on the Red Devils, even if it is only two points.   This is because each of the fixtures are against so-called ‘Big Six’ rivals, namely challenging trips away to Tottenham and Chelsea as well as a home encounter with title-chasing Liverpool.”

But as we have pointed out before we have three games in hand and Manchester United’s fixture list includes Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham.

So we not only have three games in hand, they have more games against the bix six than we do.  

The issue is the making up of wild stories which are either untruthful or misleading and in this regard, the Mirror is using the same tactics as Russia.  Of course, there is no comparison in terms of the impact and importance, but my point is that untruth and misleading statements are now the lingua franca of commentators as diverse as Russian politicians and Daily Mirror football journalists.  It is the norm, it is everywhere.  Truth is nothing.

And that is rather worrying.

23 Replies to “Does publishing totally false information to knock Arsenal, actually matter?”

  1. Carragher did not receive a stadium ban for his coin-throwing antics at Highbury. Now Harvey Elliot has come under scrutiny for his shenanigans with a flare at Wembley. Football-banning orders usually last for 3 years, and possession of flares can result in a 3-month prison sentence. I expect Liverpool/Elliot to receive “preferential” treatment from the law and the FA, whilst Arsenal will be continually charged with failure to control their players.

  2. Tony

    “Does publishing totally false information to knock Arsenal, actually matter”?

    That is a very similar question to the one you posed back in February when you asked:

    “Is there really a conspiracy against Arsenal?

    My answer back then was the same I give today, yes, without doubt, yes. And again, here is a slightly amended version of as to why I think it matters:

    I believe it is undeniable that the media have an influence on what people think and do. In an article back in February somebody said: “what some no-mark writes in the Guardian (or The Mirror) or anywhere else for that matter will make no difference at all…” I begged to differ. In fact, anyone who believes that simply has no understanding of how, not only the media/mass media works, but how people work. Just search the web for articles on the media and how it affects opinion and you will be flooded with papers and articles explaining in depth exactly how we are all massively influenced by what we read in papers, hear on the radio and see on the TV.

    It is said that elections have been won and lost on the back of one front page headline in a tabloid. That is how powerful the media can be. Legal trials have collapsed simply because of the possibility that peoples minds have already been made up by what they have read in the papers.

    This opening paragraph from an in depth paper on the subject sums it up pretty well.

    “The role of the media in shaping public perceptions and opinions about significant political and social issues has long been the subject of both speculation and research. It is widely accepted that what we know about, think and believe about what happens in the world, outside of personal first-hand experience, is shaped, and some would say orchestrated, by how these events are reported in newspapers and communicated through the medium of radio and television”.


    I have even likened what the media do to us as a form of propaganda. Again from and article among many on the internet explaining how propaganda works:

    “Historically, however, true propaganda hasn’t been full of outright lies or deception, as many people believe. Rather, it’s the statement of facts and beliefs with the intention of influencing a particular audience, trademarked by the omission of any details that might persuade the audience to the other side.”


    This is exactly what The Mirror does in the example highlighted by Tony. Yes it is a fact we have some difficult games left. But without putting the games we have left in to context with the games other teams have left it is meaning less.

    It’s exactly what Amy Lawrenson did a few years back regarding players scoring in double figures.

    But the truth is, they do this to us all the time. It is propaganda in it’s modern form. There is no question it works which is why people, Arsenal fans, come on here claiming we are worse than everyone else at, for example, buying and selling players. They do that by pointing at this player and that player as ‘proof’, whilst completely ignoring the transfers that worked out well, or referencing every other clubs poor transfer dealings. In other words, not a lie exactly, we have made some poor transfers, both in and out, but so has every body else. But again without comparisons, without context, it’s meaningless.

    And what all this does is turn our own fans against us. That discontent can, and has manifested itself in turning on the Club, the Manager and the Players.

    So yes it matters. It matters enormously.

  3. Irrespective of top six etc. opponents, I believe that PGMOL is the biggest threat to our league table position.

  4. Abramovitch had better start praying. There are reports this afternoon that Putin’s invading force has taken out a TV tower and destroyed the Barba Yar Memorial. 33,000 Jews who lived in Kiev were murdered at the nearby Barba Yar ravine by the Nazis and their auxiliaries between September 19 and September 21 1941. All shot. Mainly women and children.

    ”Zelenskiy tweeted:

    To the world: what is the point of saying «never again» for 80 years, if the world stays silent when a bomb drops on the same site of Babyn Yar?”

  5. It is always a question, conspiracy or c**k up. I generally go for the later and in our case would add a good deal of laziness and a smattering of prejudice. And whilst as an Arenal fan for 62 years I do not agree with all of your conclusions, your questions are valid and need proper answers. Good external review of VAR and how it is implemented is an essential start (and I believe in VAR) if it is to do what it said it would do, which it isn’t.


  6. Following Spursy’s defeat tonight this from SKY Sports:

    “Only a strong finish in the Premier League and a late surge into the top four can rescue this season, but that looks a stretch on this evidence”.

    How odd. So now a top four finish can rescue a season. And there I was thinking it didn’t mean anything.

  7. Mr. Lineker had to delete another ill-considered tweet tonight. It wasn’t related to football.

    There were lots of Everton supporters questioning Chris Kavanagh’s refereeing competence on Twitter tonight. Interestingly some of them thought it may not be a competence issue at all.

    To make matters worse, Burnley supporters were piling on too, after a less than satisfactory performance while refereeing their game against Leicester City tonight.

    Did Mike Riley ever apologise to Arsenal for game 50?

  8. During the Peterborough Manchester City match last night I heard “5 years ago Arsenal struggled against Lincoln City”. Since when was 5 0 a struggle? Arsenal’s 2 1 defeat at Peterborough in 1965 was also mentioned. Not a word said about Swansea winning 2 1 at Anfield in 1964 or Norwich winning 2 1 at Old Trafford in 1967!

  9. Fascinating stat of the Sp*rs defeat. They had one less shot on goal then Boro : 9 off, 6 on for Sp*rs, 12 off and 4 on for Boro.

    After that Arsenal have a striker crisis ?!?!

  10. Rickie

    The question posed by Tony is:

    “Does publishing totally false information to knock Arsenal, actually matter?”

    I believe it does, and to back up why I believe it does I give a lengthy explanation, including references to scientific papers that conclude that the media, and what is said in it, has a massive influence on what people think and do. Call it lies, half truths, misinformation, propaganda, whatever, it’s all pretty much the same thing. An attempt to influence peoples thought and actions with non contextual or false information.

    You say:

    “And whilst as an Arsenal fan for 62 years I do not agree with all of your conclusions”

    Which is fine, and you may well be right, but it would help if you gave us an explanation as to what parts you don’t agree with and why.

    It’s hard to move a discussion on if you don’t explain what is behind your thoughts.

  11. A great graphic.

    Says it all a thousand times. It does make you ask – are overnight stay in London, before and after a game, two nighters both before and after a game, are these written into the PGMO contracts?

    Are these overnight stays the sweeteners that make it easy for Riley to impose discipline?

    Do these area FA affiliations correspond to where the referees actually live?

    They could all be living in London but keep their area affiliations to provide Riley with a shield against recruiting referees from London and the South East.

  12. An interesting graph

    I did comment on another entry that I liked the way our forward line was relishing one to one duels and not scared of going into the thick of things (the box). Add to that wing players capable of flanks and you have a much more balanced attack. And I believe we see this in the number of shots per game. Arsenal are getting more dangerous.

  13. When you see it happening you actually see why Smith-Rowe and Saka signed new contracts with Mr Arteta. To then recruit Odegaard on a permanent opens the door for a playmaker with a capability and vision to keep it cohesive and moving.

    The distance between what happens on the pitch with Mr Arteta’s Arsenal, and how it gets reported, should keep University PhD’s in Media Studies busy for years with dissertations.

  14. well well, our other London neighbours are having a hard day’s night.
    They have been put up for sale and now at half time the trail Luton 2-1
    Go Luton go !

  15. Usmanov’s superyacht ‘Dilbar’

    Dilbar boasts the largest swimming pool ever installed on a yacht as well as two helicopter pads, a sauna, a beauty salon, and a gym. Its plush interiors have more than 1,000 sofa cushions and it can host up to 24 people in 12 suites.”

    seized by the German authorities in Hamburg. The yacht in a shipyard undergoing renovation. The EU imposed sanctions two days ago on our would-be owner.

    Abramovitch’s two superyachts are still in the Mediterranean awaiting their master’s fate.

  16. @ZedSaunt,

    there are 2 other oligarchs who saw their shares in a big EU company seized : Mikhail Fridman and Petr Aven, worth close to 11 billion euros.
    But you wanna bet that they’ll wait for Ukraine to be invaded, then they’ll go to the courts and find a way to get their money back.
    This is just showbiz. Some lawyer will say that the seizure is unlawful, this is a democracy, etc etc and the judges will agree.

    Elites always find a way to work together to protect each other in the club of the super rich.

  17. Showbiz has a list of characters as long as your arm. The problem for the super-elites in the era of European cities being bombed is the genealogy of the citizenry. You might start out as a car thief and up as a Premier but everyone remembers your mother.

    With the courts, can the elites overcome the suspicion that Putin aims to bomb into the dust the rule of law and democratic governance?

    I’m quite prepared to believe the EU doesn’t want NATO military action against Putin because everyone is terrified Putin blows us all to Kingdom Come so go for EU sanctions and the plump, juicy, low-lying fruit of oligarchs and their yachts and their properties. A massive orchard, the fruits made even taster by the suspicion this money is inherently criminal.

  18. Oooops, should have read

    ”A massive orchard, the fruits made even tastier by the suspicion this money is inherently criminal.”

  19. A further point – with every death compelling questions, answers, some kind of resolution, football is getting pushed into the dead centre of how Putin got away with it for so long. How was Londongrad created?

Leave a Reply

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