Does the media control football? Most certainly yes

By Sir Hardly Anyone

If you have been a reader of Untold for any length of time you’ll know this is a major theme of ours: that the media doesn’t report football, but rather it influences football.

The media picks on certain players and certain clubs, labels them “a joke” or “a disgrace” or whatever the phrase of the week is.  Then some fans pick up on this and repeat it.  Then the media pick up on the fans repeating it, and repeat it again.  So it goes.

The media continue battering players, clubs, supporters, owners and anyone else it feels like, because it is easy to do (you just call someone a “disgrace” or a “joke”).  It requires no justification, research or background work.  But it gets an audience.   It fills column inches, and then some fans copy this because it gives them a sense of power, and the media then reports that the fans have turned on the player.

Remember all those people who attacked Mr Wenger, announced that “Fourth is not a trophy”, and  later called for Edu and Arteta to be removed?   Thankfully they were ignored by the club, for if they hadn’t been we would most certainly not have the team we have today.  No Odegaard, no Martinelli, no White, no Ramsdale…

But now, perhaps for the first time, a part of the media has broken ranks and started to catalogue how others in the media have induced and developed this mindless criticism.  In this case it is about England, not Arsenal, but the approach applies throughout.

In its article  ‘Absolute joke’: Harry Kane leads player backlash against England fans over Harry Maguire boos the Telegraph catalogues the verbal assaults being made on England players, and notes how some fans blindly follow the lead of the media.

Roy Keane for example is quoted as saying of Maguire and his celebration, “That is embarrassing, he has been a disgrace the last few months for Man United… Embarrassing.”   Keane is also reported that the wearing of gloves in the warmup was unacceptable.

Rio Ferdinand on his YouTube channel said, “Is Maguire going to enable you to win the league? … [The best teams]  play on the front foot and want to win the ball high….Can you do that with Maguire? … His pace doesn’t allow for that, he’s always going to be looking over his shoulder. If I’m a quick centre-forward or a quick attacker, I would be hanging around where Harry Maguire is.”

Paul Scholes went further and said of England, “It has to come a point where you think, ‘Are these players good enough?’  “Some of these players have had a lot of games now. Marcus Rashford, he’s had a lot of games. Are we ever going to see these lads reach their potential? Are they ever going to be good enough to win trophies?  Maguire, is he good enough? Lindelof, is he good enough? We keep saying how good they are but they are failing to produce what is required on the pitch.”

Jamie Carragher (who interestingly is a columnist for the Telegraph, the paper that pulled all these raging complaints together) described Maguire as a disaster and saying, “he has to get out of it very quickly otherwise he won’t be at the club because the standards at Manchester United are so high.”

Chirs Sutton said, “we all think Harry Maguire will start for England in the World Cup.  “But loyalty can only take you so far. Eventually, there has to be a cut-off. If his form doesn’t improve then somebody else will have to step in. There’s a difference between loyalty and stupidity, and if Maguire keeps performing badly then Gareth’s got no choice but to play somebody else.”

So why does this happen?

In fact England are simply getting the treatment reserved for Arsenal.  The media do it because they can bring in a bunch of ex-players and failed managers and given them free rein.  Some fans think it is clever to copy the pundits, because it makes the fans sound as if they know what is going on, by picking on a player and calling him a joke.

The issue is entirely of the media’s own making, and the Telegraph’s decision to do at least one piece on the topic surely is to be applauded.

6 Replies to “Does the media control football? Most certainly yes”

  1. So you think maguire played well? Or is this just another one of your I don’t like newspapers rants?

  2. his club form is somewhat below par this season compare to his England performance but some of Maguire criticism from media and pundits is a joke and unwarranted plus the stupid booing. i remember when Ben White been singled out by Neville and Carragher on his Arsenal debut and how social media going crazy with Arsenal and Ben bashing because of that. thank goodness Ben don’t let that kind of things bothered him too much and bounce back quickly

  3. Everton will pay the first £10 million of Delle Alli’s transfer fee once he has made 20 appearances for the club.

    Merson reckoned it was the “signing of any window”.

    Glen Johnson thinks it was the worst signing of the season.

    Merson’s track record with signings this season has been spectacularly wrong so far.

  4. Is Gary Neville the latest media personality to try driving Arteta out of Arsenal? That appears to be the case after the media’s failed attempt to claim that Tite was replacing Arteta. Lies, lies, lies.

  5. @Dan,

    whether he played well or not is not the subject if you read the piece and other pieces on Untold. The subject is the agenda and how the so-called press circle football like vultures, zooming in on this or that player, and suddenly you see article after article, comment after comment pop-up with the same narrative, which is not by chance as they are all linked and just pick up their own pieces accross their stable of websites, which is something Untold has documented time and again.

    So sorry mate, this is no rant, but a researched and documented piece.

  6. You see how the language gets debased. It is used so often, without thought, in the wild chase to reinforce each other and protect each other’s individual position, so get the money, and reinforce the agenda, so everyone knows where they stand as pundits, as a class of people who come into your living room when you watch a game of football, and where they stand as the audience.

    Words get separated from meaning. Look at Roy Keane there again – ”Roy Keane for example is quoted as saying of Maguire and his celebration, “That is embarrassing, he has been a disgrace the last few months for Man United… Embarrassing.”

    ”’Disgrace?” Keane should think what ”disgrace” actually means. How it functions. What it is supposed to convey when it gets used.
    If performance on a football pitch is a ”disgrace” then what word exists to describe a pregnant woman being forced to give birth in a UK jail without any medical assistance? Or the countless deaths in the Shrewsbury maternity ward?
    Or the decades of abuse perpetuated by Jimmy Savile when journalists heard the rumours decade after decade yet still failed to expose him?

    Keane uses language without making each word connect with the meaning of the word. All connections cease to exist. The word stands alone. It exists in the transmission of it, in its time and place.

    What the modern media introduced into the world were lessons in how to react without making sense of the world. Listen to a football transmission you are given a vocabulary which means nothing, yet you can babble it in the name of the pundit who gave it you.

Leave a Reply

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