By Tony Attwood
Of course when Arsenal are losing it is dead simple for the media. The club needs to buy these players immediately, and sack the manager. And let’s report a gathering of a hundred people outside the club as an uprising on the streets.
Interestingly the media treats each of these topics rather differently. Vast numbers of new players are suggested day by day – we’ve already noted 52 such players for tnis summer and have a number of new suggestions ready for our next update. But when it comes to a new manager and a new owner, the media is generally rather quiet in terms of who might be brought in.
And where there is total silence, often in steps Brighton supporter Kieran Maguire, a chartered accountant and prize-winning lecturer who is a media favourite when it comes to sport finance. In fact, such a favourite that it is often difficult to hear another voice on the subject, which can make balanced reporting rather difficult. Especially when he is called “finance guru Kieran Maguire” as he was in having a chat with Football Insider. The headline was “Kieran Maguire shreds ‘out of touch’ Kroenkes as details of new Arsenal appointment emerge.”
He has thus called for a “cultural re-set” at Arsenal to “repair the breakdown of the relationship with the fans.”
Maguire insists that fans “feel that the Kroenkes are out of touch and don’t understand football. The lack of success on the pitch exacerbates that frustration.
“It smacks of middle management. Never mind the buzzword and focus groups, you only need to talk to the fans to understand the frustration.”
Sadly, as is so often the case with the “this is the problem, here is the simple solution” approach to football, there is no evidence whatsoever provided to back up any of the wild claims made in this tiny piece which goes on to make the claim that Arsenal [are] handed stark warning after “big” Darwin Nunez update. This comes from the former Leeds United player Noel Whelan who they claim has said, the “Gunners will struggle to attract their top transfer targets without a top-four finish.”
They then go on to quote surely the most unreliable of sources “football.london (19 April)” to say Arsenal are plotting a move for Benfica star Darwin Nunez this summer as they target two striker signings in the main window, adding that “according to The Telegraph “Nunez has already rebuffed initial contact from free-spending Newcastle due to their lack of Champions League football.”
The piece continues, “They’ve built a great infrastructure at Arsenal, good manager, they’re playing exciting football with some real talented youngsters. But all that will mean nothing if they can’t get in that top four. Players want to be playing in the Champions League. That is the big problem. That’s why it’s so important to achieve that – and the same goes for Tottenham and Man United, too.”
But let us try and find some evidence here.
Last season, Arsenal finished 8th in the League. The club then went after its chosen players, with no European football to offer them, and got them.
As TalkSport put it “The Gunners have made some huge signings over the course of this year including the likes of Ben White, Martin Odegaard, Aaron Ramsdale and Takehiro Tomiyasu.”
Which raises the question. Why on earth would “finance guru Kieran Maguire” criticise ‘out of touch’ Kroenkes and call for a “cultural reset” at Arsenal to “repair the breakdown of the relationship with the fans,” when we have Saka and Smith Rowe, plus the top players brought in last summer?
In fact, I suspect that neither Maguire nor anyone else involved in that bonkers article actually realises that last season Arsenal had the re-set which meant that for the last two-thirds of the season Arsenal were the second-best club in the league. This was something journalists refused to take on board because it did not fit their agenda, and was achieved through one of the most radical tactical changes we’ve seen since the early days of Wenger.
So this season, the media then went beserk against Arsenal once again, after three defeats in a row at the start, but as we have shown, Arsenal then transformed themselves. To see this all you have to do is compare last season after 33 games with this…
14 points better off, after 33 games, seven places higher up the league – and that not just with a totally new defence, but the youngest team in the league. A team that is still transforming itself, as we have seen by the introduction of Odegaard as captain, taking control of the whole shape of the team under direction from Arteta.
What this is really about is the media trying as ever to cover up their false predictions – in this case predictions of signings that were never going to happen, and predictions of Arsenal demise, plus their abject refusal to report last year’s dramatic recovery in the last two-thirds of the season.
This is an all-out assault on the credibility of Arsenal designed entirely to get supporters who don’t do facts and figures – rather like correspondent Ukp on this site who wrote in saying “everybody knows cards are a product of quality and not [the] quantity of fouls.” As we showed that is not true at all.
It is, I fear, the start of an all-out assault on Arsenal by the media. If it is, at least Untold will chart it, and show just what tales are being made up, and highlighting the absolute lack of evidence.
But if you want to fight back you might care to remember Arsenal’s position across the last 30 games of this season…
And maybe just think – all these players were signed without any promise of Champions League football.
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