Evening Standard launch another hoax Arsenal story, but its not very good

Just as I was thinking we’d had enough of hoaxes on this site for a while, a post turned up claiming that “Wenger is London’s least popular Premier League manager in the eyes of his club’s own supporters with Roy Hodgson, Guus Hiddink, Gianfranco Zola and Harry Redknapp all polling higher marks for last season”

The source of this great revelation was the mysterious Raoul Simons in the Evening Standard – mysterious in that if you click on the link to him on the Standard’s web site you go round in a circle and get back to his article – quite appropriate really given that the story was made up.

Roaul was something of a regular nutter for the Daily Mail in London until March this year coming up with such gems as

“Putin had to be Vlad all over to give Andrei’s Arsenal blessing” (an article which got a whole one comment)

“Sven misses ex-beau Ulrika’s triumph as his Mexican Swede dreams turn sour” (no comments)

and “Cheeky Leyton Orient reach for the stars with Red Devil Rooney their top target” (2 comments)

After that it all went quiet on the Raoul front. On 24 May when the Mail ran “Arsenal striker Arshavin demands huge pay rise … because taxman takes half his £80k a week” the story was by the anonymous “Sportsmail Reporter”. Raoul had gone missing, skulking into the darkness that opens up for everyone who has ever written for the Mail. (And yes I confess, 30 years ago I wrote a couple of chapters for a book the Mail published – but its out of print now and long forgotten, so lets forget it, or I’ll do your face in.) (As they say).

But back to our football man no longer at the Mail. You can’t keep a stinking load of fish underwater for long, and as the Sun and Mirror have joined with the Mail in issuing hoax stories about Arsenal so Raoul decided to move on and take his chance with the Evening Standard.

The story he has “written” relates to a supposed survey in which “at least” 100 supporters of each of the London EPL teams were asked about their manager’s performance in the past season.

So let’s be clear: this was a survey of 100 or so – a tiny number. But worse, there was no attempt to balance the survey.

If I may explain – when one does a survey one tries to get a representative sample. For example if you want to know about how people might vote in an election you look and see that 55% of the electorate are female, so you make sure your sample is the same. 12% are unemployed so your sample is the same. Only in this way can small numbers be validated as a representative sample.

Here, we had 100 people who claimed to be Arsenal supporters, who were asked about last season. They could rate Wenger between -5 and +5. The average was 2.1. So some people gave him -3 or whatever. No surprise there – we’ve seen these people at work on this site and others.

What we really need to know is how many of these people were workers at Lloyds of London. Again I must explain. A few days ago I reported that I had discovered that a large number of negative posts that we got about Arsenal and Wenger came from the same IP address. This does not mean they were all written on the same computer or by the same nutter – it could be a lot of people working in one huge organisation which channels all its emails out through this one IP address.

I also noted that a substantial number of the silly little anti-Wenger stories came from this same IP address, which, I have now discovered, is at Lloyds of London.

So, pulling it all together, if all these people who write anti-Arsenal stories are in fact three people working our of Lloyds of London, and these same people were over represented in this daft and stupid survey, there’s our answer. They gave Wenger -5 and that tells you what you need to know. Certainly the 60,000 who were at Arsenal v Stoke in May were not represented, as “one Arsene Wenger” rang out around the ground through the game and on into the farewell walk around.

As it happens, my office runs surveys quite regularly asking questions that are then used in commercial decision making (as in finding out how potential customers view certain products our clients are thinking of advertising through us), and I can tell you that we would never in 1000 years ask 100 people. It would be utterly unsafe to base anything on an unbalanced sample like that.

So, Raoul Simons is back in business. Probably frustrated that he wasn’t allowed in on the Arshavin tax hoax at the Mail, he’s now picked up his supermarket trolley and started dossing out dross in the SubStandard.

Which means we’ve now got four people doing Arsenal hoaxes – the Mirror’s John Cross (Bendtner “I must play every minute of every game”), the Mail (Arshavin demands new contract), the Sun’s Anthony Kastrinakis (Cesc off to Real Mad) and the Diddly Widdly Raoul “let me play, please” Simons, reporting on a hoax survey for the KGB owned Standard.

But at least it gives Untold Arsenal something to report in the Summer. Otherwise it would be “Darren Bent is on sale at £17m” which seemingly makes him worth more than Arshavin.

Oh you have to laugh, don’t you.

Acknowledgment: In much of the work of tracing our hoax emails back to Lloyds I was helped by Arsenal News – the utterly excellent news gathering site http://www.arsenalnews.co.uk/ which I 1000% recommend (it is on our side bar). I do hope you will have a moment to visit and use their site.

Footnote: leaving aside the excellent info from Arsenal News I have adopted the same rigorous checking procedures in this story as are to be found on the football pages of the Sun, the Mirror, the Mail and the Standard.

(c) Tony “Not At Lloyds & I have never written for the Sun” Attwood 2009. Copie of this article will shortly be posted under other names on Team Talk.

6 Replies to “Evening Standard launch another hoax Arsenal story, but its not very good”

  1. Why, why, why?

    How does making up stories about Arsenal or anybody benefit the repuation of these newspapers on any other stuff they may report?

    Why should anyone trust anything else they report in their papers?

    I blame the management of the papers for not knowing that in little ways and in one person’s heart at a time, they damage the long-term viability of their rags…

  2. I happen to read the article in the Evening Standard as well,and my first reaction was, what was the point to do such a poorly written futile survey as if it had come straight out of a comic,not from what was once a respected newspaper.

    As mentioned before, sales of all tabloids are plummeting and the internet is a very powerful tool,proved only two days ago, when the news of Michael Jackson death was first broken on the web.

    NB A tip don’t buy LLoyds Bank shares,which are hovering at 64p.

  3. Fem Dee…

    Occasionally papers strike out on their own, and do their own thing, and that is to their honour, even if I don’t agree.

    But mostly they look at the competition, see what they are doing, and then think, “we need that too”. It was not ever thus – and 100 years ago (the time dealt with by the forthcoming “Making the Arsenal”) was very different.

    But now it is the thing – there’s lots of Arsenal doomsayers out there and let’s give them ammo.


  4. The biggest shock is that the Evening Standard actually ran an Arsenal story. Usually the coverage for London’s biggest club in London’s only paid-for paper is almost non-existent. They run more about Man Utd than Arsenal.

  5. Quite frankly, I think the commercial media (and the attention-seeking blogs) must of necessity take the occasional pop at Arsene Wenger because he is, without doubt, the face of the club and the architect of the sustainability policy. The commercial media thrive off the emotions evoked by big signings, by big names and by big money sloshing around in the League, despite the fact that this option eventually ends in disaster – the bubble goes bust. But AW is the antithesis of this culture and when Arsenal is successful it makes the journos, editors and publishers of these rags basically irrelevant. Thus whenever Arsenal is in a slump they go after AW with relish, as was evident in the early part of last season and into this year. The fact that the majority of fans identify AW with all that has been good about the club over the past 15 years makes the jobs of the hacks more difficult, especially the public demonstration of support at the last home game, when there was a demonstration outside and 60,000 fans within the stadium chanting “There is only One Arsene Wenger.”

    This little salvo will, like the last, fall on fallow ground, but I expect more destabilization attempts. Having failed with Cesc hoax, they will in the coming weeks focus their attention on Adebayor.

  6. These days the one bit of ‘truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,’ found in the tabloids is that the tits on page 3 are naked.

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