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An insult to every loyal Arsenal supporter

By Sir Hardly Anyone

Recently a Crystal Palace blog “ReadCrystalPalace” celebrated the way that Palace fans had turned on the Sun for generating fake after Andros Townsend called out the Sun newspaper for reporting fake news on a ‘sensational team meeting’.

During the transfer window, Arsenal fans were insulted daily by stories of players for whom the club were allegedly making enquiries.   Virtually none of these “enquiries” were reported directly by the website or newspaper that ran the tale: instead the blame was laid at the door of some other unsuspecting webiste or newspaper.  In many cases that source hadn’t ever run the story.  In others it reported the source was the English outlet.  Rarely did anyone take ultimate responsibility.

Yet in normal journalism – even speculative journalism – writers are very willing to take the credit for their stories.  In my own small way I have been pushing the story that just saying Arsenal’s defence was useless was not a satisfactory explanation for the slippage down the league after years in the top four.  What happened was that we stayed very solid at home, but became much poorer away.   The issue was therefore one of what was happening away, and how could that be overcome.

It’s not a great piece of original journalism but no one else was running it when I started, so I take the credit.

As Arsenal supporters, we are being insulted day by day by these fairy stories of transfers and endless tales of incompetence, lack of funds, paying too much for players, etc etc etc.

So welcome to a world in which “Some” means one or two, “Many” means four or five, “are” means “perhaps might be” and “will be” means “I am winding you up.”

Here’s a few examples…

1: “Off you go” – some Arsenal fans are happy to see the back of attacker after recent comments

Read Arsenal‘s tale about “fans” insulting Iwobi reflects poorly on all of us as Arsenal supporters.  But the biggest problem is that future potential signings will seen this sort of dross, and may well then decide that if this is how the fans treat the players, Arsenal is not the club they want.   The supporters I know did not turn on Koscielny for leaving, knowing that almost certainly there was far more to the issue than him not going to the States.

The clue was easy to see: when the media suggest it is just one simple explanation for what is obviously a complex situation, you can be sure they are making it up.  I am not saying Kos was blameless – I don’t know.  I am saying he didn’t simply wake up one morning and say “I don’t want to go to the States.”

2: David Luiz reveals how new Arsenal director Edu is luring stars to Emirates

This is from the Star newspaper, and it says that players are being “lured” to Arsenal by telling the players the club was chasing that, “Game time is more of a guarantee this term under Unai Emery.”   This, it seems is because Arsenal have so few good players that any quality person coming in is bound to get game time.  The problem is that a club with very few top players is unlikely to win anything, and this is not what most players want.  So actually the approach backfires.  

No honest manager promises game time.  He will say he’s putting the player in the first team squad, but as ever, how he performs determines how many games he gets.

3: Arsenal fans will love what former scout has said about Laurent Koscielny’s Bordeaux transfer

Football London appears to have taken on the idea that undermining Arsenal is its prime reason for existing, as here their source insults Koscielny, for having admitted, “he’s got lots of caps, a good reputation, he’s a very good player,” he then goes on to say, “But they’ve signed him for four years! Four years at three million, three and a half million a year! They’re giving him 15 million over four years!”

Just how far this has descended into bitching can be seen by the fact that the person making the comments was a former scout of Bordeaux, now seemingly out of work, speaking about a signing made by those who replaced him.

What seems to be missing is the fact that Bordeaux want Koscielny to move over to a coaching role as he pulls out of playing.  But best not mention that.

4:  Another one we got badly wrong

It is the simplest way to knock Arsenal – by suggesting that the club have let a top player go, and then suggest he was not the first one to be lost, but to give no comparison with how many such players leave other clubs.

It is just plain Arsenal knocking.  And we may ask why they do it.  Is it because it makes the writer feel empowered, rather like a person writing anonymous letters?

5: Asenal’s transfer for Daniele Rugani fell through after Gunners refused one thing

This from the Daily Star.

There’s an implication here that the “one thing” was a tiny detail, one of those stupid issues that Arsenal could so easily have agreed to, but because the negotiators are idiots and the club too rigid, this great opportunity fell fat on its face.

Actually though, it was because although Juventus were willing to loan the player for one season, after that Arsenal had to buy him.  And Arsenal didn’t want to commit to buying him, without knowing first how other transfers this summer have worked out.

6:  It was the Sun wot made it up.

Some vocal Palace do not take the newspapers as the arbiters of truth as some Arsenal blogs like to do.   As witness the fact that a wholly false report in the Sun about a “sensational team meeting” at Palace was denounced vigorously and openly by Zaha and Townsend, and that was celebrated by the blogs.  Now that’s how you do it.

As the Palace commentator said, “For me personally – and I’m sure this view is shared on a national scale – it’s always terrific to see players coming out onto social media and exposing media outlets for reporting fake news. They’re well in their rights to do so and it’s just another reminder that professional footballers are human beings like the rest of us; why should their reputation be tarnished for clicks?

7.  “What a summer”, “Lovely” – Many Arsenal fans thrilled by latest news “just like a new signing”

But no, let’s insult our players and hope future players don’t realise this is what Arsenal is like.  Thus Gunnersphere celebrates a report that Mustafi is leaving.   And every player who knows his form can go up and down thinks, “I’m not going to Arsenal to be treated like this.”

8: Another one leaving

“Kelechi Nwakali IS in talks with SD Huesca over a move to Spain according to his brother/agent who just last week said there was no truth to the rumours at all.  Daily Canon.  

Meanwhile the Guardian in Nigeria says “Kelechi Nwakali distances self from Huesca move”

If only supporters in general would realise that a) 99% of this stuff is made up and b) negative stories harm the chances of future transfers, and c) endlessly reading such rubbish does not do anyone any good, then things would improve.

Now I know some people then say, “But Untold is encouraging people by publicising these publications.”  My answer is that I have tried ignoring them, but rather like ignoring bad refereeing decisions, these stories don’t go away.

Of course I don’t expect people to stop reading these negative stories, but it would be nice if there was an upturn in blogs making fun of them.  Maybe then they’d back off a bit.

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