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Arsenal: The first Double 1971

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By popular demand Gf60 writes;

I’d not really come down from winning the league at WHL but already a panic.Having tried during my 4 week break with no joy, HOW to get a ticket for the Cup final? I finally conceded that tomorrow I’d be a box watcher. But, my luck continued. Late that evening, my uncle Ken, who’d been a ball boy for Arsenal in the 1936 final, came up with a ticket. Happiness was. I’d only been to one final before, Everton beating Sheffield 3-2, courtesy of the FA donating tickets to lower leagues and whilst that was exciting for a neutral, there was no passion. And passion was going to be on tap today.

So off to Wembley. But how did I get there? A lift; bus; train? Sadly that memory vanished as has the journey back.  I do remember though that a) it was bloody hot and b) there was no nonsense with either sets of supporters, indeed warm congratulations from the Scousers walking back up Wembley Way.

This was our side (courtesy of Wikipedia)

GK 1 Bob Wilson  
RB 2 Pat Rice  
LB 3 Bob McNab  
RM 4 Peter Storey  64′
CB 5 Frank McLintock (c)
CB 6 Peter Simpson
LM 7 George Armstrong
CM 8 George Graham
ST 9 John Radford
ST 10 Ray Kennedy
CM 11 Charlie George
Substitutes:
MF 12 Eddie Kelly  64′

 

Biased as usual, I remember thinking when full time came around scoreless that we’d deserved to win but the cross bar, goal line clearances and good keeping from Ray Clemence had kept us out.

Extra time was going to be painful……..it had stayed hot and must have been agony for the players. Even greater agony and a note on my seat. I realised early on that there was a reason for the late ticket. It had to be just about the worst seat for viewing in the ground. Right in the corner, virtually pitch level and Steve Heighway’s shot past Bob Wilson early in the first half of extra time, would have hit me in the face had the net not got in the way. Bloody hell, I got a really good view of that. Frank McLintock ran around to us supporters asking us for more, keep up the noise level. Difficult Frankie,  we’d not stopped.

And then, our equalizer. “George took that chance so calmly” I said to a neighbour. Everyone saw “George Graham’s equalizer” only for subsequent showings to prove it was Eddie Kelly’s goal. Maybe George had taken Clemence’s eye off the ball but Eddie as he had against Stoke 2 weeks back, scored the all important goal.  And then the great finale, Charlie stepping on to Big Raddie’s pass and scoring a 20 yarder. Will his celebration ever be forgotten? It must have been screened hundreds of times since.

 

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Arsenal: On to the Lane May’71

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Gf60 provides the second  leg of his League trophy journey;

To this day, I wonder what made me think that I could go the flicks, watch a lunch time screening of “Get Carter” in Muswell Hill and get to the spuds in good time for the game? With some 40 000 locked out, the Gods were looking after me……I strolled in happily with about an hour to go. Only the following day did I realise my luck.

This was a game of more than a little import…if we won or drew 0-0 we would be Champions. A score draw meant that Leeds would take it…on goal average (no goal difference in 1971). No room for stress then.

spurs-v-arsenal-1971-005.jpgThough the spuds were in 3rd place, there was no doubt that we wanted it more but would goals come? Pulse rate  soaring but as long as it stayed goal-less we were OK. Only 3 minutes to go.

And then Ray Kennedy sored with a fine header from Geordie Armstrong’s cross that gave Pat Jennings (soon to be a gooner) no chance.

But now real fear. The spuds would do anything not to get beaten. One goal and we’d blown our first title since 1953. Ooh, those minutes were painful.

But at last, the final whistle. Like hundreds of other gooners go celebrate on their pitch. On my way I heard someone say “Look at those bastards. Dancing on our grave” I should have thought to say “that’s for fkin up my Christmas 21 years ago” but the chance was lost. What wasn’t lost though was the chance to take home a lump of the ground. Where to put this ultimate souvenir?

Was there any better place to plant it than where the dogs did their business? Haven’t thought of one yet and so it remains.

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77 Comments

Transfers: Arsenal vs Fake News

Are you a caffeine addict?

Once upon a very long time ago, the end of the football season was a time to quit cold turkey, to no longer obsess over the next game, to not twitch nervously like an addict waiting for the next hit. As a compulsive coffee drinker, I have been there.

But the end of the football season means no let up to the craziness. Over recent years, the last day of regular professional football is simply the beginning of the race for the transfer trophy. This mythical competition starts long before the window opens on July 1st and apparently ends on August 31st when the media regales us with tales of winners and losers. Think the insanity of Jim White and Sky Sports deadline day shenanigans.

As most well-thinking football fans are aware, i.e. those who combine their experience with critical thinking skills, the transfer season is essentially a creature of the mainstream media. It is entirely “fake news”, a term football fans could have claimed exclusive rights long before it became associated with CNN and the mainstream media in general.

The English tabloids were the first to prove beyond doubt the commercial media could gain readership and advertising revenue propagating bogus transfer stories. The broadsheets and electronic media have followed suit over the years intensifying with the growing importance of the internet and social media. Like political coverage, the sports pages are now a sea of rumors, anonymous sources, sensationalism and fear-mongering.

Central to any bogus transfer narrative is Arsenal and Arsene Wenger. As I documented in my last blog, the ink had barely dried on his new contract before, that notorious rag, the Evening Standard ran the following headline:

Arsene Wenger given £100m to turn Arsenal into title winners with Alexandre Lacazette, Kylian Mbappe and Thomas Lemar among targets

Although totally unsourced this has not stopped the British and international media from running with this basic narrative. Nobody from Arsenal is ever quoted. To give it a cloak of credibility the press simply repeats related rumors culled from the foreign media who themselves are quoting the English mainstream media. What an incestuous self-serving circle.

There is nothing new here. Name any year past and it is fake after fake after fake. Last year’s bogus transfer news was centered around Wenger signing both Vardy and Mahrez. The fact that an unsuccessful offer was made to Vardy only intensified the cacophony around Mahrez. Three years ago there was the 100% “certainty” of Cesc Fabregas returning to Arsenal. Absent any facts, both stories failed the test of logic and reason, yet the mainstream media ran with them all summer.

Apparently, the panic-sowing and fear-mongering works. No wonder the commercial media repeat the same tactic year after year as a wide section of the Arsenal fan-base falls for it hook, line and sinker.  If one reads the recent works of  Bob-the-blogger and Tom-the-tweeter, it seems the most successful ever manager of the football club, who guided Arsenal to runner-up in total number of points accumulated in Premier League (second only to the biggest and richest club in the league, Manchester United) is a dithering, frugral, scrooge who is ignorant of the transfer market. The man who brought Henry, Vieira, Pires and Petit to Arsenal, and from them earned great success, is apparently incapable of  identifying top talent. Not signing comparably talented players in recent years in their eyes has nothing to do with Arsenal being out-priced in the French market by bigger richer clubs in Europe, including the nouveau riches like PSG, Chelsea and Manchester City.

The latest round of stupidity being spouted by Bob and Tom is a variation of Tony Adams’ massive “revelation” that Wenger is not very good at coaching. Apparently he is “lucky”. Last season he was lucky when he panicked and went three at the back in April and had 9 victories in his last 10 games. They conveniently miss Wenger’s disclosure that he and his coaching staff had been pondering the change from the preceding November but were reluctant to impose it prematurely. Similarly he panicked two years earlier when he partnered Carzola with Coquelin and only lost 2 of the last 15 games, winning ten. The year before that, he also hit the panic button, when he made Mikel Arteta a holding midfielder, next to Ramsey, and made a storming start to the League, leading the tables up to January 2015 until the Welshman fell to injury. Being so lucky, who needs a manager with his experience and motivational skills who can empower players to confidently take on new roles and be successful at the highest level of the game.

So how do we inoculate fans from the stupidity of the transfer season and save them from self-harm brought on by panic and fear? As the Department of Public Health emphasized in my childhood the best vaccine against communicable diseases is to practice good hygiene. In this case I urge smart, knowledgeable fans to avoid the dirt and stain of the mainstream media.

  1. Treat transfer stories by the MSM as 95% lies and misinformation. Whether in print or electronic media, almost all transfer stories are unsourced and non-factual. Clubs do not disclose their transfer targets to the media as this is sure to sabotage their efforts. Competing clubs, agents and the selling club can use this information to their advantage and screw over the buying club. If a club discloses any transfer information to the market it is with ulterior motive or the transfer has already been made. The classic example is the transfer disclosures by Arsenal to David Ornstein @bbcsport_david
  2. Understand the specific characteristics of the transfer market. It is not like a retail store with players on the shelf with their prices disclosed for all to see. Unlike what we have been misled into believing by most economics professors, there are very few if any free markets in the world and the transfer market is particularly byzantine and opaque. Who knows if a player is truly up for sale unless he is eligible for a Bosman. Unlike a fish market, for example, there is no advantage in going early for a player because the listed price by the selling club is often higher than the underlying value. It is inherent to this market for the contractual price of a transferee to be subject to prolonged haggling, like a Persian bazaar, except in football this is done in secret. The selling club is incentivized to invite other bidders so as to inflate the price. As Arsenal fans should be familiar, most selling clubs, aided and abetted by the corrupt mainstream media, use Arsene Wenger’s supposed interest in a player as a sure-fire way to stimulate a bidding war. Only a sugar-daddy noveau riche club will rush-in early in the window and pay over the odds for a player or the buying club is Ed Woodward’s Manchester United.
  3. Be knowledgeable about the needs of your club. Despite overwhelming evidence and research by this blog demonstrating that Arsenal has The Lightest Midfield In 6 Years and the injuries over the past two years to Santi Cazorla, that magical deep-lying playmaker, wrecked any chances of Arsenal competing for the title, there is an avalanches of logic-defying stories by the mainstream media, ITKs, Bob-the-blogger and Tom-the tweeter suggesting that Arsenal is in desperate need of strikers.  How many fans faithfully like and retweet posts suggesting  Arsene is in for both Mbappe and Lacazette. It is utter and complete nonsense. Go wash your hands if you engage in such tripe.

In conclusion I will rehash what Arsene said one year ago as it is as relevant today as it was then:

I buy players that I feel can strengthen our team. Today you have to be very strong inside the club when you are responsible, not just to buy [for the sake of buying]. There’s always a wave of opinions. I must say people are better informed today – they know all the players. They tell you always that you should buy but when you ask them who to buy, they become much shorter. If you look at the market in Europe, there’s a lot of money available but not many players who really strengthen the teams. If you look at the teams that spend the most money in Europe, they’re not necessarily the teams that won the championships. The global investment of the clubs around us didn’t stop Leicester winning the championship.

Furthermore:

The best way to conclude transfers is not to talk about them, which is very difficult in … press conference! We are on the market but I don’t want to talk specifically about any player because that makes it more difficult for me – and it’s difficult enough.

I recommend the wisdom of Arsene Wenger, any day and seven times on a Sunday, over that of the mainstream media, without exception, not to mention Bob and Tom.

Follow me on twitter @shotta_gooner

PS: I am off on my summer vacation later this week so no more of my contrarian viewpoints for 3 weeks. But I will pop in here and on twitter periodically.

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34 Comments

Arsenal: Champions of England

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Gf60 writes;

Friday May 1st 1953, 2 months short of my 11th birthday and I’m allowed to go unaccompanied to my first night game.

It is the last game of the season…… Burnley. A win makes us League champions. A draw or loss makes for tears. Burnley had feelings for their near neighbours *(Preston and scared the pants off us. Jimmy McIlroy, one of the best)* post war players, pulled back a goal with 15 minutes to go

I have the official entrance fee of 6d in the pocket, but split it 3d of the gate keeper, (and more importantly) 3d left in mine for a thing is to find another youngster and through we go.

Not a full house by any means, it was an early’ish kick off, maybe 5.30 (6.30) so many still many working.

Arsenal’s line up – no subs in 1953.
Goalkeeper; George Swindin

Right back Lionel Smith

Left back Joe Wade

Centre half Ray Daniel

Midfielder Ben Marden

Wing half Alex Forbes

Wing half Joe Mercer and captain

Centre Forward/Wing half Peter Goring

Winger Don Roper

Inside right Doug Lishman

Inside left Jimmy Logie

Tears not far away; the game had hardly started but on 8 minutes Joe Mercer of all people sliced a cross cum shot and it is tapped in by Stephenson for the visitors (0-1) but two minutes later Alex Forbes had a go from some 30 yards. I’m probably biased but am sure that ball was still rising. Doug Lishman edged up ahead on 15 minutes, Jimmy Logie sent us all doolally and half  time arrived with us having a 2 goal cushion.

Surely more to come? No, that’s not the Arsenal way. Burnley had feelings for their near neighbours post war players, pulled back a goal with 15 minutes to go and we started clock watching. That bloody clock. If we were needed to equalise, it sped up. I kid you not. But if we were under pressure, as sure as God made that night, it felt like it had stopped. One minute felt like 10. Joe and Alex working like Trojans, George relief and an oh so happy cry of “Champions” at the final whistle.

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41 Comments

Arsenal’s Manifesto For Success

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I thought it was about time, in keeping with other blogs, that Positively Arsenal released a manifesto with a clear plan of how Arsene Wenger and the club should proceed, in order to meet our requirements. I’ve brought all of my knowledge of football and running a billion pound company to bear. Of course this, like all the other bloggers, amounts to zero. But I won’t let that minor detail stop me from pontificating like an expert on all matters.

1. Formation.

We should use the “in vogue” formation of the season. So basically, whoever is winning the league, that is the formation Arsene should adopt. Last season we should have been playing  3 4 3 and the previous season 4 4 2.  I understand it will be difficult to copy this until a clear leader is established, but for now I’ll accept the 3 4 2 1 we ended the season with.

2. Tactics.

We should sit back and use our formation to hit them on the counter with pace and power. In order to best do this we should allow the opposition to control the game with possession, and lull them into a false sense of security. I accept that might be a problem with teams that don’t want the ball either, and have set up to sit back, but we can play out a nil-nil, and no damage done. If we are playing a top team and go a goal down, in no circumstances should we go on the offensive. We must bring on more defenders and make sure we don’t get “embarrassed” as our delicate fans can’t cope with this.

3. Rotation

Players should be rotated much more than previously. Better use of the squad should be made. This will never be a problem as no team has to play their best players and our fans never complain when the best players are rested. Should we lose a game that some of our best players have been rested for, that will clearly have been a mistake, but will never be used as a stick to beat the manager, because we fans would never do that. The simple solution is to have all backup players at the same standard as the best ones. I don’t understand why this isn’t the case. We are loaded as a club. Just buy more top players.

4. Injuries

Injuries are unacceptable, especially long term ones, and should not happen. In 2014 the club hired Shad Forsythe as the new head of athletic performance enhancement, I have noticed we are still getting injuries, this can only mean Wenger is interfering in some way. We hired the best man and yet we still get injuries. This can’t be allowed to continue.

5. Coaching Staff

I have no idea what any of the coaches do, but I’m convinced someone else could do it better. I mean what does Steve Bould do? We keep conceding goals so he must be crap ! Unless he isn’t being allowed  to anything by a manager that insists on having 600 staff, but does everything himself. I suggest we bring in someone with a proven record, Tony Adams perhaps? His teams never concede goals.

6. Director of Football

We should hire a DoF immediately. He should be a “real football”man,  someone that knows better than the manager what players the manager wants to work with. He should be able to “get it done” even when up against clubs with greater resources. We are after all – The Arsenal.

7. Transfers

Transfers should be done quickly and efficiently, preferably before the transfer window actually opens on the 1st July. The club should publish a list of our targets, with details of fees and wages, so we can understand and approve them. If we have more than one target a Twitter poll should be run so as to help the club know who they should prioritise.

8. Deadwood Players.

When , through injury, loss of form or another player becoming 1st choice, a player should be deemed “deadwood” they should be sold. It doesn’t matter who wants to buy them, or what wages they are being offered, they should be somehow forced to leave. We can’t be paying wages to someone I’ve decided I don’t want anymore. And don’t give me any lame excuses like “he has a contract”. Get deadwood out of my club.

9. Ownership.

The majority shareholder should either spend his own money subsidising us, or sell his shares to someone that will.

10. Transfer Spending and players wages.

The accounts show that the club basically breaks even every year. So this would indicate that spending is in line with income. This is rubbish, we could and should spend more. Who cares if we are in debt? The club should be spending like drunken sailors because I don’t care about anything accept results on the pitch. A board full of football men with no idea about business would surely be better than the bunch of educated “conservatives” we have now.

Ok, that’s 10 to be going on with. I have no doubt you all thoroughly enjoyed my pearls of wisdom. Clearly I know my stuff, I’m a blogger after all.

29 Comments

Arsenal: The game to remember

gun__1360761407_arsenal_manutd_1958_3.jpgGf60 writes;

My most exciting game (outside of championship deciders and cup finals).

Isn’t it strange that when you cast your mind back over literally hundreds of games that really got you going, drenched with sweat, hoarse, really exhausted as though you’d covered every blade of grass on the pitch yourself, that a lost game is the most memorable?

After all there are 1-0 wins that were so against the run of play but so exciting (as we, the fans, literally tried to blow the ball away from our danger area) that they live in the mind far longer than eminently satisfactory but easy 6-2 wins. Even some 1-1 draws have done that.

So why choose a loss? Simple. It was a game that not only lives; it also showed what Gooners could do when they believed in themselves (something that our recent sides have done so well) and it also had me crying but a few days later.

There was a day in 1958 when “Manchester United” was simply that…..not MFU or any other other acronym for cheatin’, lucky, dirty bastards.

They were footballing Gods, blessed with skills so far from the norm that they resembled our Invincibles. (Even so they never managed a season unbeaten which goes to show just how good we were.)

We all knew that our side was just there to act as the sacrificial lamb, but in those days watching football played at such a level was no hardship. So they’ve put 14 goals past us in the last 3 games? And, they’ll put 3 or 4 past us again today, so what? Miss this game and you miss out on seeing real skill….and football as it can be played.

Whatever time the kick off, probably 1pm in those archaic days of no floodlights and no substitutes, you got to the ground a good 3 hours before hand for a game like this. Establish your viewing position, programme and a paper to read, big bag of peanuts to hand and then start the ‘how big a crowd?’ game; do the raffle for first person to score….”please let me pull Tommy Taylor!” No, get Denis Evans instead but at least that left you with a chance of just maybe the Arse will get a penalty….if of course we ever get into their area!

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At last the game starts. Look at them strut. Colman, Edwards, Byrne…Charlton , a mere 3 years older than me and playing in this side. And the lucky raffle winner is….Duncan Edwards. They tore us apart, Charlton getting a goal of such frightening power that “maybe”, we thought, “he hits a ball as hard as big Cliff”, and, as we expected they were 3-0 up at half time. We started wondering what was the worst ever Arsenal defeat at Highbury. Horrible as the score was, we were watching a truly great side and there was a sigh almost of contentment as they trooped off. We were lucky enough to have seen greatness in action.

What may have gone into the Gooners tea at half time is a matter of conjecture….within about 10 minutes the crowd was ecstatic. Not only had we scored against these non- mortals, we’d equalised and had them on the run. David Herd and Jimmy Bloomfield (twice) had done the, what seemed, impossible. Our side was level.

Even a crowd as passionate as that can only keep up such a noise level for so long. An injury, treated as usual with a sponge loaded with iced water, two wild clearances into the stands and a bit of other time wasting, left all of us, players and supporters, shorn of adrenaline and realising that there wasn’t much left in the tank.

Had we shot our collective bolts? It would seem so. Another 10 minutes and we were 2 goals behind again. Violett and Taylor for the second time doing the damage. But the lads had realised by now that they could also play. Up went the sleeves, up again went the tempo and Derek Tapscott got our fourth. We were all berserk as the equaliser refused to come, but we were watching a game where the Arse was taking a better side almost to the cleaners. Almost but not quite and, as usual, the clock decided enough is enough.

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We had lost but lost gloriously. Any fan having a voice left, even those up in the directors’ box, might be assumed to be sub normal. Mine for sure was some 3 days getting back to normal…..in time to wail “Oh shit” as I saw the headline of the first newspaper I was supposed to deliver on my 6a.m. morning paper delivery round.

It was the first and only time I ever cried for Manchester United.

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49 Comments

Who Believes Arsenal Is Paying £100 Million For Mbappé?

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The British elections took a huge chunk of wind out of the sails of the transfer rumor mongers. But as sure as night follows day, unless Theresa May commits some other major hubristic political blunder between now and August, the click-whoring media will resume regular service. Transfer gossip it seems unites all parties, whether Conservative, Labour or UKIP and sells well internationally.

May I remind readers that, prior to the elections, the Kylian Mbappe media frenzy was in full swing. Absent any shred of real evidence, the English media took the standard option; spot any rumor from an overseas publication, preferably French, and trumpet it as proof that Arsenal is in a bidding war with other big European clubs for the young starlet. Below are a few headlines over the past week:

Arsene Wenger ‘promises Kylian Mbappe he will be Arsenal’s number 9 if he joins from Monaco in £122m deal’ – The Sun

Arsenal launch fresh Kylian Mbappe transfer bid, Monaco to decide at the weekendThe Metro

Monaco reject Arsenal’s £87m Kylian Mbappe bidThe Telegraph

Monaco to offer Kylian Mbappe new contract to fend off Arsenal and Real Madrid transfer interestThe Independent

Despite repeated public assertions by Monaco, through its owner and other surrogates, that Mbappe is not up for sale, it is evident that that the English press is keen to engender a down and dirty bidding war for Mbappe using Arsenal as a prop in this spectacle. After all, it is now well known that Arsene Wenger and his scouts, long before the youngster burst on the scenes, identified him as a hot prospect. Wenger in an interview on beIN sports in early May disclosed:

“The player would tell you that I was at his home last year to try to get him here,

 “Because he was at the end of [his] contract but Monaco managed to keep him and the decision was very, very tight.”

But the Boss was not optimistic about his chances at making a deal in the future:

“Can Arsenal get him? I don’t know, that’s down to him. You know certainly as I do that today he will decide where he goes and say: Real Madrid? Maybe. Barcelona? Maybe. Arsenal? Manchester? He can go where he wants. 

“So I don’t know what is his deep aspirations but maybe the best thing for him is to stay one more year at Monaco.”

Very shrewd statement by the Boss there. If Arsenal can’t get him then surely he should stay at Monanco.

But no words, no facts, it seems, will stop the English media from hyping this story. Immediately after Wenger was re-engaged as manager, the very same football media who had been campaigning against him,  decided his link with Mbappe was too rich to ignore.

James Olley, a reknowned kindler of bogus Arsenal stories, wasted no time and on May 27th, had a big blaring headline in the Evening Standard:

Arsene Wenger given £100m to turn Arsenal into title winners with Alexandre Lacazette, Kylian Mbappe and Thomas Lemar among targets

The essence of his totally unsourced story is the boss had been handed a new deal and a fat juicy transfer budget. Conveniently bundled in is Mbappe as a transfer targets along with 2 others. His ruse is so transparent; should anyone of these transfers come true he will claim full credit.

But flagging up the Monaco man would have no legs in the 24-hour transfer news cycle until a Gallic source could be ginned up. Duly obliging, by June 1st there was a tweet by one Robin Bairner, supposedly associated with the well known French publication, L’Equipe, which was enough for EuroSport to blast:

Arsenal ‘bid €100m for Kylian Mbappe’

I checked Monsieur Bairner’s twitter account and found he is nothing more than a freelance football writer, specializing in France & Scotland, and who emphasizes his association with that mother of online transfer rumors Goal.com.

The flimsy veracity of the French reporting did not restrain The Mirror from repeating the rumor one day later:

“ Now Wenger’s future is settled, with confirmation of a two-year contract extension announced on Wednesday, attention turns to building towards a return to the Champions League next season.

“And the Gunners are willing to throw €100 million (£87m) at getting Monaco’s starlet Mbappe to the Emirates, says the paper.”

The byline used was one Mick Gadd. Apparently John Cross, who usually does the Arsenal beat, didn’t have the stomach for such obvious mendacity.

As is now obvious, the English media have been successful in building a giant story out of nothing, pulling in clubs far and wide:

June 5th – Daily Mail:

“Real Madrid set for a busy summer of departures, contract extensions, a presidential election and the pursuit of David de Gea and Kylian Mbappe”

June 5th – City Watch:

Real Madrid to make €135m bid Monaco sensation Kylian Mbappé – will Man City react?

June 6th – Manchester Evening News:

Manchester United make world-record bid for Kylian Mbappe and more transfer rumours”

June 8th – The Sun:

“Chelsea enter race for Kylian Mbappe as Antonio Conte contacts Monaco’s teenage sensation”

This is a classic example of what is now commonly called fake news, the construction of a totally false narrative by the mainstream media which is projected as the truth. For the commercial media the primary purpose of this ginned up, artificial news is to generate eyeballs whether at the newsstand or on-line. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to deduce that the sports pages of any newspaper or sports division in the broadcast media is a profit center designed to be a huge source of revenue.

A secondary aim, based on the historical evidence, is to further fear and despair among Arsenal fans. Many, despite the abundance of facts to the contrary, have the completely unrealistic notion that their club can compete head-to-head with Madrid, United, Chelsea, and City for top talent in the market. The number of fans on twitter who seriously expect Mbappe to sign for Arsenal is frightening. If, as the Mirror claims, Arsene was granted a  £100 million budget, how could that possibly purchase a player valued at £130 million by Madrid.

Too many Arsenal football fans, I am afraid, are the perfect example of the human guinea pig, whose love of their club is ultimately destroyed by being sucked into the deadly games of the mainstream media. It is all so predictable, Mbappe will most likely be signed by a big club which, given the media frenzy, is stampeded into ponying up over  £100 million for the services of the young Frenchman. Our fans will completely lose their sh*t, blaming the club for lack of ambition when it was plainly unrealistic from the start to expect it to expend almost all its transfer budget on one player.

For those who remain calm, rational and objective, I offer you the words of the boss himself when asked by beIN Sports about how many signings he is expecting to make this summer:

“Between a maximum of two or three,

“We cannot spend as much as many other clubs because some clubs have external resources that allow them to be basically unlimited.

“When you buy a player for £40million, everybody will have at the start a positive judgement. When you buy him for £2million, he can’t be good?

“That means a big signing is not necessarily linked with the amount of money spent.”

A word to the wise should be sufficient.

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