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The Desolation Of A Football Free Saturday

keegan-headphones

Remember when Kevin Keegan showed how cross he was at something Old Red Nose said? He was wearing a pair of seventies headphones and started to echo the thoughts of most football supporters in the land by saying he would love to beat the red Mancs, love it. Nothing particularly exciting about that, at the time we would have loved it if anyone beat them. I in fact still enjoy seeing or hearing that they have been defeated, it’s one of life’s little joys.

Sadly for all people with a scintilla of sense and decency the media took that moment as their cue to start praising the purple veined old coot for his deft employment of psychology to unsettle his managerial opponents. Or in their lazy shorthand, mind games. In fact Keegan’s little show of passion was only notable because someone in football had just told the unvarnished truth, and had done so in a way that made it transparently apparent that they in fact meant what they were saying. I don’t think it had much impact on the outcome of the title. We all know that in a tight race the more experienced, settled team (with the weight of the football establishment behind them) will often succeed and Keegan’s Newcastle just didn’t quite have enough to stave off the vested interests and the red mancs.

What’s always struck me is the way we have since been told to view Keegan’s barely suppressed anger as an outburst or a rant. Who really used mind games here? I suggest it was the media. Repeat a lie often enough and everyone will accept it. The interview is passionate, honest and relatively mild by any reasonable measure. And yet the media felt the need to over react and do everything possible to destabilise the rival to their favourite. It’s not much to me, a meh moment really, they have an agenda, big deal, so what? That’s not news. But last week they were at it again.

I read on the BBC news feed that Rafa Benitez had ‘ranted’ and been guilty of an ‘outburst’. The BBC. An organisation which used to be rightly famed for some degree of journalistic integrity. Not a tabloid, not a Fregie fawning satellite channel but Aunty Beeb herself. Intrigued despite myself, I looked up and found a video of this drooling, wild eyed, ill advised crazy harangue to which the poor unsuspecting journalists had been subjected. And surprise surprise, what did I find? A rather diffident, polite gentleman calmly and rationally explaining that he was working for a shamelessly non-supportive organisation and that football fans have a role and that role is to get behind their team. Their role was absolutely not to make defamatory banners nor to chant abuse at the club they purport to follow. I say the club and not the manager advisedly. These buffoons at Chelsea will always claim they have the long term good of their club at heart and are in fact merely ‘having a go’ at an inept manager.

Bollocks.

You shout abuse at your manager and you are shouting abuse at your club. As George would say, simples.

Rafael Benítez banner

We of course at Arsenal are familiar with what is happening at Chelsea. Not the manager go round nor the ownership model, I don’t mean that, but rather the unrepresentative berks getting their names checked by an all too willing and complicit media and claiming to speak for all of the fans. The prats who think they know more about tactics and player selection than a man who clearly has more experience and professional acumen than they have acne blocked pores. I don’t have much sympathy for Rafa – he knew precisely what kind of horrible organisation he was walking into. But I do think he was absolutely 100% correct in everything he said. And more than that he did not rant and it wasn’t an outburst but the media have decided that we must all think it was.

Here’s my question. And I expect an answer so sit up straight at the back. What do the print journos, the radio and TV people gain from raising up these revolting little men (who I refuse to name here) that claim (wrongly) to represent fan unrest? Who benefits? Beats the hell out of me. A conspiracy needs a clear aim before it makes sense to simpletons like me. So maybe they just like stirring the shit. Maybe it makes life more interesting.

One thing watching Rafa reminded me is how wise Arsene is to treat the press with such gently smiling benign contempt. I am astounded when supporters think it is they who are on the end of his subtle dissembling, that he aims his careful political double speak at the humble football fan. It is a duel with the media and one he conducts with a cautious dignity, choosing when to swat them aside and when to dangle a tidbit. Mind games? Compared with the oafish clumsiness of the sot from the North Arsene is like the child of Gary Kasparov and Machiavelli. When he blithely states that he makes no plans for Gareth Bale on Sunday do people really seriously start screaming that he’s a fool and he’s lost it? Or do they think he ought to tell those press hounds all of his plans and just hope no one from the Lane gets wind of them.

Given the enormous task Arsene has faced over the last few years and the revolting way he is treated it is quite incredible that a genuine rant or outburst has never happened. He should be instantly forgiven it it did, but instead he tolerates the imbecility of the press pack with an avuncular patience and a patronising indifference which you nor I would have little hope of maintaining. Just one more thing he does rather well in my opinion.

And with that I’m off to try to fill a football free Saturday.

About steww

Arsenal, books, photography, bass guitar, dog walking, mountain biking, being on the radio, writing, talking too much, failing, making mistakes, buggering on regardless.

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120 comments on “The Desolation Of A Football Free Saturday

  1. Ok, so we all love the Arsenal but it was the first beautiful day in a very long time. Didn’t any you uk based gooners get beyond visual contact with a keyboard?

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  2. I took my dog out 3 times Georgaki

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  3. Just about to take mine out again now,yes it was a beautiful day but I can’t get tomorrow’s game out of my head,I hate this fixture,always have done but if we win tomorrow I’ll have to be scraped of the ceiling, just realised we haven’t got another game till bayern Wednesday week- FFS!

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  4. The telegraph & the Sun (I know) are reporting that a middle eastern consortium are looking to buy us for £1.5 billion, promising to wipe out any debt,buy big name players and reduce ticket prices, yes of course they are……zzzzzzzzz

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  5. Interesting timing, just hours before the derby, Mel …

    Maybe it’ll be this week’s featured story on Tuesday night’s http://www.somervalley.fm.co.uk?

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  6. Now we know what the press onslaught of the last few months has been in aid of.

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  7. Makes sense doesn’t it; classic ‘softening up’ exercise.

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  8. Thought we were playing in the North London Derby tomorrow?

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  9. I can’t believe that shit is published on the eve of such a key game. It is the stinkiest piece of crap I’ve seen for a while. Why would serious bidders be saying such things to the telegraph? It’s like they reached into the dreams of the doomiest doomer and checked every one of their wishes. No trophy for 8 years, check, Wenger out, check, reduce ticket pices, check etc, etc. what a crock!

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  10. I agree with Passenal

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  11. That is the biggest crock of shit I have ever read.
    Even if true I hope Stan fucks them right off

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  12. So excited about tomorrow’s game that I don’t think I can sleep tonight; I keep jibbering inanely to anyone who will listen. I don’t mean on here of course. This is not jibbering. This is just making a comment about jibbering which is entirely different. Jibbering one step removed. If you are aware that you are jibbering, then you are not by definition jibbering, which means that you are jibbering because you can’t be aware of jibbering if you are not.

    Fucking hell I wish they game would start.

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  13. the the the game would start

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  14. Arsenal Arsenal Arsenal

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  15. So the press onslaught was just softening us up for the real war to come. Already Twitter is awash with the fickle minded posts by well known bloggers touting the imagined benefits of the club being swallowed up by the sovereign wealth of an oil emirate. Money men willing to splash £1.5 Billion will make every promise necessary to to achieve the power and control to monetize and debase the history and tradition of Arsenal so as to make the necessary return on their investment. In that context, the promise of lower ticket prices are simply the entreaties of the wolf as it lures the sheep. If Arsenal goes the way of Chelsea and Manchester City, the current wage inflation is a mere warmup for the real thing to come. I shudder to think what the Premier League landscape will look like as four super-rich clubs compete monetarily for one meaningful domestic title and the right to appear in the Champions League final. I marvel at the implications for the other 6-8 big boys in Europe who have always dominated UEFA’s money-fest and who have every commercial and nationalistic instinct to not lose out to another group of money men. If Arsenal drops to the level of Chelsea and Manchester City, no doubt the level of classlessness and vulgarity that is currently on show will be compounded exponentially.

    If this £1.5 Billion bid is true will Kroenke and the Board resist or will we simply bow to the power of capital, oil based capital in this instance? Interesting days.

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  16. We play in a stadium named Emirates.

    Have Emirates emblazoned on our red shirts.

    Is it a natural progression to be owned by an Emirate???

    Not for me, but would I be suprised if it happened?

    I guess not…

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  17. Ah man, please let it not be true. What is the club worth anyways??
    Bad timing all around…

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  18. Hard to know at this stage whether there’s any substance to the story and its hardly being mentioned on the BBC which suggests little by way of corroboration available.

    Stan’s always said he’s in it for the long-haul and I’m not aware of him selling his other sporting ‘franchises’.

    Sure, the sums being bandied about look high but if you are prepared for the long-haul then a quick buck isn’t likely to be on your agenda. The value of the club in ten years time could well be far in excess of the current numbers on offer …

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  19. Anyway, from one cock and bull story to today’s post, which has just arrived …

    https://positivelyarsenal.wordpress.com/

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