Let’s All Ignore Arsenal (“2 Points Off City Now”)

Today a guest post from Muppet (@MuppetGooner )


With possibly the tweet of 2014, Rob Ross (@gooner145) nails apparent media attitudes towards AFC

I read over the weekend that if the title race was down to media perception, then Arsenal would be 5th.

An alternative to this was if you list the top of the table, the club sitting in top place would be nameless [see above, ed].

Such is the contempt held of our title challenge in great swathes of the media.

I have lost count of the times I have heard the words “Awesome” and “Manchester City” in the same sentence.  This is a team that has never, until this season, reached the 2nd stage of the Champions League, despite having a squad worth around €450 million.  Whilst they are extolled, Arsenal are consigned to the dustbin.

On TalkSport at the weekend, Adrian Durham: “Everton outplayed Arsenal at the emirates and that was the moment everybody realised that they were not going to win the premiership”.

A co-presenter –  “Newcastle outplayed Arsenal at St James Park.”

Then a Liverpool pundit, Houghton – “Everybody is waiting for Arsenal to fail”.

He then follows up with the idea that Liverpool will step into the void.  Righto …

It gets worse.

A Chelsea fan on BBC 606 is asked about Chelsea’s title challenge.  She says:  “Well, City are looking so strong at the moment.  I don’t think we’re going to get past them.”

Then Geoff Shreeves comes out with his “2 points off City now”, statement.

These people are not alone in doubting Arsenal.  There are worst offenders out there.  Shearer for one.  Furiously backtracking on MOTD with his “Arsenal can’t win the premiership statement”, changing it to “won’t”, because he didn’t want to look like a massive twerp on national television. Then, squeaky voice Owen, who still maintains Arsenal will finish 5th.

Now, I have no trouble conceding that our opposition are pretty good. None at all, especially considering the levels of “investment” in their squad.  Since 2008 we have:

Arsenal net spend: £11.1m.  Chelsea net spend: £328.7m.  Man City net spend: £509.6m.

Want to go back further ?

Net spend 03/04-13/14: In first place in the expenditure table is Chelsea with a net spend of £585m.  Next up City net spend: £507m. Then Liverpool net spend: £198m.  And Man Utd net spend: £169m.  Then, in 17th place – Arsenal net spend: £17m.

Actually, looking at these figures, doesn’t it seem remarkable that we are top of the league?  Will we get credit for that?


The media perception that we are also-rans still grates tremendously.  More so because of the media love-in of 2 clubs (City and Chelsea) who don’t appear to be playing it by the rule-book.  A 3rd major rival, Manchester United, also don’t really appear to be playing it by the rule-book, but in their case, they are becoming unstuck, as evidenced by the league table and their own fan protests at the weekend, holding banners claiming that they have a “£600 million debt to service“, before they spend anything on new players.

In defence of City and Chelsea, Martin Samuel claimed in an article within the last year that without the “investment” from them, Manchester United would be a monopoly, and how would other teams get a look in?  This is where Samuel has got it completely wrong.  Nobody has a problem with investment in a football club.  The problem here is when the line is blurred between investment by people that would reasonably secure the future of a club, where risks have to be taken within economic constraints, and that of the kind made by Chelsea and Manchester City, where no economic rules apply in a standard business model.

Everybody knows what City and Chelsea do when they don’t win the title.

They simply go out in the transfer market in the summer and spend a minimum of £100 million, and change their manager. There is no risk attached to this.  If they fail, they will go out and spend another £100 million.  This was Abramovich’s response when Arsenal won the title in 2003-2004.  This was Mansour’s response last year when City lost the title.

But hardly anybody in the media will speak out against this.  Arsenal fans who quite rightly express outrage at this, are quizzed as to why we don’t join the party, which makes it doubly insulting.  The witch hunt engaged against Arsenal on TalkSport, in certain quarters, should instead be turned on City and Chelsea, asking how is it fair that 2 clubs can get away with such abuses, at the expense of all other clubs in the premier league who are trying run a football club and living within their means. The media instead, embrace the situation, which of course they will, as they know which side of the bread is buttered.  Speak out against it, and you will probably not have a job for very long, as Sky and others have massive vested interests.  Just talk up the circus, and paint the like of Arsenal fans as sanctimonious, with sour grapes.

But this is not sanctimony.  Samuel’s accusation of a monopoly, to me, should be turned on its head.  Instead of a monopoly, what we have here is a cartel, 7 or 8 super-clubs in Europe, who will dominate the landscape, and others will have very little chance of winning league titles and the champions league. When I grew up, a lot of teams were in the mix.  Here, and abroad. Villa and Nottingham Forest won the European cup.  That brilliant Everton side in the mid 80s won the European cup winners cup.  Even Spurs won the UEFA cup!  European teams such as Hamburg, Red Star Belgrade and Dynamo Kiev added to the plurality.

The current situation? I don’t have to work very hard to predict the dominant forces – Bayern, Manchester United, Barcelona, Real Madrid, PSG, Manchester City and Chelsea.

It is not for the good of football.

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70 comments on “Let’s All Ignore Arsenal (“2 Points Off City Now”)

  1. I suspect if we do win, we will be recast. What a story-line. The guy “everyone” thought was a bad guy (because he used to be?) but who was secretly a good guy (changed?). David and Goliath works to a point. It’s dangerous though. Too complicated, too wordy.


  2. *sorry to just jump in with this possibly out of context statement B4 reading today’s post fellas (sorry muppet)…….but either Mourinho and/or Roman must own a substantial chunk of Red Manc stocks.
    Mata to Man U makes absolutely no footballing sense whatsoever!
    TOO BIG TO FAIL I guess….

    the game ain’t what it used to be.
    (but we knew that)

    …reading from top now


  3. Let us not forget the number one rule of the media. They love tearing down that which they build up and hype to no end. Think how many articles will be written over the summer if Mourinho or City don’t win the League.

    The reason the media is not focusing so much on us is because we’re doing things the way they need to be done. If we win, it is because we invested wisely and kept the ship steady during the transition from Highbury to the Emirates. If we lose, who cares? They have Mourinho and Manchester City. The problem is we don’t have an eccentric Portuguese manager and we don’t have the most expensive squad in the history of the sport.


  4. ZimPaul
    January 22, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    just keep them posts coming….you have set up wired connection straight to my heart and mind. ..


  5. ZimPaul
    January 22, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    bullseye…and my worry is..when the narrative changes ( and it will cause at some point the system will want to promote the local heroes wilshere gibbs walcott for the world class ‘face’ of english football) and they start cuddling us …will we accept it? enjoy it? which brings me to the point…a genuine fan of the club who has witnessed how they have treated us the last decade would never forget or forgive.


  6. Think how many articles will be written over the summer if Mourinho or City don’t win the League.

    …i think they will get a free ride like theyve been getting all these previous seasons.

    chelsea and city should be doing AT MINIMUM what bayern and barca have been doing the last 3-5 years….yet they are nowhere close to anything like that.


  7. the year after city won the title ..i think they ended trophyless….i dont remember any articles critisising them even at 10% of how they cirtisised arsenal.


  8. Excellent GEORGE. excellent work. More power…..


  9. Don Vito! Haha!
    I wanted Gardner to miss yet hoped Sunderland would win the shootout.
    Best of both worlds.


  10. Don Vito!
    He doesn’t have Chesney’s or Fabianski’s talent, but he has the character of a top keeper.

    I know I said I ignore all the bullshit, but have to admit that it does upset me that people aren’t rooting for us. We’re the good guys.


  11. ****
    “I know I said I ignore all the bullshit, but have to admit that it does upset me that people aren’t rooting for us. We’re the good guys.”

    Real people in the real world are in my experience, despite The concerted efforts of the media to belittle and discredit us.


  12. PASSENAL is absolutely correct here. My experience is the same . Every fan of any other team other than the top three tell me, I would rather have the GUNNERS win the league before chelski, shitty or manure. We truly are the neutrals favorite team in the league. They know the GOOD GUYS when they see them. There is hope..


  13. Yes, same here, Passenal and goonerkam. It’s another facet of why I don’t really understand the media’s ambivalence towards the club; they are hardly reflecting the consensus amongst fans and ultimately that’s a risky thing to do.

    I’d actually go as far to say that most neutrals actively dislike CFC and City and everyone’s bored with manure; their odious players and tedious fans have simply been around for far too long. Not all neutrals love AFC, by any means, but simply not being CFC, MUFC or MCFC is counting for an awful lot these days.


  14. The role of mass media is not in any way to reflect consensus, especially a consensus that will upset a status quo and vested interests. A nod in the direction of “popular consensus” maybe, where it doesn’t matter, while all the time selecting “news” in the opposite direction to that of consensus. The role of the mass media is to reflect the interests and perspectives of the establishment, or more specifically the money order.

    The stakes are probably quite high, and Hunter is probably right. The entirety of EPL, as a global brand, its major clubs as global brands, players, the football association, and layer upon layer of economic interest built around this, Sky being in super-league stakes, but there are many others, many forms and methods of derivative income, such as advertising, and these represent the “money order”. It’s worth many billions in annual revenues. The key individuals making the key decisions number not more than hundreds. These people and their money matter, and their perspective, shaped largely by how to increase revenues and market share, is more important than consensus. The new money is very important in this (City, Chelsea, others).

    EPL is in competition with the other Euro leagues, and streets ahead in terms of global market share. The point is to maintain and improve market share. Ultimately, there might be some forms of merger over market share, if it can be shown that revenues would increase, and in which a Euro super-league would result, a decision of the market, not football, but for now its competition, and EPL rules the roost globally.

    The EPL product is in one way pure marketing genius, and in another way simply a crass formula that has been proven to work; see my earlier posts. this is why it will not change, the market is essentially conservative. I may be off here and there, since I don’t actually know the formula, but the principle is correct. It’s just TV, and revenues.

    One asks again then what kind of influence Arsenal, one club, representing miniscule economic interests relative to the whole money order, might bring to bear? We are also capitalists, making money and large personal incomes, sometimes fortunes, but we run a tight ship and play by the rules. We run a business enterprise, and at the same time have a great deal of integrity when it comes to respect for football culture.

    And yet, this highly negative, but I think realistic appraisal ignores facts in our advantage. Popular consensus is one, and it is clearly changing fast in our favour. Another is that the EPL has powerful competitors, such as Bundesliga, who have much in common with Arsenal’s approach and highly respect us. Yet another are the smaller clubs, who will increasingly see their future, indeed their only route, by broadly adapting Arsenal’s strategy to their own situation (financially and in football) despite the money order. We are showing what can be done to bring greater equity into the equation. We are showing that the interests of football, as opposed to rampant consumerism, is not powerless. It has more leverage than it thinks it has.

    Therefore, the future is with us. But don’t expect it to be easy, or comfortable. I would have thought it has already been discussed amongst a few people that a City win makes perfect sense for the future of the EPL super-brand and its global market. When Pellegrini says “we are the Real Madrid now”, I suspect he is not only talking to the masses, but to the money. Very marketable that one.


  15. Well written everyone absolutely stunning critique of footballs state of affairs & how it is part of/linked to the outside world especially economics & especially the dirtier side of economics & politics which is simply economics in action, zimpaul your comments are Gramsci-esque, I ***king love it. Peace UTG


  16. Ah, Gramsci. Prison Notebooks. It’s been 25 years since I dipped in. Genius.


  17. Excellent stuff Muppet!!

    It is amazing to hear the “experts” praise these clubs without a mention of how they are doped up and how it affects the sport on a whole. They prefer torment a team that has tried to do it right and then refuse to give the credit due when they see the obvious fruit that it is bearing. This is unfortunate for football as these people don’t really love the game but seeing who can spend the most money, not who can get the best out of what they have to work with. To them the former is more impressive. Sad to be honest.


  18. Congrats to Don Vito….now do the same to City!


  19. I have always liked the saying ‘ if you sit by the river long enough then the corpse of your enemy will float by’.

    Well from where I am sitting there are a few red scarved bodies bobbing along this morning in the flow. The crocodiles will feed well tonight.


  20. so happy for our italian goalkeeper !!! a few more years and he will be 100% ready too. polish and italian goalkeepers….arsene knows. the end


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