Can An Idiot Be An Expert ?


The other day I was chatting on twitter to Peter Wood from  Le Grove. He pointed out to me that it didn’t matter that I had proven him wrong because football was about “opinions“.That was the fun of football. Talking about it and having “opinions”.

In fact, he told me I was boring for refusing to preach about things I was not qualified to preach about. Then it hit me. He was right. Well right for a great number of people these days he was right. In the past we had to go down to the pub, get a bit pissed, before we started to talk like experts on subjects that we had at best a basic understanding of. But not now. Now we can get up in the morning, log into twitter or our blogs, and start playing a huge world wide game of fantasy football manager. Like any role play fantasy game, it’s better the more people that join in and play. There is no point us dressing up as Luke Skywalker unless someone is being Darth Vader. You certainly don’t want someone like me telling you its not a real light sabre and you and your pals are mad. Why? Because you are having fun. So people want to play this game. The game where fans with a basic knowledge of football, all chat and pretend that they are experts.

The reality is that most people reading this will be a little upset right now. Why? Because almost everyone thinks they have more than a basic knowledge of football. It never ceases to amaze me how so many people feel their one area of expertise in life is football. People will insist they “know their stuff” because they have watched football for X years. Well, my Mum has watched snooker for 40 years, and I can tell you she is not an expert. When we play a game (in this case fantasy football manager ) we usually like to play with people of a like-mind and similar standard. This mean that idiots will read a blog written by an idiot and agree. What is inconvenient to people playing fantasy manager is logic, reason and facts. They want to believe their thinking is right, and inevitably these three elements make that difficult if not impossible. So they ignore them and claim that it is their opinion and they are entitled to it. And that is true, everyone has the right to be stupid.

Most of us know, or at least know of, @GeoffArsenal . I like him, I like what he says. But most of all I like his default reaction to people playing fantasy manager, he says “but you don’t know that, you are guessing”  Geoff also guesses, but he says when he is guessing, he does not pass it off as fact. Many people don’t like Geoff and I suggest it is because he deals in far too many facts, uses logic and reasons why things cannot be as simple as simpletons think they are. In short, he is not playing their game. Our mate Peter however is great at playing the game. He is happy to jump to conclusions and proffer his speculation as fact at the drop of a hat. Not only does he play the game, but he has set up a playground where others can join in and play. And that, for those that want to play, is a good thing.

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51 comments on “Can An Idiot Be An Expert ?

  1. I do not care for some of Peter Wood’s opinions but am full of admiration for the way he has really made something of them. It is clear to me that he works hard and having seen an opportunity has turned it into a success. I just find it sad that that success involves harming the one thing he professes to care about.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m an idiot but also an expert – so there !


  3. I don’t mind le grove per se, it’s the simple jack of arsenal blogs.
    Full of verifiably wrong bullshit.
    It’s the full on Charles Mason gang he gathers around his blog who hang on his words that disgust me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The great thing about modern football is that it is no longer restricted to going down the pub and talking tripe with your mates about football, and what happens on the field, and who is a better striker, and who cant tackle to save their lives, and who we might sign who you have seen on the box last week. And yes it is entirely traditional to moan about ticket prices. I can remember a STORM when it went up to 10s/- to get in – daylight bloody robbery. To be fair this is what fans have done since Jesus was a carpenter, it is tripe but tripe based on empirical observation, of experience, albeit biased, partial experience.

    But now you can be an expert on all manner of different subjects on social media that neither you, not anyone else, has anything but a the thinnest grasp of. There is no experiential basis, no rock of empirical knowledge or experience underpinning these new opportunities.

    For example there are now medical experts happily telling Arsene and Shad and the various real orthopaedic and neurological experts, and physios how they should be treating this player’s injury, or ensuring that player stays fit. There is no stemming their medical zeal.

    And of course there is the business side of talking tripe – endlessly poring over the accounts to claim all manner of insights and revelations, that we have a £1 billion in cash just gathering dust, how we should be reneging on existing sponsorship deals and signing bigger deals elsewhere with new noodle partners, that Ivan is a total incompetent, that Stan intends this or that, that Usmanov would invest XYZ into the club, when no one, NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THE MILLION social media Tweeters and bloggers and assorted loudmouths who hold these opinions and promulgate then loudly on social media has a scooby doo about what is in Stan’s mind, or how Ivan does his job, or any other commercial issue at the club.

    The opportunity that the internet has given idiocy is almost boundless.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I can’t believe Arsenal FC haven’t hired an Angel* therapist,
    They’re the very latest thing.

    Not 100% Vatican approved.


  6. Would that include linking us to all possible players that ant a transfer to strengthen their negotiating hand and then provide further material to write that arsenal has missed out on a player they were not linked to!

    Ths further throws the fans into a frenzy as to the club not being willing to spend


  7. I disagree that they are just harmless simpletons having a bit of fun. I think they harm the club by fostering the sense of fan entitlement and encouraging needless exaggerated discontent which leads to a lack of public support when the players need it most.
    I think the people you describe are more than just stupid and far from innocuous. They swim in a cesspool of their own making but they splash shit on everybody else.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. I guess we all know what opinions have been likened to, on the basis that everybody has one. And being a fan is a pretty irrational business.

    But it’s hard to warm to those who publicly abuse AW’s and his achievements. And even harder to warm to those whose criticisms are cynically designed to stir up discontent.

    Ah well, I suppose everybody has to make a living. And at least we can be quite sure that Arsène will be taking not a blind bit of notice.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I agree with stew in that these bloggers are not harmless, for me they are the main reason for the abuse our club, manager and players receive from so many, not only from Gooners but from the media too, as the media follow what is being said on arsenal web world, and feed it, and arsenal web world follow the media and feed it, so we get this negative roundabout.

    The likes of ANR and Legrove were smart to notice that being negative gets you far more clicks than being positive (I know some on here will disagree, but that is opinion), it is much easier to create a sensational headline that is negative than it is a positive one, now I would contend that if PD had wanted todays barticle to receive more clicks he would have not used the heading “Can An Idiot Be An Expert” but would have gone with the far more sensational “Arsenal Blogging Expert Tells Gooners They Know Nothing”, and if PD had really wanted to gain clicks he would do what I was told to do with an Article I wrote for another Arsenal site, and include “Transfer News” in the headline, so maybe the title of this article should be ” “Arsenal Blogging Expert Tells Gooners They Know Nothing and Reveals Big Transfer News”, and seeing as you mentioned GeoffArsenal in the article that is the transfer news bit covered.

    Take a look at NewsNow Arsenal, look at all the misleading attention grabbing headlines, that in fact bear no relation to the info contained within, we now have mainstream media putting out stories that name other mainstream media as the source, or even something as tenuous as “its reported in italy” as their named source. we get loads of x, y, z battle “Arsenal” for a, b, c, as the media know Arsenal fans are massive on the net and the very mention of the club will mean clicks, just as transfer news gets massive hits, being negative about Arsenal and Arsenal transfers will get the most hits.


  10. The article was not intended as an attack on Peter,just an observation that people like playing role play games and managing Arsenal is one of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. That said, I concur 100% with Stews view.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Too late George. The headline in the mainstream media is “Arsenal Supporters are Divided on Club’s Future As Bloggers Attack Each Other.” Today’s media is nothing more than yesterday’s town criers inciting witch-hunts with too many bloggers and tweeters unwilling to or too timid to stand against the nonsense.


  13. Are you saying I’m timid Shotta?


  14. “well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man”
    that’s what i’d say to someone from legrove

    Liked by 1 person

  15. You took on Peter George. Who else does that publicly?


  16. As always great piece – I totally agree with everything, and as I read along I couldn’t help reflecting on experiences I have had regarding football/Arsenal on facebook – don’t do the twitter thing much so can’t really state which is more ridiculous on the subject of football between the two. I am no expert myself on any of the 3.. ie football, blogging or this opinion thing, but I make an effort to think things through and allow for many factors of which I know nothing about but which I am certain must play some important role in shaping football events, how clubs are run, and teams managed. Also, I can spot bullshit clear enough, and there’s a lot of that being thrown around on quite more than a few Arsenal groups/pages on facebook. Now what seriously bothers me though is this, for a while now I have had this feeling that Arsenal fans(more than any other) take up a major percentage of the ones most guilty of such arrogance and blindness, or could it just be my little part of facebook/internet world that’s so afflicted?


  17. To support my point: When the witch hunt against Arsene Wenger, the club’s greatest ever manager, was at its height (shortly after the betrayal by Judas and preceded by Fraudegras), how many blogs and bloggers were willing to publicly say no, to say Wenger is the man to rebuild the the club and lead us back to glory. Now 2 FA cups later the bandwagon is filled with new believers but we know it is easier to support when things are going well and not in times of adversity.

    To PG’s credit, 2-3 years ago he took a stand and started this blog with the support of most of us. He has a right to to take a pop at the idiots.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. We often come back to the motivation of the Groaners and Scarfists, what they get out of their joyless wailing.

    I remain of the view it is a form of mild psychological disorder, dysphoria, and that they are unable to help themselves. They are ill. Their brains are wired to move from one topic of dissatisfaction to another, and nothing ever, ever will be good enough for them. As one perceive wrong is removed, silverware won or expensive signings made as obvious examples, another will take its place. It must be a very difficult life to lead, especially for those close to them.

    As with so many areas of mental health the first step must be to allow the subject to recognise their negative and self destructive behaviour. In that process I think George is very helpful in his social media encounters. He is a both a therapist and enabler in his exchanges.

    Its hard work we know George, unrecognised by those you are trying to help. But don’t give up.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. “The article was not intended as an attack on Peter”

    You are working on that later ?


  20. Hi all,

    Thanks for comments yesterday, I saw comments addressed to me by finsbury and others, but have not had time to address any as I got back in after a tennis match last night at 11pm. Apologies for that. Am now up to my neck at work.

    Just a brief comment. Blogging is about opinion. The running of a football team and the club is not. Why bloggers then assume they can run a football team and club is a bit strange. But that’s what seems to go on some blogs.

    Hope to catch up at the weekend.


  21. Hope you enjoyed the tennis Moopay. We need to get away from the screens at some point!

    Stress comment above is not an opinion but an observation. Why else did the followers of the Groan screed every other arsenal blog with their xenophobic gibberish? Perhaps they are indeed unwell. That would be one rational explanation for such behaviour.

    Another possibility is someone I can’t imagine who has been waging a PR campaign against the club in an attempt at a hostile corporate takeover of a very valuable and solvent asset in the heart o london, which is the current heart of global trade. Not an unreasonable consideration.


  22. < Steww's comment….

    Was it a case of:
    Pearls before squeaking swine?


  23. A valuable asset that spends half the rate of the petro clubs on players.

    I can’t imagine agents or RICO enterprises, hehe, being fans of such a club


  24. Thanks for another excellent article.

    I now take for granted the quality of the replies. Thanks to all.

    I made a comment yesterday about le Coq’s (successful) play during the 8-2. I’ve now seen that Ianspace had previously answered the question I’d posed, so excuse me, and thanks.

    You’ll have noticed I moan a lot about the refs. I’d just like to say that whilst J Moss made mistakes during the cup final, there wasn’t the blatant bias displayed in the previous final and during most league matches. So, well done in the 2015 final, J Moss.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Tennis eh Muppet.

    I (heart, probably banned) tennis.


  26. A.Murray is a Gooner


  27. To offer a bit of support from an unlikely source, this was on page one of Neil Warnock’s book :

    “As a manager once said, ‘there are two jobs everyone thinks they can do, prime minister and football manager.’ It doesn’t matter how many trophies and promotions you have won, they know better.”

    “But they don’t. Not because they are daft, most football fans can see why a team is struggling and some can work out why, but because they will never have the whole story … There are a lot of things going on at football clubs which, for all sorts of reasons, fans don’t hear about.”

    That’s part one for me when it comes to understanding many fans and where they go wrong : they are either truly ignorant of the incredibly obvious fact that there is a lot they don’t, can’t and shouldn’t see behind closed doors; or they acknowledge it, but massively underestimate the importance of what they don’t see (known unknowns and unknown unknowns, as an unpleasant American once put it). I’d speculate that they are driven to play this down because it can be felt as akin to exclusion, or powerlessness. Also, it’s poor blogging/tweeting material.

    Part two is about dealing with facts (known knowns) that are out there. I’ll mention only the role of money in determining success in football, and leave it there.

    Part three is put your money where your mouth is time. Make your predictions. Demonstrate your expertise, or lack of it. How much respect can you have for any expert who is consistently wrong? As a person, there may still be some room for respect, but as an expert…well, you are demonstrably not an expert if you consistently make poor predictions.

    Failing to correctly interpret, or simply ignoring, your experiments/experiences in the world guarantees failure to make appropriate adjustments to your behaviour; or, in simpler and less kind terms, is an example of idiocy in action.

    Out of curiosity, I have been attempting to keep better track over the last year or so of my thoughts and opinions about the club. Effectively, I have made my grand play, in private, for the glorious title of expert. I done went and made my predictions, on players and performance.

    I did pretty well. A personal obsession of mine for a number of years had been to see a player who was a bit…Coquelinish in midfield. He’s there, he’s doing great, congratulations me.

    But I also, among other misdeeds, thought Ballotelli (my mind was fixed on one game, one game, from two years previous) was a seriously tempting proposition. And that could be that, in the real world, especially one with budgets- a 20-25 million pound mistake. One which could easily undo good work elsewhere. One which could cost you the chance, soon, of a great signing. A couple of those mistakes and- bang- there goes your season.

    No, I am no bloody expert. I’ll keep having opinions, passionate ones, and in secret I might just harbour the belief I am quite a bit more knowledgable than your average fan (warning : 90% of drivers believe they are above average drivers), but I’ll not forget the gulf that exists between watching and doing, nor that there is much which happens that goes on unseen (by those on the outside).

    If all else fails and I’m in danger of getting carried away, I can now have a look back at those predictions (I once thought Mvilla, then Capoue, could be ideal signings for us. Shh…don’t tell anyone) of mine. And grow more circumspect, and feel my already high respect for the manager be topped up again. The man’s an expert.

    Liked by 3 people

  28. Yes he is, Fins.
    I’d love to know exactly why he chose to Arsenal. I’d love him to beat Djoko this arvo.


  29. Jeorge Bird ‏@jeorgebird 2h2 hours ago
    After impressing during training, Glen Kamara has been called up to the Finland senior squad and may make his international debut v Estonia.


  30. expertschmeckspert, now that’s what I call a good comment .


  31. AST up to their usual bollocks


  32. John Cleese ‏@JohnCleese 6h6 hours ago
    Piers Morgan writes that I didn’t recognise him in a restaurant in New York.I did.I just didn’t want to speak to someone I truly detest

    John Cleese ‏@JohnCleese 5h5 hours ago
    Anyway,I thought he was in jail after admitting he’d authorised phone-hacking at the Daily Mirror.Still,our Briish legal system works slowly


  33. eduardo

    Sooooo pissed off to see the AST’s offering.

    Sooooo happy to see Cleese’s tweets.


  34. The AST shot their load prematurely by targetting the manager. It’s a right old teenage mess. No crediblity left.


  35. I too obsessed about the position of D**M.

    It’s why I appreciate what Areta did for AFC.
    Why i noticed Coquelin previously playing in the past against Utd, Tottenham and Gazprom, and playing well. Obviously they like him at the club too, having played him against Utd, Tottenham, Gazprom. He nearly moved on at one point, but he chose to keep his toys in the pram, even when at freiburg. He’s an interesting character.

    There’s a lot more to come from this chap. That’s my tuppence worth. Good temprament, good wizened tutors in Flamini and Arteta. Not a bad position to be in.

    We live in interesting times.


  36. Ah we are not operating as a “trophy challenging football club”

    A fair point – we have not won a trophy for six days

    Liked by 2 people

  37. Eddy
    I want to see the name on the bottom of the letter that signed that piece of utter bullshit.

    Quislings – all of them.


  38. Oh yes, the club like le Coq. They watched him grow alongside Jack.

    “The AST are stronger”? Better all **** off then!
    The very things this article talks about – is the same crap spouses by the meedja.
    As someone has said above, “nothing is good enough”.

    I can’t imagine any club goes through all this – not from the position Arsenal have been in since Arsene’s arrival, even inc. all the trophy less years. I can’t understand how sheeple can’t see what’s positive about this amazing club, even if they’re depressed.

    Indeed, six days without a trowfee is disgustingly unacceptable. O laur!


  39. A cretin was on twitter a minute ago. Telling us how arsenal messed up on signing Dybila.
    He also said we didn’t sign a striker last year.


  40. Hi George,

    Firstly, good post. Saw your back-and-forth with Le Grove on my feed as well!

    Anyway, I have to agree with you on this – way too many “experts” out there who never really give anything substantial to back their claims with.

    In a way I’m glad you wrote this but past experience tells me that many who engage in the behavior you describe, will not realize that it’s them you are talking about. The reason being that they engage with enough similar people to feel secure about their views and in some cases leading them to believe that they are the go-to people for Arsenal talk. Consequentially, their behavior is fueled by this encouragement of sorts; hence, their opinion holds weight in their eyes and if you challenge it, either they’ll write you off or just repeat themselves because they have not educated themselves further.

    Personally I avoid getting into discussions with most of Arsenal Twitter, maybe a comment or two here or there. There are a select few who back what they say with logic, stats if required, etc. and discussions with them are always good.

    However, although there are many “idiots” out there, I think there’s always room to develop that habit in them which will reduce the behavior. Of course, this requires so much energy and time, nor is everyone so open minded.

    Anyway, I’m tempted to re-read my blog posts to check I’m not trying to come off as an expert where I’m not! Or I’ll just be more careful from now!



  41. Eduardo, the AST are accusing the Auditor, Mark Lee-Amies of Deloitte LLC,, of misleading the shareholders?

    The Financial Report states:

    The Group paid a fee of £3 million to Kroenke Sports & Entertainment LLC, for strategic and advisory service.

    which complies with

    Under International Accounting Standards (IAS 24 21), Related Parties

    a) rendering or receiving of services or

    b) transfers of research and development or

    c) transfers under licence agreements

    The fee went to a company, NOT to a named individual.

    It would seem to me, that the screening of the 2014 Cup Final at The Emirates, was under the auspices of KSE LLC?

    My farthing’s worth of opinion.


  42. DC from what I gather the letter was signed by Tim Payton, remember him, they guy who likes to tell the world how the club wastes money, and how the club destroyed Fanshare, conveniently ignoring the fact that Arsenal gave the AST £250K to run Fanshare and the AST totally bollocked it up, a fine bunch to cast blame in anyone’s direction.

    that angryofislinton wrote in his blog a couple of months ago that Stan had taken £3M from the club, this all seemed based on the fact that AFC had not given a detailed description of what the services or advice had entailed (why should they, its business) and when I asked if he had any proof of this, the silence was deafening. Typical of the sort of stuff AST, Blackscarf and bannerwankers come out with.


  43. When le groan first appeared on the blogasphere I was convinced it was run by a bunch of spuds because it was so anti ARSENAL and tbh nothing has changed ever since.
    I totally agree the atmosphere in the stadium is one of the things partly affected by the poisons cyber scribes.
    AST was started using funding from AISA specifically to concentrate on the share issues around at the time. Since Stan has rocked up most of those issues are gone. This means they have little to do and so they are sticking their nose into everybody else’s business.

    Liked by 2 people

  44. Eddy
    Stan didn’t take £3m, the board offered the dough to KSE for consultancy services rendered. This is the notoriously tight Arsenal PLC board.
    For all I or anyone else knows, KSE might genuinely be due the fees, considering they have finally begun to deliver on broadening the corporate sponsorship income at the club, to the tune of at least £100m.

    George needs to head down to that London and cast out Payton for the spiteful Wormtounge that he is.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. Fucking amateurs.
    The AST, Phil Wall and even Swissramble have to make complete guesses on the inside dealings behind the a club finances.
    For example No one fully knows the players and staff wage structure outside of the club. No one knows what investments in property around the Emirates and whatnot on the side affect the annual turnover.

    This is farcical, (by the Internet Gordon gekko’s) as then Forbes and Delloitte state they partially rely on Swiss’s & co’s guesswork, which subsequently gets further distorted by innumerate journos.

    Compare to other clubs who tell fucking huge lies about their turnover, wages or fan base. That would be City, Chelsea and Manchester Utd. respectively.


  46. That being said,
    I’m partial to a mess around with a spreadsheet myself,
    Just to play with imaginary money, or points, or UEFA coefficients.

    I need to get back to making model airplanes. Probably.

    Liked by 1 person

  47. I’m sure I read something about Stan buying some kind of digital/media rights.

    I’m not gonna hunt for that info, but I remember thinking, that’ll be a nice little earner. I believe it happened at the same time as his buying the extra shares.


  48. only thing missing from AST is for them to go with the line pedaled by some journos and pundits that the stadium is now paid off.


  49. […] numerous statements such as the above until I recently read a blog post by @Blackburngeorge titled Can an Idiot Be an Expert?  He targets fans citing their opinion without any grounds to base it on.  Of course, I’m not […]


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