Football Journalism – what the papers don’t say

Written by dandan

Patrick Barclay, Hugh McIlvanney and Brian Glanville are all journalists getting on in years and yet, along with a couple of younger ones in the forthright Martin Samuel and the superb Michael Atherton, are probably the stand out sports writers of their generation.

The clue perhaps is that all these guys are  sports writers and not sport reporters; their language skills are as great as the sporting prowess of the people they write about and they cover many sports including football. Is it an accident that all these guys write mainly for the Broadsheets, although some do contribute a column for the Tabloids as well? Which brings me to my main question.

Why is football reporting in the tabloids, especially the red tops, so bad? Sensationalism rules. The headline, it would seem, is far more important than the quality or factual accuracy of the resultant article.

How often do you watch a match, either live or on TV, only to read next morning an article that suggests that either you are a complete idiot or watched a different game? I am not just talking about the Arsenal and the coverage we get, but football in general seems to me ill-served by second rate scribes presumably forced to pander to the needs of editors and headline writers in order to maintain a lifestyle.

The same cannot be said of cricket, which has many fine wordsmiths and has spawned a vast number of books fit to grace the shelves on any sports lover’s library.

The reason for today’s rant: I  have been re-reading the Christmas Eve article in the Times by Michael Atherton that covers cricket, golf and a fine tribute to Ian Holloway and his Blackpool team all entwined in a discussion on coaches and coaching. If you can get to read it, do so; you will not be disappointed.

What a tragedy then that the wider football press struggles to produce such excellent contributions more regularly across the board,  rather than the pathetic gossip, innuendo and nonsensical hype that some papers seem duty bound to supply. But then I suppose, if  the editorial staff  can consider the goings-on in Big Brother worthy of  their front page lead even in these troubled times, we shouldn’t be surprised that such editorial crassness is carried  through to the back page.

Given that the transfer window has now opened, I wonder how many players AW and his counterparts across the premier league will  supposedly be  buying and selling over the next month, according to these well informed  reporters and their sources.

It makes one wonder, how long  until the  confrontational nonsense that epitomises boxing and wrestling’s pathetic coverage, is adopted  by the football media in order to justify still more outrageous  headlines?


118 Responses to Football Journalism – what the papers don’t say

  1. Morning all

    Good post dandan. There was a time when we could have linked to the article you mention in the post but sadly The Times don’t allow free internet access anymore.

    It is all about selling copy but what amazes me is how a journalist changes their style to represent their readership. I used to love reading Martin Sammuels when he was writing for The Times but now that he writes for The Mail its just not the same!!!!! Not because it’s not The Times, he doesn’t write with the same eloquence or passion – gonna get slaughtered for this aren’t I 😉

  2. Rasp says:


    Thanks for an interesting and different post dandan.

    I’m not sure radio presenters and pundits can be described as journalists any more, but they really plumb the depths. As with everything these days it all comes down to money, whether you’re trying to get hits on a website for advertising revenue or to sell papers with sensationalism.

  3. charybdis1966 says:

    Morning all, another point about Citeh, did anyone notice dhow the game tomorrow has been made a category A fixture now, thus £33 tickets become £48, £39 tickets become £56, however if you go onto the to the Ticket exchange part of the website there are still over 500 tickets available? Normally there’s only a handful around by now.
    I presume the club thought with all the superstars in the Citeh team we’d all be willing to pay the40% surcharge for the pleasure of watching 5 DM’s and Tevez running around like Forrest Gump.
    It confirms AFC think Citeh are a big club, but gooners are not so sure.

  4. mickydidit89 says:

    Interesting post Dandan, thanks.
    Really can’t hang around this morning, but wanted to say what a great day it was on here yesterday. Some fantastic contributions from City fans.
    Sorry I missed you. Creme Brullee: you traitor! You are right about the first written reference, however, it could be argued that its origins could equally be either Scotish or Catalan (it was the Scotish version that made its way to Cambridge). On beef and the hanging. I really had to stop somewhere, but again, you are right about the hanging.
    Are you sure you are not a Gooner in disguise!!

  5. Rasp says:

    Morning chary,

    It comes down to that amorphous definition of what makes a ‘big club’. Certainly City are big players in English and world football and have every much right as the spuds to claim that title. We have to be honest and admit that Arsenal will be more than happy to describe City as a big club if it enables them to extract a few more quid out of the fans.

  6. gnarleygeorge9 says:


    You are being kind. You will do us…..again 😦

    If you do get a chance to see day 3, its Jane McGrath day & everything will be in pink for breast cancer. She was Glen McGrath’s late wife who unfortunately passed away. She was a pom as well.

  7. Morning chary

    I don’t think the fact that Arsenal have made the citeh game a category ‘A’ has much bearing on tickets being available via the Ticket Exchange. I’m sure it has more to do with the fact that its on a Wednesday evening – there are always spares for Champions Lge games too.

  8. charybdis1966 says:

    Sorry Dandan – not only do I agree with your post’s main thrust, but my maiden post on any Arsenal blog referred to this fact; paid journalists are not an accurate source of news as it is their job to attract readers, NOT deliver news without bias or subjectivity.
    Once everyone realises that, we can see the work of hacks for what it is. The image red top hacks conjures up for me is that of the pig puppets in spitting image, wearing hats with “Press” tags in the rim.

  9. Rasp says:

    Thanks gnarley, I’ll have a look

    Middlesex have been suppporting Breast Cancer with pink paraphernalia – my son proudly wears his pink cap when he plays and has a pink grip on his bat in support of the cause, sadly it has affected several members of my family.

  10. The West Ham game is category ‘A’ – that always amazes me!!!!!!!!! But not Fulham???????? so its not a London thing.

  11. charybdis1966 says:

    True Peachy, but over 500 available ?

    That’s gotta be a record and the fact it’s the first time Citeh are category “A” must be more than coincidence.

    West Ham are no longer Category “A” Peachy, I supose relegation fodder are no longer a big draw.

  12. charybdis1966 says:

    Raspers, I think AFC may well review what the criteria for Category A are next season in view of what I predict may be many empty seats tomorrow.
    Of cpurse I could be wrong and the attendance may well be the usual 58k +

  13. I have 2 Red Membership numbers that are spare for tomorrow if anyone wants to use the Ticket Exchange and go to the game. I’ll be at the game so can meet up beforehand. Contact me at

  14. Rasp says:

    In light of yesterday’s debate chary, we must maximise revenues by whatever means at our disposal if we wish to continue to boast about our financial stability and independence. The man in the street is going to have less money in his pocket for a few years to come.

    Maybe the signing of Maiyachi (sp?) is an attempt to attract more revenue from the far east – or am I being cynical?

  15. Big Raddy says:

    DD fine post and a rant I could have written (in point of fact – I have written but elsewhere).

    The decline is journalistic standards can be dated exactly – Italy 1990, SF WC England v Germany.Gazza & Lineker

    Footballers became the front page diet of the tabloids as did their tawdry off pitch lives. Prior to that did we care whether a player had serial affairs or got plastered after a defeat? All I knew of John Radford was what he did on a Saturday afternoon, I never heard him interviewed – at best it was an article in Charlie Buchan’s Football Monthly.

    And with the rise in the on-screen popularity of the game came the demise of decent journalism. How can a proper journo write in the Sun when he is forced to use a 300 word vocabulary?

    And then there is Sky. And now EPSN. The main requirement seems to be that co-commentators should be ex-players, have some sort of notoriety and are semi-literate.

    To see the media circus around John Terry/Collymore/Gazza/TA/Barton etc etc etc was particularly unpleasant – what business of ours is it what shameful acts he commits off-pitch?

    But I guess if it sells papers then we can only blame ourselves for the decline. And as you say, there are some pearls among the swine.

  16. Goonerjon says:

    I was fortunate enough to employ both Paddy Barclay and Mike Atherton as sports writers and I’m delighted to read your piece which proves that good writing will always succeed. Yes, we need reporters and they are the lifeblood of newspapers (whether on sport or news).But of the five you mention only Mike and martin are under 50….and the others are into the sixties and beyond. Brian has written excellently on the Arsenal both in books and newspapers columns and I travelled back in the same carriage from the Arsenal- Man U cup final in Cardiff. Trouble was threatening between two over exuberant Gooners and a Man U supporter around where Glanville was sitting reading France Football. But with charm and his wonderful knowledge of football he managed to have all three of them (and most of the carriage) listening intently to his views….trouble averted thanks to Glanville.

  17. goonermichael says:

    Great post. I don’t bother reading about football much as it winds me up. I noticed all the spares on the ticket exchange. I’ll watch it on TV.

  18. Gooner in Exile says:

    Great article dandan, as I no longer have a daily train commute my paper buying has reduced dramatically, most of my content is gained from Radio 5 live, BBC website, and occasionally Sky Sports.

    I always liked reading Henry Winter and Sue Mott in the Telegraph. I think you answered your own question though, if the front pages are more interested in celeb gossip than news, then the back pages will be no different.

    Always looking to over egg a managers comments or take them out of context to create a non story. Whilst the broadsheets tend to concentrate on reporting fact and offer a more balanced and informed opinion.

    @Chary As a Red Member I would be quite happy to see more tickets on Exchange rather than be unable to get a ticket only to watch on TV and see rows of empty red seats, and then to add insult to injury the PA announces a capacity crowd (I know why they do but it still grates). Midweek games always present a problem, although I am in Colchester for work tomorrow so may see if I can get some tickets and then I only have a short train journey back from Liverpool Street to get my car.

  19. Rasp says:

    Hi Goonerjon,

    Apologies that you went into moderation (administrative error). We are honoured to have such a well placed gooner to give an inside perspective on the workings of the Press. You must have thousands of anecdotes to tell – don’t hold yourself back.

  20. Red Arse says:

    A really interesting take on the Red Top media, Dandan.

    The answer, in part at least, lies in education, or lack of it.

    The journalists (Patrick Barclay etc) have undoubtedly had a good university education, and in Atherton’s case, in addition, he has had the experience of playing top professional/international sport.

    I openly admit that I have not researched the educational background of any journalists, so my observations are based simply on watching and listening to many sports journos on TV and radio.

    There are two drivers with the tabloids, it seems to me.

    First, there is the calibre of some (not all) of their sports journalists involved in mass circulation papers.
    Second, there is the management philosophy of the Red Tops to obtain sales by rabble rousing, showing gratuitously outrageous headline grabbing and sensationalist reporting, coupled with a low pricing policy.

    An additional factor is that most (all) journos support their own particular teams, and get cosy with the managers and players of those clubs.

    Certain managers encourage a clique of reporters and “ban” others if they have not toed the partyline. (Ferguson is a chief culprit here).

    These situations encourage mischief making about other teams and managers which has become endemic.

    Perhaps, in a democratic country, with a free press, this is a price worth paying!

  21. Gooner in Exile says:

    Bah just worked out train times and I wouldn’t be back in Norwich until well gone midnight and I have early start on Thursday so will be home on TV for me. Not surprised that some people are trying to get rid of tickets in the plus £130 bracket, surely these are box or club level seats with some free food thrown in.

  22. mark paul hooker says:

    very good piece
    i have been saying things similar for sometime
    i believe the tabs are out of step with what true football fans want to read

  23. charybdis1966 says:

    MPH – I reckon you can get bias and agenda free news from Blogs now, without the bullshit factor thrown in.
    Maybe tabloids should realise people are turning their backs on their kind of meida, I certainly don’t buy papers for any news nowadays.

  24. Maybe that’s why there are so many Arsenal blog sites, not enough words written in the press about how great we are.

  25. Rasp says:

    What a shame, it appears Balottelli is injured and won’t get the chance to show Jack Wilshere why he is the better player 🙄

  26. georgebr04 says:

    great blog m8

    also amazes how same jerno writing in a diff papper could swing opinion so much depending on his audience.

    NASRI or BALE?

  27. goonermichael says:

    Happy New year Raddy, Peaches, Chary and everyone

  28. Rasp says:

    Thanks gm, and the same to you and yours.

  29. charybdis1966 says:

    Cheers GM – always a pleasure to see you here.

    Peachy, I think the thing about Arsenal blogs is that they can give news wthout the usual Anti Arsenal agenda.

  30. Rasp says:

    This comment was posted by bluevalentine (a Manchester City supporter) on the tail end of yesterday’s post. He joined us for a lively debate on the effect of City’s new found wealth on English football and I felt that it would be of interest to those of you who engaged him yesterday….

    …..One last spar before I retire to my armchair to enjoy the last of the Ferreira ’76 with a brace of Robert Ditty’s oatcakes and a slice of Crozier Blue (fine Irish cheese only ‘in season’ at this time of year, if you don’t know it) in the snug of the Gale & Porter, Izzett Magna with my City supporting cronies.

    No football supporter deserves to be stigmatized because of the team he/she supports.* Most of us pick our teams at the age of 8, for one of three reasons (a) dad supports them (b) they are local (c) they are currently successful – no kid wants to go to school supporting a duff team and hand over bragging rights to pals. Most of us also stick with that team through thick and thin all our lives. It’s not entirely logical – we end up getting a lot of heartbreak (double relegations in City’s case) and also a fair bit of unease – I even know Manure supporters who were upset because their club was run by a butcher who sold dodgy meat to schools and hospitals.We had, however briefly, a guy who I suspected (rightly as it turned out) was a human rights abuser on a big scale. Curiously, your loyalty doesn’t fail, though it might wobble a bit. Nor does it when they flog your favourite player or put up the price of your season ticket.
    Although City fans came closer than any others when our protests managed to get rid of a chairman (P.Swales) as supporters of a club we don’t have any control over who owns our club. If Pol Pot came back to earth with a big bag of readies and bought Arsenal I suspect 99%+ supporters would still be wearing red.
    Okay, we got lucky, we did, as Rocky says “win the lottery” which enabled us to compete. But come on, guys, it was hardly a level playing field before the good Sheikh got his chequebook out was it? And it will only ever be if the Prem takes really stringent steps to equal things up. Steps I suspect that would be greeted with protest and dismay by the likes of Arsenal, The Rags, The Dippers, Chelski, City Spuds and any other club currently with a few bob.
    If it happens and if MCFC become a Div 2 banana republic, I’ll still love them.

    So farewell and good wishes for the season, if not for Wednesday night. I think you’ve got lucky, though any neutrals watching won’t have – Silva and Balotelli are unfit to play, so Mancini will be back to 3 DMFs I suspect, with Yaya dropping back alongside DJ and Baz and Milner in for Johnson. I believe that, at full strength, we could really take you on and it would be a hell of a ding-dong. Scarf Ace might be tempted to get Adebayor out of mothballs but I doubt it. Curious enigma, I wonder if some manager somewhere will get the best out of him… but that’s a topic for another day.

    ps any of the gastronauts among AA-ers are more than welcome to drop in on my own

    * sorry I’ll amend that; make it “no football supporter except for Stretford United supporters…”

  31. Hi georgebr04 – sorry your link took you into spam but you’re out now.

    I’ve evened up the voting on your poll.

    georgebr04’s comment is at 11.12 go vote everyone ….

    Nasri v Bale pah no contest

  32. Red Arse says:


    I think Bluevalentine made a fair fist of explaining how kids become fans of a particular club.

    His food and drink comments really hit the spot.

    {Sorry! The following seems, unintentionally, very didactic, so do not read on unless you feel brave.} 🙂

    Friendly inter-club comments at the BlueV level are informative and amusing, but unfortunately, attack/defensive posturing (on both sides) inevitably descends to acrimonious and unpleasant point scoring.

    Many Man City fans yesterday seem to have perceived their club to be under attack from a rival fans’ blog. Their reaction inevitably led to the predictable irascible cut and thrust of “He said; You said; I said” comments which then ensued.

    What has that to do with today’s Post, you might ask?

    Well, I think part of the strategy of the tabloids is to heighten the animosity between different fans/clubs and to sensationalise it in their rags.

    The result, depending on your standpoint, is outrage from fans of Club Z, that Club X are going to buy Player Y for a zillion pounds, or much gloating from fans of Club X that they can afford to buy such a player, and Club Z cannot. (too many Z’s and X’s, I know). 🙂 And the insults merry-go-round begins.

    The newspapers know that their incendiary comments goad and enrage the respective fans, and are akin to putting fighting cocks into a pen and letting them have at it.

    The outcome, of either situation, is distasteful, predictable and de-humanising.

    It is possible to talk to fans of other clubs in a reasonable and balanced way, and many of us do so with colleagues or friends, face to face, without recrimination. (Not recommended in a fuelled up Pub tho’)! 🙂

    However, fans commenting “anonymously” on each others’ blogs frequently lose the normal civilised manners expected of social intercourse and the resulting invective and diatribe is predictable and frankly boring.

    The tabloids are, at least in part, responsible for this.
    Conversely, the broadsheet’s Brian Glanville story of calming the fevered beast of rival fans hatred, while travelling on a train, shows what journalists can do to engender better understanding between fans, if they had a mind to do so.

    The Red Tops need to understand their role in society and realise their responsibility goes beyond making a quick buck by stirring up hatred!

  33. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Marie McDaniel, EpiKnightz. EpiKnightz said: Football Journalism – what the papers don’t say: Written by dandan Patrick Barclay, Hugh McIlvanney and… #Arsenal […]

  34. Rasp says:

    Thanks RA,

    A very clever comparison and link to today’s topic. You are well aware of what we are trying to achieve on AA. The reason the other big sites don’t go down the same route is that it’s nigh on impossible when you have a high volume of traffic. The only way it could work would be if AA could afford (via advertising)to have someone full time monitoring the situation and that would instantly change the whole emphasis and be self defeating.

    If we can get the message across that we are a supporter’s site for supporters who respect the club, other bloggers and the English language then that is a small measure of success.

  35. Rasp says:


    Desmond Morris observed in The Naked Ape that tribalism had transferred from the battlefield to the football stands and that it is an inherent part of human nature (male especially).

    We create political boundaries around the world, but you only have to look at the break up of Yugoslavia or Russia to see that the underlying tension was between different tribal (ethnic) groups.

    I think tribalism is what drives football supporters (maybe subliminally) and without it, what we describe as passion would be diluted immeasurably. We criticise the Emirates crowd for not being vocal enough and blame the new, more cerebral supporters for sitting in silence when what they are actually suppressing are their tribal instincts. Name me one country in the world that does not have a history of bad relations with at least one country it shares a border with?

  36. Very good comment RA

  37. Rasp says:

    I know I’m talking to myself here 😦 but just to add a final word. We all recognise the ‘it’s OK for me to criticise my own, but god forbid if anyone else does’ syndrome. I think yesterday’s debate demonstrated that perfectly on both sides of the argument.

  38. POTTER says:

    RASP. In your effort to justify City selling out you assume that everyone else is the same. Any research into the attitude of Arsenal supporters would show that their opposition to both Kroenke and Usmanov proves otherwise.

  39. Red Arse says:


    Sadly, we seem to agree with each other.

    However, by recognising potential problems in life, rather than ignoring them, we can strive to beneficially influence matters.

    Dandan’s Post has stimulated debate about the tabloid press and their occasionally malignant influence. If we arrive at a consensus here on AA, perhaps, like a pebble thrown in a pond, the ripples of unease at their behaviour may spread and cause them to change direction, however marginal that might be. 🙂

  40. Red Arse says:


    Could you clarify your point, please. Are you a City fan?

  41. Rasp says:

    Hi Potter, are you reading bluevalentine’s comment that I reproduced as if it were mine? If not, I don’t know how you’d draw that conclusion.

    My opinion is that it is not the City fans fault that their club was bought by billionaires and it is only natural that they will promote all the positives because as we know, a true supporter can never change their allegiance. But I do also believe that the obsecene money their owners are throwing around is detrimental to football.

  42. Red Arse says:


    I would like to take you and 26May to task!

    In the late comments, following yesterday’s Post, 26May inferred that I was a fine upstanding blogger, and at 12:39 you said I had made a clever comparison.

    I must ask you both not to malign my major attributes.

    A composite … “clever, fine, upstanding blogger”?
    My reputation as a moronic, useless blogger (who can’t write Posts … (sic) Peaches) may never recover from such character assassination! 🙂

  43. Rasp says:

    OK, I’ll respect your blog personna and just refer to you as Arse in the future 🙂

    I see Bowyer has received a 3 match ban for admitting his stamp on Sagna. A wise move as he’d probably have been given a 6 game suspension to include the other incident if he’d pleaded innocence.

  44. Red Arse says:

    Thank you Rasp, although there are many who may say those characteristics relate not just to a blog persona.

    On the other hand, “Arse” is perhaps a little too informal for polite company. 🙂

    As a concession I am happy to be referred to as RA. Less spelling anyway! 🙂

  45. Just to add to everyones enjoyment today, RockyLives wrote an excellent post in October asking for support from some of the well respected journalists to add their weight to the ‘kick kicking out of football’ campaign.

    Here it is

  46. RockyLives says:

    Great read Dandan, and a good point.
    McIlvanney has been a brilliant sports journo (particularly his writings on boxing). I must admit I did get fed up with him during the years of the big ManU-Arsenal rivalry. He had made a lot of money from writing Old Purple Face’s biography and his weekly column on the back of the Sunday Times sports section seemed for a while to simply be a mouthpiece for Fergie.
    I also like Simon Barnes in the Times (although his stuff on nature/wildlife is as good as if not better than his sports reporting).

    I know a couple of red-top sports hacks (Neil Custis and his brother Shaun). They’re good guys who love football (both barcodes fans) but their job is to stoke up sensationalism in and around the game, so no manager is every ‘a little annoyed’ he is always ‘furious’, no minor dispute is ever a ‘disagreement’ it’s always a blazing row. Of course, the red tops sell many more copies than the broadsheets, so maybe we get the press we deserve.

    And finally, charming though it is, I don’t buy the argument that the blogging world offers a less biased view of football. Part of the blogosphere’s strength is that most offerings are defiantly biased and partial and there’s no pretence at ‘fair and balanced’ as there is with the press.

  47. RockyLives says:

    Goonerjon – I was in that very same train carriage on the way back from the Cardiff FA Cup final with ManU when the potential trouble was brewing (small world, eh?).
    Glanville is a brilliant raconteur and he had everyone in the carriage eating out of his hand. He commanded respect in a way that the average tabloid hack never could.

  48. Big Raddy says:

    RL. What an amazing coincidence. Almost as weird as when Peaches and I found each other through the blogs.

  49. RockyLives says:

    BR – what happened with you and Peaches?

  50. ryandanielwood says:

    Thanks for linking that Peaches, and full credit for a fine post by DanDan which echoes Rocky’s very humorous, but spot on post from before.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but it’s one thing to read phrases like “He let him know he was in a game with that challenge”

    But when you hear some of the mugs commentating and co-commentating especially, echoing these lines, that’s where I think it seeps into the psyche of the standard couch pundit. Making the dangerous transition from say Channel Five’s hapless poke at running commentary to an everyday point of view for the impressionable Europa league viewer.

    It may seem cute and the popular view to point out Channel Five’s lack of quality and jump on the bandwagon, but honestly if you’ve watched just five minutes of their output you’d either be giggling to yourself at the inept comments, or washing your hands with professional punditry altogether.

    With nothing else to do one night a few weeks ago I sat down to watch Liverpool play, essentially just to pass the time I assure you!

    It was a terrible game, but the commentary really put the match in the mire by my standards. At one point the co-commentator witnessed Gerrard take a free kick, and said

    “I knew he’d shoot, my theory is that Gerrard will always shoot if he pulls his socks up. It signifies that he means business.”

    Ten Minutes later…Channel Five then play the respective piece of footage with Gerrard lifting up his socks…brilliant.

  51. If anyone here or elsewhere suffers from the delusion that the blogosphere is rational, balanced, unbiased or even sane may I recommend taking a trip to the forums on Blue Moon (you’ll learn a lot about which trainers to buy though). Hardcore devotees should bypass this and head instead for the ludicrously-named Republik of Mancunia where the real rabid heads hang out.
    Re journalism: (a) MOST (not all) journalists are lazy beggars. (b) newspapers today are staffed for the troughs, not the peaks. It used to be ‘If there’s a mill fire in Rochdale, an outbreak of bubonic plague in Bolton and a mad axe murder in Bury all at the same time, how many staffers will we need’. Now it’s ‘how long will it take you to cover all three and get back here in time to sub the City Final?’. Therefore journalists have less time to research and many rely for the most part on the web. Years ago me and a mate planted ‘Chelsea offer 1,000,000 for Bohemians striker’on a blog and two days later it got the whole of the back page of the Irish edition of The Sun.
    They have less time to write reasoned, elegant prose and because tabloid editors are looking for the new ‘Gotcha!’ (and so are the majority of readers) they wouldn’t be thanked for it anyway.
    I used to review restaurants for a glossy magazine. Now, as a critic for a daily newspaper I find my editor is cockahoop if I give a place (particularly if it belongs to a celeb chef) a bad rap. It sells more papers. Likewise ‘Toure and Adebayor in training ground punch-up’ (what is it about these ex-Arsenal guys?) has more mileage than ‘Lescott and Milner have dinner together’.
    Two morals here – (1) we probably get the newspapers we deserve and (ii) don’t believe everything you read in them.

  52. dandan says:

    Evening all, thanks for your kind responses. Sorry I have not been around, but this place is a bit like an A and E dept at present.

    Red Arse I dont wish to pry, but do you work and if so how do you get the time to blog so much?

  53. Rasp says:

    Evening dandan,

    Thanks for a very stimulating post that by its nature, compared to yesterday’s, illustrates what the site is all about. We’ve gone off at a tangent a few times, but there have been some great insights, notably Goonerjon (once sports correspondent for a broadsheet) and the admirable bluevalentine above.

  54. RockyLives says:

    Hello ryandw. One of the joy’s of living in North America is not having to watch C5 footy coverage! (Mind you, some of the US channels have equally comical and infuriating commentary and punditry).

    Blueval: many years ago I was a reporter on a chain of local weekly papers. There were about seven district offices, each producing its own edition, each edition having an editor, a deputy editor and two or three reporters.
    That newspaper still exists but has (I’m told) only a small handful of reporters in one central office covering all seven editions. Inevitably the quality of what’s in the paper suffers accordingly, because apart from a few main stories, reporters are reduced to re-writing press releases just to fill up the space.

  55. dandan says:

    Rasp it would appear the cat is out of the bag us poor laymen have to compete on here with trained journalists, no wonder we take the occasional beating old sun. LOL

  56. Red Arse says:

    Hi Dandan,

    “Not wishing to pry, but …” sounds quite a bit like “Don’t mean to be rude, but …” 🙂

    I work from home on a contract basis. I have work, I have a deadline, I charge a fee. If I don’t complete my work, don’t hit the deadline … no fee. I always get my fee.

    I often, though not exclusively, work intermittently during the day, but number crunch big time in the evening/early morning. You will not see me around much on blogs after 6 p.m.

    Hope that satisfies your curiosity! 🙂

    For myself, I am not curious about what anyone else does. If someone wants to volunteer info that’s fine, if not, that’s fine too! So I won’t ask!

  57. dandan says:

    Me RA, I am retired and do the bidding of numerous grand children who long ago let me know who is boss.

  58. Rasp says:

    😆 dandan, I see it as a compliment that ‘professionals’ stoop down to our level once in a while.

  59. Big Raddy says:

    RL & Blueval. I don’t quite see why the use of English from these stressed (but well paid) journo’s has suffered so badly.

    RA. touched upon it earlier …. education or lack of it. A newspaper has a duty to both entertain and educate – or am I an old fashioned curmudgeon?

  60. ryandanielwood says:

    Hehe, nice defence there RA.

    “I always get my fee”

    on another note that is probably the slogan lining the doors for 99.9% of Footballing agents.

  61. Red Arse says:

    I sort of gathered that Dandan from your excellent Posts and deep knowledge of AFC. Grandkids are a blessing, and I bet you love being bossed around by them! 🙂

    I’ll let you into a secret. I stumbled across AA on Rico’s suggestion (HH) and really enjoyed the company here, so I made sure I found the time to play for rest and recreation purposes. If I ever thought I was bugging AA bloggers I would be off, PDQ! 🙂

    A number of my clients are overseas so the time shift works out quite well.

  62. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. One in the loading bay 😉

  63. Rasp says:

    Thanks Raddy, you’re a star 🙂

  64. Red Arse says:

    BR, with your exquisite taste in wines and down to earth good sense, you could never be curmudgeonly in my eyes! 🙂

    This site is bulging with fascinating people. Knowledgeable, well travelled, (especially by bike) 🙂 and tolerant of oddball humour! 🙂

  65. Big Raddy says:

    RA. In the words of the great (?) Dick Emery ” Oooh , You are Awful, but I like you”

  66. Red Arse says:


    Your comment on Channel 5’s reporting rings all to true.

    But watching ESPN with their dreadful commentators it is almost physically painful to listen to them criticising the Arsenal players.

  67. dandan says:

    Ah the vagaries of the damn clock, I remember them well RA

  68. Red Arse says:

    As we were discussing journalism and some of it’s mediocre practitioners, I thought I would mention our great club’s administrators.

    I get an email every so often (as no doubt you all do) and the headline is often disappointingly errant. Today’s says, “The Official Manager’s Email”. I suppose that is better than the unofficial manager’s rotten email. (rolls eyes in resignation).

    Surely it cannot be difficult to attach an adjective to the noun it is describing …. or is it me? 🙂

  69. Red Arse says:

    Speaking of clocks, Dandan, I am not exactly cinderella but my carriage awaits. I must away! 🙂

    Tomorrow, hopefully! 🙂

  70. Raddy,
    for the most part (bloody hell, I keep popping back here!) logic, elegant constructions, literary references and polysyllabic words are wasted on the hoi polloi. Blame it on successive governments who, some time back, decided that education was a purely functional thing – there was a pre-conceived need for scientists and accountants, hence that’s where the funding went and liberal arts went out of the window. So far as spelling and grammar went, all you needed was the ability to type ‘’ on to a PC keyboard. English? I speak it, dunneye. History? Bunk, innit. The people reading, writing for and, in some cases, editing the media were educated under this regime.
    Clearly this is an over-simplification, there are exceptions, but the concept of learning as a way of improving the mind is largely dead and buried. Luckily there are people who come to realise that there are gaps in their knowledge and take steps to remedy things, which takes a lot of time and effort. I take my hat off to them.
    As someone who was school educated back in the 1940s-1950s I am constantly appalled at the low standard of general knowledge prevalent today. At primary school we were encouraged to learn a list of ‘Manchester firsts’ – first library, first bus service, first HQ of the FA, first passenger railway station, first computer, etc etc. It imbued us with civic pride and encouraged us to learn more abut these facets and about the area we grew up in. It fuelled our curiosity.
    When I started in journalism my first editor opined that ‘the best journalists are nosey buggers’. I wonder, sometimes, if today’s journos are nosey enough.

  71. Rasp says:


    Another great comment, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if our pre-match report for the game against your beloved sky blues doesn’t flush you out again tomorrow.

  72. Irishgunner says:

    The aspiring journalist here misses out on her thread.

    Just FYI, I’m writing for a brand new site, under my own name and my aim to be objective. I’d be interested in all ye letting me know how I’m getting on over time. If I have what it takes to be a journo.

  73. dandan says:

    Blue valentine, great stuff keep it coming, it is great to have another clubs fan on here who will talk in a civilized manner. I was educated at the same time as you and lived and worked in Manchester in the Tony Book, Big Malc, Joe Mercer, Mike Summerby, Franny Lee days.
    Franny now there is a guy who could give today’s players diving lessons.

    Best’s pub and the pub just up the road from main road that the players used, fond memories of good times even for a gooner far from home, Guess Moss Side is a different world now.
    As I said at the start come back, you never know, you may even forgive us for selling you adabarndoor and Kolo.

  74. Big Raddy says:

    Blueval.Thanks for the reply. What a shame you aren’t a Gooner 🙂

    As a person who went to Uni in his 40’s I was constantly surprised at the low level of general knowledge. I blame the teachers, the parents and Margaret Thatcher.

    Irish. Having read yuor posts you definitely have the potential to be a fine journalist. How to break into the profession is another matter

  75. dandan says:

    Hi Irish an objective, honest blogger, prepared to write about friend and foe in an unbiased way would be a godsend to any site with values, It would I am sure get you noticed by the journo world. Look back at goonerjon who visited us today. You just never know who is watching on line.

    Good luck young lady in your quest and a happy new year to you

  76. Irishgunner says:

    Cheers Guys 🙂

    My stuff will be here: and I am the named person in featured writers (my picture will be up there soon 😳 )

    The site is just starting up so just a few general bits up for now. Hope y’all don’t mind me plugging my wares 🙂

  77. Big Raddy says:

    Not at all Irish. Looking forward to your first post.

  78. RockyLives says:

    Blueval – I went to Uni in Manchester in the late 70s early 80s. My Irish Dad always loved George Best, so my first thought on arriving in Manchester was to go and see Man Utd when I could afford it. It didn’t take me long to realise that the real club in Manchester is City, and over three years I went to a lot of games at Maine Road and loved the atmosphere. It was a good time to be there, particularly in my last year at Uni when City went all the way to the Cup Final.
    Apart from when your lot were playing the Arsenal, I always wanted them to win.
    So, notwithstanding my post from yesterday, I have a soft spot for the Citizens.

  79. RockyLives says:

    Good luck with it Irish – I’m sure it will be a success if your writing on here is anything to go by. I hope it doesn’t mean you’ll be abandoning us AA-ers…

  80. Irishgunner says:

    Cheers BR – I actually have three up and one is about Man City, so if any of them are still about and want to agree or disagree:

    Cheers RockyL – Of course not, Gooner 4 life 🙂

  81. RockyLives says:

    Just read it Irish. Good piece and very impartial (until you get to the Adebayor bit 🙂 )

  82. Irishgunner says:

    Ha ha – That was as fair as I could get when it comes to Adebayor 😆 And he is always offside … sooo…. not biased but factual 😆

  83. RockyLives says:

    True – if I hadn’t known you I would not have guessed it was written by a Gooner. Your restraint is admirable.

  84. Irishgunner says:

    Merci buckets 🙂

    Let’s just hope Arsenal win the league, how can I be unbiased towards A.N.Other winning it? 😯

  85. No need to apologise for Kolo. He puts in a shift and after a shaky start he’s been playing well and has gelled with Vincent Kompany, thus far probably our player of the year – well, at least in competition with DJ and David Silva.
    Adebayor… hmm, I don’t now. Originally I liked the guy: plays with a smile on his face, bags of ability;not as lazy as the ball-watching element in our fans make out (check the stats); like my old cricketing hero, Clive Loyd, Emu can lope faster than most people can run. Wonderful striker when he’s on song, great hat trick against Poznan. But there’s no doubt he’s ultra-high maintenance. The sort who needs a virtual cuddle, has to be told how great he is every 10 minutes and I think Scarf Ace just got fed up/worn out from doing it and gave up on him. Contrast Jo (with half of Emu’s talent) who will make runs all day for you if you pat him on the back and say “get out there, son and give it a go”.
    We heard (from an in-house contact) a couple of months ago that Adebayor was “killing them in training”. We didn’t think he meant literally!

  86. RockyLives says:

    The injuries may be a blessing in disguise for you Blues, because if Adebarndoor plays this is one game where you can guarantee he’ll put in a full shift.

  87. Rasp says:

    Hi Irish,

    Just had a read of your 5 to leave City story – great stuff although I reckon I could have done a better job on the pictures 😛

  88. Rasp says:


    Playing up against Lazybarndoor (I’m not going to apologise for that nickname bluev) should work as a motivational factor for our players too.

  89. ryandanielwood says:

    Well done Irish, I was pulled into reading a number of articles. In particular the 2010 round-ups of each EPL side. Keep up the good work and make sure you get all the recognition you deserve from the site.

  90. RockyLives says:

    Good point Rasp. But we shouldn’t lack for motivation in any case.

  91. Irishgunner says:

    Ha ha thanks Rasp – I’d nothing to do with the pictures *phew*

    Cheers Ryan – glad you liked them. The round-ups are by the content manager, he does most of the work, thankfully.

  92. RockyLives says:

    I see we have been mentioned on a Man City site:

    Good humoured piece really. I have to say that in the Blogosphere the City fans are, by and large, coming out with a lot of credit.

  93. ryandanielwood says:

    With all this talk of motivation of embittered players seeing red (and blue)

    you’d almost forget that this there is serious title points up for grabs here, motivation enough surely without the handbags coming out!?


  94. Big Raddy says:

    Come on Ryan. You must love a bit of handbags. I know I do.

  95. RockyLives says:

    Not while you’re cycling I hope, Raddy.

  96. ryandanielwood says:

    Problem with handbags, is that everything comes in smaller amounts these days BR!

    So in that case I guess I wouldn’t mind trading purses with Sheikh Mansour.

    And believe me I’m fired up for the game enough, there’s nothing I’d like more than to see Balotelli getting thumped with his own sodding trophy. If it turns out it’s the only silverware City do achieve this year, it’s befitting that its all lorded up by one player.

    Thanks BR now I’ve got to find a place to store my handbag for the match!

  97. Irishgunner says:

    Hleb scored a goal 😯

  98. Gooner in Exile says:

    Been over there for a bit of bantering amongst the comments, apparently Cesc is dirty and all our midfield got booked at Eastlands and we should stop bleating about fair play.

    I don’t get these fans, talk about hypocritical, first we should get up and get on with it cos thats how the games played in the PL, then when we get a few bookings we are dirty? Ho hum never mind.

    See Clattenburg has been given the Man Utd game for the first time since the Nani goal against the Spuds, thats one ref all non Man Utd fans can agree on.

    Apparently Little Jack has been naughty boy on Twitter suggesting Arsenal should bring Beckham in on loan, he is either winding up Spuds fans or a little ahead of himself!

    By the way anyone else think this whole Spuds to get BEckham thing is a bit of a joke, saw that the story basically comes from Becks having a conversation with Redknapp Jnr in Harrods, where he is beleieved to have said he would like to play on loan for Spuds. I’d tell Jamie Redknapp anything he wanted to hear too if it meant he would leave me alone!

  99. RockyLives says:

    GiE: “I’d tell Jamie Redknapp anything he wanted to hear too if it meant he would leave me alone!” 🙂 🙂

  100. 26may1989 says:

    Paul Merson on Sky just now: “I make Arsenal absolute certainties against Man City”. Oh fuck.

  101. Irishgunner says:

    Stoke just scored. 🙂

  102. Rasp says:

    Come on Stoke you beauties (for one night only)

  103. 26may1989 says:

    @Red Arse at 1.13pm: You are a moron, you are useless, you are an utter waste of (cyber)space. Is that better?! (;)

  104. 26may1989 says:

    An insightful comment from BBC’s live coverage from Old Trafford: “Man Utd continue to boss possession at Old Trafford and one could be forgiven for thinking Stoke are quite happy with a 2-1 defeat here.” Class act, that Tony Pulis.

  105. Rasp says:

    Once again manu don’t play well and yet scrape a win.

  106. Irishgunner says:

    Well feck it anyway.

  107. Neamman says:

    have to admit the quality of cricket writing is just on another level to Football. I just love getting some book on an old time player written by one of the sports respected writers and letting them paint a picture of some test match or another. They bring it to life in ways most football writers cannot, with some of the notable exceptions mentioned above.

  108. RockyLives says:

    And once again Old Purple Face has been buttering up one of his pet northern managers before the game to help ensure an easy ride.

    Not to worry, they have far bigger tests ahead of them than Stoke at home.

  109. RockyLives says:

    To return to Dandan’s original theme, I would also like to put in a word for Patrick Collins of the Mail on Sunday. Usually when there’s a fevered debate he can be relied on to add light rather than heat.

  110. 26may1989 says:

    It was a nice piece from Dandan. To the names of decent journos in the pot, I’d add a few from the Grauniad: our very own Amy Lawrence, David Lacey (the John Peel of football writing, though he can get a bit history obsessed) and (brace yourselves) David Pleat – his post match analyses are tip-top for me.

    Away from that journal, Simon Kuper at the FT is superb and (for cricket) Matthew Engel at Wisden and the FT is great.

    But away from the quality papers, the journalism all seems to be crappy and pointless, a bit like BBC and Sky pundits – they all seem more worried about getting their next gig or not getting chucked out of the press conference by Alex Ferguson than they are about providing real coverage of football. Internet amateurs often provide more insight and knowledge of the game.

  111. RockyLives says:

    Saw your comment on that Citeh site. 🙂

  112. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Seems like a nice chap that bluevalantine 🙂

  113. charybdis1966 says:

    Couldn’t resist it R Lives.

  114. Morning all

    There’s a NEW POST

  115. Fitness Reader…

    […]Football Journalism – what the papers don’t say « Arsenal Arsenal[…]…

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