Talksport – hitch all your anti-Arsenal bandwagons here

February 25, 2011

During last summer’s England World cup debacle, much to my chagrin, I found myself listening to the above radio station specifically for  an “exclusive” interview with everyone’s favourite wheeler dealer Henry James “Harry” Redknapp.

Aside from the usual sycophantic toadying one would expect from Ginger Durham towards a good honest Brit manager I heard an example of the blatant double standards the station employs when addressing our club and any other.

At that time England had just ignominiously exited the tournament and Defoe had been pictured, along with others in the squad, puffing a large cigar as if to celebrate his teams departure from the competition (around this time Cashley was making clear his feelings on playing for his country: “I hate England and all the f***ing people”) so obviously his club manager was going to be asked about it.

His answer?

“I haven’t see that picture”

Now can anyone think of a Premier League manager who is routinely ridiculed if he says he hasn’t seen “it”?

Mmmm….

So what was the Ginger ones rejoinder? A cutting remark, repeat the question, insist he must have seen it?
Nothing, a swift move onto the next friendly question and the usual inordinate amount of questioning allowing as many anti Arsenal digs to come in.

For example Mertesacker, who we were rumoured to be interested in at the time, was pronounced ”meat stacker” (ho ho ho) and was labelled useless because “oh, Arsenal are interested”

It’s also strange to see how enraged the station were by Flamini’s tackle on Corluka in the first leg of the Spuds Champions league fixture, to which Harry said:

“That is a red card all day. How has he not got a red card for that? It’s an absolute disgrace, they should look at that, surely, and do something about it. It’s a dangerous, dangerous tackle. He was two or three feet off the floor with two feet. It was a leg-breaking tackle”

Now imagine if that had been our manager saying that about any tackle performed on one of our players, do you think they would refrain, as they did for Harry, from saying – it was a slightly mistimed fair but firm challenge and you can’t take tackling out of the game?

Harry’s stance on the Flamini tackle varies somewhat with what he said earlier this season when asked if Wenger is right to ask for the problem of reckless tackling to be addressed:

“What Arsene’s saying is they’ve had one or two injuries. But if people are going for the ball and it’s a fair tackle then there’s no problem if they’re aggressive.”

Again, would Talkspite allow that kind of self-contradiction from our manager to go unchallenged? Of course they wouldn’t, indeed they spend a good deal of their time peretuating and reinforcing myths about him, for example that he wants to take tackling out of the game.

I’ve heard the Ginger one say “I don’t care enough about Arsenal to hate them” yet for the next hour or so after he said that he spent a lot of time highlighting why our team is all that’s wrong with the foreign teams.

Just recalling how much time is spent on discussing what is wrong with Arsenal by him shows he cares too much and while I doubt it is his personal choice to jump on anything that even remotely resembles an anti-Arsenal bandwagon.

The stations policy is clearly built on antagonising the fans of the team who are the most articulate and have one of the largest internet presence in the blogosphere and thereby goading them into responding.

This is not an isolated case, one Stan Collymore, emboldened by the company policy of sticking into the Arsenal, let rip once and showed his Arsenal hating credentials by launching into a very unfunny impression of Wenger’s French accent which had it been in ,say, an African accent would have rightly been unacceptable on the grounds of racism.

One has to say Collymore is consistent as around that time Setanta were broadcasting a supporters talk forum where he was on the panel and when asked about Arsenal’s chances of staying in the top 4 said “No chance” and he expected Aston Villa to take their place in the top four.

That’s not to say S V Collymore is a good example of footballing punditry, I’d rather ask him for relationship counselling than expect a worthwhile insight into the game from him and I’d get more footballing sense out of Ulrika.

During the time of the Cesc-spitting slurs it was clear that the case hinged on one person’s word against another – that of (as Alan Brazil put it) an “Honest pro, a real Brit football man” like Horton and a non-English, Spaniard Cesc Fabregas, who was from the continent and – incidentally – foreign.

Guess who Brazil sided with?

Now of course experts have a right to support a team it’s just I wish Talk sport would allow them to say “I hate Arsenal and you will not get even handed discussion about things football here as we have an agenda to live up to” – that way listeners would know what to expect.

The fact they have hired the ex-Sky Sports pair comes as no surprise, no doubt we can look forward to the hirsute one exhorting Theo to “get up you stupid little boy” and “You’ve been s***e, son, in your daft pink boots – absolute rubbish.”

So what to do if you want to keep your blood pressure in check? Switch off and starve the station of listeners – you won’t miss the intrusive and persistent advertising nor the product placement references you are force fed during the non-commercial sections of the broadcasting.

I took part in a radio listening census and put, in the “Other comments” section, that I no longer listened to Talkspittle because of its lack of even handedness in its treatment of different clubs.

A small gesture but worth making, like when I cancelled my Vodafone contract once they became sponsors of Sir Alchopop’s team – and I wrote to them saying exactly why I’d cancelled.

If gooners have had enough of our team and us, as supporters, being routinely vilified (who was surprised that Talkshite’s response to our Barca first leg victory would be that of “Arsenal were lucky and didn’t deserve to win”?) then I suggest turning off in droves and maybe starting up a twitter campaign as has been mentioned by one of our contributors here (#BoycottTalkSport).

It may not amount to anything but you just don’t know who may be monitoring its effect, the ripples in ponds effect.

Either way, why not try alternative stations or perhaps re acquainting yourselves with music of your youth?
In any case don’t get angry at Talkhate and do not bother phoning in(they’ll keep you hanging on for ages at a minimum of 10 pence a minute) because ultimately there is no reasoning with stupidity, and plenty of that abounds from that radio station.

Written by charybdis1966