In a time where no
real competitive football is played, it becomes easy for the media to monopolise
the mind of your average narrow-minded football fan. For the press, it’s fairly
easy to conjure up a name, link them with a club and plonk it on the back page.
After that, all that’s needed is a few buzzwords to convince the fan that a
transfer of a said player is actually plausible. Why?
Its common perception in modern football that stories
reported in the media instantly hold some palpability – and it’s the nature of
that palpability that eventually winds the fan up. If ‘The Sun’ report that we
yearn to bring Wayne Rooney to Arsenal for a fee surrounding £25m. That’s it.
For some people, that actually means we do. No ifs or buts… it’s on the back
page. It’s concrete.
When I see this type of behaviour littered on my Twitter
timeline, it starts to disturb me. Football is a game built on expectation.
Suddenly what was a half-wit journo’s garb on the back of a 20p tabloid somehow
becomes ‘a story’ and people instantly start to hope, and cling on to something
that actually never held any validity. Is it not time we grew up and ceased to
pay attention to these stories that turn out not to be concrete in any way,
shape or form? If you’ll pardon the pun!
I stumbled across a link the other day which listed every
player Arsenal had been linked with since the 31st May. It listed every player and named
and shamed the newspaper/tabloid that had written the story linking the said
players with us. The total list accumulated to 51 players. Arsenal, on average,
sign around three-five players each transfer window. Yet people are still
willing to take the press’s word on most occasions that we are somehow ‘in for’
so and so and that Arsene Wenger is ‘keen’.
This is what the summer is becoming, a minefield of
stupidity plastered over the transparent walls of the internet. It starts off
from a report, which leads to relatively reputable Twitter account tweeting
something along the lines of ‘So what’s this we are in for Rooney, can anyone
confirm?’, which leads to people getting their hopes up in a nanosecond as soon
as they see a player’s name mentioned. That’s where expectation plays such a detrimental
part of the life of every football fan. Your joy is measured on what you expect
of something, be it a transfer deal, a game, a penalty. It’s like a potion, an
amalgamation of your pessimism, your feelings in the heat of the moment, your
knowledge, your instinct, and your wisdom all rolled in to one to create one
solitary expectation. And then it’s down to your character to decipher how you
react to that expectation. Then emotion comes in to play because the
expectation has or hasn’t been met. Why is so much emotion poured out? It’s
because at the end of the day, we love Arsenal, and we want them to
That’s what the transfer window has felt like to me so far.
People we don’t know personally, and whom we don’t trust, scribbling whatever the
hell they like on the back page to fill us with hope. The relevant jargon is in
place to catch the attention of one consumer to passively tell them it’s all
going to be better. Can fans just not wise up for a minute, rationalise, and
learn that once a name, a fee, and a destination is batted around the back
page, it doesn’t mean that suddenly we are ‘in for him’. It means that you’ve
just fallen in to the trap. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t bought a paper
copy, once you’ve clicked that all important link it just sells more
advertising off to that news outlet. And the vociferous cycle just starts up
again once a hack can be bothered to come up with something more imaginative. Raising people’s expectations once again only
to be lowered again, because in football, we don’t get what we want. We get
what we are given.
Some stories that papers do report hold some truth, only
because it’s clearly obvious some facts have been leaked and if every paper is
reporting it, they know that story becomes more authentic if it’s reported
universally, take the Luis Suarez bid for example! But the majority of the
time, it’s all hot air and jargon in my opinion. A paper doesn’t exist to
report the truth, and it doesn’t exist to assure you that Arsenal will be
better this season. It exists to sell copies and advertising, that’s all
really. Who knows, we may buy big as we certainly have the resources to do so,
and that isn’t coming from a paper, it’s coming off the back of the club’s
financial report! I hope we do use our resources to the best of our ability.
But the next time a tabloid wishes to shove a name in your face, in all senses
of the phrase, don’t buy it! Keep the faith and keep it Arsenal!