Home News daily roundup 01 mar 08

Soccerlens Daily – Paranoid Arsenal, Angry Chelsea, Confused Newcastle, Tottenham in China and more



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Some people got pissed off yesterday on a few of the articles. Here’s the thing – personal abuse (i.e. calling the author shite) is not on. You want to do that, go and setup your own blog. If you’re going to comment, do the responsible thing and criticise the opinion instead of the man.

On to today’s news:

1. Wenger – responsible or not?

Arsene Wenger is an articulate man and when he says that he’s not ‘responsible’ for the death threats sent to Taylor, he’s right (even if he’s playing to semantics). Of course he’s not responsible for them. He didn’t send any (and the comments that he made, he retracted after Taylor went and apologised to Wenger – something I don’t understand why since the only person who deserved an apology was Eduardo), nor did he ask anyone to send those death threats.

Here’s the thing though – just as football fans watching the match at home on TV have their views on the game partially shaped by the commentator’s statements, Arsenal fans too have their views partially shaped by what Arsene Wenger says.

So, the night of the incident and the morning after, when Arsenal fans the world over were hurting and the headlines gave more weight to Wenger’s initial comments rather than his retraction, a lot of stuff was said about Taylor, on blogs, in comments and on forums. Are you seriously suggesting, Mr Wenger, that Arsenal fans formed their views independently of what they’d read of your comments and what the media had written? You give football fans, and the human race in general, way too much credit then.

2. Wenger plays his final card

Well done, Monsieur Wenger. You have rolled out the ‘Arsenal are VICTIMS’ spectre right on time, hoping to spark a siege mentality in your players and deflect any criticism that comes your side’s way in the coming months. This victims-speech has been played before, and everytime it’s the same story:

  • Arsenal come to play football
  • Other teams come to kick Arsenal
  • And at the end of the day, if Arsenal lose, it’s more often than not because they got kicked off the park
  • If Arsenal win, they are superior human beings as well, because they played football and won despite being kicked

I hope, Mr Wenger, that even if you do not realise the insanity that you have put out there, you do realise that what you’ve said will influence the millions of Arsenal fans around the world, who will now go on and on and on about how they are kicked so much, or in embarrassment at your comments, will attack other managers for their comments (waiting for an attack on Fergie any minute now).

Stats are a wonderful thing – you can prove anything with them, 45% of all stats are made-up anyway, and they don’t tell the whole story either. Of course, if you get the stats wrong, you pretty much concede your point but for Wenger, his rant is so powerful and will ring so true with Arsenal fans on a subconcious level that we can pretty much guarantee this sort of paranoid self-pity for the rest of the season. God help us…

3. Avram Grant Fights Back

Grant is right to criticise the media for the mess they’ve created – but in part it’s also Grant’s responsibility to stamp his authority not just in the Chelsea dressing room but also on the English media. So far he’s come across as the nice guy and against the backdrop of Chelsea it’s not exactly an authoritative persona.

Grant needs to start shouting and getting angry, if only for show. It sucks, but that’s one of the few ways the media will understand that Grant is really in charge of his club.

Of course, lose to West Ham today…or not beat Arsenal / Manchester United at Stamford Bridge, and nothing can save Grant from the press then.

4. Champions League Final Tickets

Uefa will allocate 21,000 tickets to each club competing in May’s final while 10,500 have been put up for general sale. Uefa’s arguments (William Gaillard speaking):

“Seventy-five per cent will go to fans. Last year it was only 65%.

I don’t there is any other competition in the world that guarantees that many tickets to fans, especially when you compare it to the World Cup or competitions in the past.

Not all can go just to the two clubs. There should be tickets for fans all over Europe as well as the local fans in Moscow, who would like to see such a prestigious game.”

What do you guys think? Should everyone get the chance to see the final or should the stadium be equally split between the fans of the 2 competing clubs?

5. Owen Hargreaves – the model footballer?

An excellent interview with Hargo.

6. Newcastle’s Basic Problem

Owen: Confidence is low in the Newcastle camp
Martins: Keegan makes sure that we are positive and don’t feel sorry for ourselves

Someone isn’t doing their job then, I guess?

And that’s besides the obvious point – that the players are also responsible, both in terms of their own morale and their abilities on the pitch.

7. Tottenham and Newcastle to play in China?

Through a complicated mess of linking together both Tottenham and Newcastle, Hytner (who must be praised for his investigative reporting although I’m 99% sure someone else gives him the facts and he just speaks on them) manages to convince himself that maybe, just maybe, Tottenham and Newcastle might play a pre-season friendly in China. The conditions are perfect (Spurs have qualified for Uefa Cup, Newcastle won’t), the relationships are there, and both clubs have Chinese links too. There’s a Game 39 link thrown in for good measure as well.

What they don’t have though, is any clear intention of wanting to play in China. Surprised they didn’t mention Woodgate and Jenas…

8. Game 39 Watch

Pitch Invasion passes on the text of a recent meeting between Scudamore and the FSF. Makes for interesting reading, once you get past the initial bias.

Gary Andrews has written about it on Soccerlens as well – do have a read.

Off for the weekend folks, see you guys on Monday.

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Ahmed Bilal created Sportslens in 2006. He is a business consultant and entrepreneur who helps businesses identify and overcome their biggest challenges. He’s also the founder of Football Media, an online advertising agency that specialises in sports and male audience targeting, with a monthly reach of 100m+ sports fans in the UK and US. He’s also the previous owner of Soccerlens.com – a sports news site that reaches 3m+ readers / month.