Friday, 14 March 2014

THE WOLVES OF FLEET STREET


Often we have perceptions and expectations that need to be realigned, one such perspective can be that of injustice, lack of fairness or bias. An expectation could be that equality, reasonableness and morals are to be held as sacrosanct.
I’m talking about how the radio stations listened to, the newspapers read and the social media sites perused fail to align with our perceptions of accuracy and intellect and how they fail to meet our expectations.

Any talk of unfavourable and unreasonable criticism is dismissed as paranoia, outrage at generalisation and systematic courting of criticism is seen as petulance.
Fact is that when the gentlemen of the sports press (and it is mostly still a male bastion let’s not forget: save for the excellent Amy Lawrence) draw their weapons and take aim at The Arsenal there seems to be a degree of relish at writing epitaphs and glee at reporting any perceived failing.
Is it in the blood one wonders: we all should know that in the 30’s when Arsenal, who represented all that was brash about London and the South in general, had the temerity to gate crash the Northern based world of successful football vitriol soon followed. And what’s more we did it with the finest manager of his time who hailed from that sacred land of clogs and whippets.

I am under no illusion that Liverpool and Manchester United have been feted for decades and it’s absolutely right to say that they have achieved great things over the years but London, what to do about London. Even though most sports writers gather in the heart of the capital they uniformly take against London’s most successful club.

The other capital clubs receive somewhat different treatment. The press love Chelsea: all those tales on the Kings Road in the swinging sixties and sexy seventies and now with the Portuguese media darling at the helm. West ham with the echoes of 66 ringing in many a Fleet Street ear and the references to the academy and Bobby Moore. Spurs, oh how the press love the Spurs; not sure why. But they do.
And then theirs us, messing up things at Anfield in ‘89 providing a Yin to Manchester United’s yang in the golden era of the Premiership, winning obdurately and winning flamboyantly but too many red cards, too many foreign players and a manager who won’t play the game with the boys with the biros.

Thing is I’m used to it. I don’t listen to Talksport; why listen to invective that is designed to boost ratings, I don’t read the tabloids; you’ve seen one broken cannon you’ve seen them all but most worrying is that the same sort of sloppy journalistic tropes have crept into the ‘serious’ writer’s repertoire.

The sad truth seems to be that supporters of the Arsenal need to impose upon themselves a media blackout to avoid bouts of anger, frustration and irritation.

I don’t like it when the Arsenal are being liked by this lot because I always get the feeling that, like the dodgy salesman that they have become ever closer to resembling, they get on your good side only to show their true colours when you let your guard down.


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