Where the 'Henry was booed' story came from

On the forums and on the arses and I’m sure on other sites too people who hadn’t been at the Everton game reacted to stories about Thierry Henry being booed. Understandably they were upset by it. I’m not sure about elsewhere but on Arseblog people who had been at the game were quick to dispel the story. Yes, there were some mutterings of discontent at moments during what was, by his own high standards, a quiet performance but no more so than there are when Gilberto gives the ball away or even when Kolo misses a header to allow Tim Cahill to score.

There was no booing. So where did the story come from? It came from a journalist, and I use the term lightly, who was at the game. His name is Antony Kastrinakis and he works for the News of the World.

At the post-game press conference he was first to ask a question, which had other journalists looking at the floor and cringing as they’re wont to do when he opens his mouth, saying “Arsene, was that that worst performance you’ve ever seen from Thierry Henry?”. Naturally the boss wasn’t rising to the bait only for Kastrinakis to say something along the lines of “Well, 55,000 Arsenal fans thought he was appalling today” prompting the boss to compliment him for speaking on behalf of so many people. Anyway, he reported that in his News of the World match report. He said that Henry was booed.

I’ve read the posts of people who were at the game who state categorically and to a man/woman that Henry was not booed. Now, this could be a number of things.

1 – The 55,000 Arsenal fans who were there suffer from dreadful hearing and didn’t hear themselves boo Thierry Henry
2 – Antony Kastrinakis has fantasic hearing and only he heard the boos
3 – As someone else pointed out perhaps he was confusing cries of ‘shooooot’ with boos (God knows how he would have coped if Eduuuuu set up a goal for Kanuuuuuu)
4 – He’s making stuff up and ‘making stuff up’ is a polite way of saying ‘lying’ to stir the shit.

Obviously saying Thierry Henry was booed by Arsenal fans makes for good copy for the News of the World. It doesn’t matter that it’s complete bollocks other papers picked up the story and soon it spreads and despite the fact it’s not true stories like this are remembered. ‘Oh, remember when Arsenal fans booed their captain?!’ some wankbag pundit on some TV show (most likely that shiny-foreheaded cunt Hansen) will pipe up and at that point it doesn’t matter how many times you tell people it’s not true too many people believe it (sort of like that Marc Almond story).

Thierry Henry was not booed and I can imagine that he wouldn’t have enjoyed reading the reports based on the falsehood which started in the News of the World. Remember, Thierry has been known to pick up the phone to journalists who he feels have misquoted or misrepresented him so it might be of some interest to him to know where it began.

Now, the News of the World is not renowned for its integrity and high journalistic standards but surely the least one would expect of someone there to do a match report is for them to just report what happened and not invent stuff. We can all accept minor errors in match reports, it’s normal, but saying Rosicky took a corner when it was actually Cesc is not the same as saying Thierry was barracked by his own fans. He might as well have said a spaceship landed on the penalty spot because that’s the level of invention we’re talking about.

It’s designed purely and simply to create a story where there isn’t one. Perhaps to cause some trouble, to damage the relationship between Henry and the fans. Now, I’m sure Thierry knows fine well that he wasn’t booed but it’s better to get it out there and to give you an idea of how these kinds of stories start. Journos with an agenda, reporters who can’t simply report, sports editors who want to stir the shit and tabloids that want sensationalism ahead of the ‘fearless advocacy of the truth’.

Now, the News of the World likes to boast about its football coverage. For the vast majority of football fans of any club one of the main ways they find out about matches is through match reports. You expect them to be relatively honest. You don’t expect some Liverpool supporting penny-a-liner to make up blatant untruths. Perhaps, if you’re a loyal News of the World reader (or even if you’re not), you might feel like contacting the editor to ask him to assign Arsenal matches to somebody who won’t make up crap and try and cause problems for the fans or the captain. Ask him if they can just report what happened during the match and leave the fiction and creative writing to people who can do it well. Ask him if he could send someone who doesn’t think they can speak for Arsenal fans because Antony Kastrinakis tried to do that last Saturday and I’m quite sure not one of the Arsenal fans would choose him to speak on their behalf.

Either way the more people that know that this is how these kinds of stories are vomited into the public domain and that they should be treated with the contempt you might reserve for a new Phil Collins album it the better.

To sum up: Thierry Henry = Arsenal legend. Antony Kastrinakis = Liverpool supporting hack.

In a quick look at the other stories around Thierry believes we can still win the title. As he points out we’ve won 5 and drawn 1 of our last 6 league games. Not bad going by any standards. Cesc believes we can win the Champions League however, ahead of tomorrow’s game against CSKA Moscow the boss has warned the team against being too cocky, saying:

I was very positive going to Moscow but as a team we were too confident of taking the points. We were not giving 100 per cent in every tackle, we were not fighting for the ball enough. It was an arrogant way of not being urgent.

A little rap on the knuckles for the boys there, expect a reaction tomorrow at the Grove. And speaking of Groves let’s not forget the mighty Perry and his book ‘We all live in a Perry Groves world’. Hopefully I’ll have some copies to give away, more on that tomorrow, but it seems it’s already got a higher Amazon ranking that Ashley Cole. He’s at 829 while Ashley’s lamentable stay-inside-the-lines-oh-that’s-colouring-innit effort languishes at number 7,913. I’m not sure what that means in terms of total sales figures but I’ll try and find out.

Until tomorrow and happy hallowe’en to you all.

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