Tuesday, April 16, 2024

EXCLUSIVE: erm … er … uhm … yeah

EXCLUSIVE: Arsene Wenger to pick 11 players + 7 subs this weekend

EXCLUSIVE: Pat Rice likes to air his knees when the weather’s good

EXCLUSIVE: Striker who hardly plays could be set for move elsewhere

EXCLUSIVE: Gervinho signs dome sponsorship deal with Mr Sheen

EXCLUSIVE: Club will sell players in order to fund purchases

Ahh, that last one. Imagine running that as an ‘exclusive’. Isn’t that just the same as a running an ‘EXCLUSIVE: Arsenal will use income generated from various sources to run club’ ?

I do think people need to stop and have a quick think about what exclusive means. The basic definition is: an item or story published or broadcast by only one source. Yet surely there’s got to more to it than that. Surely the information has to be fresh, new, from a reputable source, and then proved to be true.

Repackaging stuff everyone already knows is hardly an exclusive. And such is the quietness of this week due to the fact that Arsenal have been winning games that such an EXCLUSIVE can spread so far and wide. We might get rid of some players who don’t play very often? Well bugger me with a rusty spoon, I’d never even contemplated that. And that money might then be used to pay a transfer fee for a player who might improve the squad? Holy crap, who would ever have thought of that? Such information must have come from the very innards of Arsene himself!

It seems like there are two modes when talking about Arsenal. CRISIS (aaaarrrrgggh!) and EXCLUSIVE (yaayyyy!). CRISIS is good when we lose a game and there are questions to be asked about the futures of every single player, the manager, his staff, everyone who works at the club and the board. That’s not to mention the benefits for ancillary businesses like billboards and binbags.

Yet when we win there is no CRISIS and how then press make clicks HULKSMASH? The answer is, of course, EXCLUSIVE, because something’s going to happen and the information hinted at makes it sound as if the author has got some wonderful insight from the very, very top of the club, when we all know that Arsene’s thoughts about transfers, players he likes or wants, are generally guarded more tightly that the gold in Fort Knox. Unless somebody’s managed to shrink Dennis Quaid, put him in a tiny spaceship and shoot him directly into Arsene’s bloodstream then I’d suggest most of them are (educated) guesswork.

What if we win some games then lose a game or lose some games then win some games? How long does EXCLUSIVE take to turn to CRISIS. Is there a middle ground, a kind of CRILUSIVE purgatory? Gossip and rumour are a huge part of being a football fan, always has been, always will be, yet now the Internet not only allows it to spread farther and wider than ever before, it becomes a thing in itself.

Websites which belch last night’s garlicky smelling scuttlebut into the ether not only exist but thrive, despite the fact that the majority of people must know it’s as fictional as a former prime minister’s testimony at a lengthy tribunal. These are not EXCLUSIVES, they are LIES. Ok, pretty harmless lies as lies go – not like a former prime minister’s testimony at a lengthy tribunal or anything – but LIES all the same.

I can’t find it now but  Go look at the Arsenal silly-season blog, where all the players we are linked with (some of them EXCLUSIVELY), and reported to be selling, are listed each summer. Then compare that to the players we buy and actually let go. It’d be fair to say that the hit rate is pretty small. Arshavin small. Dennis Quaid in a tiny spaceship small. T*ttenham small.

All the same, I prefer the EXCLUSIVES to the CRISIS. It means things are going well for us, in the short term, naturally. We know how quickly things can change. We have been up and down this season. Down, then up again, down, then up again. Our challenge is to keep on the up until May and then continue that trajectory by way of our summer business.  But a couple of dropped points here and another one there will mean people get anxious and that anxiousness might lead to some CRISIS – or maybe a purgatorial EXRISIS.

Hey, it’s a competitive business out there, newspapers, websites etc, all looking for readers, and readers who are all looking for information they haven’t seen before. And if anyone has an actual EXCLUSIVE then fair play to them, it’s a dog eat dog world and information spreads so rapidly it’s almost impossible to do.

Even if you do have an EXCLUSIVE, somebody else will come along and make it an EXCLUSIVE of their own, without so much as a hint of attribution or where the story came from originally. That’s the way it works. They become diluted until eventually somebody emails or Tweets the original author their very own EXCLUSIVE from another source. The more EXCLUSIVES there are the more the industry itself is in CRISIS.

This morning the Mirror and The Sun run with a story about Marouane Chamakh interesting PSG. With the best will in the world can someone explain to me why a club like PSG, awash with petro-dollars, capable of attracting and paying for some of the biggest names in football, would be after a man who has started just one league game this season and who has scored just two goals since November 2010?

That’s not to disrespect Chamakh, clearly he needs a change of scenery to get his career back on track, but it’s up there with Man City looking to spend £20m on Ju Young Park. Anyway, no doubt there will be plenty of EXCLUSIVES about our Morrocan pal between now and the time he does finally have his ‘Arsenal misery’ ended.

In the meantime we can start looking forward to Saturday’s game against QPR during which we’ll encounter both Joey Barton and Mark Hughes, who will hopefully take a bang on the head and choose to play Armand Traore at left back.

EXCLUSIVE: This blog is in CRISIS and is now over.

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