When the media attempt to influence football’s decisions we are all in trouble

The media of course love to highlight controversy – it gives them something to write about and fill the space without having to do any research at all.  It also gets the audience excited, anxious to read the latest instalment.

But when a supposedly serious newspaper launches into an attack on a player, finding him guilty of dastardly deeds without a single shred of evidence, and then proclaims that the authorities’ refusal to go along with the media’s wild and baseless rants, shows that it is the media surely needs to be held to account.

Unfortunately holding the media to account is what few people seem to want to do when it comes to football, and that was certainly true on this day in 2009, when even the football authorities agreed that Eduardo should not be punished for his alleged diving offence in a match against Celtic.

As a result of finding Eduardo not guilty of diving, having looked at the video, the Guardian stated that ” “The U-turn will be widely regarded as a blow to attempts to crack down on diving.”   This was arrant nonsense – what had happened was that Eduardo had appealed, and the evidence showed that he had not dived.   Had he been found guilty it would have shown that pressure from the media could dictate how players would be treated.  That would have made it clear that it was the media that ran football, not the referees.

It shows just how far the media will go – and still tries to go – to get control over the game they are supposed to be reporting.

Here are the anniversaries


13 September 1913: The second game of the first season as a north London club and a second win – this time 1-2 away at Wolverhampton.  Things were going well.

13 September 1919: Arsenal drew away from home 1-1 with Sunderland.  There were signs that now back in the 1st Division Arsenal were holding their own.  But interestingly, there was no sighting of Sir Henry Norris at any of the games; the first sign that he felt another phase of his work with Arsenal was done.

13 September 1930: Arsenal were away to Sunderland who had drawn the first three games and then lost the fourth.  Arsenal had no problem going back to their opening form, winning 4-1. Lambert got three and Hulme the other.   It meant that in five games Lambert had scored eight.

13 September 1930: Bill Johnstone’s last game for Arsenal, a 4-1 away win against Sunderland. Having played seven games in his first season but only two in his second (all at centre forward or inside left) he was transferred to Oldham Athletic for £2,130 in January 1931 as Arsenal headed for their first ever league title, and with Oldham played 68 scored 28.  Finally he headed back to Scotland and played for Clyde.

13 September 1932: Birth of Ralph Guthrie.  He started out with Tow Law Town and was transferred to Arsenal in December 1952, at a time when the club already had Swindin and Kelsey on its books as keepers.

13 September 1933: John (Jack) Lambert’s last appearance.  The following month he was transferred to Fulham.  He had played 143 league games and scored an amazing 98 league goals plus 11 in 16 Cup games, and still some of the crowd booed him.

13 September 1938: Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain met the German Chancellor Adolf Hitler in an attempt to negotiate an end to German expansionist policies.

13 September 1949: Freddie Cox signed from Tottenham for £12,000.  Freddie served as a fighter pilot for the RAF during the war, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

13 September 1958: Arsenal beat Tottenham 3-1, with 65,565 inside Highbury.  Nutt and Herd (2) scored. That made it 25 goals in the first seven games with five of the seven games won.

13 September 1966: Arsenal’s first ever League Cup match – at home against Gillingham.  It ended in a 1-1 draw with 13,029 present. 20,566 turned up for the replay, another 1-1 draw, before Arsenal won the third game 5-0.  Baldwin scored in all three games, getting two in the final game, but Arsenal went out in the next round.

13 September 1975: Aston Villa 2 Arsenal 0 with a Villa Park crowd of 34,474.  Arsenal were beaten by a very average team who won simply through muscle and work rate.

13 September 1977: George Armstrong sold to Leicester.  He played in both the League Cup finals under Bertie Mee that led up to the three triumphs, and was one of the three all-match players in the Double season.  He set up the winner in the final game of the league season against Tottenham.

13 September 1978: Steve Gatting first appearance for Arsenal versus Lokomotiv Leipzig; Arsenal won 3-0.  He then retained his place throughout much of 1978-79 but did not appear in the cup final against Manchester United.  See also here.

13 September 1986: Perry Groves first game for Arsenal – Luton 0 Arsenal 0.  It was the second of four matches in which Arsenal failed to score, the first three being 0-0, the fourth a 0-1 defeat.

13 September 1997: Ian Wright broke Cliff Bastin’s record with a hattrick against Bolton (the second of which actually broke the record, although Wright revealed his celebratory t-shirt after the first goal).

13 September 1998: The Guardian reported that Chelsea had just failed to hi-jack Arsenal’s bid for Ljungberg.  The notion of clubs attempting to “hi-jack” bids has  continued ever since.

13 September 2003: Arsenal 1 Portsmouth 1.  The 5th league match of the unbeaten season.  Arsenal were hampered by a yellow card for Campbell on just 10 minutes and another for Toure on 40.  Henry scored to equalise an earlier goal from Sheringham.

13 September 2006: Tomas Rosicky scored his first goal for Arsenal in Hamburg 1 Arsenal 2 in the Champions League.  Gilberto Silva got the other goal. Arsenal won the group, losing just one match, to CSKA Moscow away 1-0.

13 September 2008: At 16 years, 8 months, 4 days Jack Wilshere became Arsenal’s youngest player replacing Robin Van Persie on 81 minutes in the game against Blackburn.  Arsenal won 4-0

13 September 2009: Eduardo’s disgraceful trial by media came to an end after his two-match ban for diving was thrown out in a hearing lasting a couple of minutes. “The U-turn will be widely regarded as a blow to attempts to crack down on diving” shouted the Guardian, presuming guilt even after the player had been found innocent.  It was not the paper’s best moment, having declared the player guilty before he was charged.

13 September 2011: Henri Lansbury signed a contract extension with Arsenal.  He had joined in 2007 and from 2009 took a series of loans to Scunthorpe, Watford, Norwich and West Ham before signing for Nottingham Forest in 2012, for whom he played over 100 games.

13 September 2016: Arsenal drew 1-1 with PSG launching a Champions League campaign in which, in the group stages, Arsenal won four and drew the two against PSG to win the group.  Both sides had a player sent off in the third minute of added time.

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