Why Do TV Pundits Hate Us?

Television commentators and their so-called expert summarises love to hate Arsenal. They derive no greater pleasure than criticising Arsenal, always looking for faults in our game.


On Saturday, Tony Gale was the summariser for Sky Sports, he loved to point out how many problems Blackburn’s free kicks, or corners were causing Arsenal. Djourou actually won most of the aerial contests with Roberts, but this had to be ignored by the impartial Gale. He then loved it when Blackburn were crowding Almunia, calling it a great tactic, even though these players were not even attempting at getting the ball, merely forming a wall around Almunia. When Blackburn’s Diouf joined the fray, Gale wanted Almunia booked or even sent off for allegedly brushing his head against Diouf’s head. The second half was a different story as Arsenal asserted their superiority on the game. When Pedersen fell down with no Arsenal player’s around him, Gale did not call him a cheat or demand he gets booked for what was clearly the biggest dive in Premier League football.


It is not restricted to Tony Gale. Former Arsenal football Brian Marwood and his sidekick and Liverpool fan Alan Parry would always team up for Arsenal visits to the north for evening kick-offs.   The script was always the same. Arsenal’s character would be tested on this cold, windy night. The opponents were always praised for their physical play, even if that meant kicking Arsenal players from start to finish. On one occasion, when van Persie fell to the ground after being challenged by a Sheffield United player, Parry and Marwood call van Persie a cheat for falling over and making a meal over the challenge.  Replays, however, showed that van Persie was punched in the stomach, but this was a minor point for the Arsenal hating duo.


What was a shock was to see Alan Smith constantly criticise Arsenal the other night against Roma.  Smith kept this up for the whole game, even when we were in the ascendancy and Roma were playing for penalties.


All this hatred of Arsenal is because over the last few years we have fewer English players than Chelsea or Manchester United in our squad. The theory is that foreign players do not the physical side of football or that if you cannot handle 90 minutes of long ball football you must be a rubbish team. This criticism of Arsenal is uncalled for and comes from players who were brought up on long ball football, a style of football that drove fans away from stadiums. There is nothing great in seeing the best players in the league being kicked for 90 minutes or team wasting time from the first minute. Sky Sports analysts need to start to criticise these tactics, here is not place in football for these negative tactics.


Last night’s FA Cup clash was typical of the bad press we get, despite the time wasting from Hull City which marred the game, the press have not commented on this at all, Phil Brown (a former Sam Allardyce acolyte) should have been questioned as to his team’s tactics.  Instead, we have all the ballyhoo over an ALLEGED spitting incident.

Posted on March 18, 2009, in Arsenal and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. God will always bless arsenal, no matter what they do. Gunners for life. when was last time arsenal got penalty in any game. all they do these is punish arsenal even when they being treated bad the opponent. wenger u need to something about that.

    Buchi. arsenal for life. till death.

    Ilove u my arsenal.

  2. Yeah, I thought it was only me who experienced that- so much so I thought “I was starting to hear things”. Anyway, its amazing how Arsenal appear to be disliked. Something that surprised me yesterday was that in a pub full non_English people in Tooting I was surprised to hear no one rejoice when Hull scored yesterday. But a house almost came down when Arsenal did.

    Very soon we will be like Milwall: Everybody hates us and we dont care.

  3. I think your observation is right but your reason is wrong. I think we do get berated for having less English players but it’s not so much the physicality but the nationality. We’re seen as the team of foreigners who play in England. British media give us a hard time simply because we aren’t contributing to their success as a footballing nation because Wenger chooses imports over dosmetic “talent”, if England really has much of that. I can’t blame Wenger for his choice of players – he’s running a club, not a national academy. It is the FA’s responsibility to develop their youth to the same level as other countries so that they can be strong contenders for transfers to top clubs. The game has become more graceful, but English players remain largely brutish and forceful. None of the top clubs play a game that involves bulldozing the opponents, they all play intricate pass and play strategies. The days of the long ball to a bullish striker are over as a top quality strategy. This plan is usually employed by middle to bottom table teams if you haven’t noticed. It’s still a viable tactic, just not for 90 minutes.

    Additionally why are les talented English players so expensive? Alan Smith was supposed to be this next great thing and Mancs bought into it and spent some 13M (?) on him. What a great buy that wasn’t. Arry put it quite frank the other day – there’s no young British talent that interests him. He’s not wrong for saying that because surely there’s good local players, but their ability to compete at a top level is lacking and most of them will be players in mid to low table teams, not many will be able to break into the top four clubs.

  4. Yep it is the English player factor, look at Man-ure if they didn’t have Englands most over rated player of all time and a few other English players then they’d get a lot more stick too.

    Even Liverpool and Chelsea have “Star” English players, Arsenal currently only have Walcott and he’s too young to be called a “star” or England legend yet.

  5. WC I have to disagree, it’s not his lack of British players, only his lack of English players. Only English people call a Scot or a Welshman, British. English people don’t even call other English people British.

    Beyond that though, in the English media none of the top teams that contain a good number of English players get too much stick about lucky decisions.

  6. The reason why TV pundits think Arsenal is a negative influence on English football is because for them, they cant fathom why Almunia, Alexander Song, Denilson, Diaby, Eboue, even van Persie or Bendtner should play for a top team like Arsenal. They think that in England there are many players with better quality than them.
    So they think that had all those slots been filled by Englishmen, then may be England would be number one in the world. I think that Arsenal will some how not finish in the top 4, I believe that. Because whereas they are on the ascendency, ‘accidents’ are going to happen, forced accidents and they will finish outside the CL slots. A. Villa has 6 players in the national team, but even A. Young, Agbolahor or Gareth Barry are not top class. The World Cup will prove it.

  7. John W, u are a muppet brother…we do nt need your negativity on this site…gO and support manu…U are an idiot if u dont belive arsenal can finish in the top four…I do not even understand what u are or who u are muppet!!

  8. @JohnW

    I don’t know what kinds of ‘accidents’ you forsee or refer to. Arsenal will finish in the top four and here’s why – depth. As much as people claim Arsenal lack depth we have more than Aston Villa. Look at the spine of Villa and look at how many games they’ve played for 90 minutes – that team is tired and they’re dipping in form. Every team dips in form at some point in the season. Your well executed header hits the crossbar instead of dipping in, that deflected shot goes wide instead of goalward or the 50/50 tackle goes against you. The combination of O’ Neill’s small squad and reliance of his starting 11 is finally coming down on him. His squad cannot compete in Europe and the league as it is – he’s going to spend in the summer to enlarge that team if he is expected to challenge the establishment.

    I disagree that Young or Barry are not top class – at the very least they’re above average but they’re carrying that team too much and even the best needs a break or responsibilities need to be spread. Without Young, Villa has no creativity and that is too much of a problem. One injury to him and their season goes down the drain. Pundits have said that about Arsenal and Cesc but we’ve shown we can operate without him. We’re a better team with him but Wenger has done enough to justify that we can cope in Cesc’s absence.

  9. Pizza, pizza, pizza…

    Good post my friend and one I do agree with, to a certain extent..

    I have felt the same way for at least three years about the way commentators, the media and press constantly focus on the negative aspects of Arsenal. Yes that pea sized moment or thing that happened suddenly becomes a bashing ball aimed at the club and its integrity.

    Are Arsenal that bad? No, the problem is, they are that GOOD!

    This makes them the target for mediocrity and sensationalism. That said, and we all remember, the PIZZA thing. Many found it funny and some found it to be “a great story” but it has been these moments (mainly with Man U) that may have provided some cheap coal for those who want to slag the club and stoke the fire further.

    I personally think we have not helped ourselves with our past (although many other teams have had thier share of press). For instance, AW should have walked to Mr.Brown last night placed his hand in his hand?

    Let’s face it, they may not have deserved to win playing as they did but we don’t need to create attention by sinking to lower levels. We are above that and should act accordingly even if we do aggreaved..

  10. If I were a boxer, I would rather spa with a professional fighter than with my sister. If you had eleven English men playing for Arsenal, England would still not have made it to Euro 2008. After all how many English men played in last year’s champion’s league final? The hatred has nothing to do with foreigners. It is just they are jealous of the fact Wenger can assemble and play attractive football by spending so little. Other Managers spend almost the same yet they are unable to compete. Arsenal consistently being part of the top four means they have no excuse hence the reason for the hatred. If we do badly everyone says it was because we didn’t spend rather than hail the club for being prudent. Well let them continue. Soon they would sing a different song.

  11. It’s simple. We play the best football, have some of the most skillfull players and a fantastic manager. EVERYONE loves to watch us so we are therefore under the microscope every season. Jealousy is a terrible thing and consumes people. Expectations are higher with us more than other clubs and every skewed shot, mis-placed pass and bad decision gets magnified beyond belief. Pundits have ran out of great things to say about our play so the only thing to do is pick up on the should haves and might’ve beens. It’s onl only because we are the best run club and an idealistic dream for other teams to aspire to that we get ALL of the attention ALL of the time. We ought to be proud of who we are and what we do with the manager we have and smugly smile when the nay-sayers get on our backs. Victoria concordia crescit my friends….

  12. as we talking about that i watched yesterdays game in some channel where i dont know ho was commenting but i swear i felt like hull were england and arsenal were germany or argentina my wife thought that i lost it bcos i kept spiting at the tv.jealousy is a real issue they should review their staff on tv 4 more neutral ones.scrue them we r going to wembley

  13. I never listen to the so called pundits ex Arsenal or not they all talk a load of shit, just turn the sound off.

    Alan Smith is a class one wanker, as is David Platt, Ray Parlour is being groomed to be as well, just don’t get me started on Ian Wright.

    They are all a bunch of brown nosing wankers

  14. it must be more than not having more english players because why wud the FA have appointed Capello when they cud have appointed an english manager! i just think that they know that english managers are not capable especially after flop mclaren and they must also be aware that if the english talent is good enough, he will play for arsenal… as for jealousy, cud be but personally it’s not enough to be slating us all time!!!

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