‘Excuse Bingo’ has become a regular game at Cannon Towers but has our players’ media training gone too far?

Lee recently put together a piece on our new excuse manual for 2016/17, which was a tongue-in-cheek stab at our list of excuses that we like to roll out after a poor result.

arsenal excuse manual (1)

After every loss or disappointing draw, one of our players – usually Per Mertesacker – is pushed out in front of the press to talk about ‘bouncing back’, being ‘unlucky’ and ‘mental strength’. And you know what? It got old and boring a long, long time ago.

Arsenal are one of the most heavily media trained teams in the Premier League. I don’t know this through any genuine insider knowledge, Lord no, but simply because we appear to pedal out the most rehearsed, PR-honed guff out of everybody. It’s no big secret that Arsene Wenger doesn’t like our players to get press attention off the pitch. Therefore, our team behind the scenes do their best to make sure we know exactly what we’re going to say.

It’s no big secret that Arsene Wenger doesn’t like our players to get press attention off the pitch. Therefore, our team behind the scenes do their best to make sure we know exactly what we’re going to say.

The media training starts as soon as the player joins Arsenal. How often have we seen a player suddenly join Twitter the day after signing for us? You see, for the club, this makes it seem as if our players are really switched-on and connected to ‘the people’ – ‘the people’ being the same people who effectively, indirectly pay their wages. It gives the illusion that the players are One Of Us, without them actually doing anything except tweet about a sponsorship deal, the match or a picture of their private life. All of which is approved by themselves, their agent and most likely the club. So really, they’re not sharing much with us at all, they’re just pretending to.

It gives the illusion that the players are One Of Us, without them actually doing anything except tweet about a sponsorship deal, the match or a picture of their private life. All of which is approved by themselves, their agent and most likely the club. So really, they’re not sharing much with us at all, they’re just pretending to.

This isn’t just the case for footballers but the entertainment industry as a whole. With the likes of social media platforms like Snapchat accessible to everyone, celebrities allow their fans to see inside their lives, when in reality we only see one minute of their day.

With footballers, the interviews on Arsenal Player, the silly ‘banter’ we see on their YouTube channel and the images they share on Instagram are all strategically put in place to bridge the gap between players and fans. I’m not saying the players don’t want to do this – most of them are young and would have social media anyway – but it’s far more calculated than most of us would want to believe.

I’m not saying the players don’t want to do this – most of them are young and would have social media anyway – but it’s far more calculated than most of us would want to believe.

In the attempt to appear closer to fans, have the Arsenal players actually done the opposite? I’ve seen numerous people complaining about our post-match comments and now an increasing amount of Gooners are getting a little bit peeved with some of the content the players choose to share with us online. For example, Alexis Sanchez’s endless reel of dog pictures was once cute and now it seems like a distraction technique. We’re doing badly in the League but hey, look at this cute dog!

For example, Alexis Sanchez’s endless reel of dog pictures was once cute and now it seems like a distraction technique. We’re doing badly in the League but hey, look at this cute dog!

💤💤💤

A post shared by Alexis Sanchez (@alexis_officia1) on

This example may be just me being sceptical, but I think you get my point. The same logic can be applied when looking at the fact that 99% of the players won’t tweet unless we win. Once in a blue moon w

Once in a blue moon we’ll maybe get an apology, if they deem it warranted, but more often than not they’ll go ghost. Completely the opposite to when we win and the players won’t shut up.

Fans are beginning to get wise now. Although Wenger brushed off the recent comments that Mesut Ozil made about us screwing up the title and said that the media were making a big deal out of nothing, there was definitely an edge to his comments. He wasn’t happy that Ozil had spoken out of turn and while I’m not comparing Wenger to some evil dictator, he does like to know what’s going on with his players.

He wasn’t happy that Ozil had spoken out of turn and while I’m not comparing Wenger to some evil dictator, he does like to know what’s going on with his players.

The less personality the players are allowed to show the fans, the bigger the gulf between us is going to get. Gooners already have reservations that some players don’t actually care about the club and the more robotic our comments in the press get, the worse those are going to grow. Am I saying that the players should be allowed to mouth-off in the press and angrily rant on social media? Not at all. Media training exists for a reason and we still want to be seen as a classy club. However, it’d be nice to know that the players do care and aren’t just repeating what they’re being told.

Am I saying that the players should be allowed to mouth-off in the press and angrily rant on social media? Not at all. Media training exists for a reason and we still want to be seen as a classy club. However, it’d be nice to know that the players do care and aren’t just repeating what they’re being told.

Media training exists for a reason and we still want to be seen as a classy club.

However, it’d be nice to know that the players do care and aren’t just repeating what they’re being told.