Arsenal have frequently been accused of manipulating attendance figures.

It used to be that when Arsenal announced the attendance during games, they would announce the number of tickets that were sold, regardless of whether the buyer turned up or not.

It was thanks to that policy that Arsenal would announce a game as a sell-out when, in actuality, there would be thousands of empty seats at the Emirates Stadium.

While this was widely mocked, it’s also caused some debate about football clubs’ tendency to manipulate attendance figures.

The Guardian ran a piece about how attendance figure manipulation could cause fans to distrust football’s authority even more. In the article, there’s an image of a sparsely populated end of the Emirates Stadium, along with the caption “Another full house at the Emirates”.

empty emirates
Guardian caption: Another full house at the Emirates. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

The point was that Arsenal were in the habit of reporting wrongful numbers. However, Untold Arsenal have examined the image and believe that it’s misleading evidence.

According to them, the image – which shows people talking to each other, reading programmes and doing anything other than looking at the pitch – was taken either before the game or at half-time, when the stands regularly empty.

This may have been an honest mistake, or it may have been something more sinister.

Either way, it’s best to be wary whenever a news source uses images as evidence of something.

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News and feature writer with a BA in Creative and Professional Writing from the University of East London. Long-time Arsenal fan also following Sevilla and local side Southend United. You can find me on Twitter @jeinchy29 talking about Arsenal and the issues affecting the English game,