Date: 10th June 2008 at 12:27am
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It’s been a bit of a quiet day on the arsenal front today. I think the biggest story has been the return to the pitch of our very own RvP, in the Netherlands’ eyebrow-raising 3-0 victory over Italy.

Robin, who has been out of action for many-a-month, managed to come through the game unscathed, something of a minor miracle, given his recent fortunes with injuries. I was interested to read somewhere last week of comments attributed to Marco van Basten, the Dutch coach, where he is reported to have expressed his anger at the handling of Robin’s injuries by Arsenal Football Club. This would be the same Arsenal Football Club who were denied the services of RvP after he picked up a nasty injury whilst… on international duty with the Netherlands. Ah, how I chuckled at that one.

Since the season ended, we’ve been drip-fed the constant ‘Hleb to…’ stories by the media, concerning our favourite Belarussian, who wants to move to a quiet, prrovincial local-town club, like Milan, or Barcelona, or Madrid. Latest reports indicate that the delightful village team of Bayern Munich are now in the hunt for his services.

The one that got my goat recently was the ‘Milan in for Adebayor’ stories that appeared late last week. These first surfaced in the telegraph, if I remember correctly, who declared that Milan had signed our giant Togolese striker for £32m, then went on to report that all that had to be done to finish the deal was agreeing a fee with Arsenal, as if it was an afterthought.

This isn’t a rant about the goings-on orchestrated by the ‘european footballing powerhouses’ (sic) of Barça, Madrid and Milan (enjoy the UEFA cup, Mathieu). This is more of a rant against the papers.

After announcing this ‘done deal’, the papers then went on to print quotes from Adebayor, who denounced these reports as ‘rubbish’.

All well and good, I hear you say. And yes, so it is – except for the fact that the Ade quotes in question were rehashed quotes given by the striker over a fortnight previously, but re-printed and presented as new news.

Another example of this pathetic, lazy journalism was also to be found on the internet last week. Last week, an Arsenal blog (I cannot remember which one), ran a picture piece revealing a leaked, scanned-in photograph of the new arsenal kit photoshoot – featuring, amongst others, cesc and theo – confirming, seemingly for the first time, what the Gunners’ new kit would be in the forthcoming season.

The next day, what did I find on newsnow? A link to a story (an appropriate fictional-esque desciption) from the Sun newspaper, where they EXCLUSIVELY revealed next season’s arsenal kit, proof being offered in the form of a photo roll-call of several Arsenal players sporting the new togs. The photo? A scanned-in effort, that looked suspiciously like the image that could be found on said Arsenal blog the day before. A small thing, I know, but it perfectly illustrates the utter laziness and arrogance of our press in this country.

Last season, you will all remember the Internet hoax about Arsenal signing the Argentine striker Rodrigo Palacio. Perhaps you, like I was, were a tad miffed when it turned out to be a big fat lie. A couple of days later though, and I was pleased for the hoaxer, as he had managed to show up the press to be nothing more than a bunch of chancers. I hoped maybe they would be more reticent and humble after the wool had been pulled over their eyes a couple of times, but it appears not.

I hope that most gooners would have seen the original blog article carrying the kit picture, and if they then read the Sun piece, known that they had nicked it from that arsenal blog.

Every close season, many an Arsenal fan gets whipped up into a frenzy about who’s signing and who’s not. You will have seen the comments along the lines of ‘we need to spend £40m, Wenger sort it out’. I very rarely get excited about these transfer tittle-tattles these days. There’s really no point. If you read summat in the papers, there’s a big ig chance it’s nothing more than a steaming pile of horse-shit.

When I was growing up, pretty much all transfer speculation was gleaned from the newspapers, as there was no internet. Breaking news about impending signings were to be found on premium rate phone lines like ‘clubcall’, which was advertised on teletext, along the lines of ‘£10M STAR STRIKER SIGNING TO ARSENAL! CALL 0898… for full story CALLS COST 25P PER MINUTE’.

Now with the internet, there’s a lot more bullshit football stories flying about. But there’s also a lot more transparency, and it’s a lot harder to lie to people. I just hope that you all didn’t bat an eyelid when the Adebayor-to-Milan stories surfaced. I find the way the press treats the public insulting, and I’m glad that from time to time they are revealed to have shover their feet firmly up their own arses.

Whatever happens in the transfer window this summer, I hope that like me, you’ll just be taking it as it comes, and not stressing out about it. As whatever you read, there’s a good chance it’s a pile of crap.