Manchester United - The Double Standards Of The Press
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The Double Standards Of The Press

One year ago, Manchester United sold Ruud van Nistelrooy. Now Arsenal sold Thierry Henry. The press' attitude is worth to be examined in both cases.

Surely all United fans remember last season? The Champions League humiliation, the Carling Cup victory, the late surge in the league - and the sulking of Van Nistelrooy.

The Dutch goal-machine's performances became increasingly mediocre in the latter part of the season after a prolific autumn. His influence diminished at the team and his relationship with Fergie deteriorated after the manager let him know he's not satisfied with him.

Rumours suggested he could not get on with Cristiano Ronaldo and disagreed with the removal of Roy Keane. The team looked better without him, to be honest.

He was 30 but he was one of the top goalscorers this club has ever had. At the end, he was sold, with Fergie placing his trust into Saha and into our young stars, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo.

We eventually finished second in the league and won the Carling Cup.

The club's debts were huge but the expansion of Old Trafford had just been completed and a new record shirt sponsorship deal had been signed - and we received 10 million for Ruud.

Surely you remember the reaction, too? The press declared we were in crisis, that Fergie should be thrown out as he had committed a tragic mistake. They claimed Ruud would never be replaced, that we would struggle for goals and struggle to finish fourth ahead of the mighty Spurs.

None of them mentioned that we actually had two of the world's best young players... The loss of Ruud, in the journalists' eyes meant that we were doomed. And of course Fergie made the mistake before, when he got rid of Stam and Beckham (Kanchelskis and Ince weren't mentioned...)

Thierry Henry's season has been ravaged by injuries. He's not been as influential and vital on the pitch as before and the team sometimes looked better without him.

There was a rumour that his presence inhibits some young players, and he confirmed that he disagreed with the departure of David Dein. He's now very close to 30 but he's the record goalscorer of Arsenal.

They eventually finished fourth in the league and won nothing at all.

The club's debts are huge but they have a new stadium and received 16 million from the sale of Henry.

So what is the press' reaction? Well, the usual.

Wenger knows. Wenger will find a replacement. The team will be better without Henry (the man they had called the world's greatest player as a rutine exercise every morning). Arsenal are NOT in crisis. Cesc Fabregas and the other youngsters are brilliant and Wenger is always right when he decides to offload players.

Why is there such a stark difference between the journalists' judgements of the two situations?

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Zae Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday June 25 2007

Time: 7:08PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
You make some very valid points but you should taste the bias of the press when talking about a non-top four side (or even Spuds) like the Rovers! Then it is annoying! Well excited about your new 'boys' though, they're going to destroy the prem when they have settled!
Report Abuse
25/06/2007 19:23:00

What newspapers are you reading ? Most of the ones I've seen say Arsenal are in crisis. Wenger's leaving and so are most of the players. You've been more than a little selective.
Report Abuse
25/06/2007 19:27:00

You must be living on planet Pluto. Have you seen the headlines on all the web pages and newspaper since Friday evening. Wenger to leave. Fab to quit. Wenger tells board, get Dein back or I quit etc
Report Abuse
25/06/2007 19:32:00

That's hilarious. There have been 2 positive articles about Arsenal in the last 2 weeks. The rest of them have said we are in crisis, that Wenger will leave, that Fabregas will follow, that Kroenke will take over, and that we won't be able to pay off the new stadium. The press has a huge bias TOWARDS, and not against, Manchester United. Unless the only newspaper you read is The Guardian which is admittedly biased towards the Arsenal, you can't be serious. Some evidence here: Daily Mail: "Wenger: Get Dein back or I'll Quit!" Daily Mail: "Arsenal board begin Crisis talks with Arsene" The Times: "Uncertain Arsenal may Collapse" Daily Telegraph: "Arsenal: Gunners in Crisis" Yorkshire Post: "Gunners' future worries Wilson" I could go on...
Report Abuse
25/06/2007 19:37:00

Look, read the columns in Guardian (Matt Scott, Jamie Jackson), BBC (Phil McNulty), Times (any of them). All say that there will be trouble IF, and only IF Wenger quits. Most of them say that unless he's there, there'll be no problem. Last year they were all sure that Fergie lost his marbles and that he made a wrong decision. This time, most columnist say that if Wenger felt it was the right time to let Henry leave then he was right.
Report Abuse
25/06/2007 19:38:00

I take it you're joking, or you haven't been reading the same papers as me!! Apparently arsenal are in crisis, if us gooners believe the papers, then our whole team is leaving, wenger hasn't got any money to sign anyone & the club will be bankrupt next week. On top of that we will finish bottom of the league because henry has left!! Sorry if I have left anything out!! I certainly don't recall them saying all that about man utd just because rvn was sold!!
Ashburton Gooner
Report Abuse
25/06/2007 19:41:00

No, guys, you confuse RUMOURS with COMMENTS. RUMOURS say Wenger and Fabregas will quit, Kroenke will take over etc. But here are some comments: - the whole site :-)
Report Abuse
25/06/2007 19:47:00

Then your memory is bad, Ashburton Gooner - most journalists said Ruud had never been properly replaced and that we were in danger of finishing fifth.
Report Abuse
25/06/2007 19:48:00

How ridiculous. Nearly everything I've read has been claiming that Arsenal are in a crisis, or a 'minicrisis.'
Report Abuse
25/06/2007 19:54:00

Then you read very few things. And I must stress again: the tabloids are only speculating as usual - the news about Wenger's imminent exit are like transfer rumours. Just follow the links up there to see what I am talking about when I talk about comments and opinions of journalists.
Report Abuse
25/06/2007 19:59:00

arsenal wont find a replacement because there aint no one to replace henry
Report Abuse
25/06/2007 21:41:00

Hehehe!! Complete crap. We've been in crisis since the sale of Vieira apparently. Cesc, Henry, Wenger and so on and so on are all leaving. I've only seen two positive articles on Arsenal in two years.
Report Abuse
25/06/2007 22:29:00

Rocky, only the other day I read an article that stated that Wenger sold Vieira but Arsenal continued to prosper. Surely two 4th place finishes aren't regarded as prosperity? Of course, it's also possible that the double standards are present in the expectations: United are always expected to be on top whereas Arsenal are expected to play good football while challenging for the top 3. If the latter is prosperity, then I can't argue with the author of the article I mentioned.
Report Abuse
25/06/2007 22:52:00

I can't help but see parallels between Henry Leaving Arsenal and Van Nistelrooy leaving United. In both cases the clubs were expected to collapse, in both cases the (former) clubs of each respective player was in crisis, and to be fair both players became a hinderance in their own little way. Van Nistelrooy, because of his inability to accept a place on the bench (and the trouble he created in the dressing room because of it) and Henry because of his persistant injury problems last season. In the case of United a burden was lifted, that burden was the need to pass the ball to Van Nistelrooy so he could score, and subsequently we won the league the season after he went. Surely you could argue that Wenger is intelligent enough to have thought if Henry has become a burden then he should go? Just a thought.
Report Abuse
26/06/2007 02:41:00

Here's a point I think both sets of fans can agree with...doubt the abilities and awareness of both Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger at your peril. I love Henry to death and hope like hell he plays as well for Barca as he did for us, but I think Arsenal will be just fine so long as Wenger stays on board past this season (and I believe he will).
Report Abuse
26/06/2007 03:42:00


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