Media Criticism Too Relentless Or Harsh In The Modern Game?

By Jake (@JakeArsenal1)

“Media Criticism Too Relentless Or Harsh In The Modern Game?”

It seems in today’s world we are more and more inundated with images of war, the latest celebrity to turn to drugs, and more horrible things in modern news. As a teenager I queried, where is the happy news channel? This, can also not be escaped by those who’s jobs it is to analyse football for a living.

How often, or what’s the percentage of time spent between criticising a team, or an individual player, compared to singing their praises? It seems to me at least, the former wins this with an alarming regularity.

What ever happened to people who loved the game for what it was? Those who felt privileged to be analysing the game they love? Not searching for constant perfection in a game of such a competitive nature.

As with all people in life, football is no different in the sense of how we preform, succeed and indeed, fail with of aspects of everyday life. No one lives the perfect life where they’ve never spilt a bottle of milk. Yet in the eyes of football pundits, this would be a crime relevant of “maybe it’s best to drop or sell the player off” (if you catch my drift.)

Don’t get me wrong, constructive criticism isn’t something I feel needs to be outlawed at all. It just seems that at times, pundits and journalists alike seem to see that praise of a team, is taboo. Constructive criticism can teach people how to better themselves in all aspects of life, if shown correctly, but honestly? Do we see that in football?

In a game where the objective is to out score your opponents, by way of breaching their defence. Yet every time the worlds “best player” is announced or suggested. More often than not (at least in recent times) these awards generally go to attacking players.

I then find it comical that those in the media can, time and again, relentlessly tarnish defence on an almost a routine level. Again, you can implore ideas, and say “well he could have done this instead of that”. But what we see on tv and on our computers from those people, is nothing short of hostile and aggravated in many ways.

Why does someone need to be fired, dropped and so on just because they haven’t lived up to your standard? I understand that these are highly paid, incredibly fit athletes who many look up to, and expect a specific level of consistency. But must we crucify the every wrong move they make in football?

In mixed martial arts, when a man is forced to tap out by his opponent. Or gets knocked out, the majority of what you hear and see, is praise for the technique of the winner. With little or no emphasis on how bad his opponent was. Why cannot we use this in football?

How’s about praising a team for their counter attack rather than always focusing on the defence out of position, or not fast enough to catch up to these speedster attackers? Is it so wrong to be impressed by a great team effort first, and second mention tactically where the defence crumbled? It seems the latter is usually first mentioned more than not.

Worst of all, when the rare moment does arrive that a pundit offers praise to a team, individual or manager, it’s one of three things. Either it’s a former player, manager or fan of a club praising his old club or team mate and so on for being brilliant, when in reality on the day they were “good” in the eyes of anyone else.

Two – The praise is so high for a solid display that it’s almost to the point of arse licking, and it makes listening to it difficult, or makes your spine shiver from the over the top praise, and is more likely to make you dislike whoever is being lauded as the best thing since sliced bread. They are likely to go on and on about what has happened with such regularity, and show so many replays, at times, you can’t wait for the broadcast or segment to be over.

The third one comes full circle here, and shows the fickle nature of the majority in the industry. (I may be over exaggerating here a tad, but) I’m sure we’ve all seen something along the lines of this. One week a player scores a hat-trick and the praise is universal, then in the next game, where player only scores one in a loss, he’s not consistent, not performing up to standard and so on. Where is the happy medium in that?

I know we all love a moan, but football is about those gasping for air moments. Wether it’s a last minute strike hitting the crossbar that had a chance to win a game, or a last ditch tackle that stopped a certain goal scoring opportunity. Football, like life, should be celebrated, not slandered, unfairly criticised or thrown to the wayside for not living up to the expectations of others. That goes for players and managers alike. And that’s not to mention, in today’s game, the fans too get their fair share of stick for not being vocal enough.

“They could have done more to get behind their team they will tell you”. Yet if they are loud and boisterous, they’re too rowdy for football. Again I ask? Where is the happy medium?

Where does Arsenal fit in to all of this you ask? Maybe this is my bias, or it’s my automatic defence mechanism to any form of criticism aimed at the club I love but. We seem to take all forms of attacks from pundits, journalists and anyone with a voice a hell of a lot.

It’s not to say others don’t. But can you honestly tell me now, if we were in Man U’s position right now, they would have the wolves at the gate and pitchforks ready to bury the club in to the ground?. Sure we haven’t seen the success they have in the last decade plus. But I feel they are getting off lightly considering how the media portray Arsenal. As if we are the villain of football at times.

Wether it’s Wenger, or “Özil’s stealing a living”, “we should have sold Ramsey when he was going through a rough patch”, or “Jack Wilshere isn’t Maradona’s yet” we get the full barrage from those employed to tell us who to like, who our heroes aught to and aught not to be.

Shouldn’t an individual decide what or who they like? Isn’t that their right as a human being? I’d like to think even in today’s world, freedom of choice, with constructive criticism can work together in football without it always having to be a moan-fest.

Football is a beautiful thing that connects people of all walks of life. Wether that be poor, rich, black, white, or disabled, everyone gathers to watch the beautiful game and that, in my humble opinion is something we should make a priority to savour. Enjoy the game for the moments of madness and brilliance. Debate who should be playing where, but please, find a way of doing so without clutching at straws or making absurd statements after one or two poor performances. Or even sublime performances.

Football is a game of patience. You attempt to unlock a defence with your skill, guile, tactical ability and effort. Pat Rice once said ” you can fail due to lack of ability, but you shouldn’t fail due to lack of effort”. I couldn’t agree more.

I love this game and nothing pleases me more than to see Arsenal come away with a win after a hard fought match. But turning on the telly to see someone say “well they won, but they’re just not good enough” is a massive put off. In a sport where there can only be one winner at the end of the game or season, and in Europe specifically, that’s usually down to a handful of teams, maybe we can put the hand break on just a tad, and try to be a little more logical and kind in regards to all involved in football.

“The only constant in life is change” a wise man once told me, and as you get older, you don’t generally always like to agree with change. Football too, succumbs to differences of time, culture and the trends. Take some of the hair styles floating around in the game for reference .

There will always be room for critics, but I think if we can smooth out just some of the negativity. It makes it much more enjoyable for everyone.

I understand football is a competitive sport. And the best team wins, but where only one team wins and the rest, effectively lose. Maybe it isn’t the worst idea to “just let them play their football in peace” sometimes.

thanks to those who stuck around for the whole read. If you’ve enjoyed this, or not, please feel free to comment and if you like my work, check out my own personal blog.


Jake (@JakeArsenal1)

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