“Arsenal Can Win Quadruple”: A Case of The Telegraph Twisting Wenger’s Words

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One of constant complaints among football managers is that the media takes their words and twists them. The latest example of this comes from The Daily Telegraph whose headline today screams “Arsene Wenger: Arsenal can win quadruple.” Except he never said that.

What he did say was this:

“We want to go for every single competition. I have said that many times. How far can we go? I personally believe we can go, in every competition, to the end. But we can as well stop very quickly. It’s just down to how much we believe and how much commitment we show. I’m convinced of… we have the hunger, and we have some talent. And we’re all committed to go as far as we can.”

See for yourself by watching the video below from the press conference. Wenger’s quote begins at minute 2:20.

Now what Wenger did say is that Arsenal could go all the way to the finals of the FA Cup, Champions League, Carling Cup (where they’ll play Birmingham at Wembley) and the Premier League title. But he did not say that Arsenal could win the quadruple. He simply said that they have the hunger and commitment to go as far as they can.

The danger with mainstream news organizations such as The Telegraph is that other media companies will run with the headline without first doing their homework to verify what Wenger had actually said (i.e. lazy journalism). But no matter what happens, it’s a perfect example illustrating that you should never believe everything you read in a newspaper. The blogosphere is not immune from such mistakes either, but it’s important that newspapers set a good example for other media organizations by reporting the truth and facts instead of making up a story out of nothing.

19 thoughts on ““Arsenal Can Win Quadruple”: A Case of The Telegraph Twisting Wenger’s Words”

  1. Gaffer, your points are well taken about the media printing things out of context but this is a rather poor example to use.

    Isn’t saying “Arsenal Can Win Quadruple” a concise, attention grabbing way to describe Wenger’s quote “I personally believe we can go, in every competition, to the end.” ? After all, they are trying to sell newspapers.

        1. To be fair, there are some reputable British newspapers who do a decent job at reporting the facts. In a future edition of EPL Talk, I should write a story about which newspapers are the most reputable and which ones have an awful track record in terms of lies and fabrications.

          The Gaffer

          1. Although their political reporting is nonsense, I’ve found the Guardian’s sports coverage pretty good and well reasoned – particularly their lampooning of the media frenzy around Eduardo’s ‘dive’ they retained perspective throughout.

            I am very much looking forward to your review of newspaper reliability, it should make interesting reading. I hope it will be in the near future.

      1. I had a feeling you were going to say that but again it’s a bit pedantic on your part. They never implied Wenger said “Arsenal will win.” Reaching a final still falls within the perimeter of “can win”. If they had said “Wenger promises to win”, or “Wenger says Arsenal WILL win [the] Quadruple” then I will be more sympathetic.

  2. The Telegraph headline reads [Wenger: Arsenal can win quadruple]

    Note, it does not put Arsenal can win quadruple in quotes. Had they put it in quotes then that would be wrong since those were not Wenger’s words.

  3. Didn’t Wenger say in 2003 that he “believed” that the team was strong enough to go through a whole season unbeaten? He was wrong, and ridiculed throughout the press, tv media blah blah blah. We all know bout The Invincibles eh? All Wenger got wrong was the timing. All Wenger is saying NOW is that he has BELIEF in this team, the same BELIEF that all of the Gooner Nation have. BELIEVE and enjoy. This current team is on the verge of something awesome.

  4. Well made point. Classic example was when Cesc was asked about the first Ipswich CCup leg… the interviewer was asking Cesc to respond to the interviewers own characterisation of the Ipswich tactics as “long-ball” and “rugby tactics”. Cesc replied thus (approx): “I don’t know if it was long ball or rugby tactics, but it certainly worked for them”. This got twisted by the gutter press and lazy bloggers into Cesc dissing Ipswich, when all he was doing during the interview was praising them for playing with such spirit, and was being quite dismissive of the interviewer’s loaded question. “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story”, said Mark Twain and others since. Our press these days may as well just use the first 6 of these words as a mission statement.

  5. I see nothing wrong with the headline. Of course Arsenal can win the quadruple, they’re still in all 4 competitions and have the talent to win. Wenger has to believe they have a chance to win each of the 4 competitions. If the headline had read ” Wenger: Arsenal will win the quadruple” that that would be a totally different case. Big difference between ‘can’ and ‘will’.

  6. We can go all the way in every competition to the end – that’s a perception of winning everything! He quotes ‘every’… that’s a key word. Mr. Wenger has never won the champions league in 15 years at Arsenal… the man is delusional… (you ain’t going to win anything with that Arsenal defense Mr. Wenger it’s rubbish!) The great thing about Fergie… he doesn’t promise anything and he delivers! Nothing to prove either…

  7. Most of the British press has inferred from Wenger’s comments that he meant to say that Arsenal can win the quadruple. Even the Guardian has the same headline today.

    1. Abe, that’s what I was hoping wouldn’t happen but I predicted that it would. The Guardian should know better. Wenger did not say that.

      As a hypothetical example, I could say that Swansea City can make it to the top of the Championship this season, and that they have the hunger and determination to make it to the end. But that doesn’t mean I’m saying that they can win the league.

      The Gaffer

  8. To be fair, i think British Media never appreciates what Arsenal can do and have been doing, Alex Ferguson is the god, Arsene Wenger is no one to them despite of the fact that he was voted as the Best Manager of the Decade, winning against the likes of SAF, Jose, Carlo and a number of others worshiped by the English Media, Arsenal have done alot, they have the brightest prospects not only for England but for Wales as well in faces of Aaron Ramsey, for England, we all know how Jack Wilshere has developed, the evolution of Theo this season, Kieran Gibbs, coming of age of Henri Lansbury, JET, Afobe, Sanchez Watt, in my humble opinion, Theo, Jack, Henri and Kieran will be regular starters for England by 2012!
    I hope we win the League this season though, Carling Cup Final will be very decisive in our campaign, win it and the boys will be up for everything after that, loose it and our season will fall apart!

  9. Not surprised 1 bit by that; for one that’s what a lot of the media do, and secondly there’s an anti-Wenger attitude in the media where they seem to pick on anything the man say and dissect it like crazy.

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