Arsenal's Sleeves, Poppies and Other Media 'Storms'

Nick Miller@NickMiller79Featured ColumnistNovember 27, 2013

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10:  General View of an Arsenal shirt with a poppy for Remembrance Sunday during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford on November 10, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

On Wednesday morning, the Daily Mirror carried a story about an argument in the Arsenal dressing room over the length of sleeves. Apparently it's a tradition that all players wear the same length sleeves, something decided by the captain, and Mathieu Flamini decided to go against his teammates by exposing his forearms while the rest wore long sleeves.

Non-issue barely covers how much most people care about such a story, but there it was in the country's third-most popular newspaper.

John Cross, the Mirror's Arsenal correspondent, tweeted:

It does of course follow in a fine tradition of things that only newspapers seem to care about, so for your enjoyment, here are Bleacher Report's five favourite football media storms of recent years.



The poppy is a voluntary symbol of remembrance towards the dead of the First World War. It is also a fund-raiser for the Royal British Legion. People are free to support both of these causes should they choose, and also obviously free not to. Well, not according to some, who harangued anyone with the temerity to decide against wearing a paper flower.

Even James McClean, who grew up on the Creggan Estate where six people were killed by the British Army on Bloody Sunday, was criticised at length. That's nothing compared to the outrage when England were told they couldn't wear poppies for an international against Spain in 2011.


LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 23:  Patrice Evra of Manchester United shakes hands with Luis Suarez of Liverpool before the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield on September 23, 2012 in Liverpool, England.  (Pho
Michael Regan/Getty Images


Whether it's Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez, or Mark Hughes and whoever hasn't greeted him properly this week, handshakes are big news, apparently. They convey respect, which is apparently terribly important these days.

After the FA decided to temporarily stop the pre-match mandatory handshake in 2012, it started a "great debate" in the media. It was a "great debate" because the Daily Mail said so. Look, they asked some experts.


England's Training Base

An old favourite, this. When England qualify for a major tournament, their training base is announced, and the papers duly send their best photographers to take pictures of it, preferably painting it as an unfinished dump not worthy of the nation's brave boys. That these pictures are taken well before said training base is supposed to be used, and thus doesn't need to be ready then, is not usually considered important.

Take these shots from the Daily Mirror about England's supposedly ramshackle training ground for UEFA Euro 2012, not many of which seemed to be of the training ground, more the fence around it. Kicking up a fuss about such facilities not being ready weeks and months before they are required is a little like shouting at a cake maker only having a bowl full of eggs three months before a wedding.


The Dentist's Chair

A retro favourite. Before UEFA Euro 96, England went on a tour to Hong Kong, and while there enjoyed an evening on the town, during which they engaged in the apparently popular practice of having assorted spirits poured down their throats.

While this doesn't sound like a particularly enjoyable way to spend one's time, it did cause something of a frenzy in the national press, with pictures appearing under headlines like "DISGRACEFOOL—Look at Gazza…a drunken oaf with no pride," in the Sun. Of course, England won the only game on that tour and went on to reach the semi-finals of Euro 96, so it turns out that an evening on the sauce a month before a tournament didn't matter a great deal.


The England Captaincy

In football, the captaincy means very little. A quick survey of fans would most likely reveal that few give a hoot or two. Just as long as John Terry isn't captain. Still, the Daily Telegraph thought otherwise in February 2012.


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