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This is the concluding part of this article. Here are the earlier parts
The reason I personally feel confident in saying that neither Kees Vos nor Robin Van Persie had anything to do with writing his “statement” about leaving the clubis because the “statement” appears quite clearly to me to be only one component of a larger propaganda campaign, which was run using the same media network that is generally used to target Arsenal fans, and which was previously used for the “trophy drought”/”splash the cash” talking points campaign that Arsenal fans have become so familiar with, and which we have previously documented on Untold Media.
In conjunction with the publication of Robin Van Persie’s alleged “statement,” this same media network launched an apparent attack on Robin Van Persie, which was entirely predicated on this “statement.” I know this because I happened to be online when (or shortly after) the “statement” was published, so I saw the attack on Robin unfold from the beginning. And watching it that way, I don’t think it ever even occurred to me that the website “statement” might be authentic.
When it was first published, the one thing that caught my eye was that this Robin van Persie “statement” looked like it was being disseminated through the exact same media network as was previously used to attack Arsenal. And upon reading the “statement” itself, it immediately appeared to me to be serving as a template for the “transfer saga” media campaign.
Since the Robin van Persie “official website” has now been taken down, here is the original version of the “statement” that was published on the website. The only difference is that, on the website, these sentences were all grouped together in a paragraph format. However, I’ve chosen to separate them to demonstrate what I mean by “template,” and the reason that I keep putting the word “statement” in quotation marks:
“Update for the Fans
This is an update for the fans about my current situation..
I have kept quiet all this time out of respect and loyalty for the club and as agreed with Mr Gazidis and Mr Wenger, but since there is so much speculation in the media, I think it is fair for you guys to know what’s really going on at the moment.
As announced earlier this year I had a meeting with the boss and Mr. Gazidis after the season.
This was a meeting about the club’s future strategy and their policy.
Financial terms or a contract have not been discussed, since that is not my priority at all.
I personally have had a great season but my goal has been to win trophies with the team and to bring the club back to its glory days.
Out of my huge respect for Mr Wenger, the players and the fans I don’t want to go into any details, but unfortunately in this meeting it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal should move forward.
I’ve thought long and hard about it, but I have decided not to extend my contract.
You guys, the fans, have of course the right to disagree with my view and decision and I will always respect your opinions.
I love the club and the fans, no matter what happens.
I have grown up and became a man during my time with Arsenal.
Everybody at the club and the fans have always supported me over the years and I have always given my all [and more] on and off the pitch.
I am very proud of being part of this fantastic club for the past eight years.
As soon as Mr Gazidis is back from his two-week holiday in America further meetings will follow and I will update you if and when there are more developments.”
I personally knew that this “statement” was fabricated the instant I saw it on the website, and the reason I knew is because it’s not really a statement at all. It’s a bunch of separate sentences that don’t really go together, are not connected by logic, and don’t even contain the basic connective language that people use when they talk to each other. Specifically, if Robin van Persie wanted to convey a message to Arsenal fans, it would not be phrased like this. And my initial impression upon reading this template for the accompanying media campaign was to wonder why they didn’t even try to make it sound like a real statement.
And it seems to me that the reason for this was because they were expecting Arsenal fans to simply take the media at its word, and to not go back and look at the original source of the “statement.” Because in the initial published media reports, these sentences were grouped together and presented in such a way that they do sound like a real statement.
However, this seems to have been a job that was delegated for the first wave of media coverage, because this group of disparate sentences did not sound like a real statement on the website itself. (For an example of the difference between the “statement” on the website and the statement as reported in the media, this article from the Guardian is a good representation of the coverage as a whole).
So, when I say that this “website statement” was serving as a “template,” what I mean is that each “statement” that “Robin” made was intended to serve as a basis for some specific message that had already been developed for dissemination through the media campaign. By examining the interplay between the “statement” itself and the media response, it is fairly obvious to me that both the “statement” and the media response are actually two different components of a single campaign, which were developed together.
Ergo, the real “author” of the “statement” is whoever is controlling the relevant media network, and developed that particular aspect of the campaign.
The general message of this campaign, which comes across to me as an attack on Robin Van Persie (although it could also be intended to send a different, private message to Arsene Wenger at times) appears to contain the following three basic components:
1) Robin Van Persie wants to force a transfer away from Arsenal;
2) Robin is a greedy mercenary who only cares about money (but wouldn’t mind a trophy either); and
3) Robin slagged off Arsenal and/or Arsenal fans
Basically, the first two components present the idea that Robin wants to force a transfer, and provides an apparent motive for doing so (he wants higher wages). And the third component appears intended to make Arsenal fans angry at RVP (presumably so that we’ll be happy to see Arsenal’s Captain off, with a kick on his way out the door).
This general message is conveyed to the public by taking the different parts of Robin’s “message” (I’m going to call it “the template” from now on), and responding to them with the correct, pre-determined responses. Incidentally, I believe that this particular tactical use of the “statement”/template is what Bleacher Report was referring to when they said that the “majority of stories covering the subject appear to lack facts and be based more on interpretation.”
The following article, published on the Fourth of July (almost immediately after the “statement” first appeared) serves as an excellent example of how a “statement” like this can be broken down into a template that can generate propaganda. The reason this article is such a good example is because it breaks down RVP’s entire “statement” into individual sentences (the way that I presented it above), and spins some kind of tactic off of each one of them.
And if you had any question about the propaganda intent behind the article, just take note of the headline and the opening sentence:
“…Robin appears to be trying to achieve more with his statement than what his words actually say. So here now is a handy translation of what he is getting at.”
Basically, they’re using this template to generate a false media narrative that puts words into Robin’s mouth, which are tactically designed to turn Arsenal fans against Robin. This article provides one example of how it worked. The sentences from RVP’s “statement” (ie, the template) are in italics (although I recommend that you actually take a look at the article itself, because the formatting there makes the tactical use of the “statement” even more apparent).
“This is an update for the fans about my current situation.”
“This is how I’m going to force a transfer.”
“I have kept quiet all this time out of respect and loyalty for the club and as agreed with Mr. Gazidis and Mr. Wenger, but since there is so much speculation in the media, I think it is fair for you guys to know what’s really going on at the moment.”
“My agent has been planning this for awhile and just decided the market is ready for me, but I’m pretending this is for you.”
“Financial terms or a contract have not been discussed, since that is not my priority at all.”
“I personally have had a great season but my goal has been to win trophies with the team and to bring the club back to its glory days.”
“This is all true, but I’m saying it now, right after saying that money isn’t my priority, just to subtly remind you that Arsenal haven’t won a trophy since 2005 and so you won’t call me a mercenary. I hope. I mean, it’s not like any of you are doing your cruddy jobs for anything but the most money possible.”
“Out of my huge respect for Mr. Wenger, the players and the fans I don’t want to go into any details, but unfortunately in this meeting it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward.”
“I wanted them to spend like Man City and launch Gervinho into the sun, they said ‘no.’”
“I’ve thought long and hard about it, but I have decided not to extend my contract.”
“Come and get me hahahahaha!”
“You guys, the fans, have of course the right to disagree with my view and decision and I will always respect your opinions.”
“I will ignore your opinions.”
“I love the club and the fans, no matter what happens. I have grown up and became a man during my time with Arsenal FC.”
“Blah blah blah (this is just filler)…”
“Everybody at the club and the fans have always supported me over the years and I have always given my all (and more) on and off the pitch.
“Seriously, please don’t call me a mercenary, you guys.”
“I am very proud of being part of this fantastic club for the last 8 years. As soon as Mr. Gazidis is back from his 2-week holiday in America further meetings will follow and I will update you if and when there are more developments.”
“He might as well end his holiday now because I just ruined it. I will tell you when I’ve selected a new club. One that will actually win something and won’t lose to freaking Birmingham in the Carling Cup final.”
“Robin van Persie”
“I really mean it, don’t start calling me ‘Robin van Payme’ or whatever.”
Now that you’ve seen the above, as you go through news articles that make reference to this “statement” (or at least the ones from before they ended the “transfer saga”), take note of the writing style, which is generally to reference a “message” from the “statement” and provide the response, which tells you what you, as an Arsenal fan, are supposed to be thinking in response to Robin’s “announcement.” Once you know to look for it, you’ll pick up on it easily.
From here, I’m just going to go through and look at a few examples of the tactics and messages associated with particular parts of the template. To me, the following section is the most interesting tactically:
“I personally have had a great season but my goal has been to win trophies with the team and to bring the club back to its glory days. Out of my huge respect for Mr. Wenger, the players and the fans I don’t want to go into any details, but unfortunately in this meeting it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward.”
The reason I find it interesting is because it references certain propaganda messages that have been used against Arsenal fans in the past, and which have had the effect of making fans angry at the purveyor of the message, and rallying in defense of Arsenal (as well as its new American owners) in response to a perceived outside threat (this would be the psychological impact of a false flag attack, essentially).
Specifically, the phrases “win trophies,” “bring the club back to its glory days,” and “disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward,” are loaded words for fans, and you could use them to spin off into a lot of different “AAA”-type messages that fans who love RVP would typically loathe (which is exactly what the media did here, apparently forgetting that, prior to the Fourth of July, they themselves were the primary disseminators of this AAA message, and that Arsenal fans loathe them above all other enemies. Well, I do, at least).
Basically, in examining the ways that such statements were used in this particular campaign, they actually torpedoed the entire propaganda message, because they’re so recognizable that they made the agenda transparent. Particularly in conjunction with the sort of reversal of message that was used here (basically, this campaign reversed the message that fans are accustomed to seeing, and attacked RVP with the old message).
And whatever the response in the comments section to this article might suggest, I could not possibly be the only person to have noticed what was going on here. The reason for that is because we’re all way too familiar with all of these “messages,” along with the media network that is typically used to disseminate them, to fail to notice when the exact same media network suddenly switches to the exact same message in reverse.
The following examples show some of the ways that this was done
1) “win trophies,” “bring the club back to its glory days,” and “disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward,”
*The following are some other running themes that recur throughout the message of this campaign:
-The 6 years that Robin spent sidelined by injury (ie, he’s turning his back on Arsenal when they didn’t turn their back on him)
-The horror of a player telling the management how to run the club (This “player power” concept isn’t as offensive to fans as they seem to think it is. At least, not taken at face value. Although we shouldn’t rule out the possibility that there is some kind of hidden agenda associated with this message as well).
-transfer spending, “trophy drought,” “ambition” (all have an AAA association)
Ex. 1: “Whatever way you look at it, van Persie has put Arsenal in a horrible situation – the classic ‘rock and a hard place’ scenario. Arsène Wenger and the fans certainly deserve better. But who cares when you can win trophies? After all, winning is everything, right?”
This is basically just the “trophy drought” line in reverse here. Since Robin van Persie criticized Arsenal for its “trophy drought,” we’re supposed to turn against Robin and rally in defense of Arsenal. Personally, I find it very curious the way the message of this media campaign has suddenly shifted to favor Arsenal (and its new American owners), while remaining opposed to Arsenal’s own players. Very curious indeed.
Ex. 2: “But to pose and posture as if he is being forced out of the club by their lack of ambition is insulting hogwash at this time.”
More of the same. Poor, defenseless Arsenal has been attacked by the “evil super villain,” Robin van Persie.
Ex. 3: “He has no right to tell Wenger how to run the club..by effectively trashing the quality of Wenger’s summer signings”.
So, apparently, they now like Arsene Wenger again as well. And I also find it interesting here that they make reference to Arsene Wenger “running the club” (which he does not). Arsenal fans love
Arsene Wenger. So, if the decisions made by Arsenal’s new management were falsely portrayed as being made by Arsene Wenger instead, it might cause Arsenal fans to accept those decisions out of loyalty, when they would otherwise reject them out of logic. It’s an interesting concept, I think.
Incidentally, I find the following example to be highly amusing, based on the author’s interpretation of what a “real” Arsenal fan is supposed to sound like (while raging at Robin van Persie).
Ex. 4: “You didn’t seem too worried about the club’s ‘direction’ during those first six and a half seasons at Arsenal, did you—…But now, you consider yourself an authority on how a truly great sporting institution should be run?
No ordinary institution, may I remind you. An institution which made you who you are, an institution that has been around from well before the time your great-grandfather existed, and one that will stand proud and glorious while you become a mere bookmark on Wikipedia.”
Yes, the media sure loves Arsenal now. (And also appears to be attempting to reinforce the notion that Arsenal is exactly the same as it always was, despite the fact that Arsenal has actually undergone some rather dramatic changes recently).
Ex. 5: “Just who does he think he is to try to dictate transfer policy and strategy to one of the best managers in English football history?”
And they worship Arsene Wenger. So why the attack on Arsenal’s Captain?
Ex. 6: “Is this step one of your master plan to ‘bring the club back to its glory days?’ by effectively saying that the manager and CEO don’t know how to run Arsenal FC? When, dear Robin, did you attain mastery over the running of a football club? ”
It sounds to me like what the media are really defending here is the decision-making of the people who are dictating Arsenal’s transfer policy these days. But why would that be? And who exactly are they defending?
2) Arsenal “fans.”
In the template, “Robin” directed his statement to the “fans,” and made many “statements” extolling Arsenal fans. These “statements” were presented in conjunction with“statements” that could also be taken as hurtful and offensive to fans. There are a lot of different ways that you could make use of this, and spin it to turn Arsenal fans against Robin. The following are some examples from the media response of how they appear to have used this aspect of the template tactically:
Ex. 1: “Yes, that ‘Update For The Fans,’ as you so patronizingly called it.Honestly, we, the REAL Arsenal fans, would have been happier without it. Terrible idea.
Apparently, “the REAL Arsenal fans” are now publishing articles on Bleacher Report.
“So you kept quiet because you are sooooo loyal and then decide to throw that out the window due to some media speculation!? Nope, not buying it.“
I’m “not buying it” either. Glad we could agree on something.
Ex. 3: “Many Arsenal fans will be wondering why Van Persie decided to take things public instead of showing more respect for the club and for their fans.”
Yes, I’m sure that “many Arsenal fans” are, in fact, wondering “why?” Although I think that the author of this article might be asking the wrong questions.
Ex. 4: “Let’s get one thing straight. Robin van Persie’s statement was not ‘for the fans’, as he so lovingly professed, but for himself….
At 4.02 pm on July 4, Van Persie’s value in football’s over-inflated transfer market was worth around £25million to Arsenal. At 4.03pm when he delivered his slap in the face, sorry, update, to the fans, that had decreased by more than fifth.
Not quite the act of someone who loves the club.”
This one is interesting to me. Because the part about the value of the player in “football’s over-inflated transfer market” isn’t, in my opinion, something that an Arsenal fan would be likely to think about when defending Arsenal against a perceived attack. Which leads me to believe that there might have been some other tactical reason for inserting this type of language into the media narrative.
And one idea that occurs to me is that the possible motive for inserting such language could be to simply reinforce the public perception that business in the EPL transfer market is still being conducted in the traditional way. This would be necessary if, for example, someone was attempting to make changes to the way transfer business was being conducted without the public noticing.
And in my opinion, this is something to keep an eye on going forward, given the dramatic shifts in ownership that have occurred in English football in recent years. Surely the new owners will be wanting to change other things as well? And to what extent are they all working together towards a common goal?
3) Money and Mercenary:
In the template, “Robin” goes out of his way to specifically note that his decision is not motivated by money. This “statement” serves no logical function in its context, but did provide the basis to generate news reports claiming that “Robin’s” decision to leave was, in fact, motivated by money. The following is the phrasing from the template itself:
“Financial terms or a contract have not been discussed, since that is not my priority at all.”
As you can see, the original phrasing is actually written to sound sarcastic. (And I personally wonder if this sarcasm might possibly have had a double meaning. Think about that one.).
Examples from media response:
Ex. 1: ‘Financial terms aren’t my priority,’ claimed the Arsenal captain, however he seems to be chasing the money — we all know that —”
Ex. 2: “since his priority was not financial terms or contract than we can expect to see him sign elsewhere for substantially less than he was making here. Yeah right.”
Ex. 3: “The Arsenal captain made a point to establish that his reasons for wanting to leave the club are motivated by the desire for success rather than the want of financial gain, but this is unlikely to wash with the majority of Gunners fans.”
Ex. 4: “Van Persie, they will say, has had his head turned by the riches of Manchester City, and has prioritised increasing his salary over staying loyal to the club where he has forged his name.”
Incidentally, have we heard anything about what kind of wages Robin is receiving from Manchester United?
If anyone would like to see additional examples of tactics or anything else, just check the media coverage beginning on the Fourth of July (and ending around the time my initial article alleging fabrication was published). You’ll find more examples than you know what to do with. Based on this analysis, I hope it’s clear now why I’ve been saying that it would be impossible for Robin Van Persie (or his agent) to have written this “statement.”
Specifically, the reason for this is because the “statement” and the media response were quite clearly coordinated in advance. The instant that this “statement” appeared, the media was ready to go, with a pre-planned response to each segment of the “statement.”
Therefore, the “statement” could not have been written by Robin van Persie or his agent Kees Vos. Rather, the “statement” had to have been written by whoever is controlling the same media network that is being used to run the larger “transfer saga” media campaign.
And if you don’t want to take my word on that, you can always listen to this master of mystery:
“This, I’m sorry to say, is just not acceptable, and is a sign of the times we live in with football players becoming much bigger than their clubs, and in some cases the sport itself.
Van Persie had a truly sensational last 18 months, and I’m sure all of us Gooners owe him big time. But honestly, who is he to ‘disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward?’ When I last checked, he was club captain. Was there a mid-term promotion to Chief Strategic Officer? Preposterous!
Unless this is the mother of all website hacking jobs—I’m really clutching at straws, aren’t I?— it is clear that RVP must be sold immediately. I’d rather he went outside the Premier League, not because I’m worried he’ll make Manchester City stronger, but so that he can be out of sight and out of mind to the greatest extent possible.”
That was Bleacher Report again. Their subtlety and nuance in conveying sarcasm would truly make William Shakespeare weep, wouldn’t it?
The above article also gives me the opportunity to segway into my analysis of Bacary Sagna’s recently reported comments, and how they fit into this same existing media narrative. That will be covered in the next segment of this series.