One of the biggest challenges for a journalist is getting people to read your work. If there’s one master of the dark arts in this field, it’s Piers Morgan. Whether inviting Guests onto Good Morning Britain just to shout over them or ranting about everything from guns to “PC culture” over social media, he is always looking for a chance to go viral.
However, I first came across Piers Morgan for a totally different reason: in the football world, he is the most famous fairweather fan.
Ever since 2008, Morgan has been a fierce critic of Arsenal manager Arséne Wenger. Granted: some of the criticism has been justified. However, that has come along with some gross hyperbole and unnecessary witch-hunts against individual players unbefitting of a self-proclaimed Arsenal fan.
In 2015, Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey refused to shake Morgan’s hand when the two met after a 0-0 draw with Chelsea. Two and a half years earlier, Morgan had labelled him a “complete and utter liability”.
What DOES Wenger see in Ramsey? A complete and utter liability. #Arsenal
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) December 4, 2012
In 2012, Emmanuel frimpong — then an Arsenal player — told Morgan in no uncertain terms over Twitter that he was not considered a source of support by those at the Emirates Stadium.
“You ain’t a fan. You’re just some big old school bully that has too much time on Twitter. Now you go to bed and wake up early to read,” Frimpong said.
I personally don’t believe that Morgan thinks for one second that his campaign against Arséne Wenger and his players is helpful for Arsenal, as he claims. Then again, I don’t think he cares.
Although not a specialised sports journalist, Morgan has no doubt realised that his feelings for his club should come second to his professional interests. He is far from the only Arsenal fan to feel outraged at his team’s performances in recent years. He realised this, saw a gap in the market, and positioned himself as the self-appointed leader of the “#WengerOut” movement.
I don’t agree with much of what Morgan says about sport or politics. (I don’t think he even agrees with himself half the time), but I do admire his ability to provoke emotions among his followers. (Even I can’t help regularly scrolling through his tweets.)
Morgan appears to be two completely different people after an Arsenal win and after a loss. I intend to be more consistent in my own journalistic positions. However, I must admit to have taken inspiration from Morgan’s keen eye for a chance to gain viewers.