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How can we possibly be stronger than the refs?

By Walter Broeckx

Another day another ref article. And I had promised myself not to write one before next week. But thanks to one of our readers I had to do it.

People who have been following my ref reviews and my articles during the season in which I explained how and what can go wrong with the refs and their bias will know that I am convinced that some refs have a certain bias.

I also have said on many occasions that refs can be bribed.  I know some former refs and some former chairman of football clubs who have admitted to me that they have been bribed (former ref) or have bribed (chairman).

But I can understand people who are not that close or connected in the ref world that they are sceptical about such things. After all, who am I? Well I’m just a person at whom people sometimes say things which they shouldn’t say. Is it my trustworthy face? I just don’t know but it just happens on occasions.

I also have been saying that there are different ways in tilting a game. You can have the way younger and more inexperienced refs do the job. I could say the Arsenal-Aston Villa game was such an example.  Because it was blatant to see for most of us even without my ref review that the ref was taking on the big decisions to tilt the game.

More experienced refs do it in another way. They don’t do the important and eye catching decisions as this attracts too much attention. No they do the little fouls. They don’t give fouls to one team and punish the other for even running close to their opponents. A bit the way Halsey did it (he is very experienced) against Stoke with just giving one foul for Arsenal in the first half. Nobody notices it. Well apart from people like me of course.

But an article recently about an Argentine ref, Javier Ruiz, was very meaningful.  So this ref has (after stopping as a ref) said that teams pay money to the refs to get favours.  He also said he had proof of this.  And he named teams, championships and promotions in this.

Boca Juniors won the 2008 championship by bribing the refs he claims. And he claims he has proof. Well this is South America some might argue and such things are impossible in England. Yeah right. Let’s just believe it as we have no proof like this ref claims to have proof.

But some lines struck me a bit. I have been saying over here and told the people who come on this site and saying: “Now sure a ref can’t stop a team completely”  or “We should be stronger than that”.

On the other hand I have been saying that you can give me any game between the first and the last of a division and I can make sure that the team who is first in the league will not win. I have claimed on a few occasions that I could do this.  Which again had the result that people didn’t believe me.

And again I could say that this is fair because why should you believe me? I’m just that biased guy from Untold who happens to be a ref.

But then I want to give you the words this former Argentine ref said about the troubles River Plate have for the moment as they are fighting relegation and I quote from the article: “Why do you think River is fighting the drop?” he told Libre.  “If you don’t pay (the referees) they are capable of stopping you pass the halfway line.” The 43-year-old Ruiz, who said he left the job voluntarily, nominated “four or five” referees currently in action as having fixed games”.

And now I will repeat the main thing in this as this is such an important line told by a former Argentine ref who did games in the highest league in Argentina. : “If you don’t pay (the referees) they are capable of stopping you going past the halfway line.”

As I said before you don’t have to believe me on my word when I say a good and experienced ref can change the outcome of a game. But why don’t you just listen to a former Argentine top ref who now comes out with the message that a ref can stop a team completely if he wants to do this for any reason. This reason could be not being paid what was promised but this reason could also be bias, some instructions from a higher level,….

So you can ignore my message. You can brush it under the carpet. But do take a minute and think about what a former Argentine ref said… : They (refs) are capable of stopping you going past the halfway line.

Most experienced refs know they have that power. And thank God most of them will not use it. But you can be sure that there are refs out there who not only know this power but they will use it for whatever reason they think is good enough for them. Dowd anyone?

So next time when you say: ‘We should be stronger than the refs’ do think twice. Because the most powerful person on the pitch is the ref. And if you don’t believe me you can believe Javier Ruiz.

So we can only dream of having our own Javier Ruiz one day to tell what is going on. Maybe one day some retiring ref has enough of and will speak about it.  Well one can hope…

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287 comments to How can we possibly be stronger than the refs?

  • Dark Prince

    To answer the article- the refs will make mistakes, but its upto the character of the players to man up and deliver the performances.

    On a different note, i really want to kno why you guys are so paranoid about the refs?? Also wanted anyone to answer this – if the refs are against arsenal then how come the let us win 3 league titles and 4 fa cups under wenger??

  • He mentions Boca Juniors, didn’t Tevez play for them… shit – who’s the ref for the Emirates Cup?

    😉

    Thank you Walter for highlighing this article for more readers – Meditation posted it the other day and I linked Declan Hill to it as soon as I read it.

    He passes on his thanks.

  • Malaysian Gooner

    Very good article. I’m sharing this, thank you!

  • A Casual Observer

    It seems abundantly clear that Dark Prince didn’t read any further than the title of this article before deciding to comment…

    How sad.

  • rafuuru

    finally some perspective into the matter. arsenal have suffered ref bias (intentional or unintentional, this is irrelevant). yet some fans think arsenal should be stronger? how many time can a team take such bias? i certainly would feel betrayed. sure you can beat it a few times initially but it gets increasingly difficult to fight off such unfairness.
    remotely linked: has anyone had a look at the “fair play” table? does anyone find man u being 4th a bit retarded? with the amount of abuse they throw at refs…

  • Dark Prince

    Wow, the refs are the most powerfull!!!!!!
    So wat do you guys suggest arsenal shud do?? Sit back n give up?? Or maybe jus hand over the trophy to ManU or Chelsea…or maybe Liverpool next year? Or maybe even City coz they hav started winning trophies?? While we jus sit back n be so afraid to perform that we’re starting to get paranoid like Mourinho?? Bcoz everyone is Against Arsenal!!!!!! N Surely none of people here have the guts to even tak up the ref issue to fa’s door??

  • Mandy dodd

    Who knows dark prince maybe some of those teams were better equipped to overcome these things. But remember if took a cheating team and ref to end that unbeaten run a few years ago.
    Can you honestly say you believe we have been treated in the same way by officials as utd this season?

  • Davi

    @Dark prince – The refs were always biased, even when we won titles. Our players were just good enough to overcome it. We were THAT much better.
    I do think the point you make is more important than others on here might. It is evidence that refs are not in fact paid to go one way or the other – we NEVER could have gone unbeaten if the refs were paid off against us – but I don’t think it’s enough to say that the refs aren’t biased against us. The refs have always favoured Utd since I’ve been watching, and been more against us.

  • Dark Prince

    Mandy Dodd- the problem is the perception of most people here. We expect Refs to be behaving like refs in La Liga, where even the slightest touch can be given as a foul. Just because we’re play on a technical level far more advanced than other teams doesn’t mean even the refs should change their perspective jus for us. The refs in EPL have come up through the physicality involved in english football. English football is still mostly physically dominated.They wont change for one team. Thats why our technical play draws in more soft fouls and the refs in epl wont go on blowing the whistle. Thats why we have so many foul decisions going against us. If you want to really compare, jus remember, when we used to win the league, we were one of the most dirtiest teams around.

  • Dark Prince

    @Davi- firstly, the refs during our league winning days didn’t used to be against us. I remember refs allowing those free kick goals by Henry when the opposition goalkeeper was on the post adjusting his wall. I remember games of those days, refs usually were generally fair towards. We won that time bcoz, as u said, we were jus too good. But thats not the case today.

    Secondly, i admit on one thing, referees are biased towards english players. But to be biased towards a whole team is going a bit too ahead. We jus play a different style which draws in more fouls. And refs are used to physicality, so they wont always blow the whistle on a soft foul.

  • Mandy dodd

    Take your point dark prince but I think it runs deeper than perception. Dowd against Newcastle, the rvp sending off at barca, convinced me that someone somewhere doesn’t like this team, or maybe favours others. Utd have been rescued so many times by refs this season at vital moments. Fergie hates Martin Atkinson, so he never gets a game at ot, fergie loves Webb, so he gets ot games against us, Liverpool and Chelsea in this season alone, royally stitching us and Liverpool at every chance.
    I do not know the form of this bias, greed, fear, pro utd, anti arsenal, anti wenger, ambition of refs and what they perceive they have to do to get on, but nobody can convince me we are on a level playing field with utd regarding officials. And if true, for whatever reason that is wrong, end of. There seems an acceptance in this country that man utd get things their way. Even their fans sing we are utd and do what we like. Maybe the refs are just scared of their manager?
    But I have said before, I am convinced there is biased but disappointed some of our players at times make things so easy for these refs.

  • Dark Prince

    Also i’ll also bring in a different point of view here.

    Has anyone wondered why Mourinho is so paranoid of refs in La Liga?? Its somewhat the same reason as that of us but a different side of the same coin.

    Has anyone seen how Mourinho plays against Barca?? He uses a style thats completly physical in nature. Now refs in Europe (except england) and Spain are generally not come through such physical game. So most of the soft fouls will go in Barca’s favour. And thats the reason, Mourinho’s men has to face sending offs. If Mourinho uses those techniques in England, he’ll easily get away with it bcoz for the refs in england, such physicality is normal. But outside england, its not normal.

    But Mourinho wont understand this coz he’s just too paranoid bcoz he isn’t winning.

  • nicky

    It needs some courageous and clever guy, somewhere in the World, to sit down and devise a foolproof means of controlling football matches in a fair and unbiased fashion.
    I’m sure it can be done.
    It might mean a number of additional officials in the stand being able to over-ride those on the pitch and/or deal with appeals.
    It would almost certainly mean extended time for matches, a la USA, but it would be a small price to pay for integrity.
    Where are you, O Wise One?

  • walter

    Dark Prince,
    the message is and like I said some 10 times in the past year any good and experienced ref can change the outcome of a game. It just takes another ref to see it.
    And if you dont believe me. Fine. If you don’t believe Javier Ruiz? Fine. If you don’t believe the dozens of refs that I have spoken with and who say the same? Fine.

    Then the only thing that can convince you is follow the course and do it yourself a few years. And then on a day just try it. You will be amazed what you can do.

  • Mick

    @Dark Prince… what you mean the kind of soft foul Chamakh supposedly commited when denied a goal against Villa last Sunday?

  • Mr Venger

    And Van Persies when turning Dunne inside out again?

  • Armoury

    I’m sure the ref was biased when he refused to give Birmingham a blatant penalty and send off the goalie in the cc final

  • Dark Prince

    Mandy Dodd – i admit there are times when the ref was very poor. But to say he is biased is goin a bit far. He had a bad game. Just tell me, denilson has had a very bad season, in almost every match he played he has done many mistakes, he has shown less willingness. Jus think, he’s a professional playing at the highest level and gettin paid by Arsenal. But can you say that jus bcoz he consistently doing poorly means thats he’s biased? Or can u say that he’s been bribed by ManU? Or he’s just too scared of fergie?? Or he’s pro manu n anti-arsenal??

    I dont think so…

    In the same way, refs do make mistakes, they are professionals at the highest level, but sometimes they hav bad games. You cant call Arshavin biased bcoz he has had a bad game. Players and refs alike are human beings who make mistake. We’re not playin fifa 11 on xbox or playstation where all the decisions are right.

  • Shard

    I don’t think the refs 7-8 years ago were bent as they are now. There was bias evident, as an example in Graham Poll. But never blatant cheating as far as I can recall. I never thought we were cheated out of the title intentionally in 2007-08, even though so many decisions went against us in the end that season. (Now I do think that was the same as we are seeing now).

    In my view it started somewhere around 2006 or 2007 most likely. In fact I have mentioned once, half in jest, but it is possible, that maybe we were the first beneficiaries of the fix, with Spurs losing out on the Champions League spot due to some dodgy lasagne. We have the same advantage over Spurs that ManU have over us. We have a bigger market.

  • Mick

    @Dark Prince…. the whole point is that Arsenal are constantly penalised and carded for soft fouls whereas our opponents are not and they frequently get away with blatant dangerous fouls as well (eg Ferdinand flying karate kick on Sagna). Our disciplinery record this year is similar to that of one of the Stokes of this world, but most of the cards given against us have been for fairly innocuous challenges or technical offences. Just look at some of the cards Song has been given, absolute nothing challenges. Compare to the unpunished challenges from the likes of Barton when we played Newcastle, its an absolute joke.

  • Mr Venger

    The bias comparison between denilson having a poor season and the refs is a pathetic one

  • Shard

    @Dark Prince

    I have heard this argument about refs having poor games just like some players and thus we can’t accuse them of bias or corruption, but it misses one crucial point. A player has his performance intentionally affected by the opponent plays. The ref has no such limitation. He runs the game.

  • Dark Prince

    @Mick
    @Mr Venger- no i’m talkin about fouls like the lehmann one with that blackpool guy, or koscielny in the same game, or fabregas to the wolves guy, or some of wilshere’s tackles which was gone under the carpet. Or maybe Walcott’s dive? Remember that one, he admitted himself.

    Jus think, if the refs were so much biased then y wud they let us go so many times?? Heck, they are supposed to be anti-arsenal… Then they cud hav easily given a red card to lehman who was our only gk in that match, they shud have given a penalty against us for koscielny foul when we were 2-1 up, or maybe should hav shown a yellow card to walcot for that dive.

  • Dark Prince

    @Mick-we too have our share of good luck in decisions. And we gettin so many cards, yes i admit some of them were not right, but we were allowed to go free when d card shud hav come out.

  • Abhishek Kumar

    Hi Dark Prince

    Can you please also possibly explain the reason for not allowing Chamak’s goal. I think we might be playing in a different way but a ball in the nets is defintely a goal all across the world

  • Abhishek Kumar

    Oh just forgot ..

    English refs dont like pushes at all.. so they had to cancel the goal

  • Dark Prince

    Walter- there will come a few cases around the world that one or two refs are corrupt, but to bring all the english refs in that category is too much.

  • Dark Prince

    Shard- firstly, if they had to be biased then wud have been a long time ago. What difference has come till now?? If u think fergie is all so powerful then they shud hav won the league last year as well. Why dont chelsea face such ref bias?? Its all in our perception.

    Also i dont see how the opponent affects the player of single player the entire season?? Denilson had reasonably average (maybe above average) season last year against the same opponents. What has changed?? Every human has good performances and bad performances. Maybe you also forget that the ref is the guy who covers the most distance on the pitch?? The benefit of doubt should go to them.

  • Shard

    @Dark Prince

    You are right about those incidents. But put them in the match context too. In the Blackpool game we should have been 3-0 up at half time. Van persie was denied a blatant penalty with the ref looking straight at it. How many penalties have we been denied this season actually? and how many have ManU been granted unfairly, or there opponents not been given.

    If you are looking for a reason as to why they didn’t call those things as you say they should or could have if they were anti-Arsenal, then I would venture a guess that it is that they do not want us to win the title. They do not want to send us in the relegation zone. We are also a big part of their product you know. Secondly, if they do it too much, then even the stupid newspapers would be forced to report it. Heck, even Sky were talking about us not getting referee’s calls towards the end of the season in the Villa game.

  • Mr Venger

    DP
    Your picking out meaningless decisions , all of which are far outweighed by the general trend which is not in our favour!

    The lehman decision resulted in a goal.
    The koscielny decision could easily have been missed by any ref &
    the damage had been done before we played Blackpool. If there is something going on , for whatever reason, they will not kill us at every opportunity but just wait for the times when it matters which is what has happened this season.
    The Walcott ‘dive’ was less of a dive than Hernandez against Blackburn. Theo is a bit too honest to come out and say that, no-one said it at the time.

  • Mick

    @ Dark Prince…. obviously we have ON THE ODD OCCASION been the beneficeries of favourable decisions as Walter points out in his reviews, however there can be no denying there have been many more dodgy calls given against us than for us, and usually of a match changing nature. My mate is a Spurs supporter and even he thinks we are hard done by!!! I do remember the Walcott dive, that is the one that no one even noticed at the time. It was that blatant and pathetic he had to tell us all he’d done it. Regarding Wilshere he got a red card as far as I remember and yellows on a couple of other occasions so they weren’t brushed under the carpet. You remember one bad tackle by Cesc but forget all the terrible ones he has to contend with. Give me a break.

  • Dark Prince

    Abhishek kumar – a bad decision by the ref. Maybe u can explain how Phil Dowd wrongle disallowed a perfect goal as offside for newcastle in the dying seconds of that 4-4 draw?? if he was really biased than we shud have lost 5-4 that day wit that goal in newcastle’s favour.

  • Mr Venger

    Well said Mick

  • Mr Venger

    Someone else made that decision DP.
    He’s called the referees assistant

  • Dark Prince

    Shard- Eventually, if we both combine our views, we can conclude that the refs make bad decisions, sometimes in our favour, sometimes in opposition’s favour. Plus add to that the physicality they prefer and biased towards english players, and what we get is a perception that the refs are all out against us which is completly goin way too far.

  • Mr Venger

    Personally I have never seen a more overtly biased refereeing performance than Phill Dowd aginst Newcastle, other than Phill Dowd against Sunderland.
    Never mind the dodgy pens and red cards, Thank fuck he didn’t over rule the lino on one occasion tho eh,

  • Miranda

    I’m not convinced the situation in Argentina, though interesting in it’s own right, is as relevant to England as this article implies. Aren’t Argentinian refs very poorly paid, isn’t that why they’re easily bribable? The annual earnings of a Premiership ref, however, are (I believe) in the region of £70,000+, so I doubt Phil Dowd is so in need of supplements to his income he’d think it worth taking the risk. I’m also not convinced he’s clever enough to be deliberately fixing games again and again and pulling the wool over the FA assessors’ eyes.

    I really hope you’ll put your energy into organising the RefWatch site, especially into recruiting a large enough number of non-Arsenal-supporting professional refs to make it a viable thing, as without that it will lack credibility and impact. Evidence – real evidence – is what’s needed, and the only thing that can be of any use to Arsenal.
    Yes, of course refs are occasionally bribed. We know that they are – a German ref threw a game for as little a plasma TV, and a French TV station devoted a whole news report to the possibility that Dowd had been paid by Far East betting syndicates to throw the Newcastle game. Trouble was, they had no evidence whatsoever and were therefore – rightly, in my view – dismissed by serious journalists as a bunch of sensationalist, paranoid nutters with a taste for conspiracy theories. Get the evidence, put in the solid work – only then will the media and ultimately the FA and Premier League take any notice.

  • Dark Prince

    Mr Venger – the main ref can any time over rule the linesman

  • Mr Venger

    Add the injury time bias to that too!

  • Mr Venger

    Oh thats ok then. He didn’t overrule him so all the other decisions are cancelled out

  • Dark Prince

    Mr Venger- also the rebuttals u hav given in your previous post, its just shows biased towards arsenal…its somewhat like a ManU fan will give if asked about the ref decisions in their favour. All fans wil hav an excuse for the ref. It just doesn’t add up.

  • Mick

    @ Dark Prince….I have amended your statement so that it now reads ‘Eventually, if we both combine our views, we can conclude that the refs make bad decisions, RARELY in our favour, FREQUENTLY in opposition’s favour.’ It now reflects the situation more accurately!!!

  • Mr Venger

    Honestly Dark P, I dont want to bash my head against a brick wall too often but pls, if you have the capability to , go and watch the newcastle away game again from the start and look at every decision the referee makes. Pause it , re-run it in slow mo or what ever you have to do. If you still cant see what is happenning at least in this one game alone then I am in despair with you!

  • Dark Prince

    Mick- if your friend was an english guy, he wud hav a different view. As i said, people in different regions hav different versions of football. And Arsenal’s too technical style wil not be favourable in the physicality of English football.

  • arsene-al

    @Dark Prince, do you think that ref bias/fixing means that the refs won’t let us get away with anything whatsoever? That no matter what happens we will not get a call? Of course not, we need to get away with a few things to show there is no bias/fixing. The refs balance out their calls so it doesnt seem too obvious that theyr trying to influence the result. If you were to try to set up a ring of biased refs, would you tell them to not let a certain team get away with anything whatsoever, or would you say give them enough to survive?

  • Mr Venger

    I am not claiming to be unbiased, although I do claim to have an ability to be objective too.
    But I was biased in all the other yrs Arsenal won fuckall too and never mentioned referee’s until 2008

  • Naren

    Walter,
    Great link and insight into the hidden world. Today, Arsene in his press conference said that the decisions in the Aston Villa match were inexplicable and for him Arsenal had won the match. If we are a bit more attentive, this is not the first time he has had similar comments(Stoke at home and Barca away spring to mind immediately).
    Perhaps in your season review, you could see how many times Arsene has pointed out refreeing mistakes directly costing us a match…then maybe these opinions here may be met with less disbelief.
    But then, what does Arsene know? He knows only to moan, isn’t it, like everyone of us here?

  • Mick

    @ Dark Prince… why don’t you give it up as a bad job, you are begining to sound like a cracked record. And my friend is from Enfield and of good English stock.

  • Dark Prince

    Mr Venger – i never said Phil Dowd was awesome in that game. But can u prove me with evidence that the mistakes he made in that game were intentional??

  • Dark Prince

    @arsene-al- ok, if that was really the case then by selective decision making, they can easily bring Arsenal to 5th or 6th place in the table. If they had amended a few selective calls then Arsenal wud have lost of ManU at home also. Tell me what is the reason we have finished above Liverpool or Spurs??

  • manU against everton – gary neville drags his opponent’s leg wholly away from the ball – no penalty. then chichi-rito scores while in an off-side position – goal. game ends. chichi falls in the game against blackburn – penalty – goal. the ref allows 10 minutes of injury time against liverpool. did eboue really conceed a penalty? then the game against villa. against baa baa black sheep. the list could go on. though i have to say some games we lost because of terrible defensive decisions. cesc’s heel at barca and his pass against tiny tot spuds…

  • Naren

    Dark Prince,
    I will certainly not rule out players getting bribed…it has happened a lot in international cricket even leading to convictions and suspensions.
    Well who could have said that Calciopoli was happening? It took a criminal investigation to it to be exposed.
    I’ll tell you one thing for sure-maybe the scenario is really not as gory as it is suggested but definitely it is not as rosy as you wish to paint it. You seem to live in utopia.

  • Shard

    Dark prince

    Are you looking for employment as the referee’s attorney in any upcoming case of corruption that might be made out? “Can you honestly say you have evidence of my client’s wrongdoing?” Even if someone said he had a conversation to that effect with the referee, like Walter says certain refs have told him, it is not proof. It is hearsay, which as far as I know, is not admissable in a court of law. Proof, evidence are all well and good, and no, if that existed then we would be having a whole different conversation.

    Why don’t you say why you think that the referees are NOT biased on the basis of what we have seen this season, since that is the basis of our argument as to the refs being biased/corrupt/bent. The only other reason can be incompetence which manifests itself in a statistically significant pattern. What would be the odds of that happening? Maybe the Gambling dens across the world can tell us eh?

  • Mr Venger

    Ok so now you admit his decisions were poor, but we can’t prove intention. I think he intended all of his decisions. They were not involuntary!

  • Dark Prince

    @Mick- tell me how many english people will say that the ref are biased against Arsenal?? Very few i suppose, except for the ones over here.

  • Dark Prince

    @Naren- look no further, When wenger was managing Monaco, his own players were involved in bribe with opposition teams. But anything is possible. You say players can be bribed, i say even Wenger cud be bribed…but we can all make controversies out of thin air.

  • arsene-al

    @Dark prince, why hasn’t vidic received a post-match review and ban for his handball, why were the 2 goal chances in our last game cancelled out, why do we always seem to not get penalty calls when they obviously should be, how do manu always seem to survive by some miraculous ref decision, why was van persie sent off for kicking a ball? These are only some of the ridiculous decisions made by refs. You’ve asked me a question I couldn’t possibly know unless I was in on it, but I don’t think you’d be able to answer my questions either. If I was to try and answer your question, we have no evidence to say the whole league is bent, but we know for sure that there are certain refs that don’t let us do anything. Frankly I think either we’re good enough on that day to get through, or that certain ref doesn’t have it out for us on that day. We scrape through the league because of all the speed bumps laid out in front of us, and if they weren’t a better team we would end up in 5th or 6th. It may not be that whoever is slowing us down is anti-arsenal, it may just be that they want to hurt us enough to just let those above us in the league get further

  • Shard

    You’re enjoying this aren’t you Dark Prince?

  • Dark Prince

    Shard- lol, i dont wanna job. Thanx anyways!!

    On a serious note, you hav to first really have to be precise in what you’re alleging. You say refs are biased/bribed to be against Arsenal, but can u tell me who has a motive to do that?? If u say its ManU or fergie, then he would hav used the same refs to be biased against Chelsea as well last year.

  • Naren

    Dark Prince,
    Who is making controversies out of thin air? You started by saying that the integrity of a top-level professional player and a top-level match official cannot be questioned. You said those players and officials were only having bad games, which is human nature. I say their integrity can be questioned. You are now digressing by bringing Arsene into this.
    Seriously, you opinions are not coherent. I don’t know why are you doing this…arguing with everybody you can find with theories out of thin air. What exactly is your problem?

  • Shard

    And you are wrong about the Monaco players as far as I know the case. It was Marseille paying of Valencienne players. Boro Primorac was the coach there at the time.

  • Shard

    “there” being Valenciennes, not Marseille.

  • jrock

    Great article. Reading other Arsenal blogs over the past couple of weeks has been quite painful. Many bloggers have turned on Wenger and the players to the point where I feel like I’m reading Spurs blogs. I agree that the team has collapsed remarkably since losing in the Carling Cup final, but I’m amazed that no one, not even Arsenal fans, consider the effect that suspicious refereeing decisions can have on a young team’s psyche. Perhaps Arsenal players should be stronger mentally, but just imagine wanting to win the Premier League and the Champions League so badly, and dropping points or getting eliminated, not because you played poorly, but because the referees made terrible calls. Just off the top of my head, points were ripped away from us by referee decisions playing against Sunderland (H – good goal ruled out, blatant penalty on Arshavin not given), Newcastle (A – Dowd implosion), Liverpool (H – softest penalty ever, 10 minutes of injury time when 7 were shown), even A Villa last week (blatant penalty on Ramsey not given, Dunn should have been off), and Barcelona (A – Van Persie yellow card that no one understands). You can say that refs don’t see everything, but it’s strange that given Arsenal’s possession game that they are by far and away the leaders in penalties conceded. I don’t know about you, but I would stop caring if I felt I couldn’t beat the system, and on a number of occasions Arsenal players have publicly questioned referees’ consistency, suggesting they are aware of this bias.

  • Dark Prince

    @Arsene-al- thats what i’m sayin, we also got the share of decisions in our favour. U only remember the van persie sending off, but u dont remember how many times the ref let go of Song in the 1st leg? He cud hav been easily given his 2nd yellow in the 1st half itself and then we would have been against a 11 vs 10 situation.

  • Mr Venger

    No one has mentioned the ref in the first leg as he was brilliant.
    The 2nd leg , when it mattered the bias toward barca showed itself

  • Shard

    @Mr Venger

    About the youtube link you provide. maybe it is my memory playing tricks, but as I recall, the following week we played Liverpool, and got Gio van Bronkhorst wrongly sent off. Collectively the team decided enough, and we won that game 2-0. Can you confirm this?

  • Mr Venger

    Why busaca!

  • Mr Venger

    Think it was the season after when gio got sent off as we won the double that yr, but lost fa cup fianl only in 2001

  • Mr Venger

    Your arguments don’t really add up dp, so much that i’m actually starting to question your integrity too!

  • Shard

    @Mr Venger

    Hmmm. I don’t know why I have the impression that th Liverpool Gio sending off was the second unfair red card we had in 2 weeks. We lost inn the first instance but won at Liverpool. As I said, maybe my memory is playing tricks.

  • Dark Prince

    @Naren- its nice we have our own opinions, eh?
    But i dont mean to point fingers as Wenger. But pointing the fingers as the refs also just makes us as sour losers

  • Shard

    @Mr Venger

    I just checked. Not important but I guess I’m obsessive 🙂

    The match reports were on the BBC website Newcastle 18Dec2001, and Liverpool 23 Dec2001. So they were consecutive matches. But I got the Liverpool scoreline wrong. It was 2-1 to Arsenal.

  • Mr Venger

    I agree but we had so many dodgy red cards in wengers reign its easy to get mixed up!

    Re referees etc, Listen to these comments, just to get some insight into the thiought process involved:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVGwr_D1b8A&feature=relmfu

  • Mr Venger

    Of course my mistake the Newcastle game was in 2001-02 not the one before

  • Dark Prince

    Mr Venger- my comments are jus the other side of your alleged controversy. You take everything as a controversy against Arsenal and i tak it as jus a paranoid reaction for all the years of failures we had.

  • Salim

    @Dark Prince, I am not sure brain it work pro…, what u say it just u hat Arsenal and Arsene, u can go to hell.
    Tell me in FA cup Man u vs L/pool how did Webb give that stupid penalty to man u? and what a faul did Gerard do to get send off? Wake up ur brain! Thank Walter to give the readers a FACT.
    I have idea to the chairman of official, Ihope he will read:
    All refs they shold felling the application form for the season and in that application must be a line say “which team do u support …………..” (must be one of 20 teams),
    if he say I suport team “A” he should be never allow to official that team “A” or the team the one if they lose or draw it help his team (A).

  • arsene-al

    @Dark Prince, lol I’m sorry but your point is moot. You keep bringing it back to where we were. Some calls have to be given for us so its not obvious. Refs choose what call will influence a game more, sure song might have gotten away with something at one point in a game, but then suddenly we get a soft call go against us later on. Its a game the refs play, giving and taking in certain places to make it look like the match is moving normally. Trust me I remember far more than just the van persie incident, that was just an example, but I believe if we were both to make lists of calls that went for us and calls that went against us, the against list would be much much longer. In fact, such a list is available for you here on untold. I’m not one to start believing in a conspiracy just because someone told me, but I’ve been watching football for a while now and I’ve always been skeptical of how “unlucky” we are and how “lucky” manu are. Only later did I realize that this had to be more than luck, and in fact logic points to some tampering in the games. Also as for your comment on song being sent off, I’m not sure if your talking about the barca game, but what about the red cards abidal and those throat-grabbers should have gotten?

  • Naren

    Dark Prince,
    I believe that until you are proved guilty, you are innocent. So I do say that the League is fixed and all the refs are corrupt/biased. But there is growing evidence that refereeing is not as it should be. If it is not corrupt, then the referees are incompetent. If people say an incompetent defence cost us the title, how about incompetent officiating costing us?
    PS-About you saying that the referee’s intention cannot be proved, well tomorrow I could murder somebody and give testimony that I didn’t intend it. Will that make much difference?

  • Mr Venger

    You don’t actually come up with any decent evidence tho dark prince, please feel free to get some statistics to rival walter and dogface’s. I feel I really am just gonna keep bleeding from the forehead brickwall situation with you tho aren’t I ?

  • Naren

    Sorry, that is “I do ‘not’ say that is the League is fixed and the refs are corrupt/biased.”

  • Dark Prince

    @Salim- wow!!!! Then surely ManU shud had won the fa cup as well right? Eh…wrong…

  • Dark Prince

    @arsene-al – as i said, we can tak it which ever way we want to. U tak it as a controversy, i take it as paranoia.

  • Dark Prince

    @Naren- hmmmm…so r u willing to testify that refs can never make mistakes??

  • Mr Venger

    @ dp

    EVIDENCE

    Thats what speaks the loudest.

  • Shard

    @Naren

    The innocent until proven guilty is a courtroom scenario. You can say they are innocent of any criminal breach though I am not sure what exactly is considered criminal by the law. But the referees, are certainly guilty of egregiously wrong decisions, on a consistent basis. The fact that these decisions have helped ManU in more than one season, well is not a fact. But it is an opinion formed on the basis of the ‘evidence’ presented. And ultimately, that is all a judgment is too. An opinion of a judge, based on the evidence presented. All I’m saying is, you be the judge here whether that has happened or not.

    As to WHY such decisions have taken place is where I think you disagree. You may not agree that they are biased, or that they are corrupt. But I’d like an alternate explanation for it. A court would let someone off for lack of evidence, but surely what you see on the football field should be enough to form an opinion as to why it happens.

  • Shard

    @Dark Prince

    First of all. State whether you think the referees decisions have cost us many points over the course of the season, our own mistakes notwithstanding. If you say No to that, then there is no debate to be had with you.

  • Dark Prince

    @Mr Venger- the evidence is itself Walter and Dogface’s analysis. Can you show me one ref report where the ref had 100% correct decisions??
    Infact i challenge u to show me one ref report in the world where the ref had 100% accuracy in his decisions. Then i’ll admit that the refs officiating our games are biased.

  • Laundryender

    I think we need to take a deep breath and step back from accusation. It does us no service. It may also be feeding a mentality of defeatism that exists within the club and its fans.

    We cannot and should not accept the sort of refereeing performances that we have seen all too frequently these past few years. Can we as FOOTBALL supporters, not Arsenal supporters do something about it?

    Of course we can! And we are on the right track, we are using the tools at our disposal to highlight bad performance and the effect it has on outcomes. We need to validate our methodology and also open it up to games that do not involve AFC. We need to build up a database of verifiable referees reports and show the trends within those performances. And we need to publish!

    The article by Walter makes no accusations (well done my new Benelux friend) it does though highlight an issue. Nothing to do with EPL, but certainly the fact that Refs are being bought. Walter explains how a ref can influence a game without bringing the spotlight on himself. The review Walter does turns on that spotlight.

    I have said before, lets accumulate the data, highlight the trends, not be Arsenal centric, then publish and be damned.

    I want to be proven wrong, I want to believe that the game I love is clean, I want to believe that referees are men of impeccable integrity, I want to believe that the money I spend is not money wasted.

    It will be an interesting journey, but what is crucial is that we maintain patience and integrity.

  • Dark Prince

    Shard- ofcourse i agree that refs have cost us points this season. No doubt in that. But to say its intentional or some controversy in the back scenes is not valid.

  • Dark Prince

    Have to agree with Laundryender.

  • Mr Venger

    Sometimes looking for the reasons why can make the argument lose credibility for being too extreme, which is why I like to stick to the facts and just prove that these events are ocurring and that the effect is so one sided, not at all random or equal in distribution.
    Dark prince can try to undermine or pass it off as paranoia, but he has yet to present any real evidence to counter the argument.
    I wish he could because then I’d be able to let go of this sense of injustice that being an arsenal fan entails.
    Somehow Knowing we are totally responsible for being inadequate would leave me feeling content

  • Naren

    Dark Prince,
    I will if you agree that Denilson is the greatest player ever in the history of football who just happpens to play badly every single time he plays.
    Really you are an expert at digression and obfuscation and so subtle is your art, I might have fallen for it a few years ago.

  • Wrenny

    @Naren, Shard, Mr. Venger and arsene-al

    You’re wasting your time chaps 😀

  • Shard

    @Dark prince

    It actually makes no difference as to the intentions. Our team has suffered blatantly bad calls as a regular occurance, and while arsenal gets dumped on for the result, and Wenger faces flak, no one mentions the refereeing as a cause. I don’t care what their motivation is, or if it’s just incompetence. It should not be allowed to continue. Why it does is because people say you must be stronger, or every team suffers from it, and it evens out in the end. The first 2 I would probably agree with, but the last statement is just wrong, and no one is trying to do anything to even highlight it as an issue, leave alone fix it, with the honourable exception of this site.

    P.S. You can take it as a paranoia Dark Prince, but I can assure you, it has very little to do with my team losing. Yes it hurts, but the reason I lost respect for ManU and their achievments is because they were helped to the title at Chelsea’s expense in 2009. And Chelsea is the team I hated most then, and I wanted ManU to win. I can deal with my team losing, and someone else winning, as long as I feel that it was the right outcome. Maybe in the end, our defensive frailties would have cost us the title anyway, maybe Chelsea would have won, or maybe ManU would have won regardless. But what we watch every week, is referees deciding the outcome of matches rather than the players out on the field, or the managers. That in my view, is not sport.

  • Dark Prince

    Mr Venger- the only other evidence i have is one for the future, an evidence which you yourselves will have in your mind right now. Just tell me, do you think Arsenal wil ever win a trophy?? If you seriously believe all the refs are against us then you should also believe that we will never win a trophy ever. But if u feel we can win a trophy, then you should also admit that Arsenal winning anythin is in Arsenal’s own hands rather than in the hands of the refs. So tell me, if all the refs are against us, do u think Arsenal wil win a trophy ever??
    Lets see if u can answer this question…

  • Shard

    It’s not an either /or situation. Just because referees make us lose doesn’t mean we don’t lose because of our own doing. Why the hell must it only be either this or that. Both are true together, and both affect each other too. Brick wall indeed.

  • BobbyP

    @Laundryender

    Excellent post there – particularly the last 2 paragraphs, which I agree 100% with.

  • Shard

    @Naren

    Well spotted. Dark prince avoids all statements requiring him to explain his point, and answers with a seemingly related red herring.

  • Dark Prince

    @Shard- intention is a big issue. i agree that the refs are incompetent (dont thnk i’ll get to be their attorney after sayin this). But you cant call their incompetence as a bias towards Arsenal. thats all i’ve been sayin in this article. And Yes i agree, something should be done. I guess they shud be made more accountable and a ref report should be made public. But thats jus me.

  • Shard

    @Laundryender

    You are right. To move forward we have to let go a bit, and just focus on the facts of the case, no matter how much sense the theory makes with the facts as they are right now. It’s getting harder and harder to keep patience though.

  • walter

    @ Dark Prince you said: Mr Venger – i never said Phil Dowd was awesome in that game. But can u prove me with evidence that the mistakes he made in that game were intentional??

    Let me answer you this question because I actually can. And I think I have put the images in my article so if you check the date on the calender look for my ref review and you can see what I will describe.

    Arshavin has the ball with his back to Barton. Barton lunges himself towards Arshavin and blows him upside down with a flying tackle from behind. Ref Dowd is standing some 10 meters away from the incident. And now come the important part so I will put it in capitals: “DOWD RAISES HIS ARM AND BRINGS HIS WHISTLE TO HIS MOUTH IN THE NATURAL REACTION A REF HAS WHEN HE SEES A BLATANT FOUL. BUT WHEN HE SEES THAT BARTON IS UP FIRST (ARSHAVIN IS STILL ON THE FLOOR WONDERING WICH TORNADO HIT HIM) AND CAN GET TO THE BALL HE REMOVES THE WHISTLE FROM HIS MOUTH AND LET PLAY CONTINUE”

    Okay back to regular. If Dowd wouldn’t have made the clear and natural movement as a ref to bring the whistle to the mouth I would have thought he was just blind. But now he intentionally chose not to do what he was going to do because he had seen a terrible foul. No, he intentionally brought his arm back down and let play continue.

    If you see the pictures play them a few times. First look at the flying tackle a few times. But then focus on Dowd who was in the picture below and you can see his arm going up to blow and then not doing it.

  • Dark Prince

    @Naren- who ever said Denilson is bad footballer?? I just said he had a bad season. I think every great footballer has a bad season. Guess Arshavin wil agree with me on that…

  • Shard

    @Dark prince
    Ultimately, intention is not an issue at all. If the right call is made on the field, that is all that matters. So is with a wrong call. If the wrong calls start deciding matches on a consistent basis, then the authorities themselves should take steps to deal with it. The fct that they don’t , in the face of such constant ‘ineptitude’ will suggest something fishy going on. Either way, all I want from the sport is that it stays a challenge between 2 teams, and the referee functions as a facilitator of that, rather than a decisive factor.

  • BobbyP

    Somewhat off topic, but Freddie’s goal in that win at Anfield in 2001-02 was one of my favourite Arsenal goals, especially given the circumstances. Pires skinning Gerrard…

  • arsene-al

    @Dark Prince, so can I ask why you think its just paranoia? Why do you so strongly believe that all of us are just naive fools looking for an excuse, whereas you know for a fact that there’s nothing wrong

  • Naren

    Shard,
    Why it happens is exactly where I disagree and it is because there is not sufficient evidence. What happens on the field of play is one thing but as we have seen one strong-willed person(Dark Prince) can be excruciating, let alone a paid-for lawyer. The evidence based on the TV replays can be brushed off as being merely coincidental. You always have to give the benefit of doubt to the accused.
    Have the officials been bribed? If so by who and for who much and where and when? The effect is visible but what is the cause?
    We need specific answers and the evidence should have no loopholes whatsoever.

  • Dark Prince

    Walter- so he brought the whistle on his mouth but didn’t blow it means he was anti-arsenal?? First of all, you made an assumption on what the ref was thinkin…
    Let me ask u, if he really didn’t want to giv a foul for Arsenal then he wud hav not even brought the whistle to his mouth. Even i can make a valid assumption that, from what happened the ref thought a bit and realised the foul was not strong enough to be given, so he didn’t blow. Most arsenal fans will try to think your way, but in reality, its just the way we perceive.

  • Miranda

    Laundryender

    I agree – in fact I said some similar things. But is it going to happen? I hope so but there’s a lot to organise and not very much time to do it in.

  • Shard

    @Naren

    I agree. But that is the stage of presenting the evidence. But collecting the evidence needs to have a theoretical construct. At this stage, it is an evidence gathering phase, and I believe without that theory being in place, we would miss many instances (such as the one Walter gave above) thereby leaving gaps in our own evidence.

  • Mr Venger

    @ Walter
    Do the referee marks change for cup games as opposed to the marks in the prem?
    I seem to get the feeling that in the cup games we play over the , the referee seems to be less erm noticable.
    Is that something youve noticed??

  • Mr Venger

    DP
    The blood is getting into my eyes so I think I’ll stop bothering now

  • RedGooner

    Walter its NOT that big of a surprise a Ref can do this we were chatting here online during the away match in Europe against Eduardos team and we were been totaly stopped from playing football to a point that eventualy we had to go all out to win and were eventualy hit on the counter every small decision mounted against while the Ref stopped us playing frustration set in and we paid the price.

  • Dark Prince

    @arsene-al- i’m not sayin you guys are fools. And neither hav i said that the refs didn’t make stupid mistakes. I’m just sayin that in my opinion there is no controversy goin on against Arsenal. Bcoz firstly, if one team or manager is behind this, then no other manager wud have ever won the title, let alone go for the whole season unbeaten. Even Chelsea wud hav not won their 3 titles in last 6yrs, then Arsenal wont hav reached the carling cup final as well, and we would hav been in top 4…maybe somewhere 5th, 6th.

  • Naren

    Wrenny,
    I wish I had that wisdom when I first posted a comment…unfortunately it was too deep, too late.:-)

  • Dark Prince

    Mr Venger- i leave u in peace… 😛

  • Dark Prince

    Mr Venger- but still u haven’t answered my question- do u think Arsenal wil ever win a trophy if the refs are still against us??

  • Shard

    @Walter, Tony

    I think we should clearly, or rather, even more clearly, spell out the difference between what we view as the facts (Walter’s ref reports and the specifics that it contains) and the working theory that we feel fits the facts (ie refs being coerced/bent/corrupt/selectively appointed) I feel before opposing the theory people should talk about the facts, in the specific sense, and whether they have any disagreements with Walter in that regard, and then they can submit an alternate theory which fits their list of facts. I realised that people tend to argue the theory without caring about the facts, perhaps because they assume that’s what we do on this site.

    We could also make it clear that it is only a working theory and as such doesn’t prove anything yet beyond whatever statistically is shown in Dogface’s analysis. I think that might make this site a lot fairer in the eyes of well intentioned people who may think differently.

    It normally shouldn’t be incumbent on you to do that, but I think a lot of people miss the point of the discussion.

  • walter

    Dark Prince, that is just the point of it.

    He first had the natural reaction of the ref: want to blow the foul. That was a reflex reaction. Any ref will tell you that.

    But then his mind took over the reflex. Don’t forget that while he brings his arm up and brings the whistle to his mouth it takes a tenths of a second.

    But the brain works a zillion times faster than the arm and the hand. So the brain can take over and cancel the reflex to blow the foul. His first intention was to blow (the reflex) then his (evil) brain took over and denied his reflex.

    But the fact that he had that reflex said enough. Ask any person who assesses refs because when he sees such a thing he will ask him after the game why he didn’t blow the foul.

    And then the only possible correct answer can be: because you had seen a clear advantage. Well let me tell you that Barton made the foul and he recupered the ball so there was only one team and player who had advantage: the maker of the foul Barton

  • Naren

    Shard,
    As you said, the refs need to be facilitators, not factors. But I think the game is too deep into unaccountability to do anything about it.
    Also we here follow only Arsenal matches with the exception of two matches…so the first question is-what is the purpose of this corruption? Should one particular team win or one team lose? If it was for Man Utd to win, then were all their matches influenced? Did any other title contender have matches influenced? We have not covered other matches to be sure.It’s quite complex, Shard…so many questions and no answers at all.

  • walter

    Just found out that the link to the images I talked about have been removed. It was on another website.

  • Miranda

    Dark Prince

    You don’t need a conspiracy; you don’t need the refs to be bent (bribed by betting syndicates, pressured by other managers, whatever); you don’t need to prove intention – and probably couldn’t even if you wanted to. All you need is scrupulously accurate, painstakingly assembled evidence, accumulated week by week over the season, that some teams are getting significantly more bad calls than other teams – e.g. 16 against Arsenal, 2 against Villa – and that that is costing them points.

    As I keep saying, I really hope this can be done. It’s worth a lot more than conspiracy theories though probably less fun to produce. I’ll come back in a month and perhaps by then there’ll have progress and something will be in place?

  • critic

    Request to administrators:

    change the name of ur blog from “untold arsenal” to “FOOTBALL: BEHIND THE SCENE”.
    I see more articles on corruption, referees and fa than about arsenal. I guess same goes for everybody else.

    Look, u guys are doing fantastic job especially with “ref watch”. But please, u call this arsenal blog? Where’s the discussion about arsenal abilities, shortcomings?, where are thought provoking article? Come to think of it where are articles about arsenal???

  • Dark Prince

    @Walter- if i were to play as the devil’s advocate and u as a ref, as u willing to testify in a court, that the ref, when he has his whistle on his mouth, cant change his mind about a decision if he sees it fit, excluding the cases of advantage played??

    U see where i’m gettin at?? The intent of the ref for changing his decision cant be assumed. Afterall he has the power to change his decision b4 he blows the whistle.

    Let me give you another example, jus think if a ref has given a foul to a player and his hand reaches his pockets. But instead of removing his card, he removes his hand empty handed. Does that really mean that he was biased?? Cudn’t it mean that he had a quick thought over it and changed his decision?? maybe it cud be a wrong decision, but can we really expect them never to make a mistake??

  • eche

    Tony, it will be interesting if u start doing manager review after every game. reviewing the players the manager chose and the style of play and the substitutions made and the technical things. the reason is because this ref review is turning arsenal fans into criticizer who criticize the ref for everything even the one made by the manager. we have not been able to see arsene mistakes. there is never a match ref will not make mistake, u are aware. messi goal at emirate was wrongly ruled offside, luiz was not given red card in man u and chelsea match, chelsea was given a penalty that even ivanovic and zhicvoc said it is not penalty. so trying to blame the ref for every arsenal defeat is wrong way to live. take care of little things and the big things will sort itself. even if all ref were to be arsenal fans, arsenal will still lose games, let us address this. wenger said “blame me for arsenal collapse this season” so blame him , not ref. let us remove biasedness and naiveness in our discussion. i supported arsenal for their style of play. love untold, love arsenal, love wenger, love the players especially my cessy cesc and walter and tony. but as a programmer, i was taught to reason logically and that is what i am doing. it is easy to blame the computer when the error is caused by the users’ bad input

  • WalterBroeckx

    Armoury,
    what you talk about was a mistake by the linesman who gave an offside. It was a wrong call but when you are a ref you use the assistant and you trust him. Unless you are 100% sure he made a mistake.
    And Dean could not be 100% sure the assistant made a mistake.

    I did mention this in my ref review.

    By the way Szczesny should not have been send off for that foul if the ref had given a penalty. As the player was dribbling away from the goal you give a yellow card against a fouling keeper. Going straight to goal without rounding the keeper so to say then it is a red card or a keeper who comes from behind and brings a player down that has already gone past him then it is also a red card.

  • walter

    Dark Prince,

    giving a card is not a reflex but should be something you think about. Calling a foul is more linked with reflexes. There is a difference

  • Shard

    @Critic

    Fair point, but I had to laugh. At a point when most people coming on here criticise the site for being too Arsenal-centric, you are the first to say it is not focused enough on Arsenal 🙂

  • walter

    Mr. Venger your question if there is a difference will be answered next week. I just finished the article about that today. I must wait for the game on Sunday to change the last numbers from xx,47% to possible xx,49% or xx,45%.

    I promise you it will be very interesting. Well I think it is interesting. 🙂

  • Mr Venger

    Critic

    Its called untold Arsenal for that very reason.
    If you want to talk or read about the usual kind of points you mentioned, there are plenty of other sites covering this.
    And there are PLENTY of Arsenal articles on here so I don’t see any sense in that question

  • Dark Prince

    @Miranda- thats where we usually overlook when it comes to evidences. The reports itself will not be enough to prove anything. You need hard evidences like testimonies, exchange of money, video/audio evidences. A ref report at best can only prove incompetence. Not more than that.

  • @Dark Prince

    “But you cant call their incompetence as a bias towards Arsenal. thats all i’ve been sayin in this article.”

    You have done no research and all you offer for your case are anecdotes and platitudes.

    I, however, have done my research and worker with a professional statistician to prove (as in FACT) that a bias exists:

    http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/archives/11967

    Over to you Dark Prince – you may now present your case for the defence of the EPL… or is “it all evens out at the end of the day” really the best you have got?

  • arsene-al

    @Dark Prince, lol this won’t go anywhere, I can definitely see where your coming from but bad decisions have become so consistent that it makes it difficult for me to believe that things “just happen”. Thing is it can’t be a system created for just one team to win everything, that’s far too suspicious. The system has to look like its running normally so people don’t notice. I know that right now it looks like we’re trying to prove that santa claus exists without actually seeing him, but when the cookies disappear every now and then you need to start thinking about it a bit

  • Mr Venger

    I see!
    I look forward to it Walter, but my own eyes tell me that so far there has been a difference ( in the domestic cups compared to the league ) for sure.
    The cups seem to be without as much ref controversy.

  • Dark Prince

    Walter- so u are 100% sure a ref cant make a valid change in his decision when he has the whistle in his mouth??

  • Shard

    100% is a farce. the same farce that Sepp Blatter uses to deny the use of technology. 100% just does not exist in the real world.

  • BobbyP

    @DogFace

    Forgive me (I’m a statistical illiterate), but given that Arsenal fare better than Liverpool and Tottenham (and most other teams?) in your linked analysis, does this not disprove the oft-quoted ‘anti-Arsenal’ conspiracy?

  • Liverpool have fared worse under Rafa – Tottenham do not.

    The figures do not include this season.

    There is a clear bias for Manchester Utd and Chelsea – and no, there is no ‘one’ conspiracy and I do not subscribe to that.

  • walter

    Not with this foul Dark Prince.
    Unless he is blind but then he would not bring the whistle to his mouth in a natural reflex.
    Incompetent? Then he would not bring the whistle to his mouth in a natural reflex.

    So what is left then? So what made him change his mind and not blow the foul? I can think of a few possile reasons but they are not the ones you want to hear.

  • BobbyP

    @DogFace

    Thanks for the clarification, much appreciated. I think your position is very close to mine (and as you say, there is tangible evidence to support it)

  • Dark Prince

    @arsene-al- maybe we should stop blaming santa claus for the disappearance of the cookie and keep an eye over our own kids who might be stealin them. Lol.

    But seriously, i believe the system of conspiracy cant work completly for one team (ManU) or completly against one team (Arsenal). Bcoz then one team wud have always won every trophy. And the other would have never won anything.

  • Shard

    DP.. So you can’t believe a conspiracy exists only for one team, or against one team. But does that mean that no conspiracy can exist?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Rooney runs across a field, mindlessly elbows an opposing player in the face. The ref, Clattenberg does nothing, although he must have seen it. To compound this, he refused to review the incident afterwards. All he had to do was watch the footage as he was entitled to and say he would have sent Rooney off if he had seen the elbow. He refuses to watch the incident, Rooney gets away with it, his form later returns and helps Utd to the title. Rooney, with a 3 game ban could have imploded then – we will never know. Friends say Clattenberg was under so much pressure, he considered quitting. Pressure from who? Why is there pressure to do the right thing,or not to do the right thing? Why pressure- he just had to do his job and penalise a blatant elbow in the face? Would Song have avoided the referees wrath and video evidence for a similar crime?
    One rule for Utd, one rule for the rest. Utd fans accept it, the media accepts it, neutrals accept it but Arsenal fans should never dismiss or accept it.

  • @BobbyP – we are trying here to work out what is going on… I have a good idea and a reasonable grip on the subject – but the subject is vast and there are no text books to learn from.

    So we must experiment and see what we can find… and there is more to come – we are networking and making alliances with like minded people who are awake to the situation and curious to know what’s going on.

    It is my opinion that Arsenal lack an ‘edge’ (as it were) simply because we are fairly quaint and old fashioned in our approach to the game – this league is money-drunk and badly regulated and it is a free for all – we compete within a mosaic of greed and corruption and that is why we oft get the shitty end of the stick.

  • WalterBroeckx

    A test don’t know if it will work but Dark Prince look at the images if they come on your computer. First look at the tackle from Barton but then look at Dowd.

    For any experienced ref his arm movement tell more than a thousand words.
    http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Sunderland-Arsenal0004.avi

    Never mind the title as it was the last title from a previous upload he just added another number. It really is about Newcastle – Arsenal as you will see Barton in full action.

  • arsene-al

    @Dark Prince, lool but someone is taking the cookies and thats what we’re trying to answer (ironic how ferguson shares the red nose trait with a certain reindeer?)

  • Dark Prince

    @DogFace- to be honest, though i approve of Walter’s post match ref report, which makes a individual game by game analysis of a performance of a ref, i dont think a graph which shows d performance of a human (ref) under different conditions and different games over a period of a year can be in anyway be proven to show their bias or incompetence.
    The refs as like all the other players on the pitch have their good days and bad days. In some of their games they hav a good performance while in some other games it wil be bad, jus like a player who can have a good performance in one game n can literally be d worst in the next game. You have to remember that, refs like players are humans who are never consistent in their performances. They are not machines to which a graph can work. And hence you cant call bad performances as a bias. Its just as wrong as saying that Nasri is biased bcoz his end of season graph is goin down.

  • @Dark Prince

    “i dont think a graph which shows d performance of a human (ref) under different conditions and different games over a period of a year can be in anyway be proven to show their bias or incompetence”

    Then I forgive your ignorance on the subject.

  • Mr Venger

    You are wrong.
    I see an obvious level of consistency.
    Unfortunately even the blood in my eyes doesn’t take that ability away.
    Whats in your eyes?
    Shit!?

  • BobbyP

    Dark Prince

    Although there are limitations to the statistical analysis (acknowledged at the start of the article), it certainly can be used to provide proof of bias (unless you are calling all of statistical theory into question…) What it can’t do is provide an explanation as to why such bias occurs

  • Dark Prince

    @Shard- the only bias i believe in, which i have stated earlier, is the bias between treatment of english n foreign players. Also in most cases, the bias towards home team. Other than that a conspiracy against a singular team looks impossible, especially in a highly competitive league like epl where Arsenal is not the only threat. It cud have been possible in a 2 team league like La Liga. But in Epl, any team/manager conspiring only against Arsenal doesn’t prove to be logical.

  • A Casual Observer

    Can I call “Argumentum ad ignorantiam” here?

    😀

  • Shard

    And aren’t Arsenal viewed as a non-English club? Anyway, I never stated it is only an anti-Arsenal conspiracy. That may be just the symptom of the problem but not it’s root cause. I agree with Dogface where he says there is no one conspiracy. there are a multitude of factors at play here. Just like it is not only referees to blame for Arsenal’s failures. there are a multitude of factors at work there too, which have varying degrees of importance, and they interact with, and impact on each other.

  • Mr Venger

    So now you admit there’s bias, not just mistakes.
    At last!
    Thats all I have been arguing. In the face of your ever evolving / revolving explanations.
    Kind of undermines your previous efforts tho.

  • Naren

    A Casual Observer,
    More of Argumentum ad Misericordium.

  • Dark Prince

    @DogFace- To be more accurate in what i said, a ref cant be judged by a graph with his performance with different teams at different places (home n away). The variables change and hence, the conclusion will be unreliable. Also the fact that you are judging a human’s performance in a game like football where the performances of individual players are already inconsistent, it takes away the credibility altogether.

    Let me give u a simpler example, u can make a statistical graph on arsenal’s home performance against stoke over a period of years. That will definately show a trend. But showing Arsenal’s graph featuring all the teams in all home and away matches will not show a reliable trend. Hope u get it.

  • Laundryender

    @ Walter

    we spoke at the Auld traingle about the “get stuck in attitude that pervades all levels of English football. Up north it is seen as how the game is played. Dowd is an ex miner, with a “from the coal face” attitude to football.

    He may have thought that was just a fair robust challenge, that part of the game sadly could be put down to interpertataion.

    I disagree with his interperatation, but this could be argued, and Dark Prince is just highlighting that fact.

    However this does not affect the validity of your reviews, or the trends they expose. because trends are trends and if there is no bias, it will all come out in the wash, tghen we can all consider ourselves well beaten on and off the pitch!

  • Dark Prince

    Mr Venger- hope u had read my ‘previous efforts’. I’ve already stated twice in this article b4 that there is a bias towards english players.

  • Shard

    @dark Prince

    I think you should stop trying to teach statistics to the statistician.

  • Mr Venger

    Then why all the efforts to disprove the effects of the bias?
    Just for the fun of it? Seems like you are one big contradiction DP.
    Or is it Light Princess?

  • Edda

    I must say that i dont believe that the ref’s are bought off by anyone or that there is a plot in the FA to not let Arsenal win. BUT i do think that there are many that loves it when Arsenal doesnt win anything. The newspapers are earning a lot more money when united win and we dont, they really love to write about us beeing crap and writing about Fergie Rednose beeing the greatest football manager of all time!! The whole media loves it when Arsenal football club doesnt win things and the longer it goes before we do so, the worse it will be. And the media has a huge part in making it harder to for Arsenal to win. The make public opinions against us by giving us a lot of pages in newspapers when we loose and just a little notice when we win, even here in my country (norway) its like that. And i must say that “not won a trophy” bullshit is really annoying, i can take it if they say we havent won the league since 2004 or havent been in a CL final since 2006, that is abit disapointing, but if we had won all the Carling cups from 2007-2011 it wouldnt make much of a difference, there are only 2 major trophys to win, and if u dont get into top 4 there are only 1 !!!

  • Armoury

    @walter
    so the linesman made a “mistake”, was he biased? did both the linesman and the ref have common interests in not awarding a penalty, instead giving offside? who knows, so all the match-fixing stuff is based on suggestions.

  • Edda

    Lets say for a second that there are no conspiracy and the ref’s are not biased against or for any team, but they are only human and makes mistakes like every human can do. Wouldnt it be nice if those human’s (the refs) can come out, hold their hand up and say “Sorry! I made a mistake, that should have been a penalty” or “Sorry Chamakh, the Villa player just fell over, the goal should have stood!”. I really think Arsene and the players deserve an apology for all the wrong decisions they are victims of this season, its been so many more than normal that its borderline ridiculous! Ofcourse if we hadnt given Bent 2 free goals at the start on sunday we would have won the game 4-0, and thats something we (Arsene and the team) can do better next year, but i really hope (and think) that there is NO WAY we can get this many points taken from us by ref’s next year without someone (more important than us Arsenal-fans) will notice and bring it up!

  • Adam

    Does anyone know if the West Ham fans feel as hard done by as Arsenal fans with regards to referring standards? I only ask this, as we all know they have just been relegated. The PGMOL is sponsored by Tony Fernandes who wants to buy West Ham, Now surely it would be cheaper to buy a championship side than a premiership side. Something to keep an eye on?

  • Phil23

    Every time I come to this sight I am prepared to have my current view swayed. The funny thing is that after forcing myself to read every comment all that happens is I am more persuaded of Untold’s argument. Why? because the people who oppose the views have little to no valid points, they obviously don’t take the time to consider someone’s well thought out view point and change their argument to prove their invalid points. I suggest to Dark Prince that you go to University and take a few papers. Examples: Introduction to Logic, this is a paper that defines logical arguments and exposes fallacies as just what they are, fallacies. It will especially show you that no argument is valid when you try make a + b = a pearly white rose. Example of your incredible logic: Don’t listen to the statistics because they will not prove what I am saying so therefore they are wrong. That is what you have said to a man who has probably spent 300+ hours painstakingly putting together the facts that people like you are too lazy and surely incompetent to even consider. Any sheep who believes in only absolutes doesn’t even deserve to participate in such an argument. Corruption has taken place since the beginning of time. All over the world it is known that Western culture is just as corrupt as the rest. Only the people at the top of Western society are very clever and instead of blatantly stating their intentions, they slowly work them into society using things such as propaganda. I could go into depth but it is completely off topic so I wont. I will make one statement about the refereeing bias. Nobody here says that everyone against Arsenal and throughout the post that is what you seem to have argued. What we are argueing is that external influences influence the ref for different reasons. For example: The reason we were not allowed to come back against Villa is simple in my books, Manchester City have unlimited money. If Manchester City have definite Champions league football, they can therefore attract the best players in the world. If Manchester City sign 5 of the best players in the world, the Premier League as a whole has a much better reputation. Therefore the Fa have good reason for Arsenal to be 4th as Arsenal are likely to attract loyal (the players always push for the move), cheaper, more unknown players to the league. Try putting yourself in the Fa’s shoes. If you can earn more would you not take the opportunity? At what point would you be turned? If someone offered you a free trip to Fiji would you do it? How about a Ferrari? No? How about a house? These people know that they have very little chance of getting caught and have no loyalty to the teams. This is how corruption exists and always has in every aspect of life. It is human nature to be selfish, therefore if the correct safeguards are not in place there is almost certainty that corruption will exist. Look closely at football, where are the safeguards? And no i’m not saying we were always going to lose against Villa, because had Arsenal scored the first two and gone on to destroy them the ref would have had the common sense to just give up on this game, although he would have tried to influence it in other ways, soft penalties, little calls throughout the game etc. This time he only had to disallow two goals, he is not questioned because people will go back and say “they shouldn’t have conceded two goals” this of course is irrelevant but strong willed sheep like dark prince play right into those clever people at the tops hands. So sorry for being harsh dark prince but you really are out of your league…

  • Dark Prince

    @shard- just one statistician telling another one how to do his job…

  • Dark Prince

    Mr Venger- sorry to say, it still doesn’t prove anything even remotely close to any anti-arsenal bias.

  • Dark Prince

    Phil23- wow!! That was a long one. Hope u can handle my long reply. Here it goes…

    Firstly, i can see that you’ve already set a strong prejudice against the refs. Yes, corruption exists in every country. But you have already made a strong assumption about the Fa being corrupt and being bribed by all teams to be against Arsenal. If you really believe everyone is corrupt, then you should also assume Arsenal to be corrupt for all these years. Then even Arsenal might have bribed officials at some stage, after all we went a whole league unbeaten, we did 2 doubles. Now how would Arsenal do that if the refs are corrupt?? Either they are not corrupt or either Arsenal is corrupt along with all the teams. Pick ur choice…

    Secondly, if you think Man City really bribed officials to not let Arsenal win the Villa game, then tell me why did City spend so much on players?? They should have easily used that money to bribe officials in every match. Seems more of a logical thing to do. Yes, i agree Man City have much more to offer in terms of commercial revenue to the epl as a whole, but then even Liverpool can offer much better to epl than Arsenal. So why was Liverpool in the relegation zone during early parts of this season?? Even Spurs were a more popular team this year than Arsenal, even they should have been ahead of us. What does Arsenal have to contribute to the star-studded revenues to the epl more than Spurs and Liverpool?? So are Liverpool and Spurs too been taken a hit by the refs?? Surely Liverpool now have enough money to buy a ref, as simple as u may say it is, and surely they could easily end up 4th and gain back their champions league place?? Or is that Arsenal had bribed officials to be biased against Spurs and Liverpool?? We can make any story we want out of what has happened.

    Secondly, its really not valid to assume all people in the world are corrupt jus bcoz you think humans are selfish. If you think, a human integrity is easily sold, then tell me, is it possible that Wenger could be bribed?? After all he’s human. He could tempted with the fiji trip i guess. Or maybe you should also assume that even our players can be bribed?? Surely there are not from another planet. Fabregas too can be tempted to under-perform in one single game for £1mil, which seems more than what he earns in a week.

    Thirdly, i dont mean to disrespect a man’s efforts of 300 hours. But it doesn’t mean what he eventually ended up with was a right conclusion. As i have said earlier in my posts, graphs involving ever changing variables will not yield a reliable trend. You dont have to be mathematician to know that. But anyways, i’ve done my masters in commerce and economics (which includes statistics). So i dont think, its really nice to undermine my 20 years educational effort.

    Also, as i have already stated in my previous posts, the perception we have taken over the alleged conspiracy is, afterall, just a perception. By what most people here say, its not just the referees who are against us, even the fa, the media, the other teams and managers are all out against us. Which only looks like a paranoid situation. If the refs are really corrupt, then the media would hav not let such a story let go. They would hav pounced on it week in week out, as they do with Arsenal’s weaknesses, Ancelloti’s sacking, Rooney’s misadventures, etc. There are many freelance journalists out there who will easily make career out of the conspiracies talked about here at Untold. Also, The fa would have not allowed such things to happen bcoz all the Fa people in there are not born Anti-Arsenal. If they too are bribed then dont think the Fa has any moral right to even stand against FIFA in the World Cup Bidding votes scandal. The teams/mangers would not indulge in such things bcoz the risk involving in doing these things are as worse as the benefits involved. Surely they must have learned of the consequences in italy. Also the refs, though howmuch ever vulnerable they seem, too will have to risk prosecution and jail time for such things. Do u think everyone from the Media, The Fa, The Opposition teams and Managers, The refs are out there to be against Arsenal?? Its all in the mind, my fellow gooner, maybe an attempt by this site to take away the concentration away from the underperformances of players and put it on something else.

    Bcoz if you, or anyone in here, really thinks this is a conspiracy then i still dont know the reason why any of you dont take this matter to the court or even to the Fa’s door and seek justice and let the whole public know about it. Surely you claim to have evidences, so take it to the court of justice. Unless you think, they too are Anti-Arsenal.

  • Dark Prince

    Off the topic, i hope everyone has read what Denilson has said in his interview. And you guys defended him!!!!

  • bob

    @Adam: who is Tony Fernandes? How does he sponsor PGMOL? I’m struck by the fact that PGMOL doesn’t and won’t publish the ref reports after each match. The sponsor of the PGMOL should not come anywhere near owning a team – unless, of course, there were no ethical standards. Now, that would not be possible in the EPL where surely the “e” stands for Ethics.

  • bob

    @Miranda: wow, you walked off in a huff!
    @Walter: Now that’ll teach you, Walter. Better have those stats in muy pronto, so that you can prove that case, league-wide, with every match analyzed, 100% fool-proof, or Missy will be very angry when she comes back in a month’s time, she said. As for fool-proof, only fools demand 100% proof with a straight face. The Black Prince demands the impossible standard and everyone spins their wheels to defeat him. It’s a game that no one can win – by definition. Better not getting side-tracked – your time is too valuable for his chicanery. Probability is the name of the game and BP can’t deal with that concept in the real world, a world with no certainty, but where ignoring probabilities can get you killed, or win/lose the League, or – speaking of BP – destroy the Gulf of Mexico. Like BP in the Gulf, BP takes the oxygen out of the room. Nothing in all this that a blowout-preventer that worked wouldn’t fix; or a video replay umpire in a booth, for that matter.

  • Phil23

    – Dark Prince,

    I will reply this time but I refuse to be dragged into an endless debate where you concede no points and keep asking unanswerable questions. Firstly, you need to read over my comment again, at no point did I say Manchester City or any other club, manager etc pays off the F.a. The reason I gave for the F.a being corrupt is that they stand to make a lot of money due to increased audiences etc that new superstars in the league would bring. This is of course an assumption made by me but the assumption is based on facts. Some of the facts have been mentioned but there are other things too that I look at. If the referees are incompetent then why are they not shipped out and other more competent referees brought in? These are people who make huge mistakes week in week out with no punishment at all. Why are the ref reviews secret? What do the F.a have to hide? Lastly, Why are referees payed so little for such a high profile job? Does this not leave them susceptible to be exploited by bribes?
    I would like to state again that at no point did I say Manchester City bribe the F.a, at no point did I say any other team bribes the F.a, at no point did I say Managers bribe the F.a, at no point did I say Manchester City bribed officials and most importantly AT NO POINT DID I SAY EVERYONE WAS AGAINST ARSENAL. The fact is that many clubs are probably shafted and although I think the league is bent it is impossible to know exactly where all the corruption is coming from otherwise they would already be caught would they not? Due to the facts put before us I have come to the conclusion that the F.a is involved somehow.
    To do with your second statement (well its actually the second, second statement which should really be your third) yes it is true that human nature is based on individualism and therefore it is only natural to think of one’s self improvement/preservation. Let me give you another example of corruption, you are a member of the jury to a high profile court case regarding a gang leader who has killed many. A man walks up to you and tells you that if you vote guilty your family will be slaughtered. What would you vote? You deep down know that the decision you made was wrong but for yourself improvement/preservation you have made the wrong decision. Every man can be corrupted the only difference between each of us is our moral threshold. This, I assume is the real reasons such referees make it to the top, they have a much lower moral threshold. Someone like Arsene Wenger has proved endlessly of his high moral threshold. Although he is put under pressure and ridiculed for it every day, he refuses to change his principles when it comes to his football philosophy.
    To do with the F.a standing against Fifa, they have done it for their own personal agenda and nothing else. They surely would have benefited in some way from hosting the world cup?
    I see no validity in your argument against Mad Dog. The ‘ever changing variables’ you speak of are dependent variables while the referee is the independent variable. Mad Dog does not analyse the results (which would of course be near impossible due to the dependent variables) all he is analysing is the referee’s performance. If over a large period of games a bias starts to show, this is entirely valid. I too participate in Economics as well as Psychology (the profession of making valid assumptions into humans and animals by measuring the dependent/independent variables. In fact statistics is a massive part of this as well) I also major in Political Science, a large portion of which is based on theories, one of which being the theory of human nature. So most the assumptions I have made are based on things I have read in text books right in front of me. Also correct me if I am wrong but are you sure you can get a master in Commerce AND Economics? From my understanding if you complete a master in Commerce there is no need to do a master in Economics as Commerce is a mix of economics, finance and administration and it is pointless to get a second Master in almost the exact same area. Or did you mean you did one of them? Either way it’s a great achievement.
    Lastly, on your comments regarding going to the F.a or Government, just look in the comments under the last Untold article about refereeing. I also have the hurdle of living over the other side of the world.

  • Phil23

    P.s, look at the difference in what Densilon said between the ‘reputable’ website the Guardian and an Arsenal website.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/may/20/denilson-arsenal-leave

    http://goonersaur.com/2011/05/denilson-says-i-am-quitting-gunners/

    The Guardian makes out like Denilson is on a hate fest by cutting out half of what the poor boy said! Good luck Denilson and lets all look forward to a defensive midfielder signing! (or at least a new face if Frimpong is promoted)

  • Dark Prince

    @BobbyP – statistical graphs can show a reliable trend only if all the other variables remain constant. But the graphs that DogFace uses can only be reliable if you assume that different refs will perform consistently similiar in different matches involving differents team playing different styles and even the home/away factor has to be ignored. Only then DogFace’s statistic can show somethin reliable. But as i’ve said, the variables will change a lot. So you wont get a reliable trend.

    For eg, a reliable trend can be made on Phil Dowd’s performance in Arsenal vs Newcastle matches at Emirates. But if you include all the matches Arsenal have played under him, against different oppositions at different stadiums, well there are so much of changing variables that it will tend to give an unreliable trend.

  • Meditation

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/13462375.stm. This is another interesting article. Your doing a great job Untold.Opinions dont need to be debated when the truth STARTS to reveal itself.Its good to here dark princes opinion because his intuition will lead him to other facts and truths that this scenario needs also. Lets all work together to uncover the hidden. We all play our part because we are watching the same thing but formulating different visual opinions. Theres nothing wrong with that because we are in a confused mind state walking out into the truth helping each other along to get to the one understanding.Simply we are on the same road investigating things differently. Confusion of the mind creates anger of the heart. Confusion stops with truth

  • walter

    Now in a way Dark Prince is doing a great job. If all over here would agree it would be over in fact. But thanks to Dark Prince we will be looking after other things so we can show him (and others) that what we think is going on is going on in reality.

    I think from next week when I publish the year review we will have more data and numbers to look back at the season and to give more food for thought about the refs.

  • walter

    Armoury,
    the more you have all the refs and assistants in the pocket the better. That is for sure. But the more people you buy the bigger the risk of someone talking too much at the wrong time.

    I will give you an answer on if it is just based on assumptions next week when I do my ref review. I don’t want to give anything away for the moment. Still have one game to go. Not that it will make any difference of the global trends I noticed. And the new questions those global trends bring.

  • bob

    @DP: You’re the last word last night and the first word this morning. Like Sauron’s unblinking Eye in the Lord of the Rings, you surely are the Dark Prince. But all seriousness aside, methinks that one doesn’t need 100% proof, Sparky, to prove the likelihood of a conspiracy. Since 100% proof is not possible (in ANY science), you wind up with the evidence-free assertion that all life comes down to Coincidence. That’s your act of faith: you are a coincidence theorist. Now I’d bet you any amount, you name it Sparky, that a demonstrable set of key calls and non-calls on Messrs. Vidic and Rooney – this very season – were instrumental in deciding their 19th Championship. These included unpunished flagrant elbows, handballs, storming the referees, etc. There’s a laundry list of soiled jerseys. It’s the open sore and sewer and secret of the EPL. And you know it. And, I’d also put up a set of calls and non-calls against Arsenal, starting with your Phil (Just a Bad Day at the Office) Dowd, demonstrated week after week in Walter’s reviews, that – as the final report will show – have cost us at least 9-12 points and at critical junctures. As a reader of UA, you also know this. And don’t get me started on the unpunished choking of our players by Barca and the send off of RVP for what? No, no conspiracy there either. Another Bad Day at the UEFA office for that so-called ref. You see, Sparky, we need both qualitative and quantitative analysis. When they are put together, and I eagerly await Walter’s report toward that end, then we will come to a crossroads: where you will say, there’s not 100% proof; and Miranda will return from the colonies to say, goodness gracious, Walter, you didn’t analyze the entire league so you have nothing conclusive to say about Arsenal; and I will say that you both are playing a rigged game by demanding 100% absolute proof when the best anyone can do, and it is actually a good “best we can do” is to point to the probability of a bent process. With no subpoena power and lacking mega-money to hire lawyers of your calibre, this argument needs to be won in the court of public opinion. No, not incompetence, your faith-based, coincidence-bound mantra that only enables business-as-usual; but, rather, the great probability of intention and fix. The great probability that something is rotten in the State of Denmark, in our Septic Aisle. Now I can meet you half-way. You say Incompetence. I say Intent to Steal. But surely to root out either or both, we could, together, call/pressure/lobby/demand/care enough to demand video replay from an umpire’s booth, post-match ref press conferences, publication of the post-match PGMOL ref report. Are you in on this, Dark Prince, or are you just about sticking your foot in, cleats up, seeking a non-call so you can winner-take-it-all? How about putting your lawerly cunning to actual good use, or is your Dark part greater than the inner Prince?

  • BobbyP

    @bob

    The point that you seem to keep missing is that Walter’s reviews are not proof of anything, as unfortunately his Arsenal bias means that the reviews themselves are subject to confirmation bias, selection bias etc. That is why Miranda keeps emphasising the requirement for independent analysis. Without this, the case you believe you have will be laughed out of the court of public opinion.

    As I’ve mentioned before, if a Spurs fan produced analysis showing that they get 80% of decisions against them every game and should get 50 more penalties per season, would you take it seriously? Or just dismiss it out of hand as their natural bias?

  • Dark Prince

    @Phil23- its again the matter of perception where we both disagree with.
    The points you made before, and now, are all valid if you make certain assumptions you hav made.

    You say the fa are corrupt bcoz they want to make money. Yes, its true they want to make money. But wouldn’t they make lots of money by supporting the most entertaining footballing team in England?? Isn’t it true that neutral fans would rather prefer watchin Arsenal play over other English teams?? Isn’t it also true that after ManU, Arsenal have the most number of global fans around the world in epl?? Then if the Fa were really corrupt and money minded, then why would they try to go against Arsenal?? Look at Barcelona, their star studded team was made by their own academy. And they contribute a lot to La Liga. Aren’t we on the same path?? So why do you think Fa has any problems with Arsenal progressing and becoming a giant in Football which eventually rake in more money??
    Just bcoz we didn’t win doesn’t mean we were robbed by FA.

    About the ref reviews, i dont know why they are kept secret. But haven’t they kept it secret for such a long time?? Why is it that we ask for it only now and never before?? Also i’d love to know whether the authorities in Spain, Italy or Germany or FIFA in general will support the ref review to be out there in open so that public n media criticism is open to all.

    Also thirdly, you again make an assumption that all refs/fa officials are held at ransom to operate against Arsenal. Do you really think, thats how the system works?? Just put a gun on the forehead of a ref and tell him to be biased towards Arsenal?? You think the the whole Fa or refs are held to ransom like that!?? You’re going a bit too ahead with this assumption.

    Regarding DogFace’s analysis. Firstly, he doesn’t make an post match analysis of refs on their individual performance like Walter does. What he does though is create a trend using changing variables, which would never give reliable results.
    I’ll give another example, just tell me, which is going to give a more reliable trend? You performance at home against an certain opponent during a year or you performances at different places against different opponents during a year??

    Btw, most masters in the world give u a good knowledge about statistics, economics, commerce and business psychology. What you call master of finance in other parts of the world is sometimes called masters of commerce and economics in our part of the world.

    Regarding, going to fa or government with your evidences, i suggest the evidences should be taken to a lawyer and he’ll probably give u a better advice. Bcoz the court of law is different from the government.

  • Dark Prince

    Walter- thanks for your appreciation. I’m just providing a different perspective.

  • BobbyP

    @DarkPrince

    The whole point of statistical analysis such as that undertaken by DogFace is that if the sample size is large enough, then factors such as home/away, relative level of team, playing styles etc do not need to be considered. Given a large sample size you would expect all those factors to tend towards the average, leaving any discrepancy/bias visible.

    I’m sure DogFace can explain it far better than me though…

  • bob

    @Bobby P: What you keep missing is that one doesn’t need a massive random “scientific” sample to demonstrate that a set of calls and non-calls changed the course of Arsenal’s season; whereas – under the same rule book – calls and non-calls ensured the course of say, er, ManUre’s season. Do you sit there and tell us that Walter/UA/me/you did not see what your eyes saw: that Rooney, Vidic, et. al., have license to chronically run amok? That Song, RvP, et. al., chronically get flagged for heavy breathing? Why is the burden of your brand of proof on those who see what Messrs. Dowd and Webb, etc. CHRONICALLY do for ManUre and against Arsenal? No, Bobby P. you’re quick to condescend, but you do seem to keep missing the value of a case study. UA’s is mounting a great case study. And it is a work-in-progress that you would de-rail. I work in the social sciences and we have NO PROBLEM recognizing the value and contributions regularly made to social understanding of great case studies. You miss that not everyone worships at the shrine of requiring a massive costly statistical study or else one must shut one’s mouth. That, sir, is a rigged game. You have no clue about the public. As every tabloid shows, every day, a strong case study (say, an IMF chief gone bad) goes much farther to clinch an argument than the massively expensive sober study that you insist on as the sole possible “proof”, and the sole “evidence” that the public will accept. As the Good Book says about non-calls: there is “the evidence of things not seen.” Then again, I do think a marriage of qualitative and quantitative analyses would be ideal. But absent the dosh and the scope required, until then, don’t tell us to shut up.

  • Mr Venger

    DP
    Alot has been said since your last reply to me, too much.
    I’m not interested in the theory of why there is a bias, that infects the argument and gives you ammunition to undermine it. But the fact is you admitted there is a bias.
    Bias is bias it doesn’t matter if its anti arsenal or anti foreigner. So why the massive denial of any problem and long emails in defense of the system?
    Thats why your constant obstinance has no credibility in my eyes.

  • bob

    @BobbyP: and, lest we forget, absolute proof is not scientific, so when you say Walter hasn’t and (presumably by your self-enclosed system)can’t prove anything, he/others can marshal evidence (which you call self-selection syndrome) and raise searching questions, proposes more and less probable explanations, and get close to the essence of the goings on. There is nothing certain or proof positive or guaranteed by your massive sampling. That method is not sufficient by itself to disconfirm the Bent-Hyothesis or to confirm the Coincidence-Bad-Day-At-The-Office Hypothesis.

  • bob

    @Mr. Venger: agreed! all those pyrotechnics and the method they call for result in more business as usual. they basically waste people’s time and tell them to shut up until that glorious day when the large enough sample is gathered, crunched and finally, interpreted. With no absolute proof like they claim. I fear I have added to the disease but I’m into taking them on on their own tilted pitch. Anyway, thanks for the fresh air, mate.

  • The truth is, referees are biased against us but despite that fact, we still lack something. If it was not the case, Wenger wouldn’t have said we lacked defensive efficiency.It because we lack that winning mentality that title winning teams possess.
    One thing I seriously hope is somehow England realizes the risk of a possible burn-out if he goes to the under-21 championship.Please FA, do a sensible thing for once.

    http://delhigunner.wordpress.com/2011/05/20/someone-help-jack-please/

  • Dark Prince

    @bob- lol, just between u n me, my fav character of that movie is, as u might hav guessed, the Dark King.

    But on serious note, i agree, as i have said earlier, that refs have cost us points this year. We really dont even need Walter’s report to know which ref has performed well and which hasn’t. But there’s a very thin line between incompetence and intent to steal. Yes we might have lost 9-12 points this season bcoz of wrong ref decisions. We may have even won 3-4 points bcoz of the same ref decisions. ManU hav got quite a few decisions in their favour, but so hav they even lost some points over the same bad ref decisions. Yes i wil also agree that in net points they would be in positives. But again, to prove an intent is very hard. Supposedly if refs really favour ManU then they should have even given the penalty to Owen in the dying minutes of our game against them. It was a perfect penalty and it cud hav cost us points and brought ManU to a more comfortable lead, but the ref chose not to. You can also state d handball incident of Vidic in the same match, which i presume was more of a mistake of the linesman than the main ref. The problem is that to cross that thin line between Incompetence and Intent to steal, there must be a hard evidence which can prove something. Like for eg, tapped telephonic conversations or video which shows refs being bribed, or testimonies by the refs themselves (former refs also can do). Maybe even bank statement showing huge money transactions in the accounts of the refs. Only such evidences can make you cross that thin line.

    Lastly, i always have supported Arsenal. I’ve also been a regular contributor here at Untold. Yes, i do agree we need to do something about the ref issue. Whichever side of the coin we both are, eventually the path we look for is the same. Ref reviews to be public? Yes. Video replays to be shown to help the refs? Hell yes. An investigation to be held by detectives? Now thats what i’m talkin about. Until then, we both will be on different sides of that thin line….

    And till nothing is proven, we can only hope that our players rise up from these situations and perform day in day out with the intent to win. Bcoz to be honest, we have lost more points bcoz of underperformances than ref decisions. So all i can hope for is the playert to get better rather than hoping for refs to come out of some alleged conspiracy. That i guess we both can agree upon.

  • BobbyP

    @bob

    ‘What you keep missing is that one doesn’t need a massive random “scientific” sample to demonstrate that a set of calls and non-calls changed the course of Arsenal’s season’

    That is exactly what you do need, unfortunately. Once again (the point you keep choosing not to refute), if there was an analysis by a Spurs fan ‘proving’ that Arsenal were favoured over Spurs, you would dismiss it out of hand as biased.

    This idea that a case study requires no scientific rigour (such as lack of bias) is misguided at best. In addition, case studies are useful only for generating hypotheses, which should then be validated by more rigorous scientific methods (such as statistical analysis).

    Finally, I’m not trying to ‘shut people up’ – I’m just making people aware that there is an inherent bias in the ref’s reviews, and as such they should not be taken as anything more than an interesting read.

  • Dark Prince

    @BobbyP- its very hard to even things out all the different inconsistent performances not jus by the refs but also our team as well.
    For eg, Arsenal’s generalt trend in the league will be above average, but our trend at away matches at old trafford or stoke away or blackburn away or at stamford bridge might be bad irrespective of how the ref performs. The variables are changing too much to present an overall pattern for Arsenal as a whole season.

  • jenikcarl

    @ Dark Prince: Just a quick question –
    If I wanted you to justify your belief ‘the only bias i believe in, which i have stated earlier, is the bias between treatment of english n foreign players’ what sort of reply would satisfy you?

  • Dark Prince

    @Mr Venger – the whole discussion we’re having since ystrday is about anti-arsenal bias. I’ve said repeatedly before that the bias is only in terms of anti-foreigner and in most cases a bias towards home teams. For the anti-foreigner bias, every team suffers from it. Rafael got a red card for a very light foul against Spurs when the score was 0-0 with last 10 minutes remaining of the match. Carraghar was saved from an easy red card, with his tackle idiotic tackle on Nani. Even Wilshere gets away wit some bad tackles. Walcot was not booked for a dive but Hernandez was. Almost every team has to face it. The fact that most Arsenal players are not english might have a hand in what seems to be refs going against us, but eventually its an anti-foreigner bias more than a anti-arsenal bias.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Bobby P,
    If a ref supporting Spurs would say this to me I would ask him to show me his reviews and then I would review it together with him and see if he would be right or not.

    In fact I know for sure that Spurs have been on the wrong end of some ridiculous decisions themselves in the past seasons. And most of those decisions that I can remember that went against them happened at Old Trafford. This season with the second goal from United. What the fuck was that.
    Two seasons ago when Utd was 0-2 down at Old Trafford and Howard Webb came to the rescue and gifted them a ridiculous penalty when Gomez clearly played the ball.
    The not giving goal that was almost hitting the back of the net a few seasons before.

    No I really think I would sit next to this Spurs supporting ref, ask for his images and analyse them like I did the Arsenal games.

    But for the moment I cannot say that Spurs are hit harder than us as I don’t do their games.

    And for the record: I do think that Blackpool is the hardest done by the refs this season. I have some blatant penalties seen not given for them. And then one wonders if the EPL and the FA really like the fact that Blackpool is in the EPL? A small club, a small stadium…. As I football supporter I love that such a small team (with all respect) can compete in the EPL but do the people in charge feel the same about Blackpool? This is not based on hard evidence. Just my feeling as a football folower from the EPL.

  • bob

    @Bobby P: You invoke scientific rigour but you don’t acknowledge that your statistical results require interpretation and there is inevitably room for rival interpretations. If you don’t see/say that, then your scientific rigour is dogma, rigormortis. Case studies do not, by the way, need to be “finally validated” by hard science. The two complement each other and need each other. But, to say the least, it’s arrogant to dismiss truth-claims made by case studies because they are not quantified at the level and scope that you claim is the only “true” measure of truth. There is no absolute truth; only greater and greater probability. And, on this score, I’m going over to the Dark Prince – who I hope abandons your Scientism – and focusing my energies on to a cosmic process whereby the universe returns us a death-bed confession, a taped bribe-taking, a glimpse of Webb/Dowd’s banking account before and after so to speak.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Damned, I underlined the most important thing in my article. I put it in bold. I repeated it. Will repeat it again:

    “If you don’t pay (the referees) THEY ARE CAPABLE OF STOPPING YOU GOING PAST THE HALFWAY LINE.”

    And it turned in to a great yes/no discussion about refs being biased against Arsenal. 😉

    And not about the power that refs have. Oh well….

  • bob

    @Walter: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa! Cheers for your “error”!

  • Shard

    All this talk about ‘proof’ is hogwash. It is a working theory, with the evidence laid out in front of everyone. If Walter’s analysis is so flawed because of bias, do your research and in SPECIFIC TERMS say where he is wrong. Debate those individual points before you debunk the theory that someone is working under.

  • A Casual Observer

    @Dark Prince – please present a case study then instead of just spouting ideas off the top of your head and forcing your opinion as the point of debate (which it is not) – this detracts from the article.

    Walter has given a clear documented case of referee match fixing which gives creedance to his stance that it can be done.

    That is the point.

  • Dark Prince

    @bob- only an investigation can bring out the truth. The italian match fixing scandal was eventually exposed by telephone recordings.

  • Mr Venger

    Dark prince you really are the master of ceremonies, ducking and diving , double speak ,anything to disagree even when you agree.
    You support your claims with no statistics whatsoever, just randomly plucked events which viewed alone back each particular post, but each taken out of context of the bigger picture. Why not use your energy ( you obviously have an unusual ammount in reserve to fight these suspicions ) in compiling a counter argument , backed up with statistics to prove for example that all the teams , or even just Man td suffer from the same bias.
    If your merely offering yourself as a sacrificial lamb by providing opposition, then at least have an argument thats allowed to be interrogated rather than one that stonewalls every repost as if its faultless. ( turns out 100% fullproof does exist, but only in your case apparrently, even with no evidence)
    Until you do this I see you as nothing more than an agitator with 0 % credibility

  • bob

    @Shard: agreed! What BobbyP does is put the burden of proof on to Walter, who has been doing the actual work-in-progress. He draws on the Quantification fetish that passes as Absolute Truth. It’s the coin of the realm, the gravy train that rules. But it doesn’t make it right, or an infallible method, or even Objective and self-evident, blah, blah, blah. Cheers for shifting the burden of proof back on to the conventional wisdom (aka BobbyP).

  • Mr Venger

    In the meantime lets all sit back and admire the impunity of that great Englishman
    Nemnja Vidic

  • Dark Prince

    @A casual observer- as i said earlier, what walter has proved with his reports is that the refs are incompetant and made mistakes. To prove an intent of wrong doing, more than a ref review is required.

  • BobbyP

    @Shard

    The burden of proof is always on the people making the outlandish accusations of conspiracy theories, and rightly so.
    Prove to me that Elvis is dead…

    Once again, ‘evidence’ has not been laid out, any more than the article below was ‘evidence’ of bias against United last season:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2009/nov/12/referees-closed-ranks-manchester-united

    I hope you don’t work in a legal system if you feel that unsubstantiated allegations from a biased perspective count as evidence…

  • @Dark Prince

    “To be more accurate in what i said, a ref cant be judged by a graph with his performance with different teams at different places (home n away). The variables change and hence, the conclusion will be unreliable. Also the fact that you are judging a human’s performance in a game like football where the performances of individual players are already inconsistent, it takes away the credibility altogether.”

    No that is to be LESS accurate and MORE woolly; and furthermore demonstrates your complete and utter ignorance.

    You made a fool of yourself in comment #1 and you have been trying desperately to save face since by debunking anything you can in any way you can.

    But please, don’t let that revelation stop you from digging your hole even further.

    Nice article Walter – everyone, please take the time to read it again and discuss the points and relevance to our situation rather than just engaging in folly of debate with the hostile saboteur.

  • bob

    @Dark Prince: I’m with you on the investigation. Either some insider spills the beans (eg. Lord T on the Olympic Bid), or some outsider opens Pandora’s box, or we win the Incompetence-Intent Coalition’s argument in the court of public opinion which so pressures/embarrasses the FA/some MP that an investigation is launched. Amen and cheers.

  • Mr Venger

    Thats just a meaningless article without any statistical analysis whatsoever.
    Stands for nothing its just basically an empty question.

    Ferguson wants that image portrayed, it is his most favourite smokescreen.

  • A Casual Observer

    It’s not just investigation – it’s public opinion and groundswell shifts in perception that can make an investigation politically acceptable. If there is no public suspicion then there will be no public investigation.

    In this Untold Arsenal make a reasonable lobby group to the fanbase.

  • Mr Venger

    It can’t be compared to the analysis of walter and dogface, and its insulting to even attempt to!

  • Shard

    @DP and bob

    But the real question is.. What prompted those phone taps which revealed the Italian calciopoli

  • A Casual Observer

    Correct Shard… that was what I was getting at above.

  • Shard

    @Bobby P

    How many times do I have to differentiate between courtroom proof, which will come at the stage of submitting the evidence as PROOF of a theory (and proof is always beyond reasonable doubt, not 100%)

    At this stage Walter has a theory, and in support of that theory he is gathering evidence. You come in and attack the theory with no counter evidence. All I’m asking you to do is say in specific terms where the evidence is wrong. Even a defense lawyer sets about disproving the evidence to dismantle the theory, rather than just say the prosecutor is biased and hence his theory is flawed. And as I said, we aren’t even saying the theory is absolutely correct. It is just a theory.

    Maybe that proves too complicated for you to understand but there it is.

  • bob

    @BobbyP: Do you think that there are no outlandish “coincidence theories”? Have you even mildly sifted through the history of say, er, the last ____ years? And the sorry best you come up with is slagging off on conspiracy theorists? Oh, sorry: you did say, “outlandish” conspiracy theorists. Yep, outlandish is bad. Very bad. Such as your outlandish dismissal of Walter’s citation of the power of a corrupt referee by ignoring it on behalf of your Ode to Quantification. To even think that ever could go on here – in our green and pleasant land – would surely be a thought crime. Resorting to calling people conspiracy theorists, as if that’s even an argument, without refuting the evidence (not even reviewing the evidence)because, as conspiracy theorists they don’t deserve your time and energy in refutation… well, that’s very scientific of you, in’it?

  • Mr Venger

    Exactly.
    Would a victims testimony of an assault be deemed inadmissable because its from a biased perspective?!

  • A Casual Observer

    The more of us who ask the question – the more chance we will have of getting it answered…

    If we take the stance where we put the burden of proof on ourselves then we must investigate – but we can only go so far. The suspicious fan cannot tap a telephone or organise covert surveillance on the object of his suspicion.

    Something stinks, I’m sure of that – there is a room full of people but who was it who farted?

    So – we first need to find out what exactly the question is? Come on – if you could have one specific question answered that’s bugging you about the way the EPL/FA/sports media and the PGMOL run their business then what would it be and to whom?

  • Dark Prince

    DogFace- all i can say is that we both have different view points. You have your way of analysing…i hav my way of analysing

  • Mr Venger

    Too many to ask to each organisation!
    What system is used to pick the referees fo the premiership and for each game, thats a good start!

  • Anne

    @BobbyP:

    I do work in a legal system, and I think that Walter’s compilation of evidence is pretty persuasive. Can you say the same? 🙂

  • A Casual Observer

    Excellent question Mr Venger! Noted.

  • Dark Prince

    @bob- wow, finally we agree on somethin…

  • bob

    @Shard: no disagreement on that something rotten prompted it. I don’t know that history, but perhaps you or someone could specify it and it may shed light on the present moment.
    @Casual Observer: yep, totally with you there. I’ve been all about swelling the groundswell for months now in my postings hereabouts. Let’s not get into an investigation versus a groundswell debate. The latter is needed for pressure to achieve the former, to say the obvious.

  • Anne

    @Dark Prince:

    Do you have a day job? Or is it your day job just to comment on Arsenal blogs? Honestly…I always try to read an entire thread before commenting, but this one is beyond me, and it’s mainly due to Dark Prince. Well done, man, if that’s what you’re going for…

  • Shard

    @bob

    I wish I knew. I’ve been asking this question for a while now but no one seems to know.

  • Mr Venger

    Bobby p:

    ‘I hope you don’t work in a legal system if you feel that unsubstantiated allegations from a biased perspective count as evidence…’

    The claims we are making are all substantiated!
    The evidence is in every ref report, and in the match highlights.
    The statistaics show an irregular level of mistakes by the the referee, distributed overall in a regular pattern- against us.
    That why its important to build a body of evidence rather than jump straight into conspiracy theories. In the end the evidence is more important, just to make the point that something is wrong and needs looking into.

  • bob

    @Anne: as your are a former prosecutor, I’m curious: did you ever start to look into a conspiracy because of public rumblings and discontent? or do you know of any similar cases where these rumblings/pressure led to an investigation that resulted in prosecutions? That is, do you say a way forward from what Walter has been putting together either in the court of public opinion or in the court system itself?

  • Mr Venger

    On a related issue from the Guardian today:
    Paul Farrelly, a key MP on the culture, media and sport select committee inquiring into football’s governance, said the FA must assert itself as the game’s governing body. “These latest figures show how precarious the finances of the Premier League are,” Farrelly said. “The danger is that in the summer yet more money will be thrown at even higher player wages, setting off a spiral of wage demands which will percolate right down into the lower leagues, and widen the gap still further between the elite clubs and the rest.

    Pissing on a fire?

  • Shard

    And besides everything, no matter how wild an allegation it might be, or however biased, DOES count as evidence. Evidence that is put there to be evaluated and deconstructed.

  • Anne

    Moving on to the subject matter at hand, this debate has gone off on so many threads that I don’t even know what to say first. But the one thing that has stuck out to me the most is the constant mention of the name “Mourinho.”

    Is anyone following the emerging Porto match-fixing scandal, that occurred when Mourinho was their head coach? During the same time period, Porto somewhat bizzarely won the Champions League out of nowhere…

    This is a situation where the facts are still emerging, but, regardless of what happened w/ any referee in Argentina, a match fixing situation involving Mourinho is HIGHLY relevant to the English game. I strongly encourage all of you to do your own research on this issue, but I’ll give you a quick link to get you started:

    http://ontd-football.livejournal.com/3386563.html

    Btw, have I ever mentioned that I hate Jose Mourinho? There you have it. My bias is out in the open 🙂

  • Mr Venger

    Actually my last post was way off topic. I’m sure Tony or Walter will cover this in another article

  • Mr Venger

    Hey Presto!

  • Dark Prince

    @Anne- nope, i dont hav a job. I’ve my own business…

  • Dark Prince

    The main issue is whether the ref reviews made by Walter can be used as a lone evidence to prove that a ref has been bribed or biased. The answer would be no.

  • Dark Prince

    What we also have to prove is an intent or motive. And also hardcore evidence. Without hardcore evidences, it jus remains a theory like hundred other theories. As i said earlier, to cross the thin line between incompetence and intent to steal, we need some hardcore evidence which will support the theory made by Walter by his ref reports. The ref reports alone can only suggest a theory, but wont be able to prove it.

  • Mr Venger

    DP
    NO!

    The ref reviews are part of the evidence, that the refereeing system / directives are producing a bias and need investigating.

    Thats all

  • Anne

    @bob:

    I wish I could give you a different answer, but my experience is that any investigation of a conspiracy of this magnitude will always get shut down by the higher-ups. Of course, I live in the U.S. (the organized crime capital of the world), so it might be better in England. But based on what I’ve seen, no bureaucracy (the FA in your case) can defeat this level of moneyed interests.

    I’ve been in a position where I was trying to respond to public interest to crack down on a (relatively) small-time mortgage fraud ring, but even then local political pressure forced the case to be abandoned. And it’s not evil, it’s not even malicious in most cases, it’s just the way things work in a multi-layered, bureaucratic political system.

    That’s not to say that there’s no hope. It’s just that, when there’s this much money at stake, the “official” organs of justice probably aren’t going to do you much good. In my experience, at least. If you want to win, you have to find a way to win w/in the confines of the corrupt system in which you find yourself.

    And that’s certainly possible. I honestly think that Arsenal is making a pretty good run at it at this point. Whether they succeed will depend on their perseverence.

    Sorry. This response probably raises more questions than it answers. I’d probably have to write a 50-page treatise to fully respond to your question.

  • Dark Prince

    Mr Venger – as of now, the reports can only prove incompetence, it can also suggest a theory of conspiracy. But unless hardcore evidences are not there, the theory will vanish. But if other hardcore evidences are available, then the reports can become evidences to support the theory. But as of now, its jus a theory.

  • A Casual Observer

    In your mind yes DP – referee bias is just a theory… but in the real world it is also a statistically significant fact that bias can be shown to exist.

    This has been demonstrated on this site. And no, Arsenal are not the only team to suffer but they do suffer and suffer badly.

    The motive is up in the air – and that is where we can theorise.

  • Mr Venger

    A theory backed up with statistical evidence, as well as video evidence.
    Please compile your counter evidence for your foreign bias theory, which as yet is not nacked up with any thing other than your personal opinion!

  • Dark Prince

    @a casual observer- at the moment, its all in the mind. Its all about perception.

  • Anne

    @bob:

    Just noticed the part of your post where you asked if I saw a way forward in terms of the “court of public opinion.” I wanted to mention it, because I think that “the court of public opinion” is a trump card for interested members of the public.

    In the end, football is part of the entertainment industry, and their revenues depend on keeping people happy. If we’re not happy, we won’t give them our money, and the whole point is kind of lost. So, I do think there’s a way forward through the “court of public opinion.” Just wanted to clarify that.

    As for the other lawyer-type stuff, I notice that Dark Prince is going on about the “evidentiary” basis for the claims of anti-Arsenal bias, etc. If this thread dies down, and I have time later, I’ll respond. Otherwise, I’m not going to indulge him 🙂

  • Dark Prince

    As i said earlier, The statistical ref report only proves incompetence, it cant be used as an evidence in proving a conspiracy theory unless other hardcore evidences are obtained.

  • A Casual Observer

    @DP – LOL, so statistical theory is all about perception because what? You say so?!?

    Forgive me for being so crude DP, but did you wake up this morning with your arse and your face on back-to-front because you are just talking total shit?

  • Shard

    Dark Prince

    Your favourite amusement park ride must be the carousel. Because you love going round and round without getting anywhere.

  • Adam

    @ BOB, sorry i did not reply straight away been busy. http://www.tunegroup.com/founders-tony.html Tony Fernandes is the founder of the organisation that sponsors Pgmol (the tune group)and will do for the foreseable future, It has been noted that he is a west ham fan who would only buy the club if “the fans wanted him too”. He has strong links with Malaysia, educated in England, and i think he owns or co-owns Lotus F1 sports team, Owns an airline which was launched sortly after 911 which Grew rapidly??? Now im not saying there is anything in this Just someone/something to keep an eye on.

  • Shard

    @Adam

    Regarding West Ham and whether they suffered with ref calls. I haven’t seen many of there matches, and not closely in any case. But I seem to remember a strange penalty awarded against them against Chelsea (I can’t rem what the result was, a draw instead of a win, or a loss instead of a draw) and one against ManU where the ball hit Upson’s arm which was tucked right into his body.

  • A Casual Observer

    @Shard – methinks he needs go back to Jedi school – because the ‘mind trick’ is clearly not working for him.

    😉

  • A Casual Observer

    @Adam – good find! Did you know that Air Asia (part of the same group) who previously sponsored the PGMOL was part owned by Thaksin Shinawatra – who at that point also owned Manchester City (and still retains an interest).

    With West Ham relegated I bet their asking price will have dropped accordingly too!

  • Look – can we call a truce here?

    This, as I see it, is how it stands –
    Incompetence has been shown to exist in Walters Referee reports.
    Bias in the League [with regards to the officials] has been shown to exist in Zach and my statistical investigation (more to come in the summer).

    What we have left is motive and agenda… and here are the theories:

    In one corner we have Dark Prince who is arguing that this is a xenophobic reaction from the officials who are not biased to any particular team but, instead, are just institutionally racist – this is the sole reason why Arsenal appear targeted not only because the team contains a number of foreign players but the managers (I assume) is also French. This at present is a ‘feeling’ and could be researched to give it more credence. I can supply you with whatever data you like on this DP for you to analyse in your own way.

    In another corner we have the theory that there is a specific ‘Anti Arsenal’ conspiracy in the EPL – there are vague accusations that this we represent a threat to Manchester United and he has fingers in the kind of PGMOL pies that we do not.

    In another corner we have a theory of a fragmented structure of corruption that exists unofficially within the industry as a whole. There is no specific conspiracy, only the results (that we see) of psychopathic self interest. The end game to this is not some petty hate or club rivalry but merely the wish by the industry to get paid. Integrity and football are not a priority and Arsenal, as a club are naive to think that doing things the right way and playing great football alone will bring success.

    These are the theories as separated from the facts – please do not confuse these and blur the issue. If anyone has a different theory then please let me know.

  • Dark Prince

    @a casual observer-
    @shard-

    Both of you guys r jus blinded by a conspiracy theory. What i’ve said is that statistical ref reports can only judge whether a decision made is right or wrong but it cant judge their intent while they make those decisions. Sorry to say, but if you guys are really so confident, then y r u guys so scared to tak ur ‘evidence’ to a court of law??

    Fact is that you too cant prove intent of the refs by jus your ref reports. Or else we wouldn’t have been discussing this matter here, rather i’d have seen the front page of the Sun readin – ‘Case registered against PGMOL and FA for alleged conspiracy of match fixing’

    Hopefully you guys know how to register a case, bcoz if you’re really in no mood to do it, then you guys will only be considered as paranoid supporters who thinks that Arsenal is the only club in epl that can win title on a fair term.

  • BobbyP

    @Anne

    ‘I do work in a legal system, and I think that Walter’s compilation of evidence is pretty persuasive. Can you say the same?’

    That’s a very basic logical fallacy, known as an appeal to authority. E.g. Alex Ferguson thinks the refs are biased against him – he works at the highest level of football, can you say the same?

    I have concerns for your legal system if that is typical of the aptitude displayed…

  • A Casual Observer

    @Dark Prince

    The thing is though… the officials do tend to be ‘incompetent’ in our oppositions favour quite a lot of the time.

    How would you explain that?

  • Shard

    @DP

    I mentioned your propensity for going around in circles. You have just proved me right with that statement. The court and evidence and proof bits have been covered before if you would bother to genuinely read without at the same time trying to come up with ways to refute it.

    Dogface.. That is exactly what is needed. Clearly separating the facts from the theories. I think it should be puy up even more prominently on the site because many people seem to be jumping the gun, arguing about the wrong thing.

  • Dark Prince

    @DogFace- cant disagree with what you have written. You pretty much summed up the situation – Me vs the rest of Untold!! 😛

  • @Shard – thanks, there is too much pride involved – it’s degenerating into semantical bickering.

    Mind if I repeat my post?

    Look – can we call a truce here?

    This, as I see it, is how it stands –
    Incompetence has been shown to exist in Walters Referee reports.
    Bias in the League [with regards to the officials] has been shown to exist in Zach and my statistical investigation (more to come in the summer).

    What we have left is motive and agenda… and here are the theories:

    In one corner we have Dark Prince who is arguing that this is a xenophobic reaction from the officials who are not biased to any particular team but, instead, are just institutionally racist – this is the sole reason why Arsenal appear targeted not only because the team contains a number of foreign players but the managers (I assume) is also French. This at present is a ‘feeling’ and could be researched to give it more credence. I can supply you with whatever data you like on this DP for you to analyse in your own way.

    In another corner we have the theory that there is a specific ‘Anti Arsenal’ conspiracy in the EPL – there are vague accusations that this we represent a threat to Manchester United and he has fingers in the kind of PGMOL pies that we do not.

    In another corner we have a theory of a fragmented structure of corruption that exists unofficially within the industry as a whole. There is no specific conspiracy, only the results (that we see) of psychopathic self interest. The end game to this is not some petty hate or club rivalry but merely the wish by the industry to get paid. Integrity and football are not a priority and Arsenal, as a club are naive to think that doing things the right way and playing great football alone will bring success.

    These are the theories as separated from the facts – please do not confuse these and blur the issue. If anyone has a different theory then please let me know.

    Truce? Anyone? Clean slate?

  • Thanks Dark Prince 🙂 *shakes hand* too much infighting here, we’ve stated out theories so let’s move on!

    I do think that some referees go easy on English players.. espesh the ones in the England squad – but I take the 3rd position and regard it as one of the aggrovating factors we face.

  • Shard

    I second the…uh.. third theory 🙂

  • Stevie E

    Well that was fun! 🙂

  • Dark Prince

    @a casual observer- there are so many factors involved. One of them being that Arsenal are the only prominent side playing technical football in EPL. Many fail to realise that refs in epl will allow physicality in games. Thats why most of Arsenal fouls are not given. On top of that, refs will put their decisions in favour of English players as much as possible, which again puts Arsenal on the backfoot.

  • A Casual Observer

    So.. the EPL are engineering their brand of ‘English Football’ with scant regards to the rules as the FA are protecting their interests in promenent English players?

    OK – I will accept that as good point.

  • Dark Prince

    DogFace- *shakes hand* racism is definately a factor, but also the style of play is a factor. Our style of play draws in more fouls and english football being more physical in nature, the refs could be allowing leeway to fouls sometimes. Walter said Blackpool had many decisions going against them, is it possible that they too play a technical style and that is why most fouls dont go in their favour??

  • Dark Prince

    @A Casual Observer- again its to early to accuse the Epl or Fa to engineer anything. But there is definately an English style of playing which is vastly spread in almost all english teams. The refs too are from a generation where they have been trained to handle physical situations with a bit ease and cultural norm as compared to, say a spanish ref.

  • OK – Thanks DP… I can see the logic – Although the fair play league seems counter intuative to that – but there may be a reason for this also.

    You should do some research, as I said – I can provide you with data.

    Anyone got any more theories or avenues of investigation?

  • A Casual Observer

    @Dark Prince – but by definition there are at least complicit in this no i.e. it suits their needs..?

  • Shard

    @Dogface

    Not a separate theory, but more specifics in line with what Walter has been saying about more refs needed. How about an insight into the refs in the lower leagues, especially the ones from London or other places in the south of England. How many exist, and how many matches do they get. Probably will form a more informed opinion on ways to address the ‘northern bias’ that is so often proclaimed that it passes off as totally acceptable.

  • Dark Prince

    DogFace- i leave the research upto u. I believe you can do good on that front 🙂 if not, then i’m always here with my criticism. 😛

  • Dark Prince

    @a casual observer- thats where it gets tricky. What we do kno is the refs are ok with the physicality even though they might be against the exact rules of football. But whether they do it with intent or whether its just inborn culture is hard to prove. After looking at Wilshere and most english players, I’d rather tend to believe that its an inborn culture thing for the english to be physical. Thats why our players are tend to be seen as weak players atleast among some of the english masses. It will come down to whether the refs too have the same perception or not.

  • @Shard.. hmm – true. Would anyone like to volenteer to do some research for me?

    I give you a list of match officials and you find out their place of birth/home town?

    I would incorporate this into my DB – I believe I can convert postcode information into lat/long to provide regional statistics.

  • Adam

    @Shard, http://refworld.com/select_group_referees/0/1 I think you will be horrified at the dispersement of officials across our counties, The select group is very much monopolised by the north of England, The national group has a few hertfordshire refs and other east or southern counties officials but the select group needs a more diverse selection.

  • A Casual Observer

    @Dark Prince – so we have a chicken and egg situation then!

  • Adam

    PGMOL
    •The General Manager – Mike Riley http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Riley_(referee)
    •National Group Manager – David Allison http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Allison_(referee)
    •FA Head of Senior Referees – Neale Barry
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neale_Barry
    ALL NORTHERN BOYS????????????

  • Tasos

    Dark Prince

    Reading through the many posts on this subject I have to say that I truly admire your persistence.

    Some might suggest “you doth protest too much” though.

  • menace

    The simple way of beginning a clensing is to have the radios on the referees broadcast like in Rugby. When the fans can hear what is going on on the field of play it will begin to give them confidence and the officials will be aware of that.
    The next phase will be for a change in liability of the referees organisation to individual liability similar to that of lawyers, rather than the limited liability that exists now.
    The third phase will be the involvement of the court of arbitration for sport and a few cases will stop noticable bias pretty quickly.
    Goal line technology is necessary as is a change in the offside law. The law should revert to two players between the striker and the goal (none of this active rubbish). Technology will help make it cleaner but not any better. If anything it might take the beauty out of the game.

  • menace

    @dog face your 12.01 pm post is a perfect summary. I subscribe to the ‘institutional racist’ subconcious theory. It is really scary when you know the sequences and show it to those who only watch the football. They get shocked.

    I have a way out for the Arsenal and will broach the professor with it. It might just work and it will certainly improve the rapport between officials and players.

  • bob

    @Dogface: I want to propose another hypothesis which doesn’t have to exclude any other, but just to say what’s been brought up on UA in the past by you (I think) and others: namely, that of betting syndicate manipulations of specific matches by having interests, alliances and/or operatives (or agents of influence) in some clubs, institutional positions (FA, PGMOL, FIFA, UEFA, Big Media)as has been the case world-wide. Someone within the last 3-4 weeks on UA mentioned that buying a mediocre or recently risen club could be done just to be inside the EPL in ways that would enhance having operational business intelligence; information and access that could be parlayed into bets on specific games, bribing officials, etc. Therefore, an “Outside-Inside” hypothesis of Betting Syndicate Influence within the industry. I stress hypothesis because there’s no evidence as yet, but there is potential evidence that someone could surface down the road and it lays down a marker for the possibility of it becoming a full fledged theory at some stage.

  • bob

    @Menace: Radios on the Ref is great. It brings up for me those several attacks on Sagna in one match this season (was it vs. Birmingham?), one of which was right in front of the 4th official (possibly one Martin Taylor) and was never called by the referee (I think Peter Walton). It was impossible – without a radio band – to know whether there was any communication between them. A radio could have told us whether the 4th official was remiss for not contacting the ref; or whether the ref was remiss for not acting on what the official was relaying on to him via radio. My point is that Radios on the Ref would help establish accountability and/or help to pre-empt that kind of criminal behavior on the pitch (disguised as either unconscious or conscious racism and/or the English style of physical play, aka British Steel). Those attacks were horrible and I can’t get them out of my head. I appreciate your specific suggestions and agree they would make a difference that mattered. I’d also add a video replay umpire in a booth with powers to overrule decisions on the pitch.

  • bob

    @Dogface: Are you going to add my 1:59 proposed theoretical paradigm (perspective) to the list? Either way, I’d welcome your thinking on why/why not…

  • Dark Prince

    @a casual observer- yea that’s one way of sayin it… 😛

  • Dark Prince

    @tasos – thanks 🙂 maybe everyone thinks that i’m just playin spoilsport. But eventually its just a difference in opinion…

  • @Bob – duely noted… and yes – I think that is also a good point. Gambling entities have bought into the EPL teams in a big way and it is worth looking into their motives.

  • Wrenny

    You guys (and gals) have certainly been very busy since last night! 😀

    I’ve just finished reading through the almost 300 comments, good to see that it’s all finally been sort of worked out. And thankfully it all remained civil, not sure that would have happened in many other blogs.

    I’d like to mention one thing, which I don’t think has been explicitly spoken about, which is that perhaps some people have misunderstood the purpose of the ref reviews and where they ‘sit’ within Untold’s work in investigating ref behaviour. Some commenters have said that Walter’s ref reviews don’t prove corruption, and in that respect they are correct. But what the reviews do is go a very, very long way to establishing BIAS. And as the reviews pile up, and hopefully next season the quantity and method of these reviews will improve further, uncovering this BIAS will becomes better and stronger. And in turn allow for much clearer investigation into where the bias may come from and why, and eventually the possibility of CORRUPTION may well come strongly to the surface.

    It’s a body of work that is (hopefully) still in its infancy, but has already unearthed some interesting results.

  • finsbury

    Hilarious.

    Went I proposed to this Dark Prince that xenophobia was a possible motive for the bias of some referees(A I wrote at the time, I don’t think it is. I agree with what has been articulated above) he disagreed in a most dignified and graceful manner.
    Available in the archives, somewhere.

    Ah well. You win some, you lose some.

  • walter

    In a way this discussion is what Untold means for me. Even having different opinion and speaking out your mind and sometimes in very strong words but always with a form of respect for each other.
    I don’t now how Tony managed to do this but from the first time I discovered Untold Arsenal some 2 years ago it mostly has been this way.

    And it makes me proud and gives me a warm feeling that I am a little part of this blog.

    I’m looking forward to next week when I can finaly publish my year review and I think you will once again and as usual make the best comment section in the whole Arsenal blog world or maybe even in the whole football blog world.

  • Mario Zagallo

    Thanks Walter, to speak out what I’ve been saying for the past 4 years in other Arsenal blogs regarding refs. Before they was to respect us a litle bit more at least at home, but now it has taken a massive step where Arsenal are robbed week in week out, and so blatantly that is scandalous.

    “Little ” fouls stopping attacking moves in midfield where people don’t notice, yellow cards just to come close of a player, silly free-kicks against in dangerous areas, I mean you name it. How it’s possible for a below par Man U team to win this league is no surprise.

    At least 21 points were “given” to them by the ref’s in a shocking season decided by the ref’s themselves.
    Even Alan Hansen had the guts to show a few of the decisions on BBC.
    Btw, I even canceled my Sky Sports subscription because it was to sick to watch the Refs deciding games on a weekly basis.

    Take care

  • TommieGun

    Walter and co., thanks for the discussion, I for myself feel very sorry I wasn’t around to participate.
    I think it’s important to have all the opinions displayed and voiced in a fair and polite way, now we can really know the differences and I do think that some of the thesis (or combination of) do make sense.

    Financialy speaking, I think it makes a lot more sense for a specific match to be fixed – not even score wise (i.e., team X will have a corner before minute Y). Those are things which can generate bets and are much easier to influence than the final score line. I believe that those things do happen.

    I find it harder to believe in an all encompassing, “fixed from day one”, league thesis. I can find too many “holes” in that thesis, and as far as making money from bets – I think that the other, less outrageous thesis, supply the answers.

    My point of view is that there is some subconscious anti-foreigner pro-england bias (D. Prince thesis), combined with the odd fixed match for betting purposes thesis (bob & Dogface [?]). But not a comprehenvise anti-Arsenal or pro-Utd conspiracy.

  • MK

    I would suggest it mostly comes down to a combination of things such as, anti-foreigner bias, pro-England international bias, a nationalistic propensity for the English kick-rush-tackle type of game rather than the more European style Arsenal play, a profound dislike of Arsenal by many media outlets and pundits (for the above reasons and more, think of which teams these pundits used to play for and where they are from etc) which feeds into the referee’s poor attitude towards us.

    Not having any influence in the FA, so our complaints about refereeing performances are ignored whereas bad refereeing against Chelsea and Man Utd will cause the referee to be punished/pressured to improve, also they are more likely to have off the field decisions go in their favour (such as Rooney not being punished via video review for a blatant off the ball elbow) as well as having fixture lists and referee appointments made by people who at the very least dislike Arsenal (some of the appointments this season are too coincidental and makes me fear it is more than that).

    The time’s ‘fink tank’ has done many great statistical measurements of the effects of home team bias and other biases in the league, but now are unfortunately behind a Pay-wall so I can’t reference the articles for you, but they certainly weren’t enough to explain the amount of bias against Arsenal this season by themselves (anyone with a times subscription might want to look and comment).

    I find the idea of a grand conspiracy against Arsenal dubious as I am sure many people here do, but the work being done by this website is providing evidence to show there is a bias affecting the results against Arsenal, intentional or otherwise and that the FA must act to ensure that the competition is run transparently enough to minimize the effects of ANY BIAS that is perpetrated against or for ANY TEAM in the competition, that this would help stop any corruption that may or may not be happening right now is just an added bonus.