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Is this just a conspiracy theory, or is English football truly corrupt?

I wrote two days ago that I had reached the conclusion that football in England was corrupt.

In response to my article the majority of commentators agreed, but three arguments were put forward to reject the claim.   They are important points, and I think they need debating.

1: As soon as Arsenal lose a match I start whinging and blaming corruption.

This is an easy argument to set aside.

My book, Making the Arsenal (reference to which I know will bore you stupid, but it is relevant here) contains a whole section on corruption.  It is, of course, a novel, so the corruption issue is not true – although it is based on a real case of corruption by a Middlesboro director who was seeking to become an MP.   Politics and football merged as he started fixing matches.

I’ve done a bit of studying of football corruption in England over the years and have written up a quick summary of some of the cases, and my main point (which I have never seen written up anywhere else) that since around 1892 there has been a conspiracy to deal with corruption and rule breaking by punishing individuals rather than clubs.

My summary article in “A History of Corruption in English football” on the MAKING THE ARSENAL site.   Details of the book, as always, are here.

So, on this first point, no I have not just started talking about corruption.  It has been mentioned off and on, on this site, over the years it has been going.  We have followed the stories of arrests at Birmingham City and Portsmouth, of rule breaking by Leeds, Birmingham and Notts County, and so forth, all the way through.   And I have often written about the match fixing by Manchester United and Liverpool which led to Arsenal’s promotion in 1919 (again see the article above).  Not to mention the huge level of corruption in FIFA and UEFA.

2: If English football is corrupt, then Arsenal is corrupt, and did not win its trophies fairly.

This doesn’t follow at all.   If English football is corrupt, it does not mean every club and every player is corrupt and more than every team in Italy was corrupt.   Likewise just because Liverpool fans were very violent 25 years ago, it doesn’t mean all fans were.

The fact is that the finger of suspicion points at certain clubs because of the huge wealth they can call upon, or because of the history of their chairman or senior figures, or because of the way in which the rules of the League or the FA have been broken, or because of close connection with organisations such as FIFA that have been proven in court, or through their own admission to be corrupt.

I see no evidence of corruption at Arsenal.  I see it in various other clubs and organisations.

3: This is just a conspiracy theory and (by implication) all conspiracy theories are invented by loonies for loonies.

When I studied history as a student I was taught that there were three theories of history

1.  The Marxist theory – that the direction of history is inevitable

2. The Conspiracy theory – which says that men can work together to make great plans and change the world through making these plans happen.  If you like the plans you call their instigators “visionaries”.  If you dislike the plans you call the whole thing a conspiracy.

3.  The cock-up theory, in which we try and make things change, but the plans always come unstuck.

I have always believed that most history can be explained by option 3, but I acknowledge that conspiracies do occur.  Indeed the law of England acknowledges conspiracy in three ways: Conspiracy to defraud, Conspiracy to corrupt public morals, and Statutory conspiracy.  The Criminal Law Act 1977 says that “if a person agrees with any other person or persons that a course of conduct shall be pursued which, if the agreement is carried out in accordance with their intention will necessarily amount to or involve the commission of any offence or offences by one or more of the parties to the agreement  he is guilty of conspiracy to commit the offence or offences in question.”

So conspiracies do exist, and just because some people believe that there is a conspiracy to hide the fact that the moon landings never took place or that Elvis is alive and living in Stockport, that does not mean that no conspiracies exist.

If a group of people representing one or two wealthy clubs arrange to help referees with getting better mortgage deals and the like, and in return are likely to see their teams get more favourable decisions then that is a conspiracy because it influences the result of a football match – and that will result in financial advantage to one team, and not another, either through prize money or gambling.   It does not mean that the club says to the ref “There’s £5000 in it for you if we win”.  It can be much more subtle than that.

So I think all three objections to the notion that English football is corrupt fall at the first hurdle.

That does not mean English football is corrupt, but rather that it could well be, and the possibility should  be looked at seriously.

Which then raises the question, why is it not being investigated?

Could it be that it would be ludicrous to investigate corruption in football, because there is no evidence?  Clearly not.   In my earlier article I noted a couple of books which detail huge amounts of corruption.  We have had numerous arrests by the City of London police of people involved in football.   All of that suggests there might be something to look at.

So why is no one looking?

I think that has a lot to do with the cosy nature of the relationship between the TV companies and the football authorities (see the last article on the way TV companies bribed FIFA to get the right contracts) and between newspaper journalists and football clubs (the papers being reliant on press conferences and the like in order to get stories).

Occasionally a newspaper does go poking around a bit – and the club can kick the paper out.  The Guardian for example is currently banned from Leeds United’s ground because of its enquiries into ownership and what it said about their liquidation.   In “Making the Arsenal” you’ll know (if you have read my book) that Jacko Jones of the Chronicle gets banned from all matches involving Fulham and Arsenal.   That’s just a story – but it is based on real evidence, and the sort of thing that happened the time.

None of this proves that English football is corrupt.  All it says is that

a) There is a case to answer and

b) It is a bit odd that no one much is doing much digging.

I’ll return in a later article as to the key reasons in detail why I feel that a lot of English football is bent – but I think this little piece shows that everyone with an open mind has to say, “it is a possibility”.

Postscript: Tomorrow is the 100th anniversary of the first match between Arsenal and Tottenham.   There is the first of two articles on the subject on www.blog.woolwicharsenal.co.uk

This is in fact the start of a series of anniversaries that run from now until next summer – including a number of vital 100th anniversaries.  Events which had they not taken place would have meant we would not be here now talking about Arsenal.  This is, in fact, the start of the story told in MAKING THE ARSENAL – the diary of an imaginary Fleet Street journalist covering the events.   There’s more about the book on www.emiratesstadium.info

(c) Tony Attwood 2009

43 comments to Is this just a conspiracy theory, or is English football truly corrupt?

  • Bobby pliers

    I think it would be most naive if we believed that the game in this country was spotless, it cannot be because human beings are involved and irrespective of nationality some human beings are slightly shadier and have different rules to live by than others. A few years back there was a spate of games where the ball was kicked into touch as quick as possible after kick off, the reason was certain people had bets on the fact that there would be throw in within a certain time of a game starting. Quite minor I agree but sometimes its the small things that point to larger acts. The truth is out there……..

  • wambam

    Hughes was constantly asking the ref to book the arsenal players and coming out his technical area,so how can anyone expect Wenger to be happy.
    Hughes was getting desperate about his £5oom team being held by the young-guns.

  • Shehu S. G.

    English premier league is corrupt, in the sense that referees favor clubs that has english players. they are always bias.English referees always favor clubs like Manchester united, Chelsea and Liverpool most. Most of the blow against Arsenal. Infact, English FA don’t like Arsenal.

  • Joe

    Infamy, Infamy The F.A. have it in for Me!

    This site has fast become the shining light of my coffee breaks.

    I LOVE YOU GUYS!

  • Sameep

    As Being a modern day Gunner (I started watching football itself fro 2002/03 season when we just lost the title), whatever I have seen,read,heard; I have made a model of a club and a manager in my mind. Everything I see in football, I go on to compare that with this very image. Not the men in red-white, not the ground called Highbury, not the fans, not the football but the man behind all was the responsible factor; non other than Arsene Wenger! Whatever I knew about goods and rights of life, I found every bit of it in Arsene, I can’t help but to compare everything that I see in/about football now, with the model created by Arsene.
    Don’t know how others are corrupt or clean! Not I am that experienced, old and educated to judge those things but Arsene is the last word for me in football both on and off the pitch!

  • walter

    Joe, I don’t know how the press is working in the UK but in my country I see every day new articles about corruption in football all over Europe.
    Now it could well be that by living on an island that this news doesn’t come trough to some people but it always turns round money. The more money involved the more corruption.
    I personally know about some cases were refs have been payed and were players have been payed to win or lose games. Cases that have been told to me in trust and I will not give them in detail and I have my own reasons the keep shut about it. Silence is golden sometimes.
    So yes it could be that just the fact that living on an island makes you imune for corruption but I really believe that all humans are the same, be them English, be them French, be them German, be them from the moon if you want. I know some corrupt leagues and teams in Europe and it is only by searching for it that you find corruption. You can find them yourselfes if you really look for it. In most cases it is the free press that finds these things and digs them out of the mud. But to do that you must have a press that is not in the hands of the people that have intrest in football.

    You can laugh it away and put your head in the sand, but money can do strange things to people.
    In my country our FA has on the site for the refs on the first page a notion that points to the main law involved corruption and says that anyone who hears, sees of knows somehting suspicious should report it to the FA. Now why would that message be so prominent on that site, you think ? Yes because there is corruption out there.

  • walter

    Just a quick view on one newspaper the last 2 days: corruption in Greece, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, Turkey.

    Corruption maybe is like diving for a penalty: honest Englishmen don’t do it. LOL.

  • steven

    Don’t really know what to say after last night. Seems to be another chapter of “same old same old”, different season, same problem. Forget the refereeing decisions, we lost to a better team who on the night played very well. Yes it was a second string side but I do worry for some of these kids being outclassed and outplayed so comprehensively. Dissapointed again with Wengers petulence. He is the manager of our club and the “figurehead” and should set an example to players and fans. I have been a fan of AW since he came to the club (Arsenal fan since the mid 70’s) and I have seen and suffered all the highs and lows. But I am starting to see big cracks in AW’s behaviour and philosophy. Maybe it is time for change? Whether that is in philosophy or in the management of the club. We seem to be trying to play 5 s side football with 11 on the pitch. There is no power or leadership in the team. Looking back at some of AW’s better sides, and early signings, we were always a very big physical team. PV, Manu, Edu, Gilberto, Henry, Campbell, Kanu and even Pires (over 6’1″)balanced “Touch” players with “Leaders” througout the team. Now the team are all the same stature. There is no balance to the side and no on the pitch leadership. We fail against any team who are organised as we are too predictable. As dangunner (Arsenal fan) said, I think we may struggle against stoke and I do fear we will not finish in the top 4 this year. We need to inject some fresh blood into the team and that must be quality. As far as strikers are concerned, Dzeko or Carlton Cole fit the bill for me. Yaya Toure in Midfield and Hangeland as CB. Although I doubt we will spend the money and end up with a cut price deal for Chamakh and nothing more.

  • Razzerjaff

    The last weeks have really put things into perspective and really showned that we are not ready to compete for big honors.But what the hell to due. Some questions has to be awnsered before we can really move on an perhaps begin working on solutions for the club in next year(yeah its sad to say this) Firstly is our board just seeing this club as a cash cow and thereby denying real investment into the team or has our manager gone mad and just reach a point where he will rather destroy all than switch strategy.We have now reach a point where all our players are so similar and we are pretty much the most lightweight team in the entire premiership.Further more a very unhealthy way of thinking have developed which clearly cant solve this.Its simply that so many are just thinking about how cheap this guy was bought compared to this and we should just be happy that we have made so many impressive cheap buys. THIS IS CRAP. because that way of thinking only gives the board more cash. yes it is fine our club is healthy i economic terms but atm we are reaching points there are simply to high 67m punds before tax in profit this year is simply to much profit due to so low investment in our team that we will never be able to compete. For me its simple wenger will not developed this team any further since he has go stuck in his own succes, and dont have the solutions to get out of it. Imo the solutions for this could be 1. get new manager.2 focus on defence, we are currently so bad in this department that it cant get worse. yes vermaelen and gallas is not a strong solution since we are close to being even more voeful than last year here.And get some bigger stronger players in and no more of these vela,walcott types of players. And BUY SOME ENGLISH WE NEED ENGLISH PLAYERS TO CREATE THE REAL SPIRIT indstead of meaningless players which are only here untill a greener solutions comes by.

  • Razzerjaff

    I alwauys find it disappointing when we get knocked out of the CC.

    OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPS this long email was a direct copy of a piece from On line gooner, and therefore has been cut, along with other items from the same source.

  • sami alkaki ..iraq

    permit me steven u r wroung in some of what u said about wenger ..as all knew that this man made good job since he joined arsenal and made history for the gunners ..we must put our trust on him for ever ..and last night if u saw the match with citizens ,mark hughes tried to affect on the ref and did that succesfully,then arsene weger saw that and saw how hughes shout and cried against the ref ,and for that most of dicisions of the ref is wroung..for that we saw how wenger show that reaction …we know that wenger is a respectable man and do alot for the club so we should not forget all that for moment of anger ..we know his policy about carling cup and we saw how the team do well last night ..but it is something that im dont understand for now,,why every team play against arsenal and they showed all what they have to win and fight a gainst us like we are thier eniemies !!!!

  • CyprusJack

    Ok, Lets get things in order….Arsene did not shake hands because of the result,rightly or wrongly the Man has principles,and the incident that got to Wenger was in 1st half,when Hughes walked nearly into Wengers technical area, threw the ball to a Man City player for a throw in 10 feet further forward when it should have been,Wenger then questions it to 4th Official, Hughes angrily stares at Wenger and tells him to F%@k off!!!! Simple.Now, why hasn’t Sky,or all these Superstar pundits who think they see it all and know it all not spotted that? Would you see Capello,Ancelotti, Benitez tell another Manager to f%@k off? No, and why hasn’t it be spotted? because its Wenger, he is French and he is easy prey for the people who are dying to see Arsene,Arsenal and his policy fail.Now,why didnt the 4th Official warn Hughes for encroaching Wengers box? Why doesn’t anybody comment on the Hughes sarcastic wave down the tunnel? Hughes has been a classic salesman, talking about gracious this and that in defeat,Hughes knows why Aresene didn’t shake hands, Pardew got same treatment, you don’t dis-respect a fellow Manager, by telling another Manager to F@%k off is NOT acceptable, and Wenger has every right to do what he did, what gets me is why has nobody seen it ????? conspiracy and the fact the Great Britih media want the Great British Manager to succeed…..FACT….ps Tevez makes 4 fouls in a row and doesn’t get booked, Traore makes one foul and is 1st player booked!!! ive got a log of everything, FACT we are the hunted, but Arsene will have last laugh, the cream always rises to the top.

  • Joe

    I don’t think I ever said the was absolute zero corruption Walter but you lot are in here screaming cheat after every loss and I’m damn excited about coming here after you win to be honest, just to see what you have to say. I wonder will one of you call corruption if a bad decision wins you the game? (I have only seen this site since we beat you so have yet to experience it after an Arsenal victory).

    Steven, leave while you have the chance. You cannot cast any doubt on Wenger or Arsenal here, it is not the done thing!

  • Finsbury

    AFC have spent less then Newcastle in recent times, but we still got to the CL SF last season, the final in ’06.
    For all Chelsea’s signings, have have they done any better. No. 2 titles in 4 years? Sorry dude, matched that too in recent times.

    These are the facts.

    AFC are doing fine, but thanks for the advice, they obviously need it.

  • diceman1984

    Everyone should look at the heading if this site before whining about how people here protect Wenger.

    Arguments and points, relevent and sane ones that is, are welcomed here but Tony created this site because of his belief in Wenger and his believers to have thier say (plus great insights).

    While there are countless blogs trying to dissect or bash the team after each loss, this site gives something different.

    This site also gives Arsenal, its manager, and its players chances….we merely give our team the benefit of a doubt when it comes to anything Arsenal-related.

    Despite all his mistakes, Wenger is just a human being who truly love our club and try to do what he thinks is best for it. Many people disagree with his policy but many do agree.

    The thing for me is this:

    I had doubted Mr.Wenger 3 times since he’s here…

    1) the 97-98 season when he started choosing Anelka over Ian Wright
    2) the 3-year-span without a trophy between 99′-01′
    3) when he said Arsenal can go undefeated the whole season

    These are 3 MAJOR doubts I had..

    everyone can guess why I trust Wenger….,how he proved to be right in all of them.

    While I don’t love every decisions he made, there’s no other manager out there who will put this club before his own stardom like he does….

  • Mark

    The origin of the term conspiracy theory comes from the Kennedy assassination, when the official version of events was that a lone gunman was responsible. Those who doubted this version of events usually believed that more than one person was involved, hence conspirators, hence conspiracy theory. The bandying around of the term ‘Conspiracy Theory’ is effectively meaningless, since it merely pertains to more than one person being in a crime. Of course the phrase is used pejoratively to mean a delusional belief, so in this sense it means: ‘you are wrong because you are mentally unbalanced’. But this is an erroneous use of the term.
    The most likely people responsible for Kennedy’s assassination are the CIA or the Federal Reserve, and/or both. Personally I tend towards the latter.

  • messi

    why is it whenever we loose or a little problem occurs straight away people blame arsene wenger i think the only reason why so much people criticize arsene is because they know that he wont reply in the same childish way that they have to him. Its seriously disappointing and a disgrace for sky sports AS USUAL TO GO AND EXPOSE AND WORSEN the situation because arsene didnt shake his hands, but nobody has mentioned what mark huges said to arsene after rolling the ball away to the line, because i know and you all know for a fact when some shoves their hand backwards with their thumbs sticking out angrily shouting at you most times it means “fu*king w*nker” and so why should arsene go back after the game and shake his hand. Think about it someone says that to you and then you go back and shake your hands what nonesense is that, I stick up for arsene fully, and it just shows just what kind of people in this country are seriously, i feel for arsene very much, how much sh*t does he have to put up with, from been called a pedophile, to been sent to stands, people throwing things at him, the list goes on and on. What has he ever done that has disrespected someone or a team, please tell me. If this was alex ferguson in arsenes case would mark huges disrespected him like that during and after the game, and would the media be hitting out at him like this, HELL NO. I seriously hate his arrogance and cocky attitude, his feeling so happy because they beat a team that had an average age of 17-22 with no major experience who played a squad that cost up to 200 million pounds, who draw 6 straight games. I hope he gets sacked and as for bellamy trying to shove his hand on little jack wilshere and fran meridas faces, what kind of sh*t is that and the ref doesnt say nothing about it, and then people talk about disrespect and embarrassment, and then nobody mentions that COME ON NOW!

    ARSENE WENGER WILL COME OUT ONTOP YOU WILL ALL SEE,

  • Simon Bailey

    very true mark. in my youth i conspired with many others to organise free outdoor all nite gatherings, normally accompanied by large speakers, loud music and lots of booze. my beliefs outweighed any issue of legality but we were still very careful not to get caught.

    legally speaking, if 2 or more people discuss any proposed criminal activity then they are guilty of conspiracy. its great for dealing with gang behavior and the like.

    the problem with the word ‘conspiracy’ is that anyone involved in it, or any 3rd party that benefits from it will just play the ‘nutjob’ card.

    i am not sure if what is occurring is really a conspiracy. when racism in the met was news, the general opinion wasnt that it was policy, just that it was ingrained throughout the force. there is a general prejudice against the arsenal throughout the FA, UEFA, and the media outlets are who are so dependent on them to fill their inches/schedules. unfortunately, this position isnt going to change in a hurry, if at all. this will always be a millstone around our neck and we have to learn to deal with it.

    we are never going to succeed by being ‘with’ them so we might as well be against them. as someone mentioned earlier, the cream will rise to the top. and we will do it in spite of them.

    the other thing that puzzles me is how quickly everyone (present company excluded) has forgotten how well we have played this season up till rvp’s injury. its like 1984 all over. our 2nd string got beaten by a 500million quid team. duh — yeah. but they played out of their skins, and it was a great learning experience for them. inevitably we are going to get knocked out of the carling cup by a proper first team. it just happens at different stages each season.

    the d&g ers are painting an ever darkening backdrop on the back of a couple of losses we sustained in the short period between losing RVP and arsene and the team re-jigging things to compensate. its all about feedback and tweaking.

  • don't believe the hype

    I wish Arsene would stop giving copy to the media by cancelling all press conferences forthwith. But he won’t because he’s got more integrity than that. I’d tell them where to go and make no bones about it.

  • wambam

    Well said Cyprus jack,
    How Tevez DIDN’T get booked puzzled me!NO ONE in the team ever says a word to the ref unlike the MAN CITY players trying to get Traoure sent-off.
    Arsenal just seem to ACCEPT this but when Wenger brings it up eveyone says his complaining.
    HUGHES was being an a** but all the blame as usual is about Wenger.

    PROUD of the young guns vs THE MERCENARIES.
    ONLY lacking that STRONG centre forward to link play with.

  • jazbo

    Message to Joe and Steven, please see the bold red banner at the top of the page and read very carefully what it says!!!

  • stuartlondon

    Hey Joe! If you are accusing me of being loyal to our team and the manager that created it, then I am happy to plead guilty to that one. If you are criticising me for asking what we can do to help our team when it is going through a difficult time, then I am happy to accept that criticism. But your visciously sarcastic tone is so hurtful I can hardly bear it. Please stop before you make me cry!!! Stu

  • tim

    you guys must have seen this:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/leagues/premierleague/arsenal/6720151/Wengers-hands-free-preference.html

    the last three lines: “And Wenger is one of life’s most evident bad losers. But then maybe Hughes should not have been too surprised that Wenger refused to participate in the empty ritual of the conciliatory shake. After all, he is French. And when it comes to football, the French have other uses for their hands.”

    It’s one thing if it were The Sun, but isn’t the Telegraph supposed to be one of the more reputable papers? Pretty blatant pandering to anti-France, anti-Wenger, and anti-Arsenal majority out there. Bull&*(T. How is it that people get away with this crap? (Oh, wait, I already answered my question.)

  • Mark

    Well here is the latest press out-pouring.
    This is typical of the scabrous type of journalism
    that has been created as journalists desperately try to save the jobs
    and careers as the whole edifice of professional journalism crumbles to
    the forces of demagogic, internet based free speech.

    ————————————————————
    Jim White in the Daily Telegraph

    The Arsenal manager refused to shake his Manchester City counterpart’s hand after being defeated in the Carling Cup. Hughes thought his visitor ungracious and lacking in respect.

    “We all hurt when we get beaten,” said Hughes. “No one is more upset than me. But you should always offer your hand.”

    Wenger replied: “I think I have nothing to say.”

    Before adding: “I am free to shake hands with whom I want after the game. I have no professional courtesy.”

    It was a nice line, that, with its implication that there is nothing less genuine than a bad loser pretending to be gracious. And Wenger is one of life’s most evident bad losers.

    But then maybe Hughes should not have been too surprised that Wenger refused to participate in the empty ritual of the conciliatory shake. After all, he is French. And when it comes to football, the French have other uses for their hands.
    ——————————————————–

    So now Arsene is a bad loser and a cheat, and not just an ordinary cheat, but a cheat by birth, because he’s French?

    Well at least Jim White doesn’t make any bones about his prejudices!

  • Cape Gooner

    @Steven. Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy, Gibbs, Denilson, Diaby, Fabregas, Nasri, Walcott, Bendtner, Van Persie, Eduardo, Arshavin didn’t play last night. That is fifteen players.

    When the kids that you are worried about are introduced, they will be surrounded by eight or nine or ten experienced players. Stop being such a dickhead.

    If we bought Carlton Cole, where would he be in the hierarchy when RvP and Bendtner are fit? Third? Second equal at best. We play with one striker. How would it make any sense for Carlton Cole to join us?

    @Joe. Good to have you back. You are a very recent visitor, so you will not know that we have been screaming cheat for a very long time, and not just after losses. Arsenal, under the great and magnificent Lord Wenger, has embarked on a voyage of righteousness in dangerous and corrupt seas. David Dean said Arsenal would sink if we didn’t follow the path of money, money, money, and Lord Wenger persuaded the board that he was wrong. We support this position. We perceive that much of the rest of Football do not support this position. We perceive bias. We call that corruption.

    Joe, if I had been a Chelsea supporter, I would have demanded that Chelsea withdraw from the Champions League after last year’s semi final. I bet there were Chelsea sites that did just that. Some might call them nutjobs. I call them principled. This site goes a little way in that direction.

    And by the way, we are aware that David Dean might still win the day.

  • walter

    I read it also Mark and although one has to be carefull with the word or the accusation “racism’, this was the first word that came trough my mind.
    I still think there are some English people who still hate the French for some reasons from the past. First I was a little bit angry and was looking if I could reply at that site, but you cant. Not that I was insulted because I’m not French but then I felt sorry for the guy.
    I bet he has messed up his two braincells by writing that peace of sh*t.

    And still they don’t see that in fact Wenger was the bigger mand of the two. The only thing Wenger did, or did not, was shaking hands. But why does not one of those reporters ask Hughes: “what did you say against Wenger?” Then if he is honest we will know what he has said and then everybody will know why Wenger refused to shake hands.
    Be being the biggest of the two I mean that Wenger wouldn’t want to speak about it to prevent embaressment for Hughes. If Hughes used f*ck words against Wenger then Hughes will be exposed as a moron and Wenger even leaves it and just shuts up. That is class. I would have told the reporters what was said and wouldn’t have spared him red cheecks

  • Technical note: there has been a server problem overnight which affects all our blogs, and I am not able to put up any new posts at the moment. I did however manage to get one new post up on http://www.blog.woolwicharsenal.co.uk to celebrate 100 years to the day since the first match against Tottenham.

    As soon as we are clear I will set up a new article.

    Sorry for the delay

  • Mark

    There are usually two sides to a story…..and that demands of
    journalists the now defunct art of reporting.

    I thought it was a meretricious article, nasty and lazy, like a lot of journalism. Hammered out in 5 minutes with the latest technology and no attempt to uncover the facts. No attempt to get off the corporate air-conditioned backside.

    It seems more than likely that Hughes was taunting and gloating at Wenger, infringing his space, and using profanities. All of these are no-no’s, breaches of etiquette. So why does Wenger’s breach of etiquette elicit attention, and Hughes’s multiple infractions go unnoticed, unmentioned?

    Double standards?

    A vindictive mentality amongst English managers and Reporters?

    More questions than answers as usual,
    which indicates one thing and one thing only,

    a toothless, spineless, ineffectual, complacent Media.

    The double standards are plain to see. When you consider that Benitez, a Spaniard, made a derogatory gesture towards Allardyce, a Brit, and the press was all over it, and yet Hughes, a Brit, mocks Wenger, a Frenchman, for 90 minutes, and yet Wenger is the villain…….

    …….to be honest some of these hacks need to join the BNP and get it out their system.

  • Joe

    I had kind of decided not to comment here as it only serves as being unhelpful and on a personal note I don’t think it adds to the comedic nature of the site.

    I will however reply to Cape Gooner’s post mentioning ‘that’ semi. I don’t see how pulling out of this years competition would be anything other than petulant, brattish behaviour on our part(the kind of thing Jose would do!). You obviously think we were treated harshly if not unfairly but I see it as IF someone was conspiring against us they must have been shitting themselves as it ticked into time added on. Many fans accused Chelsea of anti-football over that tie but when you read the views of respected footballers, past and present (other than the barca 11) we played just over 180 mins of tactically perfect football, the most disciplined performance I have seen in my years by any team on any platform. To come so close against just Barca was a job, to still nearly do it against other forces (if such a thing were involved) proved to me that we won something if not the tie!

    Briefly, Someone dug me out on here for slating Jose the other day and as I mentioned above I thought I’d enlighten you to many fans views on the special one. Don’t get me wrong, he did wonders, was great a raising spirits and getting a team organised. The only thing is, Ancelotti has done the same, as did Hiddink. Both of these men have grace, knowledge and what Jose seemed to lack more than anything, common sense in self preservation, and he is still showing that today (Inter are looking for a replacement are they? I’ll be in a better job within a week). No fan will ever forget what Jose did for us but many, many fans are angry for the way he projected negativity from our club. The way Roman bought us and injected cash was never going to win plaudits amongst neutrals but the way Jose went about his business was disgusting.

    As we are seeing from Jose’s current situation, he was never ever going to be long term but with him gone, thankfully followed by that prize prick Kenyon we can move on and try to curry back some favour and shake the enemy of football tag that the special one left us!

  • Pat

    Hey, I just started visiting this site the other day, and I’m loving it more and more, keep up the good work Tony/Walter!

    The comment comparing football corruption and what was at the met is absolutely spot-on! Couldn’t put it better myself – not a policy, just ingrained among the referees, FA and e.t.c. I suppose we just have to get used to it and adapt. Though I do feel it became more pronounced when Dein left. All the same, looking forward to tomorrow, hope we get the frustration out with Stoke.

  • Joe

    As Pat says, it got more pronounced when your inside man left The FA, after that he was no use to you right, so now he’s gone.

    So what does that mean, the corruption was OK when Dein was in on it! When Arsenal had power in the FA you didn’t notice as much corruption as it was on your side, now it is level playing field and you can’t hack it. Shocking stuff lads!!

  • walter

    I dont know if you know how Fa’s work Joe and I can say I know a little bit of the inside kitchen as it goes in my country and other country’s.

    The big clubs have a big say in the internal kitchen. Its a bit us knows us. And a bit of European based politics. In England you always have a one party governement in politics but in most European country’s you always have coalitions in power. The FA is a kind of coalition governement. The big clubs have lots to say and the smaller clubs looking to see how they can get the most for them and by looking at which club to seek support or to give support to.
    Then you have the normal aversion between clubs. You can call it a crab basket.

    Arsenal had a man there and he could stop things when it got to far. He could bang his fist on the table and say: this goes to far. And then they back up a bit a few weeks/months and then they start it again untill Dein banged on the table once more….
    Even in those days Arsenal was put to sword by the Fa at multiple occasion (deduction of points, etc…)
    Now there is no one their to put his fist on the table and tell them to stop. So when no one tells you to stop they just carry on and go further and further. And it becomes clearer to see, if you want to see it.

  • Cape Gooner

    @Joe. “To come so close against just Barca was a job”. Man for man you are better than Barcelona. Chelsea has the best squad in the world, bar none. However, you play shit football. You do play percentage football. You are huge favourites for the title this year. So why are you proud of nearly beating Barcelona?

    That is because Barcelona is expected to beat you, even though you have better players.

    Arsenal is similar to Barcelona. We are substantially behind with personnel, but equal with style and potentially ahead. And our personnel are good enough to compete. An injury to Messi would make the game fairly even.

    That is why I think we can beat Chelsea on a level playing field. Our way of playing football is superior. “To come so close against just Barca was a job” proves my point.

  • walter

    upon the Hughes incident : Wenger said by not saying much that it was indeed the behaviour from Hughes during the game that made him refuse to shake hands. Well done Arsene, if another mananger calls you names during the game, doesn’t give you respect. I would have done the same.

    If in a game of mine a manager does not give me respect and I have to send him in the stands, he doesn’t have to come to me after the game, to shake my hand. Not that it happens much (once a season or so) but I can understand AW in behaving like he behaved. He can come in my dressing room to apologise but that is all he can do. if he means it or not is another point because I have to write it down in my report and it gives him a lighter punishment mostly.

  • joe

    First of all , Cape seemed to be claiming above that we were robbed by the ref, yet now you are saying we should have won the game easily as we are the best team! We would have won easily with 3 penalties, but we didn’t get any, remember 🙂 I still don’t call it corruption though.

    Barcelona were absolutely on fire when we met, in fact we were the only team to stop them scoring at home up until our game (with no fewer than 100 goals for the season by messi eto’o and henry up till then). We had been through Grant, Scolari and Hiddink in the preceding 12 months, had injuries from hell during the season and were competing in 3 competitions still(going on to win 1, remember what that feels like do you).

    If you want to pick at Hiddinks tactics, fair enough, but to say we have the best squad in the world is really meaningless as only 11 can play. We might well have the strongest depth-wise but this is football and anything can, and will, happen.

    Only here would you see Arsenal being compared to Barca, 4 years ago maybe you were getting close but now, never. This seasons football has been far from shit from us though, maybe you haven’t been watching us enough!

  • Mark

    There is little point really in engaging with trolls.
    You aren’t really here to make a point Joe, just to laugh at
    the comedic nature of the site.

  • joe

    Oh, and of the 3 competitions we were in at the time of the Barca game remember that at that point we were playing our strongest starting in 11 in every single game, something that is gradually being phased out thankfully.

    Some of our players on that pitch had probably doubled the average prem players game time that season(Carling semi,CL semi, FA winners and still in the battle for prem until 2-3 weeks before the end), yet still managed to pick themselves up, go to the Emirates 4 days later and DESTROY Arsenal 4-1 (Yes, that’s the Arsenal who are quite like Barca remember).

    We are so shit!

  • joe

    Yes Mark, but they keep feeding me.

    Would you stop something you found past the minutes better at work 🙂

  • joe

    Passed sorry

  • walter

    Well Joe, I know it’s on the continent and maybe you think we don’t know much about football. But if you ask 100 football lovers (not fans of clubs, but managers and people involved in football) over here which are the two teams that play the best and attractive football and would be the greatest final to watch the names of Barcelona and Arsenal come out on top.
    Two teams that don’t go for tactics but just try to go for attack and out score the other team. No sitting behind the ball and hoping for the lucky brake that may come and then park the bus in front of goal. It wins games, sometimes, but not respect and club fans love it but other… they just pull up their shoulders and say : is this football ?

  • joe

    OK Walter, but who is the authority that says this is how football should be played exactly.

    I think Arsenal play pretty football, not particularly effective against teams who are willing to do the dirty work. What we played against Barca is as good as it gets from another perspective, neither is right though!

    Also Walter, while I am many things please let me say where you are from has no bearing on what I think about you or your footballing knowledge but right this secoind my days is over, I am here only for you x x

    See you Monday, good luck at Blackburn!

  • don't believe the hype

    Tim – that is why I stopped buying and reading newspapers years ago. They are all the same the broadsheets just use bigger words and what they think is more subtle racism, but it’s racism just the same.

  • I personally think UK football is pretty clear of corruption, because the causes of corruption on the continent can be traced to black market gambling circles run by Asian crime syndicates. Many countries in Europe (Germany, Portugal, Holland, France, Greece, Norway etc) have state run monopolies as the only legal bookmaker.

    Consumers are offered no competition, so odds are poor value. They resort to black markets to bet, which are unregulated and allow corruption to foster. So I believe we can keep it out of the UK if the gambling market stays open. But I also think an open market across Europe would help stamp out the corruption that’s killing the game there, as the petition at http://www.right2bet.net is calling for.