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Arsenal: a beacon of light in the times of corruption and money laundering

By Walter Broeckx

Ooh the good old days. The days when white was white, when black was black and grey was somewhere in between. When you get older you sometimes think back and maybe, just maybe you paint the past as better than it actually was. If I think back to my summers as a kid the sun was always shining. But I know that if I went through the data available it probably will have rained half of the summer days as this is just the way it is where I live.

But in those good old days the EPL was not that much covered in my part of the world. We had MOTD highlights and the FA cup final live on TV but that was it. So I really don’t know how things were standing with the refs in those good old days but I assume that they were better than what I can see now. I hope anyway.

With the globalisation of the EPL and the showing of 3 or 4 live games each week I can have a better view on how things are standing with the refs. And as you can tell from our reviews things are not that good. And we are not the only one to tell this.

Sometimes I wonder why I am still watching the EPL at all. Because looking at something that is fixed is so totally stupid and I really cannot stand such things. If I want to see sport I want to see Sport. Not some kind of fixed fake event where behind the scenes the winner has been decided before a ball has been kicked.

I do admit I still keep watching. But (and now comes the main point that is so dangerous for the EPL and the CL) if I think back at those good old days our local TV stations did show some football. Our local league, the European cups, the European championships, the World Cup. It all was shown live and our local TV station made a habit of showing all the games live on their channels.

I remember seeing all those games live.   A world cup game live in Argentina in was it 1976? At 2 am I was awake and even having to go to school the next day wouldn’t stop me from seeing the game. I was in the World cup in Mexico a few years later at the same nightly times  sitting there in front of my TV. Actually I really must have been thinking that those tournaments wouldn’t start if I wasn’t watching it live. Any European game I could see I was watching it live. No matter what. Day or night, winter or summer. I was there. I was totally addicted to football. Much to the annoyance of my wife at times. I must admit. During the world cup she wasn’t married to me.

So one could say that I as a totally football addicted person. But there is a cure now. And in a way my wife will maybe happy with it because there is a change.

It started in fact a few years ago. When I was watching the game Chelsea v Barcelona. I then found it funny at first how Chelsea had been screwed by the refs. Ok a bit of a childish reaction but as an Arsenal fan you love to see your local rivals lose. No matter how.

But that was  just an immediate reaction, because looking back at the incidents while I still found it funny that Chelsea were out of the CL but I also was thinking: What happened to the ref? How could he make such mistakes? Now, of course, after my work with Untold I’m just sure those weren’t “mistakes” at all.

The final thing was our exit last year at the hands of Busacca and his moment of helping Barcelona a bit. That moment I realised I was watching not a football game but a fixed game. It had to be Barcelona that should win the Champions League just like it happened when they won at Chelsea.

And as a result I have almost totally turned my back on the Champions League. The only moment I look at the Champions League is when Arsenal play. Because I always look when Arsenal is playing. But since we were screwed last year and even more after this year I don’t watch the live games any more. I just can’t bring myself to make myself a complete fool by watching something that has been fixed.

So my wife is very happy with this because now it can be Champions League or whatever Uefa has invented to make money: I don’t care when Arsenal is not playing.

And in a way the same thing is now happening with the EPL. With all the evidence that there is something totally wrong with football in the PL and with the refs and those who control the refs I start losing interest. I only watch the Arsenal games and the games I review for Untold. The other live games I let them pass by me. Only when someone asks me about it will I take a look at some incidents but for the rest I couldn’t care about it.

So the way to lose football crazy people like me is to make sure that there is some visible corruption or whatever it is that goes on behind the scenes. In fact I couldn’t care a lot who wins the title this season, or the next. I hope Arsenal will win it (next season…) but if not I couldn’t really care who wins it.

In a way I do of course. I don’t like to see a team buying the title. And I don’t like to see a team getting helped on to the title by the refs. So who wins it in the end is irrelevant as it will not be won on merit or on hard work. It will be won by the club that has paid the most to the right person(s).

And this situation has led me to getting free from my addiction. I can now go home in the knowledge that Cheat United plays Money City and I will not take the time to look at the game. I will sit on the couch with my wife and look at anything else on TV but they will not have my attention during the game. I will look at the final score and depending on the outcome I know who made the most intelligent payment.

The good thing is that I have more spare time (to write articles on Untold and do ref reviews) but isn’t it a sad thing that a love that has lasted around 50 years has died. Died on the field of corruption that I see in football?

Of course I don’t give up on Arsenal because apart from me losing interest in the rest of the competitions I still cannot stand the thought of not being able to see an Arsenal game. Be it in the middle of the night, I will get up to see it. I even look at streams from reserves games if possible.

I just feel that Arsenal is for me the club that is standing out (and I think and hope there will be others out there) who are trying to do the things in a right way. Not wasting money on silly and expensive transfers, no buying refs or asking the PGMOL to get the right refs for the right games.

I believe that Arsenal is a beacon of light in these times of corruption and money laundering, in these times of buying titles at all costs, in these times of financial unfair rules. I’m so glad that the team I love has taken the path of the honest guys. The way of building and working towards being successful. Because this is the only reason I still keep on watching football.

Without this beacon of light and hope in football I would stop watching it and just go to my local team where they just try to win the next game. And I would stop paying for watching all those bent games, that I don’t watch anyhow.

So Uefa, the FA, the PL and the PGMOL have achieved in only 2 years what my wife couldn’t do in our 27 years of marriage: making me lose interest in football in general. And if I may be permitted to make a suggestion as to how you spend your life, if you feel the same about it as I do just stay with Arsenal in these days. Because I really do think that they are the last club between total corruption and they are the only one that can turn the tide. So fuck Uefa, FA, PL and the PGMOL but stick with our Gunners on the field and our Gooners in the stands and all over the world.

I do think after 125 years Arsenal is facing the most important battle of their footballing lives: keeping their supporters and carrying the light and lead us to a new era in which football is decided on the pitch with impartial refs and with things to help those refs to make the correct decisions on the spot. This is why I will stick to Arsenal till the last moment.

Corruption: A beacon of light in the world of match fixing and money laundering

Youth: Under 19 version of the Champions League?

Ref Review: QPR v Arsenal – the ref review

68 comments to Arsenal: a beacon of light in the times of corruption and money laundering

  • RedGooner

    Walter its all about quality not quantity thats why we support Arsenal.

  • colario

    My sentiments exactly. I wanted Chelsea to lose, but I didn’t want them to be cheated of the game and clearly they were. Note that Fulham were denied an obvious penalty recently. I can’t help but wonder why. But do I need to wonder?

  • kevin

    If ALL football is fixed then you have to believe by your own lodgic that Arsenal are involved themselves. I for one dont think its fixed but i do think the refs are conditioned to favour certain teams, at certain times, and that both epl and cl fixture list is rigged.
    It would be impossible to fix football totally. me thinks your a bit paranoid!!!!!!

  • nicky

    Walter, For those of us who were brought up on pre-WW2 football, there was really only Arsenal to support. They were the Club who set the pattern for other clubs’ behaviour. They once abandoned signing a player “due to his unpleasnt table manners”.
    I DID have a school chum who actually dared to support Linfield in the Irish League…. but purely because that was the name of his house.
    Roll on the FFPR when Arsenal will surely come into their own.

  • shotta

    Pretty good summation of how my viewing habits as well. Much the same way I lost interest in most professional sports in America because the product was not the game itself but the hype surrounding this or that franchise player, the draft, the money and the celebs. Day after day ESPN or whatever channel would hype a particular game while the entire thing was choreographed and scripted for tv. The players are mostly robots whose every move is from the playbook directed by a tv-friendly coach or manager. After a while I concluded it was b*ll-sh*t to make money for the broadcast media and their advertisers.
    I am beginning to feel the same way about football. Generally speaking if it was not for Arsenal I would simply chuck-in the significant monthly expense of the premium package plus the extra dosh for for Fox Soccer plus. The product is not good enough beyond four or so top teams and the corruption of the referees enabled by the FA in England and UEFA in Europe goes on shamelessly. At some point I simply will stop being ripped off.

  • shotta

    Of course for many millions who are emotionally attached to their football club as part of the right-of-passage from child to adulthood (or loyalty to their city-based professional franchise in America) all of my sentiments above are sacrilegious and scandalous. But the majority of us outside England (and America for that matter) are drawn to the EPL or champions league because it is supposed to be my sport, which I was madly in love during my youth, played at the highest level, fair and square. When fair and square dies, why bother. No wonder the football authorities and the media, with the support of their deep-pocketed advertisers, do everything to convince us that there is no corruption, only human error, and that these things “even out themselves” over time. What is left of the print media and TV are so heavily invested in the make-believe product they can’t afford to weed out the corruption. Right now I am still paying but if it wasn’t for Arsenal FC I would probably pack it in.

  • Anne

    @Walter:

    I don’t even know what to say. But I love this.

  • Damien Luu

    Boy, my feelings and emotions are just like yours, Walter, in every part of what you wrote. I am watching only Arsenal, nothing else, no World Cup, no Euro, no CL, (not even my local league, which is also corrupted like hell), nothing if Arsenal is not involved. And if someday I find out that Arsenal is also corrupted like everyone else, I will stop watching football at once, I swear. (Thank God I have another sport to be addicted with – pool.)

    And that’s why I said, and I hope it’s true, that Arsenal is the only hope for this insane and corrupted football world. Maybe there still are other honest clubs out there but they could not do what Arsenal can do. In other words, Arsenal is the only “big” club that is innocent, I believe.

  • Sav from Australia

    I can’t believe it but your experiences with watching the Chelsea-Barcelona tie a couple years back was exactly my feeling.

    I can tell you one thing about Arsenal from a neutral point of view, that maybe you Gooners don’t realise. People that watch football for the enjoyment and love of the game and who do not support a particular club, will always watch an Arsenal match if they can, simply because they play brilliant football.

    I started supporting Manchester United in 1991/1992 season (aged 5) because that was who my father and his brothers supported. I stopped when the Glazers took over. Once you give up supporting a particular club, you can never support another. It feels like cheating on your wife/girlfriend, it is not moral.

    So I started watching all the EPL teams (being restricted to only the English and Spanish leagues on my TV station – have to say though, Spanish football is really boring – my brother and I fell asleep when we tried to watch the an ‘El Clasico’).

    Arsene Wenger is the reason I try to watch as many of the Arsenal matches as possible, and why I read your blog. He seems like a philosopher, an idealist – and I suppose being an idealist myself, I am drawn to admiration and respect for such a man.

    You guys are really doing something important for all of football on every level. Really appreciate the effort of the staff on this website. My sincerest thanks for your efforts.

  • Adam

    Imagine my surprise last night when noticing that the ref for the Blackburn v Man Utd game was none other than our old friend Howard Webb. He was visibly relieved when Valencia actually scored a goal for Utd so he wouldn’t have to intervene at that end of the pitch.

  • Arvind

    @Anne: Ditto I guess but I’ll say a little more..

    Thank You Walter for one more beautiful article. I like the genuineness of the emotion that comes out; it’s “unfakeable” if I may use that term ; )

    I don’t know if Arsenal are “whiter than white”. I’d asked Anne that question once and she’d sort of agreed?…about there being a possibility of corruption when power is involved..or something to that effect.

    There’ve been people in the past who have said that Danny Fizmann with his diamond industry…was certainly corrupt as well. There wasn’t any proof but its large business; so yes it’s possible. Ditto Usmanov. Kroeneke. Glazers. Sky. ESPN. BCCI. All sport. Religion. Pretty much everything big is most probably corrupt…like the sick politicians in India, while we’re at it. But I digress..

    The point is..at the moment; Arsenal “seems” that its above all of that as far as I can see and tries to do things the right way. So as long as that continues, I can’t see myself breaking ties with the club; even if Arsene moves on 1 day..which he will.

    But as Damien puts it… if someday it turns out we were corrupt too…that’ll be it. No more football. Hopefully…it never happens. Hopefully…

  • Weslee

    What you have written about is not the Arsenal club per se but one Arsene Wenger.

  • Rich_Fryer

    Interesting piece on continuing corruption in Italian football.

    http://www.givemefootball.com/premier-league/football-still-tarnished-by-toxic-element

  • John L

    my father and i have been noticing corruption and refs probably since united beat (or should i say, riley, was it?) us to end our unbeaten run. and i do believe it has gotten worse…even my mother has noticed it and she watches half-heartedly at best!

    i work evenings and in california all football games are televised early to late morning, so with my mornings free i watch alot of football. CL, EPL, bundesliga, la liga, serie a, ligue 1…i watch at least ten games a week. however over the past few years something has changed and that is that i now watch alot of MLS. the quality is not better, nor is the atmosphere but there is an honestly about the players, officials and outcomes of matches that i find refreshing after years of watching european football. the refs make mistakes, obvisouly, but there doesnt seem to be the same patterns of mistakes year after year in regards to the same teams. and what do you know? there is no enduring ‘best team’ year after year.

    although i agree with you walter, in that UEFA, FIFA etc is in danger of losing its fans if something isnt done to stop the corruption and cheating both financially and through the refs. it isnt necessarily a bad thing. interest in local football can only be a good thing for countries not blessed with having a ‘top’ league. and its an opportunity for some countries to sort themselves out and possibly improve their domestic competition.

    arsenal are a shining light it would seem, but in the end one team is not enough. i will always love arsenal, but i think that if the trend continues over the next few years i might just lose my passion for the 4am game in december sitting by myself in a cold, dark living room screaming murder at my TV screen, while simmering in the knowledge that my week might just be ruined by a lack of sleep, anger towards a bent offical, and that screaming sense of injustice. to much recently have i sat there wondering….is this really worth it!?!?

  • Shard

    @Rich_Fryer

    At least they are being caught. It’s terrible but Italy seems to be at least trying to clean up house. I wonder what the English Premier League is doing apart from preaching to the world that they should follow the English example.

    I’m also interested to see what comes of the following case, where Preston’s manager accused 4 of his players of leaking details of his team talks to the opposition, Sheffield Wednesday. Wednesday won 2-0. Wednesday’s owner?? At least involved in some capacity… A familiar name.. Milan Mandaric.

    The Fa will only concentrate on the betting aspect of it. If no bets were placed, no action can be taken.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/preston-north-end/9179455/Football-Association-await-further-information-from-watchdogs-over-alleged-leaking-of-Preston-team-news.html

  • Shard

    Walter. So much of what you said is exactly how I feel. Just a wonderful write up.

  • ak47

    talk about nail on the head. id imagine most gooners feel and behave the same way. i know i do. shame really.
    a level playing field would be nice. imagine if everton kept rooney, arteta etc…the same with aston villa. you’d think any football fan would be excited by milan v farca tonight. i didnt even remember it was tonight. i’ll prolly watch it if theres nothing else to do. and if i do i very much doubt it’ll be for the full 90 even if 8 are scored in the first half.

    even without trophies arsenal provide so many reasons for supporting. the content on and off the pitch is 2nd to none.

  • John L

    i was having a chat with a fellow football enthusiast from brazil recently. i was expressing my disappointment at the lack of video replay, goal line tech, and other ideas on how to improve the officiating and that i see this as evidence of corruption. seeing as most other international sports have this and i cannot find another incentive as to why one wouldnt want these improvements in the beautiful game.

    much to my dismay, he responded with revulsion! “noo!, that will never and should never happen!” when i queried as to why? his response was simple. “futbal is not a sport, it is drama.” and with any good drama you need villains, backstabbing, politics, social economics, culture, race, dirty money, corruption, inside jobs, cheating and every now and again the honest hero who in the face of all that shit, rises up, and wins against the odds!

    and all i could think was ‘is that why i love arsenal so much?’

    it was a completely different way of looking at the problem and in some ways, grudgingly, i kind of agree….

  • ak47

    @sav. great comment. i think it would not be amoral to support arsenal as it would be for the greater good 🙂

    plus a agree with most on that if we were found to be corrupt. bye bye football.(watching that is).

  • While i completely agree with many of your thoughts but one thing and one thing that i dont get it is
    “No one from the professionals that i admire come out and say it”
    I admire Mr Wenger highly and i ask to myself why he is not saying anything about it ?

    Is he because will be fined huge sum of money and choose to be silent.

    Or he may be thinking there is no way out of this ?
    Or is he part of it ? and should i start questioning his integrity ?
    It is so clear and evident when every team is denied a clear cut penalty and the Manure are favoured to get it.
    Long time ago little that we know about films in africa me and my friends where buying and renting video VHS of Hulk Hogan(wrestling) and all the rest.We believe that he was a very strong man and was capable of destroying any kind of man nature.He won the admiration of many people believing that it was true live action.
    Well when we wake up and learn that it was all drama choreographed nicely to attract the audience,we just have to be sorry for ourselves.Now nobody even is watching and it is one of the extinct films back at home.
    Will football become like this ??/

  • Mahdain

    20-UEFA have fined Porto €20k for their fans racist chanting while Wenger gets a €40k fine and 3 match touchline ban for having dared to rightly question the referee.Priorities.

  • robl

    Spot on Walter, the love of the game that came from watching Socrates, Zico & Platini, then years later the magic & joy of Roger Milla, Mboma & Ollisa has been slowly chipped away. Dodgy euro reffing such as against Leicester, Chelsea, both Barca matches all just discolour it and leave a bad taste. I want my daughter to feel that excitement I had, but unless it’s address it will just dissapoint & decline.

  • rantetta

    That’s another excellent article, Walter. And just the other night – instinct made me want to go out and watch some game, but in the end I read yet another superb article here on Untold, and was so engrossed, with the replies, too, that I just stayed with it, rather than ending up seething at incorrect decisions and foul play – which I knew would happen anyway. I don’t like the fact that I’ve been slipping towards not watching games in which the Arsenal play, having spent a good chunk of my life doing just that.

    And I’m a bit disturbed about John L’s mates’ summary. I don’t want “drama” to come from corruption. But I think I know where he’s coming from, and of course, I’m desperate for us “good guys” to come through.

    There are so many great comments on here.

    I also believe – Arsenal are a beacon of light.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I just put on my TV and on my sports channel that comes standard on my TV I saw Milan score the 1-1.

    I went on to twitter and wrote: where is busacca when you need him

    And lo and behold minutes later the ref gives a penalty to Barcelona

    I don’t know who the ref is at Barca – Milan but he surely got himself a great job in a few years time.

    does anyone honestly think this penalty would be given the other way round???
    What a great example of my article.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Turning off my TV now, please let me know if anything strange happens….

  • Anne

    @Walter:

    That was actually Barca’s second penalty in the match.

  • Maverick

    @Anne, i know it is beyond rubbish…….and the constant diving and play acting. Fabregas i have lost respect for, how could a player brought through the Arsenal ranks and brought though as an honest football want to be in the middle of this rubbish and looking at him he is currently absolutely loving being a part of this blatant cheating, he is starting to do it himself.

    It begs the question……if Barca are ‘more than just a club’ and ‘the best in the world’ why do you need to have refs protection and constantly cheat. Maybe they are being found out as not all that, may have decent players but can be beaten and at time quite easily. Can’t have that now can we?!!

  • Peter Northcott

    It will be interesting to see if the ref for Man U – Fulham is “rested” for a few weeks (or at least taken off “big” games) for his blatant error – like other refs have been for similar mistakes.

  • none

    Walter, I thought it was just me that moved away from watching football as a sport to just wanting to watch Arsenal and being caught up in the passion of watching them play live.

    Back in the old days as you put it, you began to form an emotional attachment to the team, which is probably what still drives me today. There was no Internet and as you said we were teased with MoTD highlights and the odd show piece final and every four years a brief flurry of World Cup madness.

    Also back in the good old days I used to also watch WWF, now WWF and get sucked into the fights believing what I was seeing. But when I was a child, I talked like a child; I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

    Now, we have the power of the Internet with its amazing ability to bring people and ideas together to show us the things might not always be as it seems. And you being to realise that the rumours from your childhood were true and that the ‘fights’ were all smoke and mirrors [I like the explanation here, http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/pro-wrestling1.htm%5D

    So we have an entertainment business that styles itself as a sport. Now the money that is apparently swilling round ‘Professional Wrestling’ is around $483.9mil (£304m or 365.57m Euro). Contrast that with just the revenue of the Premier League with £2bil for 2010 alone. Thats quite a lot of reasons to see that certain lucky breaks go the way that you want or the way that you can predict them.

    Now the work that Walter, Dogface and the Ref reviewers are doing is impressive, actually in some cases its amazing. To me it highlights the face that there is the possibility that there are suggestions being made to match officials on how they should interpret the rules for a particular game. i.e. “team XYZ are a strong passing side, to disrupt them allow the opposition to make strong tackles and penalise any reprisals”.

    The issue I have at present is that while we have our opinions on what is going on. What we lack is a smoking gun. Its a bit like listening to a particle physicist at CERN go on about finding the god particle, they have so much evidence but no proof…. at present.

    What I would like is the media to do their job and investigate the issue rather than insult those that question the status quo. But, sadly the only thing I now trust the British media to do is tell me when the clocks go back and that there is a public holiday. I know this wont happen, instead I look to Dogface’s previews and see what the Predictatron shows

    Or, perhaps I am still seeing things through a child’s eyes and I will put these childish ways behind me.

    @ Walter/Tony, if you feel this oversteps the mark, please delete.

  • Anne

    @Maverick:

    Arsenal is better than Barca. That would have been proven in the CL last year if it hadn’t been for Busacca. And Cesc, for that matter.

  • Maverick

    @Anne,

    everyone seemingly loves Cesc saying that he gave his best for Arsenal etc. I find him a traitor and a nasty piece of work. The last couple of years in Arsenal he was constantly ‘injured’ and moped around and only turned up for games he wanted to. Just like people think Cesc’s backheel in the Barca game was a horrendous mistake…i reckon it was deliberate to stick it to Arsenal because he wanted to be with Barca and we didn’t let him go and he couldn’t bare to see Arsenal prevail over his home club. Have you noticed how often he played for us in the last season……..barely ever and then he gets his dream move and all of a sudden he has never been in better shape and now he is kissing their badge whilst saying he wouldn’t mind coming back to Arsenal when to play out his career.

    No thanks Cesc you stick to your scummy team, i feel he was dishonest decietful and sold Arsenal down the river knowing Arsenal are kind and would never sell him to a club he didnt want to go to he paid his way out and left us for FAR below market value, the guy played us like a fiddle for years and i think he is a straight up asshole. I know i am gonna be slammed for saying that from many, but his last few years of ‘service’ for us stank, and how we were treated by him and his friends was disgusting over the summer, Even when his scummy classless friends utilised the emirates for training (a favour from us i might add) they had the audacity to steal a picture of the team and point at him take photos of it whilst laughing at us and basically saying “ooooooohhhhh look this is who we like, he is ours”

    Cesc and barca can rot as far as i am concerned and anyone else that wants to join that scummy club…..who could want to join them just because they win trophies and have big names, they are classless and soulless i dont care how beautifully they play. Its just like a person, i would rather be with a plain and ordinary person who is a good friend, than a pretty person that messes around and is a backstabber.

  • bob

    shotta,
    you’re right that espn/usa-sports is massively hype driven, but it’s pure disillusionment that produces a statement like this as if it’s factual which it is not: “The players are mostly robots whose every move is from the playbook directed by a tv-friendly coach or manager.” On the ground, US sports – baseball, football, basketball – are a cash cow because, in general, they are nowhere near as chronically bent as UEFA/FIFA football is fast showing itself to be. The product sells because there are lots of unexpected results, upsets, etc. I get the spirit that animates your indictment here, but people shouldn’t be misled by your facts, which are wrong.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    My exact sentiments,Walter .Its only Arsenal games that I watch
    and cannot watch 90 mins of any other game without getting all fidgety or clicking the remote to other stations.
    The best that I can do is to watch the highlights/goal.
    I din’t think that its a coincidence that many who read this blog are of a same opinion in wanting fairplay,honesty and truthfulness .Although of diverse life experiences,trials and tribulations, we all seem to gravitate towards the Arsenal.
    We know and beleive that this is a right choice and for it we are rewarded- each by different measures.
    Is it fate ? Karma ? Kismet ?For me its unbridled joy .

  • Shard

    JonL

    I don’t really disagree with you. Football is drama, and reluctantly I can accept that. But sport really does offer its own drama without the requirement if a script. THAT is what we really love. Those moments where you are filled with wonder and joy and you know the moment is unique. It’s irreplaceable, and cannot be replicated.

    ALso, I think one thing that we forget in all this, is the players. When I was growing up, watching the likes of Dennis Bergkamp, Pires, Henry, Ronaldo, etc, made me want to go out and play football. The joy that they brought to the game. Now, every time I watch a football match I feel drained after it. That’s because I realise I’m constantly worrying whether the referee will rob us of a fair contest. If the pure joy of the game dies, the next generation of players will not be playing the game for anything other than the money, and the drama will make them into actors. Still players I guess, but then I’d rather go to the theatre. And I don’t mean Old Trafford.

  • Shard

    @Maverick

    I couldn’t agree with you more. No matter what his PR drive and his hollow words might say, his actions spoke plenty. I’m not sure if that backheel was on purpose (though a player of his quality doing that in that situation is odd) but I do know that his head wasn’t in the right place during the match. I criticised him for it even then. How he allowed Barca’s scumbags to manhandle RVP and Nasri (for all his scumminess, Nasri showed some fight). If I were in his place, I would have stood between the Barca players and Robin and said, you’ve got to go through me. That would either have stopped them, or shown that they aren’t really his friends. But of course, his heart wasn’t in the Arsenal cause. And maybe, just maybe, that’s what caused the end of season collapse. The team spirit is definitely better this year. Good riddance, and Cesc will never be an Arsenal legend to me.

  • Roger

    Good article perfectly sums up my feelings over the last couple of seasons and yes the wife is a lot happier.
    I will watch The Arsenal regardless but can’t even be bothered to watch or check the results for the rest of the EPL.

    @Maverick, couldn’t agree more truly disappointed by the actions of our ex club captain what kind of message was he sending to the squad,no need to answer we saw the results both on and off the pitch.
    At least for me The Team look united behind the leadership of Van Persie and Vermaelen and not waiting for the superstar to turn up and perform.
    So good riddance he is like an ex girlfriend who was great in bed but I wouldn’t introduce to my mother.

  • bob

    Shard,
    for yours at 7:00 and 7:05 above,
    eloquence-and-truth, thy name is Shard!
    Kudos.

  • Anne

    @Maverick:

    I certainly won’t condemn you for a single one of those comments about Cesc. In fact, it’s really interesting to go back and watch the entire build up to that backheel…

  • Maverick

    @Anne,

    I know, when you look at the events leading up to the backheel, who did it and when it was done at a critical point in the match by a player that spent more time with Barca players in the warm up than his own, chatting and laughing with them etc………it was no accident. When it happened i remember everyone saying “oh poor Cesc he has gotta be devistated by his mistake” i was saying “Cesc you traitorous scumbag” and i remember saying this on forums and posts on blogs and i got severely chastised. I also said for definite Cesc is gone in the summer……..was told i was negative and a hater and if he goes in the summer it is with blessing because of his love for Arsenal and how much he did for us. That may be so for the first few years but his last few were horrendous in comparison to what he could have done.

    Look at him when he is playing for Barca, and put that into perspective for how he played for us for his last 2 season and people still think he is a Legend…….i don’t like the guy he left me with a fould taste in my mouth and i HATE it when he is always saying “every match i can i watch Arsenal because i love them and cheer for them” Don’t make me puke, you are no Henry if you loved us and cared so much you wouldn’t have left us with no options and also pay off your contract to leave and also to the lowest bidder so Arsenal looks like saps and Barca can gloat about they got a bargain…….i NEVER want to see him in an Arsenal shirt again, i dont care if he surpasses Messi, he can rot for all i care.

  • Anne

    @Maverick:

    It didn’t even occur to me at the time of the match that Cesc might have thrown it on purpose. Really. Everything was so overshadowed by Busacca. And until Cesc actually left, I was saying that he wasn’t going to leave.

    When he did leave, that was kind of like having a bucket of ice water dumped over my head. And I have since gone back and watched the entire match again. And well… you can see the conclusion that I’ve come to.

    I wonder how many others feel the same way?

  • Anne

    @Maverick:

    If you go back and watch the entire buildup, you can see that there was more than the backheel. The play actually started when Cesc left Xavi open in front of goal. You can see the point where Cesc and Xavi look at each other.

    Xavi moved towards goal, unmarked, and Cesc moved back to “mark” Iniesta. With Xavi completely open in front of goal, the pass came into him. Clichy was marking Messi, but he was forced to leave Messi and came to Xavi, and just barely prevented Xavi from scoring.

    But that left Messi open on the wing. As Arsenal was playing the ball out, Cesc laid the backheel off to Iniesta, who passed it to the now-open Messi.

    And that’s just what I saw… What happened… Make of it what you will.

  • Maverick

    @Anne,

    I could tell straight away that Cesc threw the match….for the simple reason everyone was back defending eagerly trying to get rid of the ball. Anyone would realistically just kick the ball into touch or belted it down field against such a dangeroud attacking team (which we were trying to do) we were defending for our lives and were dealing with their threat and then enter stage right Cesc……one of the more intelligent players in football and ANYONE could see the dangers, what does he do…backheels to MESSI.

    Think about this, not just you Anne but ANYONE that feels i have an agenda against Cesc, this will make you think twice (no one would listen to me when i stated this also) Remember that EPL match, when we were defending a free kick and Cesc was standing next to Chamakh the free kick gets played and yet AGAIN Cesc one of the most intelligent football players out there………..pulls up Chamakhs arm and it hits the ball PENALTY!! Chamakh looked at him as if to say WTF!! Cesc looks all apologetic another horrendous mistake from our captain, the pundits were saying he loves Arsenal so much he did a cheeky thing anything to stop a goal and he got caught. The ball wasnt likely to go in but he purposefully pulled a players (not his own) arm up into its path.

    I reckon he has been screwing us over for ages!

  • Maverick

    here you go, and funnily enough it even states in this Article we imploded after it also…….this was when i started feeling Cesc was not the person we all though and hoped he was:

    http://www.soccerblog.com/2010/11/fabregas-handball-typifies-ars.htm

  • Anne

    @Maverick:

    That handball was just as bad.

  • Anne

    And I share your conclusions about it.

  • Anne

    Here’s the best video I could find:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djaYFGrmOAU

  • Anne

    Also, here’s the backheel (it’s right at the beginning). Watch the way Cesc pulls out of the challenge against Iniesta just afterwards:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EW7R4Zh4FA

  • Arvind

    @Anne: So if you’re saying Cesc threw this (not for money) but to subtly force Arsenal’s hand into selling him, it has to be one of the most hypocritical acts by a human being ever.

    The only point is…is it really that cut and dry? Surely there is room for mistakes? Maybe Cesc was thinking of finding the guy(cant see who) in front of Iniesta before he stole the ball? Its surely possible. I think its just an error of execution here to be frank. The margins are really razor thin ..more so when you play Barca.

    The tackle he pulls out of…yes…looks really bad on slow motion but I’m trying to think..if he gets it wrong..there’s a huge lot to lose. Free kick dead central…last minute of the half…and Iniesta has a ton to still do to even find Messi so he pulls out.

    Is that how it happened? I don’t know. Did Cesc “throw” this? I don’t know. But I’m quite sure it isn’t as cut and dry as that.

    This isn’t a Cesc defense..well maybe in a way it is. But I’m just saying, there’s far too much doubt to conclusively prove that this was all fixed. There’s surely more dreadful back passes and hgh risk flicks gone wrong in the history of Arsenal football. I remember a Lauren own goal where he ran back from the half line and somehow dumped it past Lehmann or a Henry back pass in a 5-4 game against Spurs which we won. Much worse than this.

    So..I do not mean any of this in a confrontational sense…but its very hard for me to believe that THIS was how it all transpired. Maybe it did..who knows..but…

    I guess you get what I’m saying.

  • WalterBroeckx

    About Cesc I just want to use the words that Caesar (apparently) said when he got murdered:

    Et tu Cesc? You too Cesc? You too my son….

    I guess Wenger as a well educated person will have said these words at some point in the last year…

    I really really really really hope Bayern Munich wins the CL this year… I will buy me a “lederhose” then 😉

  • Anne

    @Arvind:

    It’s not “cut and dry.” But if you watch the entire match again (if you can find it.. seems to be disappearing quite rapidly, this one) I think you might see more where I’m coming from.

  • Anne

    @Walter:

    I’m pulling for Bayern too in the CL this year. But I’m enjoying the Europa League a lot more, really. I’m looking forward to today’s second leg between Bilbao and Shalke. The first leg was (believe it or not) a really good football match.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Cesc said himself that if he would leave without winning something with Arsenal he would be a loser. So that is what he is for me. No matter how much he wins with Barcelona, he still will remain a loser.

  • Anne

    @Walter:

    🙂

  • Shard

    @Arvind

    I too have a hard time believing that Cesc ‘threw’ the game. All I know for certain is that he had a horrible game, where the only forward pass that connected was when Robin got sent off (not saying that was Cesc’s fault)and I definitely felt his mentality was all wrong. Whether he threw the game or not, I dont know and its impossible to prove anyway. but his body language was all wrong. Subsequent events did show that Cesc’s loyalty to Arsenal was not what we thought it was. Oh well… either way, UEFA are scum, Barca are scum, and Cesc is scum, and honestly, I’m glad to be rid of him, and I hope he’d shut up about how much feeling he has for Arsenal.

  • I for one am not a big fan of Barcelona but once you start winning everything people start to question your authority within the game.

    Now decisions sometimes go your way and then they go against you (major rugby fan, and to see how South Africa were screwed out of the World Cup, was devastating) but it is about taking it on the chin, and moving on. Because you feel that somewhere down the line decisions will go in your favor.

    Van Persie’s send off against Barca was harsh, and I have sympathy for him not hearing the whistle (or the fact that it was like a split second or so) but the dreadful challenge that earned him his first yellow was entirely his fault.

    For those who are calling Cesc a scum, if Cesc did do what you are proclaiming than it will catch up to him, but I for one blame Wenger for playing him on that day. A player that has such a saga going on did not deserve to play in a game of this magnitude, certainly his thoughts wasn’t on the game.

    Then you have the little problem of money, and money has no religion, skin color or loyalty, if you want loyalty then get a dog, only loyalty in football – Giggs and Scholes for United (only but a few I can name) Nasri chose City for the money, now if your wages gets doubled like that, please don’t tell me you’re going to stay?

    What I’m trying to say is, we are Arsenal and like the emblem reads “FORWARD” we must go FORWARD and forget about the past, clinging on to the past is wrong

    Forget about the days of the unbeaten run, the days of Cesc, the days of Nasri going to City but let us start to move forward

  • critic

    yay shard. I completely agree with u. He should shut the fcuk up because “when going got tough he went nuts”.

  • critic

    alex
    April 3, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    That was a great comment and similar to what i was thinking. If arsenal is the supposed beacon of light then why they don’t question the integrity of BPL and CL?? Are they waiting for their turn in UEFA and FA book of favoritism?

    And sad part is nobody replied to him.

  • Shard

    critic

    Yes Wenger’s UEFA ban is for keeping quiet and waiting for Arsenal’s turn to prosper. As if the FA will react any better. And no other manager has been as vocal in his support for video replay. Who are Arsenal supposed to complain to anyway? What will it achieve, except for Wenger being called a whiner and Arsenal being ridiculed by the media, and more than likely, further punished (both officially and unofficially) by the league and the referees?

  • bob

    Joffey,
    It’s not either forget the past or move forward. It’s both at the same time. Some are quite capable of doing so. For one example, the memory of how Micky R did us at Old Toilet in 2004 can be drawn on to propel some players and fans to push for an excellence that will overcome the odds against us. Injustice doesn’t only paralyze; it can also instruct and inspire.

  • bob

    Shard,
    Cheers for advocating video replay. The silence hereabouts on this, Arsene’s call, has been deafening.

  • Arvind

    @Anne,Shard: This is why I have such a hard time believing the Cesc thing…

    http://soccernet.espn.go.com/columns/story/_/id/1044793/kevin-palmer:-nervous-chelsea-edge-past-benfica

    HOW DID HE DO THAT? Ramires looked certain to score when he found himself a yard from goal with an open net at his mercy in the second half. Only the Brazilian can explain how he didn’t convert the chance, as he seemed to jump over the ball when glory seemed certain.

  • critic

    @shard

    If u are not the solution to a problem then u are a part of it. As simple as that.

    Arsenal have far more resources than u, me and Untold to prove anything that is fishy. It doesn’t have to be wenger. Club can hire some1…oh!! fucking wait! Club has already hired Tony Atwood and untold to spread the awareness…good job guys. Once this concept gains credibility Arsenal can land the final blow.

    Joking aside, club is anything but beacon of light in the darkness of corruption. It does nothing to stop it. It keeps suffering like u and me without protesting. Remember what Gandhi said? “A person who do not raise his voice against injustice is equally guilty”.

    To your reference people will ridicule arsenal, well every club is ridiculed by other fans including some of theirs. Arsenal is no different. In fact everyone who goes out of their way to prove something new is ridiculed.

  • Shard

    @critic

    Wow. Gandhi being quoted. That’s cool 🙂

    Hire someone to do what? No seriously.. I want to know what can be done. Do you have any solutions to offer? Or is it just a complaint that Arsenal must do SOMETHING..ANYTHING? I feel that frustration too, but what are Arsenal’s options? Resources or no resources.

    And sorry, I don’t think Arsenal are whiter than white in the sense that they will sacrifice their own interests for the chance to do the world of football some good. I don’t expect it, and I don’t want it.

    But here’s the thing. Arsenal do the things the ‘right’ way. No excessive spending. Building their own stadium from their own funds. Bringing through youngsters. Playing some of the best football. (though best is subjective) and as a general rule, our players are well behaved on and off the field. Arsenal have been on the receiving end of some unbelievable decisions, and some frankly, pathetic media coverage. If the only thing you can find to criticise Arsenal for, is keeping quiet, which is in itself not entirely true, then you need a rethink about where your loyalties are.

    I’m all for the alternative viewpoint. But I do not see anything Arsenal can really do to combat it. Arsenal’s resources, are less than the resources they are up against, not least because Arsenal’s resources depend on the existing establishment. If you call that as being part of the problem, then sure. Arsenal are as corrupt as anybody else just by association. But then so are you, as a consumer, and me. And so are the government, and people of the UK, and everyone in the world. How far do you want to take the argument of ‘corrupt by association’?

    Apart from an abstract disagreement with the title of the article, do you really not understand why it is felt that Arsenal are a force for ‘good’ in the modern football landscape?

  • Stuart

    @ Critic

    Wenger regularly gets fined for criticising refereeing decisions. Therefore by your reasoning, Arsenal are not guilty.

  • critic

    Oh well, then let’s keep sharing our grief on blogs.

  • Shard

    Unless you have a solution to offer

  • rantetta

    Having returned to this article’s comments, there are a couple of things I’d like to say. A few days ago I posted a comment on this article: “I don’t like the fact that I’ve been slipping towards not watching games in which the Arsenal play”.
    This should have read:
    I don’t like the fact that I’ve been slipping towards not watching games in which the Arsenal *do not* play. (So, that’s clear, right?)

    Except, I just watched spuds draw with cumberband.

    The other thing is Cesc’s handball’s. I remember at the time thinking “what’s going on”, when the penalty was given. I thought that because I’d seen Cesc ‘handball in the wall’ in a previous match. The back-heel from farca certainly carries suspicion, given Cesc’s all-round ability, and the proximity to our own goal, although I’ve seen Arsenal players try all kind of back-heels/flicks from our penalty area in order to get an attack going (and sometimes giving the ball back to the opposition in the process. Clichy and Arshavin come to mind).

    I can’t make my mind up as to whether Cesc “threw” stuff (perhaps that’s partly because I don’t want to contemplate that scenario), but for some reason I thought he went off in that match through injury, or he shouldn’t have started at all.

    Speaking of Cesc, there was that win at *”mongies” when Ramsey was Shawcrossed: Arsenal scored and Cesc then ran to our supporters and pointed to his feet 3 times, indicating the number of times legs had been broken by competing Mongies.

    Fabregas v Stoke(mongies) Go to 3:40m to see the “broken bones” gesture, or watch the whole thing if you want to see that there was definitely a time when Fab put in a good shift for us.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKSvQZIgd9U&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PL32162B775AB31B64

    *Mongies:
    http://stokeparanormalsociety.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/gervais-cleared-for-stokies-mong-jibe.html

  • Arvind

    I honestly doubt Cesc threw stuff Rantetta. Seriously. If he did it..why watch Arsenal. Really? Why watch any TV for that matter? Its depressing me to even think of it.