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.
Ref Review: QPR v Arsenal – the ref review