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Clubs should be responsible for their own supporters [Stop the match, Mourinho is talking].

Help us develop a database of Arsenal Anniversaries.

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By Tony Attwood

The Scottish Football Association has revealed police are investigating threats made towards members of the judicial panel that imposed a 12 month transfer ban on Rangers (who were found guilty of bringing Scottish football into disrepute).

The Rangers manager, Ally McCoist, had previously launched an appeal for members of the anonymous panel to be named.  This despite the fact that the clubs had voted in favour of such a system last season.

The names of those involved in the process have now indeed been published as Mr McCoist wished – hence the threats.   Anti-terrorist police have held a meeting with SFA officials.

In a statement, the SFA said: “Directors of the Scottish FA, whose private details have been published on internet sites … have, themselves, been victims of abusive communication.”

In a different environment Mr Wenger spoke about the abuse he receives at some games – especially at Stoke, where it seems people can say what they want with impunity.

I have used this blog for a couple of years to bring up the case, over and over again, of Tottenham supporters who gave a level of homophobic abuse to Sol Campbell at a game at Portsmouth that was beyond anything I have ever known before.  We even printed the pictures of some of the people involved – but little was done.

The official police reaction was that there were too many people involved in the abuse for them to be able to do anything about it.  Tottenham removed ticket facilities from a handful – 99% of those involved went unpunished.

Now before anyone gets too excited by my accusations, let me add that although I am not a regular at away matches I do go occasionally, and sit or stand with everyone else who buys their away tickets through Arsenal.  I know what Arsenal fans chant and sing, and it includes some fairly abusive commentaries.  It also includes regular use of the highly problematic word “yid” which we have also debated here before.

But I have never heard anything from Arsenal away support anywhere remotely like the abuse that Sol Campbell got at Portsmouth, or which Mr Wenger receives on occasion at Stoke and a few other grounds.

But what is to be done when vast numbers of people want to break the law together?  Certainly the level of chanting to which I am referring goes far beyond the realms of “threatening and abusive behaviour”   Is it ok to think that the context is different when it is in a football ground?

Of course it is right for the police to take immediate action against the people who have published threatening remarks about the SFA’s committee.  My question is, what about the rest?  What about action when vast areas of a stadium unite in the most appalling level of abuse of the type that you never, ever, hear at Arsenal.

Personally I think we have got everything utterly back to front – and let me try and illustrate this through an example:

Because of the requirements of TV in Spain a match between Sevilla and  Levante had its kick off changed to a late-night slot.  Nothing, it seemed, should interfere with Real Mad v Barca.

So Sevilla fans decided to protest.  Just after the match finally began, supporters at one end threw hundreds of tennis balls onto the pitch and a banner was put up: “Stop the match, Mourinho is talking”.

This wasn’t the first time such protests have been made.  About 18 months back, fans of FC Basel did the same thing.  There the reason for the tennis balls was apparent: the time was changed because of the start of a local tennis tournament.  Now it seems tennis balls have a symbolism of their own.

Now you can imagine the Uefa and local association reaction to such activities.  Perpetrators arrested, ground closure, all that.
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But I think the tennis ball incidents are both amusing, and in aid of a point.  That cannot be said about the way in which the Stoke City populace treated Mr Wenger.  And yet there, as with Tottenham at Portsmouth, nothing was done.
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I don’t want to stop chanting, nor would I try to stop swearing in the ground.  I have always had the view that swearing in a stadium is part of the tradition and context of football in the UK.  But these developments: the sheer level of abuse and the nature of that abuse, combined with things like death threats, have gone too far.
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In Scotland, perhaps because of its sectarian history, matters are worse than in England in that managers don’t get sent bullets in the post.  But I fear with what we have been seeing, combined with the appalling unwillingness of the police and the clubs to do anything, things are getting worse and worse.
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Clubs like Stoke do need to be warned, and if their fans think they can go on and one behaving outside the law, they do need to have the ground closed.  We used to do it over pitch invasions, and we probably would if tennis balls were thrown in England.  We ought to do it over the action of supporters.
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I write as a supporter of the first ever league club to have its ground closed as a result of crowd behaviour, and the first to have warning notices posted as a result of abuse of a player from the opposition by the crowd.  So I don’t say it can’t happen at Arsenal – it did happen at Arsenal, although a very long time ago.
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But now I think this really has gone too far.

31 comments to Clubs should be responsible for their own supporters [Stop the match, Mourinho is talking].

  • OzGooner

    I would like to be the first on here to say ” Podolski is officially a Gunner”.

  • Davi

    I don’t think we can complain about the abuse Wenger endured without at least bringing up the adebayor incident. As much as I feel for our manager, who has shown real class in the face of the abuse, (he has suffered much worse than anything I heard about from the weekend’s game, in truth), Adebayor effectively suffered racial abused by our fans (I think the away support at Man City?). This is truly unnacceptable. Some of our fans also have no qualms about booing our own players when they feel like it, and have shown themselves to be rather lacking in the class department at times.
    That said, you do get the feeling it is a much more of a collective effort by the stoke fans, and I agree, it is a worrying thing. The making fun of Wenger’s reaction was fine, booing ramsey was over-the-top, but the alledged shouts of “French tw*t”, reportedly chanted to Wenger before(?) the game is really too far, and really people like Pulis should have done more to distance themselves from it. By not responding to it (maybe he didn’t know the extent of it, to be fair), he and others in the media are encouraging a culture of abusive behaviour.

  • Johnny Deigh

    Apparently it’s okay use a qualifier and a noun as long as you don’t use a color. So for example if someone were to call someone a black bastard or french twat, that’s okay with the FA especially if the one doing the name calling is English.

    On the other hand if you are a foreigner and you refer to someone by a color, like the spanish word for black which also means “mate” or “pal”, that’s not okay.

  • Jacobite Gunner

    Oz Gooner, u beat me to it. oh well, here’s the quote from the new gunners mouth!

    “The move to Arsenal provides a great opportunity for me to gain experience in international competitions at a European top club,” Podolski said. “I have made this decision not against FC Cologne but for this great opportunity and the good of my own individual development.

    “This was not an easy decision for me at all, as Cologne, our fans and the city are something special for me. I will always carry Cologne in my heart. We need to pool our strengths now and have to be fully focused on our survival in the Bundesliga.”

  • Rawiri

    i agree, after all football is a man’s game not a savage’s game, i get really upset when i notice arsenal fans abusing our own players or other team’s players for that matter (adebayor and nasri come to mind as much as i dont like them), so when it comes from fans of other teams it drives me crazy (dont know how arsene does it to remain classy), singing, cheering, jeering, swearing, taunting is all part of football, but straight abuse shouldnt be allowed, i still dont believe they had the nerve to do that to ramsey, but oh poor shawcross “he’s not that kind of person”, i’ll stop here my blood’s starting to boil

  • Domhuaille MacMathghamhna

    The FA,the EPL and particularly the referees have the power to punish a club and the referee can stop or suspend a match and require that the stadium officials make an announcement about racial, cultural or ethnic abuse directed at any player,manager or team official or the referees themselves. If the incidents continue, they can refuse to finish the game and report the abuse to the FA. It is in the Laws of the Game under referee powers and responsibilities and is based on the judgement of the referee or his officials so is open to their interpretation.
    The Fa and the EPL are afraid to handle this hot potatoe, like so many other issues they sweep under the table (FIFA/EUFA corruption,match fixing, horrible officiating, tapping up, bungs, SAF, serious or dangerous fouls, goal-line technology, video-replays, etc.)
    My concern is that ethnic abuse directed to Wenger is ignored but if someone in the crowd of thugs at Shittania Stadium had thrown a battery or water bottle and hit AW, the police and stadium officials would certainly have intervened or have faced serious consequences. Is it a case of sticks and stoine can break Arsene’s bones but names can never hurt him?

  • GoingGoingGooner

    only concern is about agents provocateur. We have seen the insidious behaviour of AAA and wouldn`t put it past some people to try to tarnish the reputation of ‘enemy’ clubs.

  • robl

    Talking to the Stoke season ticket holders at work this morning, apparently the abuse didn’t come from their part of the ground even if between them they covered most of the ground.

    Also they’d be proud for their kids to see their hate filled faces – it’s totally irrational – as is their hatred of Wenger.

    It’s sadly amazing you can have a logical high level conversation then as soon as Arsenal is mentioned they lose the plot.

    No one likes to have a mirror held up to their weaknesses…..

  • bob

    Davi,
    Stoke/Pulis have a culture of abusive behavior? Really? A culture? Sounds like an oxymoron in their case. Then again, maybe just a moron.

  • bob

    Domhuaille MacMathghamhna,
    I love your eloquence and agree on all but one item on your list:
    they obstruct everything else of substance but one — goal-line technology.

    This alone should alert any fair-minded person that it is a swindle – an unnecessary multi-million euro/pound fix for what is not a real problem. Let them justify it statistically. How many goal line problems are there in the course of any season? If it’s really even half an issue, why not employ an extra goal line judge and give someone a fair wage for their troubles? The answer: it’s a high-tech boondoggle – a juicy contract and a few brown envelopes tossed in. And at whose expense, mind you?

  • bob

    p.s. and a way to buy years more time to avoid the bother of testing full video replay. If people WANT to feel that they are being listened to with the slated July testing of the two goal-line replay systems (AutoRefshite I and II), then it’s high time (yet againt) that UA & Commenters disabuse them of the illusion they seem to crave in this absurd culture of deference to these football authorities. (“Oh yes, you see, we’ve got a bread crumb from the table. We’re being listened to! Well, then, back to watch our medicine.”) Arsene has called for this very thing. Does anyone have HIS back on it? Why such tepid non-replies on this?

  • Anne

    @bob:

    What are you getting at? I’m doing quite serious investigative research, as far as I know. If you want to question my motives, do it outright. I promise that I will respond.

  • bob

    Anne,
    I honestly have no idea what you mean re. my questioning your work? motives? Not at all. My comments are meant to focus on video-replay, ALL hinging on Dom’s list of what’s being ducked by FIFA/UEFA, and on how when Arsene’s recently brought it up, it wasn’t much picked up on. Specifically on this: “like so many other issues they sweep under the table (FIFA/EUFA corruption,match fixing, horrible officiating, tapping up, bungs, SAF, serious or dangerous fouls, goal-line technology, video-replays, etc.)” Anyway, I don’t understand your posting (seriously).

  • Gord

    @Bob, Anne

    I worked with a few numbers, and to do video replay in a manner able to determine dives and fouls, you need to be running a frame speed of around 1000 to 2000 frames per second. Cameras that can do that, run from 50k to 150k (US dollars). Some are meant to be used in a studio, too awkward to be used “outside”. You either want to be filming in 16:9, or each station needs 2 cameras to get enough field of view. If you have 6 stations, that means 12 cameras to film a game. You don’t need 2000 fps video for TV use, so the only use is recording games for use by officials, disciplinary committees and research. A season of such video is close to 500 TB of data.

  • Gord

    More rambling about video. The one camera I looked at, has 32 GB of RAM, and for TV type resolution that 32 GB is used in about 30 minutes. Hence, a single camera takes about 100 GB for a game. A set of cameras is in the 1-2 TB per game for storage.

    Pinewood Studios is among the places that rent these kind of cameras. Apparently camera rental comes with a technician.

    If you need 2 cameras at each of 6 camera stations, the EPL needs 120 cameras (since some times all 10 games may be played at once).

  • bob

    Gord,
    If you wouldn’t mind a try, how much would you guesstimate it would cost the EPL/FIFA to adopt their goal-line video technology at each EPL pitch/all pitches? And what would you base that guesstimate on?

  • Gord

    Bob

    What goal line technology? It sounded like there were many different proposals. Do you know of a URL which lists them.

  • Gord

    Vital Posh is running a story about an upcoming (May 6) charity game between Peterborough United Legends, and a mix of celebrities and Arsenal Legends.

    http://www.peterborough.vitalfootball.co.uk/article.asp?a=281186

  • bob

    Gord,
    The Guardian had that story of the two systems that were being tested in June/July to watch the goal-line only. HawkEye and another name less memorable. The winner MAY be implemeneted. I’ll look for that link (if you don’t beat me to it) and would really like your take on it when you can. See ya later.

  • Gord

    From Wikipedia article on Goal line technology

    Cairos GLT / Adidas Teamgeist II – A “chip” is “suspended” in the center of the ball from a number of elastic connectors to the skin of the ball. What the technology looks for, is the chip to become 35.5cm behind the goal line. This will work as long as the ball is spherical. But, if the ball is impeded by some object (head, body, fish, foot, …) that is less than 71cm behind the goal line and it is moving fast, the ball will deform from spherical. It is possible for the ball to completely cross the goal line, and still not have the chip get 35.5cm behind the goal line.

    Goalminder – camera based system.Sure, if the ball is visible a camera might work. They are talking 2000 FPS. Lots of people can hit a soccer ball at better than 75 mph. Guess 120 mph for a top speed? Which is almost 54m/s. The ball could move 2.7cm between frames. There will be situations where the ball is not visible.

    HawkEye – multiple camera based technology, calculates ball position by triangulation. Wikipedia says each goal area needs 6 cameras, and costs 250,000 Pounds Stirling.

    Phase 2 is testing HawkEye and GoalRef.

    GoalRef looks to be a variation on the Cairos system, a chip is in the centre. The description talks about magnetic fields, I could imagine RF and a bunch of other technologies could be used. It is from the Fraunhofer Institute.

    There will be situations where none of these technologies can tell if the ball has crossed the line. As long as people don’t expect it to be perfect, it will improve things and it costs money.

  • Adam

    http://www.stokecityfc.com/page/CodeofConduct/0,,10310,00.html You couldn’t make it up.

  • Adam

    http://www.stokecityfc.com/page/CustomerCharter/0,,10310,00.html
    It gets better. Mr Attwood you must appreciate the irony.

  • Gord

    Some mildly related Stoke news. Peter Crouch scored the 1000th EPL goal of the year on the stroke (stoke?) of half time, in his own net. To be fair, it sounds like he didn’t know a darned thing about it until the ball was already in the net.

  • bob

    Gord,
    First of all, thanks for tracking down this information.
    Now, 2 considerations. First:

    Ok, so, at each ground, it’s HawkEye at 250K Sterling OR GoalRef at an unknown/undisclosed amount (so far, right?). And this is without installation, maintenance, training costs and other miscellaneous costs. (On top of these there might be testing costs paid to the 2 companies.) So, perhaps, each HawkEye installation is 300K each for the first year? If it’s the HawkEye, it’s this amount x 20 grounds = 6 million pounds sterling. It would be interesting to see if this turns out to be the case at the end of the day.

    Second, you’re saying “As long as people don’t expect it to be perfect, it will improve things and it costs money.” But why do you think that it will “improve things”? In your view, has there really been a chronic problem with goal line calls that would merit such an expenditure? Any else think so?

  • Gord

    May 1 wrap up.

    Stoke scored both goals in a 1-1 tie with Everton. Liverpool managed to lose 0-1 to Fulham. It is possible for Everton to think about 6th, but realistically the remaining 2 games will decide 7, 8, 9 between Everton, Liverpool and Fulham. I’m hoping for Liverpool to come in 9th. It is still possible for Liverpool to finish worse than 9th (I think 13th is the lowest still possible), but I think that most likely (7,8,9). I think Moyes and Everton deserves finishing above Liverpool.

    Tomorrow’s (May 2) games are Chelsea versus Newcastle United, and Bolton versus Tottenham. I am hoping for a tie between Chelsea and Newcastle, and I am hoping for Bolton to beat Tottenham (and Ryo to get a hat trick). Should Tottenham lose, all Arsenal needs is 2 points in 2 games to finish above Tottenham (ignoring goal difference, and ours is better anyway). If Chelsea and Newcastle tie, I think Arsenal needs 3 points from the remaining 2 games to stay in 3rd. A win by Bolton would see them swap places with QPR. A goal difference of +7 in a win (unlikely) would see them replace Wigan, and a goal difference of +15 (really unlikely) would see them replace Aston Villa.

    But, what is best is if Arsenal win its last 2 games. And then we don’t have to go hoping for results from other teams.

  • Gord

    @Bob

    Ice hockey uses cameras, and there are incidents where there is no proof the puck crossed the line. A puck doesn’t deform, a soccer ball does. As long as people are willing to accept that goal line technology won’t work all the time, regardless of what technology, it will reduce errors a lot. I suspect the incidents that are indeterminate would be less than 1%.

    If the technology is camera based, I can see defensive players start wearing shoes that have a lot of titanium dioxide in it, as that is the whitest substance we have. The idea is to reflect more light, and possibly overload the cameras. Or, they may start wearing shoes that are the same colour as the ball. If the technology is based on magnetic properties, you might see players using shoes that contain “mu metal”. If the technology is based on electro-statics, you might find some players with batteries in their shoes. There will be ways to game the system. Most of these systems talk about informing the referee via radio, and that the communication is encrypted. This is to keep people from broadcasting a message of their own, or over-ride what the installed system decides.

    How many goal line incidents were there this year? I think less than 5. If a goal line technology is 90% accurate, most of the time there won’t be a problem, but occasionally a person will see 1 error. This is over many years. And technology will change and improve, but do you continue to install new equipment every year?

    The one camera technology needs 6 high speed cameras for each goal area. And those cameras are positioned just to catch goals. They might occasionally be useful to catch video replay type events if they happen in the goal area. Events that happen elsewhere on the field, probably aren’t caught.

    If cameras are installed, and installed to monitor the entire playing field in high speed video, I suspect a very similar technology could be developed to help with goal line incidents. They probably won’t be as accurate as camera technology specially designed to only handle goal line incidents. But, it can be used for general replay of the entire game. Multi-tasking seems better to me.

    None of these technologies are cheap. And at the end of the day, using them means higher prices to watch the game.

  • Stuart

    Gord,
    I think the majority of questionable decisions that need help are not goal line based therefore rendering goal line technology useless most of the time. The real technology I believe football fans want to see is video replay throughout the field of play. The goal line technology is just a smoke screen to cover up the inadequacies of the officials enabling the authorities to still say they have listened.

  • bob

    Stuart,
    Here! Here! Cheers 🙂
    It’s a way to enrich cronies and pacify the “great unwashed,” thus buying years of time before they have to invest a lot more money and increase ticket prices even more, and no one would want that now, would they? It’s a cynical scheme and not worth the minimum of 6M pounds sterling that it would seem to cost (going by Gord’s figures). If they want to improve the marginal inaccuracy on balls crossing the goal line, then provide a few more jobs for two line-watchers per match that would be cheaper and help the economy. This technological fix – that they’re testing in June/July is just that – a fix.

  • Gord

    @bob

    This is the last posting listed for you on UntoldArsenal. Hopefully you try to read postings related to your last postings.

    Being someone with Autism (nominally I am Asperger’s Savant), I am not a good person to critique what “normal” people do. There are postings you make that I think I should respond to, or responding to postings that I have made; which make me anxious. I think that there are aspects of your response which make me uncomfortable, and likewise on some postings.

    As we are supposedly pursuing similar goals, I am uncomfortable with this situation. Do you think you can spend a little more time wording your comments?

  • Gord

    @May2 summary

    Miyachi came on as a substitute at 83 minutes, and did not make the tremendous impression I was hoping for (if you read this Ryo, I was just hoping; there was no expectation, you are doing wonderful!). In any event, Bolton lost 1-4 to Tottenham.

    Everybody is now tied on games played. Bolton is still in the relegation zone, with a significant goal difference to QPR.

    Newcastle stuns Chelsea with a 2-0 win.

    Arsenal nominally need 1 point from the last 2 games to sew up a position higher than 6. Tottenham and Newcastle as still in the hunt for 3.

    Bartley played the full time for Rangers. I don’t see evidence that he did anything exceptional good or bad.

    Nothing changes before the weekend.

    Sat 5 May 2012 – Premier League

    Arsenal v Norwich 12:45

    Sun 6 May 2012 – Premier League

    Newcastle v Man City 13:30
    Aston Villa v Tottenham 14:00
    Bolton v West Brom 14:00

    And almost half of week 37 are not played.

  • bob

    Gord,
    Sure, will be clearer going forward.