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How Arsenal’s failure to act has caused the club problems

I have read the articles on this site, and the comments made after them (after all I am the publisher of Untold so you’d expect me to read them) and I really can’t say there is much more to be said that hasn’t already been said this season, last season, the season before… and indeed all the way back to and including 31 August 2003, in which the game away to Manchester City was described as one of the worst games of football ever played.  (Older readers will remember what happened thereafter).

Arsenal are not good enough.  That’s it in a nutshell.

So I’m not only not wanting to write any more articles on Arsenal’s transfer dealings this summer (I’ve already expressed my concern), not because I think it was all perfect, but because no one is listening any more.

Indeed, at the moment, I can’t even get an answer from the Arsenal Supporters Trust as to how they did their research of the membership (which includes me) which led them to make their statement about Mr Wenger.  I don’t think I was asked for my opinion, so is the AST “leadership” acting on its own behalf?  Be nice to know, but that’s an aside.

I want to move on to another topic.  Not because I expect it to generate any sort of reasoned debate with people reading fully, comprehending and then answering points, because that just doesn’t seem to be happening anywhere.

No, I raise this because I really do think Arsenal have made a mistake.

For the past three years Untold Arsenal and Referees’ Decisions have been publishing data on referees and the way that they treat certain clubs.   The two sites deal with all the Premier League clubs and reach conclusions on all of them, and, to summarise from one review published just recently, we were astounded to find how, with the level of bias against them, one particular team managed to avoid relegation as it did.

The endless reviews, undertaken throughout by referees who support many different teams within and outside the Premier League, have shown there is something very seriously wrong.   The reviews have shown that there is systematic bias among referees, and that the old adage “it all evens out in the end” is laughably incorrect.

Lots of people know about the work of Walter Broeckx (himself a referee in Belgium) and his team of refs that review refs.   I have received private comments from people in the know saying words along the lines of, “thank God someone is saying it.”   We know (and you’ll just have to accept my word on it because there is no way I am going to reveal my sources here) that PGMO, the more intellectual newspapers, Arsenal itself, and indeed people in other Leagues in other countries, all know what we are up to.

Of course these are private comments so you might not want to accept them, just as you might think that the fact that PGMO closed its website after we started commenting on its activities, is just a coincidence.  If so, at this point, we go our own ways.

But this is background.  My point is that I can’t see any sign at the moment that Arsenal took account of what the referee would be like for the opening match.   Now you might argue that there might not be anything that could be done, but I disagree.  I think the players could have changed their approach to the game, knowing how it was going to be refereed.

Had they done so, the game would have been awful to watch, for had I been in charge I would have had Arsenal players on the ground and staying there for each and every unreasonable tackle.  I would have players holding up fingers counting the seconds in each delay in taking a goal kick.  I’d have had copies of our past commentaries on this ref sent to him to let him know that the club knew.  (Of course this last might have happened but I don’t think so).  And I would have someone who the media could not ignore doing interviews ahead of the game, stating very clearly that the refereeing by this ref of previous Arsenal matches has been terrible and the club hoped for signs of improvement – and making the details available to the media.

OK so the League and FA would then do their worst.  But so what?  They are doing worse than that anyway by allowing the ref to referee, and to make a mockery of Arsenal and a handful of other clubs.  So what if they banned the manager, fined the club… the publicity machine would start to roll and somewhere in the national media there would be someone who would start to think, “hey maybe there IS a story here”.

One of the great sadnesses in all this is that inevitably people then write back in and say, “Oh so you think Wenger and the club has done well this summer in the transfer market.”

Such subject changing is always the approach of people who cannot debate.   In relation to this topic it doesn’t matter how well Arsenal has done this summer, any more than it matters whether I like to colour of the away strip or am concerned about  the lack of forks when serving pies in the ground.  The issue of the referees stands alone.

When Walter and I started the referee review idea (myself providing the platform, Walter doing all the hard work) we were knocked out in the early days by the way word of our activity spread.  The BBC interview, the recognition of what Walter was up to at a significant footballing event that he attended… it just moved so fast.

And then, the shutters came down.  The media refuse to debate the issue even of whether the quality of refereeing over all is high enough, let alone the erratic nature of some referee performances.  TV, radio, newspapers and most other blogs just shut the door on any notion that there is something wrong.

Of course we regularly have to read the comments that “you are just conspiracy theorists” as if somehow we were proposing a bunch of Martians killed President Kennedy.   A conspiracy is a plan which is kept secret, nothing else, and if you ran a club that was benefiting from dubious referee decisions each week, you’d want to keep it secret too.

And we had the Tottenham fans trying to deride our analysis on the grounds that they could not have had wrong penalty decisions since they didn’t get any penalties (forgetting perhaps that a not-given penalty and a penalty given against or not given against a team is equally a penalty error).   So they laughed at us, but really it just revealed the same old story.  Nobody reads past line one any more.

Worse, we have seen it all happen in Italy.  I won’t repeat the details of that scandal, we’ve done that too often, but the fact that it worked even to the level of the clubs involved persuading TV producers not to show certain replays suggests that when it takes a grip, it is a total grip.

I think there is something very seriously wrong within Premier League football, and I think all the evidence that we have produced over the last three years shows that at the very least there is cause to investigate what is going on.  Instead all we have is total silence, which puts those who refuse to debate the issue alongside those who we call into question.

I repeat, it is not like suggesting some wild theory without evidence at all just because you want to believe it.  We have game after game after game of evidence.

Arsenal will continue to fail to win anything until Arsenal changes its stance on refereeing.  Thus even if Mr Wenger and the whole board were to go, Arsenal would continue to have matches like this weekend’s game – at least until Arsenal joined the club and started paying protection money.

The other day I was asked by a reader what would make me stop supporting Arsenal.  I said I found it hard to answer, but felt that if a neo-fascist took over the club, I’d probably give up and follow Torquay United instead.  I think I should extend this.  If Arsenal started doing what I believe some other clubs are doing vis a vis referees, then yes I would give up supporting them.  I am not advocating that we join the herd.  I am saying I want our club to clean it up by exposing it.

I want Arsenal to find a strategy to counter the refs.  I want Mr Wenger to mention what Arsenal have been like under each ref, BEFORE the game and to then publish either our figures or, if they prefer, their own.  I want Arsenal to stand up to what I perceive (based on the evidence) to be the wholesale corruption of the game at least based on a simple analysis of…

a) what is the explanation for the figures that we have produced, and which anyone can produce by watching games from a ref’s perspective

b) why is it that Arsenal’s figures in terms of refereeing accuracy are year after year so awful

c) why is the media ignoring this?

As always the comments section is open, but please, do write about referees, not about why the manager should be sacked, or who is running our transfer policy.  The article isn’t about that.

Tony Attwood

 

146 comments to How Arsenal’s failure to act has caused the club problems

  • Byo

    Yes, the officiating in the Arsenal-Villa match was despicable at the weekend. No doubt about that.

    But does that explain moving out 9 “deadwood” off the team, and not replacing any?
    Does that explain the lack of activity in 3 months of the transfer window?
    Does that explain Wenger not taking into consideration that the squad has no depth? Injuries, sickness, etc?

    I personally have never suggested what players should be brought in. I have always had complete confidence in the management of the club, as I have never managed one before. But the above questions I think are pertinent.

  • Will

    The ref on Saturday was a disgrace and should be investigated.

  • Gooner Sam

    As above, yes the referee is a disgrace and in another situation I think the ref review would be interesting but the problem is that your blog is so pro Wenger that people see it as biased.

    They don’t look at it is impartial, they look at it as you absolving Wenger of any fault.

    However there should be a place for everyones view and I hope that you don’t give up even if I don’t always agree with your comments but every argument has two sides and it would be a shame to lose yours.

  • Michael

    The ref from Saturday has been removed from this weekends fixtures. So it is recognised that he was poor but no statement from Riley and his henchmen. Removing him does not repair the errors he made.

  • El tel

    Maybe the Referees are making lifemdifficult for Arsenal because you have exposed them to an extent.

    I am sure the Clubs and their fans gaining an advantage from the Northern bias Referees will not want to take part.

    On Saturday I saw Giroud make an aerila challenge on the edge of the area, he won a beutiful header and knocked it down to I think Theo. that Ref gave a free kick to Villa.

    They launched the ball up field and then I saw Gibbs on the floor with an head injury.mthe Ref allowed the game to play on. I couldn’t see from where I was what happened to Gibbs or if it was a foul. I remember the Physio running around the outside of the pitch with our Players gesturing him to get on, the Physio was waiting for the Ref to wave him on. This took far to long in itself but the Ref didn’t even see a foul if there was one.

    I was waiting to see this on MOTD but it wasn’t shown of course.

    They also edited the Arsenal match to make it look like Villa were dominant even though we were pushing them back with ten men. Yes they hit us on the break but this is expected when a man down and losing the game anyway.

    The Koscielny incidents were also poor bordering on cheating from the Refs.

    Stupid thing is I knew this Ref was going to be one sided the moment He gave a foul against Rosicky very early on when Rosicky won a slide tackle. He gave Villa the foul.

    I pointed this out also at the time and read Wenger commenting on the same thing. We were getting untold fouls for us in the midfield, all this did was disrupt the game and the Ref rarely books players for multiple fouling in the midfield.

    As soon as we were in the crucial areas the Ref let Villa foul and body check.

    The players were frustrated right from the start.

    I remember saying to the Guy I was stewarding with ” Wenger should call the Players off” i am dead serious about this. If there is no way the match can be played fairly then He should have called them off. The repercussions of this would open up for all to see even if it costs Arsenal points.

    Someone has to make a stand.

    Football is not only for the Northern Mafia.

  • Matt

    Taylor was ref for 3 of our games last year and we won all 3. Does this prove anything?

  • Kamiel

    Who watches the watchmen? The officiating in Sunday’s match reminded me of THAT game at Old Trafford or RVP’s sending of against Barca. Such is the corruption in modern football that a ref can fully appear to be conducting his business with complete malice & forethought, yet suffer no repercussion.

    With that, financial doping, a supporter revolt, and a media that revels in our misfortune (contrast and compare their treatment of the Suarez situation with their treatment of RVP’s move last season), it’s truly trying that we’re a club that needs to move forward and uphill.

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    Tony have you passed this on to the club as serious evidence of an issue? I think that some of your proposals/suggestions might be taken up/considered at length.Does the club lodge a formal complaint to the FA after such a game?
    There was defiantly a massive problem on Sat.concerning Taylor, and the interesting thing was most of the early comments here at Untold, post game were more concerned with what had taken place( with the ref), rather than the problem of injuries morphing into the transfer situation ( no/little back up etc).
    Thanks also for being a calm considered voice in a storm of hysterical media hyperbole.

  • para

    This is exactly what i mean in a previous post, by preparing the team for the opposition, which includes referees. One failure of AW to me is he does not prepare our team for the opposition(fullstop). This is a serious flaw in his coaching style and has been so for so long. Today you cannot win games by ignoring the opposition. One of AW speeches clearly says something like: We cannot worry what the other team is doing only what we do. This is obviously false. When you go to war(play a game) you have to know your opposition’s little habits, you have to know the ref’s little habits. I have been saying this all the last 4 seasons, but AW seems to not ever want to change his ways. This is one of the reasons i would like a proper team coach, who takes care of the team and games, and leave AW to do the other things he does. On top of that, our team is targeted season after season by the media, and we do nothing. There are ways of using the media against the media, see article above. We have to become tough, rough and a little mean(dirty) when it comes to such things. Hire someone to attack the media, someone who cannot be penalised for it. There are many ways of defending yourself without getting into trouble.
    So i am a little disgusted at AW not buying players this window, ok, most of the players we wanted were either not that suitable anyway or they were too expensive or they were not interested, but now we end up having to go for the players who we were not interested in anyway. This is just BAD team management to have the team in this position, again. So, things really need to change at Arsenal, and i have pinpointed as well as the article above many of them. If we can see them, why can’t Arsenal?

  • Nizam

    I have all along believe some refs don’t want Arsenal to win the epl.The Birmingham game when Eduardo was cruelly hacked game 2008 illustrates my point. The ref gave the blues an inexplicable penalty. Further in feb 2003,Bolton kicked the gunners and action was taken belatedly.
    This doesn’t absolve Wenger from blame. He is responsible for the decline of Arsenal the last five years. Now he shd be be buying players who can go straight into the senior team Instead he is being linked with another wc kid for the future.
    I won’t be surprised he will be forced out if the gunners continue to struggle.

  • colario

    In reply to ‘Why are the media ignoring this?’ last week Talk Sport and someone made a reference (but didn’t identify it) to a website that looked at referees in Premier league games. The presenter made a joke of almost every fact the ‘reporter’ gave.
    However they both agreed that the evidence is there that there is bias refereeing and acknowledged the bias against Arsenal. They also said that something must be wrong with the organising of refs if there are none from the south east. So may be the message is reaching the media and the media is beginning to take note.

  • para

    On the Refs. I do not think that it is a personal thing by the refs. I think there is something else going on, and the refs are made to do these things. Call me paranoid, but i think it has something to do with betting and the massive dislike of Arsenal per se. It has been going on for too long and it seems to my humble eyes, that it has been stepped up a notch this season, i fear for our team this season, i really do.
    But no matter, i still think we are going to surprise them all this season. We now have to be better then them. It actually reminds me of the (racism, distrust, dislike) i have had from many people during my life, yes it is very similar to that. All one can do is to try that little bit harder to overcome all of it.
    Forward Arsenal, we are with you, we feel you, always.

  • mohamed aziz

    corruption is surely creeping in pl, that ref was corrupted,both penalties plus the fouls against arsenal players were obvious and then the red card to ice it all,what a shame,he wouldnt even allow advantage when carzola had the ball refused wilshere apenalt when he was handheld in the box,all in all wenger must bear the blame not recruitig players in the 3 months he had

  • Gerry Lennon

    Perhaps a deeper response than you were expecting Tony?

  • JOEL

    Arsene Wenger is currently sending teams out without a defined strategy to play the opposition let alone taking into consideration the mind-set of the referees!!

  • Tasos

    @Matt

    “Taylor was ref for 3 of our games last year and we won all 3. Does this prove anything?”

    Yes. It proves that even someone as skeptical as you have shown yourself to be regarding UA’s stance, has still shown an interest in the work being done here. Enough of an interest for you to want to check Anthony Taylor’s recent history when officiating Arsenal games.

    If you care to delve further you might find something that contradicts your present opinion.

  • westy

    There must be someone in the club that would be willing to take a look? Or the media, aren’t there any Arsenal supporters in the press- they all seem to be Man Utd… A big banner perhaps shown at every home game? ‘In Arsene we trust in refs we don’t?’ On the banner also picture / name the worst refs. I’m absolutely sick of all the predictable games ruined by refs for us, something needs doing! What about the police???

  • westy

    Its not just the anti Arsenal decisions, but also the pro utd decisions that are so obvious! Was hoping it was just Fergie having Webb etc on his books, but I bet it stays the same for Moyes.

  • Matt

    Do tell Tasos, i’m all ears.

  • Tasos

    @Matt

    I don’t think anyone here is out force a change in opinion, merely raise awareness.

    In that regard, job done.

  • Tasos

    out *to* force

  • MoW

    This is an interesting topic. And Im new to this site and its analysis. But in lay man’s terms if you want to persuade a skeptical audience you need to have a compelling robust argument that is easily understood and backuped up by credible data. You then need to push it and sell it repeatedly until it sinks in. I think it’s a long hard slog. After a while, assuming the evidence speaks for itself, you’ll gt some traction and start to convince people. You need to reach a tipping point whereby you convince the right people who will act as a conduit to accelerate and further spread the cause on your behalf.

  • Shard

    Tony

    What you say has much merit. But there are great risks involved in this.

    I believe that Arsenal are discriminated against by the referees. Or rather, through the referees. I’ve also thought whether it is possible that Arsenal, existing at near the top of a league so corrupt, are corrupt themselves. I’ve seen no evidence of this over any length of time. However, I do think that Arsenal are being harmed up to a point, and no more.

    Arsenal have not been allowed to win the league at least twice, and perhaps 3 times, when they could have. Arsenal have come close to dropping out of the CL spots, but not done so.

    Money has been a major issue. The TV money, CL money, and fans’ money through ticket sales and merchandise made up the majority of our income, with commercial income low. With fans’ revolt being threatened to be incited periodically, (meaning a threat to that component of the income) and perhaps the threat of being shunted out of the CL spots (meaning you miss out on that money as well) Arsenal faced a pretty much existential crisis. SO I think, like most other clubs who would know of this, self interest, and self preservation detrmined that Arsenal just took it on the chin.

    I would like to think that with increased commercial income, this might change. But I don’t think it is likely to because of the fans’ revolt. The repercussions to any expose by Arsenal wouldn’t take the form of just official bans. No. If the aftermath of Fabregas’ private criticism of Lee Mason was Phil Dowd at Newcastle, can you imagine the fallout of any club sponsored public criticism? If Arsenal are to exist in the environment, they can’t fight that battle alone. And yet, just as the fans, I bet the clubs themselves are fairly easy to divide and rule.

    It’s not up to Arsenal I’m afraid. Much as I would like it. I don’t think it will happen. It’s up to football fans, of all clubs, to get over the talk of money and entitlements from it and focus on the game they claim to love. Till the public is willing to accept a ‘product’ rather than a game, they’ll keep supplying it.

  • Paul N

    Joel, no disrespect, but that is absolute nonesense.

  • Sammy The Snake

    There are problems with EPL, the ref system, the corruption in the game, the way Arsenal is owned & managed, the way some supporters are finding any reason to target Wenger, and the way some are blind to all the shortcomings within Arsenal Football Corporation.

    As the song says: Everything must change!

  • notaspursfan

    Unless they is some sort of betting coup around a particular match, where the ref had an influence on the result, it will be business as usual. Sad but not surprising given the amount of money washing round the PL.

  • Shard

    Consider in a business environment, in an industry, there is a certain company that goes against the industry standard practices of doing business. They achieve great success within that industry by bagging lots of contracts at much lower rates, and are on the verge of fulfilling their targets on time and with a fraction of the budget of the bigger firms, with a greater standard of workmanship.

    In an oligarchy, such businesses are routinely either bought, or failing that, sabotaged, either directly or indirectly. They are sabotaged through a hijacking of their workers. They are sabotaged by stopping their remaining workers from discharging their duties through the use of force, they are sabotaged through defamation campaigns.

    The EPL is an oligarchy. Football is a business.

  • Super Singh

    It seems that rival supporters their clubs, media and the FA are rubbing their hands with glee on what’s happening to Arsenal? Our own supporters seem to be very divided and gives the illusion of disharmony amongst us.

    What we really need is to unite and become one big family again? Stick two fingers up to all and say “you may cheat, BUT you’ll never win a fair game”

  • Matt

    The only reason for somebody or somebodies to sabotage Arsenal every year would be a because of a vendetta or financial gain.

    Who has the vendetta and who is gaining financially?

  • MoW

    I’m quickly trying to get my head around all the data. Naturally it’s quite a challenge given the scale. I’m wondering whether the following is available: the weighted average net decision gain or loss per team per game over a season. And then the above expressed as a % of the number of average total decisions made per match per team.

  • bob

    “Taylor was ref for 3 of our games last year and we won all 3. Does this prove anything?”
    Matt,
    It proves that his context has changed and that you are incapable of seeing what you see; but to deny it because of your preconceived bias. Plus your a wind-up artiste, that’s what it proves.

  • bob

    Matt,
    We’ve been up and down this issue for over two seasons running now. Stop being such a lazy oaf and browse the Untold Media section on this website for much of the excellent commentary. You do your homework instead of popping up like a zit and saying Ok, where’s the proof. Look for yourself at what’s been compiled here and stop pretending it’s day one and you’re so entitled to a voluminous analysis. If anyone has the strength to seek and send this brick something to read, he (presumably) is all yours to educate.

  • @Matt – true, interesting question, that would take someone with a lot of money and contacts in the criminal underworld… but for those types’ vendettas don’t really apply – it’s all business.

    People who might have a vendetta would be someone who was kicked off the board or denied access to it maybe – I can think of a couple of names that have both the legitimate contacts, illegitimate contacts and money to do what they want… who could possibly benefit from a fall in the Arsenal share price I wonder?

    Probably someone who wished to buy more shares I would suggest.

    There are also many other reasons that could be put forward i.e. with the amount of money flying around football and pressures to deliver then it stands to reason that, in the completely unregulated environment that is the FA/Premier League, competing clubs might seek any advantage they can get.

    This would create a situation where everyone is stabbing each other in the back – it would fragment the club community further than traditional league rivalries (if that’s even possible now with a club ‘community’ that consists of dubious foreign ownership and gambling entities).

    If your quaint old money club continues with the rather ‘old fashioned’ view that if you play fair then people will play fair with you then you are going to be on the wrong end of a good hard fucking basically.

  • burtsagooner

    Tony as always on the site, brilliant thought provoking piece.
    Ive followed the ref reveiws since the start and quite frankly have agreed with near enough 100% of the results. The problem getting this in to main stream is obviously small fish and big pond. I think collectively we have to push these ref reviews to other sites and blogs, to talk rationality with other supporters of other teams, to first of all look at the reviews here and secondly to maybe start similar reviews on other blogs/sites.

    The great thing about these reviews is that as much as possible they are impartial. That is hard being an arsenal fan but (in my case anyway) more and more, the obvious failings of the men in black week after week is ruining the beautiful game we all love.

    If we can find like minded fans of other teams to set up similar reviews, surely it can go someway to securing more exposure in the mass media.
    w

  • Rupert Cook

    @Shard, exactly how were Arsenal stopped winning the league? We’ve not been that close to winning it in recent years except once. Why would anyone care whether we won it or not? Well I suppose if we refuse to pay this alleged protection money we might be punished. That would involve a fair amount of collusion and I’m surprised no one’s blown the whistle on the whole thing yet.

    As Matt pointed out we won three games under Taylor last year so just how would you expect the club to react? It’s hardly proof that Taylor’s corrupt, is it? I don’t think Wenger’s going to tell his team to writhe around for minutes when Taylor has “let” us win three times.

    Who’s paying protection money to refs? It’s all very well to say this but let’s have some proof. Name names. What are you frightened of if you’re right? Slander? If you’re correct you’ll not have any worries especially with concrete proof.

    Again we get people claiming the league is corrupt but no proof. Now it may well be but until we get to actually see proof this “conspiracy theory” would be chased out of court.

    It would be great if it were corrupt because then we can declare the last however many league campaigns as null and void. Everyone would have as few trophies as we’ve had in the last eight years.

  • bob

    Matt,
    Where’s your analysis of Da Tailor’s performance? Let’s get your point by point refutation and defense of that refshite and how you conclude that there’s nothing BENT, just “a bad day at the office.” Many people for all sectors have commented on negatively on it, even the AV oiks. So do provide your analysis, if you can read the word; rather than sit back tossing your snarky puss balls and sadistically enjoy how you can wind up people who can think, do think, and earnestly look for a way through the mess that you so gleefully wallow in.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Dog Face, some valid points there. Perhaps we should all either go undercover to expose the wrongs being done or alternatively give up entirely with the big leagues and go support Torquay, in Tony’s case, or Oxford in mine.

    Oxford, top of their league. I think I’ll stick with them from now on, glory hunter that I am.

  • bjtgooner

    @Dogface

    I was thinking much the same.

    Unfortunately I cannot see the situation improving unless something shakes up the PGMOL and the protection it seems to receive from those who control the game and also the media.

    The UK Minister of Sport is ultimately responsible – but under what circumstances would he act to clean up what appears to be entrenched corruption?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Nice work ,Tony .I do admire the way you , Walter and the guys
    face such negativity every day .No matter how well written the articles ,there are always morons jumping with their stupid comments .
    Thank god that due to the nature of my daily work ,I’m able to filter much of the bull and get my eye in very quickly , enabling me to keep my wicket intact !
    Keep up the good work on this fabulous site .Cheers !
    Keep smiling !

    http://www.wolfescape.com/Humour/Doctors.htm

  • @Rupert

    lol – I have considered it…

    Declan Hill wrote a good blog post on some of these issues if you are interested:

    http://www.declanhill.com/blog/item/dead-men-walking-2

    Unfortunately the only cure for corruption is to remove the smell of money.

  • Shard

    I’m not in a courtroom though am I rupert? I think there is enough evidence (albeit circumstantial) after Saturday to suggest that Anthony Taylor is corrupt (provided he’s sane and moderately competent, if he’s not then he shouldn’t still be employed) Corruption does not have to involve money exchanging hands. Anytime someone carries out an action that he knows is in bad faith of his supposed job, that is a corrupt action.

    Bias is subconscious. To not call fouls for Arsenal, except when they could have had an advanatage, and to reverse the process for Villa, could not have been subconscious decisions. They were rationally made, and repeatedly made. They were all (or almost all since you’ll be pedantic about it) in favour of a single team. That was a corrupt performance. And we’ve seen enough of them, and have them followed up with people, just like you are, making it to be almost criminal to even talk about it.

  • MoW

    So does anyone know the net swing against arsenal for weighted decision on average per game over the last few seasons as a % of total weighted decisions made in all of those games?

  • @bjtgooner Unfortunately unless corruption comes knocking on rugby’s door then these old etonians wont lift a finger – football is a working mans sport, the posh cunts that claim to represent us don’t understand it at all… well – other than the fact that it can be a happy distraction from the ‘real’ issues of the day.

  • Matt

    Chill out Bobby me ole son !! What’s all the negativety about?

    I did some research and found out Taylor was our lucky charm last year so was just wondering why you all think he is on Usmanov’s payroll?

    Right i’m off to play with my snarky puss balls before Bobby wets his nappy.

  • Rupert Cook

    @DogFace, interesting read, not surprised that Italy and Turkey have corruption problems. I really wouldn’t be surprised if it happened, or was happening, here.

    Many years ago Leeds lost the European Cup due to a corrupt ref. I’m rapidly losing interest in sport at the highest level. Cycling, athletics, even bloody cricket, have all been tainted. It’s depressing.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Shard, call it what you will I have never declared it criminal to talk about Taylor’s performance.

  • @Rupert Cook

    Agreed – it is depressing.

  • Shard

    If Arsenal lose under a corrupt referee, it’s their own fault. If Arsenal win under a corrupt referee, then the referee must be alright.

    A win loss record for referee is a statistic that has value only in context. Even if a referee let us win, or made us win, what part of the season it was in, how many points behind we were, the context of all of that, makes a difference. But at least it’s a start that people are looking at the starting point.

    Rupert
    As regards why, I’ve given my theory above. Specifics, I don’t know. I could guess, but I am not certain of them. I am certain that it exists because it can inferred by what is plainly visible.

  • JohnW

    May be the club is relactant to ‘waste’ hard-earned money to expensive signings because they know, even if the did, well, the refs will ruin the competion any way.If that’s the case, then the only solution is to reduce the gap between the reserves and the first team by using more frequently the second string into the first team. For me, far away in Uganda on Saturday, I got the feeling that the ref. had a score to settle with us(which score i dont know).It also felt that his performance was pre-planned. I’m sorry, but that’s how it felt for me.

  • bob

    Rupert Cook,
    I’d like to put the shoe on your foot for a change.
    How would you hypothesize that Micky R. got to be the Queen Bee at PGMOL? How would a man officiate the game at Old Toilet that derailed our unbeaten run and, in any non-bent setting, qualify to head up his erstwhile organization? Any correlation possible there in your world? And after that, would you care to hypothesize on how Bussacca might have been elevated to head of referees at one of UEFA or FIFA after putting in the kind of day at the office that turned the blind eye on the serial kickings, divings and CHOKINGS that smashed us at Camp Nous? And then, do tell Rupert, how might the deeply flawed ref Peter Walton have landed the job at the top of MLS referees? Do you sense a possible pattern here? Do you allow that much to crease your brow with a speck of wonderment? Or does it too upset your Oxfordian tea schedule? Do tell.

  • bob

    Matt,
    No analysis yet?

  • bob

    You see, Rupert, it’s not that there’s no quality control atop those organizations. It’s that there is quality control, and quality (as in a quality performance) will get you shown the door faster than you can say Dean.

  • bjtgooner

    @Dogface

    Agreed. The only reason that any politician would act in these circumstances would be for self preservation.

    While football is a working man’s game, the money involved is now mega-immense. Hence, many many snouts will be in the trough. Some of these snouts, as you rightly point out will belong to people of great wealth and with criminal links. But because such people are invariably ambitious they may well have contacts in the political world. This theoretically would strengthen their position (protection) but could also be a weakness if details of their criminal activities come into the public domain. Worth thinking about.

    The annual accounts of the PGMOL would be one area worth putting under the microscope.

  • Shard

    Rupert

    I am sorry if I misunderstood

  • Arsenal1Again

    The thing is Tony you have a separate site for the ref stuff. It seems the reason for every problem at Arsenal is because of one ref or another and it simply is not the case. Other teams all have their own ref grumbles throughout the season. If the problems you look for and therefore find were cast iron, Wenger could not be gagged. He will consider things you do, I am sure of this, but he knows it is like flogging a dead horse. Every variable you use have interpretations different to your conspiracy theories. It has not helped with the borderline bigotry regarding the AAA or whatever it is you called them and the blind unfounded faith you put in Wenger supported by endless blinkered nonsense. You have created a site frequented by sycophants and anybody with a valid counter argument is pidgeon holed as AAA or whatever you call them and ignored. The recent drivel from Boomtoome was embarrassing because of the complete ambivalence he has about Arsenal, Walter is a ref and puts a lot of time into what he talks about so I read it and learn from it, but my reason for coming to Untold is to read the Untold things about my club and this is how you and Anne made it my favourite Arsenal site. It was the The Times of Arsenal sites and now it resembles the Daily Express, I draw the line at comparing Untold with crap featuring Martin Samuel. Please Tony, get back to doing what you do best. I need to get out of here for some air, for now anyway.

  • Shard

    bjtgooner

    Is there any way to get the courts to directly get involved? I have in the past brought up the Supreme Court of India’s judgment about a state cricket body, which despite being a private body, was deemed to serve public interest, and for that reason, subject to the same anti-corruption and transparency laws, as any public body.

    The hearing in this case was achieved through what is called a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) which means that the petitioner doesn’t have to be an injured party. Merely a concerned citizen, as long as he can show that it is in public interest to have the issue examined by the court. Is there an equivalent system in the UK?

    Are the FA, Premier League, PGMOL subject to the conditions of any freedom of information act?

  • Shard

    Not that I feel courts are above manipulation, but it might be worth an effort, if at all possible.

  • bob

    Shard,
    To think out loud:
    Or a parliamentary inquiry tabled by the MP from Islington (whoever he/she is) should enough of his constituents get together to pressure with a supported claim there is reason to believe they are chronically being cheated of a fair match for their dosh?

  • Rupert Cook

    @bob, calm down. We all know you have the answers and you’re right. Who can be bothered arguing over it? What can you do? Moan all day on a blog. Go and shoot them all, that’s all you can do.

    I told you before, let’s build a case, let’s get the whole facts together and take it to court but I was told that would involve money and was useless. So what do you do?

    Mr.Taylor may well be corrupt. I don’t know. I suspect you don’t either but your prejudice would never entertain the idea that you’re wrong. Whereas I’m quite prepared to accept I’m wrong because you see I don’t know.

    Shard is absolutely sure Taylor is corrupt. Great. But I wonder if he could ever admit he might just be wrong. Because he might be. And he might be right. I don’t know. It’s all conjecture where he’s concerned. And if Taylor was so anti Arsenal he could have done a better job and sent off Szezceny too.

    A friend of a friend has spent twenty years of his life trying to prove corruption at Richmond Council. He’s dedicated his whole life to routing out the virulent lies and fabrications undertaken by said council and has even linked them to a Tory paedophilia ring. He’s even got a Labour MP to help his case, an MP who even brought the subject up in the House of Commons. Where’s it got him? Well he’s got some compensation for wrongful dismissal and not much else. But he fights on, he’s now even linked the murder of teenage boys to said Tories, but still little reward. But he won’t give up. Now there’s a man I admire. He doesn’t moan on blogs, he fights his cause. Where are you fighting yours? On Untold or are you taking it to the world? Tony maybe and if he is I wish him luck and if you are too I support your endeavours. So please don’t lecture me about corruption in sport because I believe it and it’s everywhere, but so what? How are you going to change things, tell me in a reasoned manner and withhold the condescension.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Shard, that’s more like it. Let’s see some action outside of Untold. Go to the courts. If there is evidence of protection money being handed over and ref’s being bought let’s do something about it.

  • Andrei

    So if the conspiracy theorists are correct when did this anti-Arsenal bias started and why? Why Invincibles were allowed to become invincible? Why were Arsenal allowed to a single EPL title at all?

  • bob

    Rupert Cook,
    Thank you, I do respect your well expressed and very decent response to my vitriol. I’ve pushed during the season of Cesc and other times for a petition to be launched here by UA, and have called for fans to bring a show of red cards to the Ems, and nary a peep back. Perhaps if Mr. Attwood would consider posting a petition that calls for some sort of official inquiry, or for an expression of outrage (red cards? more booing at the stitch-up Tailors of the world) at the Ems, then perhaps there’d be more than a few signees, or a red-card sort of idea would catch on. He and Walter have legitimacy and stature and something of a wide following (given the number of clicks that are attested to in the left-side corner above). For now, I have to agree with Shard that it would take a groundswell from the fanbase and beyond to other sides (perhaps) to bring an inquiry into fairness beyond a contract for goal-line video technology. Absent that, there’s just winning in the court of public opinion; or, perhaps it’s all just blowing off steam amongst fans who can’t budge the stringpullers except by publicly advocating, which, at some point, they may no longer be so loathe to do. I appreciate the dilemma as you describe it and live with the optimism of the heart, even amidst the pessimism of the mind.

  • bob

    Andrei,
    Ok, then what do you make of Micky R.’s way of derailing the Invincibility? Have you watched that match? Followed his career? Bussacca’s? Peter Walton’s?

  • Rupert Cook

    @bob, a reasoned response. I see you have tried to engineer some form of demonstration and I understand the problems you have getting any reaction. Many of us talk a good fight on a blog but then forget it the minute we turn the computer off. If there are more ridiculous refereeing performances a groundswell may indeed become a torrent and finally some justice will be done. I like the red card idea, rather like the Romans giving the thumbs down in the Coliseum in Rome, although apparently that’s apocryphal.

  • Andrei

    @bob I thought Invincibles were undone by Wayne Rooney’s dive. So did Rooney conspire with Mike R to make it happen? And how come this omni-powerful Mike failed to prevent Arsenal to go the entire season undefeated?

  • Shard

    Rupert

    I’ve suggested the same before. What your friend is doing/has done is admirable. But there is something to be said for ‘moaning on blogs’ as well.

    If there were no blog to moan at, I, living in India, would not have known that there is someone like bob in the US, who also feels like what he’s watching on TV isn’t quite the sport it claims to be. I wouldn’t have known Walter, living in Belgium, feels strongly enough about it to investigate. Walter wouldn’t have known how to get his message out to the world.

    Besides that, there is also a ‘risk’ in going to courts too early. Courts are also open to their own vagaries, and especially if we are talking about opening an investigation in public interest, there has to be enough of a public willing to first even take an interest. How great the interest is can never be judged through a media that refuses to cover the subject. This blog, serves that purpose as well as getting the message out. Now that reads like a revolutionary speech, but that’s not what I mean.

    In the larger scheme of things, football isn’t important. And yet, it is important to preserve the small pleasures of life in a fucked up world. It is that pleasure, that almost last bastion, that is being taken away. It just helps to know that other people see it, and feel the same way about it.

  • Shard

    bob

    On my last visit to the UK, I actually happened to meet a lady I was told was the former mayor of Islington. It wasn’t really a meeting of note as such and it’s not like I have access to her, but I do have her visiting card with me somewhere. Might be worth getting in touch, if for no other reason than that it might be a vote getter to stand up for Arsenal 🙂 But it might have more merit in having the suggestion come from someone who lives in the area.

  • ACold

    What you have written Tony is completely irrefutable (from the evidence I have read) and exceptionally worrying. The fact that you ended your piece with such conviction is what really struck me. I have been reading this sites work for quite some time but it is the manner in which you phrased the last few lines of your post and the suggestion of that level of corruption that compelled me to scrawl. I am not a conspiracy theorist but, having watched and read the rumblings surrounding the transfer window and spending in general I was certain we would lose our first game due to some sort of shenanigans. I was very frustrated to see it pass but, perhaps this is part of the “destructive forces” ploy to pull us into the mire of corruption. By forcing us to spend and do so in such a negative cauldron may have been the intention all along. The outcome of which is basically bending to their will. I believe we receive harsh treatment, I believe there is a cabal of clubs working in secret to keep the status-quo and I believe it is only a matter of time before either A)we succumb to the massive pressure or B) find a way yo combat these forces.

    The problem is not the lack information, it’s just simpler to believe that it doesn’t take place. It’s like the global economic issues or peak oil, most people actually prefer to not know. In social circles when I bring this stuff up Manu and Chelski supporters just laugh and call me crazy. That’s partly true but partly not and I am worried about that part which is not. As I see it (and you have mentioned) the real issue is that no real media stations would touch this, it’s clearly dealing with powerful, dangerous and malevolent people. Perhaps even people in charge of these said media groups(probably heresy but, you never know). It takes a brave person to stand up and be counted among the few that do suggest this corruption occurs. I tip my hat to you sir.

  • Shard

    Andrei

    Are you asking to explore the possibility of corruption further or to denounce it? It makes all the difference. Because what you are asking for is a working theory. The theory is bound to have gaps in logic because it is based on extremely limited facts.

    It’s like Wegener’s continental drift theory. He had it right that the continents moved, based on certain observations. He was asked to explain the mechanism, and he obliged. With what were completely wrong theories, and they were swiftly disproved, and consequently his theory was dismissed and he ended up a sorry, ridiculed figure. It took nearly 50 years for it to be eventually confirmed that he was right after all. Not in how it happened, or why it happened. But based on observation, he had deduced the truth.

  • bob

    Andrei,
    Are you suddenly blinkered? To Rooney add Nevilles, van Nestelroy, Rio, maybe Vidic. On and on. The whole lot was serially kicking, fouling, smashing the shit out of da Silva, others. All under the watchful eye and tacit permission of your man Micky R. You like your historical company there, Andrei? We both know you are too smart not to know that the fix was in. You just won’t acknowledge it. Don’t like the implications? Would there be an industry worth its reputation that would ever appoint a man capable of that kind of oversight performance to become its chief? If you can look at that match, it makes you an evidence free Coincidence Theorist. And today, a wind-up artiste. (Surely you know the world better than that, based on previous insightful postings.)

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Webb for the Fulham game, Taylor fourth official at Stoke v Palace

  • bob

    Shard,
    Oh Islington! Where my friends on many a visit firs introduced me to the roller coaster ride known as AFC. Oy the agony; oy the ecstasy. It’ll come again. Maybe your mayor will rightly spark it locally;thinking widely enough to kick something off. (Then again, she might have lost the election. Then again, they did elect a she! Hope eternally springs. Even this season? Well, ok, still a flicker with some time left to re-balance.)

  • Shard

    ANd rupert

    Yes I am certain that Taylor’s performance in the Villa game was corrupt. I don’t know what his motivation was. Money? Career progression? Or simply a dislike of Arsenal. It matters not in terms of whether it was corrupt or not. A deliberate performance in favour of one team is corruption because it goes against everything the sport is about,and what his role is supposed to be.

  • Shard

    And I am willing to countenance me being wrong. I actually always act as a check on myself, constantly questioning whether I have the right idea. I am just certain because ifyou remove the impossible (the idea that his performance was just an accident, or a series of mistakes) then you are left with the truth, however improbable.

    No shit, sherlock is the appropriate response to that 🙂

  • Shard

    bob

    I don’t think they’ll let us win. I was of the opinion they’ll take a step back. And I still think they might. But only in terms of not affecting the title race between Chelsea, ManCity and ManU. Arsenal will be kept out of that race, and Villa was a good start for them in that regard. But that’s just a prediction.

  • blacksheep63

    very thought provoking article Tony, and (for the most part)intelligent well made comments, such a contrast to much of what appears underneath post here and elsewhere.

    The refs MAY not be corrupt and they MAY be. What needs to happen now is for this to be investigated by card carrying journalists. After all who would have believed the press were tapping the phones of dead murder victims, or members of the royal family, or anyone else for that matter? Or that MPs were fiddling their taxes to quite that extent? Or that WMD was a complete fabrication?

    Untold has done (is doing) a fantastic job of exposing the murky underbelly of football in this country but now I’d like to see the professionals take up the baton.

  • bob

    Shard,
    To your point about the 3-way insider horse race:
    I also think that it’s those three that will get the highest profile in America this season. There’s a major (yes, major) push on to market the EPL as a viable sports attraction; and it has followed a summer league where ManShitty and I think Chelsea too have participated. It’s Murdoch and others’ league. Barely a scintilla of AFC. And the NY Yankees have now become a strategic partner of ManShitty’s and, one notes, no longer (starting this season) have Arsenal there as a tab on the homepage for their YES (Yankee Entertainment and Sports) network. All this said, did you notice how AW used the word “dark” in characterizing The Tailor’s performance? And he said to the press (near the outset I think), “well, you’ve got what you want.” Obviously he’s a conspiracy nut. (Right Andrei?)

  • bob

    “now I’d like to see the professionals take up the baton”
    blacksheep63,
    Any candidate(s) in mind for being honest broker enough to do so? And what media outlet would you think would be honest enough to support it?

  • bjtgooner

    @Shard & bob

    Sorry to be slow to respond, I had to nip out for a while. I do think questions to the Minister of Sport in Parliament would be a start – whether or not there would be one MP prepared to ask questions is another matter. (I have no faith in any politician).

    In these days of supposed open government and freedom of information, a question concerning the secrecy of the PGMOL could be tabled, followed later by questions re ref competence.

  • sperez

    Tony,

    I’m Brazilian with an Iberian/Italian background and I grew up listening to people calling the Portuguese/Spanish and Italian leagues corrupted.
    Especially in the Italian case, people are always complaining and they are right. Italian league has been disgusting with all the corruption going on for decades and no wonder this league is in debt and losing its appeal.
    However, I always say ‘at least in Italy people investigate and punish(well, in most cases). They don’t sweep the dirt under the carpet.’
    So, the Italian league image is damaged and it’ll remain damaged for a long, long time. I hope not beyond repair.
    I still believe it’s better to fight corruption than pretend nothing wrong is happening even with terrible consequences waiting ahead. It’s not easy to clean all the filth.
    I agree with many things Pedro (at Le Grove) writes on his blog but when he said ‘it’s not in our culture to take bungs’, I thought it was a naive view.
    In England corruption may not be as deep as it’s in Brazil or Italy. However, when money/power are part of the equation, don’t be surprise to see corruption thriving. It’s human nature.
    There was corruption in the German football a few years ago so who knows what it’s been happening in England?
    I won’t be surprise if something dishonest has been going on for years.
    However, one cannot turn a blind eye for Wenger’s mismanagement over the years. This has been something more damaging to Arsenal than referees.
    Wenger has created an environment brimming with complacency where failure is not only acceptable but rewarded.
    Yes, the referees have nothing to do with transfers but Wenger’s inaction in the transfer market was abysmal. A lightweight and injury prone squad cannot survive one of the most physical leagues in the world unscathed.
    In the first game of the season Wenger put players not fit on the bench. Arsenal are already facing an injury crisis and he didn’t improve the squad in quantity or quality.
    This is not only an embarrassment but negligence. There’s no excuse for that.
    Even the players have talked about new signings the whole summer. Giroud was the last player to ask for additions.
    If things continue to deteriorate (and this will probably happen under Wenger), I can see Cazorla hand in a transfer request very soon.
    ‘Arsenal will continue to fail to win anything’ under Wenger’s outdated methods and abysmal policies.
    So, you want Arsenal to change its stance on refereeing…
    Wenger won’t bother to do anything. Even Fàbregas stated that Wenger didn’t study the opposition so how will the refereeing become object of study by Wenger?
    This whole refereeing issue will only be used to provide more excuses for Monsieur Wenger.

  • Will

    I too think Wenger should have brought the players off and told the media to ask the ref whey he did it. The invincibles could not have won that game.

  • Shard

    Will

    I’ll admit during the game that thought did cross my mind too. I almost still wish we’d done it because that match was a disgrace. It wasn’t football.

  • Notoverthehill

    Tony, I completely agree with you. The Arsenal should be prepared for the match officials and in particular with the match referee.

    The Arsenal lacked leadership on the field of play. Taylor should have been shamed into being more impartial.

    Anybody can check the English Premier League site for details on the each referee!

    Aston Villa were stuffed by the English Premier League, having to play Arsenal and then Chelsea. Aston Villa had every right to fell upset, very upset.

    Taymor’s record is 58 matches, 14 Red Cards and 181 Yellow cards.

    He seems to have done his job, be lenient with Aston Villa.

    Corrupt, Never.

  • andy bishop

    Been a fan since 1960. Arsenal’s fortunes have ebbed and flowed during this time. For me the most disappointing thing is we have not capitalised on the legacy of the last 20 years. The current squad..despite the hype is just not good enough to compete at the highest level. We can all argue semantics, we can all discuss the reasons why and insult fellow gooners who have a differing view. It will not change anything. This site has examined refereeing performances and identified clear bias by certain officials. Saturdays game was a prime example, however it is not just the reason why we lost. Clubs at the top level do not dispose of their best players who they want to keep unless the money is too hard to resist. RVP left..not for the money but knew the board lacked ambition. The Arsenal board are bankers and venture capitalists. Nothing will change unless the fans force a change. Its all been promises to the future..new stadium increased capacity and income we can compete at the top level..oh!! once the stadium debt has been pared down we will be in a position to spend and compete at the top level. Now its “over the next few years we are in a much stronger financial position and able to compete financially at the top level” Its never going to happen its not the Arsenal way. The current manager will develop and bring on players in his own way as well as not overpaying for players and tactically play the same way. His way relies on a solid defensive midfielder..two full backs who can bomb on and one or two class forwards who are quick and know where the goal is. He has not got them at the moment..and I suspect never will

  • marcus

    Great article Tony.

    Sadly the fans are too enamoured of vitriol soup with bullshit croutons, as lovingly served by the media tarts, to be united on the subject.

    If the fans were united, then something could happen. How about 40,000 home supporters getting to the ground one saturday, and then instead of going in to the game, just not going in. Or how about a new uniform for fans who up in about the refereeing?

    Something simple but striking. A black T-Shirt and a yellow cap, with a red card on the front? Something that would be effective if 40,000 people wore the same thing.

  • marcus

    Or if everytime the ref gave a decision, everyone went “Ssshhhh!”

  • marcus

    The “sssh” campaign ….

    “ssssh” (don’t mention the corrupt refereeing)

  • marcus

    Maybe a cap with “sssh!” on it…something neutral coloured..black with white letters…something any club could use

  • Rupert Cook

    Don’t know if this is true but apparently Spuds are about to sign Willian. Just where are they getting all their money if this is correct?

    Have they sold Bale yet? Or maybe they’re doing what RVP wanted us to do to ensure he stays.

  • dan

    Rupert Cook

    Spuds in for Willian, Arsenal in for Cabaye supposedly a top top player.

  • Stuart

    Andrei, re your comment:

    “So if the conspiracy theorists are correct when did this anti-Arsenal bias started and why? Why Invincibles were allowed to become invincible? Why were Arsenal allowed to a single EPL title at all?”

    I think if what is being suggsted is actually the case, then there are plenty of other teams senior managment out there who would like nothing more than to not see an invincible season again by any team other than their own. As in all walks of life, there are unethical people in football and some who see money as the answer to every problem.

    Who knows who has offered who how much?

  • Rupert Cook

    @dan, I just don’t get this. Supposedly we need a striker and Willian would have cost less than Suarez and is bloody good and yet we aren’t interested and Spuds who can’t even get in the CL might get him. This is baffling but maybe once you start making decent signings others follow. I just hope this deal falls through.

  • Shard

    Rupert

    In all likelihood the deal to sell Bale has been signed already, and the transfer will happen at a set date. Spurs will actually be a better team by selling Bale. But won’t it be fun if they sign everyone counting on the Bale money, and Real then decide to dick them around and start cutting their offer. I only thought of it today because I saw the Willian headline alongside one where Raul is saying the Bale price is too high.

    As of now Spurs have spent 60m in the transfer market. Willian will make it 90m. Apparently.

  • Shard

    I didn’t think Willian was a striker?? I thought he was a winger.

  • dan

    Shard

    So what are we waiting for?

  • marcus

    The Last few seasons all we heard from the AAA/Tottenham Plants/ Media Shills etc was
    about how crap certain players were, e.g. Denilson, etc etc, and how Wenger should never have bought them etc etc

    Now that Wenger has entered the transfer market in a huge way, by offloading all these ‘crap’ players the AAA delighted in snorting over, how have the media reported it?

    1) Not at all
    2) By saying Wenger has too small a squad now

    The media bullshittery is absolute never-ending .

    Do we now hear the AA saying how pleased they are that Wenger has offloaded these players ? Not a squeak.

    The entire media coverage of Arsenal is fabricated and dishonest as far as I can see.

  • Shard

    dan

    Why does every discussion have to turn into one of looking at the other’s lawn and saying how green it is? We’re waiting to qualify for the CL so that we can offer that and hopefully get in a higher calibre of players. Since you ask my opinion.

    2 years ago, no CL till late, we got 5 players in the last 2 days. Last year we had confirmed CL, we got in our signings, Giroud and Cazorla (both from CL clubs) by 3rd August.

    This year, no CL so far. It could be coincidence, but I am certain having the CL makes some difference, even beyond the financial aspect.

  • Tasos

    Willian.

    Don’t think he’s a striker. Attacking midfielder who can play in behind the striker or on the wing. In which case Arsenal have enough cover.

    Gareth Bale is gone already. Sign sealed and yet to be delivered.

  • Shard

    marcus

    That’s true, but hardly surprising is it.

    Arsenal let go of so many players to let go of the deadwood and change the wage structure that everyone made such a fuss about (I still think this should have been done more gradually)

    If Arsenal buy similar calibre players early, they get shouted at for not buying players of a level above.

    If they wait for CL and then try to get better players, they are accused of throwing away the season.

    If they buy at good value, they are stingy. If they leave it late and (apparently thus) have to pay more, they are idiots.

    The only mistake, that I can tell, that Arsenal made is that they went for Suarez over Higuain believing it to be a release clause. However, if they believed that clause was there (It might still be) then you can’t fault the intention. I can’t believe people think that a 40m bid was just for show. I mean that takes some awesome kind of twisted logic to reach that conclusion. But that isn’t a ‘conspiracy theory’. Nothing that paints the people at Arsenal as scheming, thieving, conniving cheats is ever a conspiracy theory. That protection is only enabled to referees.

  • dan

    Shard

    2011 was the panic buy trolly dash, of which only Arteta turned out to good.

  • Shard

    Tasos

    Yeah, but I’m hoping it’s not signed and Spurs are running themselves into all kinds of a financial mess. BUt I guess that isn’t very likely

  • Shard

    dan

    You can dub them whatever you like. They were signings. And I happen to think Mertesacker, despite his limitations, turned out very good. Especially as a partnership with Kos.

    How efficient were other clubs buys?

    Also remember that 2011, Fabregas and Nasri both left very late in the window (15th Aug and 24Aug apparently) meaning we only knew how much money we had, a week before the window shut. They weren’t panic buys. The background work on them would have been done before. They were just rushed negotiations for them because that is what the situation demanded.

    We have no such concerns now.

  • marcus

    lol,

    Indeed Shard. 40m in mediaspeak is a derisory offer now…. a pitiful piss take apparently.

    That is why I don’t bother reading any posts from the usual suspects. I just gloss and glaze. Glaze over, and gloss by. If somebody had a coherent or half original thought, that would be a different matter of course.

    I suspect Wenger very much wants to get Suarez; to me he is like the best bits of Rooney and the best bits of RVP. He is a very good footballer imo.

    According to Suarez, the Liverpool manager has reneged on his word, having given Luis a verbal assurance that if Liverpool failed to make the Champions League, Luis would be free to move on. I suspect also Arsenal may have believed that to be the case also, that there was a gentleman’s agreement, much the same as Ronaldo played an extra season for Man U, and RVP if I am correct deferred leaving AFC for a year. These sorts of agreements are commonplace, it just appears that, if we believe Suarez, the Liverpool manager doesn’t want to honour the agreement.

    Of course the press have wanked off about what an ingrate Suarez is, and also what a scrooge Wenger is, without really connecting the two stories. Which much behoves them, because it’s difficult to stick a mermaid’s tail onto a fireman’s upper torso.

  • Shard

    Oh and I forgot benayoun. He was a good signing as well. So of the 6 players we bought that window (Ox, Arteta, Per, Benayoun, Santos, Park) 2 didn’t work out at all. One provided some much needed experience and quality on his one year on loan, 2 of them are our leaders on the pitch, and 1 of them is a highly rated youngster who is also an England international. Give me ‘panic buys’ like that every time.

  • dan

    Shard

    So do you think this window we will sign a big name or the same as 2011?

    I really think this will be Wenger’s last, the media may well have played it’s part!

  • dan

    The OX was an early signing.

  • Pat

    I sympathize with what you say, Tony.

    However, I remember a few years ago when Arsene Wenger made true and valid criticisms of the refs, he was constantly branded a whinger in the press and the refereeing did not seem to improve.

    His comments were not wasted on observant Arsenal fans, however. Many of the things he pointed to are also pointed out by writers of articles and other contributors on this site. I certainly noticed a whole load of them on Saturday.

    I am still hoping that Arsenal Football Club are making strenuous complaints about Saturday’s refereeing behind the scenes. It should not just be up to the manager and the players to point these things out.

    I also feel that the detailed analysis made of referees on this site has not been in vain. I am hoping that many Arsenal fans will be reading it. In the end it will only be if Arsenal fans stick together and turn their anger on the bad referees – and not on the manager and the team – that anything will change. There was a lot of anger at the referee on Saturday. But as I predicted, the refereeing and the fans’ reaction got very little coverage in the media.

  • Shard

    dan

    I said in the window.

    So will we sign a big name or same as 2011. I don’t know. I think higuain/suarez was supposed to be our big name. I don’t know if we’ll get a big name. Which doesn’t fuss me too much, although it would be exciting to have a big name player.

    I am sure we are going to go for slightly higher caliber players than before. I have no evidence for this, but I’d be happy with players of the level of Cazorla. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. We’ll see soon enough.

  • Andrei

    Willian is another Adebayor. He was troublemaker at Shakhtar and they did excellent business of selling him to Anzhi. It looks like Anzhi in their turn found another sucker for Willian. If Spurs get him they will have two Adebayors on their hands.

  • Shard

    marcus

    Suarez certainly wants to leave, and Liverpool’s constant chatter about him in the press initially, suggests that they wanted a bidding war to start. You don’t say not for sale, but then say as good as Cavani (or Bale) if you are absolutely intent on not selling.

    There was some confusion over the clause and the PFA chairman said it doesn’t oblige Liverpool to sell. What remained unclear in that statement is if that would remain true should Arsenal qualify for the CL. There was some mention of it being a release clause for a CL club. John Cross (I know) says that Wenger still hasn’t given up on Suarez. I don’t know. Things don’t just become alright with a player disgruntled enough to go to the media.

    However, since Suarez would probably prefer to go to Spain, and that this is a World Cup year, perhaps if he doesn;t get his move now, he’s prepared to stay, and hope that some CL club comes in with an offer in January.

  • robl

    I think if this ref situation carries on Arsenal may just stick 2 fingers up at the sweet fa and get on with a European super league, after all there’s a lot of big clubs who are going to need more money soon.

  • Shard

    Andrei

    Hahaha.. That would be worth seeing.

  • Andrei

    @Shard and bob. I generally very skeptical when it comes to conspiracy theory. It is one thing to say that refs are biased in some games or EPL officiating in general is not very friendly to non-physical teams like Arsenal. But it is quite different level to claim that there is concentrated anti-Arsenal effort. I’m not saying that corruption doesn’t exists my point is it is typically driven by rational pursuit of profits and but not personal vendettas. You need a steady financial source to sustain anti-Arsenal agenda for many years. I simply fail to see where this source would come from.

  • Hi Untolders,

    Still enjoying my ‘sabbatical’ pop in here to see what’s up but it appears it’s the same old arguments.

    I’m getting back into my hole to leave you good folks in peace.

    Keep calm and support your team 🙂

  • Shard

    Andrei

    Please read my analogy about business and industry and a firm doing better at lower budgets. That should show what I think is happening. At least to some extent.

    You’re right. It shouldn’t be a specific Anti-Arsenal agenda. But if it is, as I am led to believe through observation (this doesn’t mean that no other clubs are affected), there must be a reason. What sets us apart? Southern club? no. Foreign manager? no. It has to be what we are villified for. Not spending the money. And that must be the nub of the problem. But why? Now this is where it gets tough to explain because it enters the realm of pure conjecture. I’m reluctant to go into that right now, mainly because I don’t have one theory that I am completely convinced by, and it’s late and I can’t think clearly enough to make a coherent argument, even to myself.

  • marcus

    So you are a coincidence theorist then Andrei?

    You just happen to believe that the woeful refereeing at Arsenal matches is pure coincidence?

    We just deal with facts really, like a detective, we see the crime and then try to establish motive.

    You seem to think that lack of an easily defined motive makes the crime non-existent.

    Understand this Andrei, in football everything evens out in the end. And it is true.

    Man U get 100 favourable decisions , every other club gets 5 favourable decisions, and Arsenal get 185 unfavourable decisions. see…football is like a perfect science really, as harmonious as JS Bach, or a Feynman theorem.

  • Pat

    @Andrei

    Just because we do not know where the source of money to spike Arsenal’s chances would come from, does not mean there is not such a source.

    The world of big money is intensely secretive.

  • robl

    Doesn’t have to be a continued source of cash- once you’ve paid someone off once they’re always yours.

  • Andrei

    You guys are speaking too lightly about corruption as if an anti-Arsenal campaign could be easily devised by a couple of dudes over a round of beer in the afternoon. And then executed for many years from their basement office. It is too complex and expensive operation. It needs solid backing and great deal of monetary reward to be worth the trouble. And do not forget they are not dealing with the simpletons. Arsenal are one of the richest football clubs in the world with enough leverage and financial interests behind them to annihilate any amateur conspirators. So you would need a solid organization with enough financial motivation to go against them. Inevitably you would have to answer this question – who profits from all of this and how.

  • bjtgooner

    @Andrei

    I would suspect there is more than one money source, just as there are several different interests involved. I would also suspect that there is an understanding or loose co-operation or overlap of common agenda between some interests.

  • robl

    @ Andrei, hypothetically speaking Man U would have been deep in financial hell without champions league money over the last 5 years due to the glazier debt. So muchto lose.

  • Shard

    As bjtgooner says. There are multiple interests at play. There’s everyone’s hated, betting firms.

    Then there’s the league itself which positions itself and markets itself as the ‘best league in the world’ not on the basis of quality of football, but on the basis of headlines through vast amounts of money spent to buy ‘the best’ players, as well as drama, which even they admit (in ManCity’s title win) meant that they got a much better TV deal. So they obviously have something at stake in keeping the ‘drama’ going.

    There’s Sky which made it’s money on the back of aggresively marketing the league with ManU (whom they tried to buy) as its flagship team (ManU were not the biggest team around in 95, but they were the first team I heard of here in India) The TV companies have quite a bit of control over fixtures and the like, indicating a control, or at least a relationship with the league, and the fact is that Sky also run SkyBet, which is a conflict of interest. So betting isn’t entirely separate either.

    What else. Add in the interests of the various clubs and their owners, who either want to make money despite seeming to be spending it..this is possible..or to have some sort of ‘guarantee’ to win. or both.

    There’s so many possible interests and chances of collision and collusion that I think there isn’t necessarily one plan or ‘conspiracy’. Except it’s in everyone’s interest to keep it going, keep the money flowing, and profit off of it. Anyone not wanting to be a part of it, can be bought, bought off, or threatened, because their lack of culpability makes the risk greater for everyone else.

  • bjtgooner

    @Shard

    I agree – but – there is another – best left undefined for now.

  • GoonerVance

    Agree completely with this article. Great points on the lack of public relation and media savvy in the club. This goes double for the club coming out and telling the world how much money we have in the bank before the summer transfer window.

    It’s just not smart. It’s also not smart for Wenger to keep looking so damn anxious on the sidelines. All of the se things add up to a public perception that makes Arsenal the perfect victim in English football. We don’t have a Carragher to go out there and spin stories Arsenal’s way, and it seems like the ex-Arsenal players in the media are against the club too.

    This is a huge failure. When we don’t even have former gunners as advocates, how can we ever beat back the media shit storm? It all adds to an atmosphere of inevitable failure. I don’t have a problem with paying customers voicing their displeasure, that’s been part of he game for over a century, but when Tony Adams is bad mouthing the club it’s counter productive.

  • alex

    I became a regular Untold reader when my first time in this blog start reading about referee .Impressed as no one else is writing except Untold kept following.
    Not long then the authors indicated that they where going to collect more data and they made a very good job and to me a unique one.I want to thank you once again.

    However I did pose a question in regard the exit strategy of this good purpose.

    My question was :

    After all this analysed evidence you guy’s collected what are you going to do with it ?

    Is it just for chit chatting and debate on this blog or are there serious legal avenue to pursue ? Or
    Are you going to collect signature from fans who share the same pain and present it to the almighty F.A. ?

    As I say I admire the effort you guys are putting in this but still is not clear to me it’s exit strategy.

  • Mark

    It is astonishing that after the horrid display of ref taylor in the arsenal v villa game there was no response from the ref association or league indicating that such a bad job was wrong or intolerable. The issue of transfers would not be an issue if arsenal had won – but the PGMO and the FA are glad to see this issue raised in the press because it deflects attention from the horrid officiating. Clearly the ref wanted to make it as hard as possible for arsenal to succeed.

    So please keep speaking out about this subject!!!!!

    IF the PGMO or the FA were really wanting to keep the game above reproach then ref taylor would be publicly criticized by the authorities and demoted. But it does not seem to be their agenda.

    When will the press really start an investigation? When will the governmental authorities start an investigation? The EPL is bent!

  • hartwick89

    Tony,

    I couldn’t agree more with you in regards to Arsenal defending in some way against the ref ravaging the beautiful game. I think that Villa’s gameplan vis a vis lambert was on display. Remember the other Scot from the all blue side who instructed the same game plan at the destruction of our season and poor dudu. Nothing has changed. I am just glad that Wilshere could be seen inflamed and demonstrate the cheating that was going on. I was as livid as he was. What is it with Scottish coaches and their undeniable hate for Arsenal? I always think SAF skypes each of his boys before a game and tells them how todo the business against Wenger.

  • americangooner

    Matt, yes we won 3 games officiated by taylor but have you ever gone deeper? Have you read the full objective analysis of taylor of the specific three games on refreedecisions website.

    Against QPR, 81% of the weighted incorrect decisions were made.
    Against Reading, 84% of the weighted incorrect decisions were maade.
    Against Sunderland, a staggering 89% of the weighted decisions were made.

    So why does not the fact that so much incorrect decisions that could have a bearing on the result not be symptomatic of this ref to have an agenda. Yes we won the matches but it does not negate the fact that taylor had some kind of bias against us.

  • Rupert Cook

    Very fascinating debate. I’m not really a conspiracy theorist as such things, especially of the magnitude we’re talking about, are very difficult to effect without someone going public. Having said that I’m not saying there isn’t enough evidence to suggest that something is not right, what it involves, whether it’s betting cabals or powerful business interests that benefit from Arsenal’s stagnation or other things I couldn’t say. Maybe it’s not spending money although we seemed to have changed regarding that as we did offer a vast sum for Suarez. Like Shard I can’t see why that would be an incentive to scupper our ambitions.

    Tony mentioned paying protection money but didn’t elucidate any further though he seemed to imply that some big clubs do and this protects them from outrageous ref’s decisions. This seems a very possible scenario and would explain much.

    On a different tack I think I said Willian was a striker when he’s a winger/attacking midfielder. Anyway if Spuds do get him it’ll be quite a signing.

    AVB reminds me of a certain manager who came here many years ago and thrust us into the limelight after a few years backstage.

    Despite all the dubiousness of the EPL it’ll be an exciting season as there are now, I think, four teams that could win the league, City, Chelsea, Manu and Spuds.

  • Rupert Cook

    Also rumoured that Spuds are in for Lamela, a 21 year old Argentine striker.

    This article may explain why Spuds are doing brilliantly in the transfer market.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/10254237/Willian-poised-to-join-Tottenham-in-30m-deal-with-Romas-Erik-Lamela-next-on-Andre-Villas-Boass-radar.html

    And Shard I take your point about waiting for CL qualification but that didn’t seem to be an issue after we flung an enormous bid for Suarez. I also note that it seems that CL qualification isn’t an imperative when it comes to signing decent players as Spuds recruitment. This gives me heart because right now I can’t see us finishing top four and we’ll be in Spuds position next year.

  • Rupert Cook

    “Spuds recruitment proves” I meant.

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    Tony:
    Nothing will happen, unless Scotland Yard taps the lines of Riley, Dean, Taylor and their ilk, and that would be a very long investigation. Oops! Sorry, I am commenting from the US, where the current and previous men in office have used some special provisions of some special act of congress to tap the lines of individuals they deem suspect. In the UK, I assume you need probable cause or something like that.
    Going back to my initial point, I wonder indeed if instructions about how to referee a game (there is an art to cheating teams like ours) are given by phone or face to face.
    PS: Unless if, of course, one of Riley’s lackeys does some blunder on an “arranged” game, and some criminal organization (other than the “PGMO” hahaha) decides to spur into action, thus unleashing something formidable; I can see this as a possible not-so-fictional book resulting in a movie adaptation with scenario adaptation by Quentin Tarantino and some big names like George Clooney, Robert de Niro, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Jean Reno, Liam Neeson, and Hugh Jackman.

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    Rupert,
    Have you considered becoming a Spud?
    You seem to like many things about them.
    they are simply amassing players so the fan base will not go completely nuts when they sell Bale to Real Madrid.
    In fact, I assume they are spending the money expected from the Bale transfer ahead of the said transfer. Their scouting sucks, unless we take the first step: I suspect some at AFC send out rumors about our “next targets” to send them (and others) in the wrong direction.
    Wenger is quite different; I still remember when he said that he had no idea who Cazorla was.

  • Oliver

    If there is indeed a clear bias by some refs then this website should publish predictions ahead of games that you think will be affected. Not just Arsenal games, all games that have a ref with a clear bias for either of the teams involved.

    If the bias is real and your analysis correct then your predictions should be shockingly accurate thus proving the validity of your claim. It’s always a more powerful statement when you can predict something based on your theory rather than just show that previous events match up with nicely your theory.

    When you show for a good while that you can predict results with much higher confidence than just guessing, people will notice and start betting on those results that you have shown to be able to predict very well.

    When people start betting on those games in numbers, the betting industry will notice, the media will notice…

  • Rupert Cook

    @Ray, we’ll see. I get quite disturbed by the arrogance of some fans. Their scouting sucks, really? They have a new man in charge of transfers who’s acted swiftly so I’m not sure you can say their scouting sucks, that’s a bit premature. If they finish behind us and win nothing I’ll agree with you.

    I’m sure their fanbase is well aware they’ll sell Bale but if they don’t, and the recruitment of decent players may change Bale’s mind, then they’ll have a very good shot at the league.

    You should never underestimate your enemy.

  • Stuart

    Alex,
    I don’t ever recall an ‘exit strategy’ as you put it, being mentioned. It also isn’t necessary. I believe it all started to satisfy a suspicion which it certainly has done. I just hope it is able to continue because it is too early to be taken seriously enough. Another few seasons of demonstratable consistent bias in the same direction should be enough to get the people at the top to take notice.

  • Doublegooner

    Ray From over the water:

    As most Untold Deludeds, you’ll attack any fan ( & there are 000’s) who question the Arsenal Management, to support the other mob.

    Levy is showing real ambition & business nous to push the club forward. What bloody difference whether it matters he might be investing the fee they could get for Bale.

    We are stuck in the past with so much indecision. ‘how dare anyone question me’ Wenger is getting very aggravated and flusterred now. This situation has been brought upon by him, Gazidis & Kroenke as a collective.

    How are all your other favourite teams doing over there ?

    Denver Nuggets, Colorado Rapids, Colorado Avalance, Colorado Mammoth & the St. Louis Rams.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Andrei,

    let me say that I have some “inside” sources (more than one yes) telling met that a top dog of the PGMO is a person who:
    1. Likes to do things “on his own”
    2. Likes to sit in back rooms to do business
    3. He is a puppet on a string of some people

    Now of course I cannot prove anything of this. I don’t know this person in person. But my sources have said the same things without knowing that the other source speaks to me. My sources also have shown to me they know the ins and outs of the PGMO very well.

    So is a person like that capable of engineering some mechanism? I know the referee world a bit and I can assure you that the “right person” at the right place can.

    But if you want proof I must admit that I cannot give it to you in writing. To have that you need phone tapping for months or even years. Like they did in Italy on more than one occasion and with success.

    Things looked suspicious in Italy and they went digging. According to my numbers things look suspicious in England. But apart from Untold nobody goes digging. And our resources are very limited and we cannot start a real investigation.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Walter, or like they did in The Wire. I’m up for a bit of undercover work.

  • alex

    @Stuart
    My point is in order to get the desired output one should have a plan. We feel there is a blatant bias toward Arsenal.In that regard Untold so far what they have done is collecting and gathering data.According to this database all the suspicious referring that was/is going on for some time is making sense.

    If I give it say another two years in order to gather more data and emerges similar pattern what you do ?
    Is there a way to challenge the authority ?
    Is it for us fans to sign petition and then pass it to certain authority ?

  • Shard

    Rupert

    I had typed a very long response to you regarding our transfers and Spurs, but it seems to have disappeared.

    I’ll just say again that what Spurs have bought so far isn’t an upgrade on what we have. They’ve also let go a lot of players that were important to their league campaign. We haven’t.

    But Lamela is a fantastic player. Reminds me of the Ox, but I’d love us to get Lamela and someone like Michu instead of just Suarez alone. If Spurs get Lamela, Willian and Coentrao, then they’ll have a very good squad indeed. Except perhaps in defense.

    We’ll buy players before the window closes.

  • Stuart

    Alex,
    The desired output was to see if the incorrect decisions all even out in the end – the study has proved this doesn’t happen for 3 seasons running now. My own agenda would have been to prove that video replay is a minimum essential requirement in the Premier League but that’s another story.

  • Rufusstan

    @Shard — OK it isn’t just me then. It has happened often enough that I copy long posts before hitting post.

    It failed for me this time, so I’m stuck wondering If I can reconstruct what I had. (and trying this on a different browser).

  • alex

    Stuart

    I don’t think we differ in anything is just a kind of don’t see any tangible results in this. After all these guys that work on this part of Untold surely are spending much time and effort and if you part of that credit to you all.

  • Andrei

    @Walter The individual that you mention is quite capable of devising a plan to hurt some targeted clubs. And I believe that you provided plenty of evidence that something like that may indeed be happening. However if it is solely driven by personal agenda(s) this can only have limited if painful effect. Clubs paying protection fee to get favorable officiating sounds like more feasible theory as it has solid financial motivation to develop a large scale operation. It is quite an undertaking but it can be done.

  • OMGArsenal

    Excellent post Tony and one that raises serious issues which have never been looked at seriously by the authorities or the league itself. As a retired referee, I find it very distasteful and distressing to think that my colleagues could be manipulated and manipulating games for ulterior motives or worse still, for personal gain. I can attest to many officials having a preference for one team over another, and for some to officiate in a cowardly and blinkered fashion out of fear or indifference.
    Maybe there is a form of common assent between the PGMO, its members and some exterior forces but it seems more likely that it is basically a lack of skilled officials, a shortfall of competent referees and a certain Mr.Riley’s influence that has built up a tradition of secrecy and nefariousness among the PGMO members.