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Victim of the Week; Mourinho to the rescue.

By Tony Attwood

There is a section in the Observer newspaper (a Sunday broadsheet published in London) called Said and Done in which the ludicrous things that are said within the world of football are contrasted with what actually occurs.

It could be very good – indeed lots of other journalists give it awards for its insights when they are asked to vote for each other’s work.  But one can never help but feel that in reality what they vote for is the fact that none of their own stupidities are ever revealed in the column.

In fact it seems to exist simply to deflect attention from what journalists do and more often don’t write.

For the errors, lies and downright stupidities of the media are strictly excluded from Said and Done.  Only football people (plus some politicians – generally East European, African and South American politicians – none of your West European, and certainly none of your UK politicos) are mentioned.

And yes, sometimes it is a bit amusing, as with this one, which is typical of its output.

Robin van Persie: confronting media lies about his United future. “People are taking it upon themselves to think for me … I’m the only one who knows exactly what I’m feeling and that is not what I or the fans have been reading. The truth is I’m very happy here at this club … This is how I feel, though it’s not what has been suggested in the media.”

Oct 2011, Robin van Persie: “I want to say something about my commitment to Arsenal because there have been many stories in the media lately. I am committed to Arsenal, and that’s how it is, despite people [in the media] making up stories … I am committed, I am captain – fans should not believe everything they read.”

Ho ho indeed.

But of course what you won’t see are any of the stupidities of the press – the wild speculations, the half crazed lack of knowledge of the actual rules of the game, the utter bias, and above all the refusal to mention certain issues – these are never included.  The hand doesn’t strangle the throat (or something like that).

It was back on Sunday 7 April 1974 that the Observer was one of the first publications to suggest that the BBC and ITV (the only two TV broadcasters Britain had at the time) were manipulating the recordings of games to show them in a way that met their own agenda.  It wasn’t new – fans had been saying that for years, but it was new for a newspaper to come out and suggest it.

It was only one step further to say that club owners were asking the BBC and ITV editors to “go easy” on certain events – but the press never dared take such a step.  That is just too close to home.

And still that problem continues – not daring to take the next step to suggest that something might, just might, be wrong.

And yet the cracks do continue to appear.    The issue of Arsenal injuries has been discussed for years – although I believe that it was Untold that really brought it to the fore, and it was one of the reasons for the creation of Untold in the 2007/8 season.

Thus it is a bit strange when the Guardian/Observer newspaper group should suddenly this weekend take up the theme as I quoted yesterday

Why are Arsenal so much more susceptible to injuries than any other side in the Premier League?

What is that they are doing on the training ground that there are so many important players out at such a important time in the season? And this is not new thing for the Gunners, so why hasn’t it changed?

It was all so silly that it seemed like a deliberate ploy to sideline a serious topic by laughing at it.  (See yesterday’s article for the full piece; or indeed our current series on the way different clubs are treated by referees.   The latest article is here, and there will be another later today).

But the issue of referees and their competence and honesty will not go away, not least because the PGMOL that runs the refereeing in the Premier League is a highly secretive organisation which deliberately limits the number of refs in the league, thus making it possible for a bent ref to have a significant influence in favour of the clubs he is manipulated by, and against the rivals to that club.

So ultimately, gradually it is true, but it is growing), managers are taking over the job that the media should do, of holding PGMOL to account, and the media should be utterly ashamed of themselves that it has come to this.

For ages the media has traded on the silliness of managers like Arry Redknapp whose most common line was “You know I never talk about managers but…”   He did it all the time so the press sniggered and published his latest outburst and no one worried.

But with José Mourinho they have a greater problem.  It is harder to snigger at a manager who, whatever you think of his footballing style, has been very successful in football across Europe.   So when he says it would be “helpful” if Chris Foy was prevented from officiating at Chelsea matches in the future, they run the story.

They try to down play it by using the old trick of sniggering again at these funny foreigners who have emotion.  In the myth of the English as a nation we don’t have any emotions, and even if we do have we don’t show, emotions.  (Football fans are not really English as they get so excited).  So Mourinho is “seething” and then “called on the authorities to ‘analyse’ Foy’s record in Chelsea fixtures”.   Note the clever contrast of that non-emotional “analyse” with the highly charged “seething”.

And then we have “Emotions were running high at Villa Park” – and that can’t be right can it?  Emotion in football?  Quick, better write it up in Said and Done.

And then the boss of Chelsea is quoted as saying, “I think from now on, the next time we have Mr Foy, I have to work my people in a different way.”

And that is the killer punch.

To the best of my knowledge Chelsea don’t have anyone doing ref analyses like Untold does, and if that is the case, I do hope that someone in the Chelsea fan base can take it on, because the more clubs that get involved in sorting out PGMOL the better, in my view.

The whole debate about the way journalists and their newspapers kow-tow to PGMOL, while laughing at players and managers, not to mention anyone in a blog who tries to raise an issue that they deem a no-go area,  is one that we have only touched on in passing.  But it is one that is growing in importance, and one that really does have to come to the fore.

The victim of the week is not RVP of course, it is football, and the collusion between the media and those who run the show – a collusion strengthened by their decision to laugh at the clubs and players, rather than consider their own position, and their decision never to look at the work of the referees and the referees’ organisation.

Maybe there is nothing wrong with refereeing in the Premier League – but until the mainstream media, with all its massive resources, start to investigate the matter seriously, the doubt must always remain that there is something very unsavoury at the heart of our football.

The real victims are always the fans.

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25 comments to Victim of the Week; Mourinho to the rescue.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Thanks for this article Tony. And for letting me do some investigation. If it would have been about a real Arsenal related story food enough for an article. But as this is a Chelsea story a comment will do. 😉 Oh and for those who don’t like to see me write: told you so. It will be a told you so comment.

    Because one of my final conclusions about the relationschip between Foy and Chelsea was: “Foy is a highly negative ref for Chelsea it seems.”

    So once again Untold referee reviews have long before others discovered it (Or does Jose read Untold? 🙂 😆 😯 ? )

    Do I dare to say that if it wouldn’t have been for Untold Dean could have gone on forever in screwing Arsenal but now had to stop it at the end of last season when the evidence we had published and that was taken over by the ‘more serious media’ finally hadn’t happened?

    Our referee reviews have shown the patterns not just for Arsenal. I think the PGMOL even uses our findings 🙂 Some PL referees did use them in fact.

    So ignore all our findings if you want. I know what they are worth. And they are worth a lot.

  • As always and ever, where officiating and referees are concerned, the media is the problem.

    I chuckle every time they contort themselves into pretzels to justify the latest unjustifiable fuck-ups of the match officials. Something is wrong somewhere but unfortunately, those are supposed to expose the rot are active participants and enablers. If their is going to be any sanity in officiating in this country, it will come from blogs. Let’s hope, as you suggested, that other teams’ bloggers take up the issue in Untold’s fashion too.

  • Mike T

    As I have said on here before there are lies, lies and dammed statistics so tend not to dwell too much on a set of figures in relation to the game I think we all really want to love.

    In the stands at Villa Park on Saturday there was the usual anger at the ref but it wasn’t until I saw recorded highlights that I had to shake my head and say to myself deary me.

    In truth I honestly believe you get some and don’t get others.

    Of course we have had our share of good luck and indeed our bad luck so as they say I tend take the rough with the smooth.

    Walter I love your comment “Foy is a highly negative ref for Chelsea it seems.”

    Those dammed stats make it easy for me to see why you take that view how about this stat. In some 17 years as a referee and officiating in 564 games Foy has only ever sent off 2 players from the same team 4 times and of those 4 Chelsea have suffered twice. Also he has sent 6 of our players off in the last 8 games he has been in charge of our games.
    On Saturday he did struggle with the game he made a couple of really good calls against us which were correct .One funnily enough (the disallowed goal) was probably handball. I doubt however he would have given a penalty had the shoe been on the other foot but the reality was neither he or his assistant could have seen it clearly so he/they guessed

    Is he deliberately biased against Chelsea? Not sure.

    Is he a bad referee most certainly he is.

  • Oluwatoba

    Fantastic article Sir,

    While it may be dangerous to base ones views of life on stats, it does validates our curiosities, or how do one explain three (3) penalties in a single match not to both sides but to one side with the other side having to make do with an added red card. Of course one is made to think one team was playing football while the other simply played Rugby.
    #beginningtofocusontheredsofpool

  • OlegYch

    fwiw Foy was right about sendoffs and disallowed goal, so what’s the fuss is about?

    Oluwatoba, Clattenburg missed a couple of penalties both ways, and i believe the penalty on Sturridge was correct as Vidic was nowhere near the ball and just fell in his way, perhaps not a card, but a clear foul

  • WalterBroeckx

    Mike T,
    The picture of Foy is that he is a home ref. That is his first flaw. Chelsea played away didn’t they.
    His stats over the season showed that he is bad ‘on discipline and cards’. I think that was one of the titles when we talked about him. The double yellow card on Willian looked very harsh. Mind you I must say I haven’t seen the whole match and it might have been that he made foul after foul and that at some point the ref had enough and gave him a second yellow for persistent infringements. But I can’t comment on that as I didn’t see the whole match.

    What Ramirez did was completely out of order. Mostly he gets away with it. A bit like Yaya Toure who also can do such things and gets away with it. Now to be honest I was amazed that Foy did sent him off as he usually is weak on bad and dangerous tackles. See that headline.

    I think he got told by the assistant or the 4th official that he had to give him a red card for that. Rightly so. The 4th official that was J. Moss by the way and he is a far better ref when it comes to know when a red card should be given. So he might have helped him on that (as he should in fact).

  • bjtgooner

    An interesting article Tony. One thing that struck me was the petulance that Chelsea showed in this match and not for the first time – this seems to come from Maureen down.

    I don’t think anyone can complain about the Ramires send off – not before time for that thug and diver. For the correctness of other decisions I would defer to Walter’s opinion,
    but at least Foy had the guts to take action against Chelski, something which other refs have walked away from.

  • Mike T

    Walter

    As I said earlier he made a couple of good(or perhaps I should say) correct calls against us and yes of course the Ramires card was correct. He cant time a tackle and some of his attempts are outrageous.

    Foy made a debatable call in not sending Bennett from AV off pretty clear cut but as we all know not all clear cut sending offs are seen

    Willian was booked for his first foul(was a correct yellow card) and sent off for his second so no it wasn’t due to committing numerous fouls.

    There will be some fall out following the second red card including ,I would expect, Agbolahor who had been subbed and re entered the field of play.

  • rantetta

    Utterly superb article Tony.

    49 49 Undefeated:
    http://youtu.be/BNwfmh99p20

  • Mick

    The general consensus of media opinion on Ramirez appears to be that the assault on the AV player was ‘totally out of character’. I must say that is not my perception of him is if things that he has got away with against Arsenal are taken account of.

  • rantetta,

    Thanks for that link. It gladdens my heart whenever I come across Gooners that optimistic. That is what supporting a team is all about.

    Yes, we can do the double!!!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ rantetta – Nice link and to that awesome lady who was on ,”Yes , ma’am , wesa going to keep the faith ! Up the Gunners !”

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Have a look at this old clip and the pundits comments.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Efc4OcG9nDs

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    After the Brickfields link, was a missing transcript.

    “so Bertie, you havent got a song for Wembley?”
    “No we dont have any song in our hearts according to Danny Blanchflower, however when we beat the chickens we asked Gooners Lux and Ivy to help out and they came up with this”

    http://youtu.be/B3174Ndpdbw

    “thanks Bertie,”
    “thats alright old boy”

  • Percy

    I posted this on the ‘Hatrick’ article: I hope you will allow me the indulgence of putting it here as it chimes nicely with the flow of these comments.

    “So, Mark Clattenburg deemed encroachment within ten yards of the penalty kick being taken a yellow and a retake in the Everton game, when we were the penalty takers.
    Anybody notice how many Liverpool players were inside the ten yards on all three of their penalty kicks today? Anyone notice that same Mark Clattenburg take any action? What’s changed in a week? Well, apart from the taker being Stevie Starfish, the England captain.
    The Truth Is Out There.”

  • WalterBroeckx

    Percy,
    and as I predicted it would happen last week. Didn’t expect to be proven right that fast to be honest 😉

  • GooneressNo1

    Fascinating isn’t it Percy that it’s only deemed encroachment and a yellow card when Arsenal are taking the penalty.

  • bob

    Percy,
    Spot on! Why can’t these be tallied and add up to a case brought to the League(s) by AFC itself? If the despicable Maureen can demand that he never be give Foy again, where is our voice about Clattenberg’s double-dealing from the bottom of his brown bag?

  • bob

    “Something is wrong somewhere but unfortunately, those are supposed to expose the rot are active participants and enable.”
    Bootoomee,
    Yes, spot on! The lenscrafters are paying the rent by warping perception and savaging truth.

  • Percy

    Jonathan Moss is highly criticised here: http://footballisfixed.blogspot.co.uk/
    you can only guess at the redacted information. At The Emirates, to be fair, I’ve thought of him as being no worse than a number of others. Faint praise, I know.
    Just a couple of weeks ago he resisted red cards in the Albion/United game when Foster handled out of the box, Van P scythed down Steven Reid when already on a yellow forcing Moyes to immediately sub him and Fellaini made a waist high tackle leaving multiple stud wounds down the opponents thigh. At Villa he’s the fourth official, probably and quite rightly gives the Ramires verdict seeing the delay in Foye’s reaction, and is involved in a total of three. I wonder what the odds are on that?

  • finsbury

    Chris Foy (the cyclist) should ask the PGMOB for compensation.

    Everytime Hoy plays the Homer (Home ref) poor old Foy gets the abuse on twitter.
    If the PGMOB in anyway were accountable for their decisions, or did not choose to act like they do then this medieval experience on twitter for the poor old cyclist (or for the fans of football) could easily be avoided.

    The contrast between the efficiency of the officials in the rugby and the football was there this weekend for all to see.
    There is no rational defence for the posture adopted by the PGMOB & FUFA. It has now been years since Hockey and Rugby introduced aids for their officials.

  • finsbury

    Ooops. I too got my Foy & Hoy above muddled up! hehe 🙂

  • elkieno

    Excellent article and I am normally bored with ref reviews but whole heartfelt agree with them.
    Anyway one point I want to make is that you always get told that its an arsenal blog so its biased. But now with the info you have from these reviews you can really give an educated, informed opinion.
    Otherwise we all have to get it from the media who don’t know a story if it came up and ….

    Well done & COYG we can do this!!!

  • elkieno

    *educated and informed option of foy for example

  • elkieno

    *opinion (fux sake)