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Three Lions and an Anorak

By Tony “I never watch it” Attwood

When people write in with information about a book that they have published independently I have sympathy – I remember what it was like when I set up the publishing company that I now run.  It was quite a struggle.

Anyway, I’ve had an email from the author of ‘Three Lions and an Anorak: an England World Cup Quiz Odyssey’  to tell me that it will be reduced in price to £3.99 (inclusive of postage) from seven o’clock tonight, 14 June 2014, until the England game kicks off, whenever that is.

To take advantage of this offer (my correspondent says) Arsenal fans simply need to buy the book directly from the authors via the following Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Three-Lions-Anorak-England-Odyssey/dp/1907516301/ref=aag_m_pw_dp?ie=UTF8&m=A1F97A5YM38X48

Here’s the blurb…

Despite its title, ‘Three Lions and an Anorak’ is not just for anoraks!

While admittedly the round ‘Did I Not Know That!’ is devoted to the more obscure England World Cup facts that only a true anorak will know, there is plenty for everyone.

England’s World Cup songs, for instance, are covered in the round ‘We’re Singing for England!’ while some of our more infamous World Cup misdemeanours feature in ‘Infamy, Infamy, the Ref’s Got it in For Me!’   [I bet they don’t have anything as good as “Are you Tottenham in disguise” sung to Tottenham while beating them for the third time in a season – but then you can’t have it all.]

Other rounds include ‘Young Lions’, ‘Paying the Penalty’ (of course!), ‘1966 and All That’ and ‘Around the World in 14 Finals’. Overall, the book is organised into thirty themed rounds of varied questions and is light-hearted, quirky and entertaining.

There is a ‘Look Inside’ facility on Amazon that allows you to view the Contents page of the book and also see the first two rounds of questions to whet your appetite.

Now of course all this depends on you actually being interested in watching the World Cup and following England, and given the amount of correspondence we get from Arsenal fans across the world, I wonder.   I mean, you probably want Jack to shine, and hope the Ox gets better, and all that, but does it go further?

Sadly for England (or perhaps happily for England) it doesn’t for me, just as Walter doesn’t seem much moved by Belgium’s progress, despite my desperate pleas for an article on why Belgium is doing so well on such a tiny population.

Now so far I ain’t seen any WC apart from some amusing replays of ref cock ups that I used to write the “The World Cup is fixed” story.

Instead, tach night thus far, including tonight, I’ve been out.  Not at a WC party, but dancing.  Thursday was Rugby in Warwichshire (where they invented, er, rugby), Friday was St Neots in Cambridgeshire, (associated with Cornish monk whose bones were stolen from a village on Bodmin Moor.

Tonight is Northampton, famous for the moment when Northampton FC played Southampton FC and the Chronicle and Echo newspaper ran the headline “South in the battle of the hamptons”). 

What this means is that in my Arsenal-centred dance orientated view, the first I get to hear of any football news is around 1am as I get into the car to journey home.  And what do I hear?  Totally incoherent babble and rant.  Which just proves my point – if you want sensible and sane debate, Untold Arsenal is the place.

Besides the WC is all fixed anyway – as I tried to show earlier today.

(Incidentally Untold’s non-WC anti-Fifarian vision must be of interest to someone because I notice that in the last three days we’ve gone from number 1 in the charts of independent football blogs to number 1.  That’s rather jolly, isn’t it?)

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27 comments to Three Lions and an Anorak

  • Sindy

    Routine fouling of Campbell. Did anyone notice that? Wenger should be smiling seeing Campbell do what he did yesterday. I’m not one for rumors but Aurier’s crossing left me salivatng, thinking it could be if Giroud was at the end of them.

  • dan

    Hahaha, all week the English media calling the great Pirlo an oap, let’s hear the excuses today. 

  • TommieGun

    “Besides the WC is all fixed anyway – as I tried to show earlier today.”

    I have a huge, huge problem with this sentence. This one, and its brother “the refs in the EPL are bent”.

    There is a very big difference between observing refs mistakes, doing the ref review and preview, and acknowledging that there is bias – and saying that the world cup is fixed or that refs are bent.

    No disrespect intended, but it’s exactly – and probably, even worse – than what the media are doing to Arsenal. It’s taking some facts, and creating a baseless, provocative, hysterical and extreme opinion out of it.

    I don’t like it, it’s (in my humble opinion) not in line with the very high class shown in this site. A shame, really.

  • Florian

    I think we shouldn’t get overboard and buy all the available strikers, we might just end up like England who played 4-2-4 and lost 😉

  • jambug

    TommieGun

    Can I ask you 2 questions.’

    a)Do you believe the WC is completely devoid of any ‘fixing’ at all?

    b)Do you believe that the Referees in the PL are 100 % straight?

  • blacksheep63

    the WC isn’t fixed Tony, more than any other games are fixed. The refs were perhaps biased towards the hosts but that used to be called ‘home advantage’. There may be corrupt officials, and there certainly are weak ones but I think we need to move on from blanket generalisations. Otherwise we might as well all give up now and watch a different sport.

  • blacksheep63

    @Jambug

    1) probably not and 2) probably not
    But then I also think some politicians are corrupt, some businesses operate cartels, some soldiers kill innocents, some students cheat, I could go on

  • jambug

    blacksheep63

    I was addressing these 2 points contested by TG:

    “Besides the WC is all fixed anyway – as I tried to show earlier today.”
    I have a huge, huge problem with this sentence. This one, and its brother “the refs in the EPL are bent”

    In the absence of TG’s response.

    With your responses, by definition you concede that the World Cup is probably ‘Fixed’. By how much is debatable. But ‘fixed’ non the less.

    Similarly you concede that the PL referees are also ‘bent’. Again to what degree is debatable.

    I think most people would be pretty much in agreement with you which is why I cant see why TG is outraged into saying the following:

    “No disrespect intended, but it’s exactly – and probably, even worse – than what the media are doing to Arsenal. It’s taking some facts, and creating a baseless, provocative, hysterical and extreme opinion out of it”.

    The WC is ‘fixed’. By how much? Who knows.

    PL Refs ARE bent. To what degree? Who knows.

    Why has TG got such a HUGE problem with it.

    As you say, and as I listed on a thread the other day, almost every aspect of life is ‘bent’ or ‘fixed’ to some degree.

    As far as I’m concerned Tony is just saying it as it is, to believe otherwise is to have your head well and truly buried in the sand.

  • jambug,

    TommieGun and blacksheep63’s points which I agree with is that we shouldn’t be making categorically conclusive statements based on conjectures.

    I have read on friendly Arsenal sites where commenters that I know to be perfectly reasonable refer to Untold as being too conspiratorial. Suspicion is not a good enough ground for accusation.

  • TommieGun

    @ Jambug – sorry for the delay.

    As for your questions – I don’t know, and that’s the problem with questions it depends how you phrase them.

    “Did you stop beating your wife, Jambug”? If I put that as a yes/no question, you either admit to beating your wife in the past, or even worse, admit to keep on beating her these days.

    So I can’t answer a 100% question with authority. That’s why I’m angry at Tony’s unequivocal statement (and the bent refs statement). It is taking everything that I love about UA, in essence – sticking to facts, doing research, not making over the top statements, etc – and then volley kicking it in the face Zlatan style.

    Do we have evidence that some refs are biased? For sure. I remind you my post regarding the cup final when my 6 year old son simply said – “this ref isn’t the right ref”. For fuck’s sake us Arsenal fans know it best. Refs are shit, refs are biased, refs influence matches. Hell, I remember I wrote here that in 2002 WC I am sure that the decisions for South Korea against Italy and Spain were unbelievable.

    But I don’t know if refs in england are bent. Bent means there is a plan. It means someone is directing it. Fixed is even worse. And sure as shit I don’t know if the WC is fixed.

    I disagree that refs are bent to an extent. Bent is binary. A ref would either agree to take instructions from someone else pertaining to the decisions to be made in a match, or not. So based on current evidence I can’t say refs are bent and I put it that neither can you.

  • jambug

    Bootoomee.

    But surely there has been evidence of ‘Fixing’ already in the WC qualifiers hasn’t there?

    Also, haven’t Ex, even current PL Referees been charge with improprieties?

    I believe from what I see with my own eyes in the PL every week that bias is rife. To me bias is ‘cheating’, and to me a cheating ref is by definition ‘bent’.

    A stretch? Maybe, but personally I don’t think so.

    But to say drawing that conclusion, considering what we see every weekend in the PL, makes us/untold/Tony worse than the officials of which they speak is well over the top.

    In conclusion, is being biased not being ‘bent’ ?

  • jambug

    TommieGun.

    I know what you are saying.

    But to me you are being too lenient with these people.

    You concede Bias but then try to put in a box. A box that isn’t a ‘bent’ box and certainly not a ‘fixed’ box. Why do that?

    It’s cheating.

    To me bias can be, and often is following a ‘plan’.

    It may not be a ‘plan’ in the sense that instructions are formally collated in a board room.

    It may not be a ‘plan’ relayed one on one in a meeting.

    But it is a ‘plan’ in the sense that an agenda is set, a plan is concocted.

    That agenda is played out overtly, openly, in the media for the World to see.

    Anyone who fails to follow that agenda/plan are openly, ruthlessly, held to account in open court on the back pages of the press.

    Bias/Cheating, Agenda/plan call it what you like, it infests our game from top to bottom and to criticise anyone with the balls to call it for what it is are wrong n my opinion.

  • TommieGun

    @ Jambug, it’s really, but really, not about balls.

    This is an area where I have something which you don’t and it’s experience in using facts in order to prove a theory, and what amounts to sufficient evidence in order to establish it.

    I am telling you that there is not enough evidence to suggest refs are bent or that the WC is fixed.

    I am not saying it’s impossible. However I sense (and correct me if I’m wrong) that you are, in a way, coming from a different point: you want the REFS to prove that they are not bent.

    In the legal world your stance is not baseless. There are instances whereby some party brings enough evidence to overturn the burden of proof; so you would be saying – there is proof of bias, so I think now the burden to prove that refs aren’t bent, lies with the refs/PGMOL.

    However shifting the burden of proof is usually a very rare exception. In our case, “bentness” = corruption = criminal actions, so when in these premises the burden is almost always with the prosecution. Mind you – we are not in a “more likely than not” kind of argument – we are in a “beyond reasonable doubt” kind of argument. And the evidence regarding bias are light years from being “beyond reasonable doubt”.

    So in my opnion when you write something like “bias/cheating; it’s all the same” – you are giving yourself a lot of speculative freedom.

    Here are some reasons for possible bias – per this scientific research.

    http://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2013/apr/28/referees-home-team-sean-ingle

    So in my opinion I’m not being lenient I’m being fair.

  • davi

    TommieGun – what you are saying is not lenient or fair, it’s simply correct. Bias does not necessarily indicate a conscious decision to give more to one side or another, it effects everyone who follows football. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen (in my mind) a foul on an Arsenal player which few, many or most other people completely disagree with.
    You could say that the bias shown by a referee or referees warrants a thorough investigation to ascertain whether he/they really are bent or whether a match is fixed (or whether they’re so biased that they’re not actually fit to referee a game!) – I’d totally agree with that – but you cannot translate bias or a few bad decisions in favour of a particular side into match fixing or a bent ref without serious evidence.

  • davi

    Jambug
    “To me bias can be, and often is following a ‘plan’.
    It may not be a ‘plan’ in the sense that instructions are formally collated in a board room.
    It may not be a ‘plan’ relayed one on one in a meeting.
    But it is a ‘plan’ in the sense that an agenda is set, a plan is concocted.
    That agenda is played out overtly, openly, in the media for the World to see.”

    That is a huge jump and assumption. You could say that the apparent agenda of the media is in favour of or against a particular side and that this may influence a referee (a theory I could along with) but that’s not criminal and if a ref is affected by the media in such a way then he’s simply not fit to ref a game and should be liable to lose his job – but that’s not the same as being bent or match fixing, which is criminal behaviour and you need evidence to accuse someone of that.

  • jambug

    TommieGun.

    I know you have far superior knowledge with regards to the legal aspects of what we are discussing and I am sure that my contentions would not stand up in court. But this is sport we are talking about.

    It is different to a court of law.

    Can I ask you. Do you accept Untolds findings with regards to the bias they have uncovered with there refereeing analysis?

    If this analysis had been carried out by a qualified independent body such as a sports science body from Loughborough University would it stand up in Court as PROOF of bias?

    If it would stand up as PROOF of bias and bias is cheating then surely that is proof of cheating isn’t it?

    Okay cheating is not the same as ‘fixed’ in the actual sense of the word but a games outcome is being affected by an outside influence.

    I just think it’s all semantics.

    In life you often know you are being screwed. You cant prove it. But you know. we’ve all had that.

    And I’m telling you, irrefutable proof or not, I know Arsenal are being screwed in the EPL and I know we are all being screwed by FIFA.

    Proof or no proof.

  • jambug

    davi

    I just don’t understand your enthusiasm to defend biased/cheating referees behind the cloak of it’s not ‘bent’ or ‘match fixing’.

    That’s alright then as long as it’s just cheating.

  • davi

    Because bias and cheating are 2 different things – it’s not defending biased refs to say it’s a stretch to suggest that they’re bought/bent/coerced to be biased. I’m saying that in some cases an investigation might be warranted but without evidence we can’t really say that they’re anything more than incompetent.
    I don’t think we were particularly screwed this season but in the past, yes we have been screwed over by refs (more so than other teams, particularly our rivals) and it’s cost us titles but that doesn’t mean you can make the jump to suggest that they’re actually intentionally cheating.

  • davi

    bias is not cheating necessarily – *intentional* bias would be cheating but how can you know if it’s intentional. Pretty the only way to know would be to catch a ref taking money or being coerced somehow.

  • TommieGun

    @ Jambug,

    Let me try to reply –

    “I know you have far superior knowledge with regards to the legal aspects of what we are discussing and I am sure that my contentions would not stand up in court. But this is sport we are talking about. It is different to a court of law” – Not really. What I’m talking about are the very basics of legal litigation common in normal countries (i.e., not North Korea or Iran, where you can just accuse someone, wait 5 minutes, take him out to the courtyard and shoot him in the head). It means that if you can’t PROVE something criminal had happened, you don’t get to say that it happened. Simple. Since your contention is that refs are BENT, you contend they committed criminal acts. You just can’t do that.

    And another thing – my everyday work involves JUDGES. They are somewhat like refs – they get to make the calls. And boy oh boy do they make shit calls…

    “Can I ask you. Do you accept Untolds findings with regards to the bias they have uncovered with there refereeing analysis?” – YES.

    “If this analysis had been carried out by a qualified independent body such as a sports science body from Loughborough University would it stand up in Court as PROOF of bias?” – Probably, or lets say – I hope so. Even though, last time I had a professor of statistics testify on my behalf, on the probability of a public tender being fixed, he was obliterated by the other party’s attorney… [it’s a long story but it’s worth writing it – I’ll try to get to it someday…]

    “If it would stand up as PROOF of bias and bias is cheating then surely that is proof of cheating isn’t it?” – NO! Because bias ISN’T cheating. It’s 2 different things.

    “Okay cheating is not the same as ‘fixed’ in the actual sense of the word but a games outcome is being affected by an outside influence.” – YES! But not every external influence is fixing/cheating…

    “I just think it’s all semantics.” – I beg to differ.

    In life you often know you are being screwed. You cant” prove it. But you know. we’ve all had that.” – TELL ME ABOUT IT. My daily bread is judges who did not read what I submitted, who did not let me finish cross examination, and that in the end ruled against my client. Sometimes I feel down right FUCKED. But I would never suggest in public that a judge was bent! (even though there is one that I’m damn close to believe that might have taken a suitcase filled with cash…)

    “And I’m telling you, irrefutable proof or not, I know Arsenal are being screwed in the EPL and I know we are all being screwed by FIFA.” – I feel the same about Arsenal, the numbers speak for themselves. Regarding Fifa – it’s pretty obvious.

    Cool ?

  • WalterBroeckx

    Maybe we could follow the football authorities in this debate.
    In the old form of the rules it was said that the ref had to keep in mind the ‘intention’ of the fouling player.

    But they removed this intention and replaced it by the result of possible result of a foul to determine a yellow or red card. Because they said a ref can’t look inside the head of a player so he might not intended to break a leg but if the leg is broken it sure was an over aggressive attack on that other player and so a red card is deserved.

    So we don’t know of the ref intended to help team A or stop team B as we can’t look inside their head. But we can see the result of their mistake and based on that we could say that the ref is not fit enough to do his job. And give him a red card.

  • TommieGun

    @ Walter – not bad… 🙂

    First, I would like to say that the change in the rules, regarding intention, was not a smart one – in my opinion, at least.

    You probably know this as a ref but it also makes sense for every person: bad acts are a combination of physical and mental elements. The way those offenses are divided is due to what us, as a society, want to achieve.

    Let’s take a few examples:

    (a) Car accidents: no one thinks that people intentionally get involved in a car accident. Since society wants people to drive safer, the law is that even if you did not intend to injure that person, while driving, you still get to go to jail (for negligence).

    (b) Murder vs. Manslaughter: the result is the same – a person died. The gravity is defined by the mental state. Murder requires intent, whereby manslaughter requires indifference.

    So if it was up to me, I would say that SOME fouls would require intent (i.e., a malicious tackle would be a red card even if the offender missed the victim); and some fouls would be result-decided (fouling the last player on his way to goal thus depriving the other team from a scoring opportunity) – would be also a red card even if the foul was not intentional.

    However the basis for this differentiation is based on what we want to achieve.

    We issue a red card to the last player, even if he had no intent, because it did in fact deprive the other team from scoring. So – we want to REALLY say – if you are the last defender, be extra careful, because if you fould the attacker, even if you didn’t intend to do so – you’ll be red carded.

    In the bias/cheat equation there could be other exculpatory explnations to this annoying bias, other than a conspiracy or a plan. It could be incompetence; it could be sub-counscious things; it could be many other factors. Fact is, like you said, we cannot prove it.

    In a right society it’s better to have guilty men free rather than innocent men incarcerated.

  • jambug

    TommieGun

    You said:

    “In a right society it’s better to have guilty men free rather than innocent men incarcerated.”

    Yes indeed, but there are exceptions to every rule and Referees are that exception 😉

    Seriously though, thanks for your long explanation. If I’ve understood you correctly, in brief, I Think you’re saying the following:

    That it’s okay, even understandable, (given what we see, and what certain statics would suggest), to suspect bias, cheating, fixing etc. But it is a big leap from ‘suspecting’ to actually stating it on a blog as fact. Which I understand.

    That being said I still think the following statement you made:

    “No disrespect intended, but it’s exactly – and probably, even worse – than what the media are doing to Arsenal”.

    Is wide of the mark.

  • TommieGun

    @ Jambug – you understood correctly.

    About my other comment – fair enough, it was a bit extreme and I would like to paraphrase –

    “making speculative leaps can resemble what we suffer from the media”.

  • jambug

    TommieGun

    I have always stated on here that I don’t actually think Arsenals woes with regards to the bias we suffer at the hands of Referees is the result of ‘fixing’.

    As I’ve said elsewhere on here today, and many times before, is that the referees referee according to how they will be judged in the media.

    The long and short of it is if come Sunday/Monday morning the Redtops/SKY/Talkshite/5Live say the ref had a blinder, then he had a blinder. If they say he was a Muppet, then he was a Muppet.

    If you notice referees only ever get in trouble if the media make a fuss of what they did.

    I think you’ll agree our Cup Final Ref had a mare. The media said he had a blinder.

    Nothing.

    If that performance had been the other way round the media would of made mince meet of him, and like obedient puppys the PGMOL would of had him up on a charge toot sweet..

    Conjecture I know, but I bet very few on here would argue with that scenario.

    You?

  • TommieGun

    @ Jambug – for sure. The media, and probably in our day and age of simplicity and superficiality, controls the general state of mind.

    So many times did I want to bring politics into UA but held back because it’s not the right forum, but believe me, when I say that media influences things with far more implications on our daily lives than just football.

    So yeah I agree with you. And to add to that – media not only controls reality, it is a business in itself so it needs perpetual burning material. It needs to discuss everything again and again to the point of no free independent thinking exists.

    So “everybody” thinks that Arsenal are “stingy” and “need a DM/Striker/GK/a new asshole”. Everybody thinks that Tony Pulis is the best thing after sliced bread; everybody thinks Coldplay make good music (no, not really, there is a limit to media’s power).

    Fuckin hate the media.

  • jambug

    TommieGun

    The media create opinion they do not reflect it.

    I believe the general consensus is that the SUN front page picture of a light bulb and a headline stating:

    WOULD THE LAST PERSON TO LEAVE THE COUNTRY PLEASE TURN OUT THE LIGHT

    was pivotal in the election of Mrs Thatcher back in the 80’s.

    The medias power is enormous and should never be under estimated.