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October 2016
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20 changes that would hugely improve football next season – part 2

By Tony Attwood

This article continues from the previous piece which contained points 1 to 12.

13.  Stop running paid for press releases in newspapers.

I’ve covered this so much I’m sure you are bored, so at least I have relegated it to 13th on the list.  Newspapers are increasingly poor and biased in their coverage, but accepting press releases and printing them as news is just about as low as it gets.

14.   Stop the moral outrage against Fifa

For years and years the fight against Fifa has been carried on by a few independent journalists and a handful of blogs.  Now the predicted arrests have come everyone is jumping on the bandwagon saying how awful Fifa is.   If you thought they were that awful you should have left years ago.

Instead it would be nice for the FA, its chair, its board, members of the Royal Family who were involved in bidding for the world cup,  the sponsors and others to say why they thought pumping money into Fifa and its fixed bidding process was ok.

Our moral outrage should be directed against those who supported Fifa by sending teams to their events, against those who spent footballing money on bids when it could have gone on grass root football, and on the sponsors.

15.  Journalists should take a short course in contract law.

Of course I was fed up with RVP, Nasri, Clichy, Sagna and others before them decided to leave Arsenal.  Of course it felt like a betrayal.

But of course they are entitled to do it.  It is a fundamental of a democratic society, freedom to choose who one works for is central to our lives.

It is a two way thing – I might want to work for the FA in order to undermine them from within, but they don’t want to offer me a job, so no deal.

But players are not slaves any more.  They became enslaved in 1893 with the advent of the “retain and transfer” system after the George Davie court case, and was partially undone by George Eastham on 18 November 1960 as he forced his move to Arsenal.  The Bosman ruling opened up transfers across the EU when on 15 December 1995 the European Court ruled the transfer system was prohibited by Article 39(1) of the EC Treaty.  The final bit came into play on 30 January 2008 when The Court of Arbitration in Sport laid down the Webster ruling that all players can leave their club after three years, irrespective of what the contract says.

It would be nice if this progression from slavery to liberty were recognised, and newspapers stopped screaming abuse at players who want to leave.  Raheem Sterling might be a walking PR disaster, but he has the same rights to leave his job as you and I have.

16.  A player is kicked to bits, the ref gives a foul, the player needs treatment, and the team that has suffered the foul, is then penalised by having their player removed from the pitch.

Where’s the logic in that?

17.  Do something about grassroots.

The latest wheeze of the FA is to announce huge transformations of the grassroots of English football, and then having got the publicity, they say, “right there you are – everyone is in favour of it, now let’s have some funding”.

And when they got the funding for Sport England they spent in shoring up their own finances, denuded by the insane bid for the World Cup, and the crazy decision to build a new Wembley, rather than play matches at Old Trafford, the Emirates, Newcastle, and the Millennium Stadium.

Grassroots football is in trouble, and there is one cause: the Football Association.

18.  Stop re-writing history; admit when you got it wrong.

The Telegraph’s refusal to recognise the Liverpool owner’s speech in which he admitted that his statement about there not being a release clause in Suarez’ contract was a lie, was bad enough.  But having taken that “it didn’t happen” approach the paper is now endlessly caught in a trap in which it is seeking to explain events at Anfield without reference to that moment.

But everyone knew that when John Henry admitted he was lying about the £40m release clause, it would change the way players reacted at Liverpool, and would make Liverpool’s job in holding in to top players harder.  Indeed quite a few of us thought the whole process of telling the lie, doing the “what are they smoking at Arsenal?” jibe and then admitting in a public conference that he had lied and that player contracts “are not worth the paper they are printed on” was not a good way to run an organisation.

So Liverpool’s position has been undermined and the agents of players know it.

Except that the Telegraph won’t go back and unwrite its previous error (in the way that the Times, for example, would do) so it is trying to go on and on reporting Liverpool as if there was no release clause and Henry is a straightforward businessman who doesn’t tell porkies.

While they are at it all journalists could take a few lessons in how the transfer and rumour market works, what a phantom transfer is and what a vapour transfer is.  It would help clear out that 99% level of rubbish from the transfer rumours, and enable us to find the true stories to follow.

19.  Let’s learn the lessons of how building a new ground affects a club.

Tottenham and Liverpool are doing upgrades to their ground.  Tottenham’s total package will cost £400m, just a bit more than the Emirates, but the income they will have from selling off older unwanted property will be much reduced from the income Arsenal received and indeed are still receiving.  Liverpool who are doing a step by step upgrade will spend less, but also have less income again from selling land on.

The funding, it has now become clear, in each case comes from the banks – as did Arsenal’s.  Which means the privation Arsenal suffered during the post-Unbeaten years of Arsenal will be suffered by these clubs.

Except it will be worse because neither club can rely on Champions League money, which was a major source of funding by Arsenal, and in Tottenham’s case they will have a season of playing away from their own ground.

These factors are now given.  We are argue a bit about the figures, but the general overall fact is that the clubs will find the money is tight, unless the owners stump up for the new ground.  Neither ownership has shown itself ready to do that.

It will be a tough couple of years – but none of the commentators seem to acknowledge this.

This is the same as happened to Arsenal.  We all knew the building period was going to be tough, but the media ignored it, allowing the aaa and the media to develop their “how many years since” campaign.

20.  Arsene Wenger to invite the Untold team round for tea, to thank us for our support.

And on the Arsenal History Site today

Winning the youth cup in 2009.  Where are the players now?

40 comments to 20 changes that would hugely improve football next season – part 2

  • WalterBroeckx

    That number 20 should have been number 1 ! 😉

    Seriously some very good points.
    The number 16 is a tricky one. The rule that a player receiving treatment has to wait at the side line before coming on is to prevent feigning injuries that many teams did and still do when needed.
    Maybe they should change the rule in that the player who committed the foul also has to go off and wait till the fouled player can come on again or is being replaced?

  • Masterstroke

    This is where the sin bin would be useful, to penalise teams who cause injuries and take advantage when a player is off receiving treatment after being fouled.

  • Gord


    I guess Akpom plays against Mexico tomorrow, and has 2 goals so far in his tournament.

    Zelalem is impressing for the USA.

  • Mjc

    Regards the sin bin concept, I think that the injured player must remain off the pitch for a minimum 2 minutes – this would reduce the feigning of injuries further, as well as ensuring proper medical treatment. Combined with this, the player that committed the foul that led to the injury (unless a goalkeeper) should also leave the pitch for 2 minutes, or for five minutes if he was booked for the foul.

  • Pete

    OT: What on earth is going on at FIFA now? Hastily scheduled presser, then delayed, no name plate for Valcke… It is beyond surreal.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    20. I ‘ll bring along a bottle of wine .

  • TailGunner

    Blatter & Scala name plates now removed. Is there anybody left?

  • Pete

    OT: They’ve now removed the name plates of Blatter and the Auditor from the press conference!

  • Pete

    Tailgunner – this is almost as entertaining as the Cup Final!

  • Gf60

    Blatter has just resigned! Best news of the day.

  • Gord

    Another election, and the septic one will run again.

  • Pete

    He’s gone! He’s gone!

  • TailGunner

    yes absolutely incredible, but wonderful. More to come I’m sure.

  • SouthernGunner

    Untold has single handedly brought down FUFA 😉

  • Dec

    Blatter gone. Excellent! Now to overturn the lunacy of Quatar 2022.

  • Oluwatoba

    This is the best thing that has happened to Football for a while

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    Begone ye splatter Blatter twitter twatter!

  • TailGunner

    Looks like Seps boat has floundered on the rocks and sunk

  • TailGunner

    Southern Gooner
    Not forgetting the BBC, The Guardian, The Telegraph and Huff Post

  • Gord

    I Bladder is forever banned from having anything to do with ANY sport, not just football. Otherwise he’ll probably try to get a job as an executive of the Olympic committee. At least until he steps on US soil, and then gets to spend some time at Club Fed.

  • TailGunner

    ……and Andrew Jennings

  • Chris

    Well, one thing not on the list has just changed : Joseph Blatter has just called it quits.
    Maybe time for winds of change ?

  • Gunnerjoe

    And the British press is taken most of the credit yep that sounds about right.

  • Gord


    You mean maybe Mike Riley will also resign today? Or Greg Dyke? Someone else?

  • GoingGoingGooner

    BUT Blatter will remain as President until then and the same old FIFA statutes will be used to elect his successor…It is going to be a corruption filled free for all.

  • para

    “16. A player is kicked to bits, the ref gives a foul, the player needs treatment, and the team that has suffered the foul, is then penalised by having their player removed from the pitch.”

    How about this?
    The player who commits the foul should have to go off the pitch for the length of time the injured player does. If he has to be substituted, he must be also substituted. That would be fair.

    I wrote this before reading the comments, Walter already thinks mostly the same.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    Because he is no longer a candidate, Sepp Blatter believes he is the man to oversea a wide-spread reorganisation of FIFA…So, Mr. Fox how would you design the hen-house?

  • Gord

    He wants to visit all the offices, looking for paper to shred before the Swiss or USA authorities can find it.

  • Dec

    Been suggesting something like this for ages, good idea in principle.
    The offending player should indeed be required to leave the pitch until recalled by the referee. Pretty much as the injured player is now. He shouldn’t be obliged however to stay off as long as the injured player or be substituted. This would lead only to abuse and strategic delays in treatment or substitution. Imagine Messi collides with some buffoon of a defender. Suddenly the defender gets a mysterious pain and needs to be substituted for another muppet, in your scenario Messi would be taken out of play too. The incentive to be creative would be counter productive.

  • TailGunner

    The Swiss police have already taken cars full of files from FIFA offices

  • Gord

    I don’t think they took all the paper, just all that looked likely. But I would not be surprised to find that there were boxes of FIFA paperwork in places such as Russia or Qatar, that probably should have been in Switzerland. After all, would Septic Bladder like a home away from home where ever he visited? And maybe he has a little place with a private office already in Venezuela.

    I keep thinking Valke got his butt to the airport and flew away, somewhere. I don’t see how blaiming that letter on a dead man, when good old Jerome’s name is plain as day would ever work.

  • soglorious

    No 20 is just the best. On another note, can’t Untold organize one and invite Wenger? I know he reads UA. That I am sure of.

  • nicky

    There is something suspicious going on here with the sudden but welcome resignation of Blatter.
    Either those already arrested have implicated him in their crimes OR the legal ferrets have turned up evidence directly against him.
    Whatever the real reason for his departure, it should be disclosed.
    And he should not be allowed to take any part in the lead-up to the election of his replacement.
    At long last our world has the chance of re-introducing integrity to the governance of football. The opportunity simply mustn’t be missed to ensure that another Blatter will never again be permitted to oversee corruption in the “beautiful game”. 😉

  • Stan The Man

    All very interesting and plausible. For me as well, No. 20 takes the cake. If Wenger concurs, can we all come? You don’t have to worry about making enough tea to go round. We’ll bring our own tea.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Some great points in these articles, especially the last one! The very least you guys deserve. Valid point about what awaits Spurs and Liverpool.
    As for those worried about Blatter hanging around causing corruption and evading things, an understandable reaction but no need to worry. Something has happened in the last few days to bring this about, think we may soon find out what it is. It is clear his game is up.
    What will happen to him…..worst case scenario, a one way trip to Dignitas. Second worse …in relative terms to the first, he gets twenty years. His best case scenario, he gets frightened, spills the beans , does a year or two in a NY Pen, then gets let out early on trumped up health reasons, but this will only happen if he talks and money is recovered.
    These Feds are not going away, they have 14 people frightened for their future who will be talking as Chuck Blazer has.
    Blatter is just going through a choreographed exit to meet what ever fate awaits.
    But the bad news, he may well be replaced by a guy who looks after France first then his Qatari mates, a man who wanted Qatar to host the WC, a man who bottled FFP at the first attempt, yes we could end up with that prick Platini

  • @Swales1968

    My 10 Things to improve football 🙂

    1) time wasting – Football fans pay high prices to watch a game today either going to the games or paying for it on Sky/BT. Do we get value for money in terms of time of ball in play, during the cup final it took 4 minutes for the ball not to be in play for 1 minute (4 mins of football produced 3 actual minutes of football). Is that fair on fans who paid an extortionate amount of money for tickets and this was with 2 teams who were not really time wasting.

    2) Pundits – To be taught the laws of the game… I need to say more lol

    3) Refs – We all know what the problems are, we see them week in week out. All I want is consistency, consistency in their decision making and fairness towards all teams.

    4) The FA – Get younger people involved in running the association, make them answer for the state of the game in England & Wales.

    5) The Media – Honesty, unbiased and stop the lazy writing please. We need to get back to proper stories with proper investigations into the state of football. There are many stories they could write about but easy headlines like “Wilshere” are the norm

    6) 3pm kick offs on a Saturday – a percentage of games for each team must kick off at this time during a season

    7) Friday & Monday night games – If these are to go ahead then they should be between teams that are no more than 90 minutes away from each other. This will allow away fans to get home at a decent hour.

    8) Sitting – Make home ends (or part of) a unrestricted seating area, all must be season ticket holders but with unreserved seats. First come first served, get home fans into the stadiums earlier to increase the atmosphere.

    9) Touts – The FA/PL & clubs to have a full season on clamping down on all touting of football tickets.

    10) Ticket prices – to find a fair system of charging for games, especially for away fans.

  • goonersince72

    21. Tony Attwood heads up the FA.
    22. Walter Broeckx takes charge of the PGMO.
    23. Football is in a better place.

  • Gord

    The Daily Mail has end of season payouts. Arsenal came in 4th with £96.5m (because the T people think nobody wants to watch Wengerball).

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    Tea? What tea?
    I expect a gourmet Alsatian lunch.
    Appetizer: Goose foie gras. A bit of Pinot noir can do well with that.
    Main course: Choucroute Alsacienne, with the best pork trimmings, including Morteau sausage.
    Pick a good Klevener de Heilingenstein with it, as it is usually dryer than a Gewurztraminer.
    Alternative main course if you do not like pork: Coq au vin (Riesling). Pick a Riesling with it.
    Salade Alsacienne with a Chasselas.
    Cheese tray: along with a Sylvaner.
    Desserts: tartes aux fruits AND souffle au Kirsch.
    Then: A long nap.
    This is what a proper AKB like me should expect…

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    My first ever trip to Strasbourg / Alsace was as an eight year old in 1966…
    My most memorable Alsatian lunch was at my cousin’s in-laws in Paris in 1984.
    I will only go back to dine with the Boss. BTW, how is the banner coming?