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October 2016
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FA equates “Tottenham” to “racism”. Next up: “Loitering with intent to use a pedestrian crossing.”

By Tony Attwood

So Jack has been fined £40,000 for shouting “What do you think of Tottenham?” and using the word “shit” in a public place.

Which is the same amount as Suarez was fined for racism by the FA.  It really makes me wonder about the FA’s scale of values.

The Suarez incident occurred on 15 October 2011 during the Liverpool / Man U game.   Luis Suárez was charged with, and found guilty of, racially abusing Patrice Evra by an FA commission. He was fined £40,000 and banned for eight games.  OK Jack wasn’t banned, but then he wasn’t playing when he used the word Tottenham in what is now thought to be an offensive manner.

Rio Ferdinand was fined £25,000 by the FA and suspended for three matches for a tweet that referred to the mother of a Twitter user with the Caribbean slang term “sket”, which means “a promiscuous girl or woman”.  He was also fined £45,000 for calling Ashley Cole a “choc ice”.

All this fining stuff seemed to start when the FA did Ryan Babel of Liverpool for posting a photograph of the referee Howard Webb photoshopped a Manchester United shirt.  He was fined £10,000.   They took the money, used it to pay off a fraction of the debts incurred in the building of Wembley and thought, hey, this is a clever wheeze, and have never looked back.

Ashley Cole was fined £90,000 in 2012 for what seemed to me the one reasonable thing he has ever said in his life when he called the FA as a “bunch of twats,” although the evidence that the FA questioned on that occasion was probably a load of old cobblers.

Tottenham Hotspur’s Benoit Assou-Ekotto was fined £50,000 for his message in support of Nicolas Anelka’s “quenelle” gesture which is associated with anti-Semitism.

And this seems to me to be the point.  Yes, absolutely, I want action against racism and anti-Semitism and other outlawed forms of behaviour.  But when the fines handed out for such matters start to equate with the fine for shouting “What do you think of Tottenham?” then I really do think that the FA have reached the point of no return.

Consider this one… Aston Villa were fined £30,000 for failing to control their players in the game with Manchester United on 20 December 2014.  That is apparently less worse than calling out “What do you think of Tottenham?”

And to go down the scale Sheffield United were fined the sum of £4,000 for failing to control their officials in a fixture on Tuesday 16 December 2014.

And here is an interesting one.  Edward Bishop of Ipswich was fined for multiple betting offences – he was fined £3000.

Now betting offences are very closely related to match fixing – and yet the fine was only £3000.  But then again the FA has a very, very long running association with not dealing fully with match fixing, going all the way back to 1915 when Liverpool and Manchester United were found guilty of match fixing to such a huge extent that they engineered the relegation of Chelsea.  The penalty on that occasion was … nothing.  Not a sausage.

Indeed it is hard to make any sense of the FA’s fining system whatsoever.  Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston was fined £40,000 for five breaches of aggravated misconduct after sending abusive and insulting text messages, with references to disability, to a Blackpool FC supporter in November last year.

Now that starts to feel right to me.   But not when we notice that Oyston’s fine and Jack’s fine are the same.

So asking the question “What do you think of Tottenham?” in a public place while knowing the answer will be “Shit” is worthy of a £40,000 fine, along with these various other offences like abusing the disabled, anti-Semitism and racism?  Seemingly so.

The fact is the “What do you think” chant is one that is heard before, during and after every game.  It had originally a certain level of amusement (at a very low level) with the funny voice “That’s all right” line, but after hearing it 20,000 times over the years it is rather dull.

It is not banned, because at the moment there is no offence of being abusive to an area of London.  In fact it is just rather ordinary.   But it makes one wonder about the FA’s scale of values.

Supposing one of the players on the bus had said, “It’s happened again.”  What would the fine for that be?  Is the phrase “It’s happened again, Tottenham Hotspur it’s happened again” now to be considered offensive?

It actually reminds me of the Not the 9 O’Clock news joke where PC Savage gives a list of charges against Winston Kodogo.

Walking on the cracks in the pavement.
Loitering with intent to use a pedestrian crossing.
Wearing a loud shirt in a built up area during the hours of darkness.
Possession of an offensive wife.

That seems to be about the FA’s level.  Although I doubt if they would get the joke.

31 comments to FA equates “Tottenham” to “racism”. Next up: “Loitering with intent to use a pedestrian crossing.”

  • BNG

    How many clubs have been deducted points for failing to control their players since 1991 ?
    What happened to the rule that you could only appeal a red card for mistaken identity ?
    Did you know that the original video panel set up by the FA was then quietly disbanded by them because it was deemed illegal as it wasn’t covered under the laws of the game
    This corrupt organisation have a charge list as long as my arm and I wish they could crash and burn like FIFA

  • WalterBroeckx

    I suggest from now on we should change the shout and say from now on:

    What do you think of the FA?
    What do you think of shit? (am I still allowed to use that word now?)

    I feel rather comfortable with hating the FA to be honest…

    To make it even better…

    What do you think of the PGMO?
    What do you think of shit? …. yeah sounds even better 😉

  • WalterBroeckx

    I would suggest to Jack that next season when we do the double parade (if not the triple) he will take on the microphone and aks for silence. Then say: “I am not going to say anything this year. You just say it.”
    The shout will come and no fine for Jack this time. Oh and I must confess I still find it rather funny, Tony 😉 I probably still am in my anal phase of my life I guess….. 🙂 🙂

  • BrummieGooner

    This whole thing makes me very angry. Here, on Untold, we live in a very sanitised and regulated world where differences of opinion are allowed to exist without recourse to personal abuse. I am afraid that it is a different place on Twitter. I read Jack’s tweets on the club site and every time he gets personal abuse. His tweets are often about his children or the several charities with which he is involved or innocuous comments about matches. The comments in reply are personal, disgusting and never-ending and I understand completely why players don’t bother. To my mind it is amazing that he is so level-headed and controlled for at least 350 days of the year and I do admire his ability to think about questions asked in interviews and his attempts to give a straightforward honest response.

  • para

    Maybe we should change the “shit” to “excrement” to protect Jack and our other players in the future? Surely they cannot fine them for “inciting” the use of that word, which is a very decent word to describe shit? 🙂

    Just had an idea. If all players did nothing to get any fine at all the FA will just fall apart from having no income. Something to think about.

  • Tom

    I don’t have much time for the FA’s fines value system but In the eyes’ of the FA Jack is a repeat offender, and as such he opens himself up to a harsher treatment.

    If you make your living on the edge, chances are you are going to get clipped.

    And another thing, you repeatedly say Jack got fined for asking “what do you think of Tottenham?”, and using the ward “shit ” in public.

    Seems innocent enough, are you sure that’s all he said? 🙂

    Personally , I find this whole Tottenham rivalry boring as hell, and if I could suggest one thing to players like Wilshere and Szczesny who seem to revel in it, it would be to look up the table to pick your next fights and not down.

    After finishing in the league above them for 20 years running, picking a fight with Tottenham fans for something offensive they might’ve been chanting about Wilshere or any other Arsenal player, is kinda like picking a fight with a neighborhood retard for talking shit about you.

    If you are a serious professional , you just ignore it and go about your bussines.

  • Gideone

    Ok. Erm… After all said and done, what do you still think of Tottenham?

  • Gideone

    I think they are a bunch of hearty roughs and one should be cautious when they are about.

  • Jack Crayston

    This is worse than the quenelle gesture episode, which I thought was the most outrageous yet, ending Anelka’s career in England, where it truly began, all for an “inverted Nazi salute”… that actually is an anti-establishment gesture (though the establishment in English football’s case is the FA, so maybe that’s partly why they came down so hard on Le Sulk, although they didn’t go after Nasri for the same thing…). What makes this “foul-mouthed Wilshere” business worse in my eyes is the FA acted out of their own accord for this, where there was quite a bit of pressure on them from various external lobby groups to take down Anelka. Unless Levy was insulted by the whole thing and reported it, on behalf of the Tottenham race, of course.

    Is there any way of finding out which people specifically decided for this fine to be imposed?
    Also, can Wilshere just not pay the fine? I know he will “have to”, but if he didn’t out of protest or something, what would happen? Could he be brought to a real court? I wouldn’t be surprised if players and managers sign an agreement saying they’ll pay fines imposed on them by the FA as part of the terms and conditions of registering to play in the league.

  • Jack Crayston – if Wilshere did not pay then he would be found guilty of another offence by the FA. Since players have to be registered to play, and agree to be bound by the regulations of the FA, he would be banned.

    The law of the land could be used, and will one day be used against the FA, with someone who is fined or banned going to court and saying “this is unreasonable”. That is how the retain and transfer regulations were overthrown by George Eastham when he went to court, and by the European court when the FA tried to impose limits on the numbers of non-UK/Irish nationals who could play for English teams.

    Also what happened when the Court of Arbitration in Sport heard the case from the Scottish player who wanted to leave a long term contract but was refused, and they ruled that contracts could only be held for three years, after which players are free to move.

  • Jambug

    For Jack I doubt the main motivation for doing it is having a go at Spurs, but rather just a way of endearing himself with the ‘fans’.

    It seems Spurs new signing, DeAndre Yedlin has a slightly different approach, and it seems the Daily Mirror reporter, Richard Innes, is behind him all the way.

    “Tottenham’s young right-back used the Germany v USA friendly to endear himself to Spurs fans – by almost breaking Arsenal’s German maestro in half”

    But as we all know, when it comes to Arsenal, the media and the PGMO, breaking our players in half is always far more acceptable than a bit of name calling.

  • Mike T

    Whilst fully agreeing with the strange way in which the FA level fines I feel I must correct the notion that the fines are just put back into the FA pot

    In 2013 income at the FA in respect of fines, courses and England Fan membership amounted to about £4 million. my understanding is that the fines amounted to about £1.8 million and that as some broadly equivalent to that sum was donated by the FA to the PFA.

  • Andy Mack

    Tony, 2 points;
    1) please stop typing that horrible ‘T’ word. I find it offensive and will take action if you use it again (probably in the form of an inappropriately sized fine!).
    2) the Howard Webb photo wasn’t photo-shopped. ManUre just put that around as a rumour to save HW and Rileys blushes.

  • Andy Mack

    MikeT, are you sure it isn’t being used for the vast overspend on the St Georges training facility. IIRC it’s enormous. I’m not sure how else they can pay it off because nothing else they do raises much money.

  • nuttntiddy

    At the beginning of June I read an interview in the Guardian with Greg Dyke who purports to be in charge of the FA. ( Great initials ) in which he used “fuck” three times and also “bollocks”. Now this causes me no offence whatsoever,such language is used by most men and many women at various times and the Guardian does not pussey foot around with the such words and prints as said. Good for them. However as the use of such words cause such distress to the FA should they not take action against Mr Dyke.If not why not? Perhaps we should be told.

  • Nosurpriseshere

    So glad to see support for a person in a privileged position earning an awful lot of money who likes to act drunk and swear in public in front of large crowds. Thought you guys were better than most Arsenal fans but sadly no. Instead of talking about his great charity work and that MOTM performance for England and two great goals, he is known for this two years in a row. Nice one guys.

  • para

    BrummieGooner: I agree. They are just not worthy to be our rivals anymore. It’s time to take on two rivals at once ManU and Chel$ 🙂

    Jack Crayston: Anelka / Nasri, Henri / Maradona(hand ball incident reporting)
    I’m sure you can see the pattern? It’s everywhere “in the realm of corporate heights” you know.

  • Tim Charlesworth

    I recently took my six year old son to the Ems for the first time (v Middlesborough). It was a birthday treat, and one of the best days of my life. The atmosphere was lovely and very child friendly. It is a great thing that our football grounds are so much more friendly now than they once were. I would certainly never have taken my son to the old standing area on the North Bank which I used to attend as a teenager. The only thing I was a little sad about on the day was the number of times we heard the ‘What do you think of Tottenham’ chant. My son loved the day, but did ask me why the crowd had to be so ‘mean’ (ah the truth that comes from the mouths of babes). Now I don’t want to be too precious about this:
    1. I accept that anti-Cockerelism is part of our identity, although not my favourite part if I am honest. It may have made sense in the past when they were quite good, but..
    2. I used to be young and was not averse to a foul mouthed chant in public.
    3. I cannot expect to take my son to an Arsenal game and not hear bad words.

    I also feel that the idiots at the FA have over-reacted to a bit of high-spiritedness from the lovely Jack. But even taking all this into account, I cannot help feeling that the message that this chant should be stamped out is a good one. Sorry to be such a killjoy, but apart from anything else, the chant is not really very funny.

  • Mike T

    Andy Mac

    What surprised me when I had a quick look at the FA accounts is just how much money they actually do make

    In 2012/13 the turnover was £299 million . To run the FA , Wembley, St George’s Park,,Club England cost £61 million of which £14 million was interest payments. the debt associated with Wembley was £274milion and the FA values the stadium and ST George’s park as being worth £670 million.
    According to the figures after shelling out monies to grass root football and
    Other things such as FA cup prize money which totalled £238 million the FA made a profit of £28 million

  • Nosupriseshere – you seem to miss the entire point of the article. Which is….

    that if you have a system of penalties for anything in any walk of life it should be balanced to the offence.

    Sorry you didn’t get that.
    Don’t quite know why though.

  • Menace

    As regards Dyke using swear words in his speech, I am not surprised. In fact most of the FA must be used to colourful language though not colourfully representative. They are also used to bullying those that are dependent on them – Jack & Wenger are examples. They are an undemocratic organisation without any supervisory body to report to.

    I do not have any trust in their control of Football in England.

  • Jambug


    Said at 1:57pm:

    “At the beginning of June I read an interview in the Guardian with Greg Dyke who purports to be in charge of the FA. ( Great initials ) in which he used “fuck” three times and also “bollocks”.”

    It seems you are right. These are the relevant extracts from the interview:

    “But when I ask if Blatter’s chief interest in Africa and Asia was weak governance susceptible to bribery and corruption, without hesitation Dyke says, “Yes. That’s my view. Someone very senior in Fifa – I won’t name who – said to me: ‘Football will always be corrupt. Basically because it’s run by men. If you walk into a room and there’s a million pounds on the table and a naked woman in the corner, most men will take the million pounds and fuck the woman.”

    “Also, I’m 68. This is the end of my career.” Will the FA be his last big public job? “Yeah. Yeah. You know, I’m 68. I was 68 last week. The only advantage of being old – well, of being old and having made money – is you don’t give a fuck.”

    “Actually, I’ve always been quite outspoken, I suppose. Ever since I first knew my wife, she has always said, ‘Oh, tell them to fuck off. Do what you want to do, say what you want to say.”

    “(“It’s a sort of up yours!”), and when I use the word “bollocks” a few minutes later, his face lights up and he is off again: “That was one of my great quotes!” At last week’s Fifa congress he told a journalist that Blatter’s speech was bollocks.”

    Exactly as you say, 3 Fucks and a bollocks.

    One rule for one and one rule for another it seems.

    Here you will find the full transcript.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Just wish Jack would issue the FA a proper fuck off and retire from international football, hopefully reducing his injuries, thus prolonging his career at Arsenal, yes I said Arsenal, for the benefit of any tabloid hack merchants who happen to be reading Untold.

  • Menace

    jambug – My mate Greg was ok – he didn’t say Tottenham!!

  • Mike T

    The trouble is Tony not that the point of your article is missed more the suprise that you expect there to be equity in punishment or more to the point based on what you perceive to be the level of the misdemeanour

    12 months ago Wilshire did the exact same thing and was warned as to his future conduct yet he failed to heed that warning and from what was reported used stronger language at the 2015. Something that you are ever ignoring or are unarmed of

    When the fines are determined things like prior behaviour and the wages of the player are taken into account . Its not unique to football it happens in criminal courts. So in Wilshires case his fine was bound to be elevated.

    Personally I can’t see the point of fining players and think the only way you will ever get fairness is have to ban players losing £40 k to most PL players is meaningless

  • GoingGoingGooner

    @Mike T Point taken about Wilshere’s repeat performance.

    And, it would be impossible to lay out a table in great detail showing what the fine would be for each and every misdemeanor, however, you would think that the FA would make an effort to communicate the reasons for their decisions instead of citing chapter and verse of a very vague rule. Communication is not a newfangled leadership tool devised in the late 1990s by some Johnny Foreigner; It is seen as necessary in every business wishing to succeed in the last 50 years.

  • Dec

    Tom @ 08:46
    ‘Neighbourhood Retard’ ?????
    ‘Retard’ seriously? In 2015??
    Well done on insulting a lot of innocent people, for no reason.
    Surprised Tony. You talk a good game but if you allow that, well ……,,
    Maybe Untold is now happy for us all to freely use other offensive terms?
    Expected better.

  • Dec… I don’t like the phrase, but “allow” is the wrong word. As I have written so many times before that it is now utterly boring, our moderation system is far from perfect.

  • Mike T

    @Going Going

    There has been quite a major rewrite over the last few years of FA rules which in certain instances do indeed detail minimum tariffs.

    As for publishing reasons behind discipline decisions the FA rules allow them to do just that but not all cases and certainly not where the player accepts the charge.. I agree that communication Is key and the FA in trying to be all things to all people, something that they don’t even get past the first post,end up seemingly pleasing very few

    I spent quite a lot of my time in the past getting to know the rules around the administrative side of footballing just when you think you get your head around something then the FA interpret something in a different way

  • Dec

    Sorry Tony, I accept that. Should have halted my rant after barking at Tom.
    Roll on August.

  • Micheal Ram

    I think the reason why Wilshere was fined simply because the club did not defended him. Which is fully justified. Perhaps the size of punishment is inconsistent relatively but that might be a blessing in disguise. Remember, AW do not tolerate disrespect no matter who they are because he as whole represent the club. Jack should have said whatever he wants in personal accounts but not in a official club activities because any remarks will reflect the club. AW is a champion of talents as well as attitude. An event for Wilshere to be cautious of his next conduct. Maybe in a derby match, he can be direct but not in the expense of club harmony.