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October 2016
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The great Pardew intervention: how Pardew ensured that Coquelin was NOT sent off.

By Tony Attwood

Why did the ref not send Coquelin off in the match against Palace?

Of course there can be many reasons offered, ranging from the fact that he didn’t deserve to be sent off, through to the notion that the ref didn’t see the fouls as yellow card offences, and on to something completely different.

Unlike most of the aaa and the media, I can’t read people’s minds, and I’m not interested in straight assertion (“he should have been sent off and if you can’t see that you are an idiot” as one correspondent so lucidly put it after the ref review was put on line – I didn’t publish his comment because I rather prefer debate and logic to tedious statements) but I can do research, and that, I think, provides us with a fairly good stab at the answer.

And that answer is that that the actions of the Palace manager ensured that Coquelin was fairly certain  NOT to be sent off.

To understand how this happened, there are two strands to the investigation.

First, Pardew has a long history of talking about referees in a negative light.  He doesn’t do it after every defeat, and at least unless Arry the Red he doesn’t preface his comments with, “I never talk about referees as you know but…”,  but Pardew does it enough to ensure that every single referee in PGMO knows all about Pardew and his accusations and moans.  His approach is a given, even before the ref reaches the ground.

To see what I mean just take a look at this – a mere, tiny, miniscule extraction from the annals.

So here is a man who loves to criticise, can’t take criticism, and sometimes can let his emotions run away with him.

But because our media are now fixated on focussing on individual issues, rather than cumulative issues, I don’t think any of the papers or blogettas have picked up on the constant, endless, ceaseless and ultimately incredibly tedious set of comments he makes about refs in terms first of his Newcastle team, and then his Palace team.

Of course Untold complains a lot about refs – but there is a difference, because we look behind the errors and analyse what it is in the structure and approach to refereeing within PGMO that is allowing and in some cases causing all these problems.  Pardew just says the ref got it wrong, and that’s that.

So within the stalking halls of PGMO (whose registered address is now Wembley Stadium, I note) there are conversations about managers who blame refs, and top of the ref blaming list is one Pardew.  As a referee might say, “If Pardew doesn’t criticise me wholeheartedly, I start to worry about my game”.

That sets the scene.  But as Pardew admitted on Match of the Day he took things a step further after the Palace Arsenal game. (Incidentally that link will only work for a short while as it is from the BBC and they drop their programme re-runs after a short period – the bit I am going to talk about is around 34 minutes 40 seconds and thereafter if you want to check).

Having been alerted to this clip, I checked with Walter, himself a ref as will know, and he forwarded a copy of the rule book covering such matters.  So what follows is not me saying what I think, but what is in the manual.

Managers and the like cannot enter a referee’s rooms within the ground at any time, but there is nothing in the rules to stop a manager exchanging a few words with a ref at half time or full time as he leaves the pitch.

The manager can say a few word back (in a very polite manner) about a decision and he might answer a request for an explanation but that is down to the ref.  He can respond or ignore such a request as he wishes.  The referee is never obliged to give any explanation to a manager.  So the referee can ignore the words, or he can answer, or he can say, “The match is over, let’s leave it now”, and by and large anything else as long as it is polite.

So in that regard Pardew did nothing wrong.  But there is more.

For a manager cannot demand or request the expulsion or tell the referee what his decisions should be in the future.  That is completely out of order.
Where Pardew went totally over the line was, by his own admission, in telling the referee what he should do in the future about Coquelin.   Given that all PGMO referees know all about Pardew’s remorseless criticism of referees when he loses, and the fact that Pardew was utterly out of order in terms of what he himself has admitted he said, it is more than likely that Pardew’s half time commentary to the referee, was on the referee’s mind in the second half, and made him determined not to give into the pressure Pardew was trying to apply.
After all, it is one thing to have Pardew criticise referees after every defeat, but quite another if Pardew starts to get the idea that by trotting onto the pitch at half time and telling the referee how to act in the second half, he can manipulate the referee.
Worse for Pardew, the referee would be aware that given that others would have heard the conversation, and everyone saw the conversation happening, then if the referee was seen to send off Coquelin, for anything other than the most absolutely and blatant of assaults on another player (as opposed to a second yellow card offence) then he, the ref, would be in trouble and facing accusations that he did what that manger told him to do.
What the referee should have done (and obviously I don’t know if he did this) is report Pardew to the appropriate authorities for trying to influence the referee and speaking inappropriately.  Pardew should be charged, and banned from the touchline for at least three games for attempting to influence the referee.
Overall therefore we can see that if the referee was moved at all by Pardew in the second half it would have been to be lenient towards Coquelin.  And that was totally down to Pardew.
There is no doubt that any manager with half an ounce of sense would realise that endlessly, ceaselessly, remorselessly attacking referees almost every time one of his teams loses, actually harms his team.  But Pardew doesn’t have that sense, and worse, it seems, he doesn’t have any adviser at Palace who is able to control him.
The information

Today’s anniversary:

21 August 1954: Last of 57 league appearances for Arthur Shaw.  He later captained Gravesend to win Southern League title in 1957/8 after being signed by manager and former gunner Lionel Smith.  In 2015 an Arsenal fan living near Arthur, in California, found the Arsenal History Society page on Arthur’s life and passed it on to him, which seems to make all this research worthwhile

@UntoldArsenal on Twitter
TonyAttwoodofLondon on Facebook
Arsenal Annivesaries each day on the home page
Remember, remember.  The history of Arsenal’s pre-seasons: now covering every season from 1983 to 2014, with more articles forthcoming.

The books


25 comments to The great Pardew intervention: how Pardew ensured that Coquelin was NOT sent off.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Sending off of a goal keeper at Westham game.I thought it was the right decision. He was facing the player he kicked (unlike the Ramsey high boot where the westham player came from behind Rambo, and we conceded in the resulting free kick). Even though he was watching the ball, his peripheral vision should record the player in his vicinity. Reckless play, straight red.

    I dont understand how the commentators and the pundits argue that its not a dangerous play and not a red card and the same guys argue that Coquelin shouldve seen red!!!

    I would like to see the yard stick they use. I bet when its ARSENAL, its short by a big margin….

  • para

    We have to come clean and admit that we were lucky that Coq was not sent off. Already on a yellow, (whether we thought it was a foul or not), the second offence was also due a yellow, and many refs would have given it, we know this.

    Now i tend to look at these incidents from the other side too to try get a clear perspective. If it had been the opposition player, this article and others would be saying the same thing, lucky to have not been sent off.

    I really think that we cannot hide from that fact.

    I was really surprised he was not sent off, we all know the decisions Arsenal are used to getting, so i think we got lucky there. Thanks ref.

  • nicky

    What are we coming to in football when, in order to achieve a win, a manager attempts to persuade a match official to red card an opposing player. Of all the methods of chicanery that managers can employ, this surely must be one of the worst.

  • jayramfootball

    I am of the opinion that Coquelin did absolutely nothing to warrant a red card and therefore was not sent off. If what he did warrants a red then at least 6 other players should also have walked.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin.

    I think it’s better to put aside Alan Pardew’s and the media tourted belief that Francis Coquelin should have been sent off in the BPL game between C. Palace and Arsenal at Selhurst Park last Sunday. This article is a good highlight of the record of MR. Pardew’s past complaints challenging the Ref’s officiating in some games he has lost. However, let’s start focusing now on Arsenal home League game that is taking place on Monday night at the Emirates Stadium. And leave events and issues that will not have any bearing on that Gunners next game. I believe MR. Pardew’s Coquelin red card outcry will not influence the Ref that will officiate in the match between Arsenal vs Liverpool. Let’s hear what the Boss will say today when he holds his weekly press conference. He has already given the update on Rosicky, Welbeck and Wilshere. There have been a lot of high profile Arsenal transfer rumours in the media of recent. Which I think journalists will ask the Boss to clarify if they are true or false. On the Gunners home game against the Reds, I will make my own contribution to the match preview when you are doing it. Good morning to every Gooner.

  • Dex

    Whatever the reasons for it, thank fuck the ref never sent Coquelin off, otherwise we would be seriously struggling to get a result vs the scousers.

    It shows just how precarious things are squad depth wise. Arteta was a decent player and could probably do a job against poorer teams, but without Francis, or a quality addition we will struggle, as we have done for the last few years without a top class shielding midfielder. People never appreciated Gilberto until he was injured end and I don’t think we’ve ever adequately replaced him.

    If Arsenal played in a much less physical league, we could get away without having a tall imposing brick shit house of a player. But unfortunately we live in a world where players like Shawcross are allowed to foul and kick with impunity and teams are managed by dinosaurs like fat Sam, where getting in players faces is code for assaulting more skilled and technically gifted opponents.

  • porter

    It’s fair to say that Pardew queered his pitch . Referees are a strange breed , to do their job they should have complete confidence in their decision making and have to resist outside influence. Pardew got his tactics 100% wrong , you can’t tell a ref what to do because the chances are that he will deliberately go the other way and do the opposite.

  • Up the Gooners

    Excellent article

  • colario

    At the moment we passively bow down to the PGMOL and so it continues on its secretive merry way.

    May be if we followed Mr Pardew’s lead and openly and aggressively (with out violence) spoke up against the PGMOL, we might force it out of its closed shop.

    Whether or not we approve of all his actions Mr Pardew does at least speak out loud and clear for all to hear. – We don’t

    What if in one round of games 10 managers spoke out loud clear and to anyone who would listen to them against the wrong calls of the referees would the PMGOL punish everyone who did this?

    I have no idea but it would be interesting to witness the PMGOL’S reaction. It is easy to silence one person but 10!

  • bjtgooner

    The bad example set by Red Nose (influencing ref decisions) has obviously impressed Pardew – but the latter obviously does not have a large enough hairdrier!

  • Pete

    Tony – I think you are right. This hadn’t occurred to me at the time. Referees ARE human beings and I’m sure Mason felt pretty insulted being told how to do his job. Still don’t understand why Pardew hasn’t got into trouble for this.

    I remember talking to a friend of mine once who was a senior non-League ref – also did Professional youth teams, 4th official at League games etc. I asked him what his reaction would be if a player applauded his decision. He said the reaction would likely be very negative! I then stopped applauding referees decisions (as a player)…

    On the other hand we were always advised by coaches to let the referee know – not abusively – if we disagreed with a decision. He wouldn’t change his mind – but you might get the next marginal decision.

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    I always thought that Pardew giving instructions to the referee was surreal. Years ago, my school system asked me to be a referee for college varsity ladies basketball but I only lasted one game because of the circus surrounding a “rich” team that was playing a less fortunate team.

  • nicky

    What is going on at the Oval?
    Very thoughtless bowling wide of off stump and seaming even further away. No real attempt to make the batsman play.
    The Test would appear to be meandering towards a high-scoring draw. 😉

  • apo Armani

    Superb chain of thought in your article Tony…for a very young man you really hit the nail on head frequently! 🙂

    For me; the sooner video technology is introduced to the PL the sooner drama queens such as RED NOSE**, Maurinhooo, and the likes of Padrew will DISAPPEAR !!!!!!!

    ** Already disappeared 🙂

  • bjtgooner


    I think the bowlers are trying to counter Smith who plays most deliveries from well outside his off stump. With such pronounced and early movement any straight delivery is played through the on side for runs – hence the wide bowling. Two bouncers followed by a leg stump yorker might be worth trying!

  • Clockendrider

    According to the stats published by 442 ( and I believe provided by Opta), Coquelin was pulled up for 4 fouls. At least two of these were right in the centre of the pitch. None of them were violent and can hardly be said to have stopped any goal scoring opportunities. I suspect this is actually why he wasn’t sent off. For once, a referee showed comon sense.
    Although this is not to discount that referee may have been guided in taking this decision by the quite natural assumption that the truth must be around and about the complete opposite to anything that halfwit Pardieu says.

  • Gord

    OT: The U21 versus Derby

    Arsenal Under-21s to play Derby: Huddart, Moore, Bielik, Pleguezuelo, Bola, Kamara, Sheaf, Reine-Adelaide, Hinds, Iwobi, Mavididi

    Arsenal subs: Keto, O’Connor, Willock, Robinson, Eyoma.

    At 9 minutes, Kaylen Hinds opened the scoring for Arsenal.

  • omgarsenal

    Now I’m inspired to write another article….Jamranfootball here’s another opportunity to ridicule me…..not that anyone on UA cares about your split personality invective.

  • Gord

    OT: The U21 versus Derby

    Half time for the U21. Derby tied it up on a penalty at 30 minutes.

    Toral is in action for Binrmingham, games is only about 10 minutes in.

  • Gord

    OT: The U21 versus Derby

    Second half. Mavididi scores, then Derby scores. Hinds ends the scoring, Arsenal to win 3-2.

    Toral is in action for Birmingham (not Binrmingham), not quite 30 minutes left. Toral has a couple of shots and assists, and 1 foul.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ nicky & bjtgooner – was great watching cricket last night and the different tactics used on the same pitch . Today , only question would be is whether the Aussies enforce the follow on , or try to get in some batting practice .
    Had to laugh at the Aussie commentator who was griping about that rightly reviewed decision of the English batsman being recalled back after it was shown that it was a no ball from the bowler .
    He was miffed that it was reversed after the Aussies had celebrated and high fived themselves ! I guess when you are biased , you are biased !

  • Jayramfootball

    This article is good. Your last wasn’t.
    Don’t take the criticism of an article personally.

  • Pat

    Coquelin – 4 fouls, none of them violent. Yet all the media debate is about how lucky he was not to be sent off.

    Very interesting article, Tony. I had been lulled by Pardew’s more calm and pleasant demeanour when he does his post match interviews into thinking he was no longer the man who deliberately provoked our manager some years ago. Your detailed analysis and references have put me straight!

    And I’d forgotten about the head but!

  • omgarsenal

    Jamramfootball…..nothing’s personal but unsupported criticism and fatuous negativism seem to be your only defense. As I already challenged you to do, try and write a better article that mine or others, by which we can all evaluate your authorship skills.

  • Menace

    Not surprising that PGMO, FA & EPL have done nothing to Pardew. It is time to publish across the sporting press the special protection of ethnic coaches from justice.

    I still remember when Pardew after his ‘Made in Britain’ comments (when West Ham coach) had Wenger fined yet got himself off for lack of evidence. Evidence should be available for both parties if a charge is brought. Rough justice? or just blatant racism?