By Tony Attwood
It is a funny ol’ game. Or maybe something a little more sinister than that.
We’ve been doing referee reviews for five years now, including that one season where we had a whole group of referees who supported different teams, analysing matches across the league, and as a result we have been able to draw a number of conclusions – the most obvious of which is that “it doesn’t even up in the end”.
And if ever we were wanting an example of that it is with Liverpool this season. They beat Bournemouth with a goal that was so clearly offside that the Premier League was obliged to put pressure on the secretive PGMO to allow it to acknowledge the fact. As a result of that game Liverpool gained three points, where in terms of legitimate goals the match should have been a draw.
Plus two points to Liverpool.
And now at Arsenal Liverpool did it again. A perfectly legitimate Arsenal goal was ruled off side. So Liverpool got a draw when otherwise it would have been a defeat
Plus one point to Liverpool.
Three games played, three phantom points gained. At this rate Liverpool will end up with 38 phantom points which means they only need to pick up another 52 legitimate points to win the league. And by chance 52 points was what Liverpool got in 2012.
All home crowds will seize on errors by officials and downright cheating by players, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a crowd so incensed by what they saw last night from the officials. Some of the “offside” decisions were so bizarre that it looked as if this wasn’t an attempt at type III match fixing, but rather a downright attempt to take the piss.
And the time wasting by the Liverpool keeper was more akin to that which we are used to from clubs from near the bottom of the league desperately trying to hold onto a point. The fact that Liverpool were doing it from early on suggests a certain knowledge about how it was all going to pan out.
Of course it would be nice if the Premier League and their Secret Police (PGMO) once again at least acknowledged that it has all gone wrong, just as they did with Benteke’s fake “winner” for Liverpool against Bournemouth. But that phantom goal still stands, and all the business of writing to PL clubs explaining the new law won’t change anything.
Indeed it was utterly pointless given that we all knew the rule, and I am 99.99% certain the officials in the Bournemouth match knew the rule. They just chose not to apply it. Indeed the only good thing that came out of that was the wholly inadequate response.
What I wonder could it be that made the League and PGMO respond to such a cock-up? Could it be the level of publicity now given to referee decisions? Could it be that five years ago virtually no one knew that PGMO existed, let alone what the initials stood for, and how they manipulate the game.
The announcement made after Liverpool gained their first two phantom points said…
“Professional Game Match Officials Limited issued this guidance in order to clear up any misunderstandings that arose following the goal awarded to Liverpool in their Monday night match against AFC Bournemouth.
“The Premier League does not generally comment on decisions made by match officials. However, given the recent change to the interpretation of the offside law and the fact that it was made close to the start of the season, the league felt it was appropriate, in this instance, to publish in order to inform fans and other stakeholders.”
And being the lapdogs of PGMO that they are, the media all dutifully reprinted it, even though it makes no sense. “To inform fans”???? But the fans knew. They were screaming for justice. And yet justice was their none. Now desperate to hide their collusion they are trying to force us to look the wrong way, as with the Telegraph this morning screaming Arsenal’s title bid already looks doomed – and fans are losing patience with Arsene Wenger.
A proper response would have been to acknowledge then that
a) The referee and assistants had made a dreadful error which was inexcusable. They would be stood down for serious retraining.
b) The match result was clearly not right and the clubs should play the game again.
To turn this upside down and suggest that they needed to say something to the fans and others is a bit like a school, on finding one of is teachers rolling around drunk in the school hall trying to molest a sixth former, should issue a reminder to the students that they are not allowed in the hall at lunchtime. Or on finding a town council has done nothing about child exploitation by gangs for 15 years should then give the same council that failed for 15 years 18 months more to sort the situation out.
But then that is exactly the sort of thing that happens in England today. The scale of importance is different, but the underlying theme of the eternal cover up is always there.