By Tony Attwood
It has only taken them six years, but I suppose better late than never.
Untold Arsenal has been regularly publishing referee reviews for a long old time, showing over and over again there are clear cases of either gross incompetence of systematic bias by Premier League referees. We’ve even had a season where working with referees from across the country we published reviews not just of Arsenal games but of games played between other Premier League clubs.
On top of that we have been (I think) the only people systematically to question the activities of PGMO, the company that employs referees and operates the refereeing system and devised a theoretical model as to how match fixing, rather than being stopped by PGMO’s activities is actually enhanced by it.
We even tried to do a survey of the activities of referee organisations in the rest of Europe, but only one replied. The fact that they replied immediately, and then there was dead silence suggested (along with one or two other snippets we have picked up) that there was a quick notice sent out warning associations not to deal with us.
We’ve looked time and again at what has happened in terms of match fixing in other countries, particularly Italy, and we’ve got to the stage now where we run pre-match previews of the ref (not only another first for Untold, but still unique in football, to the best of my knowledge).
And in all that time the only interest we have garnered from the media was a BBC interview with Walter and “Dogface”. No one else would touch our work, although there has long been evidence that they have been reading. Mr Wenger has several times referred to us as along the lines of “the people that reviews referee decisions”, and we know that Arsenal execs do take an interest in our work.
But the media? No, dead silence.
The breaking of ranks has come from the Sun, a Murdoch newspaper which until this month had a paywall behind which its online paper sheltered. While I don’t agree with the view that one should never even read newspapers because it only encourages them to print more untruths, (I think one should read and expose their strange tales, which can influence how many people perceive the world) I do draw the line at paying for the Sun, so I’ve never quoted them until now. And now, as they have emerged from behind their veil, they have surprised us with a story about referees.
Their story is headlined
Arsenal should be TOP of Premier League if refs got it right
And it starts, “BAD decisions are said to even themselves out over a season — but is that actually the case?” and then claims that “SunSport is keeping tabs on refereeing blunders and how they affect the Premier League.”
What they have done is picked just a handful of the mistakes that we see in each match, and highlighted them, and then created a league table based on what the results should have been.
Which is ok, except that it highlights such a small number of the errors that referees make in each game it tends to reinforce the notion that by and large referees get things right – which as our figures show, they don’t. However they do suggest that “it doesn’t all even out in the end”.
The paper highlights ten matches (a suspiciously round number) that they claim got the wrong result – although two of them actually just change the score not the result. Here is the list of ten, with details (I use the word lightly) from the Arsenal games. Interestingly there is no mention of the Chelsea Arsenal game in which the sending off that even PGMO and its cronies admitted was a lunacy had a huge impact.
LEICESTER 1 C PALACE 0 (Oct 24)
MAN UTD 0 MAN CITY 0 (Oct 25)
Swansea 0 Arsenal 3 (Oct 31)
Swans denied a penalty for a Per Mertesacker handball and Laurent Koscielny fouled Lukasz Fabianski for his goal. More like 2-1 Arsenal.
WBA 2 LEICESTER 3 (Oct 31)
STOKE 1 CHELSEA 0 (Nov 7)
CHELSEA 1 NORWICH 0 (Nov 21) Here they noted a change of the scoreline not the result.
SOUTHAMPTON 0 STOKE 1 (Nov 21)
SWANSEA 2 B’MOUTH 2 (Nov 21)
WBA 2 Arsenal 1 (Nov 21)
Albion’s leveller came from a free-kick when Mikel Arteta clearly won the ball fairly.
A VILLA 2 WATFORD 3 (Nov 28)
And then they publish what they call is “The real table”
|1 (+3) Arsenal||14||9||3||2||24||12||30|
|2 (+1) Man Utd||14||9||3||2||21||10||30|
|3 (-2) Man City||14||9||1||4||30||12||28|
|4 (+1) Tottenham||14||6||7||1||22||10||25|
|5 (+3) West Ham||14||6||5||3||25||19||23|
|6 (+1) C Palace||14||7||2||5||21||15||23|
|7 (-5) Leicester||14||6||5||3||27||24||23|
|8 (+2) Southampton||14||5||5||4||22||18||19|
|9 (+3) Stoke||14||4||6||5||13||16||18|
|10 (-1) Everton||14||4||6||4||25||19||18|
|11 (—) Watford||14||4||5||5||14||18||17|
|12 (+1) West Brom||14||4||5||5||12||16||17|
|13 (-7) Liverpool||14||5||5||6||17||17||16|
|14 (—) Chelsea||14||4||4||6||20||26||16|
|15 (+3) Bournemouth||14||4||3||7||18||28||15|
|16 (-1) Swansea||14||3||4||7||14||18||14|
|17 (-1) Norwich||14||3||5||5||20||26||14|
|18 (-1) Sunderland||14||3||3||8||15||26||12|
|19 (+1) Aston Villa||14||3||2||9||14||27||11|
|20 (-1) Newcastle||14||2||5||7||15||30||11|
So it is fairly small beer, but it is the first break in ranks, and with luck might open the door for the Guardian, Telegraph or Independent to come in and do some real work (they could of course licence our figures – we could do with the cash).
Anyway, looking further at the Sun’s now “free to read” website we find this which really does suggest that they are Untold readers.
ARSENAL’S injury woes have been blamed for the club failing to win a single Premier League game in November – but new data has revealed that Arsene Wenger has had it easy compared to Manchester City and Manchester United this season.
Arsenal players have picked up 24 injuries since August, which slightly exceeds the league average of 20.45. But City have had to cope with an eye-watering 35 injuries since their opening day win against West Brom….
Well you know the rest.
2 December 1907: The Professional Footballers’ Association set up. The first football union was set up in 1898 but ran into difficulties. The PFA was then set up to replace it and became the longest surviving sports person’s union in the world.
2 December 2003: Fabregas became the youngest Arsenal player ever to score in the League Cup as Arsenal beat Wolverhampton 5-1. First and last appearance for Michal Papadopulos.