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October 2016
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Zen and the art of football supporting: a response to Tuesday night.

Zen and the art of football supporting – by Blacksheep

Zen (for those unfamiliar with it) is an ancient Chinese form of Buddhism that has become established in Japan, Korea and Vietnam as well as influencing many in the West. It stresses the importance of meditation, observation and insight and in my reflection of the game on Tuesday night I decided to apply it to the plight of the humble football fan.

Tuesday night was beyond frustrating – in fact it was physically painful. In  a game where we really should have won we could easily have lost if Mane had his boots on the right way around.  The display of the so-called referee (I think we have to use the term loosely) was abject even by recent PGMO standards. Why he let the Saints’ captain receive treatment in their own box when he was two feet from the touchline and clearly not badly hurt I will never know. Maybe the fact that we were building up the pressure on their goal would explain it but then I’d have to believe the officials were corrupt and I’m sure Lee Mason is an honourable man (as Mark Anthony would say).

The frustration and anger in the ground as I left and in the crowds as I walked back to Finsbury Park was very evident. Opinions seemed to be that we had blown it – or M. Wenger had. That Walcott was a waste of time, Flamini a liability and Giroud inept. The board should have spent the F***ing money and that all they cared about was finishing 4th.

Without the soft words of Sir Hardly Anyone, Mr Attwood or the Bulldog I was left to my own devices and I must say a black pale was settling over my head as the cold began to penetrate my coat and scarf. On the train to New Southgate the mood was mixed: several fellow Gooners were downcast, lost in their thoughts, texting their loved ones (or maybe arranging their trips to Dignitas, who knows). Others were ranting about facking ‘venga and his failure to strengthen the squad.

There were also plenty of ‘civilian’ passengers, who owed no allegiance to the Arsenal and who looked on, bemused at this outpouring of collective angst.

Within ten minutes I was home, with a cup of tea and a chance to offload to my poor other half. She sympathised but mostly let me grumble for a while then we talked about something else. I slept on it and went into work the next day to face the barbs of my fellows (mostly the Chavs who enjoy this moment of schadenfreude) who were gentle in the most part.

Football evokes passion, it takes us up to dizzy heights and dashes our dreams on the rocks of failure. So at Christmas we dreamed of winning the league and cup double; by the end of Tuesday we would be lucky to finish in the CL places – as for Barca, no chance.

But let’s take a Zen approach and step back.

Deep breath.

Inhale and let it out slowly.

And again…


Look out of the window and up at the sky. Has the sun fallen from the heavens? Has the moon decided not to appear?


The world is turning, day follows night, night follows day. We are a blip in the universe, the events of 90 minutes are as a tiny molecule in a mass of atomic matter.

Pause and reflect; observe the reality of where we are. Football is an irrelevance to most people. To most ‘normal’ human beings our behaviour in the aftermath of Tuesday would appear at best odd and at worst, completely irrational.

No one died. We dropped 2 points.

We sit 5 points behind Leicester with 14 games to play. There are almost as many points to win (42) as we already have (45).

Yes it felt bad. And I’m sure if I was sitting watching a dodgy stream of the game in Nigeria at 6.45 in the morning then that might feel even worse. But it changes very little.

If I meditate upon the draw with Southampton I realise its limited significance. We are not out of anything as yet.

If I recall what I observed it was that we tried very hard and were unlucky not to put one of those chances away. We might have won that game 3-1.

If I look for insight then I will turn not to my frustrated fellows on the train but to the wise heads of those that have seen this unfold in the past – like Tony who has watching Arsenal win, lose and draw since the 1930s. [Steady on old bean – Tony]

Most of all I’m going to keep calm and carry on supporting my team and hope that the Tiny Totts stutter like we have.

Breathe and believe Gunners, breathe and believe.

The Zen Guide to the Past and Future

  • 5 February 1931:  Leicester C 2 Arsenal 7, just a week after beating Grimsby 9-1, as Arsenal moved to their first championship.  Lambert (3), Bastin (2), Jack and Hulme did the honours this time
  • 5 February 2005: After two defeats in last three games Aston V 1 Arsenal 3 stopped the rot and started a 13 match unbeaten run to the end of the season.  Ljungberg, Henry and Cole got the goals.

The Untold Books

The latest Untold book is Arsenal: The Long Sleep 1953-1970 with an introduction by Bob Wilson, available both as a paperback and as a Kindle book from Amazon.   Details of this and our other titles can be found at Arsenal Books on this site.


44 comments to Zen and the art of football supporting: a response to Tuesday night.

  • I am sure you put in those comments like “watching since the 1930s” just to ensure that I actually read the article before posting it.

    However thank you for the title. I have started writing Zen and the Art of Football Supporting (the book). Indeed I was hoping to have it finished by now but found the subject matter so comforting I fell into a state of relaxation and had to stop.

  • Olu Ajegena

    Wow great article, am a young gunner (21) from Nigeria. I think I have that Zed spirit on Arsenal dis season, am so optimistic about them finishing the season with 3gongs but 2 wld be grt & a build up to next season where Wenger says we can compete on 3 fronts. I have hit the bookies & left with Arsenal as my winning ticket after 38 games. The significant point is that i set the odds by myself the media as untold has always written against mesh the news & supporters drink the drews(however that tastes like). Well many positive for the season ahead, if Wenger can go 49 games unbeaten u can place a bet on 15games don’t say I didn’t tell u. That match was 8:30 Nigeria time. Have a great day Gunners.

  • nicky

    Re the draw against Southampton, if you have a team with a parked ‘bus attitude, a superbly marshalled defence and an inspired goal keeper, the chances of scoring against it must be regarded as remote.
    It is therefore no disgrace to come away with a point and quite unfair to say that two points were lost. 😉

  • Hubert

    Time for Arsenal team to take up the ancient Chinese art of Kung Fu to take care of nasty opponents (e.g. Costa something).

  • para

    It does take some people longer than others to deal with disappointment, sadness or any other emotion that we do have.

    Note happiness is also the same, we also bask some longer, some not so long, in the happiness, gladness etc until it fades.

    Then we get on with life again.

  • Mandy Dodd

    unfortunately, that was just one of a few frustrating performances of late. but as you say, all things in context.
    things are decided on fine margins at this level, especially with improved coaching, fitness and buying power of traditionally lesser sides.
    i take Untolds point about the media hype of our injuries, but unfortunately, again, we lost some very key players in Nov….mainly at once. This recent run is a direct result of that. We play a complex brand of the game, when partnerships have split up, we can and do suffer. Losing Cazcoq would do any team, and despite the valiant efforts of replacements, has unbalanced the team. For further reading on this disruptive but complex effect on partnerships, I recommend Stilbertos most recent and excellent piece on Arseblog.
    Flamini a scapegoat….only for those who dont watch the games. Yes, there are obvious issues with him and Ramsey, but Flam runs his socks off, up to 13k in some games (the media wankfest kicks in when Delli Alli gets anywhere near that). If anything,Ramseys attacking instincts have left Flam and the defence a bit exposed at times. and remember, Flam has had to successfully navigate refs who would card him in a heartbeat. If we win anything this year, Flam will have played a significant part.
    The teams above us…City have injuries, but a massive…and good squad, and live in a different world to us financially. Spurs and Leicester….everything going for them, no injuries at all to the most vital players for god only knows how long,speculative shots honing in on goal like cruise missiles, no handicap from refs (FIF recently stated Leicester have the most positive bias …in ref favour he has seen in 21 years…should you choose to believe him)….but they do get rather alot of penalties, more than we do anyway. will the winds of fortune continue to favour Spurs and Leicester…they might…or might not. All i know is that they will give us special refs for those games.
    As for the PGMOL, there is nothing honorable about them, it looked to me like Mason, one of the weakest refs going cheated us toget his career back, and avoid another 6 week suspension. They are clearly doing the bidding, probably willingly,for those who do not want Arsenal winning the league.
    Finally, I hear the club have slapped a £20-30 administration fee, which has provoked fury. Maybe there is a good reason, but in the current light, a seriously bad PR move . The angry need to remember this is the board/owner/ accountants, not Wenger or the players. But with the club taking money in such a way, makes it even more fanciful, the notion that Wenger has £200m to spend, what ever a slightly tipsy board member may have said.

  • blacksheep63

    Mandy I think you are referring to the £16-30 hike for the Barcelona ticket? I haven’t received my email from the club yet (they tend only to email me when its time to renew my ST)- given that I might not be able to go to the Hull game this seems poor PR at best and grossly unfair at worst but we suck it up and carry on. Football sold its soul a very long time ago

  • Rich

    Good stuff and strange timing for me.

    My reaction to Tuesday’s game made it clear I have to change my ways.

    If I can’t change the painful fact Mason, Dean, Riley and co have huge power over the team’s fate and even that of the manager I admire so much, I have to try radically change the effects that has on me, was the idea. Detachment was the plan.

    Made me feel better about it all and ,trusting ole mutha necessity, I felt optimistic.

    Later amended the plan to include a final Neville-inspired purging of my anger in writing. That’s taking a while and I want to include a bit of it here (for anyone who doesn’t see a conspiracy theorist crank in action in the way I go about trying to understand and deal with those bastard referees )

  • Rich

    Now, Neville’s ace when rubbishing claims Utd were dirty is, der, der, der…the disciplinary record. Look at it, he says, and tell me how a dirty team could have that record- ‘As a team, we’ve had our tantrums and our losses of control, but the way some people talk you’d think Utd had been a disciplinary nightmare under the boss. Our record is not bad at all.’

    Sure enough, the record isn’t bad. While you’re checking, you could note Arsenal’s is quite a bit worse.

    Case closed? If you believe in the integrity and ability of our referees, then yes. However, Neville himself provides some nice ammunition for those who do not trust the integrity and ability of our referees. Take the very end of his career:

    (1) ‘I’d not played since the trip to Stoke the previous October when I’d not exactly covered myself in glory. We’d won but i should have been sent off for a scything tackle that was several minutes late’

    (2) (his very next game, at West Brom) ‘It would have been even worse if the referee had spotted my trip on Graham Dorrans in the box. I deserved a red card; if justice had been done, my career would have finished there and then with a lonely embarrassed walk to the dressing room.

    2 games, 2 missed sendings off and one pen missed. A small sample size but, boy, with refereeing even 50% better than that you could still end up with a record that does not reflect reality very well.

    Chuck in another one from earlier in his career- ‘I’ll admit I was a bit of a maniac in those early months. There was one tackle, on Jason Dodd of Southampton, that was terrible, deserving a straight red’ (it’s not clear from that whether he got the card he deserved, but i’m guessing no)- and you can see how one players record could be seriously distorted if he enjoys a bit of sustained ‘luck’ with referees.

    What would it do to the records if 10-20 main players enjoyed similar luck over a long period? A dirty team could have the record of a very clean team if they got that lucky.

    57 reds (double yellows and straight reds) to our 80 in the premier league; most of them, I expect, front-loaded to the earlier, pre-pgmol years, with many of the later ones confined to big matches with City, Chelsea and, especially, Liverpool, where, perhaps because of some hard-to-define forces balancing out, not as much luck was around.

    Soon, detachment, soon.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Thats the one Blacksheep, I cannot moan too much as I am not a season ticket holder, but plenty of anger out there from those who are.
    Just seems a crass, unnecessary but sadly predictable move. and coming hot on the heels of the Liverpool owners website apparently going on about fans as customers and how revenue can be maximized from them.
    Sadly, business is business…..guess we will see more and more of this, just hope our fans /team are not directly or indirectly paying for that LA stadium…perhaps a naive hope.
    One tweet is saw suggested this hike will seem “quaint” in a few years time

  • Al

    I’m usually positive when we get bad results. It’s the robbery I can’t handle. For me, since I can’t change the fact that Mason, Riley et al, hold all the cards to who gets the league, and since each robbery causes me so much heartache, means I’ve decided to take the approach of weaning myself from football. Personally, I think it’s more easier to move on from a broken personal relationship than to move on in football because, unlike with personal relationships, one just can’t move from their team and start supporting someone else.

    Every time we get robbed I spend a few days hurting, and this is becoming a weekly occurrence, which clearly isn’t good for my health. I salute those who can control their emotions better and urge you to soldier on. I’ll still be following Arsenal of course, but I’ll no longer plan my days to accommodate football, rather if I find myself with nothing to do and am lazing around the house with the game on then I’ll watch it. Otherwise I’ll just learn of the result when I come across it.

  • Still getting lots of emails asserting that x is a fact or even FACT, and “I believe this,” and “I can’t believe that…”

    Interesting in a way, but we’ve published so many people’s beliefs not backed up with any recourse to the notion of evidence based football, but I’ve not been publishing the latest additions to the genre.

  • Rich


    Sounds like we’re in a similar spot ( and guess it’s the same figure who disliked your post as mine*)

    My plan is to see if I can numb myself to it and, basically, expect and accept us being screwed over at any moment in a game. Make some adjustments in advance and see if I can truly prepare for it and not react to it.

    Writing that out, it’s very clear you’ve the more practical, realistic plan, but I’m gonna give it a try anyway.

    *still has the power to surprise me occasionally does the dislike function. I can’t imagine being someone, a user of this site anyway, who not only disagrees with your opinion of how rotten ref De(a)nmark is but felt a dislike was in order in that specific context.

    Oh well. They exist.

    Best of luck to you however it goes.

  • upp

    Nice one, I stopped being angry and made peace with arsenal results about 5 years ago. I’ve never attributed our results good or bad to the referees, I’ve watched game 50 close to 50 times and I don’t understand the furore. They played hard and within the law

  • ARSENAL 13

    Tony, I would like to hear from you regarding the “surcharge” for Barcelona game and the ARSENAL “led” vote against the away ticket price cap at 30 pounds.

  • Rich


    I dunno. Doesn’t this rare pic from a Pgmol meeting featuring Riley, Dowd and Dean make you even a little bit suspicious?

  • Sam Sayyed

    I think we played a smashing game of football. We absolutely pulverised Southampton, especially in the second half, whilst Southampton couldn’t create half a chance of scoring against us. How we didn’t score was down to luck. I had absolutely no problems with the performance. In fact we haven’t played badly at all in these past few games except Southampton away. Liverpool and Stoke draws were not dishonourable results and one stupid mistake cost us against Chelsea, otherwise we played very well even with 10 men most of the game!

    What absolutely deflated me was the obvious, blatant, downright corrupt refereeing. If we can get that performance in this effing bastion of transparency and democracy called UK, what hope is there left in the world? I felt like I should stop watching football. There are two times when I felt like this before, once in the away game at Chelsea (thanks Mr Dean) and once when I was in primary school and a WWF upon discovering that wrestling games are “keyfabed”.

    Oh how I wish for a refereeing body which is not corrupt or biased and whose inadvertently wrong decisions actually even out in the end!

  • Polo

    Watched the replay match of Barca vs Valancia and boy Barca was frightening good. No wonder the scoreline was 7-0. Let’s hope our defense has a solution.

  • Rufusstan

    @ ARSENAL 13. Completely agree about the surcharge bit (hopefully something is already in the pipeline).

    I’ve been a stalwart defender of the misinformation that is spread annually by the media about the club’s season ticket pricing, and am aghast at such a stunt.

    This seems to be nothing more than a cheap money grab by the club, and as such is beneath the standards The Arsenal is meant to represent.

    All I can hope is that the shitstorm that is already brewing will make them see sense and change the decision (or shame them into doing so).

  • upp

    @rich, link too long to type. However as a non conspiracy theorist, I’d say it’s perfectly normal for employees to meet with the boss occasionally

  • serge

    I must be a really poor supporter if I can detach myself from Arsenal’s misfortunes and get on with the important things in my life. True I’ve not been anywhere near them in 5 or 6 years and no longer pay expensive TV subscriptions so don’t have a financial concern, but unlike some bleeding hearts I don’t “feel the pain” or get any more than slightly annoyed that a load of overpaid ( if extremely talented ) players underperform against lesser opposition. Even factoring in match changing poor refereeing doesn’t leave me devastated because I just can’t relate to these people who’ll be regularly replaced by another load of millionaires who don’t give a toss about Arsenal Football Club.

  • mickess

    Here is an extract from email I recieved form the club today

    ” our UEFA Champions League Round of 16 fixture against FC Barcelona, to be played on Tuesday, February 23, 2016 will be our seventh cup tie credit of the season and has been designated as a category A fixture.
    Due to the number of matches played this season and the categories assigned to them, there will be an additional cost to your season ticket for the 2016/17 of £16.11. This additional cost will be added to your renewal price for next season.
    How will I be charged for the game?
    The additional cost of £16.11 will be added to your 2016/17 season ticket renewal price for your seat located in block 5 Lower Tier row 21 seat xxx.
    How do I opt-out of this fixture?
    If you do NOT wish to attend the fixture against FC Barcelona on Tuesday, February 23, 2016 and would like to ‘opt out’ of this service, please click here and follow the simple instructions which will deactivate your seat. Due to the Opt Out process Ticket Exchange will not be available for this fixture. Please note that you must deactivate your seat by 2pm Friday 12th February 2016.”

    I don’t complain about having to pay for my season ticket up-front but having paid for it I don’t expect the penny pinching, money grabbing club to screw me for another £16.11 after I paid for the 26 games last MAY!!!! When you consider the TV money next year coming into the game we should be paying a lot less for entry not more!!! Come on Arsenal think about the supporters especially as we had to suffer the poor performances by some of our so called stars last Tuesday. Perhaps Kroenke is putting up his ‘fees’ again so us mugs will have to pay for it.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Very surprised at this Mickess, have to say, really smacks of bad PR , at least on first glance. The club would appear to have no shortage of money coming in, holding fans to ransom for such a major fixture….over what to such a club, is lets face it, peanuts, not good.
    But as another blog has pointed out, seems to have certainly united the fanbase!
    Have always taken a fairly noncommittal view of the owner, mainly because he…at least appeared to back , and not intefere with the manager, however a few things starting to creep in that are a bit worrying.
    If they are penny pinching on such matters, is it possible Wenger still performs under restrictions we may not be aware of?
    Doesnt seem the action of a club who have set aside £200 million for the manager to spend, does it Lord Harris of Peckham?

  • Polo

    I have to agree with the outrage on the price increase, not a good look at all on Arsenal. £16 per seat is not that much revenue in the overall scheme of things to Arsenal as a business but to pee off your support base and damage the club image is so foolish by people who approve of this. It look to me there are people willing to pay higher price for these seats and Arsenal board wants to cash in on it. It’s morally not right but people need to remember that Arsenal like all the others teams are no longer a Club it’s a Corporation. Business only exists to make profits for their shareholders. The supporters are just customers. However, we need to separate the players and coaching staff from the Board with the anger. This is a Board decision not the players or coaching staff.

  • Rich


    The link was just to be copy and pasted into a browser (I’m not the most skilled at internet stuff so don’t know how to embed links you just click on)

    Of course a meeting is normal; it was just the expressions and whatnot that are revealing in the picture.

    Also, I’m surprised you’ve managed to avoid getting mightily pissed off at referees over the years if you were happy enough with game 50.

    Logic says if you didn’t mind what Van Nistelrooy got away with, you should feel none of our sendings off in the last decade were deserved.

  • proudkev


    “I’ve watched game 50 close to 50 times and I don’t understand the furore”

    Not sure if you’re just on a bit of a wind up today but this is a strage comment.

    Fergie and Neville have admitted their tactics for this game was to kick Arsenal to stop us playing. They somehow managed to get the match referee to accomodate this tactic.

    The 50th game was when I first noticed something was not right. I know loads of people, fans of other clubs, who think Riley was got at. It wasnt just one contentious decision it was throughout the game.

    Graham Poll was damning in his book about the intimidation that went on at Old Trafford. he claimed that the minute the officials arrived, it would start. Coaches, backroom staff etc would all be on their case before the game and again at half time. A level of intimidation like at no other club and a clear pre game tactic. Fergie had the power to stop referees from getting his games and the referees knew it.

    Some hi-lights to look out for:

    1. Van Nistelrroy studs down Coles shin – (a retrospective red awarded after the game)
    2. Ferdinand last man take down of Freddie (a clear red agreed by all after the game)
    3. The Neville sisters targetting Reyes – no yellow cars
    4. Ashley Cole getting the first yellow card after all the Man Utd assaults
    5. Rooneys dive (proved after the game as a dive)

    Heres the link:

    If you dont see anything untoward, may I recommend Spec Savers.

  • proudkev


    That surcharge stinks.

    Our Club needs to rethiunk that, totally out of order in my opinion.

  • blacksheep

    I’ve now received my email from the club and yes same as Mickess I’m going to have to find an extra £16.11. I suggest those affected do what I’ve been doing since the last price rise – I stop buying the programme and scale back on other club related spending. So I will save approx £80 on the programme. I’m not buying a new shirt either so that’s another £60-70. Every time they do something like this I make a mental note to not buy the shirt next time. I don’t buy drinks or food in the ground (despite them wanting us there early) I pay for my ST and silver membership and that’s it.
    Kroenke might want to raise funds from us but I’ll not be party to it.

  • Pete

    Haven’t had a chance to comment since Tuesday night but, once again, “people” seem to confuse the result with the performance. The first 20 minutes was poor, the remainder of the first half mediocre, but in the second half it was one-way traffic. Apparently ours’ was the most number of shots on target this season without a goal for anyone.

    Against Chelsea we lost because of the red card.

    Against Stoke we didn’t play that well – weren’t really allowed to – but dug in and got a point which is more than we usually manage there.

    Against Liverpool we started very badly – but then took control of the game only wilting right at the end. But acknowledge fairly poor defensively.

    It is often forgotten that returning players need a while to get back up to speed. Injuries cost more than the strict number of weeks out.

    Once we get our next League win I am pretty confident things will turn around.

  • upp

    @proudkev, can you link me to the interview where fergie and Neville admit to kicking arsenal? Playing hard isn’t the same as kicking. @least not in my dictionary, and the arsenal of those days cannot take the moral high ground when it comes to playing tough

  • colario

    May be there is a non said reason for this pay up or else extra charge.

    If the next year’s accounts show an increase in payment to share holder Mr Kroenke for his ”advice”, we will know the real reason.

  • upp

    Responding to your highlights
    1. Rvn on Cole, ref doesn’t see, retrospective ban in order
    2. Ferdinand in last man body check on ljunberg. Tough challenge, but at the end of the day it’s just a body check, defenders and attackers tussle like this all the time, sometimes they’re given as fouls sometimes not, I can say I’ve never seen a red given for that, definitely not in a match of that profile, though I agree it wouldn’t have been too unfair (though I’m surprised you say this is a red, yet deny that mertesacker ‘ was a red against Chelsea)
    3. Neville brothers both got cards, phils for a nothing foul
    4. Cole rightfully carded for a cynical foul from behind. It’s nice to see Rooney just get up and get on with it after being ‘hacked’ down by Cole
    5. Rooney dived, true but indeed there was contact. Yes he made a meal of it, but just like with eduardo, I don’t understand why we have to cry about it, was he supposed to do us a favour and and not take advantage of the contact?

  • upp

    I think you should rather watch the video beneath your link, the dirty side of Derby man utd vs arsenal. It was a battle where arsenal gave as much as they took. I had to laugh when I saw c Ronaldo run away from Henry, how arsenal players hounded rvn after his missed penalty, he had to run.or gallas kicking nan’s arse on the floor

  • Mark

    Good to hear the Barca charge hasn’t been implemented. Power to the supporters for a change

  • ob1977

    Upp you are simply a wind up merchant, which is where I think you get your screen name from, you’ve got your attention now move along…

  • GoingGoingGooner

    I can’t watch game 50. Watched it when it happened…Tried again about 5 years later…It brought back such a flood of negative emotions that I refuse to watch it again.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Upp, are you a (professional) referee? 🙂

  • Pat

    Blacksheep, I’m sorry it was all moaners on your journey back. I was lucky enough to have a fan next to me in the stadium who recognised from the start how crap the refereeing was, and how crap it is every week. Therefore, while frustrated and unhappy, he did not bad mouth the players or the manager.

  • upp

    Nope @walter, but like you, I do ref the occasional church youth and school matches

  • ob1977

    Upp your church youth league must have some pretty tasty tackles going in judging by what you think is hard but fair…

  • upp

    I believe at the beginning of a match you judge how a ref wants to ref his match, whether he’s the type that wants the match to flow and will only penalise absolute brutality, or one who wants a clean match no contact, once you do that, you go ahead and play accordingly. It’s the referee’s job to interpret the laws of the game in the match, that’s why we say “play to the refs whistle” I believe we should let our players understand that instead of being mini refs on the pitch. I remember flamini going down and raising his hands up while a westham player went through and scored in a 2-2 draw a few years back, expecting the ref’s whistle. if I were the one? In front of my 18yard box, I’d get rid of the ball before I thought of going down.
    Also if you notice in that match 50, when Rooney was cynically fouled from behind by Cole, he simply got up and got about his business. .

  • WalterBroeckx

    Sure that makes you a far better expert than I am Upp. I bow for your wisdom.
    How many courses do you have to follow for this? How many exames each year?
    Did you managed to open the link from the RAFC channel yet?

  • omgarsenal

    Upp…I am a retired National referee for Canada and was eligible for the FIFA list, and like Walter spent almost 40 years officiating every level including professional. I watched the game 50 video 5 times with 2 other German FIFA referees, neither who supported Arsenal and one of them a United fan and they BOTH were astounded at how much was ignored or seen but not punished by Riley. I was actually more supportive at first but the things that stood out were the Neville tandem hacking Reyes on 5 seperate occasions, only getting a yellow card and ferdinand’s serious foul play! Rooney’s dive was contestable but the overall impression all 3 officials left with was that Riley had a terrible game and was unfit for purpose.
    As far as how a referee prepares for ANY game, here are the 3 major concerns we ALWAYS need to keep in mind;

    1)We are there to protect players from serious injury caused by violent conduct or serious foul play, or dangerous play…..that is our FIRST duty as a referee.

    2)We are there to apply the Laws equitably,firmly and fairly without prejudice or preference for any one player or team…if we can’t do that we should never step on the field. Part of that application is to interpret the Laws without judging intent or showing bias towards anyone on or off the field of play.

    3)We are there to ensure that proper time is kept, that the mechanics are respected (throw-ins,substitutions, free kicks etc.) AND to record all major events (goals, substitutions, cards given, long game stoppages, etc.) and to report this to the proper authorities once the game is over.

    You clearly don’t have the experience or expertise of Walter or myself when it comes to officiating and that is fine, few referees get our opportunities, but to pontificate about what happened in game 50 is unjustified on your part to say the least. There is little grey area in the fouling that went on in game 50, for either team…that is clear to anyone who has ever officiated at that level.

  • Rantetta

    Excellent article. Much appreciated. Thanks.