By Walter Broeckx
For many years Untold Arsenal have been looking at referee performances. When Arsenal lose a match and we point at the errors of the ref some people dismiss our analysis and call it sour grapes or say we are bad losers. But as you can see in our reviews we also don’t accept bad referee performances even when we win. So win, lose or draw we call it as we have seen it. Was the ref good or bad doesn’t depend on the final result. On the table of shame you can also find matches we won.
So with that made clear we come to the next thing that is rather strange. People ignore our reviews or brush them aside as not relevant. Referees are not a reason why we drop points they say.
But when we get a decision in our favour these same people come on Untold and throw it at our feet. Saying things like: now eat that. You see there is no conspiracy. There is no proof of bias against Arsenal. The reason is that they said this is because one goal from West Ham had been cancelled for a wrong offside decision. See, no bias against Arsenal.
People who really saw nothing wrong with the challenge from Carroll on Koscielny for the other disallowed goal from West Ham…. well sorry but you don’t know anything about the laws of the game. You cannot grab a player with both arms and hold him back. That is a foul. Period.
But still one said that we should have lost 5-3 and that the ref gave us the draw. And based on this this person probably will come to the conclusion that there never ever has been a bias against Arsenal in this season or on the past seasons.
But there is the twist. By saying such things the poster does in fact admit that referees have an influence on the final result. But that is something they deny as long as Arsenal is on the receiving end of those decisions. If we are dropping points because referees make mistakes then it is not the fault of the referee. No it is Wenger’s fault. Or him or us making excuses.
However when we benefit once (and there is a lot to say about the man who gave the assist to that disallowed goal being on the field) they suddenly find this as evidence that referees do influence the final result.
But you cant have it both ways. And you can be sure that we do take it both ways. As you will probably find out once the referee review is done and published. We have done so on other instances when we were lucky. I remember a penalty for handball not given against Mertesacker at Swansea. We don’t hide from that.
Thus when we suffer, others dismiss it and hide away from it. It us one way traffic for them. When Arsenal benefit they consider it evidence that there is no bias against Arsenal. The fact is they have to wait usually some 10 matches to find such an evidence once. On the other hand we found more than 90 decisions where Arsenal didn’t get the call that was justified by the ref. But that is brushed aside. Not relevant.
Now you can say that we are biased. And yes we don’t hide that we are all Arsenal supporters doing the reviews. I then like to point at the season when we did reviews with non-Arsenal supporting referee reviewers and in that season we came to the final result that the bias against Arsenal was bigger than ever before in our reviewing career. It still is on the internet. On the website refereedecisions. Just google it.
But let us for the sake accept that we are biased. And from time to time people question a certain decision. I would say somewhere around 1-5% of the decisions. In fact it is less but let us for the sake of it even say that our bias is making us wrong for 10% of what we find. Then still we have more than 80 decisions going against us in roughly some 30 matches.
Now as those people who brush our findings away as non relevant do find it relevant when we benefit… then why do they brush it away when we are on the suffering end of referee mistakes?
Is it because it doesn’t fit their narrative that Wenger is the one and only to blame for all and everything that goes wrong with Arsenal results in the PL?
Or you say that referees never influence results and that is fine if you really believe that. I also once believed in Santa Claus bringing me presents. But then you shouldn’t mention it when we get the odd decision in our favour. Because you can’t pick it when it suits your agenda. Accept referees influence results or don’t. But accept the consequences of your point of view.
Based on our reviews you can say that wrong decisions have cost us at least around 10-15 points this season. That is based on our findings. We could even say more but I even want to lower the real number we have found and accept that even we could be biased for about 50%. Even if we accepted that we would get a count of around 12 missed points because of bad referee decisions.
So for those who say we should have lost 5-3 against West Ham I could say, okay I take your point and admit we got 1 point too much now. But are you willing to accept our reviews and say… oh wait a minute we should have had around 12-13 points more this season if referees had made the correct decisions….. I am willing to say: yes we got a point because of a referee mistake against West Ham. But then I reserve the right to counter that with our findings in our referee reviews. And then the league table would look completely different.
And for those who say this is biased… just search for the alternative league table somewhere in November from a national newspaper in which they said that Leicester at the time had won some five points to much because of referee errors. And in that table we would have won more points because we suffered from referee errors. Not an Arsenal supporting website that said that.
So to answer my question: yes referees influence final results in matches.
11 April 1961: Bob Dylan made his first live appearance. You might not be aware that on the internet there is also Untold Dylan – that gets quite a big audience too.
11 April 1964: Arsenal 0 Blackburn 0. Arsenal had brought forward their final home game in order to install undersoil heating in the summer. The matchday programme included a note saying that a meeting among London clubs had agreed to fix next season’s ground entry price at 4 shillings (20p) with an enclosure for schoolchildren added (admission 10p).
Untold Arsenal has published five books on Arsenal – all are available as paperback and three are now available on Kindle. The books are
- The Arsenal Yankee by Danny Karbassiyoon with a foreword by Arsene Wenger.
- Arsenal: the long sleep 1953 – 1970; a view from the terrace. By John Sowman with an introduction by Bob Wilson.
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football. By Tony Attwood, Andy Kelly and Mark Andrews.
- Making the Arsenal: a novel by Tony Attwood.
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal by Mark Andrews.
You can find details of all five on our new Arsenal Books page