Why do two sets of fans see a match in such different ways?



By Nitram

Following our hard fought victory at Newcastle I felt pretty much the same as most of the Untold regulars, regarding both the match itself, and the referee.

Regarding the match: it was tough, as we expected. It was physical, as we expected. But we stood our ground against a very aggressive approach from Newcastle and refused to be intimidated. Ultimately I think we all agree it was one of our best all-round performances of the season against a very good, in-form team. Yes, we rode our luck a little, especially very early on, but overall we had the better chances and deserved our victory.  Just.

Regarding the referee, personally, I thought, again like many others on Untold, that he was unduly lenient with Newcastle’s aggressive approach. Okay, I thought he was trying to keep the game flowing, and if I’m honest that did contribute to a great end-to-end game, but nevertheless he should have been stricter with Newcastle players because we were lucky not to pick up any serious injuries on the back of some rather poor challenges.

But how did Newcastle fans see it? Did they see it that way? To find out I thought I’d have a look at a popular Newcastle blog that ran a ‘Real Time’ match day thread to find out. And the answer was: “Not a bit of it.”

Although there are some pretty balanced opinions, their overriding view is that we were a disgrace. Our players were ‘a bunch of fairies’ ‘Rolling around at the merest touch’ in order to waste time. And as for Ramsdale, he should be ashamed of himself as he was by all accounts time-wasting from the first second. And every time we had a freekick we used that as yet another opportunity to waste time.

The conclusion they drew from all this, given the way we moaned about their antics at the Emirates, is that we are a cheating bunch of hypocrites.

So who’s right? Should Ramsdale be ashamed? Did we dawdle on every free kick to waste time? Did we roll about like fairies wasting time?

Being the pedantic nerd I am I thought I’d check. Now once I started this I soon realised how time-consuming (and boring) it was, so I only did the first half, but as that seemed to be their biggest bugbear anyway, I think that’s enough to draw some conclusions.

I looked at Ramsdale’s time on the ball. Goal Kicks and ball in hand. I compared time taken with ‘dead ball’ situations. Free kicks and corners. I also compared injured players’ time down.


  • 2 Goal kicks = 54 seconds or 27 seconds for each
  • 4 Ball in Hand = 51 seconds or 13 seconds each

Ramsdale’s total time in possession of the ball was 105 seconds in the entire first half. He had the ball in his possession just six times at an average of 17 seconds per event.

How under any measurement is that timewasting? It is hard to see quite how so many Newcastle fans got themselves so worked over Ramsdales supposed ‘antics’?

DEAD BALLS (Freekicks and corners basically)


  • 8 free kicks and 2 corners for 314 seconds or 31.4 seconds per event

NB: And lest we forget two of those events involved treatment for Jorginho and Saka respectively following two poor Newcastle challenges.


  • 7 free kicks and 4 corners for 363 seconds or 33 seconds per event

So in actual fact, Newcastle took fractionally longer over their dead-ball situations than we did.


  • Schar was down for treatment for 2 minutes 10 seconds
  • Xhaka was down for treatment for 3minutes 10 seconds

Not a great deal of difference, and if Schars was genuine why not Xhaka?

So, the question is, where exactly did these Newcastle fans get the idea we were ‘shamefully’ wasting time ‘from the first minute’?

Where did they get the idea that Ramsdale was hanging on to the ball for inordinate amounts of time when clearly he was not?

It’s a difficult one to answer, but I think it’s a combination of tribalism and frustration. Essentially they work each other up into a frenzy and start getting overly frustrated when things aren’t going their way and as a result start see everything as as a conspiracy against them. It’s not our fault we aren’t winning so it has to be that we are being cheated, by the Arsenal players, the referee, VAR etc. etc.

When I watched back I noticed that they started booing and whistling Ramsdale the second he had the ball. In effect, they were suggesting he was time-wasting after 5 or so seconds, when in actual fact he was taking no longer than is normal to take a goal kick or throw the ball out, but their agitation made it ‘FEEL’ longer.

The same with free kicks and corners. Newcastle actually took a little longer over theirs than we did, but they only notice the time when it’s us.

Now please forgive me my figures may not be perfect but they are pretty close, and it was difficult and time-consuming, so please cut me some slack if you spot an error or want to question something.

Here’s the link to the blog in an earlier article if you want to have a peep at how a raging Geordie thinks, but here it is again anyway.



4 Replies to “Why do two sets of fans see a match in such different ways?”

  1. Dont be too hard on them. They do have to live in a crime infested slum of a city after all.

  2. Very impressive, Nitram, thanks. “Facts vs. Emotions”, that’s what should always be done, but as you pointed out, you have to put up with the tediousness of the process.
    As for their harassment of our players starting from the getgo … watching the game I had the feeling Newcastle’s fans, management and players not only wanted to win, they also wanted to trample us under foot. That’s why the way our boys stood their ground was so admirable – in hindsight I also think that’s what eventually did the bar-codes in, they lost it after realizing our young bunch just wouldn’t back down, and could never get back to the quality of their first 10-15 minutes.
    Finally, about time-wasting, it’s high-time football took inspiration from basket-ball … ball not rolling, clock not turning – maybe by shifting to four 20-minute-quarters (wouldn’t advertisers be happy, too?)

  3. LE GALL

    Thank you

    You make a couple of great points:

    “That’s why the way our boys stood their ground was so admirable – in hindsight I also think that’s what eventually did the bar-codes in, they lost it after realizing our young bunch just wouldn’t back down”

    Exactly. And to be fair, if you can be asked to read the ragging Geordies some of them did say as much.

    “Finally, about time-wasting, it’s high-time football took inspiration from basket-ball … ball not rolling, clock not turning”

    I cant see why that cant be done either.

    Regarding that, the Geordies where also miffed with the referee because they felt he didn’t add enough time at the end of the first half to account for our time wasting. Well they had a point, but it wasn’t because of our time wasting that more time needed adding, it was mainly down to VAR. That and those 2 genuine injuries to Schar and Xhaka.

    The VAR penalty review took 3 Minutes 32 seconds

    Add that to the 2 injuries which together took 5 Minutes 20 seconds

    That’s almost 9 minutes that the referee should of took note of and added the time automatically. Why didn’t he?

    In the end we played 6 Minutes 35 seconds.

    So at least 2 minutes under and that’s without all the other ‘Ball not moving’ events and the goal.

    So they had a point about the lack of time added on, but that was hardly our fault, or unusual, because as we all know it seems the referees almost never add what they really should, except of course when they want to.

    And another point. I would of thought Newcastle were happy half time was called as there was only one team looking like scoring at the end of the half and it wasn’t them.

  4. Kavanagh is such a poor referee. Why would you think he is able to count?

    There seems to have been a big turnaround in the fortunes of Newcastle United with regard to their treatment by referees since the PIF lifestyle event in 2021. My feeling is that their supporters have become accustomed to having the bulk of major decisions go their way for the last 18 months.

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