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- As Arsenal prepare to play PSV one might wonder, “Where’s Ajax?”
By Bulldog Drummond
I am pleased to hear that we are getting support for our campaign for there to be a separate body overseeing football in England – a body that has nothing to do with the Football Association, the Premier League or any other organisation. A body that can look at what is going on with (for example) “lost evidence” in cases of potential child abuse, and other such issues.
But there is more of course, including the issue we raised yesterday in our piece “Where’s Ajax?” which considered Ajax’ decline (obviously brought up because we are playing a Dutch club today while Ajax lingers in 12th place in the league – a bit like Chelsea.)
As has been pointed out since our earlier piece, Sven Mislintat who was previously at Arsenal and who joined Ajax as director of football last April is now under investigation (according to some of the media) after buying a player for Ajax through a football agency that has a percentage of the shares in a company Mislintat owns.
Now Mislintat has a prestigious pedigree – he was head of the scouting department at Borussia Dortmund from 2006 to 2017 before moving to Arsenal, where he was head of recruitment. But he only lasted two years at Arsenal before returning to Germany to become sporting director at Stuttgart, and then moving on to Ajax at the end of last year.
But Mislintat has already seen the rise once again of conflict of interest stories where the transfer of players was (and here I quote from the Sun, not something I normally do) one which involved “a potential conflict of interest” being “facilitated by a German agency that has stakes in Mislintat’s private company”.
So the same charges as before, raising their head once again. And the charges have gained extra momentum because it is cropping up in various places such as NL Times and in Dutch in NOS. Mislintat’s company Matchmetrics, is reported as being a firm which collects and analyses data on players who might be available for transfer.
Obviously, Untold has no inside information on this from its own research, in the sense of a mole within any of the organisations, but correspondents across Europe are all pointing out (in a way that the English press is not) that there is something fishy going on. Indeed it is yet another issue where we need an organisation that is quite separate from any club, from the FA and from the League, as we were suggesting in the recent article on why we should still worry about youngsters at football clubs.
But when we have all this going on, at a time when it is clear that referees in the Premier League have their own personal bias which can be revealed from a study of their statistics, but which the media utterly refuse even to contemplate, there surely has to be a certain amount of speaking out on what is going on in football.
However, time is passing, and as Untold is based in the Midlands and we need to get to London for a meet-up and refreshments, I must press on with the final matter for tonight’s game: the team.
The Standard goes with
White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko;
Odegaard, Rice, Havertz;
Saka, Jesus, Trossard
Elsewhere Talksport tells us that “Arsenal are unbeaten in their last eight Champions League group stage games (W6 D2), their longest such run since a run of 17 between 2003 and 2006.” While on the other hand “PSV are winless in their last 14 Champions League games (D6 L8) since a 2-1 win over CSKA Moscow in December 2015. It’s the longest ongoing run without a win among any of the 32 sides featuring in the 2023-24 edition.”
And although they don’t mention, because they wouldn’t, but as we know, Arsenal are the club with the second longest record in the Champions League – 19 games between 1998/99 and 2016/17. Only Real Madrid has achieved a longer run, but now of course we are starting again from game one.
And we might also note that Gabriel Jesus rather likes this competition. He scored in first ever appearance in the competition and has scored 20 goals in 38 appearances. Add that to Bukayo Saka’s five goals and seven assists in 18 games for Arsenal in Europe competitions and we might hope for a few goals popping in tonight.
Football is in a dreadful mess, not helped by the denial of the fact from the English media, but at least we can go to the pub, have a bite to eat and watch the game. All each of us have to worry about is getting our mobile phones to work to allow us into the ground. Oh yes and no sudden lockdown of the entry mechanism.
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