Who is reading Untold – and how to solve the ref fixing scandal

By Walter Broeckx

Regular readers on Untold know that we have been focusing on the refs from the start of the season.   Prior  to that we did cover refereeing but not as comprehensively as we do now.

The in-depth coverage started when I felt the need to highlight mistakes by the ref and as a number of readers wrote in asking for more, and more is what you have been getting this season.

The utterly remarkable work done by Dogface has been amazing. His column virtually predicts what the ref would do.  The ref watch written before the Everton game attracted the attention of even the BBC.  I have done my bit with the ref review articles. Articles that will become even more comprehensive in their coverage next season; I can promise you that already.

And Tony watched at it all and wrote some very great articles in which he summarized a bit the things he has seen in the work from Dogface and myself.  (Thanks Walter, your cheque is in the post – Tony).

If you have a good memory you will have noticed that we have mentioned a few things on more than one occasion.

We have pointed at the total shortage of refs in the EPL. Only 16 refs this season. This had as a result that some refs can be very influential when exposing their bias or inability on the field. One bad or biased ref can cost you something between 9 up to 15 points in one season.

And we pointed at the coincidence that Webb had three games at Old Trafford and they all have been top games. Which Utd won.

And we have been using the name Calciopoli on a few occasions. The name that was given to the scandal in Italy where some top teams chose which ref would do which game because they hoped he would expose his normal bias and in that way would help their team to a league title.  Juventus won 2 titles this was but they were taken away from them later when the scandal was revealed.

And now we have a situation in which Mr Wenger was questioned about the incident where SAF talked about the ref before the game from Utd against Chelsea and praised him before the game in a way that was really a bit over the top.  And Wenger came up with a new proposition.

He said that they should draw the refs before just a few days before the game and leave it unknown to the clubs as to who will be coming over for the game. Apart from the fact that it would make Dogface’s job impossible and so for Untold it would be a bad idea, it could work.

Indeed the idea itself isn’t that bad at all. Now I must admit that maths is not something I am very strong in. Calculating what the odds are for a certain ref in a certain game is something I don’t know that much. But I think our readers will sort this out for me. But I just have a bit of a gut feeling that the chances (when games are drawn randomly) of Webb having the games MU-Arsenal, MU-Liverpool and MU- Chelsea in one season will sink to a very low possibility.

The chance of having Dean and Walton in the same game and on the same date and against the same teams in which an Arsenal player was kicked to pieces would be very small, I think.

So if there would be something like Calciopoli in England this would make it impossible – unless the draw was fixed.  So no more Webb in the 3 most important home games from United unless the draw came out like that. But the chance is low I think for this to happen.

But let us go back to the why Wenger made this proposition.  Could it be possible that some people at Arsenal find these coincidences also a bit suspicious? Maybe they also are thinking that there could be something like Calciopoli in the EPL? Could it be that some teams get the refs they want when they really need and want him?

From our work at Untold I surely think this could be possible.  And the fact that Wenger came with this proposition is something that makes me wonder if Arsenal also think it is not only possible but actually happening?  Does Wenger read Untold and our work upon refs? Well I wouldn’t go that far (although he has picked up on a couple of our phrases and used them a day or two after us, in press conferences, and always with a smile) but  is it a coincidence that almost at the end of the season and after all our hard work Arsenal come up with this idea?

But even this proposition has a weak link. Because if the PGMOL would stick to its policy of having as few refs as possible there still would be a big chance of bad or biased refs having a big influence on the outcome of games. Because of the low number of refs we could still face Dowd 3 or 4 times in a season. We still would face Dean some 3 or 4 times a season.

So to have a lower impact of the refs and a lower impact of some teams when they get their preferred refs for their own games and other preferred refs to the teams who they want to lose we just need more refs. We would need at least 10 refs  more and I think that at least 30 refs would be the minimum for the EPL.

Therefore the proposition Mr Wenger made itself is a very good one. But it would mean nothing when we still have the same low number of refs. The only thing it would exterminate would be the possibility of a Calciopoli in the EPL. That itself would be already a big step forward. But while we are at it we just make the two steps at the same time: More refs and refs drawn to do the games and not selected by man behind closed doors and we know nothing about the reasons why they select a ref for a game.

And if by any chance Arsène Wenger or some of his staff have thought about it because of reading our work on refs it sure would feel great that our work not only became recognised by the BBC but also by Arsenal itself.

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106 Replies to “Who is reading Untold – and how to solve the ref fixing scandal”

  1. Just a little reminder from me – to cope with the rising tide of people who feel it is fine to comment on any old thing they feel like, we have introduced a policy on untold which is that comments have to relate to the article. If they don’t they will be taken down, so that people who do like to read through a set of opinions on a particular theme can do so.

  2. totally agree… from next year you should do a ref a watch for the united and chelsea games also… cause from next year i am gonna do that. and in this long summer ahead i am gonna make a video proof list of how united cheated their way to the title and how arsenal got screwed.

  3. RE: the refwatch, Untold has done a phenomenal job this season. Although, I never understand the tables or charts, I get astonished how accurate it is at times.

    Wenger gave us a great idea. That would definitely bring down the rate of all those cheating by Fergie an co. Arsenal definitely has to take it’s own blame, but, it’s true that officials has fucked us over and over this season. Atleast 15 points IMO.

  4. If you guys really wanna do something about the quality of refs then start a protest. I read some supporters started a protest for the ticket price rise. Then why dont you guys start a protest outside the stadium?? I believe there will be more Arsenal fans who believe in the incompetence of refs. So my advice is – put your money where your mouth is and do something about it rather than jus speakin about it.

    Atleast let the world know about it, rather than just the Untold readers.

  5. Also you guys have a reviews which you have done, why dont you use it as an evidence?? Start a protest in front of the FA headquarters. Many fans know about the preferential treatment towards ManU then why dont all the fans of other teams come together and protest together in one voice?? If you guys cant do anything about it then there’s no profit of speakin about it either.

  6. I really like the idea of refs drawn randomly prior to matches. I think that’s the way it’s done with CL matches, no? (then again, you still see atrocious decisions by CL refs…)

    Walter – as a ref – isn’t there some kind of hierarchy with refs, I mean, some refs being more senior, thus chosen to officiate the “high profile” matches? The counter argument is, that you don’t really want a crappy ref to officiate an important match…

  7. It is quite hard to take when you look back on some of the game changing decisions [incorrect ones] that have cost Arsenal this season. I try not to get too carried away because there is a danger of blaming the refs for Arsenal’s failure. Arsenal haven’t really deserved to win the league this season but when you look at some of the games they’ve failed to win as a result of not only the odd mistake from the official, but a string or errors in one match, you have to say they have played their part. At the same time we had an underperforming United side getting out of jail SO many times as a result of poor decisions. They finished the season the strongest so it kind of masks how fortunate they were for the 1st 6 or 7 months of the season. Some United fans will admit to having the rub of the green over the course of the season but at the same time want respect for their achievement. I had respect for Chelsea last season but this United league win just doesn’t sit right with me.

  8. Great article Walter, though i am sure that calciopoli like scam is present in the EPL we should start working more to bring this out in public. It is not for the sake of Arsenal but for any team that wants to play “Football” in EPL ( which i doubt would be very hard ). Else the corrupt PGMOL should make the official referee analysis for each games public so that we could know the true face of PGMOL and refs performance.

    @dark prince, i fear fans(except Arsenal) in england doesn’t have that kind of intelligence to differentiate between what it football and what is not. They seem to enjoy kicking opponents and breaking legs, so i doubt they would ever support making football clean 🙁 . And i guess already the real “Football” fans across the world know how bad the refereeing situation is epl since Untold has readers across the globe 🙂

  9. At the same time as hating the thought of Arsenal being shafted by ANY official, I feel we must be careful not to get paranoid over football’s officialdom.
    While referees in principle have such power over results, being human, they are also cursed with mistakes, outright bias and in the pay of Clubs.
    Until a foolproof method of control can be devised (and it will)all we can do is monitor suspicious games, collect evidence and bide our time. Softly, Softly Catchee Monkey.

  10. Unfortunately most people don’t “believe in the incompetence of refs” – even the majority of Arsenal fans, which I find truly amazing! I don’t expect fans of other teams to realise the bias against us as they don’t follow our games as closely as we do.
    Most people don’t tend to believe something like this unless it’s printed in the popular press. For example a friend of mine swears blind that there is nothing wrong with the Premiership refs (and that everything evens out in the end etc etc.) yet he thinks the Chelsea v Barcelona game from a few seasons ago was rigged in Barca’s favour simply because it was so widely reported that so many penalty decisions had gone against Chelsea. Of course he also says that the ref was very good in the game we played against Barca this season as well (and that Van Persie’s red card was deserved!).

  11. This season in particular I have witnessed a whole new level of biased officiating. To My eyes it has become so blatant, so openly obvious the EPL is corrupt that I cannot conceivably understand why the integrity of game is not being seriously questioned on a much wider scale. I’m absolutely convinced there is a major scoop to be had if any media outlet has the moral decency to investigate and expose this totally unjust scenario.

    And before people accuse Me of passing the blame onto someone or something else for Arsenals poor first-half display, we got what we deserved for such an inept opening performance and I will never accept that type of early display from an Arsenal team but that must never disguise the fact that once again we have been screwed by numerous outrageous decisions from yet another seemingly bent official. How much more evidence does one need? How much longer can Arsenal FC and Arsene Wenger bite their tongues before they themselves break the silence and openly protest against this type of regular injustice the team has been subjected too for many games this season?

  12. @Griff, i feel your assumption about the game changing decisions is wring imo. A Walter mentions lots of time the way in which the ref handles the games has a significant influence on the players. For example, against newcastle f*****g pig-faced dowd never controlled the game and allowed the opposition to kick us at their will. If those matches are properly analyzed then whenever the pig referee a game again the players would have a psychological impression that the decisions will be always against Arsenal. I don’t think anything would change until the corrupt english fa and pgmol gets someone who is pure at the top which imo is impossible 🙂

  13. Erm….i think you’ve read into Wengers’ statement a tad too much. He was giving an idea that could eradicate the propostion of ref’s being commented on, by managers, before games. Your idea fits in with his method but that wasn’t what he intended.

  14. It think that you have a very good concept. Firstly to increase the number of refs is important, then secondly the refs draw the games from a hat. This draw could be done on the Saturday morning, somewhere central in the country, in time for travel to the Saturday lunchtime ko. All (available)refs to be at the draw and they get their games and then dispatched to the grounds by helicopter, car, bike or whatever. This could be televised as well (08H00 on Sat morning) Live. Some refs would draw a blank and so have the afternoon off. Some refs may not be available because of sickness, holiday or suspension.

    Gentlemen keep up the good work on Untold.

  15. I look forward to the analysis after the final game of the season. Does it prove in the statistics that just because Arsenal got a few penalties at the start of the season, we have payed for it later in the season because refs have given us few penalties and called soft ones against us? I think in the review the importance of matches should be added into the equation, example; did the refereeing decisions go against us at key times in the title race?
    Would the disallowed goal or penalty have changed the points outcome of the match? Did the positive decisions change the points outcome of the match? Also how many points would we be on if all the decisions were made correctly?

    @Dark Prince

    I agree with the protest idea but i’d prefer that the protest was to the government to introduce a law that refs must be picked randomly/fairly in all sports. This way there is enforcement by a party that is not directly related to football. In democracy the Government must make everything that isn’t security related public. Therefore why should it be any different for football? It should be illegal to not give a reason for why each ref is chosen.

  16. Another thing……now i like this blog and find the details of the ref’ report intriguing….BUT….if our team was good enough, and consistant enough, then it wouldn’t matter what ref’ took charge of which games. So, from that point of view i hope Wenger hasn’t been reading these reports as it would give him ammunition to fire at the fans as a “reason” as to why we haven’t won the league this year or last year, or the year before. We need to just admit that we aren’t good enough EVEN WHEN the Chelsea and ManUre are dropping points to give us a chance…..

  17. @imagooner- if not the other fans, atleast Arsenal fans can protest, right?? Atleast make it heard out there rather than mumbling about it in private blogs and do nothing about it. Or else even by the end of next season, this excuse will come out. And this will go on forever.

  18. Phil23- do you seriously think the Government wants to do something about this?? They didn’t even get involved in the whole World Cup bidding debacle. What do you expect them to do??
    If there is someone who can do anything its the FA. The protest needs to be in front of their office.

  19. @49unbeaen

    About your first post. I think Wenger, while not reading Untold (Walter, What were those sentences that he repeated?) was actually talking about refs being, well, amenable to call games in a certain fashion. Yes he said it in response to the question about managers mentioning referees, and he was pointing out that referees were fair. But in my view he was saying that something is wrong, and he has said words to that effect twice this season. Once was after the Sunderland 0-0 draw I think.

  20. surely in this modern world of quick transport we could interchange refs on a rotational basis weekly with different european countries that should remove any bias here &there also it might help as spain etc seem to have issues with refs like us

  21. More than Arsenal losing, which I can take, and yes, it is not only because of the referees, I find it sickening that this is what sport has been reduced to. ManU winning and people constantly asking each other, are they deserved champions, and obviously saying yes, and then tailing off into tales of their heroic performances and brilliant attitude just makes me sick. It is not because they won. Chelsea last year, deserved all the plaudits they got. ManU deserves no respect. Neither for their victory, nor for the manner in which they conduct themselves.

  22. @Walter

    With people here talking about going out and protesting, which might sound very right and a democratic assertion of our rights etc, but I think it doesn’t achieve much if anything. Though it is worth trying I suppose.. But what I really want to know, and I have asked this question many times, and looked for it online, and it seems like no one knows. How did the investigation into the Calciopoli scandal start?? I believed it was because of some wire taps being done on the Juve president’s phone or something, but what prompted those wire taps in the first place? Basically, what does it take for the authorities to decide that something merits investigation?

  23. @dark prince, i agree Arsenal fans can start protest but you must know that football is not only for the Arsenal and their fans. I don’t know how people can see bad things just before their eyes and say nothing happened and all was fair. And by making it heard do you mean to the deaf ears or english fa or pgmol if yes then that would be a complete waste.

  24. Would be interesting to see the points won or lost by the main teams as a result of blatantly wrong decisions by refs. I can immediatly think of at least 10 or so points Arsenal have lost as a result of refs in the last few months – Sunderland, Spurs, Utd with the dodgy Webbalty that never was,Villa, Newcastle and Liverpool. Then there was Barca. All these at the business end of the season, when for a while we were a threat to Utd in the EPL.
    Compare and contrast to Utd, helped out everytime they needed it, we all know those games, no need to even bother mentioning them.
    Arsenal in the last few months could easily have a swing of say 10 points against them from refs, Utd will have been gifted a number of points, that makes a big difference. I know this has all been highlighted on this site.
    There are many answers to this more refs, making the PGMOL more accountable. But the problem is, Utd are the name club of the EPL, as Barca are for EUFA. The PGMOL are obviously willing accomplices in whatever is going on, what is key to me is that the younger, presumably more ambitious refs seem even more zealous in maintaining the status quo – maybe they have seen where Webb has got to in world refereeing and taken note of his methods. I would imagine gambling syndicates have cottoned on to what is going on here and put their money accordingly, making a bad system worse.
    Wenger openly despises the English football establishment – cannot blame him there but is this costing the team, whether he is right or wrong?

  25. @goonergord

    Very good idea, except that sort of thing will only happen if there is cooperation between the top honchos of football in both countries. I would say that the respective FAs will just indulge in an exercise of influencing each others’ refs to still achieve the same results that suit them. It would be a nice cover actually since talk of bias will be removed, and yet Spain and FA get what they want. Quid pro quo.

    Sorry but I’m very cynical these days.

  26. Mr Wenger quoted Untold when we ran a joke about the fact that we spend most of the season without enough goalkeepers, only to find we suddenly have too many. It was virtually word for word from an Untold article the previous day. And he quoted us on rotational time wasting and rotational fouling (phrases we introduced).

    As for the government getting involved in Fifa and the world cup bid – that is what they are doing in the UK. There is a government enquiry taking place in the House of Commons under parliamentary privilege into football governance and it includes these issues.

    Untold put a submission to the Enquiry – it was written by Phil Gregory, who writes for Untold on economics and who does the saturday match preview.

  27. I think the work being done here with referees is exceptional.

    The next step is commission a independant longtitudinal study assessing referee bias.

    And then market the hell out of the results.

  28. For many years, I think there has been a bias towards big NW clubs in general. Unfortunately, another such club has now come into the equation. And Liverpool may well be around next season. Maybe that biased ref we experienced at the weekend was letting slip that we should only be finishing 4th – at best…….
    I know this has been posted many times on this forum, but for Arsenal to compete, we need a bit more influence in the corridors of power…
    The question is, do the club stick to the moral high ground and choose to have no part in all this and suffer as we have this season, or if you cannot beat them?

  29. @Dark Prince: Yes, action: agreed that the protest should be at the FA office and invite all – Arsenal and otherwise – fans who demand a level (or more level) playing field. A list of Demands should be presented formally and in chants there. A printed (hard copy) version of Walter’s end of season report could be handed in and emailed to them and simultaneously (re)publicized here on the web and sent to well selected media writers who, in fact, have shown some degree of openness to the idea of ref bias (even in one match). These writers can be identified and sent the report (like the BBC guy and a two or so of the otherwise awful Guardian writers). A minimal list of demands can be chanted outside the FA office: video replay, pre-match referee draws, 30 referees, post-match ref press conferences, publication of the official (and unofficial!) PGMOL referee review, just for starters. Fans could sing these demands, just like we do at the matches or just chant them. Some of us have been calling for this in postings for months. This article and the comments have helped bring it to a spearhead. Between Walter’s report-to-come and Mannawar’s (and Walter’s) video evidence, we can have them posted on YouTube and it will go viral! Coordinating such efforts – a time and date, or a week devoted to making each/all of these happen would be great. This battle needs to be won in the court of public opinion – the only place where the Greedmongers can be put on notice. No 20th to SAF – Level the Pitch – Good for Football = Good for Gunners!

  30. I think Untold and any other right-minded blogs just need to keep on talking…..eventually mainstream/anti-social? media will be forced to acknowledge social media and I will not be surprised to see Walter and Tony on MOTD with Alan Lawrenson-Hansen one day.

    Obviously ALH will be utterly perplexed by the complexity of the notions and the depth of the analysis.

    Seriously though, just keep talking….if this blog has any merit, people will slowly start gravitating here.

    And even better, avoid wild assertions, subliminal racism, and gratuitous vulgarity.

    Although in all honesty, the flipping EPL is as bent as an Italian speeding fine.

  31. @Mandy Dodd: Wenger’s known contempt is well, known. You cannot stuff the genie back into the bottle. It’s out. I fear you are saying let’s retreat so we get a crumb or two more than now from the table. Retreat will be treated with more contempt for Arsene’s past transgressions. They’d like to see him quit or otherwise go down. The alternative is fans demanding fair play. With a large enough minority of vocal fans, Arsene and others (even as, yes, the evil Morono recently did against UEFA by naming 4 bent refs) can find more courage – not retreat – to press these issues – as Arsene just did – with practical proposals like the random draw of referees at the last minute before the game. Having fans show their support for actual reforms would make it possible and probable that other managers – and even players – would find support to air their grievances. Your “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” hint is, in my opinion, to accept eternal defeat and to undermine the point of UA’s critique. There’s a shared perception by UA and many commenters that something demonstrable is rotten in the state of EPL football. There needs to be outside press by fans, so that enlightened insiders, like Arsene, can propose and press for internal changes. Always inside-outside coalitions achieve change. And we don’t need even 51% to be heard.

  32. If I may add to Tony: I had written the article about Arsenal finishing first in the games of the top 4 teams. And I called this the mini league.
    Later that week on Arsenal.com you could read an article in which Wenger said the same and they also used the word “mini league” in the article. They could have used the top 4 league table or some other words. But also mini league, just like us. Well it will be a coincidence. 😉

  33. Bizarre decisions certainly cost us 9-12 points. The problem is, how to explain it? People mention the geographical factor – most refs are from the north-west, none are from the south-east – but, if conscious geographical bias were at work, wouldn’t it affect all London teams more or less equally?

    Seems to me the problem is more insidious and harder to pin down and solve. I don’t think it’s corruption; I don’t even think there’s any CONSCIOUS bias at all. It’s rather that the refs are weak-minded men who want to be liked and admired, and giving decisions against Arsenal, though they themselves aren’t even aware of what they are doing – this being the big problem – is their way of courting popularity with the fans, media and the football’s governing bodies.

    Truth is, Arsenal are not popular. Their style of football (tippy-tappy girly cheats) offends English sensibilities. Worse, they and their manager are a bunch of whingers always complaining about being hard done by – e.g. by getting their legs broken by the more likable combative teams. Victims are hated, so the more of a victim you become, the more those who have harmed you will want to harm you some more – look at any school playground, look at the jeering of Ramsey by Stoke fans.

    The solution, I think, is to stop behaving so well. Arsenal play lovely football – and they’re hated for it. Wenger is endlessly polite and intelligent – and he is treated like shit by the media. Maybe it’s time for the club to do a bit more shouting, Fergie-style, and go on the attack. Assemble the facts about incompetent refereeing and demand the Premier League takes action. What can they do to us? If you don’t name names or accuse an individual ref of corruption, you can’t be punished for airing your views. Basically Fergie terrorises the refs into submission; he probably terrorises the FA. So why not adopt his approach and stop being so damned well behaved?

  34. @Miranda: totally disagree that the ref’s are unconscious favor-seekers. totally agree with your sentiment that we be less well-behaved – the we being the fans who won’t stand for Bent-Football. How about some less than polite behavior for you and me? Say, a protest of enough people demanding enough at FA’s HQ? Read some of the postings above toward that end. Why stay so well behaved off the pitch, Miranda?

  35. @Bob – more of a rhetorical point as opposed to my actual opinion, but I am sure we were not as hard done by when Dein lurked the corridors of power.
    If the club fight the good fight, this club will become more and more up against it, as it is, the vultures desperate for Wenger to fail are circling.
    I am sure Wenger knows what is going on. Many a a Vieira figure in the team – but with these refs, such a player would never finish a game on the pitch at Arsenal.
    The fact is, Arsenal are not seen as an English club and we are treated accordingly. More a little outpost of France keeping English players out – or that is the perception with many.
    Personally, I would use any excuse to highlight these refs – but that will incur a cost – would such a cost be sustainable with our…erm more fickle fans?

  36. What is the well known Arsene contempt?
    What is the spat between AW and Allardyce that made Allardyce unemployable? ( Man , AW must wield some power)

    The clearest indication I have seen of contempt was Pulis after the Shawcross monstrosity not even able to refer to AW in a polite manner.

    “Wenger can keep his opinions” was if I remember correctly what he said.

    Some how an incident involving Shawcross as the protagonist and malefactor, and Ramsey as the victim, was contorted, transgendered, into an incident in which Wenger was the malefactor protoganist, and Shawcross the victim.

    It takes an extraordinary truth-defying manipulation of events to wring out this outcome, but the football-media conglomerate rose with relish to the task

  37. @Mandy Dodd: cheers, for your reply. I feel that it Doesn’t matter about fickle fans. Enough of a committed minority is all that’s needed. And, the video and the report that go online, go viral, and create more of a groundswell for real reform. Another Exhibit in the public case, methinks, would be a mini-report I’d call “VIDIC WATCH” which underscores and DETAILS his “charmed life” in gleaning calls and non-calls that have actually changed games this season. (There’s more on him, as many know, from previous seasons.) And the players know this – not only Arsenal’s players. This degree of blatant favoritism would demoralize anyone working on the same shop floor, and, I’d bet the farm, that some fellow workers would add testimony as grist for the mill if they saw that there were fans who were trying to do something to change it. It would be in those players self interest and serve the interests of good football, which, in turn, would serve the Arsenal. You and I know this. So, forget fickle fans and let’s head for a demo and demands of the FA, online and offline, to press our just demands.

  38. @Marcus: the well-known contempt vs. Arsene is massive and evident by listening to match time commentary, post-match wrap-ups, press accounts of “wenger this” and “wenger that”, the photos that show him angry or in pain all the time. Open your eyes and ears and the contempt against Arsene are more than obvious. it’s “normalized” all-the-time contempt – not just the Shawcross gang-bang which you correctly cite. Arsene is made a non-stop “joke” and it’s become standard fare in the media – that’s contempt.

  39. @bob
    Are you saying the refs are actually bent – bribed or whatever? If so, which of them and bribed by whom? Though I acknowledge it’s possible, I think unconscious bias is a far more likely explanation.

    I’m all for protest and taking some responsibility, but I’m not optimistic that football fans, especially in London and the south, will ever protest about anything other than trophies and ticket prices. Even in the north, where there’s more of a tradition of solidarity and communal spirit, the protest against the Glazers and Hicks and Gillett could attract only minuscule numbers. Against Kroenke – a much more serious issue, in my view, than bent refereeing – there’s been not a even a whisper of protest.

    Take to the streets? Sure, I’d be up for it, but you’d need first to convince me with some serious evidence. Unless you’ve got some, I’d be inclined to the cock-up explanation rather than the deliberate conspiracy.

  40. Why someone could think the fa are more likely than the Government is beyond me. The Fa are the ones benefiting from bent refereeing so why would they want it changed? In the other corner, the decision makers in Government will react to protest because it shows strong public opinion. Show me who would fight against such a bill. It wont be fans it will be the guilty parties who currently benefit. The sad thing is that it would take a massive amount of cohesion and participation. This is unlikely to happen as most people are too hesitant to get off their rear end and do something about it. It is great to hear that there are proactive people out there like Phil, Tony, Walter and Dogface. I agree with someone above that people will eventually migrate to your sight and other great positive sights once they realise that not supporting your team makes the whole exercise pointless and pathetic.

  41. @Miranda: I’ve read these pages at UA all season. There are constant predictable on the pitch performances by a core group of probably bent refs. Are you aware that Walter here is preparing an end of season report on the calls and non-calls and their impact on our matches this very season? I await that report, with marshaled evidence, and from that will emerge the probability that some of the refs – from the Hives of Reilly, as I call it – engage in behaviors – repeated behaviors – that occur in patterns and with a regularity that one would have to call…. well, bent. Let us await that report and then have another go at it. Cheers. See you at the FA.

  42. Agree on all that Bob, Vidic knows if he goes in for a tackle, whatever he does and wherever it is, he will get away with it. must give him a lot of confidence. Same with Rio, Scholes, Neville in the past, and now Hernandez has become a master diver. Compare and contrast Vidic with Kos – the latter gets something wrong, and even sometimes when he doesnt, he gives away a pen.
    I also think some refs use our ground to prove they are not homers , in a way they would not dare do so at other grounds I could mention.
    There is definite bias and manipulation of ref appointments. Fergie hates Martin Atkinson, how ofter does he appear at OT? Fergie loves Webb – so he gets Utd home games vs us, Liverpool and Chelsea, just this season!
    The fact is the refs are headed by Mike Riley – a weak man open to influence by a certain club at the very best.

  43. @miranda

    Who doesn’t like Arsenal’s ‘tippy-tappy’ football? If you say the public at large, I refuse to believe that. If it’s the establishment, that I can believe. Wenger being French contributes to it, but I think that is just a convenient excuse. They would do the same to anyone who chose to change the very face of what they consider their fiefdom. Not spending money when that is what grabs the headlines (and hence enhances the EPL product) and not following the sugar daddy model, which has always been part of English football, it is not acceptable that Arsenal become successful. Because if Arsenal can do it, then so can the others and they will choose to because it makes more sense to not dig your own financial grave. That brings change, and change is what scares those in the corridors of power.

  44. I may have missed the explanation of this question in a previous post and if so, I apologize in advance, but exactly how are the res picked for each game. Does Riley sit, rodent like, beady eyed and rather repulsively in his little office giving certain games to certain refs? Or is there’s a rota system in play?

  45. Change really scares those in power Shard. The Arsenal model, if it worked could put a lot more clubs on a level playing field.
    The result – who knows – maybe even like the US where lots of teams win things in shorter cycles, as opposed to England / Scotland / Spain where it is the richest one or two teams that regularly win everything.
    Man Utd not winning scares the media as well, especially Sky – hence their bias.
    The nearer Arsenal get, the more resistance, and it is not just Fergie and his minions, there are far more powerful forces at work here. The resistance against Arsenal this season suggests to me we were closer than many think. Some refs have been reduced to embarassing themselves to derail this team.

  46. @Bob

    I understood that Wenger is viewed as a man who holds the English Football establishment in contempt. (of course, I know the vice versa is true)

    Ironically, I think Wenger is a bit of an Anglophobe. I think he has a sentimental notion of that much touted great English virtue – “fair play”

    …il….(ironic laugh)


    “Does Riley sit, rodent like, beady eyed and rather repulsively in his little office”

    There is a novel in that. Maybe Riley’s Game, in deference to Patricia Highsmith.

  47. Shard,

    Who doesn’t like Arsenal’s football? The same people who don’t like Barca’s and who write in the Guardian (for example) about how they’re a bunch of cry-baby cheats and insufferable goody-goodies with their slick passing, fan ownership and alliance with Unicef, etc., etc. It’s a complicated thing, a mix of admiration and envy, resentment and loathing that’s fuelled by feelings of inferiority in the English. English football, i.e. the tradition represented by Bolton and Stoke, is a joke outside these shores, as is the England national team, so obviously there’s going to be hatred of the cultures who are much more successful. Well, it’s the same with Arsenal who (until recently) did absolutely everything right and therefore made other people feel second best – English-owned, no sugar daddy, self-sustaining, nurturing young players, building a new stadium, exemplary football … If you support a sugar-daddy club (City or Chelsea) or a hopeless leg-breaking one (half the Premiership and the entire lower leagues) Barca and Arsenal make you feel really inferior. Yes, there’s admiration as well – occasionally – but most of the time there’s blood-chilling dislike. Just wait for the CL final: whichever way it goes there’ll be a spate of snide articles followed by about 900 hate-filled comments from English-club-supporting fans about Barca being a completely crap club. The Guardian even recently had an article on the tastelessness of their bluey-green away strip. It’s almost laughable – or it would be, if Arsenal didn’t suffer from the same sort of envious loathing.

  48. AHAHASHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH ha ha HA you really think Arsene Wenger reads your blog???/ HAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHA who are you people?Pathetic, yet it explains why Tony is always looking down his nose at people in his arrogant way and making logically flawed claims about referees while writing a blog full of factual errors that I have listed in previous posts over the years… HAHA you think Arsene Wenger is quoting from you,,,hahaha too funny.

  49. I want to hear a “logically flawed claim” Zebidiah. I want him say you no speak me when come him do. Hahaha ababa. Me want Zebidiah make claim no flawed logically claim. Him do?

  50. I think in the absence of any public explanations for their decisions, we have to surmise that there is a second set of codes that the referees adhere to, that we are unaware of .

    It has rules like this:

    “Bleach-dyed afros are a real fashion crime, and worthy of a yellow card”

    “Before penalizing a player, make an arbitrary translation of his name in your head. Then act according to your translation.

    Example: Gael Clichy has an alliterative similarity to “monster of depravity”,

    “Nemanja Vidic” could easily be repositioned linguistically as “Don’t ya want to be rich?’

  51. @Bob “And, the video and the report that go online…..”
    Some great ideas and maybe some players – like Danny Murphy re: dirty tackling – would come out and add their views.

  52. On the refs issue: yes, there’s obviously bias, and it’s very useful to have some stats. But what exactly is Untold Arsenal’s explanation for this bias? Do you, Untold Arsenal and in particular Walter, agree with Bob that the refs are corrupt (bribed, pressured, whatever) and, if so, do you have any evidence as to who is doing the bribing? Or do you, like me, think it’s a less clear-cut conscious thing and therefore harder to pin down and correct?

  53. I’m a qualified referee. I’m also obviously an Arsenal fan and a football fan. I would guess that every referee is the same. A football fan and support a team. Whether in the EPL or not they are still going to have teams they prefer and teams they dislike. It’s human nature that if you have a preference then it’s going to show it’s self even in a small way.
    I know that the Media are starting to think that your average Arsenal fan is paranoid but really the way this season and I also think other seasons have gone. Some of the blatant decisions that have gone against us it makes you wonder.
    Intersteing that most referees come form the North. I heard a commment whilst watching one of the Manchester games where the commentator said something like ” I’m surprised the Ref gave that decisions as he’s from Liverpool”? To me it’s nieve for the commentator to suggest that because the Ref comes from Liverpool then he must either support a team from Liverpool or hate the Manchester teams.
    If you’re from the South of England it doesn’t mean you have to support a team from there and vice a versa.
    Every single referee is going to be biased in every game they referee for one thing or another. It’s up to the powers to be to sanction them when it’s obvious to anyone watching that they’ve been biased in a game. Is that going to happen? Probably not. They would then be admitting that corruption or at least incompeteance exists in the game.
    Your average fan can see it in every game but then we are fans of the game.
    If the referee’s mortgage or livelyhood hinged on their performance would it improve or be fairer? Imagaine if you were crap week in week out at your job? I’m sure you’d be gone in a flash. Unfortunately they seem to think their untouchable. As Walter points out. There just isn’t enough top flight referees out there.
    Gooner for life.

  54. @ADAM, well I mean your comment just sums up this website. English is not my first language so your mocking statements about my very slightly flawed syntax just shows you up as a fool.Arrogant blog with an arrogant and abusive clique. The logically flawed claim is an obvious fallacy of infective deduction in simple terms just because walter is a refereee and an authority DOES NOT make his opinion true or valid. argumentum ad verecundiam is the specific term for the obvious logical flaw. So ok you horrible predjudiced man and who mocks people without perfect English.

  55. And so says the most arrogant judgemental twunt in the known universe. Remember what Zebidiah says IS TRUE because HE SAYS IT.

    Argumentum ad logicam… blah.

    Am I feeding the troll yet?

  56. I think of myself as a fair person. But I can say without any hesitation that Arsenal have received very bad treatment from the refs this season. I am not putting it as being that they are haters of Arsenal (generally), but they are simply very poor referees. The newcastle game comes to mind, as does Liverpool, even Aston Villa 2 days ago on the Chamakh goal, and countless other games that I have seen.

  57. The annual salary of the “elite” referees is supposed to be in the region of say £70-80K. For some players this is a weekly wage and for the majority in the EPL, it is the monthly salary. For Rooney the sum of £70K is petty cash. For this type of character the referees are buffoons and to be pitied..

    I would suggest an elite pool of match officials who share £2 millions in salaries for each of the 38 set of EPL matches. The fees for the FA Cup and League Cups are really in this day and age, slave labour?

  58. Zebidiah,

    Don’t take it personally. This is how it is with fan sites – at least with any Arsenal fan site I’ve ever looked at.

    If you want to avoid personal abuse you have to remember two rules:

    1. Most sites have a party line (pro-Wenger/anti-Wenger, starry-eyed optimism/blackest pessimism, whatever)so it’s asking for trouble to come and express a contrary view.
    2. Blogs are written by people in their unpaid spare time. They want clicks, praise, gratitude and to feel that they are right and important. They do not want to be criticised, questioned or to be asked to engage in any kind of discussion (a rule I’ve broken myself today). It’s completely irrelevant that a blog may not be very good (slackly argued, say, or inadequately documented) or that you know that you’re right in pointing this out.

    Why not start your own blog and have your own rules?

  59. Excellent article Walter. There was also a very interesting oxymoron (contradictory statement) that AW made in his press conference. At first i didn’t believe it but listened again. After suggesting the “draw” for referees late in each week he said: “this (ref draw) will increase the control of those in charge (of the referees)” of course the fact is that this is the complete opposite: “this (draw) will REDUCE the influence of those in charge (PGMOL)”. So Wenger has quite cleverly highlighted the source of the problem without risking a ban. Unfortunately the media aren’t taking it up. Clever nevertheless.

    The key here is accountability and public opinion. You will get nowhere unless this is highlighted far and wide, and this will not happen until it is league wide. As long as the ref reviews are limited to Arsenal games only, people will push it off as Arsenal fans whinging.

    My suggestion:
    1. Enlist a few refs (there are many on this site, Paul, Laundryender, others?) start doing reviews in a consistent format (Walter’s format) for a few games a week (maybe just EPL games involving the top 4 or 5 teams).
    2. Publish them on a new website (this is a good website but Arsenal biased).
    3. Include a few photos or video links where appropriate to back up key decisions
    4. Do NOT have a comments section as it will be drowned by trolls

    In this way you start publishing what the PGMOL should be – their ref reviews. The world will start to see the 50% error rates of the “elite” refs and can draw their own conclusions from the % bias numbers.

  60. Did he really say that? If so that is amazing. He is a workaholic with an eye for stats, he will know what is going on. Wonder if he drums some of this info into players?

  61. Zebidiah: You live in a fact-free zone where swill serves as thought. Go back to LeGrove where you’ll surely find a welcoming.

  62. @Miranda: I admire your patience with Zebidiah, but on the earlier page he ways in with this: “AHAHASHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH ha ha HA you really think Arsene Wenger reads your blog???/ HAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHA who are you people?” I would consider that unwanted fecal matter that has not place on this website and has little to do with his “language deficit” that you fell for, unless he means English. (Tongue in cheek:) Surely you need to add some English Steel to your Gallic Francophone compassion. Cheers.

  63. jbh

    Brilliant idea. I’d expect there to be a lot of interest in it as, even if you take only games involving the top five that could still mean, in some weeks, ten clubs were discussed.

    A few issues to think about:

    Most decisions are a matter of interpretation, not black and white, so you’d need some sort of grading system for the seriousness of ref’s ‘errors’. For example, a soft penalty given is different from a clear-cut one not given. There’s also very little consensus as to what counts as a bookable foul, it being a cultural thing where different standards apply in, say, Spain (strict) and Scotland (unbelievably lax). Chamakh’s disallowed goal last week, for example, could just about be possible in La Liga, whereas it’s inconceivable by the normal standards in England.

    I’d suggest therefore that you look at consistency only within a particular game. How often have we seen rotational fouling by clubs like Bolton going unpunished for the first 45 minutes, whereas an innocuous foul by the fouled-against team (usually us) which wouldn’t even have been noticed early on in the game will result a booking, even a red, late on. This is not, in my view, evidence of the refs being bent, but rather an occupational hazard of the English mentality, the refs being reluctant to dish out cards early in the game – they want it to flow, and it wouldn’t look nice on TV if Bolton were down to nine men by half-time – and also to their desire to be seen to be ‘fair’, it not looking fair if Bolton pick up loads of cards and Arsenal none at all.

    Finally, it would be good to keep a running tally through the season of how many points are lost/gained purely as a result of dubious refereeing – e.g. United 3 points, 6 points, 9 points gained …. Liverpool 3 points, 4 points, 7 points lost…

  64. Of course it is impossible to quantify the full effect of the anti-Arsenal bias from ref decisions, and in particular I think the psychological damage (young team, so many ridiculous decisions against them, little physical protection from refs all leading to a sense of helplessness – obviously you have to be professional but you do reach a point where you conclude there is not much you (as a player) can do – heads drop).

    Anyway my own table of absolutely nailed on obvious cheating (theft) of points are the following (all late in the game which gives little or no time to recover)

    Sunderland away – Dowd adds play into the 96th minute for no good reason to allow the drawing goal – extra time was supposed to be 94 mins (2 pts)

    Wigan away – Probert refuses to award the Arsenal nailed on penalty for hand ball from a late free kick (the same as the Totts penalty) (2 pts)

    Sunderland home – no award of nailed on Arshavin penalty, and non allowance of perfectly good RvP goal given as offside (2pts)

    Newcastle away – any number of ridiculous decisions including 2 of the worse penalties you will ever see by Dowd (2 pts)

    Liverpool home – Marriner 111 minutes of time in the 98 min game, and ridiculous (lets jump in front of Eboue and go down in the area penalty) – (2 pts)

    Aston Villa home – Oliver non award of Ramsey penalty foul, last man by Dunne, non giving the Chamakh goal (has there been such a goal disallowed this year in the EPL?), foul on RvP when Dunne jumps at him and misses stopping the Ramsey tap in (3 pts)

    Total 13 points stolen, and a lot of damage to the team and AW’s project.

    Still no guarantee they would have won the league, but it should have been close and I think the psychological damage is the worst effect. I’m not a ref but I have played sport at top level and for a young team that is the greatest challenge for AW to overcome. And they can sign whoever they like, with this level of bias it will be very difficult to overcome – the above are only the most obvious examples.

  65. Mandy
    I doubt AW discusses this with the players other than the usual “you will always get some bad decisions” and “play to the whistle” etc. The team is being a bit more “street smart” with captain and English players querying the ref when they can, but there is not much they can do. I noticed that Bendtner said something pretty objectionable to Oliver to get booked after the Chamakh goal was disallowed.
    For AW to highlight the bias would be suicide. But he is in an impossible position because there is not much he can really do about it.
    Fast, technical, attacking, high possession football is the only solution. And that is what he is trying to achieve.
    From the club’s perspective I’m disappointed that the likes of Stewart Robson and other ex players are not more vocal as they can be more open than team mgmt.

  66. jbh,

    I’d agree with all of those. It occurred after the Villa game that some of our players were simply thinking, Oh fuck it, what’s the point? I mean, there’s only so much so-called mental strength a player should be expected to have, and it doesn’t extend to playing the refs as well as the opposition.

    You’re probably right, Zebediah didn’t express it very well! I just sympathise a bit with his frustration. Sites often do have a party line which can make it difficult to have any kind of real discussion because the regulars form a kind of Taliban and gang up on dissenting views.

  67. @Miranda

    Thus it befits a ‘newbie’ to try and express their views better and in a more amicable manner. Ease into the discussion rather than blunderbuss their way in. By the way, did you know ‘Taliban’ actually means students? Just putting that out there 🙂

  68. @Zebidiah. I believe it was you who started off with the whole arrogant thing as you came on with your HahAHAHA thing and began calling Tony and Water pathetic. As you mentioned, you have been telling them what they have been doing wrong for months and months. You clearly do not agree with the views that the authors express, yet you come back for more. Is this simply to enlighten us to your opinions or to sneer with your HaHaHaHa etc? Who knows? I just don’t get “the obvious fallacy of infective deduction” at all and I doubt it is what you are trying to say either. But I must say, you are a very funny guy. That’s funny as in HAHAHA, and so on.

  69. Shard,

    I didn’t realise he was new. He said, I think, that he tried to make a point on this topic before but it had been completely ignored – whether rightly or wrongly, I haven’t a clue!

    Finally, on the possible new Ref Watch site, I think it would have more influence – which is what we want – if the refs could be supporters of different clubs, and that you don’t (ideally) assess a game in which your club is playing.

  70. @Miranda

    I didn’t know he was ‘new’ either, but in my experience people don’t gang up on someone who has been around for a debate for a while.

    The refs being supporters of different clubs, all 20 clubs in fact, has been discussed as a possibility before. Even as a separate website called Untold Refs or something. In fact Walter suggested 3 refs doing every match with one being a neutral. It is a brilliant thing if it could happen.

  71. Miranda, about your idea of grading the level of decisions rather than just saying right or wrong. It is still open to individual opinion of course, perhaps more so than otherwise saying right or wrong (it is far easier to give a low grade unfairly, than say it is wrong when it isn’t), but perhaps it will lead to a more realistic picture of what the refs performance was.
    Drawing conclusions from that data might be confusing though. Saying the ref ranked 10 A’s 20 B’s and 5 C’s doesn’t really make much sense does it? I think the whole idea is to be less vague. If grading can be incorporated in that then I’m all for it because fundamentally you are right (A Dowd penalty is not the same as a Halsey penalty).

  72. Shard

    Yup, it would be brilliant because if we don’t take this issue into our own hands absolutely nothing will change. The FA and Premier League obviously wouldn’t want it to change, wouldn’t even acknowledge an improvement in standards is needed because that would imply their wretched product isn’t perfect already. I did once hope that it was something an enterprising journalist might research and write about, but whether for reasons of laziness or cowardice – perhaps their job depends on keeping in with the powers-that-be? – I don’t think I’ve ever read even a match report in a reputable paper (Guardian, Independent, Telegraph) that was heavily critical of the ref – except when the English national side is playing, of course.

  73. Miranda

    The point about neutral analysis is spot on, and key to this whole issue. Rightly or wrongly, any analysis by someone with a vested interest (i.e. a fan of the club they’re assessing) will be seen as biased, and not taken seriously by any neutral observer.

    For example, how seriously would anyone here take an analysis by a Spurs supporting ref ‘proving’ that there was a refereeing conspiracy against them?

  74. @jbh your suggestion, or something similar was discussed on Sunday. And I like your proposal of not allowing comments. But one step at a time, the seed has been planted, yes we need a group of refs, and we need them to be supporters of other clubs but. They need access to videos of games, and a formula for assessing that is consistent and not biased.

    The data accumulated over a season, or two, or longer would be dynamite, if done properly. And as Dogface said “worth a fortune to betting syndicates”, but the seed has been planted!!!

    Met office today reported concerns for seed germination and crop failure due to “over dry spring”. Can we defy the odds?

  75. Laundryender

    OK, one step at a time but it would be a real shame if this just got put on the back burner and forgotten for months.

    How do we get access to videos? Can we have a page on this site where the formula for assessment can be thrashed out and people can add thoughts as they have them? If we don’t make a start and keep at it, it’s a bit like – to use your analogy – making a vague resolution to buy a packet of seeds but not actually getting further than putting it on your shopping list.

  76. @Tony

    There is a groundswell of opinion forming, it is to the credit of you, Walter and Dogface, that something that started so humbly could snowball into something profound.

  77. All – with regards to the RefReview/RefWatch site – we discussed this before the game on Sunday and drew the same conclusions. Tony asked me to draft an article as an appeal to referees to give their time to the new project.

    We would like to get all EPL games and maybe consider spreading out into the lower leagues. Referees would declare their support and would not judge games for their team – they would also be rotated so they don’t get the same team every week.

    If we can get more refs on board than the select group then we’ll be doing well!


    Please keep your comments and suggestons on this coming as I’ll be reading through them all.

  78. Ah – Laundryender, you beat me to it… which one was you on Sunday?

    Yes – I would also correlate the new ‘real’ data against the official data and the opta match data – this should releavl some interesting trends I think… Hopefully I can get Zach back on board to contribute to any statistical modelling we do. little acorns as yet though.

  79. @ Dogface

    the gentleman that bought you the drink and walked to the game with you

  80. Good article Walter, thought provoking. We can only speculate as to who reads your reviews, but certainly the quality of your reviews deserves a wide audience. (Incidentally, I can’t find your referee report for the Aston Villa match – have I missed it?)

    Your point that there are too few EPL referees is very valid, why only 16? Also, why is one of these over worked EPL referees (Mr Webb), officiating at the Cardiff match tonight – seems strange.

    The refusal by the FA and other bodies to introduce technology is not rational, the introduction of technology must increase the number of correct referee decisions and make it much harder for a biased referee to influence a match; always assuming fair play is an FA objective!

    At Arsenal we know just how much the team has suffered this season from poor or biased referee decisions. But, has anyone tabulated the number of points the Manures have accrued from dubious decisions?

  81. From my pov, it’s good to see us move away from blindly accepting or repeating mantras like referees’ “unconscious decisions” or their “cultural styles” or “coincidence” as the real reason. Also, doing a Ref-Watch in and of itself could introduce a measure or two of “good behavior” on the part of the bent. All this said, I still feel that the UA approach to Arsenal (and expansions perhaps to a VIDIC WATCH) should continue full steam ahead, lest we hold our fire until a “final judgment.” That is, multiple and simultaneous efforts can well go forward. This said, there is no reason, based on what UA/Walter/Dogface do and will continue to do – a brilliant case study – to discount its findings as well, not general enough. The social sciences, for example, are filled with first-rate case studies and qualitative analyses that make real contributions to our understanding. It would be a serious mistake to make a fetish of quantification and use it to discredit smaller intense case studies like UA/Walter’s. I’m not saying that this is going on; but I’m sounding a warning that we need to be sure to continue to support the UA/Walter-Dogface analysis project as the same time as the broader project is pursued. Let a thousand flowers bloom and let the excitement and hope for a level playing field take a great leap forward. (ahem) Good for Football = Good for Arsenal. And, I don’t think that waiting a year or two for all the correlations to be made should head off the growing motion toward a general public demand of the FA/other authorities that uses Walter’s report and his and other’s videos to surface in a coordinated way – for example, on a specific week – perhaps the week before the season starts, or the first week of a transfer window, etc. etc. There is plenty of evidence gathered hereabouts of something rotten – something beyond mere coincidence, or unconscious urges, or cultural styles – that is going on, and it should be brought to bear in the here and now, not derailed or delayed until the great bye and bye. Perhaps when Walter’s report and one video account are ready and digested will suggest the right time to mount something ACTIVE in the marketplace of public opinion.

  82. Miranda you are of course correct and thank you. @ everyone else especially Bob and A casual observer how would you react ifthe writers of le grove said that Arsene READS THEIR football blogging? I bet the laughter would be as much as mine at Walter for suggesting such a silly idea…I am big Arsenal fan and I love mr Wenger..I came here for a long time now(you can ask tony it is many years since my first comment)I am pro wenger too but I do not like all the arrogance and mocking of people…it is nasty and it makes you all look like fools…especially with all this I AM RIGHT?YOU ARE WRONG dogma…very pathetic.

  83. The pgmol will be happy a second and up and coming manc team looks like it will not have to go into qualifying for the cl. The villa ref did a sterling job there. The media can crucify this team from what wenger called a two horse race to fourth place. We all know they are desperate for coyle or motes to manage this team, with their hoof and hope English game.
    Does anyone know if there is seeding in the cl qualifiers? Guess this puts an end to the grand pre season tour some on the board may not be happy?

  84. Mandy
    CL playoff round is seeded so Arsenal if 4th will be seeded and not face Bayern, Villareal, etc. Could meet Italian 4th place.
    As things stand Arsenal if 3rd or if they get through the playoff game (if 4th) then they will be seeded in the first group of 8 teams.
    CL playoff games are in the 3rd and 4th weeks of Aug, so interspersed with the first 3 games of the EPL.

  85. @Mandy,
    Sadly the powers that be benefit hugely from City making the top 3. This way they are guaranteed to attract top talent from all over the world. They will of course be big money signings that people want to see and this will raise the profile of the Premier League. The hardest part for me to fathom is the near blindness of our own fans. Anyone who has played football at any level knows that when the ref is showing bias towards you, the result almost never goes your way. Our team is the strongest in the Premier League whether people believe it or not but this year we could not overcome the obstacles put in front of us. I think we would have overcome all of this if it weren’t for something that really did rely on luck, that is that after losing the Carling Cup final due to a massive misfortune we then had to verse Barcelona away where we were shafted by the ref, then United away in the Fa cup straight after losing two massive games and with moral at its lowest point. We all know what happened from there. Next year we will be stronger again and yet I believe that no matter what Arsene does the media will predict us being kicked out of the top four. The refs will then spend all year trying to prove them right. I am sick of this recurring pattern and if there is any way I can help expose this I would love to help. I think that once the comprehensive rating system has been made that you should ask all pro Arsene(l) blogs to display these on their blogs you will get a very large gathering behind you. All you need is numbers and then every action taken is noticed. I know for certain that their are blog owners who would love to contribute to an overall movement and get behind the good foundations set by your refereeing analysis.

  86. Phil you HIT the nail on the head when you said

    “Sadly the powers that be benefit hugely from City making the top 3. This way they are guaranteed to attract top talent from all over the world. They will of course be big money signings that people want to see and this will raise the profile of the Premier League.”

    Its probably one of the main reasons the media go after AW and Arsenal he wont conform to running the club in the interest of he EPL he runs it in the best interest of Arsenal Football Club.

    Frank Stubbs made a great point on the Arsenal FC Site also

    Historically, other people have always enjoyed knocking our great club, Gooners of an older generation will confirm that. Many have always believed it was borne out of jealousy due to the Club becoming the biggest, most famous and successful back in the thirties.

    This ‘grief’ if you like, has always made us Gooners stick together and by doing just that we have enjoyed many periods of success, something that grinds even more with those who enjoy to kick us.

    Even though like each and every one of you I have my opinions on every aspect of our Club, our teams and our fans, I am of that ‘ilk’ that I would rather we all did stick together and leave the knocking to other people.

    But that’s just me.

    SKY Sports lately has done everything they can to cause conflict between Arwith the trash they written on that website and media images.

  87. I meant between Arsenal fans.
    There is not that much to be done to create a winning side and anyone who hasnt been brainwashed by the media know it.

  88. @RedGooner

    I agree completely. Yet I am worried. I feel there is a risk things could go downhill suddenly. The only reason I am hopeful they won’t is because of Wenger, and his sheer determination to not let that happen. But the noises are getting louder and louder. The idiots and the evil forces just might have their way. Not necessarily by getting Wenger the sack. But the atmosphere that has been created has been bad enough.

    I am also majorly worried about us finishing 4th, and losing the qualifier because some UEFA appointed twat masquerading as a referee, follows the order of his master who decides that we shouldn’t be playing in Europe’s premier competition anymore.

  89. Thanks jbh, we should be ok if seeded tho the Italians have some strong sides like Napoli in there. Agree with everything you say phil. Think they will be out to do us even more next season with Liverpool now in the mix

  90. I think an English citizen (or rather lots of them) needs to write a letter/s (not emails) to the Enquiry panel + local MP + FA and open letters to all the newspapers.

    Start by just mentioning that after all the reports of corruption at FIFA and the recent corruption in the Italian league, you and many of your friends and family members are concerned that this type of corruption could possibly spread and impact the appeal and quality of the EPL and all efforts should be made to ensure the currently non-open/publically reviewed aspects of the game, such as the method of referee allocation, fixture list creation and referee performance reviews are opened up to the public so that the EPL can not only claim that it is the most exciting league in the world but that it is also a bastion of fair play and completely free of the corruption that is sweeping the world of football.

    Don’t mention which team you support, or individual cases of apparent corruption as they won’t want to hear that or will instantly label you as a whingeing Arsenal fan, nor would they admit it even if you had proof (unless it is 100% proof but even then they will blame a scapegoat for it).. but if you manage to get it reported and frame it the right way they would want to make it look as though they are taking action to ensure something never happens like it has elsewhere and they can do so while not admitting there is an actual current problem in the league.

    It won’t fix things 100% but every little bit that makes it just that much harder to be corrupt will in my opinion help Arsenal. Sorry I am not an English citizen or that is exactly what I would be doing right now.

  91. bjtgoner, I think it should come online today.
    I must say a new format is on the cards for the ref review. Some small and big changes. A preview for what you can expect for next season and closely getting to the finished article when it comes to being complete in a ref review.

  92. Just a very basic, raw idea – [disclaimer: I’m not a UK attorney, so I might get a few things professionaly wrong here, bear with me.]

    My idea is a public petition (whether to the house of commons or to the high court, I’m afraid I’ll need to consult with a UK attorney).

    PGMOL is a limited liability company, designated to regulate, control and develope refereeing in the UK. As far as I know, they have the sole discretion regarding appointing refs to EPL matches, amont other things. They supposedly rate the refs’ performance – but the results are undisclosed. They also seem to decide on the number of EPL refs.

    All of those are problems addressed here in Untold.

    If we want more transperancy, we need someone to instruct the governing body to act accordingly. But, a private company is not subject to public scrutiny and does not have to answer to rules which are more strictly implemented on public bodies.

    My claim, basically, is that since the FA (a public body) gave away regulatory and discretionary authorities it held (to our matter: regulating referees), to a private body (PGMOL), the FA should have made sure that the private body acts in full transperancy and according to principals of administrative justice – since that private body is excercising public (or at least, partly public) authorities.

    It’s like the police would build a new police academy, which will be run by a private, professional company. But I think it’s pretty obvious that no one will agree to that private company hiding it’s data and information (and I’m not talking about privilged information regarding security threats, etc.) You would want to know what is their budget, why thet decided X and not Y, etc.

    So if someone files a petition to force the FA to instruct PGMOL to act in full transperancy or otherwise terminate their contract with PGMOL – I think that could be a step in the right way, to start applying pressure.

    What do you think?

  93. I think first we get the data.

    without it we have no argument, it will take time, hopefully it will grow organically as others volunteer, systems evolve and communications develop.

    the great thing about Refs reviews is they are all evidenced. we have the best CC TV system on the planet, all thanks to Sky. If the data proves bias, the defence would have some job proving otherwise, brilliant, hoisted by there own petard

  94. @bjtgoner
    “Your point that there are too few EPL referees is very valid, why only 16? Also, why is one of these over worked EPL referees (Mr Webb), officiating at the Cardiff match tonight – seems strange.” – After reading this, my first thought was that I doubt that the powers that be want a Cardiff v Swansea play-off final and all the hassle that comes with it (especially as it’s 2 days after the Champions League Final and some of the world’s press would more than likely still be in London). Any trouble at this showpiece event at Wembley would therefore attract a lot of media coverage around the world.
    So I went to the BBC website to check the score (3-0 to Cardiff). I then read the report and found that Howard Webb had turned down 3 penalty appeals for Cardiff and awarded a pen to Reading (for a shirt tug at a corner)!
    Now we all know how mis-leading the reports on the BBC can be but still I wouldn’t mind taking a look at these penalty appeals.

  95. @Zebidiah – I wouldn’t read Le Grove… and I would certainly never leave a comment there.

    I believe that it would be arrogant of me to think they would care for what I had to say and antagonistic for me to say it in the first place as it was contrary to the ethos of their narrative.

    Does that make your point moot or ‘non sequitur’?

  96. @Laundryender

    Thanks for the pint!

    And, if you recall, I did warn you about Squillachi – I bet he’s great in training though.

  97. @TommieGun

    I see you’ve been thinking about it – great analysis, and yes – that seems like a very good angle to hit them where it counts!

  98. @MK

    I think that is a very good suggestion

    @Tommie Gun
    I’ve asked people on here before if they know whether the UK has a law like what in my country in called a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) through which, as you suggest, a concerned citizen can petition the court to look into something, to which he is not directly related, or harmed by. The court hears whether the petitioner has valid cause to be concerned, as also the petitioners motives.

    In fact, one such petition led to a High Court judgment, which was upheld by the Supreme Court, making a state cricket board a ‘public body’ and it’s records were to be made public. This, even though they are officially a private body, but the court decided that it performs public functions so should be accountable. That judgment has already had some positives in terms of cricket administration in the country. So I would suggest if the UK has a similar law, then such a petition must be pursued. There doesn’t have to be any allegation of corruption. Just a quest for accountability. (Although in this case there were allegations of corruption)

  99. @ it is funny that you think that just because the writer intended a meaning that the reader must accept it…this, I believe has not been a legitimate assumption since the late 1950s…for all your use of a thesaurus you obviously have very little idea about Barthes and Derrida…in fact I doubt you understand post-structuralism at all. The death of the Author. You have obviously misunderstood the word arrogant…I suggest you purchase a copy of Oxford English Dictionary. If you don’t and never have read le grove…how do u know then that their arguments are flawed? Silly man, silly ignorant little man. Too arrogant all the clique here…used to be a nice website…now it will definately close soon…wenger cannot live forever…so then? No point to untold.

  100. Walter – thanks for your 7.47am post. I am looking forward to that report. Yesterday I signed in as bjtgoner instead og bjtgooner – sorry!

  101. This has been going on since before Wenger was manager.

    It happened in the George Graham days.

    I can’t remember it happening before then but I started going to games in 1975 when we were rubbish.

    Maybe the factor that decides it is when it looks like the club will be successful.

    As for the media, you’ll be amazed at what they can print and the general public will take it in even if there is no truth in it whatsoever.

  102. Sorry to be so late on this one but could we maybe debate (with a lot of help from Walter) as to whether Arsenal, thanks to their style of play, are more difficult to referee by officials more used to Stoke City than they are to Barcelona?

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