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July 2021

Arsenal/Borrusia: The last CL game…of the ref in charge

Follow us on Twitter @Untold Arsen


“Making the Arsenal” – the book of Arsenal’s rebirth



By Walter Broeckx

Not the normal refwatch this time for our champions league game against Borrusia Dortmund.

So you will not see any nice graphics about the ref. Once you get over the disappointment of this and still want to know who the ref is of this game you can read further as this is a bit of a special night for the ref.

One of the reasons I feel a bit entitled to write this refwatch is the fact that the ref comes from Belgium. It is Frank De Bleeckere who will do this game. And it will be his final Champions League game as a ref. Because next month he will stop as an active ref for ever. He has reached the age of 45 years and this is the maximum age for a ref in Belgium to be a Fifa ref and so he has decided to stop completely. His last game will be on 17 December a league game in Belgium between Zulte Waregem – Bergen. He was born in Oudenaarde and this is a city in the Flemish Ardennes in the province East-Flanders and not far away from Ghent.

But tomorrow he will do his last Champions League game. And we have a bit of a history with De Bleeckere. And well in fact it was a bit of a good memory. Who could forget our Champions League game against Porto when we had to overcome a 2-1 deficit from the first leg in  March 2010? Yes it was the game in which Bendtner scored a hat-trick and the game in which Samir Nasri created and scored an incredible goal by dancing round defenders and firing in from a narrow angle. That day ref De Bleeckere was the ref when we won 5-0 against Porto to reach the quarter finals of the Champions League.

So no complaints about the ref in that game as there was not much to complain about. We just were the better side that night.  For those who think we can have a good ref because of the presence of Vermaelen I don’t know if it will matter for De Bleeckere because he never has done games with Vermaelen in Belgium as Vermaelen never played in the Belgium first division. And in the game against Porto De Bleeckere gave Vermaelen a yellow card. So it is not likely that he looks at who he has to book or not and being from the same country doesn’t help.

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As to who De Bleeckere is I can say that he is very experienced and has been at the top of the world for many years. He started as a ref in 1984 and became a ref in the top league in Belgium in 1995. In 1998 he became a Fifa ref. So he has some 13 years of experience under his belt at the highest level.

He was voted amongst the best of the best in the past 3 years. The IFFHS voted him as the 3rd best ref in the world 2008, as the 5th best in the word in 2009 and as the 4th best ref in the world in 2010. We in Belgium still believe that if Holland had not been in the world cup final it would have been Frank De Bleeckere who would have done the world cup final in 2010. But as he had done games in the Dutch highest division he was not allowed to do games of the Dutch national team. The refs in Belgium, Holland  and Luxemburg do games in the other countries and as a result cannot do games of those national teams. So ref De Bleeckere was a bit unlucky about the Dutch team getting that far.

And he does seem to like English football a bit. More than Spanish football. Because in Madrid and Barcelona he was not the most popular person. In Madrid they don’t like him because they lost at Anfield against Liverpool and in Barcelona they feel he didn’t help them enough to get to the final in 2010 when he did the semi final game Barcelona – Milan when Barcelona could not overcome the defeat they suffered in Milan.  But as we are not playing a Spanish team this doesn’t really matter.

In the press yesterday when the announcement was made that he was doing the Arsenal – Dortmund game as his final game he was very thrilled and excited. He said he was going to try to enjoy his last game but also was very focussed to do a very good game as it would be his last game on this level and he would like to end on a high. I really do hope he has good game and that he doesn’t make any terrible mistakes and certainly not one that could cost us. Otherwise the complete Arsenal Benelux supporters club will feel very bad not just for Arsenal but also because of the fact that he comes from our parts.

Hope you all enjoy yourself on the night.

Follow us on Twitter @Untold Arsenal



15 comments to Arsenal/Borrusia: The last CL game…of the ref in charge

  • Sammy The Snake

    Tough game for us, will a draw be enough? Dortmund seem to be finding their feet recently.

  • Passenal

    So are we Sammy!

  • Genius

    Poor Ref… He should go to England so that he can continue for 30 more years…

  • Sammy The Snake

    Passanal, yes we are! I just wanted to make sure we all remember it won’t be a walk in the park. We’re on a good run, but let’s not take games for granted.

  • Cyberian

    Nice article Walter! It is a delight to read your reports because you adapt so nicely to changing circumstances and always produce entertaining and informative posts.

  • Rambo

    Great article Walter!

    I realize that Tony doesn’t like it when we go off-topic but I’m looking for some help, so I hope he excuses me this time. I was wondering if anyone here could offer me some advice, regarding how to buy tickets to see Arsenal at the Ems. I’m from the Philippines you see, and I will be graduating March of 2012, and for my graduation trip, I asked my parents if I could go to London to watch my favorite team (to which they agreed)! It will be my first time in England and I was wondering how to go about it. I realize that season-ticket holders get first pick, then red members have go, and then tickets are sold to the general public (please correct me if I’m mistaken). I was wondering, since I’m not a season-ticket holder nor a red member, and I really want to watch the Man City – Arsenal match at the Ems (on April 7), and this match is a big one, is my only option to buy from scalpers at ridiculous prices? And will these seats be shit?

    Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

  • MK

    I’ve heard that a good way is for you to join your local Arsenal supporters club (if you haven’t already) and tell them you are going overseas and would like to see Arsenal play.

    (Arsenal are nice enough to provide some tickets to people from overseas whom haven’t had the chance to see them play yet and they may be able to help organize some for you).

    Or so I have heard.. apologies in advance if that doesn’t work out! 🙂

  • Aditya


    MK is right. I follow the Arsenal from Singapore and we have a local supporters club to whom AFC gives a small allocation of tickets for matches. Check if you have something similar there.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Its not going to be easy ,but am hoping for a win and a clean sheet .

  • Rambo, there is a Twitter list called Arsenal TicketExchange or something like that and they sometimes have tickets for sale between supporters. Also the Arsenal site itself has tickets available quite often – but you really need to be a red member.

    The trouble with touts is not that the tickets are no good – there are no bad places to sit in the Ems – and I have sat just about everwhere. The trouble is

    The prices are very high (I was offered £450 for my ticket for one game last season)

    Touting is a criminal offence, and I believe buying from a tout might be illegal – but I am not sure

    The tout will probably give you a membership card to get you into the stadium, and you won’t know at all if that card is valid or not – so you could easily spend £100s and still not have a card that works.

  • gartailor

    Looks a real tough game, RVP, has to play from the start. Lets try and get the win that should secure the group. A draw may not be a terrible result, depending on the other game’s score. Dortmund arrive full of confidence and on a good run and will pose a serious challenge. The same team as at Norwich is what is needed.

  • Rambo

    thanks for all the help everyone!

    I’ll be sure to check at the Philippines Arsenal supporters club (of which I am a member of) to see if they can find a way to get me a ticket.

    Is being a red member the best way to get a ticket? do you advice that i just buy a membership if i’m just planning to watch 2 games (april 7 and 14)?

    also, just curious, how do people without membership cards (people who are neither red members nor season ticket holders) get into the stadium?

  • @Rambo – You get a paper ticket with an RFID in it.

  • Gord

    Congratulations Gunners! And RVP does it again! A clean sheet would have been nice.

    The only feed I have is the BBC teleprompter. Why did Walcott and Ramsey get carded?

    Of the 4 English teams, only Arsenal is going to come out top of their group, and the other 3 could end up in Europa league. And the news is going to be that Arsenal is a one person team, and there is still no end of problems at Arsenal. And all the bloggers are going to continue to say that Arsenal is looking at every Tom, Dick and Harry playing football, because none of our players are good enough.

    Situation normal.

    I sure wish Gervinho would get that monkey off his back, it sounded like he had another good chance to score today.

    Oh well, on to Fulham on the weekend I guess.

    Is Bender going to be okay? Tough getting kicked in the face.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Oh Gord, I should take your comment down as you spoil my article a bit. LOL. 🙂 🙂 😉