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July 2021

RefWatch – Arsenal Vs Tottenham Hotspur (26/02/2011 – 13:30)

Untold Arsenal on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

By DogFace

  • Referee: Mike Dean
  • Assistant 1: Stephen Child
  • Assistant 2: Simon Long
  • 4th Official: Phil Dowd

Good morning stat-fans and welcome to RefWatch… I’m wondering something [before I start the statistical breakdown]; I was wondering that if you – like me – were full of confidence in the run up to this North London derby, relishing the challenge and anticipating a home win only to have that confidence dashed upon learning who the PGMOL had appointed as the match officials? Did your optimism, like mine, immediately evaporate at the thought of Mike Dean and Phil Dowd taking control of this fixture?

If so… why?

It’s odd because even some of the most fervoured ‘pull yer socks up and get stuck in’ type supporters who have claimed, in the past, that I was way off track with any theory that ‘all was not quite right’ in the PGMOL; you know, the types that through a twisted sense of pride seek to internalise their frustration and find blame in a straw man such as a certain player or the manager or a shareholder or the board… well, even the hearts of these guys sank like a stone on receiving news of the referee appointments – although that feeling will pass and be forgotten as the days go by and the system receives tacit approval from our chosen disseminators of truth.

What staggers me is exactly how and why Mike Dean and Phil Dowd were selected as ‘appropriate’ to officiate this match – this is surely no coincidence; this is surely no random selection as the odds are so very much against it. We have had Mike Dean in the opposing fixture against Tottenham where we lost the match off a goal scored via a hand ball and we have had the Dean/Dowd combination when we played Manchester United. Added to this there is a long list of spurious calls in matches that involve Mike Dean that benefit teams managed by Harry Redknapp – a list that is too long and one sided to be assumed to be a quirk of chance or human error… it also represents a chain of events that could not have possibly have gone unnoticed by the PGMOL and the FA without assuming them to be fundamentally incompetent in what they do… assuming that ‘what they do’ is first and foremost to protect the integrity of the sport – it could be that the PGMOL, the FA and to some extent FIFA have a entirely different set of priorities that they don’t make public and the shameful standard of match officiating combined with the suspicious and entirely opaque official selection and review process fit that agenda perfectly?

Here is a smattering of non-statistical based research that literally anyone could do with the help of an internet connection:

There is no disputing that Arsenal has an appalling record under Mike Dean. There is no disputing that Harry Redknapp has had a fantastic record under Mike Dean. There is no disputing that Arsenal have had a succession of incorrect key decisions called against them under Mike Dean and there is no disputing that teams managed by Harry Redknapp have had a disproportionate amount of key decisions called in their favour under Mike Dean.

What is there really left to discuss here, the choice of fourth official [Phil Dowd] perhaps – or maybe the selection of Stephen Child as a suitable assistant referee – you will remember Stephen Child from the Louis Saha ‘offside’ goal when we played Everton, he was the one who argued, under consultation from the referee [Lee Mason], that the goal should stand even though he had a perfect position to see that it was offside, both eyes open at the time AND there was a replay on the big screens immediately after the incident clearly showing Saha in an offside position:

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So why will the mainstream media not cover these angles which appear to me to be standing as an elephant in the room for all to see but nobody to acknowledge… or flatulence in an elevator – we register the stench but not a word is said – the subject is taboo!

I guarantee that even if Mike Dean were to pop up and score the winner for Tottenham in injury time off the back of a clear foul and a hand ball the standard reaction from the fan-base and the media would be to reach for blame in the form of the nearest straw man… yes – they would say – it was ‘controversial’ but, like skilled illusionists or confidence tricksters, they will divert our attention to what is ‘important’ and that will be that the referee cannot foul and handball because he is not a player nor is he an ‘outside agent’ on the pitch so this goal stands within the laws of the game… and Tottenham ‘deserved’ to win anyway. It will be pointed out that this late concession is a sign of our defensive and mental frailty and also demonstrates Wenger’s tactical ineptitude as juxtaposed, and standing in stark contrast to, Harry Redknapp’s shining brilliance – yes you were ‘unlucky’ but, you will be told, there is nothing you can do about that now; the history books will record a defeat and the league table does not lie. It will all be apologised away and what will remain for you and I is that feeling of confused injustice and the frustration of the bullied.

On the other side of the elephant we have certain members of the blogosphere who have been talking up great waves discontent. These are the fire starters in search of a straw man or, like the pagan priests of old, they seek a sacrificial victim to appease the footballing gods and stamp their meme in the collective unconscious of the fan base: We gave you Eboué and Denílson, we gave you Arshavin and Almunia – we spilt Chamakh and Djourou’s guts upon your alter but still we do not please you?! What do you want from us – the Manager and the Board?

It is a form of gambling where kudos is staked and debt is doubled through – there is little risk and much to gain for these anonymous pedlars of snake oil – there is no ‘quick fix’ to the state of the game… and yet something bothers me – these voices that claim to speak for you and me are little too loud and well organised.

There was a contributor on this site who compared sections of the fan base, who retained respect for the manager and the team, to “battered wives that think there’s no way out” – this statement is as much confessional as it is accusatory; it is also fairly representative of the tragically ironic appeals to pathos that the disenfranchised and atomised football supporter radiates – easy platitudes, with a grain of truth, are comfortable for the slave mentality of those who have given up all hope for what they once loved…

This is not a stance of the free thinker or one who is courageous enough to face the truth… as Arsenal fans we are abused, yes, but we are only hopeless because we hold ourselves solely accountable for our plight… like Orwell’s horse in Animal Farm – our unshakable belief structure and inability to recognise even the most blatant forms of corruption will work us gradually into the ground and, when the time comes, will see us and our sport sent us gleefully to the knacker.

When I first came here to post on Untold Arsenal as a regular I was given a dubious duty to police the comments section… Walter and Tony, alas, with their unerring sense of fair play took every comment at face value and representative of the Arsenal supporters – I admire their strength to stick to their principles during the onslaughts of negativity and derision they received for their articles – but it seemed that all was not as it seemed.

To my genuine surprise we found that there were a core of users who would use multiple logins in an attempt to influence fan opinion – the core group of 4 users had some 50 separate identities between them. Most of the time they would post as concerned Gooners, sowing the seeds of panic and demanding change but sometimes they would pretend to be supporters of Spurs or as Manchester United fans mocking other posters and/or delivering apophthegms of backhanded pity. Sometimes they would agree with their own statements, congratulating themselves on a brilliant comment that ‘nailed it’ and sometimes they would spend hours arguing the toss between two sides of the same coin – always seeking to polarise opinion and engineer their agenda into the debate.

I have seen the same user names all over the arsenal blogosphere posting the same things… this is taking trolling to the next level – this is bordering on a full time job and this is edging towards a Machiavellian subversion and disinformation campaign… fellow bloggers – I suggest you tend your flock, examine your log files and rout out the wolves!

The organisation and determination of those who seek to speak for us is, as I mentioned before, a little suspicious and they are succeeding in their actions as the noise they generate has created a series of feedback loops in the information super highway… negativity is over represented and certain splinter groups arise that will fragment the fan base. These splinter organisations of overt negativity may well be well meaning in their initial intent (if a little self-publicising) but there is no denying the amount of traffic that is being diverted to their shores… do you recall the ‘black bin bag’ protest that found mention in the national newspapers?

Generating a controversial opinion is a way to garner attention and that in itself can bring in traffic, notoriety and advertising revenue but it also feeds further noise into the aforementioned feedback loop that eventually finds its way to the fourth estate. The associated press are not in general particularly well informed – in these modern times of Murdoch they have followed a path of seeking the spectacular and to entertain rather than to inform – there is a lot of competition in journalistic circles and the editorial policies of the majority of mainstream media intuitions will select the most ‘eye catching’ articles that come in before the deadline. I would suggest that it is this environment that has created the rise of the columnist and the ‘lazy hack’ whose true talent is to use Google, and scan discussion forums to ascertain the gist of what is ‘out there’, filter out the juicy bits and build a story around it. The editor also has a role to play here as they will select articles that fit the narrative and that will further feedback into what is proffered for selection and thus we have a vicious circle – a circle of negative feedback that defines our teams perception, performance and confidence on the pitch.

There could now follow a very in-depth discussion to try and work out where this is all coming from – I would say the main Actors for our model in terms of the perception of Arsenal FC are:

  • The mainstream media editors
  • The mainstream journalists and columnists
  • The bloggers
  • The match day crowd
  • The teams on the pitch
  • The PGMOL
  • The FA
  • The player agents
  • The Asian black markets
  • The mainstream fan base
  • The discussion groups
  • The Fire-starters and trolls

Some of these people are honest in their motivation it that they are looking to get paid or provide a constructive platform of support for their team… but there are some of the above that I would say that we get short shrift from:

  • The mainstream media editors – in terms of how they define the narrative.
  • The PGMOL – for the one-sided officiating.
  • The FA – for the fixture schedule that gives high black-market exposure and retrospective punishment for rule infringement.
  • The Fire-starters and trolls – who haunt the discussion groups and blogs and are a little too well organised in terms of subversion and disinformation.

This last of that group are the most interesting – they seem to have set themes and the latest is that we will fall foul of FFP if we don’t get into the Champions League next season – this is not so as they wilfully ignore what can be written off under the FFP i.e. stadium debt, youth investment and infrastructure. These are in my view the birth of the ‘talking points’ campaign that Media Watch has examined, journalists pick up on these and regurgitate them back into the well. I have also heard of late a lot of chatter about how Stan Kroneke and the current board must go and Alisher Usmanov should take over the club with David Dein… Alisher Usmanov – they say (after stating, as fact, how ‘mediocre’ the current squad is and how self-destructive and greedy the board are) ‘loves Arsenal’ and will shower us with money to buy world class players; he and David Dein will put the power and dynamism back into the board room and we will spend money, clear out the dead wood and sweep the competition aside!

I will agree that Alisher Usmanov is very rich and that he (and Farhad Moshiri) hold influence over David Dein [the man who first introduced Stan Kroneke to Arsenal FC as an investor] through their investment vehicle (Red & White holdings) and that David Dein has not only respect among the Arsenal fan base but also strong political ties to the FA and therefore the PGMOL… which brings us nicely onto to of the other two Actors in our model – the FA and the PGMOL and what could possibly influence them to deal us such a rotten hand… all speculation is welcome at this point and the use of Occam’s razor is advised!

As for the mainstream media editors, the final piece of the puzzle, I don’t know – all I’m hearing from that camp is that this match will be the ‘Watershed’ and the ‘Arsenal Spring’ will ensue – they are inciting a revolution and anticipating a very important day for Arsenal football club…

…and they are not wrong – this match is important but not as important as how we, as fans, react to the aftermath and, indeed, the path we choose for our revolution.

Asian Handicap (betting line) market:

Home Handicap Away
2.200 0 – 1/4 1.760

The Under/Over market:

Over Handicap Under
1.875 2 3/4 2.025

Let’s have a look at the Referee:

  • Full name: Mike Leslie Dean
  • Date of birth: 02-Jun-1968 (Age 44)
  • Place of birth: The Wirral
  • Resides: Cheshire
  • EPL/ECH Referee Since: 1999/2000
  • EPL/ECH Games to date: 312

Mike Dean
Mike Dean – the Cheshire cat.

It’s Mike Dean again… you remember him from the excellent Ref Review series:

Season Score Match
2011/2012 70.450% Newcastle United 0 – 3 Chelsea
2011/2012 54.550% Arsenal 1 – 1 Fulham
2011/2012 73.680% Manchester United 2 – 3 Blackburn Rovers
2011/2012 69.700% Manchester City 3 – 0 Stoke City
2011/2012 62.500% Tottenham Hotspur 1 – 0 Sunderland
2011/2012 80.000% Manchester City 4 – 0 Swansea City
2011/2012 83.330% Chelsea 4 – 1 Swansea City
2011/2012 68.290% Tottenham Hotspur 2 – 1 Arsenal
2011/2012 77.370% Blackburn Rovers 0 – 1 Chelsea
2011/2012 73.530% Manchester City 3 – 0 Fulham
2011/2012 76.000% Arsenal 1 – 2 Manchester United
Average Score: 71.764%

Let’s check out his stats!

FPB = Fouls Per Booking (vertical axis)
BPM = Bookings Per Match(line width)
AHS = Asian Handicap Swing i.e. the deviation from the expected result(vertical axis)
PPG = Points Per Game(line width)
Therefore a high thin line for FPB/BPM would indicate a lot of fouls and very little bookings – and a low thin line for AHS/PPG would indicate an underperformance against the betting line and very few points taken.

Mike Dean has had 30 games for Arsenal consisting of 13 wins, 10 draws and 7 losses.

Arsenal are currently in 7th in Mike Dean’s personal Points Per Game League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, with an average of 1.63 PPG.

In Mike Dean’s personal Handicap Swing League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, Arsenal come 19th with an average negative swing of -0.23.

Arsenal are currently in 26th in Mike Dean’s personal Booking’s Per Match League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, with an overall average of 2.10 BPM.

In Mike Dean’s personal Fouls Per Booking League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, Arsenal come 29th with an overall average of 5.51 FPB.

And there it is like an old familiar sting, in the above graph, the anaemic blue line that represents (2008/2009 season excepted where I think we beat Chelsea at the Bridge) a consistent sub-zero underperformance against the handicap and a very low, on average, points per game.

You can also see by the fatness of the Red line that we get booked more than our opposition (the orange line), under Mike Dean, who sail high and thin indicating that they get away on average with more fouls per booking and are booked a lot less per game than Arsenal.

The colour of the line represents the player type.
The position of the line against the vertical axis will indicate the average time of the booking and the thickness of the line indicates the average number of bookings of players in that position.
Therefore a high fat orange line would indicate that the referee often books the specified teams defence out of the challenge early, a low thin line or no line would indicate the opposite.  The number of minutes bottoms out at 100 to indicate no bookings.

Above is a seasonal breakdown on how, when and where Arsenal took all their bookings under Mike Dean. As you can see, our defence has borne the brunt of most of the bookings with some whopping figures coming in last season – this season the numbers look a little better but they are trending earlier in the match.

The colour of the line represents the player type.
The position of the line against the vertical axis will indicate the average time of the booking and the thickness of the line indicates the average number of bookings of players in that position.
Therefore a high fat orange line would indicate that the referee often books the specified teams defence out of the challenge early, a low thin line or no line would indicate the opposite.  The number of minutes bottoms out at 100 to indicate no bookings.

Above is a seasonal breakdown on how, when and where Arsenal’s opposition took all their bookings under Mike Dean. The most notable thing I can see in this graph is the decline in the bookings to the defence – these have dwindled over the seasons to nothing last season and a few this season. If this is representative of leeway in the challenge of our opposition – this would represent a significant advantage against an attacking team like Arsenal.

Let’s move on now and see how Tottenham do under Mike Dean.

FPB = Fouls Per Booking (vertical axis)
BPM = Bookings Per Match(line width)
AHS = Asian Handicap Swing i.e. the deviation from the expected result(vertical axis)
PPG = Points Per Game(line width)
Therefore a high thin line for FPB/BPM would indicate a lot of fouls and very little bookings – and a low thin line for AHS/PPG would indicate an underperformance against the betting line and very few points taken.

Mike Dean has had 33 games for Tottenham Hotspur consisting of 15 wins, 10 draws and 8 losses.

Tottenham Hotspur are currently in 4th in Mike Dean’s personal Points Per Game League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, with an average of 1.67 PPG.

In Mike Dean’s personal Handicap Swing League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, Tottenham Hotspur come 9th with an average positive swing of 0.12.

Tottenham Hotspur are currently in 10th in Mike Dean’s personal Booking’s Per Match League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, with an overall average of 1.61 BPM.

In Mike Dean’s personal Fouls Per Booking League (for teams with a minimum of 5 matches played), for matches in the EPL/ECH, Tottenham Hotspur come 14th with an overall average of 6.79 FPB.

If we look at the graph (above) we can see an interesting crossover of the FPB/BPM [red] and the Opposition FPB/BPM [Orange] lines – this I would say is a text book counter intuitive case for use of the booking data to find bias. As you can see when Tottenham Hotspur’s opposition foul more and get booked less; Tottenham’s PPG/AHS actually gets higher and fatter i.e. they display an over performance.

An explanation for this is that somewhere in the 2008/2009 season, Mike Dean started to give Tottenham a lot of free kicks for innocuous challenges and only gave free kicks/bookings to Tottenham for the more serious fouls – although despite the higher FPB Tottenham exhibit [in the 2008/2009 and 2009/2010 seasons] they still get booked less than their opposition under Mike Dean.

The colour of the line represents the player type.
The position of the line against the vertical axis will indicate the average time of the booking and the thickness of the line indicates the average number of bookings of players in that position.
Therefore a high fat orange line would indicate that the referee often books the specified teams defence out of the challenge early, a low thin line or no line would indicate the opposite.  The number of minutes bottoms out at 100 to indicate no bookings.

Above we can see a breakdown of the booking information for Tottenham Hotspur under Mike Dean. We can see that Mike Dean fairly consistently books Tottenham’s Midfield and defence at some point in the match and this is trending earlier in the match over the last few seasons. We can also see in the 2010/2011 season a few very late bookings going in for substitutes and the Goalkeeper.

The colour of the line represents the player type.
The position of the line against the vertical axis will indicate the average time of the booking and the thickness of the line indicates the average number of bookings of players in that position.
Therefore a high fat orange line would indicate that the referee often books the specified teams defence out of the challenge early, a low thin line or no line would indicate the opposite.  The number of minutes bottoms out at 100 to indicate no bookings.

Above is a seasonal breakdown on how, when and where Tottenham Hotspur’s opposition took all their bookings under Mike Dean. We can see a large number of bookings in the midfield and the defence around the half way mark from the 2008/2009 season onwards. Although these booking dropped during the 2009/2010 season we can see bookings to the defence trending to steadily earlier in the match since then.

Let’s move on now to check out how Mike Dean performs against selected teams in the EPL:

The ine thickness represents the average Points Per Game and the position of the line against the vertical axis represents the average swing against the handicap.

From this graph we can really put into perspective just how badly Arsenal do under the whistle of Mike Dean, not only have we constantly underperformed (in minus territory) but the thickness of our line shows that we have also taken next to no points from matches under Mike Dean since the 2008/2009 season. The standout ‘up and coming’ performers under Mike Dean are Chelsea who are showing a very healthy trend both in terms of relative performance and also points per game.

Let’s have a look now how certain managers have performed under Mike Dean:

The ine thickness represents the average Points Per Game and the position of the line against the vertical axis represents the average swing against the handicap.

Quite reassuringly (in terms of my calculations) the lines that represent Arsenal and Manchester United (under their respective managers) are the same as the above graph but – this puts into context the performance of Harry Redknapp teams under Mike Dean; this is a strong line akin to that of Chelsea in the ‘Mike Dean Vs EPL’ graph that preceded this… The Sam Allardyce line is showing an interesting over performance under Dean over the last couple of seasons so this is definitely one to watch as and when West Ham bounce back into the EPL.

So what should we expect from this game? I’m not going to lie to you – but it doesn’t look good. We have a referee that is a worst case scenario in that there is not only a strong over-performance of the manager Harry Redknapp in his data combined with a massive under performance for Arsenal but also a strong over performance for Chelsea – these are the teams immediately above and below us in the league. Added to this, this is a high profile fixture and Harry Redknapp is courting the position of England manager and perhaps this is why we have the match official selection that we do?

I do not expect any joy from this fixture whatsoever but I will attend to offer my support and face the music, as it were, for this will be indeed a pivotal moment… and I wouldn’t miss it for anything.

Untold Index
History Index
Making the Arsenal

94 comments to RefWatch – Arsenal Vs Tottenham Hotspur (26/02/2011 – 13:30)

  • Apologies for the waffle – it’s late and I’ve been on the wine again… see you Sunday!

  • Potter

    Mike dean’s appointment can be summed up in two words :- Mike Riley. He appoints them and I would hazard a guess that the performance figures for games with him in charge were just as suspect.

  • Shard


    If this is you waffling, can I order some more waffles for breakfast tomorrow?

    Mike Dean or no Mike Dean, we will win this match. Only because I will be in the stadium of course 🙂

  • I might see you there Shard – do you have my email address?!

    Also – regular readers – please ignore the Tottenham abuse in the comments section, I just had to trash 4 comments that said “u iz a cunt init” – we are getting more exposure now via News Now and we can get a little flooded.

    Tottenham fans – hello. Good luck on Sunday – may the best team win. That is all. Now fuck off.

  • Gord

    The referee reviews that Walter has been seeing over, rely entirely on whatever the media produce.

    Does Arsenal (the team) have to be completely hands off? What I would suggest is that everyone that goes to the game, have as much available memory as is possible on their phones or other things which have a camera in them. And if they see something questionable happen (or guess something questionable might happen), they take pictures. But in order to make sense of all those pictures, they would have to be uploaded somewhere, where people could get to them. And the pictures need the metadata of where they were taken from (seat assignment). It would be nice if could host all these uploads, but I suspect that there is some rule somewhere that has to keep them out of it.

    It would seem that the media is at least somewhat involved in this. Trusting the media to ever display footage which demonstrates there is a problem, is unlikely. If people can bring in personal cameras, and take pictures, that might be something to take advantage of. I don’t know if there are any real software packages which can make use of the data such a set of images could provide. TV suggests they are available now, I can see hints of things in descriptions of software, but this is all way outside of my expertice. I just know this is possible, but not how to do it.

    I wish Arsenal well. To win with whatever odds are stacked against them, would be nice. Win or lose, I think their will be points to discuss. To find a way to get evidence independent of the media would be nice.

    A prediction on a lark: Van Persie to score a brace and Ramsey to score the winner.

  • bob

    If/when Mike Dean does us again, just whom he has channeled and/or is re-incarnated as will be revealed. OMG, the amazing photograph you provide of the Cheshire Cat is a gob-smacking dead ringer for a flat out master manipulator from another era. One who personifies the “Machiavellian subversion and disinformation campaign” that, indeed, has not been something that is edging toward realization, but that has been well underway.

    Unfair comparison? Of course, especially if you (dear reader) can see the resemblance.

    As your media analysis suggests to me, this is all akin to a blood sport being played for the hearts and minds of Arsenal fans and augurs a takeover (commercial coup d’etat). It has been played out below the level of analytic rationality, albeit exposed as possible by the Media Watchers in this venue. Others can play below the radar too, however; and so, the Cheshire Cat’s grin may yet be exposed for whose it is. Vigilance.

  • bob

    p.s. I would further add that there’s another game within the game: the accession to the throne at PGMOL: the Webbmaster or Mike Dean. The winner will be he who best serves The Fergus XX. That is, it is a that narrative of coronation with a logic far deeper than surface rationality. One that allows it to play out, inexorably, whilst hidden in plain sight.

  • bob

    Mike Riley you say? Is there gambling here in Casablanca? Shocked, I say. Shocked!

  • Mike Gunner

    If Arsenal play in the same style ie plenty of possession and endless passing in front of the box,they are going to lose .This is 90% estimate of chances of losing.
    You see ,everybody knows except Wenger, that when the gunner attack breaks down as it will 100% at some time,the cue for the fast counter strike.Acres of space.Recall the Mc porto game. City scored because their attack was fast and there was space. Porto were not given time and space.Picture this: Arsenal are Porto and MC are Spurs.
    I hope I am wrong . Nothing will make me jump one hundred times if the gunners can win.
    My head says Spurs to win because they don’t waste time passing all over the place except to the grandstand.

  • @Dogface you are a genius,what i have read i expect Arsenal to lose but all in all I’m a Gunner and i will be cheering all the way. I will also point out to mike gunner that we need to shoot on site as guns do not to pass to the six yard box;we need to shoot. Asharvin is gone what next!Who is going to be in his foot? Whether we win or lose we have got too much to fight for so i expect the fans to be behind our team. If any doubting Thomases goes into Dogface’s statistical based research trust me you will be at-ease and you will enjoy the match with no pressure.@Dogface keep it up. As Arsene said we have to roar hard in the winds of hatred ,let keep the fIRE burning. Lets go GUNNERS

  • One thing which bothers me is that when we win we get a few blogger s but when we lose hell no we get a hell of bloggers why is that?????????

  • Jay

    I am not optimistic, I am a football fan primarily and I refuse to give in to biast support for my club, when we had Henry, Vieira and Co the spurs fans wouls still say that they were going to win every time we met even though they were clearly worse and had Chris Perry and Ben Thatcher in defence.

    Nowadays they are better, simple as that, we have just been beaten by Milan and Sunderland comfortbaly, we are off form, spurs are on form, how are we suppose to win this game I just cant see it happening

    If Ledley King dont start we have a chance because RVP will be involved in the game, if King starts we have no chance, the bloke plays a whole game without needing to make a tackle, he is unreal, the Ox could do something but I feel Walcott and Gervinho will start which means no goals

  • Mahdain

    wow one word to describe this…breathtaking…by now thanks to untold i know wat to expect from refs but dogface u just took it to another level

  • Mahdain

    mike dean’s selection for this month is beyond pathetic. We all know fa and pgmo are in cahoots to screw us but cant they make it less obvious?

  • Mahdain

    a food for thought.. While we will be getting dean for the FOURTH time in the league this season there are other referees who havent ref’d a single Arsenal match this season and infact there are FOUR of them who are halsey,taylor,friend and jones… So can anyone tell me why after 25 matches they are refs who have yet to ref while we have got dean in 3 matches(4 sunday),marriner and webb also on 3?

  • Mahdain

    full breakdown on how many times each ref has ref’d our league matches so far this season
    Dean,webb and marriner – 3 matches each
    Dowd,atkinson,attwell,clattenburg and oliver – 2 matches each
    Probert,mason,foy,moss,swarbick and walton – 1 match each
    Jones,friend,taylor and halsey – ZERO matches

  • My god Dogface, this is fucking brilliant. I sneaked a preview of your piece while it was sitting on the site but only visible to us select band of moderators and site controllers, and thought, blimey this is a good un.

    But I have just read it in full this morning now it is on the site, and all I can do is echo Shard – if this is you waffling, then please do it again and again.

    Would you like a daily column on Untold.

    Anyway, just going to have breakfast, then off to the Post Office to pick up a package they failed to deliver, and then, back here to read it all again.

    Thank you mate. Brilliant.

  • Gay gooner

    More worried about spurs than the ref.

  • Steve of Chiang Mai

    So….will the trolls be named and shamed?

  • dan

    Been dreading this all week (Mike Dean), ah well I’m off to the gym.

  • Stevie E

    Well said, akin to a rousing speach at a demonstration. Maybe your future lies elsewhere than the blogosphere?
    By the time the “neutral” refs get their quota of Arsenal games, he damage will have already been done. With the two Manchester sides “fighting” (don’t be surprised to see City “slip up” as the finishing line nears) and ‘Arry firmly ensconced in 3rd and clear favorite to lead England to glory in the Euro’s, I doubt wether it will matter who finishes in 4th. Russian billions may swing it but their manager seems to be the spanner in the works for them… Maybe late charge from the media darlings Liverpool, King Kenny could certainly do with a shot in the arm.

  • cyril

    oh boy, you really do need to get out more:)
    every team has bad decisons. we have had two draws, wolves and chelsea, where adebayor had good goals wrongly ruled off-side. do we complain? no, not really, because all of our energy was used up in the frustration of foy at stoke. watch it some time, 7game changing decisons all against us, saves on the line by hand, not the goalie, the 5 feet on-side goal ruled out for off-side. there were 12 wrong decisons in that game, 7 were match changing. rod liddle said it was the worst performance he had seen in a life time of watching football, including on hackney amrshes. from the tone of this article had that happened to you then you would likely have turned into a scouser, where clearly there is a global conspiracy to screw liverpool. i agree that with all the money we pay to watch games, live and on tv, the result of a game shd not depend, as often as it does, on the mistake of a ref. it does rather make a mockery of the money we pay.

  • @Cyril – – BTW, I would have loved to see Chris Foy for this game… but that doesn’t make it right now does it? 🙂

  • Tasos

    Excellent piece Dogface.

    No doubt about it, its going to be difficult. Spurs are a good outfit, they have improved this season whilst understanding the need to place your eggs into the major baskets and keep your top players fresh, they have sacrificed the lesser cup competitions in their quest for CL qualification.

    Added to that, the biased/rotten/corrupt PMGOL have commissioned their most loyal disciples for this particular battle, with the Dean, Dowd and Child axis they have shown their hand, they mean business and in their eyes, no stone is left unturned for this match. Its Wenger V’s the future England Manager and johnny foreigner must be put in his place, shown the door and unceremoniously booted out, ASAP.

    Arsenal will require a top level performance on the day in order to overcome the bias here. Although I firmly believe its not imposable for us too do just that, with our backs against the wall, the team can fight the good fight.

    And for all our weaknesses this season, for all the doubters and naysayers, we must try and keep a sense of perspective at present. The bookmaker have us down as slight Fav’s for this one, and we know that the wise old bookie has no allegiances here, they must remain impartial in their assessments for each and every match. They obviously believe this current Arsenal team are better than the scummy British media prefers to portray.

    As for UA’s resident heckler, I have lost all “Sympathy for the devil”. Beware the enemy within.

  • DC

    Top notch review this!!!
    Fingers, toes, legs, etc. crossed in hope! Come on you Gunners!

  • Mare St Gooner

    Hi Dogface,

    Have you considered getting in touch with Declan Hill (author of ‘The Fix’)?

    I wonder what his thoughts would be on your analyses, and whether he could suggest more ways to “shine a light” if at all possible onto this subject.

    I think the fact you seem familiar with the Asian betting markets and the use of the AHS in your studies, combined with your depressingly accurate ‘Predictortron’, might be of interest to him.

  • Great write-up.

    This does however underline the thankless task in my preview of predicting a scoreline… I might do a fictional prediction based on a Dean-less game, and then let the refWatch speak for itself in terms of the actual likely game result.

    I don’t even think I’m going to bother watching the game.

  • bjtgooner

    This is a really excellent review. There is not much more to say about Dean except that I am surprised at the continued blatancy of his and in general the PGMOL antics. They are not subtle. This suggests they feel very secure in what they are doing, as if they know they have unconditional backing from those behind the PGMOL.

    Regarding Dein and Usmanov, both names have been widely bandied around as potential saviours of the club – based on the erroneous assumption that the club needs saved. I am surprised that in such circumstances both men have not made clear statements supporting the present board and manager. (My apologies if I have missed such a statement). In the absence of such a statement I would have to doubt their motive for remaining quiet. I also become suspicious when the AAA, the gutter press and Le Gripe seem to canvass for these persons.

    Re the match tomorrow – I think we will do better that some of the punters are making out – but either way I back the team!

  • Marcus

    Great piece Df…if this is waffling, it is Heston Blumenthal’s waffling.

    Mind you, you could have stopped at 3/4rs because it tails off a bit.

    I think you should write a novel…”Dispossession”

    Didn’t some guy write a football novel in the nineties, fever pitch?

    Personally I don’t follow it seriously any more, or else I’d end up like a character in Trainspotting..

  • @Marcus – yeah, it was getting late and I had a deadline – it was either tail it off or open another big can of worms and keep going ’till dawn. 🙂

  • @Mare St Gooner – I am a big fan of Declan Hill’s work and I am in touch with him by email. He sent me a signed copy of his book – jolly nice chap.

  • Come on Phil – we have to watch this game, it might feel like a walk to the gallows but it must be done.

  • Abdulaziz Alfarhoud

    Great article @DogFace

    It will be the 3rd match for Mike Dean on the NLD

    the first two matches showed how bias he is !!
    disallowed Eboue goal + sent him off for only talking to Modric “Are we sure he is a ref???”

    the 2nd games this season !
    even Jack Whilshere had a fight on tweeter with one of TalkSports journalist when Jack said that VDV should have a red card after he use his hand to get the ball before their 1st goal and person from Talksport said all Arsenal fans say refs refs !!

    Did we forget that if i scored a goal and went to hug my fans i deserve a yellow card !!! VDV had a yellow card on the first 15 minute of the game so did Mike dean gave him a 2nd yellow for the hand using or going to fans !!! NO !!

    FA are using 3 bad refs tomorrow to stop Arsenal from reaching the top 4 !!


  • After all said and done, this is the right time for Gunners and Gooners to stand up and be counted. It is never over until it is over. Stacks are piled massively against us, but we should never give up.

    Hope might be blinking, but there’s still hope. Let’s even forget about them Spuds throughout the match and direct our energy at getting behind our team, whistle down the opposition and cheer our team on.

    Let’s see what Mike Dean gonna do then!

  • Great piece by the way, Doggy!

  • El Gringo


    I don’t know that anyone on this site would say that Arsenal are the only ones getting mugged by refs. Tottenham vs Stoke and QPR vs Chelsea were two of the worst reffed matches this season. Trust me, I completely understand your frustration at a clearly unfair match. What’s going on is obviously complex, and I don’t think that the theory of anti-Arsenal bias fully explains it. I do think there is (for whatever reason) anti-Arsenal bias, but there are other factors that lead to Spurs and Chelsea being obviously helped to losses: featuring largely among them is how close they get to the top of the table. Once you get too close, the men in black come round to teach you not to get ideas above your proper station.

  • El Gringo

    I agree with Steve of Chiang Mai: name and shame the trolls! They are clearly not people of good will, and have lost the right to be treated as such. Respect for people of good will (what we call true fans) demands that schemers and underminers be revealed as they truly are. Some of the old Christian saints said that ‘above all, the devil cannot stand to be scorned.’

  • Norm

    Great piece (again!) Now Riley is so blatant with his ref selections. There is no doubt the DD double act is our worst reffing nightmare. I can picture Fat Dowd larfing with the Triffick Geezer and roaring orders at AW. I can also picture bookies mate Dean, sending off Song, after booking him inside 5 minutes, then inventing a 2nd offence. Still think we can shove it up Spuds. C’mon you Gunners!

  • Tasos


    We know Arsenal have previous with three of the four officials for tomorrows game, so what of the fourth, Simon Long, do you have any data for this man?

  • walter

    as Dogface pointed out in his answer we called a horse a horse and a bad ref a bad red. And we said that Tottenham was robbed at Stoke.

    And to make it clear Stoke is the team that has been most favoured by the refs so far this season. And I will not just point at our own work but also at the website debatable decisions. An non Arsenal related website. And over there they also say that Stoke gets (for whatever reason) the decisions and Arsenal is at the bottom of their table meaning that they get the most of the wrong decisions against them.

    And I could also link you to the blog “football is fixed” but apparently the Fa has been able to shut them down.
    In my country there is this old song that goes (translated in English) If a little man tells the truth, he will be executed straight away. I think this is what happened to “football is fixed”.

  • walter

    And what a great article Dogface!!! Brilliant

  • The FA didn’t shut him down – he shut himself down after ‘Arry walked free… I deduced that that was the final straw and he couldn’t be arsed with pissing in the wind anymore.

  • @Tasos – no… I was hoping some bright spark might have some info on him and share it in the comments.

    @WitchHunterGenerals – we revealed the names of the trolls as and when we found them…. there was a period of about a month or so where we had a crackdown.

  • @DogFace,
    I’ve often pondered trolling Le Grovel, my only problem is that they tend to ban legitimate posters who don’t share their opinions, so even if one were to use all the tricks (which I won’t go into), it’d have to be the highest class trolling to work…

  • Kentetsu

    Simon Long used to referee in the Conference National in the past season, but made the step to assistant ref in the EPL this season. Also starting this season he has been assistant ref for European matches (do assistant refs also need a FIFA badge to be eligible?).

    On you can see all the matches where Long assisted. Apparently we had him once before for the 1-1 draw with Fulham (also with Dean as the ref). Perhaps somebody can go through the list of matches and remember any particular incidents?

  • Kentetsu

    The article was a great read Dogface. I assume that the odds are so far stacked against us that the Predictortron could no longer compute and blew up in confusion…

  • Kentetsu

    It seems the FA is taking the Mickey out of us. They have launched a Global Fan Survey and one of the questions is what you believe to be the biggest positive development of the EPL in the past couple of years. Among the options is the performance of the referees…

  • Arun

    Great article , DOgface. Despite dean and dowd around, hoping for a win .
    @ DF, are you sure about ‘football is fixed’ ???
    Only good news for the past two weeks is that newcastle has been held at home and we will be fifth at worst this weekend .

  • em

    @ Walter, EL Gringo & Cyril
    The Tottenham vs. Stoke game which spurs lost was not due to bad refs but Harry Rednapp getting punished for not backing the FA over Rooney’s England suspension. At the time when Harry came out and said it was wrong for the FA to defend getting Rooney suspension reduced, I knew he had made a big mistake not to back the FA.
    What happened in the game after those comment did not surprise me at all and showed the true which the UNTOLD team have been saying all along, this was the PROOF that the FA where interfering with football result via the refs.
    I was very surprise the UNTOLD Team did not pick up on it and discuss it further. It was there for all to see in that game, after the game, Harry was almost in tears in his press conference but at no point did he really critics the REF for the game or FA but talked about how good he has been with the FA by not complaining after games.

    Mike Dean has been selected for this game to make up for the Stoke game now Harry is back in favour with the FA and there number 1 man!!!!

  • Sammy The Snake


  • WalterBroeckx

    An interesting viewpoint Em!

  • WalterBroeckx

    And one of the terrible things is that Dean is a fucking master in tilting the pitch and that if you don’t pay attention you might not even see it.
    Dowd had to make a bit of a fool of himself at Newcastle last year but Dean can dot it without making it too obvious.

    Webb only does it obvious when Utd is in trouble for the rest he is just a mediocre ref

  • WalterBroeckx

    About that 2nc assistant in the game we had him (Fulham) the offside decisions have been all correct

  • Notoverthehill

    Mr. Attwood and Dogface, re a recent discussion. I tried an email to giving the link to Iain Cobain’s interview with you-know-who.

    I think the details are better “off-record”!

  • notoverthehill – check your email, I’ve passed on a correct version of Tony’s email address to you.

  • bob

    I love your media analysis and how it works on the fans.

    El Gringo,
    I think you’ve tripped the live wire: The Script is named Fergus XX. Chelski and Tottsville and AFC will be kept away from Lord Football’s trophy and City will finally suffer a timely fall. Whether there’s an Arsenal out of the top 4 loop inside this plan is arguable, but unclear in my mind.

  • Arun

    @ em, how did we miss that point ??? Awesome point, mate . Absolutely, spot on .
    Well, for tomorrow’s game, we can’t do anything other than wait and watch.
    @ bob, agree with your comments about el gringo.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Bob, that would be called (and well liked) collateral damage I think…

  • Anne


    Brilliant. I’m quite busy myself right now, and unable to respond with the level of depth I would like to. But fucking brilliant. Seriously. So, thanks for taking the time. And might I add that wine + posting might be a good combination for you 🙂

  • Mandy Dodd

    superb, if worrying article.
    There seem to be so many forces against this club. I believe there is a lot of resentment from some clubs at our extreme going along with FFP, and a feeling we could not be seen to succeed. As mentioned, the AAA, and media come out with exactly the same things time and time…and time again, which again, as mentioned is easy fodder for lazy journalists. One Talkshite presenter has a whole program per week when he does little other than slag off Arsenal, take a bow Adrian Durham. But who is prompting this? Others that covet the club who believe bad vibes can force the current owner to sell??
    Make no mistake, there are forces out to destroy the club as it is currently run. The PGMOL are obviously a big part of it, notice how the relatively young, hungey career minded refs are almost outdoing themselves in screwing this team?
    I am not saying we do not sometmes shoot ourselves in the foot, and without knowing all the facts, I just hope losing Arshavin does not come back to haunt, but this club are really up against it.
    Seems we now get mainly Webb against Utd and Dean against the Spuds – Calciopolli in action?
    Wonder what the refs will do tomorrow. Be subtle – take out Song, JD / Kos Vermaelen? Maybe. But my fear is that if we dare take a lead and start look like winning, Dean may go for our biggest fish of all. RVP , please watch your every step tomorrow. A 3 match ban for you would suit so many agendas!

  • Adam

    Seems to me that perception management has reared it’s ugly head. You generally only find that in politics filtering down through the news outlets. I presume you have Usmanov in mind as the person with most to gain from these destabilising tactics.

  • bob

    Walter, El Gringo, Arun, All
    Just to catch up, we now collectively have the Men in Black, the Black Wall of Silence, Dean-Time, a Webbalty, and the time (dis)honored Fergie time. This, all our growing Arsenal of Battering Rams (and more beauties right on tap, like Dogface’s brilliant “Firestarters in search of Straw Men” can serve the cause of media detox and fair play very well in the tilted rounds to come, starting tomorrow. Be there or be square. Whatever the outcome, bearing witness does count. Go Gunners!

  • bob

    Mandy Dodd,
    Your call to vigilance, especially by Robin, is spot on.
    Do you know any more about Adrian Durham, this designated hitman?

  • Gooner Gal

    Wow, Dean and Dowd – so much for leaving the game to chance!

  • Gooner Gal

    @ Dogface, I didn’t realise you were a wine drinker…I won’t be making you an offer to split a can of White Lightning with you anytime soon in the future then!

  • Mandy Dodd

    Adrian Durham – He is a third rate hack who presents drivetime with cricket and come dancing legend Darren Gough for Talksport. He knows a lot about a football team having great success, being a Peterborough supporter. I actually think he is a closet citeh fan, of the glory hunting era.
    He even has a catchy catchphrase – “Wenger used to be brilliant, now he’s rubbish” I do not listen to the show any more, but it is mainly comprised of London cabbies phoning in to say wenger has to go because he has lost the plot…we havent been the same since Dein left….and that sort of thing
    He is completely obsessed with enhancing what he perceives is Arsenals fall from grace – just Google Adrian Durham Arsenal!

    The more I think about the RVP scenario, the more I worry about it. I also remember how Dean did not punish the crude foul that took out Sagna for nearly 4 months

  • Shard

    Tony, Dogface, all

    When and where can I meet you before (and/or after) tomorrow’s match?

  • @Gooner Gal – I’d down a half can of white lightning with a fellow gooner if offered – all my wine is home brewed… and my plumb wine is pretty close in terms of ‘knock yer bollocks off’ as the cheapest of white ciders.

  • @Adam – to be honest, if I were a betting man… I would say that Kroneke and Usmanov will work something out – that is if they haven’t already. There is a power vacuum being levered open in the Arsenal fanbase, no doubt this will soon be filled. Whomever that may be [to fill it] will be.

  • Anne


    Being that I’m coming to London quite shortly from the American south, I could supply you with white lightning of the highest “quality”

    Although, really, the best stuff comes from a jar, not a can…

    Just let me know ASAP if you want to take me up on it 🙂

  • @Anne – I have supped the harshest apple moonshine from a jar fished out of a freezer in a ‘shooting shack’ in North Carolina… on a par with street caribbean rum. Let me know if you are down on a matchday!

  • Gord

    I should have said this earlier, but it was a great article to read. It does make me feel guilt in taking so long to digest reviews (only so many hours in a day). I hope there are plenty of fans with cameras there, just in case something “strange” happens. A person cannot count on TV to follow “the action”.

    @anne, dogface, gooner gal

    I once spent some time in Montego Bay (Jamaica) after a conference. If you want to buy drugs or sex, Montego Bay is probably a great place. If you want to study materials or physics, not so much. But, one day when hiding in the bar of my hotel from all the idiots selling drugs, someone came into the bar to sell the bartender some “white lightening” made from sugar cane (rum). I was the only customer in the bar. The bartender asked me if I wanted to try some, it was very smooth.

    The recent work on graphene oxide which shows that water can pass through it, but hydrogen can’t, is going to make for tons of different kinds of moonshine in the future.

  • Anne


    Do you really think that Kroenke and Usmanov are working together? I’m still hoping that the truth is otherwise, to be honest, and I’m nothing if not a cynical person.

  • Anne


    I think that the type of white lightning you’re describing is quite different from the American corn whiskey version that I’m accustomed to.

    Although your comments about graphene and hard liquor open up a whole new vista of possibilities… Is this what you’re talking about?

    Sorry to go off topic, DogFace.

  • PieFace

    Boom. Outdid yourself this time bro, a cracking read.

    The biggest and most obvious thing that stinks is that this is the fourth time we have been lumbered with Dean this season, when there are a number of supposedly highly capable refs who have yet to break their Arsenal 2011-12 cherry; also, we had him for the reverse fixture at the shithole, a match which was won in controversial circumstances after the VdV handball goal and no second yellow card incident. Even with the rosiest of tintest goggles on and you took the attitude that “decisions even themselves out” – would it not be simple common sense, nay courtesy, to spread the ref workload, even if only to stop the window-licking conspiracy theorists out there? When Mike Riley sat himself down to choose the refs for this weekend, why the hell did he think – “I know, let’s got for Mike Dean, that’ll be widely accepted”? Given the chance to defuse controversy, why embrace it?

    Of course, many of us know the real answer, but while we are vastly outnumbered by the sheep that will read the Sun on Monday lauding Sir Harry’s tactics as “Englishly cunning” versus Baron le Wenger’s approach as “Frenchly pathetic” – just like the longbows at Agincourt, cry God for Harry, England and St George! – we are fucked, the game is fucked.

    Screw it. At least I know the score and I know what is going to happem and why. Arsenal till I die.

  • Chowdhury


  • bob

    Yes, we’re lumbered with the Dean. Perhaps, just somehow, the karmic buzzsaw of la vie will bid him Au Revoir Mr. Chips? Allons Vous Gunners! Vigilance.

  • PieFace old bean – glad you could join the debate. Regular readers – please welcome my older brother + gunner to the site!

    So – when are you going to write an article for us then bro?


  • Mahdain

    and dean has already done what he was sent to do…this makes me sick to the stomach

  • Mahdain

    maybe i spoke too soon..COME ON LETS FUCK MIKE DEAN AND THESE CUNTS

  • Mandy Dodd

    Dean certainly behaved as expected today. Must have hurt to have to send off St Scotty though.
    Today proved that Bale is not the greatest player the world has even seen, he is just a cheat.
    Recover from that Spuds !

  • So happy right now for the team. Amazing comeback and suicide tactics from Redknapp. Buzzing!

    Anyone in the tollington now please buy me a beer!

  • Gord

    I was really surprised to see Parker sent off towards the end of the game. I kept thinking that the ref was going to send off an Arsenal player. But, as always, I’m just following the two BBC pages (text only).

    If a “wine” is distilled once or twice, it still has lots of the character of the wine it originates from (barley, corn, sugar cane, …). As the number of distillations increases, the source of the wine matters less. I haven’t had grain alcohol made from corn, I have had such made from probably wheat or barley (potato is another possibility). And then that grain alcohol from sugar cane. The stuff from grain is very drying (one could say it burns), the cane wasn’t. Your URL works for me. It’s the oxidised form of graphene (graphene oxide) which does this. I suspect this development is going to change water purification, alcoholic beverage production and essential oil production in the future.

  • Mandy Dodd

    very surprising regarding the St Scotty Parker SO.
    Just hope Mrs Dean can budget for reduced imcome coming into their household this month

  • Shard

    Well did I tell ya, or did I tell ya? 🙂

    The only pity is I couldn’t find Tony at the Auld Triangle pre or post game, and despite looking for a man with the face of a dog at the madhouse that was the Tollington after the game, I couldn’t identify our Dogface.

  • @Shard I was the one with the Dogface shirt on and big smile on my face!

  • Shard

    Well you’ll admit, the Tollington was a madhouse. It would have been fantastic to have met you. Pity. Next time I guess. When will the next time be?

  • bjtgooner


    Can you explain a bit more about graphene oxide and its filtration characteristics. I am facinated to note that Hydrogen (a gas) will not penetrate but water (a liquid) will.

  • Gord

    At the moment, it is beyond my understanding. Sorry. As it is a material property, I expect to eventually learn.

  • mookie

    Why is MD so happy about the first Spuds goal?

  • mookie

    Sorry, I understand it is already on this page. Please delete both of my comments.

  • El Tel

    The crazy thing for me in the wider spectrum is how an average Man Utd team still be up the top and an even more average team like the Spuds taking third at the moment.

    I am one of those who for 15 years have been saying how the Premier League is bent and always has been.

    The North/ South devide is far greater than many people think along with Nationalism. The fact we have won things with a French Manager is marvelous in itself and it gets even more special seeing as we are a London Club.

    Let’s be honest, the Chavs have had the best team since the second season of Abramovic yet the Mancs still won the League. Citeh should be up and over the Hill by now but still have an average team on their heels.

    Is it no coincidence that the Mancs won these titles with and since their Chairman was running the FA. David Dein was doing a great job before this yet strangely gets dumped by the FA when voted off by the other Teams.

    The fact the most of the Referees come from the North West cannot be healthy either. For years we have been getting the rough end of the deal with the FA and their Officials and it has spiralled so far that our Club and our Fans have caved in to it and accept it.

    Things that I and Arsenal mates have noticed over the years which do make a difference are as follows.

    Our Players getting roughed up by the Opposition with late challenges and body checking being the norm. (Sunderland FA cup match) RVP clearly dragged down in the box, the TV pundit says it didn’t matter as the ball was going way over his head. So does this mean players off the ball can pull opponents down now? Is this in the lanes of the game?

    Our Defenders getting booked for first/ second time fouls. This happens in almost every match and especially to Song. Yes, Song could now and again but no more than Scholes,Parker,or any Chav players who seem to only get booked if it happens more than five times. This does make a difference as the Defender is now playing more cautiously with the booking and imminent sending off on their mind.

    Penalty decisions. For: there has been more than half a dozen penalties decisions gone against us this season alone. The first being at Newcastle when Gervinhio got caught on the foot. Not only was it not given but we he got sent off in the incident following it. Spurs on Sunday, hand ball in the box.

    Against: Spurs last Sunday, a clear dive by Bile, the media instead of lambasting him did their best to prove he got touched. Utter BS. There are many more such incidents this season with similar outcomes.

    It’s also noted how the Mancs get penalties given in times of need. Usually they get many in the squeaky bum time as their Lord puts it. Strangely it’s when games get tighter for them and they need this support. if someone can check this stat they will be amazed.

    Chavs away springs to mind. The Mancs 3-0 down get a couple of soft pens, the media go crazy and tell the world how great the Mancs resolve is. BS.

    The Mancs also get to play teams when their oppositions players are on suspension. It was a shame that Parker got sent off against us as this only helps the Mancs. This law has to be changed with sin bins or players not playing against the team he sinned against or even better severe financil penaties.Why should any other team benefit from a sending off that had nothing to do with them?

    I will never understand how we got deducted more points than the Mancs at the battle of Old Trafford and more to the point how even Arsenal didn’t question this.

    It’s funny how we English people think that there could never be corruption in this Country. Why do English people think that only we play fairly?

    Ultimately the English national team and us fans pay the penalty as there will never be an improvement in tactics or skills while we entertain these Rugby roughhouse things to go on.

    I predicted that Wayne Rooney would be ineffective at the last WC as his strengths are bullying an opponent. I also think his record in the CL is poorer than the Prem for the same reasons. Referees abroad don’t allow elbows and dangerous play, this doesn’t mean the sport is non contact abroad it’s just that they don’t allow foul play anywhere near as much.

    Maybe foreign Referees are the answer?

    I am certain there are young children playing up the parks of this Country who have tremendous technique and skills, alas the drunk deranged parent/thug who shouts at the kids will drum these natural skills out of them.

    I am of an old generation but remember the words on the touch lines when I was a kid. “get rid of it” and “let the ball do the work” along with “get stuck in” and “let him know you are there” being shouted constantly.

    What I am trying to get at is. We English people think its the way to go by fighting for the ball, we think that kicking the opponent is the right way and we still believe we have a warrior mentality.

    This has to change before our nation start to even get anywhere near the natural talent coming through as the top nations do.

    A Brazilian, Argentinian or Spanish boy starting as a child in England would never get picked out to be top pros IMO.

  • Mahdain

    ^^^wow el tel..just amazing

  • @El Tel – do you want to redraft that, polish it up a bit and submit it as an article?