The refs’ double standards

The refs’ double standards, the difficulties, the hidden things  and the human side of it all.  By Walter Broeckx

I already have written a few pieces on some double standards that were used in some Arsenal games the last weeks. Both against Sunderland and Chelsea the Arsenal players were allowed half of the physical challenge compared to the opposition.

It was for my eyes clear to see and I saw it after some 15 minutes and knew it for sure after half an hour. You cannot tell it by one decision but it takes a number of “mistakes” so see it and to know there is a system in it.

I can tell you that if you want to change a match as a ref, or better have influence on the game, you have to do it in a way that it doesn’t catch the eye. The way Mike Dean does it in games with MU is clear to see, if you are not a United fan that is.  In recent weeks we have seen it in the way to do it: by constantly bending the rules for one side and not for the other.  It works in many ways for the team you want to help.

The other team feels there is something wrong but they cannot change it and thus get frustrated. So that team will begin to try to match the physical challenge and you then just give a foul each time and… the frustration grows even bigger.

If you are lucky some players go mad and you can send them off. It was the ref who started it but if the players cross the border then no one can argue with the refs decision to send someone off the field.

Because the players get frustrated their concentration levels drop. They are more worried about the ref and forget how to play football and so they have a double handicap. Not able to battle back with the same means but also losing their own foot balling abilities. So you win anyhow.

But there are some hidden things that only refs know and which put on  pressure that is given in a subtle way.    One example comes with the seeding of  some teams.

Refs know then that the higher authorities would like those teams to go through to a next round. And it are those same authorities that appoint the refs for the games so if they are happy that team X wins the game they are happy with the ref and will give him more games as he has shown a “reliable” ref.

In the country I live it is known to the refs in the highest league will not to give penalty’s against a certain team.  Only when there is no other option, let’s say a player makes a save with his hands on the goal line, then you can give the penalty and it won’t harm your career.

Everybody knows it , and everybody keeps the mouth shut because it can harm your career if you come out with it in the open.

There is also something else that nobody ever speaks about but which could make a big difference.  Refs in the PL are mostly in the age of between 27 and 45 years. And most of the refs are married.  Now suppose your wife is also a football fan and she supports a certain team, called X. So you have to do a game of team X and you know that if you come home after the game and if team X would have been defeated, and then imagine it was the refs fault, would you feel comfortable in refereeing that game?

Well my wife doesn’t know anything about football and she has no team she likes so no problem for me but I can bet that there are other wives out there who do follow a team.  You could risk sleeping a few days on the carpet next to your bed for a few days.

But then comes the most human side of it all. Suppose you have kids. And they are very proud of their father who can blow games with United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and so on. But almost every kid that follows football has a favourite team. Lets called it team Y. And so you go off to a game leaving you family and your kid wearing the shirt of team Y when you leave them. You know that he will burst in to tears if team Y loses its game. You cannot imagine that team Y would lose because you make a mistake. I am a father so I know the last thing I want to do is to make my kids sad. I ask you, how can a ref blow a game with team Y in a fair way? You cannot or you should have a ice cold heart hidden somewhere in your chest.

The fact that all refs have their own favourite team is the least worry in fact. I have done games with my local team and I can tell you they haven’t been happy with all of my decisions. But to make your kids unhappy…. you have to be ice cold.

So how can you avoid these things ? Simple: by taking the refs out of control of the country’s FA. In the highest leagues you should only have refs that come from other countries. The chance that they have difficulties like I said with wives and kids are very small. You would have after a few years a level in refereeing that applies in whole Europe and more consistency.

But I bet a few dollars that the FA won’t let this slip out of their hands. Why ? The answer is clear for those who want to see it. The influence a local FA can have on their refs would disappear and this is the last thing they want.

Walter Broeckx (c) Untold Arsenal 2009


A history of corruption in English football

“Making the Arsenal” – the novel which tells the story of Arsenal in 1910

110 Replies to “The refs’ double standards”

  1. You would hope that there would be more integrity than being influenced by domestic issues. I believe the real cause of the problem is the pressure placed on referees by both certain managers and the media. Xenophobia is to my mind the root cause. Pundits keep saying that Arsenal need an English spine, they argue that there would be more passion but this is way off the mark, the difference is the referees attitude to established English internationals. You see it every week with decisions involving Rooney, Gerrard, Lampard and Terry . And who gets favourable press from amongst the managers? Ferguson, Redknapp, Allardyce etc. Who gets mocked? Wenger and Benitez. Not difficult to work out is it?

  2. So if a ref from another country starts refeering in the Premier League and marries an Londoner who is a lifelong Chelsea, your premise goes out of the window?

    Surely these were problems which affected referees always and aren’t a recent phenomenon?

  3. You are undone in your very first paragraph unfortunately. Arsenal are far from a physical team yet in both pre-match interviews Wenger had srtressed the need to be more physical in these games.

    What you had was a bunch of featherweights throwing themselves into challenges againt bigger men, resulting in fouls being given as Arsenal players bounce off the blue barricade. On the other side of this coin you have bigger, stronger men challenging practically children for the ball, as you saw with Drogba/Traore and Drogba/Vermalen challenges, the Arsenal players just bounce of like toddlers.

    That is no bias by the ref, it is not foul play, it is plain old physics. Mass over velocity, the bigger man will always win.

    I know this will shatter the little illusion you have built to avoid questioning Wenger but there is no conspiracy. The only people who gave Arsenal a chance in this game were Arsenal fans and as such I almost understand your anger, you just need to channel it correctly. Ask why Vierra, Adebayor, Flamini were never replaced properly, ask why Your defence is being propped up by 3rd 4th choice players, ask why Van Persie was allowed high pressure massage on ruptured ligaments while Chelsea sent a specialist with Lampard and refused any treatment after seeing how she worked, ask when is this team building going to be complete/bear fruit because from the outside it looks like everytime you get close, your best players leave for morte ambitious clubs, see ashley cole for example ;).

    Adebayor to score winner tomorrow night? You know it!

    Joe, Ch

  4. A Chelsea fan, eh Joe?

    i don’e go along with the beleif held by some that we lost on Sunday because of corruption. No, we just got spanked.

    However, there is no doubt in my mind that the FA and the media can, and do, combine to favour certain sides. manu are the best example, liverpool follow closely behind. One day that bias will bite your team in the bum.

  5. By the way, Shotta. You came up with some good ideas yesterday. How about it Tony? Where’s the clock telling us how long since the last arsenal penalty?

  6. How ever did you guess! :0)

    That’s more of a reasonable assessment although spanked is maybe a bit unfair, heads understanderbly (sp) dropped after the own goal and to chase down a 2 goal defecit in howling wind, rain with decemated squad, arshavin scared to head the ball (see his flick in penno area from cross after about 15 mins, could easily of got head on it and better direction than eventual flick) was never going to be easy.

    What gets my bile really rising though is when, as usual, Wenger decides to throw up a smoke screen and call cheat instead of giving the tiniest bit of credit to anyone, followed blindly by a million little Wengerites. Did you hear him say Drogba did nothing? Did you see the match stats? they showed Drogba had more shots on and off target, the second highest amount of dribbles, the second highest amount of completed passes not to mention 2 great goals.

    I am perfectly happy to give credit where credit is due, to the most bitter rivals or to a league 2 team in the cup, this is probably why I can’t seem to find an ounce of respect for Wenger the man or those who preach his every word like the gospel, I have huge amounts of respect for his philosophy and achievements but do not expect me to bow to his biased,ignorant views after a loss! After every loss.

    As for the refs and league bias, I honestly think everybody gets both ends of it over the season. Some would say in recent years we have been on the recieving end with our over the top punishments for crimes that are widespread. Or other games such as the Barca semi (lets not go there).

  7. I think it is right to say that these issues have always affected refs, and in my own article that is one of the points I am trying to make: that football has been overwhelmed by problems from day one. The article today on deals with just a handful of the corruption stories in English football’s history.


  8. Not forgetting the nailed on pen when Sagna rugby tackled Anelka! Best not mention that though as it kind of ruins the conspiracy :0

  9. tony, i have questions for every arsenal fans……

    Q. what’s the real policy of wenger???? What does he actually want for arsenal???Does he really believes his youth policy gonna give fruits in upcoming years???? If so then how? if he is not able to retain players he created in past years and let go of them without replacing them???? I am talking about flamini and adebayor here.

    Or from a neutral fan’s point of view he just want to convert arsenal into a factory, producing good players for wealthy customers??? Even if that’s the case then he must be active in negotiating contracts with players when contract reaches in it’s last two years not last two months!!! So that he can earn profits in transfer window….

    Q2.why most of the fans like YOU put the blame on refrees, media, even the epl body…..???? This is ridiculous, every time arsenal loses blame refrees, uefa, fifa, wealthy clubs, even pitch(last year fa cup semis)…blame every1 who r not arsenal related…huh..does that mean arsenal fans are the most whining one???”arsenal loss- blame refrees” C’MON GROW UP!!!

    Q3. Game against chelsea was tactical blunder…..i mean there can’t be any funnier sight than arshavin challenging terry for header :p….still in the first half likes of sagna kept tossing the ball n the air instead of ground passing….why wenger always screw up in big games especially against chelsea??(last year fa cup no arshavin no song).

    Q4. who’s denilson or rather what is his role in the team??? to collect loose balls??? how can wenger prefer him over song??how cud he sub the only player who’s presence was felt in first half??
    p.s- iam talking about present denilson not the future one..we all know what happened with song…..

  10. Joe, I don’t know if it is my English or yours but I think you missed a point. A smart ref doesn’t do the big decisions. He will not go for debatable penalty decisions. Mike Dean does but he is….
    Take a look at Utd the last seasons. How many penaltys have they got by diving Ronaldo ? Lots. But the things no one noticed, I did, is the dives outside the box. Smart referees knew he scored quite a lot free kicks from outside the box and he felt over and over again to get free kicks and to score. Now I’m not saying Ronalde never was fouled but half of his tumbles were just tumbles and should have got him a yellow card. So if you know as a smart ref that you want to give a helping hand without anyone noticing it, give them those free kicks.

  11. The sagna incedent was offside anyway,just watch it again and it wasn’t a penalty after all.

  12. Joe, I think the big difference between Chelsea and Arsenal is millions of blood money from Russia. I’m not a very religious man myself but if I make a prayer it is to keep such persons as far away from my team as possible.
    It is that blood money that lets Chelsea afford to have players like Drogba etc. 700 millions it was over the years if I remember correct that you got from your Russian godfather. Go to Russia someday and see what could have been done to the population in Russia with that money.
    We, at Arsenal, do it our way and you can laugh at it, but nothing ever in football has been for ever. Maybe in a few years time he will lose intrest and look for a new toy to play and he just dump all the Joe’s who support Chelsea in an eyeblink.
    So enjoy it if you really can enjoy blood moneys succes but remember nothing is forever.

  13. So what man if it is blood money,all the money is blood money.Wenger did some mistakes and he does it in big games that is a fact,i respect him for his philosophy but i think he should be a little more openminded and buy a f…. striker and a good deffencer,gallas ?????how much longer with gallas ?????i dont know why this guy is famous and plays in the french team,i think cause we havent got anyon else?

  14. The piece is titled ‘the ref’s double standards’, it is about giving decisions to some sides and not others, based on a rant by your manager.

    If you think no-one ever noticed Ronaldo over here then you missed something I think. Ronaldo’s cheating has been over anylised to death here and due to his ease in going down he was refused a fair few clear cut free kicks/pens just as he got many undeserved but the fact is a ref is not infallible, the fact your team got hard done by does not mean there is some conspiracy. Do you not think it is as much the players fault for conning the ref as it is the ref for being conned.

    The fact there is a respect campiagn for the refs now has highlighted their performances more than ever before, under constant scrutiny, your accusations of foul play are sensationalist junk that serves only to make the man in black a hate figure with an impossible job.

    Wengers unhelpful comments this weekend will put more pressure on men already in a no win situation and I hope you are as scathing with your stories when you are gaining the advantage. Although just like Mr Wenger I’m sure you will then claim the win was down to your superior schoolboys and not the allowed offside, free kick from dive etc. Your team are no different, they get treated no differently.


  15. Sorry Walter but you just lost all credibility with me. One minute it’s the ref’s, smoeone talks some sense at you and now you are turning a story about refs against me because our owner is rich?

    Go back to your grid iron mate, what you read on the internet is rotting your brain I am afraid!

  16. And Joe, I know refs from the highest levels to the lowest levels in my country and can talk with them and heard and seen things. I can add 1+1=2 and make up my mind about some things I see.
    I know a ref in the highest division in my country who had a season ticket with a team and on occasion he had ref that team during the season. I could have had his place if I had asked him.
    A ref is not a kind of robot that comes out of a box before the game and goes back in it after the game. No they are humans, with a wive (or boyfriend – I can even name a few of them ), kids (those with the wives that is), they have their favourite teams, they dislike some teams, etc….

  17. Out of interest do you know how Roman got his money? By being capitalist when the communist curtain raised.

    Being American you must know about capitalism right? In fact what Roman did would make him some kind f super american had he done it on your shores right. The American dream, to the letter.

    I suggest you educate yourself as to the how’s and why’s of Romans fortune and how it was legally made.

  18. Hey, if your tinpot ref’s take family feelings into account then they are probably completely in line with your government, banks and industry!

    I mean, are you really serious with that comment about family. Wow!

  19. Joe, I write live match reports and I wrote my thought about the ref down some 6 hours before I heard the Wenger reaction. So maybe it could be that Wenger first read my match report (in Dutch hahaha) and then gave it a go ?
    And I don’t know if you have realised it by now but I am a ref myself and this gives me a little advantage over other people on how to asses a refs’ performance on the field. I know the difficulties but I also know the possibilities that a ref has on the field.
    I know that the last thing I would want to do is a game with Arsenal, it will never happen, rest asured because this would be the game that I feel I would not be able to ref with no bias at all.

  20. I hope you don’t mind Walter but I am posting links to this page on a few footy sites. Also I will be sending it to Ask Jeff (Jeff Winter) for his comments as he answers all letters.

    Jeff Winter is a newly retired Premier League ref by the way.

  21. You are talking crap mate, started off OK but that last post has just deteriorated into nonsense.

    Just accept Wenger hasn’t got enough cover in, that’s why you are losing games, that’s also why you will be potless again come the end of the season!

    You have made accusations of favouritism with no basis other than a loss, you have told us that ref’s in your country are poor and influenced by minor external feelings. I think it is best said when you look around and see the only place you will find talk of favouritism or cheating is on Arsenal fan sites, no real media, no story.

  22. The reason I would get the refs’ out of the local FA is that by sending the refs all over Europe the chance of all those things that can influence a ref get smaller.
    Lets take Mike Dean. He can give Utd some 9 penaltys and 12 points in a season as he will have them some 4 times during the season, at least. But if you have always another ref during the whole season then the chances of having thos will disapear.
    The more then friendly behaviour from refs to some players would dissapear.
    Uefa has some 53 members so this could mean that every game in the PL you would have a different ref from a differenc country and the chance of “nice comrades” would be gone.
    A ref should have distance between himself and the players. That difference goes even after 2 games the same team in a season. I can tell you that out of my own games.
    But with uefa in it, this would mean that after lets say 3 seasons you could get the same ref back. By then the teams have changed so much the last game of that ref will not have any influence on the ref anymore. Always the same refs is not good for football.

  23. Joe you said: “You are talking crap mate, started off OK but that last post has just deteriorated into nonsense”

    Can you tell me in which post I talked nonsense because when I look back at it whe seem to dominate the comments a bit to much and I dont know to which post you are referring with the “nonsense”.

  24. Sashi, sorry to not answer your question but the chance of lets say a ref from Slovenia marrying a London girl is rather small.
    But then again if that would be the case the ref should report this to Uefa so they can make sure he doesn’t get games with that team involved.
    In fact when you become a ref you have to tell which team you support or if you have any bonds with a team. So if this changes during your career you should report it.
    Anything that can influence your opinion should be put clear to the Uefa, FA or what ever.
    But that leaves to question: will everybode try to be honest ?

  25. You’re not really making much sense Joe.

    you talk about the ref being unbiased, and also talk about men versus ‘toddlers’. This is just silly talk. Try something constructive.

  26. I said you are talking crap because in the middle of a debate about refs you start throwing in comments about Romans money? What has that got to do with refs? are you suggesting he is paying them? I think it is nonsense and has no beraring at all on the debate other than to shift focus from your imaginary, anti-Arsenal agenda.

    You also seem convinced that refs take family feelings into account, probably the single most bizarre comment I have read this week.

    With the premier league being dominated with foreign stars and owners your idea about refs would probably come under more fire than with just English refs. How, for instance would you have felt with a
    Russian officiating the match? Or a Portuguese. Do you think mud wouldn’t have been slung with a French ref and an Arsenal win?

    The fact is, like it or not, you have to trust the ref. If the decision is against you now, maybe it will be with you next time. I am all for preventative measures, technology, extra officials but with men like Wenger in football there will always be doubt cast.

    I am also an advocate that ref’s should comment after the game, just as man of the match and managers etc. To explain why they gave x,y or z decision, not to justify it, just to say what they saw, right or wrong.

  27. the men versus toddlers was just descriptive of a smaller person coliding with a larger one, had no bearing on the context of the rest of the post, but like Walter you only seem to want to answer points you can pick a hole in.

    I give up.

  28. Hi Joe,just wondered about your thoughts on the Man Utd game when fletcher took out Arshavin with his feet and collected the ball with his hand.Or maybe Adeybayor attempting to damage Van Persie,both incidents in clear view and close to the ref and both costing us the game.

  29. After all this I finally read your page header:

    Untold Arsenal: Arsenal News supporting the Lord Wenger in all he does. Edited by Tony Attwood

    Now I understand why we are having such an ‘open’ debate.

  30. Walter
    I dare say that what you are suggesting goes on but in this instance it just makes us look like poor losers. It would be better to bring it up when we have won.

    The referee maybe affected the game by not booking Mikel after his 3rd or 4th intentional foul, which would have been around the 10th minute. It is certainly a tactic, by most teams to try & rough Cesc etc early on but more importantly to stop the flow of our game. Few refs recognise this(or just ignore it) & what follows is a Troare type incident that is correctly booked. Then Joe Cole pulls Troare(?) down by the shirt but is not booked. That is inexcusable & gives weight to the argument that bias is shown in favour of English players.

    I would say the officiating was just poor, letting some go but not others (for both sides too) leading to a ludicrous incident, near the end, where Mikel(?) was clearly being fouled by Troare for about 10m right in front of the linesman, who did nothing until Mikel pushed back & there was nearly a fight.

    You are sure of an honest answer from Jeff Winter, an outstandingly poor referee, who was the most xenophobic of the lot? Ask Marc Overmaars.

    This game was about Chelsea getting it more tactically right & having strikers, who made a difference on the day.

    It wasn’t a matter of men against boys in midfield because I would say Arsenal just edged that battle as possession figures show.

    The match was won & lost because Cashlie should have been more adequately occupied to stop him getting forward. The d&gs favourite AA should be looking at himself here.

    Enjoy your days in the sunshine as we did before you. I find it best not to gloat because you never know what is around the corner.

    neutral fan
    You give every appearance of being a typical d&g. If you have nothing intelligent to offer, why bother?

  31. Hi Neutral Fan. The policy of Wenger is to produce a great team without inflicting on Arsenal either the Chelsea model or the ManU/Liverpool model.

    Chelsea are at the mercy of one man. If he loses interest, Chelsea cannot pay wages – they go bankrupt. When he decides to interfere with the manager, he does so. He buys players, he fires managers. That he uses blood money to do this is incidental.

    ManU and Liverpool are financial disasters waiting to come to a conclusion. The amounts of money that ManU need to pay to hedge funds in a few years time will not be found. What then? Liverpool need to convert to a Chelsea model or they will go bankrupt. Arsenal, on the other hand, have wonderful financial security.

    Why do we blame the refs – because they are crook. There is a well known phrase in rugby, “the referee blows with one eye”. Chelsea were allowed to break up the Arsenal game with fouls that were not blown. It is easy to do. Walter points out that the referees income depends on the FA appointing them to games. I don’t know why the ref blew the way he did – but I do know that it was not even. You are the one who needs to grow up. If you are incapable of seeing when things are wrong, you have no chance of correcting them. Arsenal fans need to march to the FA to complain about the Ridgewell tackle on Walcott. That type of tackle, deemed by the ref to be legitimate, can do serious injury. It was intentional, malicious and dangerous. Anyone who says that is whining needs to grow up. All football fans should march to FIFA about the tackle that ended RvP’s season. It was second leg, studs into the ankle; again, no foul awarded. Anyone who thinks it is ok should not write on a site that has serious discussion of football.

    Your opinions on AW’s tactical decisions are acceptable. They are reasoned and not just a rant. To me they are welcome, even though I may disagree with them.

    Your comments on the half time substitutions are sensible. Song has had a tremendous season and replacing him may seem strange to the uninformed or the unthinking. AW wanted to change from 3 defenders plus 2 wing backs to 2 defenders and 2 wing backs. That he did not take off Denilson was clear. As well as Song played in the first half, Arsenals dominance of the midfield continued in the second half. The present Denilson easily holds his own in the EPL. His stats for last season were outstanding.

    @ Joe. You are correct about the Anelka penalty – but it was immediately after a similar incident at the other end and the ref was probably doing the normal balancing. Terry should have also had a penalty after being hugged by Vermaelen. The free kick that led to the third goal was probably awarded in compensation. Joe, please comment on your match against Barcelona and the performance of the referee. I would like to see you comment that it was bad luck to be denied six clear cut penalties!

    The failure to introduce technology is clear evidence of corruption. Why else would the powers that be not want better decisions? Walter talks from experience of the corruption within refereeing. Why not do something to make that less likely? He who pays the piper calls the tune.

    Wow, there have been a lot of posts since I started writing this! Joe, Roman got his money because he was going out with Yeltsin’s daughter. The mad American economists told the drunken slob to privatise everything. Roman borrowed $50k and got 10% of Russia’s oil. Now Russian life expectancy has plummeted, but that’s ok because the GDP has gone up! Man City have oil money, but Chelsea have blood money.

  32. My thoughts are what I said above, the ref should be made to explain his actions. The Adebayor stamp, first off we need to realise the ref has no slow motion, no pause button, not 1 replay, just that instant. I do not know exactly what he saw but he obviously did not see the whole incident. I also think Adebayors retrospective ban was fit punishment.

    The Fletcher one, to be honest I don’t know the challenge and can’t be bothered to find clips although I’d be tempted to say kill Fletcher as he is a dirty fecker anyway.

    Would you like me to trawl the web and find instances of things going in Arsenals favour for you to answer or are there not any? I’m sure you objective Arsenal fans can mention some unfair advantages on your side right? What? You didn’t see them,

  33. Adebayor on RVP, nasty. Ref obviously didn’t see the whole ‘challenge’ but what with no replay, no slow mo, no Andy Gray he can be forgiven, would you truly want a man sent off if the ref hasn’t seen the challenge.

    More to the point, you are the ref, you have no help from lino or assisstant and you didn’t quite see, do you send him off or what? PLEASE ANSWER THIS, AND YOU WALTER!!!

    Adebayor was retrospectively banned and I think that is fair enough. Video technology would sort this out, a foreign ref wouldn’t.

    I can’t honestly comment on Fletcher challenge as I don’t know it and can’t be bothered to look for footage. First opinion is Fletcher is dirty cnut though so shoot him.

    These ref’s know they are in high pressure situation, they know there are camera’s getting every angle but Walter still thinks they are changing results for family memebers/personal pleasure whatever, it’s a joke. They are demoted for bad performances and at the end of the day, who wants to be shown all week long in endless slow motion making wrong decisions. PARANIOA

  34. Flint McCullough and Cape Gooner, nice posts.

    OK Flint so Jeff aint a great example, but he is the easiest to get an answer from 🙂

    Somehow I think Jeffs answer may be less biased than say, Marc (ex Arsenal) Overmarrs

  35. Maybe next post will make it a bit clearer:
    We all accept that Howard Webb should not go to the World Cup and then blow a game of England – Germany. Would you think that would be fair to the Germans ? Of let Hoyzer have this game ?
    Why ? He could be biased. His son would be wearing an England shirt during the game and support England. Webb should leave the country if he did something wrong in that game.
    And yet some refuse to see that the same bias could happen with club teams ? And we all know that for real club fans that is the only team that really matters. Even more than a national team.

  36. Hi Joe,i wasnt making comments for or against but it seems that when the pressure is on the ref as in the Man Utd game he has to be 110 per cent sure and if there is even the slightest doubt they would not give an adverse decision.I have always been in favour of technology but not sure how far we should take considering the possibility of making it a stop start game.One thing is for sure the refs ars human and as such are likely to be influenced by the media and will sometimes be in awe of the players on the who could well be multi millionares.It is a difficult issue to resolve,though from the two examples i gave extra officials probably would not have been advantageous as the ref was close enough to see them clearly.

  37. Walter, it would have made no difference who the ref was on Sunday, if Arsenal would have lost, Wenger would ride the ref, just like at Sunderland. When the boot is on the other foot and Arsenal get the decision the hypocrite never see’s it.

  38. @ Frank. Chelsea has better players than we do. We play better football. I would expect to win most games against them. When we are not allowed to play our football, they will win. We are dependent on the referee protecting us. Reyes was kicked off the park at Old Trafford; how they gloated. Hleb ended up black and blue after every game. What you say about Mikel is correct. If he had got a yellow after 10 minutes, we would have won in a canter. Instead he continued until the 70th minute, illegally breaking up the play. It was Mikel who won the game for them, not Drogba. No I take that back. It was the referee who allowed Mikel to win the game for them. Man of the match award to the ref.

  39. Joe – Abramovich only got his money through capitalism if capitalism is defined as theft. He was originally one of Boris Yeltsin’s enforcers, little more than a body guard/bully boy. He and a small group of Yeltsin’s supporters were given control of the various oil, gas & metals industries, going overnight from ordinary if privileged comrades in the USSR to billionaires in the new Russia. A good capitalist creates and builds businesses by investing in them not by taking advantage of the political situation. Being given the natural resources and the infrastructure to exploit them, all of which actually belonged to the people of the former USSR, without having to even lift a finger except to count the dollars they convert the roubles into, does not make Abramovich a capitalist.

  40. Joe asked : “More to the point, you are the ref, you have no help from lino or assisstant and you didn’t quite see, do you send him off or what? PLEASE ANSWER THIS, AND YOU WALTER!!!”

    Joe, as a ref I never sent someone off if I haven’t seen it. If we have to make a report of a sending off then you have to describe what you have seen and if you would write down : “a player punched another when I was walking away with my back to the incident” the commitee would let the player go. It’s only what the ref sees that counts. Nothing else. So the question remains: would I have seen it ? And unfortunatly this remains a hypothetical question.
    Would I see it: I would send the player off. Not seen it: not.

  41. Joe, one again: I took on the ref even before the final result was there. I did it in Sunderland (after some 25 minutes) and did it on Sunday after some 30 minutes. I give comments folowing the game on the computer and did it when Arsenal looked to be the more threatening team to score.
    Even the match commentator in my country who is hated by the Arsenal fans for his not liking the Arsenal said that it was strange that Mikkel could stay on the field.

  42. So the ref acted correctly on the Adebayor/Van Persie incident and there was no double standard there?

    You say in your above post “It’s only what the ref sees that counts” but it seems like this whole page is disagreeing with the above and making out the ref is bent. What the ref saw on Sunday is not good enough for many Arsenal fans the to many neutrals it was an fairly officiated game, I am trying to say that whether the ref was born in the center circle at Stamford Bridge or under the Eiffel Tower with strings of garlic hanging off him, his decisions will never be accepted by all. It just so happens that it is your turn this week, I can assure you that in the past, just as in the future there will be Arsenal opponents spitting the same vitriol over nothing decisions that could have won them the game.

  43. Joe

    Wenger & the other 19 PL managers I think but it is always AW who gets the bad press. 10,000th Sending off under Wenger, followed by Arsenal don’t like it up ’em etc.. No doubt you will remember some anti-Chelsea bullshit but just wait for a bit of an increase when your England players have moved on.

    It is true you remember what goes against more than what goes for. I do believe the saying “it evens itself out over the season” seems to be less true than it used to.

    We are all hypocrites when it comes to our teams, let’s face it.

  44. Well Joe, about the difference between Chelsea and Arsenal I really thought it was you that asked what the difference was between Chelsea and Arsenal ? Why Arsenal couldn’t keep Cole for example. It was pure a money thing and therefore I brought up the money thing. Much to your dislike I noticed.
    Money can buy succes but not class, you know.
    But maybe we can keep this discussion when Tony writes one of his articles upon financial matters.

  45. Flint, these new rules about homegrowns coming in will mean this is something seen less and less at all English clubs (possibly at the detriment of our league football), and don’t forget, we put out an all foreign team many years befoe Arsenal did, we know all about it.

    The reason the money comment got me upset is classic deflection, the subject was not money until you needed something to pad a post out with, I have been reading it for years so was expecting that one. It’s always the same, debate a subject, then when the pther party has nothing to say, attack the money. Oh surprise surprise it was a holier than thou Arsenal (we manage on buttons brigade) fan.

    The Cole transfer was money related, Arsenal didn’t want to pay him what he wanted so he left, players do it frequently, whether I agree with Coles motives are another matter. The fact he was never replaced properly, along with the others mentioned, was the intended food for thought. Which again was overlooked to poke sticks at Roman.

    The lack of replacements figures in this subject as it directly reflects on the quality of your current starting line up and why you lost on Sunday.

  46. Joe,
    On the RVP/Ade : if he didn’t see it he was correct. But we only got his word to it. I only say it was poor that he didn’t see it. What he also missed during that game was a launch from Adebayor over the ball with studs showing against Fabregas. He gave a foul but didn’t produce a red card. Not even a yellow and Cesc was very lucky not to have is leg broken at that moment.

    On the place of birth it would make a difference. Like I pointed out in the international games. You dont let a ref blow a game from his own country. So why not draw the line there and allow refs to blow in their own country and so avoid any doubt of being biased ?

    Would also point out that if for instance a ref hates England and gets a game lets say : Chelsea-Barcelona and showes his bias against the English and Barcelona wins in a very controversial way.
    But if it would be a game lets say Arsenal – Chelsea he would dislike both teams in the same way and it would make not much difference between the treatment of the teams at the end.

  47. Let’s give another example. Howard Webb.
    I have seen him live on stage with a band performing: “You never walk alone”.
    Now if there is one song that is linked with one football club in the world then it is this song. Now I must admit: it’s a nice song and I think most of us will sing it along when it is played somewhere. But to go on stage to do this song is another thing if you are a ref. You must at all times avoid being linked to one or another club. So maybe he was just stupid at the time, maybe het didn’t meant something with it but if I would go on stage and perform a song that is sung every home game by a club it would make me suspect dont you think ?

    But if it does express his sympathy for Liverpool in this case…. well dont you think it would be better then for him and for the other refs to send him to Italy, Spain, Holland, Germany or what ever country in Europe to ref games but please keep him away from games that could involve Liverpool or a team that is fighting in the league with Liverpool for points.

    Being a ref is difficult enough as it is. If you got the slightest doubt hanging over you then it is an impossible task.

  48. OK, so even if he says he never saw it he could be lying. Of course you only have his word on it, what do you want mind control. All you are ever going to get from anyone is ‘his word for it’, are you saying a foreign ref would be untouhable, I mean if an English ref might be biased or change a result for a family member couldn’t a foreign one be bought? Oh no, I forgot, it’s only those bastard English refs that are untrustworthy Arsenal haters.

    You are a paranoid freak Walter. I’m sorry I have resorted to name calling but I live in the real world where professionals do their job to the best of their ability.

    The Chelsea Barca game was something else. A very smalltime ref, given one of the biggest fixtures in the world to officiate and made a mess of it, yet I don’t call him a comspirator nor accuse him of double standards. He was a boy overwhelmed in a mans job, this was proven in the way he ran from Ballack. What would Collina have done to Ballack do you think. The referee’s in this country are as bad as the next but that was something else. The day I see any players acting like that is the day you know they feel ripped off, I didn’t see a bit of it on Sunday, are you comparing them?

  49. Yes, what Webb did was silly but look what it has earned him. Every performance is so heaviily scrutinised that the most innocent mistake, a throw in the wrong way etc is met with feirce criticism.

    He has made his own rod but this is a free world and singing a song should not make reasonable humans beings assume he is going to help Liverpool, that is something for the paranoid. If he is caught out helping them then heaven help him but can you find any instance of it, NO YOU CAN’T! Because if there was evidence then the Fergie’s Wenger’s etc of this world would kick up such a stink it would take a season to clear. He would be reffing in the conference before his whistle had dried.

  50. hey joe you mentioned sagna’s rugby pull but you forgot after kick off it was arsenal who started playing football but after being outplayed they turned turned physical (rugby way).

  51. @ Joe. “The fact he was never replaced properly, along with the others mentioned, was the intended food for thought. Which again was overlooked to poke sticks at Roman.
    The lack of replacements figures in this subject as it directly reflects on the quality of your current starting line up and why you lost on Sunday.”

    Joe, you will get very few Arsenal fans to agree with you. At left back we have Clichy who is as good as Cole. As reserve we have Gibbs, who is, imo, as good as Ferreira. As third choice we have Traore and Eboue. Who do you have as third choice?

    I think the others mentioned were Adebayor and Flamini. As centre forwards we have RvP, Bendtner, and Eduardo. I think they are all as good as Adebayor, albeit that Edu has not got back to his previous form. As midfielders we have Song, Denilson, Diaby, Nasri, Rosicky and Ramsey to play instead of Flamini. Any difference in quality is a figment of your imagination.

    I will repeat. If Mikel’s fouls were correctly blown, we would have won in a canter. You won because of (cheating/a poor performance) by the referee (delete one as to your preference).

  52. Joe, I notice a bit of double standards there ? I have seen great performances from English refs … some where in Europe. And then you see the ref the next week and you think: is this the same ref ?

    And yes every ref can be bribed. But if a governing body like Uefa gives the names of the refs one day before the game and then sends the refs and his team out with an observer, the chance that something could happen would be small.

    Maybe like someone mentionned this was not the best moment of publishing this article because now it is related to the Arsenal Chelsea game and I had a bit of a wider perspective in my head.

    Or maybe I kept my main point to the end and it got lost somewhat ?

    The point is : make refs professional in Europe, pay them good money so they don’t need to get tempted to accept something else, let Uefa pick the refs one day before a game send them to their games in whatever country in Europe. Let the refs train together in regional training centers so they can have a good physical fitness at the same high level and let the instructions be clear and to followed or else lose your license and lose your money and get back to the lower levels of football in your own country.

  53. Jo – I am sorry that you did not realise at once that this is a pro-Wenger site – but that pro-Wenger message has always been there.

    I set the site up because I felt there were very many sites that were constantly anti-Wenger, and I believed that there was a need to put the pro-Wenger point of view.

    This site has always proclaimed its position, from day one, and I think the difference between this site and many others is that we don’t pretend to take a middle view – we come out and say, we are Arsenal supporters and we are Wenger supporters. Many people are not and they can have their say here or elsewhere, but that does not change the position of this site or most of the readers.

    There clearly was a need for such a site as this, in that the readership has grown considerably since the launch and in November this year we reached a record audience of 120,000 different people reading in that month (with quite strict criteria about how we count those people – they have all read two or more articles in the month, for example, and if they stay on a page for over an hour we discount them – so that we don’t get too many odd effects in our numbers from web crawlers and other strange machines).

    So that’s where we come from – I guess thinking you are having an open debate where we are all open to change our minds is a bit like going on the web site of the Conservative Party (or the Republican Party – sorry I got confused who was in which country earlier) and complaining that you can’t have an open debate on the merits of anarcho-syndicalist revolutionary politics and the methodology of Trotsky.

    But I would stress, this site has always made it clear in its banner headline that it supports Wenger. So it makes sense to take it that just as most members of the Republican Party are Republicans, so most readers of this site are pro-Wenger.

    While writing, may I take a moment to express my very sincere thanks to the 120,000 people who have bothered to spend time on this site in November. That is a huge audience for a non-official Arsenal blog that has only been going two years, and shows the level of support for Wenger and an interest in the topics we cover, which most other sites don’t (hence the name UNTOLD ARSENAL). As the man says at the Ems each match, “thank you for your magnificent support”.

  54. Cape gooner our third choice right back is Essien as it goes, with Zirkhov fully capable of playing left back. Ferreira is unfortunately 4th choice on the right (behind Bosigwa,Ivanovic and Essien), 3rd on left.

    The rest of your post is opinion based and I disagree with most of it.

    Walter, your last post is very inteligent but unfortunately it is such a minority view that it will never happen. The only reason we are having this debate is because nobody wants to lose and will look for any form of comfort to cling onto.

    On the whole refs do a great job and the sooner people learn to accept mistakes against them as happily as they will accept them in their favour the better.

    TV cameras would sort 90% of the cloudy area with no need for refs who cannot communicate the players they are officiating because they just flew in from Transylvania etc. Even then there will be grey area’s that we see week in and out. It is in force in Rugby with no issues, Cricket and Tennis yet FIFA will not allow it. Maybe you should write an article on that instead of blindly jumping on the easy target!

  55. Fair enough Tony.Doesn’t it get boring though when everyone agree’s all the time!

    The only mind I wanted to change here was Walters who seems to think the whole world is on the scam and no one can be trusted, I hope this is just his internet (wenger influenced) persona as that must be a tragic mind to be trapped in!

  56. Just for you Cape Gooner before I say My farewells I thought I’d bring you in something fresh from the real world where people say what they actually think and not what they think Wenger thinks.

    This is what an honest, objective fan sounds like, this is also what most neutrals see:

    Arsène Wenger can point to the disallowed goal early after the restart (he definitely has a point to make there), and to Chelsea scoring from their first two shots of the game; one a terribly unlucky own goal by Vermaelen after some truly shocking near post defending by his partner Gallas (both were abysmal all afternoon by the way). He can point to all the 50-50 decisions going the opposition’s way, and to the fact that Chelsea were not totally faultless in their approach to the match themselves, not forgetting the fact that we were, and will be for a very long time, missing our main source of firepower.

    But what we cannot excuse and what he simply cannot use as an excuse is how we were dominated from top to bottom, pressed all over the pitch, with our style so cunningly used to play into Chelsea’s very own hands. We cannot excuse having 57% of the ball, yet fail to create a single clear-cut chance that had Chelsea fans biting their nails, or Carlo Ancelotti harrying into tactical changes.We cannot excuse being physically bullied throughout the pitch, with Eduardo and later the likes of Vela and Walcott in Terry and Carvalho’s back pockets, and with the midfield showing the combined strength of a melting chocolate teapot, and our link-up play just about as useful as a gangrenous appendix.

    Not only can we not excuse such a toothless performance, but we cannot excuse Wenger’s analysis as a mere blip or bad day at the office, with such themes recurring from seasons bygone. You may remember referring to my best friend Tommy Boi as I previewed the match. Well, moments after the match’s miserable conclusion (not quite so for him obviously), I received a triumphant text from him simply asking: “how many times do we have to dominate your midfield with strength AND experience before Arsène Wenger realises it for himself?” Well, for Arsène Wenger read various other expletives which we won’t go into, perfectly understanding that it is acceptable coming from a Chelsea supporter, eh Tommy Boi?

  57. cape gooner u haven’t answered my main question neither u tony…

    Q1.what’s the real policy of wenger???? What does he actually want for arsenal???Does he really believes his youth policy gonna give fruits in upcoming years???? If so then how? if he is not able to retain players he created in past years and let go of them without replacing them???? I am talking about flamini and adebayor here.

    Or from a neutral fan’s point of view he just want to convert arsenal into a factory, producing good players for wealthy customers??? Even if that’s the case then he must be active in negotiating contracts with players when contract reaches in it’s last two years not last two months!!! So that he can earn profits in transfer window….

  58. one more thing…i m asking this from my observation since 2007-08 club let go of their best player without(flamini) for free……that was ridiculous….

  59. Given the amount of money sloshing around the EPL, I find it amazing that you can treat charges of venality and corruption with such blithe disregard Joe.

    I am tempted to ask , what planet are you on?

    I didn’t see the Chelsea Arsenal game, but what I can tell you is this.

    We regularly, almost continuously, have a third to half our players crocked.
    Statistical breakdowns of matches show BIAS against us.
    When a player is given licence to hack his way round the park without getting the statutory card, its BIAS.
    Whether that bias is financially based, or not, whether it is conscious, or not, I can only speculate.

    Chelsea are a good team, and on a level playing field, maybe you’d beat us more times than we’d beat you. I’d just like to see a level playing field.

    The issue that shocked me this season, and which in many ways has set the tone for the season, and is exemplary of the way Arsenal are treated, was the arbitrary trial by media, media jocks, and the world and his wife, of Eduardo over an alleged dive. It was a completely arbitrary witch-hunt, and involved a gross defamation of character. We know why this happened here at AFCHQ, but what can we do about it?

  60. Wengers policy has to be (seriously has to) to keep Arsenal in the top 4 by spending as little as possible BUT WHY? (and this is where it gets fun)

    So that in the future when the ground is paid for the next manager and those after him can become everything Arsenal fans claim to hate, chequebook men.

    The only reason for doing this now is to bring Arsenal on a financial par with those they slag off for being money machines. The fact is because Arsenal have structured their HUGE debt differently they think the end result will be different when in fact it is a means to an end. Arsenals goals are not to win anything but to keep in touch until that day. No doubt if Arsenal dropped from the top 4, some of this money that does/doesn’t exist will be lavished on a few stars.

    Don’t just slate my opinion 😉 Tell me where I have got it wrong please x x

  61. Regarding Arsene’s one-eyed comments about Drogba, I get the impression of a man reaching the end of his tether.

    Wenger knows how much corruption there is within football, which is why he speaks elliptically of ‘financial doping’.

    I get the feeling he is getting to the point where he will have had enough of being flagrantly cheated and will throw in the towel ……just my view of it though.

  62. and please don’t try and tell me that after the above comments from Tony that we are going to get objectivity or honesty on this site if it involves statements that don’t make Arsenal and Arsene sound like God in Eden!

  63. Neutral fan:

    You said, u support in whatever wenger does….ANSWER ME MR TONY….

    I am not quite sure what you are asking, but I can say that Wenger has never done anything in football that I personally think is wrong. Each decision seems to me, in the short or long term, to be proven right.

    Flamini was mentioned in passing today – that is a perfect example. Flamini was, as far as I know, demanding a much higher salary after 3 years of modest performance and one year of high class performance.

    Reading the situation as best I could, I thought that Wenger felt

    a) that there was no guarantee that Flamini would continue at that high level
    b) that he had coming through players who would be better than Flamini, and that he might not be able to sell Flamini on when he wanted to get rid of him.

    In a) it looks like he was proven right because Flamini spent much of the first season in Milan on the bench, and really seemed to have a poor time of it.

    In b) I think that the Denilson – Song combination is awesome, and I would sooner have that combination than anything that involves Flamini.

    So that is my personal opinion – of course others may disagree – but yes in this case as in all others, I have felt Wenger has done things right for the club, taking all facts that I know about into consideration. And even if there is something that he has done wrong, I would still support him because he would still have been right for the club 99% of the time.

  64. i think we should be thankful of wenger for keeping the standards of the club high the legal way not like our neigbours who tap up players and get banned and rightly so but what happens next they go to some court do some dodgy stuff and the ban is suspended so that the can prepare themself its like giving someone ten lashes on the bum in punishment and allowing him to wear enough underwears so that lashes wont hurt where the hell is justice in that. i may not be as smart as joe or walters of this blog but i have a mind which understands logic and facts. so now the ban is suspended and the punishment is ruled out by the people we cant question. this is where corruption comes and a fan of very same club comes to another clubs blog to stamp his clubs superiority like they have just won the treble and have beaten us again and again to claim all those cups. plain stupid that is..
    as far as wenger is concerned i may not believe in his youth policy but he is the right man i know that for sure. when he had the right team he dictated history remember the invincibles?? remember the viera, petit and adams of this world no one can question that achievement of his where as when ever chelsea’s success will be discussed its going to be the millions of abrahamovich that will come first not the the success of that moaner jose or the club it self.ur club and paris hilton have somthings in common no class no charachter and you both have rich suger daddies and u think ur on top of the world.. you think you have earned the respect i am sorry my friend but that cant be bought either you have to earn it.
    Joe you complain wenger moans after every loss but you forgot your godfather jose who gave ur club a little bit of history use to moan even after winning. the only reason ur current mangers cant moan is because he is ashamed of his english also because he is the one who is being helped by the ref.
    you say arsenal is way behind chelsea but the results chelsea vs wigan 1-3 and arsenal vs wigan 4-1 tells a different story. we just had a bad day because we always stay faithfull to the cause that is follow the rules and lost the heart of the team (RVP) in doing so not like chelsea who wrapped their players in a cotton wool with a LIE tag on it (injured) which forced ghana board to setup an enquiry against essien who was absecent for no reason.drogba and lampard are part of the same conspiracy. i am sure chelsea will do somthing to overturn the enquiry. you can buy descition but you cant buy fate as you’ll end up where you started this year i am sure(empty handed). you cant buy class but you can buy success ..enjoy while you have it cz as they say EVERY DOG HAS HIS DAY

  65. Simply The Best.

    Why is it Arsenal fans, in thread about refereeing, can’t leave Jose, Roman and Carlo etc out of it! So what what Jose said 3 years ago, he was and still is a mouthy prick and other than quick success did us more damage than good!

    Just another case of looking anywhere but where the issues are. Your team is not strong enough, Wenger would rather see the debt shrink than the football flourish, commendable but not impressive really.

    For one years deferred payment on your huge debt you could buy 2-3 stars. A real center forward, a Vierra type and an Adams, you would be sorted for years but no, blame the ref for your weak squad, blame how much Us United and City spend for your short comings, it will just make it easier for the rest of us!

    Also note Arshavin starting to make noises about commitment and ambition, you all saw how he left Zenit, like a spoilt little child. Watch this space, he will be out of there at the end of the year for more money and more glory.

  66. Not sure how you can say that Jose did you more harm than good.He is the epitome of chelsea,win at all costs style out the window.He organised and built a very strong side that sticks to the basics and does them better than the vast majority of teams in world football.I have nothing against Chelsea and wish them all the best,in fact they were my prediction to win the league this season.Its just a shame when a club gets a new owner and spends hundreds of millions on players that they dont feel the need to try to play more adventureously.For me Ranieris team were head and shoulders above the current one for watchability but good defending and calculated risk taking are the way for trophys unfortunately.

  67. wow, 70+ comments and i’ve only been gone for a day…

    I can counter every arguments made against Wenger and Arsenal (ex: Flamini LEFT, it was his mission and with no contract to bide him he did in his own admission-he left to be on the bench for a team that used to be good)but I won’t, not anymore.

    I’ll say this though….

    I love being a gunner, I love what Wenger had done and is doing for my club, I hate they we just lost big to our rivals, I hate that we did not win things in 4 years…

    But I love this club, I love how we play football, I love how we always do things different, I love how Arsenal fans USED to stand up for their team no matter when…it’s sad to even see one gunner curse the team and manager let alone hundreds..

    I’m afraid that Wenger has to do it again – just shut up and prove everyone wrong one more time…


  68. football is called the beautiful game because it is suppose to be beautifull on the eye at least arsenal have made a name in the department which is used to judge football. if u think football is about strength then watch rugby ur following the wrong game and tell your team to register with the rugby union because my friend ur using a wrong reason to justify ur opinion because if u think football is about strength and winning no matter what then you need help for your mind and heart. you claim chelsea is better then arsenal but you only have the sundays game to back ur claim. how would you explain both our results against wigan. also u came here to justify the refrees what would you say about your semi final defeat to barca?? was it the case of a better team won or bad refreeing?? . ur team is strong strength wise not quality wise.

  69. if you think barca won because they were better then you are a hypocrite but if u think the ref was wrong then you just wasted all day justifying somthing that you think is wrong yourself.

  70. Not sure about the comment that Chelsea dont have quality.You cannot say that about Drogba,Anelka,Essien,Terry etc they are all very good at their job.Its just that they are not top technical players in the Wenger mould ie pass and move,atractive,creative.The one exception is of course Joe Cole who is a proper footballer and we need to acknowledge Ashley is now playing out of his skin and in some peoples eyes the best left back in the world.

  71. Whether these things are corruption or xenophobia, it is hard to say, or know.

    But I remember when Ade was sent off last season, it was for something trivial like picking up a ball, he was sent off for handball. OK, I exaggerate, but it was almost that ridiculous.
    He might not get away with the kind of challenges made in the last game when we next play, but I bet he’ll do more wrong then just pick up a ball, and he won’t be sent off for it.

    Xenephobia and petty corruption usually go hand in hand.
    I found a good exploration of that kind of phenomenon in Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, genius work.
    Sometimes it smells like Arsenal are being burned at the stake by the Witch-finder General.
    Of course the General earned more gold with every lynching of a witch. The modern British media perform a similar function?

    I also liked some of Shotta-gunna’s suggestions, the penalty clock would be very cool.
    But if a brochure was made denigrating our own players by some steadfast fans and put up on a blog, the right wing media would happily pick up on that story, but would probably ignore things like the clock.

    But it should be done, newspapers are dying anyway.

  72. Arsenal-Mania is a blog most of us wouldn’t be seen dead on because it is inhabited by the nouveau, only known success, anti-supporting types, who say they are Arsenal supporters.

    I should only write for myself but I think most of the regulars on this blog support its aims & principles:

    To support the club & Arsene Wenger, who is developing a team to be proud of, & aiding the Board to expand the club into a new & precarious era, whilst still maintaining the traditions of Arsenal FC.

    We recognise that the club has to be run on prudent lines, and because a new stadium has to be paid for, at a time when a magnificent team had needed restructuring, whilst the transfer market had been totally distorted by the arrival of Abramovic.

    Most of us realise building a team in the way it is being done takes some time & we are prepared to be patient. We see magnificent football combined with tremendous individual skills that are worth the ticket price alone. THe journey we are on is fun, full of entertainment & disapointments, like Sunday.

    I believe that most of us feel this enterprise will lead to very real & prolonged success. AW has in fact performed a miracle in keeping us competitive these last few years. Yes eventually the investment in the stadium should enable Arsenal to compete with all but the most reckless in the transfer market but it will be done out of the club’s own resources & that’s the difference.

    The only danger is this anti-support, who have to have & have now, & the danger of a Kroenke leveraged buyout or an unthinkable takeover by Usmanov, which would put us in the same boat as Chelsea.

    This blog regularly points out that Wenger has to compete on an unlevel playing field because their main competitors are very heavily seriously in major debt to fund extravagant purchases.

    Joe can enjoy his current bragging rights & we respond because it does hurt to be beaten, by a better team on the day, but our club is not like the rich man’s whore that his is. Deep down he cannot be comfortable in the knowledge that his club is riding on the edge of a huge precipice should anything happen to 1 man.

    The older Chelsea supporters have a right to enjoy their current success because they have certainly seen the other side of the coin.

  73. Joe,

    I advise you to stop talking about debt and money as your team loses ridiculous amount of money every year.

    Argue all you want about how you had success…but 2 league titles and a few cups do not justify 700 or so millions to me.

    What’s different between Arsenal and Chelsea in the past 4-5 seasons is the ability that was allowed by one man to buy ANY player on the planet, or so it seemed. Some of the buys had been shameful and illegal hence the ban. It’s like being given with a superpower which threw off any so kind of balance we have in the market.

    Wenger alway made sure that he’d get the right deal buying players….why would he spend 23 mil on a DM when he paid a lot less for a world class playmaker?

    Just because your team can buy players at any price doesn’t mean Wenger has to follow the bad trend and spend unrealistic cash.

    Why I like Wenger is also this:
    Take Roman out of Chelsea and the club would probably collapse in 24 hours….I said before that it is not being run like a proper football club, it’s being run like a rich machine that will do anything to win now at any cost…3 managers in a couple years is not a sign of stable and successful club my friend.

    But put anyone in manage Arsenal right now and he’s set, financially and all aspects.

  74. Flint: Joe can enjoy his current bragging rights & we respond because it does hurt to be beaten, by a better team on the day, but our club is not like the rich man’s whore that his is. Deep down he cannot be comfortable in the knowledge that his club is riding on the edge of a huge precipice should anything happen to 1 man.

    Your club is just going the other way round to being able to buy glory, I’m sure if Roman would have come in and blown £400 million on a stadium he would be castigated for that as well!

    As for our club being at the mercy of 1 man, look in the mirror! Wenger walks and you are in the same boat as the rest mate.

  75. i never said chelsea dont have the quality at all what i said was they are not better then arsenal quality wise and how can everybody forget how lucky they were in a few games during the start of the season when drogba crosses the ball in the box which ends up in the goal and chelsea gets 3points. when was the last time arsenal won because of their luck and a lucky winner in the extra time this season??chelsea did and i say thats lucky because the team who cant win in 90min and score and wins in extra time is pure lucky. i agree about ashley after all arsenal made him what ever he is.

  76. You miss the point, Joe, as I thought you would.

    We still have the traditions of the club most of us have valued for decades. I admit it could all change tomorrow but at least we have it right now.

    Clearly that matters not a jot to you & maybe it doesn’t to a significant minority of the Arsenal anti-support.

    You spend all day denigrating the bloke then you come up with that last sentence.

    Yes, losing AW could put us back years playing wise but not destroy the club. We all thought Liverpool would go down the pan when Shankley retired but look what happened.

    Had Abromavic invested in a new stadium to make Chelsea self sustainable then he may have a bit more respect, but maybe you wouldn’t have the support to justify it.

  77. Video replays are the litmus test.

    If a much more conservative, tradition fixated sport like cricket has had to introduce replays to remove the stench of racism/colonialism and match fixing that threatened to destroy the sport, years ago, how the hell have FIFA got away with it for so long? There’s a lot more money in football then, erm, cricket, only a deluded person would deny that corruption exists in football on a large scale.

    I’m not saying I’m a fan, but goal line technology would be so simple, for some basic things, but even that hasn’t been introduced yet. It’s the only way the sport will maintain any credibility in the long term.

    It will happen. But in the meantine people will want to keep the status quo for as long as possible.

  78. joe, its great to have an agent provocateur in our midst that not only makes inflammatory comments, but stays around all day to defend his position. fair shout.

    i support wenger in all things, as do most regulars here. but i can see both sides of the argument. in a strictly literal defenite sort of way, chelsea certainly had the rub of the green on sunday. so arsene was right to mention it. in hind sight i expect he would have said something else altogether, but only because of the extent of the news coverage. after fergies and bennys incidents this season, it would have been more prudent to not have said it at all.
    i can see your point of view also. as an outsider it must just seem like that french bloke is bloody whingeing again – if its not the refs its the internationals-why doesnt he ever just shut up. but thats how we feel when any other manager in the pl moans or complains. we havent seen much complaining from your manager because hes only just finished unpacking his stuff. give him a while and we will be hassling you for defending him. you would defend him wouldnt you?

    i think tonys got it spot on about flamini. and its true that adebayor is an awesome player and potentially a great loss. the only thing is that he didnt want to play for us last season even after his wages were doubled.

    as far as arsenes decision making about team selection, we can debate some of last seasons team sheets, but i think its been fairly well covered already. my take on it is that arsenal is still a team in the making, and that last season, and maybe this, are just the warm up.

    a little word about financials joe. you cant expect to come to untold arsenal and not talk about money. if you want the lowdown on any clubs finances, here is a good place to start. not just clubs, but the organisations that run the show as well.

    no chelsea fan (or anyone else for that matter) can deny that every bit of silverware you have won since suggar daddy came to town has been bought. simple as that. in contrast, everything that arsenal have won since arsene came to town has heen earned with blood sweat and tears.

  79. If Wenger walks the one who come in will have nothing to complain at all…

    Arsenal is and was never a 1 man club, what Wenger has done further prove that Arsenal runs as a proper club doing things within its true assets and resources…

    I’ll advise you again Joe, don’t talk about money or how a club is run here mate, we have far too many people, like Tony, here to give you clearer perspectives into seeing things which you won’t like at all.

  80. hey Joe i dont understand you mate u said before arsenal fails because of wenger and now you say arsenal will fail without wenger too. go get some sleep mate. enough of your hypocrisy and unfaithfullness you cant stay loyal to the men(jose and roman) who gave your club a bit of history and quality so that you can go on to other club’s blogs and debate because you support the club who won. minus these men from chelsea and you have nothing even to talk about.shame on you

  81. as for the sugar himself, i think that in years to come , russias sell off of its assets to favoured buyers at favourable prices will be seen as a defining moment in their history.

    we only get to see the nice football side of roman. in truth his purchase of steel industries (i believe?) and the subsequent fortune he has garnered since has all been at the expense of ordinary russian people.

    i just hope he pisses of putin, cos hes already took back businesses that were sold at the same time as romans, and thrown some of the oligarchs into the klink.

  82. Walter, I mentioned cricket in my post above regarding video replays.

    I’d like to compare what happened in cricket with neutral umpires. They were introduced a little before the use of video replays for minor obvious decisions, but more or less at the same time. In cricket, the club game is only now turning international, so all these measures including neutral umpires were introduced at the international level of the game. In football, international or regional club competitions neutral referee’s have been used for a long while. Neutral referees in domestic leagues is a great suggestion but not enough I feel.
    In cricket, by the time they belatedly introduced neutral umpires, they realised it wasn’t enough, and the replays came in at the same time, early 90’s. This to me makes the reticence and complacency of the Football authorities all the more glaring, the traditional attitudes and conservatism of the cricket authorities are legendary, but they felt they had no choice. The demand was created more by the match fixing allegations then by accusations of xenophobia, and the fact that international cricket was hit by a scandal that international (but not club) football has avoided so far, and that perhaps is the difference. However, with club football being far bigger & more lucrative then international football, the inverse to cricket, the fact that there have been major match-fixing scandals in club football but no action taken, is simply inexplicable. I feel, video replays are essential for the sport to maintain it’s credibility, but obviusly how that would work, is unknown.

    There is a precedent:
    Zidane was sent off in the WC final by the fourth official after he witnessed the video replay. I do not like or approve of this example, Zidane was my favourite ever player, but it highlights FIFA’s duplicity; they’ve already used video replays in a WC final!

  83. Correction:

    In cricket, the club game is only now turning international, so all these measures including neutral umpires were introduced at the national level of the game.

  84. Joe said: “For one years deferred payment on your huge debt you could buy 2-3 stars.”

    Well this sums it up rather nicely I would say.

    Yes it could Joe but we at Arsenal don’t do it that way. We’re no United who buys succes and doesn’t pay its debts back. We’re no Liverpool who lends money for a stadium, spends it on players and has nothing left. We’re no Chelsea were one man has the faith of the whole club in his hands and brings in money that the Club never could have brought in.

    No we are The Arsenal and if we want to build a stadium we ask for a mortgage by the banks and we act carefully within our means to be sure we can pay the money back. We try to do it in an honest way without cheating other clubs.

    This is something we, if I may use the we word, are proud off. We can look every one in the eye and say : we do it on our own means, we pay back our debts and we at the same time try to play the most beautifull football in the world.
    So I’m proud of this club that does it “the Arsenal way”.

    A few years without succes, well it’s not always nice but I can live with that. After 30 years good and bad I’ve been trough some dark years before you know.

    So tonight when I go to bed I will be sure that for the next decades my club will be a healthy club. Do you go to sleep and think : “Roman will never let us down”. Or is there maybe way back in your head a “?” that says : what if he would?.

    Well must say what a luck I had taken a week off at work. 😉

  85. Finsbury,
    Thanks for the info.
    This summer late at night I have been watching some international cricket tournament on the BBC and it was the first time I ever did saw the games played.
    As I am a great sports lover I rather enjoyed the event. Wasn’t it Holland that beat England ? A big shock it seemed. I really have no clue on who are the best teams in cricket.

    But it looked all fair to me the way the things went and the procedures to keep everybody happy.

    I’m also in favour of technologie to give the ref assistance on the field certainly in the higher leagues when there is big importance for all involved. Maybe I will try to write an article about it one of these days to give my views on the whole picture.

  86. Only a fool belives all refs act unbiased in all games,
    there was one instance on sunday(play being called back for an offside to Arsenal although Almunia had already played the ball to Sagna free on the right wing and Arsenal in good attacking position) that brought back memories of what an ex ref told me years ago about a big semi final he reffed,
    He told me his favourite team was in the other semi final and very likely to win it, (which they did) and he felt that their was only one of the other semifinalists they were likley to beat in the final so he gave that team a helping hand and no one ever suspected because he beat them giving them freekicks, evertime they were in full flow and had opponents in dissaray he would blow up and give them a freekick around the halfway line or out wide, he gave them freekicks on edge of the area when the broke through and about to shoot, near the end he even gave them a dodgy penalty, but as they were 3 down it did not affect the result.
    One thing that was clear on sunday was that the ref was not going to stop Mikel from fouling, he made a big issue of warning Mikel about fouling, but he warned him four times before he booked him late on, how can a player be warned four times that next foul will be a booking,

    A question that needs answering too is why have Arsenal not got a single penalty in domestic games this season, thats 15 games, and for such an attacking team it does seem strange at best, corrupt at worste, not one penalty since Eduardo penalty storm.

    Can’t think of the refs name, might be Mark Hasley, who is suffering from cancer and he has already stated that he will when back reffing repay those players who personally contacted him to wish him well in his fight against cancer, is that not openly admitting he will side with them, SKY said alot of the chelsea squad contacted him

    Why has the idea of bringing in the best refs from around europe to take charge of EPL games, been totally ruled out of hand, what are the EPL and FA affraid of, unbiased decisions, pool, manure and chelski not getting every decision

  87. The chavs played a very effective game against us on Sunday, with a disciplined defence staying behind the ball, allowing us the freedom to come forward but breaking up our play using robust tackles, regularly intercepting passes and crosses, and looking to catch us on the break. The right strategy to adopt against a team like ours, and one adopted by Sunderland in our previous game, with similar results. Our boys did their best, and continued to come forward until they became exhausted, but on the day the chavs were too skillful and too powerful for us. We were out-played and out-thought, end of ….? Well, not quite.

    First, we were unable to field our best team due to injuries, whereas the chavs have the financial resources to buy massive strength in depth. Arsene recently called it ‘financial doping’, meaning, I think, that access to almost unlimited cash buys virtual immunity to injury, since as the season progresses players can be replaced with others who are equally effective. Had we been in a position to deploy our full strength squad, we would have been much more difficult to contain, and able to break down the chavs’ defensive wall.

    Second, like Walter I knew after the first 20 minutes that the referee’s decisions were not going to go our way. Unlike Walter, I didn’t see this as definite evidence of corruption, but rather as a combination of bias and incompetence. Despite FIFA guidelines recommending that referees protect skillful players, the referee favoured a ‘robust’ style of play rather than a skillful style. An increasingly popular approach with English referees. When our players were fouled he interpreted it simply as a weaker player being muscled off the ball by a stronger one. When our players adopted similar robust methods, he interpreted it as foul play, possibly because for a smaller player to deprive a bigger player of the ball usually requires much more visible signs of effort. Inept and incompetent, yes. Corrupt, perhaps not.

    Of course, in adopting this approach, the referee allowed the chavs to play their preferred game. Unintentional bias, but serious bias all the same, and with a corrosive effect on the morale of any team that seeks to use skill rather than brute force. Again, the strength of the chav squad allows them to play this way, because every player is replaceable. And of course it would require exceptional courage and integrity for a referee to go against the trend and regularly penalise a finacially powerful team like the chavs for playing a style of football that costs so much to maintain and confers such an large advantage over other teams.

    Finally, it is worth reminding ourselves about the true cost of chav football. Loss of all self respect. To be a chav supporter is to support a team of very expensive rent boys, paid for with money stolen from the people of Russia during the chaos following the ending of communism. If, like me, you visit Russia regularly, and see the effects on those who suffer as a result of the actions of its super rich oligarchy, chav football would make you feel sick. Stu.

  88. Joe, referring to the Arsenal-mania article. I agree that the performance of our forwards was ordinary. I agree that the performance of Gallas and Vermaelen was less than ordinary. I’m surprised they had nothing to say about Sagna who cut out neither cross. What I am at loss to understand, is if our forwards and backs were so bad, how could we have 57% of possession when our midfield was “showing the combined strength of a melting chocolate teapot and our link-up play just about as useful as a gangrenous appendix”? Were we playing against a third division team? Chelsea could only manage 43% possession against this total shambles?

    No Joe, I think this analysis is fatally flawed. A sensible analysis is that our forwards were well held by a defence that blocked extremely well, our first choice defence (not Traore) had a poor game, our midfield was dominant, and (for the twelfth time) that dominance would have been turned into victory if the referee had properly attended to Mikel’s constant fouling and breaking up of the play.

    Joe, I have far more patience with you than some of our so called Arsenal fans. They are very frustrated that we don’t go out and buy a Vidic, an Essien and a Torres. Where do they think we will find them? We think Song, Denilson and Diaby are great because we see that every week, and the stats confirm it. In Djourou we have a great central defender. Does it make sense to buy another one and make him 4th choice? Bendtner was the Danish player of the year. Does it make sense to buy another striker and make him 3rd choice?

    Stuartlondon. Well said.

  89. Eduardo,
    the instructions are clear : if you give a player a warning and he does it again you must give him a card. If not you are making a fool of yourself as a ref or…. you do it on purpose. Both are bad I might say.

    The story about Halsey is another thing that supports what I mean. I wish him all the best and hope he recovers well, but never can he give anyone something back for what they done or not don when he was sick. Only by saying this, as a ref, you are on the wrong way. How human is reaction may be, you can not have sympathy for the players on the field. The moment you think :hey he send me a nice card when I was ill, so this wasn’t a penalty against him….

    Joe, if I remember right you talked about a ref from Transylvania that would have problems with the language… well you know… there are places in the world were they can speak more then one language. And as English is already used as the official language in international games in Europe. All, then professional refs, would and could learn English.

    But once again and like Eduardo said, this would stop the influence a local Fa can have on its refs and therefore it will not be applied.

  90. cape gooner only traore had a good game considering his second pl game the rest three were guilty of leaking the first two goals

  91. Wow -mine will be the 99th post.Nice to see everyone being possionate enough to log on and argue their respective opinions.Joe [I admire your endurance and tenacity], as Tony pointed out this is a pro-Arsene Wenger blog,and we admire his approach to the game.We are willing to wait for our turn to dorminate the EPL in the coming years.Arsenal played the better football but lost to a more robust ,cynical and organised Chelsea.The ref should have been firmer in controlling the game but at the same time the boys should not have had their heads drop after the unfortunate second goal.Learn ,move on and try harder next time.As for the fans, don’t despair,get behind the team and AW,and keep the faith.

  92. so why did wenger never renewed flamini’s contract before he started playing good?? Given that he trusts his youth policy that much….1st objective of wenger shud be to keep the team together for as long as possible…for that he needs to be active in renewing contract before last year is left in contract…

  93. Hi,and thanks to those who liked the fact I tried to stay and argue my point yesterday! It seems ‘some’ of you are actually open for debate. For some reason others think I was trying to change people’s minds, if any did it’s a bonus but that was not the intention, just sensible debate that a small few joined.

    As for the rest of you, you should be ashamed of visiting such a site that seems to serve the purpose of massaging each others ego’s and blocking all criticism, it’s really not healthy.

    I have never visited such a love in kind of site before and I certainly will not be looking for Chelsea’s alternative, I’d like to think that it doesn’t exist but I’m sure it does!

    Personally, as in many areas other than football, I find closed debates such as this breed contempt among outsiders and train those in ‘the club’ to be dismaiissive of others views and ultimately ignorant of the subject they aim to discuss by only listening to one side.

    I am actually a member of a large forum where fans mix, discuss, get heated but mainly people listen, form their own opinions and answer, I was told yesterday that this is not on the agenda here. If Wenger says it, it’s gospel. I won’t spam you with links to it although you may find it very easily by searching TFF.

    Goodbye x x

  94. I just can’t stay away! You all say the press is against you, refs are against you, the FA is against you.

    What do you make of stories like this

    Is Arshavin wrong? You know, the pro footballer who actually knows what is going on behind closed doors at Arsenal.

    On a side note do any of you think Arsene should be looking at Romelu Lukaku. Is another 16 year old what Arsenal need? You all jumped on me for suggesting Wenger should spend out on 2 or 3 established stars to steady the ship but do you really think this 16 year old will provide the stablising effect needed in your squad right now? Especially when now everybody knows all they have to do to chase Arsenal of is add a zero, then another.

  95. I think most of us, on seeing the Arshavin story, would not think as you suggest but would in fact reflect on the articles that appeared here, relating to the previous Arshavin stories. To take but one example, a story was circulated in the Express I think (sorry I haven’t bothered to look it up but we covered it in detail here) which came out a month after Arshavin signed.

    It said that he was ready to leave because he was shocked at losing 50% of his income in tax. Several other papers ran the story. Arshavin denied the story, and as several insiders pointed out, it was silly because Arshavin like the rest of the international players in the EPL would be getting a salary quoted net.

    Then three weeks later the same story appeared in the same paper again – word for word, an absolute reprint. No mention of the counter statement, no mention of the fact that the story was not new.

    So I think on reading any piece in a paper like the Express, we would think it was made up.

    You may have read my article on working in a news room that appeared on 11 Gunners, and then was reprinted on several other sites. It dealt with this phenomena – something of which I have a little experience. And while I wouldn’t expect you to be interested in buying my book, MAKING THE ARSENAL, if you were ever to pick up a copy somewhere, you would see that it deals with life in a newspaper office. Through the book you will see how newspaper stories work and emerge day by day.

  96. If you have to believe the papers then Chelsea would be intrested also in Lukaku.
    Which is intresting because I spoke a month ago with the former manager of the first division team where Romelo’s father Roger played. His father also was a big and strong player but just not good enough to make it a top top level.
    With his son doing rather well for Anderlecht and so he asked to the father if he would let him go abroad right now and the father showed some good healthy thinking (from my point of view) that he first had to finish school because a prof can have his career ended in a split second and then you have to live your live.
    Now the boy seems promising and he has the body of an adult (like his father Roger) and is very strong and pacy.
    Will he make it or not ? He would get a chance if he should come to Arsenal but I never think that AW will give 10 million for a 16 year old

  97. The press never make stories up!
    Never. Never ever.
    Referees never cheat.
    Show me one example.


    I’m sure you enjoyed that victory for Holland in the T20 tournament over England!
    Have you ever watched the five day version of the game?
    I think I better reign in my cricket chat there, it could go on for a while.

  98. Rounding this debate up can I thank Walter for giving us the article that led to more comments than we have had before for a single piece. Thanks to everyone for writing in, including of course the comments I completely disagree with.

    “Love in kind of site” indeed.

  99. Your very right refs are the ones that spoil games,when i see Mike Dean on Manu-Arsenal game, i give up and just wait how manu guys will hit the boys and dive in the box

    Arsene should deploy Arshavin for V/P, he has potential to cover up.

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