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July 2021

This is the moment that Arsenal should spend a little cash. £150m should do it.

By Walter Broeckx

“Spend some f$cking money.” I think we all have heard it before, seen it before, seen it written before. But is it really that simple?

We all know (and if you don’t know this by now I welcome you, visitor from Mars) that Arsenal only will spend what they have earned themselves. For me, personally, this is a breath of fresh air in a mad football world.

And yes, the football world has gone mad. In Dutch they use the expression the world has gone for soap (as usual it gets lost in translation but I will keep it in because the football world sure could use some cleaning up.) (That made more sense).

[And anyway, on what other Arsenal blog do you get solid football debate combined with literal translations of Dutch and Flemish idioms?  This is exactly what I had in mind when I called the site “Untold”!  Well, actually it wasn’t, but you know…  Tony]

[Sorry Tony seems a bit excitable today having watched Arshavin play for Russia last night.  He’s been taken for a lie down now.  Duty Officer, Untold Management Committee]

[Sorry about the interruptions. I’m on the job now.  Back to the article by Walter.  Senior Vet,  Untold Writers Supervisory Body]

But with the sugar daddy clubs winning the EPL and the CL for some time this is the only way to go. And so we can see with the regularity of the time table of the Eurostar from Brussels to London we get people over here who shout this magical sentence that will resolve all problems and will guarantee us all the titles in the world: spend the f*cking money.

Now if, for the sake of it, we would imagine that Kroenke as the major shareholder would get out of bed this morning, take a look around at his house, feels bored and suddenly gets this idea: yeah, why shouldn’t I spend some of the cash I have spare?  – then what?  He comes to London with his cheque book and tells Wenger: “Okay I have got £1billion (as that is what it apparently takes to win something like the PL and the CL these days) you just spend it all before August 1.”

And suppose Wenger does what Kroenke orders him. And he goes and buys all the mercenaries you can find in the football world. I think Tevez would fit in to that nicely. Who knows even Nasri might come back. Christiano Ronaldo forgets that he just said he wants to stay at Real for ever (it was just for fun and he actually intended to say: stay for never, and anyway the bank has just gone bust so he might not get paid, just like those guys at Barca don’t get paid when they run out of cash). We get all the Goetzes of the world. We buy Terry and Lampard as they know something about earning lots of money and winning things. We buy Suarez to complete the diving section of the squad.

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Now some might say: “we don’t want Arsenal to spend that much.” But that is the point. If you spend less you don’t have any guarantee at all to win something. If you are not willing to join the mega bucks spenders like Chelsea and Manchester City then it all could be for nothing. If we spent £150m it could be that we end up in 8th place. Like Liverpool did. Or in 6th place like Chelsea did this season. But thanks to the spending of some £1billion over the last seasons the old guard finally got their CL.  Just.  On penalties.

But “us ambitious” Arsenal fans want to win it all! Not just one trophy. No, no, no. We want to win it all. So we will have to spend even more than £1billion because for City it only was just enough to win the PL…on goal difference.  They went out the CL in the group stages and then lost in the Europa league. So they didn’t buy enough to win it all.

So after reading this we should realize that we should send Kroenke back to his home and get another cheque book out. We should go even one step further. And who knows with the Spanish economy and their banks on the verge of distinction even Messi might consider coming to London. How much would it take to get Messi? £500m? If I remember right there was an outrageous buy out clause in his contract of around £750m a few years ago. I could be wrong with some £100m more or less I admit.

But that should be enough to win it all I think. If we would get them all, then we should be able to win the PL, the CL, the FA cup and the Carling cup that has got another name from now on but I will not write it down because I’m not sure of the spelling and it could end up horribly wrong and getting untold a bad parental rating.

Again you might say: we don’t want Arsenal to spend that much. But again you have to make a choice somewhere. Go to the bank and put all the eggs in one basket or do like we are doing. Because spending a little bit more than we do now will guarantee us nothing.

[Can you actually put eggs in a bank?  Tony]

[Help, Tony’s got out again, can you get the vet back? – Chief Orderly]

Another point is: who are we to say to Kroenke or Usmanov that they should spend their money? Would you accept a total stranger coming over to you and telling you: you should spend your f*cking money.  I’m not telling Tony how to spend his money. And I wouldn’t accept Tony to tell me how to spend my money. If he would ask me advice I could say what I think but who am I to say: you must spend it like that. It is his money and he should do as he feels is best. Not me, not you, not anyone else.  And it doesn’t matter if people like Kroenke have lots of money or not. We have no right to tell them how to spend it.

Some people are screaming to take the money from Usmanov after he offered to spend £100M a few seasons ago. Now that showed ambition. So some people get fixated with Usmanov and want him to be the chairman of Arsenal. But as I just illustrated spending £150M is hardly enough these days to win the Carling cup these days. So unless Usmanov comes up with £1billion his offer is worth nothing. We could as well just continue the way we do it now.

A thing we also have to keep in mind is that Usmanov does seems to have a strange way of thinking. To the outside world he talks about giving £100M to Arsenal to spend on new players. But on the other hand he is the only shareholder that has gone public on the fact that Arsenal don’t pay dividends to their shareholders. And he wanted to change that. But paying dividends is taking money out of the club and put in the shareholders pockets. And isn’t that something that the Usmanov supporters claim the current board are doing? The current board doesn’t fill their pockets and it would be an easy thing to do for them because they can decide on this in a split second. But the current board which doesn’t include Usmanov wants the money to stay in the club.

And my final remark on Usmanov is that at the moment when he said that if he would become the boss at Arsenal he would give £100M to Wenger and tell him to spend it (or something in that style), it was very unclear how the situation would develop. Kroenke and Usmanov were both buying the loose shares but the old board members had agreed not to sell to anyone until the dust of building the Emirates had settled down.

So in a way it could be seen as a way of getting board members on his side and get them selling their shares to him. It could have been a political move.  Who knows if he would keep his word.  After all Gillett and Hicks promised they would not use the Leveraged Buyout technique to purchase Liverpool, but would invest their own money to start work on the new stadium within one month of their purchase.  Of course I don’t suggest anything untoward of Mr Usmanov, but the fact is that with a billionaire you simply don’t know which way he will jump and for how long.

Billionaires can act like politicians who stumble over each other to promise heaven on earth. And every time lots of people believe them. And fall for it. And vote for the person who promises most. And then after the election when the biggest liar won the election we find that we have been cheated. A bit of keeping up appearances but not what they promised before the election.

So who of those Usmanov supporters can guarantee me that Usmanov will spend the f*cking money? Who can guarantee that Usmanov will spend that promised £100M FROM HIS OWN MONEY? And that keeping in mind that in this moment of time spending £150M is just enough to win the Carling cup on penalties against a first division team.

Which of the Usmanov supporters can tell me how Usmanov wanting to take money out of the club rhymes with his promise to spend £100M?

[Hello – I am Tony’s banker, and would like to point out that he does not have enough money to make it worth telling him what to do with it].

The Billionaire Files:

124 comments to This is the moment that Arsenal should spend a little cash. £150m should do it.

  • GAZIDIS: – “I don’t think whether it’s Mr Usmanov or anyone else out there that we should pump money into the football club. We don’t think that is healthy or for the good of the game.”

    ‘The FANS’: – “Usmanov can provide skills and expertise that could help us to compete in the transfer market.”

    Big Al: – Uh, uh… what ‘the fans’ are REALLY meaning to say is: “Usmanov can provide money, BIG money so we spend, spend, spend like Chelsea and Man City.”
    What ‘the fans’ want is to criticise Chelsea and Man City for the unsavoury way they compete, whilst (secretly) wishing for the same at Arsenal. Unless, that is, ‘the fans’ actually think the two aforementioned clubs are healthy and good for game, of course.

    H – Y – P – O – C – R – I – S – Y
    That’s how to spell it, for those having trouble.

  • Matt Clarke

    To guarantee success we must buy all of the players…ALL of them.

    Oh, and a bigger bench.

  • The BearMan

    It will be fascinating to see with all the comings and goings during this transfer window, what Master-Plan the Arsenal Board have up their sleeves? What squad we will end up with? That will determine the club’s ambition for another season.

    Absolutely nothing to excite the Bear thus far, apart from the pruning process finally taking place.

  • Scott

    The Bear is obviously ignorant as to how good Podolski is.

  • Rhyle

    Well done, Walter. An interesting read and raises some points that the less thoughtful, more reactionary Arsenal fan truly want – I’ve had this discussion with them in another place and made the same points as I’ll make to you…and I agree with a large chunk of what you’ve written…although it’s worth making the point that selling “it might not work and it might make things worse” is always going to be a hard sell in the face of “it might work and it make things better”. Depends on how you’re built, I suppose!

    I don’t believe Usmanov is the answer. At all, on many levels.
    I do believe Kroenke should be given a chance to demonstrate what kind of an owner he is. He’s been here 14 months, probably in a position to direct the club for less than 10 as the transition to new ownership almost always happens the day after a takeover…yeah right…
    I don’t believe that the way Man City / Chelsea (who are a different animal off the field nowadays, btw) have been run is the way to run Arsenal.
    I don’t believe we have to spend fortunes to “be all we can be”. Just some of the money that’s already on the balance sheet – some of that money you mention that they earned themselves.
    Of course, I want us to win trophies – I want us to win it all what fan honestly says they don’t want us to win trophies?! However, I made the point last night that it’s more important that Arsenal do all WITHIN THEIR POWER to compete. Aiming for fourth is not ambition. Aiming for first and finishing fourth is. Hope that makes sense!
    You’re right, Walter, there are no guarantees. But you can judge behaviours. The balance sheet doesn’t lie (though apparently some of you feel the board do when they say there’s money to spend – although anyone with an internet connection can have a look at the club’s financial results. They’re on the Arsenal website…

    On the matter of the Spanish economy and banking system…there will always be a Spanish banking system. Even miserable b*****s like Robert Peston acknowledge that simple fact: in order for an economy to work you need a banking system, be it corporate or state owned. The brands of Barca and RM are too big – are there any bigger brands in Spain? – and they’ll attract investment from the Far East or Middle East in the very highly unlikely, almost impossible scenario of financial armageddon in Spain. At which point, by the by, this’ll be rendered meaningless anyway and I’ll be getting a shot gun and enough canned food to last me a lifetime…

    As for “who are we to demand they spend their money”. I make you right – do we really want to be in hock to billionaire owners who could pull their support at any time?
    However…in light of £££ on the balance sheet and the obvious deficiencies within our first XI and squad…maybe we’re okay asking them to spend the money that WE PUT INTO THE CLUB AS FANS….

    You repeatedly make the same point: that spending a little guarantees us nothing, that spending a lot guarantees us nothing. Spending as we are does guarantee us something: underachievement. When there is cash available to make us a stronger team, when there is cash available to make us more competitive…all without compromising our sustainability or financial strength…shouldn’t we do it? It’s not harmful for the club…

    Let’s not confuse spending MORE AND BETTER for spending LOADS AND FOR THE SAKE OF IT.

  • nicky

    Where does the FFPR stand in all this? Those of you who advocate a spot of high spending, presumably expect the Regs to be ignored by the top Clubs
    Either the Regs will work and clubs will be reined in to follow the self-sustainability of Arsenal OR there will be the continuation of the present free-for-all.
    You can’t have it both ways.

  • adi

    We don’t need a sugar daddy. I doubt any “fans” apart from the trolls that inhabit the AAAs would want that. What the fans want to see is us buying enough so that the squad has no clear weaknesses. What we don’t want is our best players leaving every summer. If we can do that, i reckon everyone except the AAAs and the trolls on MOTD will be happy.

  • Rhyle

    Nicky…FFP is always an interesting…mainly because it’s not even here yet…

    So if we were to spend some of the money we already have on the right players (and therein lies the rub – Wenger’s problem not mine!), that we’ve already been promised is set aside purely for transfers…well we might become more successful but we’re likely, at the very least, to become more competitive (no guarantees, right Walter!). In that scenario, we’re more attractive to commercial partners. There’s more money coming in to the club. Growing the club as a global brand is key to growing the cash coming in to the club – and the global brands that industry wants to be linked to are successful ones. It’s the difference between being sponsored by JVC, O2 and Emirates Airlines and being sponsored by Holsten, Hewlett Packard, Thomson, some gambling website and Autonomy…or even worse…remember West Ham’s sponsors…BAC Windows, Dagenham Motors, Dr Martins, Jobserve and that Icelandic billionaire’s holiday company…

    He’d be an interesting one to look at, btw, in terms of the impact of having a billionaire owner go tits up…but lets not ever say that that’s what caused their relegation…they’ve been a yo-yo club for decades…

  • Rhyle

    adi – spot on.

  • brdgunner

    I dont think it has to be the extreame. I dont want us to risk going bust, however, a liitle speculation would make a big difference.


  • hoops

    i dont think that you have highlighted that we already have a good team say if we spent 15o mil i am convinced that would win us the league. From out current squad you would keep szecsny, sagna, vermaelen, koscielny, wilshere, van persie, chamberlain,podolski they are all good players and if you spent 150 mil im sure we can complete that squad 20 mil on a good lef back maybe baines, 20 mil on m’vila centre defensive midfielder, 35 mil on goetze attacking midfielder, llorente 30 mil quality striker back up for robin, you could argue we need vertonghen for back up all for cover as he is very versatile only 10 mil. I think with a squad like that we could challenge for all honours no doubt and especially if we went and bought someone like dempsey who is only 10 mil he will score you tonnes of goals from midfield therefore if we buy all of them players we still havent spent 150mil and that team is easily good enough to challenge for all honours including champions league. overall then i disagree that we need to spend 1 billion and i say who needs messi when you have rvp he scored 30 goals in a much more competitive league than la liga, and i think you have forgot we already have a decent team you are making out we finished mid table we actually finished third so we couldnt have had a useless team, its just about time stingy old wenger went and bought some players

  • Ross

    “If we spent £150m it could be that we end up in 8th place. Like Liverpool did. Or in 6th place like Chelsea did this season.”

    Really? We’ve never finished outside the top four under Wenger on our current budget why would we if a further £150m was invested into the squad.

    With that money Wenger could buy the players he most admires, not the best ones he can get in a certain price range, and certainly not the same rubbish players Liverpool bought.

    You can argue that you don’t want the club to spend outside their means but you can’t deny that £150m spent on the squad would improve us immensely.

    Also, you argue that Usmanov might renege on his promise to invest in the squad, or would maybe even take money out of the club. Well Kroenke might take money out too, can you guarantee he wouldn’t? The only guarantee is that he won’t be giving extra funds to Wenger.

    Don’t compare us to Dalglish and Liverpool; that sort of money would undoubtedly make us stronger. It won’t guarantee trophies but it would definitely increase our chances.

  • I totally agree but you have to admit some of our bargain buys have been a waste of money (little as it was) Squillaci Silvestre and Park spring to mind.

  • Crafty Gooner

    Nice article, I could feel myself saying ‘No!’ to being the buy it all club as you named the players. However Arsenal fans seem increasingly to be polarised & in the AW or AU spend type camp. This does not have to be the case. IG said just this week “call us incompetent but don’t say we don’t care.’ Well I feel the board has been incompetent since the move to the Grove. Illustrated as follows;
    1. Commercially our secondary & tertiary deal are non existent. Our primary deal although delivered the stadium is strangling us. Why not renegotiate? Up to £50m a year open for improvement.
    2. The squad has rewarded too many players on promise not performance. This should be regularly trimmed but now needs surgery. This is a misappropriation of our budget.
    3. Making our. Best players captain for emotional blackmail, not paying them their true worth due to point 2 stops us investing in quality support. I would rather have Mata than Denilson, Vela & Chamakh.
    4. Transfers are a joke is “Dick Last” really running back and forth or does he have the information to act promptly & do the deals in the Arsenal way? Mata was a joke.

    Spending £100m as you suggest may be a drop in the ocean compared to Citeh and the Ch3l5a money but spent wisely would with out doubt improve our competitiveness.
    Spent renegotiating or buying us out of our Emirates deal could turn £100m into a perpetuating £35m a year that would add a class player a year if needed.

  • andy bishop

    What does any business do to expand and get better it invests
    in the right way. What does any business do to keep good staff offers them career enhancing opportunities and market appropriate rewards. If they dont deliver bye bye!!. Arsenal are currently in the middle of/subject to a financial power game between two multi billionaire major shareholders that has jacked up the Arsenal share price to a level that seems unsustainable in the long term. Certainly not on results, however as long as the basic business model remains sound then the game will go on until the big lads want to cash in. Gazidis is all about keeping the status quo and everything sweet..(for fuck sake dont overspend). Gazidis has to reinforce the business model, sell the promise of cup success through trusting a great manager, youth policy, shrewd transfer dealings in the “Arsenal way” playing attractive football, we all want what the supporters want..BUT we have a stadium to pay for. Thats why he earns in excess of a million a year. I believe Kroenke’s shareholding is now 15 million lumpier than when he bought. That is without winning a thing. The arsenal board are looking more and more at commercial activities as they are much less riskier than spending fortunes on players and agents. Great..we have an excellent run club making money for its investors. What about the fans and their hopes and aspirations..wait another five or ten years to see our captain hold up any cup? Spending 150 million wisely on the three or four TOP players would not hurt the balance sheet a great deal. Trust Wenger to spend it wisely.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    I’m always amazed there actually any players worth buying that we can afford. When you see what a mid-table team like Liverpool is spending on players of the calibre of Jordan Henderson and Andy Carroll it does make you wonder.

  • gooner4life

    this article was nonsense, ofcourse we could win the premier league or the champions league by spending 150 million. and messi, he would never leave barcalona. he has already said he will retire at that club, they helped and paid for an illness he had and he is repaying them back by staying at the club.

  • GoonerDave

    I must be looking at the wrong balance sheet on our finances – from what I can see, we do spend almost everything we earn. Apart from an account of cash reserves, eveything appears to be re-invested. And we do need to have money in reserve, what if we fail to finish in the top 4? A fire sale? Even more sales of star players? How about being able to keep the squad together, and live to fight another day? Cash reserves are needed for this, whether we like it or not.
    This is an appalling time to spend money – the market is ridiculously inflated due to the oil money. The best way around this is to sign players that want to come here, and dont want to go to City or Chelsea. Like Podolski. Like Barca did with Cesc.
    If I had to make a guess, Id imagine we are waiting for the market to contract a bit, so we can actually get some value for money. Look at the players Liverpool spent 150M on – they should have cost half that at the most.
    The long term future of our club is more important than tomorrow, or next year.
    We are doing things the right way. We must keep going now, we are getting close to a debt free situation and that is where our happiness lies.
    To hell with empty victory. This “my owner spends more than your owner” is as anti-football as you can get.
    The Arsenal way is the best way for football.

  • Rhyle

    No…you’re looking at the wrong part of the balance sheet, Gooner Dave. You’re looking at income and expenditure. I’m looking at the cash you rightly state that we have on the balance sheet. Honestly…it’s there. Under assets. Have another look.

    Difference is, you think we need to retain it all in case of a rainy day…I say we need to spend some of it to prevent that rainy day from coming. Your worst case scenario can be mitigated by something other than not spending. Conservative spending can be worse than prudent spending if it compromises the quality of the squad.

    Do you honestly believe that if Barca / Man City / Chelsea had come at Podolski with a huge contract that he’d still have signed for us? It’s conjecture…nothing more…impossible to prove either way. The facts are simple: they didn’t try to sign him. We did. We signed him.

    The market will not contract. Hasn’t done so for 120 years and is not going to do so now. The first £1m player was at the tail end of the ’70’s…just after the worst recession since the 1930’s. This global economic crisis is not the end of the world…we will get through it…and there’ll be another one in 5, 10, 15 years and we’ll get through that too…and the status quo will be maintained. That’s why it’s the status quo…

    I think the difference comes from what we both see as the “long term future” of football. From what I’ve read, you think we’d be damaged by doing anything differently to that which we are now, that it would be compromising our secure base and we’d disappear (we wouldn’t – likely scenario is that we’d get sold to another investor…and the cycle begins again!). I believe that if we don’t do everything WITHIN OUR POWER to keep pace and compete with the clubs at the top we’ll be left behind and possibly never catch up.

    I’ve mentioned before that CL qualification and the rewards it offers will lead to an advantageous operating margin to work within the confines of FFP. The tripling of prize money v the comparative baby steps in improvements to rewards for the Europa League speaks to a growing desire from UEFA to maintain the current strength of the CL and it’s place at the top table of domestic football worldwide. If we fall out of that bracket for one year…we can pull it back, I’m sure. If we fall out of it for 2, 3? The impact on our finances long term would be huge – no £100m+ on the balance sheet could bring us back in to contention without compromising FFP regulations.

    So what are we saving it ALL for exactly?

  • bjtgooner

    Walter, good article and some good points. Some of those who feel that Usmanov on the board would be good for the club have convenietly forgotten that he wanted to take out a dividend.

    @Gooner Dave – well said.

  • Shard


    As I see it.. Your stand is this.. We don’t need to change our self sustainability. Just have to spend the money we have in order to keep up and improve.

    Nothing really controversial about that. However, one, as Dogface said, this seems to probably be the first season we can look to take a few risks. Secondly.. I agree..We should spend what we have (while also holding on to some more for emergencies) and who’s to say we aren’t doing that? Spending money is all well and good..But on whom? That isn’t a call you are qualified to make.

    Also..Although it was a minor point, but I’ve heard it before as some sort of home truth, that if we win some trophies, we’ll be better able to negotiate commercial deals. I’m not sure about that. Liverpool signed some hefty deals without even being in the CL.. I think any commercial partner that signs up will be looking at what it is associating its name with. Sure..Associating its name with a ‘winner’ can be well worthwhile. But if that ‘winner’ is largely looked down upn, it might have the reverse effect. Associating its name with Arsenal offers them a club that stays true to its traditions, that tries to do things the ‘right way’. Make no mistake..our reluctance to completely change some things about us, are also marketing decisions. They are what you would call our USP.

    Anyway.. I’m not against Arsenal spending what we have. I do not trust you to know what we have (nor swiss ramble) more than the club and I don’t trust anymore more than Wenger to decide who to spend that money on. In the end, like you protest against the use of the term AAA for people who just want the best for the club, only differ in what they think it is..Like that..I think the current board do want what’s best for the club (as long as it doesn’t harm themselves I venture) and about Wenger I am certain on that count. Why should I not trust them? Because they didn’t empty Arsenal’s bank accounts? Maybe there hasn’t been a player that justifies that. Maybe there are other things happening in the unregulated world of football that you, with all your financial knowledge are unaware of. I don’t disagree with you about the principle of spending money (or about adjusting wage structure) I just think it is best left to people in the know, and who are obviously there because they are qualified.

    I guess this ‘blind acceptance’ comes because I view their track record differently to you. I don’t think there’s been a constant decline since 2005 in our team’s capability. I also think the referees HAVE played a part in our failures (A part..not the only reason, but margins at the top are very small and thus refs make a crucial difference).

    It’s about taking risks. It is a risk to spend money. It is also a risk to not spend money. What justifies what, is dependent on how you see things, what information you have access to, and of course, how you balance the long term aims with short term concerns. On the balance..I don’t disagree with Arsenal on much.

  • Dwangoon

    Getting good players.
    Clearing deadwood.
    Keeping best players.

    Arsenal are doing none of them, and they expect people to fork our hard-earned money for most expensive tickets?

    The faint hearted ones already stop watching the same-season-playback agony for the good of their health, of course keeping their money away from merchandise etc.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    I think you assume that because we don’t do something, we are choosing not to do it. I assume we don’t do what you suggest because we fundamentally can’t. I think we all agree that Arsenal have the cash to spend £35 million on a player and pay him >£100,000 a week.
    What I think many people miss is that this putative £35 million player could be lusted after by four or five clubs capable of going to £50 million and £200k a week.
    Slightly OT but has anyone else seen the goal Szczesny conceded for Poland. The pundits are slaughtering him but even if you watch their carefully chosen replay angles you can see he’s not at fault. His positioning is about as good as it gets, the angle to his left is narrow enough to save but wide enough to make crossing towards the penalty spot pointless as well. It’s the defender coming steaming across in front who causes the foul up leading to the goal. Look forward to us being linked with another goalkeeper next week, I guarantee it.

  • Scravaldio

    Why is there an assumption that Usmanov will treat Arsenal like Imbram has with the Chavs? There from different countries and are different people owning different clubs. Sustanable investment is the hall mark of a good buisnessman and Usmanov has shown that he knows a bit about buisness. Currently Arsenal are Kroneke’s profitable franchise. His US franchises are failing big time and although you may scoff at the chavs and man city for being billionaire play things, well I’d rather that then a billionaires bread and butter. As long as the balance sheet isn’t affected Kroneke will not put any money into the club. He has never invested a penny in any of his sports investments EVER. He buys shares, hands over to a CEO and attemds board meetings. Thats it. If you think thats a good owner then fine but don’t expect success. Kroneke can’t even afford to buy his shares. He borrowed the money from Deutch Bank, thats why he needs to sell players and keep us profitable, so he can repay DB. Although I do agree with some of what you write you tend to be economical with the truth and make assumption about things you clearly don’t have all the facts on. Arsenal has always been a properly run club as a majority of the people working there know what there doing. Paying shareholders is normal when your running a club properly. The reason we are not paying sharehlders is because it would force the shareprice down as we are only just by a tiny amount making a profit. Usmanov is talking about increasing profit to the point were paying dividends is sensible. If they paid deividends at the moment it would be consider bad managment as there is a tiny profit being made and appalling performance by the commercial sector. By investing in star players you make more shirt sales, win trophies and therefore are in a stronger position in sponsership deals and therefore make more money and is more sustanable. There is nothing sustanable with the current model. Winning nothing is the least sustanable model in football. Your being economical with the truth to suite your own point of view on someone you don’t even know. That 100m you keep banding about is the difference between this current squad winning something and not wining. Every single person who knows about football knows that Arsenal are two to three stars from winning the league and thats what the 100m would be used for. Carrying on the way we are is about as far away from sustanable as you can get. Speculate to accumulate, but then that takes some guts and the ability to actually afford it. Kroneke is the worst concivable owner we could ever have. Ask any St louis rams fan and you will get your answer.

  • Dwangoon

    Getting good players.
    Clearing deadwood.
    Keeping best players.

    You say Arsenal are doing none of these. Err… Podolski. Oxlade Chamberlain. Wilshere. Arteta. Van Persie. Sceschszscszch – you know the keeper who got sent off in the Euros. Koscielny Theo

    Clearing deadwood. Almunia has gone as he was out of contract. The others are all waiting for the end of the Euros.

    Keeping best players. Oxlade Chamberlain. Wilshere. Arteta. Sceschszscszch Vermalen, Kos.

    We seem to be doing it to me.

  • Rhyle

    Shard – can’t disagree what what you say regarding they believe that’s what’s best for the club. I clearly don’t but it’s going to be one of the many sticking points as to why we’ll continue to disagree! Another would be that this is the first season where we have money to spend – that money’s been on the books for 3 / 4 years…

    It is a home truth that success = greater value in the commercial market. Regardless of what Liverpool achieved, it is likely (though unproveable…heh…) that they’d have got even better deals if they’d been more competitive. I do have to recognise, of course, that they are a global brand built on the successes of 25 / 30 years ago.

    If you want a great indication of the commercial value of success have a look at the deals brokered by successful sides – Man Utd, Barca, RM, Chelsea and, increasingly, Man City. Yes, Man Utd did some fantastic work in the early 2000’s in regards to building a better brand globally…but the same can’t be said of Man City.

    I also state that choosing WHO isn’t my problem, I just get to judge the quality after they’re in and playing, same as all of us. If you’re entitled to judge a player as good, you’re entitled to judge a player as NOT good. By the by – and I have no evidence for this, obviously, but I played to a good standard and my brother was in the same youth team at Brentford as Marcus Bent. We’ve been around football, footballers / managers and football people as long as I can remember. As a family we ate and drank football – and do to this day. Whilst by no means a professional, I think my opinion carries as much weight as most in regards to what constitutes a good player!

    WP – The money is there – we ARE choosing not spend it. I’ve never said we SHOULD spend that amount on a player just that we COULD. We could also spend £30m on two or three players in the £10m – £15m bracket to address obvious weaknesses. As long as they’re good enough I don’t care how much they cost, but let’s at least replace quality with quality (something else everyone’s bound to disagree with – but I feel I set out a good example of it in a previous post on the trophies discussion).

    Agree with your point about Chezzer for the first goal…tough to blame it on him wholesale but it was far from perfect ‘keeping…but that penalty was definitely a pen…he knows it as much as anyone…bless ‘im…

    I do hope we sign another ‘keeper – not to replace him but to at least push him for a place and someone he can learn from. A number two (ironically) that I don’t poo myself every time they’re named in the team!

    There is not a conspiracy against Arsenal! For all the rhetoric about the press, pundits, refs, opponents, government, shady organisations looking to take over the world and alien forces looking to conquer us…no one can address WHY we’re being conspired against, just that we are…

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Did you proofread that? I proofread everything I consider posting, it helps me avoid making an idiot of myself…

  • dan

    Where are all these mercenaries coming from? I thought this blog was for Arsenal supporters.

    Anyway all the people demanding Arsenal spend money on proven players forget there were many super rich clubs that failed to win any silverware last season, it’s just a shame Man C. & the Chavs get so much attention and happen to be part of our greedy EPL. They also failed to notice we finished higher than Chelsea and Liverpool and if wasn’t for our bad start last August I’m sure we would provided more a challenge to the Manchester clubs, note Liverpool and Chelsea both start strong!!!

  • dan

    I don’t understand Usmanov, many clubs here and abroad would love his cash injection e.g. Everton and the rest of the EPL. So way not purchase one of those clubs, I’m sure they’ll jump as high as he wants them to.

  • ARSENAL 13

    @Woolwich Peripatetic…. Press can link us to whom so ever there is…..BUT its Mr Wengers call. I believe, when he says (player fits) our system, he is talking about the whole system. Not only on the pitch, off it as well.

  • Shard


    If you care to look around, there have been many suggestions on this site alone as to WHY such a ‘conspiracy’ (I don’t like that term because it assumes any enquiry is negative or stupid) might exist.

    The problem with any hypotheses of why is one of data, and expertise. I have neither the data or ‘evidence’ as some like to call it, of what is happening (beyond some basic data), and I do not have any specific expertise in it. All I have as data is what I see on the pitch and in hte newspapers (taken with a pich of salt) and all I have as expertise is my own brain and experience of life.

    You know the guy who first hypothised that the continents were all initially one mass and then somehow drifted apart, was discredited after being forced to try and explain HOW such a thing might have happened. Lo and behold, it turns out he was right all along, just not about the specifics. Which became the club to beat his theory to death with for many a year.

    So stop focusing on wanting a clear answer before you even accept the likelihood of such a thing happening. It won’t come, because it can’t come at this time.

    I always sum it up like this.. Dodgy decisions + lack of accountability/regulation + selective/biased reporting + vast amounts of money = ???

    If it were some African/Middle eastern/villain of the day country, you’d probably accept without any doubt that there’s blatant corruption. Most people aren’t asking you to give up doubt either. But really, whether there’s corruption or not, the conditions are there with virtually no impediment on it. Why would it NOT be there?

  • Dan

    There has to be something in-between being 100% sustainable and not buying a better quality of experienced player or we’ll always be a club that puts a few good runs together in a season but ultimately won’t win anything of note for the next 10 years.
    The club are overly cautious in my opinion, though of course it’s good to run a club within the ballpark of the revenue generated but you also have to speculate. We’ve proven in the past that if you get the right players in you don’t have to spend as big in following seasons, just tweaks to the squad to keep it on top.
    Football is very much of the now, not the future. What we achieve now will determine the future of the club. If we spent the Toure and Adebayor transfer money back into the team then we would have very likely won the league that or the following season, but it all disappeared into the clubs debt repayment.
    I’m a long standing gooner and love the club. Of course I want Arsenal to be stable but I’m also a fan and not an accountant or manager of the club. The fans shouldn’t have to be dragged in to the nitty gritty of the balance books. We pay well enough to expect a reasonable amount of success though after hearing Gazidis speaking at the AST meeting, I think we’re in for many more barren seasons while our competitors get stronger. If we do buy big, and buy well this summer and show genuine ambition I’ll be very delighted to be proved wrong.
    I’ll always go to the games and support the team 100% but that’s my opinion on where Arsenal is right now.

  • Shard

    Oh and Rhyle.. The point about the money being in the bank for 3-4 years was that we can now afford to take more risks than we could 3-4 years ago. Then, we didn’t know whether we’d have the next 3-4 years in the CL.. Now..We know that we’ll be in the CL next season, and at most spend one season out of the CL before our sponsorship deals are up. Ideally, I’m sure the club would like to wait one or two more years before spending big for that reason, but that depends. It isn’t ideal, and they’ll have to work with that.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Rhyle, and others,

    If you would believe the majority of the ‘spend the f$cking money-brigade” and ‘Usmanov in-shouters’ we only have rubbish players left. None of them is considered fit enough to wear the shirt. Or is deemed just fit enough to be sitting on the bench. But for not more than 10k a week at the most.

    So if we would follow the logic of those people we should get rid of all the players except RVP and buy 24 new ones to fill up for the ones we “should get rid off’

    And again following the logic of that noisy part of the fans we can only win things if we spend £1billion and more.

    And I’m not against bringing players at all. I love it more when a player like Wilshere comes in and shows what Arsenal can produce in their youth academy but I also know that for such an amazing talent it only happens once in a few years at the most.

  • ATAF

    the people who say chelsea have bought their tropies are the same ones who spend the fucking money yet they can’t see the irony.

    I am not a usmanov supporter but he did want a rights issue so he could put in 100 million or help the club raise 100 million.

    The problem with fans is an over endowd sense of entitlement
    “it’s our club”, no it’s actually mr koenke’s. The club may tell you you have a voice because it’s your club but thats just to keep you happy. The only choice you really have is to support your well run champions league club that plays amazing football or pay your money at some other run down stadium like anfeild where they spend the fucking money!

  • ATAF

    kenny dalglish spent the fucking money 100 million for the carling cup 2-2, europa league action and the sack

  • bob

    “no one can address WHY we’re being conspired against, just that we are…”
    Don’t flatter yourself with this in-cite-full comment. The last two seasons, UA here have been replete with analyses of WHY we’re being conspired against. Especially during last summer’s all-out destabilization campaign in the press which you remain silent about and which your favored playmates, Pedro and the excremental Geoff, were salivating spearheads in the world of blogshite. You supercilious WHY is a challenge for a total rehash of it all. Where was your voice on that debate? On LeGrove or here? You were not here. I say do your own homework and browse the archives here; this before you play so all-knowing, demand everyone’s re-hash time, and sneer that no one can tell ME WHY.

    We have argued and considered many layers and combinations of the essential elements of what coalitions of miscreants are likely conspirators against AFC/Arsenal. Browse the archives from last summer where you were nowhere to be seen hereabouts; but quite likely chiming in on LeGrove.

    You think refshite is not integral and not intentional? Then prove your Coincidence thesis. Does it all even out in the end? Do we get no penalties in an entire season by coincidence? Do we get The Dean six times in a season by coincidence? No. You rely on the common “wiz-dumb” to put the conspiracy hypothesis on the back foot. No, that’s lazy. We’ve done massive work here; and the ref report to come will carry a lot of water to that end. But you, from on high, pronounce that no one here has shown you WHY. Well, up thine. That’s now on you and your coincidence-conjurers to demonstrate how UA writers and commenters have been wrong. Start with last summer before, in your pompous bravado, you throw down your gauntlet.

    You neither risk opining on who to sign; nor do you risk a specific counter-hypothesis with EVIDENCE that all that has been asserted here for two seasons at least, and especially last summer is coincidence – your evidence-free act of faith. Provide evidence. That’s now your job. Don’t demand what people have done here and at great length and with integrity. Your sneering that away is worthy of your preferred LeGrovel.

  • SouthernGunner

    If I’m not mistaken, after next season, wont the Arsenal be able to negociate better sponsorship deals? And wont that bring in more money for the club to “f-ing $pend” (as the Usmanov lovers tend to say) without needing to hand over control to a billionaire/ be taken over by any one individual?

    I’m all for Arsenal to spend, but only the money that is actually theirs in the first place. Otherwise it’s a slippery slope we climb.

  • bob

    By the way, Rhyle,
    As a self-described financial maven (and I don’t doubt that part), surely you have an tip to provide us on which of the two contesting companies will be providing the EPL/FIFA/UEFA with the nearly useless (but profitable) goal-line technology that they will adopt to put off full video-replay for a decade?

  • mark

    You’d have to admit that there has to be something wrong when our better players leave and we cannot shift mediocre ones for love or more importantly money. Now I don’t know the wage structure at the club but I do know that Bendtner and Denilson both said at the end of last season that “that’s it I’m off”, and then after reported talks with various clubs still remained on the books. The obvious implication is that their wage demands were met with comments like “how much?…you’re having or laugh…and jog on fella.” Personally, (and Gazidis implied it by his recent comments about our wage structure) I think Wenger is at fault here and unless he changes or his changed I don’t see this current sustainable model doing anything more for us than its done in the last 7 seasons.

  • bob

    p.s. oh, now surely that’s conspiracy too, init? Or is it good business to profit from a boondoggle that keeps you in control? Or is there a difference between conspiracy and boondoggle? Surely you would know that much.

  • JJ

    Were you on acid when you wrote this?

  • bob

    p.p.s. in sum, UA writers and a strong half of the commenters here are involved in a paradigm shift away from your underlying coincidence mantra. That occurs when the evidence against the act of faith known as coincidence no longer can explain all the anomalies that we bring into play, day after day, after week, after month, after season. And your defense of that tottering realm is: show me WHY. No, Rhyle, it’s your turn to show us WHY NOT. We have no “smoking gun” that you demand; that is secret and proprietary as you well know. But we have amassed an argument based on an ocean of observations over two seasons. What do you have? Show me WHY. Laughable.

  • bob

    Thanks, JJ, for the wiz-dumb. Did it exceed your brain cell?

  • dan

    Why has Usmanov got such a hard-on for Arsenal?

  • Rhyle

    Bob…I certainly know the difference between SENSE and NONSENSE. What the hell has goal line technology got to do with my job? Google me if you like – I have nothing to hide and would be happy to answer any questions you have…lol…”maven”…you must’ve been very proud to wheel that one out. I’ve never claimed to be a “maven” but I’ve done this for a living for 12 years which does lend some credence to my expertise…a FTSE100 company pays me to do it, after all…

    As for proving “why not”? That’s the argument the religious use when challenged by scientists as to proving that God exists. I’m not buying that, either. Refshite wasn’t my idea – it’s not for me to prove it. There’s some compelling stuff in there – I’m just curious as to WHY. Thought someone could boil it down and tell without me having to trawl through x years of data myself. But don’t bother yourself. Just have a rant at me instead. It’s better than bottling it up…that’ll just give you an ulcer…

    And refshite…from what I’ve seen, you kinda do say that it’s not just a conspiracy against Arsenal yourselves by slating refs in games not involving the Arsenal? Although…here…my exposure is cursory at best…and I’m happy to be proved wrong on that count.

    We got no penalties at home…again, can’t see a conspiracy. Just see bad refereeing. Probably a handfull of instances where we should have had a pen, probably one or two of those were nailed on. I forget ‘cos I moved on pretty swift…We finished third, those b*****d refs must be kicking themselves that we got away with it in spite of their best laid plans to derail us…

    Not sure why you’re such an angry little man towards me, Bob…but keep it coming. Funny stuff that makes you seem hyper-rational and not at all like a mentalist, as does your use of such phrases as “up thine”, which I think may have been last used by Ben Johnson…

    My crack about conspiracy theories was just that…a GAG…can see why some may read it as being mean-spirited, and I can apologise for how it looked if that’s necessary. Your ranting was obviously the best response…but read it back to yourself…can you not see it’s nonsense?!

    By the by, watching MotD and judging refereeing standards based on that, while I appreciate it’s the best of a bad situation, is making a call on less than half of the story. Statistically, like a lot of research on a lot of subjects…fourthty-sixteen percent of people can disprove it simply by plucking out their eyeballs.

    This place has got a nasty habit (in a minority of voices) of ignoring what you say in favour of what they want you to have said, putting words in to your mouth and forming your opinion for you (a good example being, in spite of clarifying my stance to the contrary many times, that I’m lumped in with the spend, spend, spend crowd…when I’ve just suggested spending better and a bit of the cash we’ve been hoarding…). Many here like to hypothesise, yet get “hoity-toity” (to use a phrase that seems to be from your era, Bob) when others come up with hypotheses that contradicts their own. They don’t feel the burden of proof as necessary to their argument, yet challenge others to justify their stance empirically? Nonsense! Hold yourself to the same standards that you expect of others…we could call it Argument Fair Play if it makes you feel better. Would suggest you look up “solipsism” too, before you try to talk about anything with a degree of certainty. There is only opinion!

    I had a good chat on here last night with a few bods, and was having a fun chat at times today. Way to break up the party, Bob…lol…

    Look…Dogface, Tony, Walter, et al…do a sterling job and a shed load of work which I have nothing but respect for. Agree with it? Noooo…no, no, no…but respect it? You betcha.

    You seem to lump everybody into an “us” and “them”, black & white view of the world, Bob. The world is full of nuance…with subtle degrees of difference between us all. You, with your penchant for Elizabethan terminology, sure are at an age to appreciate that?

    Walter – again, I never said none of the players were fit to wear the shirt…have a look at the comment I made yesterday looking at the way we’ve evolved in terms of first XI over the years under Wenger and it’s hard to argue that we’ve seen a one direction move in terms of direction across the pitch (with the exception of RB…Sagna would run Dixon close in terms of best RB I’ve seen at the Arsenal but that’s just my opnion…). If you read the thrust of my argument is that we’ve had the ability to strengthen and chosen not to. That is my belief in the same way that it’s my belief that there is no God. Again you seem to think I want us to send £1bn…putting ideas in my head and words in mouth…where did you get that idea? Where did you get the idea that I, the fan of a football club, would want us to win trophies? Now that IS crazy talk! You talk about how well run we are financially yet see nothing wrong in the distribution of wages and the fact we’ve got c.80 professionals on our books? Is that financially responsible?

    Shard – Risk. It’s a subjective term and you and I will always disagree on what we deem risky. For me, there is currently more risk in not strengthening the squad, as was proved last summer, than there is spending the money to strengthen. I’ve laid out my argument in detail above and won’t bore you with it again! I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. I love Arsenal…I want the best for Arsenal…I believe we can deliver better without compromising the future of the club…so why shouldn’t I expect us to?

    Finally, I’ve said I don’t get it and asked someone to explain it to me…as I said above, could’ve asked a bit better, I suppose…I can accept that a conspiracy involving refs against the Arsenal is POSSIBLE. Can I accept that it’s LIKELY? No. Not without a sound reasoning behind why.

    You also state “If it were some African/Middle eastern/villain of the day country, you’d probably accept without any doubt that there’s blatant corruption”…this is wildly different to a conspiracy against the Arsenal. The situation in Syria v Mike Dean not giving us a penalty?! I don’t get the comparison? Hard to argue with the facts that there are many dying there…hard to argue with the cold, hard, well publicised facts behind any corrupt nation. Take Uzbekistan, for example. Dig around on the Amnesty International website…or even the BBC’s…and the facts are laid out for all to see. Again…especially with regards to referee’s decisions…I see no facts. I see opinion backed by statistics…and what did Vic Reeves teach us about statistics? Often…a referee’s decision is a matter open for debate and a matter of perspective. We’ll always, as Arsenal fans, see a 50:50 decision that goes against us as 100% wrong. We’re not exactly unbiased, if we’re honest, are we? Get a neutral to do the same research as you and come back with the same results and I’d be more likely to buy in.

    ATAF – I’d like to believe that Wenger would do better with £50m than Dalglish would do wih £500m, so your argument is…well…moot to say the least.

  • Rhyle

    wow…I…er….don’t expect anyone will read all of that…sorry…lol…

  • Stuart


    You made some comments earlier which to me are typical of those critical of the way the club is run. They do contradict themself somewhat though:-

    “Difference is, you think we need to retain it all in case of a rainy day…I say we need to spend some of it to prevent that rainy day from coming. “

    “If we fall out of that bracket (Champions league)for one year…we can pull it back, I’m sure. If we fall out of it for 2, 3? The impact on our finances long term would be huge”

    – exactly how would we pull it back? If we are out of the champions league having spent the money for a rainy day out only option would be to sell key players so we wont be back.

    “ likely scenario is that we’d get sold to another investor…and the cycle begins again”

    If we get saddled with debt, who would buy us? The answer is, no one!!

  • Rhyle

    Stuart…you misunderstand me…spending in my opinion minimises the chances of not qualifying for the CL (though doesn’t remove it). If we fall out of the CL league we’ll have the finances from the previous years campaign PLUS THE MONEY ON THE BALANCE SHEET WE DIDN’T SPEND – ‘cos I’ve never said spend all of it…so, no need to sell our best players…theoretivally, of course. They might just want to go to win things…lol…as Ray Houghton said the other day….he’s never shown his kids his fourth place medals….

    As for who’d buy us if we were saddled with debt? Someone would – if you doubt that please refer to Chelsea, Charlton, Rangers, Newcastle…amongst many, many others…

  • rusty

    Lotta oiks here today, I think…

  • Rhyle

    I know Rusty…we should get the b*****ds…lol…

  • Stuart

    But Rhyle, there is my point. Spending the money does not guarantee it, where are Liverpool. Look at Arsenals most expensive players, they have most of the time been the “flops” Even Chelsea would not have qualified for the Champions League were it not for their flukey win, nothing to do with how much their squad was assembled for.

  • Kojakfavelas

    Instead of pimping the club to Usmanov, shouldn’t AST be looking at making it more difficult/impossible for owners – present & future – to leave the club in financial ruin.

    Kroenke and Usmanov have done little & nothing respectively, to allay distrust for the both of them. We should be applying pressure (somehow) to get “signatures in blood” that they will not saddle us with debt or take profits out of the club.

    My fear about Kroenke is that he might be comfortable consigning us to midtable mediocrity (ala Villa’s owner) if he is not kept on his toes. As for Usmanov, it’s a simple case of fear of the unknown (the man, his motives, background, philosophy) coupled with gut feeling.

    So far so good with Arteta, Mertesacker, Santos and now Podolski. I believe Gervinho will come good next season like Kochielny (and Na$ri) before him. RVP must lift major trophies with Arsenal!

    We just need the best of what we’ve got to step up, plus a few more quality players that: can give us 6 points against Stoke, bring the fear factor back to the Emirates, consistently replicate the brilliant away form of the season before last, make poor/unfair officiating less of a limiting factor and get old rudolph running scared again: Old Trafford is overdue a gigantic humble pie!

    PS Pompey needs a buyer; I’m show Leeds, Rangers would also welcome the advances of a billionaire sugar daddy.

    Enough already about ‘real arsenal’, ‘tourists’ and the latent xenophobia! We all endure the joy & heartache to see our great club take its rightful place as the Club of Clubs – Kings of London, England, Europe and the World! C’mon Arsenal.

  • WalterBroeckx


    I only will take on the bit aimed at me.

    Are you the one to decide that we have gone backwards in terms of quality of the players? Are you also some kind of specialist in those matters?

    Or could it just maybe be that the other teams have gone forward (because of the rich sugar daddy money injection?)
    I always find it difficult to compare teams because the game changes a lot and a team that 10 years ago was a top team now could be a mid table team.
    Would the world cup winning team in let us say the USA now have a chance of winning it? If you understand what I mean? Football is always changing and evolving and not just our own team but also the other teams.

    I only stated in my article that the only way to be sure was to spend like City to be sure to win the league. And then again 1 minute before the end they didn’t even win it.

    And I never said that you said that we should spend £1billion. I didn’t put these words in your mouth or mind.

    I just commented in general terms in an anwser (did you notice the ‘and others’ in my comment? – I could have separated my comment to make it more clear that is for sure)

  • Shard


    Firstly, I think you misunderstand the volume of ‘evidence’ on Untold. It is Debatable Decisions (A non Arsenal website) which looks only at MOTD (which is biased coverage of Arsenal anyway) and even then they have Arsenal at the bottom of the table. The ref reviews on here go through the entire match in detail and catalogue every decision. All of which you can argue is just opinion, but the decisions are all laid out and explained for all to see and argue for or against. Indeed many times people on here have argued that some decision was wrongly awarded to Arsenal, despite the ref reviewers tending to give refs the benefit of the doubt.

    Secondly, So you are open to the idea of corruption in football? Even in England? Do you think it likely? If not, Why not? Does human nature change when it crosses borders? Does the law? Yes..except not in football. Everything is done behind closed doors, and nothing is very well regulated. Just as you say the FACTS are there for all to see in Syria for example..the FACTS are also there for all to see in football and how the referees give their decisions, how FA upholds/overrules decisions. You call that opinion.. Well.. all FACTS..even the ones on BBC or Amnesty (Really??) are subjective. Which is exactly my point..people dying and football not being fairly refereed are hardly equal in their impact..But all facts being subjective means, nothing can ever be objectively proved. There is no certainty, no 100% in the real world.

    Thirdly, bob might have an abrasive style, but his demand for you to disprove the contention is not unfair. The evidence is there. At least SOME evidence as an indicator. He’s coming from a position of strength as that evidence has been carefully gathered over years. If you dismiss that on account of us being biased/just an opinion etc.. you are being intentionally obtuse. Argue where the evidence is wrong.

    Fourthly, it is NOT an anti-Arsenal conspiracy. It has nothing to do with Arsenal Football Club per se. Yet, much of the data seems to point at Arsenal being targeted. Both by refs and by the media. So, it forces the question why. Again, the reasons can be wide, varied, or even something no one has thought of, but I’ll only get down to discuss those at length again, if you show you are even open to the idea. Look back over the strength of the data collected here, analyse it any way you want. Come out with the alternate figures to counter the ones on Untold to disprove them. Until then, you don’t have a leg to stand on, as far as the argument on refs is concerned. If you don’t want to do that, and are open to the possibility of football being corrupt, and Arsenal also being targeted. Assume that’s true and think of why it might be. You’ll be able to come up with some valid reasons I’m sure.

    Lastly, ultimately the point isn’t whether Arsenal are targeted or not. Yes..It isn’t. The point is that the standards of refereeing are horrible. Their performances towards Arsenal are one example of that. Conspiracy or not, that much is fact. The FA is secretive, and the PGMOL likewise, and neither of them take what would be logical, simple steps in order to reduce ref errors, as well as bias, as well as the perception of bias. Change that, and you kill all conspiracy theories, as well as getting the majority of the decisions right. That is what the main demand here is. Why would that bother anyone?

  • Stephen ayers


  • Rhyle

    I accept that, Stuart…I just prefer my “it could be so much better” version of what happens when we spend the money to your “it could be worse” version.

    As for Chelsea? They were outclassed in the final but they were in the final…you make your own luck…

    I thinkwe can all agree that Wenger is a better manager than Dalglish so the comparison to Liverpool is immediately flawed…

    As for your opinion of our most expensive players…not all have been flops and it depends on who you believe as to how much these players cost…a lot of people (not me) think that Reyes cost £8m+ add-ons…we’ll never know and in many ways is kind of a digression.

    Arshavin – had to judge if he was a “flop” as much as he was played out of position and threw a strop…look at his performance last night…completely different player as he was for us.
    Reyes – never achieved his potential…and you don’t have to pay a fortune for that to happen. Pity the Neville’s kicked his career out of him. Twice. Flop, agreed
    Gervinho – I give a player 12 months grace…I hope he does better next year.
    Wiltord – Never the world class player he was pitched as for us but did a great job whenever he was on. That goal at OT paid every bit of his transfer fee!
    Henry – ‘Nuff said.

    Who else did we pay £10m+ for – it’s a mixed bag of success….pretty much 50/50 in my books with one to be decided, but I can take your point…

  • bob

    Oh dear, Rhyle, did I spoil your party? spill the tea? Well, then, I suspect you’re as proud of your age-ism as much as you are of your self-trumpeted service to FTSE 100. Trumpets! (That would be an Elizabethan stage direction, for self-importance.) You dismiss conspiracy as a possibility whilst (yes, whilst) ignoring (again) my pointing out that you said nothing about last summer-fall’s all-out media assault on AFC – which yes, I propose as evidence of an actual conspiracy of interests against AFC/AW. Not the sort that might register in your evidence-free zone. And why, pray, might you not address that example (which I’ve raised with you in another comment from another day)? Another figment of my solipsistic little man’s universe? Or perhaps because anything that would have driven Wenger out would then (only?) have been just fine with you? All being fair for an old man who has lost the plot? As you might remember, that is exactly where LeGrovel, your playpen of choice, stood; and the outcome which it avidly sought. Your reasonable playpen.

    When you were playing FTSE (oh sorry, misspelled that one) with your man Pedro and his rabid dog Geoff, did you take notice of that assembled conspiracy of interests? Or did you write approvingly of their efforts to push Wenger Out?

    In any case, that entire widespread campaign – which was thoroughly documented, in depth, at Untold Arsenal then – is evidence of an anti-AFC conspiracy; a hyothesis that is far more palpable and probable than your idea of random miscalls which are just bad refereeing with no anti-Arsenal animus in your construction of reality. You say, oh, well you brought up “refshite” first, so I have the right to ask you “WHY?” first. Well to that I (with Shard on this) point out to the accumulation of example after example, and the patterning of which into a working hypothesis, has long been going on a long time here. So, yes, I’ve asked you to tell us WHY NOT?: meaning that there’s a large body of evidence here at UA that attests that something being rotten in the state of denmark (you get me there, Rhyle?); and it’s there for you to answer to. Indeed, documented refshite for at least two years running. And your reply: tell me WHY “without me having to trawl through x years of data myself.” Petulant, no?

    You see, Rhyle, what I object to is your presumption that you have the self-evident right to have something proven to you: this because “conspiracy theory” by definition – no matter how much has been demonstrated or is being explored here – must prove it’s right to exist and have a hearing. No, Rhyle, we’ve been doing that here (some of us). Rather, it’s your string of coincidences that needs proving. So, I’ve asked you WHY the accumulated evidence of refshite at UA is coincidental, as you’d have it; rather than representative of patterned conspiratorial behavior as the evidence in hand is pointing to.

    (As for apologies, I wasn’t trying to insinuate you have insider trader information on which video system is to be adopted; but, rather, was trying, ineptly, to say that genuine video replay would END the refshite and/or any conspiratorial string-pulling of the refs, which is why it is so resisted by the powers. And that its absence is why Coincidence theory – which is what underpins your argument – is allowed to flourish and appear to be so normal on the tilted pitches of our septic aisle.)

    But cheers for your ode to Ben Johnson, one of my favorites and, yes, I must admit, a personal friend. And in return, I’d recommend to you another friend, Thomas S. Kuhn, who called what is going on now among us here at UA, yes right under your feet too, a paradigm shift. (Not a pair-o-dimes, as FTSE might have it). You see, it’s your fealty to Coincidence that is truly solipsistic. So to translate from my (alleged) era to yours: try thinking about this outside the box? That’s the way out of solipsism. Now for that pint… (Exeunt, stage left.)

  • Mandy Dodd

    so well put Walter – who knows what Mr Usmanov would do given unbridled power? I would rather not risk that for our club. We just do not know enough to mortgage our future. There again, we do not know so mucch about Stan, except that he seems to keep steady well run ships. He bought us because he believed we are undervalued and under marketed, surely this would suggest he does, contrary to populist belief want success.
    Then there is the FFP written off by so many, including myself at times. They say Platini et al could not live without the big clubs. And they may be right. But ..the big clubs…Real, Barca, Utd could well be compliant. As could ourselves, the German clubs, the well run French clubs, and even the Spuds while Levy is there. The top Italian clubs – who knows their future with recent allegations? So there could still be a tasty Champions League without Chelsea, City or even Liverpool should they end up in a position to qualify. Are City and Chelsea being given the rope to hang themselves? Roman promised Platini he would bring Chelsea in line…is he doing so? Could these two be the high profile examples for Platini and Co? Lets face it, are they the most loved clubs world wide?
    Can the CL continue without Chelsea, City, Malaga, PSG…come to think of it, that was a very silly question.
    FFP is not dead yet, we do not know how it will function, or if it will function but if it is not enforced, the whole system will buckle and clubs will go under, as Ivan G was keen to point out.

  • Rhyle

    Walter – no, I’m by no means an expert but my opinion on the quality of players is as valid as anyone’s (after reading a couple of your posts I see your fond of aphorisms and proverbs – I’m sure you’ve heard “one man’s meat is another man’s poison…). Please have a look at the comment I made on the “ far would you go..etc” post from yesterday and I kind of set out my position with regards to the deterioration of quality in the squad…keen to hear your thoughts, regardless whether they match mine or not.

    Agree that football is constantly evolving – the fact that Wenger isn’t is one of my bugbears with him, and the primary reason I think we’ve fallen behind, and the fact that Fergie does is why he’s stayed at the top for so long – and I’m fine with your point. I just believe we could achieve more with a modified transfer plan – for example when a player leaves try to replace him with someone who is of (as close as you can get it) equal or better talent. It has nothing to do with whether or not the Invincibles would go through the season unbeaten now…it has to with prudent spending, not irresponsible spending, delivering the best quality we can in terms of players on the pitch. I think we’re too conservative. That’s all.

    As for the whole £1bn thing – appreciate the confusion that can arise from comments and it’s fine. It read as though you were addressing me first and foremost…and the others were anyone else who agreed with me. That might just be my rampant ego, though…lol…Thanks for your response.

    Shard – great as always…I appreciate the thought you put into your responses and I’m really enjoying it. Don’t mind saying I’ve learned a fair bit about where “the other side” are coming from, even I can’t agree with you!

    Your first point I can do nothing but agree with – I kinda say that in my earlier posts. I haven’t had the exposure to the evidence but can’t think for the life of my why refs would be anti-Arsenal. Feel free to direct me to some of the pertinent posts that answer that question well.

    Second point – I’m aware of corruption in football. We weren’t talking about corruption in broad terms, hence me not understanding the comparision. We were talking directly about a conspiracy / anti-Arsenal behaviour in the game. I’m well aware of what’s going on in Italy, particularly at Juve (have you seen what they’re looking to put on their shirts next season, by the by? How brazen can you get!), I’m well aware of how / why we got promoted to the 1st Division, I’m well aware of Marseille, Fenerbahce et al…you could also argue that the way Man City are manipulating the current feel of FFP is tantamount to corruption…just can’t buy into it as an excuse for our own underperformance when there are host of things that we could do, that are in our gift to deliver, to improve things which we are just not doing. Fix those things…show me there’s still a problem and I might just start to come around!

    Third – Bob may be abrasive but he’s one of the smarter folks on here. He does make me laugh – if you want me to provide evidence for my stance why can’t I ask the same of you? As you almost admit yourself, refereeing decisions are a question of perspective – when you have referees who can’t agree how the laws of the game should be applied you’ve got a problem, as I’ve acknowledged there has been a serious fall in terms of quality to the point of crisis. Does it affect Arsenal more than others? Potentially – as I say I’ve not looked at it in detail but if it does I’d need to see a long-term, 2 or 3 season trend to buy in. Do I think it matters as much as you all do on here? No…’cos I don’t buy it as being tilted purposefully against us. Again – point in the right direction and change my mind.

    Fourthly – I admire all o’y’all’s dedication to forming your ref pieces…but I’m unlikely to come up with statistics to back my stance (I work full time, I’m a father of three, I have a lively social life normally – ltd at the moment due to number 3 putting his head in the world). But to say I’m wrong in that I don’t buy in to some almighty conspiracy becomes I lack empirical evidence regarding things which are a matter of opinion at the best of times? I’m not stupid but that’s way beyond my gift.

    Yes, what the numbers are saying may lead you come to some sort of conclusion that requires explanation – why – but it’s a long way from jumping on to an Arsenal conspiracy. Post hoc ergo propter hoc!

    Your final point I’ve never disputed – and have said as much again here.

    Thanks again…fun as always…but I’m a bit cream crackered and I’m off to watch Chronicle with the missus and a screaming baby. Have a good night.

  • Cringe

    instead, let us not spend any money and slowly watch our club languish into a mid-table team and below

  • ak47

    Im trying to ignore triple a’s but i tend to read everything and thats time ill never get back.

    jagger was a lot smarter and much more fun. and people wonder why recessions keep repeating. i find it interesting when people so openly say they dont believe that God exists.
    couple that with your job, laziness(research) and ignorance tells me all i need to know.
    i can only applaud those who addressed you on a regular basis.

    all i ask is in future bring something new to the table that has substance.

  • Scott

    Why is it each topic is now doomed to the same theme,same stalemate,same arguments and same ending??

  • Scott

    PS….in no way is that comment a knock against the site nor writers.

  • Rhyle

    ak47 / Scott. Sorry I’ve offended you both so much, though for the life can’t think why. Maybe I should just join in with the Wenger love-in and adoration to keep you two happy.

    Anyhoo…busy Sunday of God denying and recession causing to have. Maybe I’ll even squeeze in some laziness (spending time with my kids / doing my job) and ignorance (not agreeing with some people) while I’m about it. The life of a AAA is never dull, his work never done…

    Be excellent to each other.

  • Rhyle

    Bob – excellent work, sir…a great read. Don’t mistake my jab that you were from a different era as a jab at your age. I’m a big fan of respecting your elders…lol…and their opinions.

    While the behaviour of the media gets on my wick, it’s what they do – build people up, knock people down. Do I make it right? No, but there’s no particular hatred of the Arsenal at work. They did the same to Liverpool (although, inexplicably, they seem to have let Chelsea get away with it) last season, too. They’ve done it to us before, portraying us as a club in crisis, and they’ll do it again. Graham and the bung was a rough ride. It’ll pass, they’ll be on to someone else. Probably Roy Hodgson post-Euro2012. There’s no winning that battle unless you win the championship. You put far too much stock in what the press write and how much it matters. If you want evidence as to how it’s not a giant, all-consuming conspiracy it’s that this is the only corner of the universe that perceives it as such. Still, Bob, just because you’re paranoid…don’t mean they’re not after you, right?!

    Have no idea why you think I’m close pals with Pedro and Geoff just because I like what they write. I’ve been impressed by some of the stuff I’ve written here – doesn’t make me a bad person, I’m sure you’ll agree. I’ve also only ever called time on Wenger once – as I’ve said before – when we lost 8-2 at OT. I’m of the ilk that, at this stage, with the finish last season, he deserves a chance to fix what he’s broken. I’ve even…disagreed with Le Grove about that. I know…shocker right. But feel free to assume you know what I write over there and comment on it…makes sense you should jump to those conclusions and seems completely fair to me…

    Bob…I don’t think I’m above anyone. I’m just some nudger on the internet with an opinion who likes to be challenged on that opinion. Not just repeatedly shouted “you’re wrong” at…I’m never going to change my stance when someone doesn’t, won’t or can’t back their stance up and I’m not so stupid as to be unable or unwilling to change my opinion on the back of decent evidence. You see petulance, I see someone with not enough time on his hands to go trawling through the x years of archives…it’s a matter of perspective…consider a bit of a pre-emptive strike against one of the favoured responses on here of looking back over the articles. It’s a reasonable request, I just don’t have the time and would prefer a summary!

    Didn’t think you were implying insider information, either. Just had no idea what goal line technology had to do with my job! Goal line tech would not end refshite – it would have nothing to do with giving penalties at home and would have nothing to do with deciding what constitutes a sending off. That would still come down to the man in black. Or green. Or blue, yellow, orange…whatever colour the refs are wearing when we play…A genuine video replay would not end it either, as in instances that are controversial…those borderline instances…you’ve still got a man making a decision in front of a TV screen. Do you always agree with the pundits version of events? What makes you think you’ll always agree with the reviewers? I’m all for goal line tech to prevent a Lampard, a Mendes moment and using it in the same manner as rugby but a whole-of-game video review system? We’ll end playing in quarters, a game would take half an hour longer. It’d break up the flow and pace of the game, changing what we experience and watch.

    A paradigm shift, indeed?! Good luck with that…you may be overstating it. I don’t actually believe in coincidence…but there’s a rational explanation for everything without resorting to conspiracy. Just consider me Scully to your Mulder. She needed evidence, too…and Mulder never asked her to prove a thing…lol…

  • Rhyle

    …been impressed by some of the stuff I’ve seen written here…SEEN written here.

    ak47’s right…I’m a dumbass…

  • Scott

    Rhyle,if you’d stop talking down to people,i may actually take notice of what you say and join back in.
    As it stands,there’s no enjoyment in being told I’m not intelligent purely because I disagree with someone,so I’ve stepped right back.
    Look at topics a few weeks back and compare them to now……open discussions have turned into you v the world.
    You’ve made it all about you and your efforts to convince us how smart you are.

  • Rhyle

    Scott…join in, don’t join in, your choice and whatever…never said you’re not intelligent…merely responded to provocation and insults from you – just ‘cos I think you’re wrong doesn’t mean I don’t think your smart.

    I’ve not turned it into anything – I’ve responded to posts and responded to those who’ve come back to me. Your interpretation of what is appropriate for a comment section on a blog is more important than mine? Good stuff…

    The only thing I’ve felt the need to convince people of on here is that being anti-Wenger or whatever doesn’t necessarily make you anti-Arsenal. That’s it…I think most understand that…I notice AAA is used a bit more discriminately by people, yourself included if you don’t mind me saying. That’s why I’ve moved on from it. I’m trying to convince people who’s wrong, who’s right. Setting out what I believe and why, and trying to show that there’s another perspective…

    People are welcome to draw their own conclusions about me. Just try not to be rude about it.

  • Scott


  • ak47

    you havent offended me geez, just wasted my time.
    and id never call anyone a dumb-ass, seriously? your obviously intelligent, academically. and i love hearing both sides. trouble is the ‘akb’s’ back them selves with substance. you, like le grove do not. instead opting to focus on the personals as the AAA do.

  • Rhyle

    ak47…never called anyone on here an AKB. An AKB is someone who doesn’t back themselves with anything but “Arsene Knows”…hence the name…

    Well…time wasting can be considered offensive…I think I explain my stance well enough, regardless, and have backed myself up with substantial ramblings and rantings which contain some modicum of evidence or explanation as to why I think like I do…but I won’t go as far as some and pick a ref’s performance to pieces. Fair enough you do, I just don’t buy the whole “no one likes us” piece and would prefer to leave that to Millwall. Blueman’s comments on the latest refshite piece speak of my main point v refshite – all fans of every team (probably bar Man Utd tbf…) moan that ref’s have it in for them. It speaks more of an imbalance of opinion and bias in how the incidences themselves are being watched. When professional referees can’t agree on how the law should be applied, and former professional footballers have different interpretations / perspectives as to how to interpret fouls or offsides, bookings and sending offs. If they can’t agree – who am I to put a referee..someone who’s obviously qualified to do his job…in his place and tell him how to ref?! 😉

    I honestly do no focus on the personal, I’ve been measured…most of the time…and have only responded like for like…

  • ak47

    fair enough. maybe i expect too much sometimes.

  • Shard


    The right direction is THIS SITE.. It’s all here. I appreciate that you might not have the time to trawl through the entire archives. But that archive is also there because it’s been created by people with jobs and families and a life. To ignore that when everyone here is arguing on the basis of that, and saying you don’t have time to look through all of it isn’t very fair of you now is it? Our argument is laid out. If your interested enough in knowing about it, and asking for a primer is one thing. But if you’re only looking to give an alternate viewpoint (as you constantly are) then frankly, do your own research. No one has time to kill, everyone has jobs and families, and what you think isn’t really of prime importance to anyone. You can’t rush through years of data. there is no short version. Especially one which would ‘convince’ someone who’s not open to it.

    So spend some time looking through, to understand where most people here are coming from, instead of asking people to prove something to you.

    Alternate points of view are welcome. I sometimes disagree with what is written here and say so. But after a point, if you keep repeating your objection, it isn’t an objection. It is dogma. Neither point of view (I’m assuming there are 2 but know there are infinite) has to prove something to each other. You agree or you don’t. Or you agree about somethings or you don’t. As long as you (and others) are aware that the other point of view is out there, adhered to by reasonable people, and are open to the possibility of themselves being wrong, we’ll be ok.

    As it is, on some issues, people don’t disagree with what you say. We should spend what we have. People who want Wenger out are not NECESSARILY anti-Arsenal. At least I don’t disagree with those ideas. I disagree that the first is not being done, and I agree not all people that dont want the current manager are wanting to harm the club. (Note: some are..and I think even the others are wrong)

    You are completely right about the media. But you are also completely wrong. The media is universally bad. The referees are also universally at a poor standard. Correct.. But the media still plays a conscious and a major role in determining people;s outlooks. As such, behind their crassness, lies some motive. Just like I believe does with THOSE WHO RUN referees.

    As a last bit on the issue..Consider this your primer on why Arsenal might be targeted. I’m not going to tell you. I’m asking you to think why it would happen if it were happening… Consider the different interest groups aligned with football. You have Gambling houses (both legal and illegal), you have rich people, often billionaires who have state level backing and obviously know how to and want to make money (legally or illegally), you have the people running football as their personal fiefdom, you have clubs (a lot of whom are in the billionaires control), and you have the broadcasters, media and sponsors. And ask yourself there something unique about Arsenal that might be contrary to any of these groups vested interest?

  • Shard

    Regarding referees..Who selects which referees make it to the top? Who selects which referees get what games? Why is the basis of these decisions not transparent? Who selects who will be the referee observers? What is the grading system adopted? Who made Mike Riley the head of the PGMOL? Who monitors his performance? What is even his exact role? What checks and balances does the system adopt? If referees are so bad, why is nothing done about it? If something is done then what?

    As for video..There is NO reason video should not be adopted.. None at all.. HOW it is to be adopted is a different thing. Fears of games slowing down etc. But who says you can’t trial it and see how it works. Whether its worth it or not. Arsenal wanted to trial it in the Emirates Cup. Was denied permission. And you are also right. Video replays won;t kill all controversy. People will still debate it. But it will cut out some obvious mistakes. When we CAN get some calls right, then why not use it? Instead we get Goal line ‘technology’ (All you need is cameras on the line) as a red herring. They will then give some crap about how its not 100% reliable and use it to kill the demand for more video. Just you watch. last thing.. that there is no clarity on laws of the game is also the authorities’ doing, aligned with pundits proclaiming ‘he got the ball’, ‘there was no intent’ etc.. They thrive on creating confusion. Arbitrary application of laws is entirely the scenario you would want if you were looking to throw in manipulated results.

  • Rhyle

    Shard…surely there’s a high level summary you could give me?! I’ll dip in, and have done so at moon o’clock at night when Cartoon Network starts showing nothing but Hero 108 (it’s not my cup o’tea y’see…), but I’m not that guy. Just being honest about it. And, as I said to you on an earlier post, I do understand where you guys are coming from a lot better…that’s been kind of the idea. I want to understand it. That’s why I ask why you believe what you believe, that’s why I ask you to back it up with evidence and why I ask you what you believe are the reasons as to why there’s forces out there conspiring against us. It’s not some challenge as to prove / disprove you right or wrong. I’m just presenting another side to the story. Think I’ve respected where you’ve come from for the most part…and that’s why we’ve engaged in the manner we have. At least…that’s my perspective.

    I’ve embraced and agreed with some of your points, too – I’m far from dogmatic! The repetition, I think, comes from people repeatedly getting the wrong end of the stick, or coming to the wrong conclusion and I find myself having to explain myself in a different way, repeating the same point. Apologies – but que sera.

    As for your welcome comments as to anti-Arsenal? I completely agree – those who wish defeat on Arsenal, injury on Arsenal, death on AW are anti-Arsenal. Funnily enough…that’s something else that I’ve repeated…lol…

    The media do impact some people’s perceptions…and, for all you holding the media responsible for that…I think it’s the fault of the individual not having the critical faculties required to perceive what’s wrong or right in what they see, hear and read. The press have the freedom of expression, whatever they write. I don’t have to agree with it and I certainly wouldn’t let much of it shape my opinion, especially as far as football’s concerned. The validity of a football journalist’s opinion is worth no more than any nudger on the internet’s.

    I can see examples of all you said in your last paragraph, too. Just can’t see what the universal theory tying all of those together in a huge conspiracy against the Arsenal? All teams who are unsuccessful can give examples where they’ve been sleighted…demonstrate that they’ve been persecuted. We’re not alone in this at all. And if 90% (great stat, completely scientifically drawn up…lol…) feel that they’re being persecuted…well, what are the chances they all are?!

  • Rhyle

    Shard – the decision making process has probably always been deemed as not necessary in terms of being transparent. Think bringing some transparency to it wouldn’t be a bad thing.

    The PGMOB is an LLP – a business – which many fans demanded as it’s a function of their professionalisation (if that’s even a word). Their business is providing refs for football matches in the UK and Mike Riley decides who refs PL matches – same as anyone in a company at his level, he would have been interviewed for the job by the board. If want to add to your conspiracy theory – and I’d be interested in your perspective – the fact that PGMOB are owned by Tony Fernandes would be it. That, for me, is potentially a conflict of interests. Clearly it’s working in QPR’s favour, as demonstrated by their “goal” against Bolton…but I’m not going to let one example flavour the discussion!

    Who watches the watchmen? That would be the FA (in the UK), UEFA (in Europe) and FIFA (globally). There is a checks and balances system, as we saw when Uriah Rennie’s and performances were deemend unacceptable by the FA as to being of PL standard and he was drummed off to the FL. Where do you draw the line – who watches who watches who watches who watches the watchmen?!

    Video replays…yes, it will limit mistakes but as we both agree not eliminate them. Hard to judge the impact of having two men make the decision instead of one – although having a few seconds more and the ability to literally re-view will be advantageous. I agree. I just think that the impact on the game’s flow will be tremendous – who get’s to decide how many reviews you get? We already see teams contesting throw-ins / corners with the ref – add in video replays and every decision will be sent up. Add in a limit to get rid of this and you’ve got a whole new problem – tactical use of the video replays. Which is the equivalent of allowing mistakes to continue just in case there’s a more important one down the line…so will it truly have as great an impact on the number of mistakes? ‘Cos remember – the ones that are truly of an impact are the ones they’re being saved for. They’re likely to be the most controversial. They’re likely to be the toughest to get right. And you’re still relying on the opinion of a man watching it on TV. If we can’t agree amongst ourselves having watched highlights, if refs see it differently, if former pro’s see it differently depending on the position they used to play(as they do on every MotD)…the controversy and feelings of persecution will remain.

    The feelings of confusion is another fair point – but, imo, it’s brought about by over regulation, by over tweaking, instead of allowing the refs a modicum of common sense. Again, this is the result of increasing attention paid to their performance and the increasing exposure to the game. Gone are the days of 1 live match a week and MotD or the Big Match…

    Regardless of what we do to fix it there will always be errors. There will always be controversy. There will always be a sense of injustice for some.

    If you want my tuppence…in the same way that supporters trusts are set up to act as custodians of the club in the eyes of the stakeholders (us as paying fans, be it merch or STs…regardless of what some here think, the fans are as much a part of the club as anyone…)…maybe the PGMOB / FA need an independent body judging their performance? Problem comes, though, that you need expertise to judge. That’d be former refs. And as you see on MotD when Hansen sides with the defender and Shearer disagrees and sides with the attacker on a controversial pen…and the laughed about GKs union…they’re likely to side with their own…

  • Shard

    Put that down to the tribal nature of football. You often see that a wrong decision for one team, which is undeniable, is countered by..oh but two years ago you got a bad goal against us..Hence all is fair.. Divide and rule. Unless fans see past their tribal loyalties, they won’t be able to see the greater good.

    My point wasn’t about blaming the media..Just that behind their excesses..there is a reason. Something they seek to propagate. There are multitude of views..Yet the media will only propound a certain viewpoint. And this is largely across publications. Even if they’ll put in a little variations, the overall script stays the same.

    I don’t want to tell you WHY, because I don’t know why. I start with the assumption that it is..Actually I started with the assumption that it’s not happening, then that it can;t happen, then that it can happen, and finally that it is happening. Why takes a lot longer to get to. I can think of reasons (those that I’ve hinted at) but do I KNOW why..then no.. But that is no reason to believe I am wrong. Nor am I asking you to believe I am right. Somewhere down the line, hopefully I’ll be proven wrong. But the indicators are there that the only logical conclusion is that I (and others here) are right. (PS. It is not ONLY Arsenal who are affected..Hence talk of the greater good and looking past tribes)

  • Anne


    I’ve actually been taking a look at the Usmanov agenda a bit. The pro-Usmanov talking point on the subject seems to be that Kroenke and the Arsenal board are selfish for keeping Arsenal’s profits, when they should be “re-investing them in the club” by spending them in the transfer market right away. 🙂 They would prefer Usmanov, because he would be unselfish enough to eliminate profits altogether and just “invest in Arsenal” through the transfer market 🙂

    I think I got that out of a comments section, so I can’t completely vouch for it. However, I do think that Usmanov would most likely move money out of Arsenal.

  • bjtgooner

    Anne, my impression is that contrary to claims from the Usmanov followers the board have not taken any dividend. Usmanov did propose to provide £100m for Wenger to invest in players provided in turn he was given a seat on the board. Additionally, Usmanov did propose dididends for shareholders, value not specified. In a short time his £100m would have been rturned and then where our balance sheet be?

    PS I sent one or two emails to you – not sure if you received them – can you confirm?

  • Rhyle

    Shard – I can understand you making that assumption, it’s your belief and that’s fair enough. Again, if you can’t prove why, you can’t expect me to prove why not! Goes back to why I brought God into it…beliefs are beliefs. I respect them, but don’t necessarily agree with them.

    Some excellent points, though – learned a little bit again – I’m keen to what you make of Tony Fernandes and his Tune Group being involved with PGMOB…

  • Scott

    Shard,as someone who sits and watches the video ref slow down games every week (rugby league),believe me, exactly how its used is crucial.
    Two weeks so,our first State Of Origin had an incident which stopped play for app. 2 minutes…..a long time when sitting,waiting…only for the video ref to come up with a decision that 90% of people disagreed with.
    Out of every ten decisions,I’d suggest 5 or 6 would remain open to debate.
    Now I have no problem waiting for two minutes IF the right result is achieved,but if it’s only definitive 40-50% of the time,what’s the point?
    Goal line technology,absolutely.

  • Anne


    I’m sorry, I’m SO behind on my email!!! 🙁 I’m sorry 🙁 I’ll look at it today.

    I’m not sure about that 100 mil. It’s been reported, but I don’t know what the terms and conditions would be. Surely not a gift 🙂 The only proposal I’ve seen is his rights issue, and it’s moving money out. Not putting it in.

  • Shard


    What you’d get from goal line ‘technology’ is 4-5 incidents a season that they’d get right that they usually don’t. No problem. They should. But the hullaballo over it totally surpasses the output you’d get from it.

    Video in and of itself, is no solution. However, when you say you want the ref to make the right decisions, you must then provide the ref all available tools to do so. It won’t eliminate bad decisions or bad refs. It will make their mistakes more public, and force the issue of wrong/right decisions into the public eye. So, if a certain ref gives 50% decisions that 90% don’t agree with when it was on the big screen, everyone will remember it. Remember what team it was against. What situation it was in. This forces the referee to call it right. Right would be as he sees it..but if he sees it different to most people constantly or for the same teams, he forces the spotlight on himself, without the excuse of he has a split second only, his view was blocked etc.

    The one reason I am sceptical is because I want to know who will control the camera angles of the replays. Sky manipulates tht for its TV viewers already. Who’s to say they won’t do that for referees as well.

    How to implement it.. I think we’ll have to give up something. But I think its worth it to get the big calls right. You’ll still have Dean not calling fouls against us in the middle of the park. But you reduce the unpredictability of the ref, who anyway, should not be having a large input in the result. At this moment, I lean more towards a challenge system. I understand it’ll be misused to waste time etc.. But I still think it’s worth it.

  • bjtgooner

    @Anne – many thanks

  • Shard


    I don’t think Fernandes owns the PGMOL.. He sponsors them. Not ideal, but just another example of how the authorities don’t care for propriety. Football is run as a coterie of people. Fernandes just happens to be among those who’ve been welcomed in.

    Anyway.. If you really are interested, then just stick around on Untold. You’ll have the ref review sum up, you’ll have constant discussions on it, and you’ll have the whole of next season to debate on certain points rather than challenge everything because you don’t have time to look.

  • Rhyle

    Parent group of PGMOB is Tune Group was something I skim read. No…I’m wrong. And a dumbass for it…it happens! Air Asia’s parent group is Tune Group. That makes more sense…but could still be construed as a conflict of interest…as was the whole Gazprom issue when Schalke played Chelsea a few seasons ago I seem to remember? Referees being paid by TF’s company ref’ing games involving his club?

    Just throwing that out there…

  • Shard

    Too late to the party Rhyle..

  • Shard

    Oh and I never asked you to prove or disprove anything, and religion and existence of God is hardly the right example here.. Wanting to change status quo for the better on the basis of observation is not something religion is renowned for. Maybe because religion IS the status quo.

  • Rhyle

    Ah…but it wasn’t you it was aimed at, Shard – it was Bob…you just backed up his right to evidence in an earlier post…my point being that his argument of “I can’t prove that it is but you can’t prove that it isn’t” is the same as those used by religious groups when debating the existence of God. A minor point and entirely right in that context…I think…lol…

    It is what it is!

  • Shard

    Except…you are the one that asked for proof.. And he has the data on here to back him up.. you have nothing except the belief that since nothing wrong can be proven, everything is right.

  • Stuart

    @ Rhyle

    Why does play have to stop for a video replay?

    Surely the ref would make his/her call and play would continue as it currently would whilst the manager, if he deemed necessary would question the decision with the video panel on the touchline. You could give the managers 3 calls and if the manager is right in questioning it, then play goes back (and rightly so) and the manager doesn’t lose a call. If the manager is wrong, they lose a call.

    If the clock were to go back with play (as it should), I see no reason why this would be done for time wasting reasons.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Think you may well be right Anne,

  • bob

    “The media do impact some people’s perceptions…and, for all you holding the media responsible for that…I think it’s the fault of the individual not having the critical faculties required to perceive what’s wrong or right in what they see, hear and read. ”

    Rhyle, (or is it scully? rather liking that one),
    Pure Individualist that you are, you might look to the crap that passes for most people’s education for the general lack of critical faculties that you decry; the failure to teach visual literacy or critical thinking; the vested interest of status quo powers in having a dumbed down populace; the underfunding of public education in general; the unwillingness in most quarters to challenge the authoritarian barrage of media and its consciousness-shaping impact. But somehow you think you have escaped this. Judging by your contributions here, you haven’t.

    In your writing, it is partly manifest by your having learned to characterize a developing, evidence-based hypothesis of a corrupted anti-Arsenal bias as a grand, universal conspiracy theory. That is a straw man; and – in the climate I have just described – it is easy and lazy to make your go-to caricature seem plausible. Nice try.

    Again: Do you say that what went on against Wenger last summer/fall was not a conspiracy of anti-Arsenal interests? Or does your individualist faith – just like your faith in coincidence – prevent you from acknowledging that?

    Now its my solipsistic turn, mate: did ever hear of cognitive dissonance? Well look it up. You’ve got a case of it. Which is not, as you like to say, that you’re not intelligent. That’s the problem. You obviously are. It’s just that it’s a style of intelligence that’s self-deluding and self-blinding. One with a very lazy and easy to wield ideological mind-set that caricatures/marginalizes/tars we, hereabouts, who have openly pursued the collection and sharing and weighing of evidence to affirm an ongoing pattern as paranoids (yes, I know you were joking, but only half-joking) – no sorry, as grand, universal conspiracists!!!

    You know, imo, it’s so lazy to demand/require a “high-level summary” (of Shard, of anyone) – which by its very nature – as a summary – will not offer you enough detail – so that, in turn, you can point to it and say: “Well, there’s really not enough detail there,” just some random instances that do not add up to the grand universal conspiracy that you paranoids are claiming.
    Surely you know it’s going to go in that direction. But that’s what your unearthed position is leading to; and none of us have the time to do what you ought to putting in, spending some of your time doing, if these discussions were being undertaken in a principled way. Actually, scully, you dwelleth in the elaborate, but finally solipsistic cacoon that passes for everyday “normalcy” in our septic aisle. So, mate, with pride in being right but twice a day (and this is one of them 🙂 , I sign off. Your paranoid, broken clock, muldur.

  • bob

    “my point being that his argument of “I can’t prove that it is but you can’t prove that it isn’t” is the same as those used by religious groups when debating the existence of God”

    Another lazy caricature. That is not my argument. It is self-serving of you to set it up as a straw man, your habit of thought. As Shard (thankfully!) expresses, there is evidence accumulated and accumulating here that you have been/are too busy to consult and assess. Fine. But don’t use being too busy to then look down your nose and falsely equate your evidence-free, unexamined majority opinion with the evidence-based challenge that – in light of what’s been amassed at UA to date, and ongoing – I have put to you. That body of work, and the evidence of things SEEN – not UNSEEN – is the context in which I challenged you to prove “why not?” That argument – its fake symmetry – just doesn’t cut it hereabouts. (And scully was not lazy, so I withdraw that olive branch.)

  • bob

    imo, your concise gem at 2:35 above is the pearl in this oyster.

  • bob

    “you have nothing except the belief that since nothing wrong can be proven, everything is right.”

    imo, this mantra along with “it all evens out in the end” are two of the pillars of everyday normalcy.

    Their outcome is not just “see no evil”; it’s the far worse, cannot see evil.

  • bob

    imo, “time-wasting” is actually what they engineer for the populace with their chronic refshite. Behold, national conversations about obvious mis-calls and obvious non-calls. Now that’s time-wasting. But it’s the kind of time-wasting that they like and can control, because it has their soundtrack: “kerching, kerching, kerching….”, and it keeps people watching their medicine.

  • Stuart

    By they, I take it you mean those upstairs in the FA’s of this world.

    It’s a possibility I suppose but not one which I follow as it bores the hell out of me and surely many others. It’s like watching soap program repeats on TV after having seen them the first time round.

    I put it down to the managers and the players and can see why they do it but think it is unfair on us fans who have paid to watch. I can imagine my boss now if I were to start doing something I have already done just to wear down the last 15 minutes of the day.

    I’d love to see it backfire more often and have team A score with no time being left for team B to respond due to their own time wasting.

  • Mick

    I think we can sum up Rhyle’s persistent defence of commonly held beliefs (spend some money, it evens out in the end, there is no anti Arsenal bias etc etc) with the following quote from Mary Pettibone Poole….

    ‘To repeat what others have said, requires education; to challenge it, requires brains.’

  • bob

    A great quote! Definitely a keeper.

  • Rhyle

    Of course, Mick…you’re not repeating the views of those…no sir, what you espouse is all your own work…there is no irony at all in the fact that I’m challenging you guys on your views, not to change them (I’m not THAT arrogant…or hopeful!) but maybe to understand them a bit better…that, of course, takes no brains. Which is just as well in my case…

    FYI – I do challenge the folks on Le Grove at times, too. I don’t advocate the more extreme views on there. As I’ve tried (and repeatedly failed) to get across on here, I’m pretty measured. As is the done thing on Twitter, the proclamation remains that “my views are all my own and not representative of…yaddayaddayadda…”.

    Your quote me of us indie kids calling other kids “trendies” in the early ’90’s…saying we were individuals and the rest were sheep…when we all dressed the same and acted the same…lol…

  • bjtgooner


    Good comment.

  • WalterBroeckx

    about the referee world.

    I have written about the referee world on Untold some 3 seasons now. First no reviews just educating people about the rules following some incidents that happened on the field where the pundits (like on MOTD) talked complete bullshit about the laws of the game.

    And then I have been talking about the “things behind the scenes” in the ref world. And I also have written a series about all the possible bias that can exist when you are a ref. I think that series was 5 articles long. All about some bias that I know that has happened/or still exists.
    All this based on personal confessions from (former and still active) colleagues.
    The way refs are sometimes pushed forward is another thing that can raise eyebrows leading up to some people not really being where they belong (both at the highest level but also some who stayed at lower level because of some being pushed forward not on their referee performances)

    I have often wondered why I still continue doing it. Because I sit in a rotten world at times. But the smell of the grass, the love for the clean game, the love for football, and the fact that I can stay fitter at my age keeps me in that world. And the fact that you get to know interesting people. I have had the chance to talk with top refs, fifa refs, from whom one can learn a few things (both bad and good things by the way). Even this week I will be having an interesting moment as I will do a game with a fifa ref as an assistant. Will be keeping my eyes and ears wide open. 😉 I will be the assistant of course.

  • Rhyle

    Walter – please don’t take my cynicism or reluctance to get fully up to speed with your research as a dismissal of the graft you and your colleagues put into this site. I do respect it…but I’m only being honest when I say that I’m not going to trawl through your 3 years+ of research. It’s not that I don’t want to…scratch that, it probably is a little…but it’s more that, surely, there have been some conclusions that you’ve drawn as what’s gone on and why that someone could put in front of me without me spending the next 3 months reading the lot? I get that you think refs are shite…hence refshite…and I agree with it. I can even admit that it’s very likely a few of them are corrupt. I just can’t buy a wholesale corrupt industry built around reffing games. Surely Donal MacIntyre or The News of the World would have exposed it by now…if not them then surely an expose on Panorama or at least a few throw away comments highlighting that eyebrows are raised with regards to refs credibility – even a couple of gags from stand up comedians?! Truth is…there’s nothing but you guys fighting your good fight. My natural, default position is that of the sceptic…and I can’t see bad decisions as evidence of corruption. It may be considered by many here as a failing of mine but, yes, I need to see the smoking gun. Call it the scientist in me!

    As I say – keep up the great work you guys are doing with it. I honestly believe that you could isolate the one, two, whatever, corrupt refs there are…I hope the game with the FIFA ref doesn’t do further damage to your perception of the game…

  • Rhyle

    By the by – I don’t believe in coincidence, and I don’t believe anyone can ever be completely unbiased in any circumstances. All of us bring preconceptions to every experience.

  • bob

    I’m pretty sure that early this year, Channel Four did an attempted expose or investigation-interview of a former ManUre great/now an ambassador, who was dirty bunging in some way, and it implicated Don Fungus and might have sparked further investigation, but it went absolutely nowhere and was virtually silenced in the press. There are walls of silence and non-coverage for certain teflon Dons that constitute everything is AOK cause we haven’t heard of it.

  • Rhyle

    I saw a Dispatches which was about the hawking of clubs to potential owners? It was strange how it was met with no reaction by the broader press – but it seemed a bit of a non-starter as nothing actually happened, just a lot of shit was said by some odd little Malaysian fella who’d shaken hands with Fergie a couple of times…was awesome to see Bryan Robson make an absolute arse of himself, though…

    Is that the one you mean?

  • bob

    yes, something about them Robson’s and being arses though…

  • Menace

    a little cash – 150million!! If that is a little can you please make a small donation of a pittance to The Lions Eye Hospital project in Ghana with Moorfields Hospital London. It will ensure some Africans will have sight of Arsenal in the future.

  • Gerry Lennon

    Rhyle, I would not have though you were a marxist sociology graduate – LOL

  • Rhyle

    Gerry – that’d be the wife…but she thinks Marx’s tenets are far too conservative for her.

    I love her to bits but I wish she’d shave the beard and stop wearing the beret…

  • bob

    Now ignoring your little Malaysian quip whilst you ignore the rednose of the other side of that repeated (did you say) transaction, I’ve got a different word for your: “I need to see the smoking gun. Call it the scientist in me!”
    There are other words for this than “scientist.” We scientists – natural and social – do not deal in smoking guns. In practice and theory we deal in probability not certainty. So drape yourself in say, denialist, status quo defender, non-commitalist, mainstreamer, etc., but what you take to be a real position – demanding a smoking gun – is actually not a real-world demand. And while it lets you live above the fray whilst others get their toes dirty in the muck of trying to figure it out with research and assessment, it does not give you a scintilla of credibility to say you are a scientist. In fact dogmatist is the right term for someone who has just said I don’t believe in coincidence, but I insist on a smoking gun. Smoking gunner, anyone?

  • Rhyle

    So why are the scientists at Cern looking for the Higgs boson if not searching for a smoking gun?! But I digress and you do raise a good point…maybe it’s more of the magistrate in me, wanting evidence backing up any accusation of corruption. Do I need it to be conclusive? Probably not…like most, I can pretty much guess how a film will end after watching the first hour, but that doesn’t mean we’re always right…

    You’re getting far too hung up on my unwillingness to spend the next 3 months of my life catching up on the last 3 years of yours – time and inclination – and its impact to my reasoning. Look beyond it and back to that magistrate comparison – if you were take the UA research and articles to a court to prove corruption in referees…what would their verdict be? You accuse refs of corruption…if the PGMOL were to approach UA and ask them to take their material down as it’s libelous (it could be construed as such – you have accused an entire company of corruption – but let’s not get carried away and think it’d actually happen!)…how would you defend it?

    Actually…that judges comparison is a pretty good one. It’d pretty much depend on which one you got – I’m sure there’d be one out of all the magistrates out there are who’d back you on a whim. But that’s the thing when you put a gavel (whistle) in someone’s hand. You’re pretty much at their mercy with regards to how they view the circumstances, interpret the law, apply the law…and mete out punishment. I imagine a lot of those would depend on what side of the bed the judge got out of in the morning, too…

    Keep up the Woodward and Bernstein’ing, though – as I said in earlier post…if you do weed out one or two bad eggs…as I think you could do…it’ll all have been worthwhile.

  • Shard

    This isn’t a ‘courtroom’, and the evidence isn’t there to be put before a judge. For that Rhyle, we need investigating powers. The corruption in Italy was unearthed because someone had an idea it was happening and looked into it. We haven’t even reached that stage yet. But there is enough to suggest that something fishy is up in English football. You seem to rejoice in the ability of PGMOL to shut down this site, while professing otherwise. Like you said, a smoking gun..there isn’t one..there are many.. Certain referees being appointed to certain teams, teh teams’ results under them. Those aren’t even matters of opinion. Those are statistical facts, which do go some way to show all is not well. The rest, you need to be willing and able to analyse the press coverage of issues, rather than just say it’s all nonsense anyway. Of course, analysis is subjective. But no analysis is….nothing. Depends what you prefer I suppose.

  • bob

    Just a point to clarify among us: do you mean all analysis is subjective – in the sense of to each completely his own; or subjective – in the sense that there is something going on in the world that allows/invites/yields to varying types/degrees of interpretation? The first is solipsistic; the latter allows us to view something from different angles and argue with each other as to which interpretation accounts for more of what is out there?

  • bob

    p.s. my fear is that people can say well if it’s anything goes, then there’s no more accuracy to your view than to mine, and no standards for what is a better account than another.

  • Rhyle

    To clarify…I would not revel in PGMOL’s ability to shut this site down…I don’t want anyone to stop what they’re doing here and I don’t even think you’re wrong…that would require me watching the games myself and coming up with own judgement on the refs performance…not just reading your version of events. There is no way on earth I could judge a refs performance based on your analysis. It’d be a bit of a fools errand competing against a stacked deck!

    Nor am I suggesting this is a courtroom…mainly the comparison is about judge’s v refs. Both are put into a position of trust based on their experience and ability. Two judges can…and frequently do…view the same case, the same incident differently. As do we as spectators. You put the same incident in front of 1000 people you’d get 1000 different interpretations – each subtly different from the last – as we all bring our prejudices (do we like the ref, club, player, colour of the kit, weather on the day, light in the stadium) and emotions (argument with the missus before the game, 3-0 down when something controversial happens, bad journey to the game, worries, concerns, mental health…).

    I agree that there will be cultural or personal biases – refs and judges are people after all – but we have them too. I agree that the stats probably highlight this. I agree that there probably is a handful of corrupt refs in the game at the top level. But to call out the PGMOL as basically, from what some here have said, a criminal organisation (and corrupt refereeing is criminal – there’s money on these games, y’know…) is a bit of a leap at this stage. My point is that I can look at numbers, statistics…I can hear the opinions of many people, both layman and expert, but at the end of the day whether or not I think something is a foul is wholly within my gift to judge.

    We both see bad refereeing. We both have opinions of referees that we’ve crafted through experience…but the pattern many on UA are seeing in the behaviours of the refs (and the media) just aren’t apparent to me.

    Have a little look at pareidolia – it’s seeing patterns where there are none and it’s why there are constellations. Constellations are meaningless patterns of stars in the sky. They’re just their. But man, in his wisdom, seeks to apply a pattern to everything so he created Sagittarius, the Plough, Ursa’s major and minor…in order to better understand that which was before him. He created the pattern but none exists. He showed this pattern to others and they too, because there is an inherent desire to accept patterns as true, saw them. See also Narrative Fallacy, error of confirmation, . They’re interesting concepts and PROBABLY DON’T APPLY HERE BUT THEY’RE ALWAYS WORTH CONSIDERING WHEN YOU’RE FORMING AN OPINION! Also look at Group Think…that one probably does apply a little to every Arsenal blog…lol…

    None of this is a criticism, merely an observation and something I’d throw out as consideration. I just don’t believe anyone could be bothered to hate us that much and especially can’t see WHY they would.

    I’d like to set up a test of your theory on refs. Next season, would you agree to putting yourselves to the test? You obviously feel that certain refs get certain teams and are liable to behave in a particular way – how about you set out what you expect before the game and we’ll both watch it. I figure if we do 3 games from 3 refs where they behave as to your expectations – with a margin of error of 1 game per ref – you may be on to something and I’ll help you in your endeavours!

  • Rhyle – I do a prematch RefWatch blog for every Arsenal EPL game – feel free to tune in to it next season and give us all your opinion.

  • Rhyle

    will do. I’ll add to the “things I nver knew existed on UA” list. Good that you have that level of rigour in your work.

  • Shard


    This is going around in circles..I am well aware that people are wired to make patterns where none exist. People are also susceptible to letting things be as they are until it hits them in the face. The main difference is, you are focusing on the WHY as your starting point. Until you hear a theory of why, that convinces you, you don’t believe it. For me, it was the feeling that it IS.. based on what I saw. And I believe in trying to finding out why as well as how. Which is what this site does.

  • Shard


    Will my saying one or the other make any difference to what people say or do? I think its both. To each his own, and then trying to find a consensus. But that is dependent on the individual. If someone wants to be of the view that their opinion, no matter how uneducated or illogical, is as good as any other, there is nothing anyone can do to convince them.

  • bob

    Will your saying so make a difference, either way? I’d say probably for some. I think it has value to have people think things through, and imo your views are influential.

  • Rhyle

    Shard…WHY is not my starting point. Like any hypothesis, I’ve started with the assumption that Arsenal are being unfairly treated by Referees as a direct result of being Arsenal. I’ve looked at (a little) evidence on the matter and just fail to see the why.

    You start with the same assumptions of Machiavellian machinations against the Arsenal, you’ve seen (more) evidence on the matter and just fail to see the why not.

    It is what it is! Always interesting, though…hoping that the “uneducated or illogical” dig wasn’t aimed at me personally..! I honestly dig what you guys are trying to achieve…I have no problem with it at all, even though I probably disagree with two-thirds of it due to the different perspectives we each bring to it…I just enjoy engaging with smart people in debate. It’s not making trouble…although I’m sure some will see it that way…it’s a willingness to hear your pov, consider it, dismiss it as mental (I kid!), counter it and see what you come back with…and it’s been fun…

    What makes me laugh about the referee thing, though, is that we both fundamentally agree that refereeing standards have slipped to crisis levels…it’s just what’s driving it that we differ on. You see PGMOL driven corruption, I see an over-tweaked, over-scrutinised, often over-criticised position being made impossible in terms of delivering consistency.