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August 2021

REF REVIEW 2012: Stoke City. 60% correct as the refs vanish down a dark dark tunnel.

By DogFace and Walter Broeckx

Untold Arsenal has a team of qualified referees who have reviewed more than 40% of the EPL games from last season. The reviews themselves were based on full match video footage with the advantage of video technology features such as slow motion and pause.

By reviewing those 155 games we have made a database of more than 7000 decisions that have been judged by our panel of dedicated and qualified referees.

The numbers you will see are based on those decisions and those reviewed games.

The next team in our review is Stoke City. After having qualified for the Europa League the season before it was interesting to see how they would cope with those extra games. At first it didn’t seem to affect them that much with a rather high league position. But in the end it did took its toll it seemed as they gradually faded away and ended up in 14th place. Well away from a Europa League place.

Untold Vs PGMOL - StokeCity 2011/2012

We managed to review Stoke 8 games last season. That is 21,05% of all their games. For those who say that this is not sufficient we will not completely disagree with you. We would have liked to have done more games. Alas, because of a lack of reviewers and a lack of being able to get their games on TV this was not possible.

So if you want to raise this number for next season and you are a ref: join us. Give us a sign and we will pick you up. Let us see how competent the refs have been in the games that involved Stoke.

PGMOL Vs EPL - Basic Competency - StokeCity 2011/2012

The first unweighted numbers are  a kick in the private parts of any ref and most of all in the private parts of the PGMOL. This is a disgrace! There are no other words to describe this. This is 8% below the league average.  This is getting close to just throw a coin up and see how it falls to decide if the ref gives a foul or not.

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And if we put weight on it…the numbers sink to an alarm bell level of just above 60% correct decisions.  I cannot find words strong enough to describe my disgust about these numbers. And the words that I find are not really suited to be published.  So I will keep it to these words for now: Shame on you, referees!

Now let us see where it all went wrong and have a look at the different decisions.

PGMOL Vs EPL - Basic Competency Breakdown - StokeCity 2011/2012

As a ref this is sickening. I really feel sick when I look at the numbers of the most important decision type of it all: the goals. As this is the most important decision type (as it determines how many points you get from a game) this number should be around 99% correct. The refs in the games from Stoke only managed to get 66.667% correct. Like the total is saying from the 15 goal decisions that we had in the Stoke games only 10 have been correct! This is totally unacceptable. Not even a pub team league would allow such low numbers.

The offside numbers are also not good enough. Far away from the 99% claimed by Mike Riley.  But only 3% away from our total league findings so if we look at the wrong goal decisions we kind of take it like that. Even though the final number is unacceptable in my view.

The other decisions are… just give the ref a coin to decide if he will blow for a foul or not. This will get him close to this score of only 65% correct decisions.

The penalty decisions have been bad. Only half of them were correct. This is another 10% lower compared to the league average and in my eyes again totally unacceptable.

The red cards… sorry this is getting depressing for me as a ref. Not one decision was correct in the games we reviewed. NOT ONE.  Please help me to find at least one little spark of light in this darkest referee tunnel I have ever seen.

And even in the darkest hour of despair you can find a little ray of light. And this can be found in the yellow card decisions. As this is the only type of decisions where the referees did better than in the overall league result. But doing 1% better than the unacceptable league average is not that good but in the light of all what we have found before we take it as something good.

So the conclusion up to now: the refs have been rubbish in the Stoke games. Now the next step is to see if we can find a pattern in this madness.

PGMOL Vs EPL - Incorrect calls Breakdown - StokeCity 2011/2012

And…. for the first time in my life I have been hit by the lightning. That is how it feels. The former numbers were just poor for the teams involved in the Stoke games. Now the numbers are a major shock.  Let me explain.

The normal away bias a team has to face in the league is around -1.826. But when Stoke go away it has a positive bias of +6.333!  And the normal home bias a team can enjoy at home is +1.826 and Stoke has a positive bias of +5.400.  This is completely out of line with all I have ever seen before.

People could have said: oh well it is the intimidating atmosphere at the Stoke City football stadium that puts pressure on the refs. But these numbers just show that away from home Stoke City gets even a better “support” from the referees.  If this would be a radio show then now you would probably hear a very long awkward silence that seems to last forever. As I am just speechless for a moment.

So let me move on to the weighted bias numbers.

And there again a team away from home can expect a negative bias from some -2.619 and Stoke City ends up with a positive bias of +9.333!  And also the home bias is far better than the normal +2.619 as it goes up to +8.800! So an enormous positive bias swing for Stoke and most of all the away bias is totally out of line with all that we have seen before.

Let us see who the refs were who did all this and by now I expect some big, big swings from ref to ref.

EPL vs PGMOL - Incorrect calls Breakdown by Referee - StokeCity (Un-Weighted) 2011/2012

Only one ref from the 7 who did Stoke City games has a negative bias score. That is Mark Halsey. And this is a rather small negative bias score. We have seen worse.

Mike Dean (much to his credit) has a zero score, well done! And also Mark Clattenburg can have a pat on his back because his positive bias is only 1 bias point.

But the scored from Howard Webb and Peter Walton are less nice. The positive bias towards Stoke is getting big. And Chris Foy… who did 2 games and on both occasions seems to be very,very friendly towards Stoke.  And the king of Stoke is Lee Mason.  Let us see if we can see something different if we add weight to the decisions?

EPL vs PGMOL - Incorrect calls Breakdown by Referee - StokeCity (Weighted) 2011/2012

Now we have two refs with a small negative bias. Halsey and also Dean who made a big mistake against Stoke it seems in one of his games.  If we look at the high lines of Halsey both for and against it is plain to see that he just made a complete mess of his whole game.

Clattenburg is keeping it close to the middle with only a small positive Stoke bias.

The score from Webb has gone up, and so have the score from Walton if we put weight on the numbers.

And what can we say about Foy and Mason? This is no more about making some mistakes in their games.  Those are totally unacceptable scores.

PGMOL Vs StokeCity - Incorrect calls Seasonal Handicap - StokeCity (Weighted) 2011/2012

If we look at this table we can see that the first game from Stoke was an absolute mess but it did gave them a point.

We must also say that not all games where they had a big positive bias gave them 3 points. But most of the time the positive bias did result in winning some points. As in the games we reviewed we cannot find a big negative bias we cannot see if the wrong calls cost them points.


This is the worst case scenario from a ref points of view. And the best case scenario if you are a Stoke City fan and you don’t care how the points come in, as long as they come in.

The referees (almost all of them) have been rubbish in the Stoke City games.  And in their rubbishness they have favoured Stoke City.

Why? If only I knew. There seems to be no logical explanation at first. Stoke City with all respect is not a big team so there can be no big team bias.  It has nothing to do with home bias as they got an ever bigger away bias.

As far as I know, unlike QPR, Stoke has no sponsor ties with the PGMOL. So if anyone can explain this to me, be my guest.

But this is so totally bad that this result itself is a total and utter disgrace for the PGMOL. The PGMOL failed in making sure that the refs who did games in which Stoke City was involved was refereed in a fair way. And that is what they are supposed to make happen.  They didn’t provide this.

A complete failure and disgrace for the PGMOL. That is what these numbers tell me.

Some reviews

Editorial note: This web site has reviewed 155 Premier League games this season.  If you have not seen our reviews before and are thinking of commenting please spend a moment taking a look at “Some games in the Premier League are fixed”.  Please note that we do sometimes delete posts which are abusive or which seek simply to make statements without any logic or research.


Publication on Friday: Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.

The book that re-writes the Arsenal story.


130 comments to REF REVIEW 2012: Stoke City. 60% correct as the refs vanish down a dark dark tunnel.

  • MissBlack

    Stoke are sponsored by Bet365. Just saying.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    As you say – quite extraordinary! Even ignoring the two Arsenal games a clear bias in favour of Stoke and some of their players seem to be charmed to be untouchable.

  • Ian

    I get the feeling you have to much time on your hands Walter lets just let the game be a game. When I read stats like this I find myself… and this is frightening part agreeing with Mr Blatter, human error is caused by the pace of the game and the need for a decision to be made. Granted 8 games probable isn’t a true reflection but I get the feeling you want video technology for every potential decision, I don’t want that Walter, a 2 appeal method in each half would be a big assistance for the ref but that’s the most I personally want it to go.

  • anatra

    Regional bias? Big team bias? Home and away bias? Could there be any other kind of bias?

  • swampmongrel

    Might it be that your team of ‘qualified’ reviewers have an anti-Stoke bias rather than PL officials having a pro-Stoke bias?

    Other than advertising on an Arsenal blog how do you find your reviewers?

  • bjtgooner

    @DogFace & Walter

    Once again a great piece of work. In trying to understand why there is such a positive bias from some refs the only explanation that comes to mind is this – Stoke are a very physical team, they push this aspect of their game to the limit that they can get away with; could it be that some refs just don’t have the bottle to properly control the game?

  • MikeSA

    Proxy bias?

    If you want to favour certain teams but do not wish it to be obvious then what better way than to use a proxy team to manipulate points and in the case of a thug team, cause injuries to key opponents.

  • ozziearsenal

    Wow just shows the EPL and ref favor rough and tumble football and England want to win a tourament they got buckleys chance if they keep promoting that type of football I think the EPL should be called the leg break leauge.

  • davi


    Look around, there are other groups who are not Arsenal fans and have also found that stoke recieved a positive bias from refs last season. Eg:

    Although I doubt that Utd would have been 5 points better off over City.

  • anatra

    I think bjtgooners could be on to something. Maybe with the controversial twist – Stoke are a very physical “english” team.

  • davi

    And I REALLY doubt arsenal would have finished 4th considering we got 1 or 2 penalties all season, and had numerous clear ones turned down.

  • swampmongrel


    I’m not contesting the argument that Stoke may have had, to a greater or lesser extent, some favourable decisions last season. Although, the talk of organised bias is all a bit too’conspiracy’ for me.

    I do think my question is valid though. Who exactly reviews the reviewers? This type of ‘study’ isn’t just susceptible to partisan club bias but also to a bias against the more physical aspects of the game. So much of refereeing is open to interpretation different ‘qualified’ referees will have a different interpretation of the game.

    There’s lots of problems with this study but you also have to control for a self-selection bias of the types of ‘qualified’ reviewer willing to devote so much time towards a fringe blog.

    The question needs to be asked again. How is the ‘panel’ selected?

  • Martin

    Thanks for deleting my comment, admittedly it was sarcastic, but no need to delete it. It showed perfectly the mentality of Arsenal fans, especially when it comes to Stoke.

    That other ‘evidence’ was also done by Arsenal fans towards the end of the season, I remember it doing the round. When we looked at it, it had assumed the worst of Stoke in every decision, ones that could have been decided either way, e.g. a soft penalty was always assumed it shouldn’t have been a penalty. In Arsenal’s case a soft penalty was always assumed it should have been a penalty. This is where the ‘figures and facts’ have been warped.

    In summary you are objectifying refs decisions when they are subjective, some things might have gone our way, but as with every team in the league some decisions can be interpreted by the ref either way.

    Don’t delete this, it’s not abusive in the slightest.

  • James

    Decisions even themselves out, as you’ll be aware of – you analysed Stoke games in 2010-11 too, right?

    Anyway. This answers your question. The slate is clear for next season.

    Potters chief Pulis has spoken out after claiming “six or seven” games have been directly affected by decisions against his team already this season.

    “The thing that we found this weekend is for the first time, people outside Stoke-on-Trent have actually said what is going on there is wrong.

    “And that’s the first time it’s happened.

    “Don’t kid yourself that this hasn’t been happening in the first two years we were in the Premier League. We’ve had decisions go against us that have been absolutely abysmal, and I mean abysmal. But we’ve kept our grace and just got on with things.

    “We know we’re not going to get certain decisions that other clubs are going to get. I think that has been made blatantly obvious over the past few games. But there has to come a time when you have to stand up and say ‘this is not right’. And it’s been pretty appalling.”

  • MysticalDescent

    A serious comment here.

    I’ve read this report and I’ve read the QPR one.

    I really think that you are on very dodgy ground with your comments about sponsors. It is one thing to suggest that it is improper for QPR and the PGMOL to share a sponsor, but to imply that this link has led to a corrupt relationship which results in referees favouring QPR is not very smart at all.

    I would think that the author can perhaps count himself lucky that the blog does not have a particularly vast readership and is somewhat obscure, else I fear that legal representatives of the parties involved would be in contact with you.

    That’s not a criticism, that’s honest advice.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    I wonder if we can get past the silly insults and address the issue head on. Regardless of who gains from a dodgy decision, the poor refereeing and the work of the PGMOL is the main issue.

    Yes, this is an Arsenal website but the authors of this study have been up front with that and have asked others (yes, especially non-Arsenal, qualified referees) to help them out. The more non-partisan referees involved the more accurate the study will be. They have been up front also with the difficulty with reviewing games involving teams not shown on television and have admitted that the small size of the sample are troublesome.

    In short, to all you Stoke and non-Arsenal fans lets band together and try to address the larger issue and leave our partisanship where it belongs…in the pub.

  • AnT

    Great job again Walter and co. Cannot wait for the next reviews. For all who questioned or will question about the quality of the reviews, as Walter and the others mentioned hundred times, all data are available online. If any has objections or thinks the inaccuracy of the reviews, please feel free to point out where the discrepancies are between your and the reviewers’s valuation. I think it can contribute positively this work rather than questioning it without any clear point. Sorry, rant over.

  • Doanythingformoney

    I wonder how many of the contributors have actually ‘scored’ a game- preferably one that is irrelevant to them. Try it. Use Untold criteria or your own. But if you do it often enough and come to a conclusion that ‘something is not right’–what are you going to do? Some of these great guys have been doing this for 3 or more seasons. There is a pattern whether you like it or not. You can only verify or falsify the data by replication.

    Doing what Untold have done is hard. But if you try watching a few games with an open heart- and accept bias as a possibilty- I will be shocked if you don’t accept it is going on. What Untold have done- by real skill and graft- is prove the bleeding obvious!

  • WalterBroeckx

    a ref will say to you : there are no soft penalties. There are only penalties and non penalties.

    It’s a foul or it is not a foul. If it is a foul it is penalty, if it isn’t a foul it is not a penalty.

    Martin and I can link you to the

    They are not an Arsenal blog but…. well the numbers speak for themselves

  • Mandy Dodd

    Stoke are a strange team. Ferocious at home, very different away. They go to utd, pulis praises red nose in any way he can, they lose without putting a tackle in. My guess, stoke know who their friends are and act accordingly to survive in the epl, as do other teams and refs.

  • Zigzag

    @ Mandy Dodd – spot on! I would say.

  • Valentin

    The reason why there is a bias in favour of Stoke is because referees know that if they were to start to really apply the football law then Stoke would keep getting penalised to the point where it would becomes ridiculous.
    One in a while that happen, generally after such game Tony Pulis make a foul of himself by complaining about the foul that we’re correctly given against his team. I remember watching a game (not involving Arsenal) last season where the referee tried to apply the law, Tony Pulis was furious afterwards. During the post game interview it was comical how he was trying to justify contesting fouls correctly called by the referee.
    Tony Pulis still think that shoving, grappling, tugging,mimicking are legal tactics.
    When refereing Stoke, most referees adapt their refereeing standard. Fouls are not penalised, yellow become normal foul and red just yellow. Once in a while crimson red, violent conduct is also considered red. Remember how Shawcross ‘tackle’ on Ramsey was not a foul in itself. Chris Foy gave the red only when he realised that Ramsey was seriously injured. The Stoke bench were even arguing that it was not even a foul.
    Another reason why the shocking bias discrepency is that quite often referee lower their standard for Stoke but not for their opponent making doubly difficult. They shove you, you get nothing. You shove them you get a yellow card.
    Yes the nasty, vicious atmosphere of the Britania stadium gets to referee. Few are willing to stand up that mob. During the rest of the Stoke-Arsenal game where Ryan ‘Leg Breaker’ Shawcross assaulted Ramsey, later in the game another Stoke player committed another shocking foul, who deserved a straight red. Chris Foy did not want to send another player off so he just lectured without booking him and giving him a second yellow card.
    Without that lenient approach toward Stoke violence that horrible team would have been relegated a long time ago.

  • Lesalanos

    Whats our Arsenals record v stoke like at home compared to man u? Strikes me that we’re rubbish against most of the big 4 away.

    As for this survey though. How qualified are the referees who viewed the games back? The EPL refs meet every week and review games to try and get consistency.

    The reason Stoke get away with alleged fouls is simple. It’s the English Premier League, the referees are English and they have more of a liking for Stokes “honest approach” as opposed to the niggly diving theatrics of many of the foreign imports.

    Stoke had the longest continuous run of games without a sending off.

    I live and play football over here in Savannah. The refereeing is appalling, and the tackling contact non existent.

  • Kentetsu

    There is a wrong link at the end of the article. The review for Stoke – Spurs links to a review of Spurs – Chelsea.

    Keep the numbers coming, guys. It’s a very interesting, though at times somewhat depressing, read.

  • Tram

    Might it be not pro-Stoke bias but anti their opponents? As a simple hypothesis, if a given referee loved ManU, he could only favour them when he was allocated one of their matches, but he could also help them if he damages their rivals. Personally I doubt that any ref would be motivated to help Stoke. Inevitably, Sky will focus on matches involving top five or six teams. Therefore the only window they offer into referee conduct at lower clubs is when they face the big boys. There’s the accidental bias. I suspect that the answer, rather than to focus on favoured clubs, is to go through each ref’s conduct match by match and see who he favours and see who he hurts. The premier refs are not a homogenous group. There will be ManC favourers, Chelsea favourers and ManC favourers.(no known arsenal favourers alas). Nail that theory and betting on premiership matches will be a breeze

  • WalterBroeckx

    After the teams we will get in to the referees of course

    I think that also will be fun doing

  • WalterBroeckx

    will try to check it

    Ok just did

    Thanks for pointing that out by the way

  • Gerry Lennon

    I think it does come down to how ref’s actually referee matches involving Stoke. As @Valentin has said, it takes a ‘strong’ ref to apply the laws of the game, who then has to listen to their manager’s criticism on football being a physical game.
    Well, there’s physical, and there’s physical … within the rules?
    A quick look at the table showing who refereed, the bias increased with the ref’s who would be considered as the more ‘easy going’ types? Those that don’t mind a bit of controversy were on the left side of the table?
    I do think the EPL missed a trick of not getting Collini, the top Italian ref, when he retired to come and demonstrate how it should be done? I wonder how well he would have scored over here? LOL
    Just one more thought. If this was so poor, presumably the averge would be a tad higher without them?

  • Reviewer 02

    Walter reviewing the reviewers will also be interesting.

    @MandyDodd. I agree 100%

  • MK


    The reviews are all here on the site, completely open and visible so you can check each decision/non decision yourself if you think it is just an anti-stoke bias by Arsenal reviewers.

    Although it would probably be best to make up a short video compilation of each item in the review and hand it over to a qualified ref or three that don’t support stoke (without pre-empting them with your own pro-stoke bias).

    I’m sure everyone here would be happy to find out if they have made any mistakes or have any subconscious bias they weren’t aware of and would love to hear concise factual arguments against particular decisions rather than the usual generic ‘You must be wrong because I think so’ arguments.

    But its up to you to put your time where your mouth is if you want to change the findings of this site!

  • Stokiedazza

    One point I’d like to make is stoke being a physical side. It’s a physical game and has been got a hundred and fifty years.
    My point about the stats. Maybe it’s because our players don’t look to dive around with the slightest of contact. That would a) increase the % of correct decisions and b) put in the refs minds that generally when stoke players go down they’ve been fouled. Obviously the home fans at the Brit make it hard but I find we have refs coming and trying to prove a point and not give us decisions. Just an ending note, stoke have only starting to be sponcered next season by Bet345

  • Micko

    @ Gerry Lennon, “A quick look at the table showing who refereed, the bias increased with the ref’s who would be considered as the more ‘easy going’ types? Those that don’t mind a bit of controversy were on the left side of the table?” – not sure that you are correct there Gerry, as Mark Halsey is definitely one of those refs in the ‘easy going’ bracket and yet he is the only ref with a negative bias (un-weighted)against Stoke. I know that Halsey is a Bolton fan, maybe he just doesn’t like Stoke?

  • “One point I’d like to make is stoke being a physical side. It’s a physical game and has been got a hundred and fifty years.”

    In Stoke this is true – it the rest of the world the game has moved on from the days where hacking and charging the keeper were in the rule book… this could just be the ‘English game’ but if it is then the English game is not something I’m very attached to – if for nothing else, for the good of the national team as, as it stands now, we have a situation where those tippy-tappy Spaniards can utterly embarrass us with their technical game and ‘English’ tactics have been rendered impotent by those tricky foreign referees who stick more or less to the modern football rules.

    Still – you love those crunching tackles at the Britania – so I guess that’s all that matters.

    Also – Stoke based Bet365 have been closely affiliated with Stoke FC for a good many years now… as an aside they also sponsored the FA cup by proxy through ITV – so not sure where the ‘next season’ bit comes from?

  • MysticalDescent


    There is also the question of standards here.

    Stoke and Arsenal are polar opposites in terms of ethos. I’m trying to be as fair as possible as I say this and to be as inoffensive as possible. Arsenal believe in the reduction of football to a non-contact sport, where the game is a sanitised arena for taking it in turns to pass the ball on the halfway-line, where diving is encouraged and where yellow and red cards are handed out like confetti. What you have to remember is that at Stoke, we practically invented professional football. We were founder members of the Football League, we’re the oldest top flight club in the world and we played a massive part in the formation of the rules of the game. It is perhaps only natural that a plastic, modern club like Arsenal would be our polar opposite. Perhaps the only side more appropriate would be MK Dons, whose move from Wimbledon to Milton Keynes was actually based on the example set by Woolwich Arsenal and their move across London, which came about due to Henry Norris’ desire to drive Jewish-run Tottenham Hotspur out of business. But I digress. In Stoke, we believe in football being played in the spirit that it was intended when we created it. Hard but fair play. High tempo football. No diving, no cheating. Behaving like real men, with dignity and self-respect. It’s absolutely glorious and makes you proud as anything.

    Now, how do we know that the panel of experts who conducted this are not working towards the rules on the Planet Wenger, where divers are rewarded for going down after the ‘slightest of touches’ and tackling is banned, when they should be working to the laws of the game?

  • Tony – I think this one [MysticalDescent’s ramblings] is for you – I’m sure you could talk history all day!

    But don’t let it distract us from the article too much eh?


  • Spartan, a black coat labrador

    “…But I digress. In Stoke, we believe in football being played in the spirit that it was intended when we created it. Hard but fair play. High tempo football. No diving, no cheating. Behaving like real men, with dignity and self-respect. It’s absolutely glorious and makes you proud as anything…”

    Which Stoke City have you been watching? this is a lie at best and delusion at worst!

  • @Spartan: lol, also “Arsenal believe in the reduction of football to a non-contact sport, where the game is a sanitised arena for taking it in turns to pass the ball on the halfway-line”

    That’s why we get all those red/yellow cards then?!? Oh wait… does – not – compute.

  • sahil

    MythicalDescent- Why don’t you descent back into the crap hole you came from.
    “Woolwich Arsenal and their move across London, which came about due to Henry Norris’ desire to drive Jewish-run Tottenham Hotspur out of business.”
    False.You have zero idea about history.

    “In Stoke, we believe in football being played in the spirit that it was intended when we created it.”
    No wonder the rest of the world thinks you guys have self esteem issues.

    “Hard but fair play. High tempo football. No diving, no cheating. Behaving like real men, with dignity and self-respect. It’s absolutely glorious and makes you proud as anything.”
    A glorious excuse for not being able to put a few passes at a stretch. Lack of technical ability being made up by physical bullying. If you can’t take the ball of their feet just break their legs, simples.No wonder England have won fuck all for all these years and won’t for the foreseeable future till this mentality persists.

    “Now, how do we know that the panel of experts who conducted this are not working towards the rules on the Planet Wenger, where divers are rewarded for going down after the ‘slightest of touches’ and tackling is banned, when they should be working to the laws of the game?”
    European referees would go mental if they see your tackles. Half of your team would be red carded because what you do in not in accordance with the laws.

  • WalterBroeckx

    No cheating LOL…
    No diving… even more LOL. Crouche anyone… LOL…

    I wonder if wiping the ball with a towel was in the original rulebook? Probably those soft foreigners have left that line out somewhere 😉

  • WalterBroeckx

    I wonder if Mythical descent saw that dive in the last Stoke-Arsenal game from that Stoke player in the last seconds of the game? :-)Or has that player since then been removed from the club? As he obviously cheats and dives and this is not allowed in Stoke so he surely will have gone by now.

  • sahil

    Walter, Dogface- This article is bringing the zombies out.

  • Andy Kelly

    Stoke – the team that accepted a bribe to leave the Football League in 1908 to make way for Tottenham.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Do they still play to the rules of all those years ago in Stoke? Do they know that the offside rules have changed a few times since they “invented” the rules?

  • swampmongrel


    “European referees would go mental if they see your tackles. Half of your team would be red carded because what you do in not in accordance with the laws.”

    You might have missed Stoke’s 12 games in Europe last season. In total there was a solitary red card for a Stoke player (second Yellow for dissent – Jerome silly boy). So in fact European referees seem pretty relaxed with Stoke. Thaat’s actually no surprise given that there’s nothing quantifiably wrong with the way Stoke play other than the fact that it seems to be moderately successful against the club you favour.

    I’m guessing you feel a bit stupid now…

  • Stokiedazza

    The whole of the world hasn’t become none contact. That’s just what mr whinger wants us all to believe because it suits his style. The prem league is the most exciting in the world and that’s not because it’s the best football. It’s because our stadiums are noisy and full and we have a mixture of teams that have to make 150 passes to get out of their own half and teams like Stokie. The biggest cancer in British football isn’t the long ball that people say we only play and it’s the diving cheating conning players. Getting back to stoke/arsenal. Look at the foul play league over the past few years and I think you’ll find you’ve been way above us every year. And the comment about players steaming into keepers..that will be like the van persie one in sorro a couple of seasons back??

  • WalterBroeckx

    A not to Stoke fans: the game is played according to the rules from and as is written on the FIFA website (like it or not). Whatever you have done for the original rules all those years ago: that set of rules has changed for I guess some 95%.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I think it is getting funny as some Stoke supporters really don’t get the numbers and can’t understand them at all 🙂

  • swampmongrel

    But its up to you to put your time where your mouth is if you want to change the findings of this site!
    Actually, it isn’t up to me to review your entire study. I’ve picked a single part of it to contest and asked how the ‘qualified’ referees who review the games are recruited. Up until now nobody has provided an answer.

  • @Stokiedazza – Oh dear, reading and reason aren’t your strong points are they? Never mind – here is something for you to colour in:

  • swampmongrel


    You seem to have put your name to this ‘article’ would you like to answer my previous question?
    How do you recruit your ‘qualified’ panel?

  • sahil

    swapmongrel- Go read Valentin at 1:23 and Mandydodd at 12:08.
    As for questioning the credentials of the reviewers similar findings have been put on other websites which are not run by Arsenal fans. So the figures are pretty accurate.
    Oh, and you are free to contest the other points of my post but I am guessing you won’t because that would probably make you look “stupid”.

  • @swampmongrel

    “nothing quantifiably wrong with the way Stoke play other than the fact that it seems to be moderately successful against the club you favour.”

    In the EPL – Played 8 won 1, drawn 1, lost 6.

    So 4 points from 24 is “moderately sucessfull” – you play an entire season like that you will come away with 19 points.?

    Oh we are really feeling “a bit stupid now…” – oh wait!?

  • Hi Swampmongrel – I am a data gatherer, not a referee/reviewer – nor do I recruit. Do you have an issue with any of the open source reviews that you can pin-point?

    One of our qualified referee’s will gladly talk you through any issues you have with any particular incident you don’t agree with.

  • My mistake: Played 8 – won 2, drawn 1, lost 5.

    Average of 33 points over a season.

  • swampmongrel


    Could you not even get the basic facts right? Sahil’s image suggests he is an Arsenal fan. Stoke’s PL record against that club is W2 D1 L5 plus one FA Cup win that would count as moderately successful against a top four side.

    So I’m guessing, like your mate, Sahil you’re also feeling pretty stupid.

    Don’t worry about it. Stupidity seems to be the common demoniator on this blog.

    Anybody care to tell me why European refs seemed to have no problems with Stoke’s approach?

  • Like I said – 33 league points, relegation zone no?

  • swampmongrel


    No worries but that actually counts as pretty good against a top side like Arsenal. Certainly Arsenal fans seem to get quite worked up when they fail to pick up points at places like Stoke, Bolton et al.

  • @swampmongrel – Stoke play to whatever the referee will let them get away with – if this is violence then they will use violence… all teams are like this but Stoke happen to be rather talented at the violence bit.

    They are not as stupid to stick the boot in when they know they’ll get pulled up on it.

  • swampmongrel


    Like I said – 33 league points, relegation zone no?

    Only if we play the best resourced sides in the league every fame rather than just eight times a season.

  • swampmongrel


    Hi Swampmongrel – I am a data gatherer, not a referee/reviewer – nor do I recruit.

    You have your name on this study and you’re defending it so I’m afraid that isn’t good enough. It’s a pretty simple question so I’ll ask it again.

    How is your ‘panel’ selected?

    You or ‘Walter’ should be able to anbswer a pretty simple question. No?

    I’m off out for Lunch be back in a couple of hours. Look forward to the answer.

    Best wishes

  • @swampmongrel – these are tough games, Stoke away is a tough game and we are happy when we take points.

    Stoke are physical and play to frustrate against technical sides, break and lump it at a classic Number 9 – they are two very different styles of football (which is hard enough anyway without also having the shit kicked out of us).

    There is nothing wrong with this style of play – it’s managing against percentages and understandable against teams who can play a bit… Arsenal has some of this in our not too distant “1-0 to the Arsenal” past.

  • WalterBroeckx


    We recruited them with an ad on the internet in fact. I thought it was a great one 😉 Do you want to join the ref reviewing team? Are you a referee?

  • sahil

    Why do Stoke fans try to excuse physical bullying( which is cheating) and lack of technical skill with words like grit, determination etc.
    Simple question hope you will be able to answer. No?

  • “You have your name on this study and you’re defending it so I’m afraid that isn’t good enough. It’s a pretty simple question so I’ll ask it again.”

    Sorry Swampmongrel but it is good enough and that’s all the answer I have – it’s not my bag you see, I don’t even know the names of the referee’s – nor do I know how the Opta data is generated.

    Now do you have a point or are you just trying to engineer a conclusion that as the referee’s were recruited in a way that was affiliated with this site then the whole study is flawed in some way?

    Ok – if that’s your point then make it please but you’ll have to back it up with a list of errors from our open source reviews – reviewed by qualified referee’s obviously – to back up the point you are so desperately clutching for.

  • sahil

    stokiedazza @11:15
    “The biggest cancer in British football isn’t the long ball that people say we only play and it’s the diving cheating conning players.”
    This is getting more and more ridiculous with every passing moment.

  • “No worries but that actually counts as pretty good against a top side like Arsenal.”

    Pretty good for us too – if we played you every week we’d finish with over 80 points. 😉

  • WalterBroeckx


    Nobody knows their names. Okay, I do. 😉 They are like “the stig” of whatever he was called from that car magazine top gear or whatever.

    And we don’t give their names to protect them from possible problems with their FA.
    But I can tell you we are an international group spread over the continents

  • sahil

    Yep, Dogface nails it @11:59am.
    The reviewers are qualified Swapmongrel and if you don’t think so take a look at the links provided at the bottom of the article. If you have a problem with a decision feel free to point it out.

  • swampmongrel


    @swampmongrel – these are tough games, Stoke away is a tough game and we are happy when we take points.

    Stoke are physical and play to frustrate against technical sides, break and lump it at a classic Number 9 – they are two very different styles of football (which is hard enough anyway without also having the shit kicked out of us).

    There is nothing wrong with this style of play – it’s managing against percentages and understandable against teams who can play a bit… Arsenal has some of this in our not too distant “1-0 to the Arsenal” past.

    Reasonable post apart from the ‘shit kicked out of us’ comment.

    Suggest you google ‘RVP sending off Britannia Stadium’ for a bit more balance.

  • swampmongrel

    Walter and Dogface

    It’s blindingly obvious that I do think there are serious methodological problems with the way you’ve recruited your ‘referees’. Where was the ad placed and have you verified the credentials of your ‘panel’ and if so how?

    I’m dubious that a qualified referee would be wasting time on an amateurish study such as this.

    Anonyminity is fine on the internet but it doesn’t work with claims of expertise.

  • lol – oh righto, ‘balance’ is it? Whatabout when Adebayor got his ankles done while he was off the field of play – difference was that RvP got sent off (correctly) and Shawcross didn’t even get told off.

    Which is, btw, the point of this referee review series.

  • swampmongrel

    Pretty good for us too – if we played you every week we’d finish with over 80 points.
    And you still wouldn’t win a trophy 😉

  • Not with Pulis you gifting SAF over 109 points per season on average – no! 😉

  • WalterBroeckx

    It is blindingly obvious swampmongrel that if we would have come to the opposite result in regards to Stoke you would take it with both hands and praise us.

    I just suggest you come up with your own findings. Find “better qualified” refs than ours, review 155 games and then show us your results.

    If you cant produce that…well than you are just an unhappy Stoke supporter who is unhappy with the outcome for your team.

    Did you check by the way? Not Arsenal related but I presume you will say they are also not good at it.

    I think you only think that Stoke City fans know anything about football and about the rules and referees.

  • swampmongrel


    Of course we gift the points to Man Yoo to make sure Arsenal don’t win the league. Have you not heard about the secret anti-Arsenal conspiracy?

    It was concocted by Ferguson and he’s drafted in Pulis, Moyes, Allardyce, Redknapp, Bruce, Mike Basset, Mick McCarthy, the FA, the LMA, the WTO, the WTA, Gary Neville and the WI all to make sure that Arsenal never win anything again.

    Perhaps you could do a study on it 😉

  • Like I said – your boys play to the ref… you think that they would dare stick in a heavy tackle on Rooney?

    Alex and Tony are pretty tight – it’s no secret. Do you not get the impression that your boys rather ‘keep their powder dry’ when playing Man-U?

  • WalterBroeckx

    And swampmongrel I think all Arsenal supporter agreed with the red card for RVP. So what is your problem with that?

    On the other hand the number of Stoke fans booing Ramsey for having his leg broken each and every game since then we play you… I reckon this is part of the hard but ‘FAIR’ part you claim to embrace? And by the way I really think that Ramsey behaved himself superbly in this whole matter. But yet a lot or morons (excuse me but my brain really can’t grasp it) in Stoke can’t stop booing him.

    And the not agreeing with the red card is also common style amongst Stoke fans. Neglecting the fact he came in with studs showing, stretched leg, launching himself in the air to make maximum impact… It is being sussed with the ‘he came a bit late’-excuse.

    Yeah we love it hard but ‘fair’ let’s boo Ramsey a bit more. Who does he think he is, breaking his leg at our ground…

  • swampmongrel

    Did you delete my last comment?

    Never mind. T’ra

  • @swampmongrel

    See the article – it’s policy when it degenerates to the “you’re a bunch of conspiracy theorists” level. There is another post especially for this sort of thing – you can post it there, otherwise keep it relevant.


  • WalterBroeckx that is the article Dogface refers to

  • swampmongrel


    Did you not notice my winky face 😉

    Never mind. FWIW I don’t think you’re all conspiracy theorists. The study itself is deeply flawed and some of your conclusions are deeply questionable. If this appeared in a newspaper your lawyers wuold be going apeshit.

    You have to acknowledge that some of your mates in the comments are coming out with actual conspiracy theories. A more even handed approach to moderating might be fair.

    Anyway. It’s been fun.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I bet he is going out now to check the debatable decisions table website

  • @swampmongrel – we thank you ‘deeply’ for your input.

  • C4

    My oh my, that was entertaining 😀
    Overall, not quite as well articulated and facts-based the QPR fans, but at least it was entertaining. Dare I say, more entertaining than a actual Stoke game…
    I can’t hardly wait for the next one!

  • Goona Gal

    I would like to second C4!

  • Goona Gal

    @ Walter & Dogface – excellent work gentlemen.

  • Matt

    They don’t even know the names of the referees they recruited to do this study? If they don’t know their names, how the hell do they even know if they’re actually referees?

    What a terrible article this is.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Well Matt

    ….I really think you are the smartest kid living in greater Stoke and well beyond that.
    So just for you and as I think you will not tell it any further I will reveal the truth and give the real names of the ref reviewers:

    In fact we just picked our reviewers from the street.

    The one with the red eyes was asking for something to smoke and wanted whisky all the time but he was good at throwing up the coin without dropping it. Amazing in fact. His name is D. Oped. I think his first name was Darren but he asked to call him D.

    The one with the white stick, his name was B. Lind, had a terrible accident when he left the building as he didn’t see the last 7 stairs to the street but he will be fit for next season we hope as he was great in making the all important ball crossing the line incidents.

    And last but not least we had L. Iar. He said he had been the ref in some final. And as he was whistling all the time we are very confident he is a ref. We let him do all the Stoke games because he kept asking where is Stoke? Where is Stoke. He said he had nothing against Stoke at all and wasn’t biased at all. Of course we believed him. He seemed a real honest bloke.

    Must admit shortly after he left I couldn’t find my wallet any more. But we found it back later outside Untold Tower when we were waiting for the ambulance to pick up our ref reviewer B. Lind. Still remember him?

    So you see, we do know the names of our ref reviewers and we are certain that they actually are real referees.

    If you got any more questions I will answer them gladly. Telling the truth nothing but the truth you know…

  • Walter – do you have to approve every comment. Another set of knuckles dragged across a keyboard and you just can’t resist it.

    FYI – the names of the referee’s are protected – as is my name. Walter knows who they are and has checked their qualifications and backgrounds… although Walter doesn’t know my name – nobody does – yet we all still manage to communicate.

    If anyone has any issues with the OPEN SOURCE referee reviews then Referee 01, 02, 03 or 04 will be happy to discuss it with you. It is the data that is important and you should really focus on that.

  • Ozzsam

    Let me start off by saying i’m not a stoke fan, and i’m not an arsenal fan. I prefer non-league football.

    But everyone in this godforsaken league needs to understand there is no right way (or wrong way) to play football. Sure Stoke are fairly rough with the opposition, but then it is a sport. It’s physical, players run around at tremendous speed with incredible strength with adrenaline pumping through their bodies. Bones will get broken, people will get hurt. I cant believe arsenal fans are still bringing up Shawcross’ tackle. It sickens me. You brand him with abuse and nicknames and have effectively destroyed a young lads promising england career. The stoke fans arent much better. I sympathise with them getting taunted for their team playing in a different, more physical way that other, more technically gifted teams, like Arsenal, can sometimes struggle with. The first thing i learnt when i started playing football is, you play to your strengths.

    I think the review was very interesting to read but obviously 8 games isnt enough. Teams have good games, teams have bad games. its all about the ‘Rub of the green’.

    As for the comments about the managers… now this was good to read. they’re not that dissimilar, same with any other manager in the league. they will slate -Every- desicion that goes against them. Of course Pulis will complain till he’s blue about Referees being against his team when they lose 2 games in a row due to bad decisions. and it’s perfectly within Wengers right to moan when his penealties (soft or otherwise) arent given. the fact of the matter is, that human’s are refereeing the game, Its not a EA game, where every decision is correct. you just have to cope and pick yourself off the ground and dust off the dirt. not until the game is refereed by A.I.

    Stop bickering, enjoy the transfer window and leave last season where it is? Please? I’m fed up of hearing the same arguments from 3 or 4 seasons ago.

  • Lesalanos

    What a great thread. Stoke players sent off in Europe and EPL compared to Arsenal players? Maybe you could research that.

    The best bit is that Arsenals new Assistant Manager is a Stoke fan from my home town, who made Shawcross look like, well one of your defenders 🙂

    Now how many of my American friends knew Stevie Boulds history? He’s a great bloke by the way and carried Adams for a number of years.

    If I remember rightly your best defensive line had 2 ex Stokies. Maybe if Wenger was as good at signing defenders as Graham you’d be winning something now.

    Note: oxlade Chamberlains dad played for England and ? Answers on a postcode

  • Black Hei

    Stoke fans need to calm down and click on the links at the bottom of the report. If an Arsenal fan site can claim that Spurs and ManUnited got hard done by referees in a match with Stoke, you know you cannot get more impartial than this. As far as the “dislike” meter goes, Stoke is just a puff compared to what goes on between Arsenal and Spurs or United.

  • WalterBroeckx

    ah well you know how it goes Dogface. Late at night, wife to bed, nothing on the TV, I just wanted to finish the day with a little laugh and then came Matt and I couldn’t resist being a bit stupid. But I had to approve him otherwise it wouldn’t make sense… I could have chosen for the re-run of allo allo I later found out. Better leave it up to them for being funny next time.

  • sahil

    “Maybe if Wenger was as good at signing defenders as Graham you’d be winning something now.”
    Maybe if your memory is good you would remember Arsene took a certain team unbeaten throughout a season. Both of the CB’s were signed by Arsene.
    The Ox’s dad played for…..wait…..why should I care?

  • @Ozzam – he’s broken a couple of legs now and he’s still young – so there’s time for more. Not that it was really focused on in this thread – but there you go. I did mention the Shawcross tackle on Adebayor as an example of inconsistency.

    Talking of which:

    “Pulis will complain”

    where as

    “Wengers right to moan”

    This is hardly consistent is it and hints at an underlying prejudice?

    If you are ‘fed up’ of hearing these same old arguments i.e. groundbreaking studies into EPL referee consistency then I suggest you don’t read them.

    Many thanks for your comments.

  • Stuart


    Ah yes, the invincible season, a defence built by Wenger!

  • Loftboy

    There is no such league as the EPL. ATAF

  • Loftboy

    Also I’m a Qpr fan and all of you slating stokes style of play are stupid, the laws of the game allow physical challenges, I would rather watch Qpr or stoke every week than this total football bollocks that seems to be the latest fashion

  • WalterBroeckx

    I know wikipedia is not the holy bible but let me give you an extract of this:
    The Premier League is an English professional league for association football clubs. At the top of the English football league system, it is the country’s primary football competition. Contested by 20 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the Football League. The Premier League is a corporation in which the 20 member clubs act as shareholders. Seasons run from August to May, with teams playing 38 matches each, totalling 380 matches in the season. Most games are played on Saturdays and Sundays, with a few games played during weekday evenings. It is currently sponsored by Barclays Bank and therefore officially known as the Barclays Premier League. Outside of England it is commonly referred to as the English Premier League (EPL).

    So you see outside England that must be something like mmmmmm let us say 99.999999999% of the world it is called the EPL.

  • Loftboy

    Most visitors call this site total bollocks but it doesn’t make it the right name.

  • WalterBroeckx

    You see Loftboy I am one of those 99.999999 who lives outside England. Or do you have a problem with foreigners?

  • WalterBroeckx

    Or are you a fan of the crooks…sorry …Barclay banks and can’t stop advertising them?

  • Loftboy

    Also I saw my first live game in 1977, and have been to anything up to 55 games a season since then, I’ve probably been to more than 1000 games, one thing I know for sure is that you get dodgy decisions for you and dodgy decisions against, the minute you start dissecting every foul is the day you kill football, also your panel of referees would also know that every law of the game starts with the term ” in the referees opinion” which basically translates to the referee can’t be wrong because every decision is based on opinion.

  • Loftboy

    Walter, it is not and never has been the EPL, our FA is just called the FA as we were the first, not the EFA just plain old FA, it really grates with uefa that one, do you call la liga the Espana la liga?

  • Matt Clarke

    “…the minute you start dissecting every foul is the day you kill football…”

  • Loftboy

    Because its a game of opinions starting with the referees decision down, nothing in football is black or white like this site is trying to prove.

  • Matt Clarke

    Do you not ever feel though, yourself, that some Ref decisions are just wrong? Not wrong opinion…just wrong?

  • Loftboy

    Of course I do, but Its part of the game, all the mistakes against Qpr I highlighted on the Qpr page if I was honest were probably countered by decisions going our way in others, a good example was stoke away last year we won 3-2 but stoke had two blatant penaltys turned down, on the other hand Villa was given one at Loftus rd that never was as was Chelsea in the cup, it evens itself out. There’s no conspiracy, the refs on the whole are good and I usually leave a game whether we’ve won or lost satisfied.

  • WalterBroeckx


    The name of my home town is Antwerpen. You would call it Antwerp.

    If you use the word Antwerp should I dismiss anything you say for the rest? Because the only official name of my home town is Antwerpen.

    But I can live with the fact that some people call it Antwerp or Anvers or Amberes or whatever other name it is given world wide. And I will not say to those people: you say rubbish because it is Antwerp and so all you say for the rest is rubbish.

    I see you didn’t answer one of my questions…

  • Loftboy

    No I’m not a fan of Barclays, robbing bastards

  • WalterBroeckx

    Ah Loftboy,
    It evens out: prove it please. Thank you.

  • Loftboy

    Prove it doesn’t

  • WalterBroeckx

    No no, you made a statement and presented it as a fact.

    You prove your statement.

  • Loftboy

    I didn’t present it as fact, all I’m saying is sometimes you feel hard done by and other times you think you got lucky, as I keep saying any decision a ref makes is done by his opinion and we all know how opinions differ, by the way I was a Sunday morning referee for twenty odd years and know the laws of the game inside out which often helps when a referee makes a close call as I generally know why that decision was made.

  • Reviewer 02

    @ Loftboy

    As A Ref for 20 odd years could you please clarify where in the Laws it says, “all decisions are a matter of opinion”

    For your help

    And to clarify, a definition of Law

    1 [mass noun] (often the law) the system of rules which a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and which it may enforce by the imposition of penalties:

    shooting the birds is against the law

    they were taken to court for breaking the law
    [as modifier]: law enforcement[count noun] an individual rule as part of a system of law:

    a new law was passed to make divorce easier and simplersystems of law as a subject of study or as the basis of the legal profession:

    he was still practising law
    [as modifier]: a law firm

    law studentsstatute law and the common law. Compare with equity.something regarded as having binding force or effect:

    he had supreme control—what he said was law(the law) informal the police:

    he’d never been in trouble with the law in his life2a rule defining correct procedure or behaviour in a sport:

    the laws of the game3a statement of fact, deduced from observation, to the effect that a particular natural or scientific phenomenon always occurs if certain conditions are present:

    the second law of thermodynamicsa generalization based on a fact or event perceived to be recurrent:

    the first law of American corporate life is that dead wood floats4 [mass noun] the body of divine commandments as expressed in the Bible or other religious texts. (the Law)
    the Pentateuch as distinct from the other parts of the Hebrew Bible (the Prophets and the Writings). (also the Law of Moses)
    the precepts of the Pentateuch.

    No mention of opinion there either.

    personally i would be obliged if you went through the QPR Reviews. or the Stoke Reviews, and highlighted conclusions that you disagreed with, instead of coming here generalising. Any Clown can do that.

    PS will you volunteer yourself to do some reviews next year, for every Arsenal game you do i will do two QPR games, promise!!!!

  • WalterBroeckx

    I quote you:

    “a good example was stoke away last year we won 3-2 but stoke had two blatant penaltys turned down, on the other hand Villa was given one at Loftus rd that never was as was Chelsea in the cup, it evens itself out. ”

    Let us start with this example:
    QPR had luck against Stoke
    QPR unlucky against Villa
    QPR unlucky against Chelsea

    So QPR lucky = 1 unlucky = 2 conclusion: don’t even out

    Stoke 1 unlucky= don’t even out
    Villa 1 lucky= don’t even out
    Chelsea 1 lucky= don’t even out

    You could say: but maybe in other games it evened out… Well we don’t know that for sure… You just assume it does.

    We were told it evens out. We started to check this. And well I haven’t found much that evens out so far…

  • @loftboy

    Spend 9 minutes and 25 seconds watching this:

    How many “opinions” does it take before someone thinks “hmm, that doesn’t seem right”?

    And can you explain the coincidence that is Jonathan Moss refereeing 7 consecutive West Bromwich Albion games and West Brom winning all 7 of them?

  • Given that there are three referee’s here – shouldn’t you guys be debating the calls in the open source reviews that you agree/disagree on?

    This ‘Argumentum ad populum’ from Loftboy is all getting rather tedious.

  • Stuart


    Stop being such a twat, you know what is meant by EPL so therefore can follow the article. You obviously have nothing constructive to add with you ridiculous nit-picking of irrelevant info.

  • Loftboy

    Yes they’ve changed the wording to ” if the referee considers” it was twenty years ago I took my course but it’s still not black or white as its what the referee considers.

  • Goona Gal

    Right now there are lots of stuff going on around football that impacts what happens on the pitch. One is the recently failed attempt by HMRC to overturn the football creditors rule, another is the investigation into football governance by parliment (I think they had to do something lest people seriously question why millions of public money was handed over to theifa). Now what has this got to do with Stoke FC you may ask, well if you follow my drift, like some things in life it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Right now Richard Scudamore is the money man. He has grown increasingly more powerful each year and his influence in the game is really under estimated by some.

    Richy rich was vehemently against changes to the creditors rule which went to court and he won – a serious victory. This layed down a marker IMO and made/makes any other threat by the gov’t regarding football a bit more hollow than before. Subsequently when the gov’t suggested that there should be reform of the FA board, and the number of reps reduced, it appears to of(for the time being anyway) fallen on deaf ears. Richy rich has said he is not against reducing the number overall, as long as EPL representation remains as it is. As it stands you have the influencial David Gill (and you were wondering why man U players get off lightly if carded at all!)- CEO of northern Man U fame, Sir Dave Richards – the northern guy that went on an embarassing rant then fell in a pool and finally northerner Phil Gartside – the guy that took to twitter to lambast Arsenal for their £10m bid for Cahill, but then sold him for £7m to Chelsea.

    Gartside’s Bolton were relegated last season so he will have to step down as an EPL rep, which means a spot is definately vacant. There should actually be two spots up for grabs, but the retiring Sir Dave Richards is still in post for some reason. Again what has this got to do with Stoke? well guess which northern chairman is being touted as joining the FA board- yes that’s right Stoke chairman Peter Coates a man who has been hanging around the FA a while in some capacity or other for a while. e

  • Goona Gal

    Below is a link to the gov’t transcript, which is interesting, but lengthy.

    And if you were wondering what’s so special about Coates, I don’t know, but he has learnt just how to win friends and influence people, saying stuff like the below, would not hurt in response to the question by MP Paul Farrelly: I wanted to come on to the Football Association, but first can I just ask a couple of questions about your own house, the Premier League? Is there merit in the Premier League shaking up its structure and having more independent directors? Is the board too small? Should the Premier League’s governance structure be more representative of the different shades of opinion and the different ambitions of different segments of the league?

    Peter Coates: I suppose you have to say, and it is only our third year, the Premier League is very well managed. It has, I think, probably a quite outstanding Chief Executive who has done a great job for the Premier League. As a model it has worked very well and it has been a big, big success. You do have shareholders; you have 20 shareholders all with a vote who you meet four times a year and, therefore, you are able to have your input. I can understand you thinking it is perhaps Richard Scudamore and Dave Richards, but it does not quite work like that because all the shareholders have a vote, you meet four times a year and you are able to have your views represented

    and just for good measure to make sure it was on the record he also says:
    Q215 Paul Farrelly: Can I move on to the FA? We had a very strong picture of the FA painted to us by Lords Triesman and Burns in the opening session. I am sure you have read the reports. The FA is pictured as operating with the chairman and the chief executive; with representatives of the professional game meeting the day before, agreeing, in good old Marxist/Leninist/Trotskyist fashion, the line. When they say no they mean no. The representatives of the amateur game do not always agree with them but they never vote against them and if the chairman and chief executive have some interesting ideas, they are left up a creek without a paddle if the professional game simply says no.

    We have seen the Triesman report, which was going to be a submission to questions by a former Secretary of State as why the FA did not put their own submission in. Was that position adopted by the FA and the professional league and the premier representative reflective of all shades of opinion across different clubs in the Premier League or are there clubs in the Premier League that would be more progressive in accepting reform?

    Peter Coates: I think that it has a recent very bad record, the FA, with lots of own goals and lots of things that have gone wrong, which were frankly very bad and reflect very bad on the game, and I think it does need reforming. The Burns Report is not a bad marker for that. I am strongly in favour of two non-executive directors. I think we have made an appointment of a good chairman. Like any good organisation, I think you need a good chairman and a good chief executive, and he will get the people around him.

    But he does have to be able to do his job and you referred to some of the more dysfunctional problems that he faces. I think two nonexecutive directors-and he should have some influence as to who they are, they should not be foisted on him-would be very good for the governance of the game. I think along with that you would need to reduce the size of the board. It would become too big. I think the chairman needs help and I think two nonexecutive directors of the right calibre would be an enormous benefit to him; so that is something I would like to see. We have not had support for that in the FA. I am hoping perhaps that is going to change and there will be a move in the direction of that and some of the other things that I have just referred to.

  • Goona Gal

    Don’t be suprised what influence buys!

    And just in case a cult member appears, David Dein at some point managed to cross and mug off the top big wigs within the FA. I am not sure how or when, but he has wound them up and does not carry favour at all. Which is no good to Arsenal.

    The EPL, FA and ref’s all seem to be based up north, or should I say all the ‘important’ or main figures seem to be anyways, which could just be a big coincidence of course…

  • Goona Gal

    …lastly, despite the empirical evidence I am not saying that Stoke maybe due to their FA connections, gaining assistance to remain in the league.

  • Adam

    I do like the conundrum that playing Stoke poses, I could not watch it week after week though, Plus I don’t think many sides could play that sort of determined football week after week without picking up numerous injuries. Maybe keeping a log on Stokes injuries for as apposed to injuries against might shed some light on this ongoing debate? I know most on this site disagree with Stokes approach (im not a fan of their tactics) but I have seen them play some good football, I just cannot understand why they go overboard all the time. You wouldn’t mind the very hard determined games if both sides could indulge, But it does appear that only Stoke are allowed to play this way on a continual basis. Unless of course, if your playing Arsenal.

  • Lesalanos

    Sahil My memory after graham fades. He hasn’t signed a decent defender in seven years. Your thoughts on Bould?

  • sahil

    Lesalanos- “He hasn’t signed a decent defender in seven years.”
    Have you heard of Bacary Sagna, best defensive right back in the PL, ring a bell?
    Are you suffering from a memory problem since Graham left?

  • Stuart

    Hi everyone,
    Vital Stoke have published my article about the ref reviews. Here it is :