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August 2021

Arsenal – Stoke: What can we expect from the ref?

By Walter Broeckx

STOP if you don’t like referee talk or you think the ref plays no part in a football game. It will save you a few minutes of your life.

CARRY ON if you are interested and I can tell you some strange things will be revealed for your delectation.

The ref for the game against Stoke is Chris Foy.

Chris Foy is 50 years old. A ref who in most other countries would no longer be allowed to do games in the top division. He could no longer do games in Europe if he had been a Fifa ref. But in the PL he still can do games as the age limit has been challenged in court a few years ago and as a result we could have a 65 year old ref in the PL. Don’t think it will happen in reality to be honest.

Foy is a ref in the PL since 2001 so has loads of experience. So old and experienced. But first let us see at his past when doing games of Arsenal.

So far Foy has done 24 games of Arsenal in his career.  And we have won 17 games under Foy. We had 4 draws and lost 3 games. If you put this in a graphic you get something like this:

That doesn’t look bad to be honest. His win percentage is some 10% higher than our average win % in general. The 3 losses contain 2 games against Manchester United and one game against Manchester City in the league cup when we played with a very young side at their stadium a few years ago.In fact only one defeat happened in the league.

Let us take a look at the record Foy has with Stoke.

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Foy has done 18 games so far and Stoke won 3 of them. Had 9 draws and lost 6 of these games.  In a graphic you see something like this

So Stoke has had a draw in half of their games. Didn’t lose many games but couldn’t win a lot of those games either. But if you look at the results Stoke have had this season this is rather in line with this. They had 12 draws, 6 wins and 6 lost games so far. So also rather in line with the way they get their points in general.

Foy had done one previous game of Arsenal against Stoke. Last season near the end of the season he was in charge when we had a 1-1 draw at their ground.

What might be interesting is that Foy is one of the refs who has declared an interest in a PL team. So he is not allowed to do games of that team. That team is Everton.  Now I don’t blame Foy for being appointed to a game that includes Arsenal at all. But I do want to raise a big question mark towards the PGMOL.

Just have a look at the league table. There you see Everton in 5th place with 3 points more than Arsenal. And the PGMOL then sends out a ref to do an Arsenal game knowing that this ref is a having ‘an interest’ in Everton.  This is beyond me. I would say keep this in mind when you see strange things happening.

Let us move on to the next stage of this ref preview.  Let us move on to our own findings in our ref reviews of last season. on Foy.

His score on important decisions was one of the lowest of all the refs. You can read it here if you want.  A lot of poor games and lots of poor decisions in those games. I do think out of my own experience that maybe, just maybe his age is having an influence on this.

But another worrying part is that the team that got the most favours in the games we reviewed of him last season is …Stoke.  I maybe could give you an explanation for this later in this article but let me first start by making things worse and let you know that Arsenal was the team that was hit most by his decisions if we don’t count Chelsea.  Chelsea has had even more decisions going against them and then it was Arsenal.

So things are not really looking good now. A ref that had Stoke as its main beneficiary of his wrong decisions, Arsenal suffering very bad from his decisions last season.  And an Everton fan.

But let me finish by something positive. Or even a few positives. Because we also found that Foy has a rather large home bias. A very big home bias in fact. And then we can see that the games we reviewed of Foy that had Stoke involved were home games.  And the games involving Arsenal were….away games. So maybe we are looking more at his normal home/away bias than a pure bias in favour of Stoke and a bias against Arsenal.

The second positive remark is that we play at home.

And finally we had Foy just a few weeks ago. I think we all remember that game. Our last game in 2012. Yes the 7-3 win against Newcastle.  And in that game he got a rather high score in total and his bias was rather balanced in total.

So it will be an interesting ref watch in this game.

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30 comments to Arsenal – Stoke: What can we expect from the ref?

  • Rotimi

    Foy s just like web who 2 me they hav their respectiv club they support.FA,sud pls do something. gooners til i die

  • No clubs benefit from refs like man united.

  • nicky

    At least, Foy has come out with a favourite team, Everton. I only wish a few more refs would copy.
    You then say that the PGMOL, quite rightly would not allow him to officiate at an Everton game.
    You express concern that he is to ref a match involving Arsenal, a close rival of Everton for 4th place or something better.
    The 65,000$ question is WHEN the PGMOL folk allocated Foy to this game. If it was soon after the fixture list was compiled, no-one could have foreseen Everton near CL qualification (or Arsenal in close pursuit!).

  • soglorious

    …hmmm… Hoping for the best yet expecting the worst from him today… I wont be disapointed though

  • WalterBroeckx

    Totally agree about Foy being honest to come out for favourite team. I think it was brave of him and a very honest thing to do. He should be praised for doing this.

    About when the appointments are made. As far as I know refs are appointed a couple weeks before the games take place. So the PGMOL knew that Everton and Arsenal are rivalling each other for a CL spot.

    Mind you I didn’t want to say that Foy would tilt this game on purpose to help Everton. But subconscious he could be influenced and make mistakes because of him being an Everton fan.

    I think the PGMOL should protect not only teams from this but also protect a ref for this. Just imagine he (subconscious) makes a game changing decision against Arsenal. Then we could see that people would question his integrity in total. So the PGMOL should have thought better and deeper before appointing this ref for games involving competitors for Everton.

  • Tasos

    Arsenal’s win percentage under Chris Foy looks slightly above average so no complaints there.

    His association with Everton FC does raise questions though.

    Coincidently Foy has never taken charge of a match involving Everton or Liverpool since 2002. After declaring an interest in Everton and given his geographical ties to that region that looks to be perfectly acceptable procedure from the PGMOL.

    Although why the PGMOL allow the Mancunian Anthony Taylor permission to take charge of games involving Man Utd is a debate for another day perhaps.

    Thanks Walter.

  • nicky

    @ Walter,
    You are being most magnanimous towards Foy in your 3rd para.
    He’s only human and his subconscious would be working overtime!

  • Stuart

    Good preview Walter.

    While it’s reassuring that Foy has made known who he supports, and this should be done accross the board, in my opinion, the main issue is what teams the referee hates or strongly dislikes as this is where serious damage could be done.
    I for example, although an Arsenal fan, would be unintentionally biased against Liverpool (Liverpool fans annoy the arse off of me), Spurs, man u and a couple others. Arsenal would of course benefit from all of this.

  • Adam

    well we was supposed to have had a home ref against Liverpool, so am expecting some weird occurences. however we tend to do well when not televised.

  • Pat

    Thanks for the info Walter.

    I’m happy about the general picture you give of Chris Foy although his record on big decisions is worrying.

    In view of his age, let’s hope he can keep up with play!

    @Tasos – I suppose Anthony Taylor hasn’t declared an interest, but it does look a bit fishy.

  • With Cris Foy you can expect the unexpected,we just need to be mentally and physically fit. As we have a rugby match on us.

  • Arsenal1Again

    lol .. Fair enough.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Nacho to debut!

  • Mandy Dodd

    Interesting Dan. Would be even more interesting if they told us who Mike Riley supports!

  • @Mandy Dodd that is in the glass for everybody to see he supports MANURE.

  • Shard


    I’m curious what the rules are regarding the substitutions. What is the process? Does the team hand over a substitution slip or something to the 4th official? And is the information meant to be private till the substitution is actually made, or are the other team allowed to ask for the information?

  • WalterBroeckx

    What the assistant was trying to do with that offside signal when we scored was an utter disgrace. I hope the PGMOL of the FA opens an enquiry about this. This was NOT an honest mistake. Could not be. No way. Unless my stream was that bad but I really could not see any Arsenal player offside in the middle.

  • Florian

    Change of tactics from PGMOB? It’s the assistants doing the games for them, now that the refs are under spotlight? Good job Mr. Foy!

  • Gonnerjoe

    Ast ref was a tool but fair dues to Cris Foy.

  • Adam

    So I read on sky (always trustworthy) it was Walcott offside but not interfering with play. Anyone know who the linesman is?

  • Florian

    A still from the highlights with the free kick moment shows clearly that:
    1. Walcott was marginally offside, on the left side of the box, not interfering with play. The ball was aimed away from him.
    2. No other Arsenal player was offside at that moment. Cameron was the last defender, and eventually the one that deflected the ball past Begovic.

  • WalterBroeckx

    To raise the flag in such conditions is unbelievable

  • @Walter That was the most ridiculous call I think I have ever seen – the guy needs to be called up on that and asked to explain his decision making process. Anyone catch his name?

  • bjtgooner


    David Bryan (I think), not quite sure of spelling.

    The same linesman failed to see deliberate fouls on Walcott twice.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Oh my god, do I now also have to start an assistant review 😉

  • Adam

    @Walter, sorry to bring this up but I think I asked you to seperate the decision making of the assistants and refs about 2/3 years ago? (that’s not a “told you so” by the way). But the f*ckers are out to get us.

    @bjt, not sure either, it might be Bryant? anyway close enough to keep an eye on. most important thing is they got it right.

    The only thing I can think of in this situation is; the linesman thought Giroud was blocking the keepers view, but even that is being too nice.

  • Adam

    The interesting thing about his mistakes in the link above is that Newcastle played the day before chelsea and won which moved them above Chelsea in the table and through Chelsea winning with two offside goals they then regained their place.

  • bob

    Great find your link on Bryan. It would be most interesting (if tedious and difficult) to somehow trace his appearances over the last 2/3 seasons and see whether this weak link in the chain of refshite is actually being run amok to impact the standings as your posting implies.