Hull v Arsenal from the ref’s perspective

By Walter Broeckx

Another eventful game I must say and once again some very strange things going on, on a football field.

Let me start with the actual field of play.  In the Fifa rules, which Mr. Blatters finds so important, there are some clear rules concerning the lines on a football field. When I started looking at the game I was totally amazed with the lines on the field.

In the rule book there is a section on how a field should look and where there can be lines. And those lines in the rule book are the only one that are allowed on a football field. So in fact the other lines, for rugby I think, must be removed before you can play a game of football.  I saw four lines that divided the football field in to all kind of sections which could cause confusion to the players. Are they in or over the midfield, is this the line of the penalty area?

Was it not Blatter who said that football has so much success because it is played with the same rules everywhere? Well if I came to a football field with all those extra lines on it, I would tell them to remove the lines before kickoff or there would be no game of football.

That the field was not of high quality is not a thing a ref can sanction. But I am rather sure that when I get to the ground I have to do my game today the pitch will be of a far higher quality than one I saw today.

The quality of the pitch affected our game as the ball just seem to hobble on the field without it rolling along the ground as we are used to.  I think they send a few tractors on the field this morning to make it extra bumpy. But like I said there are no real rules on a bumpy pitch not being a good one. It just is a shame for the EPL to have a pitch in such a bad shape.

So let’s go on to analysing the ref’s game. He started rather well by not allowing the Hull players too much leeway. I wondered if he had seen  De Bleeckere against Porto and learned from it. But sadly he soon he began to let too much go again and the Hull players were allowed to kick us and not much was done about it. And this inevitably once again led to some tackling and some incidents where the ref did not have the game in control.

Let us start with Boateng who pinched Bendtner on his nose, or so it seemed. The linesman spotted it and signalled to the ref. Boateng should have got a straight red card for such an act. Those things don’t belong on a football field. And then Bendtner also got a yellow card because he pushed the hand of Boateng away?? Poor decision from the ref.

Then came Boateng’s second moment of madness when he launched himself with an outstretched leg and hit the knee of Sagna who even tried to jump up to avoid the contact. And what did the ref do? He gave a yellow card, which was his second and so he did had to go, but this also was a tackle which should have been a straight red card.

But this is what you get when you are allowed to do things which should get you a red card in the first place and when the ref does not give it.  The player thinks he can do about anything he wants. Fortunately Sagna did not get a serious injury from the tackle, but I will only be relaxed about it if Arsène Wenger confirms he is okay and not injured.

I will end with the goal from Hull. I’m not even going to talk about if it was a penalty or not. This is totally irrelevant. The Hull player, Vennegoor of Hesselink, was standing about 1 or 2 meters offside when the ball was played to him. How on earth can a linesman not see this? I never say anything about a close call but this surely wasn’t close. It was a very clear offside. I think not even Brown will argue with that.

I must say that you cannot blame the ref for this. It is up to the linesman to spot this and to raise his flag. For some reason he didn’t and I really wonder what happened to the poor man? Did he suffered from a suddenly paralysed arm? Did he loose vision in one of both his eyes? I really recommend a serious medical exam to see what was wrong with the man.

Talking about penalties. The foul on Clichy by Boateng should also have been a penalty. But it was an English ref and not an European ref this time and they don’t want to give us penalties unless the linesman really insists there is a clear penalty or a clear handball.

This reminded me of some strange decisions we had to face in the weeks after the horror tackle on Eduardo two season ago. In the following weeks we not only had to fight our opponents but also a number of strange decisions from refs and linesmen.  It cost us several points at that time and I feared another déjà vu today.

But we managed to turn it around. We didn’t played great, we worked hard and we deserved our luck at the end to make up for the mistakes from the ref and his assistant.

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40 Replies to “Hull v Arsenal from the ref’s perspective”

  1. Hi Walter. I posted the below on the previous thread. I know you say “I’m not even going to talk about if it was a penalty or not. This is totally irrelevant” but I am interested in how the law applies to this situation.

    Walter, I want your opinion on my interpretation of the Hull penalty, and for the same money, the Champions League Liverpool penalty.

    In the first case, the opponent moved into the defenders path, and in the second case, the defender was chasing the attacker and the attacker stopped (slowed down substantially).

    If the contact happens due to an action of the attacker, is it a foul?

  2. Cape Gooner, I try to give you an answer.
    In the slow motion one can see that Vennegoor of Hesselink was only interested in the penalty. He threw himself towards Campbell who touched him. I’m not going to slaughter the ref for this. To see such a thing you should be a few yards away from the situation and in the right angle. I can imagine that from the angle he was looking he only could decide to give a penalty. But I think he knew there was something wrong with the situation and I think that is why he didn’t give a red card, which he could have done if he had followed the rules strictly.

    Now if an attacker is IN CONTROL OF THE BALL he can stop when he wants and then it is up to the defender to avoid contact. Problem is that Vennegoor was not in control of the bal as the ball was in fact between his back and Campbell.

    But to see this difference one has to introduce video evidence and as we know this is not allowed.

    For the Hull penalty one can only blame the blind linesman.

  3. On the Boateng tackle against Sagna I would like to say that in the beginning of the season we got a meeting with the refs and they showed video’s of fouls that always should get a straight red card.
    There was a tackle shown like Boateng did yesterday and the instruction was : ALWAYS STRAIGHT RED CARD!
    Our instructors told us about that kind of tackle : these kind of tackles should be banned from football for ever. Marrinner only gave a yellow card so very, very, very poor decision.

  4. Thanks Walter for a very insightful article. We all know that EPL referees and linesmen (sorry, I can’t call them Assistant Refs since they don’t do that properly anyway) are all so bent or at best, very inept. If I was a member of UEFA or FIFA, none of them will ever officiate any international matches, except maybe animal sports.

    The extra lines on the field is so unfootball-like that I doubt if even Rugby would have allowed it. But the FA are not really interested in regulating, are they? They are only interested in the money. Shame!

  5. Marriner was a joke.. I mean we shouldnt even look at it as an off day.. First of all, yes the pen shouldnt have been given cos its offside but alright the linesman just couldnt see the Hull player cos you know, the Hull jersey must have “seemed” to be of the same colour as us due to diffraction or something (Tony’s 1st Law of Optics), and THEN Marriner not only gives a Pen but also a Yellow card for Sol, now, Sol was the last defender and I think if the last defender obstructs “A clear Goal scoring opportunity” then its a red card, so either it should have been red or no foul.. what the fuck was the yellow all about? And as to the clear goal scoring opportunity, well the ball was behind Vinegar’s bloody head.. ofcourse that was a clear opportunity (Marriner in tune with Tony’s 3rd law of Mechanics)…

    And george boateng assaults Sagna and stupid stupid Marriner shows a SECOND yellow, yeah well thank you sir, the perpetrator now will just get a 1 match ban and can return soon enough to throw a few more knees out of whack! Bloody bent EPL refs… Someone should really press on the international ref policy and appeal to the FA.. this is getting worse.. This is an unequal playing field and is just not just..

  6. Thanks Walter for your insights. After the 1st goal went in, it was very apparent that Hull decided they had to be more physical. Marriner allowed them to get away with it, which I found very irresponsible. Their right back, Mendy, who was being slaughtered up to that point, got away with a particularly egregious offence when he impeded Bendtner with his hand around his neck as he rose for a header midway the 1st half. How the ref missed this is beyond me.
    This would have been the perfect time for the ref to blow for a penalty, thus demonstrating to Hull that we were there to play/watch football, not rugby. Marriner’s performance exemplifies how inept or corrupt is English refereeing.

  7. Interestingly enough, shouldn’t the extra lines have assisted the linesman in his decision making?

    Clear incompetence. Tell me Walter, i assume that their performance is reviewed. What will be said to that linesman?

  8. PS: Mendy’s offence was right after the questionable penalty against Campbell. If Marriner thought Sol deserved a penalty then Mendy was equally as culpable. I know there are those out there who think we are whiny Arsenal supporters but all we ask for is consistent refereeing in accordance with the rules of the game. For the good of football.

  9. You can’t win sometimes. I watched the game in my local with some fellow Gooners, all of whom collectively slated Bendtner and Denilson as not being good enough to wear our colours. I fought their corners and was thrilled when they seemingly proved my point, by gaining us three points at the close.

    I asked who had won us the game and was told it was in fact neither of those players, but Hull’s chuffing keeper!

  10. I thought hull played the ace of timewasting cards yesterday. putting zayate back on so he could be stretchered off was a class move. from the time of the challenge till he went off 5 or so minutes elapsed. not bad phil.

  11. After the win yesterday, there was nothing better than watching Hansen mumble “Arsenal are right in there with a chance” After months of ” Arsenal winning the League, No chance” . The record is finally changing, along with our fortunes, even MOTD is starting to believe!

    The referee was quite poor, maybe if he had got a card out earlier, it would have encouraged a more positive game, instead hull were happy to hack and kick until they got something. The Hull City team is even more filthy than the pitch they were playing on. Well done Nick, well done the team, came up with the goods yet again when it mattered, and once again thanks for the articles, maybe sites like this are the future of journalism, which i thought for a while was dead! Happy days : D

  12. Walter

    I hope you’re going to send a pompous letter to the French FA saying they can’t play matches at Stade de France, because their lines are the same as they were at Hull. Because the French national rugby team play there too…….ditto a letter to Sir Alex at MUFC saying that when they play the odd Rugby League grand final there that the Theatre of Dreams is shut down until Sir Walter Raleigh deems it playable again. Etc etc etc.

    Can I remind you that, as a Belgian, when you wish to comment on matters in a foreign land, you are mindful of the phrase ‘don’t shit on the hand that feeds’?

    If you don’t like English football as much as you appear not to, why don’t you stick to the Belgian sort??

    You make a lot of points well, but occasionally you cross the line into gratuitous rudeness.


  13. Listening to Bill Phrown’s post match comments: Why, oh why, did I think of a Water Conservation ode?

    If it’s yellow, let it mellow.
    If it’s Brown, flush it down.

    Strange thing to think?

  14. u exaggerated about extra lines on the field, but, it’s a valid point.

    offside decision was a joke but then again last season rvp was way offside when he scored at stamford, as blatter says it will give some extra (although rubbish) points to talk at the expense of teams.

    wayz, did u watched utd vs fulham? hw do u expect losing points enough to lose pl? hopefully this was just an off day for arsenal fans….

  15. and oh yes,denilson is still a crap, he doesn’t makes much tackles to break opposition play, strolls back when he loses possession, may be he uses his time to read the game….he has one good ability though, his long distance shooting is admirable…

  16. hey tony, i noticed ur new title of this blog ” exposing corruption in football”…very true….and fantastic.

  17. @ Rhys:

    Telling Walter to stick to Belgian football falls into exactly the same category as Stan Collymore’s statement that if Wenger doesn’t like English football he should move to Spain – extremely moronic.

    I have never seen Rugby Lines on the pitch at the Stade de France during a football game. For sure, they play rugby on it, but the lines are completely gone before any football is played on the same grass.

    That a legitimate complaint about the state of the cow grazing patch we had to play on yesterday could trigger a xenophobic rant is quite amazing.

  18. Rhys,

    I must say that in the little town we have a football team and believe it or not… a womens rugby team.

    The womens rugby team plays on the old football field. And our Fa has cancelled the permission to play official games on that field because there are extra lines on the football pitch.

    Now it could be that the rules are different in the EPL, I don’t know but according to Blatter they should be the same so the sport can be succesfull all over the world.

    For the other stadiums if Arsenal would play there and there would be extra lines on the field I would write the same. For now I hadn’t noticed it before. Only 2 seasons back I think on Wigan. As I didn’t know this site and didn’t wrote any articles on this site I couldn’t have written about it. But I did mention the fact on other sites in those days.

    And for the rest I can only say that if you don’t mind I will stick to the EPL. And even if you did mind, I still would stick to the EPL.

  19. Rhys I think that you have missed the point in Walter’s commentary about grass and lines.

    The point is that, as Walter said in a previous post, Fifa make a big thing out of football being the same the world over – having the same rules where ever you play the game. Leaving aside the special cases Walter pointed out previously, that is true.

    And one of Fifa’s own rules is that the lines on the pitch have to be as laid down in their regs, and that’s it. No extra lines.

    So if the Belgian or Scottish or any other FA decided that it would make life easier to paint a quarter circle around each corner flag 10 yards out, so that the ref could see if any players were encroaching at a corner, that would be illegal.

    The existence of the rugby lines on the pitch in the Hull game is the point – not the fact that rugby is played there.

    I only played football at a minor level, before retiring to the 5 a side game, but as a fairly useless attacking midfielder (inside forward in the ancient days) I remember always watching for the penalty area line as I kept my head down. (Looking up to see a fellow player was totally beyond my level of skill).

    On the issue of nationality, and Walter’s right to comment, I have to say I completely disagree with you.

    As an Englishman who lived in Algiers for a year, I appreciate the courtesy of following the customs of the country in which one lives. But while there I became close friends with many Algerians, and they made it quite clear to me that they wanted free and open discussion about what I observed in their country.

    I would say very much that I want Walter to be free to say anything he wishes about English football, because he is a fellow Gooner, and because he supports Wenger in all he does, and because he brings a highly valued additional insight to our musings: that of being a ref.

  20. read my first sentence again : I must say that in the little town I live, we have a…..

    Thank you.

  21. I have the perfect conduit to this post….

    read this… and revel in the utter feelings of chardenfreude

    Phil Brown (17/3/09) after the linesman failed to spot an offside in the buildup to a goal conceded against Arsenal. “We’ve not been beaten by Arsenal, we’ve been beaten by the referee and the linesman. The game was turned on its head when the referee succumbed to local pressure. You’d better ask Mike Riley how much that will cost us. I’m sure he wouldn’t have the faintest idea.”

    Phil Brown (13/3/10) on Hull being awarded a penalty by the referee after the linesman failed to spot Vennegor of Hesselink in an offside position. “It may have been offside but as long as that linesman’s flag doesn’t go up then it’s not offside.”


  22. How does one notice that one player is crap? WTF No Denilson No Goal? Right… If anyone went missing yesterday Arsha was on a mini vacation…
    I thought we ruled it for 70…. And then I nearly fell asleep… Arsha was asking a lot of his mates by not burying it and early but oh well…We won…with a crap penalty

  23. @Walter,

    RHYS has been bitter for a while. So much so I don’t even read his arrogance anymore. I just bypass..So I missed his last jab… So I guess I did not miss much… Just more tired blah… blah..blah…

  24. Off subject a little, but being one who enjoys a bit Phil Brown Pain, I left ESPN running and watched his post match interview. When asked about Sol’s challenge on Zayate, Phil eventually got around to saying that challenges were no longer judged on commitment or timing but on intent, and Sol intended to get ball and man and injure Zayate. Lets be clear; he named Sol Campbell and said that he intended to injure Zayate. Or, precisely the thing that Arsene didnt do but should apologise for regarding Shawcross, according to the moronic punditry in the UK. Strangely, no one in the press or the punditry circle has picked up Phil’s comments and pledged their support for Sol in his difficult time.

    When Arsene leaves Arsenal, Im leaving England. Had enough.

  25. Those of you who saw the game, what did you think of Denilson’s performance? I thought he did well. He has his weaknesses but for some reason people are very reluctant to give him credit.

  26. I think Denilson is very solid… He has hiccups yes but he is solid… He is in his infancy with this club and yet a regular… I pity the EPL MF that face him…

  27. Rhys Jagger, fortunately both Tony and Walter are too polite to give you back what you gave out. But your post was rude and offensive. If you don’t like what you are reading give it a miss as I will do with your posts from now on.

  28. I don’t want to go to much in a discussion on the fact if I am entitled to give critics on the EPL because I am not from England. I think I am in fact, as with my monthly contribution to a sports channel who gives money to the EPL to broadcast games in my country I think I am (a little) sponsor of the EPL and have every right to give my views on what I see.
    But I rather prefer not to talk to much on this because I think it is much more intresting to talk about the things I mentionned in my article.

  29. @Walter,
    I read because you write anyways…So if not for Belgique, if not pour -vous, pour -moi! You have always an interesting point of view…I read because it interests me…RYHS or whatever…..

  30. Writing from the far far east, I have always felt that EPL referees are lousy. EPL is supposed to be the “best” league in the world but how can you have such poor standards of refereeing week in, week out? I can’t think of a top referee in England right now. Such a shame considering the flux of talents playing and plying in EPL. Nothing is done to eradicate perceived blatant biasness. What makes it worse is the apparent refusal to remedy the situation.

  31. The quality of hull’s team.. with a manager like brown and a captain like boateng, it’s no wonder.

  32. well the game wasnt pretty but we made it in the end. We are winning on spirit alone when things are going against us and thats an inspiring sign. To see these wonderful players battle right till the last second is what i like most about our game. Teams like Hull are likely to play rough, look for penalties, have onfield altercations because quite clearly, they cannot win otherwise. And since its a home game you can hope to find a pitch not suited to the arsenal style of play with the ball wobbling a lot. However, the ref’s/linesman decisions were inexplicable to say the least. One bad decision can change everything permanently and it is all left to divine intervention to set things fair. Bendtner is that divine intervention. Not a “touch” footballer by any stretch of imagination, however he does have a surprising ability to get into goalscoring positions which i think is an art . I think training with our talented youngsters has increased his intelligence a lot and he seems to anticipate more efficently now. This increase in his anticipation index is what is really “winning” the games for Arsenal I believe. I love watching Arsenal play with Bendtner in the front, there is an excitement whenever the ball approaches the box.

  33. Hull are currently experiencing exactly what I wished for them at the end of last season….Death by a thousand cuts !!! Phil Brown spends more time trying to wind the opposition up than ensurig his team wins, he is a poor imitation of Fat Sam and I hope they go down.

    People who make comments like Rhys should be totally ignored on this site. It is one of the few where respectful debate is conducted without the insults, lets maintain it and not give idiots like than oxygen for their ignorance

    I cannot believe that we still have so called supporters saying ‘this player is cr*p and that player is cr*p’ We are on the verge of something monumental here and every player that has worn the shirt this season has played a part…lets leave the abuse until we have won the league and champions league by which time the men with white coats will have arrived to take you away

  34. twas a near clean shave 4 the MIGHTY GUNNERS but GOD was on our side GOD bless ARSENAL.

  35. I have just read that Phil Brown has been relieved of his post and put on gardening leave at Hull City

  36. Listening to Bill Phrown’s post match comments: Why, oh why, did I think of a Water Conservation ode?

    If it’s yellow, let it mellow.
    If it’s Brown, flush it down.

    Strange thing to think?


  37. Although I read ALL Untold articles everyday I don’t always feel like commenting as my thoughts have usually been better expressed by fellow Gooners here. I love this site!

    But I’ve got to comment on Rhys’ ignorant and outrightly offensive insult to Walter. I respect your grace Walter but people like Rhys don’t deserve it. I find it hard to believe that a Gooner and an Untold regular would post such diatribe. I have read it over and over (and did same to the article above) and still can’t see the cause of the ridiculous outrage.

    Rhys, borrow a leaf from me and stay quiet when you’ve got nothing extra important to add.

  38. Walter – many thanks for your opinions.
    With the news today that Phil Brown has been sent on gardening duties, Hull is destined for relegation and their pitch will be one less issue for our away matches.

  39. If Phil Brown is on gardening leave, he should have no problems with fertilizer shortages as there is a whole changing room full of it at Hull.

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