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August 2021

Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur – The officials (and a few concerns)

By Andrew Crawshaw

Referee – Michael Oliver  First season 2010/11 Born 1985, elevated to the FIFA list in 2012.  Was the youngest referee in Premier League history when he took charge of the Birmingham v Blackburn game in August 2010.

Assistants – S Long & J Collin

4th Official – J Moss

Past performance – He has done 60 games in the Premier League, giving 7 red cards and 170 yellows.

This year he did the Chelsea v Hull game on 18th August and was fourth official for our trip to Fulham.  Interesting that we have him in successive weeks in different roles something no other team has had yet this year – don’t quite know what to make of that one.

Using the weighted data there is analysis of 11 games he did last year.

Best overall performance 88% Chelsea v W Ham, worst 64% for both United v Wigan and Chelsea v Stoke.  Only one Arsenal game – Everton v Arsenal (1-1) 70% overall with bias against Arsenal of 79% but no wrong game changing decisions (classed as second yellows, reds, penalties and goals).

He also did two Tottenham games – Man City v Totts (2-1) 75% overall, 68% bias in favour of Tottenham with four wrong game changing decisions, two of which were within one minute and effectively cancelled each other out (a missed Tottenham penalty immediately followed by an incorrect Tottenham goal).  The other two should have been penalties against Spurs.

The second game was Liverpool v Tottenham (3-2) 79% overall.  Bias in favour of Tottenham 73% and two key wrong decisions, again both penalties not given against Tottenham. So neither team won with him in charge and Tottenham could easily have lost by more than they did in both of their games

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The year before Walter’s summary was based on eight games and reported that his overall numbers were above average, particularly in the routine decisions.  He was not that good though on yellow cards and penalty decisions which were both roughly 50/50 (but based on low overall numbers).  His bias against Arsenal was not excessive and he was roughly neutral for Spurs.  His main bias was in favour of United.

What to look out for :-

1          He makes mistakes in game changing decisions too frequently for a top flight referee (17 in 8 games reviewed last year – the other three correctly had none) and in the Tottenham games had difficulties in recognising what was and wasn’t a penalty getting 5 wrong.

2          His bias numbers last year were worrying – 79% against Arsenal and 68 and 73% in favour of Spurs so he is unlikely to do us any favours.

As with Mr Taylor, I have reservations about him, last year we drew despite him and Spurs lost twice in spite of his best efforts in not awarding penalties.  I fear for another skewed performance but hope for better as Mr Oliver’s past performance overall shows him to be a much better referee which is also shown by his FIFA accreditation.


31 August is just about the biggest day in the Anniversary files of Arsenal.  We’ve got 20 listed on the home page.  Here are just a few.

More anniversaries

106 comments to Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur – The officials (and a few concerns)

  • ClockEndRider

    Right, I’m off down the betting shop to put money on Spurs pens and an Arsenal sending off.
    You’ve got to get up early to get ahead of the Malaysian betting syndicates you know……

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Clock end
    It is penalties not given against Spurs you should be putting money on, particularly Vertonghen.

  • Pat

    A bit worrying!

    Also,if this is his date of birth, he’s younger than my kids. But then, I trust my kids, so why should that matter?

    Please, Mr Oliver, play fair! That’s all we ask.

  • Gary Fox

    What medication do you take for your paranoia? According to your purely subjective ramblings every ref is biased against Arsenal and biased towards Spurs and Chelsea. To give two examples……should your keeper have been sent off when conceding the penalty v Villa? I am a ref and I think he should but a referee colleague …also a spurs fan….took a different view. Refereeing is about judgement in other words not ‘facts’ that can be counted in a balance sheet. Against Norwich last year Arsenal got a penalty awarded by an assistant ref across a crowded area when the ref was better placed. Right or wrong in your OPINION? I can guess but tell me anyway…….

  • Eric

    @ Gary Fox

    Funny you should mention that first penalty incident.
    What about the ref waving advantage for the right winger to have a chance to score, the guy misses and we get penalty against? how does that work?

  • Iain

    Bit early for excuses, no?

  • para

    I still think we are going to beat Spurs tomorrow. As long as the players are concentrating, and they will. Only thing as stated above is the ref. If we get bad decisions and (i’m pretty sure this is another not so subtle attack on Arsenal to keep them down) the team has to respond with quality and not let their heads hang. They know the score and MUST keep the silly mistakes that cause yellow cards down. Looking forward to the game and hope to be happy Sunday evening.
    How come no one comments on B52 being possibly played for Arsenal again as A Wenger has stated this week???

  • Gary Fox

    Eric….your reply shows your lack of knowledge and poor red-misted eyesight. The ref did NOT wave play on. He did what he is instructed to do which is to wait briefly to see if the team who have had the offence committed against them gains an advantage. They did not as the wide player was at a worse angle than Agbonlahor and under pressure from a defender. So he correctly gave the penalty so that Arsenal did not gain advantage from foul play. There was a good case the to dismiss the keeper for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity which the forward would have had if not impeded. Learn the laws before you play with ths big boys.

  • Gary Fox

    And in case you dont get it……Spurs were awarded no penalties at all last season so that pro-spurs bias must be really subtle……and we’ ve had 5 good shouts this year…..2 were stone-cold certs and were refused. Two were iffy and were given. And defoe was rightly booked for diving for the fifth on thursday night. Thats what happens in football…..ITS NOT A CONSPIRACY!

  • Eric

    But he still waited till after the shot, meaning if they had scored it wouldve been allright, but missing means getting a penalty? Defies any logic to me.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Seems the club are under attack from many angles and this like the villa game is a perfect chance for the refs to join in with one of their typical start of season performances against us ie dodgy reds and pens I expect both in this game. This is a young ambitious easily controlled ref as opposed to someone like clattenberg who should be doing this game. But we shall see. We have a settled if threadbare squad which should be enough to see off a collection of newcomers and some potentially unhappy and disruptive players left behind. The media will be up for this one maybe more than the players but over a season, as we know wenger always has the measure of the spuds. Too many signings in one go is hugely unsettling. But that aside we really need to strengthen our numbers worrying times if we do not

  • Gooner S

    @Gary Fox

    It was a penalty but the ref waved play on – he didn’t just wait to see if there was an advantage. If that had happened anywhere else on the pitch the play would not have been brought back. In the end the right decision for the wrong reason.

  • Meef

    Amazing. So you have your excuses ready made in case Arsenal lose. So what will you come out and say if you get a dodgy penalty or offside? Will you say that “it all evens itself out over a season”. To start blaming a referee for something that hasn’t yet happened is mesmerisingly stupid. At the end of the day, a referee makes a snap second judgement. We’ve all done that in our daily lives which have been the wrong decision – the only difference is that his will be examined and scrutinised via replays. The amount of shocking decisions Spurs have had against them when playing Man Utd (goals not given, incorrect penalties against, blatant Utd cheating) is ridiculous but we don’t go into a game against them blaming the referee for something he’s not yet done

  • Gary Fox wrote:

    “He did what he is instructed to do which is to wait briefly to see if the team who have had the offence committed against them gains an advantage.”

    How is that not allowing advantage? You just made Eric’s point dude. They had advantage, they just didn’t score with it!

    Recall the 2006 UCL final? The ref made an instantanoeus decision to send Lehmann off despite the ball being kicked into the net. Although myself and most Gooners would have preferred that the goal stood and Lehman stayed, we couldn’t complain because the ref did not try to have it both ways like Taylor did.

    To be honest, I was grateful that he allowed advantage and did not send Szczeny off but he could only have done one of those things. Either:

    1. Send the keeper off immediately and award a penalty or
    2. Allow advantage play and only issue a yellow card afterward, irrespective of the outcome of the advantage play.

    We support different teams but the rules are not partisan. Let’s not interpret them as such.

  • Come on guys. Ffs, stop making excuses for the madman that is arsene wenger and the board.

  • cyril

    saw wright on tv last night saying that at this stage he would take a draw
    noty much confidence there to settle for home draws

  • cyril

    the problem now is why let wenger spend anything?
    it will be in a panic and we all know we spend too much on the missus when we get her birthday present the night before the b’day
    and there is a good chance he is not around at the end of the season when a new guy wants to spend another 50 mill
    wenger’s uncertain future has undoubtedly added to the heistation of players to sign

  • cyril,

    Of course, if Wright said it, so it must be!

    Talk about out-sourced thinking.

  • Ben L

    @ ClockEndRider Malaysia is a good 8 hours ahead of the UK you would need to have placed bets around 2-3am UK time.

  • GoonerDog

    Lets get theose excuses in quick Untold! Hopefully they will not be needed.

  • Sav from Australia

    Referee seems a worry. Its getting a bit annoying. Actually, its been quite annoying for quite a while. But as long as the media ignores it most people will ignore referee bias. Same with politics, people tend to vote in the person the media pushes – case in point PM elections in Australia. Although, my father reckons The Economist is backing the underdog, because he has a brain I take it. Anyways, referees, politics, whatever, media brainwashing is same shit, different flavour.

  • Sav from Australia

    @Andrew Crawshaw

    Thanks for the analysis and taking the time to do the write up.

    August 31, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Top quality mate. Well put, well said, well done! You have more patience than me, engaging with these dimwits, or likely, paid agents.

  • forengaxx

    The season of excuses has started in earnest……I like Untold;they make Arsene’s job easier, he doesn’t have to think to make up excuses! Ride on guyz, YOU are the ‘real gooners’…!!!!

  • Mandy Dodd

    Cyril as for wengers future it is widely suggested and seemingly confirmed by gazidis that wenger has a deal on the table but has not yet signed it. Maybe he wants to strengthen on top of securing cl qualification before doing so enabling support of a new deal by the majority of fans. As for wright his credibility is now on a par with Stewart robson bitter men with personal agendas against the boss. Face it Ian you were a great but your son was never good enough for us and you were well past it when wenger moved you on. Bitterness is such a destructive condition

  • Meef – I think perhaps you have not read the pages of statistics and data either on Referee Decisions, or on this site. To speak of “snap second judgement” is indeed strange, when you consider the analyses done comparing the accuracy of football refereeing in the Premier League against other Leagues – and indeed the level of error that is accepted in the Premier League by PGMO.

    I also find it strange that you can speak of “something that hasn’t happened yet”. The whole of science is based on doing analyses and then making predictions – be it in hard science like quantum physics or social science. If we were to take that away, most of our civilisation would crumble.

    May I suggest you read around the subject a little – there are thousands of hours worth of research and analysis on the sites… your response is a little like the Tottenham fans who, on seeing our preliminary analysis of their results last season said that our research was nonsense because we found errors in penalty decisions in Tottenham games, when they didn’t get a penalty all season. Tottenham fan after fan wrote in thinking they were laughing at our stupidity, when in fact the site clearly said that this related to (among other things) penalties NOT given for Tottenham which should have been.

    That article and the numerous responses has become something of a tourist attraction on the internet of late.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Be it in your life , in art , in sports or expressing your opinion here , let this be your guide . Take time to read it in full .

    Living the Four Agreements: A life changing Journey.
    From …

    In the best selling book The Four Agreements don Miguel Ruiz gives four principles to practice in order to create love and happiness in your life. Adopting and committing to these agreements is simple. Actually living and keeping these Four Agreements can be one of the hardest things you will ever do. It can also be one of the most life changing things you will ever do.

    The Four Agreements are:

    1. Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.

    2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
    Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

    3. Don’t Make Assumptions
    Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

    4. Always Do Your Best
    Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

  • ClockEndRider

    Top quality analysis and a design for life all in one website. What man could ask for more?!
    Well me, 3 points tomorrow please.
    I’m so greedy…..

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Lady Macbeth : ” Out, damned spot! out, I say! ”

  • Arsenal1Again

    Are there any positives for Arsenal tomorrow?

    Why CHOOSE to focus on negatives? If people took the time to look they would see positive things balance out negative things. It is not necessary to excusively concentrate on negativity. It is plain unhealthy.

    Be confident of a win. Know we cannot lose because it is only Spurs. Even with injuries and refs biased against us we have this in the bag. Take comfort their manager Boas has changed Redknapp’s team and killed it, yes already seeing his touch of death at work.

    In the past 20 years I would think Manchester United and Liverpool have had the most Ref decisions helping them. I have seen this without looking at any balance sheets. In the same period I would think the Spuds have had the most ref decisions hindering them. Of course it has not help with them being a joke of a team whose fans are still saying every year, “This is the season we’ll finish above Arsenal.” Imagine no Bale there last season, go on have a laugh, and now realise you don’t have to imagine it this season. 😀

    I would confidently give Boas 200 Million for transfers at the start of Summer and bet Spurs will have no chance of beating us, and I do bet for real. I betted Chelsea would lose the Super Cup and that equaliser as the last kick of actual time had me in a fit of laughter, but the missed penalty which gave me my winnings was pure joy.

    Having seen all the negativity on here it’s unlikely none of you have the confidence to bet on our team against the Spuds. There is NO REASON at all for thinking the Spudders have a hope of winning.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ ClockEndRider – Exactly my sentiments ! Provided my countrymen have not got their grubby fix in early !

  • @ brickfield gunners ,thank you for the four agreements I have just written them down and put them in my wallet.They make perfect sense.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Alan Lawless – then my work here be done ! Goodnight all !

  • Arsenal1Again,

    para wrote (@10.40am): “I still think we are going to beat Spurs tomorrow.”

    I am expecting us to win tomorrow.

    Are those positive enough for you? Can you please let us know what you are expecting now so that there is no ambiguity if the team prevails tomorrow?

  • Is it just me or does other Untolder notice that commenters with: Gooner, Gunner or Arsenal in their names are mostly negative fans?

    Having these words on your usernames does not make your opinion on the club more valid just as being a season ticket holder or spending £xxxx on the club doesn’t.

    Apologies to Brickfields Gunners, KampalaGun and all other positive fans with the fore mentioned words.

  • Va Cong

    Bootoome you are an angry man this week. Think I might go. With my favourite 3-0 bet tomorrow or maybe 5-2…

  • WalterBroeckx

    Oh well us old Untolders remember the articles in the past when Dogface wrote before an Arsenal – Everton game that the ref could be doing something suspicious.

    the negative Arsenal supporters said we were looking for excuses. The regular untolders looked at the game with different eyes.

    Aha and what a surprise when the ref indeed did give some strange decisions to Everton including letting a goal count for them where an Everton player was offside for some 5-6 meters. Even a youth ref without assistants would have seen that offside.

    Oh yeah those were the days that John Sinnot of the BBC read the article and was so surprised by the accuracy of our predictions that he even wrote an article about it for the BBC.

    This article and I thank you Adam for having written this based on the reviews of the past, is just the same.

    An attempt to look at this ref his past and an attempt to keep your eyes open to some possible errors to which he is prone.

    Oh and by the way despite Mason doing us over in the Everton game with that goal, it was Arsenal that won the game after all.

    So this has nothing to do with us looking for excuses before a game. Just a warning to keep your eyes open.

  • Va Cong,

    Oh, you are so right. It’s difficult to not be when faced with all the crap that one have to deal with on one of the very few websites that are still for positive Arsenal fans.

    I do prefer being called angry/crazy/noisy/deluded to being found out to be a liar. With me, what you see is what you get.

    I am not going to be greedy like you though; any kind of victory will do 🙂

  • Stuart

    I know you frequently post on this blog but I gather from your earlier comment that this is the first time you’ve read an article on Untold.

  • Va Cong

    You’re right @Walter. All we can do is beat 15 men. Train for 18 men we should be ok! But why do these moaning fans hold onto being m resent fan? @bootome yeah you’re right these weird number 1 gunner red army gooner fantastic always reply with wenger verbal diarrhoea then say spend spend spend which they could just go be a fan of the other teams which spend?
    I think it’s like my niece and nephews and quality old toy which they have no played for a year suddenly when another kid wants to play with it they hug it for dear life. Well that toy could be wenger and if he decides to leave because of these nincompoops and we go out of the top 4 what do you think they will moan about then?

  • Stuart

    Va Cong,
    My mate used to bet for 3-0 & 3-1 until last season where he switched to just 3-1 as we usually concede.
    I’ve taken a different approach to this game and bet on total number of goals. A fiver each on: 6 or more @ 11/1 and 7 or more @ 27/1.

  • Va Cong

    @bootome I meant angry like the hulk! Bootomee smash! 3 sexy nil oh yeah baby ! Oh yeah a bit greedy but that’s how much faith I have!

  • Va Cong

    @Stuart good theory but. 7 goals or more sounds good 5-2 it is then lol ah it’s what dreams are made of…

  • Mandy Dodd

    Have been away from things for a couple of weeks but didn’t the villa ref get sent down a league or two for a week after his biased rather than shambolic performance tho stand to be corrected here. If so hope this ref is aware there are some things even the pgmol will at least pretend to act over. Is it just me or are Chelsea getting the ref rub of the green so far in this league?

  • WalterBroeckx

    Mande Dodd,
    Taylor the Villa ref was not send to lower leagues after his biased performance against Arsenal. 4th ref last week (they all have this almost every other week) and he can be seen now in the game Cardiff – Everton.

    Make no mistake, I think Riley found it a great performance. A bit like his own performance at OT a while ago…

  • Gary Fox

    I still havent had an answer to the questions I asked about your wholly subjective analysis of refereeing decisions. So I will make it easier …….according to your methodology how many of the penalties you got last season were wrong and how many you cobceded were wrong? I am ignoring the other gooners on here who dont understand the advantage decision that a ref has to make. Thank god they dont referee games! And if you want conspiracy theories involving Malaysian and Hungarian betting syndicates look at the final match of
    2011/12 and the performance of a standin keeper replacing a hitherto ever-present WBA keeper in a match with £££££M resting on it. But as I dont share your psychosis or psychiatrist I will keep my thoughts about that to myself.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    2-1 to the Arsenal. I think Spurs has spent a hundred million quid on good but not outstanding players. This will give them depth which is necessary but it doesn’t replace the game changer that is Bale. Neither team has any real Superstar. Barring injuries in this match, I think that our midfield is stronger than theirs and more cohesive and that should make the difference. Over the long term, I agree with the majority – we are short on numbers.

    I also have to give credit to the team for continuing to play hard and not despairing despite what has to be a worry that the referees will be biased against us. The players aren’t blind and hopefully the club is lobbying for reform of the refereeing system.

  • OMGArsenal

    Gary Fox….you may or may not be a referee and certainly have the Laws in front of you, cutting and pasting them to appear very knowledgeable.
    However, most of us Gooners do NOT assume that the referee is bent, biased or anti-Arsenal. We acknowledge that every team gets a few wrong calls once in a while, and that includes Spuds….since you didn’t really pay attention to the article,let me remind you that the letter of the Laws and the spirit of the Laws are two different things so please don’t lecture us from your Spuds superiority complex….which, by the way is delusional.
    who has a better team and who is a better Club will all be proven at the end of May…..that’s the only criterion we can rely on.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Thanks Walter that is very worrying. You may be right about Riley’s assessment but really hope gazidis is using his various platforms of power to address this. As you say a similar performance to manc Riley at OT dowd at Newcastle Taylor himself at Sunderland and any number of mike dean games. The club as the article from a few days ago suggests should be taking note of this site and should not accept the status quo

  • GoingGoingGooner

    @Gary Fox

    Have you visited the site Referee Decisions? The numbers you look for are there as is an in depth description of their methodology. It even shows that only 35% of the match reviewers are supporters of the Arsenal.

  • Gary Fox

    To clear up the Villa penalty. The ref did NOT wave play on. He waited to see if Villa gained an advantage. They d didnt. So he blew for a penalty. Its that simple. Foul play is meant to be punished. As Villa did not score the punishment is the penalty. In the champions league final the ref blew too soon and should have let the goal stand and not sent off lehmann. A poor decision. But that is not proof of a global comspiracy against Arsenal. And i love the gooner who wants clattenberg tomorrow….the ref that missed a spurs shot going 4 feet over the line at old trafford which ultimately cost us a champions league spot that tear.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Gary Fox,
    yes Arsenal supporters rather have Clattenburg. Because based on the reviews he was the most unbiased ref in the PL in the season 2012-2013. This means hat his wrong decisions were the best spread amongst the teams. In fact we don’t have a great win record with Clattenburg but we know he doesn’t screw us like some others do.

    And like goinggoinggooner said you should check refereedecisions.

    If you feel up to it you can check some 28.000 decisions yourself

  • WalterBroeckx

    oh by the way did you just see Taylor not giving a penalty for a clear wrongly timed tackle from Demel on Baynes. And compare that with the soft penalty for Villa when Kos clearly made contact with the ball with the leg that attacked the ball? Demel didn’t even made contact with the ball in the Baynes tackle.

    Or he is incompetent or biased. What is your opinion Gary?

  • Gary Fox

    Neither you muppet. No-one gets on the PL list if they are incompetent. Biased implies corruption… where is the objective evidence? Sometimes a ref gets it wrong…..they make a split-second decision and make a mistake……you know, like players do because shock horror they are human. The best ones, like the best players, make fewer errors. Simple. We all like to think that some refs hate our team and are biased or even bent. But thats because WE are biasd. We can rant and rave on the touchline or obsess over stats that are actually just an over-intellectualised version of our subjective opinions. Give me enough time and a decent computer and I could probably prove that most PL refs are actually the bastard off spring of Alex Ferguson….if thats what I believe in the first place.

  • Sav from Australia

    Gary, why are you bothering. Walter already smashed you with logic. Are you paid to come on here and spout nonsense?

  • GoonerDog

    Gary – don’t bother we know now that Walter’s opinion is actuallly fact. And he gets very upset if you argue otherwise.

    Is it just me or is it anyone with Bootoomee in their name is a complete muppet.

    2-0 to the Gooners!

  • GoonerDog,

    Yet to spend your time to read Walter’s blog. What does that say about you?

    I’m glad that your feeling’s hurt as one of the negative nellies who lurk around here. GoonerMoron.

  • Arsenal1Again

    @Stuart I read along quite happily until the article starts generalising, judging people to be AAA and basically turning the article into a political soapbox. The comments area is for such opinions. Reading the main body of an article, visualising from memory what I am reading, seeing a valid perspective and then WHAM “The AAA this …” “so called fans …” “they want us too lose…” “sorry to disappoint the AAA but …” “the ref …” and then that’s that.

    @Bootome I really touched a nerve, didn’t I? It’s a shame you can’t be as ambivalent about me as you are about my football team, but predictably you focused on me. Fill your boots. 😀

    lol Walter, you have brutally told Gary how it is. Classic reading. Been an Untolder for years by the way. Sure, I whine about aspects of my team because I care, been doing it since Brady left but negative, uh uh, no amount of your conspiracy theories will ever make me.

  • Stuart

    Gary Fox,

    “Sometimes a ref gets it wrong…..they make a split-second decision and make a mistake……you know, like players do because shock horror they are human.”

    Exactly, what further reason could we need for video replays, these reviews are the perfect call for it which would wipe out human error.

  • Stuart

    I was just baffled by your line :

    “Why CHOOSE to focus on negatives?”

    With Untold being constantly criticised for being positive and not bad mouthing the team / club / manager, your line makes it a case of damned if they do, damned if they don’t. That was all.

  • Arsenal1Again,

    Hope you don’t commit suicide tomorrow or the next time Arsenal loses, non-ambivalent fan.

    It’s not my fault that you have nothing better than Arsenal going on in your life.

    You hate everything about Untold Arsenal but that empty life of yours requires Untold for the companionship that you so desperately need.

    It sucks to be you.

  • Dec

    Calm down children, nobody’s commiting suicide over a stupid football match, a damned football club or any other reason!!!!!
    We don’t know each other here from Adam nor our backgrounds, let’s stay clear of such dangerous banter.
    Allez les etc etc…….

  • Dec,

    Context is everything. Please seek context before passing judgement. I respect you but fuck the Arsenal1Again person. He should fuck off to blogs where articles are more to his way of thinking.

    And believe me, I am very calm. I read the comment thrice before clicking on the “Post Comment” button.

  • Dec

    No judgement from me at any stage. We’re all grown ups here (I assume).
    Thing is, my job sometimes puts me in direct contact with the fallout of suicide. Trust me, it’s not an easy thing to tell somebody their son. or daughter has taken their own life. It strikes a nerve when I see it thrown about in a frivolous way on a football website.
    I’ve seen Arsenal loose umpteen times over the 40+ years since I was first smitten by them, and guess what, it doesn’t really matter. Not really!!
    Got me on a tough day, I’ll stop. keep the faith brother.
    Allez ……

  • GoonerDog

    Bootoomee – thanks for proving my point. I think the only person you haven’t insulted on this webste is Walter so what does that say about you?

    Suicide?!? Get a life pal you utter lowlife.

  • Pat

    @Gary Fox

    No need to call Walter a muppet.

    I don’t understand why you refuse to accept that this web site and its sister web site referee decisions have spent several years analysing matches in detail and have drawn their conclusions based on that analysis.

    We do not KNOW why some refs are biased for or against some clubs, or why some refs who are employed to referee PL matches have too low a level of competence.

    But we know from the analysis – done by referees, most of whom are not Arsenal fans – that it is so.

    Read the analysis and dispute it properly, if you want to dispute it.

    Calling somebody a muppet proves nothing.

    And picking one incident from our match with Villa and concentrating on that is irrelevant in the context of what was a very poor over all performance from referee Anthony Taylor.

    There was an article at the time on this site with a long discussion where contributors pointed out the many features of his poor performance.

    You can access it if you want to.

  • GoonerDog


    Sorry mate but the review of the referee’s decisions are an opinion. Walter is not an independent arbitrator or ref’s decisions that results in a fact. His statistics merely reflect his opinion. Until we have robots running games with equal judgement as opposed to humans with independent thought we will always have mistakes.

  • Rupert Cook

    I believe Walter is a ref. What I’d like to see is a collection of refs pass judgment on one of his refereeing performances. One would expect that every decision he made was correct otherwise surely he would be displaying signs of incompetence or bias.

  • Pat

    Walter is not the only ref reviewer.

    The ref reviewers on this site have made their decisions based on a close analysis of match footage.

    All the ref reviewers are refs.

    Are you then disputing all the numbers of wrong and correct decisions that all the ref reviewers have recorded on all the matches they have reviewed over last season and the seasons before?

    Because those are the basis for the conclusions drawn.

    If all the ref reviewers are purely biased, why do some PL referees actually achieve good percentages of correct decisions? Why would a ref reviewer say Clattenburg has a good record of correct decisions if this were not the case, for example? None of them know Clattenburg, they are only going on the evidence of how he referees matches.

    Simply rejecting or ignoring this large body of work will not make it go away.

  • GoonerDog

    Rupert – He is indeed a ref and got the hump when I said the self same thing. Mentioned something about reffing his sons game who were, at that point, unbeaten but lost as an example of him being unbiased. Not sure that is wholly logical. Would love to see what you are suggesting pal 🙂

  • Rupert Cook

    @Pat, I know this. What I’m saying is that if a ref makes a mistake it seems to be either down to incompetence or bias, never just basic human error. Or do we believe that every error is a consequence of incompetence?

    And then when refs make mistakes in Arsenal games that have a negative impact on us it seems most on here believe it’s bias and then we have rampant paranoia where the more extreme declare some unknown agency is doing its damnedest to derail Arsenal’s season. These dark malefactors are never exposed under the illuminating light of justice, in fact there is never any clue presented to reveal to us who these people may be.

    I’ve just seen Taylor deny Everton a blatant penalty. So is this man either incompetent or error-ridden or does he have a bias against Everton too?

    I’m not denying that there could be unholy practices against us but I do believe that sometimes refs are innocent. (I’m not declaring Taylor an innocent, I have no idea whether he’s incompetent or bias).

  • Rupert Cook

    The other thing I forgot to add, and is probably more pertinent, is if there is some secret society whose sole existence is to deny Arsenal success what exactly is there reason? Why would anyone want to sabotage Arsenal’s season?

  • WalterBroeckx

    Okay I don’t want to brag about my own performances. I wanted to avoid this as much as possible. But since some of you insist.
    Two years ago at the age of 50 years and due to personal circumstances that are not important for what I want to say I stopped being a ref and started as an assistant ref.

    I then had to start at what in my country is the 8th tier of football. Like in England we have 4 divisions of national football and 4 divisions of county football. It was in the lowest division of county football I started as an assistant.

    This summer I have done games as an assistant ref of what in Belgium is the second tier of NATIONAL football.
    That is that after less than 2 years my football association found that I was that good to have gone up 7 tiers of football.
    The next step would be doing games of teams of the Jupiler League (= the PL).
    In may I have been appointed to be the assistant ref of the Ladies cup final. A honorary appointment that is in most cases and was told before the game that I was there as a reward for my performances in the past season.

    Again I am not the person to brag about this and wouldn’t have said this to you but as some of you really want to know it, now you know.

    I think that in those past 2 seasons I have had …well I didn’t count them but I think at least 10 and possible 15 assessments from referee assessors. If even 1 of those assessments would have been bad or if I would have made a basic error in those games I wouldn’t be where I am now.

    I will never reach doing games in the highest division in Belgium because of my age. I know that and I don’ really care about it.

    My motto for each and every game is doing my game with 100% focus, with 100% commitment and with 200% being unbiased.

    Alas Garry and others who doubt me: I know other referees who don’t feel it like I do. Alas… alas… heart cries when I have such a ref. But it is their conscience and they have to live with it. I would stop if I would become like some of them.

    After typing this I already feel bad because it may sound as I want to brag about myself and my performances. But remember it is only because of you trying to put me in a bad daylight that I tell you this.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Walter, what’s to brag about? If it’s the truth then why be coy about it? I find it strange that people should feel apologetic about being good at something. You’re not boasting, you’re simply detailing facts.

    Anyway thanks for being brave enough to share your success, it’s nothing to feel guilty about.

    Anyway I’m retiring as I have a 16 mile walk to do tomorrow which will mean I’ll miss the Arsenal game unless I can steer the wife into a pub late afternoon.

  • bjtgooner

    As an apologist for the AAA and now an apologist for Taylor and hence Riley, why don’t you rupert tell us who is pulling your strings? It would be pertinent for your do so before asking who is conspiring against Arsenal – a question that has been answered many times – of course, you do suffer from selective amnesia (or is it dementia).

  • MoW

    Walter, i don’t think you have to justify yourself. In any event please dont feel bad. Maybe the process behind the analysis you do needs more clarity that’s all. Which no doubt is written elsewhere. And there’s a fundamental question whether referring can be objectified as fact that some people have.

    I don’t want to sound like a smart ass but you are kind of saying the selection process for Belgian 2d tier is a guarantor of quality. Well couldn’t a similar argument be used for refs in the EPL?

    Off topic, after camping at the F1 GP last week I spent some time in your wonderful country. Flemish food and beer is amazing. Highly recommend it to anyone. Although its not good for the waistline…

  • GoonerDog

    Walter – surely the refs in the premier league have similar assesments that demonstrate that they are quality refs to the standard (or indeed far higher – with respect) that you espouse? The same quality refs that you doubt.

  • bjtgooner


    Good article, lets hope we can win despite the officials.


    The AAA clowns are really stepping up their interest in Untold, perhaps they have come to see UA as a major opponent. Some of them need slapped down permanently.

  • GoonerDog

    BJT – Just a bit of debate and banter. Slapped down permanently? Really?

  • WalterBroeckx

    For years Tony has said I am too modest and I always consider my own performances as not that important. 😉

  • bjtgooner


    Now that the competence of the UA ref reviews is being questioned by some of the comments – can you remember any occasion when your ref reviews have been shown to be in error. I can’t.

    The plonkers who question your reviews (or those of your team of qualified refs) forget that in addition to your reviewers a huge fan base attends each match and in addition a world wide fan base will watch on stream/tv. Many fans record the televised matches and will later re-examine points of contention – just as you do. The result of all this attention is that your reviews will be cross-checked by a huge number of fans – ok they may not be qualified referees, but the quantitative support for the correctness of your findings is massive. You do not need to justify you decisions or ability, just keep the reviews coming.

    Some of the comments suggest to me that Riley is not happy that his secret empire is being shown up. His problem!

    Incidentally – I can’t remember Riley trying to contradict and UA ref reviews – even when challenged to do so!

  • WalterBroeckx

    If our reviewers can statistically see bias against one team or in favour of one team then there is something wrong.
    Because in fact the ‘it evens out-scenario’ then doesn’t take place.
    Now if you see the same bias for/against season after season, then something is fundamentally wrong.

    I have said that I do believe that the quality is there for most of the refs in the PL. You must be a bit of a good ref to get that high. I also know that some people get promoted for other reasons than their performances. Or are not demoted for other reasons than their bad performances. Did you know that the refs with the 2 lowest scores should be demoted at the end of the season? And yet…no refs were demoted the last two seasons…why? Like I said other reasons than performances are involved. And this is completely unfair and is opening a door to corruption.

    Let us take an example. A ref ends last in the PL merit table. He is called in by the head of the refs and he tells him: now look I give you another chance but you must do what we tell you to do. (read favour a certain team/be against another team/…)

    And then this refs fulfils that job and stays in the PL.

    Impossible….? One can only hope. But can we be certain? How certain can we be when the head of the PGMOL has a dark past? How can we be certain when the refs are not demoted at the end of the season?

  • GoonerDog,

    You are one whiny bitch aren’t ya? Can dish it out but can’t take it. You deserve to be slapped down permanently indeed. If Walter’s articles are so wrong, why not just fuck off, go set up your own blog and write whatever you like.

    Pathetic lowlife.

  • WalterBroeckx

    And talking about referees and ‘facts’: it is a fact that the two refs who ended last in the ref merit table have not been demoted. And that is against their own rules.

    Do you trust an organisation that doesn’t follow their own rules? I don’t.

    Oh and the ref merit table is kept secret by the PGMOL. But well…. a little bird brought them to my door.

    Do you trust an organisation that keeps everything secret? I don’t.

  • GoonerDog

    Walter – if your reviewers ‘in their opinion’ see bias. Again not a fact.

    Bootoomee – Dish it and cant take it? Drive six hours to the Emirates and see if you can you mug. Email hard man.

    At least Walter and his co correspondents can hold their own despite, I admit, sometimes an avalanche of counter comment.

  • GoonerDog

    Walter – did you geniunely care when Wenger was winning things? I’d like to see your stats from the Invincible years or 1998? Perhaps you can share your stats from the Bruce Rioch era or maybe you were not a fan then?

  • Arvind

    @Goonerdog: I dont think this site was there in 2003-04. Tony can correct me if I’m wrong. Ref decisions was started as a result of multiple things going wrong with Arsenal.

    Whether you agree with any of it or not is your choice but the argument…of the current reviews being invalid..because there weren’t any in the past when Arsenal were winning titles, is not accurate.

  • Sav from Australia

    The AAA love to hijack the comments section.

    ON TOPIC: who believes there is a great potential that Oliver will do a Taylor today? I think that Andrew’s analysis shows that there is at least a good chance of bias. Whether it is enough to stop the team is what I am interested to see.

    This season is a test, I suppose. A test to see if a squad of good natured, non-cheating/kicking/diving, hard working and highly skilled Gunners can defy the media whitewash, the referee handicap and some quality opposition teams to win this league. That is the test. I know the lads have it in them to achieve victory, but like everything in life, there is the element of chance.

  • nicky

    @Rupert Cook,
    No doubt the walk will be for a just cause. Why not record the game and then try not to know the result.
    Now THAT will really test your nerve!

  • El Gringo

    Dear Untolders, I’ve been thinking about the terminology we use to discuss bias, and I thought I could introduce a few definitions and distinctions to help us be a bit more precise as we speak.

    First, there is the difference between error and bias. An error is a wrong decision made by a referee which may or may not be attributed to bias. Bias is a consistent trend of error which favors one team and disfavors another.

    Then there are two classes of bias. First, there is one-off bias, which occurs in a single match but doesn’t fit any obvious patterns over a course of matches. My suspicion is that one-off bias occurs sometimes because the referee having a bad day and sometimes to help a gambling syndicate fix a particular match.

    Second, there is consistent bias, in which there is a discernible pattern favoring or disfavoring particular teams by error. One form is personal bias, in which an individual referee demonstrates consistent bias, positive or negative, towards particular teams. Another form is systematic bias, in which patterns emerge over the course of an entire season of bias from the entire refereeing system in favor or disfavor of a particular team. Systematic bias is not necessarily demonstrated in every single match, and it is often most obvious at crucial points in a season, when referees help struggling favored teams get past their bad form or hinder disfavored teams from either finding or remaining in good form.

    A final phenomenon to name is cross-bias, which occurs when identifiable patterns of bias come in conflict with each other, so that, for example, an ordinarily favored team is screwed badly in a match to help a gambling syndicate. Or perhaps a referee personally favors two teams who are playing each other, is under pressure to favor one, and therefore breaks his ordinary pattern of personal favor.

    Hopefully these thoughts will help us think a bit more clearly about what is going on and to refute silly comments along the lines of “Team X was denied a blatant penalty; therefore the whole league might be against them.” In reality, there may be an honest error or a one-off bias.

  • AL

    Sav from Australia
    You’re absolutely right about the AAA trying to hijack every thread. The figures in this article suggest we will see another biased performance against us by the ref. Anyway, most NLDs have become that, refs (& media) seem to have adopted the spuds as the team they’d love to see push us out of the CL places after Liverpool’s descent into obscurity. Can anyone imagine what sort of headlines we would be reading if Arsenal had splashed the cash like spurs did this summer? Don’t even want to contemplate it.

  • AL

    GoonerDog, dialsquare, doublegooner, arsenal1again, sperez,Gary fox, joe, Rupert, etc etc, we know you’re already sharpening the knives in anticipation of a gunners loss today. I can’t think of any other fans across the land relishing an Arsenal loss like you lot, apart from the spuds themselves. What kind of fans does that make you. Weird.

  • AL

    El Gringo,
    Or to simplify things a little, there are three forms of bias/error;

    1. The dean-bias – this is negative bias against a particular team regardless of they’ve in front of them(one team from NorthL London springs to mind)

    2. The Atkinson-bias – this is positive bias for a particular team regardless of who they’ve in front of them(one team from west London comes to mind)

    3. The Halsey-error – a ref makes a genuine mistake which might or might not affect the result against any team(an unpunished knee-high challenge last season between certain teams from up north comes to mind)

  • MoW

    Interesting stuff El Gringe.

    The word bias means something different in statistics. It’s not about intent but about whether the observed result is systematically and “significantly” different from the outcome expected.

    Which brings us to an interesting point. Walter, have you analysed how statistically significant these results are? I haven’t seen figures for the total number of decions a game. The net “bias” per game per season needs to be expressed as percentage of the total number of decisions per game. What is this percentage?

  • AL

    Those are the three main forms that are obvious. I believe there’s a fourth form which may not be so obvious but which we see a lot of. This is the referees’ chief – bias; ref appointments are made seemingly with a hidden agenda behind them, and the refs appear to be under instructions to screw one team one way or another(certain performances involving sides such as Villa and Newcastle come to mind). In my mind it is this fourth type of bias that is more devastating and more common than the first 3 above.

  • Sav from Australia

    El Gringo,

    Interesting terminology. I’m not an expert in statistics, but what you said sounds pretty simple and logical to me.

  • Sav from Australia


    Sounds like that 4th bias should be called the Taylor-syndrome or something similar?

  • AL

    Yep, Taylor-syndrome lol

  • bjtgooner

    Al @ 10.25 & 10.33am

    Well said!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Or Tay·lor dis·ease (tā’lŏr),

    diffuse idiopathic cutaneous atrophy.

    From –

    To the layman it sounds like some fine cussing indeed ! Especially if pronounced slowly and in a thinly veil threatening manner as diff use idio pathic cute anus atrophy ! Try it with a lisp !

  • Sav from Australia



  • Nand

    Well done you deserved beautiful guns

  • Rupert Cook

    @Gooner Dog, bjtgooner is a nasty piece of work. I’d ignore him if I were you. “Slapped down permanently”. Indeed. He appears to be a fascist who despises anyone who has an opinion from his and would, it seem, like to murder them. A most disgusting individual and certainly an embarrassment among Arsenal fans.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Nicky, it was a walk for a cancer charity. Well a practice walk, the actual walk is 26 miles.

    Unfortunately my wife told me the score within five minutes of getting home.

  • AL

    Rupert 9:57pm
    Sorry mate, don’t think goonerdog is going to see your comment; Arsenal won so I doubt you will see him around these parts for about a week at least. He’s in hibernation, or wherever it is the AAA go when we win.

  • bjtgooner

    @rupert (depressive AAA sewer rat)

    You should know by now that I only knock back those who back-stab our team, manager or club. You have been guilty of this on a number of occasions, over quite a long period, sarcasm being your specialty – hence, you have been classified as an AAA sewer rat.

    I am only explaining this to you in the hope that you are not all bad – I like the sound of you supporting a cancer charity – although the disinformation you describe re the distance seems strangely dysfunctional.

    So – behave like a normal fan & no problem – continue to back-stab the team/manager/club & you need to be prepared for the consequences – if you choose that route, fine, but spare us your self righteous whinges.