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July 2021

Cheating isn’t winning


There has been an enormous amount of effort and reflection devoted to the phenomena of cheating and the consequences of such behaviour on sites like UA and others worldwide.

Most civilized people deplore, at least publicly, the extent and existence of dishonesty, whether it is plagiarism or data manipulation in the academic arena, corruption and nepotism in the political realm, disregard for public safety in our daily lives or similar miscreant behaviour in sports and specifically in Football.

However, there is a certain hypocrisy shown by some supporters when faced with events that their club may have been involved in or accused of entertaining. I have even seen some UA bloggers condone what most of us despise, in order that AFC can ¨win¨ some title or silverware. Their rational often condones such behaviour because others are doing it so why shouldn’t we?  For (it is argued) if we don’t do it, we cannot compete, or worse still, it really isn’t cheating, its just ¨strategic¨ and ¨smart/good business¨ practice.

Here are my reasons for distancing myself from that kind of ethos and my arguments for taking the higher ground:

a) I once officiated an important match between the top 2 teams in a league where the outcome of the game would determine their positions at the end of the season. A player was taken down in the penalty area and I awarded a penalty, having convinced myself that it was a foul.

The player who was fouled came up to me and said that he actually tripped over the ball and wasn’t fouled. Being a neophyte referee I was unprepared both mentally and emotionally to handle such an admission so I consulted my more experienced linesman, who said that I could restart with a drop ball.

This I did and immediately after the drop ball, the player who refused the penalty was substituted. His manager gave him hell and sent him to the dressing room. I talked to him after the game and he said that if he’d taken the penalty he wouldn’t have been proud nor pleased. His ethical values were more important to him than winning (the match ended a draw).

b) After watching countless professional players simulate or try and cheat in an all too often successful attempt to fool the referee into awarding a penalty or some other desirable (to them) outcome, this has just become embarrassing.

These models for our kids are showing that the rules and proper conduct are simply hindrances to winning and that winning at all costs is a more desirable result than honourable and socially responsible behaviour. We are developing a culture of cheating, dissembling, manipulation, lying, disrespect for law and order, narcissistic self-gratification and moral relativism that is a direct threat to our social fabric.

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c) Our club, the Arsenal, has built a justifiably remarkable reputation and tradition of integrity, respect for and fostering of the Laws and the Beautiful Game, avoidance of financial doping, a willingness to live within their means and a sound approach to managing a football family.

There are certainly times when we’ve been tempted to swerve off the straight and narrow and perhaps times when we have but they are so rare that I cannot find any accurate historical examples*.

Yes, some of our players have been guilty of taking a dive, some have used drugs, one manager took a bung but the club has remained a bastion of the ethical and fair pursuit of Football success in England. Tony once said that he would stop supporting the Arsenal IF they ever became a Club that contradicted their values and principles….I would do the same.

d) It is true that rules are usually composed of two elements, the letter and the spirit of the Law. Since none of us are perfect, we all infringe the letter of the Law on occasion but when we are faced with a moral dilemma about infringing the spirit of that same Law, then it becomes a matter of conscience and values.

As an example, the footballer who uses non-prescribed chemicals to ¨boost¨ strength and performance is breaking a  very clear rule regarding banned substances. They are also destroying the spirit of that rule, whose essential purpose is to maintain a fair and equal competitive environment for all participants. When we trample the spirit of the Law, we demean ourselves and hurt others who respected the rules. Stepping over that line draws us closer to anarchy and disorder and every year costs us untold riches and lives, when we look at society as a whole.

I mentioned our ¨win-at-all cost¨ supporters (who are thankfully few and far between) at the beginning of this post. My question to them for example would be, ¨ If we could win a North London derby by cheating and abuse of the laws, or bribing an official, would that be justified?¨  Our sense of outrage and despair when we were harshly treated by a poor refereeing performance (the Villa game for example) should tell us that anything but a level playing field will never be accepted by our fans.

So my final argument is this: If we don’t accept such treatment, why should we accept it for other teams? The price we all pay for such behaviour is a tragedy and it is up to all of us as a collective, to resist these tendencies at all costs.

* Note from the Editor – anyone tempted to suggest that the promotion of 1919 was an example of an Arsenal fall from grace should take a look at the History Society’s definitive article on that event.  £100 is available to anyone who produces any evidence of wrong doing.

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79 comments to Cheating isn’t winning

  • blacksheep63

    well said Don, and credit to Theo who always tries to stay on his feet, unlike some England players I could mention

  • Nice article – I have to say that the attitude of players is getting worse, not better. You would have thought after last year that Ashley Young – yes I am picking on him because he is a cheat – would have thought twice. But no, cheating is in his DNA.

    Once again, money is the root cause here. The pure greed associated to football is sickening. Players will do anything to earn their next contract on even bigger money. It is a me culture that is not just ruining our game – it already has ruined it.

    The media are just as guilty in this – blaming foreigners and ripping them to shreds when one dives whilst letting off English players with the usual ‘we’ve got a broad problem in our game’ reporting whenever an English player dives.

    The attitude of players is awful, and it is the English players who are the worst – both in terms of diving and selfish behaviour. Just look at Rooney and Sturridge – both ‘injured’ for England, both playing and scoring a few days later.

    I watch a player like Ozil – and many foreigners – and it is clear they respect the fame far more than the English players.

    The ‘me first’ culture, driven by money = cheating to ‘succeed’.

    Said it before but I can’t wait for the game to collapse completely financially so that we can get back to proper football.

  • The font

    Very noble but unrealistic if you live in the perfect world these morals would apply but when everyone around you is cheating (Ashley ) you have. To apply what is right for you and the situation .if you lived in the third world no job no money would it be ok to steal food to feed your children. Or let them die of starvation . Extream but closer to how the world runs today.fortunatley we have high morals at our club. And long may they live.

  • The font,

    I mostly agree with you but I don’t get your point here. Your last sentences contradict your first.

  • para

    It’s a hard on the decision to stay true to your principles or to play like the rest. But in the end your principles will win out, just because that is who you are. On top of that if one tries to be someone else other than themselves it usually does not work and even causes more problems. We’ve surely all had that experience at one time or the other.
    But there are areas where one can make sure that your views are heard, that others are aware of the things going on, and it’s sites like this one that are doing good work on that front. Keep up the good work.
    Of course AFC are not completely innocent, as is no one. I have seen incidents where i just knew we went down too easily too, and i was glad we did, because the other side were getting all the decisions, but generally AFC just want to play football against a team who plays football, and if we lose, then we accept that the other team played better, and surely that is what the game is supposed to be about.
    Sadly this is the real world, and even though i am glad AFC is trying to set examples, we are feeling it because it is a “lonely road” in today’s world of “win at all costs”.
    But without AFC and other clubs who tread this lonely road, we are never going to be able to affect any change.

  • ADR

    Good article.

    But I see an issue… Where do you draw the line???

    Every team also have players that draw in the foul, looking for the foul; looking for some contact to go down and get a FK/Pen.

    Is this part of the beautiful game nowadays? It’s a fine line between a player who dives and player who gets some contact and a penalty to win a game; this guy is a hero in some eyes…..

  • Unbelievable belief

    Cheats win trophies, Don.
    Look at Man United.

  • The font

    It does a bit
    But what I was trying to say was cheating to an extent exists in all aspects of life even at our club
    There are circumstances sagna /altidorie. The refs view was sagna committed the foul which could have stopped the striker from scoring . Cheat but a exceptable cheat in today’s game . Some dive for penalty s
    Some fake injury to get players sent off. All cheats but happen in every game .
    We have had our fair share of divers . Should cover the first part
    But overall we are a lesser evil. And would not tolerate a perpetual diver cheat at arsenal .
    I like to think replaying the Sheffield UTD cup tie summarises our spirit

  • nicky

    I would have liked to have known, Don, whether the game at which you officiated was amateur or professional. I suspect it was the latter.
    The trouble today is that the professional game has, regrettably, moved on into big business mode, where cheating is de rigeur in order to succeed.
    The Board Room has become the breeding ground of all sorts of chicanery in order to further the interests of the Company.
    To take the moral high ground is right and proper but today those involved in the governance of successful football clubs, will frown on the Corinthian way of behaving as being
    naïve and counter-productive.
    In consequence, players will be expected to practice obedience if they want to prosper in their trade.

  • One of our worst matches of last season was the 3-1 home loss to Bayern Munich. Whenever Arsenal loses, that is how I want us to lose: to teams who played better and took their chances. I was not happy about the loss but I did not feel cheated either. It is the latter that drives me mad the most.

    Instant gratification, the bane of our modern world is the major culprit. Look at our trophy junkies and their wailing about no trophies in 8 years. They lift Abramovich to a high pedestal despite his questionable wealth. All they (and especially the Chavs) care about is the fact that he uses his money to win trophies.

    As anyone who have read any of rantings and ramblings know, all I care about is Arsenal’s values. I love the club for what it stands for and I shall never question how it’s run based on players signed or trophies won. As long as this great club continues to keep its affairs clean, fair and prudent, I will always be a fan. For goodness sake, look at Glasgow Rangers! Trophies will come eventually. They always do; even to the Wigans and the Portsmouths of this world.

    Everything in life passes but our character, integrity and reputation linger on for a very long time. I am proud to be a Gooner!

  • Sid

    Talking of cheats, I saw a clip of Sami Hypias last game which happened to be at Old Trafford (his Leverkusen are playing Man U tonight) and he was red carded for. ‘foul’ on RvN which resulted in a red card. Guess who the ref was?

    Mike Riley of course!

  • BTW, I am not claiming that Arsenal FC is without blemish but in today’s world of professional football clubs, it is a beacon of good behaviour.

  • timao

    Man Utd have cheated their way to many trophies and in so doing have degraded the fabric of the premier league. That’s why its important not to cheat because in the long run you destroy the thing you are trying to win.

    I always liked Ashley Young as a player until he went to Utd. Maybe I didn’t see enough of him play but I just don’t remember him diving before he got to Old Trafford.

    But then, Ferguson never made any secret of the fact that for him it was always about winning at any cost – so you can’t really blame the players. This is the reason why Moyes will not win as many trophies – he actually wants his players not to cheat. I think Moyes deserves credit for that although I doubt Utd fans will see it that way. Integrity does not sit well within the philosophy created by Ferguson.

    The MU board should probably have gone for Mourinho in order to get a smooth succession. In fact I’m amazed they didn’t, it points to a certain lack of self-awareness.

  • marcus

    If you asked my opinion Don, (not that you have), I would say that the one thing more than any other that is destroying our society was what Vladimir Putin referred to as ‘exceptionalism’, the idea that certain groups or peoples are basically above the Law.

    We see it:

    1) In Israel who have carte blanche to do as they please above international Law in Palestine

    2) We see it in the banking fraternity who can defraud trillions, (e.g. Libor) and basically be involved in any scam under the sun with total impunity (e.g. HSBC laundering money for Mexican Drug Cartels), whilst the ordinary person will get hauled over the coals if they screw up a few quid on their tax return

    3) We see it in politicians progressively discarding their democratic mandate in favour of autocratic decision making ( e.g. waging wars in defiance of democratic will, discarding national sovereignty and reneging on commitments to a national referendum, etc etc etc)

    Those are a few examples that stand out to me. Laws only work if they are impartial across the board.

    Presently in this country we have a system that is corrupt, lawless and broken.

    I guess in a way the Footballing Arena is a microcosm of the bigger picture. I have always felt the nub of the matter regarding Manchester United is that they are to the League what the bankers are to society. Above the Law, too big to fail, etc etc etc

    The Laws of football that apply to everyone else don’t really seem to apply to Man U.

    This partiality of the Law, whether in small things, (football) or big things, (the things mentioned above), is very very corrosive for society.

    There are many people who have decided to win at all costs, e.g. in the banking fraternity, but the costs may eventually outweigh the benefits. At a certain point an international court will come in and jail a lot of these fraudsters.

    In sport we have seen the example of Lance Armstrong; sometimes these things catch up with you…..

  • WalterBroeckx

    I agree with you Don.
    And just had an example last week in the game I did as an assistant. A player on the other side goes on goal with a defender in his back chasing him down. Just one other defender at my side (and blocking my view on the incident). The striker goes down, ref gives a foul just outside the penalty and a red card.

    But alas for this ref only after the game the striker came to the ref and said to the ref it was not a foul but that he just stepped on the ball and that made him tumble (I had my view blocked so couldn’t help the ref).

    The striker could have said it straight away but kept his mouth shut till after the game. Today’s mentality…?

  • Shard

    Cheating has always been present in society, and why that is, is because it works. Cheaters prosper. The point is whether that is what you want. In terms of football, ManU and Chelsea seem to want that. You can say that is because they are winners, but I say that is because they settle for something, instead of striving for more.

    Arsenal, at least under Wenger, seem to strive for more than just trophies. It is the ethos of the club, and indeed why I am a fan. I’m not naive enough to think that this is anything other than a marketing USP, but it’s still a hell of a lot better than ManU’s marketing technique. Of course, much of the world seems to like ManU more, because they ‘win’.

    I am proud that Wenger openly says it is always about winning, but never at all costs. That is something that more people should understand, and abide, rather than the do anything to win nonsense. Especially when it comes to sport. Gone are the days when players deliberately missed penalties because they believed an opponent would never foul them intentionally. Of course that is an extreme case, and there have been cheats in every era. But what we have now, is basically a democratisation of cheating. It’s so open and universal now, that it isn’t even considered cheating anymore. It’s almost something to be proud of, as if it makes you smarter than someone else.

    Eventually, Arsenal will have to also go along. And this, is what makes me sad. However, I’m no saint, and I’m fine with bending some rules and giving up niceties in order for Arsenal to win. But there has to be a line, and Arsenal should not be made a victim just because they refuse to cross it.

  • marcus

    ‘Cheaters prosper’ ? Really Shard? that goes against conventional wisdom….

  • marcus

    In general, divers don’t prosper. They get labelled as divers, and then don’t get penalties; e.g. Bale, Pires, Suarez, etc

    The confusion arises with Arsenal and Manchester United. Arsenal are MU’s scapegoat. So whilst Rooney, Young etc are often condemned here as serial divers, the offence has been transferred to AFC. Hence Eduardo being lambasted for avoiding another leg break, and then a season without penalties for Arsenal.

  • elkieno

    Walter: I think that the fact that he told the ref afterwards showed that he was pleased with himself and wanted to gloat to the ref. Which is even worse not to mention dumb for next time he will get a yellow.
    Ih and Walter you know this guy so next time he plays what wil you do?

  • marcus

    You could go so far as to say everyone is MU’s scapegoat. I am not really convinced Bale or even Suarez are divers. It just diverts away from the real divers.

  • gouresh

    Strangely the media is all so quite over Tom Daley’s dive, sorry I meant Ashley Young’s dive. Is it because he is English or is it because he is a man-untidy player. This is the same media who slaughter non-english / non man-untidy players for the slightest reason and run the story for days on end. Are they advocating that English or man-untidy players can dive and conn the ref? a few weeks before the World Cup I was listening to a radio program called ‘talk sport [which I now refer very affectionately as ‘talk shit’] and one of the presenter actually said that if Gerrard dived and won a penalty which won them the WC, he wouldn’t mind. And this is the same station who slagged of Henry over the hand ball goal which got France qualified. The media branded him as the biggest cheat god ever created.
    They also used the phrase “Ashley was CLEVER whilst getting the penalty and having a player sent off”. Well the correct word should be CHEATED! Apparently Moyes has had a word with him, which actually is “dive man dive, we need all the help. The ref’s are already on our side, so ever little helps”!

  • Shard


    Cheaters prosper even more when they can propagate that feeling among everyone else 🙂

    There has always been cheating. Always. It isn’t new in any way. There’s been cheating in terms of breaking the spirit of the law, and in terms of breaking the wording of the law.

    Cricket has had its moments with the underarm ball, bodyline etc, which resulted in a change in laws, and of course with the match and spot fixing. WG Grace was apparently a cheat. The most runs scored off one ball in cricket is some 92 or 96, where the batsmen kept running, while the ball was stuck in a tree. And this we’re told was the gentleman’s game where everyone walked and no one needed to appeal. Nonsense.

    Football would have been no different. There would have been players and managers who set out to injure opponents, especially in the era before substitutions. There would be referees and officials who swung games (German world cup win 54, and England 66 perhaps?) We don’t know about it because even then, the media would have refused to talk about it. Hungary’s players swore they were cheated in 54 because they were a communist country. German players were adamant that the ball didn’t cross the line in 66 at Wembley. We’ll never know. But I am certain it went on. Why wouldn’t it have.

    This is where there is a problem though. There is a difference now. Media is less controllable (though if govts have their way, it will not remain so) and we have more people talking about ManU being cheats. So the ‘conspiracy theories’ might gain more weight against the might of the establishment.

    At the same time, there is, like I said, a proliferation of cheating (or at least it’s more visible) which either makes the honest ones lose faith, or join in the chorus, or both, leading to cheats losing the need to even hide.

    Which point of view gains more weight? I would hope the ones calling OUT the cheating rather than the one calling FOR the cheating, but I am a cynic in this regard.

  • marcus

    If everyone starts cheating then you end up with anarchy Shard. That is not a prosperous conclusion.

    If the odd person cheats, (flouts the rules/Law), then they will be the odd man out, and if they get found out, (as usually happens), they lose out.

  • Shard


    Anarchy is exactly what it is. Or at least for us plebs. It allows the cheats to do what they want as long as they can give the illusion of anarchy. Everybody’s cheating – anarchy. But the reward/punishment of this cheating is still controlled by a few. And they’ll punish whoever doesn’t cheat, so as to reinforce that as abnormal behaviour.

    But anytime the tide starts turning against them and things get out of hand, they change the rules and start enforcing them, taking you along with them by showing you how anarchy is not in your long term interest. Oh lets add ‘goal line technology’, see we’re all about fairness.

  • Pat


    I would only disagree with one thing you said, which is that fairness is a marketing ploy at Arsenal. It may be so for the board of directors, but I think for Arsene Wenger it is a conviction.

    He insists on Arsenal playing a certain style of football, attractive, fast moving, skilful football, and his idea is that we should win games by playing in this style.

    He said several times during the transfer window that he was looking for players that were excellent, and that would fit in to the Arsenal style.

    Hence his previous criticism of the ‘rugby’ style of Stoke. Which may or may not change under Mark Hughes.

  • marcus

    But aren’t the only people getting away with it MU? Fot any other team, you get the book thrown at you n’est-ce pas?

  • Tasos

    I fear Arsenal FC, for all their excellent principles, are swimming against the tide in the EPL.

    The League has degenerated into a corporate mess where the major decisions are no longer viewed from a sporting perspective.

    The decision from referee Mr Moss to award Ashley Young and Man Utd yet another non-penalty penalty is proof that the EPL has become oh so predictable.

    Listen, in this video, to the very impressive Matthew Syed on his debate as to the principles and values of the Roman Abramovich era. And how the Sky Sports presenters squirm in their attempts to defend their product;

  • colario

    If Arsenal were to follow the path of manure’s former manager then I would believe that Arsenal were cheating on me and denying its past.

  • marcus

    Let’s put it another way Shard.

    Some people might believe the referees are cheating. They say that the refs favour MU by awarding them innumerable non-penalties, and none to their opponents. If this is cheating, as opposed to unconscious bias, then it is not the cheats who prosper. It is MU who prosper, not the refs.

    I am not myself saying that the refs are actively involved in fraud, but if that were to be said, then it is very foolish to believe that this would be a beneficial course of action.

    If it were serious fraud, (money for decisions), they would end up in jail, and if it is the kind of heads-up, insider-trading style complicity alluded to by Ref Halsey, then the PGMOL could easily lose the whole contract to ref the league, and the refs would all be out of a job.

  • Pete

    Remember also that Wenger was permanently scarred from his experiences with Monaco where Marseilles under Tapie robbed Monaco of at least one league title through systematic corruption/cheating. Therefore he is hyper-conscious of cheating etc.

  • colario

    @Tasos. A good video Tasos. Thank you.

  • AL

    timao 9:20am

    Well said, just my thoughts too. And I don’t think I could’ve put it any better, inc your view regarding the non-appointment of that pathetic excuse of a manager that is mourinho. I remember Ashley Young when he was at Watford then Villa, he was more famed for his crossing ability than anything else, let alone diving. But ever since joining utd that no longer seems to be the case, he’s become more of a diver, and not much else.

    I quote this from the BBC site, where Moyes is talking about the need for retrospective punishment to divers;


    Moyes added: “You can never be sure it won’t happen again but I have had a word with him (Young) privately.
    “It is really difficult at times. Moving from Everton to Manchester United doesn’t change my views on that.”

    Now if we analyse that statement, especially the last line, we can see Moyes seems to be suggesting that the view at Man Utd is to condone such kind of behaviour, or cheating. Why else would he say that I moved from Everton To Utd but that doesn’t change how I view cheating? This is not tactics that we are talking about here or a playing style, which can be argued is done differently from club to club. We are talking about something which shouldn’t matter what club or league you are at, or which country for that matter, the principle is the same; no cheating. But Moyes felt the need to point out that his moving to Utd has not changed his views on cheating. I rest my case.

  • jambug

    Diving-Man Utd-Media manipulation.

    Despite yet another Man utd player being booked for diving Man Utd and there media alies have somehow turned, what lets be honest is another shameful example of Utd cheating , into a Utd crusade to clean up football.

    Okay Young is getting a bit of stick but the fact of the matter is Utd are actually being held up as heros for ‘Making a stand’.

    As Marcus says somehow Man Utd seem to make everyone else the ‘Scapegoat’ for there cheats !!!

    Pires and Eduardo, along with Arsenal FC, where systematicly, publicly humiliated and slaughtered. Not for a day, not for a week, but, especially in Pires case, for years. And that was basicly for ONE dive each. Even marcus, a fellow Gooner, put Pires in with Bale (12 bookings for diveing…come on, not a diver?) and Suarez. Just shows you how the media can warp your perception.

    Honestly it’s unbelievable

    Lets not forget that the combined effects of Evras and Youngs dives still resulted in enough pressure on the ref to eventually give a pen for what was a very soft foul which was in any case outside the box. Cheating DID pay !!!

  • Man U have not conceded a penalty in the league since October 23rd 2011

    That’s nearly 2 years!

    “Top analysts” like Gary Neville are all over this statistic of defensive genius of course.

    Actually wait – we NEVER hear about it!

    Thank god they gave up one irrelevant red card in that time or people might think something was up!

  • Gianni Dioro

    Ashley Young used to dive at Villa. In fact, in the UEFA Cup the night after the Eduardo fiasco, Ashley Young blatantly dived in the penalty area as he tried to cheat his way to a penalty kick.

    It is beyond me why Eduardo was crucified for a legitimately given penalty, one that the ref was made by UEFA to review all possible video angles of the incident and which the ref said it was still a penalty, yet they ignored an obvious blatant dive like Ashley Young’s where he attempted to deceive the ref.

  • According to “top analyst” Gary Neville, it was “a couple of years ago” that Sir Ferguson had to have a word with Young about diving.

    Oh wait – actually that was just last year!

    Amazing how the media can adopt exactly the same corporate approved talking point about “having a word” or similar, in reaction to moves that Young has clearly trained on.

    Or are we expected to believe that in an era of micro managed tactics, players dive even though their managers have told them expressly not to?

  • marcus

    @James. The elephant is snoozing in front of the telly that’s for sure.

    And Arsenal went a whole season without a penalty also.

    It gives a whole new meaning to “things even out in the end”

  • The font

    Same old arsenal Always cheating
    Where did that chant come from

  • Shard


    Agree on Wenger and his view on football. I was talking about Arsenal as an organisation. They ‘sell’ us the ‘purity’ as a product, and we buy it. No harm in that. Better to sell purity than sell right to win by all means-fair or unfair.

  • OK

    I can’t find the answer to this.

    When did Man U last concede a penalty?

    There were 3 in the 2011/12 season – but when?

  • Gianni Dioro

    @The font – Actually it was only one incident, and it comes from here:

  • jambug


    Never knew that but no surprise really.

    As much as I admire UA’s efforts to highlight the Utd Bias that is so prevalent in the game it is facts like that, not even being mentioned, that shows what they are up against.

    As UA has pointed out, it is obvious by the odd plagiarised quote and thinly veiled reference that the mainstream media are aware of this site. By definition that means they are aware of the overwhelming weight of evidence that exposes the shameful pro Utd bias.

    That begs the question. Why is it not already all over the media? You can bet your bottom dollar that if Arsenal where similarly condemed in such a way that that would be all over the SUN and TalkShyte!!

    At the risk of repeating myself, until the Utd bias in the media is stops (No chance of that any time soon going by the way they are stepping so softly softly over the Young/diving issue) there is zero chance of refs changing there modus operandi any time soon.

    I am dreading Deans performance this weekend. It’s all set up to pile all the ills of the game on to us this weekend.

    I did a post in the ‘When Arsenal where last top’ thread outlining how I suspect things will unravel on Sunday. Okay it is a bit tongue in cheek, but sadly I still think it wont be a million miles away from what will actually transpire.

  • Shard


    Let’s say the long term effects of cheating are bad. If the league loses its appeal and hence money, the referees lose their employment, the FA loses credibility and hence money etc, then even the ones who hadn’t cheated will suffer. Which makes it even more tempting to join in the cheating for whatever short term gain you can get. If it all falls down in the end, at least everyone will go down, and you would have benefitted in the process.

    How many of Madrid’s trophies were won because of Franco’s influence? How many of ManU’s trophies were won because of other dark forces? There’s no clear answer to this, and never will be. Even Marseille weren’t stripped of their title when Wenger’s Monaco were cheated. Whatever happens in the future, ManU get to keep their trophies won (barring a very unlikely scenario), as do Chelsea and everyone else keeps the money they make through higher sponsorships for a more ‘dramatic’ league. Everyone benefits, even the ones who don’t. Arsenal as well. Though Arsenal would perhaps benefit more if the cheating did not happen. Yet is it worth their while to risk blowing the whole house down? From a purely business sense, of course not, and they can’t do it alone anyway.

    Do you seriously believe cheaters don’t prosper?

  • Marcus, yes cheaters, like bullies can prosper. But it doesn’t mean that those of us who don’t believe in cheating or bullying should follow them.

    And it is possible to prosper without cheating.

  • Gianni Dioro

    @james – Regarding the last time Man U. conceded a penalty, I’m not sure but they did concede a penalty against Newcastle on Nov. 26, 2011. The ref for that match was Mike Jones.

    Mike Jones refereed the 1-1 home draw with Newcastle last season and falsely awarded Demba Ba a penalty.

    Subsequently, Jones was not given a single football game, at ANY level, to referee for an entire month. The next United game he was handed came a few months later, the 2-0 home win against Stoke which saw… You guessed it: 2 penalties awarded to Manchester United which, according to reports, were “very soft”.

    Any time Manchester lost a match in their 2010/2011 title-winning season, the referee in question did not get another United match in a long time. Sometimes the ref was unofficially suspended or demoted to the lower leagues. Moreover, when the ref in question was finally given another United match, the ref would more times than not give an important penalty decision in Manchester’s favour.

    This is a must read:

  • Rufusstan

    Interesting article. It does bring up the thought of where do you draw the line on cheating. That line seems to be slightly different for almost everyone, and has shifted over the years.

    The Shearers of this world interpret and promote an interpretation of the laws that make it OK for a striker to go down in the box at the slightest contact, and obtain a legitimate penalty. This would been seen as cheating (actually ignored and laughed at) 30 years ago, as much as the diving that we hate today.

    The possibility of signing Suarez brought to a head idea of Arsenal and cheating for me along with a lot of other Arsenal fans. I took a slightly different tack to Tony, and a few others at the time (and here), that in the end I support the club, and as much as I hated the idea of Suarez in the Red and White, He’d get my support.

    I know there is a hypocritical element to that, but I’m upfront that I support the club. players come and go, and we have had players before who have crossed just about every line (professional, legal etc). My feelings wouldn’t change unless the club itself promoted or condoned that kind of behaviour — Just signing a player is not enough; we’ve reformed more than a few bad boys in the past.

    A last thought that grew out of the penalty stuff, it is worth pointing out that in 6 games we have conceded 2 goals from open play and 3 penalties. It is a stat that I find very unsettling. It is snapshot from a very short period and is hopefully an anomaly, but…..

    A lot has been said already about the penalties, but the first was the best decision in the Villa game, the second never a penalty, and the third dubious (not sure it would have been called a foul outside the box).

    It leads to a ridiculous situation where defenders (Koscielny) cannot make good tackles around the box, because in the environment promoted by people like Shearer, it makes it far too easy for attackers to cheat.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Was looking for an old quote from my childhood which goes something like this , ” Conscience , that which pricks when everything else seems perfect. ” , when I found these fine ones .

    There is no witness so terrible and no accuser so powerful as conscience which dwells within us.

    In matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place.
    Mahatma Gandhi

  • AL

    Worrying stat that, 3 penalties conceded from 4 premier league games.

  • Adam

    A very nice read Dom, reminds me of my first ever comment on Untold Arsenal, that Walter got hold of and wrote an article about, something along the lines of “is sportsmanship a thing of the past”.

    It’s gentlemen like the one you describe in the penalty incident that should be leading our game forward. “A fair and balanced competition” is all most of us want.

    We do need more articles directed at unifying the footballing fanbase towards this cause.

  • OMGArsenal

    Excellent commentary and blogging mates….makes me proud to be a Gooner.
    Nicky….it was an amateur game (equivalent to a county league final I believe) but regardless, it represented what Football should be all about. I did have a word with the coach after the game and said he had made a mistake sending his player to the dressing room….he told meto F*** off!
    I do NOT live in an ivory tower nor am I a Pollyanna sort, but I cannot live with a bad conscience, it eats away at me. Those who sublimate their conscience for gain or fame have sold their soulsand as the Good Book says, what gains a man if he wins the whole world but loses his soul?
    As a referee, like Walter and all my other colleagues in black, integrity is the only thing that keeps us apart from those for whom the Laws are simply suggestions.

  • AL

    Thanks for the link Gianni. Was vaguely aware of something like this but the consistency & pattern is staggering. Where are all the good investigative journalists when you need them?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Unfortunately, the way football is governed and the people governing it are a recipe for cheating

  • Arvind

    @Shard: Why do you think Arsenal will have to go along with what’s happening with respect to cheating? Will that be due to:

    — Pressure from the board
    — Sponsors threaten to pull out
    — Monetary reasons so we can win something and attract more money
    — Fan pressure. We haven’t won for 12 years.

    Or something else?

    Coz I’d hate to see it happen and we diving and getting penalties and yelling at referees and doing everything that’s awful in the game currently.

  • jambug

    Dipped into Hawksby and Jacobs today on Talkshyte. Only show on there I’d dare listen to. (sometimes when driveing I just have to have my football fix).

    Dureing a discusion about the Mark Harlsey book they came to the conclusion there is no way that referees ever referee with anything other than total impartiality. Well I never.

    I suppose they would also claim that Talkshyte broadcasts with total impartiality as well !!!.Hmmmm

    Bearing in mind there own interpritation of ‘impartiality’ there take on referees ‘impartiality’ can hardly be taken seriously can it.

    They would’nt know ‘Impartiality’ if it slapped them in the face.

    As I touched on earlier you can’t tell me Talksyte, even H and J individually, are not aware of the stats that Untod have put together about referees bias.

    So you have to conclude they either:

    Don’t believe they are genuine stats.

    Believe they are themselves biased (being on an Arsenal site)


    Either way, as I KEEP SAYING, the root of the problem is the media.

  • bob

    roots grow in soil. media are the run amok weed, not the soil.
    it’s deeper, mate, deeper.

  • Marcus

    @tony of course cheats sometimes prosper though since you mention bullies also, I would say they tend to get away with it, until they are caught or stopped. Occasionally society seems to fear a monster, and just feeds it like a Minotaur. Jimmy Saville springs to mind. I think by Shards tone of desperation he sees MU in the same light. I am not so sure though. The fall from gracefor drug cheat athletes for example is pretty humiliating. Didnt Marion Jones get sent to jail?

  • Last time Man U conceded a penalty in the league was 31 December 2011 vs Blackburn.

    625 days ago

    The run without a red card was 559 days running from October 23rd 2011 (Evans vs City) until 5 May 2013 (Rafael vs Chelsea) with the league already in the bag.

    So in other words – these 2 amazing runs are coincident since approx New Years 2011

    1.7 years with no penalty against

    625 days with no penalties and only 1 red?

    I wonder what changed on 1 Jan 2012?

    31 December 2011

    Sir Alex Ferguson suffered the ignominy of watching his Manchester United side lose to basement club Blackburn on his 70th birthday.


    The win, which bookies had at 28-1 prior to the match, moves Rovers off the bottom

  • Unbelievable belief

    The only worse defender at the ‘hands all over the strikers’ than Rio was Carragher.
    Basically watching those two at work and you would be screaming peno at every free kick in and corner. so who do the refs make an example of? Yes, our very own Koscielney.
    If Refs can see his indiscretions so clearly, why can’t they see other teams dodgy defending.

    I agree, I used to be mortified with some of Pires’s dives, but considering nobody on our team ever got any protection from ‘robust’ challenges, I felt it was evening things out – albeit unfairly.

    Dennis was another fellow who liked to get his retaliation in first, so to speak, but did I ever consider that cheating. No

  • Marcus

    Looks like Ref Halsey is the whistleblowers’ whistleblower. I think he is genuinely Concerned that thIngs will end badly for a referee.

  • Unbelievable belief

    I think the last World Cup must have been the apotheosis of FIFA not giving two hoots about cheating, as long as the right teams do the cheating.
    I don’t think refs are really in on it, (money wise I mean) but they just let it happen, otherwise their careers are over if the stick up and act on it. some are bigots though – Hugh Dallas.
    Malaga being shafted by Dortmund by Scottish linesmen?, not cheating per se but utter utter incompetence. That in itself is Cheating by UEFA by picking such idiots for such a big game.

    Coward Webb in the World Cup final? My God that was immorality as an official at its worst.
    It was a miracle that the right team won. And they then spent 4 weeks in Cesc’s ear tapping him up – another form of cheating?
    Suarez’s handball to prevent Uruguay loosing? and getting away with it. Again – the system is designed so that cheats win out.

    Manu players dive, so what is the consequence? They get the penalties eventually and the team gets the points no matter what their managers said in public, they were probably delighted to get the points.

    I have only ever seen two examples of fair play:
    Robbie Fowler denying he was tripped for a penalty.
    Arsenal offering a reply to Sheffield United when Kanu scored from a restart.

  • Mandy Dodd

    A nice gift of a first goal yet again to Utd this evening, a Utd player stopping the gk moving properly as Rooney took his shot, right in front is the goal line assistant who must have seen it but did nothing. Maybe not the assistants fault, I hear their role is to do virtually nothing. But just another in a catalogue of things going utds way, seemingly in virtually every game

  • Unbelievable belief

    The manure think they have it developed into an art form.
    Only Juventus were ever better at the dark arts.

    If Halsey has a list of Refs who are susceptible to pressure, I can offer a supply of toasters to send over to their bathrooms. They need to bloody well man up. (the one woman official is actually reasonably fair).
    I just watched Clatternberg ref a CL match, so rewards are there for the compliant, not the brave.

  • mk

    @Unbelievable belief

    You just reminded me of Di Canio catching the ball instead of scoring while the keeper was injured, looking it up and found this website that lists some of the moments that seem all too rare in professional football.

  • rantetta

    “Moyes felt the need to point out that his moving to Utd has not changed his views on cheating”.

    So why does Moyes send his teams out to kick Arsenal? Do you think Mike Dean and Mark Hughes are brining “football” to the Ems this weekend?

    Plundits & hacks constantly lie about what has happened during the game. The omissions by live ‘pork-talk’ TV commentators has become a fine art. That art is CHEATING.

    There was one particular foul on Giroud at Sunderland. Giroud was near the sideline – a defender took him out. The commentators paused as though they knew the tackle was bad, then suddenly started some pork-talk, and then we were shown a replay of a previous attempt on goal by cindyland, on which the commentators could then focus. When the camerea showed live action again there was no mention of the foul on Giroud.

    That’s because their all cheats (TV, commentators, press – the whole lot. CHEATS.

    FF to MOTD. What exactly is Shearer an expert at? He left MOTD to manage Newcy into div.2. Then he got his MOTD slot back. This is an example of cheating. His summaries of Arsenal’s performances are disgusting, and surely – this is why he has the job, and pretty much anyone who wants a job better tow the ‘Arsenal are shit’ line, or they won’t have a job.

    Look at Srobson!!!!!!! The utter tripe (pork-talk) he spoke when on Arsenal player maybe got him sacked, but he is still around on TV – urging players to cheat on Arsenal. What’s up with Wrong wrong wrong? He really pisses me off. On the one hand he ‘rejected’ the BBC as he ‘felt they wanted him to act the clown’, and on the other hand – he’s slagging off Arsenal at every opportunity. He has so tainted his legacy, but then he does now have another TV job, innit?

    I could cry when I think not only of him scoring for Arsenal, but I loved to think of him in those Nike ads, playing footy on muddy pitches with kids:

    I’ve been so proud to be an Arsenal supporter with Ian “standing up” for himself in a multitude of ways, as well as being an all-time top scorer for us. Then there’s Tony Adams, my beloved captain. What’s all that about Tony?

    Tony and Ian. Ian and Tony. Is there cheating involved? Why go along with the attempts to destabilise the club you profess to love? I can almost understand it with Merson. I mean, let’s just say he mightn’t be the most disciplined of chaps…

    But then you don’t hear Ray Wilkins slagging off Chelsea and ManU (apart from getting sacked). Did anyone read about his drunken driving – whilst already on a ban for the same offence – and what he said to the police? LOL (as they say in these parts). Chortle, chortle.

    And back to MOTD (and all of the others). What was the spin they put on the Sunderland match? What length of video was shown from the 1st half – compared to the 2nd? They all bleat about whether Cindylund were robbed by Atters not allowing advantage and goal – the clip beginning when Sagna and (whoever) were already holding each other, but not the seconds before, in which case one could see (from other available camera angles) who grabbed who first. But no, the thing is to show it all as though Arsenal are getting advantage by cheating. They don’t show Arsenal being constantly fouled and when they do show such things, they ‘pork-talk’ then out of existence.

    Is that cheating?

    Mike Dean.

    Is that cheating?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ ranetta – Agree and a big LIKE from me !
    @ mk – nice link . Thanks .

  • jambug


    Well said Sir.

    As I mentioned earlier.

    H & J on Talkshyte “I don’t think referees EVER referee with anything other than complete impartiality”

    And there you have it. Despite all the evidence to the contrary (that they are surely aware of) that referees DO actually referee with almost unwavering ‘PARTIALITY’ AND ‘BIAS’, they still refuse to condem the diabolical state of affairs of our referees. They even concured with Graham polls outragious claim that we should be PROUD of our referees. Best in the World apparantly.

    Honestly I despair. Yes rantetta you are right, until what is effectively a ‘media green light to cheating’ is stopped, then, despite all there nagnificent work, UA havn’t a hope in hell of changeing a thing.

    As I keep saying ‘THE MEDIA DON’T CARE’

  • AL

    I agree with what you say but not sure why you quoted the last line from my post as a precursor to your post. I can only assume you didn’t fully understood the angle I was coming from. I was not implying that Moyes is 100% honest, no. And by quoting that last line alone without the preceding ones changed the context completely. My point was he was inadvertently telling the world that there’s a general culture of cheating which is condoned at united with that statement. He said, ‘my moving from Everton to Manchester United has not changed my views on diving’. Its as if he’s trying to suggest that we should’ve expected his views to change. Changed in what way? And why would that be? Would it be because one of the clubs is more tolerant to diving than the other? If the tolerance levels are the same(which should be the standard at every club) then why would his views be expected to have changed. I don’t really know if anyone else sees the implication of this statement the way I see it, as I can’t really put it any better than this. English is not my first language so excuse me if I’m reading this wrong. To me that sounds like someone saying, excuse this crude analogy, ‘even though I’ve moved to Italy my stance against corruption is still the same’. It does seem to suggest that people can expect said person’s stance to have shifted somewhat now that they’re in a place where corruption is rife(apologies to any Italians out there, no offence intended). That’s why I questioned why he felt the need to explain that his views haven’t changed; because he knows everyone knows cheating goes on and is encouraged at united. To me he is saying at Everton we didn’t condone this kind of thing, and don’t expect my stance to have changed simply because I’m now at united. I may be wrong though, and I stand corrected.

  • Anyone who think that the ref are not officiating in line with the media’s slant have got to be kidding themselves. The refs will start doing a good and impartial job when the media start giving them hell like they do to paedophiles.

    The media love Man united, the officials know this, so they favour Man United. The refs hate Arsenal, so the referees regularly kick the team in the nuts. End of story. Just think about the hell they would have given Wenger if he had imposed the boycott of BBC interviewers that Ferguson pulled off.

    The outrage ove the Altidore/Sagna incident wouldn’t occur if it were Altidore/Ferdinand. The refs are spineless but the media drive the agenda.

    Now, I pray to the Internet gods that they allow my comment to appear.

  • meant to type: “the media hate Arsenal”

  • jambug


    I think I know exactly what you are saying.

    Moyes knows he’s moved into an environment, ie Manchester Utd, where not only is diving previlant, and despite protestations to the contrary, seemingly ‘tolerated’ but more importantly, will in the wider World of football (ie media), be ‘tolerated’ to a much greater degree than it would at many other clubs.

    For example:

    Pires, Eduardo more or less had one high profile dive each and they where tainted by it for the rest of there careers.

    Yet Ronaldo, Rooney and Young especially (12 bookings) where/are far worse. But mark my words if a fan survey on serial divers was taken in 3 Months time it would STILL have those 3 guys lower down the list than Pires, for sure, and probably Eduardo.

    Back to the point, I think where Moyes is coming from is that in his heart he knows that generaly utd ‘Get away’ with diving. He knows he could just go along with there historicly contemptuous attitude towards diving, and they would still just ‘get away with it’.

    But, to his credit, it seems his fundermental dislike of diving will not allow him to get into that mind set. At least I hope it’s that and not just lip service, a la Fergie.

    And this is one of the reasons why he knows he would get away with it. Amazeingly the media have somehow turned what should of been a week of derision and condemnation (As it would of been for Arsenal had it been say, Theo) into a week of fawning admiration for ‘making a stance’.

    The bottom line is. Evra dived-not booked. Young dived-booked. The pressure resulting from those 2 dives resulted in the ref giveing a penalty for a very soft foul (on a player he had just booked for diving) that was outside the box anyway.

    That shows 2 things. Cheats prosper and that being a proven serial diver for Utd will not stop the ref giving you a dodgey penalty.

    Lets hope Moyes didn’t notice !!!!

  • Pat

    @rantetta @2.48 am.

    All so true!

  • Pat

    @rantetta @2.48 am.

    All so true!

  • Stuart

    Talksprout will claimeverything to be fiine with the game as they are part of the Sky group of companies so it is only in their interests to claim nothing fishy goes on.

  • AL

    Thanks. You articulated the point I was trying to make in a better way. And I agree that should a survey be conducted a few months from now it’ll still be the Arsenal names that come out at the top. By end of this week the media would’ve latched onto another story, with the fact that utd got 3 points they probably didn’t deserve forgotten. So, sadly, cheats are allowed to prosper.

  • rantetta


    Pardon me, please.

    Firstly, your English is excellent.

    “Moyes felt the need to point out that his moving to Utd has not changed his views on cheating”

    I have indeed used a summary of yours out of context (to your post). It would have made more sense to use a quote or two from Moyes.

    Your post is a little bit excellent! (See what I done there?)
    So, the reason for my post – using your summary, was that by the time I’d finished reading your comments, and others, I had pictures in my head of why I see Moyes as a not nice person. These pictures included his shit-kicking instructions to his players at the Ems – for at least 2 years. He stands there and bawls at his players, and he bawls at the ref, especially (but not exclusively) – when his player has assaulted an Arsenal player. It’s as though he’s saying ‘ignore that kick ref’, or ‘kick that Arsenal bastard’.

    After the last Ars-Evert game did he not give some speech about how northeners are right to kick Arsenal, and everybody else?
    How about his comments after his shit-kickers were awarded the most blatent off-side goal at the Em’s. You know, when he accused Fabregas of asking the ref how much he was being paid!

    What did Moyes have to say (if anything) about (Mirelles) assault on our young Ryo during a cup match last season, where Mirelles smashed into Ryo’s ankles – leaving him crying up against the hoardings, and then being stretchered off? During that same weekend (or somewhere close to it) Callum McManamann, a young Wigan player, smashed his studs into an Newcastle player. My point here is that there was lots of pseudo-angst about the Wigan player (after all, he’s a young British prospect, is that right, Mark Halsey?, whereas the player who got injured is a black man – and foreign to boot. Not that that’s got anything to do with it, right?).

    The highlight shows pointed out that the tackle ‘may’ have been bad. (So brave). The FA said they’d change the rules (about not seen tackles committed in front of the refs eyes, presumably).

    The then Wigan manager seemed to ‘airbrush’ the incident. He said the tackle was bad, but there was something in what he was saying that made me think, ‘he’s telling the FA/PGMOL that he’s due certain favours for not utterly condemning the brat McManaman. (And after Chelsea got some favourable calls against Wigan – was it 2 offside goals?, didn’t Wigan think they’d kick the shit out of Arsenal and therefore stay in the Prem? Well, they won the diddly cup. Congrats, Wigan, and Roberto.

    What I think I’m saying is that Moyes/Martinez will say anything that continues the narrative AGAINST ARSENAL. I expect both of these managers, along with Brucie/Allidychi et al, to be KTSOOAing in any matches we play against them.

    (KTSOOA = Kick the shit out of Arsenal).

    Is any of this cheating?

    Thanks for this article and for the debate and comments that have followed. Thanks AL, Pat, Bootoomee, bob, Jambug, Mandy, Shard….. this is impossible – to name everyone whose comments I so appreciate, and surely this post is long enough.

    Thanks all. You’re supporters of our great club.

  • rantetta


    I must point out that you do not need to “stand corrected”. Your post was spot-on. Thanks again.

    James, Good info, thanks.

    bob, Oh, the ****ing weeds. Yes bob. Deeper.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    From the files of the Medical Division of UA – The cure .
    Lost in translation .

    After 35 years of marriage, a husband and wife came for counselling. When asked what the problem was, the wife went into a tirade listing every problem they had ever had in the years they had been married. On and on and on: neglect, lack of intimacy, emptiness, loneliness, feeling unloved and unlovable, an entire laundry list of unmet needs she had endured.

    Finally, after allowing this for a sufficient length of time, the therapist got up, walked around the desk and after asking the wife to stand, he embraced and kissed her long and passionately as her husband watched – with a raised eyebrow. The woman shut up and quietly sat down as though in a daze.

    The therapist turned to the husband and said, “This is what your wife needs at least 3 times a week. Can you do this? ”

    “Well, I can drop her off here on Mondays and Fridays, but on Wednesdays, I play golf.”