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July 2021

Poor Sky dig a hole for themselves in covering Arsenal, and spoil the Thierry effect

By Tony Attwood

Sky must have thought they had done it all.  Starting their coverage of Arsenal over an hour before the game they had a real ace to play – Thierry Henry as a pundit.

And indeed he was superb.  Calm, clear, speaking in the quality English he now has, he gave insights and revelations about the game as he played it and how the current team plays it.

Yet it all was for nought for Sky adopted, as it always adopts, a veto on one vital topic.  And this time, as so often, it was a topic that was central to the coverage of the game.   The referee.

As you may know, if you read Untold yesterday, we warned against the referee, outlining his various misdemeanours against Arsenal in the past.   But the pundits were clearly warned about Sky’s policy: the referees are off limits.

Arteta’s sending off stretched this policy to the limit – but conversation was quickly directed from “the ref made a mistake” to a bit of concern that he may not have had a good view of the incident, and that perhaps it looked worse from his angle, and then quickly onto other matters.

The notion that this ref had done the same sort of thing to Arsenal in the past was never once touched upon.  It is as if Sky hadn’t covered Arsenal in Europe before.

Could it be that Sky didn’t know about this?  Well, no, we know from past incidents, comments and reports (not to mention the odd phone call) that is not the case.   What they are doing is taking the line that the referee is not and never will be, the issue.

Why do they do this?

Well, maybe it is because they think that Sky Bet will suffer if people start thinking matches are fixed before they start.   Maybe they think that referee issues are just too difficult a concept for the honest British public to digest.   Maybe, despite all the evidence that we can present in advance of each game, they just don’t think it is happening.

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I don’t know which is true, but it meant that for all the good work Theirry did in making the studio coverage before the game so entertaining, one was left at the end with a feeling that the studio guests hadn’t been at the game at all.

It is a bit like the feeling one used to get when Alan Green on BBC Radio 5 railed against referee errors with lines like “how could he possibly not see that?” and then utterly refused to enter into any debate as to why the Premier League referees were, week after week, behaving in such a bizarre way.  Radio 5 laid down the limit beyond which he could not go.

Anyway, it was nice to see Thierry looking so well, to hear his insightful analyses and watch him recount his wonderful memories of the past, and indeed to hear his positive views about Arsenal.  It was just a shame that he wasn’t able to tell it like it was.

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11 comments to Poor Sky dig a hole for themselves in covering Arsenal, and spoil the Thierry effect

  • Ben

    I don’t know if you caught it but during the post match talk I CLEARLY heard Jamie Redknapp say “He’s crap” to Jeff Sterling in reference to Henry’s punditry. It was a whisper that got picked up on the mic.

    Garry Neville was speaking at the time and it almost threw him off.

    If I remember correct it was just after Henry discussed Higuain’s goal.

  • Goonerd


    The referee was bad last night. I mean if that’s the standard for a 2nd yellow then Mertens should have been sent off about 5 times!

    But other than the red card I thought he was equally bad to both teams.

    One other thing that suggests to me there was no agenda was that there were 3 mins stoppage time and he blew up dead on the 3rd minute, even though Napoli had just scored so he would have been well within his rights to play a little extra to help Napoli out (celebration, getting the ball back etc).

    To me he was just a poor European ref, nothing more sinister.

    Obviously I can’t speak against other performances from him as I can’t really rememer the games.

  • graham clarke

    Sky sports tried hard to bring arsenal down over last 3 years and are total m u bias may be trying to buy a part again

  • clockendrider

    Behrami – 5 fouls, no cards.
    Arteta – 2 fouls, 2 cards.
    Were Arteta’s fouls worse than Behrami’s? No. So why the difference in treatment? I’d say it was odd if it wasnt so obvious.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Boy, those French: They have a different word for everything!
    Steve Martin.

    1) Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.

    2) “No comment” is a comment.
    George Carlin.

    1) A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.

    2) If you are going through hell, keep going.
    Winston Churchill

    1) Prejudices are what fools use for reason.

    2)It is hard to free fools from the chains they revere.

    Many are stubborn in pursuit of the path they have chosen, few in pursuit of the goal.
    Fredrick Nietzsche

  • Brickfields Gunners


    Four Worms and a lesson to be learned

    A minister decided that a visual demonstration would add emphasis to his Sunday sermon.

    Four worms were placed into four separate jars.

    The first worm was put into a container of alcohol. The second worm was put into a container of cigarette smoke. The third worm was put into a container of chocolate syrup. The fourth worm was put into a container of good clean soil.

    At the conclusion of the sermon, the Minister reported the following results:

    The first worm in alcohol -Dead.

    The second worm in cigarette smoke – Dead

    Third worm in chocolate syrup -Dead

    Fourth worm in good clean soil -Alive.

    So the Minister asked the congregation –

    What did you learn from this demonstration?

    Maxine was sitting in the back, quickly raised her hand and said,

    ‘As long as you drink, smoke and eat chocolate, you won’t have worms!’

    That pretty much ended the service .

  • nicky

    I must say I thought the referee, particularly in the first half, picked up virtually every niggly foul committed by Napoli….and there were many.
    I won’t comment about Arteta’s two yellows. Whether either was deserved I leave for others to express an opinion.

  • Stuart

    Did the referee really make a mistake concerning the aarteta sending off? I don’t think so, I thought it was correct at the time and especially so on the replay

  • Ben

    Not sure if anyone watched any of Henry’s video, here’s one

  • Gord


    Apparently Barcelona has signed an agreement with Intel for partial shirt sponsorship. Some (not all) Barcelona players are going to have “Intel Inside” advertising on the _inside_ of their jerseys, and when they score they lift their shirt up to show the Intel Inside.

    The BBC said the agreement was for $25M (maybe it was pounds or Euro), it still seems like a small amount of money. One player transfer? Why bother?

    As this note was about Sky digging themselves a hole, can you imagine if players on other teams put something like Idiot Inside on the inside of their shirts, and start flipping those up upon scoring? Intel might not look so good if that were to happen.

    I’m glad Arsenal made it through. I’m sorry, I don’t feel bad about not being in first place. Arsenal just has to play better, if they meet a higher ranked team. And I think they are capable of it.