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April 2021

An old friend coming back

By Walter Broeckx

In one of his recent articles Tony talked about the different subjects we have been touching in the past and about how some of them are still being looked at. As they probably will need coverage as long as football exists.

And a lot of people have asked me after the cup final to review the referee’s performance in that match because it had some dubious decisions in it. And so I did exactly that. Or better said, I am doing it. As it was a match with extra time it takes a bit longer than the regular 90 minutes match.

Now I must say that I have been out of the reviewing business for a while. One year to be exact. But for those who loved the referee reviews I can say to you that I hope that in the next days (maybe tomorrow if all goes well) we will be able to put up a review of this match. It looks to be an interesting review. Wit lots of talking points. But I will not give away too much now.

But while doing this review I suddenly realised something. It was something that had been in the back of my head during the last season. Something that had been there without that I realised it. The fact that I enjoyed doing the reviews. And the fact that it brings another dimension to the match.

And so while doing the review I decided that I had to do something for the future. As you know I had to stop with the reviews due to external matters. Matters that still are unresolved but I think I might be able to take one step. A little step when you look at the big scheme. But an important step for Arsenal related matters.

So I can say that from next season on I will start again with reviewing the referees. Not on the big league wide scale we have offered you for two seasons. To get back to such a level I need to be retired (wait another 13 years maximum for that) so I would have plenty of spare time. And I will not engage myself to lead other referees who do the reviews with me supervising things. As that only leads to even more time taken away from my family matters. Because to be sure of the reviews you have to check them and look for odd things. So it ended up most of the time with me reviewing the reviewers or at least some of the reviewers.

But from next season on I have planned to do match reviews of all the Arsenal matches in the PL and possible cup matches. In a way, going back to how we started it all those years ago.

I know people will say it will count for nothing if you don’t do the other teams also. But to be honest I only care about Arsenal and so will only do our matches and as a result 2 matches of each other team.

What it will show however is that we will be able to see if there has been or will be a change with the referees. Will the bias against Arsenal have gone down a bit or has it even gone up? To be honest I have the feeling that the first option has been valid for a lot of matches. But we have seen some blatant examples of bad refereeing. Not the least in our last match.

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So the referee reviews will be back. And I have had many questions asking me if I would start them again in the time we didn’t do them. On Untold of course but also outside Untold. People who mailed me asking me to have a look at this match or that incident. But it was only when I did a review again I found out that I still love doing it. And that I gave in to my own feeling and to the pleas that I have received to continue the work I have done so far.

So now I will try to finish the FA cup review first and get this published. After the attacks we had to endure tables and graphics have become a bit of a problem. So I will have to find a way to get around this. I will probably put it in a word like article with more text and less columns.

But for the new season I hope to find a new standard format that will be simple enough and clear enough for all to read and understand. Still have too much time to get this together as the new season is still too far ahead of us by now.

So for those who thought that the Untold Referee reviews were dead and buried I can tell you that we have been decided to dig them up from the grave, dust them off and get them back to live. I think quite a few people will look forward to it. And maybe some other circles in the football world will groan saying: “Oh no, he doesn’t start all over does he?”

Yes Mike we do. I think the last match and terrible referee performance in the cup final has dragged me over the line. This referee reviewing business is unfinished. And as long as the PGMOL sends such bad/incompetent/biased/… referees to Arsenal matches we will continue the reviews and put to shame does who deserve it and praise those referees who deserve it.

So now you have another extra incentive to look forward to the new season: the Untold referee reviews will come back to haunt you my dear referees and PGMOL. Damn even typing these words feels great!


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46 comments to An old friend coming back

  • Mandy Dodd

    Great news……and very bad news for the PGMOL!

  • Pete


    That is great news for all of us who valued your (and your colleagues) excellent work. Thank you. However, I would feel very bad if this came at a personal cost to you and your family so please do not feel obligated.

  • WalterBroeckx

    No Pete I will write less other articles then 😉

  • Va cong

    Walter the best Broeckx is back. Thank you! I read your article first here 4 years ago. 🙂

  • nicky

    I wonder if you would consider doing one of your reviews on 19th/20th August when we play our first CL play-off game.
    It might give an insight into Euro refs in this coming season (and see the likely protection given to ball players) 🙂

  • ozziearsenal

    So glad to have ref review back and ref predictions of up comming matches if it were possiable to make money on your predictions most Arsenal fans would have extra money in their pockets.Bookmakers would put pressure on PGMOL to send a unbias ref

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Good news indeed for us ,but bad for the naysayers – the whole lot of them!

  • Sav from Australia

    Very good news. Thanks for your efforts onbkur behalf and behalf of all football.

  • Thank Walter
    Looking forward to seeing them again

  • jambug


    Pleased to have you back Walter, but alas I fear it will make no difference.

    No matter how accurate and revealing your reviews are it matters not a jot to either the Referees or the PGMOL.

    The PGMOL are only interested in how they are judged in the Media, they don’t give a shit what we think. Nor does anyone else for that matter.

    So come Sunday morning, Monday morning, whatever it may be, as long as the Media say the Ref has had a good game, that is all that matters to the PGMOL.


    The PL? The FA? EUEFA? FIFA? Not a chance.

    They dance to one tune, and that is the ‘Medias’.

    Do the PGMOL give a shit that the FA Cup final Referee, in front of 100’s of Millions Worldwide, gave one of the most inept, embarrassing displays of officiating you are ever likely to see?

    Certainly not when the next day the papers, radio and TV all gave universal approval of his every decision.

    We all know from talking to friends and colleagues that the ‘man in the street’ saw it for what it was. Not that it bothered them at all of course, but that’s a different issue, although there is correlation between the two.

    But still, in the face of what we all saw with our own eyes, the entire Media, to a man, towed the party line.

    And Walter, I agree that relatively, and that is important, relatively, in the run-in we did get a couple of ‘fairer than expected’ pieces of officiating, Riley for one, but it still wasn’t great.

    But the final was a massive return to type, with the media firmly behind every disgraceful minute of it.

    So now we have won something. Now we look financial set. Arsenal FC and Arsene Wenger have got where they said they would, maybe 3 years later than hoped, but who could of predicted the ‘oilers’ turning up, or indeed the worst recession in living memory, but we are there.

    Do you think that’s going to make the naysayers happy.

    Can you see the Arsenal haters such as Reade, Howard, Durham, to name but 3, changing there vitriolic, hate filled views one iota?

    Can you see the Wankers such as Wright, Merson, Robson, again to name but 3, finally getting off our backs.

    Well, you’ve probably heard the garbage they’ve had to say already, so that’s a big no no.

    So as much as I’m glad you are back, it will make no difference.

    All it will do is highlight to us what we already know and give sucker to those that don’t want to know, but just want to throw at us accusations of paranoia a delusion.

    Sadly, worryingly, what I believe it will do, is serve to show that in fact things have just got a whole lot worse, and what’s more everyone but us will love it.


  • Kentetsu

    Great news. I was already expecting/hoping you would shine your light on the Cup Final. Reviews of all Arsenal (League) matches again next season is something I already look forward too.

    With the restarted reviews and the continued, excellent and accurate previews the PGMOL has to be on their toes to get away with any blatant cheating.

  • para

    A ref review again is great, but maybe a series/review on the MEDIA comments against Arsenal would be good to highlight it, but this is probably a lot more work.

  • oldgroover

    Very much looking forward to your reviews again. They’re one of the reasons I like this blog so much. I have to say though that it looks as though somebody (here today) has done most of your research for you.

  • finsbury

    As Sav wrote above, thank you.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been appreciating the previews. Not only have they been interesting and informative if you are a football/Arsenal fan, they have also been reliably accurate 😉

  • Mark

    Great news! I still think that there needs to be a system for reviewing the refs independently of the FA or PGMOL. I wonder if the public could fund by donation an organization set up to do this? I would be willing to pay $10 or $20 and I think a lot of other people would be willing to pay something to see this happen. If 10,000 fans put up $10 that would enough to start. Maybe one of the big sports equipment companies could be approached to sponsor the effort with a matching gift scheme. Fans donate $10 and say Nike or Adidas put up $10. There would have to be a board (unpaid) of some sort to oversee the effort but not a lot of staff. Walter ran the whole thing part time. So maybe one person that works without an office but does all the communication behind the scenes to organize the reviews. If professional refs were doing the reviews than they could be paid $200 per match to help motivate them. They would get less if there review does not get done in one weeks time. If there was more money then maybe a bit of investment could be made in getting good video of the game or equipment for reviewers. I gather that teams are getting video analysis from private companies so maybe some of this could be used by a group trying to be a ref watchdog and committed to improving the quality of the refs. I know it all costs money but I am sure that the FA, PGMOL and the teams have better video than we can get via the TV. An independent watchdog group reviewing the refs might eventually start getting some attention. Just as I think the Untold reviews did start to get some attention and put some pressure on the FA and PGMOL.

  • NW

    Thank you in advance.

    One suggestion. Instead of reviewing FA cup matches, may be review games of the “mini league” of top 5 or top 3 teams against each other.

    More importantly. Many of us remember why the reviews were forced to stop.

    Best wishes to Walter and his family!!!

  • oldgroover

    It’s ironic that PGMOL was formed to improve refereeing standards due to media criticism, and now the silence is quite deafening. You would have thought that with an average wage of K£70 (some earning over K£100) premiership officials would have made a significant improvement. Goal line technology has been great but it’s going to need much more technical assistance before we get anywhere near a fair & just system.

  • Gf60

    Great news Walter. One thought..would it be possible to have a non Arsenal supporting ref to also review our games? Thus partially eliminating the thought that “Walter refs with red’n’white tinted glasses?

    Also Mark’s idea above well worth pursuing? Ask…they can only say “No”. I’m certainly happy to donate $10 or 20 if needs be.

  • WA

    Good to have the reviews back. Thanks Walter.

    Mark’s idea is very interesting and might be worth pursuing.

  • Mick

    May 27, 2014 at 9:31 am
    Regrettably I have to agree with every word of this comment jambug. Nobody, other than a small group of supporters like us, gives a shit. Certainly not supporters of other clubs who may have the occasional moan when things go against their team but generally love it when things go against us, however unjustly. Certainly not the media, even most of the ex Arsenal ones, and sadly a fairly large number of our own fans too. We, the Arsenal supporters, are seen as a bunch of moaning minnies, Arsene Wenger is that French whinger who never sees anything, and our team is full of diving, cheating foreigners. Nothing will change, it was ever thus, and will continue in the future unfortunately.

  • Kelser

    Glad to hear the reviews will be back!

  • oldgroover

    What Mark’s suggesting (an NGO) might work, as any body other than PGMOL’s secret investigations of themselves would be preferable.

  • I am with jambug on this (surprise, surprise – I know).

    All that the ref reviews do is make us feel vindicated and does nothing about the quality of subsequent officiating. I have seen many people ask Walter to review Probert’s performance from the FA cup final. I am not one those people. I saw with my own eyes how that PGMOL rat bastard ignored the rules of the game and did his best (worst?) to give Hull the upper hand. It was so blatant that my wife, who isn’t exactly a crazy Gooner like me, couldn’t take it after 1 hour. Probert’s performance was so obviously bad that ITV commentators were themselves – in real time – disagreeing with many of his decisions.

    But what did we wake up to on Sunday? The entire media hailed Probert and Halsey absolved him of any wrongdoing in the Sun on Sunday! Just like Anthony Taylor got away with murder in our first game of the season, Lee Probert’s terrible display in our last game of the season was either hailed as great (Halsey), excused as normal or just ignored.

    I commend Walter for his referee reviews and wish him well but I am more interested in calling out or pressuring the PGMOL’s enablers in the media. The day that the media starts HONESTLY (not selectively) going after referees for doing a bad job is the day that we’ll start seeing positive changes in how matches are officiated. Especially those involving Arsenal.

  • gouresh

    Hi Walter: Regarding the cyber attackes on the site, is there no way of finding out the source? [mind you, i am not computer geek]
    it would be an interesting find.

  • oldgroover

    BBC3 regularly (well every WC & Euro) runs a “worst ever” type programme focusing on shite footballers & dodgy matches. They or one of the other BBC channels could quite easily do a weekly or monthly Not The Match Of The Day, highlighting poor decisions, errors etc., but presented in a humorous way.

  • jake

    thank you Walter cup final review will make intresting reading,
    i’m hoping next seasons arsenal reviews don’t (i.e no howlers and resonable biased…. did i just write that)

  • menace

    @Walter thanks for restarting the reviews. I was not aware there was a specific issue that caused these truth seekers to stop. Publishing on this blog should be enhanced by sending links to all overseas sports press. It may just start one curious sports writer thinking. Piers Morgan would be a good starting point because of his following on twitter. He may be a fair weather supporter but might have an opinion that carries your findings.

    @Bootoomee & @Jambug are generally right in my opinion.

    However, there is some milage as per @Mark in getting funding to do an official referees review. Lottery funding might be available. I’m sure PGMOL & FA will not be too happy as it might impact their flow. There are others that might just want to get on board a controversial bus.

  • Mandy Dodd

    the media and PGMOL – unfortunately just two sides of a very tarnished coin. Thats why the media in general leave the refs alone. Relatively effective, but comparitively lowly paid footsoldiersfor something else
    What really interests me is who is pulling their strings. Not sure I know tha answer, but I do know a universal law….follow the money. That money may lead to a league brand dealing in billions….or underground betting syndicated dealing in hundredsof billions worldwide.
    But anything that highlights what is going on is worth doing. Just hope people from the club take note of these reviews…if not, they should. If I was wenger, they would be part of the teamtalk/ match prep.

  • Rantetta

    For me it will be great to have the ref reviews back. Thank you Walter.

    I must confess, that whilst I’ve enjoyed the fact that we’ve won the FA Cup, I haven’t enjoyed the whole thing as I could have done. There are various reasons for this.

    I’ve always contended that for Arsenal to win anything at all – there’ll be a heavy price to pay. Arsenal, rightly, aren’t going to pay in the way some or many other clubs do – via brown envelopes or favours to refs or other officials, or to media people or bookies.

    No, the price Arsenal have paid, year after year, is a good old fashioned KICKING. Our players continue to be injured, so as to make sure The Arsenal cannot progress. As far as the Cup is concerned, the most obvious that comes presently to my mind is the loss of TW14.
    (I’m trying to remember if the totty match was the 1st or the 2nd reffed by Clattenbugger, for the FA Cup).

    Who were the refs who made sure JW10 would suffer injuries this past season? Why was Marriner sent to do the Chels/Ars match at Stamford Bridge, having already shown his colours at that venue, for that team?

    Why do the usually stricter refs for the CL and other internationals become “English” when reffing Arsenal matches? (Remember LK6 getting his head kicked in against Fernebache, or MO11 being effectively kicked out of the game within 2 minutes, v Bayern cheatscum)?

    The reffing of the FA cup final was disgraceful but predictable. We’ve seen all of this from Probert before. A match at Craven Cottage comes to mind. There are many hundreds of thousands around the world who don’t usually see a full and live Arsenal match. The haters would’ve had to go into full denial mode to counter any feelings of unfairness or bias. They’re not going to suddenly wake up and think, “Oh, look at the reffing. I wonder of Arsenal face that every week”, are they?

    I, like Jambug and others – also think the publishing of reviews next season mightn’t make much difference to the way Arsenal players are regularly assaulted, however, I’m sure these reviews make a huge difference to some (or many).

    I used to send ref reviews to friends and acquaintances. I received fantastically negative reactions from fans of Arsenal and of other clubs too. This is understandable, as they’re constantly brainwashed by the meedja/pundits, as to what’s a foul or not – and for whom.

    I only got to one match this past season. Arsenal v Taylor. (Villa). Of course I shouldn’t have let that abomination put me off, but I found it hard to have witnessed such a show of bias – up close, knowing from experience that that bar had already been set in the Emirates cup match against Galatasary (Drogba dive, penalty).

    So, I’m looking forward to the review from Wembley. (4 ****ing penalties. No pressure, Walter). And the reason Townsend admitted there should have been penalties was that there are many more people watching, including overseas, who would’ve been listening to the drivel, and if he’d said nowt, as he did regarding earlier fouls and ‘ghost fouls’, that would’ve risked any credibility ITV have left, and opened the door for people who believed football is pure and straight – to realising there is indeed; bias and corruption.

    One reason I think it’s good to have the reviews back is that Arsenal supporters outside England will have something to show or discuss with the naysayer countrymen/plastics/trophy hunters, who doubtless dismiss Arsenal in much the same way as the AAA do here in blighty.

    (And remember, Untold has a huge audience abroad, too).

    Walter, I’m glad to read you found enjoyment in producing ref reviews again. This is great, welcome news.

  • jambug

    Thanks Mick, Boo and Menace.

    Mick says:

    “We, the Arsenal supporters, are seen as a bunch of moaning minnies, Arsene Wenger is that French whinger who never sees anything, and our team is full of diving, cheating foreigners. Nothing will change, it was ever thus, and will continue in the future unfortunately”.

    Absolutely spot on.

    Bootoomee says:

    “I commend Walter for his referee reviews and wish him well but I am more interested in calling out or pressuring the PGMOL’s enablers in the media. The day that the media starts HONESTLY (not selectively) going after referees for doing a bad job is the day that we’ll start seeing positive changes in how matches are officiated. Especially those involving Arsenal”.

    Exactly. The referees will NEVER change until the media change. I have said before, if we for some peculiar reason suddenly became flavour of the month, for example if we was taken over by ‘darling Arry’, we would see an immediate upturn in bias towards us. Where the media go, the referees follow.

    Menace and Mark talk about funding, which may have possibilities. The problem is unless the media are behind anything that is done it will disappear without a trace.

    Until someone with some real Gravitas picks up the baton and runs with it, all Untolds, especially Tonys and Walters, hard work will be disregarded out of hand.

    Sorry Walter but that’s how I see the sad reality, indeed enormity, of what we are up against.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    1. Great to hear that you, Walter will be reviewing the Arsenal matches. I learn a little bit every time.

    2. Are there any journalists/statisticians on UNTOLD to start a media review and hold their feet to the fire?

  • Pete

    The other thing about the FA Cup Final is that we WON! Can’t even be dismissed as sour grapes. Contrast the bleating from the meeja about the corner that shouldn’t have been.

    I have a theory that Probert was enjoying his day in the sun so much he wanted extra time so as to get an extra half an hour. Only gave Arsenal a break as the clock wound down – and then “shut up shop” to prevent any further goals. Suspect he would have loved a shoot out as well but thankfully Aaron put paid to that.

  • finsbury

    I agree with Jambug and BTM but I do remember that J.Vaughan’s co-presenter on his Sunday lunchtime show on talksport made frequent references to the referee decisions site, stats and research, I’m not a regular listener but that was interesting. Small beginnings.

    Maybe, one distant day, football officials will catch up with their brethren in the US, the most capitalistic society on earth that has an almost Stalinesque approach to shenanigans in sport- the infamous World Series scandal of 1919 occurred almost one hundred years ago, close to the same time as the scandal involving certain other football clubs that led to AFC’s promotion from the old second division.
    American sports have tried to make progress over the last one hundred years. We can only hope that one day football will try to catch up. Otherwise I imagine the sport will follow rowing, horse and dog racing following scandal after scandal. All the cycling fans I knew were always more interested in the bikes then the cyclists, what happened with Armstrong was certainly not a revalation because everyone as in everyone from mechanics to fans already knew!
    Plenty of people don’t follow football for these reasons already,

  • Dave C

    Great news!

    I love how Arsenal are Johnny Foreigners, but the likes of City/Chelsea are shedding British starters and role players like they’re going out of style. On the field, it seems like Arsenal will have more of an English spine than a few of the other top clubs who’s ‘spine’ will be resigned to unused subs.

  • nicky

    Without wishing to pour cold water on the various means of emphasising the failings of corrupt and/or incompetent referees, in my twilight years I am more than ever convinced that technical assistance (possibly yet to be invented and developed)will be the only certain way of ensuring equitable treatment on a football field.

  • finsbury

    If you watched the Olympic Hockey tournament from London 2012 you would be reassured that the tech. already exists and is being used in related sports.
    Most of the decisions I saw in 2012 reviewed during a hockey game were already correct, which meant that the tech. was not only helpful in stopping unnecessary tantrums and the resultant time wasting but also increased peoples appreciation of the highly competent Hockey officials.

  • Steve Vallins

    Great news the reviews are coming back i respect your view of decisions in games and how we played

  • nicky

    All we need now then is someone or some body with the courage to push for the equipment to be given a trial. We cannot carry on like we are at present….too much is at stake.

  • oldgroover

    When using tech you can only apply it with any certainty to technical situations (there were two leading to goals in the cup final), and there are others like throw ins (most are foul) and goalkeepers hand balling when kicking out and some offsides. It’s the judgemental decisions like issuing cards, penalties missed our wrongly given, diving etc. which will always be contentious.

  • Pat

    Walter, many thanks in advance! I’m really looking forward to reviews of the Arsenal matches. It’s good to hear that you’ve missed doing them too, because I would feel a bit guilty if they felt like a chore. Totally understandable that you can’t go back to the huge project of trying to get all matches reviewed.

  • FinnGooner

    That is great news Walter. I had quite bad evening so this cheered me a lot.
    If someone says your hard work is not good enough because it’s just Arsenal matches they can do rest of them themselves. Or start paying you enough to quit your job and do reviews as full time job.

  • Gunz

    Great news!

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    I am ignorant of how things are in Europe. I last lived in Europe from 1983 to 1985, but I have been in the USA since; one thing some groups do here is systematically targeting specific facets of media coverage or media personalities. This is how Piers Morgan got punished; someone seized on one of his most obvious impertinent opinions and attacked him, followed by many others in a systematic fashion. If it is decided, as an example, that the target is say, Durham, then a plan could result into Durham being repeatedly, incessantly, continuously, consistently, and horribly harassed by an organized group.
    Again, there must be one target and a long-term plan. Once the target is peed off beyond recognition, moving to another target can be considered if and as necessary.

  • Florian

    Walter, that is fantastic! I can’t wait to read your reviews again. And I will join in supporting an initiative to drive the PGMOB scum out of their beds.

  • bob

    So, Glad, Walter.
    It teaches, it rallies, it may well influence club tactics (as ever) behind the scenes; and just might be grist for the mill of someone in a position to spill the beans (oh happy day!) Grains of sand to add up, and they do boost morale and, who knows, maybe help muster a brigade of red-card wielding fans next time that this so-called miscreant of a referee shows his face as we make our serious bid for the roses next season. Really happy it makes you happy. 🙂 You’re hardly alone (as you can see).

  • ClockEndRider

    Fantastic news, Walter. Increasingly it is up to us to put the wagons in a circle and defend the onslaught of republish from media, FA and the intellectually disadvantaged amongst our own fans. You and this site are a major player in this. Please keep up the great work.