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April 2021

BBC commentator launches huge attack on ref’s performance in Arsenal match

By Tony Attwood

We’ve got a Champions League tie with Galatasaray on the way and a little matter of matches against the very Tiny Totts and the Gazprom (west London) Works XI in the next two weekends.

So giving an outing to the fringe players and youngsters was in my view a very good idea.  I’m sorry we lost but to have played players who played on saturday and will be needed in the the next three games would have been silly.

And as I say, Francis Coquelin, Abou Diaby and David Ospina needed games and it was good to give another opportunity to Bellering, plus a chance to for Hayden. Campbell and Akpom to get some playing time.

The league cup games are not part of the season ticket package, and this year I opted not to make the long round trip, although Drew did his duty, and will be reporting back on the experience shortly.

So I stayed in touch with the BBC station Five Live which did a commentary on the game, and Sky which kindly showed me our loanee Benik Afobe, who scored twice against Manchester United in the second round, getting another two as MK Dons reached the last 16 of the league cup for the first time.

But if was the broadcast by Five Live that fascinated me.

A year or so back the BBC abandoned its long running policy of having two radio commentators plus a summariser the games they did live.

Radio 5 Live as it used to be called (it is now just 5 Live) set out the view that the use of two commentators was an “anachronism”.   However the argument that was made over the years when there were two commentators (each doing stints of 23 minutes per half) was that this added objectivity to its coverage.

And I suspect this might be an issue in BBC executives have in mind this morning after the most extraordinary display last night by commentator Alan Green.

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He spent the entire match telling us that Arsenal players were endlessly cheating through nudges, trips and the like, and that even when he was looking straight at the event, the referee, Mr Stroud from Gillingham in Dorset, let virtually everything that Arsenal did, go.

Because he had no second-half commentator, we got A Green’s delivery on the corruption of the game from start to finish.  But even though he had the whole match to do so, what Mr Green utterly omitted to explain was why and how.  How could this happen that one team could cheat so relentlessly through an entire match, and not once get punished by the referee except for one penalty?

The only explanations there could be are that either the referee was so utterly incompetent that he simply didn’t notice anything that was staring him in the face, but which Mr Green could see from 50 to 100 yards away, or he had been bought by Arsenal, who were so inept that even with the ref in their pocket they still couldn’t win.

But Green offered neither explanation, leaving us instead pondering what on earth was going on.

Keith Stroud is a referee who normally does Championship games, and we know there has been some murky business in his past.  In May 2009 for example Stroud was dropped from the Select Group of referees, (that is the panel of refs appointed by PGMOL to officiate matches in the Premier and Football Leagues and the two main cups).  Kevin Friend was promoted to replace him. However, in July 2009, it was reported in The Times that Stroud had been reinstated as it found out his demotion breached regulations.

Because PGMOL is the murky, secretive, behind-closed-doors organisation that it is, no explanation was ever forthcoming, but the episode was just one more reason that many of us distrust everything that PGMOL says and does.

So, what was Alan Green up to with his endless, endless, rant against Arsenal and the referee?  Was he suggesting that the referee was bent but Arsenal so inept that they could not win even with referee support?   Or was he saying that the ref was just plain stupid and not fit to referee?  Or was it some sort of private vendetta against Keith Stroud?

We really don’t know, but the rant without explanation does neither the reputation of the BBC as a broadcaster of football nor Alan Green much credit.

It would be good if Alan Green explained himself, but I am not holding my breath.

Today’s Arsenal Anniversaries, and the index to recent posts can be found here.

47 comments to BBC commentator launches huge attack on ref’s performance in Arsenal match

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    Interesting report Tony, many thanks. Its not possible to get 5 Live outside the Uk due to rights restrictions so I listened to the AFC commentary Finsbury is collating daily the bias within the BBC as Untold itself has been noting for years.Perhaps Mr.Green has an agenda?Perhaps its time for somebody to resurrect Mr Peter Jones, or take a leaf out of what was his book?
    COYG! Aha and Amen!

  • I didn’t hear his commentary – did he mention that the Sanchez goal wasn’t a free kick???

  • WalterBroeckx

    I listened in the perfect silence of my fan trying to keep my laptop away from getting overheated. Missed the crowd but not much else for the rest I think. 😉

  • robl

    @ Ken, Chrome with the Hola plug in.
    That said you’ll only want to smash your computer after 5 mins of Alan Green or Danny Mills.

  • Drew Gray

    Tony, 3 observations:
    Alan Green is an oaf and this has to be his last season as a commentator.
    The ref was not great to either side but my Soton mate (who sat next to me) commented that he had given us pretty much nothing all game.
    Akpom didn’t really get a chance

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    cheers Robl!

  • Will

    Did he mention the constant diving by Mane?

  • Will

    Oh and Alan Green is the worst commentator in Football. Loves Liverpool, hates everyone else.

  • Hi Tony,

    Couldn’t agree more, thought you might be interested in a blog I wrote a while ago about BBC’s “approach” to Arsenal Football Club.

  • Big Lebowski

    Alan Green does not like arsenal. I stopped listening to this idiot years ago years ago when I realised he was biased.

  • Shard

    so commentators are able to talk abut the referee being biased (and even when he isn’t at that)

    Who woulda thunk it eh?

  • Shard


    THat’s a stupid, misleading article. There is no talk of dividends, and it is not Kroenke who has taken money out of the club according to their report. Arsenal have paid money for services rendered to another company that Kroenke happens to own. 3m pounds. I have no idea of market rate, but I’m willing to bet it is fair value. (Remember the hubbub over Gazidis being paid 1.2m?)

    The only way Kronke so far, has taken money out of the club, is through the salary he receives, which last I looked was 125k pounds a year.

    On the issue of dividends, of course he isn’t going to commit to never take dividends. No one with a lawyer and a publicist worth their salt will ever do that. The surprising thing is he hasn’t taken dividends from his US franchises. I would’ve thought he would. BUt I guess his money making model is different there (relating to the real estate around the stadium)

  • Mick

    ‘The start of things to come?’
    Quite possibly.
    Apart from a small handfull of dedicated fan owners why would any business man wish to own a football club for any reason other than to line his pockets whether through fair means or foul. I would be amazed if Stan was any different.

  • Will

    Fair point Shard.

  • bob mac

    Watched the full game on a computer site.

    I could see no problem with the ref at all, SH penalty totally correct, no poor off-side decisions and apart from mid-field fouling (now a part of every game) then it was normal.

    On the positive side, the future looks rosy, with all the young players doing exceptionally well against a very strong SH team.

    Result was not the best, but an excellent performance, a good game and 2 fantastic goals.

  • Will

    The only problem I had with the ref was that he let Mane get away with constant diving.

  • ARSENAL 13

    As a businessman myself, I think therz nothing wrong if share holder takes dividends. As long as the company is making profits and as long as it’s not astronomical and devoid of reality and market situation. It is a fair return to the money he has invested.

    As of now there are no indication of him or any others taking money out through dividends. He/his son is a board member and has a good salary that he gets out of ARSENAL.

    But then have to read the financial statement in detail to understand whats what. The above observations are purely based on what I’ve heard….

  • Mandy Dodd

    On the subject of dividends as a standard business practice, of course you are right Arsenal13….however this is a guy who it was said of him, he would never take a penny out of his sports clubs, indeed as far as I am aware, this was always the case with his US clubs. Why are we different…or are we different?
    He and his people may well have improved revenues, employed his son and who knows what else. Many things seem to have changed, IMO for the better.
    But I am always wary of those who say one thing, then do another without really explaining it…especially in this type of situation This figure in itself will not have much effect, but expect it to be raised time and time again over season ticket rises, or if it is perceived Wenger has dithered over paying a transfer fee/wages – wenger will be accused ….by some…of lining Stans pockets at the expense of the team…come to think of it , guess he already is.
    Stan has already done away with fanshare…..and some might blame him, some might not.
    My worry over Stan….and I may stray a bit into the outer reaches of aaa here…. is that some of these actions may prove to be the thin end of the wedge….for a man who confesses admiration of the Glaziers business practices. But we shall see.
    Maybe we will get a full and frank explanation at the shareholders meeting….maybe…
    As far as I am concerned, the jury is out on out majority shareholder, but doubt if he will worry one little bit about that

  • AL

    If I would have been asked to pick a match to lose all season then it’d be this one. Thought it was a good game though, enjoyed it apart from the result.

    The ref let Mane get away with some serial diving. I felt the penalty was one of those a ref may or may not give. Having said that Man’s standing leg which Rosicky made contact with was on the line, if not just outside. But mane made an outrageous dive and while I fully understand the ref giving it, I think mane made the most of it. I thought we had a good penalty shout as well when Campbell drove into the box after a quick one two with Alexis, and just as he was about to pull the trigger he was bundled over by the Southampton defender. The commentator said it was just a coming together. A coming together when only one player has the ball(they were not fighting for the ball)?

    I think those that are objective will admit that for an Arsenal player to get a penalty it has to be a stonewall decision. But it doesn’t take much for us to concede one, which is what I’m on about here. The ref wasn’t bad, I think he missed one or two incidents but that’s about it.

  • Micheal Ram

    Alan Green always been known as a Liverpool fan and anti-Arsenal. No brainer there. More and more commentators even from outside of England are like that too. It’s either Man Utd or Liverpool, new Man City and Chelsea fans are emerging to become shameless and nonsensical glory seekers. Like cockroaches from Chinatown.

  • Don

    Never watch a game with the radio commentary in the background. You’ll instantly realise how inept Green is. One moment a player will be hacked down, he’ll be crying dive. Then a player will dive and he’ll be shouting his mouth of how it was a blatant foul.

    He can’t see for ####

  • Mick – I’d quite like to own Arsenal.

  • finsbury

    I will try and pick out the funniest and stupidest misinformation that good old Aunty Bleeb is putting out about Arsenal Football Club as it continuously attempts to troll the fanbase, but I can’t promise a daily update! It doesn’t get funnier then Steve Clardige. He makes Savage look like Rinus Michels.

    Having been at the game last night it’s fair to say from the above reports that the BBC commentator was completely disingenuous in his commentary, at best. Not really worth the licence fee I am afraid! If you’re going to groan about excessive gamesmanship during that game then it would be impossible to ignore that the Southampton No.10 could’ve been sent off for diving. Unless you are very biased. Or disingenuous. Or stupid. Perhaps a combination of all three? Honest commentary of a very good game of football bewtween to good football teams that play and do things the right way, it wasn’t. Perhaps Mr.Green just doesn’t like either club because they are run like football clubs and not a laundrette? Who knows?

    Perhaps his efforts were attempting to disguise the inability of the referee to call out Southampton for time wasting which started in the first half after Clyne’s rocket. It’s a fairly simple law of the game and not too hard to implement, as opposed to parochial opinions on distant fouls etc. but I guess that there was no mention of this in Green’s ranting? Exposed by his own disingenuity, it seems. Of course this professional referee managed to card the Southampton ‘keeper at the end of the game like a true pro having ignored it all game long. Unlike the CL slightly weird referee that we had during the Besiktas home game, for example. And last night’s offical also missed an Arsenal penalty appeal that was probably as strong as the one given in the first half, the foul almost occurring on exactly the same spot as the first half pen (haven’t see any footage yet but it looked a strong shout.).

    Perhaps Mr.Green was protesting too much? Seems that way, don’t you all think. Strange behaviour. Or, perhaps he has lost his mind, or his optical prescription? Perhaps he is just an upset and irate Liverpool/Manc fan, it’s one of the two I think! Hehe!

  • Pete

    I might try to watch a TV game with radio commentary on for once. With the time delay with the pictures, can this be compensated for? Does digital radio have the same time delay? Alan Green is an opinionated so-and-so (never knew how Mike Ingham tolerated him for so long) – but as have never tested can’t comment on the accuracy of his reporting (or any other radio commentator). I quite like Murray and McNamara – but Ingham, preceded by Jones and Butler, were excellent.

    My biggest criticism of the referee was his tolerance of the time wasting and failure to add on sufficient minutes – but then that always happens. Thought in real-time it was a penalty to them. Also thought the Campbell challenge was a very good shout – but note there was another coming together when they appealed for a penalty but didn’t get soon after the one they did.

    Still astounded a referee from Southampton was appointed to the game. Would be interested to know the background to his removal from the PGMOL list (apart from, obviously, the fact that he is a southerner…).

    The noise around the games these days is incredible with pundits here, there and everywhere. In general, really disappointed at the lack of insight and perspective from ex-pros. I am looking for someone to tell me something I didn’t see or know. Think Dixon and Keown are decent but I’m probably biased. (G) Neville also. Strange that his brother is at the opposite end of the scale.

    The other thing I find strange is that the solution to any problem is to spend money – rarely to sack the manager (a bit of a taboo subject generally, although can understand why).

  • finsbury


    But then how do you explain the yellow for the Arsenal ‘keeper, at home, given that he was only indulging in a bit of gamesmanship for the last ten minutes, not for sixty minutes as the away ‘keeper. It’s a simple rule/guideline, therefore why do we see referees at the Arsenal treating AFC like the a away team so often. It helps I suppose when the referee comes from the same town as the opponent.

  • Anon (on this occasion)

    @ Ian Byrne

    You (and Tony) couldn’t be more right about the psychophantic bunch at the BBC………’s no coincidence that they moved the whole sports department to Salford. It’s easier to kiss arse now they’re so close to their beloved United. (Headline on 5 live sports yesterday was that McGinley had a secret weapon to help him win the Ryder Cup…..he talks to Fergie………..oh please!)

    As for Green himself, I haven’t listened to him for years. He obviously hasn’t changed…..still the same highly self-opinionated idiot he’s always been by the sound of things.

  • Neal

    The ref was awful last night. He seemed far more interested that free kicks and throw-ins were taken from the exact blade of grass that the ball went out of play from, than in cutting down the endless timewasting, fouling and diving by the Southampton players.

    As for a review of the game, there’s not much to say. It would be fair to say Diaby was our only player, no one else showed up. Chambers and Bellerin are far from ready, Le Coq is positionally awful, Wilshere and Rosicky are headless chickens, Alexis was only interested in Alexis once we were losing, Campbell wasn’t linking well, Podolski was nowhere to be seen. Ospina did have a few good saves though. Maybe we’re a two-man team then.

  • finsbury

    Waiting for the ref review of last nights game,but moderate observers had this to say:

    They systematically fouled us throughout. But that’s the referee’s job to stamp that out. If he lets you get away with it, why not.

    I think we can safely conclude what Mr.Green was up to.
    It is, what it is.

  • finsbury

    If Neal thinks Chambers and Haydenarent ready I hope he hasn’t been watching Jones and Smalling! 🙂

  • finsbury


    Thought you might enjoy this link. David Squires is a talented and astute satirist who fortunately for us is focusing on Football. Very funny, I think you can dig out more of his work online:

  • Goona

    This Alan Green has got to be a very jealous manure supporter as he came across as one going on and on and on ranting about the very things you mention in your post.

    This guy should be fired as 5 live is an excellent station and he certainly let the side down with his one sided comments so out I say! out I say!

  • Mick

    That would be a good idea for a light hearted article.
    ‘What would I do if I owned Arsenal?’
    We should all have a dream shouldn’t we.

  • Mick

    Chambers in particular and Bellerin have both performed admirably previously this season, especially given they are both only 19.
    Wilshere is far from being a headless chicken, that is a ridiculous thing to say, he played a couple of superb through balls last night as he usually does, and was one of the few who showed a bit of guile.
    Le Coq is a right sided midfielder who was playing left back and did fine bearing that in mind.
    Alexis was probably scared to pass the ball to Rosicky or Podolski they were that bad and Cambell wasn’t far behind them, so that cut down his options somewhat.

  • deejay

    its not really surprising. There are a lot of ex-BBC (living and deceased) who have strange se*ual tendencies and have been and are in court at the moment. They are not normal..

  • finsbury


    Sorry, I added the wrong link at 3.38
    This was the one I was looking for:

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    finsbury, I wondered if you had thought about writing an article for UA based on your BBC findings? You could do it regularly as a kind of update.Well worth considering!

  • finsbury

    That could be interesting, but reflecting upon the comments from deejay and others above I’m not sure it is necessary! 🙂

    There was a media watch series on Untold, by Anne I think.

    As boot pome has said many times the role of the media, the various twenty four seven football broadcasters in all these shenanigans, as shown in Italy* is beyond any reasonable doubt .

    * “it could never happen here. Mind that moat for the ducks, dear.”

  • finsbury

    Bl**min’ autocorrect!
    boot pome = Bootoome

  • Notoverthehill

    Hold the press!

    The ultimate parent undertaking and controlling party is KSE UK Inc. In other words Mr E S Kroenke.

    Note 30 in the 2012-2013 Financial Report, Related Party Transactions, the balance owed to Arsenal Broadband Limited as at 31st May 2013, was £5,685,000.

    AST will have had a copy of the Full Report for 2013-2014, as a shareholder.

    This, I suspect has been passed on to Ms Amy Lawrence and the scribbler of the Daily Telegraph, in the appropriate Press Release box?

    As an Accountant, I would migrate the Arsenal accounting software to update the KSE UK Inc in Delaware, USA, on a daily basis? Very expensive, may I add.

    Dividend, really???

  • goonergerry

    Don’t think Southampton are getting the credit they deserve at present-they seem to be well balanced and deserved their win. Though it is painful to admit it- Arsene Wenger does not seem to enter the Carling cup with the intention of winning it- but to give players experience- which is all good as long as you don’t go out so early that they don’t get that experience.
    Alan Green’s judgement is obviously influential-his job is to describe the game to people who can’t see it being played. Pity then he is so opinionated that his biased commentary simply does not reflect whats going on the pitch. But thats the commercial influence on the BBC- who has pretty boy idiot Robbie Savage doing 606. The more sensationalist they are- the more stupid, and biased, the more the BBC likes them.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    This week it’s ESPN FC that has the most strident anti-Wenger voice. Who are these boobs anyway?

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    Who cares? F*ck them all!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ finsbury September 24, 2014 at 4:49 pm – nice link ,thanks . Will save it for later trawlings !

  • Sav from Australia


    Good point about ESPN FC. I watched them quite regularly since the world cup and everything was fine. Then Stewart Robson has been on this week and slowly got worse until he went on a rant that seemed somewhat prepared. The other hosts on the show did not seem to agree but it seems ESPN FC wanted to play Robson vs Marcotti regarding Arsene Wenger’s tenure. Ratings or twitters hits are whatever must be the reason for it.

    Although, I do like the show apart from the fact that they are generally not going to say something nice about Arsenal.