Incompetence or collusion: football betrayed

By Tony Attwood

There is quite a difference between football journalism and (for example) political or financial journalism, for football journalism rarely asks “why?”  And even less rarely does it do any sort of analysis of the “why”?

There is little questioning of why something happened, why something else is an issue, and if another issue actually even happened or is important.

One part of the reason for this is that whereas most of us are only governed by the laws of the land concerning libel and slander, football is also governed by its own rules about what managers and others can say and do.

The fact that such rules exist is a fact of life, but they don’t apply to journalists, who have the same freedom as in any other area.  But football journalists don’t question issues in football.  They don’t look at contradictions.

And as a result the daily story of football is so mis-told that it becomes utterly misleading, and ultimately a fiction.

Indeed the situation is worse than that, for once a few people have published their bland reality and simplistic notions of what football is about, ignoring issues that don’t fit, no one can step out of line without bringing the whole house of cards tumbling down.  And no one wants to destroy their own job.

No one can stand up and say, “hang on guys, I know we don’t normally question the behaviour of the FA, but really…” Or “I know that we ignore the possibility that referees might be biased or bought or grossly incompetent, but to make sense of this story we need to ask why this is going on.”

Now by chance, my work on the Arsenal History Site this week caused me to go back to the very first article published on Untold.    It was published on 14 JAnuary 2008 – getting on for seven years ago – under the headline Arsenal witness the end of football

The opening paragraph is written below.  The link above takes you to the whole article

“Arsenal were poor against Birmingham City FC on 12 January, we can’t get away from that, but what made matters much worse was the appearance once again of the blight that is sweeping the game – time wasting when the ball is out of play.”

So seven or so years on and we get to a game involving endless time wasting, which as the article shows, was totally uncontrolled by a ref who seemed utterly out of his depth.  Now I haven’t seen the TV recordings of this weekend’s game, but I suspect much of the time wasting will be edited out.  So for the rest of the world who were not there, there was no or little time wasting.  I say that based on previous matches I have seen either on Match of the Day or the Sky TV extended programming that takes place on a saturday evening.  It won’t be shown.

Indeed we’ve discussed it before here.  When the ball goes out of play the camera follows the last man to touch it (usually doing something as amazingly exciting as walking back with his head down) before running replays.  If the keeper wastes more and more and more time the replays continue.   For a strange reason the newspaper reports then follow the TV lead by not mentioning time wasting.

This is certainly the case in today’s Observer newspaper – no mention of time wasting – although quite a few mentions of it turn up in the commentaries from those who were there.

But if you were not there, please don’t think that this was just ordinary time wasting – this was TW (for short) on an industrial scale. Players falling down right left and centre, head injuries of untouched players from which players miraculously recovered, the keeper wasting time at goalkicks from the first minute, the holding of the ball by the keeper for ten or fifteen seconds without being carded even with the ref looking at him….

But then it got really weird.  Drew and I got back to the car at Archway at 6pm, and turned the radio on just in time to hear a discussion about the Arsenal game.  The studio host asked the correspondent at the game if there was any booing at the end, and the correspondent said “no.”

This was (to use the technical term) utter bollocks.  The boos rang around the ground, as they had done during the match.  But whereas they were aimed at the Hull players during the match they were aimed at the ref at the final whistle.   (We had also witnessed the most rousing chorus of “You don’t know what you’re doing” I have ever heard in my life – and I’ve heard it a lot of times).

But the BBC correspondent had not noticed! Or was by that time down the pub.

No, actually he probably did notice, but what he was doing was following the absolute rule that we’ve considered before; that time wasting is not news and so didn’t happen.

So as we drove back to the motorway I sent the programme a text saying that the correspondent was utterly wrong; there was booing.  Of course they didn’t read it out.  Correspondents on the radio cannot be wrong.

Finally, a caller to 606 came onto the show and said that he was amazed that no one was commenting on the timewasting.  “Is it just me who sees it?” he asked.  “Yes” said one of the show hosts, “it must be, since no one else has ever mentioned it.”

So we’ve come in a complete circle.  First the fact is that lesser teams are using every trick in the book to waste time, with referees are colluding with them in not punishing the feigning of injury (which I judge by the ability of the injured player to get back up), and the holding of the ball by keepers, or the time the passes between the ball going out of play and being kicked back in, by the keeper.

Second, there is the collusion media which never mentions it.  Through this it has become a big part of the game, and is related to referee incompetence or corruption,

In relation to this the discussion of the time wasting is non-existent, or restricted and curtailed, on the basis that if it is not mentioned by the media it hasn’t happened – because if it had happened it would have been mentioned in the media.

The reality is that what you see on the screen is not what actually happens in the ground.  What you read in the press and hear on the radio is not what happens in the ground.

But why?  Why don’t the media mention it, and why is time wasting so rarely dealt with by the ref?  I have seen a few refs give yellow cards to keepers for their time wasting, but always it is done around the 85th minute, when it will have a minimum impact.

Are the refs biased or just incompetent?  Are the media protecting the image of the sport they are presenting, or are they all following the TV screen?

How come that an issue that was written about here seven years ago, on this blog, and has been mentioned many time since, can never once make the news in the mass media?

I don’t think there’s any sort of mass conspiracy between journalists.  Rather it is simply lazy journalism.  And I do think this is important, because the football many people see is the football that is shown on TV.  The newspaper journalists are not writing about the football we see at the ground, but rather the football people see on TV.

But this laziness of journalism goes much further.

Lazy journalists never ask why PGMOL is a closed rather than an open organisations.

Lazy journalists never ask why we have so few Premier League refs – which leads to a biased ref having far more impact on a specific team than he would with more refs on board.

Lazy journalists never ask why despite getting 99% of transfer speculation wrong, the press continue to present the “rumours” as anything more than tales made up in the pub after hours.

Lazy journalists never ask how it is possible for clubs to become owned and/or by chancers, incompetents, money launderers, criminals, thieves and nut cases in such a way that decent clubs can be run into the ground.  Rangers, Blackburn, Portsmouth…

Lazy journalists never ask how come certain tackles go unpunished.

Lazy journalists never ask if a story is actually correct.  They see the price of tickets story and don’t think, are these stats really meaningful or are they being manipulated to show certain clubs in the worst case?

Lazy journalists never ask why England – a country that is fanatical about football, does so badly in the world cup and European competition each time.

Lazy journalists never once asked if the FA’s explanation of why it hadn’t spent the money from Sports England on what it should have spent it on, by the due, was actually viable.

Lazy journalists never link FFP, salaries and the price of going to matches – and yet they are all obviously at the centre of football.

Lazy journalists never asked by Man City failed to settle their FFP case (as everyone other club had done) until much later than the other clubs.

Lazy journalists never once raised the issue of the video experiments in the Netherlands – at least until Untold ran its story, and then suddenly the Telegraph rushed out a press release from PGMOL.

Lazy journalists never ask why their publications collude with TV in the make-believe world of removing all time wasting from their reports.  It is part of the game, it influences the result, and it is ignored.

There are of course many more issues – but this is enough to be going on with.  There are fundamental issues in football that the media won’t touch – until they aboslutely have to – and even then they’ll drag their feet as far as they can.

What is going on?

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98 Replies to “Incompetence or collusion: football betrayed”

  1. A solution will be for Arsenal FC to create an independent Broadcasting company, provide it with all footage and other current issues which the club faces due to Bias (injuries etc…) and go on Air with its own journos!

  2. I have asked before and I will ask again, has anyone from here sent Arsela the data you have collected? How about Sending it to Amy Lawrene?

  3. Tony, I always thought that each of the hacks who write for the national dailies had to toe his paper’s clearly defined line in reporting kindly about certain clubs and cruelly about others.

  4. While all this is almost true and time wasting has been an issue since league football began, instigating various rule changes, including outlawing the backpass, the big question for me is:

    Why do Arsenal FC not have any relationship with the media, and use and manipulate the media like the majority of all other public and political figures and bodies, businesses, clubs do? Considering the club have just made a £3 million mystery payment to a sports and entertainment media company for no goods or services that could be explained at the AGM it is puzzling.

  5. Never let the facts (truth) spoil a good story. The mantra of many so called journalists. Say it the way it sells..the way it provokes discussion, disbelief, incredulity..whatever. Yesterday we witnessed blatant timewasting and an incompetent referee who failed to ensure a fair game took place. The time wasting started very early on with the goal kicks. Surely a good ref would have words at this early stage. It got worse as the game went on because he failed to take this early step and apparently missing the foul on Flamini that all on my side of the stadium saw. The lino was bang in line and did nothing. Its interesting that after the game he responded to Mertersacker “I did not see it” I wonder what would have happened if Flamini had Diame around the neck on the run through. This I think sums up what Tony is saying from International business times “He may have got a strong benefit of the doubt for an apparent tug on Mathieu Flamini, but the way in which Mohamed Diame strode through the heart of the Arsenal team to equalize was alarming and yet far from unfamiliar”.

    So the agenda is Arsenal have a weak defence..Wenger should buy a top class defender..Another two points dropped…blah blah blah. All these things are true but Hull had two or three shots in the game, the referee was incompetent, and time wasted more than the six minutes that was added on. A complete success in the eyes of Bruce. Probably justifying it as professionalism over the copious amounts of after the match scotch he consumes.

    Conspiracy against the Arsenal NO. Press agenda YES. It sells..not to true Arsenal supporters but it the journo’s succeed. Ignore the feckers.

    Wenger is excellent with the press but in their minds is fair game because he is successful. But “Arsene when are you going to build another double winning side or invincibles” “when are you spending some money” Now he has “look at the crap you have bought and its your worst start to a premier league season” Its all crap. Played football with a journo who over a couple of beers after the game wrote his Sunday copy over the phone. Lazy journo’s yes…..Hull and their manager were lazy yesterday by cheating masquerading as professionalism, the referee was lazy by not ensuring a fair game.

  6. The boos directed towards the referee were not only very loud, but they went on throughout the second half.

    The PGMOL representative was observed by most of the crowd inside the football stadium to be incapable or unwilling to run the clock properly in a game of football (hence the loud boos and heckles towards the PGMOL representative). You’d think that would be the easy part of the job!

    What else was he getting wrong?

  7. Yes Apo, unless we take the fight fo them things are not going to change. This has been going for yrs and nothing has changed and will not change. Especially for AFC. U watch, in the next few games the refs might clamp down for their favourite teams and the media will immediately say that the refs are taking action and come our game it will be the same. As they say, “attack I’d the best form of defence.” Have our own TV channel and slaughter these pigs.

  8. The main thing that go me yesterday was when Ramsey was fouled, fell into one of their players and they got the free kick. Does that mean an arsenal player can push an opposition player into a teammate and get the freekick?

  9. What’s going on. I will tell you. You all know about all the favourable treatment both Utd and Liverpool have had from the pgmol and media over recent years? Well the problem is, if we get our usual berth in the top four, one of those teams will miss out.
    Yes, we are sometimes the authors of our own misfortune we lose concentration too easily, we seem, perhaps understandable to let some heads drop when these refs signal their intentions, and we keep this terrible habit of letting teams score after the first or second shot on target. The way we defend as a team, not individuals needs addressing.
    Arsene, the dark side is waiting. Stop the players giving the ball back when teams feign injury for starters. Have our players surround the ref, like Chelsea and a Fergie team. Maybe a bit of our own rotational fouling and time wasting in some games.
    Anthony Taylor against Sunderland anyone?

  10. Whatever that has a begining will surely one day come to an end. Something will one day trigger on the lazy journalism episode to come to an end. Now let me appeal to the boss not be discouraged with the outcome of the home drawn game with Hull City. I want the boss to take positives from that game and address the negatives falling out from the game before playing our next 2 away games to Anderlecht and Sunderland. The boss should please not abandon Arsenal possession football. Rather, he should make it more compelling and enforcing. Let some goal scoring shyners or goal scoring laziners in the squad wake up from their slumbers and step up their work rates positively to score for Arsenal when it matters for us to win games. After Welbeck’s equalizing goal at 91 munites, there was 6 munites of added time left for us to beat Hull by scoring another goal. But no Gunner effectively took the responsibity to do just that. The boss should please work on this failing. And our midfielders must please be protective.

  11. Mandy, I am not sure about, but will not dispute your theory about Liverpool, Man U, the PGMOL and the Top 4. However,you mention that we lose concentration too easily, have the habit of letting teams score after the first or second shot on target, and the way we defend as a team- This has been going on for years- years- and is all down to management, or lack of.

  12. Its a standard against Arsenal when it comes to commentating – it might have been a foul but what a fantastic finish.

    The MOTD broadcast was limited to the goals and attempts but nothing of the time wasting or Arsenal crowd reaction was shown. Shearer pontificating as usual ignoring the fact that he couldn’t manage a football team.

    Judging by the officiating of our match against Chelsea and the derby at Palace, I would guess that there is a lot of money gambled on Chelsea winning the EPL. Southampton could throw a spanner in the works by winning the EPL & create a thousand forest fires in China’s gambling markets.

  13. Initially, i thought that may be because Arsenal didn’t have many Englishmen in the first team, that that’s why we were struggling. Now we have almost the entire first eleven, but we still face the same problems. May be they are now tired of Arsene, and the only way to get rid of him is by costing the team points.However, it might be me, but i think part of the reason why England does poorly at the international stage, is due to poor officiation in the PL.

  14. Unless we get our own propaganda ‘machine’ – no matter what we say here on UA – the media/FA/PGMOL will have an open road to do what they want whenever they want for the teams they back (we all know who they are!

  15. The rules by which we all operate (in life as well as football) include conventions as well as actual laws. Conventionally, I’m sure, refs allow timewasting because they think that under different circumstances (e.g. Arsenal scoring early in the second half yesterday) we would have time wasted so there’s some sort of notional quid pro quo. It’s the same sort of thing as allowing a player to get away with a couple of early fouls (to establish physical dominance) before a card is shown. It’s a convention but it doesn’t make it right.
    At a time when there seems to be a concerted demand from fans for better value for money the EPL could, at a stroke, help by doing three things.
    1. Use the multiball system thereby eliminating one classic way of time wasting. It’s used in other competitions why not league games?
    2. Use a multicard system – blue for the first foul, yellow for the second, red for the third. Rotational fouling could be handled by using a sin bin for the (say) tenth foul committed by the team as a whole.
    3.A quick video review of every goal scored or penalty awarded would take seconds and eliminate a huge proportion of the most contentious issues. My side of the ground was already booing before Hulls first goal went in because we all saw the foul on Flamini in the build up. A review would take up far less time than Hull took to celebrate.
    Wenger recently called for a more regulated length of grass on pitches to eliminate the ‘gamesmanship’ used by some clubs against passing teams. Surely, in terms of value for money delivered to the paying public, there are matters just as important, if not more so?

  16. Two things you said i pick up on Walter:

    “The reality is that what you see on the screen is not what actually happens in the ground. What you read in the press and hear on the radio is not what happens in the ground.”

    Well, for me the “reality” that is portrayed on TV and media is highly censored by “someone or some body” It goes much more deeper than just football. It is in ALL aspects of our life. This is why i have not had a TV for some 6 or 7 years now.

    “I don’t think there’s any sort of mass conspiracy between journalists. Rather it is simply lazy journalism.”

    No, it does not just look like laziness by the journalists, else there would be AT LEAST ONE(probably many more) who would pick up on what Untold has been saying. There are NONE, they all follow the program. If one was brave enough to sacrifice his/her job and run the story, then the lazy ones would then jump on board if the story took off.

    @andy bishop says:
    “Conspiracy against the Arsenal NO. Press agenda YES. It sells..”

    The media has ALWAYS liked a little controversy, it sells. So why are they NOT pouncing on highlighting the mistakes of the refs? That would fuel controversy so much that they would sell, sell, sell. Yet they do not, they just follow the program. “The nail that stands out gets hammered in” comes to mind.

  17. indersight- all good points if it were a level playing field but regarding Point 2 you make. What is the point in giving referees and officials more powers and resulting loopholes and greyareas (sinbins) to use against us? We would end up with half the team in a sin bin at any time. Imagine Mike Dean with the power to sin bin our players for innocuous fouls?

  18. There were considerable boos aimed at the officials as they departed the field at half time – I don’t think our half awake press noticed.

    Is there collusion – YES – there is! The fact that the media have continually, over several seasons, ignore the wrong calls against Arsenal and disguised the ref bias – deliberately, blatantly and obviously – allowing both parties get away with it – there must be collusion.

    There are two questions here: –

    1. Why are the refs showing bias repeatedly – if it was only incompetence (bad enough) it would level out, but it doesn’t. All refs seem to be showing this bias – therefore it must be something that the refs are instructed to do.

    2. Why are all the UK TV channels covering up the anti Arsenal ref decisions and why are they defaming Arsenal at every opportunity in their reporting?

    We saw the influence Red Nose had with the refs and the popularity he had with the media – where many of his disciples find post hacking employment. Red Nose has gone, the disciples are still there, but the scale of the problem is such that the remaining disciples on their own could not be the cause of the problem.

    Very often in corruption one might find that someone is transferring a brown envelope or some other favor in return for a form of advancement. In the Arsenal situation I believe it is the opposite, someone who wants Arsenal to fail, for whatever reason, seems to be encouraging an anti Arsenal bias from the refs (not that they need a lot of encouragement), the same person (or agglomerate) being in a position to co-ordinate the viewpoint of the media.

    If correct, this is a major problem we face – made worst by the blogsphere semi knowledgeable idiots, trolls, the AAAA some of whom with their apologists post on this site – some maliciously – some just inspired by participating in disruption.

    What can we do about it. As previously suggested UA can open another thread showing a compilation of all the biased wrong decisions Arsenal have suffered. That will help, but more than that is needed. I support the thought that Mandy has put forward on a number of occasions that a senior person in the club has to bring the problem to the PGMOL/FA etc – or better still – by pass those tossers and approach their political master – the Minister of Sport – after all there is an election coming and politicians are always more receptive just before an election. But seriously someone senior within the club has to make a serious complaint!

  19. @insideright
    October 19, 2014 at 11:31 am

    You could a No.4 to that list; where by the team in possession must be assumed in offense – hence have to move the ball and all in-field players (10) inside the opposition half within a say 10 seconds…failing to do so will result in a free kick for the defending team. Should a goal arise from an offensive team who failed to have all 10 players in the opposition half, then the goal is disallowed!

    This will stop PARK THE BUS and time waisting with ball inside a teams own half or just inside oppositions half with 10 players behind the ball.

  20. BB, think this poor officiating is happening too often for it to be purely coincidence. The head of the EPL, Scudamore has gone on record saying it is good for the brand for Utd to be in the ECL…..the same could apply to Liverpool to a lesser degree. Maybe brand protection as much as anything else. As for management issues, I agree we look vulnerable, especially on the counter attack, and I agree, something needs doing about it, either with drills with the current personnel or in January, I suspect the latter will come into the equation this time. But the strange thing is, except against the big boys away, we in general looked more solid last season than this. The Kos situation does not help, I do worry Per is getting a bit run into the ground. I also think , and I mean this with respect to our RBs, ….hector did well yesterday……that we are still missing Sagna, a bit of a leader, organiser, warrior, vast experience…..and versatile…..also a bit of a shame Jenks not around to help out, he put in a rather good cross yesterday, but understand fully that he needs and deserves games.
    But, we clearly need more work on defensive issues.
    Still, expect us back to winning ways, and soon, we will have theo, who along with Alexis and Danny will make the effectiveness of time wasting against us a thing of the past

  21. It’s a sorry state of affairs alright. A sad tale in which for me there should be no doubting that we suffer badly from refs and worse from the media. The why of it is something that cannot be summed up concisely and, in truth is unprovable (I doubt there are any smoking guns around, and know that any quality journalists with the will and ability to pursue these issues, on the chance there are…concentrate on things other than football. Anyone who doubts the state of absolute rottenness of the majority of the media (and, alas, politicians, and police..) does so in ignorance of the firm evidence handily provided by the hacking scandal.

    Here’s a revealing snippet : when the story broke, and the Guardian challenged the idea from the police and the rest of the media that more (hundreds or indeed thousands) people had been hacked than claimed at the original trial, the Daily Mail was among those who castigated them for this, and then the Press Complaints commission (body of influential journalists supposedly governing newspaper behavior) launched two official and serious attacks on the Guardian, again claiming they were in the wrong and that there was no reason to believe more people had been hacked. These reports were overseen bya mr Paul Dacre and one of his trusted lieutenants from the daily mail, because,yep, the notorious editor of the Mail ,Dacre, was the big cheese in the Pcc at the time. Here’s the astonishing bit for anyone who has stuck with me : police had visited Dacre long before the guardian story broke to tell him that four Mail journalists (including Dacre himself I think) had been hacked. So that’s the most powerful editor in the country, helmsman of a paper which constantly promotes itself as protectors of morality, looking to ruin a rival with accusations of gross incompetence or even lies, when they knew the story was truth. That is our society circa 2014. Football is a part of it. Would be mad to think power doesn’t operate in the same way there or that a better and more moral class of people sit at the top.

    No exaggeration to say it’ll scar me for life if there is no in-your-face redemption at the end of Wenger’s reign, but for various reasons I think it’s very likely it won’t end well now.

    The chance to avoid that fate was missed for me this Summer. A man of his intelligence must have known long ago what he is up against in terms of opposition tactics and refereeing behavior (the media, I expect he is wise enough to ignore for the corrosive effects on the soul, though that too feeds into it). And so a team needed to be built which fully took this into account. In short, they needed to overinvest a little, add some real devilment and strength into the core of the team, and absolutely not rely on the hope that maybe this’ll be the year that ,should fair play not magically improve a little, refs will at least up their game and deal with it better, allowing a team of very talented footballers to grow together and maybe not get the title this time but certainly improve a lot on recent years

    We’ve a team which would earn many more points in a league where fair play and positive football reigned, and we’d still earn a lot more points if this wasn’t the case but refs were good at their job, but unfortunately that’s not the league, and there’s no reason for a smart man not to understand that.

    There’s no way to get a better deal from refs on the current path, nor for the media to change their ways and tune, and I think it’s a misunderstanding to imagine there can be any gains by confronting the incompetence (or worse) or lies and hypocrisy directly. No chance. We are right up against it, and the minds we might hope to challenge or change are essentially unchangeable by fair means. Only one thing would do it, allbeit obliquely, and that is by winning things. Essentially that is what the football argument is in the press : who wins. They see who wins, revere them, and retrospectively create the story from there.

    Success, and more favorable treatment, is now likely to return only when we have a more cynical operator in charge. Our own Abramovich, Mourinho, Mendes or perhaps all three and then some. It sucks, but it looks inevitable. Only full recognition of that and action against it, including overstretching financially, this summer, and including upping the cynicsim quotient a little, seemed capable of avoiding this scenario.

  22. The point of my suggestions is that they are actually easy to operate.
    Multiball exists already – it’s use just has to be extended.
    The card system exists – just make it easier for refs to apply by making it slightly more graduated and (maybe) regulated by the fourth official.
    Instant reviews exist – they just aren’t used to help officials get things right.
    The only additional (new) thing that I’m thinking might be needed is the sin bin because a, more rigourously applied, card system might actually. in the short term, increase rotaional fouling. The sin bin would be an insurance policy against that.

  23. Wonder if Webb , in the capacity of his new role at the pgmol, will come out and explain the decisions of that ref yesterday to us fans… he promised?
    I remember speaking to an ex ref at a function a few years back. He told me a few things. Amongst other things, he thought there was serious concern at the lack of numbers, ability, and mental strength of the refs coming through. The word …recruitment crisis was mentioned. He thought there was a bit of a gentlemans agreement with the media not to dwell too much on ref mistakes, so as not to discourage new refs coming through. Not saying I agree with him on this, just repeating what I was told…..but even if there is such a policy, it is at best, selective.
    Personally, I am convinced at least one or two of them are on someone’s payroll. The rest, bias, a north south thing….perhaps excepting Chelsea,incompetence, direct or perceived orders from above, take your pick. But they are not doing their job, that’s for sure

  24. Agree Rich, we need to get a bit more cynical to compete in this environment, not sure Wenger is the man for that though, he is a sporting romantic.

  25. Mandy

    While we may be powerless to do anything about corruption and collusion, the now repetitive lack of concentration is something that should not be tolerated at Arsenal. Why did the team after spending 15 minutes with the manager return to the pitch lacking focus and concentration yesterday andnotfor the first time?

    We have no leaders off the pitch and no leaders on the pitch. We are bullied by just about everyone from the opposition to the media and the refs right now, and the club and players are allowing it to happen.

  26. or just maybe the boos were for the performance

    and maybe just maybe the you don’t know what you’re doing was aimed at the manager

    G – this is just silly. I can’t believe you were there.

  27. Let us attempt to apply some reasonable perspective:

    Hazard runs into Chambers, yellow card and foul.
    Diame pulls Flamini from behind arm around the neck. No foul.

    Seems clear enough!

  28. g

    You seem to have no idea of the notion of debating what is written about in the article. I am sure you want to engage in your own debate but this is not the place to do it.

  29. The incredibly disingenuous troll above denies the crowd were booing the official.
    Even more stupid is the attempt to highlight the yellow given to the Arsenal keeper in the Besiktas game late on, a game where the Besiktas keeper had been time wasting from the off!

    Oh dear. Back to the Groaning Board.

  30. The boos were clearly directed at the officials.

    I saw a later interview of Bruce – when asked about the Diame foul on Flamini he stated that Flamini was trying to obstruct Diame. But, watching his facial movements, he was lying and knew he was lying.

    I have re-watched the incident several times, Flamini was clearly ahead of Diame when he was hauled aside by shirt and neck – how the ref and linesman decided this was not a foul defies logic and honesty.

  31. The time wasting yesterday hit a new low when Dawson had to go off and took an eternity to slowly hobble off the field by taking the long route across the pitch rather than leaving at the nearest point available by the goal. Then when the game restarted with an uncontested dropped ball instead of Huddlestone giving it straight back to Arsenal he took the opportunity to waste a few more seconds by slowly dribbling a few yards before hoofing it downfield to Szczęsny. If you add the minutes taken up by injuries and substitutions the amount of time added on for timewasting was virtually non existent. It’s a disgrace. The effect of time wasting is two fold, apart from the obvious it also disrupts the impetus and flow of the attacking teams game and frustrates and annoys the players in to the bargain. It’s an insidious form of gamesmanship really, simply calling it timewasting is not enough.

  32. MY final point as it seems clear that disagreeing with the party line results in an accusation of trolling

    No – the problem is not one of putting counter arguments but of going utterly off topic. This is a piece about corruption within football and the way journalists engage in lazy journalism. Your comment is not about this at all.

  33. It’s funny how trolls have selective amnesia . 80% of them agree on the flamin foul. Bit yet they blame Wenger for the draw. Ok let’s put it in simple leyhmans terms. If it was a foul which we agree on . It means arsenal would have won 2-1. So then is it Wengers fault that it wasn’t 2-1?. Even with a Wenger out a gender you starting to look more stupid than ever. AAA’s denial of refs corruption is wearing thin now.

  34. Controversial territory here, but I’ll go right ahead:

    Would anyone know if David Ellery was an exceptional case, or were there other refs drawn from his (jeez, what’s another term for class?)..ok, class, back then.

    He was around in my first ten years (8- 18 roughly) of watching the game, and while I’d be lying if I said I remembered individual performances at all, I do remember him sending off Keane a number of times, all correctly. Basically, each sending off was for incidents broadly similar to those Rooney got away with (the forearm for Mccarthey, kicking a Stoke player off the ball, the one at Cardiff next year, countless other games where he should have had a couple of yellows) in the following ten years.

    My question is whether there was a change in the profile of refs as money flooded into the game. Ellery, from what I recall, was very much a figure who’d be percieved as aloof back then, and unthinkable now. An intelligent man with a career outside the game, drawn to it by a love of discipline and probity. Basically, the profile you still get with plenty of refs in Europe, especially Germany.

    In the exact same way some will dismiss ideas such as those here by saying ‘you can’t be right, because someone somewhere in the media would be seeing it as you do- it’s the law of averages!’, people will say it’s impossible to end up with a pool of refs who all behave in the same way and exhibit the same biases (‘no! Law of averages. If most were rubbish, there’d be a few who weren’t and this would draw attention to the failings of the rest!’) but this ignores the fact that if the flaws are at the top of the system, it follows that all else flows from there, specifically, the wrong/right type of ref/journalist will not be filtered up to the higher positions.

    At the start of the season, I happened to catch two outstanding performances from a ref (Don’t know his name, but he looks like a healthy version of Dougie Freedman )in the lower leagues. Each of them were the equivalent of a player having a near-perfect day. Most impressive of all was his ability to avoid falling into the many justice-traps waiting for refs : he didn’t buy diving; after giving a correct big decision against the home team, he was able to keep going against them if that was the right call, despite the home crowd whipping up a false sense of being a wronged party; he was wise to how players can be infected by the false sense of injustice from a home crowd and think that gives them the right to commit fouls.

    The ideal ref would be able to, while keeping an eye on if anyone has totted a up a number of infringements, block out a crowd totally (and the players, who unfortunately are inherently dishonest now), and basically hit the reset button after every restart and look at each incident in its own right. A simple task, but few can do it. He just kept making the right call time and again in a difficult environment. Now, two games is a small sample size, but this guy looked so so much better than any prem refs I can think of (apart from when you take them out of the prem- I’ve seen the likes of Atkinson and Webb have brilliant games away from the league, or in relatively obscure games between smaller clubs), and I guess it says something about my take on the prem that I was thinking ‘he’ll never get to the top. Not if he keeps this up’ He wasn’t sticking to the norms, or reffing in an ass-covering way.

    Ellery sticks out as a clue to me as to how things have developed.

    Was he a total exception back then, or has the profile of refs changed a great deal in the country since the money flooded in?

  35. @rich

    Good post.

    Agree with most however I can’t see how “winning” the FA Cup has made any difference whatsoever.

    The club has certainly not gained any more recognition from the referees. I could argue it’s made the bias appear even worse.

    And the media narrative merely changes, the next point of negativity is quickly brought into focus and then churned out over and over again.

    The continuous “X years without a Trophy” mantra wasn’t all it was cracked up to be after all.

    This unjust must be challenged. Things can and do change in time.

  36. I am sure money has changed things with the refs….indeed I believe one or two may be especially fond of the games new found money. But I think the biggest change in refereeing in recent years, was appointing a widely known biased, Man Utd supporting, Fergie fearing referee as head of the pgmol. That appointment sent out a message to all refs, and did they listen! No wonder the likes of Chelsea, and City felt they had to spend an absolute sugar daddy subsidised fortune to compete with the status quo. Fergie has gone, the years of spending money appear to be paying off for City and Chelsea. Mike Riley remains.

  37. Mandy, I agree with your comment. But, I think additionally someone came along who sought to develop and use the situation to his advantage – hence my post above.

  38. While there is little doubt that English referees have accepted incentives, in fact it would be shocking if they didn’t, I believe the vendetta is against Wenger and will continue until he is gone.

  39. The corruption started with the creation of a limited company as a monopoly supplier of match officials. There should be open competition and transparency of random selection of officials rather than appointment. If there is no other match official supplier then the officials should be contracted to the FA and appointed randomly. Money laundering may have a part to play in the current system but that is only a possibility.

    Nothing excuses the blindness of officials to violent throat grabbing of a player. The offence was a RED card offence.

  40. And his interview with Jacqui Oatley yesterday after the game did him or Arsenal no favours. If its one thing English people despise its arrogance. You’d think after 18 years he would know this. His PR role as Arsenal manager throughout the years has been nothing short of disgraceful for a manager

  41. @InitialsBB,
    what did he do say that made him disgraceful?
    like what? Give example please.

  42. BB 1.22, agree, there is a vendetta against Wenger, prob not the club, and it will continue until he departs.
    As for the Jacqui Oatley interview, he wouldn’t be the first manager to get a bit tetchy with a reporter. Fergie has done far worse, as has a certain eye gouger, even Roy Hodgson has got in on the act lately.
    Some of the English people….and media seem to lap up the arrogance of Jose?

  43. Yassin. As you obviously do not speak or understand English very well I will repeat it just for you.

    I said his PR (thats public relations for you) role throughout the years has been disgraceful, not his interview yesyerday. His attitude in his interview yesterday was just arrogant and disrespectful after being asked perfectly reasonable questions. Wenger hands the media the stick to beat him with yet again. He just does not learn

  44. Tasos,

    You say, “Agree with most however I can’t see how “winning” the FA Cup has made any difference whatsoever.

    The club has certainly not gained any more recognition from the referees. I could argue it’s made the bias appear even worse.”

    And you’re right. I’ll hazard a guess here. What if we weren’t supposed to win the FA Cup–and then won anyway? Would vengeance be a possible consequence? I can’t remember officiating this biased before. It used to be we’d get a horrible match, and then maybe an OK match or two. This season, almost every match has had obvious game-changing decisions go against us, decisions that are so obviously wrong that even openly biased pundits admit it. Would it be so bad if we had just submitted and lost the FA Cup? I don’t know, but I have my suspicions.

  45. So if you disagree with the article your comments are removed or shortened to one or two lines

    No – you have not been writing about the issue within the article. You are going into a complete different discussion. Your points are covered in many other articles here and elsewhere, so make your points there. Don’t distract people from debating the issue raised in an article.

    Besides which, calling a writer or editor of a site “childish” just because your comment isn’t published, as you did in your latest piece, is not likely to get you published on any site. I would have thought that obvious.

  46. @Tasos.

    True (about FA Cup). It probably says something, maybe something not good, about me that it barely enters my head to think of the cup win as a big success.

    It was an enjoyable ride (more relief than outright joy for me) but I never imagined for a moment it would earn us much respite from the critics/refs. I might be naive to think a league win would sort things. But that gets the order wrong somewhat : to get the league win I believe we needed to spend a bit more money than we comfortably can, and make sure we sorted out dm position (in truth I also crave a different cb partner for Koscielny)
    Now that you mention the cup,though, we had about four strong claims for a pen in the game, and could easily have lost it on account of none of them being given.

    Even victory didn’t much lessen my disturbance at that.

    Despite the mockery it induces from many quarters, I see us as being in the classic position of the bullied, and I think our choice of how to deal with it- sticking to principles, looking to overcome adversity through reputable means (in football terms, a focus on quality and basic values)- is, though relatively noble (though in fact it should just be called normal), a misjudgement : life has to be faced as it is not how it ought to be, and even the concept of noble defeat is one that resides only in human minds, not out there objectively in the universe, i.e those who write the stories decide what’s noble. So in the poplular chronicles there is, as mentioned above, no nobility in the way things have gone in the last ten years.

    And Wenger is likely to be considered a man who had it, then lost it. No matter how convinced you may be that’s not the full, real story, and I am, there’s not much to do about it, other than vent down in the margins of the Internet. And hope until the last that he can pull it out of the bag and orchestrate the leap needed in performance to overcome the obstacles to big success . I’m hoping still, but I’m dismayed he didn’t make what I see as needed concessions to reality in the shape of a meaner, faster centre back to go with Koscielny (Manolas looked a great shout to me) and a big physical presence at dm (I like the look of Gonalons).

    Honestly, I feel the chance went this Summer, and the fact it was allowed to makes me think there’s little reason to believe that mistake will be corrected supposing they get to Jan in half decent shape. I’d say there’s about a 30% chance of us finally stepping over into the crisis we’ve flirted with so many times before then. Two wins in eight. There is little room for error now until Jan, and yet as it stands winning any game looks a trial and we look well capable of a few truly bad results on the spin. I’d put it at 40% at the moment this will be Wenger’s last year.

    Like I said earlier, will scar me for life. I need it to be turned around not just for the joy it’ll give me and pain it’ll avvoid now, but because of what it would retrospectively do for the last decade and his whole tenure in fact. I believe he’s a good man in a not-so-good environment, a good manager who, despite making a few egregious errors in my opinion, has deserved to keep his position all along and deserves it still (though now it is an uncomfortably close call), and I believe he has faced awesome challenges as the money has flooded in during the last decade.

    But, i am not at all hopeful. Curiously enough, the book I’m reading on Wenger at the moment emphasizes one of the key tenets of his approach to life, and the thing that has won over nearly all players who work with him : he trusts people. Treats them as human beings, shows them respect, encourages instead of kicking someone who is down, and is said to be big on fairness and tolerance of different approaches to life. Those are pretty good qualities for a human being to have if being good and doing right is the aim, but you have to wonder just how the hell that reconciles you to the football world as it is. We’ve seen players tend to respond well to it in terms of, ultimately, becoming better players, but it doesn’t particularly promote loyalty (probably nothing can : paying extra cash is what promotes loyalty), doesn’t win firends in the media or within the corridors of power in the game, and that while it may not preclude you from performing in the long run as well or a little better than your budget should dictate, it doesn’t appear capable of taking you beyond that, not post-2004.

  47. @InitialsBB,

    No I do speak and understand English well enough, not my mother language but still.

    I know what you mean by PR, and I did not listen to the interview. Was he arrogant ( or angry, pissed off,…)? I dont know. But to call him disgraceful when we have some people like Morinho and (previously) Fergie around? Ok whatever, tell me what should he do? What was your point? If you dont want to answer it then why did you write it in the first place?

  48. Mandy – .and media seem to lap up the arrogance of Jose.

    He is a proven liar and still they love him.

  49. Mandy. From your knowledge I suspect you are English and your being more than a little disingenuous as you fully understand what I am saying.

    Ferguson often had a go but man u managed the press well through success and good PR within the club. Mourinho manages them by sucking up to the right people, telling them what they want to hear and being successful. Wenger on the other hand hands them the stick to beat him by making the same mistakes over and over and constantly proving them right.

  50. @BB

    Come off it – you try to patronize and insult Yassin but what you are really doing is useing the situation to feed your self indulgent ego.

    Yassin asked you a sensible question and you try to twist it as outlined above.

    In general – the attack on Arsenal may be focused on AW just now – but the reason behind this is that AW supports the board, indeed he is seen by certain people as a cornerstone in retaining the board in its present form. Hence, those who want to change the allegiance or make up of the board want to remove AW as a first step. It has nothing to do with football, but football is the excuse.

    As for the interview with the BBC – AW was and remains a gentleman compared to Red Nose, Mourinho, etc. AW has been very circumspect over the years – despite provocation from the media, PGMOL and idiot sections of so called fans.

  51. Yassin. My point thats lost on you is that for a msnager, he has no PR skills, never has. For any manager at any business or top club after 18 years, thats disgraceful. Hope I have simplified sufficiently

  52. InitialsBB, Thank you for answering, and I like to end it here as you lack PR skills yourself too. I had always respected you all along although we did not agree on a lot of points, I have never attacked you once. Still you couldnt hold your nerves to answer my simple question.
    Nevermind, I promise you I wont bother you with my English nor my understanding skills anymore.

  53. BB @ 2.25pm

    Bollocks! AW has superb PR skills – and out maneuvers the press time and time again.

    But sometimes there is a time when it is better to let the press know that they are prats – just like letting a whining AAAA know when he is being economical with the truth.

  54. For those who are interested, here the:

    RULES for manipulating public opinion.

    1 Focus on emotion, not facts.

    2 Choose words carefully for their emotional impact.

    3 The mob(that is, you and me in their thinking) is not logical, so motivation must be based on the way you present the issue, not on logic.

    4 People being incapable of rational thought, therefore true freedom is dangerous to the state.

    5 Important decisions are to be made by the Experts, and defer technical decisions to someone educated, sanctioned or accredited by the state institutions.

    6 When re-framing issues under public scrutiny, stay away from substance, instead, create images.

    7 Never openly state a demonstrable (clearly apparent or capable of being logically proved) lie, instead, explain around it.

    Arsenal has really irked someone “up there”, and i am beginning to think that it somehow relates to the moment AW stepped foot in UK.
    Remember the first attack? They expected him to fold, but he out thought them. Now, they will attack him until they take him down.

    This next is pure speculation by me, but i have seen similar “character assassinations”, (just think of the assassination of the character of black people in slavery times for one.).

    I think AW probably has knowledge that they are afraid of, refuses to get with their program, this is why he is targeted so much. Now Arsenal bosses are not stupid, else they would not hire and stand by AW through all this, so they also bear the attack.

    Think on this, if Arsenal bosses were not as stand up as AW, they would have let him go aeons ago.

  55. I agree bjt, and the BBC reporter was out out needle him having jumped on the bandwagon.

  56. @Rich

    Once again good post.

    Arsene Wenger’s principles are what I most admire in the man. I wouldn’t want him to change his ways for the sake of other less credible managers just because that’s the only perceived path to success.

    I have also pondered the thought that Arsene Wenger is now the sole cause of our plight from officialdom and once he steps down then the clubs fortunes will take a change for the better but I now consider that trade-off as naive.

    What really irks Me as an Arsenal fan nowadays isn’t so much losing, or not winning but it’s the whole injustice of it. Yesterday’s match was as far removed from escapism as I can remember. Watching Arsenal get screwed over time and again in the Premier League has become an ordeal, mental torture.

  57. Yassin. I dont need PR skills. I am not the manager of arsenal and it does not really matter what you or anyone else thinks or writes about InitialsBB. You get it?

  58. InitialsBB

    To believe there’s a right way for him to handle the media ,without dramatically compromising his values (and even that probably wouldn’t work at this stage. Minds are made up and agenda’s in place), is to believe the media isn’t in large part comprised of people who wouldn’t, once they have a target, in a two choice scenario (a simplification, but the best way to illustrate how they behave), wait until the target makes the choice, A or B, and then criticism them for whichever one they choose, suggesting that in fact they should have made the other choice.

    To borrow and tweak the words of Walter White a little :’ [‘I truly believe there exists some combination of words. There must exist certain words in a certain specific order that can’] garner a positive reaction for Wenger in the press.’ Nope, when their minds are made up you can keep them at bay with one thing- success (arguing against that is to argue against the model of the world they constantly push, and for that reason alone they will only furtively and half-heartedly do so)- but you cannot win them over with logic, reasonableness or any form of good behaviour.

    They like and respond well to the Ferguson way. A clever fellow like Mourinho saw this and is running with it to the max (he wants that spot : dominance of the league, favours from refs, help from the media, dodgy financial dealings which no-one will investigate, power, power, power, and though he isn’t in the ideal spot for it- I’m sure he knows Old Trafford is the place for that- it’s pretty good where he is, and he’s probably feeling very good about life at the moment.

    Wenger ,like everyone else, is a flawed man, but he is not flawed in that way. And those sticks raining down on him are wielded by people whose noses were instantly put out of joint by the man on his arrival- he’s never shown any willingness to join their game (never done one-on-one interviews or fed a morsel to the media, for a start, which is clearly a bad move for someone who wants to make the media work for him), and the majority of positions he takes are more or less directly hostile (in a hypocritical, cynical world, not being a cynical hypocrite draws attention to cynical hypocrites, and they will never forgive this even if, in truth, it’s not costing them anything. There must always be the slight fear in even the worst of them that one day maybe someone will call them on it) to the prevailing way of it- but who had to hold back a lot when he was winning. For years they’ve been at liberty to whack and whack away at him, but frustratingly he’s still around, which no doubt is enough to make a stick-wielder pretty angry.

  59. BJT,
    Spot on. And now the rest of the scum press are jumping on the bandwagon trying to make out that it was because she was a woman that he was attempting to belittle her.
    He belittld her because she asked fucking stupid questions and got what she deserved. I suspect she was put up there to do exactly that. Essentially she has been stood up in order to create for the scum press another stick with which to beat Wenger. These people are truly the lowest of the low.

  60. @Tasos,
    I never cared about football until the day I was flipping through Tab channels and I saw an awesome lob from Vieira, layed down by Bergkamp for Henry to shot as the ball went wide. I looked and I said to myself “Is this possible?”. I watched the whole Arsenal Bolton game and saw an amazing goal scored by Wiltord if my memory serves me. After that I kept watching Arsenal until I fell in love with them, their class, their style, and their respecr gained by that classy style. Not the trophy nor invincibles were the reasons I folloqwd Arsenal, it was the stype of play. And this style is what I want to continue even if we win no more trophies, and this class I want mainatined no matter what happened. We get angry after the match, sad, we swear and damn. But in the end we can be proud of what we have and how we do it. Hope one day all these cheating will be shown to public, and all those cheaterd be taken to court, so I can hold by head up high that my team never did go that path no matter what.

  61. Rich.

    I fully sgree with you. However sometimes a person hss to compromise their own values towards the greater good.

    Everyone here believes our relationship with the media and referees is the primary reason we are being held back. Surely the manager has the responsibility to rectify or ensure measures are put in place to rectify this?

  62. Maybe slightly of subject Maureen has stated if he had pushed Arsene he would have been charged by the FA . By not charging Arsene the FA have taken the heat away from themselves over a diabolical refereeing performance which would surely be the highlight at the hearing . To me everything in the EPL is orchestrate no matter what , you cant fight fire with fire because of bias towards Arsenal

  63. The interview with bbc heard it and I have no issue with that.Today becomes an issue when Lineker tweets.

    I keep re – listening and I don’t know where the problem.

    Sorry but I cannot jump on the wagon .

    Wenger is a manager that I respect but I don’t think that his positive outweigh his negatives anymore.
    Untold as you are affiliate with the club the view of referees and the data that you had other that to entertain yourself and some readers I don’t think has any objectivity.

    If one have to believe at what you write about ref and media the very first people you should take accountable would be the manager.

    Why he don’t speak about it ?
    Why he don’t hire personel that match the reality ?

    Why should not the club make some statement if there is cheating by the ref ?

    I can carry on and on but the simple fact for me is Wenger is not a a man he should be at the front and central of the club anymore.

    Willsher Ramsey if you ask me are one season wonder so far.Then you got the likes Ox who stil have to impress. There is big expectation to win something with the core of the almighty England players at Arsenal.It is a media hype you like it and you don’t moan about it.

    I am afraid we are having to many ovrr rated English players and you win nothing with overrated players.

    Arsene please go upstairs I do not want to see you anymore. Enough is enough.

  64. We can point fingers and blame the cunts at the pgmol, but, season after season we know Arsenal we fall foul. We are always one injury or suspension away from disaster, by know you’d of thought the management would of be well aware of this.

    Wenger/Arsenal knows this, just as we the fans know Mourinho is a complete shit-stain of human being, either the management is too naive or lack the ruthlessness?

  65. Tasos

    ‘What really irks Me as an Arsenal fan nowadays isn’t so much losing, or not winning but it’s the whole injustice of it. Yesterday’s match was as far removed from escapism as I can remember. Watching Arsenal get screwed over time and again in the Premier League has become an ordeal, mental torture.’

    Wow. It’s weird to hear someone state it as succinctly as that. Couldn’t agree more. I’m embarrassed by how painful I find it most of the time now. Feel a bit like a lab rat who’s been subjected to a hundred or two zaps too many by unscrupulous scientists. Expecting the zap (being screwed over) at every instant. A world away from how I watch any other football, regardless of whether the players are getting away with stuff or a ref is having a rubbish game. Basically most of my pleasure in the game comes from watching non-Arsenal games- specifically world cups and Euros and European games with no prem teams. With Arsenal now it’s more unbearable tension, punctuated by occasional relief,many more negative zaps, and quite a lot of extreme lows. All in all, pretty messed up for something which began as almost entirely enjoyable, and which is supposed to offer the same sort of thing now.

    The worry is that the players ,too, must experience a version of this, even though it must be imperative for them to try downplay this, as it would damage their ability to function as footballer’s to a huge degree. The knowledge that they are likely to get zapped at any moment must have bled into the players long ago. It means they are conditioned to expect to get less than they should in fouls given for them, and more than they should against. That is not a good place to be working from in an uber-competitive environment. Good defenders and defensive midfielders tend to be people who operate on the edge, on a game-by-game basis they try to tune into how a ref is reffing and see what they can get away with. The ultra cynical do this only to a greater degree. Our players meanwhile are surely being conditioned to approach it in an altogether more tentative way (Interestingly Chambers has, to date, clearly defied this. He looks exactly like a guy who has not yet absorbed the lay of the land. Fouls quite a lot, gets booked every game.)

    If you were an Arsenal player, would you expect to get away with the shirt pulling that makes up a big part of the way players like,say, Skrtel and Shawcross go about their defensive business, would you think you can get away with a lot of tactical fouls, or think to go down the way Lampard did for a pen yesterday? Would you think, in a really big game which is evenly poised, that you could get away with homing in like an arrow, ignoring the ball, with massive force, on an opponent’s ankle? You’d be mad to, and that’s a big disadvantage to carry

    Maybe in the first few weeks after joining the club you would- as Gervinho and Cazorla did at first- soon after that, no, you’d be conditioned not to. Not only is that a direct disadvantage but I’d think it gets into the head in other insidious ways ,too, and I’ve wondered for years now whether a top footballer with plenty of choices for his career would, if he’s smart, be influenced by this and think ‘why would I go there/stay here and put up with that rubbish (and a massively increased risk of a broken leg), when I could go elsewhere and not have to deal with it’

    Anyway, I’ve talked way too much (surely an attempt to exorcise some angst) today and my head is frazzled, but it’s been good to see that there are people as fed up of it all as I am, and in your case ,Tasos, it was incredible to see such a good description of the way it’s been for me for ages now.

  66. “People will love you. People will hate you. And none of it will have anything to do with you.”
    —Abraham Hicks

  67. Tony/Walter: whilst I almost always agree with much you have/do write/written, the fact remains – unless the Officials of Arsenal FC take action or at least be vocal about this continuous injustice towards the club, we can go blue in the face (fingers) writing here about what we notice as clear match rigging week in week out – but I fear the only ones who will end up with egg on our face are us the fans!

  68. PR Man in a Balloon
    A PR man in a hot air balloon realized he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a woman below. He descended a bit more and shouted, “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”

    The woman below replied, “You’re in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You’re between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude.”
    “You must be an engineer,” said the PR guy.
    “I am,” replied the woman, “How did you know?”
    “Well,” answered the balloonist, “everything you told me is technically correct, but I’ve no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I’m still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help at all. If anything, you’ve delayed my trip.”
    The woman below responded, “You must be in public relations.”
    “I am,” replied the balloonist, “but how did you know?”
    “Well,” said the woman, “you don’t know where you are or where you’re going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise, which you’ve no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve all your problems. The fact is, you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met but now, somehow, it’s my fault.”

  69. Don’t allow yourself to be broken by someone who is insecure , jealous or manipulative.
    You are worth far more than that .
    Anna Pereira.
    Circles Of Inspiration

  70. rsenal may be eleven points off the leaders, but they are somehow in sixth place in spite of only winning two matches. It means the holy grail of Champions League qualification is still very much on the agenda, but as far as another 30 Premier League matches are concerned, this observer can’t get particularly excited about that. It already feels like it is going to be a long season, which really shouldn’t be the case in mid-October. There will be no title challenge this time around, and the main reason for that is that Arsenal are not good enough defensively. And you don’t need to have worked half a day in football to know whose responsibility that is. Another two and a half years of this. Roll on 2017, and please God, not another contract for the man from Alsace. Or is purgatory an infinite state of affairs?

  71. Who else has seen the long version of the MOTD interview? Wenger: ‘We concede too many goals’ Reporter: ‘Do you understand the calls for a DM and CB?’ Wenger: ‘I understand everything’ Then later… Wenger: ‘It wasn’t due to a lack of DM and CB’ Reporter: ‘But you said you concede too many goals.’ Wenger: ‘Other teams have bought many defenders and still concede goals’. So there you have it. Other teams have problems too, so why bother with ours. Apart from that, some good analysis by Kev and some good comments. Don’t know if falling out of the top 4 would see Wenger go, unless the lack of CL made it feel pointless to him. If he wanted to carry on he could just make up the profit deficit by selling a couple of our ‘star names’. Kroenke would be happy with AFC becoming a midtable club that make a profit that way. Fans not turning up would make a big difference as TV doesn’t want empty stadiums on their cameras and the issues that have led to that would be highlighted by the media. It’s not realistic to think that will happen however as AFC have such an enormous ‘catchment area’ (global) so can fill up that stadium with people there for the ‘matchday experience’, on pitch performance and result secondary – just for as many, support for Wenger has become decoupled from performances and results. They continue to support him for partly non-footballing reasons e.g. he’s been there a long time, it would remind them that time is passing if he went, he’s a different type of bloke to other managers etc. Once you bring in these sorts of reasons, there are then no circumstances under which they’d think he should go.

  72. Still vivid are the sounds of many AAA’s calling for Kloop to come in place AW…guess where Kloops Super managed team sists today in the Bundes League???

  73. @para

    I agree with you. I think Wenger and Arsenal do have some information that could be very damaging for football. Wenger has stated on more than one occasion that when he retires he is going to tell the world what he knows. When he has said this in the past the tone of his comment has always been one of ‘you won’t believe what I will tell you’. I think it very well could be that they want Wenger to have an outburst with all this information whilst he is still managing so it will come across as him being a sore loser. The constant baiting and strange decisions might well be designed to draw him out into the open on what he knows so that it can be discredited as comments in the heat of battle – they could also suspend him and fine him et al.

    If he does have something to say and does it when he is retired in a very calm and cool way then it will be devastating.

  74. @jayramfootball
    October 19, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Whilst I do hope AW has plenty hidden in his draw against this scum…I do believe that he is not the type to say anything AT ALL unless he has tangible – concrete evidence to back up whatever he may say. In which case he could open the draw RIGHT now!

  75. The sun have published a tweet tonight pointing out that you can fly to every Real Madrid home game for cheaper than an Arsenal season ticket, £1,523 against £2,013. I didn’t know you could get a return ticket to Madrid for £58.57!!!

    The point is it is more lazy agenda driven journalism that the general public will look at and think is correct and repeat it as if it was true. I bet the seats at the Emirates are more comfortable and the service in the bars of those season tickets is better than the junk seats you will get on whichever budget airline the sun used for that tweet

  76. Rich at 4.29.

    That is exactly it. Beautiful football, and yet you can’t enjoy it because you know a bunch of cheats are depriving Arsenal of the rightful rewards their play deserves.

    It must have an effect on the players and all I can say is, all the more credit to them that they still play their hearts out and offer us beautiful football. How many shots was it yesterday – 22?

  77. What All Club Supporters Can Do

    We do have a possible means of making our views known. It does require that we do a little manual typing.

    The FA has a program, whereby people can register to be able to send email to The FA. It takes a bit of time to register, and there is nothing stopping The FA from have a killfile on their end, whereby they automagically delete any email that comes from an ID listed in the killfile (the term killfile from from NNTP and Usenet).

    But, The FA also has a website. It can be reached for unencrypted HTTP at Websites can also set up SSL encrypted connections, which listen for the HTTPS protocol. The FA does not SSL encrypted connections set up, but it does have a redirect to the HTTP service.

    The web server in question, has to respond to all HTTP requests (and redirected HTTPS requests). It parses the URL requested, and probably turns this into a SQL query for a previously generated static page or some dynamically generated content. (I am glossing over details.) It may or may not find content to go with the URL requested, if it cannot find content it is supposed to return a 404 error code.

    If all fans of the EPL dissatisfied with the PGMOL started to send in URL requests to the HTTPS service especially, of the form, the web server for TheFA has to process those requests (twice in the case of HTTPS). And the URL searched for will end up in the logs. How many fans worldwide would it take to double how much work TheFA website has to do each day just by sending one or two URL requests shaped to show discontent? How much would those requests increase the size of the logs? A competent sysadmin would soon notice that people were unhappy. What I do not know, is if that sysadmin would push data to head office outlining how much discontent is being seen.

    For people to send many such requests (or even write programs to do so), would constitute a denial of service attack, which many countries have laws against. A couple of manually typed URL requests shouldn’t be construed as a DOS attack.

  78. I do apologise for the being able to read all 80 or so comments – and as mine is at the bottom of what is a now dated post, i do doubt much of a response -BUT

    My stance on the time wasting is as follows:

    Fans get angry at a 3% price increase in ticket prices

    Teams like Hull waste (and i would estimate here) probably between 5 – 10% of the match (as least 30 – 45 seconds per free-kick, goal kick, throw in etc .. not to mention their ‘injuries’)

    Surely, most fans cannot be stupid enough to not be equally, if not more pissed off at the game they are paying good money to watch is being wasted.

    This reminds me a bit of when cadburys or some other chocolate maker promised to keep thier prices the same, and then made ll of their chocolate bars 15% smaller or something!

    I would rather pay 3% more, if it ensured i would get 10% more product / service – that is basic maths, and common sense.

    Is there any way for someone to calculate how long is actually wasted in a game?

    Also, to those who attend matches – how hard would it be to start a new ‘chant’ if you will, in which as soon as the ball goes out of play, the fans start counting the seconds … would be quite hard to ignore tens of thousands counting … 21, 22, 23, 24 ..

    Kind of would visualise the blatant issue, if you will

  79. Ben

    I am going from memory. I think someone on Untold had reported that the average game has about 10% of the 90 minutes as wasted, and I will suggest that 10-90 percentile might be 5 to 20 minutes of wasted time per game. A long time ago I read about a game between two teams, probably in Greece, where the home team was only interested in time wasting. They kicked the ball out of play at every opportunity, and the fans would be slow in letting the ball come back into play. I think there was more than 60 minutes of time added on for stoppages in that game. I’ve since tried to find more information on this “longest game”, and have been unsuccessful.

    In any event, one suggestion I’ve read about is to move to stop time, and that a game might reasonably have 60 (or 70) minutes of stop time. From the old rule about the goalkeeper being allowed 6 seconds to get the ball back into play, I would suggest that FIFA thinks a game might be possible to play where all stoppages are limited to 6 seconds. If we had 100 stoppages in a game, that is 600 seconds (10 minutes) of wasted time.

    I think your idea of the fans counting how long stoppages are would be useful. However, I think the only way it would really work, is if the club actively put the timer on the big screen, and people could “chant along”. But if that was done, I suspect the league would have disciplinary proceedings against the team.

  80. Time for all true Gunners to take up the Sword (pen) Wright to all these Ass-holes TV Sky papers and of course The FA & Ref’s. we should make the club aware of the strong feeling brewing within the the majority of Arsenal’s support base.

  81. I get annoyed at time-wasting in general. It happens in so many matches, nothing new in this game!
    Maybe the referees don’t punish it so much is the same as they don’t give penalties for all the obvious wrestling/shirt-tugging in the penalty box. They are afraid to give so many penalties in one match or in the case of time-wasting so many warnings and yellow cards. The obvious logic of “we got punished for it, we won’t do it again” clearly doesn’t always seem to apply take Stoke yesterday who still did the shirt tugging and that at set pieces even after conceding a penalty!

    Refereeing is bad in all divisions pretty much everywhere, here’s a particularly entertaining example from League 1

    Surely there’s a simple solution to time wasting, follow a similar method to Rugby as far as I understand.
    When the ball goes out of play or the play is stopped, the clock stops.
    So for penalties, injuries, goal celebrations, throw ins, freekicks, corners, goal kicks, substitutions etc the clock only restarts when the ball is back in play. This means that the fans get their moneys worth (maybe…at least they see 90 minutes) and teams cannot use time-wasting to negatively influence the match. Do away with injury time that often sees late goal timing controversy and certain managers watch-pointing. It guarantees 90 minutes give or take a few seconds. Yeh you need someone to accurately start and stop the clock but it takes so many people to stage a football match, how hard can it be? It’s not like matches would take way longer than 90 minutes because in theory all stopages should be reasonably accounted for in the injury times so it wouldn’t messed around with Sky/BT Sports kick-off times and precious schedules (14:05 my arse!). One problem solved…?

  82. In a series of articles, Tony and Walter have raised a host of questions about refereeing in the EPL. These issues deserve more widespread discussion. Practically, however, these concerns must be allied with broader issues in soccer for others to take notice. Rather than writing to complain about the state of affairs, relate officiating questions to broader interest issues such as racism, sexism, and England’s poor showing in international competitions. Curiously, all the discussions and meliorative actions related to racism in the sport do not speak to issues of diversity among the referees. In a similar fashion, I recall only one female referee, and have heard no discussion about encouraging more females to enter the ranks of referees. Finally, one might argue that the recruiting international referees (from other countries) might better prepare English teams for international competitions. In short, a number of interests could profit from promoting greater diversity among referees.

    On a related note, Tony has identified the problem of rotational fouling and repeated fouling. In basketball, the scoreboard tracks the number of fouls, raises the stakes after a set number of fouls by the the team, and associates fouls with players names (typically lights behind a player’s name). If five yellow cards are good for a game suspension, then some specified number of fouls (even if they are by different players) could have some team consequence within the game (or even per half) or in terms of suspensions for future games. Furthermore, showing the fouls with names of players on a scoreboard is doable.

    Timewasting is another problem. In basketball, there is a limited amount of time to put the ball into play, or the ball goes over to the opposition. Once again, make use of the scoreboards that could show the countdown.

  83. The standard of officiating is poor in the league. Just look at the crazy penalty Stoke got against Swansea yesterday. There’s no collusion against Arsenal, just consistently poor refereeing. How could you possibly get every ref to collude against us? That would involve an awful lot of individuals. It’s as crazy as people who deny man went to the moon.

    We are victims of extreme bad luck with injuries and coupled with poor officiating it’s going to be a tough season.

  84. @ Alan_Gooner

    Same applies in Basketball, no problem.

    Timekeeper in the stand, big and visual clock timing down for ALL to see.

    Very very easy way to solve a massive frustration for the paying fan, thus enhancing the match-day experience.

  85. I’m pretty much with @Chapman’s ghost in that I find the idea of any sort of organised dodginess hard to believe. However I can well imagine that some level of socializing, albeit infrequently, could take place between managers and representatives of refereeing fraternity.

    Wouldn’t take much; expect they attend the same do’s together a few times a year, and I’m about 80% sure I heard one ref (probably Poll in his Mail column) gushing over a big-name manager who had helped his charity venture.

    In fact, Poll is probably an excellent source for gaining glimpses tantalizing glimpses into that world. There was a column about the immense fear referees would feel at Old Trafford and how proud he was to, in his opinion, have always resisted it (not quite getting the fact that there’s something distinctly wrong about refs feeling fear and enormous pressure there in the first place. You’d like to think that’s covered on day one of Top Ref school : your job is to become as immune to pressure as humanly possible and to treat each team exactly the same; we will support you in this in every way).

    More of a surprise was when he discussed a summer trip to Old Trafford in pre-season for what I can only assume is an annual thing for all clubs. They go in, speak to players and management about any initiatives for the new year. Again, my thought was : that shouldn’t happen. It’s hard to imagine anyone fit to organise referees not being able to see the importance of keeping professional distance at all times. Among the detail was a head-boggler about Gary Neville’s insitence that it was his right to claim for everything, vociferously, even when he knew it wasn’t the right call, i.e when it came off him for a throw or corner. The bizarre part being that the players were supposed to believe themselves that it was a throw as this would make the appeals convincing. Weird stuff, and for me a little insight into the winning-is-all psychology.

    Anyway, I don’t think anything is orchestrated against us behind the scenes, but it seems very likely they influence each other a lot and that there’s both a kind of group think and the knowledge, conscious or otherwise, that whereas making a big call against Ferguson provably had adverse effects on referee’s careers, calls against us have zero negative effect, or at least are handled extremely quietly and sensitively (don’t think Taylor did a game for a few weeks after the opener at Villa last year.

    The closed shop nature of the organisation is something of a headache. If indeed there was a distinct chilliness towards us in there, led from the top, the likelihood is they’ll keep on selecting the same kind of guys and policing themselves in ways which ensure the same stuff goes on and on. Really, it is absolutely crazy that they were allowed to break away and form a limited company or whatever the hell they did. Can’t think of any good reason for it.

    As for managers, they socialise together plenty I expect, and it was only years later that I realised our three horror injuries came against managers with very close links to the Original Dark One : Bruce, Mcleish, Pulis. Add Big Sam, Moyes, and You Know Who and you’re getting quite a club together ( No ‘break their legs’ talk but doubtless endless talk of how the thing to do was kick hard, get stuck right into them, etc, with somewhat inevitable consequences). I expect there are some advantages to be had there and am a bit surprised Mourinho isn’t doing more to cultivate relationships in the same way.

  86. @ Gord & apo Armani – thanks

    – i am not surprised that 10 – 15 % of a game is wasted at all
    – but surely if that much time is wasted 1) the game becomes boring to watch (especially as we all have short attention spans now! Thanks internet!) and 2) the fans are massively being cheated out of money.

    In a way, i can understand wasting time to allow your team to get organised and to catch their breath (however surely this is in detriment to more organised and fit teams?) – so i would be in favour of either a stop-clock (where the 90 minutes would stop every time the ball is out of play – as stated by both Bob Mac & Alan Gooner) or the correct ammount of added time being added to a game (plus 10% or so, for time wasted during this period) – also if this messes up TV schedules, then surely the premier leagues pay masters would exert some pressure on the leage to clamp down on time wasting ???

    I cannot see how Arsenal could be charged with displaying a count-down timer when the ball goes out of play as well – as surely it would be in the interest of ‘fostering closer community connections, and assisting in the inclusive and interactive vibrancy and atmosphere which premier league grounds are renowned for” (and which we are constantly criticized for lacking) – speech marks indicate what my actual press statement would be! 😛

    But i do see your point on how Arsenal would most likely be pressurised to stop this method – still, i would love to see 10,000 + fans taking the initiative, and i am sure it would soon spread, as most chants do (and best of all, its the easiest chant ever, as long as you have mastered your A B C’s! haha)

    In regards to some other comments on here about there not being an explicit ‘conspiracy’ against arsenal by ref’s – i would like to point out that firstly i do hope there is not one – however, secondly, the statistics raised, and the consistency of such actions taking place over the years leads me to believe that 1) arsenal are unfairly treated by refs – as it cannot statistically be possible for ‘bad luck’ to account for such actions, or 2) the refs are bad in every game, and we just notice it more because we actually support arsenal (in which case, the refs are still incompetent) – personally i believe it is a mixture of the first point (and also the fact that ref’s do not like us southern softies), and the 2nd point.

    I also love the idea of a ‘foul tracker’ – which again could easily be displayed on the scoreboard (as yellow / red cards are also shown there) – however it wouldnt address the tackles which were fouls, but the ref let slide (you know, with all that consistent, repetitive bad luck we have!)

    On a massively different subject, and my apologies in advance for digressing, but i would love Untold, or other bloggers reading, to examine the types of fouls / yellow cards collected, and compare this to the type of tackles (and any resulting injuries)
    – i was thinking today, arsenal get a lot of yellow cards, but i cannot for the life of me remember a time when one of our players deliberately or recklessly tackled another player, which resulted in a contact injury (easier to prove than subsequent muscle injuries as Theo suffered about a year ago now!)
    – i think we are one of the cleanest teams, and yet we get a yellow card for a slight shirt pull or accidental trip, as Cahill gets for trying to impress Shawcross with his tackling Skillzzzz – how can that be fair ? when was the last time arsenal injured an opposition player ? because i can think of about 10 players in this team who have lost numerous months due to such tackles!!!!

  87. Got to this late. Gem of an article Tony. Untold yet again carrying the flag for fair play and honesty.

    Can alternate match day footage be acquired at all?

  88. The only way to sort out time wasting and other cheating is to attack the FA and Premier League that ate in charge and want this to happen. These organisations need to be brought down and reformed. Whilst the power remains status quo fair play and sport lsmanship is impossible. It is quite unallowed.

    This is the only real question. Ignore the symptom attack the cause. But how? Any realistic option? Trolls don’t respond this is above your level.

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