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One thing that is very often said by fans from other teams or by our own fans is: if you take the decisions over the whole season the good and the bad one will even themselves out. Now do they really? It is just one of those general truths that goes around in the football world and it is mostly used to keep you quiet and make you shut up.
I wouldn’t be Walter if I thought it would be time to do some research on this. So I tried to do a complete review of the season so far. Of course you cannot take every decision in midfield and put it on a scale. No I just tried to take the most important decisions, those involved in red cards, goals, penalty’s and disallowed goals.
I must admit that I have not done this for MU and Chelsea as I did not see all their games. If someone has numbers about their decisions it would be nice to know them also.
It could be that I have missed on something so feel free to add the things I forgot. I only took the games that I think had anything to report. I report if it is a decision in our favour or against us and I give a very short description of the facts.
Arsenal – Portsmouth : 1 decision against us which cost us a goal : charge on our keeper.
MU-Arsenal: 2 decisions against us : 2 penaltyies not given (Arshavin + RVP)
ManC – Arsenal: 2 decisions against us : Tackle from Adebayor on Cesc (was yellow minimum – could have been red), stamp on the head of RVP by Adebayer should have been red) Ade was involved in the goals that followed.
Arsenal – Blackburn: 1 decision in our favour : penalty not given for Blackburn, 1 decision against : free kick from which they scored was not a foul.
Arsenal – Birmingham: 1 decision against us : foul on keeper when Birmingham scored.
West Ham – Arsenal: 2 decisions against us : free kick from which they scored was foul against our player and it was no penalty, it was a dive.
Wolves – Arsenal: 1 decision against us : penalty not given.
Sunderland – Arsenal: 1 decision against us : penalty not given (even the MOTD pundits said it was a penalty)
Liverpool – Arsenal: 1 decision against us: goal was offside from Liverpool, 1 decision in our favour: Liverpool should have had a penalty for a foul on Gerrard by Gallas.
Burnley – Arsenal: 1 decision against us : Penalty not given for a foul on Cesc. (Dean was the ref)
Arsenal – Hull: 1 decision in our favour: Nasri should have had a red card, 2 decisions against us: Barnby and Hunt also should have been sent away in the same incident.
Bolton – Arsenal: 3 decisions against us: 2 clear penalty’s not given against Cesc, 1 red card not given for the knee on the head of Cesc and the pulling of his hair in that same moment.
Arsenal – Bolton: 1 decision in our favour: Ref could have given a foul against Gallas when we scored our second goal.
Hull – Arsenal: 1 decision against us: the penalty for Hull should not have been given as it was clear offside from the striker.
Birmingham – Arsenal: 2 decisions against us : Penalty against Walcott not given and red card not given when Arshavin was going to lob the keeper.
Tottenham – Arsenal: I’m not going to give a decision against us but the ref could have given a red card for the foul on Rosicky as he was going on goal in the first half.
- If you add the numbers this means we have had 4 major decisions going our way.
- On the other hand we had 20 major decisions against us.
Like I said before : it could be that I missed something and if I did please add a decision so we can change the final result.
But for the moment we cannot say that the good and the bad decisions have evened themselves out for us. Maybe we could ask the refs to give us some 16 major decisions in our last games?
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38 Replies to “Those ref decisions balance out by the end of the season, don’t they?”
I suspect that the list of dubious decisions would be considerably longer for the likes of Bolton, Wolves, Hull, Burnley or Stoke.
Have you got a list Sean, or was that just a glib comment?
And that is just this season. Go back to the season before last, and we had one bad decision after another going against us, especially in the closing stages of the season. This idea that things even out, whether over the course of a season or in the longer term, is transparently false. The idea that referees protect us is false. The idea that the big teams always get the big decisions in their favour is laughably false in our case.
This is something that has infuriated me over the years, thanks for posting on it.
Please give us your statistics on those teams, Sean.
If I could add from yesterday’s game: 1 against and 1 in favour. Both side should have had a penalty.
So my score is 5 in our favour and 21 against us.
Just done a few quick calculations on what this could have meant in goals and we should have had 8 penalty’s more. Now I don’t want to be to greedy so I will let us mis half of those. But still this means 4 goals extra scored. But I took one off against Blackburn so thats a total of 3 goals more.
On the other side conceded 7 goals less if the refs had done their job properly.
Again untold I’m disapointed you people are quite irritating you harly speak facts… Bad result and you come up with a giberish like this… Is this really an excuse.. get real my friend
And another quick addition if I take these statistics in account and see if the decision could have changed the final result I come to these numbers:
+1 point against MU (they -2 points) and I only took one penalty converted and let Robin miss the other one
+2 points against West Ham because they wouldn’t have scored otherwise
+1 point against Sunderland it would have given us a draw
+2 points against Burnley we should have burried that penalty
+0 points against Birmingham as I let us miss that penalty (could change with Burnley but the final result would be the same)
This could have meant 6 extra points so far this season.
And another final request : if you have any other statistics or you see something I have forgotten, please let me know so I can change the results.
And what do we do with this?
The club is weak. We put up with so much nonsense that Manchester United would refuse to tolerate, from the press particularly.
Andy Gay and Richard Cunt slating Walcott off mic? Sorry, but that deserved a spanking. One example amongst many as we all know.
Mr. Crack I had sent this before the Wigan game. This has nothing to do with losing or winning.
I think you could not expect me to do this before the season starts ?
I usually tell on this site what was wrong with the refs and the decisions after the game. I even try to be as balanced ass possible when doing that. Check the Wigan game : they should have had a penalty.
But I thought it would be a nice thing to do to make a round up a few games before the end of the season. After all, we must give the refs the opportunity to get things right before the season ends.
The BBC 5live Football presenter on Wednesday after the Spud game was also Glib.
‘They just pass the ball around too much’, an amazing, stunning insight from a football p(l)undit.
‘Their season is over, (on wednesday),
What could he mean?
What’s his agenda?
I don’t think it is ambiguous.
I don’t think the above is a result of ‘weakness’. Apparently, according to some of the bitter p(l)undits, AFC won the league in 04 without a CF etc. They’ve always hated AW.
But is the manager receiving enough support from the board in some of these matters?
That’s a fair question.
No need for this, what is more important is to focus on signing new players and preparing for next season
Crack — I’m sick of morons like you. Have some respect. It’s so easy to criticize, but people like Tony and Walter clearly spend lots of time and thought on their articles. In comparison, your words are verbal diarrhea.
Excuse my French, but unless you are going to talk about something related to this article, then go f&ck off to one of your like-minded blogs.
I think it is noticeable that the more we try to develop cogent argument on this site, the more that people who don’t share the fundamental view espoused by the site come back with comments like
Again untold I’m disapointed you people are quite irritating you harly speak facts… Bad result and you come up with a giberish like this… Is this really an excuse.. get real my friend
There’s nothing wrong with holding a contrary point of view, and I always allow these posts to go through.
BUT it would be nice if just once someone actually put together some sort of consistent argument, using facts rather than pure assertion.
I guess you need to tot up likewise for the other teams, because it’s possible that refs are being lenient systematically?
Sorry, this is one of things I cannot handle and really does just seem like moaning. Yes, there are some bad referee decisions. Yes, sometimes they dont balance out over the course of one season. But the examples you are giving dont hold up in reality. The Man Utd one, for example, AA scored moments after the penalty appeal was turned down. Had the penalty been given then that goal wouldnt have been scored and who knows, maybe the ‘keeper saves the penalty. Things “balancing out” does not have to mean ACTUAL refereeing decisions balancing out, but rather that crucial element of luck. It is luck that balances out over the season, and we have had some good luck and some bad luck this season. Good luck with late goals, bad luck with injuries. Referees decisiosn never cost a season.
And all this stuff about “penalties not given” or otherwise. Sorry, but there are always penalties given or not given. On Sunday we saw a penalty not given to Wigan which might have helped to focus our attention and drive us to a win. Sometimes decisions not given by a referee have an entirely different outcome than that which people initially think. I think had that Wigan penalty been given against Nasri we might have taken our heads out of our bums and focused and won the game. So the referee not giving the penalty might have hurt us, lulling us into a false sense of security made worse when we scored a minute later.
It is like the people saying “if we’d have scored all our chances then we’d have won 8-0” when that is complete crap, because if the first chance had gone in then everything else after that would have been 100% different therefore none of those other chances would have occured.
It is great when you use your refereeing experience to analyse decisions and to tell us what the rule book actually says. But let’s not get into that “oh, the referee’s cost us” mentality because I havent seen a single game this season where the referee has cost us points. Yes, there have been screw-ups, as there always are, but when we have dropped points is has been because we have not been good enough.
You say that 16 more major decisions have gone against us, but since in most of those games we won then they cannot be major decisions. And what about if we disagree with your opinion? For instance in the West Ham game I think it WAS a penalty. It was a soft penalty without a doubt, but Song put in a clumsy tackle inside the box. In my opinion it WAS a penalty. And the foul that led to their first goal WAS a foul, in my opinion. And the foul by Gallas in the Bolton game maybe should have not only been a foul, but a red card, which would have led to a suspension of 3 games, and would have put us down to 10 men, and maybe led to dropped points in more than just that game. I also dont think the foul on Rosicky in the Spurs match was a red card. Yellow was fine. I also dont agree with your assessment of the Hull incident. I actually think the referee handled that one okay. You dont want to be sending people off for every little thing.
Ultimately if we are going down this path then lets analyse EVERY SINGLE refereeing decision over the course of a season, not just “major” ones, because a “minor” decisions could have led to a counter-attack from which we scored or “could”, in a parallel universe, have stopped an opposition free-kick from which our keeper flapped and missed and conceded a goal. That is the way the universe works. We, as fans and human, have selective memory about what is “vital” or not but forget that every decision affects every single other decision and that you cannot seperate them out like this.
Ultimately we have not quite been good enough this season. The referees have had absolutely NOTHING to do with that. Maybe the refs were actually doing us favours by not giving those decisions above.
I am glad that AW is not going on like this about referees decisions.
In some ways, it could be said that if my auntie had boll*cks she’d be my uncle.
But the ‘unfortunate’ refereeing decisions seem shameful.
It would be interesting to compare this with some other teams’ stats.
Thanks very much Walter for an interesting and thought-provoking article.
I,m 24 and have been a supporter for 12 years now and although I’m young i see a bright future for us. we will take the trophy for the next 10 years all the other teams are falling apart and we pulling it together the only things lacking in this team is a good keeper back up for centre half and another striker with killer instinct.
The biggest problem we face are the Fans Liverpool sucks but the fans still do there part.
The only people that think Wenger should go are our fans every one els thinks his great come on People Real Madrid only go after the best.
The people that want him to leave are short sighted.
one dismal game when our season was already over … due to our injury list gallas and verminator out.
To be honest I have been thinking that it would even out at the end of season for a very long time.
The first time I noticed something really strange was in the 2007-2008 season. That game was so incredible and I am not speaking of the Eduardo incident but during that game so many decisions went against us that it would take me some 5 articles just to comment on this particular game.
At that time I had not discovered this site yet so I could not write about it.
But in the weeks after that it went from bad to even worse. EG Adebayor given offside when he collected a back pass from a defender and goal dissalowed and other stupid decisions.
From that moment I decided to try and keep track on these things and I do this when I write my match reports and I keep them with me and put them in my own decisions table.
I must say that if someone had the decisions from other teams it would be great to see if it is indeed just Arsenal who get more bad decisions than good or if it is all the teams that face the same problem.
It could be a general ref problem where some refs don’t do their job proper like they should.
But for the moment I only can give the facts of Arsenal and I don’t think that I will have the time to keep track of all the other games also. I think my wife would have some strong words about me doing a full time job on this. 😉
Maybe if fans from other teams would come and have a look and if they have someone as foolish me in keeping those facts to write articles about it and if they could give me more about their team I would love it. As long as no one tells my wife.
But Walter, as I said are you keeping track of every single refereering decision, or just those YOU see as “major”? The only way this could be a valid exercise, unless you do noy beleive in chaos theory and the interconnectedness of things, is if every single decision was looked at and analysed how each decision led on to another decision. Referees are a random variable, therefore one cannot make static judgements about them. If you are are simply looking at decisions that YOU see as “major” then you are bringing another random variable into the equation and making the result of the analysis even more skewed. It is the reason that opposing fans will always have different views of every single incident, each has their own bias. The only way an analysis like this work is to break down every decision and its after-effects.
For instance – it is a 0-0 game and we are playing terribly. We have a dodgy penalty given against us and this fills our team with anger. We go 1-0 down but, filled with anger we come back and win 2-1 completely overpowering the opposition. Was the bad penalty decision bad for us? In isolation maybe, but maybe not when looking at the overall flow of the game and what came afterwards.
I can understand what you tell and I can agree with it. And yes we could disagree on some decisions and so we could come up with a different story at the end.
But like in my answer @ Rhys I said that I can only do my little thing on this. I think it would be a great job that the FA or the EPL review every game on this with 3 former refs and look at every decision and so they can give points to the refs.
But as for now people just say : “it evens out”. With no proof if this really is the case.
It just could be that all teams suffer the same and this would mean that the refs don’t do their job like they should. But if the refs would be followed on a strict factual basis it could help the refs in the end to become better and to pay more attention.
And believe me I don’t want the refs to give in the remaining games 15 or so decisions in our favour as I would the first the say : this is not right.
I would only like to see that the refs do a good job, for us and for every other team.
It could also be a way of fighting possible corruption. Because if the statistics should show that lets say one team gets more decisions against or in favour this could be an indication of something wrong.
But I must admit after all that this article was written from an Arsenal point of view as it is the only thing I really can be sure of. As far as one can be sure.
Paul C, I think my wife would throw me out of the house if I would do this. Unless someone would be willing to pay me lots of money so I don’t have to go out to work anymore. 😉
I completly understand what you mean Paul.
And I think we all know that this can not be done. But then it is also not correct to just say : things even out at the end. Because no one nows and it is just a hollow phrase with no meaning.
But I do accept that what I have tried is by no means the holy bible or so. It is just a little attempt to bring a little bit of line in what I consider major decisions.
Now I come to think of it : for people willing to pay me lots of money to become full time footbal investigator on refs decisions : please contact Tony who will pass it on. 😉 I hope. 🙂
Walter – and sorry if my initial post seems harsh. It just seems as though, in trawling through the internet today, there are only two types of posts, those saying “DISGRACE” or those saying “WE WERE ROBBED/UNLUCKY/ETC. ETC.” and I just want to find some that say “we were not quite good enough this season, well done to all the lads, let’s do better next season, we want a Championship next year!!!!!!” and just takes a balanced view. It is frustrating for an old geezer like me to see such lack of balance. It almost seems as though many people are taking Arsenal’s failure as a personal affront.
I think we can all look at individual refereeing decsions and say “was that a correct decision?” and we can even look at individual referees and say “is this referee comnpetent?” and that is a very valid exercise. I think you do that very well in your posts. I think using the rule book to assess things is a great thing for this blog to do, it adds a different dimension.
However, as I say above, this posts seems to go too far towards personal bias, and that detracts from the message, and also lessens any impact that your refereeing experience has. Instead it just becomes one persons opinion, since I am sure, as a referee, you know all too well that in the field of play, at 100 miles an hour, things look very, very different to how they appear on TV.
I agree with you entirely. But how can I just say, better luck next season?
The Eduardo Embargo was not luck. Neither was his broken leg.
I feel that it would be utterly wrong to ignore the significance of that incident (The Embargo), and it’s impact upon the season. And most importantly, it’s effect upon the young, and very young players (plural) within the squad. They may be FOOTballers who we may expect to be able to ignore things like Broken LEGS, but they must also find it hard to ignore never getting a penalty. Well, until the last few weeks.
Worth checking out Jeff Winter, the ex ref’s column on http://www.jeffwinterentertainmentandmedia.co.uk/manager_int/0910000.php
He does a league of injustice with all major decisions “rectified”. Quite honestly it makes very little difference overall. But it’s a good column.
Having said that I just tried to access this site but think they may be doing some more work on it, so copy and paste the address for future reference.
Heres the latest one (although still not completely current) Gf60 but please be aware that Jeff Winter once gave Wenger a dirty look so cannot be trusted, or some similar garbage I was told on this site when using Mr Winter as a source. Besides Arsenal are still 3rd behind United and Chelsea who are tied 1st , Chelsea having a game in hand so it must be made up by russian gangsters in SW6.
4 decisions going your way. You biased old sod. Try getting a neutral view people, this is just silly!
This is the first time I have commented on this site, but I am an avid reader and great admirer of everything it has to offer. I have chosen to make my first comment now because I am ashamed to see such negativity from fellow ‘supporters’ who decide to bring their particular perspective on what is happening with our beloved club. I have never read an article on here that does anything more than show balance and insight on a topic that is so painfully debated, but for some reason shameful individuals just don’t recognize that. Well done for continually writing well researched and candid articles that true Arsenal fans can appreciate when times are tough. I feel sorry for those who see articles like this as an escape hatch, or an excuse as to why we didn’t win the FA Cup, League Cup, Champions League, Premiership, Spanish League Cup, Serie B and all the others trophies we absolutely must win in order to be satisfied. Am I disappointed? GUTTED. Instead of dwelling on the fact we didn’t win this year, it is nice to see an article that is researched, not just spit vitriolically from the cuff, showing what anyone who watches the games sees. Arsenal don’t get proper calls in the same way that ManU and that blue team out west do. Most recently I was horrified to see the refereeing decisions against Villa in the FA Cup Semi. It is shambolic that two penalties (granted the 2nd was a bit more questionable, since the linesman had a picture perfect view) were not awarded in their favor. In fact, if you take into account the League Cup Final Villa were a part of, you could almost say the referees (Howard Webb and Phil Dowd) turned the tide against them in both competitions. It is difficult to understand how these MASSIVE referee decisions are not being punished, or at least discussed outside the blogosphere. Being from Missouri in the United States (obviously as an American my view will not be seen with such importance on these matters by some, it’s okay I don’t mind) I wake up as early as 530 am to watch these games and nothing short of a nationwide electricity blackout would prevent me from doing so. That said, I am not privy to the little details people fortunate enough to live on that side of the world are, but I do my absolute best to stay on top of things. I would just like to formally thank Tony and Walter for continually bringing important topics to the masses and to keep up the good work. P.s. For the people that choose to hate AW and degrade the absolutely fantastic job he has done to revolutionize the club, it isn’t that hard to find a website or blog that tailors itself to the ridiculous and the mundane topics of hating the club you claim to support. Hope everyone has a great day and ARSENAL FOR LIFE. P.S.S. SORRY ABOUT HOW LONG THIS IS 🙂
Didn’t two Essex cricketers get arrested for match fixing the other week?
There is a lot more £ sloshing about the PL then in the County Cricket scene.
A comment that alleges bias: ‘that corruption in sport doesn’t happen’ is at the least, naive, IMO.
Just one final remark on why I took only the decisions involving a goal is the fact that whatever the final outcome after a goal it is something that is final. The decision is made or not.
But for those who questioned the total impact off course this is not complete.
I will take the critics at heart and maybe I will try to work something out for one game to see if I could make it more complete ?
I got about a week to work something out…
Matt. Thank you. You said literally exactly everything that I wanted to say, only difference is that I’m from Florida, not Missouri lol. And Tony, FANTASTIC blog, you are my favorite source of information because you talk about “the other stuff” like finances and the history of the team. Great work, hopefully the FA will wake up and see what their refs are doing, my college’s football team is going through the same nonsense with ACC refs, they just seem to hate us.
The main problem with referees in the game at the minute is most are either afraid to rock the boat or incompetant. We have no strong and unimpeachable characters in the black shirt anymore. Alex Fergusson being an advisor as to their international appointments is a direct conflict of interest yet allowed. ~Typical FA really. When they go broke and the leagues run the game it will be a better world.
No stats Finsbury, nor a glib comment.
Just a hunch that the likes of Hull will almost certainly get the short straw when it comes to decisions compared to Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man. Utd.
Recently the Harlequins Rugby League coach (team bottom of the league, coach under pressure) was asked to comment about two forward pass decision which went against his team v. St. Helens and cost them the game.
He said he didn’t want to talk about it and proceeded to talk about the merits of both teams.
Could be the way to go rather than rue a non-penalty decision from September, don’t you think Fin?
Sean, you’re arguing against facts with a hunch. Well done. You may call this article whining and complaining and finding an excuse for results, but unless you’re blind (or don’t watch matches/highlights and only read the biased match reports), you should agree. It’s been getting on my nerves on two sides, the ref’s bias as well as the people who say that we’re just giving excuses for bad results.
Oh and one point about the Birmingham game. I kinda remember that their equaliser was offside? The cross was aimed at someone in an offside position and the half clearance hit Phillips in the face and went in.
Too right it’s a hunch…..life’s too short.
The worst decisions I’ve seen this season were the Bolton (also-rans) penalties v. Chelsea (Bore Four).
Those decisions could well cost Man. Utd. the league.
Are you going to spring to Alex Ferguson’s defence if and when that happens?
I don’t think you will, will you?
Look on the bright side….the legions of bad decisions against Arsenal this season have not affected their position on the ‘Champions’ League gravy train.
A bad decision in the Grimsby Town v. Barnet game on May 1st could cost one club their league status.
Sean I am not a manager or coach and I can take other positions than a manager.
Let’s take the Wigan match last week. The ref had a decent game until he made one decision that cost him his game.
Rosicky had made a great tackle and recovered the ball, he got up pushed the ball along the line and started to attack. A Wigan player came diving in with 2 legs missed the ball and luckily Rosicky managed to get out of the way by jumping up. The ref blew his whistle and gave a foul. You could hear all Wigan complain and shout : “he didn’t touch him”. Which was correct but it didn’t matter. The only reason he didn’t touch him was that Rosicky jumped out of the way. But because Rosicky had to jump in order to save his live and legs the ball went out. So it was not significant that he touched him or not: it was a dangerous tackle and that is always a foul.
But after that and all the stick he got on the field and from the dugout and from the stands I could see the ref began to doubt his decision. He had made the correct decision in a fraction of a second but then you could see him thinking. I can assure him and you he did the right thing.
But the last thing you can do as a ref is beginning to think your decisions over. Because when you do… you lose it. And he lost it afterwards. His decisions after that was in the style of : yeah, I maybe done that decision wrong for you guys but hey look at me now I will give you any decision from now on. And so he did.
I could see the body language on my TV whenever the ref made some wrong decisions. He didn’t gave a corner to Arsenal which was clear to see from every position in the ground. Wigan got possession and then went in the attack. Moses, I think got in behind Sagna and pushed Sagna, both fell to the ground and the ref gave the free kick against Arsenal and it should have been the other way. From that free kick, came the corner and from the corner came the Fabianski messing up.
Now I am not going to say he did it deliberate. It is just that once you start doubting a decision as a ref you can do two things: ban it out of your mind (the right solution) or try to make up for it (the wrong solution).
You must free up your mind from that decision but that is not always easy. I know it all to well. So in the next minutes you try your best but you end up with the 50/50 decision (even the clear the other way decisions) going to the team you think you could have been harsh on.
And once you start doing this there is no way back almost. Because suddenly everyong is patting you on the back, after shouting abuse at you for the initial decision, this gives you a great feeling and so you continue to do this.
Certainly when you get the patting on the back from the home fans.
It is a human reaction but a wrong one. And most refs know this can happen to a ref and most refs have had games in which it happened to them. Those are the games that you sit in the dressing room after the game and tell yourself you should have done better.
Well Walter, short of having a robot on the pitch or wholehearted buying into off-field technology (which will, of course, bring about a whole series of ‘how didn’t the third-eye/second-ref/eighth official see that?’ incidents) I’m not quite sure where all this leaves us!
So I think I’ll leave you to it till next season but just two things before I go.
1. AFC would be stark raving bonkers to get rid of Wenger and many who want his head now might live to regret it in the years ahead and,
2. I’m just about to write to the local paper to ask why the local population of Forest Gate don’t get behind their local football team (Clapton F.C…..average attendance 40) when their ground and history is considerably more interesting than Chelsea’s.
Sean, we could summarize and conclude 2 things:
1) the human factor will always be important
2) the decisions don’t even out always. 😉
This is an interesting, if flawed, post.
I wonder if the decisions that go against us are down to our players’ personalities somehow. For example, some players build a rapport with referees (Gerrard springs to mind) which can sway decisions. I don’t think many of our players do this.
I also question the intelligence of some of Arsenal’s players. There is a time to stay down after a bad foul (when a referee is particularly card-happy) and a time to not foul (for the same reason). There is a time to berate the ref and a time to let it go. I don’t think our players have a feeling of the correct time to do certain things (exceptions include Cesc and Sol).
Sean, Thanks for the reply.
If you’d followed my comments about some incidents in International cricket, you’ll see plenty of evidence to support the logic, that keeping one’s ‘gob shut’ is not always the right, or clever thing to do.
There is a historical record on such incidents.