Untold Arsenal, ahead of the game and the rest

By Walter Broeckx

It might sound pretentious such a title but once again we can say that we have been talking about things in the world of football that we were heavily ridiculed for at times (till today still by some) that are now slowly filtering through to the serious media. Untold Arsenal setting the tone and a while later the rest will follow.

This time the debate is about the referees, the PGMO(they left the L somewhere down the road) and our favourite ref of all time Mike Riley.

In fact you could say we are ahead of the rest by some 4-5 years. Because I started doing referee reviews in the period 2009-2010. And from that moment on when I did the reviews, looked at the numbers, looked at the PGMO, looked at how things were in regards to how many referees and where they came from my conclusion in those days was that there was something seriously wrong in the PGMO.

However I didn’t really ask for the head of Riley from the first season. No, that only came when I started to do all the matches in the same way using the same model. So I could come to some conclusions after the season 2010-2011. And then it was completely clear to me and I have said that Mike Riley is destroying the referees in the PL.

Internal sources in the referee world confirmed what I was saying. And the strange thing is that those sources presented themselves to me. They send me mails or other private messages to say that I was doing a great job by exposing the flaws in the PGMO system.

In a way I can understand people who didn’t believe what I was saying. Because they didn’t  know about the contacts I had behind the scenes  and of course I couldn’t and cannot tell who is and was involved in all those years when Untold was the only voice to bark against the top of the PGMO.

 People said I was biased because we are an Arsenal blog. Not even having referees from all over the world and supporting other clubs took away that bias accusation. I always found it a bit funny such accusation to be honest as it in a way confirmed that referees can be biased and so in accusing us of bias (an openly bias!) they were admitting that refs could have their favourite teams or preferences but in the dark without anyone knowing about it. I think it is fair to say that Untold Arsenal has uncovered a few of those biases over the years.  Bias in favour of teams and bias against some teams. And even bias against persons in the game.

So it was with great pleasure that I read an article in the Daily Mail (I know, I know….) where Keith Hackett, the former head of the PGMO called for the head of Mike Riley.

Untold Arsenal calling for the head of Riley is no big deal for the football world. But the former head of referees asking for the head of his successor…that is something different. The Mail even called it breaking ranks. And yes in a way it is breaking ranks. Because in the referee world it is a somewhat silent code to not discredit a colleague or former colleague.  I don’t like silent codes so I never have given in to it.

When a ref is wrong he is wrong. When I make a mistake I made a mistake. I have no problem in admitting a mistake when I made one.  But at least I know my mistakes are honest mistakes. And I don’t have any problem with admitting an honest mistake. Because that is the only way to learn from them. If you put your head in the sand and say: refs make no mistakes then we are getting nowhere. And the ref in question is getting nowhere.

I know one of the top refs in the PL liked to look at our reviews. Of course I can imagine he didn’t agree with what we told. But I know he did it to see if he could improve himself. And that is the right spirit a ref should have. Because that is the only way to go forward: learning from your mistakes. No, I will not give you his name.  I don’t want to bring him in to trouble. But believe me referees in the PL and championship have been reading our reviews in the past. And the annual ‘best referee in the PL’ resulted in to some internal exchanges of thoughts between a few of them.

One of our main talking points was the secrecy in the referee world. And this is also something that Keith Hackett has pointed at. He revealed that Lee Probert has not done a match this season as he has a serious issue with the nerves in his leg. I am the last to wish any illness to any person and I wish him a full recovery but at the same time I wouldn’t be devastated to never see him in an Arsenal match ever again. So he doesn’t ever have to do an Arsenal match ever again for me. But as a human being I wish him well and hope he can get better.

But the fact is that nobody really knew about this till Hackett now told this. Shouldn’t it be the task of the PGMO to come out with such a news? Because in a already small group of referees losing one has a direct influence on that small group of referees.  But as usual the PGMO just stays in the dark and doesn’t inform the public. And that is one of their core tasks.

I do think that one of the main reasons for Hackett being so firm is the way Mark Clattenburg is treated.

I know there are certain rules how referees should behave  before, during and after the match.  And in this instance Mark Clattenburg didn’t follow rule 24 of appendix A (yes I have the full book) that says: “Officials will be transported back to the designated hotel in the people carrier at a time determined by the referee. All officials must travel together and no other are people are allowed in the people carrier.”

Mark Clattenburg didn’t follow that rule because he wanted to go to a concert of someone called Ed Sheeran (forgive me my ignorance) and went with his own car directly to that concert.

Now this is a bit typical of how the big heads in the referee world see themselves. After a match I think a referee can become a human being again. If a ref wants to go to a concert why not? The match is over.  Let him enjoy himself. What is wrong with going to a concert.

Or is he possibly going to be banned for answering a call from Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock? Because well that is something that a ref should not do of course.  It goes both ways. Managers shouldn’t call referees and referees shouldn’t take calls from managers.

BUT… as we have found out from what some people have said there was a former top manager from a top club in the PL who had conversations over the phone with several referees. And as far as we know (thanks to the secrecy of the PGMO) we never heard of any referee being banned or put on non-active for talking to that manager.

Why didn’t the PGMO took action in those days? Probably because it was the “right manager” who did it?

So to put it straight we never heard of referees being banned for taking phones from Ferguson but now one is being punished for taking a phone from Warnock. Double standards? Why? Because of one being from the “right club” and the other not?

Or was it more Mike Riley taking the first opportunity to have a go at Clattenburg because he has been a bit of a naughty boy in the last matches he did from the “right club”. Remember MU – Liverpool and the flood of penalties against MU in that match. Remember Leicester – MU and some strange decisions against MU in that match.  And we all know that you don’t touch MU as that is Mike Riley his most favourite club.

So was Riley waiting for the first step over the line from Clattenburg to have a go at him and to pay him back. I have said it before that if you do something that can upset the top dogs in the referee world (like giving decisions against their favourite team) you will suffer consequences. I have said this for years and given this as one of the reasons why referees kept on doing it and showing their bias in favour of some teams BUT ALSO AGAINST SOME TEAMS (yes Arsenal).

Some people didn’t believe this could be a reason for their bias but this shows the power the top persons have over the referees. Others will learn and will take the lesson on board.

But the final conclusion is that we are no longer alone in our call for Riley to being sacked as he has done a terrible job. He should have been removed after game 50 from the referee world in fact. Now he has had the chance to continue his work for more than 10 years. Maybe time to make an end to his possible bad influence on the referee world.


41 Replies to “Untold Arsenal, ahead of the game and the rest”

  1. Now I am thinking that its Mourinho who is starting to call refs and have a bit of chat or even invite them for lunch in the case of Martin Atkinson.

  2. Corrupt or Failing top figures handling various key aspects of the game are very hard remove from their “throne” or to be replaced by.

    Sepp Blatter – Fifa
    Platini – UEFA
    Greg Dyke – English FA
    Mike Riley – PGMOBmgdhm 🙂

  3. Riley’s position is becoming increasingly untenable. Not that that means he will go.

    I have been told, first hand, by a former PGMO referee, that Riley is a “bully”.

    His continued employment is casuing large and increasing damage to English football. At some stage he will be quietly removed. Can’t tilt the playing field too far, y’know? People might suspect something.

  4. Akshay,

    Thanks for that link.

    Now I must say that Dowd not passing a fitness test is not really news for me.
    I have been told in confidence by one of my sources that this has happened before. Two seasons ago even two referees failed the fitness test. And both had another go but again in a venue where nobody was looking apart from a few select people. A fitness test behind closed doors. I got the information that both were noted down as having passed the fitness test but in fact they didn’t.

    Problem is that I didn’t have prove of this so never published it as a certitude. I trusted my sources (multiple) as they proved reliable whenever they told me something, on this but as I didn’t have proof I stayed away from the story.

    So how can you trust an organisation that exists on trust in their fairness and fairplay if apparently they don’t follow their own rules themselves?

  5. By the way it seems that at least one media outlet is really following us.

    I quote from the article in the Mail today: “Clattenburg was suspended for a game after leaving a match in his own car rather than the official vehicle and taking a call from Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock, but others have allegedly escaped punishment for similar breaches of regulations.”

    Oh look that is what I wrote yesterday evening and published today….

  6. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The writers on this site should give themselves an ENORMOUS pat on their backs for what they do.

    It is very clear now that the press just read this site (including the comments) and then report.

  7. “Why English football needs Mark Clattenburg”.

    “The accuracy on major decisions – fouls, penalties, cards and so on – rose to 95 per cent last season from 94.1 per cent the previous year. Accuracy in the penalty box has risen to 98 per cent, while offside decisions rose to 99 per cent when they stood at 92 per cent when Riley took charge.”

  8. Walter, another excellent article.

    At the present time the TV section of the media is still propping up (pun intended) the PGMO and minimizing or excusing ref on field errors and bias. Until that changes Riley has a fair degree of protection.

    I have not managed to see much of Sky lately – is Gallagher still excusing ref decisions on a Monday morning?

    Also where has Webb disappeared to? Has he refused to explain the unexplainable?

  9. Good spot Quincy!

    Another interesting article by the Mail.

    I’ve always thought Mr Clattenburg to be one of the better referees when watching games – be it Arsenal or any other teams. His management of situations is what I think stand out.

    Also, the point about Mr Webb not being seen since he retired is an intriguing one. What is he doing now that he is employed by the PGMOL as a Technical Director?
    I did see this: http://www.premierleague.com/en-gb/news/news/2014-15/aug/howard-webb-appointed-technical-director-of-PGMOL.html but there have been no updates or any public appearances at all!

    Finally, on the stats side of things – do you think they will ever show the breakdowns of those figures?
    The discrepancy between what Walter and the team find through the reviews on this site and those published in the DM article are like chalk and cheese!

  10. I’m not a conspiracy theorist myself, but Mike Riley needs no other reason to be sacked and vilified other than the fact that he is Mike Riley. I’m sure he’d find employment elsewhere anyway, probably cleaning Old Red Nose’s toilets for him. Just for a change, RILEY OUT!!

  11. btjgooner – Think Webb given a a technical role at the PGMO after he retired. I remember some rumours he was going to do media work before he took his latest job.

    The lack of transparency from the PGMO could make shady governmets & corporations envious.

  12. Nothing unites Arsenal fans of all creeds like Mike Riley. That knob-head’s officiating of game 50 is one that will remain in eternal infamy.

    And he is literally, a knob-head.

  13. There was a shot at one Arsenal game earlier this season of Riley, Webb and a third MOB representative, I think it was Taylor, all sat together.

    You could feel the shared shudder of revulsion reverberate around t’pub during those few unfortunate seconds whilst the camera was focused on them.

  14. @SouthernGunner

    Thanks for the update on Webb. I had also heard that he was going to do some media work following retirement.

    However, I find his non appearance in the media, “explaining” the PGMO viewpoint, rather intriguing!

  15. Like Usama I was under the impression that PGMO had switched allegiance to MaureenO since SAF had left MU. It’s the only logical reason I can think of for them to end their games with 11 players on the pitch!

  16. Research on video reffing? The taxing task of watching every other sport under the sun? Possibly.

    I thought Webb was busy advising Phil Neville what to say:

    “Gamesmanship” innit 🙂

  17. A bit off topic, apologies, but this is relevant to the conversation we had the other day.

    Re: Alexis Sanchez
    Our great signing has just recorded an interview. He said: “…..sometimes I stop to look at my team mates during the training session and I realise that I’mm surrounded by a lot of quality stars. I have been impressed by their attitude and their talent. I know that with this team we can win many trophies in the coming years. I’m convinced. I love how they create spaces, their individual and collective movements. I tell you seriously: I like what I see so much that I have repeated myself many times, that if we have the required winning mentality, if we are positive and try to win every single game, I know we can win any competition.’

    Now this is Alexis Sanchez. Former Barcelona player who has had some pretty talented team mates. He is a top professional who should know a decent player when he sees one.

    But guess what? A well known anti-Wenger blog claims he does not know what he is talking about! Hilarious but true. This sums up what Tony was saying the other day about critics believing they know best despite having a fraction of the knowledge of those being criticised. This is what the blog writer composed for his army of angry followers:

    “He (Alexis Sanchez) put down some thoughts that were almost comical in their bizarreness. But that chat doesn’t really stack up with the reality of what we’re seeing. It’s true that we do have very good players, but I’m not sure I see much of what Alexis is seeing.”

    Well mate, you wouldn’t see what Alexis is seeing because you are a blinkered idiot that hasn’t got a clue what you are talking about.

    I have no idea who this bloke calling himself Pedro is, my guess is a very angry young man that believes he knows best and doesn’t have the club close to his heart. That space is reserved for some warped agenda he has. Honest, I do struggle with why those who call themselves fans are so quick to immediately criticise anything good that is said about the club. I get they dislike Wenger but why do they allow that to also become almost anti-Arsenal? Who are these people, it is Bizarre.

  18. Boo, game 50 was enough to lynch him on it’s own. Everyone mentions the dodgy pen but the thing I remember is Freddie being put clean through just in the United half and Ferdinand brought him down – clear red card – but Riley waved play on! Utter, utter, b*stard!!!!

  19. ANDY1886,
    please never mention that moment again. THAT was the ultimate proof of his bias. That was so utterly amazing to see. I still can’t believe my eyes when I see it again.
    Just thinking about it makes me want to throw things…

  20. The day will come when the Rileys of the football world will be ousted by the use of video and other mechanical aids. Then and only then will we have integrity on the field of play.

  21. @proudkev
    November 13, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    You know the internet is such wonderful “world” but most of the time people can hide without identity (Pedro and the like who have anti-Arsenal Blogs). Whats to say that all these Pedro’s have NO REASON to keep AFC close to their heart, because they in-fact are not AFC supporters in the first place?

    I am more and more coming to the conclusion that all these ‘enemy’ style ‘supporters’ have NOTHING to do with Arsenal, but just people who want to have a blog and collect hits!

  22. I’ve heard that Webb was reviewing video techniques for sport but got side tracked with the blues! Not the Chelski blues either.

    The Lord works in mysterious ways and all who fail in being honest will face His wrath (I’m not talking about Fergy!!).

    For me there is no integrity in the FA & their monopoly match officials that cheat the Game of honesty.

    As for the 50th? It is truly an example that kids should see so that they learn how not to Referee. How one club was pushed to success as another was discredited by corrupt officiating. There are groups of swear words that seem insufficient to vent the anger that Riley caused.

  23. @Menace
    November 13, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    Once again I fully agree with you – and in particular this:

    “As for the 50th? It is truly an example that kids should see so that they learn how not to Referee. How one club was pushed to success as another was discredited by corrupt officiating. There are groups of swear words that seem insufficient to vent the anger that Riley caused.”

  24. Riley is pure filth, think the only thing keeping him in a job is what and who he knows. Referee standards are falling, refs are being hung out to dry and not a word from him. Do think the emergence of Webb will be the beginning of the end for Riley, a bit more public presence about Webb, perhaps held in more respect by the refs. one manc for another!
    If FIFA really want to do English football, they should go after Riley and expose his calciopoli, and take out his masters while they are at it. That way, even the scum that are FIFA could do some good!

  25. Walter….an excellent exposé but there is one point I might differ from your opinion and that is criticizing fellow referees in public. ¨Because in the referee world it is a somewhat silent code to not discredit a colleague or former colleague¨ is and always has been a fundamental sign of respect and fairness towards ones peers. It isn’t really a silent code as you claim but rather a tradition among the men and women in black. I have positively criticized officials in private (usually referee meetings and association get-togethers) but never in a league, club or other player/team/league social gatherings. the only time I swerved from this rule was after a game where my local team had lost and the referee(who was a good friend) had had a difficult but fair game. I started to complain to him and he cut me short, asking me not to make his life any more difficult than it already was. I felt humbled and ashamed that I’d become like so many of the critics out there….basically I was throwing stones while living in a glass house myself!

  26. That 50th game was never going to end any other way. They were allowed to kick us off the park and you will never see a more blatantly biased referee performance. It’s a hard game to watch but I would love to see an analysis of Riley’s performance that day. Is it available?

    Ps: The reaction after the game was interesting too, it was like everybody in the media sighed a huge sigh of relief when our great unbeaten run was ended.

  27. We weren’t in a position to kick them back, as they fell over before we got close to them (and they got free kicks & a penalty from this method)!

  28. So Walter, after hitting on the head of the devil to much don’t you think he is going to unleash his devilish angel Mike shit dean on us with manure!? Secondly the whorelists where on our case so much that le prof was not producing any English players, now we have half of the England squad, are we getting any favours from anyone or its just becoming worse!?

  29. Atkinson vs Chelsea, Dean vs Utd, just had to happen. Variations have been happening for years. Why doesn’t wenger do a Gary monk?

  30. ‘Do a Gary Monk’ – complain about a diver & then get your players to dive! Bony & Montero were diving like Moses – sounds like a Biblical expression. With Monk & Moses…

    The Man U game is perfect for a banner – PGMO is worse than FIFA.
    The DEVIL wears PGMO.

    Riley appoints Dean -fellow Fergie BUM BOY!!

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