A referee’s dilemma: do you report the corruption of your colleagues?

By Don McMahon

The core issue with being an official is one’s integrity. IF the referee or his/her assistants lack the moral courage and integrity, even in making a difficult but self-evident call on the field, even ONCE, then they are certainly very susceptible to being ” influenced” by those who make it their profession to do so…the mafia, the gamblers syndicates, the rich and powerful, the media giants etc.

These power brokers can offer the officials certain ” guarantees” that will determine the depth and degree of corruption/fixing/match manipulation and collaboration such officials are willing to offer.

Lets have a look at the first issue mentioned above; an official’s integrity. I have mentioned before that EVERY official has what we call a “ moment of truth” in almost every game they officiate.

The example I once used was in a game where the referee was feeling threatened and under pressure ( I was an assistant) because the two teams were inveterate enemies for cultural, ethnic and religious reasons and there was a large enough crowd to be a threat to his security IF he made the “wrong” calls.

The spectators (about 1250-1300) were evenly split between the home team and the visitors and there had already been a few fights before and during the game.

The away team was leading 1-0 and as the end of the game approached, I could see that the referee was getting more and more nervous and hesitant to punish the home team and looking for an opportunity to “even things out in the end”. Well it soon enough presented itself as he had an “incident” in the penalty area where the home team striker did a 9 out of 10 Olympic quality dive.

Usually he would look at me quickly to see if I saw it as a dive or penalty and I gave him the secret sign all officials agree to beforehand to confirm or deny the foul. I denied it but he awarded the penalty and the game ended 1-1. He told me after the game that he was in “mortal” fear because he’d had a bad experience with the home team in a previous match.

He also admitted that he knew it was a dive and that he’d seen it as a golden opportunity to save us all without too much “ risk” or consequences. I kept my mouth shut because he was, afterall, the boss and one doesn’t criticise one’s boss or colleague in public but I told him later that day that I was going to report his actions to the referee chairman, which I did.

Since the chairman was a great friend of his, I knew it was like pissing into the wind and also knew that I’d pay for it later….which I did in spades. That referee lost my respect and support that day and I never officiated with him again. He became a national referee but was removed from the list almost as fast as he got on it because of “irregularities” in his officiating.

The second issue is how the fixers can spin things their way without being too obvious and transparent.

  • The mafia have decades of expertise and experience in strong-arming vulnerable officials in almost every sport. They can intimidate and pressure naive officials very easily with the carrot and stick method…..they carry extremely large versions of both tools.
  • Gamblers (private) are less vulgar in their scheming. They depend on total secrecy and “discretion” to arrange things. However they have great resources at their disposal and if it doesn’t work out, plausible denial ability….after all its their word against ours.
  • Syndicated gamblers (Asian/Eastern European etc.) are extremely well-organized like the mafia but they also profit from their “ sterling” reputations….a double entendre if I ever heard one. They have henchmen who are very convincing and don’t need to resort to strong-arming an official(s) but simply rely on the plethora of officials who are seen as potential “ associates” and the rather prolific “ generosity” of their backers. If the official reports them, they disappear or bribe the law to turn the other way.
  • The rich and powerful own so much that they feel they can do whatever they want with impunity and total invisibility, which for the most part is true. Not only do they benefit from mafia-like organizations but from existing corruption among politicians, administrators and law enforcement, as well as a network of other rich and powerful people to protect them. So basically the official who is targeted is already stuffed and delivered and can see his or her career suddenly nose-dive if they refuse to “cooperate” or IF they blow the whistle (another double entendre) on these cheats. It is, as the physicists say, a zero-sum game.
  • The media giants are certainly complicit in the spinning and misdirection, smoke and mirrors game that football seems to have been subject to for a long time. They may or may not be directly involved in the corruption of footballers or officials per se but their refusal to consider that the game is slowly turning into a pantomime and their wilful blindness to the horrible state of affairs in officiating, especially in England, is a major contributory factor to the Beautiful Games tarnishing. If a referee knows that the media will almost always side with the authoritites and in fact be their willing syncophants, then what hope does one or a few honest officials have in combatting corruption. My career, which was on track to Fifa status, ended abruptly when I tried to highlight the lack of integrity gradually entering officiating through an article I wrote in our local referee handbook. This was less than well received by the powers that be! My next NASL game was a horror, with the referee (who I later found out was a colleague of my referee chairman) blasting me from one end of the dressing room to the other for a minor error. Even the assessor, who was present, had to warn him to desist. That was the beginning of the end for me at that level and I soon found myself off the candidate list for FIFA and the NASL. I have NO regrets for doing what I did because to have kept my mouth shut like most of my colleagues, would have brought myself and the officiating profession into disrepute…..however not everyone agrees or agreed back then….but that’s life.

I am sure Walter and our other referees, active or retired, can attest to some or all of what I described here. That is why I write on UA. By doing so it brings the Arsenal and the game into integrity and nobility contrary to much of what is floating like scum, on the net today.

Do referee colleagues actually KNOW who is bent or being manipulated or are we as clueless as the average supporter?

I am speaking from experience when I say that a few may suspect but very few actually KNOW which of their colleagues have joined the dark side. I had my preferred teams and players when I officiated, and they were usually the ones who were gentlemen/ladies on and off the field and whose clubs honoured the integrity and fairness of the game.


Anniversary of the day: how times change.

19 February 1977: Arsenal 2 West Ham 3.  Although it was the sixth consecutive game without a win there was a little comfort taken from the fact that Arsenal had scored, after four games without a goal. Brady and Stapleton got the goals.

Untold Arsenal


29 Replies to “A referee’s dilemma: do you report the corruption of your colleagues?”

  1. Thanks for sharing your story. As a player i often wondered why fouls were give or not give for or against me, and often had the feeling that most refs try to balance the game up, beit right or wrong. Maybe a little off topic but I would love to ask the people involved in officiating games on this site- even if we shake your hand after the truth is that most players I have known dislike officials, so what made you want to officiate when you could be playing?

  2. ThomB,
    I can only speak for myself but I was more or less drawn in to it because the shortage of referees and when a referee didn’t turn up I was the one who did the dirty job. 😉 A retired ref saw me and told me I “had what it takes” to become a good ref. And after a while I became an official ref. I was already 40 years old at the time, so playing myself was out of the question. Although I did play with the referee team against other referee teams for a while in those first years.

    If you are a ref you never lose a match. A player has the risk of losing a match, but the ref never loses. 😉 (referee joke) so that is one thing out of the way.

    When you have a bad match (and we all do) it sucks. A ref knows when he has made a mess. A good ref knows.

    But the fact is that when you had a great match (and you know you had one yourself) and both teams (winners and losers) come over to you at the final whistle and congratulate you (and a ref knows when the players really mean it and when not – don’t worry 😉 ) with your performance you are on a high.

    In fact having a match like that feels like a ‘refgasm’ and so you want more of that and just do your best to get to a refgasm as much as possible. Oh and refs also have some kind of being in form or out of form, just like players.

    What is different is the mental aspect. You have to be fit of course as a ref but being able to concentrate for 90 minutes is as important as being fit. Lose your concentration for 10 seconds in a match and you can lose it completely.

    Don’t know about you Don but isn’t refereeing like some kind of addiction?

    Great article by the way.
    I had it once such a moment where I really have hesitated to report the ref to the football authorities. But as he after the match told me he was thinking of stopping as a ref I waited for his final decision. It was the end of the season and during the summer he decided to stop. If he wouldn’t have stopped I would have asked the football authorities to never let me do a match with him again.

  3. Congratulations and well dome , Don , for having done the proper and honourable thing. The consequences of it must have been very painful at first ,but righteousness itself is a calming balm of sorts .
    A man’s moral compass is his own conscience ( and possibly its also a mirror of his soul .) , and it’ll never wrongly direct you .

    “There is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience”
    French Proverb

  4. I’m afraid my respect and faith in referees was lost at Old Trafford, the day GBH was committed against Arsenal by the Neville brothers etc, orchestrated by Ferguson and aided by Rooney, one of the biggest cheats in the game.
    That day I swapped naivety for cynicism.

  5. Very good article. A factor in me stopping playing years earlier than I would have liked to was that we were only getting refs in about a quarter, if that, of the games we played. It was getting less and less each year. And we really needed them. I ‘lost’ the greatest goal of my life, one i would have enjoyed having scored for all my days, when a non-ref ref claimed a teammate ten yards behind me ,as I came to the end of a long mazy run, had committed some sort of infringement (impossible! he was a very clean, smart player and there was never a question of the ball coming his way).

    Another factor relates to one of the reasons less referees were about : disrespect and abuse towards them was rising all the time. Much as a i loved the game, once I hit mid-twenties (adulthood, they now say) the stupidity and crummy behaviour of so many (who knows? maybe only a quarter, but they sure had disproportionate effects) who I was playing with and against on a Saturday made it a close call whether or not it was worth it.

    One painful memory is of a young ref leaving a pitch in tears after he’d lost control amid awful abuse. Those around me just couldn’t figure out or didn’t care about the inconsistencies of bemoaning a lack of refs and showing no mercy towards those who give it a go.

    So, notionally I have a ton of respect for anyone who wants to referee. If I were a better more community-minded man, or if I had a higher idiot response threshold, i might well have given it a go. I criticise it more than I praise it, but it remains a beautiful game, and referees are essential to it- was blind sighted with a punch once against one of the more notorious teams in my area, and told afterwards by the man with the whistle, someone from their touchline who stepped in , ‘I can’t send him off because I’d have to send you off as well’ (I’d made a clean fair tackle moments before); just one of the experiences that made me think the game lives or dies by having someone in the middle who knows the job and does it fairly.

    So well done to any of the contributors who gave reffing a go. However it ended (and it sounds like ‘unsatisfactorily’ seems to be the answer for many) you did a good thing, and any time you had a particularly good game you would’ve helped that game immensely for the players.

  6. Nicky,

    Same here. Unfortunately, the cynicism is still growing for me.

    It’s a similar scenario to politics. Watching the same old irritating stuff be treated in the same way on a football pitch gets me thinking of how it ought to be; but just as I believe the system in politics would thwart and change any different, outstanding individual as they rose through the ranks, ensuring they have to abide by the same behavorial code as all the rest of them once past a certain level, a ref who does things differently-for instance,taking a suitably hard line of diving and the business of pressuring refs- could only go so far before being told ‘halt; it’s our way or no further’

    It’s why it’s a nightmare that PGMOL is what it is, with it’s structure and the people it has at the top. There is no hope of radically different referees emerging. The control they have of who gets through, who stays, and how they have to ref to stay in favour is absolute. So, if something is wrong, and the game you mention is the one that would prove beyond question to any honest person that there is, it’s here to stay and can only perpetuate itself.

    It would be like the media regulating itself, only as an even smaller group, just Newscorp,say, and in complete secrecy. Yikes.

  7. @Rich,
    One day, Rich, certainly not in my lifetime but maybe in yours, there will be video and other mechanical assistance, an appeals system and perhaps even robot-type referees.
    Matches will take a bit longer, time wasting will be pointless and cheating and fouling will be spotted and punished.
    Utopia. 😉

  8. @Nicky

    For a long while I was against much video reffing*, but those days are over. I’m too fed up of how it is and too desperate to see an improvement to worry about the messy realities of it. Bring it on!

    Even though I’m a cynic now, there’s always blind hope. So let’s hope we both get to see better refereeing (and if not that, then an Arsenal team good enough-and they’ll have to be brilliant- to overcome the shite)

    *didn’t see how football could keep a lot of its best stuff with it, and there is the spectre of injustices being even graver (there’d still presumably be arbitrariness about when to use it,etc,and then there’s the decision at the end of a review)

  9. nicky @ 8:41am

    I’m with you all the way on this.

    That shameful day at OT still cuts like a knife.

    I Could’nt believe what I was watching. Worse though, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

    Match commentator, Martin Tylor I think it was, was bending over backwards to justify every dirty trick Man Utd got up to. He constantly attempted to turn it all into Arsenals own fault. Andy Grey at least tried to be critical of United but Tylor was having none of it.

    This intention of blaming Arsenal, and not United, for everything that happened that day continued unabated after the game, and the next day, and the next, and the next, and still continues to this day.

    Last year I believe TalkShite had an anniversary ‘celebration’ of the day United put the INVINCIBLES in there place.

    Only recently the Neville brothers and Scholes have inferred how proud they still are of Uniteds tactics on that fateful day.

    For anyone who has any doubts as to the depths to which United sank, and as to the complicity of Riley and his fellow officials, take a look at this.


    From that day on it became common knowledge that that was the way to deal with Arsenal. Kick them off the park.

    -That was the day the players found out just how much they could kick Arsenal and still get away with it.

    -That was the day the Referees found out just how popular they could be in the media by allowing Arsenal to get kicked off the park.

    -That was the day everything changed for Arsenal football Club.

    A shameful day, still celebrated throughout the media to this day.

  10. Rich

    “(there’d still presumably be arbitrariness about when to use it, etc, and then there’s the decision at the end of a review)”


    Didn’t we witness just the other night how supposed experts (I use that in the looses possible way) still managed to convince themselves that Rooney didn’t dive, when anyone with half an eye could see he did.

    I mean how stupid must these people feel now?

    Yet they’ll be back on there perch again next week, telling us all the rights and wrongs of every decision, like they know what the fuck they’re talking about.

    Don’t forget how all the experts in the studio for last years FA Cup final managed to dismiss 5 solid Arsenal penalty shouts out of hand, even accusing us of diving !!

    Even with reviews, and panels, and whatever, the same old bias, the same old favourites will still prevail.

  11. @Jambug,
    I read your 11.14 with disgust because it brought back so many bad memories. The video should be played at all Year 9 classes at schools to demonstrate how not to behave in a sporting encounter.

  12. @jambug

    Clearly we’re both convinced the extraordinary is true, so I’m sure you’ve also spent a lot of time thinking about the why and how of it.

    I can only think it is a combination of a number of factors,with the chief ones being Wenger’s foreignness- not so much in terms of nationality, but ideas about the game- and the misfortune of their being as his rival in that key time, when he had very nearly secured the defeat of the old ways, or at the very least had badly exposed many of its limitations- something of an evil genius who, having secured a lot of power, found himself able to secure an incredible amount more of it. Also important to remember is that the referees involved were also products of these old ways, and so their behaviour amounts to another ‘defence’ of them. Do you have any other explanations of how it all came about?

    The media is the last big player in allowing it all to unfold as it has, and lord knows that is surely one murky world. One of the only things I can say with confidence about it is that we have surely been hurt by the conspicuous absence of any pro-arsene ex players in it.

    Essentially, all of Adams, Bould,Dixon, Merson, Wright, Winterburn, Parlour, Campbell and Veira are the main candidates, Merson aside, who could have been in there defending Wenger and his Arsenal, and none have done so.

    It’s a pretty hard thing to explain- if I were a non-believer in Wenger, I’d be suggesting it as proof that he isn’t the great man some claim him to be- and the only theory I can offer again relates to the old school vs foreign idea. These are, Viera aside from the list, people with conflicted loyalties. They grew up in this culture, and were undoubtedly products of it, and despite the clear good it did most of them in their careers, which they found easy to praise in the good times, it has not been sufficient to prompt them to go to war in Wenger’s defence.

    You just have to recall the little performance of Phil Thompson and the rest of the sky sports panel a few weeks ago, when they kicked up a real stink about the Gabriel transfer, to realise the effectiveness of having campaigners for a club diligently working away in the media.

    Only person I’ve ever seen do a job of passionately defending Wenger was Liam Brady- came across as a brilliant, decent man- on BT sport a few months back. The panel had made a few digs and then stepped it up a number of nonsense notches and spoke of Wenger in an incredibly disparaging way. Brady tore into the guy (a no-mark by the name of Andy Brassel), while keeping his sense, and he and the rest on the show backed down extremely quickly. It showed what we miss in the 99.9 per cent of cases they are free to knock us without a proper defender to redress things.

    Thierry Henry poses an interesting question : if he’s the man I\we hope him to be, they will have to speak more respectfully of Arsenal around him, otherwise it simply won’t work. After watching one of his first shows, I immediately thought ‘he won’t be able to stick it there for four years, no way’ My bet is that it won’t last more than a year.

  13. nicky

    Do you think the BBC might show that video prior to the match on the 9th of March 😆

    No? Thought not.

    Or perhaps RVN punching Freddie off the ball in the centre circle the day we won the title at OT?

    Maybe not.

    Or even RVN standing on Keowns foot, off the ball?

    Hmmmm, I wonder?

    Alright, pure fantasy.

    But I bet they show Keown jumping in RVN’s face when he missed that penalty though.

    The fact is I’m very worried about this game. The PL and the media are desperate for United to win something, and to be restored to there rightful place, I mean, they are the ‘Flagship team’ for the PL after all.

    Arsenal are the perfect ‘fall guys’ as part of there rehabilitation.

    I foresee a very similar scenario to that which we saw in 2004.

  14. Rich

    I am at a loss as to explain why players such as Adams, Dixon, Parlour etc, who clearly benefited from Wengers influence, point blank refuse to back Wenger with any real fervour or consistency.

    The general media dislike of Wenger has been explored many times here on Untold, and one of the over riding contentions is it all stems from the way Wenger dealt with the disgusting, totally unsubstantiated rumours that followed him from Japan. Some think Wengers never been forgiven for effectively ‘putting them in there place’ on the steps of Highbury on his very first day.

    Personally I don’t subscribe to this, at least not as a complete answer. There must be more to it than that. But what, I do not know.

    The fact is, Wenger is BRILLIANT with the media. Always polite. Always respectful. Funny. Honest.

    Yet at every opportunity they will turn his words against him, using selective, out of context phrases to put words in his mouth. As well as making blatant mis-quotes and telling down right lies.

    And yet he has still, never refused an interview. Never banned a Journalist.

    Wenger never ever bad mouths an ex Arsenal player, even though they bad mouth him at the drop of a hat.

    Is it just because he’s French?

    Is it because he’s obviously so much more intelligent than the normal media muppet?

    Maybe it’s just a bit of each. All I know is, the Medias hatred of Arsenal runs deep. There hatred of Wenger runs even deeper.

    But, I could live with that if only the likes of Adams, Parlour etc, had the backbone to stand up for him, but they don’t, and THAT is what I find the most perplexing and upsetting part of it all.

    The complicity of all these ex players, that seem to owe so much to Wenger, is quite simply disgraceful.

  15. Interesting article, Don. Jambug et al, that day at OT still hurts as if it happened yesterday. And like you guys, I know we’re going to witness something similar on March 7/8. There may not be as much kicking but if we really want to be realistic then we should brace ourselves for more heartache. Just going by our last three or four matches against utd, where we outplayed them in all but still left with nothing (primarily due to terrible officiating), I’m expecting worse in this where the stakes can be argued to be higher than our last four games.

    BTW, wonder how hodgson must be feeling after defending rooney for such a blatant dive. I salute le Tissier for calling that dive for what it is.

  16. AL

    I read that Le Tissier called it a dive, fair enough.

    But I also read he still felt it was a penalty due to the Keepers ‘intent’. He said Ronney should of been booked for a dive, but the penalty should still of been given.

    a)Did I read that right?

    b)Is he right in saying it was a booking and a penalty?

    If so, surely that opens a whole new can of worms.

  17. Al

    “BTW, wonder how hodgson must be feeling after defending rooney for such a blatant dive”

    How about the sycophantic Preston manager that didn’t even have the backbone to call it a dive !!

    It seems some people are so brain washed with the Rooney love-in they find it impossible to criticise him, no matter what.

  18. Yeah, I too couldn’t believe the crap the Preston manager came out with, jambug. Rooney and Gérard seem to be untouchable. Which is why I think they fa and all concerned will ensure it is one of these two that gets their hands on the FA cup

  19. AL


    It’s the ‘dream’ final as far as the Media are concerned, and as the referees sole intent seems to be to carry out the Medias wishes I really think we have no chance.

  20. Jambug, AL- one large crumb of comfort is that Van Gaal is not Ferguson.

    Is LVG a paragon of virtue? I doubt it, but, in football terms, I think he might be reasonably clean. His post-match behaviour,for instance, is at times startlingly honest in comparison to what came before.

    So, like you,I am convinced the refereeing will be dismal against us on the day. but I don’t believe a lot of work- let alone the whole focus- of their manager will be to capitalise on this and set about exploiting it to the outer limits.

    However, while i think we are equipped to edge them in a clean game, and even have it within us to defeat them well, it’s close enough and the margins are small enough that we will struggle to overcome rotten officiating.

    While Ferguson’s no longer there, and while Van Gaal may be nowhere near as calculating and cynical about the darker stuff, they have the players- Rooney and Fellaini especially- to do it all by themselves. I think we should expect a few savage tackles from the centre backs. That for me is something they appear to have worked conscientiously at over the years- instilling in their young defenders the importance, to winning, of these powerful, and by the laws illegal, out-of-my-way-or-you’re-f**ked challenges, plus hitting people hard who can’t even see or avoid you, as with Wilshere.

    Brown, Bardsley, Shawcross,Simpson, Jones, Smalling, Rafael, Fabio-it appears to have been carefully inculcated at the club * that smashing people is a key part of the job. Everyone will have to watch it. Ozil and, especially, Alexis, are in real danger. I’d make sure Welbeck plays as that means at least one person they won’t be targeting.

    Whatever, we’re right up against it. Only a superb start seems likely to do the trick.

    *by who knows what means; I’d guess it is as a kind of brainwashing that it part of a duty to serve the club, i.e the nobility and honour of the club are so important that scummy acts become noble in the service of protecting it. But that might not be necessary. They might by and large be dumb lads who need little encouragement to put aside thoughts of injuring opponents

  21. Rich

    I think history, via the admissions of Gary Neville, Phil Neville and Paul Scholes, to name but three, has exposed Manchester Uniteds premeditated use of violence against Arsenal, and what’s more, that it was openly encouraged by Fergie.

    I tend to agree that LVG will not openly encourage his players to perpetrate violence against our players in the way Fergie obviously did.

    The problem we have is this current crop of players will be left in no doubt as to what is expected of them, and what’s more, what they are likely to get away with, by the likes of Rooney.

    I don’t particularly like, or even rate LVG, but I don’t think he will send a team out with the kind of orders Fergie did, sadly he wont need to as others are more than capable of delivering the message for him.

  22. Yes, LVG may not askn his players tonbe physical, but they do have enough amongst them to take it upon themselves to dish out the rough treatment. Names like Rooney, Fellaini, Jones, McNair, even the dutch skunk, etc are the ones to watch.

  23. Jambug, all I can guess is that Le Tissier only remembers the goalkeeper’s follow through. But if you looked at the series of 6 images before and after the closest approach of Rooney and keeper, there was no problem. The keeper is leading with a single foot, no studs showing, with the foot sliding along the ground.

  24. @Don

    A good article & you did the right thing – if not you would have become part of the corruption.

    The most important trait in any concern, business, profession or workplace is honesty. I learned this at an early stage – my first boss was inherently dishonest! The knock on effects of his dishonesty were surprisingly far reaching, despite his efforts to keep his activities below the parapet!

    Back to the refs – the situation now is that a large proportion of the football watchers know there is something wrong and this number grows daily. The efforts by the PGMO and the over moneyed media to cover up/distract/re-write history are not really working, at some point I expect an implosion and a very major scandal to emerge.

    Part of what is preventing this just now is the scale of the “operation” – a bit like the banks that had become so large they could not be allowed to go bankrupt – the “cheating, manipulation and cover up operation” is so large, with tentacles reaching many cloistered places, that those involved are battening down the hatches to try to prevent a system collapse and exposure.

  25. Great article, OMG.

    Good comments too.

    I have a confession: I’ve still not watched the Manu game from the Ems. I’ve intended to watch the full match, but I can’t bear seeing JW & WS being injured by the thugs. I’ll get to it when I can.

    I also haven’t watched the Riley vid – for the last two times it has been posted here. Of course, I’ve watched it many times before, and I rather hoped I’d be desensitised by now, but it drives me up the wall. The “intent” and the commentary, and the fking very ground on which it was played – all make me feel quite sick.

    I’ve enjoyed sitting with a couple of people who think I bleat unjustifiably about Arsenal’s “problems”. They get all glazed eyed and go quiet (then they probably go to their mates and continue saying Arsenal are shit.
    Ah well.

  26. Great comments from everyone. To answer ThomB…..as Walter so appropriately points out, we were never great players and had little prospect of playing great Football at a higher level but I got to officiate at a game with 65,000 spectators and what a feeling “refgasm” says it all.

  27. Great article, shame you had to pay price for honesty and integrity. Mash there were more refs like you in this league

  28. Walter, thank you for your answer. I was thinking, while we often shared a few drinks and food with opposition players and staff after games, never with the referee, for obvious reasons. I guess the referee not only has a tough job, but is also kind of alienated from the players, making them slightly dehumanised. This I never took into account as a player. T

  29. Omg Arsenal. I was never a great player or ever going to be either, but I represented the same club for 18 years and whether I played in front of 5000 or 50 spectators, which I have, it made little odds to my level of commitment, performance or enjoyment.

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