Stopping diving and the harassment of referees. It can be done

By Walter Broeckx

This week we had a few interesting moments that involved referees’ and players’ behaviour. Things we don’t like to see but that are used by some teams in order to gain an advantage. Unsporting things. Things that also make life difficult for referees. Let us have a closer look.

The diver’s disease.

As a ref I know how difficult it is sometimes to see the difference between a foul and a dive. In my reviews when a player takes a dive I give black marks to the ref, even though it might have been an honest mistake by the ref. But as our reviews work on a black/white or right/wrong measure we just judge it as the video evidence shows it.

But the real person who is dishonest when a dive is made is not the ref of course but the player who dives. Now you have a few different dives. One that I think is the least bad dive is the evasive dive. A players sees another player coming, fears the impact and dives out of the way to avoid a possible dangerous contact. In fact this dive is not really a dive or should not be branded as a real dive. Because the way the other player comes in towards the ‘diver’ in a dangerous way, can make the diver fear for his legs and then even when there is no contact then it still is a foul.

But if we look at the dives last Monday we have real dives. Di Maria went down as if he was shot and taken his legs away. Ramsey half a second before had a little hand to hand contact with Di Maria. Now if Di Maria was pulled back (there is no real evidence of Ramsey really pulling or just touching him which is no foul in itself) he could have carried on running with the ball or he could have stopped his run after the ball. And then the ref has to decide: was there a real pull or not and call it a foul or not. But throwing himself to the ground as if his legs had been tripped was what made it a real dive. And thus the yellow card was completely correct.

The other dive was even more blatant. Januzaj ran in front of Monreal and Monreal made a bit of contact with Januzaj OUTSIDE  the penalty area. Januzal then went on running and took another 3 or 4 steps and then went down with Monreal being close but not touching him at all. Again if Januzaj wanted to get a foul he should have gone down where the contact was (outside the penalty area) and then again the ref had to make a decision if the hand contact (no foul in itself) was worthy of a foul or not.

Making contact with another player with your hand is not strictly forbidden, it is the way the contact is made that makes it a foul or not.

Now on both occasions the ref got it spot on. And that is something he deserves credit for. But let us imagine he had given in to the strong crowd reaction and the reaction of the United players surrounding the ref to force a favourable decision for them and given a penalty. It would have taken a video ref only 5 seconds to tell the ref that it was a blatant dive from Januzaj and then the decision could have been reversed.

In Belgium we have for a while had a system in place that can overrule decisions from the ref even when he has seen them and given a yellow card. If for instance looking at the video evidence the authorities can see that a tackle was more dangerous than the ref had seen it, a player still can get banned. And it also goes the other way round. If a ref has given a red card and the video evidence shows that it should have been a yellow card the player can come off without extra ban.

But why don’t we install that system on the spot? That way a team doesn’t have to go down undeservedly to 10 man if the ref made an honest mistake.

The harassing disease.

It’s back.  We saw it being done by United players time and time again last Monday. And what I have seen yesterday in the match Chelsea-PSG was nothing short of the most disgraceful behaviour I have seen from any team for a long, long time. I think apart from Courtois (credit to him) all Chelsea players were surrounding the ref from Holland and pressurizing him to give Ibrahimovic a red card.  Whether it should have been a red card or not is not important. The harassing of the referee by almost the entire Chelsea team was a disgrace for football. And for Chelsea FC in particular.

Chelsea and their players are taking football back to the dark ages of cattanacio and the times when referees had to run for their lives to keep the players away from them. We had the same a few years ago and it then was stamped out with handing out a few yellow cards to surrounding players. But as most rules this fades out after a while because it works. So players stopped harassing referees and then the referees forget the instructions. And now the harassing can start all over again.

So it takes only one memo from Uefa to remind the local football authorities of this instruction and pass it on to the refs and start doing it again.

But I would suggest that the football authorities act also in another way. In fact in 2 ways.  I would suggest that in case a team surrounds a referee the captain of that team should get a yellow card. He is responsible for the behaviour of their players and so he should make sure they don’t do it. And if the players do surround the referee in group it is he who should at least be booked apart from the most aggressive harassers.  A result would be that if a team surrounds a ref twice in a match, they would lose their captain. And the second action should be that after the match the football authorities look at such incidents and mark each player that joined the group with an extra yellow card. It will have no direct impact but if a player would surround a ref on a frequent basis (and the serial harassers do this) he could be in trouble after a few games and get banned.

Time to kill this behaviour now before it raises its ugly head again. Come on Mike, what are you waiting for.


Arsenal and Wenger secure the all-time semi-finals records

62 Replies to “Stopping diving and the harassment of referees. It can be done”

  1. I can’t see holding the captain responsible for his teams bad behaviour as a solution. Would you want to be a captain if this was a rule? It’s already a bookable offence to harass to the referee, so it just needs one or two strong officials to get the card out and book the offenders.

  2. I disagree Tailgunner. Holding the Captain responsible for his team on the pitch would be very effective when there is a cluster of players round the ref. Dishing out 4 or 5 yellows would quickly descend in to farce, although would also have an effect. The only players involved in any dispute on the pitch should be those involved in the incident and the captains to make reasonable requests to the ref. If any others get involved they should be sent away.
    If the captain is held responsible, he should send other of his own players away from the situation, knowing it is his backside on the line. Likewise the opposing captain can point to the way they may be trying to influence decisions and ask (not demand) that the oppo should get a yellow.

  3. How surprising that Gary Neville thought it was okay.

    That guy has been an embarrassment over the last few months.

    From a decent, even handed, intelligent pundit he has fallen to the level of ‘gloating’ over United’s antics in kicking Arsenal of the pitch.

    Now he’s extoling the virtues of mobbing the Referee.

    He’s let himself down badly.

  4. Tailgunner,
    That way all players will know that if they behave like that they will lose their captain and no team likes to lose its captain. In a way a captain is responsible for his team and their behaviour. It is something that is often said by referees before the match that it is their duty to control their players.
    I think the first time any player would harass the ref a captain will have strong words towards him because he will realise that one more time it will be him who will be off.
    It would work, believe me… it would work.

    Relying on referees to do their job properly…. I think we have tried that already…

  5. But Walter, don’t you know everyone’s at it, it’s only supporting a teammate and we’re all as bad as each other?

    Yep, Terry hath spoken.

    In the process he did a very good job of showing that liars and cheats the world over will behave much the same should they ever be put on the back foot, whether media moguls, politicians or deeply unpleasant sports people- deflect, never quite answer the real question put to you, insinuate that the accusers are hypocrites and holier-than-thou types, suggest you are just doing what everyone does.

    I believe you worked as a lawyer, Walter, so you must have masses of experience of this.

    You could call it first stage denial/rebuttal. Everything then hinges on whether the desire to question and hold them to account is real. Does someone pick up on the laughable inconsistencies and untruths, point them out and ask further questions, or not?

    With Terry the answer is obviously not. So, for instance, his suggestion they only ran in- five or six of them, instead of ten- because PSG were doing it, and you have to counter that, and back your teammates, won’t be laughed out of town, despite its absurdity and the fact it simply isn’t true.

    ‘And once I go, four or five go with me. It doesn’t look good at all but that’s part of the game. We’ll match it if people want to mix it, that’s part of our game as well.
    ‘There was an awful lot going on but ‎I don’t think anyone got caught up in it.
    ‘Once they’re charging the ref, the only thing we can do is respond. You can’t as a group of players let them surround the ref, trying to get our players booked.’

    Ah, they were trying to stop Oscar getting a booking. Oscar really did think he had a horrific injury. The players really did believe him. The frantic hand waving to the bench, and the desperate sprinting of medical staff, was all genuine, not a totally sick charade.

    I’m not sure old John’s clever enough to come up with so many ways of painting everything they do as a reaction to the other team doing it first, without a little professional help, that is.

    Again though, an open admission of it all being ‘part of the game’, which of course it isn’t, and again the dark comedy/tragedy of having that out there, and yet not having match officials or a media who take those admissions into account (they shouldn’t need them ,but what they hey) and act accordingly to combat this ‘part of the game’ stuff which isn’t part of the game.

    On the back foot, they’ve accidentally confessed to it being what we know it is, albeit while claiming their actions are defensive and reactive, yet come Sunday they will be going through the same routines again, while asking the world and his dog to believe every action, every gesture, is real and sincere.

    If the will was there, it could all be crushed so easily.

  6. @jambug,
    Agree entirely. I find it amazing that the media choose the most appalling of thugs like the Neville Brothers and Roy Keane (the biggest purveyor of GBH in the game), to broadcast their views on matches.
    It is inevitable that come retirement, criminals like Barton, Shawcross & Co have it made.

  7. Walter,

    I see your point and it’s a commendable one ( and would most likely work ) but being made captain of your team is actually an honour and the award would become something of a poisoned chalice.
    There is already a rule in place to prevent this, so use the rule. Why complicate the game further.

  8. One thing that does need to be taken into account, especially with the ‘Evasive Dive’ is the appeal. Eduardo got one against Celtic which the Ref gave a penalty for and he was later attacked by the press as there was little contact, which UEFA then got involved in. I don’t know if he expected it or not but poor Eduardo didn’t appeal at all and looked a little surprised when a penalty was awarded. Compare that with Rooney diving and screaming for a penalty.
    I think there should be a way of penalising a player even if the ref saw it. Call it ‘deceiving a match official’ and give him an automatic red card so he misses games.
    Increase it for repeat offenders. But have guidelines which look at the seconds before and after so that if a guy stumbles over his own feet and sheepishly stands up without appealing because he’s embarrassed that he fell on his own, then that mustn’t be confused with a genuine dive.

  9. Agree Andy Mack,
    one should look at the way a player reacts after a “dive”. A player who appeals to the ref after a real dive should be carded. A player who just loses his balance because an unfortunate step and doesn’t appeal to the ref can be left alone for me.

  10. The captain leads the team. He’s the only one that can make representations to the ref. If a team lose their captain once by the suggested method then it’s extremely unlikely to happen again.

  11. When Ramsey was Shawcrossed, the Arsenal players went to the player to see if he was fine. Not one Chelsea’s player went to Oscar. What does that say about their mentality?

    Mourinho has instilled a belief amongst Chelsea that they fight for each other, but this has got way out of hand. The Captain should be encouraged to speak to the ref. no other player has any right to talk to him unless spoken to.

    Chelsea deserve punishment for this. It’s funny that a team with John Terry as Captain seem to want to bully the refs.

  12. Jambug

    I’m not sure he has really deteriorated that much.

    My impression is more that I was taken in for a good while, because he’s a clever one, before it slowly became clear what he was all about. And once that’s happened, it’s easy to see through his disguise, and impossible to stop seeing what a git he is.

    Imagine a dodgy ref who perfectly understood the importance of saving the dodginess for the critical moments, while being normal, exceptionally good even, the rest of the time. Those are the dangerous ones (they get to and stay at the top, and their generally good or better work makes protest much harder when anomalous stuff happens); Gary Neville is the commentary version of that to me.

    Gary is Webb, Phil is more of a Taylor. Thompson is probably no worse than a Dowd. Oliver might just be Le Tiss (about the only one of the gang who strikes me as decent and without any hideous bias), but, yeah, I should probably be cautious thinking that for now.

    Scholes is Atkinson or, better, Riley. Stelling and Martin Tyler are probably best described simply as w***ers

  13. Chelsea players surrounding the referee in efforts to influence his decision has everything to do with Mourinho’s siege- like , the whole world is against us , managing mentality.
    Such was the case at Real Madrid, Inter , and Chelsea before that.

    Nine Chelsea players surrounding the Dutch referee( in Diego Costa’s case , after having made a forty yard dash) , is probably a byproduct of two things.

    One, his campaign before the second leg of PSG clash against what he thought was overly physical treatment of Hazard by the PSG players.
    There was some truth to that in the fist leg .

    Two, Chelsea players not reacting at all to Ashley Barnes’ tackle on Matic , which Mourinho called” criminal” , and which saw the Serb lose his cool and receive the straight red for shoving Barnes to the ground in the Burnley game.

    It must’ve irked Mourinho something awful that a “criminal “tackle on one of his own provoked not a single reaction from his players, which was something Burnley manager , Sean Dyche , was only too eager to bring up in his rebuttal of Mourinho’s claims.

    Jose surely must’ve made it clear this was not to happen again, thus some of his players sprinting the width of the pitch to protest the Ibra tackle , which was never a red card offense.

    The funniest part about it was John Terry stumping on Oscar’s head in his haste to lobby for the red card for Ibra.
    Which was kind a like watching a mother rhino trample all over her calf while trying to chase away the pesky hyena.

  14. Sorry to go off topic but does anyone know when the dates/time/TV coverage of the Semi Finals will be announced? Thanks.

  15. As Chelsea players harassment of the match referee is being condemned by neutral pundits and most Gooners, we should all bear it in our minds that Chelsea wanted to grind out a result from that UCL game at Stanford Bridge by all means. By hook or crook are inclusive.

  16. Absolutely on point Walter. No team wants to lose their Terry, their Kompany, their Rooney. There is rule and reason in allowing the captain to speak with (not badger) the referee. Along with that privilege must come responsibility. Let the captain’s do their damn job. Good for you Walter.

  17. Sorry to restate a case I’ve put before – but a third level card for a first offence (of whatever kind including ref harrasment), yellow for a second and red for a third would solve the problem of on-field punishment seem overly harsh. Rotational fouling would be punished because all fouls are punished by some level of card.

  18. @tom

    the reaction, if any, should be a genuine concern towards their own player, and not to the referee to get a player sent off. However, the reaction of the chelsea players… perhaps suggest
    1) they knew its a simulation, and reacted in an absolutely disgusting manner(sounds so mou to me) to send ibra off
    2) if they are not aware of it being a simulation, then they did not give a damn about their own team mate and only want an opposition player to be sent off. even more disgusting…
    so… basically, the reaction in this case is indefensible… and pretty much sums up what i feel about mou (not chelsea)

    on the other hand, ibra show a touch of classiness in not OVERREACTING like the BABIES around him and accepted the red card like a MAN.

  19. So, there was a game recently where someone had attempted to crock our Coq. Our captain, Per, moved in quickly to stop Coq from getting further involved.

    In the 4th minute of the game against Manu, Fellelbowy smashed Coq’s nose – leaving it bleeding. What interested me was the reaction of the Arsenal players that saw the incident.
    They stopped (at least 3 players) and had their hands spread wide, expecting a foul to be given. (I expected a red card – in my dreams).
    The point here is that the breaking of the Arsenal player’s rhythm extended beyond the 3 players I could see on that particular video frame.

    As Fellelbowy skipped away with the ball and then passed it, the Arsenal player’s closer to their own goal were momentarily de-rythmed (distracted) too. The result was that a ball played to Ashley diver spawned a mistimed tackle from Bellerin, for which he was booked.
    So within 15 seconds of that ref-ignored assault play continued until an Arsenal player made a foul which, conveniently, the free kick could be taken from a position whereby Utd could hoof the ball into the penalty area.
    Naturally, the bloody-nosed Coq was off the field of play, leaving one less defender to out jump our friend Fellelbowy.

    This sequence of events can happen in football matches all over the world, but I see it happen to Arsenal time and time again.
    Cast your mind back to Anfield – where PM4 hadn’t even committed a foul. The ref ‘called play back’, but play started 30 yards closer to our goal, and the “goal” was offside anyway! (Check your hard drive.)
    How about Arteta being sent off at Crystal Palace when Chamack actually fouled him. “Goal scoring opportunity” dismissal, despite being near the half way line – and close to the side line! Oh how I larfed.

    But coming back to the captains role: I do hope you’ve all noticed that once the famous back four had gone, AW has clearly instructed his player’s to not get involved by reacting to refshite. MA8 certainly “chats” to the ref (which I like), but Arsenal rarely surround the ref. Instead, Mikel, or Per, or Tomas/Santi have quiet-ish words with the ref. All this despite it being Arsenal’s players who are most often on the end of career threatening tackles or incidents likely to hurt or injure our players.

    I therefore think there’s a case for making the captain responsible. For goodness sake; the captain is supposed to be responsible on the field of play, right?

  20. Ranetta, spot on.

    Your penultimate paragraph is particularly interesting for me having just read a piece by known. He mentions in it that he was told by Graham at half-time in a game vs Utd to stop being so nice, and put some pressure on the ref, and that from that moment he always made sure he did.

    There’s a danger of me discussing Wenger as if he’s a saint, morally, and while I have no doubts that in football terms that’s precisely what he is, the question of someone like Keown doing something like that in a Wenger team is useful for trying to pin point how far Wenger goes with fair play, and how much of the opposite he can tolerate.

    My estimate is that he never actively encourages foul means, let alone obsesses over them and conditions his players to use them as second nature; that he would make efforts to correct anyone doing anything gratuitous but that, no, he’s not that much of a saintly man that he’d stop an old dog like Martin doing his thing. As keown says, it works.

    And it makes it all the more fascinating and improbable that Wenger has gone on this long in the manner he has, resisting and resisting the seductive reasoning of ‘others do it, not to do it disadvantages you and the team you love and fight passionately for with everything you have (within the parameters of those pesky principles), and greatly exacerbates a real injustice’ Not to mention the fact the media work their balls off, with scant material, to give the impression you are as cynical as the rest. And referees work even harder at it.

    He’s one remarkable fellow and, to use his own word, his resilience is staggering. Who could have stuck to their guns, and not, in the face of all the injustice, provocation, smashed limbs et al resorted to trying to combat it by recruiting players noted for their willingness to ‘mix it’ dirt-wise? Not me. In weaker maddened moments I’d have left us all lumbered with Samba (not the dance), Nzonzi and Jedinak and, more defensibly , Benteke.

    Unlike a feel good movie, the moment won’t come when the baddies are exposed and the good guy vindicated, but we can do our little bit here and keep hoping he can show them up in the only way they struggle to deny, distort and dismiss. Getting back to the summit.

  21. Sorry I mispelt your name, jambug. But interesting to see someone (who isn’t a chelsea player) actually trying to explain why the chelsea players behaved the way they did last night, which frankly speaking was appalling.

  22. Damn, my comment went into moderation….

    Anyway, I don’t really like Jamie Caragher but last he called it as is; the behaviour by chelsea players was disgraceful. Neville, again, showed what a w***er he is.

    Mourinho’s sides are always like this. I used to admire the Madrid of Ronaldo the original, Figo, Roberto carlos, etc, but now if there’s a team I can’t stand to watch out of England its Madrid. And its because of Mourinho. The way Ronaldo the winker is always looking to go down, his arrogance, Pepe’s thuggery, I just can’t bring myself to watch that team. All because of mourinho. Why this guy gets so much adulation in the British press I’ll never know.

  23. Rich
    Firstly, I make no apologies for seeing AW as a saint, probably even outside of football, due to his “footballing honesty”. Bearing in mind how his teams have been variously cheated. (Even in Japan, I’d read).

    I’ve lost just a little respect for Martin Keown due to his TV co-commentary, during the latest episode of which he showed he doesn’t know the offside laws. But worse, Martin still doesn’t know what constitutes foul play (any more than most of the other poodits). I don’t therefore dislike him, and I enjoyed his recent interview with AW.

    I wonder if Martin noticed the inclusion of his bang on van N’s neck in the promotional bumpf surrounding the cup match, but not the stampings from the same cheat? Obviously, he wouldn’t say anything publicly about his employers omissions as he mightn’t keep his job? Whilst GG’s men “handed some back”, it became Arsenal who were punished with the red cards, and then later, the red card narrative became justification of further KTSOOA, kick the shit out of Arsenal. And when AW points it out, he’s a whinger/Ars are soft/don’t like it up ’em, et al.

    I have the highest regard for someone that puts up with all that, plus, puts up with stupid questioning in I every press conference and is slandered ad nauseum. He’s a tad saintly, no?

    I hope you noticed the kudos afforded you by BillfromManhatten, in a previous thread. Ditto from me.

  24. Agreed, time to kill this behaviour. They didn’t nip it in the bud with Fergie, now the likes of Mourinho is doing his best to emulate the ex Utd boss. This week shows just what a difficult job refs have.
    But I believe there is hope on the horizon. Ex refs have identified Riley as a problem, so have Untold. Are some refs fed up at being made to look like muppets by Riley to maintain his bias and prejudices? Are some of them talented guys who want to do a good job? Are some of them sick at the likes of Taylor and Atkinson being rewarded by the powers that be? And are some of them sick of themselves, and their mates being thrown to the wolves? Is their a breakaway movement in the pgmol?
    I posted earlier that I thought Oliver this week , mainly in the second half was sending a fuck you to Riley, but did not have time to explain further. I read a while back that the young Oliver was being mentored……wait for it Clattenberg. They are from the same part of the world, the North East. Scanning the net, it appears they socialise a bit as well, and go to training together.–Ref-mentions-extraordinary-incident-report-FA-investigate-racism-allegations.html
    We know Clattenberg has been treated badly by the pgmol, possibly after the Utd Leicester game. Was Monday Oliver’s response to his colleague, and possibly his friends treatment? Or am I just barking mad and reading far too much into things!

  25. Nothing at yet, but reports filtering out about the Ox’s hamstring injury. It is supposedly a grade 1 strain (lowest), and the 1 guess so far is 4 weeks.

    Gabriel’s was also grade 1, and was 2-3 weeks. Who knows where this 4 weeks is coming from?

  26. Rantetta

    I’m guessing the Keown commentary was from the recent utd cup match (no, not the one they didn’t get diving rewards); that was indeed hard to take from him. A theory has slowly dawned on me as to why the ex Arsenal men we do have in the media are generally so poor at offering much-neeeded support to Wenger and the current Arsenal.

    In the case of those who spent some time with him, these are conflicted men. The more they identified with Graham and his way of thinking, the greater dissonance there has to be within them. Nobody was more of a Graham man than Adams, and this goes a long way to explaining what had previously always bewildered me about his attitude. He can rarely praise Wenger without including a but; and at other times offers only all too clear frustration. Dixon meanwhile has struck me as cowardly at times. In the face of heavy criticism his response tends to be weak (contrast that with how Man Utd guys will defend their club and ex boss)

    They all fit the pattern. Merson, who wasn’t there long, is often openly hostile. Parlour and Wright seem more positive people and want to offer support, but even they can struggle when the chips are down, i.e when we aren’t winning. Keown, perhaps the most intelligent and, crucially, independently minded of the lot, is the best candidate we have, so it’s even more telling to me that even he has that conflict, between what he was used to and what is, after all, something like the native mindset; and between the very different outsider figure who came in, was good for him personally, and yet remained outside The Club.

    it’s asking a hell of a lot for any of these people, who unlike us were totally and directly immersed within the football culture here, to have the same opinions about it (British football culture) and about what is effectively something challenging to , and disliked by, it, as we do; then it asks much more again for them to go on television and fight, week after week, against the tide and for the cause.

    Henry seems like a kind of test case about whether it’s even tenable to do this. He has the charisma, talent and medals which naturally makes Sky want to swoon over him (and pay a mega salary), but what if he comes on and repeatedly says positive stuff about Arsenal and refuses to allow anything bogus in the criticism to go unchallenged?

    Without that theory I would have to accept the reluctance of ex players (who after all know him so much better than any fan could) to support Wenger in the way I think they should, indicates he isn’t, well, quite as great a man and a manager as some of us insist. So ,by heck, I’m sticking to that, or a similar theory!

    They know not what they do, but it’s largely forgivable because of the environment they were raised in, the people they are, and practical pressures within their current working environment.

    i’d better stop now before I start pardoning the Scholes’, Neville’s and Shawcross’es to any extent.

    I saw the Kudos from BillfromManhatten and think I thanked him for it. You,too.

    I just wish I hadn’t wasted about 6 years, prior to stumbling on this site, commenting on the Guardian website and so rarely getting any sort of decent interaction with, or sightings of, my kind of Arsenal fans there.

    I’m making up for lost time at the moment, and writing a bit more than I intend to. Hopefully that’ll stop soon but I can’t make any promises

  27. Mandy Dodd,

    That bit of detective work is right up my street, seems plausible, and I salute you for it.

  28. Thank you Rich! Just hope Oliver does not let me down between now and the end of the season.
    Will be interesting to see how this pans out, Oliver would have been demoted under Fergie for that performance. But after the reaction throughout the media, Riley will look stupid if he tries to trump up some charges on Oliver.

  29. Mandy, a good theory about Oliver, hope there is something in it.

    The behavior of the Chelski louts last night was a disgrace, but it was nothing new. They often commit tackles that are designed to intimidate, dive for free kicks/penalties or to get opposition players into trouble, play act to mislead the ref into thinking they have been seriously and unfairly hurt and as we saw last night they set about influencing the ref from the outset. All this seems to be part of the Odious One’s master plan – and as Souness indicated last night – such tactics should not be part of the game.

    The same criticism can equally be leveled at the Manures. The shame is that the connivance of the PGMO has resulted in these two, and some other teams, believing that cheating is acceptable, their supporters equally believing that every dive somewhere close to the box should be rewarded by a penalty and a red card for the opposition.

    While Oliver rightly carded De Maria and Januzaj for simulation, the arch diver, Young, got off rather lightly despite trying to use simulation to get Bellerin sent off. Probably a team meeting tactic.

    The interesting development was the severe criticism (led by Souness) of Chelski players, and further, although more muted, criticism of the Manures. I suspect the media discontent towards the latter will be used to target LvG – perhaps old Red Nose has it in for him!

  30. BJT

    It isn’t universal at Liverpool. Gerrard was sticking up for Chelsea players, saying that all players cheat to help the team.

  31. @Gord, maybe Gerrard had a reason to be defensive – I think he has a history of using a pair of flippers!

    Some players certainly do cheat, and certain teams e.g. Chelski last night and the Manures on Monday night seemed to have a team plan based on cheating – that both were caught out is unusual – but very satisfying!!!

  32. It will be interesting to see when Oliver gets either an Arsenal or Manchester United game again

  33. Agree bjt, a lot of negative vibes about Chelsea, the club, their players and some of their fans, although of course Mike T proves that we should not tar all their fans with the same brush.
    I think mourinho is a very clever copier, he takes things off different people and experiences for his own advantage. Nothing wrong with that, but he is not an innovator or visionary like our own manager. Jose takes the straight line easy option and needs a hell of a lot of money to do so. He is good at what he does. But what he does sucks the very soul out of the game. At present, he copies aspects of fergie with the cheating and diving, aspects of the great Italian managers with the defending, which went hilariously wrong this week. He saw PSG with ten men dominating his MF, yet he did nothing, just as his worshippers in the aaa accuse wenger of. Jose mourinho is these days, nothing more than a short term option to get a very expensively assembled team over the line, by what ever means fair, negative or foul. He will win the league because Chelsea have invested a few hundred million over a decade plus, man city have imploded and we are not yet ready, Chelsea also have influence in the pgmol despite Mourinhos smokescreen protestations. But Jose is short term, we are long term with a bit more finances these days. This is a bad week for mourinho in the long term, he showed himself as he is with his ridiculous calling for stretchers to try and help get ibra sent off. All but the corrupt refs will have taken note of the events of this week, with Chelsea, and Utd.

  34. Swales 1968, yes very interesting. But then again, even Mike Dean is being fair to is in recent games. Could all change of course, but think there are interesting things afoot in the pgmol

  35. Gord, interesting, always had Gerrard down as a serial cheat, on a par with Rooney and Owen

  36. One day, an aeroplane cleaner was cleaning the pilot’s cockpit when he saw a book entitled, “HOW TO FLY AN AEROPLANE FOR BEGINNERS, VOL. 1”.

    He opened the the first page which said, “To start the engine, press the red button”. He did so and the airplane engine started.

    He was please and opened the next page, “To set airplane moving press blue button”. He did so and the plane started moving at an amazing speed.

    He wanted to fly, so he opened the 3rd page which said, “To let airplane fly, please press the green button”. He did so and the plane started to fly.

    He was so happy.

    After 20 minutes of flying, he was satisfied and wanted to land so he decided to go the 4th page. He fainted after reading the instructions.

    The 4th page read, “To learn how to land , please purchase Volume. 2” at the nearest bookshop!

    Moral : Never start something if you don’t know how to end it ….

  37. One thing we must be careful about is, that Arsenal players are not saints.

    Our players will use the same methods too, only thing is, they did not do these things as often as some other teams due to the “attacks” on Arsenal, but as the ref attacks are a little diminished now i notice our players starting to become more adventurous again in those areas.

    Now we all know these things are wrong, but also that it would be foolish for Arsenal to lose an advantage if other teams are doing it. Arsenal has to ride with the situation and not disadvantage themselves.

    No one can call Arsenal TIMID now, and we do “target” some players that have kicked one of ours. At least this is what i see watching some games now.

  38. I love the ‘deceiving a match official’ foul. It should be complemented with ‘deceiving the game/fans of a match official’ because we have been deceived for many years of officials (fair ones for sure).

  39. Mandy Dodd
    March 13, 2015 at 12:09 am

    Oh Mandy! ‘we are not yet ready’!! We are always ready on a level playing field. We will win the EPL this season despite all the shenanigans of PGMOL. There is a greater official than that appointed by the FA looking down on us as a true supporter of honesty.

  40. Januza’s dive was so ridiculous it made me laugh. If the ref had been fooled by that I’d think he was got to by the Manu mafia. I’m not sure why he dived when if he’d kept his feet he might have caused us a problem but luckily he chose to cheat.

    Chelsea are of course despicable, owner, manager, and a large percentage of their fans and players are poor examples of human beings. Many fans were booing Luiz, a man who had a huge hand in winning the CL for them, as if respect is something that’s as flimsy as their history. Similar to the way some fans abused that black guy conveniently forgetting that a certain player called Drogba helped them win so many honours. I’ve no idea why anyone would support that club unless they were supporters pre Abramovic.

  41. Would be amazing if you were to be correct Menace. Would take the mother of implosions by Chelsea…….maybe a bit like we saw the other night!

  42. Al @ 5:24pm

    Yep, you where right. He’s nothing more than a cowardly lying little toad.

    Gord @ 6:18pm

    Thanks for that. Nothing in stone yet though it seems.

    Rantetta @ 7:04pm

    “I wonder if Martin noticed the inclusion of his bang on van N’s neck in the promotional bumpf surrounding the cup match, but not the stampings from the same cheat?”

    Or RVN’s attempt to break Ashley Coles Leg.

    Or His punch on Freddie.

    Or Rios ‘professional’ foul on Freddie.

    Or Rooney’s dive.

    And that’s the whole problem with our ex’s as pundits, spineless doormats the lot of them. And on that subject.

    Rich @ 8:40pm

    You know how much I admire your views and enjoy your comments, so it was with great interest that I read your thoughtful and considered opinion as to why we get so much negative output in the media from our ex players.

    Interesting analysis, but after careful consideration I hope you don’t mind if I stick to my own carefully thought out and considered opinion that….they’re just a bunch of fucking cow towing, ignorent wankers.

    Oh, and you forgot to mention Smith and Robson, 2 of the biggest wankers of the lot.

    Sorry about that, but I suppose we cant agree on everything Rich 🙂

  43. Mandy Dodd

    “I think mourinho is a very clever copier, he takes things off different people and experiences for his own advantage. Nothing wrong with that, but he is not an innovator or visionary like our own manager”

    I’ve always said Mourhino is nothing more than a George Graham clone. The only difference being he has spent over £500 Million to bore the pants off everyone where as Graham did it on peanuts. (don’t want to be rude to Graham, but you know what I mean.)

  44. para

    March 13, 2015 at 4:38 am

    “One thing we must be careful about is, that Arsenal players are not saints.”

    That is certainly true. But who’s asking for sanctity? I’m certainly not.

    Like I have said before, I do not expect perfection from anyone, Referees, players or managers and that includes ours.

    But that doesn’t excuse taking the laws and stretching them to the limit at every opportunity, or taking ‘gamesmanship’ to the limit.

    Yes, many people may speed at 75 or 80 on the Motorway but does that then excuse the guys doing 120 ? Of course it doesn’t.

  45. @Walter, very good article, one of my biggest criticisms of referees is them not using the rules/tools that are in place to stop actions on the pitch, allowing them control, but your point on booking the captain for HIS teams actions is probably the best idea I have read on how to deal with players trying to interfere with the refereeing of a match, not surprising that it comes from a professional referee who knows a thing or two about how to referee a match, the sooner this is implemented the better for football (so probably never then).

  46. jambug I am sorry but you shouldn’t dis GG aka stroller for his tactics of ‘defend forever and strike when able’. He was good for Arsenal both as player & manager. He did go over to the spuds & won them a cheapo cup but then it was all they were worthy of.

    There were many dives by Arsenal players over the years but generally it was evading tackles that might have injured them. I am looking forward to Arsenals semi and also to our response to Monaco. We can turn the score around with the right attitude & quality of game that we play.

    The captains must not need to question or discuss referee decisions but they must control team mates tempers. There is nothing in the Laws (as far as I’m aware) that allow captains privilege of communication with officials.

    Referees should in all instances book players who try to get opponents sent off. The Laws are explicit on unsporting conduct.

  47. Jambug, no need to be sorry on that one. Besides, there’s no disagreement on the general point : the ex players range from weak to diabolical in terms of defending the club in the way they should.

    No idea why, but the simpler explanation may well be the right one.

    As for Robson and Smith. I’ve managed the rare feat for me of having gone past being annoyed with Robson. Probably because i just switch off when I hear his voice. Smith is different, he occupies a position of unique untrustworthiness for me. I feel like he’s probably gone the whole hog in terms of doing what’s necessary to fit in perfectly with those he works with. And that means first-rate Wenger kicking. Nice guy Alan Smith with his unusual, literally neutral-sounding tones and none of the anger most ex-pros show. He’s extra sly about it, in my opinion.

    I watch very little of Soccer Saturday now, and what I catch is almost guaranteed to piss me off quickly- (Stelling, good old gentleman Stelling eh. Nope, I think he’s a total rat who, as someone who never played, had to go the extra distance to be embraced within The Club, and no doubt a key part of that is a willingness to, yep, give us shit wherever possible)- but I don’t recall seeing Winterburn on there for a long time.

    I never figured him out as a person to be honest, and have no memories of him pulling a Merse or a Smith or whoever. I think it’s guaranteed though that if he did remain neutral, or even showed a good bit or warmth towards current Arsenal, it wouldn’t help his career prospects there.

    Just read the invincibles book. Struck me that the players who would probably do the best job of standing up for Wenger would be Pires, Gilberto Silva, Edu, Henry, Ljunberg and possibly Lauren and Toure.

    Oh, should give a shout out to Liam Brady here. I saw him recently defend Wenger in a very informed and forceful way on BT Sport. He killed stone dead some highly insulting absolute nonsense from those sat beside him in a way that was both magnificent and illuminating. They backed down 100% immediately. That’s what it looks like, I thought. That’s what we should be seeing so often.

  48. Menace

    Personally I love GG. It was during his and Terry Neil’s era that I followed us far and wide, but you cant deny it was a bit dull at times.

    George graham set up teams first and foremost not to be beaten, which at times made for some very turgid affairs.

    Either way I don’t deny there is a place for that kind of football if that’s what you feel you have to do, especially for teams operating with limited financial clout.

    What annoys me, and why I particularly mentioned GG, is that GG as an individual, and Arsenal in general, where ridiculed mercilessly at the time and labelled ‘boring boring’ Arsenal, where conversely Mourhino, is lauded as a tactical genius and Chelsea as the epitome of efficiency.

  49. Rich

    I heard about that Brady interview. Don’t know why I missed it. Could of been working, or if it was in the match build up I probably wasn’t watching as normally it’s an Arsenal hate fest and guaranteed to piss me off even before a balls been kicked.

    Like you, I very rarely watch any soccer Saturday prior to kick off, or those Media idiots and Cammy on Sunday morning.

    I pay a fortune for Sky Sports and BTSports and yet can’t watch a good deal of it because of the abuse our Manager and team constantly receive.

    What really really pisses me off is that some of my subscription must go to TalkShite and therefore into the pocket of that Durham character.

  50. In looking through the news this morning (it’s only 8:30 in the morning for me now), I ran across a headline of an article for the Islington paper (Tribune?), which was nominally 3 pictures of different people, followed by a paragraph about each person. Not worth quoting.

    The top picture/prose, was of an Islington resident who is now mid 70’s. He said that he used to be an Arsenal supporter, but he gave it up in the 1970’s because football was becoming too violent.

    If this was common (people giving up on Arsenal due to violence amongst fans (I presume)), perhaps there is a way to get them back?

  51. Jambug,

    Got a feeling the Brady interview was on in the evening and not before a match but just as part of some regular show (the football show?). Honest, I’m not so sad to often tune into stuff with no match attached, so it was pure luck I happened to catch it.

    There’s surely no better way of understanding the liberties that are normally taken than watching how easily they can be dealt with if the right person is there. For sure nobody in that studio would ever dare casually, smirkingly suggest Wenger has ‘lost the plot’ in front of Brady again. The lead offender deserved to be punched as much fro stupidity as anything else, or maybe in his world you can badmouth and unfairly malign someone absent in front of a good friend.

    One day I might try look it up. But I don’t fancy my chances that much, and laziness is always a problem.

    I’m just going to ignore the suggestion any of the money from my cable package could end up In Durham’s pocket. Don’t like the thought of paying for an atom of whatever it is that idiot eats to sustain his crummy self.

  52. Rich,

    If you find that interview and any links I’d be grateful as I’m hardly likely to track it down myself cos I fear I’m even lazier than your good self.

  53. Jambug,

    yeah, sure, I will have a proper go at some point but, judging by a quick first attempt, it isn’t looking good.

  54. Walter…….I don’t believe we need additional changes or additions to the Laws as they exist now regarding simulation and dissent. However, we definitely need officials to ENFORCE those laws and IFAB interpretations firmly and consistently.
    When there are 100 different applications of the Laws by EPL referees over a normal season, the managers and players soon learn which referee will do what and that they can get away with murder provided they play their cards right.
    The Laws clearly state that NO player can approach the referee UNLESS the referee asks him or her to do so, and only the captain can be normally allowed to partake of this privilege. There are numerous options under existing Laws dealing with bringing the game into disrepute, simulation and dissent but it is more and more evident that too many EPL officials lack the courage to fully apply the breadth of the Laws, either out of fear or out of bad habits.
    Once the officials consistently and strictly apply the Laws covering dissent,simulation and disrespectful behaviour, players and managers will get the message. It is no coincidence that Chelsea and Mourinho flourish in this lawless environment as he clearly coaches his players to be harassers,divers and manipulators.

  55. Out of topic here but I can’t resist. Chelsea not only fail to beat 10 men PSG at home, they also fail to beat an all Brazilian back four which includes David Luiz. It’s even funnier when an Englishman Terry try to obstruct and tackle his own English CB partner Cahill while losing to the much shorter Thiago Silva in an aerial battle conceding the sucker punch goal. Man, if this ever happened between Per and Kos, they would have been labelled clowns of the year by the media. Hahaha!

  56. @omgarsenal the rules are there give red cards and yellow cards to those robots and they will cool down,was is it 1990 somewhere in April or May Nacional Vs Penarol 22 red cards where given 11 each side Nacional had 9 players sent off on the playground and 2 substitute on the beach sent off the match ended in the 85th minute because of the rule of less than 7 players. all those kgb who surrounded the ref could have been given yellow cards and if you had a yellow card you could take the second yellow card and your butt could off,simple.

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