Why it’s far too early to announce Moss as ref for the Cup final

By Walter Broeckx

I must say that I was rather surprised to hear that Jonathon Moss had been handed the FA cup final. First of all my surprise is because of the fact that the decisions has been made already. We still have some six matches to play in the PL and in those matches anything can happen. Not only to players but also to referees.

Referees also have good and bad periods in their season. Any ref who has been around for a few years will know that just as the players also referees have good and bad moments. So just imagine what the FA could face if Moss between now and the end of the season goes from controversy to controversy?

By making the announcement so early the FA and the PGMO have put extra pressure on Moss. He now might face some extra scrutiny on his decisions. After all he is now known as the referee who will do the cup final. And so when he makes a mess he might face a bigger media storm than if it wouldn’t have been made public. This might result in Moss not only losing form but also losing confidence in the end.

And the last thing you want is a ref for such a vital game being in bad form or/and having no confidence in his own ability. Even if they had decided to give this match to Moss now, the FA and the PGMO should have kept their collective mouths shut till the end of the season.

Because another thing is that giving the Cup final match to a ref is mostly seen as a reward for his season. And we have many refs who might have hoped for being given the FA cup final and who now are disappointed. And from their disappointment they might start to lose their concentration level. Why bother…I didn’t get the FA cup final anyway so my season is over and I have nothing to hope or look forward too.

So all in all a bad decision not just for Moss but also for other referees who might have hoped for a big final at the end. Bad in game management from the FA and the PGMO.

And as if that wasn’t bad enough we already have seen a shit storm hitting the fan. Mike Halsey, the former ref in war with the PGMO, has given the first shot at the PGMO-FA combination by saying that Moss is not the best ref to do the final. He made it clearly that the match should have been given to Clattenburg.

Or, as one might say, “The serious strange case that is Clattenburg.” From our reviews taken across many years he was one of the better referees in the PGMO. A referee who has one of the lowest biases against Arsenal in general. Mind you he still made us lose matches but in general you had a feeling that his errors were errors and nothing more sinister.

But Clattenburg has clearly not been the best of friends with Mike Riley over the last year or two.  Clattenburg being punished for not following the internal instructions of the PGMO and driving straight to a concert in London after a match was enough to get him in trouble.

Now I know that there are rather strict rules for this in the PGMO. But being human is clearly not one of those rules. Who gives a f*ck if a ref wants to go to a concert in his own private time? But Clattenburg seemingly is not allowed a private life after a match from the PGMO.  And had to hang for it. Refs who make terrible mistakes on the pitch are let off the hook. But Clattenburg for having a private life was quartered by the PGMO.

Now I do know a few things about Clattenburg and I do know that he takes his refereeing very seriously. And that he is always very much involved in analysing his own matched in order to improve himself. I also know that Clattenburg has been one of the PL referees who has followed our referee reviews across the  years. He might have disagreed with us on more than one occasion but he was one that took these reviews as a way of analysing and improving his refereeing.

Maybe that is why the PGMO is not that happy about him anymore. Having been voted best ref in one season by Untold Arsenal (as based on an analysis of the referee reviews) might have been something that the PGMO didn’t like. After all this being called best referee was very much based not only on general competence but also very much based on being the least biased ref of them all. And can’t have that at the PGMO of course. Imagine… a ref not being completely biased against Arsenal…. Unheard of. Not allowed.

Clattenburg has a rather good reputation not just in England but also in Europe. He gives the impression that when he makes mistakes he will make them random. And he does makes mistakes, let us not ignore that. All refs make mistakes. There is not that much of a problem with this as long as their mistakes are evenly spread over both teams in a match. Of course there is a minimum requirement for not making too many obvious mistakes on big decisions. Something many PGMO refs suffer from in fact.

Now would Clattenburg be a better choice for the final than Moss? Let me say that Clattenburg has a bigger experience on the bigger stage and in bigger matches. Moss is not a FIFA ref because he already was one of the older refs when joining the PL. But Moss could always surprise us with giving us a fair game. I know that Moss can be very fair and his position in the referee of the season tables show this. He has had a rather low anti-Arsenal bias in some of his matches. The big question will be if he can handle the pressure of the match.

But for now I don’t really worry about that for the moment. We will see how he has been doing from now till the end of the season. Now we have other things to look at. Like a few important matches in the PL.


From the anniversary files  

24 April 1900: Arsenal 2 Tottenham 1.  Southern District Combination.  Match abandoned due to abusive behaviour by the crowd.  Arsenal were ordered to post notices instructing the crowd to behave properly, and the referee was also criticised for his handling of the game.  The game was not replayed.

24 April 1999: Middlesbrough 1 Arsenal 6.  Arsenal went top of the league for the first time in the season, with their 17th unbeaten game.  Arsenal had been 0-6 up and with much of the home crowd drifting out, cheered the Boro goal on their behalf.

The full anniversaries index can be found here.  

Untold Arsenal


27 Replies to “Why it’s far too early to announce Moss as ref for the Cup final”

  1. As you say, Clattenberg, a very strange case. One of the best refs, and one of the few, along with the likes of Oliver who has the fitness and speed to at least attempt to keep up with the modern game.
    This is a ref who Chelsea falsely accused of racism, an issue swept conveniently under the carpet. He was put under huge pressure over a Wayne Rooney elbow on a Wigan player caught on camera, pressure from one side to act, and quite possibly pressure from above to keep quiet.
    Then, there was a certain game involving Utd and Leicester earlier in the season, wouldn’t imagine that pleased his boss, or those with an agenda to get Utd back into the top four, if indeed those are not just two sides of the same coin.

  2. As I understand it referees, no matter how good or bad they are, only get to officiate at one FA Cup final. So as long as they hang around long enough pretty well all the Premiership referees will get to take the Final at some point if their face fits. What this means is that the final is rarely, if ever, officiated by the best refs or even the form refs but rather by one who happens not to have done one before. Imagine this system being applied to the teams and finding that Stoke have a place in the final because they’ve never been there before. Utterly stupid.

    Lee Probert, Andre Mariner, Phil Dowd, Martin Atkinson, Chris Foy and Mike Dean having already done a final were not even in the reckoning – which is a shame because some of them are actually better now than when they took their one and only Final.

    In my opinion both Mark Clattenburg and Michael Oliver are head and shoulders above the rest right although both were rubbish when the first started in the Premiership. And Moss is one of many who is total crap.

  3. Well one thing is for certain that Jon Moss has a great affinity to officiate matches involving teams from Birmingham (West Bromwich in general, over 20 he has officiated in the past 5 I think).

  4. JM seems to be a supporter of WBA (known to me as ‘Well Below Average’. Much to the annoyance of a Baggies friend of mine.) If he does then he might have dilemma on his hands.

    Villa and WBA to each other as we and the tots sre to each other. So if his sympathy is with WBA then he wont want Villa to win but if he values his ref’s future then he will want them to win!

    The first sighted mistake may tell his game plan.

  5. This rule about only doing some kind of game once is arbitrary, its reasons for being created has nothing to do with the requirements of the game to be officiated.

    I suppose the “need” for it comes from misunderstanding policy from groups like UEFA and FIFA with their “top” games. FIFA probably leads the way, with the world cup final. I suspect that has this silly “you can only do it once” rule. But FIFA is picking referees from a pool of more than 100 that only happens every 4 years. It is difficult for a person to be a FIFA referee for more than 24 years. Just by random chance in drawing a single person (with replacement) from a pool of more than 100 it is not difficult to find runs where no repeats happen.

    UEFA has top games more often, between national competitions and team leagues such as Champion’s League.

    It is fine to have a policy of trying not to repeat referees, but if the choice has to be made between repeating a quality referee, and putting a referee in charge who would likely have problems, please choose quality.

    We will be bumblebees for the final.


    Arsenal Under-21s host Aston Villa at London Colney on Friday. Kick-off is at 1pm and you can follow live updates of the game via @Arsenal from 12.55pm (UK time). (Almost immediately)

    Walter, OMG, other reviewers.

    Do you know what RSS is? Arsenal analysis the video of games for itself (I believe). I was thinking that Arsenal could produce a RSS feed as a side effect of analysing a game, which would allow for the automatic creation commentary (as subtitles) and greatly assist the reviewing of referees. It starts with a 3:15pm on April 23 comment of mine, in the Have Referees Gotten any Better thread. Maybe you had opinions on whether such set of data would harm Arsenal or could help in reviewing games?

  6. OT: U21 game versus Aston Villa

    The twitter feed says Ozil has been nominated for PFA Player of the Month.

    The starting XI and subs have been announced, all are regular Arsenal Academy players. As my arm is still buggered up, I am not typing it in. Bielik must still be hurt, not on either list.

    The game is “closed”. Perhaps someone could explain what goes into that decision.


  7. Maybe i’m too late on this issue…

    But, any response on fabregas’s open letter?

    Pretty sure it is a mind game i think…

  8. Perhaps Fabregas didnt even write that crumby letter. Its got the stench of Mourinho’s bitchy tactics all over it. And if he did write it hes a bigger plum than ever, as basically he told everyone that it would upset him if people give him a load of stick, all the more reson to do it.
    He needs to have a dose of “Strutters” shitstick methinks and thats for starters.
    Best thing that can happen is the Arsenal beating the petro dollar (the Fabregas carrot), and shut everyone up.
    Alleluia and Amen!(Kamapalagun where are you mate, time to turn it around like against Manure!)
    COYG!Time to turn this around…

  9. Brickfields—-ooooo Strutter!!!!!! LOL!!!! cheers mate, best laugh of the day!


  10. The U21s lost three one report on the official website, sounds like the familiar bad defending which has affected both U21 and U18 teams this year. Just a outs puts paid to any chances of returning to the top flight at this level for next year.

  11. After their resounding success in producing their famous remote control ,well, to control your woman , the company has announced that they are coming out a new remote control.
    This one is to control stupid football fans .It has all the features of the first , but has more swear icons and commands to shut ‘them’ the fuck up ;or where to go ; or what to shove where .
    They are also open to suggestions for more “specific” buttons ,as to what you want those ..errr , ‘them’ to really do !
    Apparently a million AKBs have already pre-ordered theirs ! Do please support this great idea . For every unit ordered , the AKBs will receive One Pound , which is for ‘their ‘ rehabilitation . We care for them pity souls too .( We aren’t all heartless ! Cruel , maybe !)

    Check it out –


  12. And being a man’s toy , it comes with many attachments – very much like a Swiss Army Knife .

    There’s the mini Light saber that pack a mean punch.

    The mandatory Anal Probe Maximus of course ,comes with a built in lubricator – we aren’t all cruel !

    Then there is the Spidey Webby Thingy ,which shoots out that gooey stuff at 100 miles per hour .

    A new added feature is the Vulcan Nerve Pincher in memory of Mr. Spock .

    During tests (on them , of course !) , it was found that the Jedi Mind Trick gizmo doesn’t always work. Apparently the subject has to have at least a rudimentary brain for it to work !

  13. OT: U21 game versus Aston Villa

    Sorry late, had to revisit hospital about my elbow.

    Aston Villa has scored at 21 and 25 minutes. 0-2

    Arsenal are generating chances and shots, so far no goals. Half time.

    50 – Aston Villa score on themselves under Arsenal pressure. 1-2

    Arsenal comtinued to generate chances and shots, no goals. Aston Villa scored at 87m I believe.

    Final score, 1-3.


    Martinez is on loan at Rotherham. Before Martinez went on loan there, Rotherham played an illegal player in a game. Today, we see Rotherham were docked the 3 points they won, for having an onloan player play in a game after the loan had expired. Rotherham is 1 point above the drop, with 2 of the teams below it very close. Martinez will be under a lot of pressure because of this.


    Nothing at Arsenal.com that I can see, but Express is reporting that Arsenal are disappointed in only receiving 25k tickets for FA Cup Final.

    Jack Wilshere sends support to ex-player currently confined to wheelchair.


  14. The worst reason to announce who will ref the FA Cup final early is that it gives those who want to manipulate the ref lots of time and they know exactly who to go after.

  15. Is a little strange that it has been announced so early. Is this a first or has this happened before?

  16. I agree with Mark. Announcing it this gives plenty of time for match fixers and betting syndicates to influence the referee and hence ruin the match. This has me especially worried considering the wild allegations constantly made by the Football is Fixed blog about Jon Moss. There was no reason whatsoever to announce him this early

  17. Jambug has discussed the role of the media.

    This week we had the spectacle of hack dwarves who describe themselves as Arsenal fans, certainly it helps them earn their corn, defending B.Rodgers in various media platforms, his transfers, but most importantly the unfortunate impact of losing Sturridge to injury.

    This is a marked contrast to their consistent coverage of AFC and AW over the years. What a contrast! What could be the reason? “Financial” politics? Jingoism? And worse. All the issues discussed by various contributors to Untold.

    Tony wriote an article on Untold in praise of Henry’s plunditry, I don’t watch much Sky coverage by choice, so I don’t know much about it.

    But when was the last time you saw a petty plundit or a hyena from the press pack bay and bark at another fellow plundit or tv presenter?

    Have you ever heard them highlight how stupid and boring Michael Owen is? Savage? Heavens forbid, Shearer ( great player, but…).

    So. Is anyone surprised to see our old chum Mr.Barney Ronay lay into Thierry Henry like no hack as done with any other of their colleagues? Is Henry not a part of their gang? Wrong club association? Is Henry friends with Clattenburg? I’ve not read the click bait (maybe he’s just trolling that huge worldwide arsenal fan base, a lame hack has to eat….) but I wouldn’t be surprised if the article paid homage to Gary Linekar with a hilarious and not at all petty or jingoistic or self-demeaning “Au Revoir Monsieur Henry” at the end.

    Well, the gaffer is still here, and I think Henry will be involved with Foottball for a time to come. In the old media eye for a while yet. These upstanding hacks are going to be disappointed. Again.

    I hope that they are disappointed come the end of the game tomorrow, and the end of the cup final in May.

  18. Whoops. These two comments above should’ve been in the last article, the one on clogging.

  19. I agree with Mark. The early announcement is for the benefits of the match fixers.

    I have no doubt that Arsenal will be allowed to be kicked off the pitch by Moss. After that season where Untold rated Moss, Clattenburg and Mariner very highly, all three have seemed somewhat changed in their approach to Arsenal, almost as if under instruction to behave along the party lines.

    I know Aston Villa will want to win but what I do not know is what sort of man the new manager is. If it was the last manager, Lambert, I have no doubt they would come out kicking. But not sure about Sherwood’s approach. I did not notice an undue amount of kicking against Liverpool, but maybe I was not paying close enough attention.

    So I say the flow of the game will be determined by the Aston Villa manager and his instruction and influence on his player’s behavour.

    Kick Arsenal to win or outplay Arsenal in a football match. If they outplay the Arsenal, they I have absolutely no issue with the better team on the day winning. If they win through underhanded means, I doubt it will matter much to the Villa supporters but I for one would prefer a fair contest.

  20. Its rare but I have to disagree with Walter a little. Here is my reasoning:

    a)I don’t believe any professional referee will be overly concerned about one or two bad performances or lose concentration or confidence. They get to where they are because they usually manage stress and occasional failure very well and have excellent concentration.

    b)In a one-off situation like the FA Cup, it really doesn’t matter which PGMOL officials handle the game. Unlike the regular season games, where the opportunities to subtly influence the result is provided week in and week out between numerous officials, the FA Cup is more closely scrutinized and so unique that any serious aberrations will be noted almost immediately. In a sense this is a season compressed into 1 game.

    To those who say that the PGMOL has taken a risk in publicly naming a referee well in advance of the cup, I would argue that, to the contrary, if they really wanted the match to be fixed, they’d have already made arrangements quietly and discreetly, as is their obvious habit….in naming the referee, it smells more like payback for services rendered. Olivere or Clattenburg are due NO favours from the PGMOL or Riley so my guess is that Riley is sending a message to all his serfs….tow the line or welcome to the shit-list!

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