I was sent an email by Jonathan Neale, a great friend to this site, with a copy of a letter which appeared on Football 365’s letter page. Basically it was in many ways reiterating the point about rotational fouling.
It is very positive, I believe, that nearly four years after it was first mentioned, the notion that rotational fouling exists and is killing the game, is getting a wider audience.
I first wrote about it (and coined the phrase, my goodness aren’t I the clever one) in April 2005 after watching the Arsenal Blackburn cup semi final at the Millennium. I was in the lower tier and the sheer horror of what Blackburn were doing was there right in front of my eyes. One player stepped up and fouled, then the next and the next – over 20 fouls before the ref could even reprimand a player and tell him “one more time and you are booked”. There is in fact nothing the refs can do under current laws. It was the start of anti-football.
So while feeling rather chuffed that I had invented a term that just might come into general use in the future (“Rotational Fouling” copyright Tony Attwood 2005) I thought, maybe I should draw up a list of the things that I see over and over again at the Ems – things which are changing the way the football of Arsenal is played.
Here we go – ten ways Perfect Football is being ruined.
1. Rotational fouling -see above
2. Rotational time wasting – invented by Bolton, taken up everywhere. The keeper gets the ball for a goal kick, wanders across the area, puts ball on opposite side, runs up, stops, goes back, ref wags finger. Next another player takes lots of time over corner, free kick or whatever and another and another. Then keeper holds the ball for far longer than the five seconds or whatever it is he is allowed. This season I have counted 12 seconds or more. Each one adds up.
3. Holding the head. Saw it by Villa for the first time this season. Player goes down with an ankle injury or no injury, and holds head. Game is stopped, Arsenal attack broken up.
4. 0-0 gameplan. Football works if both teams try to win. If one doesn’t it isn’t football. Masters are Fulham who play for 0-0 from the kick off, but others now do it too.
5. Rotational targeting. Take one player and foul him. The opposition do it in rotation. Player keeps going down and in the end retaliates and gets sent off, or is booked by the ref for diving. Pires suffered this, and (I have to agree with Sir Alex F Word for the first time ever) C-Ronaldodo gets it – although he is also likely to dive for his own purposes.
6. Bankruptcy. Running the club into impossible debt in order to buy more and more and more players and win league this year at any cost. Manchester Bankrupt, Liverpool Insolvency and the Russians. Interestingly all three have hit the rails now, but Manchester Arab are just about to start.
7. The push from behind. Interesting that both Jonathan Neale and I had come up with this at the same time. It is getting worse and worse. Player has ball, is about to pass, and suddenly is thumped in the back. No foul. Why?
8. Bench created injury. Manager and others on bench signal to player to go down and stay down, to break up play. Saw it big time by Birmingham City last season – one of the first blog entries here focussed on that.
9. Manipulation of the fans. Real Mad, Barca, WC Milan and others all do it – talking up a story about how they are about to sign player X, when in fact nothing is happening. Player X’s agent writes script for Player X, which suggests it is an honour to be associated with a big club. Fans of his current club are outraged. Doesn’t he want to stay with us? So fans start booing. Player gets fed up and thinks, actually I wasn’t going to go, but if they boo me I will. It is just my opinion of course but anyone who boos an Arsenal player is (I believe) simply doing the bidding of Real Mad, Barca etc etc. If you support Arsenal you never ever boo an Arsenal player unless he walks away from the club.
10. Blame the ref to protect your players. Scholari did this on sunday to make sure no one talked about the awful awful two footed attack by Terry for which he only got a yellow and should have got a red. Sir Alex F Word does it every week Manchester B don’t win. Journalists fall for it all the time – so they all talked about VP’s first goal as offside (Scolari’s aim 1), but hardly mentioned Terry’s attack (Scolari’s aim 2).
(c) Grumpy old man moaning about the cold and how things aren’t like they used to be in the old days. I can remember when it was 2/6 to get into the Arsenal and 6d for a programme. We used to queue up through the night and sing patriotic songs while the V2 rockets landed, and that Napoleon tried to invade, but we fought the Vikings, and those Romans never got a look in etc etc etc (nurse arrives and takes writer for a hot bath….) 2008.
- Arsenal squad for Europa League game
- The abuse of female footballers is appalling, but there is a wider context
- Why Arsenal v Glimt might be tougher than the game against Tottenham
- Is the team that passes the most, the team that gets the best results?
- Arsenal Women – Champions League last 16 draw – We get the toughest opponents