As you may know I was an official in the NASL and we had our share of attempted intimidation and confrontation with some pretty nasty specimens (manager, players, owners etc.) whose unique approach to Football was to bitch at the referee or assistants in order to try and hair dry them a bit a la Fergie.

As a rule, we ignored them, unless they became profane (often), aggressive (far too often) or downright obnoxious and ignorant (way too often). In that case we were not necessarily obliged to report them (unless there had been threatened or real physical contact, an overt or covert threat to attack us, or spit at us, violent conduct etc.)

What we usually agreed to do as a team before the game began (and we knew the managers very well already) was to turn our backs (literally and figuratively) to them and to continue with business as usual.

However if it became too irritating or persistent, the referee would often say, ‘ no benefit of the doubt lads/ladies for this or that team’; meaning apply the LAWS strictly (a rarity among officials) without any latitude whatsoever.

This translated into a debatable offside call being a 100% offside or not, as the case may be….whichever affected the moaning manager’s team. The message SOON got through and the undesired behaviour usually stopped shortly thereafter.

We were not disadvantaging either team by our decisions, just applying the LAWS more strictly than usual. The players hated this and soon beseeched the manager to calm down. When in the middle, I would always have a quiet word with the captain and advise him that his manager’s attitude was hurting his team, without being too specific. Professional players knew what I meant and this protected me from accusations of bias or unlawful behaviour  while helping the players to help me.

Officials hate to be molested and harassed by anyone, regardless of who they are and what title they hold; we already have very competent assessors to tell us where we made mistakes or did something very well, and we usually know ourselves quite well and our failings. I know of NO official who dreams of making a bad call…..we all hope and pray to make that great call (advantage, penalty, a wise word versus a card, preventing an injury, allowing a great goal to proceed, etc.). That is what we train and work to achieve and if anyone knows differently then they aren’t watching Football!

Pardew is rather foolish to have never learnt this. I see Wenger getting angry on occasion when a call goes against Arsenal or a failure to call a serious foul hurts us (literally or metaphorically). But I have never seen him try and intimidate an official and when he says I cannot make a judgement about an incident because I didn’t see it, what he is really saying is that he is never well placed or skilled enough to judge an official’s decision based on what he saw versus the much better placed officials.

As anyone can tell you, nobody on the field of play can call an offside correctly except the assistant and the referee in tandem. A referee without the assistant is almost 90% certain to not get it right, that’s why they have assistants. Unless a player has 4 sets of eyes, one set on the sideline and the other aligned to the attacking player(s), then it is technically impossible for them to make that call as well.

Even supporters who are directly in line with the offending player(s) cannot make that call because they usually lack the assistant’s skill in watching two events at once, the pass or kick forward, the movement of all potentially offside players and the involvements of said players in the play.

I have been an assistant where the referee (a FIFA one no less), gave offside 3 times despite me not indicating offside! He made me look the fool, I got abused by the crowd, the manager of the offending team was ultra-pissed at me, and to make matters worse, the manager of the visiting team was arguing with the referee throughout the game.

When the FIFA assessor sat down with us after the game, he commended me for getting all offside calls correct and ripped into the referee for failing to trust me and making me look bad. FIFA being FIFA, I never got another international game, but at least I knew that I had done my job. The same assessor later told me that the fact I had been naive enough to believe doing my job would protect me was reason enough for me not to be assigned further internationals.

It all boils down to the fact that, as human beings, and well trained professionals, officials in the EPL have to deal, not only with the fallout from their games but the intense pressure and fear every EPL encounter can engender. Add to that the mysterious PGMOL machinations AND the hell hath no fury outrage of some managers (Fergie being a classic case) then intimidation becomes a very real prospect for any officials. It is a miracle that some manage to do a decent job despite all this ancillary crap!


Untold Action


  1. The panel of referees for the EPL excludes any referees from London, the SE corner of England, East Anglia. The machinations of the PGMOL are not made public. How do referees get to referee games – no-one knows.

    The intimidation starts with how the PGMOL is allowed to exercise control on an EPL game. The intimidation is already in existence before the game starts.

    England is built on associations and men in blazers. The PGMOL puts them in shorts and gives them a whistle.

  2. Interesting article Don.

    We go through this topic in various ways almost each season.

    Last season – a number of us here on Untold even wrote to Arsenal about our concerns of PGMO and the officiating bias against Arsenal.

    I don’t know if others got a reply…I never did.

    Maybe AW’s comment after the match when questioned about the WRONGLY disallowed – Ramsey goal; he said there is nothing we can do about it! Maybe it covers his feelings of PGMO and their extension – officials!

  3. What a pile of arrogant garbage! Incompetent refs need to be criticised and held accountable for the pathetic decisions they make. People lose their jobs as managers when stupid dumb refs, make stupid dumb decisions.

  4. If the officials and their employers (PGMO) are uncomfortable with the backlash to them selves and through them their BENT and AGENDA ridden employers – respectively, then perhaps its HIGHT time to introduce Technology – in doing so illuminate the “ancillary crap!” they are having to put up with!

    But PGMO’s insistance in not introducing technology, suggests either that they are quite happy with the ‘intimidation’ they receive from various sections, or by not having technology they would not be in the CONTROLLING position they are in at present!

  5. The way I see it Don…with Technology, even assessors would be unemployed!!!

    A decent pannel to evaluate video play back of a refs performance is MORE then enough – not to say HONEST evaluation!

  6. This is an interesting article and in my view describes the approach taken in many walks of life, including football, by those that ‘officiate’.

    I have to say I think it quite despicable to make decisions based on who gives you more grief. It is corrupt and unfair, part of a wider problem with society. The problems arise when determining who has been a bit over zealous. Who actually decides that? Is it down to some precious official who decides that his over inflated ego and sense of importance has been damaged in some way? Or is it based on some ruleset? How do you account for different characters, ones that are quick to let out a swear word to release frustration vs ones that are mor eprone to internalise? Or maybe everyone should be the same and comply with an officials way of looking at the world. I wonder at what point point the wrong body language would upset one of these paper dictators to the extent they hell bent on punishing people for not kneeling to them?

    The only fair way to officiate is to have clear rules and apply them evenly to everyone. The misuse of ones position to punish those that you judge have crossed a line is just plain corrupt.

  7. apo Armani

    You said:

    “But PGMO’s insistance in not introducing technology, suggests either that they are quite happy with the ‘intimidation’ they receive from various sections, or by not having technology they would not be in the CONTROLLING position they are in at present!”

    This was mentioned earlier on the morning article and I replied to it this way: “Are PGMO allowed to introduce technology unilaterally?
    I would have thought this had to be approved by the FA & Premier League, but I could understand their (PGMOL) resistance to it”

    I’m sure this is the case, but perhaps Don or someone else knows differently.

  8. For sure I am not an expert on this subject TailGunner, but I would have thought – since the outfits who actually invest vast sums (BILLIONS) into their respective clubs, are ultimately affected mostly in a negative way through wrong decisions (SOME MORE THEN OTHERS); then it should be the clubs themselves who insist on technology!!

    There may be a few clubs who don’t care for it…coz I assume they have all the ‘pegs in the right’ place so to speak. But the greater majority of clubs would be in for technology!!

  9. It seems the FA is delaying the issue…but without the clubs, what would the FA do?? FA??!! 🙂

  10. I think any sane person would welcome video technology. I only want the correct decisions to stand on the playing field. If it goes against us, then I can live with that. Even more if in our favour of course 😉

    I think 99% of football players, managers and officials should and hopefully would approve this to hapen as soon as possible.

  11. So it’s: International Football Association Board (IFAB) who will make the rule eventually (if ever)

  12. On another note, a good rule was introduced two or three years ago, and that was that all players on the bench must turn left when warming up, and use the half of the touch line that the Lino doesn’t patrol, thus preventing intimidation, collisions, distractions etc.
    I’m surprised this was not taken up internationally, it’s so sensible.

  13. Apart from the fact that Liverpool recorded their lowest possession figure under their current manager, Arsenal (according to the BBC website) committed only two fouls in the whole game. If this is true is it some sort of record in the EPL and would such a performance not endear the team to referees whose job is made so much easier by it?

  14. Maybe we will qualify for Europe through the fair play rule…………………………………………………………………..Joke

  15. Yes it is IFAB who has the final word if video assistance will be applied or not.
    But the most important thing is that it is in fact England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland who have 4 of the 8 seats in the IFAB.
    If they would agree on it (maybe the Welsh one will now 😉 ) it would a gigantic step forward.

    I wonder what the position of the English FA is in the IFAB about this subject?

  16. Arsenal 2 fouls over 90 mins : 1 card
    Liverpool 13 fouls over 90 mins : 3 cards + 1 for time wasting
    If Liverpool would have been punished in the same way as we then they should have had 6 yellow cards

  17. Two points:
    “meaning apply the LAWS strictly”
    Well i wish this was done. Why have laws if they are not going to be applied ALL the time? This surely leads to teams suffering when they should not.

    “The same assessor later told me that the fact I had been naive enough to believe doing my job would protect me was reason enough for me not to be assigned further internationals.”
    This one says a lot. No need to really explain it.

    So we see TWO of the points that cause refereeing to be not fair in any way, and there are a few more too.

    How can we ever expect to have fair games? These things need to be challenged by the clubs sooner rather than later.

    These things among others is turning me off football surely but surely.

  18. The way Arsenal are treated in the UK and the media is disgraceful. Every season in each of our games versus the big boys there’s usually at least one controversial incident, and it’s ALWAYS against us. And the media just sweep it under the carpet. Have they got no shame these people.

    I don’t know if this has been mentioned already but notice the metro plagiarised Tony’s article about Giroud being at par with Benzema. They didn’t go word for word but if you read that article you couldn’t miss spotting it was plucked from Untold. Having been at the forefront running with this stupid transfer story for the last 10 weeks it was a pathetic attempt to save face by saying who needs Benzema anyway.

  19. Christ stop making excuses for the continued failings of the manager and players.

    Wenger has had years to replace Gilberto (never mind Vieira) and has been unable or unwilling to do so. He persevered with an average keepers inAlmunia for far too long and now refuses ever to drop players even when they are clearly out of form, or position or both.

    And in Giroud we have a decent striker who wouldn’t make the bench at a top team with aspirations of winning the league.

    Then there’s Ozil, a £42 million vanity project.

    But hey, let’s blame the morons on Sky, the inept refs or any number of other deflectors from the real causes.

    This season is already going down the toilet, but I am sure we will put in a Herculean effort right at the end, clinch a last tsp top4place

  20. From what I have seen so far in the posts, there seems to be a profound misunderstanding about how officials officiate a tough game. Jamramfootball believes that it is despicable to officiate based on who gives you most grief as an official. It is all part of match control and keeping the temperature down in a hotly contested game. What i described was an exceptional circumstance, and of course is NOT how most referees and assistants officiate. Rather they try valiantly to be fair and , as I stated in the article, make the right call ALL the time.
    There IS corruption in the game but as Tony & Walter have proven countless times, it is very hard to validate conclusively. Get 10 assistants from the same level in one room, show them the videos of Ramsey’s offside goal and maybe 3 out of 10 will agree it was offside. Maybe 2 will not be sure but would gives the benefit of the doubt to the defenders and the remainder would NOT have awarded offside.I am speaking from many years of experience where, during referee meetings with 20-40 officials from all levels watching Bundesliga games, getting a consensus on various referee decisions was very difficult. The Bundesliga referee was there and explained his reasoning for the call but there were still many who disagreed. THAT is the nature of officiating and THAT is why there is so much inconsistency and variance in the application of the LAWS uniformly.

  21. Panther…….I gather you have never officiated? Before lambasting referees for incompetence (which does exist but in rare instances imho) it would be better that you try and understand the complexities of officiating and the difficulties of controlling a match.

  22. Walter, interesting stats. Seems like the teams we play know exactly the limits they can get away with and play to them… as a ref, thou shalt not recognise the wasting of time before minute 70. Dark arts are easy for some teams in this league Liverpool certainly took advantage, they did not set out to break legs like some teams, but they knew they could get away with time wasting, pushing attacking players in the back who are about to shoot, the ubequetious Giroud shirt pull, … of course the Liverpool subsection of the offside laws.
    Expect more of the same at Newcastle.

  23. Dex – don’t bring Christ into your stupidity. What have you achieved that makes your view correct?

    I am sure you wanted Gilberto out. Now you think he was mustard.

    OMGarsenal – you are right about running the line. The issue here is these guys are paid & are therefor expected to be more accurate. I don’t think they are competent. There are no new officials & I would expect to see at least 4 new officials each season. There is no ethnic mix & that leads me to thinking there is corrupt practice in appointment.

  24. “I think any sane person would welcome video technology. I only want the correct decisions to stand on the playing field. If it goes against us, then I can live with that. Even more if in our favour of course ?

    I think 99% of football players, managers and officials should and hopefully would approve this to hapen as soon as possible.”


    And that’s precisely where the problem lies. That number is not only less than 99% , but closer in fact to a 50/50 split .

    When you look at the problem in detail, several obvious difficulties arise because not all missed off side decisions are alike.

    The likes missed against Ramsey and Rooney are indeed easy to fix. It’s a bang – bang play and even though some defenders raised their hands( which is what they always do anyways) , no one stopped playing. So you look at the replays and award the goal.

    However there are numerous erroneous off side decisions where the player coming through on goal is some distance away from the goal, and when the linesman raises his flag , everyone stops playing.

    There were instances of this particular wrong off side decision in every European league this weekend. I know I watch too much football :).

    The one case in La Liga for example was in the game Athetico v Barca , where the Athletico forward was on side by at least a couple of yards and would’ve been on goal with no defenders around him but some twenty yards out. What do you do in a case like that?

    That’s were all the sceptics of the video technology come out in numbers against it.

  25. Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.
    – Muhammad Ali

  26. ” Reading can seriously damage your ignorance .”
    Try it , you may even shock yourself into being smart !

  27. Man, alone, has the power to transform his thoughts into physical reality; man, alone, can dream and make his dreams come true.
    Napoleon Hill

  28. apo Armani

    Sometimes i wonder why i have not packed up already and gone to live somewhere uninhabited for the rest of my life.

    The whole world is dictated by those who have no sense of responsibility for anyone but themselves. I see this having studied real history(not the fake tv and classroom history) for over 25 years now.

    The world seems backwards(reverse) to me since i was young, degenerating steadily from the powers Humans (Brickfields Gunners: thoughts into physical reality, telepathy etc) once had, now having to rely on technology and the thoughts of the “self appointed” leaders only, soon to be replacing Humans by the “perfect” humanoids who are not programmed to be able to rebel.

  29. The Ramsey interview went up at might be the start of organised demand by the clubs for the introduction of video technology.

  30. Tom,
    as I have reported and keep an eye on the Dutch situation where they have tested a video ref in the last seasons I can answer to your remarks.

    Yes the situation you describe is a major problem for video ref. Because once the ref has blown the whistle there is no way the game can continue. In the video about the video ref the Dutch KNVB even shows such a situation and said they can’t fix that at the moment.

    BUT are you willing to throw all the other benefits out of the window waiting for a solution for that particular type of incident?
    Because of 1 type of decisions not being repairable we will repair nothing?

    If mankind would have lived by that way of thinking in the past we wouldn’t be on the internet right now. We probably would still live in cages.

    And it is fixable by changing the instructions for the assistants. The assistants can when there is the slightest doubt just leave their flag down and wait for the outcome and the replay and the judgement by the video ref. Assistants would only raise the flag for the clear and undisputable offside decisions, the rest can be judged later if needed.

  31. Walter, Tom,

    There is an issue indeed with players stopping playing when they hear the whistle. I can see though that it’s not as big as it initially seems. It’s actually a matter of education from the part of both the ref and the players.
    On one hand, the ref knows that he has a backup. He is free to give the benefit of the doubt to the attacker, knowing that if the video replay shows offside, the whole attack will be voided. He is less pressured to blow the whistle.
    Second, the defenders will learn that the ref is less prone to stop the game, so they will be more inclined to keep playing until eventually the ref blows and a verdict is given.
    The solution becomes evident if we take things to the extreme and assume that the ref never blows the whistle on offside calls. The play will most commonly end in a goal/out/corner/goal kick, and at that point the reviewer will communicate the ref that there was an offside in the process. The tricky situation is when the play doesn’t stop, and transitions into an entirely different action, by keeping or losing ball. Then it is impervious for the reviewer to intervene and instruct the ref to stop the play and award the offside.
    A bit complicated, hope it makes sense.

  32. @ para – Almost everyone goes through periods of self doubt and indecision , but we get up , put one foot before the other and get moving . Where will that take us ? Hopefully where we will be happy and be wanted. Along the way maybe you would inspire others to walk in your steps .
    ” Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty , never grows old.” -Franz Kafka.

    ” Cry as hard as you want to, but make sure when you stop crying , you’ll never cry for the same reason again.”

    Then again are the ‘them’ !

    “It is most appalling to know that 95% of the people of the world are drifting aimlessly through life, without the slightest conception of the work for which they are best fitted, and with no conception whatsoever of even the need of such a thing as a definite objective toward which to strive.”

    ‪‎NapoleonHill‬ ‪

  33. @ para – Here is an old joke about the new fangled technology and the oldsters .

    Two eighty year-old pensioners are taking a trip down memory lane by going back to the place where they first met.

    Sitting at a cafe, the little old man says, “Remember the first time I met you over 50 years ago? We left this cafe, went round the corner behind the gas works, and I gave you the thrill of your life.”

    “Why, yes, I remember it well, dear,” replies the little old lady with a grin.

    “Well, for old time’s sake, let’s go there again, and I’ll do it again.”

    The two pensioners pay their bill and leave the cafe. A young man sitting next to them had overheard the conversation and smiles to himself, thinking it would be quite amusing to see two old timers at it. He gets up and follows them. Sure enough, he sees the two pensioners near the gas works. The little old lady pulls off her knickers and lifts up her dress.

    The old man pulls down his pants and grabs the lady’s hips, and the little old lady reaches for the fence. Well, what follows is 10 minutes of the most athletic love making the man has ever seen. Limbs are flying everywhere, the movement is a blur, and they do not stop for a single second. Finally, they collapse and don’t move for an entire hour.

    The young man is stunned. Never in his life has he ever seen anything that equates to this – not in the movies, not from his friends, not from his own experiences.

    Reflecting on what he has just seen, he says to himself, “I have to know his secret. If only I could make love like that now, let alone in 50 years’ time!”

    The two old pensioners have by this time recovered and dressed themselves.
    Plucking up courage, the man approaches the pensioner.

    He says, “Sir, in all my life I have never seen anybody make love like that, particularly at your age! What’s your secret? Could you make love like that 50 years ago??”

    The pensioner replies, “I don’t think so, son. 50 years ago, that fence wasn’t electrified!”

  34. Players should always play to the whistle. Ramsey received that pass in an onside position, no Liverpool player stopped playing, and Ramsey passed the ball past Mignolet into the goal.
    The referee restarts the game with a kick-off to Liverpool, or a free kick to Liverpool. How long does it take video technology nowadays for a fourth official to review the play and inform the referee? Ten minutes? Of course not! It is so simple it flies in the face of reason to even discuss its merits.
    The same applies to penalties. The referee restarts the game with a penalty or a yellow card for simulation.
    My fear is that it is extended to corner kicks, goal kicks, throw-ins because, as absurd as it seems having written it down, someone will start making a case for his team losing because a corner kick was given and not the goal kick that the video clearly shows should have been awarded.

  35. The average time required to take a penalty is 1 minute. For a corner/free kick/goal kick, 30 seconds, mostly because the ball needs to be brought back and placed to the right spot. For a throw in, 10-15 seconds (20 seconds is already time wasting:D).

  36. Menace the sad stalker, spouting gibberish as usual. Your replies are increasingly embarrassing. Oh Buddha… Now you are trying to claim you know my opinion about past Arsenal players? Soooo desperate.

  37. @Dex

    How is Menace a stalker? He is a regular contributor to this web site because he agrees with its intentions to support the team, the players and the manager. Who are you and why have you started writing on it?

  38. “BUT are you willing to throw all the other benefits out of the window waiting for a solution for that particular type of incident?
    Because of 1 type of decisions not being repairable we will repair nothing”


    No, and I have been on the record for years for video technology in any shape or form.

  39. Every kingdom needs a court jester or an idiot, as it seems the UA kingdom now has an aaa jester/idiot in Dex. He represents a sort of contrast for the usual,reasonable and rational Gooners on UA, so that we can compare common sense to his pessimistic rants and rage….. And say ‘ there, but for the grace of God, go I’……

  40. Just a brief comment on the situation which Walter agrees is a potential problem. As I understand the situation the laws already allow a satisfactory restart. Simply advise the defending captain that you will restart the game with a dropped ball and you want no defending player nearer than ten yards from the dropped ball. Any player infringing this will be guilty of ungentlemanly conduct and will have a free kick awarded against them together with a yellow card. Today with the magic whitener refs carry this will be easy to enforce. I do accept that this is not perfect as the attacking opportunity is less than the original decision precluded but still there is very real scope for attacking ingenuity and possible success.

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