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October 2020

The worst Arsenal game ever? A look back to the game that defined an era, and a referee

By Tim Charlesworth

I was sorry to hear that Cesc Fabregas was booed by Chelsea fans last weekend.  He may well have deserved it, but the incident reminded me of something sad.  Cesc has not, and never will, realise his full potential.  I suspect that, like many players who started young, his career may tail off early.  He is 29 in May.

Some of us have been harsh on Cesc in recent times, because he signed for rival teams.  I don’t share this point of view.  I can forgive his decision to go to Barcelona.  He is a Catalan.  Catalan’s see themselves as an oppressed minority in Spain.  The closest thing we have to it is an Irish or Welsh identity, but even those analogies are weak.  FC Barcelona is an icon of Catalan identity, a source of nationalistic pride and hope.  To be a Catalan is not a trivial thing, like coming from Yorkshire or Cornwall.

I find the decision to sign for Chelsea equally forgivable.  It is difficult to know the truth behind transfer rumours these days, but I’m pretty sure that Fabregas asked Wenger to sign him when he left Barcelona.  I think he got as close to begging as a modern multi-millionaire footballer ever gets.  Everyone knew that Arsenal could afford him and had some sort of contractual right.  The humiliation was pretty public.

Wenger has said that he didn’t have room for Cesc because of Ozil.  As ever, time is proving that Wenger’s judgment of such matter is predictably (almost tediously) brilliant.   So Cesc was rejected simultaneously by his two home clubs.  He made a fist of it, and even reminded everyone of this true talent for a few months at Chelsea.  But it looks to me like his heart wasn’t really in it.  Every display of Ozil’s genius must twist a knife in his heart.  If Ozil wins the league for Arsenal this year, it might just break him.

In my mind, Cesc’s tragedy will always be linked with a single game, which remains to this day, the worst thing I have ever seen in football.  As an antidote to the joy of the Man City result, I thought I might remind everybody of it.

Let me transport you back to 23rd February 2008.

Arsenal were trying to convince us all that the golden age wasn’t over, by leading the Premiership.  It looked like we might win the first title at the new Emirates stadium.  The team was showing promise following the departure of the talismanic Patrick Viera and Thierry Henry.  Over the summer, the last vestiges of the invincible team, Thierry Henry, Fredrik Ljungberg and Jose Antonio Reyes, had left.  There was a sense that the next chapter had begun, and the future looked bright.

Our new captain was a combative and very talented centre half called William Gallas (Arsenal fans adore centre halves perhaps more than any others).  He had come to Arsenal from Chelsea’s championship team, as part of the deal that took much-reviled Ashley Cole to Chelsea.  A host of new players were threatening to continue the glories of the past decade.  Cesc Fabregas was the closest we had ever come to replacing Liam Brady in midfield, and up front, a bright young striker of Croatian-Brazilian extraction, called Eduardo was getting the pulses racing.

Eduardo had joined in the summer, and was establishing himself as a deadly striker.  He was a classic Wenger ‘left-field’ signing.  Having hardly played in the first part of the season, as he acclimatised to English football, he was fresh and lively as the title run-in approached.  This was a physically lightweight team compared to the great teams of a few years earlier (containing Viera, Pires and Campbell).  They had developed a delightful style that relied on quick passing and sharp movement.  They almost danced their way around the opposition.

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On the morning of 23rd February, 2008, Arsenal led the Premiership by five points, and took that lead to an away match with the struggling Birmingham City (who ended up being relegated).

There was a common view in the game at the time, that the only way to stop Arsenal was with violence.  Man U had pioneered the idea in the 50th game (often referenced on UA), assisted by some shocking refereeing.  Allarydyce’s Bolton had popularised the idea in a rugby game which cost Arsenal the 2004/5 Premiership title.

The struggling Birmingham City players must have been fearful before the game, that we would simply play around them.  Footballers are curiously sensitive to humiliation.  Perhaps they had talked about how to combat this before the game.  If a violent approach wasn’t specifically in their teamtalk, it was probably in the backs of their minds.

After three minutes, Arsenal’s elusive style was already in evidence.  They were playing the ball with control and poise.  The Birmingham team were chasing shadows and showing signs of frustration already.  As Eduardo played the ball gracefully to a teammate, Birmingham defender Martin Taylor piled in with a late and dangerous tackle.  Eduardo’s eyes were on the ball, and he didn’t seem to see Taylor coming.

Football is a sport of many things: beauty; competition; sporting endeavour; controversy; dispute and joy.  Occasionally, it bares its ugly teeth.  Occasionally, we are confronted with the reality that these supermen, these balletic, overpaid, primadonnas, are really just flesh and blood, and this was one such occasion.  Eduardo’s ankle and lower leg were shattered by Taylor’s challenge.  It looked as if his foot had been amputated and was only being held on by the sock.  Its one of the most shocking injuries you will ever see on any sports pitch.

Taylor was sent off and had the privilege of leaving the scene of the crime immediately.  It took seven minutes for St John’s Ambulance to remove the stricken Eduardo from the pitch.  Eduardo was strapped into a stretcher and an oxygen machine, leaving the field barely conscious.  It was seven long minutes, when the players and spectators had little choice, but to reflect on what they had just witnessed.  Eduardo claims to have no memory of those minutes.

Arsenal’s Brazilian midfielder Gilberto was the only player present (he was a substitute) who could speak Eduardo’s native Portuguese, and Eduardo hadn’t been in England long enough to learn fluent English.  Gilberto stood by Eduardo, and acted as translator for him and the first aiders.  The look of horror on Cesc Fabregas’ face told a thousand stories.  He looked like what he was: a young man who loved his sport, but was suddenly confronted with a horrible reality that had never occurred to him – his legs, the tools of his trade, were not the indestructible objects he had imagined.

The game eventually continued in a kind of daze, as if no-one could believe what they had seen. 10-man Birmingham scored after 28 minutes.  After about half an hour, the players’ football instincts re-established themselves and a game of football broke out.  Walcott scored on 50 and 55 minutes (his first league goals for Arsenal) and we drifted towards a comfortable 2-1 victory.  It had been a horrible day, but at least the title challenge would live to fight another day.

Then, in injury time, Arsenal left back, Gael Clichy, under no pressure, mis-hit a pass and gave away the ball just outside his own penalty area.  Birmingham’s Stuart Parnaby controlled the ball and made a run into the penalty area.  Clichy, perhaps over-eager to atone for his error, made a clumsy challenge on Parnaby.  The challenge was unnecessary and a bit wild, but it wasn’t a foul.  The referee, who’s brain was probably as addled as everybody else’s, awarded a penalty which Birmingham duly scored to deny Arsenal three points.

The Arsenal community was left with an empty feeling.  Sport can be crushing when everything conspires against you.  We didn’t know whether to be upset about the lost points, or to consider it irrelevant in the face of Eduardo’s injury.  We didn’t know whether to be angry with Clichy’s carelessness, or to sympathise with a traumatised young man.

Arsenal captain, William Gallas seemed to descend into a mental breakdown.  When the penalty was awarded, he removed himself from the scene and stood in the opposite half of the pitch, in apparent silent protest, whilst the penalty was taken.  At the end of the match he vented his frustration by viciously kicking out at an advertising hoarding.  He then sat down on the pitch, again in apparent defiant protest.  None of his teammates joined him, and they all trudged off the pitch, probably just relieved that it was all over.  Only Wenger approached Gallas to console his desolation.  I have never seen a player protest in this manner before or since. Gallas cut a lonely figure, sitting on the pitch for about five minutes as the stadium emptied.  Over the next few weeks he was widely ridiculed for his behaviour.

I rather felt for Gallas.  We often misuse words like tragedy, disaster and triumph in football.  We dismiss the sadness of footballers on the grounds that ‘how sad can you be when being paid £5m per year to play football?’  But what had happened to Eduardo was genuinely shocking, on a human level.  I think that many of the players on that team were traumatized and suffered from genuine mental health problems as a result.

I think Gallas had summoned every ounce of will in his body to put the Eduardo incident to the back of his mind, and to concentrate on winning the game.  As captain, a role he was new to, he tried to lead by example.  And he succeeded.  His team was coasting to a hard-worked victory.  When his teammate and countryman, Clichy, made an inexplicable mistake at the end of the match, compounded by a refereeing error, Gallas had nowhere left to go.  He felt he was a man wronged, and boy did he have a right to feel that way.  In the finest of French traditions, he protested, silently but insistently.  When I look at those pictures of Gallas, I see a man who is genuinely in a dark place, and doesn’t know what to do.  As human beings, surely we can all relate to that.

Our hearts (and William Gallas’ face) told us that the title challenge was over.  Our heads told us that we were still top of the league with all to play for.  Our hearts told us that a bright future had been shattered.  Our heads told us not to be so ridiculous – how could one game, and one injury define an era?  Our hearts were right.

In the next article Tim looks back to what happened to the players who played in that fateful game.

Two anniversaries

  • 23 December 2001: 10 man Arsenal finally beat the Anfield jinx – Liverpool 1 Arsenal 2 in a month of five wins, 1 draw, 1 defeat.  League match 18 of the third Double season.
  • 23 December 2006: Arsenal 6 Blackburn 2.  Arsenal made it 3 wins and 2 draws in December with two more games to go.  The goals came from Gilberto, Hleb, Adebayor, Van Persie (2) and Flamini.

Woolwich Arsenal the club that changed football, is now available on Kindle at £9.99.  For more details and to buy a copy please click here or go to Amazon Kindle and search for Woolwich Arsenal.



28 comments to The worst Arsenal game ever? A look back to the game that defined an era, and a referee

  • ClockEndRider

    As soon as it came on top, Fabregas ran away like a common or garden Nasri. He now poses as having this love for Arsenal. This is just a cover for the fact that he wants an easy life while living in London. His whole life is about expediency and I don’t buy it. He is just someone who used to play for us once and should be treated as such.

  • ClockEndRider

    Further, on the day when a true Arsenal hero died, someone who genuinely cared and gave of himself in Don Howe, this is insulting piece of historical revisionism not befitting this blog.

  • Andy Mack

    The way in which the two faces Spaniard forced through the move to his DNA team was despicable.

  • nicky

    I find it a sad reflection of our national game that so many cases of nothing short of GBH during a sporting contest, are still raw in the minds of many.
    Taylor’s assault on Eduardo. The Nevilles’ brutal attack on Reyes.
    Keane’s outright GBH on Alf-Inge.
    And there are many others.
    If only action had been taken under the law to prosecute the purveyors of this criminal behaviour, many of their victims would have continued to ply their trade.
    The game has no place for thugs. A foul is one thing. Deliberate injury is another. The punishment of a sending off and some suspension simply fails to reflect the crime.

  • Notoverthehill

    The referee was of course, Mike Dean!

    From Mr. Wenger’s point of view a dodgy free kick, and penalty.

    Seems familiar?

  • pjemi

    A nicer piece, watched the game live on the fateful day and all theories and excuses and what not I came up with, you mentioned I this article, wish some of this lads could be interviewed for their own side of what went down that day…

  • franck

    It was truely a sad day,i can still remember his reaction when he saw the Eduardo’s leg.English football is so cruel.the refs are mean and let a lot of bad tackles go unpunished.i recall when people have given many silly reasons why Arsenal have many injuries every season and how they always dismiss the fouls suffered as a reason.then i look at Kieran Gibbs this season,he has not been injured,how is dat possible.the simple reason being he has not been playing,not being hacked by thugs.Simply put,our playes are being hacked and ref just look away.

  • Josif

    Eduardo… 🙁

    I remember the very first article about him when he had joined Dinamo. Two young Brazilians Eduardo and Leonardo joined Dinamo. “Eduardo has potential, Leonardo not so much.” For some reason, I had followed the story to see if the journalist was right. He was.

    Of course, due to his lightness, he was mocked by Stjepan Spajić, president and owner of the nationalists’ football club Hrvatski Dragovoljac (Croatian Volunteer). He was against Eduardo’s naturalization and mocked him as “Da Svila” (“svila” means “silk”).

    Indeed, his movement and touch were silky.

    His injury was one of the worst days in my Arsenal life. Watching a player being massacred live on TV… Awful. Maybe FA didn’t forgive Eduardo for his role in knocking out McClaren’s England out of EURO 2008 qualifiers?

    About other characters… I have to admit I had never rated Clichy as a player and I was happy to see his back when he . He had too much of a brain fart in himself. We would have won the game anyway if Adebayor hadn’t missed a sitter at 2:1 – Hleb and Adebayor were two on one with their goalkeeper.

    Gallas? I will say something that might be a shocker for many people but…he had been the best Arsenal captain between Paddy and Per (Mikel has been mostly out due to injury or poor form). 83 points collected with his captaincy, with so many vital goals scored (including the winner against Chelsea after Čech’s blunder at the Emirates) and come-backs made, not to mention knocking out reigning European champions out of Champions League… Now, he was a really difficult character.

    Fabregas was excellent player but a real crap of a captain. He had proven it before he left us for Barcelona.

  • goonersince72

    I recall the horror of that incident and how shocking it was. For the rest of the game Arsenal players seemed to be dazed. But I didn’t feel as if the title was lost nor did any of my Arsenal supporting friends. We had a comfortable lead. We felt we’d still get goals from Adebayor and Van Persie. You cited Birmingham City resorting to thug tactics and a brief mention of MU. From the title of this article I thought you’d tie the incident into the era of thuggery and violence in football that this game defined, especially that aimed at Arsenal and the referees’ complicity in this. But you didn’t give the name of the referee or his subsequent record with the club. Or the PGMO hacks. William Gallas’ silent protest was not my take away from the assault on Eduardo or the game in general.

  • Omerta

    Fantastic piece.

    I remember the television camera’s first zooming in on Eduardo’s leg, then quickly pulling away because the footage was too horrifying. They then turned to Fabregas’ face. He was looking away in a state of shock, pointing at Eduardo. No matter what happened later with Fabregas as an Arsenal player, at that moment in time he very much was one.

    As was Gallas, when one of the most ridiculous penalties (and we’ve had quite a few) was given against Arsenal.

    At the time, I must admit, I bought the whole “captain le sulk let his team down”-doctrine the media were suggesting. Or rather, I didn’t even pay that much attention to it. My thoughts where with Eduardo. invited people to send “get well soon”-messages to him, and I wrote: “Dear Eduardo, I’m not a religious person. But I will pray for your speedy recovery.” And I did, even though not being a religious person I didn’t think it would help much.

    I hope the follow-up article mentions the witch-hunt on Eduardo for “diving” against Celtic. If there was ever a reason to switch off traditional media, for me, that was it.

  • That was not one of the saddest days for me as an Arsenal fan, it WAS the saddest day. We’ve lost cup finals, including the CL in 2006 but my sorrow on the day Martin Taylor broke Eduardo’s leg and Mike Dean deducted 2 points from us remains the saddest day for me as a Gooner.

    Let’s not forget the way they came after Arsene Wenger for his spur of the moment comment (which he quickly retracted) against Taylor. Never in my life have I ever witnessed the aggressor being painted as the victim while the assaulted are being hounded until the “good boy”, Ryan Shawcross broke Aaron’s leg and was subsequently rewarded with a call-up to the England national team popularly known as the Three Pussycats.

    At the Euros in France next June, I will be supporting the trio of Wales, Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. As always, I will be rooting for whichever team the Pussycats are playing. A country of perennial failures, filled with agenda-driven know-it-all and arrogant but actually ignorant media.

  • Josif


    Oh, yes.

    That story about how Arsene was harsh on Taylor (unfortunately, as you’ve already mentioned it, he retracted it) is one of the worst examples of sickness in the English football environment, second only to the Orcs from Stoke who have guts to boo Aaron Ramsey for…getting his leg broken by one of their thugs!?

    There was a great movie…the greatest movie in Yugoslavia called “The Balkan Spy”. It’s about paranoid Yugoslav during communist reign who follows his neighbour who had returned from the West. He spies on him, eventually captures him, holds him in the basement, invites his brother Đuro to help with interrogation of the “enemy” and during a mad monologue he fires the most iconic sentence ever at his poor neighbour who was tied up for the chair:
    “Đuro will forgive you for beating you up!”

    That’s exactly what FA, a bunch of evil, paranoid, dictatorship-prone people, have been saying to Arsenal and Arsene Wenger for over a decade: “We will forgive you for beating you up!”

  • TeeJoe

    Well, this is perhap the must educative piece I’ve read as a young Gooner! ??

  • Brickfields Gunners

    To me it was a very sad day and another great injustice in the long list of great injustices that seems to be inflicted upon us and to dog only us . The feeling of ‘ that it can only happen to the Arsenal’ dread. And no amount of protest would ever right the wrong.
    I an sure that many of the players on the field would have had the same feelings of hopelessness and that things would never improve , but instead get more uglier .
    While I’m not judging ill of those who bailed out , but would have loved to see them stay fight for retribution and some measure of revenge . The flight of many during the period set us back a few years .

    The first one to desert during the reign of AW was Anelka . But his sale paved way for a new training ground , and was very profitable . It also open the door for Henry to join us .

  • ARSENAL 13

    That may have been a young Cesc reacting to a horrific sight.

    BUT Cesc was never a fighter. If you look at the games when ARSENAL were down and he put up a fight, hardly a few games come to mind. Villa game, Barca game at home… very few. Never had a fight in him. Most of the time went into sulk mode. May be he needed a strong captain material like Mertesacker next to him.

    Its always a pleasure to have super talented guys in the team, but i prefer a little less talented and more efforts type of a guy (read Rambo).

  • WalterBroeckx

    Eduardo… my heart still breaks thinking of him. My blood still boils when thinking about the injustice we had to suffer not for the last time since then from referee M. Dean.

  • para

    There does tend to be an air of “victim” suffers while the attacker gets away with it mentality, and not just in football.

    The fact that this event did not cause the rules to be implemented more consistently and cause the will to stop this ever happening again, is as much a crime as the attack itself.

    And, the worrying thing is, it is waiting to happen again, and again until this changes.

  • andy bishop

    Dean and Arsenal are is history…..110000 say so

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I’d love to see this boy in Arsenal colours . Very Messi-que in his play .

  • Florian

    For me it was a day of disbelief. How can this happen in the first place, how can a player sever another player’s foot like that. Then the notorious Gollum who made an absolute mess of the match, culminating with not awarding a penalty to Adebayor (to my recollection he missed because he was impeded) and then seconds later, award a soft penalty to the opponents. To top them off, the media were somehow “accusing” the Arsenal players for being shocked, as if somehow this kind of scene were commonplace. No empathy whatsoever. It was the wrong and right turned around.

    I don’t know how many people can keep the belief after such an incident. That Arsene and Arsenal kept going makes them worthy of a place in the pantheon of humankind, not only football.

  • Al

    +1. Well said. The hatred displayed towards Wenger, and in turn Arsenal, in England borders on the evil.

    The English media is the worst I’ve encountered anywhere,and I’ve lived in 3 countries. Just take a look at the way LVG is being treated (no doubt trying to engineer the job for probably the most vile manager football has ever known, the poisonous one), it really is cruel to say the least. Of course lvg’s treatment pales in comparison to what Wenger has suffered here.

    Back to the article that was a sad day indeed. I still have vivid memories of Wenger going to collect a distraught Gallagher who was sat in the centre circle and ushering him to the dressing. We were told by the media that he was upset at Clichy conceding a penalty (which was never a penalty in a million years) but I know in my heart he was upset at the injustice he had just witnessed. Who could blame him, we all were; I couldn’t even bring myself to finish the beer I was having. The despicable media later referred to it as Gallas’ implosion that cost him the captaincy, but that was never the case.

  • Al

    Gallagher should read Gallas….damn autocorrect.

  • Rich

    ‘You couldn’t really take on Arsenal in a contest of pure football. Like most other sides in the Premier League, we had worked out you had a real chance if you went out of your way to bully them’

    That’s from Gerrard’s recent book. As with all the similar claims, what does it mean, to ‘bully’ a football team?

    It surely means nothing other than extra aggressiveness up to and , obviously, including through the use of foul play. It means manhandling players (technically a foul every time), it means making clear and obvious fouls, with some extra force (obviously a foul every time), and it means going in for tackles with extra ferocity and perhaps going for challenges you wouldn’t normally make, with extra power (which referees can of course penalise if they regard it as reckless or dangerous). It also means giving people a shove when the ball is out of play.

    I’d say the main aim of that set of tactics is not to disrupt a team by making them angry or unhappy (which won’t tend to happen anyway if a ref gives fouls where there are fouls) it is to put players out of their game the other way, by raising the all-too-real spectre of suffering a bad injury on the pitch. From my own playing days, I know it works.

    Playing against idiots and arseholes who made stupid fouls and loved a bit of violence, I wouldn’t linger on the ball and was less effective as a result. That was amateur football, typically played without referees , with about ten people on the touchline. Professional football should be a world away from that.

    If referees do their job, it is a world away from that. Bullying, which mostly means fouling, is, with a competent ref, a challenge directly to that ref, and one he can solve quite easily.

    It all comes back to our referee friends. Taylor and the others aren’t absolved of responsibility, nor Pulis and Mcleish, but the worst of the challenges against us would very likely never have occurred if referees had not helped ‘bullying’ be a successful tactic in the years beforehand.

    The most deplorable thing of all, the thing that really crushes hope, is that, if referees had somehow been able to miss that teams set out to bully us, and gain advantages through foul play and the failure of refs to deal with it properly, the media and footballers themselves have flagged up for them what is happening.

    So, at pgmol towers or if the living rooms of each referee, they saw, time and again, that the big idea of teams playing Arsenal was to bully them. That should act as a giant warning to those charged with administering the rules of the game, making them think ‘ well, bullying isn’t a legitimate tactic; I’ll have to keep a very close eye on that’

    It should be a challenge or even an insult to them, with players boasting about how they have achieved success through illegitimate means.

    Nothing resembling that happened- it wasn’t likely to of course because refs didn’t need to read about it in the papers to find out what was happening. For reasons we can’t be sure of, they were happy to allow it to happen in the first place.

    It’s a hell of a sad story. To know the mentality we’re against look at West Brom’s last three games. Game 1, Mclean loads up in a way that is unusual even for dirtier players and smashes an opponent high on the leg. The ref (Moss) either didn’t see it or has lost his mind and was prepared to wave play on. Someone saw it so Mclean gets a yellow instead of red. Game 2. A loose ball and Gardner slides in, kicks the ball and follows through with huge force and complete unconcern for the player he is bound to smash. player goes off injured. out for a month. Either a yellow or no card (can’t remember). Game three. Mclean does the same again but loads up even more to smash an opponents leg without the slightest pretence of challenging for the ball. Finally, a red. The mad dog Pulis has been poking has to go the kennel for a couple of games.

    What has the manager been saying or not saying to his players over those three weeks? I’d say the sequence proves the manager has absolutely no interest in stopping his players making challenges which endanger opponents and that it must be the exact opposite. The other thing it proves for me, though, is that a violent team will not alter their ways if they narrowly escape getting sent off or breaking an opponents limb, but will keep using those tactics, maybe even stepping them up, until they start seeing reds. If Mclean had got the red first time out, he would have reined himself in for at least a while, and Gardner would have been less inclined to use as much force as he did.

    Why does it not occur to the players of La Liga, The bundesliga or Ligue 1 to try bully Barca, bayern and PSG respectively? No doubt it does occur to them to make some extra fouls, play with a bit of extra bite, etc, and they do try it, frequently. But…referees keep them in line (and then some perhaps) because it’s their fucking job and duty to do so

  • Pat

    Great article, Tim. Very sad to remember how this terrible incident ruined Eduardo’s Arsenal career, and how it affected our other players. Thinking about it now, Gallas protested the injustice in the only way he could think of.

  • proudkev


    As I have said repeatedly, we are dinosaurs in this Country.

    The fact the referees are trained to deliberately misinterpret the rules to allow a more physical game, proves this.

    Anyway, things wont change with our FA and while their man Riley is head of PGMOL.

    Change at FIFA, Change at the IOCC so next should be the FA and PGMO. Don’t hold your breath!


    Come on Arsenal time to shut the cake hole of the dissenters, lets do this!!

  • Menace

    It was the first time I wore my white Arsenal shirt with Eduardo on the back & I was in tears like Gallas. He just couldn’t believe the evil Dean would give a penalty against us. His were tears of anger & hurt against Dean.

    What the FA did not do is shocking. They are the most racist corrupt evil bunch of people in football.

    Wishing all Arsenal supporters a peaceful Christmas & a New Year with the champions of the EPL & a third FA cup.

  • Jambug


    I wrote a fairly long and in depth piece in a similar vein to your thoughts. Sadly (for me anyway) it got lost in the ether as my internet keeps playing up. Anyway here’s a short overview of the tone of what I originally wrote.

    Somehow the media managed to turn that days events completely on there head. By some amazing twist of reality they painted Arsenal in general, but Gallas and Wenger in particular, as the villains, and quite astonishingly, Taylor and the rest of the Birmingham thugs as the victims.

    As many who read my comments will know I have a pathological hatred of the media and a lot of the reasons as to why started with, firstly the debacle at Old Trafford, but more so, much more so, with the way this sorry day was depicted.

    A sad sad day in Arsenals history but more tellingly a day of utter shame from the media. And they’ve continued pretty much in the same vein ever since.

    For proof read how one of the Untolders listened in to that moron Durham on Talkshite to see if he could salvage a crumb of credibility with due reverence to the late Don Howe.

    Not a f***ing bit of it.

    Shame on him.

  • Jambug

    Reading through this it really does stir some bad memories and raise the heckles.

    I am convinced that without the duplicitous media the referees would not be as they are. They referee to how they are judged on SKY, BT, Talksport, 5live, and within the written media.

    And the sad, pathetic truth is, the media love it when Arsenal are kicked off the park.

    I can immediately bring to mind two occasions when they’ve actually openly laughed about it.


    Last season in the build up to the Arsenal United game at the Em’s on SKY. A piece where Souness interviews G Neville. It went something like this:

    GS: Go on Gary. Tell us. What was your plan to handle Arsenal? It was to kick them off the park wasn’t it.

    GN: No straight reply, just the two of them giggling like girls.


    Radio 5live commentary on Arsenal Villa at the beginning of last season with John Hartson and AN other that went something like this:

    Other: That’s another poor one.

    Hartson: Yep, I think he’s going to book him this time.

    Other: No, he’s not. I think that’s his first one.

    Hartson: They’re being very clever here you know. They’re taking it in turns.

    Other: That is clever.

    Followed by more girly giggling.

    And this is there attitude.

    Basically watching Arsenal get ‘bullied’ (Ha Bloody Ha) is great fun.