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October 2020

How could anyone write a report of yesterday’s game and not mention the ref?

By Tony Attwood

One of the things that I’ve always tried to ensure is that Untold lives up to its name and covers issues that are not covered in most other places.  Of course over time some other media catch up, which is gratifying, but just re-iterating what other people say has never been the modus operandi for this site.

And yet sometimes I wonder why we are on our own over certain issues.

Take the report on yesterday’s game in the Guardian.  There is not one single mention of the referee.  Same in the Independent.  The Daily Mail gives his name and gives him a rating of 7.5 but without any explanation of how they managed to get a figure that was not a negative number.

The Sun says, “Ref Martin Atkinson then waved away a clear penalty when Giroud was sent sprawling by Yedlin,” but nothing else about the ref. (Mind you they also have the headline “World’s sexiest referee causes quite a stir” so are perhaps not to be taken too seriously).

Of course over time there have been occasional mentions of Atkinson – the BBC web site in February last year ran the headline, “Martin Atkinson needs a rest after his “incompetent” officiating display in Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Burnley, says former referees’ chief Keith Hackett.”

For the same match Talk Sport ran the headline, “Martin Atkinson’s performance at Chelsea one of worst of all-time, former refs’ chief tells talkSPORT”

Indeed the criticism of Atkinson has been going on for some time – in December 2013 the Metro ran the headline “Poor refereeing from Martin Atkinson cost improving Stoke against Newcastle.”

The response to that event was for Atkinson to be given the role as the fourth official the following weekend, doing Manchester United’s home match against Sunderland instead.

N0w we all know that PGMO is a highly secretive and dubious organisation that works by its own rules and which has a mathematical system for analysing ref performances, which is not the same as the maths taught in schools and universities across the world.

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But,that doesn’t excuse the press from ignoring what was, for many of the people in the ground, one of the main issues.  Indeed the guys sitting to my left and right in the East Stand, who are not Untold readers, were fully aware of Atkinson and what he does, and were as outraged as most of us by his bizarre and eccentric performance.

So why, given that the crowd thought the man was either incompetent or biased, and given that this has been a matter of discussion for several years, would newspapers utterly ignore the actions of the referee (which most of us thought thoroughly influenced the game) in their reports?

If just one paper had done it, one might think that during the various moments when Atkinson showed his utter bias or total incompetence, or indeed utter ignorance of the rules, the writer had slipped out for a quick refill.  But when so many of them fail to mention the refs, one begins to think there is something else going on.

Now I know that media outlets keep a very close eye on what each other is doing, and don’t like to go against the trend, unless doing so is a firm editorial decision, so may it is that.  No one wants to step out of line.  Maybe they believe that the fans want to read about the game not the ref.  Or maybe PGMO, that highly secretive organisation with its bizarre actions and its undoubted bias, has issued an edict, and the press go along with it.

Either way, not mentioning the ref in a game which is so outrageously refereed, is to treat the readership with utter contempt, and it most certainly does show all of us what the newspapers think of its readership.

But moving on before I explode…

Meanwhile, elsewhere, the news has broken that AFC Bournemouth have signed ex Arsenal man Benik Afobe for a club record fee of £10m.  Apparently there have been a number of offers for Afobe, but Wolverhampton (a club which is up for sale) need the money and so accepted this deal.

Benik joined Arsenal on 1 May 2001 and scored 40 goals for the U-16s in 2007–08 and later was voted Arsenal’s U-18 player of the season before signing professionally in February 2010.  There was then talk of Barcelona trying to “nick him” from the ranks, to get one back on Arsenal for their alleged illegal dealings (no evidence of this ever being submitted anywhere) – the same situation as now befalls Chris Willock.

The Guardian has called him “powerful and pacy” and suggested without any sources or references that he “is already being furtively whispered up as the next, next big thing.”

His run of loans was extensive and covered 2010 to 2015 before the signing last year to Wolverhampton from Arsenal for an undisclosed fee.

Season Loaned to…  Games  Goals 
2010–2011 Huddersfield Town 28 5
2012 Reading 3 0
2012–2013 Bolton Wanderers 20 2
2013 Millwall 5 0
2014 Sheffield Wednesday 12 2
2014–2015 Milton Keynes Dons 22 10
2015– Wolverhampton (permanent deal) 46 22

Of course I don’t know what’s in a transfer contract, but it is normal for Arsenal to include a clause in which Arsenal gets a percentage of the transfer fee paid on at least the first sell on.   Certainly his goal scoring looks very impressive these days – 22 in 46 is nothing to be sneezed at.

And just because I have them in front of me, here are the comparative records: Afobe has scored 10 in 24 this season in the Championship.  Giroud, just in case you wanted to know is currently on 16 in 29 games this season, while Alexis is on 9 in 18.


Two anniversaries

10 January 2004: Arsenal beat Middlesbrough 4-1 to go top of the league alphabetically with points, goals and GD the same.  Arsène Wenger called it the performance of the season.  The 21st league match of the unbeaten season

10 January 2012: Francis Coquelin signed long term extension – but then spent 2013/14 on loan.  However by Christmas 2014 he was back with the first team, although normally as a sub.  His recognition as one of the finest DMs in Europe came in 2015.

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63 comments to How could anyone write a report of yesterday’s game and not mention the ref?

  • tim nash

    The penalty incident was also not show on Match of the Day. (The BBC were more interested in showing extensive ‘highlights’ of the bore-fest at old Trafford).

  • Wolfgang

    Giroud was sent sprawling to the ground and it was a 100% penalty. I wonder how long such refs can be let off by the FA.
    It’ s about time such mo be punished severely where it hurts: match fee shd be deducted in proportion.
    That’s why I have always maintained that Arsenal face great odds to win the epl.

  • apo Armani

    Yes absolutely well put Tony.

    The way I see it is that the biased media agenda goes hand in hand with that of the PiGMOB.

    So ignoring what is blatantly obvious as biased suits the Media just fine…as does not to mention how MaNure “got out of jail” by a suspect penalty awarded them in the dying seconds of their tie!!

    This lot are as predictable as night follows day!

    Bring on VT!!!

  • serge

    The commentator on the stream I was watching on said if it wasn’t a penalty then Giroud should have been booked for simulation. Fair point.
    MOTD edited it right down to the bone so no mention was made, but they rarely do anyway (although as Al pointed out they took plenty of time over the Mica Richards “penalty”).
    IFAB are willing to allow trials of Video Technology and it’s likely to start next season in the FA Cup, so good news there then.

  • Chris

    Well, the one thing I don’t get is that the press worldwide are not all talking about it.
    I mean outside the UK on would thing that there is no ‘pressure’ as in the UK.
    Yet no one mentions them – or at least I can’t find one. Why is ESPN never talking about that, for example ?

    Maybe no one cares….and everyone is just in it for the gazillion-dollar-show-which-must-not-stop-at-all-cost, a show that the whole world is paying by the way.

  • Pat

    Sometimes the non award of a penalty is endlessly debated in the media, just not in the case of Arsenal. Suggests an agenda.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    As I said in my preview, he went out of his way in the Emirates Cup to avoid giving us a penalty – mentally moved the offence a couple of metres outside the 18 yard box for a free kick. There was a zero chance of us being awarded a penalty yesterday and he did everything possible to give Sunderland attacking opportunities. Certainly incompetent, as for bent I’ll leave it up to each of you individually to decide.

  • allezkev

    The Show, must go on, nevermind that Arsenal were cheated out of a probably 4th goal…

    There’s too much money involved with too many interested parties to allow a questionable refereeing performance to get in the way…

    But keep on chipping away Tony…

  • Max Kerr

    From today’s Mirror (poached from’s Media reports):

    “…our mind back to Ashley Barnes’ potential leg-breaker on Nemanja Matic last season. Barnes was not shown the red card he should have had because the ref did not deem it a red card offence.

    The ref that day was Martin Atkinson. How he did not deem DeAndre Yedlin’s tackle on Giroud in the final few minutes a penalty only he will know. Even the Sunderland staff looked resigned to having conceded a fourth goal.”

    So at least one paper bucks the trend!

    And Arsenal continue to be too good for these incompetent/corrupt officials. How awesome might we be on a level playing field?

  • serge

    Although The Gaurdian didn’t include in their after match report they did make an issue in the “Live match blog”

    “Giroud was absolutely bewildered, then, and you can see why: Yedlin just took his legs as he looked to shoot. Hugely obvious penalty, but for some reason Atkinson shook his head. Weird. Graham might have done better, too – he had time, but didn’t quite get the contact he wanted.”

  • Menace

    Selective blindness ia almost as prolific as Diabetes!

    The FIFA, UEFA, FA, PGMO, Sports media & commentating disease of Selective Blindness is becoming rampant & medical staff including Moorfields have not acted on a cure. It seems to attack people who are watching football played the Arsenal way. The sudden stupidity that seems to bring on the condition is untreatable. The only cure appears to be victory for Arsenals opponents (an even more rarer condition).

    Wenger is working on a dietary solution to the issue & expects a few trophies added to the Arsenal cabinets will spark new life in this starved ‘food’ chain.

  • Rich

    Watched it on a good stream yesterday and , despite it not being a great angle of the action, it felt about as clear as a pen can be.

    Looked like Giroud had got himself into a fantastic position, in front of defender, clean through, quite central and close to goal, great view of goal- diving there would be ridiculous, the defender was in a position where he couldn’t touch the ball.

    Sadly, if there was a replay, I missed it. But there’s always the highlights on…oh f**k.

    Surprise for me is that, if it’s as blatant as it looked, he didn’t give it despite the score. I may have to revise my thoughts on their mo. As that situation and only then- a couple ahead, late on and almost certain to win- is when I expect relatively normal refereeing from Atkinson.

    If I must, I’ll give the case for the defence (anti-conspiracy or same end result- theory) : Atkinson hasn’t given any penalties this year; the highlights were very short on Motd.

    Against that is Atkinson’s constantly terrible refereeing of our games*; and Motd found room for the shots which hit the woodwork and the pen/non-pen was as good a chance and a much juicier incident, which should be attractive to them.

    Still, can’t get over him giving 4 mins injury time against West Ham when the total was 10 and two separate injury incidents alone had accounted for 5 minutes. Not a matter of judgement, something anyone with a watch can see is a bizarre and inexplicable mistake. He totally managed us out of that game once we were in a bad position and did everything possible to ensure we couldn’t gain any of the momentum which would give us a decent shot at getting back into it.

    Chilling that he will be used in at least a couple of our biggest games this year. Can we at least hope we’ll be free of him and Taylor for the next 3 games, given they’ve both done recent games? I don’t know. Would be unusual if they didn’t give us Riley’s main Pienars for Stoke and chelsea.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Whatever is going on, it is clear that the MSM are an integral part of not exposing it. Corrupt, biased or even incompetent refs, you would think they would love a story like that, but they don’t touch it…….unless it happens to be Coq dishing out a foul or two and not getting a card.
    The MSM do not care about refs, so there must be something else. Either the journalists are part of some corruption with dodgy agents and bookmakers, Mafia or whoever…..I know of at least one blogger who buys into this, but not convinced it is widespread, think this is going on at an editorial level from The Sun to the BBC, not sure you could buy all of them.
    I believe Allezkev is on the right lines, all about the money. English football generates billions, partly on the illusion that all is clean and fine and dandy, when Untold and others produce evidence that it is not. If, sorry WHEN a match fixing scandal comes out involving a top club, not some non league outfit……if it is found refs are involved, the market value of our league will plummet… will be like recent events in cycling or athletics, despite its popularity.
    I have asked myself how a man of ethics and principle like Wenger keeps quiet, he surely sees what we see…..and probably considerably more. Marseilles anyone?
    Maybe there are people within the club who have too much invested in the status quo who are also part of the silence? Or is that harsh?
    If there is corruption, or bias, which is nearly as bad….How will it end, anyone’s guess. There will be whistleblowers out there, maybe our media buy into the silence, but no guarantee …say…a French or German news outlet will. Once it starts, I am sure we will see a FIFA style domino effect.

  • finsbury

    There is a consistent and remarkable bias in the bleebs coverage as well as from the Murdoch press.

    Perhaps the editors ran out of time to show the pelanty shout. Wouldn’t be the first time but let us be generous.
    How then should I interpret the 5live sports report summary of the match that did not reflect the game on the pitch as written up this morning in Arsenal and Sunderland blogs? The reporter described the chances and goals including fletcher’s header into the bar as the game’s flashpoint ignoring Chamberlain’s crack against the post, the pelanty shout, the big save from Gibbs early on etc.


    It’s almost as if these media organisations have a political philosophy which is against (great) institutions like afc that do not peddle or promote their religion of debt peonage.

  • bjtgooner

    Good article Tony – the media which from time to time “likes” to show how competent it can be by releasing a “scoop” – continues to totally ignore a major factor of, at best incompetence or, at worst corruption within the PGMO – from the top down.

    Equally, the media ignores the incompetent FA and does not even begin to question why the FA tolerates and protects the most incompetent gang of “Men in Black” that ever disgraced their profession.

    Therefore, what does one deduce about the media?

    Sooner or later, lets hope sooner, the house of cards will start to crumble – seeing them running for cover (as they will) should be highly entertaining!

  • finsbury

    likewise with the pgMOB Rules Football (code variant xxvi) officials:
    an editorial policy?

    If only they had pgMOB media manager Howard “Hello Hello Hello” Webb in the studio to say hello to us poor blind football fans (the great unwashed the deserving plebs etc.) on the Bleeb as well as on BT. He’s done such a good job for them… 🙂

  • Mandy Dodd

    Mike Jones ref at Liverpool

    Only guesses……but Dean or Taylor at Stoke, and of course Atkinson against Chelsea?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Hope sabotage times are not correct on their section on mike Jones, or they are having a laugh or something!

  • Jambug


    “I wonder how long such refs can be let off by the FA.”

    I’m afraid it’s got nothing to do with the FA Wolfgang? They don’t run the referees anymore than the PGMOL do.

    If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a dozen times, THE MEDIA RUN THE REFEREES. In fact they run the PGMOL. In fact they run the game.

    apo Armani

    “The way I see it is that the biased media agenda goes hand in hand with that of the PiGMOB”

    Exactly my friend.

    It’s only when the MEDIA deem an incident worthy of there ‘outrage’ that it ever becomes an issue.

    Referees can have an absolute nightmare. EG: The Villa game at the Emirates a couple of seasons ago. The Cup final against Wigan. Chelsea this year. Yesterday. To name but a few, and what do we get from the media?

    Utter indifference. In reality indifference is actually being generous, as if I recall, in at least the Wigan and Villa cases the referee was openly praised.

    In the Chelsea game, considering how utterly diabolical that performance was, Dean escaped largely un scathed in the Media. If that performance had favoured Arsenal to that degree the Media would of slaughtered him, and in the wake of that criticism you can rest assured he would of been promptly demoted by PGMOL.

    As it was he was refereeing a top game the very next week.

    And yet when it suits as Pat says:

    “Sometimes the non award of a penalty is endlessly debated in the media, just not in the case of Arsenal. Suggests an agenda.”

    Agenda indeed.

    I remember one particular debate on MOTD with Sheerer doing the analysis when they produced a ‘magnified’ image just to show the faintest of touches from Kos on a player simply to emphasis how Arsenal had ‘got away with one’ in the box. Yet yesterdays incident is totally ignored. Well I mean, you wouldn’t want to ever give the impression Arsenal ever get a bad decision against them would you.

    Maybe it’s just me and I don’t know what I’m looking at, or perhaps I was watching a completely different game to the likes of the Mail on Sundays Neil Ashton, who somehow awarded Atkinson a mark of 7.5, which I guess means Atkinson actually gave an above average performance?

    Or maybe not.

    How in any sane, or honest persons mind, that performance yesterday from Atkinson, can be called anything other than poor(at best) is beyond me.

    Another point I was going to make about yesterday is the TV coverage.

    Can you imagine if Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea or Manchester City where the FA Cup holders, that there first match in defence of the trophy wouldn’t of been shown live?

    Even more so when you consider that this game could be the first in what may result in an historic third consecutive triumph. Surely you’d think something worthy of a closer than usual look at what is a unique defence.

    If it was United I’m sure it would warrant an in depth look at every opportunity culminating in yet another United documentary, that some how ties in the Busby Babes, Fergie, Micky Mouse and God knows who else.

    But hay, it’s only Arsenal, who in the media gives a ****.

  • fabrechenko

    I’m quite sure we’ll be on almost the same pedestal with barcelona if we’re allowed to play on a level playing field, in the la-liga players need only harbour the thought of fouling barca players for them to get penalised, thereby leaving barca to carry on their free flowing football tantamount to their training sessions, Arsenal on the other hand are not even afforded the luxury of getting free-kicks from legitimate fouls talkless of phantom free-kicks, people say we get injured a lot because of our playing style, yet, barca who adopt the same playing style more than us have fewer injured players because they’re offered more protection, I’m beginning to feel the bias against us is because we have something the media and the other ruling bodies don’t have……….ORGANISATION.

  • Rich


    Got a bad feeling it was Jones who awarded Liverpool two dodgy handball pens at Anfield vs Leicester last year. Oh oh.


    Strong as ever about the media, mate.

    Speaking of which, and gird yourself for this one Untolders:

    ‘This is incredible, sad, admirable and weird all rolled into one’: Sachin Nakrani

    That was the verdict of one of the Guardian’s writers/editors on the latest ref report (City game). Was from midweek but I was reluctant to post it here because…well, I take severe criticism pretty badly at times and didn’t want to pass on that virtual slap in the face to the team here.

    Should probably have trusted they are hardier souls than me and also that the slap was for all of us, or at least all those who are right behind the need for those reports and the site itself.

    One to think about. It fits very well with the idea that the thought of there being anything systematically wrong with refereeing is one which the media don’t decide is wrong after looking at any evidence, but believe is a barmy thing to even consider.

    Hence, they never have and never will consider it. Which is inordinately convenient for anyone up to no good.

  • shotta_gooner

    Haven’t posted here in a long while but I value the work of Untold. As Tony implied, simply by focussing on “facts” the MSM and mainstream bloggers and podcasters dodge, Untold is tread as a bunch of “conspiracy” wackos. While football may not have the same importance, it is much like anyone who does a Snowden or Assange-like revelation of the surveillance state and the lies told by our politicians to support the wars they wreak to achieve “full spectrum dominance”. Accusing you guys as conspiracy theorists has the predictable chilling effect on any questioning of the official narrative, a tactic which the CIA and the establishment were successful instituted to quell any alternative theories to the Kennedy assassination.

    Fortunately for me because I read Andrew Crawshaw’s preview of yesterday’s game, I was prepared for Atkinson’s travesty. My immediate reaction to the foul was to expect a penalty. I almost blew a gasket when Atkinson waived it away despite the sheepish look on the faces of the Sunderland defenders. In a nano second Andrew’s predictions came to mind. My blood pressure immediately subsided.

    At least for my mental health, I hope and expect Tony, Andrew and co to continue their good work.

  • Andy Mack

    Mandy, Arsene can’t tell the truth about the bias against us (and the appallingly low quality of the refs in the PL) as he’d just be shot down as a ‘soft Frenchy’.
    The press love the fact that he’s honest in his answers to them, as it allows them to take all his answers out of context now. Make the discussion about something as serious as the 3rd rate game ‘management’ we get now and the press would really go to town on him.
    Hopefully one day an honest English (british) manager who’s thought highly of by the press/general public, will say something about it and the AW can be seen to support the good guy in his crusade for unfair officials. But until hen he’s on a hiding to nothing for any controversial comment he makes as the frenchy who ‘didn’t see it’ and had all the red cards etc.

  • igwe

    typical Atkinson

  • Rich

    Chance to see how Zelalem’s doing on sky sports 1 at the moment for anyone interested/ compromised like me by giving Murdoch your money.

  • Gord

    From the shot statistics at

    ManU had 2 shots on target, one of which was the Rooney penalty in extra time.

    In reality, that goal was scored by the referee, not Rooney.

  • Jambug

    Again from ‘The Mail On Sunday’

    This from Oliver Holt:


    I quote from his piece:

    “Those allegations, coupled with previous revelations, suggest systematic, institutionalised corruption and deception at the IAAF: deception which has been ignored or indulged or encouraged or a mixture of all three by people right at the very top of the sport”

    This is my open letter to Holt:

    Perhaps I could take your outrage, and attempt at the taking of the higher moral ground, a bit more seriously if you and your ilk put as much effort into exposing, and deriding, the very same failings that infest football. Especially within the patently ‘not fit for purpose’ bodies of the FA, and the PGMOL.

    But despite the evidence right in front of your eyes, what do we get from you and your media cronies? Nothing. Not a F***ing squeak.

    Holt, you, just like the rest of the ‘heads in the Sand’ ignoramuses in the media, are all hypocrites.

    You Pander to the FA like lap dogs, never daring to ask the tough questions that should be asked, like:

    -Where exactly has all the money that was supposed to be used for grass roots football actually gone?

    -Or why did they throw Millions down the drain on an obviously doomed World Cup bid.

    -Or why where they courting people that they must of already known where corrupt?

    You swallow every mind numbingly manipulated statistic the secretive, unchallengeable PGMOl feeds you, without a question.

    Your colleague, Ashton, today allows a performance of utter incompetence, verging on, if not actually, cheating, to go totally unchallenged. In fact awarding him an above average mark for his performance.

    Can I suggest you get your own house in order before attempting to place yourself in the role of moral arbiter, because, you, Ashton, Reade, Howard and the rest, are as corrupt and contemptible as the people you seek to judge.

    You Holt, are, as a say, a hypocrite and a disgrace.

  • Al

    And Atkinson has got the highest number of games as ref so far this season, according to the stats compiled by Andrew a few days ago… And going by what we have seen from this man the mind boggles as to how he keeps getting so many appointments, such ‘incompetence’ is criminal, to say the least.

    Of topic, but watching Zelalem featuring for Rangers, and boy oh boy, words escape me 🙂 He’s bulked up quite a bit too that I didn’t recognise him at first (am watching the match in the gym where the TVs always seem placed at least 20 feet high). But then I kept focusing on him thinking who’s that boy with such close ball control a la Ozil…. Shame Benik had to go, looks like he could have been one for the future definitely.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Rich, that is the very same Jones, I remember one of those pens in that game was especially dubious. Looks we will have to beat the ref and Liverpool, and watch challenges in the area.
    Do agree with you Andy Mack, Wenger is on a hiding to nothing, but all I will say, he doesn’t strike me as the type who really cares what people say about him……especially when he knows he is right. Take the point about the media, they are certainly a big part of it, but just get the feeling this goes beyond them…..maybe Scudamore and the EPL, then, maybe the more illegal entities. Think our league is a lot more corruptible than people imagine, it wasn’t so long ago that a prominent manager was selecting refs for his games, and yes the media for the large part kept quiet there as well.
    But don’t doubt their attempts to interfere, even very recently , there was Sky’s sickening and not even concealed attempt to have LVG replaced by Mourinho, I am glad Utd…so far have resisted that, and that Wenger weighed in to support LVG.
    What I will say of the media, when this bias or corruption starts getting found out, they will cover up their own role, and really go for the FA EPL and PGMOL and anyone else involved.
    I have often wondered,if there are substantial claw back clauses in all the money Sky, BT and others put in should the game found to be corrupt , have a feeling there may be, despite the behaviour of the likes of Sky. If they are part of any cover up, it is because it is profitable to be so, but like all the media, they would turn on the establishment in a heartbeat if they needed to. The likes of Riley is , ultimately in a vulnerable position.

  • Al

    Sorry just seen your post re Zelalem after I posted a comment which has gone into moderation because of a typo in my email address, but yes watching Zelalem and I have no doubt he’ll break into the first team next season.

  • Jambug

    Some other questions I forgot should be asked of the FA.

    -Where are all the coaches?

    -Why have we only got around a third (at best) the amount of coaches as our European cousins?

    -Why do we charge so much for coaching courses when many in Europe are subsidised, or in some cases free I believe.

    -Why spend such a ridiculous amount on the National stadium.

    I realise the occasion journalist ventures into these areas but it’s by and large in the ‘High brow’ Media outlets and often as not tucked away on page 24.

    Where’s the back page outrage and blazing headlines we get when Hoddle or whoever wants a rant about all the ‘foreigners’ ruining the England football team?

    Nope, why highlight the ineptitude and corruption that infests football when you can quite simply just blame all those foreigners for everything.

    The media. Quite simply a joke.

  • insideright

    Might I suggest that the ‘problem’ was that the game was already won (and in cup games goal difference is immaterial) and that, if he had awarded the penalty, the player would have been required to be sent off. Not only would this have badly impacted on Sunderland’s immediate future but also undermined the campaign to get the ‘triple punishment’ of red card, penalty and suspension erased from the rules. I tend to agree with the latter but ignoring the current rules in order to do it is disgraceful.

  • ClockEndRider

    Well played, sir.

  • nicky

    Many moons ago, I was introduced to the reported failings of referees by Walter, Andrew, Tony and others. I should no longer need convincing that there is an outright bias by many match officials against the ball players of Arsenal FC.
    Proper protection is said to be absent and blatant decisions to stop Arsenal playing are claimed to be widespread.
    We even have a past maestro in Keith Hackett criticising referees.
    There are though, aspects of this whole matter that worry me.
    In my dotage, watching many a game on a 48″ monster, I have to confess to simply failing to spot much of the alleged ineptness and bias by match officials.
    And if Hackett can criticise the present set-up, what was it like in his days as a referee and boss of the PGMOL? Finally, if one assumes that all the allegations by the Untold experts are true, how can matters be put right. In my opinion, publicising wrongdoings on an internet site alone is not enough.
    A means of official contact with those in governance of the game must be found together with a method of much wider publicity for
    Untold’s findings.

  • Rich


    Find it a bit hard to tell what’s what with Zelalem in that game. Nice calm passes with the occasional sublime touch.

    Optimistic view is that all this football (should he continue to get it) will have to be good for him then see what happens pre-season.

    Given how high my hopes are for so many of them- Crowley, Maitland-Niles, Iwobi, Jeff, Zelalem, Akpom, Gnabry, Hayden, Willock and quite a few others- it’s guaranteed not all of them will make it here.

    Hard to believe at least a couple won’t,though. Exciting stuff, and I’m gonna try not to be too disappointed in the future if one or two leave and find big success elsewhere. That feels a little inevitable to me with all the talent at the club, the limited match time available, different levels of patience, injury,etc.

    Lost some faith in my predictive abilities having been so convinced about Akpom but now having a lot of doubt (he’ll be fine if he gets his attitude spot on, but I don’t know if that’ll happen near term).

    Whoever does make it I’d expect to be mentally strong, get over setbacks quickly, a good learner, good team player, and, of course, someone who can deal with the danger and unfairness of lots of fouls and inadequate protection from refs. i.e life as an Arsenal player

  • bob

    “Maybe there are people within the club who have too much invested in the status quo who are also part of the silence? Or is that harsh?”
    Not harsh, Mandy.
    In this year of our best chance to win EPL, it is especially prudent to lose this battle (by keeping silent) in order to increase our chances (by keeping silent) to win the war (EPL champions). It’s been and remains a business decision to NOT challenge the (corrupt/incompetent) business itself. This year, amorality (not challenging/exposing the fix) may result in the championship that the team and fans want above all other things. If complicity in (silence at the top) is the price to be paid, well then, a championship will trump all those guilty consciences. I am not endorsing this behavior, Mandy. I detest it. But for years you (and I have seconded you) have been making this same (accurate) insinuation, and I wanted at least to applaud your courage (and stature hereabouts) in making it; and then to offer my further musings to try to describe why the AFC’s silence exists. AW is our brilliant manager AND he is also a man of the board’s consensus as well. He’s done better than most in walking that tightrope/gauntlet.

  • apo Armani

    4 years ago a petition similar to the one which went up to remove Mike Dean as referee which reached 150k, was also done.

    Obviously at that time Social Media wasn’t as affective as it is in this day and age and hence did not reach 100k.

    I don’t know if the Dean petition has been taken to the next step, but both these sorry excuses of officials should be removed from the game – not promoted as in the case of Atkinson!

    Hypocritical FIFA/UEFA banging on about FAIR PLAY- enough to make anyone cringe and rage!

  • apo Armani

    January 10, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    Thanks mate!

  • ob1977

    It looked a nailed on penalty, and from the referees perspective, view, or angle there was clearly only one decision he could realistically give, yet somehow…

  • As far as I agree with the low standard provided by Atkinson last night, the hand balls that Sunderland players have made, the casual pushes called against arsenal and not sunderland, in short, it was Atkinson. But coming back on the penalty, I am afraid it wasn’t a penalty and this might be the only good decision Atkinson made in this game.

    I took the game and watch it in slow mo since it can’t be seen anywhere, here my twitter status about it

  • Sorry, I made a gif about the action, see the comment above 😉

  • Rich


    Was dying to see any sort of replay. Gotta say that one is fairly encouraging, to the idea it wasn’t a pen, if very inconclusive.

    More I watch though the more it seems clear that the bit which is hard to see- giroud’s leg pulled back, preparing to strike, Sun players leg very close to his- surely involves that Sunderland player making contact with Giroud’s leg, sending it down from it’s original angle (to strike ball) into the very strange one where it slashes down into the turf instead, sending him over.

    Another look and you can see the slight raise of the defenders boot (gives a sight of the studs), onto Giroud’s heel, just as Giroud is swinging and before he almost inexplicably, if not clipped, loses his balance.

    Have you ever seen a footballer miss the ball like that and fall over in the thousands and thousands of times you’ve seen a player clean through and striking for goal? Don’t think I ever have.

    Could all have been cleared up with a couple of replays from different angles. Maybe there weren’t many cameras there, maybe the team on the day thought it wasn’t an important incident to look at again. Didn’t notice they were short of cameras while watching the livestream of game though.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Thank you Bob!
    If that is the reason behind the clubs silence, I hope we are indeed rewarded, but I fear whether we are silent or not, we are going to face some very testing officials before the seasons end. If some are to be believed, we are in a race with a northern giant who likes spending, and a southern media darling. I am not convinced we are in a race with the latter, but I expect both teams to get an easier time of it than Arsenal…..but we shall see! We are currently in with a shot at the double, some will not like that one bit.
    On another note, Looks like Yeovil should have a pen at a vital time against Chelsea…not sure what the refs on here made of that,..the refs have certainly made their presence felt this weekend .
    As for Atkinson, apart from bias and anything else, this ref seems to refuse to give pens or red cards, these are measures in part to protect players, but not just with Arsenal, he seems to bottle a lot of decisions. . I know they have a very hard job, and it takes balls to referee games at this level, but unfortunately, I feel inclined To add the accusation of cowardice to Atkinsons lengthy charge sheet.
    This laissez faire attitude of many of our refs is going to result in further very serious injuries to players.

  • Jambug


    Thanks for that.

    Sorry, for me that hasn’t cleared it up at all though. To suggest that ‘proves’ it wasn’t a penalty is stretching it a bit don’t you think?

    I concede equally it doesn’t prove it WAS a penalty either.

    Basically I’m with Rich on this.

    The change in trajectory of Girouds leg swing as he tries to strike the ball, suggests, but that’s the point, only suggests, he was clipped at some point through the swing.

    This certainly doesn’t prove it was or wasn’t a penalty, but to me ‘suggests’ it was.

  • Al

    Re Zelalem I think he was the best of an average bunch. But I swear I was drawn to him before I even realised it was him( before the camera zoomed in on him). I was pleasantly surprised when i ‘discovered’ it was him, that I knew then he is a good player since I’d already started admiring his play without my Arsenal glasses on 🙂 Yes his passing was good and he was making intelligent runs too, which his teammates were failing to pick, predictably.

    I agree this squad is bursting at the seems with talent. Sadly not all will make it, but I think if a few are patient they’ll get their chance, a few players will be over 28 this coming season in our squad. They need to be patient, like Joel and Coq, and they’ll be rewarded.

  • bjtgooner

    Just noted the Spuddies saved thanks to a very dubious decision by the PGMO, also Scunthorpe were denied a penalty against Chelski.

    The sooner Riley and his dumb-ass dorks and all those who protect them are sent on a one way trip into outer space the better.

  • Mandy Dodd

    And now it is Spurs saved by the ref. four extremely penalty debatable decisions over the weekend….at least, and everyone going in favour of the teams one would predict. For Chelsea Spurs and Utd, against Arsenal.
    Will prob be best to let the refs on here comment before I get too carried away!

  • Jambug


    To be fair all where/are debatable to a greater or lesser degree.

    But as you point out, isn’t it funny how all the teams the Referees invariably favour won there ‘debates’, whilst the one they invariable don’t, lost the ‘debate’.

    All so sadly predictable.

  • guudmon

    what about the handball in sunderland box deemd to be waved ball to hand and the next counter from sunderland in which an arsenal player only to be deemd handball?ithink it was awobi

  • Rich


    Actually thought on one replay it looked like ref made a good call. Ball seemed to land on or near Dyer’s hand, then he made a distinct move which flicked it off to the side. On a different replay it looked less of a pen admittedly as you just saw it arrive from behind him on his arm and you couldn’t see the movement he made.

    I guess that all means that, in my opinion, it was debatable, and might just have been a good call.

    The problem, as you and Jambug point out, is this thing of it not all evening out.

    Whether or not corruption or something which has the same results exists here, and hurts us badly, is one thing, what I think is much less debatable is that in all of football generally, big clubs get a bit or a lot more than their fair share of close calls, and ,occasionally, extraordinarily generous decisions, and that the same sort of trend exists for teams getting a bit extra at home…while we somehow manage not to get those benefits.

    Worse, it’s as though the equation is turned on its head : there’s no home perks for us, and we’re typically reffed the way a bad ref might treat Sporting Gijon at The Bernabau.

    Of course some think we’re loons, or as that Guardian journalist put it , ‘This is incredible, sad, admirable and weird all rolled into one’, but we’ve seen what we’ve seen over the last decade or so.

  • Rich


    Interesting that Zelalem stood out before you knew it was him.
    Wish that every now and then I could watch Arsenal-related football without my Arsenal glasses on, just to make sure they aren’t messing with my judgement!

    Not like I thought he did anything wrong, at all, just found it very hard to judge where he was at with that type of game/ standard of opposition. Still feel much the same as a couple of years ago: no doubt he can play sensational killer passes, particularly if there aren’t too many defenders about; unsure about how he’d fit in ,centre of field, in the premier league.

    Like you said, key thing with all of them is patience and, I’d add, how smart they are and capable of analysing and developing their game

  • Pat

    Personally, I don’t think. Giroud would have been so angry if it hadn’t been a penalty.

    I remember a few years ago Arsene Wenger complained quite strongly about the refereeing. He got heavily fined and the refereeing got no better. Not only that but the media made a big thing out of it, making him out to be a cry baby.

    That’s why I think he decided to make comments only from time to time about particular matches or decisions. For example, he made such comments about the West Ham match at the start of the season, and about the Chelsea match. So it is not accurate to say he never comments.

  • Pat

    There was also a recent match where he pointed out several times that none of the first three goals scored against us should have stood.

  • Dave

    It is noticeable how the tams with ball players and not ‘England-type’ players like Terry & Alli, het shafted by referees. Look at the penalties awarded to Tinies and Villa yesterday and PLEASE tell me why those are given but NOT the foul on Giroud?
    Is there no way that we can get people like Neil Ashton shown up for the nonsenses they are? How can one highlight their ineptitude?????

  • Dave

    Noticeable how the teams with ball players and not ‘England-type’ players like Terry & Alli, get shafted by referees.
    Sorry for the typo….

  • Mandy Dodd

    Spurs very lucky, but they face an extra tough game with an uncertain outcome ……so not all bad
    Chelsea,very lucky, Yeovil should,have had a pen at a vital point of the game
    Utd….prob a pen, but a dive as well, silly defending, but Utd are poor to the point of being irrelevant .
    Giroud. …….we know how it works with arsenal and penalties

  • Gord

    Want to be a PGMO Select Group Referee?

    Be from a county between -1 and -2 degrees Longitude and north of Wiltshire (including Wiltshire). This covers most of the PGMO Select referees (from the north): Oliver, Clattenburg, Atkinson, Madley, Moss, Pawson Friend, Marriner, Scott, East and Probert.

    Live within about 30 miles of the line connecting Manchester and London, and in Staffordshire or north. From the north we have: Mason, Swarbrick, Dean, Jones, Taylor and Dowd.

    The average of the first criteria is 53.18,-1.55. This looks like Jaggers Lane, Matlock. The other has a mean of 53.29, -2.57; which looks like Walnut Lane in Weaverham, Northwich.

    I’ll post this, see if there are comments or interest.

  • para

    This “pushing” without hands, or body charge confuses me. One is given as a foul the other is lauded as a strong tackle yet both look the same to me.

    I think we have all got a little fed up with the refs especially as nothing seems to be changing much in that department.

    Arsenal should try to keep their game up as when we play as a team and focused not even the ref can stop us as he then has to be too obvious with his machinations.

  • Chris

    Now that video looks to make an appearance, I was just wondering how it would have impacted the (non)decisions or bad decisions ?
    has anybody an idea how that would pan out ?
    Would each coach get one or 2 challenges like in the NFL ? Does it apply only to validate or invalidate a goal ?
    Is there any ‘doctine’ that already exists ?

  • DB10

    I was puzzled after reading a report in Sunday Times – they did not mention that Ozil has not played in that game! If Messi does not play, (or Rooney for that matter) wouldn’t it be one of the more important things reported after the game? And the title was ‘Better late than never’ – what?! Mr Brian Glanville – you are quite useless.

  • goonersince72

    Just want to say that Mandy is on fire lately! Keep it up!

  • What bugs me aside from our prem refs incompetence is how we are perceived as trying to con refs.why?the chant invariably goes up from the opossition fans “same old arsenal always cheating”is this a reason why the refs give nothing to us?i hear that chant just about every other match.what about flipping it & us screaming out “same old arsenal taking the piss!in response.would luv it as keegan might say!