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“Journalists make it up? Why would we?”

By Tony Attwood

A short while back the lottery thing that we have in the UK announced that two tickets had won a share of several billion pounds each [I think you might be exaggerating the amount there – Billy “the dog”]. One of the ticket owners came forwards straight away to claim the prize, but the other didn’t.

However a delightful lady of the more elderly variety came forth a few days later eventually and spake thus: “It is mine for I have the ticket.” She then showed anyone with time to spare an old ticket with the numbers tippexed out and replaced by the winning numbers in crayon.

When she presented this to the lottery operating company (they’re called Python Monty or something like that) the lady in charge politely pointed out that the old dear had indeed tippexed out the old numbers and crayoned the new ones in.

The elderly woman looked aghast at such a suggestion. “Why should I do that?” she asked.

We could all have answered, but it is probably best to leave the story there… except that last Friday night when driving from my village in Northants to Leicester I listened (more in fascinated horror than with any real hope of being entertained) to BBC Radio 5’s programme on the weekend’s football.

Here they have a multiplicity of journalists and wannabe match commentators pontificating on what will happen at the weekend and why Arsenal would lose. It’s the same each week, but it passes the time, and since I tend to go out most Friday evenings to a dance in Leicester or Nottingham or some such distant venue in the wild hinterland, I often hear it, and it is always the same. It sort of gets me all wound up and  ready to bop.

Anyway, last Friday night they did a thing about Louis van Gaal and his comment at a press conference that a lot of the stuff written by journalists was simply invented. As in made up.  Fiction.  That sort of thing. There was a clip of LvG saying, “I don’t know why you are making this up” (I was driving at the time, and even though it was across the empty countryside on the Northants/Leics interface, it still isn’t really safe to write notes while at the wheel so I can’t give the exact words, but it was something akin to that).

So the pontificating programme anchor said to the journo, “Do journalists make things up?” to which the journo sniggered and said, “No of course not. Why would we?”

Cue chortling all round the studio at the stupidity of managers trying to blame journalists who of course know it all and NEVER MAKE THINGS UP. A little later they did read out a text from a listener who wrote words to the effect, “Journalists making it up, whatever next?” and there was a deathly silence in the studio. I imagine the production guy who selected that text as one to read has now been fired.

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Thus it was that several questions occupied what passes for my mind as I made the way to Leicester for the meeting of the 100 or so crazy folk who think jiving is actually fun, a great way to stay fit as you get older and an alternative to being in the pub or sitting at home watching TV.

One was: do journalists really not know that a substantial number of football followers really do think that journalists make it all up?

Another was: while a journalist protects his/her sources absolutely, some sort of answer to the point from LvG would have been worthy of the debate – if there was an answer.

Another was: how do they square this assertion of not making it up with the fact that much of what they publish, if reconsidered a few weeks later, turns out to have been utterly, totally, completely and absolutely wrong?

Here I don’t just mean the lunatic transfer speculation that will start again in March and end in September, but the broader points, like Arsenal having a far worse injury record than anyone else, or like the notion that “it all evens out in the end” vis a vis referees. Or… well, you’re on Untold so you know.

Of course the problem is not just that journalists make things up, as we have shown on this site more times than the number of years that it took the gravity waves from those two black holes in the Omega Sector (actually it wasn’t the Omega Sector but when I did my little stint of writing Doctor Who and Blake’s 7 years back we always used to put things in the Omega Sector) to reach planet Earth. There is also the problem that they treat us like unmitigated idiots, so stupid that no only do we not know that they make things up, but that we will not see the fallacies in their “arguments” (I use that last word lightly).

Take the headline in the Telegraph the other day that read, “Could Pato be the new Kallstrom?” which was followed by the comment by Matt Law

Arsenal were, quite rightly, roundly laughed at when they signed an injured Kim Kallstrom in January 2014, but Chelsea have somehow escaped the same sort of ridicule over the arrival of striker Alexandre Pato.

“Quite rightly” indeed. Now leaving aside that the guy’s actual name is Källström, if you recall, Arsenal were going to be in danger of running short of players if they had an exceptional level of injuries between January and May 2014. Arsenal knew that they didn’t need Källström at once, and that he was cover, and also knew that he was injured, so they did a deal with Spartak Moscow in which Arsenal would not pay his salary until he was declared match fit. Also if it turned out that he really was good enough for the longer term, Arsenal could buy him.

In the end the injuries at Arsenal did not continue, Källström played three league games, and went back to Moscow, where he stayed for another year before going to Grasshoppers.

This was pretty much the same as Pato who joined Chelsea as a loanee while not being fit. I don’t know if Chelsea did the same sort of deal as Arsenal, but the thinking was, I suspect, still the same.

But, the semi-skimmed and half-baked report by Matt Law made much of the fact that Pato is still a long way from fitness and Chelsea really are short of strikers. Why, the report implies, didn’t they buy someone else?

And there is really where we get to the other side of journalism. Not only do some journalists make some things up, there is a dreadful lack of joined up thinking in football journalism. Most managers some time or other have said to the assembled hacks at press conferences that you can’t just go out and buy a player you want – because if he is that good the club he is with won’t want to sell him.

And indeed as Danny Karbassiyoon has mentioned in his column on Untold, you not only have to think about whether the player is good enough and will fit into the squad back home, but also, does the current club want to sell him, does he want to move, and will he adjust to a new climate, a new country, a new language maybe…

But these are difficult concepts for journalists, and so you can almost hear the sniggers when the Telegraph report says, “Hiddink has revealed that Pato requires a pre-season training programme to get fit, having not played since November 28, and Chelsea fear it could be as much as six weeks before the Brazilian is ready to start a game.”

Of course I don’t know why Chelsea signed the player, but the phrase “long-term” and “emergency cover” come to mind, along with the notion that they simply couldn’t get anyone else to come.

So to go back to the starting point, why do we all think journalists make things up?

Well, one, because we have evidence of how often their reports of “facts” turn out to be nothing like the facts we subsequently discover. Like when the Independent did an interview with the Barcelona chief and ran the figures he gave them on taxation, which were completely invented. No one at the Indy, it seems checked the data. That was up to little Untold Arsenal. We got a tax expert from Spain, asked him to check, and found that Barcelona’s man was talking PR not reality.

Thus it goes, over and over again. Sometimes the stories are made up, sometimes they are just wild assertions, sometimes key issues are ignored, and quite often nothing but absolutely nothing is checked.

Anyway, I calmed down, got to the dance, had a jolly nice time, and made it back home in the wee small hours. Not a bad way to spend a Friday.   And anyway we have to remember that allowing journalists to write things and broadcast on Radio 5 does keep them out of the pubs.  For a while.

The Untold Books

The latest Untold book is Arsenal: The Long Sleep 1953-1970 with a Foreword by Bob Wilson, available both as a paperback and as a Kindle book from Amazon.   Details of this and our previous and forthcoming titles can be found at Arsenal Books on this site.

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  • 17 February 1906: Hugh McDonald’s first game.  He became so highly rated for Arsenal that he was picked as goalkeeper even when so badly injured that he could not even jump for the ball.
  • 17 February 1936: Joe Haverty born.  He played for Home Farm FC and St Patrick’s Athletic in Ireland (reaching the country’s Cup final), and then signed for Arsenal in 1954. At 5 feet 3 inches he was one of the smallest players ever for Arsenal.  “Use your height Joe” was shouted from the crowd in every match he played.



48 comments to “Journalists make it up? Why would we?”

  • Dave

    Why make stories up? To create stories that get page hits and then receive advertisement revenue for the site and the writer.

  • proudkev

    So true Tony.

    Lying and speculation is 90% of the work of journalists. Investigative journalism of years ago is dead. Evidence based reporting died out years ago, these guys are too lazy to bother with that. The Internet and social media provides them with an instant market for the crap they peddle. Sent out on a twitter link or on Facebook it soon gets recycled.

    Jeremy Wilson once tried to pretened he was clever. He took one look at the Arsenal and Chelsea accounts and created a headline that read:

    “Arsenals annual wage bill moves ahead of Chelseas…”

    “Exclusive: Recent arrivals of Alexis Sanchez, Danny Welbeck and Mathieu Debuchy mean Arsenal are now third behind Manchester clubs in Premier League salary spend”

    This story went viral. SKY, BBC and especially Talksport loved this bit of ‘news’ so they recycled it. The WOB blogs went wild, this was clear proof that Arsene Wemnger had to go. Not sure for how many months the abuse and micky taking continued because of this ‘exclusive’ – but it seemed almost endless.

    But was the story true?

    No, it was completely made up. Jeremy Wilson didnt bother to have his opinion checked because it was a good story. In fcat, he made some basic schoolboy errors. But not having to be accountable means these journalist can say what they like.

    What did he get wrong?
    Firstly, he compared Arsenal 2013-4 to Chelsea 2012-3.

    Next, he completely ‘forgot’ to factor in the ‘wages’ that would no longer be paid to Lukasz Fabiański, Bacary Sagna, Chuks Aneke, Daniel Boateng, Park Chu-Young, Thomas Eisfeld, Leander Siemann, Johan Djourou, Thomas Vermaelen, Nicklas Bendtner, Ignasi Miquel.

    He didnt consider the hugh number of players Chelsea had out on loan.

    Basic schoolboy errors.

    He showed himself up to be a complete buffoon.

    So when the truth was revealed, months later, that this story was untrue bollocks, what did Jermey Wilson do? Did he have the humility and professionalism to acknowledge he made a mistake and should have had someone more knowledgeable than him check his story? Did he apologise?

    Don’t be silly, Jeremy Wilson just laughed it off, shrugged his shoulders and said: “I guessed”.

    Yep he guessed. I hope he never gets called up for jury service.

    Jeremy Wilson couldnt give a damn about the bad publicity it created or the fact that for months Arsenal were being attacked by all the usual suspects because he ‘lied’. It was a good story and thats the end goal. The truth plays no part in whether or not a story is good. The truth is inconvenient for poeple who don’t do research.

    These guys are sewer rats. They have no scruples whatsoever.

    Look at Piers Morgan. The guy is never off TV or the Radio – giving his opinion on something, usually how much he hates Wenger or loves kevin Pieterson.

    Morgan is a man who published fake photos of British troops ‘torturing’ Iraqis in the Daily Mirror, knowing full well they were fake. He was told not to print because publication would create serious problems for our serving troops and create invaluable propoganda for the enemy. He didnt care about anyone but himself, so he printed a story he knew to be untrue. Sod the consequences. He lost his job over it. The fact he had a Brother serving in the British army really does demonstrate the type of odious individual he is. Their egos are so big, the STORY and their own publicity is more important than the truth or who it upsets.

    Untold gets some criticism for being overly biased. I prefer to say overly Arsenal positive. Much of the content on here is backed up with evidence. Try comparing this blog with others out there or the absolutely crap you see on WOB sites or in the manstream media. Untold is a haven of sanity, fighing for space in a sea of shit. A home for decent people who go out of their way to prove their affection to the club and will use evidence to fight back against the incoming tidal wave of lies.

  • Goonermikey

    For a football “journalist” to deny that things are made up is surely an admission that he is completely rubbish at his job. As you say, so much of what they write is proven to be garbage, if they’re not making it up, they really should be sacked.

    I guess the real problem is that there are a lot of gullible idiots out there who actually believe the crap they read in the papers and hear n the TV/Radio……..which reminds me, the AAA’s have been a bit quiet since the Leicester game!

  • Andy Mack

    As Dave says, they’re just after the here and now page hit.
    As for making things up, I’m certain many do but even more often they copy something from elsewhere which they know is clearly garbage, re-word it slightly and say ‘a source’ and then don’t do what a real journalist is supposed to do, which is find out the truth or at least dismiss the plainly untrue.
    They’re a bunch of bias hacks who are more interested in earning a buck than being a real journalist…

  • Tom

    Sorry Tony, but Kallstrom and Pato’s case are nowhere near the same or even similar.
    Arsenal were top of the league and hit with injuries and suspensions to key midfielders when Kallstrom was brought in.

    Chelsea were sitting in the bottom half of the table with no realistic chances of either relegation or fourth place finish, and quite frankly it didn’t matter who they might’ve brought in.

    Arsenal needed a player to come in and hit the ground running, and being the top of the league, Arsenal were a much more attractive a proposition for any player than Chelsea have been this season.

    I don’t know if journalists lie or why, but I do know most of them have an agenda, and like everyone with an agenda they write accordingly.

    Not to bore anyone with my personal stories, but since I’m a long distance supporter who makes his way to Arsenal games a handful of times per season, I make a habit of talking to as many local Arsenal fans as I get a chance to on all kinds of topics either before, during and after games.
    Not a single Arsenal supporter I have ever talked to was of the opinion that Kallstrom was a good acquisition.

    That of course is just an opinion no matter how many share it, but the fact is Kallstrom ‘s involvement was minimal. In his three league games he only played 11 minutes against Swansea, 90 minutes against W Ham, and 27 minutes against WBrom. All his appearances for Arsenal were pretty much after our title push had already fizzled out.

    A bad chapter in Arsenal recent transfer(loan) history and quite frankly I’d rather you didn’t bring it up.

  • proudkev


    “I don’t know if journalists lie”

    Sorry but this made me laugh out loud Tom. This is like saying you don’t know if Arsenal play in red.

    It always amazes me how many people fall hook, line and sink for the stuff the journalism submit. Phone-in shows rely on these gullable idiots.

    You may need to get out a bit more Tom if you honestly think journalists dont lie.

    Here is something from a former News of the World reporter, Graham Johnson. He claimed that journalists regularly made up stories. He said unethical practices were ot unusual because of a “culture of fear”. He claimed they carried out illegal operations and fabricated articles due to pressures from the top. We all know about the lies they told to deny the routing policy of phone tapping.

    Graham Johnson told the BBC: “You can’t get through the day on a tabloid newspaper if you don’t lie, if you don’t deceive, if you’re not prepared to use forms of blackmail or extortion or lean on people, you know, make people’s lives a misery. You just have to deliver the story on time and on budget, and if you didn’t then you’d get told off…. The News of the World culture was driven by fear, because it’s a hierarchy, it’s a military operation, it’s a seamless operation.”

    Its worse now with the saturated online coverage and the huge competition for page views.

  • Porter

    Piers Morgan has previous just Google his name Arsenal Copenhagen and see why he is despised.

  • Ben

    But Tommy you seem to forget that Källström helped us in the FA Cup.

  • proudkev


    Great point.

    A lot of young fans don’t know that about Morgan and how he turned on Arsenal fans. Just like he turned on the British Army. Nasty Backstabber. I despise the man for lots of reasons. He is a nasty piece of work. Time and again he shits on his own doorstep, he has no moral compass.

    A mate of mine knew one of the 36. He said he had a young family who he could no longer support because of Morgans lies. Put strain on his marriage when he was only protecting himself and his son from the Turkish hooligans who attacked them – but Piers Morgans ‘wrong’ eye witness account had him labelled a hooligan. took six or seven years I think for Morgan to come clean and admit he had jumped to the wrong conclusions, not realising the Arsenal lads were trying to defend themeselves from Galatasarays notorious hooligans. Genuine Gooners lost their jobs, their season tickets and could no longer go to games because of Piers Morgan. Utterly disgusting what Morgan did but he got a scoop for his Newspaper.

    Amazing that we still have naive fans like Tom who seem unable to accept the media lying is just part of their jobs. Its beyond bizarre. This is why Piers Morgan knows he can say what he likes because some people will accept it without question – that is why 36 decent people that had their lives shattered.

  • Tom


    Perhaps I do need to get out more often but here’s a thing, I read your post in its entirety, quite well written if I may add, but in your lengthy tirade about Jeremy Wilson, you have failed to prove the point that he is a liar.

    You have proved beyond doubt that he is a buffoon, a lousy journalist with an anti- Arsenal agenda and a terrible guesser perhaps , but a liar?

    Also, Piers Morgan- not a journalist, but rather an opinion guy with a lot of media exposure, a self promoter.

    I’m not familiar with British media, but stateside we have an entire industry dedicated to distorting the truth for personal or political gains( the entire FOX news channel for example) , but even though some of them hold journalists degrees, I wouldn’t call them journalists but rather opinion personalities.

    Seems to me no one is immuned to affliction of spinning the truth to a certain degree.

    Let’s take you for example. One of the most honest posters on here IMO and not afraid to speak your mind ,most of the time anyways.
    You rightfully blamed Walcott for being reckless with his fitness when he failed to warm up properly before his involvement in Sheffield league cup game, but you entirely absolved Arsene Wenger of any responsibility whatsoever in the incident, even though as an ex player and manager at a high level you surely must know it’s the manager’s decision when to introduce a player into a game and not the player’s himself. Any player called upon from the bench in an emergency situation like the aforementioned Sheffield W game , might be incapable of a proper warm up due to adrenaline rush and excitement of the situation.

    What prevented you from stating the obvious then? Are you a dishonest person? I doubt it . You just have an agenda like most other people, journalists included.

  • Tom

    Yes, the crucial seven minutes that helped put Arsenal over the line in the semis against Wigan.
    We mustn’t forget that 🙂

  • rich


    About your Dean Factor stuff from yesterday.

    Bear with me here. There’s an important omission from it, and it’s what Pgmol would lean on completely if anyone held them to account : you have to take into consideration the type of games Dean was in charge of us for.

    Pgmol’s practice, and presumably all other leagues are the same to a degree, is to have the better or best (don’t laugh) refs do the biggest games. Any club, even a giant one, is certain over time to have a worse record against top teams than the rest of the league.

    So, a chicken and egg situation- is our record with Dean much, much worse than our general record in the league purely because nearly every one of our games he was in charge of was against a top club, during a period when our record against top clubs was poor and our record against the other teams was quite good?

    That is the pgmol case if they were obliged to make it.

    So, I’ve been doing a little digging ( web-browsing /scribbling in a notepad)

    I’ve jotted down the refs we’ve had against the six biggest clubs- Utd, City, Chelsea, Spurs, Liverpool, Everton- in the league from 09-10 until now (6 full seasons, 8 games in this one), 80 games in total.

    Even allowing for the reasonableness and good sense of entrusting the biggest games to the best referees, there should be or, in a sound system, has to be, a cut off point. Even if you trusted your colleagues perfectly, and even if your were right to trust them-best of the best, balls of steel, man for the big occasion, the daddy, Mike The magnificent- sense would guide you away from picking the same refs again and again and again for the same fixtures.

    Well, Deane did 18 of those 80 games, just shy of a quarter. But it gets a lot more grim and grisly than that if you just…take Everton and Liverpool out of the equation.

    That’s a fair thing to do as Deane does not and presumably is not allowed to officiate their games.

    So 8 games per year for 6 years, plus 5 of 8 games this year. 53 games. Dean has done 18 of them.

    But maybe we should take away another 4 from this year between the Chelsea game and now, as, fair to say, he might not have been available for those.

    18 games out of 49 (aaarghhh!). Chicken, egg, doesn’t matter, that is a ludicrous situation. An indefensible figure. 36.7 per cent.

    Record in those 18 games was won 3, drawn 6, lost 9. Chuck his buddy Atkinson in there (12/80) with W2 D3 L7, and that’s 30 of our 80 biggest hardest games overseen by the same 2 men. F***.

    Our record with the two is absolutely dismal, but I guess it could all be the result of us not being very good over these years.

    36.7 per cent. Ok, call it 37. Journalists, known for taking things on faith and for an exceptional level of trust and respect for the status quo, would never be able to stumble on that figure, but bookmakers and gamblers would be remiss not to know these things.

    37 per cent. Premier league. Biggest, cleanest league in the world.

  • Al

    Someone please remind me, who was it again that used to post here, and they would say they had a flat next to the Emirates as well as a penthouse in Birmingham? My memory fails me now…

    The last time I checked piers aka the idiot Morgan was a journalist..

  • Mark

    I think you will find that Kallstrom scored one of the penalties, if not mistaken.

  • Rosicky@Arsenal

    How can u say Proudkev failed to prove that Jeremy wilson lied.
    Jeremy wilsom lied about Arsenal players salaries being higher than off chelseas.
    It was subsequently proved that it was a made up story n a lie.

  • Pete

    rich – excellent comment.

    Can you confirm our records in those 80 games where:

    Dean was ref?
    Atkinson was ref?
    Someone else was ref?

    I think there are enough games there for a statistically significant sample.

    But other refs were regarded as elite during this period: say Mark Clattenburg and Howard Webb. How many of these games did they have? If fewer (and must have been fewer than Dean) then why the discrepancy?

    Without the full data, it looks very much as if Dean was deliberately posted to big Arsenal games to derail them. Hell – there is enough evidence!

  • Rosicky@Arsenal

    Great research.
    The FA should act to bring justice to Arsenal sooner than later.

  • proudkev


    Thanks for your reply.

    I agree about agendas, that is a fair point.

    The rest of your comment is quite frankly, bloody hilarious.

    I wouldn’t absolve wenger of any blame if there was some to aportion. He’s not some faultless demi-god, he’s a human being that is fallable like the rest of us. However, he’s a dman sight more knowledgable than any of us where football is concerned.

    Look, it is not wengers job to conduct the warm ups or look after the players physcially on match days. That job lies with the professionals employed to perform that role. I appreciate that a section of fans think Wenger does everything but that’s only in their land of fantasy football driven by an agenda.

    Ask yourself some questions:

    1. Have you ever seen Arsene wenger run onto the pitch with a medical bag to aid an injured player?
    2. Have you ever seen Arsene Wenger conduct the pre-match warm up routines?
    3. Have you ever seen Arsene Wenger massaging a player?

    No neither have I.

    Yet you are trying to aportion blame for Theos lack of a proper warm up routine to Wenger and are using that to accuse me of absolving Wenger based on the grounds of an agenda. That is actually quite funny. Hypocritical too. But still funny.

    To be honest, I find it really bizarre that we still have fans out there that think running a professional football club is like running somne Sunday league team. I have managed teams where I have collected the subs, painted the lines, helped put the nets up, seated the corner flags, filled the water bottles, pumped up the footballs, cleaned the kit, managed the warm up, took the training, paid the referee, made the tea, mowed the grass and even cleared piles of wet dog shit from the pitch with a cheap nylon glove and a piece of flimsy card, ripped from the top of a Lucazade box!

    I am also realistic enough to know that if the corner flag falls over, it isn’t Arsene Wengers fault. Thats absolving him of blame because it has nothing to do with him. Not because of a bloody agenda Tom.

  • nicky

    The main object of newspapers is to increase circulation and ipso facto improve advertising revenue.
    In order to achieve these two aims, news is regularly embellished, bent and titillated in the most audacious fashion.
    Newspaper owners know full well that radio, television and the internet will always have the advantage of broadcasting important news by immediate newsflashes.
    Eye-catching headlines on the street are the only initial weapon newspapers possess and desperate usage will often mean that plain truth loses out.
    Many newspapers tend to adopt specific views on politics, national affairs and sporting matters and continually further them in the writings they publish.
    However, as the power of technology increases in conveying news, so the influence of newspapers is on the wane, supported mainly by advertisers rather than readers.
    The day cannot be far off when fish and chips will need to be wrapped in other than yesterday’s newspapers. 😉

  • proudkev


    Brilliant stuff. Good research and well formulated mate.

    I would like to add something not previously mentioned in my many attacks on the FA and PGMOL:

    My beef has always been about the ‘risk’ of employing referees to officiate home town clubs. It is clear that any sane person managing a risk assessment, would deam that as high risk. You have to factor in local influences, attendance to local schools, local media output, etc – in fact anything that may affect the decision making process negatively. Keith Hackett, former head of PGMOL told me that it puts the referee in a difficult situation and is one that should obviously be avoided. When I told him about Manchesters Anthony Taylor being appointed to our game at home against Manchester United, he said he ‘shuddered’ at Rileys decision.

    It is pretty basic stuff and a clear red line.

    Lets not forget that in International games you get neutral referees for a reason. Imagine employing an Italian referee to a game in a world cup decider between Italy and England. It doesn’t happen for very good reasons.


    What is interesting is that the FA agree with Keith Hackett. How do we know this?


    Mike Dean was originally appointed to referee the 2006 FA Cup final. However, the Football Association decided to replace him with Alan Wiley. Why? The FA took the decision due to concerns about Mike Dean’s ability to be impartial towards Liverpool, who are based near his home town in Wirral.

    So the FA took an FA CUP FINAL away from Mike Dean because they were concerned about his ability to make correct decisions on the basis Liverpool were his home town club. Damning stuff.

    Yet, despite the FA having reservations about MIKE DEAN officiating in agame involving his home town club, they have allowed PGMO to make it a regular occurence. Anthony Taylor is one of three referees from that area but he lives in Manchester itself. Riley and his crew thought it a great idea to appoint him for our game with manchester United at the Emirates, despite the FA’s previous stance.



    So let us suppose Mike Dean is a LIverpool fan, as it is suggested. Forget refereeing his home town club and consider this. What if Mike Dean was officiating at a game where a win for one of the teams would detrimentally affect Liverpool. Perhaps the 4th Champions League place. Is thre a ‘risk’ his decison making process would be affected? It is a fair question aimed at identifying any possible risk.

    For example:

    In April 2010 Mike Dean refereed the game at Old Trafford between Liverpools arch enemy Manchester United and Chelsea. This game was dubbed a potential Premier League “title decider” and was therefore an important game. As much as Spuds couldnt stomach the though of Arsenal winning the league, the same hatred exists between Liverpool and Manchester United.

    Chelsea won the match 2-1.

    There was much controversy after the game because Mike Dean turned down four penalty appeals, THREE of which were for Manchester United.

    Chelseas second goal giving them a 2-0 lead was offside, scored by Didier Drogba. Ferguson said he was “worried” when Dean was appointed to the game.

    Now I am not saying anything untoward went on but how can we be certain of that. After all, any risk assessment would have identified a possible conflict of interests. I wonder if the betting markets were affected?


    With just 16 refs and only a handful deemed god enough to referee the high profile games, this is an absolute disaster waiting to happen. How many times has Anthony Taylor refereed a game involving the Manchester clubs? Mike Jones? Lee Mason?

    So why have the FA allowed PGMO to appoint home town referees on such a frequent basis, when they themselves think it is wrong?

    Perhaps they have just forgotten about it.

    You do have to wonder whether either of these organisations are actually fit for purpose. I don’t think they are.

    How is it simple amateurs like us, with internet access and a bit of desire, can find huge flaws in the way matches are assigned to referees yet the professionals in the media walk around oblivious?

    It is a scandal, make no mistakes.

  • proudkev

    *deemed god enough.

    I suspect my spell checker is familiar with PGMOL and its employees and has correctly changed the word to god!

  • Porter

    Nick don’t waste them on chip papers. Where I live in the deep dark countryside we have to light our log burners with something.

  • Menace

    proudkev – the FA are complicit in the cheating that is clearly visible in the EPL. The officiating is like the fulcrum of the scales of justice. It can sway the scales whichever way irrelevant of the weight of what is keeping the scales balanced.

    If the FA were not complicit then the Chelsea v Arsenal match would have been replayed with a new official & Dean banned from the game for life. He is clearly a cheat as nothing he has done can be correctly put down to human error. The only human error was that his parents were put together.

  • proudkev


    You made me laugh my head off with your last sentence….!


  • rich

    Pete, proudkev, Rosicky@arsenal- Cheers.

    Proudkev- that’s a new/forgotten one for me that Dean was due to do liverpool final. I had no idea till earlier that he didn’t do any games for the merseyside teams so, well, something weird has happened somewhere along the line.

    Pete, I’m a bit frazzled after spending a lot more time than I planned to on that earlier, so no more from me today, but I’ll stick the whole list up now beneath this.

    One thing it won’t show is doublers – when same ref does home and away same season- you can guess who leads the list…

    It’s Mike Dean! He’s done 3 (Utd, City, Spurs) of them, Clattenberg (Spurs), Atkinson (Chelsea), Webb (L’pool) have one apiece.

    Reckon the most revealing figures might be our individual records against Utd, City, Chelsea, Spurs with Dean/Atkinson vs with any other ref.

  • rich


    Our refereeing friends from the North

    Games against Utd, City, Chelsea, Spurs, Liverpool, Everton. 2009-10 to Feb 17 2016


    72+8. (80 GAMES)

    56/80 games covered by 5 refs

    The 56 crew.

    Dean 18 games. W3 D 6 L9

    Utd p5: D1 L4
    City p5: W1 D 3 L1
    Chelsea p5 : D2 L3
    Spurs p3 : W2 L1

    [18 out of 80. However, excluding the Merseyside teams, who he has never reffed us against, the figure is 80 – 27 = 53 ; take away the 4 since he was temporarily decommissioned after the chelsea debacle and it’s 18/49]

    Atkinson 12 games W 2 D 3 L 7

    City p2: W1 L1
    Spurs P3: D2 L1
    Everton p1: L1
    Chelsea p3: L3
    Pool p3: W1 L1 D1

    Webb 9 games W6 D1 L 2

    Utd p2: L2
    L’pool p3: w3
    Everton p3: w2 d1
    Spurs p1: w1

    Clattenberg 9 games W3 D2 L4

    Utd p1: D1
    Spurs P3 : W1 L2
    Chelsea : p2 : W1 L1
    City: p3 : W1 D1 L1

    Oliver 8 games W1 D5 L2
    Utd p1: L1
    Spurs p2: W1 D1
    Chelsea P1: D1
    Everton p1 : D1
    L’pool P3 : D2 L1

    The remainder . 24 games

    The remainder.

    Marriner 6 games W3 D1 L2

    Chelsea P3 : W 1 L2
    City P1 : W1
    Everton P1 : W1
    Liv P1 : D1

    Dowd 3 games: D1 L2
    Utd P1 : D1
    Spurs P1 : L1
    City P1 : L1

    Friend. 2 games: D2
    Everton : P1 : D1
    Liverpool: P1 : D1

    Taylor 2 games : W2
    Utd P1 W1
    L’pool P1 W1

    Foy 2 games :W1 L1
    Utd P2 : W1 L1

    Mason 3 games : W3
    Everton p3: W3

    Mike Jones 2 games : D2
    Liv: P1: D1
    City: P1 : D1

    Mark Halsley 2 games
    Liv: p1 W1
    Everton P1 W1

    Neil Swarbrick 1 game
    Ev p1 : D1

    Walton 1 game
    Ev’ P1 : D1

  • Jambug


    Brilliant stuff.

    The fact is the Media MUST know all this, they simply must, and yet they choose to utterly ignore it.

    They don’t just ignore it, they actively try to promote the notion that everything is Hunky Dory with regards to how they perform.

    Take Nial Quinnes fawning assessment of Atkinson and Clatenburg prior to the City and Spurs game at the weekend.

    Sickening it it’s total and utter detachment from the reality that we witness every week.

    Who the f*** does he think he’s kidding?

    Still, he did make himself look a fool as Clattenburg preceded to put in a shocker right in front of his very eyes. You could sense him squirming in his seat as we witness bad decision after bad decision, but even so, he still managed to dance around the issue with the fleet of foot that a ballerina would of been proud of.

    On a more general note, whenever the media are discussing referees, despite mentioning the odd error, they will always come to the same conclusion, that our referees do a great job, in difficult circumstances, and although, yes they do make the odd honest mistake, they are way beyond ever being biased or, God forbid corrupt.

    Nope according to the Media everything in Riley World is all fine and Dandy.

    Sorry to be a pessimist, but nothing, I repeat nothing, is going to change, in general, or especially for us in particular, for a very long time.

    In fact I only see it getting worse, if that is possible.

  • Tom


    Thanks for your reply.
    If you don’t think a manager of Wenger’s experience should have an idea in his head how long a player of Walcott’s talents and attributes needs to warm up properly before entering a meaningless game no less, then I have to question your football knowledge my friend.

    There are some players who can enter the field of play on moments notice, players like Cazorla and Ozil perhaps ( although not advisable) who can ease themselves into the game at their own pace as playmakers, but not sprinters like Walcott.

    This is a very similar debate I had on here with someone after Cazorla’s injury, when they said it was up to Cazorla to decide if he should’ve stayed on the pitch.

    Cazorla’s Spanish doctor,Ramon Cugat, who performed the operation on his knee expressed his disbelief that Cazorla was able to continue for over 40 minutes after his injury.
    This by the way wasn’t a compliment to Cazorla for his bravery and dedication, but rather indictment on Arsenal’s staff recklessness.

    There is absolutely no way any player should be left on the pitch with a suspicion of ACL tear for any length of time and this decision lies with the manager. As soon as the physio reports to him that it’s most likely knee ligaments, there only one man who’s responsible from that point on , simple as that.

    Coquelin injured his knee about one week before Cazorla injured his , but for whatever reason he elected to come off after few minutes of his injury and he’s been back for a few weeks now. Cazorla stayed on for another 40 minutes or so after his injury and isn’t due back for another month or so.

    Is there a correlation? Most likely, but I suppose you wouldn’t see it.
    I mean it’s not like a corner flag falling over is it.

  • Mark

    I was at the game in Sheffield and when the Ox was injured very early on, Walcott was the only like for like player available and because the Ox didn’t go down and give Theo time to do a little warm up, it meant he had to come on immediately. When Theo injured himself, it was taking a corner, so had nothing to do with sprinting at all. By the way it was bloody cold that night too. By the way Theo could have said I am not warmed up properly so wait a few minutes. Can you imagine what would have been said if they had scored then with ten players on the field?! Wenger wasn’t to blame.

  • Mark

    How about Rooney being ruled out for six weeks because he played with ligament damage. LVG even said he didn’t realise as Rooney wanted to play. Santi is an intelligent man and would have known if he couldn’t play on. The Coq knew straight away so went off.

  • Tom

    Thanks for your post
    No doubt there are people who would’ve criticized Arsene Wenger no matter what, and although I can sometimes appear to be one of them , mainly because no other regular ever criticizes Mr Wenger on here, I’m not.

    As a matter of fact I was glad Arsenal lost to Sheffield ( I wanted them to lose to Tottenham the round before) because this season I believed the league cup to be an unnecessary commitment.

    I appreciate supporters like yourself going to extraordinary lengths to cheer the team on and I’m sure you didn’t feel the same way about it as I did, but my feelings before the game were ; let’s lose it by a goal or two without any injuries.

    As it turned out, we sustained two unnecessary( IMO) injuries which could’ve been avoided.

    Ox looked in discomfort before the game and probably should’ve even started , and Theo’s warm ups were inadequate mainly due to the cold you have mentioned.

  • Tom

    Intelligence has nothing to do with it.
    Coquelin’s position and style of play makes it next to impossible to play with a bad knee and that’s why he went off.
    How many sliding tackles can you make on a bad knee Mark?
    Cazorla on the other hand can play on one leg.
    The only question is why should he in a mid season game against Norwich City.

  • Andy Mack

    Tom, don’t you think the managers time is better spent concentrating on what’s happening on the pitch rather than what Steve Bould and the rest of the management team are doing with the bench?
    I certainly do.

  • Mark

    My point was Santi kicked the Norwich player and didn’t realise the extent of his injury and was in his mind able to play. The medical team isn’t going to risk a player of his ability if they had any idea how serious it was. The injury to Coq was determined immediately. The manager is at the behest of his medical team’s expertise surely?

  • Rantetta

    The naysayers are so Rhys Jagger/Mike T et al.

    Well done everyone else, and ta, Tony.

  • Menace

    Three monkeys Michael Owen, Andy Townsend & Robbie Savage discussing Leicester V Arsenal on StarSports broadcast to India. Singing the praises of Vardy & Drinkwater. Knowing all about the game ‘top drawer’ the term used freely by each one without ever having had any success organising a piss up in a brewery.

    Not one mention of the pigMOB & its agenda. Each one smelling of rose manure in spades– horse shit, bullshit & pig shit.

    Looking at the fouls committed by Spuds & referring to it as game management; rotational fouling part of the modern game; clever play. South American manager who knows how to play & win.

    Owens wisdom ‘Football is a bit like chess, move one piece forwards and the rest start falling like dominos’. That sums up his command of the language & intelligence.

    Their summary was that Leicester was the team to win the league. Not a mention of pigMOB & its appointees winning games for the foxes.
    City have not got the form required to win. Arsenal have a tough run in. Spuds know how to play & have sufficient to give Leicester competition.

  • Tom

    You are twisting yourself into knots a bit there trying to explain it away.
    So Santi is an intelligent player and he knew he could’ve continued on playing? How did that work out for him, all this intelligence I mean? 🙂

    Don’t worry Mark, I’ll try to walk you through the process and maybe you’ll see the light.
    Here we go.

    Ozil felt a crack in his knee during the Chelsea game at the Bridge in October 2014. At half time he alerted the physio and Wenger to his problem, but was allowed to continue the rest of the game.

    Afterwards , when he went away on international duty, it was discovered by his German team doctors that he had a serious ligament damage.

    When Arsene Wenger found out, he said this:

    “I’m deeply shocked. He wasn’t involved in a collision with anybody. It was just after making a pass with the outside of his foot that he injured his leg so it’s very hard to believe that you can damage your ligament with just making a simple pass and it’s very difficult to take that he will be out for a while.”

    “He had a little problem just before he went out at half time. He had a little pain with his knee, he felt a crack. I said to our physio to keep an eye on him and if there was anything wrong with him, tell me because when you are 1:0 down , you want to keep your offensive players on the pitch”

    The last sentence explains why Coquelin was withdrawn and Cazorla wasn’t.

    When you are 1:0 down to Chelsea , or 1:1 away to Norwich at half time “you keep your offensive players on the pitch” as Arsene would say.

    Coquelin’s injury came at minute 14 in a 0:0 match against the WB Albion, and Coquelin being a defensive midfielder wasn’t a necessity to keep on the pitch against a lowly Baggies ,when you have Arteta and Flamini available in the wings.

    Physio’s diagnosis had very little to do with Wenger’s decision in either of the cases, as much as you and perhaps others would like to believe. Getting a win had everything to do with Ozil and Cazorla playing a full 90 minutes even though both players had serious ligament damage confirmed by German and Spanish doctors, which in both cases resulted in far more time missed by both players than otherwise wouldve been necessary had they been subbed off as they should’ve been.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I heard that even birds were being ‘overwhelmed’ by the stench and ‘lingering’ odor that emanates from the day old newspapers that line their bird cages . I read this in today’s Editorial in The Plume and Pomp magazine .

    I wonder what would all those long faithful and old poor dears do now , ever since The Independent has gone all digital on them . Continue in the the same vein ? Ipads are of course easier to clean and be reused again and again !

    What’s that you say ? It’ll never happen ? Its coming , I say !

    He said to his wife , “Please get me a newspaper.”
    “Don’t be silly,” she replied, “you can borrow my iPad.”
    That spider never knew what fucking hit it.

  • Mark

    So when Theo was injured and we were struggling, why on earth did we take him off as he is an attacking player who can score at any time? Think you will find that the medical staff and the player decided to come off. Who came on? An 18 year old holding midfield player.
    If you don’t think Santi is intelligent then I would love to know what you think he is. A two footed player like him is simply genius in my opinion.

  • rich


    You seem to be under impression there is only one type of serious knee injury, as though Jenkinson and Walcott could have carried on if they’d been willing to.

    Even us non-medics have seen ample evidence that isn’t the case. Some players, like De Bruyne and Zouma recently, are in incredible agony immediately; others, like Walcott, are in surprisingly little pain.

    So that’s the first guide for medical staff and managers- is the player obviously in so much pain there’s no way they can continue. Next up is that test they do to check for certain types of knee damage. We’ve all seen it- straightening the leg or whatever they do. Whatever they’re looking for, if they see it- that’s it, substitution.

    After that, it’s mostly down to the player. Firstly, is it even possible to stay out there. With many types of serious knee damage it surely isn’t. Back to Jenkinson again- he really really wanted to stay on the other day but it was obviously impossible; the type of knee injury he had wouldn’t allow it.

    So with Cazorla it was about how the knee felt to him, whether it was even feasible to continue, and whether Wenger and the medical staff could discern that ,despite him still moving about, he might in fact have a serious and highly unusual knee injury.

    Obviously, none of them knew. We’ve no reason to think any of them- very experienced player, incredibly experienced manager, trained medical staff- aren’t smart enough to figure even a moderately high risk of serious injury/ 4-5 months of damage is not worth it in that situation.

    In all your posts you seem to stitch in a few assumptions presented as fact- key to your argument here and above is that the physios said it’s ‘most likely knee ligament damage’, or similar, and Wenger decided not to act appropriately on that.

    You can have no clue that happened, but a little sense dictates it is extremely improbable that it did.

    Putting aside how poor a piece of judgement that would be from Wenger, think of the practical consequences : do you think the medical staff have so little pride and integrity that they would happily continue to work for a man who behaved like that? Do you think those same medical staff could resist telling the player concerned that they had spotted the danger, told the manager, and seen their advice ignored? If a player heard or even suspected that, how the hell would you get him back onside?

    It’s the land of probabilities, but in order to speak as you do it seems you need to convert them into certainties.

    You find it likely that Wenger could ignore a medical professional’s warning that it could be a serious injury, and be so lost in game he will lose the ability to sensibly measure it’s importance against the weeks and months ahead, as well as failing his duty of care to those players.. So likely that you talk of it as a certainty, as fact, as though you were there or have discussed it with someone who was.

    I find it very very improbable.

    By the way, I was lucky with my knee when playing footy (though it went a bit dodgy afterwards), but there was one occasion when something strange and frightening happened to it- a gristly sensation, a sense something had gone seriously wrong, like something big moving, think there was a noise,too.

    Anyway, I thought I was done for. I was shocked. Crap, never a problem then, shit, looks like I might have gone and done something serious. I thought of the missed work and how gutting it would be to have a bad knee.

    After a while I started putting a bit of weight on it and manipulating the knee. It seemed to be ok but it also occurred to me it was a bit daft of me to push my luck and continue. Anyway, it was fine. Never happened again. I guess knees can be strange at times.

    What should a medic have done when I told them about the noise, the feeling something had moved and gone wrong?

    I’m guessing they’d do their tests to try establish damage and if they found nothing say , ‘well, is it hurting? How does it feel now?’

    They’d have their large repository of experiences with knee injuries and their expertise about the human body, but they still might end up relying on what the subject can tell them.

  • Tasos

    Tom clearly knows everything.

    Without Tom we are nothing.

  • proudkev

    “If you don’t think a manager of Wenger’s experience should have an idea in his head how long a player of Walcott’s talents and attributes needs to warm up properly before entering a meaningless game no less, then I have to question your football knowledge my friend”.

    Classy comment Tom.

    Sorry I wasted my time trying to discuss this with you. Next time you go to an Arsenal game get their early and you may learn something. But then again as you think you know everything, what would be the point?

  • apo Armani

    Great article Tony…

    and Excellent comments from Proudkev,Rich,Menace,Jamburg and Tasos (Enjoyed reading them as much as the article).

    Not much else any logical person can add.

    As for Tom; I am so disappointed he wasn’t my manager when I used to sprint (10:46 for the 100m) He would have FOR SURE helped me avoid several muscle injuries whilst I could have told my two coaches (Both National reps in the Commonwealth games) where to go 🙂

  • Tom

    Don’t be so touchy-feely my friend.
    You called my posts “hilarious, hypocritical ” and I didn’t take offense.
    Also, I do get to games very early and leave very late when I go.

    You know what’s the most interesting thing about posters like you.

    They always say in any Arsene Wenger debate ” he’s fallable ,sure, and not faultless ” and “he makes mistakes like everyone else”.

    But none of them EVER say or admit or agree to a single one of those mistakes ,never ever.
    Now, that’s hilarious Proudkev.

    It’s OK for them to say for example ; Mertesacker is a bit slow but makes up for it with his game reading and leadership.
    Ozil is second to none when it comes to vision and passing but a liability on defense.
    Giroud won’t beat many for pace but excellent otherwise.

    Everyone on the team but Arsene Wenger can be talked about that way apparently. Why is that?

    So if Arsene Wenger isn’t perfect , Proudkev, what exactly are his shortcomings. Humor me.

    I often get asked when debates heat up around here; ” why are you on here?”

    Here’s the rundown of things for which I’m on here and not other sites.
    1. Arsene Wenger the greatest manager in Arsenal history and his legacy will go well beyond the trophies he has won- check
    2. As such, should remain in charge until decides to call it himself – check
    3.referee and media anti- Arsenal bias – check

    There are many others but these three should suffice.

    But I’m also honest with myself enough to entertain the idea that however brilliant Wenger is in most aspects of football matters, there are a few areas where he isn’t, like player rotation for example.

    I once gave another poster on here this example in a similar debate.
    I had dedicated my personal time and resources to help elect Obama into office and I believe he has been one of the best presidents in recent history under very difficult and challenging circumstances.

    And even though I have been one of his most loyal supporters , I’m not afraid to point out areas where he has come up short and made mistakes.
    This is not a political blog so I won’t bore you going through them one by one, but hopefully you get my point.

    Cheers! I’m done.

  • Tom

    No I’m not under the impression all knee injuries are the same.
    ACL is usual worse than MCL for example, and there could be any other number of complications.

    What’s beyond any debate ,however, is the fact that no matter what knee ligaments are damaged, it’s never a good idea to let a player continue on.
    In vast majority of cases the condition becomes worse.

  • Tom

    Missed your last post ,sorry
    The answer is very simple.
    Theo offers very little to the team outside of his explosiveness and pace and once both of those were compromised by his knee injury , there was no point in keeping him on the pitch.

    The same goes for Jenkinson. As a wingback he became totally ineffective and had to be withdrawn.

    Ozil and Cazorla are two perfect candidates if you had to choose a player who could be relied on ( to a degree) while not fully fit.
    They both roam around without much of a defensive role ( Ozil more so than Cazorla) and can still create something out of nothing, so it might be worth a gamble. It rarely is though. Neither Ozil in the Chelsea game , or Cazorla in the Notwich game contributed much to the cause after their injuries.


  • Mark

    Not wanting to belabour the point, but a small correction, the injury to Theo at Sheffield was a calf injury, the knee was against S***s in the FA Cup.
    I think we are now done. Up the Arsenal!!

  • Jammy J

    The problem with journalism these days, is that the much larger publishers have a monopoly over the industry. This means journalists, who may have otherwise created more “edgy” or investigative articles, are forced into pushing out articles that tow the company line. If not, then these huge publishers can simply say “not a problem, we’ll just find someone else who will comply. You can forget about progressing your career through all of the mainstream news networks”. Essentially, leaving the journalists with an absolute mountain to climb, if they are to make a decent living from journalism.