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October 2020

The Dirty Dozen “Gentlemen”

By Josif

In a dimly lit room, deep in the bowels of Wembley Stadium, a secret group meet.   A group known by a set of first names.  A group’s whose address is only ever simply given as Wembley Stadium.  No room number, no department section, no office block zone.

They don’t have to say.   If you are someone they want to meet, you know where in that vast structure to go and look.  If not, you will beyond doubt get lost in the labyrinth.

They are in fact a secret society – meeting all three requirements of such a society being an exclusive club to which only a few are invited, holding special secrets that no one else can know, and showing an eternal inclination to favour its own, above all others.

More secret than the  Cambridge Apostles, more outrageous than Cicada 3301, more determined than the Bahraini February 14 Youth Coalition.

For Wembley  is the ultra hidden HQ of Professional Game Match Officials, and today we find them holding a meeting.  A meeting in which the high and mighty of the society tell Martin Atkinson that he has messed up terribly in the Arsenal match against Leicester and he should get punished for it.

Michael Riley addressed the enclave. “We have all gathered here for the reason I don’t need to mentioned. Brother Martin has sinned last weekend in the most horrendous way one could possibly imagine. I think we all know what happened.” Eleven harmonized nods confirmed Michael’s words.

The twelfth nod was different from the others though. It was a nod of a man who felt shame. The twelfth nod wasn’t harmonized with the others as the man was watching the ground under his feet and was praying for the ground to open while the red colour of his cheekbones turned brown. “Brother Martin, step out”, Michael said with a cold voice. The man who had been watching the ground stepped out without raising his head. His cheeks were now completely brown.

“Holy crap, Mike”, someone from the crowd whispered into the ear of the nearest person, “I haven’t heard this voice since Gameweek Two! Poor sod is screwed!”

“Tell me about it, Lee!”, Mike replied using the same silent tone, “I had to kneel on the broken glass for an hour after I had given a penalty for that Kompany’s foul. Speaking of… Where is Babyface Oliver? Still on that Special Geography class?”

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“Yes”, Lee replied with a smile of a weasel, “I guess some people have to learn where is North in a hard way before their career goes South.” Both of them started to giggle before Michael stopped them with his look.

If a look could kill, that one would be at least worth of a violent conduct. Even if Michael was not that kind of a guy. “Now, if all of you have finished exchanging humorous stories and other creative things we don’t want to see as a part of the honourable English tradition…”, Michael said while watching at the crowd, “Brother Martin has something to say to all of us. But firstly, let’s hear if you want to say something to him first.”

Martin collected all the courage he had and raised his head to look at the crowd. Eleven people looked at him from the darkened outer reaches of the room. Martin felt their look as an unpleasant mix of disdain, condemnation and, most of all, disappointment. He was waiting for the first stone to be thrown at the glass house of his self-confidence. Finally, one from the crowd stood up.

“Brother Martin”, the man said, “I have always looked up to you. I was watching reckless tackles on Their players with your eyes. I was watching numerous fouls on Their players and pretending not to see them just like you would have done. I was watching the opponents diving in Their penalty box and thinking: “What would Brother Martin do?” before I pointed to the spot. I watched the last game and had enjoyed your lesson for 45 minutes before… I can’t continue. I’m sorry.” The man started to cry. His tears were shredding Martin’s heart. After crying a river of tears, the man finally managed to mumble with a broken voice: “I just want my big Brother Martin back.”

Martin was in tears now. “I’m sorry, Brother Anthony. I’m sorry I have let you down.” A few more in the crowd started to cry as well. “Forgive me, Big Brother Michael, for I have sinned…”, Martin whispered through tears. “I’m sorry for letting you all down.” Michael, however, didn’t seem to be touched at all.

“OK, brothers, men up! When did you become so…so…so Reyes? IT’S NOT ENGLISH THING TO DO!”, Michael said with a disgust in his voice when he mentioned the word “Reyes”. “What’s next? You’ll look at Their players as equals to the others?! If you have fed your inner female and synchronized your periods…”

“I’m sorry to bring this up, Big Brother Michael”, a single shy voice said, “isn’t it a sexist thing to say?”

“…I would like to say the verdict for Brother Martin”, Michael finished the sentence responding to the shy voice with another violent movement of his eyes. “Brother Martin, for committing a huge crime of issuing two yellow cards in Their game to the player that is not Theirs, under the GNECC (Great Northern England Criminal Code), you will have to watch The Game 50 for 24 hours two times per week until the end of the season, and each time one of the Nevilles fouls Reyes, you have to drink a glass of a hot water.”

“AMEN!”, eleven voices confirmed the verdict.

“I will do as I was told”, Martin replied with a voice of a man who was relieved of the heaviest burden ever. Michael gave him the nod and showed him a way to the stands with his finger.

“Now that we have made a step in healing this painful wound”, Michael said with the voice that was becoming louder and louder, “let’s think through this game between Man United and Them.

“As you know, if one of The Founding Fathers had still been in charge, he would have had his 30th anniversary on the Man Utd bench. I was thinking about killing two birds with one John Stones… Sorry, this pun I have kept for Their game against Everton in March. So, killing two birds with one stone by making Them pay as a gift for one of The Founding Fathers.”

He continued, his voice rising to a scream: “I want Them to pay for what Brother Martin had been going through since Sunday! I want Them to pay for what we have all been going through this season whenever we look at the table! ARE YOU READY TO DO IT?”

“BRING THEM DOWN!”, the crowd screamed.

“ARE YOU READY TO DO IT?”, Michael repeated the question with almost palpable fever in his voice.

“BRING THEM DOWN!”, the crowd replied with even loused tone.

Michael looked at his twelve soldiers with a feeling of pride and diabolical excitement. “Arsène, you may have built The Invincibles once”, Michael whispered to himself with a devilish smile on his face, “but they are no match to my army. Arsène,  The Incompetents will hunt you down!”


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19 comments to The Dirty Dozen “Gentlemen”

  • Mick

    Great stuff Josif, if a little too near the truth for comfort.

  • Usama Zaka


    This stuff is comedy gold 😀

    If only I had known animation and cartoonish drawing then I would have definitely done a comedy short on this. 🙂

    But just as Mick said its scarily closer to the truth.

  • Usama Zaka

    Slightly off topic…. but it seems like its quite important news.

    Mark Clattenburg has joined a professional talent and footballer service providing company called “Catalyst4soccer” This apparently happened before Man City-Spuds game.

    Apparently now Clattenburg is being put under internal investigation by the PGMOL. I think this is the reason that he is not any FA Cup match this week.

    Also can anyone elaborate on this, as how much this affects the ref or PGMOL.

  • bjtgooner


    Regrettably much closer to reality than some may initially think!

  • Andy Mack

    Sorry, I couldn’t read past the first mention of the PGMO.
    A serious inaccuracy as everyone knows they’re a North West UK based club not Wembley.

  • Menace

    Oh Andy Mack don’t you know the FA are the parent of this NW UK pigMOB organisation. The same FA that failed with its bribes to get a World Cup. The same FA that took trinkets as reward for participating in their parent FIFA’s gathering in Brazil. The same FA that own & are in debt for Wembley.

  • Andy Mack

    Menace, That doesn’t mean they’d come all the way down to London when they can actually have the meeting at one of their main homes (a place called Odd Triffid) and just claim for the travel/hotels of going down south, in the usual FA corrupt manner.

  • Mandy Dodd

    An entertaining, but slightly disturbing read!
    Atkinson may well have to atone, for being what a referee should, for parts of the second half. I would love to know what bought about that transformation, but it will not go down well in some quarters.
    Did the fans have an influence? If so, unfortunately, the refs will try and do us at stadia where we will not have such a vocal fan presence.
    Starting to wonder if they will do their best to give Leicester the title, and try and have Spurs finish above Wenger for the first time. Although still will not write city off if they get Kompany back.
    If there is an agenda, and it looks to some there may be, they may be towing a fine line. Ensure Wenger is held back, and punished for trying to move away from the sacred principles of what some would call English football, what Pep Guardiolas dad may call non football. But, do so in a way that does not bring Stans lawyers down on them, ie don’t cut off the money, just the title, so top four finishes and the odd cup suits their agenda, albeit I would imaging through gritted teeth for some.
    I confidently predict new lows in refereeing in some of our games in the coming weeks…….the more of a threat Arsenal are, the more they get screwed…..until Wenger goes away

  • Pat

    The incompetents! Great name!

  • serge

    Usama Zaka

    it’s just a conflict of interest investigation by PGMOL. Nothing suspicious or underhand going on……….I mean how could there be?

  • Rantetta


  • Mike Riley says, “I have an army!”

    Arsene Wenger says, “We have an Ozil.”

    Riley says, “Oh, bollocks… “

  • colario

    A quote from one of the links provided by Usama Zaka
    February 17, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    The Sun

    ‘are claiming that the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) are concerned about a potential conflict of interest.’

    What is this?

    What is this?

    What is this?

    ‘Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) are concerned about a potential conflict of interest.’

    Any conflict of interest but that of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) potential conflictS of interestS!!!!!

    We note.

    We note.

    We note.

  • finsbury

    The Incompetents vs The Invincibles

    Choose your side Football fans.

    One home tournament bauble since the game was invented back in the Golden Age is strong evidence that the average footballer native to these isles has a preference above and it ain’t the chaps who like silly handshakes or strange Sado-masochistic rituals. The choice as always dear readers is yours.

  • apo Armani

    Well done Josif…Very comical and well written – unfortunately very close to reality too!

  • ndayebo

    nice one!

  • Matt Clarke

    Comedy gold.
    Like all good satire scarily close to reality.
    And a gem with “The Incompetents”.
    Thank you.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Josif – Nice one . Really funny and probably for the most part even true !
    As noted they probably meet underground as in the same manner of vermin , rodents and other slithering and disgusting creatures. Maybe abandoned old mines or medieval tunnels and dungeons somewhere in the north-west. Wembley stadium may be TOO obvious for the likes of them .

    And what’s with all that crying , recriminations , regrets , remorse and other human feelings that your characters exhibit ? These are scum of the earth and probably of the netherworld too . Some may have even squeezed blood from stone for the IRS !

    So be on the lookout for a number of bald old men , slithering along the paths and in the dark shadows of the night . They ‘ll probably have hideous grins and be whistling incessantly ( a tough habit to break ! ). Do run them over if you can – many have tried , and still do try !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    This may have occurred on the way to a Ed Sheeran concert –

    This Arsenal fan was out for a drive one day when he saw a PIGMOB ref walking down the road, so the guy swerved and ran him over. A little while later he saw another one and swerved and ran him over too .
    A little while later he saw a priest walking down the road so he stops to do his good deed of the day and offered the priest a ride.
    They start to drive down the road and the fan sees another ref .

    “Shit!” he thinks, “I can’t run him over when the priest is in the car. Ha! I know I’ll close my eyes and swerve and hope I get him.”

    So he does just that. He then opens his eyes and asks the priest, “Did I hit him?”

    “No.” Replied the priest, “But I got him with my door.”