Media changes its tune over Liverpool, football drugs, the police and social media. Whatever next?

By Tony Attwood

The media never fails to surprise me.  Just when I thought that the anti-Arsenal pro-Liverpool! hate/love in would last forever, suddenly voices arise to suggest a moment of change.

Will it last?  Could the media turn and knock the exclamation out of Liverpool’s self-perception?  Could they actually admit that P. Morgan Esq is in fact living in a little world of his own, and is not carrying the whole of the Arsenal support along with him?

Until today I thought not.  Indeed, looking ahead (as is the duty of the publisher of a blog that can get 6 million page views in a year) I have in my list of articles to publish in the summer, a piece about how next season will be more of the same, with Mr Wenger to be labelled a lame-duck leader, and Klopp to be elevated to the role of the Almighty.

And then what do I find:

Liverpool should not be in Europa League after Mamadou Sakho’s failed test

Sakho is culpable. The club is not. But both have gained an unfair advantage, however minor. And both should have been stood down from the competition, whatever the shemozzle of timetabling, as should any other club in the same position. The rules say otherwise. The rules are wrong.

Wow, wow and thrice wow.  A newspaper report that agrees with Tony Attwood!!!  Has this ever happened before?  I think not.

The piece goes on to speak of  “fudge and compromise” and noting that Sakho made “18 drug‑assisted clearances and tackles, and playing a key drug-assisted role in a landmark result for his club.”

And Mr Ronay doesn’t leave it there.

He has played six more club games since, including scoring a vital late drug-assisted equaliser against Borussia Dortmund. At the end of which Liverpool – who have acted commendably throughout all this – still have a decent chance of drug‑assisted silverware, and beyond that a drug‑assisted place in next season’s Champions League.

He also gives us the run down on Uefa rules.  “One player tests positive: player gets punished. Two players test positive: same thing. Any more than two and only then could the club face sanctions. Or in other words, in football it’s fine if 20% of your outfield players are on drugs. No problem. You still get to win….

“As the World Anti-Doping Agency itself has suggested there are times the “more than two” rule just isn’t strict enough. In athletics, the entire British 4x100m relay team lost their 2002 European gold medal because of Dwain Chambers.”

And then this – oh how I wish I had written this myself…

…just imagine the change of internal cultures should the burden of keeping your players clean fall on the clubs, as it does with every other major form of discipline. Field an ineligible player and the match result is instantly overturned.

As he concludes, “The Europa League will be written up without an asterisk or a footnote. And meanwhile the show rolls on, the background music turned up a little higher.”

I was, I must admit, shocked by all this.  The Guardian, in an article, agreeing with the line Untold has always taken.  Make the club responsible for the player’s drug tests.

I was still trying to get hold of that when I found the headline in the Independent… “Arsenal fan anger in short supply at the Emirates” above an article by Matt Gatward – and this in the paper that reckoned yesterday that 10% (so around 4500 to 5000) or those present in the ground on Saturday, were holding up anti-Wenger banners.

This got closer to the headline in the Telegraph…

Premier League review: Arsenal fans’ mixed reaction to Arsene Wenger shows folly of trial by social media

above a piece by Charlie Eccleshare, John Percy and Adam Hurrey.  Yep, I can tell you for sure that this article writing lark is tough, and I could certainly wish for a couple of colleagues to help me along from time to time.

By now I was pretty much nonplussed about the change of heart that the media I have been raging against all season could collectively have.  And then scrolling down the Eccleshare, Percy, Hurrey collective piece I found this…

Don’t take the word of the angry social media mob

What???   The Telegraph which all season had been doing exactly that, was now telling us not to?  Oh Big Brother where art thou?  Living in Buckingham Palace Road it seems.

If social media was to be believed last week, Arsene Wenger would barely have been able to leave his dugout at the Emirates against Norwich for fear of being lynched by his own supporters.

The Arsenal fans, we were told, had had enough and wanted to see the manager leave, and possibly be subjected to a public flogging for crimes against  football.

As it turned out though Saturday’s protests such as they were fell rather flat, with the ‘Time for Change’ message sounding like a vacuous American Presidential campaign slogan.

What????   Could it be that just because a handful of ne’er-do-wells have spouted something on Twitter we SHOULDN’T believe it?   Really?   Is the Telegraph actually siding with Untold?

When the pre-designated protest point of the 12th minute arrived, the smattering of half-hearted boos and raising of printed sheets of paper were more than matched by chants of  ‘there’s only one Arsene Wenger’.

Well, yes, my point exactly.

The mixed response to the protest demonstrated that in reality the feeling at the Emirates is a lot more nuanced than social media would have us believe.

And yes again.  There is only one Untold Arsenal and 83 trillion anti-Wenger bloggettas, but still, nice of them to recognise we are here.  Was it something we said?

So where are they getting this change of heart from?  I’m not sure, but the conclusions are not bad…

Social media being misleading is hardly a revelation – after all if it did reflect reality there would not be a single journalist who is not stealing a living, Joey Barton would be the philosopher du jour and Piers Morgan would be the most influential man in the world …

And then there is the dealing with the “Fourth is not a trophy” issue, in a far better way than I’ve ever managed to do it.  I take my hat off, for the first (and perhaps the last) time to the Telegraph (although I have always admired their ability to find a nice turn of phrase in the obituary column).

The Arsenal Twitterati’s ‘Wenger Out’ campaign plays in perfectly to many observers perception of Arsenal as a spoiled brat of a club whose anguish at finishing third scarcely engenders much sympathy when set against the background of what is happening for instance at Charlton, Aston Villa and Leeds.

Of course I can’t let that go totally, for surely one ought to add Man U (who had the arrogance to think the Sir F Word could proclaim new manager and the Champions League would be their’s, or at the very least eternal entry to the competition would be part of the deal) and Chelsea whose utter belief in the inalienable right of money to buy the League, Cup and CL has been given a nice little battering this season – although we will all be cheering them on tonight.

But even so, for once I say thank you Telegraph, not least for the conclusion…

If Saturday’s protests achieved anything, it was to remind us that there are other voices worth listening to besides the angry social media mob.

So a day of revelations – but it is not over yet.  For the Independent, now without a print edition but still going strong on line has Mark Steel taking the issue of the Yorkshire constabulary a step beyond that which has been said before…

It’s unfair to say Hillsborough police were incompetent – it takes great organisation to tell such shocking lies

One touching side to the aftermath of the Hillsborough verdict, is how few people responsible for the tragedy, the lies or the cover-up appear to show the slightest signs of remorse, which is heartening because there’s no point in adding to the suffering is there?

This is excellent news as it should save on counselling. For example, Paul Middup, who as chair of South Yorkshire Police Federation blamed the disaster on a “rampaging mob”, has refused to make a further statement.

That is a good one.  My only wish is that they might also include the Rotherham child sex exploitation scandal.  Or the West Midlands child sex exploitation scandal.  Or the Roman Catholic Church in England child sex abuse scandal.  I could go on, but it is all too awful; if I start listing all the ways in which our police forces and governments have failed us I’ll go even more bonkers than I already am.

Let’s return to the media.  Maybe they have turned the corner and realised that just because social media says x does not mean x is what we all believe.  And just because the police say y, that doesn’t mean y is the truth or anything remotely like the truth.  And just because… well you get the picture.

If this is the day the world changed, it might be worth to note it in the diary.

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60 Replies to “Media changes its tune over Liverpool, football drugs, the police and social media. Whatever next?”

  1. I was going to provide the link below on the previous piece but you have moved. It does have relevance to what you have written

    I agree these points in the papers you refer to are a surprise and not like the usual diatribes disguised as news that are fed to us as ‘news’ by ‘sensational only is news’ of present day UK newspapers.

    From the link

    ‘The push for traffic means that clicks rule – even if the facts don’t check out’

  2. I was told by a journalist once (albeit in the financial press) that dozens of articles are rejected by editors. Journalists may very well investigate and try to expose corruption in sport, but the editor decides what makes it, often instructing his journalists what their angle should be on a certain story. Editors usually write the headline too, which sets the tone and stance for any piece.
    The Western mainstream media in all forms is almost entirely owned by 3 organisations. There are far, far bigger injustices going unreported than football corruption, but what hope do we have of being told the truth without a free press?

  3. The press are not there for truth telling in the mainstay. To get truth from them they need to be dragged from the shadows and forced-fed truth in the light of day. The Hillsboro’- gate cover-up was a prime example of that in action.
    I might finish by suggesting that being concerned with the
    ‘tales’ of Morgan ( a known concealer and twister of truth ) does not stand anyone well. Thank God he is not involved in my club as where that the case I would leave!

  4. meanwhile jamie the potty mouth redknapp keep pushing the agenda that arsene wenger is a useless manager. why jamie the 1 league cup winner hate arsene so much and want to see Arsenal football club in turmoil?

  5. Since not until more than 2 players have tested positive in a club to any banned performance enhanced substance, Liverpool are covered from being banned by Uefa for the Sins of their Mamadou Sakoh who has tested positive to 1 of the banned. The case should be left to rest while Sakoh serves out his ban & fines by Uefa.

    Any anti-Wenger outcry has been put to rest as the anti-Wenger protesters have woefully lost out at the Ems last Saturday in their bid to steer up Wenger out passion within the generality of Arsenal fans attending d match that day. So, not until maybe they hv strategised again in future to unlease another protest if they have the reason for that again, this Wenger out slogan by them is dead and has become history.

    Therefore, let’s start focusing now on the business at our hands which is to beat Man City to the collections of all the 3 points in the big game at the Etihad on Sunday to cement a 3rd place finish in table. And to enhance a possible final 2nd place finish above Tottenham Hotspur.

  6. One of the most disturbing angles about the Liverpool doping story is this: why did UEFA, rather than the FA, pick it up? The player appeared in twenty three games in England this season, but the FA never picked it up despite Sakho being under their jurisdiction. It could be coincidental, I suppose, but it seems infinitely more likely that the FA’s drug testing methods are borderline non-existent.

  7. The issue of protest is an interesting one. It is fair and part of democracy that people who are unhappy about something have the right to show their disdain, but how one does it really reflects very much on people protesting.

    This weekend’s attempt was a little embarrassing. Obviously they were hoping for the Occupy Wall Street effect of being deliberately vague in their demands (change) in order to cajole a wide variety of disparate groups under one umbrella. This coalition building always falls apart when the newly formed group give a multitude of different answers from ownership “change” (with no way of it happening) to managerial “change” to transfer activity “change” to, I have no doubt, catering “change” as those salt beef bagels can get so tiresome for some:)

    It is inevitable that there will be a range of opinions on any subject, including Arsenal. The reality is that these are likely to be along a continuum from “stay the course” to “burn it down” with most of us somewhere between the extremes, and possibly moving up and down as the mood (and team performance) takes us. What it is not, no matter how either the media or the noise mangers on social media want to make it, two armies, desperate for one another’s demise. Unfortunately nobody gets a lot of attention on Twitter for being reasonable.

    I think that the Real Madrid fans have the best and most stylish protests. A simple waving of the white hankies sends a message to the board room that they need to pay attention. Often it simply shows a displeasure with the style that the team is playing, as when Mourinho was boring the pants off of everyone out there.

    It would be nice to see some form of classy way for Arsenal fans to demonstrate their feelings. Punch ups in the stands and waving printed A4 sheets is all a bit “Chelsea” isn’t it? Perhaps they could all hold a Pork, Apple & Stffing Pie (The Ray Parlour I believe) above their heads. It would create a terrific visual and at least be good for local business.

  8. I’m sure that all this ‘sincere’ and ‘heartfelt’ articles are to balance out their ‘fair’ and even reporting for the season ! Just to show that it all evens out at the end of the season.
    Very much like Leicester players being sent off of late . The refs showing their fairness.
    Now for some penalties for us , to balance out the scales . And for the record books .

  9. But isn’t Piers Morgan a so called “Super Fan” …..I take that to mean his words and actions carry far more weight than us humble Untolders?
    The same could be said of the widely reported actions of angry people lining up to foam at the mouth to Robbie lyle of Arsenal fans TV, or drunken fans at Stoke railway station. These things have made headlines u til recently, not those backing the team/manager.
    It’s a shame the protest fell a bit flat, had it worked, and Wenger, Ivan and Stan had been ousted by people power, someone , perhaps Richard Curtis could have made a film in the style of that dated 1990s genre where plucky British underdogs do something amazing.

  10. Oh what a lovely game at the bridge with PGMO letting all to go unseen. But after all it leads to a fight on the pitch with Poccetino getting on the pitch to split the chickens & the cats. Should have been 5 or 6 red cards but Chel 0 Spuds 2 at half time

  11. This Chelsea-Spurs match is yet another PGMO lead fiasco. A complete lack of control by Clattenburg who is generally allowing Spurs to foul Chelsea without punishment. Their first goal comes after a clear foul, the second from some atrocious defending.

    Dembele, Rose, Walker, should all be red carded. The referee’s assistant has a PERFECT view of the Dembele EYE GOUGE on Costa. Jamie Carragher points out, in the Sky Sports studio, that the assistant has a PERFECT View of what happens. Yet Carragher thinks the assistant bottles it, and says he “freezes”. No. Don’t be so bloody naive. He ignored it because he’s been told to.

    If the information I can find is correct, Mark Clattenburg has refereed three tottenham games this season. Man City, Man City, and this. The first one with what, two, maybe three illegitimate goals? The second one with that farcical handball penalty decision? Now this fiasco. This guy did genuinely used to be one of the best referees in the country, but someone’s got their claws in.

  12. Eyes menace, Spurs, Leicester….and others do get away with rather a lot.
    Coquelin, bellerin, Caz Ozil and others get booked pretty much on their first tackles.
    Do the PGMOL have eufa dispensation to ignore the rules of the game, or do they just not care?

  13. Menace – you are right – Clattenburg might as well not be there, vicious fouls everywhere, Spuddies outfouling Chelski & Dembele trying his hand at eye gouging.

    I am not surprised at the thuggery from Chelski – but the Spuddies have degenerated into real scum.

  14. Depressing,the top two in the league play like the old Wimbledon, albeit with clinical strikers.
    Compare and contrast the refereeing Spurs get at Chelsea to what we get.
    The WOB are right, impossible for an honest purist like Wenger to compete on these terms.
    This is the year of thug ball in the EPL

  15. Well its glory glory PGMOL & Rileys truth goes marching on. The devil runs the EPL & we pay to watch its demise.

  16. Tony & Walter – I want commission for attracting all these dislike clicks.

    Wenger is the King of the Beautiful Game & PGMO are truly short of morality.

    Well done the last seasons cheats & long live this seasons cheats.

  17. It’s official, English football is in the dark ages.
    Clattenberg should never referee another game, unless the PGMOL actually want players injured. disgrace .
    A damning indictment of the beautiful game.
    Hard to watch this horse shit
    Congratulations Leicester…..BUT…..

  18. Menace , take the dislikes as they are intended, as a compliment .
    I do .

  19. Ok, now that this is settled, can someone please tell me who, in their right mind & assuming they weren’t privy to some highly secret info, would have put even £5 on Leicester winning the title at 5000-1???

    I wouldn’t even have put 20 pence on them, but am hearing some are in line to pocket 5 or 6 figure payouts…. just makes you wonder what they knew back in August that we all didn’t…

  20. The English game – brought into disrepute by Spurs and Clatterburg (with alittle help from Chelski) – what a disgrace.

    Spurs were lucky not to finish wih 3 or 4 players on the pitch.

    Dembele got away with an eye gouge, Lamella with walking deliberately on Fabergas’s hand – and very many fouls uncalled.

    I would like (not for the first time) to see the Spuddies tested for all sorts of things post match.

    Iagree with Mandy – Clattenburg totally lost it in this match and is not fit to referee again.

    Pochettino – must share the blame for the way his team disgraced football – he should be disciplined!

  21. The most outrageous refereeing I have seen since Riley in game 50.
    Spurs managed to out thug the Chelsea thugs. They picked up eight yellow cards and how they finished with eleven on the pitch is simply unbelievable. They should have had at least four players sent off.
    When you think of what Gabriel was sent off for at Stamford Bridge, you cannot fathom how Spurs have got away with no red cards, not just for tonights game but ALL SEASON. Amazing.

  22. One cannot not be happy for Leicester, after all they waited 132 years for what others think it’s in their right. They used their few weapons well and took advantage of their opponents’ failings.


    The Romanian word for what we witnessed at the Kensington Bus Stop is “ciomăgeală”. Two teams who played something that only remotely resembled to football, with moments of good play few and far between, and any attempt to use of skill and mastery brutally shut down with brutality. If that’s what the game is becoming, it no longer deserves to be called “the beautiful game”.

  23. Mick, have a feeling the powers that be wanted a Spurs win this eve, not just because the media love them, to hurt Wenger, but to delay the climax to the title another week or two.
    It now seems football is as stage managed as wrestling.
    We will get our top three or four place, we will finish third or fourth, and our board….if not the manager will accept the status quo no matter what refereeing we get. But it seems Wenger has elected or has been ordered to keep quiet for the most part.
    Don’t UEFA monitor our refs breaching the rules of the game? Clattenberg is doing the euros this summer, with the …beyond brilliant Martin Atkinson… if he repeats this performance, he will make a laughing stock of English referees in major international tournaments…….again…..

  24. Al, one of the other articles I noticed in writing the article, but didnt comment upon, was by a journalist who had worked for a betting company, and in essence he said that he didn’t believe that people go around putting bets on the 5000 to 1 shot.

    In fact he suggested the story was a hoax by gambling companies suggesting that people were winning millions of pounds on gambling, just to get people to gamble some more.

    Just another press release accepted by the press anxious to fill a few more columns with a story they never check.

    A bit like when the Independent ran a press release from Barcelona claiming that Barce pay high tax rates than any other club in Europe.

    Anyway, at least Chelsea’s “anyone but Tottenham” effort resulted in the Tinies not winning the league, and probably got at least one more player banned for a game or two.

  25. Have a look at the BBC report in the match – according to someone commenting this is English football at its best. Wow!

  26. Pat,

    If this is English football at its best, the National Team is overachieving.

  27. Gary (tax evader) Lineker with the BBC/bt cronies must be licking his lips, 5000-1 before the start of this season and the insiders working along with the fixers. Strange nobody mentioned 1st and 2nd in this epl have a major connection to the to sed party. 12 ref ‘s for Leicester systematically pulling the strings and the same for the Spuds. Wouldn’t be surprised if both teams have a level of blood doping.

  28. They are either doping, doing something arsenal, Utd and city are not, are extremely lucky, or have planned training in a way which will break players for next season……in a way Mourinho does.
    Or maybe they are thugs who get the fouls in first, aided and abetted by extremely lenient referees. The day I see Coq get away with what Dier and dembele did, I will believe there is a level playing field.
    But we don’t know, it is possible Arsenal can be learning something from Spurs and Chelsea’s fitness programs

  29. Florian, if the national team try that this summer, they will finish the game with half of their players.
    I cannot believe UEFA are letting this refereeing go, unless they are in some way benefitting. Some of the countries in that organisation are likely to be jealous of the wealth in our game…..their silence is surprising.
    Think this year has seen some very poor quality football in this league…..many teams sitting back waiting for others to make mistakes, rotational fouling, mass bus parking. The team that wins has just about the lowest possession stats… does that work?

  30. Correction, Spurs apparently got NINE yellow cards, not eight as I said previously.
    Walter, just out of interest, any chance of a referee review on this match.

  31. Oh ok. Yes, thinking about it now, that could make sense, Tony. Because I was really struggling to understand how anyone could back a side that survived relegation on the final day of last season to go on and win it this time, given the history & credentials of the past winners of the PL title, unless they knew something. Let’s hope it was all a hoax, and the masses don’t get fooled into buying into it.

    I did see a gentleman from Northampton on ITV news this evening though, who claimed he’s in line to collect a cool 20k (if that’s true). Anyway he said he has supported Leicester for over 40 years so one could assume that the bet was placed more in sentiment, than hope.

  32. All things aside, just thankful Spurs didn’t win. For obvious reasons…and imagining the pressure that would put on wenger
    But hard to support anyone involving the thugs of Spurs, Leicester and Chelsea even on a temporary basis.

  33. Let’s hope the FA take eye gouging as seriously as rugby union, they have a minimum 12 week ban, max three years for the guilty.
    Ok twelve weeks might not be twelve games as summer is coming, but they should send a message, but as it is Spurs, doubt they will
    Arsenal would have most likely have been deducted points for what they did this eve

  34. I bet on Arsenal every season. Winners, top 2, top 3, I would bet top 4 but odds are pathetic. I bet Leicester early March at 13/1 as a cover bet. Its a complex set of bets I do because I lay off a lot to ensure a profit in most cases.

    The bookies that stand to lose a lot can withold payment pending an inquiry or investigation for fraud.

    The ‘game’ tonight was a true display of the cheating PGMOL. They have a set of Laws that defy all of football. The FA are complicit in their appointment & therefore responsible for the abysmal officiating this season & every season since their incorporation.

    Gord – thanks for the thumbs up. I give you & all the regulars thumbs up praticulary the posters of articles that make this site a pleasure to visit.

    Forgive me for my irreverance & low blows, but I never was a diplomat. It is what it is & I say it like I see it.

  35. Oh what a circus oh what a show,
    The EPL has once again being brought low, by thugs and cheats and by a body of the worst referee’s know as the PMGO that the PL has ever know.
    What a total and utter disgrace the referee was and utterly transparent.
    If this is the best I would hate to see the worst of the man who is supposed to control the game and to be unbiased and he is going to the Euro’s.
    What a sad indictment of the English game and if their is still anyone out there after watching this who thinks that the PMGO is beyond reproach then I can only hope that one day you will wake up and smell the terrible odour of corruption that has being choking the life out of English football.
    Both teams need to hang their heads in shame, I only hope that any children who where at the game are now being told by their parents that this is not the way you behave on the field of play but sadly I hold out little hope of this. Until these referee’s are held accountable and investigated English football is living a lie.

  36. @Tony,
    Excellent article and agree with your assessment in regards to the betting story as more of a press release from gambling companies to promote future gambling.

    There was an interesting article on Espnfc (US version) by Darren Rovell titled “Those who bet– or didn’t and wish they had– on Leicester City”.

    The article mentions the stories of 6 bettors. Interestingly one of the bettors names is John Moss. Makes you wonder if there’s any relation to our very own EPL ref Jon Moss!

  37. I just watched the highlights programme on BBC1. Highlights – what a joke! Dreadful tackles and fouls. Even the BBC said it was amazing Spurs ended up with all their players still on the pitch. That was a total failure of discipline by the team, but again the refereeing has to be blamed.

    Only highlight was a great goal from Hazard. Oh, and the fact that Spurs can’t win the league.

  38. Just watching it again on MOTD, apart from being overly lenient and inept, Clattenberg looked overwhelmed.
    Almost as if Spurs, and to a lesser extent, Chelsea, just swarmed him with offences, and he wasn’t up to it.

  39. On channel 5 news, bookies have said that their are quite a few bets on Leicester with a number of men who put £20 10 right down to 50p.
    Makes you wonder.

  40. Mick,

    I watched the last ten minutes of the chelskis and spuds match. And I have not seen such consistent leg breaking and bone crushing “Football” in a long time.

    Just for this match, i suppose we can do a review and it will be most certainly very interesting.

  41. Congratulations to Leicester, overall they deserved to be Champions (even with a bit of help from the ref), they played for each other and was clinical in front of goal.
    Spurs look like they have to wait for another 55 years to have another chance at it.

  42. England to do well at the euros! with Walker and Dier.Do me a favour.They should throw the book at Spurs.Retro punishment for Dembele and maybe Dier.I thought Dier went out to hurt players and dont give me all this bull that they got wound up in the occasion.
    CLATTENBURG should now referee no higher than Conference.A total disgrace.What will happen is nothing.Tomorrow will be all about Leicester, this match will be forgotten.

  43. Walter…be a love and review the Chelsea Spurs match…I would really like to hear what the real number and colour of cards should have been.

  44. 9 yellow cards…shouldn’t Spurs be called on carpet for that AND imagine the furore if AW were to run amok on pitch whether playing peacemaker or no like Pochettino.

  45. The final Dier one was the clincher. Didn’t see a replay but on first viewing looked like it must be close to a red and simply had to be a yellow.

    You can try excuse it as a mistake from Clattenberg amidst the chaos, or try make some claim about it being good game management on a volatile occasion, but both are bullshit : he saw it; it had to be at least a yellow, and he just really, really didn’t want to see the player sent off.

    It was an unforgettable foul from home, and certainly would have been when yards away from it on the pitch. He just really really didn’t want to send a player off, even though the rules said he had to. How can a ref, let alone supposedly the top ref, get into that mindset? Though if they do only have goldfish like memory spans, that might explain why tactical fouling has been so damn successful this year.

    My mind goes back again to the furore over Coquelin’s non-yellow. You can try say that was an unfortunate consequence of it being on a quiet few news days at the start of the season, but again that’s just bullshit. The real story is surely about their being different rules, whose only real consistency is that we never benefit from them.

    Mason was dropped for a month for his crimes against 2nd yellows, so what the hell would happen to Clattenberg now if it was really about Mason having made a very bad decision in that instance? A year off, a life ban? Take yer 50 grand and never let us see you again.

    One day the rules here are relatively normal and in line with refereeing elsewhere, on others they are even strict here, and then there are the other days, or minutes more like when refs abandon the rules, and are, supposedly, doing it for the good of the game.

    If it was like that consistently, with refs showing extreme reluctance to send people off, with players allowed to launch very hard deliberate fouls with a maximum punishment of yellow and perhaps not that, at least we could, reluctantly, prepare for that reality and accept beautiful football is something you can occasionally play amidst the chaos and war. But we can’t of course.

    Anyway, I enjoyed it while it took place, but afterwards there doesn’t seem too much to celebrate as I look ahead to next year with these refereeing standards. I think it would be negligent after this year not to get some extra physicality and brutality into the team, in midfield especially.

    It may well not work, but the alternative, knowing as we do there cannot be an improvement from pgmol, feels like it is guaranteed not to work.

  46. Leicester looks good to the world for a corrupt league.
    Next year, normal,service resumed . Pep, Jose maybe, Chelsea’s Unknown Contetity , Klopp.
    Wenger has his work cut out .
    As much as I rate our boss, I do not believe he will be allowed to triumph. Leicester make the league look better than it is.
    Those who support Wenger , and what he stands for will need continued patience, this league is far from a level playing field, a 5000 to 1 shot, combined with referees and a very efficient striker adept at at wrapping his leg around opposing defenders in the penalty area speaks chapters if not yet volumes.
    For Wenger to win this league, he needs either to join the Spurs Chelsea Leicester thug life, or have players in his team to combat that and a clearly biased PGMOL.
    The media say this is a fairy tale, I say this is the year the English league stayed in its stone aged comfort zone.
    The WOB have a point, Wenger does not stand a chance in this climate

  47. I vaguely remember something about 8 yellows in a game merited discipline. Not sure what. Maybe it was 5?

  48. Disappointing to see so many comments seemingly begrudge Leicester City their league win (apart from Polo). They’ve won it and we should sincerely congratulate them. It’s what decent sports people would do, and we who are of the Arsenal should be the most decent and gracious. It’s the Arsenal way. It’s what makes us better than others. Their fans could teach some of ours a lesson in loyalty. 132 years, almost all with virtually zero real expectation of success. Yet their supporters keep showing up and supporting their team. True support! Good luck to them, I hope they enjoy their party and look forward to relieving them of their title next year.
    Congratulations Claudio and Leicester City.

  49. I may get this wrong, I suspect Menace could clean up any mistakes I make.

    Pretend the EPL is a poker game. Or rather, it is 10 poker games happening at the same time. But why complicate things too much?

    The cards we are playing with, are not perfect. Some of the cards are a little rough in certain places. A “skilled” dealer could arrange for some cards to go in better directions than others.

    The boss of the house knows which dealers can pick out which cards by feel, and he arranges where they deal.

    The cards are supposed to arrive at the poker game, “perfectly shuffled”. They aren’t, and each deck of cards is meant to go to a specific table.

    I don’t know poker, but the pecking order for winning is: royal flush, straight flush, four of a kind, full house, flush, straight, three of a kind, two pair, one pair, high card.

    What has been happening this year, is that one player has been getting a straight every hand. Or maybe it is a flush?

    Are all the other players supposed to be happy that the player that got a straight every round, won?

    Don’t you think that all the players would much rather the odds not be rigged every game?

  50. Off to Wikipedia.

    There are 2,598,960 card combinations in 5 card poker. Of that number, 1,302,540 are of the “no pair” variety, which leads to the “high card” win. This is just over 50% (50.11%).

    This is pretty much what the game of football is, when all the teams in a league are about the same.

    The EPL has 4-8 teams that over more than a couple of years, do better than average. I will suggest these teams are pretty much like players getting a single pair in a game of 5 card poker. There are 1,098,240 different hands which have a single pair. Between the 2 hands (no pair and 1 pair), that accounts for 2,400,780 hands (92.37% of all hands).

    Based on this, I will suggester Leicester have not been getting straight every hand, rather what they have been getting every hand are 2 pair. Two pair only happen 4.75% of the time, or about 1 in 20.

    Leicester haven’t necessarily been getting two pair on the deal, every deal. But perhaps they have been getting either one pair or two pair every deal, but in the hands they were dealt where they didn’t get two pair, they always got a jack. And you can see where the skilled dealer comes in. There are what, 2 draws in 5 card poker (first half and second half?), the dealer has 2 chances to slip them another jack. And now they have 2 pair again.

    So, if you are a poker player, and you enter a game like this, and you keep seeing 1 pair and a jack or 2 pair in every deal; are you going to say anything to the dealer, the other players or the house? How about when you consistently get dealt that second jack in the draws?

    Heck no! It is your lucky day that walked into a rigged game, and for whatever reason you are getting a consistent pay out. Just keep your mouth shut, and take your two pair.


    No, I am not happy for Leicester.

  51. Oh, can you guess what suit of Jack he gets dealt when he needs it on a draw?

    Why, Vardy of course.

  52. GoonerDave

    Well done. Another “convert” that realises that conspiracy theories are in fact theorems.

    Aye, what chance indeed when the editors, as the heads of police, and heads of departments of all areas of public life are the ones who are “with” the global agenda and control those below them.

    One only needs to control the heads to make the body follow orders. This is how it works.

    I cannot even remember if there was any outcry when the team that played against us in CL had a player pulled up for drugs, but i suspect not.

  53. I watched the last few minutes of the game , and was laughing to myself as the events unfolded as they did . Maybe after watching last night’s game , those unbelievers may feel that maybe , just maybe ‘something is not right’ in the EPL . Welcome to Arsenal reality .

    Others will probably defend it saying that is like the English game of old – flying boots , stomping ,poking and gauging ; a few slapping around – its after all a man’s game .

    Do hope to catch the ostriches’ comments and expert analysis . Should be funny as well ! Wishy -washing to the max , as they explain the conduct of all on the field and those in the sidelines .That would should take the Foxes amazing win away from the glare for a while .

    I am hoping for the Spuds to be docked a few points for bringing the game in to disrepute , and ungentlemanly conduct- that was always only the PIGMOB’s right! An earlt St. Totteringham’s Day for Arsenal fans ?

    A few points off Chelski too , so that it will be a record low of points for the previous champions . 30 points sounds about right . And will they be mounting a guard of honour for the new champions when come visiting ?

    The EPL is getting better than any soap opera . Or comedy !

  54. Unfortunately, this type of play is not looked down upon in the English game. Whilst i was watching a Athletico Madrid game, one of the commentators actually commended Althletico for the incident where someone on their bench – to get play to stop – through a ball on to the pitch, during a Malaga attack. He genuinely commended this and couldn’t praise them enough for their do or die attitude, which often involved the “dark arts” (i.e cheating) to win at any cost.

    It’s absolutely disgusting that this is the kind of behaviour that gets praised the most in the English game. Not skillful with a football? Not a problem! As long as you can run a lot and put in crunching tackles, you’ll be a star in the eyes of the BPL!

  55. Al, I have a mate who supports Southend United. He’s also a regular betting guy. He never ever bets on his team except for a £5-10 bet every year on them winning their league. I’m pretty certain doesn’t do ‘playoffs’ or ‘runner-up’ just ‘To win’.
    I’m certain that there are others that do that with their ‘not a hope in hell’ teams as well.
    It’s the blind hope that supporters in any team except Us, Chavs, $iteh and DisUtd have to have. Unfortunately it means that many of the ‘fans’ of Us, Chavs, $iteh and DisUtd then get ‘entitlement’ issues as we’ve seen regularly in the last 12 years!

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