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The most grotesque appalling display by a referee; the most disgraceful awful fans.

By Tony Attwood

First, sorry I am late this morning.  After the match yesterday, the underground system was in total chaos, with the gates closed against the crowds at both Arsenal and Finsbury Park stations.   No one knew what was going on, no one bothered with announcements.  And why should the authorities bother?  We were just football supporters.  Hardly worth running the trains for.

Then eventually, when we were finally permitted to enter the stations, back to Leicestershire with Ian, James and their sons (taking the youngsters to a match is always good fun, and always reminds me of my own early days at Highbury with my dad), watching in amazement on the journey as Leicester rattled in the goals.

And after that a quick change and a drive to Nottingham for a Christmas dance with my friends, which was utterly brilliant.   Let me tell you, if being old has yet to get to you, this is the way to do it when it comes.  Just live life to the full.  OK I am done in this morning and my legs don’t work properly but it was fun.

But… be a bit wary of the old heart, if you do take that route, not because of the dancing but because my heart rate really went up in this match.  Never, ever, ever have I seen such awful refereeing in my lifetime of watching football.  And never have I come across such terrible support since the days of the Manchester United Supporters Club (London Branch) in the 1970s.

That some Stoke fans ever sang songs celebrating their player’s crippling of Ramsey over six years ago is disgusting enough, but that now they still sing the song is just beyond belief.  Yes there are always morons who sing disgusting songs, just as there are people around who are anti-Semitic, racially prejudiced, and so on.   But to have so many of these Stoke people singing this together really is a reflection on their club.  As is the fact that the club does nothing about it – which of course they could because they have access to the films, they sell on the tickets.   Stoke City is the pariah of football.

But the ref… Lee Mason was atrocious, appalling, and disgraceful.  This is not a question of giving a decision one way not another, nor just of endlessly ignoring the breaking of the rules.  This was a referee who made up new rules as he went along.   At one stage indeed he seemed utterly to lose control of the game, didn’t like the way a dropped ball was played, and so picked up the ball and just rolled it to a Stoke player and waved him on giving Stoke the advantage they should never have had.

Throughout the whole game Grant in the Stoke goal was taking more and more time to take the goalkicks (of which there were many).  The crowd booed and jeered and the referee did nothing.   Some years back the rules were changed to allow the goal kick to be taken from anywhere inside the goal area (rather on the side of the goal area at which the ball went out).  This was to speed up play – showing the rule makers realised the need to keep the game going.

The laws indicate that a player has six seconds to restart a game unless stopped from doing so by the referee.  If the player does not follow this rule he should be warned, and then subsequently an indirect free kick awarded and/or the player be given a yellow card.

All referees are lenient about this rule – but in this case we were getting to 20 or 30 seconds each time.   Eventually in the second half the referee spoke to the keeper about the issue.  The keeper took no notice and carried on as before.  The ref did nothing.

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So the tactic spreads because of people like Lee Mason, and the fact that the issue is now of no consequence can be seen from the fact that the newspapers today don’t even bother to mention this point.  Nor indeed the nonsense over the dropped ball fiasco or the other incompetences too numerous to mention

Is Lee Mason bent?  Is he incompetent?  Or was he just having a bad day?

Who knows, but what we can say is if PGMO do nothing about this display there is something very very seriously wrong with refereeing in the PL.

Of course judging by watching the event on TV is not helped by the fact that the TV cameras pull away from all time wasting in order to show film of men running back towards the half way line ready for the goal kick.

But whatever the reason for the display of Lee Mason, let me tell you as one who was there, this was an utterly and totally inept display and one that should result in him being sent for re-training, re-entering refereeing at somewhere within the non-league level (although I would hate to give this man over to the Southern League).  Perhaps North Korea should be the destination.

We won, Man City lost, we are top of the league, and we did it all despite Lee Mason.  (And come to that I got to the dance despite the incompetence of Transport for London).  So in the end the right result.  Shame about the ref.  And TfL.

(PS: Today is the anniversary of Arsenal’s first ever match – and it is Walter’s birthday.  Happy birthday to both).

Tales from Untold 

Wenger ponders whether Yaya Sanogo will ever really be good enough for Arsenal. 

The most grotesque appalling display by a referee; the most disgraceful awful fans.

Arsenal – Stoke 3-1: Theo, Özil and Iwobi cancell out Lee’s opener

Arsenal v team whose supporters think it is cool to boo a player their man crippled

Arsenal v Stoke Sat 10 December 2016 – The Match Officials


At long last; legal action against Fifa over maltreatment of workers in Qatar begins

We can we learn after the first 14 games? A comparison with past years.

The psychology index: how the way players feel influences how they play


31 comments to The most grotesque appalling display by a referee; the most disgraceful awful fans.

  • I dread watching Stoke on tv regardless who they are playing, they are the bully boys of football
    kick or stand on anything or anybody on the pitch, but the ball, anyone who tackles them, they squeal like a pig, what about the Adams stand on the leg of Sanchez?

  • Arthur

    I actually think that Lee Mason helped us! The more he annoyed our players the better we played!

  • Great response from our lads to clear reffering bias.

    I think the way to go henceforth is – let our players respond to negative officiating by beating their opponents plus referee/officials while we, led by UA, fight the referees with as many articles as possible.

    Thank you Tony for this very incisive piece.

  • Jammy J

    Another strange moment was a bit earlier in the match, where advantage was played to Arsenal for a foul that was right outside of the Stoke box. Arsenal lost the ball literally half a second after advantage was played, yet the referee didn’t call play back. I have seen fouls been called back for up to 6 seconds after advantage was played (against Arsenal) yet Mason couldn’t even afford us half a second? What an absolutely pitiful performance from the referee. Worst I’ve seen in a while.

  • Jammy J

    The commentator on the stream I was watching was also laying into the Arsenal fans for groaning when Iwobi lost the ball. It was so abundantly clear that the fans were getting extremely aggravated by the referee and it really had nothing to do with Iwobi, yet the commentator wouldn’t shut up about this for about 10 minutes and kept criticising the Arsenal fans, whilst the other one chimed in quite a few times throughout the match “yes, it really is quiet in here”.

    Are they really that utterly brain-dead or are they just complicit in the whole thing?

  • Polo

    Happy Birthday Walter.

    I was frustrated with the refereeing too but I think it’s more incompetence than anything. I haven’t seen a match that didn’t have a yellow card shown for a very very long time.

  • Goonermikey

    Have a good ‘un Walter

  • Mandy Dodd

    I wonder if we will be seeing too much more of this ref after this season, not because of his anti Arsenal bias of course, but he clearly is not getting much right at all, his ineptitude could equally damage a media/PGMOL darling.Can think of another couple of refs in that category as well.
    Is he bent…..well, if so, he is not very good at that either, but with three soft penalties given against us in our last three HOME games, you do have to question what is actually going on.
    My fear, when this team threaten, the PGMOL acts, penalties are not working due to our excellent attacking players pulling deficits back, so I believe their next step will be red cards to key players, possibly even with penalties.
    think our players have to be mindful’ wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a phantom red to Coq, Xhaka, Kos…..or maybe even Alexis in coming games. Just keeping on giving soft pens will not look good on stats, and eventually embarrass even the pgmol, if that is indeed possible.
    The question is, when will they throw Taylor at us?
    Will be interesting to analyse and make comparisons between our refereeing and that in the Divers Derby later today, and ref that upsets either of those two teams will get slaughtered in the media

  • para

    Ref? Enough has been said about him. Lawd!

    I must go on about the team performance, master class. Keep it up and we are on the way to a surprising season.

    On another matter will we be having to put out the welcome mat for the “prodigal son’s”(Cesc) return?

  • Rantetta

    This article had to be written. Thanks Tony.

    Happy Birthday Walter.

    Jammy J, Spot on. The “quiet” bit was unbelievable. It’s as though the plundit picked from a list of anti Arsenal negative clichés, throughout.

    Your comments on the last article were sublime. Ta.

    Lee Mason? Remember the offside goal? Remember, remember.

    Well done Arsenal.

  • Phil

    Thanks Tony and Happy Birthday Walter

    Thought the players did so well in the circumstances – really love this resilience.

    Has anyone heard that Arsene is using Dr Ceri Evans, who the All Blacks turned to in order to give their players a mental edge – this was followed by them winning the Rugby World Cup the last two times out. See for the article.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Yes, saw that Phil, also seen reports Gary Lewin is coming back after England released him, apparently G Lewin is now something of a hamstring expert…..could come in handy.
    But of course none of this fits in with the myth that Wenger is stubborn, old school, and not receptive to new staff with new ideas.
    Was a bit of a masterclass Para, have seen a few of them recently. Really pleased to be witnessing the coming of age of Iwobi, think in time he will be a bit of a special player
    Some great use of the squad recently as well

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    It’s was a happy ending for us yesterday at the Ems as Arsenal summed up strength and courage after a Ucl midweek match at Basel to beat the stubborn in defending Stoke City team.

    I watched the match live and I saw Le Mason recalled the drop ball he had dropped because the Gunners first got to the ball and were racing towards Stoke’s goal. If the Potteries were the ones who had that advantage, would Le Mason had stopped play and later drops the ball solely for the Gunners to restart play? I doubt.

    During the Live telecast of our match, a highlight of an ongoing PL match, I think that involved C Palace but am not sure, was shown where a player dived and the officiating referee awarded a penalty to the diving player’s team. Absurd!

    The Pgmol I think should review the current competence grades of their referees with a view to urgently upgrade the overall grade and competence of any of their referees that needs to be competently upgraded by retraining any of their referees who has falling short in his professional competence.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Can WBA do us a complete favour or halve favour by beating Chelsea or play a draw game at the Bridge this afternoon as Bournemouth did us a favour last weekend by beating Liverpool? I pray so.

    A win by WBA at the Bridge will keep us steady on the table and a draw by them there will keep us only 1 point behind Chelsea which is better than to be 3 points behind them as am sure we all know this.

    Let’s leave that penalty case which ref Lee Mason awarded to Stoke City yesterday against us when Xhaka first clipped one of Allen”s feet and elbowed his face all in quick succession. If we were the ones at the exact receiving end of that clash between Xhaka and Allen, what would we have expected the ref to do?

  • Uwot?

    Jammy jay.the said match commentator was a certain “Tony’ gale”once of Fulham/Chelsea I believe.who has v.rarely anything good to say about us & when it does comes out like a back handed to say has a chip on how shoulder when it comes to for lee mason.a joke.accept we could have paid the price for for the worse refereeing performance tony has ever way.that honour is reserved for the odious Mike dean of 50th match invinclbles run.shameless.

  • les martin

    All this weird anti Arsenal bias, and yet somehow Arsenal manage to get results.
    Each one in our great club should be proud fighting against odds stacked against us.
    Reminds me of the time when Liverpool were champions and one comment was you have to score twice to make one count

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Chelsea’s 9 match winning run that is largely assisted by non European commitments has seen the Blues back on top of the log this afternoon at the Bridge as Diego Costa beats WBA by a lone goal.

    What was that Costa maker think he was doing by not been decisive in his marking Costa out wide to byline at the edge of the box? Shouldn’t he have tapped the ball to touch or as the race was getting difficult for him to cope, should have tapped the ball towards his goalkeeper? He has these 2 options to defuse Costa’s charging down the line but he preferred not to. It’s Costa the animal he was joking with, and defenders in the PL don’t do that.

    Now, Arsenal MUST respond at Goodison Park on Tuesday to this becoming increasingly looking 2 horse race for the title this season with a defining beating of the Toffees and wait to see what kind of result will happen between the relegation fighters Sunderland and Chelsea on Tuesday night’s too.

  • gouresh

    what about the stamp by charlie on axleis on the 3rd goal? will he get a ban???

  • OlegYch

    i thought mason did a good job, might have even favored us
    for one thing he didn’t let small fools go
    also, it’s a miracle Granit escaped a yellow for his elbow or constant complaining, and his decision on adams stump didn’t affect us unfavorably
    it’s a shame about grants time wasting, but it’s nothing compared to what we have seen from other refs

  • Gord

    Happy Birthday Walter.

    That some Stoke fans ever sang songs celebrating their player’s crippling of Ramsey over six years ago is disgusting enough, but that now they still sing the song is just beyond belief. Yes there are always morons who sing disgusting songs, just as there are people around who are anti-Semitic, racially prejudiced, and so on. But to have so many of these Stoke people singing this together really is a reflection on their club. As is the fact that the club does nothing about it – which of course they could because they have access to the films, they sell on the tickets. Stoke City is the pariah of football.

    The Independent reports that Mark Hughes was asked about this singing. Apparently he provided a curt reply, and ended the interview:

  • Gord

    I have worked on a comment for 30 minutes. WordPress just continually eats the message. No moderation, just eats it. It was a comment on another news article I started seeing late last night, and had a single URL in it.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Thanks everyone for the birthday wished. Dedicated this day to my family. Still a little meal to finish of the day. And I got a great birthday present from my children very Arsenal related and I shall be wearing it with pride. Might even post a picture of it in the next days

  • Xhaka'spassing


    No mention of the shameful 31 but looks 56 Charlie Adam stamping on the back of Alexis knee while Iwobi left him for dead in scoring the third goal. That stamp could have seriously injured our dog loving Chilean.

  • nicky

    Forgetting the poor refereeing, any team with Mark Hughes as manager will be made well aware of all the tricks and nastiness that is worst in the beautiful game. 😉

  • Pete

    I took my son to the game for a (rare) live outing for him. He remarked that one doesn’t appreciate at all how much time-wasting goes on when watching on TV as opposed to live.

  • Gord

    Pete, I hope your son enjoyed the game.

    I have something off topic and on topic, all at the same time.

    Theo had a deal (bet?) going with his wife, about scoring 10 goals before Christmas, which he has done. So he apparently gets a coffee maker for Christmas. Some medja idiots think this means Theo _WON_ a coffee maker.

    The coffee maker on the International Space Station comes from Italy, but it had special requirements.

    I was expecting “the state of the art” coffee maker to be Italian, German or maybe Japanese.

    My first hit, turned up such pricey items as $50 at Walmart. I don’t think so.

    I don’t seem to be finding a German machine anywhere near the top Italian price, and its competition I believe is British. At least the person behind it is British.

    The two machines are retail 1500 pounds or so. De’Longhi is the Italian entry. Great coffee with kind of a flaky smartphone interface. The British entry is courtesy of Heston Blumenthal, a person not afraid to do some crazy things in the kitchen.

    I’ve been around software far too long. It is entirely too easy to come up with a flaky interface that looks wonderful and doesn’t perform. I’ve seen a few things Heston has cooked, and the man knows cooking.

    My bet, is that Theo gets the Heston Blumenthal Oracle coffee maker. And apparently it is 500 pounds off (or so) in the run up to Christmas.

    Both coffee makers are talking bean-to-cup.

    The roasted coffee bean is actually quite good protection from the environment. It isn’t perfect. Many people thought that storing roasted coffee beans in the freezer would be a good thing, and it isn’t. The problem is that the beans pick up condensation when removed from the freezer. Maybe if a person vacuum packed individual servings of roasted coffee beans, freezing them would be the way to go?

    But you really do want to go from grinding to brewing as quickly as possible. Which is the bean to cup spiel.

    It is easy to think that freshly roasted, freshly ground, freshly brewed might be even better. But alas, there are too many chemical things going on during and after the roasting process, the beans need a couple of weeks (or more) to settle.

    Enjoy your coffee Theo and Melanie!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Belated Birthday Greetings , Walter . Hope you had a great time .
    As for Stoke and their fans , less said the better ! Really .
    After all , if one cannot say anything nice , its always better not to say anything at all !
    So its shtum from me!

  • Tai

    Happy birthday ? Walter. It’s belated but then we came back from behind same day.


  • JP

    On our feed in South Africa we have a very irritating gimmick called “Goal Rush” for the afternoon kick off. During Goal Rush they show you action of all the other games with a split screen. The problem is that they use this gimmick for nigh on every goal scoring opportunity, which means that you miss half of the game that you actually want to watch. It just so happened that we were in process of going into a goal rush split screen when Iwobi scored, and we had to watch the goal on the replays.

    The commentators for Goal Rush are John Dykes and Don Hutchinson, with Dykes being a known Spurs fan, and we all know more than we care to about Hutchinson. The commentating was terrible, and they replayed the penalty about 100 times throughout the match, with Don exclaiming each time that it is a blatant penalty and nobody could have any complaint. They even suggested at one point that Xhaka should have seen red for the challenge! The soft penalties we have been conceding this season is a real concern. I look forward to the ref review, would like to hear Walter and Usama’s opinion on the penalty, as well as the ridiculous stamp by Adam, amongst others.

  • Richard

    Great piece tony and happy birthday Walter. Yes there was a lot of time wasting whilst stoke were leading it did seem to disappear though once Ozil got our second. Another soft penalty against us but maybe not surprising that it happened. Was a great game and this season we have seemed to have improved and find ways of overcoming difficult opposition and poor refereeing. We now have two difficult away games well considering how city are playing maybe only 1 but we shall see.

  • Rich


    Just wondering about that not letting small fouls go thing. I couldn’t watch match so was checking it on BBC. According to that Stoke only made the 6 fouls all day. I found that extremely improbable.

    6 fouls, with a ref not letting small fouls go, too. Watching it later on, I’d say he let loads of small fouls go. Teams capitalise fully on the knowledge that if we retain possession, so long as the infringement isn’t big a ref will, and normally should, let play continue. Still, a ref should be able to spot if a team is giving a little pull or barge or kick every time they get close to the opposition. This seemed to be happening even more than usual in the Stoke game.

    It makes for a weird situation whereby we are have to battle constantly to retain possession against little grabs, pushes and kicks, but if we do anything similar when they have the ball, chances are they’ll just fall over, and get a free kick.

    In a way it makes sense for us to stay on our feet even when there’s an obvious foul even when the free kick would be in a dangerous position : we can’t trust we’d get the free kick. We’ve been conditioned to play to the whistle, stay on our feet and try to be extremely clean when trying to win the ball back. I’m amazed it doesn’t get to the players more and it’s probably telling that those in their first year or so- Mustafi, Xhaka- are usually the ones incredulous at the decisions and most prone to frustration. Xhaka seemed most annoyed after taking an elbow to the chops and having the free-kick go against him. I can see why that would be a big provocation after having conceded the pen.

    All the same, I struggle to imagine any ref not letting the opposition get a away with an enormous amount of small fouls against us, and I certainly didn’t see that in Saturday’s game.