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Watching Arsenal from 8 miles high

By Tony Attwood in Australia

I have seen Arsenal on TV in all sorts of somewhat unusual places – including I recall watching the 1971 Cup Final in Algiers – but I don’t think I ever anticipated watching a live Arsenal game eight miles above ground level.

But that is what happened with the Chelsea game – for it turns out that there is now a set of live TV channels on long distance flights of which one called Sport 2, carries live Premier League games as one flies.

So it was that while passing over southern India on the final leg of my trip to Australia, and while it was totally dark outside (suggesting, so I am told by those more knowledgeable than I of such things that it was night time) I could follow the game live.

Most of the passengers, not knowing what was good for them, were sleeping at the time, but a few of us stalwarts followed the game.  A shame that it turned out as it did, but at least that’s another, if truly unexpected, box to tick.

Apart from an occasional slight jumpiness in terms of the picture, which really didn’t affect things too much, the quality was very good, considering the technological issues involved.

Other than that the trip to Oz was taking up by reading, writing a little, eating a smattering of the rather revolting airline food, sleeping a little (I’m never very good at snoozing while seated) and contemplating quite a lot.   And one little thing that struck me during the contemplation mode was how there seems to be a move by the media away from just making statements without evidence, to making contentious statements with fragments of evidence.  The result is that they are then able to draw “conclusions” which look as if they are supported by research, but which are just based on incidents which support the conclusion they want to push.

One piece I saw claimed to be an examination of Mourinho’s treatment at the hands of referees while complaining, shouting, arguing and the like, and an “analysis” of how this panned out when other managers were considered.  What the journalist did was take just give incidents, give a very short summary, and then compare these opinions to a handful of incidents involving other managers.   Their conclusion was that Mourinho was treated differently from others.

It is a wholly false approach in my view, not least because there was no taking into account past offences and the severity of the infringement.  It appears (although I don’t think it is written down anywhere in the rulebook) that when managers are fined or barred from watching a game the longer term punishment (eg a four match ban from being in the technical area) can take account of what has happened before, but the immediate action by the ref (for example in warning, or sending the player off) should not.

But of course the article writer didn’t want to know anything about such technicalities.   So instead there was a general mish mash of opinion, without any division into the distinctions between past and present crimes and how they should be considered.

The problem is that although the referee and the officials are not supposed to take account of past histories in a match, they often seem to – except when it involves goal keeper time wasting in which they just wag a finger or turn their back, until there are just five minutes to go and then they dish out a yellow card, knowing that it is too late for anything else to happen.

But what makes this a lot more confusing is that managers can and do say anything they want in interviews, unless it is to complain about the fairness of the officials.

It all seems a bit of a mixture to me, and as I sat in the glorified tin can flying over the ocean, eight miles up in the air, with a captain who I suspect supported Tottenham (in that he kept switching on the seatbelts sign on the grounds that we were approach turbulence, every time I joined the queue to go to the toilet) I reached this conclusion…

We should not have managers on the touch line at all, but rather a collection of dummies representing each manager.  A member of the club could be nominated to activate the manager at odd times, walking up and down, waving arms, chewing gum and pointing in ways that appear to have little to do with the game.   Sky could put a camera on the dummies throughout the match and offer occasional action replays and the papers could select various dummy movements and draw conclusions.

Those conclusions are likely to be as valid as those drawn by the Telegraph in choosing events at random and claiming they have got their experts to examine the behaviour of the managers.

On the other hand, maybe I just thought of that because I have jet lag.

9 comments to Watching Arsenal from 8 miles high

  • MickHazel

    Tony says…
    ‘except when it involves goal keeper time wasting in which they just wag a finger or turn their back, until there are just five minutes to go and then they dish out a yellow card, knowing that it is too late for anything else to happen.’

    My theory on the refs ignoring the time wasting at goal kicks etc is that they are actually glad of a break so they can regain their breath, after all some of them are getting on a bit and their fitness is not at the same level as the players.
    Regarding altercations between managers and fourth officials, a lot of problems and altercations leading to touchline bans would be avoided if the home and away managers were on different sides of the pitch.

  • Sammy The Snake

    I’m glad to see you enjoyed Arsenal live on a flight to Australia… Let me guess, you were on Emirates! The same airline you write negative stuff about (who also happens to be paying the biggest share of the bills at Arsenal).
    You know I like you Tony, but I think these thoughts came to you because your mind needed to stay away from our recent performances.

  • Norman14


    what you may have missed is that the collective of UK media, aaa members and supporters of other clubs, appear to be of the opinion that a potential brain injury is not very important in the scheme of things.

    Others, of a similar collective, find that it is acceptable to commit a “hate crime” towards a writer who dares to suggest that a “king hit” to the head of an opponent is a foul.

    Even more of this collective don’t think that the officials have any responsibility towards the health and safety of players.

    Many of that collective actually believe that a foul is not a foul unless the player rolls and rolls and rolls and rolls, whilst simultaneously grasping various parts of his body, and directing undecipherable cries toward their god.

    If you get a chance, have a look at the African Cup of Nations final, and especially at how the referee controls that game.

    Or, instead, jsut enjoy your holiday 😉

  • OlegYch

    Ben, the emails are somewhat interesting, but the article is a load of bollocks

  • Ben

    Yes it’s from Yahoo 🙂 but it is the screen shots that is most interesting.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    On mind readers –

    -‘ I’m sorry I upset you when you made plans for us in your head and I failed to follow through. Just kidding, I’m not a mind reader, butthead.

    -‘I used to want to be a mind reader; then I got Facebook and now I’m over it.’

    -‘ Tell me darling, when you go to the mind reader, do you get half price?’

    -‘It is so cute when I ask you where you want to eat. You tell me to choose and after ten choices, I realize that I am a terrible mind reader.’

    -‘Since women think they know everything, why are they so shocked when they realize that men are not psychic mind readers.’

    – ‘ If two mind readers are reading each others minds. Who’s mind are they reading?’

    And the winner is –

    -‘ Here is a joke for all the mind readers out there…’

  • Brickfields Gunners


    Untold Arsenal are purportedly to be in the running to make an audacious bid to sign on Bill O’Reilly as their official spokesperson. He could be soon free to ask all those hard questions that the hitherto pliant press could not, or did not want to ask.

    Could this be the man to finally expose corruption and wrong doings in football? The press offices of the FA ,EPL UEFA , FIFA and PIGMOB are all being silent on the matter , but are all said to be in Turmoil.

    Turmoil , as everyone knows or ought to know ,is a secluded little atoll just off the cost of Australia . By some coincidence (?) , Tony Attwood , the founder of UA is also reported to be already in the land of OZ.

    NEWS AT 10 !

  • Gord

    Corruption News

    Yesterday, out of the blue, I seen a report from the Salt Lake Tribune, about an almost finished internal investigation of FIFA finding more corruption. Gee, isn’t that surprising. This is older stuff.

    Here is a link to the Bloomberg version.

    My guess, is that because this is an internal investigation, it will suddenly either get edited to nothing, lost or stopped. Nothing will happen.

    CityAM is reporting on FA Chairman Greg Clarke.

    > Clarke “strongly disputes” the motion, but has conceded his organisation — which has been beset by crises of corruption and child abuse within football since his arrival last year — has problems to fix.

    I think this statement is wrong. What has happened since he arrived, is that some of this has been publicized. The problems have been there much longer.

    In any event, probably nothing will happen. And because nothing happened, he will resign (with a big fat paycheck). And the next flunky will come in looking for a big handout, and he/she will pretend to be concerned. Possibly even offering to resign should they also not accomplish anything.