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June 2021

Player speaks about weird refereeing, mass boycott planned, Arsenal to move into debt?

By Tony Attwood

The Independent has carried the story that Lacazette has said he has been taken aback by the nature of refereeing in the Premier League, the player quoted as saying “The refereeing decisions still surprise me.  Sometimes I think it is a bit dangerous.

“But then I see that nobody is shocked, so I tell myself it must be normal.”

It is a clever statement because I doubt that even the bizarre rules of PGMO can get him for that comment – but it is good to see a player not talking about one referee in one match, but making the much broader comment that refereeing in the PL is quite different from that in the rest of the world.

The next question would be: why does the media never mention this?  Go back ten years and it talked about referees a lot.  But now?  The PGMO has seemingly enforced its regulation about the criticism of referees as part of the PL deal in licensing TV and radio companies to broadcast games.

Meanwhile the tale of Arsenal v Liverpool on Christmas Eve rumbles on.  Everyone agrees that because of giving over timetabling of games to the TV companies the PL has no control over when any games are played any more, beyond the established rules of the companies bidding for the rights on specific days.  And so a request for a match on 24 December is completely within the rules of the contract they have signed.   AST has said 45% of its members  would boycott such a game, so it would be good to have the game just to see how much pull AST has.

But I wondered what all the fuss was about.  I can most certainly understand that the stewards don’t want to work on Xmas Eve, and as I recall after I set up my company we only had a couple of years of working on Xmas Eve before I stopped it and made it an extra staff holiday.

However I wonder why do people not want to go out on Xmas Eve?  Fair enough if you have arranged to go and stay with the in-laws or you want to play with your young children, or maybe you have been invited to a wild rampaging drinks party, or indeed you want to get headless in a pub, but not everyone does that.

Across the years I have done many things on Christmas Eve including driving from the Midlands to south Wales in the late afternoon of that day and having the motorways pretty much to myself.  But of course it doesn’t suit anyone – but then, what date does?  I’d go on 24 December, but I always miss a few matches in February because I go abroad to see one of my daughters – we all have times we can and can’t make it.

But Xmas Eve football has been designated “Controversial” so we must have a controversy and a boycott.

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And then there’s the thing about Kroenke apparently trying to buy Usmanov’s shares with the worry that then he could load all his debts into Arsenal.

Kroenke owns 67% of Arsenal so he can already do pretty much what he wants, but the extra shares would give him more freedoms, and abandon the need for an AGM etc and allow him to move the legal basis of the club to Delaware which has just about the most liberal and nonrestrictive company laws of anywhere in Europe and America.

It is not only Arsenal that has this concern.  Ashley Brown, of Supporters Direct, said recently, “It is clear that too many clubs are moving in a similar direction, taking clubs further away from fans and treating them primarily as businesses. The best owners recognise that they are custodians of a football club loved by thousands and operating at the heart of their communities.”

But there is more to it than just this.  The acquisition of the majority of shares by Kroenke also removed Arsenal from the club’s long tradition of having multiple owners.  It was initially owned by the committee that ran the club, and later by both committee members and supporters who lived in and around Plumstead where the club was based.

Henry Norris, who is often quite wrongly demonised (as the series Norris at the Arsenal on the AISA Arsenal History Society website shows – see below), was always anxious to have local people owning the club, and even after he rescued the club in 1910 and built Highbury in 1913 he was constantly working to sell shares in the club to the local supporters, and diminish his own influence in the club – exactly the opposite of Kroenke.

In one way this was a mistake because when a dispute arose between Norris and a director of Fulham which involved each taking the other to court, both men had to resign as directors under Football League rules (the rules saying that all disputes should be resolved via the League, not via the courts), and that left Norris as nothing more than a minority shareholder in Arsenal.  This event led to 68 years of domination of the club by the Hill-Wood clan after which the club slipped into the Kroenke dictatorship.

If you are interested in the story of the chairmen of Arsenal up to the takeover by Kroenke the whole tale is told in these articles:

If you want to know about Henry Norris you might enjoy Henry Norris at the Arsenal – the most comprehensive review of the events that led to the creation of Arsenal as the most successful club in the world.

20 comments to Player speaks about weird refereeing, mass boycott planned, Arsenal to move into debt?

  • Jax

    In today’s Guardian it’s also reported that a consortium of (unnamed but obviously wealthy) Arsenal supporters have offered both Kroenke & Usmanov jointly £32000 per share (which is £4000 per share more than being offered by Kroenke to Usnanov for his shares), valuing the club at £2billion pounds!!
    Mind boggling!!

  • Nitram


    “…….but making the much broader comment that refereeing in the PL is quite different from that in the rest of the world.

    The next question would be: why does the media never mention this?”

    But it does Tony, especially when in Europe.

    How many times do we hear the commentator lamenting a yellow or red card for a high, late, or dangerous challenge with the words, ‘that would never of been a card in the Premiership’ ?

    They know damn well the premiership is refereed with much more tolerance than the rest of the World, the problem is Tony, they love it.

    You only have to go back to the recent Mane incident. As I mentioned on Sunday, the commentator was still whinging about how harsh his punishment was.

    There’s nothing our media love more than a good old fashioned leg breaker or decapitation.

    The second someone is rightly punished for such acts, the influence of ‘continental refereeing’ is always cited as the reason.

    It is, in my humble opinion, part of the reason our National team are still playing ‘stone age’ football, and the likes of our very own Jack wilshere are not treasured but rather derided throughout the media for being too soft.

    “But Xmas Eve football has been designated “Controversial” so we must have a controversy and a boycott.”

    I agree Tony, all sounds a bit like a row for the sake of a row to me.

    I know you mentioned you were kind enough to designate Christmas Eve a Holiday for your employers but to be fair I think having Christmas Eve off is unusual, at least in my experience.

    Even when I worked in industry many moons ago, our factory always worked Christmas eve, as did all the industries in our town, although I will say they all tended to shut down after the morning shift at 2.00pm.

    Now I work in a public service industry we work normally all day, the late shift often not finishing until beyond midnight, into Christmas day itself.

    In this day and age, rightly or wrongly, most public services, ie trains, buses, trams etc. will work a fairly normal Christmas eve service up to and beyond midnight, as will must entertainment industries.

    It is a pain I agree. I certainly don’t like working it, but like New Years eve also, I have no choice, that is the way of the World today I’m afraid.

    Shit stirrers stirring shit. It’s what they do.

  • ARSENAL 13

    hahahahah… consortium. hahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahhahahahhahahahahahahhahaha

  • Mike T


    On 24/12 the last train out of Waterloo to where I live is at 18.35 some two hours earlier than on normal days.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Dont like the sound of Kroenke being sole owner, one bit

  • Jax

    For the life of me I’m unable to figure out what the hysterical one finds so amusing with the word ‘consortium’.

  • Jerry


    ESPN is reporting that Lacazette told the RMC:

    “I still don’t feel fully adapted. I still have to work on certain things even if it’s better than I thought… I can still develop my relationship with my midfielders and the defenders. And I’ll have to be stronger with my back to goal. In England, the referee doesn’t blow his whistle.”

    Hopefully no blow back from the FA/ PGMO for that statement either.

  • Jax

    Something else Lacazette has allegedly said is that during this International break he’s going to try to persuade his best friend Griezmann to join Arsenal. Would that constitute tapping up?
    It obviously goes on, but wouldn’t it be better to say nothing?

  • Nitram

    Mike T

    I didn’t say it would be easy did I. Most tocs will be implementing either a Saturday or more likely a Sunday timetable as it is a bank holiday. So that’s normal. Also as per normal services will be subject to engineering work.

    So basically it will be pretty much as any other Sunday or bank holiday.

    So yes a pain in the arsenal but football has sold it’s soul to the Devil, or Sky and BT as they are better know.

    Whinging and whining about it know is a bit after the horse has bolted don’t you think.

  • Nitram

    Sorry said it’s a BH which of course it is not. But most tocs will treat it as such as shifts run into the 25th.

  • Jax

    Just heard that Cesc has owned up to throwing the pizza that hit SAF

  • Nitram


    Well that’s Cesc back in my good books.

  • Jax

    Yeah, that was the only laugh to come out of that match.

  • Wow Cesc,could you do it again to that old twat who stole from us almost 7 PL titles. There is enough evidence to pin that C…. From referees who where called in his pigeon hole for wines,matches where day robbery took place,extra time shit called the fergie moron time,what else does FIFA need to nail the old wolf. England!!!! Wish was in Italy or Germany.

  • Jerry

    In regards to the Christmas Eve match, I think it will be a blessing for Arsenal. If we beat Norwich, the next round of the Carabao Cup is on December 19th or 20th and the only teams likely left are top teams / PL teams.

    Liverpool plays on the 16th so will have a full week’s rest (they’re knocked out of the cup already).

  • I really dread the day Mr Kroenke will eventually be the sole owner of My darling Arsenal Fc(May that never happen In JESUS Mighty Name, Amen)

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Since Sunday football has come to be despite the opposition it not to come into effect, for me, I don’t see anything wrong with playing a PL match between Arsenal and Liverpool on Christmas eve day, the 24th of December which is a night vigil day mostly for the youths to gather together to usher in the Christmas day @12.00 midnight the 25th of December. I advice the AST to stop it’s campaign against playing the Arsenal vs Liverpool big PL game slated to take place on Christmas eve so as to allow Arsenal supporters at the Ems experience the feelings of that special Christmas eve day. Oh! What a Chistmas eve celebration night it will be for the Arsenal supporters at the Ems and for those of us watching on TV to see the Gunners beat the Reds that day.

    As Jax has reported quoting the media report, I think the best way to stop the passionless for Arsenal to win – Stan Kroenke becoming the absolute owner of Arsenal FC I.e. if Usmanov wants to sell his share holding at Arsenal to concentrate on Everton, is for a group of money rich Arsenal supporters to come together as consortium to buy up Usmanov’s shares to thereby denied Kroenke having his aims achieved.

  • Mike T


    If only they did run a Sunday service on Christmas Eve.

    On a normal Sunday the last train home is 11.05pm . Trains won’t be running down this way on Christmas Eve after 18.35. Two of my skittles team are season ticket holders at Arsenal and if the Liverpool game is at 16.00 on the 24th they certainly won’t be able to get back to Waterloo in time to get home by train

  • Nitram

    Mike T

    It does seem they are running a Sunday service but starting to run them down early due to engineering works so it certainly does look as if travelling by train will be difficult.

    But as I say, as much as I sympathise to a degree, surely fans have to realise if you sell the rites to TV companies for absolutely enormous amounts of money there will be a price to pay, after all they do need to recoup there outlay don’t they.

    So as far as I can see it’s pretty obvious they will want to broadcaster at PEAK TV AUDIENCE times, or did that not occur to the AST at all?

    Why didn’t the AST boycott games in protest about the amount of money being paid by the TV companies, I mean they love a protest that lot don’t they.

    The deals been done. The moneys been taken. Too late to start whinging now.

  • Patrick Harrington

    “Most tocs will be implementing either a Saturday or more likely a Sunday timetable”

    Why would the TOCs run a Saturday service on a Sunday?