Contempt: the prime way in which broadcasters and clubs and the FA treat football fans

By Tony Attwood
There’s been a bit of annoyance spreading in the world of football of late.  First off we had  “the inability to confirm the time and date of the Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United Premier League fixture in late December is both unacceptable to fans and symptomatic of a deeper problem in the relationship between football and television.”
This comes from a number of people getting annoyed that the old notion of letting fans know the date and time of matches at least six weeks prior to the game seems to have gone out of the window.   The game got closer and closer and still no one had a clear date to announce.

Tottenham H and the Premier League apologised for the delay and acknowledged that they hadn’t got themselves together, but they still let the situation develop.  And all this came on top of the furore about an Arsenal match possibly being played on Xmas Eve as public transport shuts down.

Of course clubs always claim that they understand the problems this causes but then they go on their own way, anyway.  It is not very satisfactory.

In apologising for not telling fans when the match would take place Tottenham referred to the “many elements” that need to be put in place to enable fans to “enjoy the game safely”. That suggests playing a match on New Year’s Eve provides serious challenges for those who must decide whether the event can go ahead safely.   Which is a bit odd.   We’ve been having New Year’s Eve celebrations in England for quite a few years now – in fact I think we have one each year.  So what is there to be sorted?

Are they speaking about safety perhaps?  If so we have the police who consider public safety as part of their standard brief.  If not, then what?

Sky announced the date of the game as 31 December, but with a proviso that it was not confirmed, which was not very helpful.  But that’s what they do.  Football to suit broadcasters, not the fans.

Meanwhile there is a row doing the rounds about the rights to live radio commentaries of Champions League matches in England.  BBC Radio 5 Live hasn’t done many broadcasts of Liverpool Champs League game yet, and it seems the club is a bit miffed with the Beeb always running Tottenham games – although I’m told they did broadcast Liverpool draw with Sevilla last month.

Anyway, the BBC announced they would do this week’s Liverpool match and Liverpool said no.  Apparently anyone wanting the game will be able to get it via Liverpool’s web site.  So, one may ask, what is the point of Liverpool doing that?  It is hard to say, but maybe a prelude to clubs taking Euro games under their own control.

Meanwhile again there is another issue brewing after Burnley announced that “Burnley FC Tops FA Respect Table,” – a league table that relates to fair play and not trying to influence or deceive the referee.

Burnley won last season apparently because points are lost not just for yellows and reds but for disputing decisions, hectoring officials etc both by players and managers.

However no one has published the fair‑play table.  I wanted to do just that, but couldn’t get it. And this because, just like the issue of the money raised at the Charity Shield match the FA is refusing to share the information about this fair play league.

The FA do confirm Burnley has won, just like they confirm money from the Charity Shield match will at some stage in the possibly distant future be going to victims of the Grenfell Tower disaster.  But details of how, where, when and other pesky questions like that… no there is nothing.

At one stage it seems the FA said that the Fair Play League (which Burnley claimed they had won as noted above) did not exist.  Then they said that it was unfair to publish the Fair Play League because that would punish the worst offenders.  Sorry, I thought that was the point.

It is a bit like saying that no money is being given to the victims of Grenfell Tower because it might encourage people to set fire to buildings.

What is sad about the affair is that the Guardian has decided to pick up on the Fair Play League table, but still studiously leaves alone the Grenfell Tower money issue.  But the newspaper does make one point:

They suggest that “the FA is frightened of taking on the relevant clubs and some of the people it would involve. Liverpool, for example, had 54 yellow cards last season, compared with Burnley’s 64, to record the best disciplinary statistics in the Premier League. Jürgen Klopp’s team also went through the entire league season without a single sending-off, whereas Ashley Barnes and Jeff Hendrick were both dismissed for Burnley.”

The FA afraid of the Liverpool publicity machine?  Surely not!  Afraid of the club currently banned from signing anyone to their academy?  Really?

The Guardian also suggest that the hidden table is hidden because it will show Mourinho in a bad light and the FA don’t want to do that.   Also they noted that two years ago Chelsea had the joint worst record with Southampton and Mauricio Pocchetino, in terms of behaviour towards officials.

Now we know that the official line is that Pocchetino is a “Good Bloke” so this would not fit easily with the narrative. Also Manchester United were 15th out of 20 clubs in disciplinary terms last season.  Not part of the official narrative either.   Manchester City (71 yellows, four reds) were another two places down, above only West Ham, Hull City and Watford.

Now I have long argued that there is an official line which the media in general tends to stick to, not least because no one in journalism likes going out totally on their own.  So a couple of cheers for the Guardian for breaking ranks this time.

So, about the issue of the money raised at the Charity Cup match.  Anything on that guys?

8 Replies to “Contempt: the prime way in which broadcasters and clubs and the FA treat football fans”

  1. Just watched the match on and can say i am not surprised we lost at all, even though we had great chances, we fluffed them, but also some good stops by their GK.

    I could say AW expected this loss, hence making sure we got them(3 points) in the previous game.

    This thought must have embedded itself into the players minds causing that mental hindrance we can’t play with.

    We could say we folded really and did not fight them much where it counted. That togetherness and discipline we had v spuds was all gone out the window.

    So, that was my comment, its done now.

  2. A friend sent me this clip today by WhatsApp,and I was moved by it to post it here. It also reminded me of an old saying that I have been quite fond of . And which always puts a perspective on that which ails me at that given time.

    ‘I complained because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.’

  3. Why write about other clubs and mention Arsenal in one throwaway comment. You never seem to do any post match analysis unless it is about the game’s officials. It begs the question of what exactly is your agenda. Other Arsenal sites stick to their remit which may include saying things that may well hurt one person’s idealism while backing another’s assertion. Sorry but cannot see why this article about Tottenham and Liverpool is on here. What is your interest in them.

  4. As in I do not concur with your retort that says very little but may be defending more articles about teams other than Arsenal on here.

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