By Tony Attwood
Here’s a little stat that amused me yesterday evening. As the media had told us a thousand times over this, was the 500th Premier League match as a manager of a famous large man with a dubious character. He’d been involved in 2006 in allegations of corruption against him and his son. He vowed to sue the BBC over a Panorama programme and then somehow never quite got round to it. (Perhaps it slipped his mind). Anyway all was forgiven and he became England manager and then oooops, after a staggeringly brilliant reign of one game he just had to go. We could have told the FA, but they just don’t listen.
Of course nothing has been proven in court, and my intention is only to report that facts of the allegations made, the sackings, and the lack of legal action. I can’t judge an issue left hanging out to dry.
But when one thinks of this Everton manager one perhaps thinks also of Arry Redknapp too.
For here’s the connection. Only Harry Redknapp has lost more games than the Large One in the competition. Arry has lost 238 games to Big Sam’s 196. It couldn’t be a race to the bottom between more deserving people.
(And just to be clear this of course doesn’t include the last remarkable managerial stint by Arry at Birmingham. For last September arry was sacked by Birmingham City after 13 games. Birmingham had won two out of 10 of those games in all competitions – but none were in the Premier, so it don’t count).
Thus both managers have been associated with odd doings, as indeed have a number of referees, and although I make no allegation of corruption in yesterday’s game, there were a lot of very odd things going on.
To give one tiny example, in the part of the ground where I sit there were audible gasps all round when the board went up as the second half came to an end. Two minutes of injury time for a half that included,
- Cech’s original injury
- Cech’s substitution
- Walcott’s substitution
- Ramsey’s substitution
- Niasse’s substitution
Cech’s substitution alone took far more than two minutes as he sat on the grass, had treatment, and was ultimately replaced. There was no way that figure of two minutes could have been right.
Of course it is only a trivial matter, but not even being able to keep track of the amount of additional time was typical of a referee who repeatedly gave out some extremely odd decisions which made Andrew’s pre-match assessment of the old codger (beware bias, rogue penalties and old age) to be utterly spot on.
And let’s be fair and balanced here. The rogue decisions included the fact that Aubameyang’s goal was clearly offside.
It is a point that many people who attack Untold seem never to get: our criticisms of refereeing standards is two fold: one is that the PGMO’s assessment that in the pre-VAR period they are getting 98% of decisions correct in completely wrong, and the other is that their approach to openness and transparency not only makes the Masons look like a liberal democracy but is extremely unhelpful as we try to work out if there is any bias going on. Untold’s question is, why are they so secret? Answer comes there none.
Of course this was the Arsenal scoring nine in two consecutive home games, so the media had to find something to moan about (and to take attention away from the referee’s odd behaviour throughout) and the fact that Aubameyang touched the ball fewer times than anyone else who started the game featured in reports. Can you imagine such a commentary for any other team that has just won 5-1?
The performance of the referee and his assistants was in fact so utterly bizarre that even Ozil was moved to launch into a long verbal assault against both the ref and an assistant. Indeed it was fortunate that Arsenal were out of sight early on, otherwise the Everton players might have been encouraged to even greater excesses, seeing what they were getting away with.
But for me, on the positive side, watching through the downpour, Mkhitaryan was the star of the show – which suggests there must be something very odd going on at very old Trafford for a player of this quality not to be able to shine a light on proceedings.
However one has to feel sorry for Theo, moving from Arsenal to a team such as Everton. I suppose he thought it was worthwhile to get more games, but really, does he think that playing under an Allardycian regime will actually be a good career move? He needs a defence behind him to be able to flourish and use his speed – but according to the stats, Everton made a grand total of three tackles in the whole of the first half. You’re not going to get the ball that much Theo.
In the second half Everton lined up with what looked to me from the upper tier to be a solid line of five in defence, although I see that others who comment have called it a four man defence. Maybe my eyes deceived me, but I really could count five of them in a solid line with four in front of those. No wonder the goal scoring declined.
Still, we have to be thankful for small mercies from Everton; if they did bring any flares they must have got soaked in the rain. But perhaps for the first time in quite a while they didn’t bring any at all. Let’s hope that phase in their supporting has declined.
So now they can look forward to their new stadium, financed in part by the local authority. It is interesting that when Untold dared to suggest that this new build was going to be another case of public money being used to support a football club we got a veritable mountain of abuse and total assertions from up north that this was not the case.
It took a while for the story we ran to become widely accepted (although really it hadn’t take that much digging on our part to unravel what was really going on) but ultimately even the Liverpool Echo newspaper gave up the trail of false stories conceding in January this year that two thirds of the money for the new stadium will come from the council.
Untold (a bit like Arsenal) doesn’t always get it right but (in our case) when counteracting inventions and propaganda about the finances of stadium building we don’t do too bad.
As for the game, apart from the utterly bonkers refereeing, that was a nice one. The run against Everton continues.
- Arsenal v Everton: Sat 3 Feb 2018 – The Match Officials: beware bias, rogue penalties and old age.
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- Arsenal the most penalised by refs among the current top four teams
- Mykhaylo Mudryk now listed in 17 different articles as coming to Arsenal!
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- Men’s football returns at last: Arsenal in action this afternoon
- Is the injury to Gabriel Jesus equivalent to the assault on Eduardo in 2008?