How the fearless “Said & Done” in the Observer censors the news that just don’t fit

By Tony Attwood

I am not at all sure how long the Said & Done column in the Sunday newspaper the Observer has been running – although our logs show I did a piece critical of the column back in 2009, so at least nine years.

And in one sense it is quite jolly fun.  Take today’s headline for example:

“Said & Done: West Ham, Fifa’s rebrand, and Owen Oyston giving back”

As you might imagine from that lot it is a bit of fun poking at those who are easy targets.  Here’s the opening section:

“West Ham, looking to have their beer, Sky TV and VIP “hostess” provision costs met by the taxpayer. “We’re seeking no more than we’re entitled to under the contract – yet we’re being portrayed as the bad guys.”

 The club’s broader message on the contract, under which they pay £2.5m of the £4.75m it costs to host them each year: the public should be more grateful. “Without us, the stadium might have shown little or no return for the taxpayer.”

 Deal architect Boris Johnson’s view on the process in 2012 – during which he negotiated an extra £1m payment from the club if they win the Champions League, in return for a 50% rent cut if they get relegated: “People will understand: It’s my job to get the best possible deal for the taxpayer.”

Ho ho, very jolly, and well, yes we know it all and have said it all lots of time, but still, worth putting the boot in to the old boot boys.

And yet, search as I may, I find one obvious target has never, ever, ever been touched.  PGMO.

Now of course you might argue that PGMO has never done anything wrong in their lives, and that the whole organisation is perfectly run, and with nothing to make fun of.  That’s an argument.

The counter would be this week’s little piece in which they stressed how fit their referees were by saying how far they ran, when the figures from other leagues show that English PL refs run a lot less than those in other top leagues.  I am not saying this is a good thing or a bad thing, but it is the sort of thing Said & Done makes fun of in other contexts.

Or maybe the fact that PGMO put out press releases saying that their referees were 98% accurate in their decision making, only to put out later press releases showing that VAR would add 2.5% to the accuracy level of referees.   PGMO then withdrew the figures.

This is exactly the sort of thing Said & Done goes in for – except it seems with PGMO.

Or maybe there is the fact that PGMO has regularly insisted that their referees are the best in the world, in which case Said & Done might have noted either of these salient facts…

  • The shortage of PGMO employed referees in the World Cup
  • The fact that other leagues have been introducing VAR this summer and PGMO said they were right up there testing the procedures but are still in a dreadful muddle and seemingly a year behind lots of other leagues.

Then again they could have wondered why the Premier League has fewer referees than other top leagues, why clubs can get the same referee over and over again, and indeed why the PL referee system is based on the discredited Italian system which was at the heart of their major match fixing scandal?

And why they are so utterly secretive.

But no.  Not PGMO.  As far as I can see, the hard hitting and fearless “Said & Done” doesn’t mention referees and their organisation.  Not this week, not last week, not any week.

Mind you they also don’t ask where the money from last season’s Community Shield match went and why there is no publicity relating to how much was given to the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire.  But I suppose that’s a bit too trivial and obvious for them to touch.

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6 Replies to “How the fearless “Said & Done” in the Observer censors the news that just don’t fit”

  1. I take it you’ve sent this posting to the Observer and asked them to comment? You never know, it might stir things up at this dull old newspaper. You might also mention in passing how come practically all premier league referees are from the north.

  2. Off topic but the Women booked their Cup Semi-final place with a most convincing 5-0 win against Charlton. Something like 80 % of the match was in the Charlton half and our keeper had one save in the whole game. We will play Everton who had a similarly convincing win over Durham.

  3. Tony

    “Mind you they also don’t ask where the money from last season’s Community Shield match went and why there is no publicity relating to how much was given to the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire. But I suppose that’s a bit too trivial and obvious for them to touch.”

    You keep asking this question, most recently in your ‘Charitable Events’ article, and rightly so.

    In response to what you said in that article I posted some information I thought may be of help to you in your quest to get to the bottom of this.

    It would be nice to know if this was any use to you, but unfortunately, similar to PGMOL, you didn’t even respond to my post.

    Maybe it was something you had already explored ? Maybe it was no help to you ? Maybe you just missed it ?

    So just in case, here it is again. I hope it helps.


    Every time I read your articles on this I find it more and more unbelievable.

    And as usual, as you say, our pathetic media do NOTHING.

    Have you tried a different approach? Rather than ask the FA what they did with the money, can you not request information from whom I think will of been the recipients of the money, namely the charities commission at ‘uk fundraising’ ?

    They can be found at:

    They may not be the actual recipients of the money but going by what they say on the front page of there web site, they should know what they have received, from who, and where it has gone.

    This is what they say:


    Home | News | Charity Commission weekly updates show funds raised & distributed for Grenfell Tower
    Posted by Melanie May on 16 October 2017 in News

    Maybe they will have the answers we’re looking for?

    One more thing. Given the FA’s refusal to furnish you with the information you requested, does this mean I could simply walk up and down my local high street collecting money for local charity XXXX, pocket the money, then never be obliged to ever divulge what I did with the money ?

    In other words could I just pocket it?


    21/03/2018 at 9:00 am

    This is what they say about what’s been raised and distributed:

    “The Charity Commission is publishing weekly data on the money raised, sent to distributing organisations, and given out to those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire.

    According to the Charity Commission’s latest weekly update, £20, 701,638 has been raised so far, with £16,545,255 given to organisations distributing the funds, and £12,503,614 of this handed out.

    The majority of the funds have been raised by the British Red Cross (£6,392,094), the Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund and The London Community Foundation (£6,200,000), and the Kensington & Chelsea Foundation (£6,000,000).

    So far, British Red Cross, which launched its appeal in June has sent £5,600,000 of its funds raised to distributing organisations, the Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund and The London Community Foundation have sent out £4,891,500, and Kensington & Chelsea Foundation £4,490,000.

    The data also includes where the funds have been allocated. The Rugby Portobello Trust for example has received £7,709,500 so far, and raised / added £343,414. Money distributed by the Trust includes £1,656,000 as grants of £10,000 for every household from Grenfell Tower and Grenfell Walk from the K&C Foundation Grenfell Tower Fund, and £2,242,500 as grants of £15,000 for each of the 139 households from the Grenfell Tower and grants of £8,000 for each of the 26 households in Grenfell Walk.

    The Charity Commission is publishing the weekly data updates in order to be transparent about the funds raised and how they are being distributed.”

    – It maybe me, but I cant see the FA mentioned anywhere?

  4. Instead of criticising The Guardian/Observer for what they didn’t do, perhaps you might commend them for first reporting the sexual abuse of young players & more recently the racist abuse of young black players.
    It may not be perfect, but the Guardian & to a lesser extent the Telegraph & BBC are involved in excellent football related investigative journalism.
    As you pointed out Said & Done is a bit of a laugh, but the underlying subtext is to lampoon hypocrisy & corruption in world football.

  5. Congratulations to our women’s team!

    You make a very good point, Tony. Choosing certain targets and simply leaving others out that might even be more worthy of attack sets the limits for the debate. As such it is a kind of censorship.

  6. Is not investigating a topic you pursue the most deserving of criticism? Especially when the Guardian/Observer are doing incredible work across so many areas? Including sport and Football. Not everyone is required to spend their money and efforts pursuing the PGMO

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