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.
- Xhaka sublime. But by anyone’s standards, Arsenal have had a poor season.
- Arsenal v Charlton, Sunday 25 March – Match preview
- Arsenal has got completely the wrong management team. This is who we should have at the club
And from the Arsenal History Society