By Dr Billy “the dog” McGraw, senior psychologist at the University College Hospital of the North Circular Road.
There are some jolly headlines around on a day which is a public holiday in England, and thus a day without too much news.
The Telegraph has “Tottenham would have been reduced to nine men with VAR” which is probably all the reason that the PGMO need to keep up their refusal to allow VAR to go forward, even if it means no more English referees in any international competitions from now on. As the Telegraph is also wont to keep on reminding us “British football will be without a referee at World Cup in Russia for first time in 80 years”
One might almost think they have been reading Untold as they continue…
“The quality of elite refereeing in England has been fiercely criticised this season, with Arsene Wenger adamant that there has been no improvement since they became professional. “We cannot say a word against it because they’re untouchable – that is the truth,” said Wenger.
“Keith Hackett, the former referees’ chief, told The Telegraph that the absence of a British World Cup referee was “symptomatic of an ageing group of referees and a drop in the overall level”.
“He said: ‘We have lost people like Howard Webb and Mark Clattenburg. They are difficult to replace. I also think the existing select group of referees are not challenged enough, even when they are struggling to maintain form. It is not that there is a shortage of referees but a road block and I would like to see more people who are doing well at the Select Group 2 level being given a chance’.”
Meanwhile the German and English leagues will both probably be settled this weekend leaving seven PL games for the media to flutter around about celebrating Tottenham’s fourth or maybe third spot as a trophy. The difference between the top two in England 18 points, while it is a mere 17 in Germany. But shock horror it is only nine in competitive Spain.
But in Italy it is not so distanced and the Guardian has an explanation asking, “Did the title race turn on a clerical error?” which looks like it might be fun. But really it is a trifle dull as “Matteo Politano looked set to join Napoli from Sassuolo this January, with terms reportedly agreed on a transfer worth €28m. The player was keen on a move, yet, as the final seconds ticked away on deadline day, the paperwork never came through.
“Two months later, Politano scored a goal that stopped Napoli from going back to the top of the Serie A table. The Partenopei had travelled to Sassuolo on Saturday knowing that a win would vault them into first place – heaping pressure on to Juventus before their evening kick-off against a Milan side who were yet to suffer a domestic defeat in 2018.”
Back in the fantasy land of the bloggettas, RealSport101 does the “five things we learned” which always means no one has got much idea what to say not least because we didn’t learn any of them. And indeed most of it was just the same ol’ same ol’ as with “A goal will give Lacazette a confidence boost, but doubts remain about his long-term future at the Emirates.”
Does anyone really think we learned that on Sunday?
But they did also come up with “Lies, damn lies and attendance figures” saying, “The official attendance for this game was 59, 371. A cursory look at the stands, however, would tell you that the real number was significantly smaller.
“The Arsenal hierarchy can explain away this preponderance of empty seats.Easter Sunday, an unglamorous opponent, and a competition in which there’s nothing to fight for will have all played their part in the sparse attendance figures.
“Chief amongst the reasons, however, is a continuing loss of faith in the club’s recent form, and a lack of belief in the current regime. There’s only so long that Messrs. Gazidis and Kroenke can bury their heads in the sand.”
Which is pretty much full on gibberish. First, the number was not announced as the attendance – which considering their headline is a bit of downer on the whole article. It is tickets sold. Now “Angry of Islington” did a piece a while back saying Arsenal pretend it is the attendance, but I have never seen that at all anywhere. It is what they say – “tickets sold”. And they don’t announce it – at least not at the match. And I know because I get to my seat before the start and leave after the players have waved at the crowd.
As for “The Arsenal hierarchy can explain away…” well, I suppose that is true if one can also say, “The writer of this article can jump in a lake and see how long he can hold his breath before drowning.” He can, but it doesn’t mean he will, or has ever done.
The issue of crowds at Arsenal is one that should be compared historically. Even if the days of a 60,000 plus capacity at Highbury and no selling of tickets in advance, we only occasionally got 60,000 for a game. Why would a population that has become more gentrified in the area, suddenly get more interested, especially in a season which has resulted in a lower league position than for any since 1995?
It is, as we psychologists like to say, bonkers.
- A pigeon flies across the sky. Why the media employs vegetables as experts.
- The curious lack of knowledge of the laws of football of the Stoke manager and a Guardian journalist.
- Arsenal the most penalised by refs among the current top four teams
- Mykhaylo Mudryk now listed in 17 different articles as coming to Arsenal!
- Arsenal attacking problems… what attacking problems?
- 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?