By Tony Attwood
The media in general has an approach to refereeing which runs like this.
On occasion they will spot an offside decision that is not given, and make a fuss about it.
That’s it in one line. They don’t ask why. They don’t ask if it happens against one team more than another. And so they churn out the same statements over and over again. It is as if some evil beast has put a spell on otherwise seemingly intelligent people so that they don’t ever ask the question journalists ought to ask more than any other: “why?”
Here’s the Guardian’s take…
“Marco Silva expressed frustration and bemusement at the Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang goal that sank Everton and gave Arsenal a 2-0 win at Emirates Stadium. Aubameyang was a full yard offside when he converted from Aaron Ramsey’s flick to build on the lead that Alexandre Lacazette had just given Arsenal on 56 minutes and there would be no way back for Everton.”
So what we don’t know from their report is,
a) Did the referee and assistant make a mistake in the view of the Guardian’s reporter because they were both corrupt and biased, because they were both incompetent, because the PGMO alone among major leagues in Europe has banned VAR, or for some other reason?
b) Were there any other errors made by the referee and his assistants during the match?
c) Is the sort of error that the newspaper man perceived just confined to Arsenal matches, or does it happen elsewhere? If elsewhere is it more or less common for Arsenal to benefit or does it “all even out in the end?”
Of course without those first two simple bits of information we are just left with vagueness in the extreme, and a very very poor report which gives quite a bit of space to a rant by the Everton manager.
But then at least he gives an opinion on the “why?” question. He says, according to the Guardian, “It’s really frustrating and I’ll tell you why. We had in that moment just one defender in our box – Jonjoe Kenny – and so it’s too clear for the assistant referee. It was a counterattack and, after one pass, it’s two against one or three against one. It’s clear where Kenny is in that moment and it’s clear on the second touch [by Ramsey] where the player who finishes is as well. He’s clearly offside. For me, it’s a little bit strange but it’s OK. I make mistakes; my players as well. The assistant referees can make them.”
Maybe he was being honest, or maybe he’d learned the lines that PGMO have fed all managers about what is allowable commentary. But at least he gave an opinion. Although it was not enhanced by of his commentary which mixed opinion with fact: “Clearly, we didn’t deserve this result. It didn’t reflect the performance of both teams. We were creating problems – we had many chances – and then, in one detail, a great moment for Lacazette, the game changed.”
Now let us turn to Keith Hackett in the Telegraph. He writes,
“Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was clearly offside when the ball was passed to him ahead of the second goal. The referee Jon Moss missed it and the assistant referee Harry Lennard inexplicably failed to intervene.
“This was far from the first instance of an assistant referee not stepping up to make a big call recently. I have seen it happen time and again, including twice on Saturday when two players escaped what were clear red cards.”
Later, after some more examples, he continues, “The current generation of assistant referees are not up to the standard of predecessors such as Glenn Turner, Phil Sharp and Mike Mullarkey, experts in the job who used to rescue Graham Poll and Howard Webb in tight situations.”
Although I have edited out a lot of his article – clearly I have to abide by the rules laid down in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 which prohibits me from reprinting the whole article – but I can say there was nothing in the article as to why the standard has fallen. That one vital question. WHY?
Is it because of increasing inbreeding within PGMO, or because of instructions from the secret society as to what linespeople do, or because of PGMO’s refusal to accept VAR, or because the game is getting faster and those running the line can’t see things well enough (which would take us back to the question of why PGMO refuses to allow VAR), or because the sports channels want the top six of last season to be the top six again because it is their matches they have selected for televising?
It is the abject failure of the football media to ask “why?” and venture opinions as to why that has put a dead stop on important areas of debate in football.
Anyway, we all had a much more fun time than the poor old reporters, now firmly gripped by the same old same old restrictive rhetoric with multiple anti-Arsenal articles such as “Emery beats out dull rhythm that fails to entrance” and “Controversial goal puts gloss on Arsenal’s win”.
Mind you the Telegraph is being a little pesky in its coverage as it also has this
“Arsenal v Brentford first goalscorer: Pierre Emerick Aubameyang 23/10; Alexandra Lacazette 3/1” A shame they don’t offer the odds on either of them actually playing.
- Are Arsenal really making progress, or are we starting to slip back?
- Luton 3 Arsenal 4: maybe it is time to say positive things
- Luton v Arsenal – the referee, the team, Saka and Cliff Bastin
- Luton Town – how do they play the game. The tackles, fouls and cards.
- Luton Town v Arsenal: Grim football, fewest goals, lowest possession rate