By Tony Attwood
I am about to toddle off to the other side of the world so I may not be able to clear all the comments that come in – more on that in the next post. But first here is a little thought that popped into my head.
Mr Emery is mostly very positive about Arsenal players and the team – it is a mark of the way he deals with the press. They don’t always report what he says very accurately, but in the press conferences he does try.
This contrasts with what the Tottenham Hotspur manager said recently. The media reported his comments as a damning assessment of Tottenham players and reported that he accused them of “complacency” and “arrogance” and added for good measure that they do not have the mental strength required to win major honours.
Now “mental strength” is generally thought of as resolve to accomplish a certain goal, or as the resolve to force the body to finish an action even when a person is tired.
That commentary probably came about because Tottenham looked like they might win the game at Southampton what with being 1-0 up and Tottenham begin a great team and Southampton being a poor team facing relegation. But then Southampton turned it around.
Of course matters were not helped by the fact that the manager had been told by the PGMO that he had to sit in the directors’ box having after having demonstrated poor touchline discipline previously in a game with Burnley. He was also fined £10,000, and he apologised and admitted he was wrong and accepted the charge brought against him.
And yet he then argued against the charge. When it was suggested to him that he would be banned he replied. “A ban, why? I don’t believe that it’s going to happen.”
So Mr P was in a bit of a pickle. He had got up and close to the fourth official – not a good thing to do – the PGMO do not like its staff to be exposed to closeness with mere mortals. Then he had said he would not be banned. Then he was banned. Then his team lost to Southampton and he blamed his team. Not once did he blame himself. Instead he said,
“We showed a lack of hunger that you need to kill the game and if you want to be a contender, to fight for things, you cannot play like this. I am worried about the way we changed from the first half to the second half and the only reason for this is complacency and arrogance.”
And yet surely some of the arrogance comes from Mr P in thinking he could defy the all powerful PGMO and not get done for it. Why was this? Does he have an arrangement with PGMO? Or did he think he had such an arrangement? Was he saying in his confrontation, “This is not what we agreed.”
I suspect not, but it remains the case that if Mr P had not behaved in a way that PGMO don’t like, he would not have been banned. Also, if he had trained up his assistant to be able to run the show from the touchline like he does, he would have had his man on the spot ready to act.
And training up an assistant to motivate the team is not a bad idea – after all Mr P might get an illness one day and not be able to do his job.
It is now three defeats and a draw for Tottenham from their past four league games, a curious run given their Champions League win over Borussia Dortmund and one that raises one or two questions about finishing in the top four – and Tottenham’s organisation.
So after four straight wins Tottenham are now considered by the media to be in crisis – another turn around. Their latest results have been…
|23 Feb||Burnley v Tottenham Hotspur||L||2-1||Premier League|
|27 Feb||Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur||L||2-0||Premier League|
|02 Mar||Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal||D||1-1||Premier League|
|05 Mar||Borussia Dortmund v Tottenham Hots||W||0-1||Champs League|
|09 Mar||Southampton v Tottenham Hotspur||L||2-1||Premier League|
Perhaps Mr P doesn’t quite know what the PGMO are like if they take against you. Maybe Tottenham believed they had PGMO in their bag after one or two favourable performances from referees earlier in the season. Who knows.
But either way, Type III match fixing doesn’t work like that. If another club in the top six has seen Tottenham as a threat they could be persuading referees or the whole PGMO to act in a way that hinders Tottenham in run of the mill matches, like this one.
I am not suggesting that PGMO is corrupt; rather just observing one more time that because it is so hyper secret we none of us have any real idea what it is up to or how it gets its statistics or makes its decisions. This is the downside of total secrecy: it makes it perfectly reasonable to one to speculate on why x or y happens in relation to the performance of PGMO as a body, and referees and linespeople as individuals. If only they were open our speculation might cease.
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