The curious issue of what managers say about their players

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…

Date Game Res Score Competition
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.


23 Replies to “The curious issue of what managers say about their players”

  1. Tony Atwood is a sensible and well-informed commentator on Arsenal but he does seem to harbour outlandish suspicions about the referees. I think the standard of refereeing in the Premiership is pretty poor but I am not convinced there is evidence of match fixing of any ‘type’.

  2. If I said I understood the point of this article I’d be wrong, first I thought it was about what managers say, then I thought it was about stick Tottenham is getting lately, then suddenly it became about the pgmo…

  3. TomP
    It’s not that difficult. The article has a title. The writer then contrasts what one manager says about his players then what another manager says about his. It proceeded on to the latter’s interaction with officials with, then, some commentary on officials. There, not too hard.

    Have you read all the articles, here and elsewhere, on match fixing? If not, please do and you’d understand Type III match fixing. Also it’s not just in the EPL. Research the referees, managers, owners, etc. in Serie A that were caught. And AFC supporters never forget Mike Dean dancing the jig when Spurs scored against them. Have a look. Unbiased?

  4. Oh dear! So the article starts with UE is positive about his players. Then goes on to
    P is a manager & said some strange things (about the way his team of players performed) that may have been influenced by his interaction with the PGMO…………

    What’s to understand?

    As for being convinced of match fixing? wait till the fraud squad get involved with the cash flow. Spain & Belgium have done some digging but the UK seem to have blunt tools thus far.

  5. Damn!!! that link brought back the corruption that is the PGMOL.

    Wiley, Riley & Bennett were the worst bunch that I had ever seen.

    Then after I came across Untold, I realised I was not alone in seeing this corrupt bunch of selectively visioned cheats officiating in the football league in England. They have got away with billions in ‘blind eye’ officiating. They have made it a fine art in open visioned cheating with no recourse to the Law. One only has to look at what the FA evaded in the footage and begin to understand the anger built up in supporters.

    Perhaps if the UK had the right to bear arms some of this might have been stopped………….

  6. Match fixing Is So ripe in the Priemiership the only ploblem Is that the FBI have not been invited. You don’t have to look far just Look at the unbeaten run you will be danm if you couldn’t see that.That Is enough envidence even for rosie to see.

  7. Menace, my friend –

    You really don’t want that. For the past 3 years I’ve been living in Florida, USA. The population is armed to the eyeballs. I’ve been menaced (pun intended) with hand guns several times most recently last week. Apparently, I didn’t accelerate from a traffic stoplight fast enough for the pickup truck behind me. He almost hit me, blasting the horn, cursing, etc. I tried to get away but he drove beside me, reached in the glove box to show me his gun. This was not the first time and not an aberration. In my town there are shootings almost every week. I hope you were being sarcastic when you said that.
    Otherwise, always enjoy your posts.

  8. Also, re Dean, I recall once he was jumping for joy at the half line after a goal against AFC. Might have also been Spurs. I’m still searching. Will post it if I can find. I’m remembering him jumping up and down and, I believe clapping his hands. I’d appreciate everyone’s help finding the clip.

    Do all doubters of bias I recommend you view the “50th” match. It’s available on YouTube and I’m sure elsewhere. If you don’t know about the 50th game, get off this site!

  9. goonersince72

    I refer to this quite often, but it has been suggested Deans, what shall we call it….over enthusiasm….at spurs scoring could of had something to do with the fact that he had played an ‘advantage’ prior to the goal, and he was just pleased with that on a professional level.

    That may or may not be the case, but I certainly believe his joy was increased by the fact it went in favour of Spurs and against Arsenal.

    Not so sure he’d of been jigging for joy in quite the same way had his advantage gone in our favour, but we’ll never know.

    Either way the mans still a cheatting little s**t.

  10. goonersince72

    “To all doubters of bias I recommend you view the “50th” match. It’s available on YouTube and I’m sure elsewhere. If you don’t know about the 50th game, get off this site!”


    One of, if not the most shameful refereing performances I have ever witnessed.

    Worse still it was fully endorsed as a performance by all the pundits, even though you can clearly hear in the commentators voices their surprise at some of the decisions, but they made excuses and moved on.

    And even worse it was on the back of this diabolical performance that Riley secured his post as head of the PGMOL.

    We should of known what was comming.

    I believe Untold have done a statistical analisis of how we were refereed prior to Rileys appointment to how we have been refereed since.

    If I recall the difference is very pronounced.

  11. OT: Largely evreything. 🙂

    Lacazette (partially) won his UEFA appeal, he can play in next match against Rennes


    After the conclusion of Game Day 30, we only have the Chel$ea v Brighton game from GD 28 yet to play. The Man$ity v ? from that same Game Day, had been played earlier than originally scheduled.

    With GD 31, we see that 4 games are to be rescheduled. One of those 4 games involves Brighton, who will than have 2 games in hand (at 15th place for the moment) over the others battling relegation. The team they were to play, is Cardiff (currently 18th). I really don’t see Fulham avoiding relegation (I think Huddersfield is nearly a sure thing), so it is only Cardiff who have a chance at avoiding relegation. One of theams they are closely battling with are Southampon, who are also part of a game to be rescheduled. In the middle of all this nonsense, is Burnley.

    Another game to be rescheduled, is the spuds versus CPalace. Which means that ManU is going to be 1 game ahead of its 3 competitors for 3rd and 4th. And ManU go into this situation playing Man$ity. My hacked up model rated that game as an 11% chance of ManU winning (at home), with draw and loss both at 44% (or so).

    Meanwhile, Liverpool are away to Fulham. I hadn’t re-run Fulham since after GD29. Fulham have about a 0.5% chance of beating eithre Liverpool or Man$ity. Their strongest chances of wins are against Cardiff (19%) and Newcastle(10%). I’m expecting them to find 6 points in the remainder of the season, which isn’t enough for them to get to where Cardiff are now, let alone any of the teams currently out of relegation.


    Best kit deals for teams
    Barcelona 174.83
    ManU 128
    Man$ity 86.36
    Arsenal 78.68
    Chel$ea 73.45
    Liverpool 41
    Spuds 38.59
    Southampton 11.39
    Everton 9.83

  12. Nitram @4:40pm

    Thanks mate! That’s the one. And I agree, Riley ending the unbeaten streak was won of most blatant disregard of the rules I’ve ever seen. But of course the doubters will say it evens up in the end. It doesn’t, and it hasn’t. Maybe if AFC stopped hiring these foreigners (but OK for City, Liverpool, Chelsea, United)and hired a ‘proper’ manager like say crooked Fat Sam Allardyce they’d get a break. Doubt it. If the Club has ever voiced complaint it must have been double secret. Have never heard a word. Sad. With all the broken bones and time lost you’d think they’d at least protect the investment.

  13. goonersince72

    1) “Maybe if AFC stopped hiring these foreigners (but OK for City, Liverpool, Chelsea, United)and hired a ‘proper’ manager like say crooked Fat Sam Allardyce they’d get a break. Doubt it.”

    2) “If the Club has ever voiced complaint it must have been double secret”

    Both those questions have been asked many times and both are difficult to answer.

    1) Personally I think we would of been treated differently had we hired the likes of Darlin ‘Arry or Fat Sam.

    Thankfully we never got to find out. Despite everything I wouldn’t give up a second of Wengers, or now Emery’s reign for a second of their time.

    I detest the prevelent British neandathal management attitude.

    2) Sometimes you do wish you’d heard that the powers that be at Arsenal had at least voiced concern but honestly, would it of done any good ? Personally I doubt it. They may even of done so and that’s why it just kept getting even worse ?

    I know you said you thought it a bit sad but I honestly think they were/are in a no win situation.

    The media hate Arsenal.

    The media run football.

    And it is that which is behind the way we are treated.

  14. @ Nitram
    Arsene Wenger ( if my memory is right ) did complain about how Arsenal games were being refereed the result of that was the 4 all draw at Newcastle , every supporter must remember that game .
    Barton was allowed to do what he liked and the two(2) penalties that they were awarded were beyond belief .
    He never complained about refs again

  15. I am unable to watch videos of match 49. I feel physically ill when I watch it. Normally, I try to balance my emotional responses with my more intellectual tendencies and find I am unable when watching that clip.

  16. The medja are strange, especially when combined with PGMO.

    Some managers seem to keep their players from hacking at opposition (Leicester this season?). Liverpool (and the spuds) seem to claim they don’t hack opponents; but I am not seeing that in the treatment data. Liverpool is average, and the spuds are “exceptional” (only exceeded by ManUre).

    I don’t know if there was ever a time when Arsenal were a dirty team.

    It may be that when Wenger first arrived with Viera here, that we were dirtier than we were.

    In any event, the idea that PGMO should be giving Arsenal cards for breathing on players probably started in about that era. When did the Fair Play League start?

    But what seems to be an ongoing philosophy, is that Arsenal _need_ to accumulate a lot of cards, so that the Fair Play League tends to show Arsenal as a dirty team. Which is justification for continuing to give Arsenal lots of cards.

    And the medja is in on this. The advice for every game to opposition, is to kick Arsenal as they don’t like it “up them”. But on the flip side; the medja constantly talk about how wimpy Arsenal are.

    The general public seems more than willing to eat this up. Arsenal are wimps if you play them and so you kick them; but look at how dirty Arsenal are – they get all these cards.

    Selective “vision”.


    I’m sort of caught up with the league. What other stuff should I throw in? The time of day the game starts? Who are the medja darlings? Who do the medja hate?

    I’ve been guessing that the PGMO/The (sweet) FA have a problem with Welsh teams in the EPL. Are there other problems?

  17. I would love to read a pro- BIGMOB article on this site. Am sure there are so many out there who believe that English refs are the best , are are honest and respectable , and a credit to their profession .

    Nearly every article on UA will have someone or the other defending the refs , and their decisions. And always take great pains(to us that is !) to point the error of our opinions .

    But I have yet to see an article singing the praises of refs . Unless of course, I may have totally missed it . If so, please do give us the link.

  18. goonersince72
    12/03/2019 at 4:01 pm

    I dislike all weapons specially guns. Love the gunners though.

  19. Steve Vallins

    I didn’t realise that that game followed Wenger complaining about refs. Is that definite? If so it does explain what I understand was yet another pigmob masterclass.

    I say ‘what I understand’ because I have never seen the 2nd half of the match.

    I saw the first half then had to work.

    I got a quick listen on the radio about 15 mins (or there abouts) into the 2nd half, and it was still 4-0.

    I was then busy again and got to switch the radio on at 5 to 5 to hear it was 4-4.

    I couldn’t believe it.

    After hearing the fallout I was sick. People I trusted said it was a disgrace. The media loved it.

    I couldn’t bring myself to watch it then and have never got round to it, assuming it’s out there somewhere.

    Not only were there 2 dodgy penalties but didn’t we have a late RVP goal ruled out for offside as well that was dodgy?

    As I say never seen it so not really in a position to comment but I will, if possible get round to having a look one day.

  20. Plus Diaby sent off for retaliating after a Barton foul which the ref chose to ignore.

  21. Steve Vallins

    Thanks for the reminder re Newcastle, another unmitigated travesty. Yes, AW did complain for all the good it did.
    Also in mentioning the ‘big’ clubs with foreign managers, I was saying that in the Media it’s ok for all those sides, they’re even praised, it’s just not ok for AFC. Why? Nitram said it best:

    “The media hate Arsenal. The media run football.”

    Any doubters?

  22. John L, a possible leg breaking challenge from Barton. His 2nd or 3rd in that match by the way… I even had a picture of it where you could see the bone bending inside Diaby his leg…. It could have snapped. Ref gave nothing….

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