By Tony Attwood
The Guardian newspaper, in common with other British newspapers, is not known for criticising referees, obeying, as it does, the dictates of PGMO that commentary on referee errors should be kept to a minimum and always considered as individual referee mistakes. Analyses of how many “errors” referees make, and what types of error these are are no more allowed than are any analyses of how different clubs are affected by dubious referee decisions.
As for a discussion on the entire notion of different types of match fixing, well, that is simply not within several light years of the agenda.
Which is why it was with total shock and amazement that, as I approach the end of my time in Australia visiting my daughter, I read, within the Guardian’s regular “things to watch out for” column concerning this weekend’s games, the headline “All’s not well with Attwell.”
They refer of course to the PGMO employee.
So out of the usual is this commentary that I feel I really have to repeat it in full. It doesn’t relate to Arsenal’s game with Newcastle, but it does indicate that it is just possible that the Guardian is going to break away from the shackles of what can and can’t be said about referees.
Here is the commentary in full. It relates to Manchester Utd 2 Watford 1 on 30 March and was written of course prior to the game…
“This will be the fourth time this season Stuart Attwell has refereed Manchester United, and the fourth time in history he has refereed Watford. There is nothing coincidental about this: he is probably fairly popular at Old Trafford, having given United a penalty on three of the past four occasions he has officiated their matches. The first time he refereed a Watford game, nearly 11 years ago, he awarded an infamous “ghost goal” to Reading. He has returned to Vicarage Road once since – five years ago. He wasn’t well received and hasn’t been asked back, and last officiated a Watford match in December 2014. As a result it is more than usually important that at key moments on Saturday he must be certain, and he must be right. Any game-changing decision in United’s favour that turns out to have been incorrect will surely prevent him from ever refereeing Watford games again. Will he be able to put this history to the back of his mind?”
My point is not to relate this preview to what happened in the match – but rather to point out that it was published at all. The publication of a preview which focuses on the historic behaviour of a referee is very rare indeed. Let us hope that this was not a one off.
Meanwhile looking at our game against Newcastle, the word is that Aaron Ramsey, Granit Xhaka and Nacho Monreal are all getting back to fitness. Monreal didn’t go on the hot weather trip, Ramsey didn’t play for Wales and Xhaka, having scored for Switzerland went off with 11 minutes left.
Looking forward to the Newcastle game, a possible team we might see could be…
Sokratis, Koscielny, Monreal,
Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Ramsey, Kolasinac,
Ozil, Lacazette, Aubameyang
More anon, if I find myself in a place with internet connection!
- The stupidest thing said about Arsenal this week
- WSL North London Derby – reflections on the game at the Emirates
- Arsenal have not got the youngest team in the PL. Or have they?
- Arsenal are the most fouled team in the Premier League. Why?
- Partey setback, AFC man hauled off, new C Ronaldo signing, Arteta desperate