Daily Telegraph presents completely false data to try and bolster FA’s case

By Tony Attwood

Of course no one has a monopoly on stories in football, but it always nice to be a little ahead of the game.   It is even better to find that in order to argue against my point, one of the most esteemed newspapers in the UK is forced to use nonsensical numbers of false comparisons.

Thus it was when on 5 February this year I ran a little piece that was headlined, “The eight key questions that journalists won’t ask” in which the first of the eight questions was, “Does the home grown rule help England?”

My opening paragraph of the story which I have touched on in the past, without it seeming to have much impact on the high and mighty in the world of journalism (or come to that in the world of football itself), ran…

“There is no evidence that ensuring that Premier League clubs have a set number of players who qualify for England in their squad actually helps England do well.  Many countries that do better than England in international football (often despite having much smaller populations) don’t have such rules.  Yet I can’t recall any media questioning of the validity of this rule.  Why is that?”

And then just three days later on 8 February Sam Wallace, the Chief Football Writer (no less) of the Daily Telegraph ran a piece with the headline, “Abandoning homegrown rule after Brexit could benefit both Premier League clubs and the England team”

The article points out, “The FA wants to raise the number of homegrown players in a squad from its existing level of eight to 12, with no work-permit restrictions on the other 13.”

The Telegraph argues that, “The answer will have to come from a compromise which recognises that what matters are game-time minutes for England qualified players [EQPs] rather than this dreary battle over the numbers in a squad.”

No evidence is presented to show this would help, or even why it would help. And there is no attempt to look at what other nations do, and encourage their home talent to go and play in other countries in order to get the hang of foreign football?  After all if it works for Sweden, Russia, Croatia, France, Belgium and the like, why not for England?

But it turns out, all that is a blind – a load of nothingness to make sure we don’t actually focus on the huge misuse of logic and numbers that follows, when the author continues…

“After the 25th round of matches this season, the percentage of total minutes played in the Premier League by England-qualified players stood at 34.4 per cent, up from the all-time low of 29.9 per cent last season. The corresponding figure for this season among the big six clubs falls to 27.2 per cent.”

And what is wrong here is the same as is wrong in so many pieces in the media that we look at: the figures are not put into context.  In fact what they are compared with is the fact 60% of Spain qualified players play in Spain.  50% of France qualified players play in France.   More than 40% of Italy and Germany qualified players play in their home countries.

But that is not the same as a measure of minutes played by England qualified players.  A quick look at the club rosta and we can see that the actual comparison number if 95%.

Let me do that again.

60% of Spain qualified players play in Spain.  50% of France qualified players play in France. 95% of England qualified players play in England.

Now was the Chief Football Writer of the Telegraph deliberately attempting to mislead us by NOT making a proper comparison?  It looks like it, because I am sure he is a literate chap.  But he is comparing the percentage of players who play in a country of origin in every other case, with the number of minutes played, in the case of England.  It is not a like for like comparison at all!

Why has he written this?  The answer can only be the same as the reason that the esteemed Amy Lawrence ran her notorious “Arsenal have only two players scoring in double figures”, piece .  In both cases the statement was true but in each case it was utterly misleading.  (Ms Lawrence you may recall put a huge negative emphasis on Arsenal’s achievement, when in fact having two players scoring in double figures in the top 25% of the League).

In the Telegraph’s case when Sam Wallace, who perhaps I may repeat, is not just any old football writer but is the Chief Football Writer of the highly esteemed Daily Telegraph, is either having a dodo moment or is deliberately misleading us.  I would go with the latter, since an eminent newspaper like the Telegraph has checkers and proofers and whatnot, and between them they must have noted this twisting of reality.

Quickly, the piece goes on, and notes “The FA has one card to play, its endorsement to government which, for now, still takes the view of the 156-year-old governing body.”

Ah but now we may ask, if the view of the FA and indeed the government was worth more than the leftovers in the pig sty, the Daily Telegraph would not be reduced to using hugely misleading commentaries like this one.

I have regularly argued that the media is being used to manipulate football reality and get supporters to see the game in particular ways that suit either the media, or (in this case) the authorities.  When I started this series of articles I had no idea the Telegraph would oblige me so quickly with such a perfect example.

This is not one of my, “why are they not talking about these important issues like referees and PGMO?” pieces, but a deliberate attempt to manipulate the story to influence fans into supporting a wholly unsupportable proposition.

The Telegraph, and its chief football writer should be utterly ashamed.  Certainly both have lost all credibility, and if the FA had had any credibility left, it would have now lost it.  But it had none, so it hasn’t.

9 Replies to “Daily Telegraph presents completely false data to try and bolster FA’s case”

  1. @ Menace

    Moss is the dimwit that gave us 7 yellows for a team total of 13 fouls (including two yellows for two fouls for Maitland-Niles) against Villa earlier this season. Meanwhile Villa committed 15 fouls and had to wait until the 83rd minute for the one and only card. Two of our players picked up yellows without committing a foul whilst the (Villa) player who committed the most fouls of any player in the game escaped without one.

    All in all a pretty incompetent performance by the official.

  2. I have pointed out Moss’s inconsistency a couple of times this season.

    Some of you may recall early in the season I pointed out Moss having a quite word with a Man Utd player who’d had a blatant off the ball tug of a players shirt.

    A clear booking under current rules.

    You may also recall I said at the time a quite word was okay as long as he did it for every team.

    The Villa debacle followed shortly after, a game in which no such latitude was extended to us.

    Just a few weeks ago I pointed him out again for doing exactly the same thing.

    The guy is a cheat. End of.

  3. Mikey

    You may recall, you, I, and some others, were discussing Moss’s incompetence and inconsistancy right after that Villa Match in the ‘MOTD Goes Highly Misleading Over Arsenal Penalty’ article on the 27/9/19.

    Specifically referring to the AMN cards I said:

    “John Moss is the ref I pointed out on here early in the season that following a blatant off the ball shirt pull just had a quiet word.

    At the time I said I have no problem with that as long as he does it to everyone.”

    That was referring to the following comment I made after an incident in the Wolves v Man Utd match on August the 19th:

    “……the other night I saw John Moss have a word in a players ear following an of the ball shirt tug.

    Now as far as I’m aware a shirt pull is a card. But honestly have I got a problem with what Moss did?

    Not really, as long as he’s consistent.”

    Did it take a genius to know that Moss wouldn’t apply such latitude to an Arsenal player?

    No. You just have to know that Moss is a cheating b*****d.

    And to rub salt in the wound, as I pointed out at the time, he did the very same ‘word in the ear’ thing the other day for the very same offence.

    Moss is a cheat. End of.

  4. On twitter a year ago Moss asked if I was calling him corrupt and I answered in the affirmative. The chicken livered cheat didn’t get back but dissappeared off twitter.

    I am glad that some players have the balls to face up to these corrupt cheating minions.

    The question remains: Will the EPL & FA take action?

    I’m sure they being just as corrupt will sit on their hands with a carrot stuck up every oriface!

  5. Menace.

    Similarly to how it seems the media are going all defensive in reaction to Tony’s excellent series of articles about the ‘weaponization’ of fans, that’s exactly what happens whenever there’s a hint of the referees getting a bit of stick.

    I expect anytime soon SKY and or BT Sports, Talkshite to have one of their little PGMOL, Referee Love-ins, where they’ll have a couple of media talking heads talking to a couple of the ex but still on the payroll referees telling us how they are now, with the advent of VAR getting 105% of decisions correct.

    We have the best referees in the World don’t you know !

    That’s what these people do. They circle the wagons, tell us a complete crock of S**t, nothing to see here, and move on to the nearest watering hole, often as not The Toppled Bollard, and give themselves a lovely little pat on the back, as well as a pint of Scotland’s finest of course.

    They’re all just a bunch of self loving, self serving trough feeders.

    It’s hard to know who are the worst:

    The incompetent or just plain corrupt PL, FA, Fifa etc.

    The secretive, cheating PGMOL and it’s refs.

    The self serving, agenda driven hacks that are disgracefully complicit in all the above.

    Football stinks.

  6. A quick glance at headlines, it looks like Moss will not be investigated. Madley and Coote failed fitness tests, so cannot be named to be FIFA refs. They should fail because they are from PGMO, not because they aren’t physically fit.

    I suppose it is possible to have a non-emotional conversation with someone on twitter, but I suspect most aren’t. But, for a referee to be told that they were corrupt in calm dialogue should be troubling. Instead, it appears just another case of lift the rug and sweep details away.

  7. Gord

    “A quick glance at headlines, it looks like Moss will not be investigated”.

    Of course he wont, but only when it suits it seems.

    The Mirror 17th Feb 2014

    Arsenal vs Liverpool ref Howard Webb escapes demotion over his FA Cup stinker

    “Webb fails to give Liverpool second penalty and also decided not to give a second yellow card to the Anfield giants’ captain Steven Gerrard in the same fifth round tie.

    But the Premier League are reluctant to demote officials to matches in the Football League unless they have a bad run of games rather than what are deemed to be one-off errors.”

    ——-Are they ?

    Telegraph 17th August 2015.

    “Lee Mason relegated to fourth official role after Coquelin red card furore in Arsenal clash with Crystal Palace. The referee was widely criticised for failing to send off Arsenal midfielder, who committed a number of clear fouls whilst on a yellow”.


    Unless of course it was just Arsenal that benefited. Ok it was a demotion to 4th official and not to the Championship, but a demotion none the less as well as a clear message to Mason, and all the other referees, to know just what is and isn’t expected of them when it comes to Arsenal.

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