By Tony Attwood
It’s funny; we’ve been alerting the media for years and years that there is something seriously wrong with the standard, consistency and secrecy of refereeing in England, and they have refused to take note.
But today, in a match in which Arsenal snatched victory in injury time, the one national broadcaster in England covering the game, ended the match with a long rant against the quality of refereeing. It wasn’t a case of suggesting there were “one or two things the referee might want to have a look at afterward,” but a serious and long rant against the ability of the referee to see basic issues and know the laws of the game.
Of course I don’t hear all the radio coverage Arsenal matches – in days when I am allowed to go, I actually am there myself watching the game. But I can say that normally there isn’t a word against the referee and there hasn’t been since the moment Alan Green suddenly changed his approach at BBC Radio 5 Live, without any explanation.
True, the commentators did not actually call the referee bent or biased, but both the commentator and co-commentator on Talk Sport joined in a solid rant about the basic ability of the referee to do his job, and called for an enquiry.
Now we do know that TalkSport has a very serious anti-Arsenal agenda that they are following – as can be seen from their headline story recently that “David Luiz has cost Arsenal £24MILLION in one season.”
What the radio station did with that commentary was typical of the weasle-mannered approach that they seem to want to adopt. For having told us in the headline that “David Luiz has cost Arsenal up to £24million for just one season,” in the text they added “according to reports.”
They then went on to say “However, the 33-year-old has failed to provide the necessary maturity befitting a veteran defender such as himself at the heart of the notoriously leaky Gunners’ defence.”
So let’s start there. Here is a league table in the order of goals conceded
As most people (except those working at TalkSport) can see Arsenal are on a par with Chelsea and Tottenham. But have you heard TalkSport talking about the notoriously leaky Chelsea defence, or that of Tottenham? Maybe I missed it, but I don’t recall that comment.
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What they have claimed however is that Arsenal paid “as much as” £8m to intermediaries in order to bring David Luiz to the club. But no details of that alleged payment has ever been given, and more recently any publication commenting on it, has dropped the allegation, perhaps realising that payment to intermediaries such as agent above the set fee of 5% is illegal, as part of the rules aimed at stopping third party ownership of players.
If there were evidence that Arsenal had paid anything like this amount there most certainly would have been an enquiry. But there has not.
When it ran the story on its web site the radio station blamed to notoriously meandering The Athletic (the magazine that ran the hilarious story about a new Arsenal club being set up to reflect the history of Arsenal, while getting all the details such as the location and name of the original club wrong) as the source.
So there we have it. A wild rant against Arsenal, again. Totally ludicrous suggestions about Arsenal having a terrible defence (it’s not as good as we would like but is the same as Chelsea and Tottenham and they never suffer the same ranting) and suggestions of gross incompetence by the referee (which might be right – I was not there so could not see – but if it was right, it was something that we see all the time with the benefit going against Arsenal – which Talk Sprout never seem to notice at all.)
All in all a shocking display by the broadcaster.