Is anyone happy with football any more? And why players need personality tests

By Tony Attwood

Obviously we’re not happy, because Arsenal lost.  It’s always a downer.   But normally for each group of supporters who are down others are on the up.  And I guess fans of the four teams above us in the table at the moment, and quite possibly Tottenham, Leeds and Manchester City supporters are all thinking this is going ok.  But if any of us look beyond our own club, this doesn’t doesn’t look and feel like a great relief from watching the news on the pandemic.

Liverpool are asking for VAR to be reviewed, now that suddenly they are seeing the sort of VAR that most other clubs have experienced since its introduction.  In the commentaries on VAR there is no mention, of course, that PGMO delayed its introduction for a year, after  the rest of Europe got going with it, because they wanted to “get it right”.   Now it is affecting them directly, they’ve opened their eyes and are wondering.

They are probably also wondering how Pickford remained on the pitch, and how many more tackles like that their local rivals will get away with.

Anyone noticing that Manchester United will play PSG this week will be wondering just how far the “reformers” in the Premier League are going to push their plan for moving forward into a European superleague with no relegation from it and no promotion to it.

Chelsea fans may be wondering how it is possible to spend this much money in one summer and still not quite get the defence right, as so far this season they have let in seven more than Aston Villa, five more than than West Ham, four more than Tottenham and three more than Sheffield United and Arsenal.

Gary Neville will probably still be awake after no sleep at all from having got himself in a total lather about the Premier League clubs spending £1.2bn on transfers this summer while not offering the Championship, League One and Two some better support, and while forgetting that if they did, some Championship clubs would instantly spend all of it on transfers, and still be short of cash all season.

Meanwhile Sky, and the appalling BT Sprout hopefully will be wondering how, after all this time, they can’t make a decent fist of Pay Per View football.   I was pretty much out there on my own complaining about how last season I paid my £10 to watch a PPV game and simply couldn’t log on.   It took around 10 emails of complaint trying to get my £10 back, and then all I was offered was a credit note that lasted for three weeks.  I didn’t even bother to use it.

The Pay Per View system that is being used by the broadcasters is technically inept and broken before it began, and as far as I can see the chances of actually being able to watch a game that has a lot of interest in it, is only about 50%.  Until a fans’ group sues PPV en masse they will continue to get away with it.

According to the Mail, “BT insist this new model is not designed to line their pockets. Rather they are only covering their costs and trying to help an ailing sport…. Midway through the first half, commentator Ian Darke referenced a pre-match interview we’d not been shown; other viewers didn’t have commentary at all.

“… us mugs watching Box Office were treated to the sound of silence.  No wonder one Chelsea supporters’ group called on rivals to join their boycott of this latest show of ‘greed’. At a time when so many are struggling across society, this hardly felt like soothing medicine; ‘ridiculous’ and ‘atrocious’ were among the online reviews.”

The problem is that broadcasters have been getting away with it for so long, through always having a monopoly on their product, and ceaselessly supporting PGMO, they are now immune to criticism.  The only thing fans who don’t like pay per view can do is not view.

And then of course Manchester City invented a new rule.  If a nice player breaks a rule he should not be punished because he is nice.

And thus Sergio Aguero was not punished for grabbing assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis on the shoulder while disputing a throw in.  The Guardiola character said it was ok to grab the assistant because “Sergio is the nicest person I have met in my life. Look for problems in other situations, not in this one.'”

OK, so apart from covid tests before games players should also take personality tests, and the ones who come out as nice guys can break the rules about touching officials.  That sounds a bit stupid to me, but if Manchester City think it is ok, I guess it must be.

33 Replies to “Is anyone happy with football any more? And why players need personality tests”

  1. aguerro touched the assistant in not unfriendly way did not grab her although these days it might be considered patronising etc . arsenal should have had a penalty for walkers dangerous play

  2. Whether Aguero is a nice guy is not the question, it’s whether he would go have behaved in the same way if the lino had been a man. In the midst of a massive campaign against racism it seems that sexism is not called out or even recognised.

  3. VAR is not the problem, bad referees are the problem.

    The headline in the Mail shouts:


    It goes on to say:

    -VAR condemned for ruining derby.

    Now that’s where I have a problem. I contest it’s not VAR itself that’s ruining the game but rather it’s either the people operating it, or more often it’s still our terrible referees.

    Let’s have a look at the decisions they are talking about that VAR apparently got wrong and ruined the games.

    1) Pickford’s challange on Van Dijk

    If anyone’s to blame for this debacle surely it’s referee Michael Oliver and not VAR ? To not even Yellow card that challange is astonishing. But here’s the point, according to refereeing analyst Chris Foy VAR, couldn’t even get involved because:

    “VAR obviously agreed that the challenge was more reckless than serious foul play or violent conduct, and that would carry a yellow-card sanction rather than red. So, since VAR can only deal with red cards, not yellows, he wouldn’t have advised Oliver to go to the review area”.

    In other words, VAR did nothing wrong, it was Oliver who got it wrong by not issuing the appropriate Yellow card for Pickford’s ‘reckless’ challange. Now I agree it could be argued that Pickford’s challange was either ‘serious foul play’ or even possibly ‘violent conduct’ but that is just a matter of interpretation and not a clear and obvious error, so again VAR cannot, under present guidelines, get involved.

    So as much as people might not like it, especially those with an agenda against VAR, VAR did nothing wrong in incident 1.

    2) Henderson thinks he’s won the game for Liverpool only for Mane to be judged offside by a fraction following a lengthy VAR review.

    Now this IS apparently a technical problem with VAR itself due to TV frame speed as has been highlighted by The Mail On Sunday:

    “Sportsmail revealed in August last year that the frame rate of the broadcast cameras used by VAR, which run at 50 frames per second, is not good enough to rule on such marginal decisions. The VAR must take the frame which proves the ball has definitely been struck but the exact moment of contact, from which offside should be ruled, often comes somewhere between the two. Players can move up to 20cm between frames when running at full speed. Mane was moving much slower but as he and the defender were both moving as Thiago went to play the ball, there is no way VAR can be sure the frame used to judge the offside had the players in their actual positions at the point the ball was played.”

    So perhaps VAR isn’t fit for purpose when it comes to Offsides, at least when it comes to such very marginal Offsides. But surely the answer lies in there already in place directive of VAR only intervening when there is a ‘clear and obvious error’. That offside was anything but a ‘clear and obvious error ‘ so one has to ask, why was it ruled out by the guy on VAR duty who clearly flouted his own directive ?

    So VAR wasn’t the problem, rather the operator was, which leads one to ask, was it deliberate bias in Everton’s favour? Did he in fact deliberately cheat? Either way it was a terrible VAR call that clearly flouted VAR’s own directives.

    3) Arteta – ‘How the hell have you checked if you took two seconds’: Mikel Arteta reveals his furious reaction after VAR failed to take a second look at Kyle Walker’s high challenge on Arsenal defender Gabriel in Man City defeat.

    The point with this is, as it was only ever a possible indirect free kick (not a penalty), and possible Yellow card (not a red card), for dangerous play, it was never within VAR’s remit to review the incident. So again this is a refereeing error, for not awarding Arsenal an indirect freekick, not a VAR error.

    4) Sergio Aguero goes unpunished after accosting assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis as he disputes a throw-in during win over Arsenal

    This is what Chris Foy, the former Premier League referee, said regarding the rules: ‘The key words are “aggressive” and “confrontational.” The laws state, “it’s not unusual for players to come into contact with officials. As long as this is done courteously and not in an aggressive or confrontational manner there is no requirement for a referee to take action”.’

    So again it seems to me this is a refereeing issue as opposed to a VAR issue. It was up to the referee to decide as to whether Aguero was being ‘aggressive’ and or ‘confrontational’. Now that is subjective and people may have different views, the referees was, rightly or wrongly, that it was neither of the above and as such chose not to punish Aguero. Under VAR directives this would certainly not be seen as ‘a clear and obvious error’ so again VAR should not intervene.

    So almost none of these incidents are in actuality a problem with VAR. They are either problems with it’s operator, or more often with the referee, or failing that are actually incidents that VAR is precluded from intervening in, as per current directives.

    I believe the sad truth is our referees, or more accurately the PGMOL, ably supported by the media, DO NOT WANT VAR, and as such will do everything they can to undermine it by blaming it for what is actually simply poor interpretation, or more often than not, poor refereeing.

  4. Three minutes in to the Women’s match and McCabe has scored against Spurs. A fantastic free kick which arrowed into the top corner. Now six minutes in and Miedema has doubled our lead becoming the top scorer in the Women’s league in the process on 50 goals.

  5. Now three nil Foord and then a rarity with Miedema miskick when she looked odds on to score.

  6. 35 minutes in and Miedema has her second and our fourth. Prompts a double substitution from Spurs

  7. This is getting embarrassing for Spurs 41st Minute and Miedema has her third and out fifth. A simple tap in from an extremely unselfish Foord who could easily have scored herself but put it on a plate for Miedema.

  8. No more goals in the first half. Probably the best we have played this season. None of the sloppy misplaced passes and only one real error in front of goal.

    We now have 28 goals in four and a half matches and have only conceded three so +25 goal difference

  9. Spurs gifted a penalty early in the second half but Zinsberger guessed right and made a good save.

    Then a good save by the Spurs keeper to deny Foord a second.

    Spurs players starting to show their frustrations, challenges carrying more bite now.

  10. 64 minutes in andFoord has her second and our sixth. Miedema with a glorious pre assist her last action of the match as she gets an early sit down

  11. Nitram
    Sorry to disagree with you but the Walker high boot was a direct free kick offence, not indirect as you said and so should have resulted in a penalty being given. I remember Van Persie being sent off for a similar but less dangerous high challenge a few years ago, and there were two examples yesterday of high challenges which resulted in direct free kicks being awarded, one of them seeing a yellow card issued as well. Neither were nearly as high as Walkers. who practically took the ball in line with Gabriels face.
    incidentally it wasn’t even discussed on MOTD. What a surprise!

  12. Miedema with her 50th, 51st and 52nd WSL goals in her 50th WSL match.

    Six – one thrashing of Spurs. Not a bad Sunday afternoon!

  13. mick shelley

    No problem but it’s not me you’re disagreeing with, it’s the laws of the game you’re disagreeing with, which clearly state that:

    “An indirect free kick is awarded if a player plays in a dangerous manner”, which is what a high kick is classed as, Dangerous Play, and even then a high kick still may, or may not, be interpreted as dangerous play, depending on the proximity and danger to an opponent.

    So according to the Laws Of The Game, at worst a ‘high kick’ is an indirect free kick and a yellow card. The fact direct free kicks were awarded elsewhere for a ‘high kick’ just reemphasises my point about the incompetence of referees because, as I pointed out ‘dangerous play’ is not a direct free kick.

    According to The Laws Of The Game a direct free kick is awarded if a player commits an offence against an opponent that the referee deems to be careless, reckless or using excessive force.

    Look, I agree that had it been the other way round a penalty, and perhaps even a red card would almost certainly of been awarded, but the fact is, according to the Laws Of The Game he would of been wrong, as was the referee in the RVP incident you recalled, an incident I remember well, and have cited on here many times for the disgraceful miscarriage of justice it was.

    mick, you know as well as I do the fact an Arsenal player gets sent off often has nothing to do with the correct application of the Laws Of The Game.

    As for MOTD not even showing it, as you say, no surprise there.

  14. This is where you will find the relevant rules and Laws.—fouls-and-misconduct

    The following is what the Laws say in relation to Dangerous Play and Indirect Free Kicks.

    An indirect free kick is awarded if a player:

    -plays in a dangerous manner
    -impedes the progress of an opponent without any contact being made
    -is guilty of dissent, using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures or other verbal offences
    -prevents the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from the hands or kicks or attempts to kick the ball when the goalkeeper is in the process of releasing it
    -commits any other offence, not mentioned in the Laws, for which play is stopped to caution or send off a player

    An indirect free kick is awarded if a goalkeeper, inside their penalty area, commits any of the following offences:

    -controls the ball with the hand/arm for more than six seconds before releasing it
    -touches the ball with the hand/arm after releasing it and before it has touched another player
    -touches the ball with the hand/arm, unless the goalkeeper has clearly kicked or attempted to kick the ball to release it into play, after:
    -it has been deliberately kicked to the goalkeeper by a team-mate
    -receiving it directly from a throw-in taken by a team-mate

    A goalkeeper is considered to be in control of the ball with the hand(s) when:

    -the ball is between the hands or between the hand and any surface (e.g. ground, own body) or by touching it with any part of the hands or arms except if the ball rebounds from the goalkeeper or the goalkeeper has made a save
    -holding the ball in the outstretched open hand
    -bouncing it on the ground or throwing it in the air

    A goalkeeper cannot be challenged by an opponent when in control of the ball with the hand(s).

    Playing in a dangerous manner is any action that, while trying to play the ball, threatens injury to someone (including the player them self) and includes preventing a nearby opponent from playing the ball for fear of injury.

    A scissors or bicycle kick is permissible provided that it is not dangerous to an opponent.

  15. Nitram
    Thanks for your comprehensive explanation of the relevant law which has left me even more confused than ever, if that is possible. What I don’t get is the fact that you hardly ever see an indirect free kick given, it is very rare in the English game. I can’t recall the last time I saw one given.
    Surely not all of our refs are guilty of misinterpreting such a basic law so consistently.
    For heavens sake our refs are not that bad are they!!!!!!!
    Or maybe they are!!!!!!
    Maybe Walter can shed some light on it.

  16. West Ham come back from 3 – 0 down to equalize in the last minute at Spurs.
    Thank you God, you have made my weekend.

  17. mick

    I honestly think they are that bad. And the pundits are even worse. Their knowledge of the Laws/Rules is pathetic.

    Up until an incident a few years ago I was like yourself. I thought dangerous play was a direct free kick with the possibility of a Red card if serious enough.

    It appears my view was formed in a similar way to yourself in so much as there are hundreds of free kicks awarded for what would appear to be ‘dangerous Play’ and they seemed to me to ALWAYS invoke a direct free kick. I always thought Indirect Free Kicks were for obstruction and not much else.

    When I found out more was when Koschielny or Giroud, I cant exactly remember, scored an overhead kick that got a lot of scrutiny from the football World because many felt the goal should of been disallowed (there’s a surprise) because it was Dangerous Play. On the back of that debate a looked into the rules regarding overhead kicks and high kicks in general and saw that it was perfectly legitimate for the reasons I stated.

    It seems some of the referees need take a look at the Rules as well !!!

  18. It seems ‘The Special Ones’ tactical substitutions worked a treat……….for West Ham! Oh Dear🤣

  19. I’ve just put SKY Sports on to see Spurs get slaughtered as we would of done (Newcastle way anyone?) and as of this moment I haven’t heard a word said against them. They actually seem to feel sorry for them.

    Honestly the different way we are treated is unbelievable.

  20. Regarding the Pickford challange, after watching it a few more times and having a closer look at the Laws/Rules I have to say my first interpretation was wrong, reason being I took Foy’s defence of VAR as a credible defence, but looking a little deeper it was anything but.

    This is what Foy said in VAR’s defence:

    “VAR obviously agreed that the challenge was more reckless than serious foul play or violent conduct, and that would carry a yellow-card sanction rather than red. So, since VAR can only deal with red cards, not yellows, he wouldn’t have advised Oliver to go to the review area”.

    But the Laws of the Game actually say:

    -A direct free kick is awarded if a player commits any of the following offences against an opponent in a manner considered by the referee to be careless, reckless or using excessive force.

    Rule: Using excessive force is when a player exceeds the necessary use of force and endangers the safety of an opponent and must be sent off.

    It doesn’t even mention ‘Serious foul play’ or ‘Violent conduct’. What it does mention is the use of ‘Excessive force’, which quiet clearly is what Pickford used. So on reflection when Foy says “VAR obviously agreed that the challenge was more reckless than serious foul play or violent conduct, and that would carry a yellow-card sanction rather than red”, then VAR clearly failed to see the severity of the foul, despite seeing all the replays and angles we have, and SHOULD of seen it for a challange made with excessive force and therefore SHOULD of sent Pickford off.

    As for Carragher on SKY using the ‘he didn’t mean it defence’, it beggars belief.

  21. Nitram
    I am confused again when I hear you quoting Foy…
    “So, since VAR can only deal with red cards, not yellows, he wouldn’t have advised Oliver to go to the review area”.
    Arsenal have had a couple of yellow cards given to our players, Nketiah I think the last one, which have been upgraded to reds on the intervention of the VAR official. How on earth could Nketiah’s fairly innocuous challenge possibly be deemed worse than the appalling Pickford one.
    Also, there still seems to be a reluctance by the refs to make use of the pitch side monitor having been told the officials would be utilising it a lot more this season.

    As for Carragher with his ‘didn’t mean it’ you get the ‘but he got some of the ball’ defence from Glen Hoddle.

  22. mick shelly

    “Arsenal have had a couple of yellow cards given to our players, Nketiah I think the last one, which have been upgraded to reds on the intervention of the VAR official. How on earth could Nketiah’s fairly innocuous challenge possibly be deemed worse than the appalling Pickford one”

    Great point. The referees and VAR seem to make it up as they go along depending on their mood. And as for the media, they get uppity about it depending on who they think has been wronged. If it’s us they just skip over it, If it’s their beloved Liverpool all hell breaks loose.

    Amongst all the confusion, one things for sure, we still get screwed by VAR whatever way we look at it.

  23. Nitram
    Until the time comes when refs can be put in front of the cameras after a match and until such times as we have media people with the balls to ask the right questions and put the buggers on the spot, nothing will change.
    As things stand they can apply their own interpretations of the laws however they want with no questions asked; they are accountable to no-one but the crook Reilly, they don’t have to explain their decisions however wrong they appear to be.
    The gravy train just keeps rolling along and nobody with vested interests wants to risk derailing it.

  24. Nitram and company, this is where the necessity of the official to judge the extent of play becomes difficult, when they cannot use their opinion on whether the intent of the player was innocent or brutal. Reckless play is often dangerous since it involves excess force and effort that is not justified by the attempt to win the ball or defend against an opponent. Careless play is usually playing in a manner that ignores the well-being of opponents or teammates or even the guilty player themselves in order to ¨win¨possession of the ball or prevent an oppoinent from doing so. Dangerous play is pretty obvious, and Walker’s high boot in our game was, as the referee stated, clear dangerous play (most high boots in the face are, unless the victim bent down and was not in a safe position themselves) is an indirect free kick and possibly a caution.
    As far as Aguero touching Ms.Massey while arguing about a throw-in, this is a tempest in a teapot. She clearly did not feel threatened, harassed either sexually or psychologically and probably gently reminded Aguero to back off, as most competent assistants would do.
    We all know that 99% of the spectators, pundits, media types,players,coaches and managers on or off the field have very poor knowledge and understanding of the Laws of the Game and even less appreciation for the spirit and the letter of these Laws. It should come as no surprise that game officials can have inconsistent and even contradictory interpretations of the rules but one thing every decent official knows how to do is SELL their decision to these other, less well-informed participants. I am sure Walter will agree with that….

  25. The truth is that the PGMOL are not fit for purpose in that they are inconsistent and totally corrupt in their application of the laws.

    The BBC are complicit as they do not show all of the controversial incidents, specially those that are against Arsenal.

  26. I think the strange thing for me in this “was it or wan’t it” scenario is that unless VAR review something properly they cannot actually reach an informed conclusion. The idea that it has to be a red card offence for the to review it, means that they will have had to reach a conclusion BEFORE they actually carry out a review … in the case of Nketiah.

    On the subject of TV, what really riled me was watching Motd on Saturday night (yes, I know, I shouldn’t torture myself!). There was an incident in a game before ours where the commentator stated, “that was a dangerous foot up so had to be a free kick and a yellow card” or words to that effect. The pundit alongside agreed without hesitation. I agreed too. the thing is, the foot was not as high or as close to the opponents head as the Walker incident in our match. Yet commentator, pundit and those muppets in the studio said little or nothing about it. An absolutely sickening level bias yet again.

  27. This is off topic, but FIFA is not having things its own way in the courts.

    judgement day

    A judgement that could set a precedent in the war against corruption in football, although the Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister is not happy with the outcome.

  28. Nitram,

    Foy is just a stooge put on the TV to sugar-coat the errors or indiscretions made by the referees/VAR. The media go along with this charade.

    They use VAR when it suits their agenda. They don’t use VAR when it suits their agenda. VAR is not the problem. The people operating it are the problem.

    I think the point about the frame rates used by VAR was made on this forum quite a few years ago by one of the posters. He specialised in modelling data using perl/python and had a farm in Canada? I can’t remember his name at the moment.

    Andrew Crawshaw,

    Did you notice Spurs’ rotational fouling tactics in the Women’s game? I think they committed 17 fouls to our 6. They must have learned that from the men’s team

  29. Seismic

    Of course I realise Foy is on the pay roll and treat anything he says with the scepticism it deserves, but to use his analysis as a point of reference is not only at least a place to start, but very revealing, for as you suggest he is but a stooge and does, as I pointed out quote Laws/Rules as and when it suites, and often wrongly, as I also showed.

    Also as I have said many times as well, of course VAR is only as good as the guy operating it.

    But the point is they want these vagaries. When it suits they want to be able to look at a Nketiah or PEA incident again if they feel they got off lightly and issue the retrospective red card accordingly, but they also want to say ‘We couldn’t look at that because blah blah blah’ when they don’t want to be in the position of issuing an obvious retrospective red as per Pickford.

    Yes everyone’s confused but when chaos reigns people who wish to manipulate and corrupt (PGMO) can get away with anything, and that is, at the end of the day how the PGMO like it.

    And lets be honest, normally that’s how the media like it because usually, as we can attest, it is us getting screwed by these nuances of interpretation, it’s just that some how VAR have upset the mighty Liverpool this time, and as we all know, that just wont do.

  30. Nitram

    I agree with everything that you say. The Invincibles taught these guys a lesson they will neither forget nor forgive, and “outcome management” now seems to be the order of the day. 2015-2016 was a “good” example of this approach, as was Game 50.

    It would be interesting if we could see Hackett, or perhaps Clattenberg appearing as the refereeing “expert” on the TV, but I don’t think they would be allowed to participate by the PGMOB/EPL/TV cartel.

  31. Why Hackett or Clattenberg? OMGArsenal or Walter would be better placed and more effective.

    Some of the referees from South Africa might be excellent judges as they have a good understanding of the Laws and have no fear of honesty.

    The scum that is caught being unacceptable to sport in UK seem to be perfectly placed to work for the modern day slave traders. The corrupt are treated with select vision.

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