By Tony Attwood
The ability of English commentators on football, be they professional or amateur, to kid themselves about what is happening around them, is overwhelming. For it is not just one thing that is seriously wrong with professional football in England, but a whole raft of issues. And yet they miss the lot!
So while waiting for the important match of the weekend to begin, (Arsenal v Tottenham – around 50,000 expected in the ground and it is live on BBC1 in the UK) I thought I might try and make a list of some of the main things that seem to me to be important in football and which journalists just cannot bring themselves even to contemplate, let alone debate.
1. The England’s men team is not worthy of our support
Arsene Wenger’s adage that international managers are like joy riding car thieves who take your precious vehicle, run it into the ground, return it to you wrecked and then demand that you repair it at your expense so they can repeat the trick in a couple of months, is as significant today as it was when he said it in 2006. Probably more so.
In fact, on hearing that the England team has just been relegated to division 2 of the Nations League, I hoped for one moment that it might mean that from now on international managers would only be able to select players from the Championship, but apparently not. The car thieves are still out there.
And no matter how good the Premier League, England lose or draw. Five in a row apparently. It would have been six, but that game was against Ivory Coast and England managed to beat them. No wonder most of Arsenal’s players don’t play for England, although it would be rather nice if they also didn’t go out and play for whichever country they identify with.
Except Norway of course: the one country where, from the off, footballers have stood up and called Qatar exactly what it is. An exploitative undemocratic state based on slavery. You can see why the FA has taken so long to disown it. It must be just their cup of tea.
OK, just in case you missed it, here are just a few articles from the many here, most of which include statistics to back up their claims to show that refereeing in the PL is incompetent, seemingly biased and possibly corrupt.
- Why are referees so biased against certain clubs? These figures are shocking
- Any suggestion that referees are accurate and consistent over fouls is a myth
- How the Premier League referees are biased: an analysis
- One English newspaper is openly critical of PL referees, and it offers a dire warning
3. Uefa and Fifa are both ok
Talk about wholesale corruption of football; just pick one of these or any other article on this site about Uefa and Fifa.
- In Switzerland Fifa is on the edge of being blown up. In England….?
- The Platini / Blatter / Fifa court case has just exploded
- To cover up its acceptance of Russia Fifa expands its powerbase even further
4. The creation of the super league was a little uprising by some greedy owners and has been put down once and for all by the power of the fans for the good of football.
It wasn’t. SuperLeague was a move against the increasingly appalling Uefa-PSG axis that is running football in Europe, by clubs that wanted to get control of the game back in their own hands. (Which is why PSG were never invited to the show). Sadly the media fell for the Uefa-PSG propaganda on the story, and it is only in the last couple of weeks that newspapers have even started to contemplate that Uefa is the bad guy in this equation. And they still haven’t got hold of the notion that the owners of PSG who control a lot of international broadcasting, and who were absolutely not invited to the show by the Super League clubs, are the real crooks in all this.
5. That England is one of the best teams in international football
For a national side that hardly ever wins anything, this has always been arrant nonsense, but the media keep on chugging along with the story, just in the hope that maybe one day it might be true. It won the World Cup when playing all its matches at Wembley Stadium. Other than that… nothing.
6. That the FA knows what it is doing.
That is true of course, it does know what it is doing. But unfortunately what it is doing is all wrong. It refused for years to act on child sex abuse in football, never admitted responsibility (although it was responsible for overseeing the well-being of children recruited by clubs), it destroyed women’s football by forbidding the use of grounds men played on, and is permanently in debt. It was even sued by the Charity Commission for failing to keep proper records, and by implication, not using money raised by the Charity Shield competition for charitable causes. Any other organisation would have been wound up. Somehow it survives.
- As another FA corruption story breaks it is clear the FA and Fifa deserve each other. But we don’t deserve either of them.
The FA is itself in debt but it is hard to find out by how much. Although we do know that it is still two years or more away from paying from Wembley stadium which was finished in 2007 and was shown to be unfit for purpose at the European Championship final in which some fans trashed the stadium and by-passed all the security (which the FA was responsible for). That showed clearly that it is not and has never been fit for purpose.
The FA doesn’t publish its accounts for us to inspect, but we do know that FA had total liabilities of £556 million at 31 July 2020,and had run up an overdraft on its current account of £250m. It has refused to give any further information on its money since.
I could go on, but would like a spot of lunch before the football starts, so I’ll leave it at seven. Let’s hope for a great game.
- 2022-23 WSL Arsenal v Spurs – Match Preview – part 1 the head to head record
- 2022-23 WSL Arsenal v Spurs – Match Preview – part 2 comments from the manager and team news
- Are Arsenal really making progress, or are we starting to slip back?
- Luton 3 Arsenal 4: maybe it is time to say positive things
- Luton v Arsenal – the referee, the team, Saka and Cliff Bastin
- Luton Town – how do they play the game. The tackles, fouls and cards.
- Luton Town v Arsenal: Grim football, fewest goals, lowest possession rate