Oi Ref …. You Don’t Know What You’re Doing

It is only fair to say from the outset that if you are not interested in the way we fans are involved in the running of our favourite sport, and the idiosyncrasies of referees — do not read on! :-)

We have from time to time on AA discussed refereeing inconsistencies with heated debate frequently ensuing and the antics of the officials this week end should make them hang their heads in shame.

r1For the most part, reasoned and mature debate is the default setting on this venerable blog site and all manner of opinion is tolerated and aired to prove or disprove points of view.

But why do we depend on expressing our opinions to justify our individual views, or to prove a point, however dubious, and what is the value of an opinion anyway?

Well opinions do have substantial value, in the right context, but let’s be candid, we are only really interested in those opinions that please us, by which we mean agrees with our own views, and sod the ‘value’.

Does that mean we do not value the potential worth of constructive criticism? Not necessarily, because opinions can have a much wider impact and importance.

It is important to note here that not all fans have the same value judgments, and that some fans can treat opposing opinions rather more roughly than is really necessary.:-)

It is a truism that some of us may struggle with what value to attach to an opinion that contradicts our own biased stance. This notion is important to resolve, but in any event it should be a matter of pride that our opinions are essentially the bedrock of civilisation in ways we do not always immediately recognise.

Take statute Law. In the UK this is Law passed by the elected members of Parliament and this, together with Laws passed in other Countries are a fundamental necessity for the smooth running of this and every other civilised society.

This form of Law is normally committed to writing, to avoid misunderstanding , and in and of itself is pure, in so far as language can make it so.

Unfortunately, problems can still arise because of verbal or written ambiguity which is endemic in all languages, not least English, especially where it involves definitions governing the practical application of Law upon society.

Ambiguity inevitably leads to hypocrisy as an inevitable consequence of allowing an opportunity for ‘interpretation’ of meaning by those in a position of power.

As a result, the Law can be seen to bend itself to those in power like the branches of a tree flinch in a high wind, and precisely how the law is interpreted and applied depends on the whims of those in power which, in turn, results in the Law becoming twisted and perverse.

Now that leads us back to an inevitable conclusion that laws are, at base, just a set of formalised opinions, approved by the electorate.

This means that the Law should be formalised as the result of the informed opinions of the electorate for the proper and ‘peaceful’ governance of society, or, for that matter, of any other institution which implements laws or rules to ensure strong and impartial governance of its members.

There are those who will contest the use of the word ‘peaceful’ in this context, as many will view the imposition of the Law as having, at its core, the subjugation of those without power who are unable to introduce or amend the Laws which govern them except through the offices of those in authority.

Others will say this is not so, and that the introduction or maintenance of Laws, or rules, are necessary for the mitigation of damages or the decreeing and enforcement of punishments for anti-social behaviour.

OK, let us stop for a moment and consider what we have discussed, so far.

Opinions do have intrinsic value in arriving at a system of Law that helps govern society, and also the rules for the administration of institutions. These Laws then impose the rules that govern acceptable behaviour in society at large, or the judicial operation of institutions and other authoritative bodies.

As a natural fallout from this, there is an implied need to protect every individual within society, and the members of institutions, from harm, both physical and mental.

My personal concerns over this whole subject is that, in practise, Laws can sometimes be seen to decide which forms of oppression are allowed, and because man made laws are subject to those in power, and oppression then becomes a right for them over those who have little or no power.

That might seem to be an overtly political point of view, :-) but it has a direct correlation to football, and how it is run, and that is the only matter under discussion here.

The governance of football, whether from its highest authority, FIFA, or its application by one of its incumbent bodies, UEFA or the Premier League, and through them the referees body PGMOL, is in effect a form of oppressive authoritarianism, and its intent is to protect their own dominance by manipulating the power of member clubs and to impose rules on the game and on the conduct of the players, all of which, in the final analysis, directly affects us, the fans, and we have no say whatsoever in this process, other than to voice our concerns in forums such as this.

To keep this state of affairs in a sustainably stable and rigidly enforceable grip, one of the first tasks of FIFA and the other authorities has been to belittle the views or opinions of those, like you, who disagree with their manipulation of the beautiful game, (take the award of the World Cup venues for example) and they have succeeded to a great degree in doing so because those of us who seek another way to run the game are usually either unwilling or unable to articulate those views for fear of being mocked for expressing them.

That then is the rub.

For those few who do stand up to be counted often take umbrage at being ridiculed for lacking in perspicacity or acumen only gives an excuse for the massed ranks of the authorities to descend en masse to ritually and publicly humiliate and annihilate the disaffected ‘fools’ as we are seen, and thereby re-establish their control and authority, which, of course, is intended to protect their own vested interests, of which the primary one is the powerful assertion of absolute oppression, by the application of their laws and the elimination of any dissension.

None the less, the expression of our opinions on public forums such as AA is a necessary first step to ensure that the footballing authorities in this country, and elsewhere, are made aware of our concerns and the need for what we see as the beneficial and transparent application of just rules. :-)

Keep blogging, keep your opinions forthright, keep on keeping on! :-)

Written by RA (Red Arse)

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156 Responses to Oi Ref …. You Don’t Know What You’re Doing

  1. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Help RA!!!!

    I am not remotely interested in fans having anything to do with the running of the beautiful game, or referees, so you have told me I can’t read on.

    But I want to, so up yours, I’m going to anyway :-)

  2. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I agree

  3. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Or not :-)

  4. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Always remember one thing though, any man who wants to wear a black uniform was bullied at school, and is bent on revenge. The sad creature craves power, so giving him a badge and a whistle is always going to end in tears.

  5. Manthan says:

    RA, Very good Post!!

    I was watching one video yesterday, Dont know how many people remember free kick of Henry against Wigan? when he scored a free kick refree ruled it out for some reason then again he took free kick and scored and then he replied Is the Enough or you want more? :D :D

  6. Rasp says:

    Thanks Redders, for a journey beneath the surface into the psychology of the importance expressing an opinion.

    I hear what you say, we should all keep on about things we think are wrong (the reluctance to use instant video replays for important decisions) and things we think are right (FFP)

    The cynic in me says , yes opinions carry a lot of weight …. but money is by far the single most influential factor :(

  7. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Micky, I agree too, but what to I don’t know, or like you I may not agree too, to what I’m disagreeing to.

    Now I’ve got a mug of coffee I’m going to read RA’s post again, then I’ll know if I agree or not with Micky. :D

  8. Norfolk Gooner says:

    I definitely agree with Rasp, money, the single most influential factor.

  9. Rasp says:

    Oh dear, I’ve just done the maths using the ‘comparison of fixtures’ widget in the right hand column.

    Assuming we get maximum points against the newly promoted teams. Our results in the remaining fixtures would have to be a considerable improvement – and they will be :P

    The corresponding 17 games last season yielded 24 points out of a possible 51 = 47%

    We won 6, drew 6 and lost 5

    Luckily we know that statistics are not gospel and the changes between this season and last are immense.

    Last year we lost at home to Swansea; lost away to Norwich and the totts; we drew away at Southampton and Stoke …. these are all results we do not expect this season …. let’s hope :?

  10. Norfolk Gooner says:

    I pretty much agree with all you have said RA, and I like the belief you show in the final paragraph, however, I don’t think the powers that be spend too much time poring over the numerous blogs, even ones as good and rational as Arsenal Arsenal.

    A favourite term used by organisations like FIFA and UEFA when referring to interested parties is “stakeholders”, by using this term they avoid highlighting the identity of people and organisations which have direct influence on decisions. In no particular order clubs, broadcasters, sponsors, leagues, national associations, player’s unions, etc. I suspect that the poor old football fan is pretty low down the totem pole when it comes to influence.

    As a matter of interest, try sending a polite e mail asking a single pertinent question to any of the main governing bodies, FIFA, UEFA, The FA, The Premier League, the PGOML, just see what response you get!

    Mikhail Gorbachev introduced Glasnost to the Soviet Union in the second half of the 1980s, something similar needs to be done in football.

  11. fatgingergooner says:

    Not a clue what I’ve just read! :)

    Anyway, I just wanted to take a moment to laugh at Spurs, who are apparently now selling some of the ‘great signings’ they made recently.

    Rumour has it Capoue could be off to Napoli, Chadli is up for grabs, and Holtby also wants out!

    Not sure how this fits in with today’s blog, but my opinion is that Spurs are s**t and their transfer dealings are even worse!! :)

  12. Rasp says:

    Hi FGG, maybe if Daniel Levy worried more about the quality of his signings and less about blocking our potential signings, the swamp dwellers would have got a better return for their wasted £110m … you gotta laugh :lol: :P :)

  13. Shard says:

    Contrary to what I said earlier my dear gentle giant (Per-lite?Per-heavy?) I agree with everything you say here. Both in general terms and specific to refereeing in football.

    I would agree with you as regards the power of opinion. While money remains the single most important factor, the opinion of the people drives the money into the game. If the widespread opinion of the public were to become unfavourable towards the game and how it is run, the money would go out. There is a reason clubs in Germany do not increase ticket prices too much, despite being in need and/or being able to charge more. It is not largesse. It too, is to do with money. But in this case economics dictate that fans be kept in consideration. (as also the perception that they take care of fans..since this should bring more fans. ie more money)

    This is because of the structure of the Bundesliga. Now that is where I feel a little frustrated with your stand. Sorry to bring this up and using a vague historical example to make a point, but in the struggle for Indian independence, in the early 20th century, there appeared a split between what came to be known as the moderates and the extremists. The moderates still believed in the form of prayer and petition to the power centre in order to introduce what would be, in the long term, mutually beneficial changes. The extremists believed this wouldn’t happen because they were too entrenched in the current system and its values. Hence they advocated more direct and forceful action, like mass demonstrations etc

    I am not suggesting blood running through the streets, but relying on the PGMOL to take on board constructive criticism of their organisational structure is in my view, a false hope. Despite the (slightly) increased media focus on refs, their decisions, and how they are employed and run, I believe that to only be a safety valve so as to not let the ‘extremists’ among the public guide the debate. Whatever they cede to their critics will only be the minimum they feel they can get away with. Plus, there are way too many interest groups and way too much money swimming around in football for there not to be corruption, and because of that influence, even their (PGMOL’s) hands might be tied.

  14. RA says:

    Morning my fellow Arsenal lovers, and thank you for not figuratively burning down the blog in protest at an indigestible Post!c:-)

    I can explain how that Post came into being and also how we can improve the current situation if you are all willing to lend a hand. :-)

    Look, I was having a coffee recently, with nothing special to do, and I got to thinking that because of time differences I was not as involved with AA as I had been previously, for good or ill, and it got me to thinking that if I could crack the problem of time travel, I could do my thing here in the US and also in the UK at pretty much the same time.

    Where to start I mused while idly running my finger around the rim of my coffee cup? Well, the AA crowd are a well known bunch of intellectuals, and I figured if I started the ball rolling they could help me out when I got stuck, and then they could share in the wealth we would have as as we wreaked havoc on the travel industry by whizzing fans here and there at the speed of light or backwards in time.

    (The latter could be useful when engaged in nooky and then whizzing back before it happened, so to speak, and the Mrs or the girlfriend would never know!! :-) )

    As you may well remember from one of my earlier Posts on Quantum Physics, that that is the place to start this venture, as at base, it posits the concept that no event is definite, and anything is possible because every event possesses a degree of probability.

    This means, if this concept is played out, that Quantum Physics challenges the accepted convention that time only travels forward. (1 o’clock, 2 o’clock et seq.)

    While I was tapping these ideas into my iPhone to send as a comment to AA, I thought to myself (well who else I suppose?) :-) that you would want to refresh your memories as to some accepted facts that defy conventional thinking, but would work very well with my lateral time shift theory.

    You will recall that atomic particles can behave weirdly, or to be honest they behave like a celibate Terry in a harem, in that some appear in laboratory conditions to be in two places at the same time.

    Other particles appear capable of travelling faster than the speed of light, and even more interestingly some appear to go back in time. The last two observations, in particular, might move our project on nicely if we can figure out the how and why of them.

    What may be at play here is another concept that we all know as the ’space time warp’ beautifully explained by the theory of relativity in which space can be affected by gravity, among other things, which causes the stretching and warp of time, and this may be the way to our fame and fortune!

    Then I got distracted by the abysmal refereeing performances and that is why I jotted down some thoughts on referees and why we are where we are (time shift again?) :-) with the authorities doing what they want, and ignoring the wants, needs and expectations of the common fans.

    Sadly that comment has now been inflicted on you as a Post and you have my abject apologies for that rather turgid essay.

    Of course once we have cracked the time shift project I can come back and removed that literary carbuncle from the backside of AA. :-) and we won’t care anyway because we will all be rich!!

    P.S. The one saving grace is that you will not have Quantum Physics deposited in your laps.

  15. GunnerN5 says:

    RA,

    There ought to be a law against allowing such an intelligent post to be published on a football blog. I have enough trouble keeping up with the offside law let alone a thesis on the philosophy of law.

    However thank you for shocking my brain into action so early in the morning – I read it at 5:00am and went back to sleep – exhausted (lol)

    One thing that has always struck me about laws in general is that they are typically old even archaic and do not keep up with the times. Football “laws” are a perfect example of this issue, the governing bodies hang onto the existing levels of authority over their prey (fans) like a Crocodile hangs onto a helpless Zebra.

    I, like many, of us get really upset by some (seemingly) unjust decisions that go against us , but I refuse to believe it’s caused by collusion or corruption, at least until its proved otherwise. My belief is that the poor beleaguered referee needs help and that critical decisions, perhaps start with red cards and penalties, are reviewed prior to them taking effect during the game. Yes I know this will “slow” the game down a tad but in the end isn’t the right decision being made more important than the referee’s singular authority?

    I could write a book on what changes I would like to see in the game – but I will resist doing so.

  16. GunnerN5 says:

    RA;

    My comments usually have the effect on fellow bloggers of not blogging , I hope that effect is not in force today.

  17. RA says:

    A well constructed and well argued case, my dear Shard. :-)

    Your mention of the stresses and splits among the activists during the campaign for India’s Independence fits very well into my theory that a minority (the British Government) were perceived to be oppressing a subjugated majority (the Indian people) by resisting attempts to have their authority overthrown and addressing the needs of those who wanted a say in their own governance.

    The result was that the opinions of the majority eventually made those in authority backdown (let’s leave the merits of how that was achieved to one side) and the power was rightly transferred to the indigenous people.

    You see, from a subdued ground swell of opinion over a long period of time, there eventually came an overwhelming cacophony of sound showing the irrepressible demand for change.

    That is all a bit political, which is what I was trying to avoid, but the principle holds true with our relationship with the football authorities.

    They (FIFA etc) have already shown that they do eventually change their stance when enough people make their feelings known, and as Rasper says, the goal line technology, as an example, took a long time coming, but the voices of the fans eventually won out!! :-)

  18. RA says:

    Hi GN5, :-)

    Thank you for your kind words, not that I deserve them.

    I am more in accord with your views on referees, in that I believe the majority are inherently honest although human nature being what it is, I am sure some people are tempted to be naughty,

    The solution is as you say, to help the referee by removing them from contentious and sometimes provocative decisions by the use of technology that has the additional benefit of making the decisions more transparent to the watching fans.

    By the way, perhaps my comment on Quantum Physics is more to your liking, and I am sure that one day some amazing life changes will become normal to our descendants. :-)

    (For example, we could all come back to meet each other as young men and be better able to compare the great footballers of the past that you wrote about in your summer series, with their modern equivalents!).

  19. RA says:

    Micky,

    Your 10:07 brilliantly sums up why the core values and attitudes of referees are so different to that of most fans.

    DISCLAIMER:

    Any bloggers who are referees and like wearing black outfits and being autocratic, please address your views to Micky Who Dunnit. :-)

  20. chas says:

    Excellent stuff, RA.

    That Alan Turing pardon case comes to mind.

    Oh, and we all know that FIFA and UEFA are utter dicks, intent on lining their own pockets and little else. . :)

  21. RC78 says:

    Excellent post and love the comments about Tottenham signings…In the end, there is the “luck factor” that comes into the game and within the luck factor, you can include “Ref performance” since a great ref can have a bad day or you got to deal with a lousy ref…This is not under our control. The only thing that we master is our own performance and the rest is really outside our scope of influence so let us focus on winning our games and hoping for the best…Come on Gunners!

  22. chas says:

    Roger Lloyd pack has passed on.

    Do you like Only Fools and Horses, RA?

  23. Shard says:

    RA

    I already agreed with you on the power of opinions. It was merely the difference in pace of the change brought about by the manner in which the opinion is expressed where I felt frustrated with your patient stance.

    A few entities and examples showing how football isn’t run as a sport:
    70% of Neymar’s transfer fee went to a company owned by his parents with the complainant stating “the true beneficiaries of the €40m paid to a company owned by Neymar’s father are unknown”. This brings up issues of third party ownerships, and how they are open to manipulation by agents, and owners, and by extension their network in the press.

    We know now that referees are sometimes given free holidays by some managers or owners. That they call up managers and ask for professional favours. We know that some appointments, or lack of, defy common sense or averages. Leave alone arbitrary decisions being made even post-facto.

    Companies pay big money as sponsorships to clubs, and to UEFA. As an example, Gazprom signed a deal with Chelsea. Do you think Chelsea’s victory in the CL (of which Gazprom too is a sponsor) benefited Gazprom’s visibility, which after all, is the reason for paying money to a club? Is it entirely impossible that a company may resort to unethical, if not illegal, means to get more ‘bang for their buck’?

    Add to it the issues surrounding performance enhancing drugs, and ‘blood spinning’. The Spanish judge destroying blood samples of athletes found in possession of a doctor convicted of providing drugs.

    Then of course there is the media which has an entire sub-industry thriving on the basis of the game. Would they kill the golden-egg laying goose even if there was an opportunity to do so? Would the government for that matter? Especially when football clubs are such a circus for the masses? Who is even going to look at, let alone prove corruption.

    The only aspect that gets looked at is ‘match fixing’ with those evil Asians gambling in the dirty market getting the focus. Lundekvam admitted to players betting on corners, throw-ins, penalties, but nothing has been heard of the issue since.

    The ‘goal-line technology’ (in other words, cameras) is a sop. How many incidents in a season require the use of that technology? It’s usually not in the referee’s control whether to deny a goal or not because it’s quite clear that it crossed the line. So they didn’t cede any control with that. But they still delayed that a few years till it became an issue and then granted it to show how they are interested in fairness.

    I didn’t intend to go on such a rant, and although such networks no doubt exist in the game, and some of it are undoubtedly indulged in manipulation of some sort, I still maintain hope for the game, because at it’s purest level it is beautiful. The reason I get so hot about it is precisely because I am often unable to enjoy a game of football because it is ruined by ‘mistakes’ which take on often predictable patterns, and are then covered up in equally predictable patterns. All I want is to be able to watch a proper sporting contest. If anyone profits from that, I have no problem with it.

  24. RA says:

    Chas,

    I did see some of Only Fools etc, but oddly enough it is only recently that you opened my eyes to what is available on the net, and in my quieter moments I have watched videos on line (including the one you have presented above — and I love them.

    They are a uniquely British form of humour, and among the funniest shows I have ever seen. :-)

    Alan Turing was a mathematical genius and it was a personal tragedy that he was treated so shabbily after the war that he helped the allies to win. The folk at Bletchley park were all heroes. :-)

  25. RA says:

    Shard,

    Me, Ghandi — who you? :-)

  26. arnie says:

    Redders: Fantastic. This is excellent and very deep. Lots of encouragement to think, and think hard. Really really love this. :D :D :D Let me try to deconstruct your arguments in my own way.

    First, on the premise. “why do we depend on expressing our opinions to justify our individual views,” and so on. Personally, I think we do not, though it will perhaps be foolish to generalise. Perhaps we express our opinions to “present” our individual views, and may be not to “justify” the views. Now, more happy with that, so move on.

    And then, stumble again. “sod the ‘value’?” I am afraid not. We live in a pluralist society (world), and the value lies in the multiplicity of opinions, and the value therefore also lies in the balance of opinions. And, of course it may be different in other spheres, but I think on AA we strike a good balance, in general.

    And hence, the value of opinion(s) lie primarily in their multiplicity, and therefore in the balance of opinions offered. And here, we have an important point of agreement. So move on.

    Then, on to law and its potentially ambiguous and multiple interpretations. I do not see the connection entirely, but perhaps you mean different opinions or views lead to different interpretations of the Law. Fair enough.

    And herein lies the first problem. What should be Law, and therefore unambiguous, gets clouded by interpretation. And then comes the second problem. The dominant interpretation happens to be coincident with the dominant view, which is somehow “power”ful, rather than representing unambiguously the most equitable and fair level playing field.

    In such a state of the world, where would Arsenal, that dares to be different, go? Brilliant, absolutely brilliant, Redders. Hats off!

    If the PGMOL cannot uphold the laws of football unambiguously and without prejudice derived from the dominant interpretation, it is not fit for purpose. Period. At the same time, it is authoritarian, as a good defender of the Law should be. Except that it is not a good defender of the Law in its equitable and unambiguous form. Hence, not fit for purpose twice over.

    And therefore the expression of opinion becomes even more important. The more pluralistic the views, the better. Only armed by such a balance of opinion can the presumed benevolent and equitable FIFA ever hope to redress the problems.

    Wow!!!!! Fantastic. Thanks a lot, Redders. :D :D :D

    On with the fantastic work, AA. :D :D :D

  27. Shard says:

    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/the-origins-of-the-perry-groves-song?

    Now that is an article which fills me with good cheer. The culture of football chants has always seemed wonderful and wonderfully creative to me.

    (why were the Mancs right to call the North Bank ‘The Laundry End’?)

  28. Wow, you’re always raising the intellectual bar on here, RA, and today is no exceptiion.
    It has long since been considered that people need law and order to keep them under control, but whose virtues are of a high enough value to make rules for everyone else?
    Britain gave the world football, we had the first established league system long before anyone else, and yet we don’t have a say in how the game should be regulated. As far as I’m concerned, a Brit should be performing both Blatter’s and Platini’s roles, and their anti-British agenda globally harms football far more than enhancing the sport we love.
    I’m not suggesting Britain is should be held up as a nation that has moral scruples, for centuries it’s people have been force-fed a false dichotomy, but as we invented football, we should be major players in the way it is governed.
    Chas – Best wishes and condolences to Roger Lloyd Pack’s family and friends. He was equally funny in ‘The Vicar of Dibley’.

  29. arnie says:

    Redders: What a brilliantly constructed argument! What fantastic philosophical analysis! Respect, kind Sir.

    As a complement, I was tempted to offer a quote from Henri Lefebvre, one of the greatest philosophers from the past century, and one of my idols. But I have resisted the temptation. :D :D :D

  30. Shard says:

    WATA

    The 4 British home nations get 4 of 8 seats in IFAB, the body that makes the rules for football. FIFA and UEFA heads are elected posts. Britain also stayed out of the world football order until 1950, while the rest of the world united. I know we’re fans of Arsenal (a British club), and football originated in Britain, but I fail to understand how having a British Blatter will be any better. Especially when the English FA have such glowing records and reputations themselves.

  31. arnie says:

    Rasp @ 10:50. Come on, come off your perch. If you were so cynical, if you did not think you could make a contribution towards positive change, you would not be taking such enormous pains to do all this stuff in AA. Right? :D :D :D

  32. RA says:

    Shard,

    I think Chas summed up the views of many fans @ 1:30

    “Oh, and we all know that FIFA and UEFA are utter dicks, intent on lining their own pockets and little else.”

    In the first instance, there is really little I can add to your comment @ 1:46 as, again, it ties in precisely with my view about the overweening attitude of the authorities who eke out changes as a sop to the mass of fans, and as you say, these changes have been either long overdue or only touch on the issues at hand. And that includes the belated arrival of technology which has a long way to go but if we continue to agitate will spread exponentially.

    In addition your exasperation is the other side of my Post, in that if more people join you in demanding change, the sooner it will come about.

    Change will happen – it is the nature of the Universe. :-)

    My only reservation with your comment is that it is not, in my opinion, enough to cast aspersions on any group of people, including referees, without having concrete proof, and instead relying on suspicion and subjective analysis of ‘patterns’ as that way lies injustice and corruption, and that sad state of affairs can be seen both historically and currently wherever totalitarian regimes exist.

    Too many people have lost their lives or their freedom fighting for that very thing, and for the safety net of human rights to throw all that away by short circuiting the proper processes of law however strongly one feels about perceived injustice.

    In the end it is a mind set. If you see the worst in someone or something it is likely you will convince yourself that your worst fears will have come true.

    That is not to say that any of us should meekly accept the status quo of injustice, but it is important not to become like the very people you rail against.

    N.B. I use the pronoun ‘you’ in its general pluralistic sense and not as a personal comment about you. :-)

  33. chas says:

    I’m not sure the cigarette is the only thing this lad has to worry about.

    https://twitter.com/History_Pics/status/423820061502373889

  34. GunnerN5 says:

    RA,

    I’ve just started to post a new series called “An Arsenal Blast from the Past” the second one will go up next week.

    They will recount many of our more memorable events from the past and they will not always be about our great achievements as our past is also scattered with some less than impressive moments/periods – anyway only time will tell where the trail will lead me.

    GIE is going to be the picture editor and publisher.

  35. RA says:

    Thank you all for joining in the spirit of this argument which is really important for all us in our day to day lives and also specifically in our leisure activities of which football plays an intrinsic part for all on AA and all fans throughout the game.

    An especial thanks to arnie and WATA for interesting contributions which open up yet more avenues for debate.

    Perhaps what we need for a while is a little more light hearted interlude with more vids from Chas and jokes from GN5. :-)

  36. RA says:

    I will look forward to that GN5. :-)

  37. Shard,

    I’m not suggesting the English F.A. has anything to do with the running of football, forget the suits, I’m talking about people who have a genuine love of football from grass roots. Money is killing football as a spectacle because it isn’t competitive enough, and greedy people taking bungs and accepting ‘favours’ is all part of the same poison.

  38. arnie says:

    Redders @ 12:43. I almost rolled off my chair laughing. :D :D :D

    On whether the PGMOL can or will change, yes I think it will and it does. And that is precisely the point. It changes in line with dominant opinion. Whereas, as the defender of the Laws of football in their unambiguous interpretation, it should not. The interpretation should not change, no matter what teh dominant opinion is. Unless of course, the laws change as well, which they sometimes do. :D :D

  39. GunnerN5 says:

    WATA,

    Your 2:32 sounds more like fears than happenings.
    Bungs and Favours are not endemic in English Football and I believe that its the injection of money that gives us the incredibly high standard of football we enjoy today.

    But then again I’ve only been watching for 68 years so what would I know?

  40. arnie says:

    Redders: “Perhaps what we need for a while is a little more light hearted interlude with more vids from Chas and jokes from GN5.” How about some transfer trash from the British press? :D :D :D

  41. kelsey says:

    RA

    A lot of time and effort put into one of your shorter posts :) Too highbrow for me but I think as we all support the same team we tend to analyse every single detail in a game with countless slow motion replays and invariably only look at it from an Arsenal perspective and even then the so called experts don’t always agree.

    I have seen countless blogs that show certain referees never or hardly ever give us the benefit of doubt or are biased against us, but if I really thought that ,then the game would be corrupt.I tend to think these things balance themselves out.

    Personally I think the forth official is a total waste of time, what do they do ,accept check that managers don’t stray out of their allocated area and act like a ref in a boxing match keeping the managers apart.
    The two behind the goal in european matches do absolutely nothing.

    “money is killing football” as herb has just said.

    Maybe next year another sheikh will come along and buy a mid table club and with prudent financial advisers and accountants may blow City and Chelsea away.

  42. arnie says:

    Micky, from much earlier in the morning: “I can see no point in back-up signings. Neither Gnabry or the Ox are ready to fire us to the title. Yet.”

    Yes, I know your position, and I beg to differ, respectfully. Historically, in my view, players come and go frequently, trophies come less frequently, managers come and go frequently in some clubs but less frequently in others (like Arsenal), even owners change. What should not, and often does not change, are the traditions and values in a club. We pride ourselves in providing opportunities to young players and developing them. Even if silverware does not come in the short, or medium, run, this principle is more important to me.

    Having said that, if we were to try and sign 5 players and go for the EPL this year I would accept that as a short term measure. But, over a medium to long term, I value our traditions! But thats me! This is my own opinion!!!!! :D :D :D

  43. GunnerN5

    Where there’s money there’s corruption. I’m sure you’ve heard of the recent high-profile case over here regarding DJ Campbell earning £70,000 for getting a yellow/red card in a certain minute of a Championship game recently? Every week without fail referee’s decisions are being scrutinised and questioned to the point where eventually people will no longer trust the product they’re watching. It has been going on in Italy for years, in Spain, Barca and Real Madrid are supposedly ‘under investigation’ for ‘financial irregularities’, Arsene Wenger was managing Monaco when it was discovered Marseille were match-fixing, and Germany, who are lauded by many for getting a lot of things ‘right’, have a one-team league who can cherry-pick all their rivals best players.
    Why should Britain be immune? Rupert Murdoch has already had to shut down one of his Sunday tabloids for hacking a dead girl’s mobile phone (not that it made much difference, the paper re-surfaced a few months later!), so he has absolutely no moral scruples whatsoever. They’ve already killed Scottish football, again people taking money they’re not entitled to, and let’s be honest, there’s only a handful of clubs in England that still have any real relevance. Thankfully Arsenal are among that number.

  44. Shard says:

    RA

    I am disappointed that you would equate my pointing out ‘patterns’ and incidents with subverting the processes of justice. I have repeatedly talked about structure as regards this issue. I have said I believe most referees want to be fair. I’ve even mentioned that the PGMOL themselves may have less power over their domain than we think. Law and order does not break down by someone pointing out certain patterns and pointing out that the system is liable to be misused.

    As for proof. I am not using patterns or examples to supplant proof. Merely to urge that proof be demanded. To gather proof needs a working theory, and someone with the desire to see how that theory stacks up, and whether it is with merit. If it were within my power to get ‘concrete proof’ either way, this would not be an issue any longer. My question is, with people talking about there being no proof, who is actually looking for it? Or do they think there is nothing that even needs to be looked at until someone in authority says so?

    My point is basically that enough scope for manipulation exists, and that if such things occurring (and that is only stuff that we know happened) doesn’t lead to a demand for further questions being asked, and an appropriate structure being set up, then it is very likely to get worse.

    Human nature being what it is, and in a poorly, or loosely regulated environment where rewards can be great, I find it near impossible for there to not be any corruption. I am actually less bothered by that, than by people’s unwillingness to even consider it a possibility. Even though I understand it. Sometimes I wish I could ignore it too and just think it’s a game, and it all evens out in the end. Actually, even religion preaches that. Maybe I should just become religious and leave it to God to do whatever. But then, religious nuts fight crusades too, so that won’t work either.

    Actually, this may be a form of reverse snobbery, but I think people in the ‘third world’ are actually much more willing to consider corruption, mainly because it’s a more visible part of their lives. They also see corruption as more systemic than personal. Whereas the West portrays its corruption as more a case of individual wretchedness rather than a systemic issue.

  45. Norfolk Gooner says:

    RA, time travel? GunnerN5 has got it sussed obviously! He read your erudite epistle at 5.00 am, four and a half hours before it was posted. :D

  46. Shard says:

    Oh and chas.. Thanks for the link to the article explaining the laundry end.

  47. Rasp says:

    GN5, have you read today’s article on A Cultured Left Foot – it is right up your stream

    http://www.aclfarsenal.co.uk/2014/01/16/review-the-life-and-times-of-herbert-chapman-by-patrick-barclay/

  48. fatgingergooner says:

    All I know is that I don’t enjoy football as much as I used to.

    Financial doping, diving, spineless refereeing (as much to blame as the divers themselves), celebrity footballers and media bias are all to blame IMO.

    The sport has lost a lot of its soul, and even though I will be introducing my son to Arsenal and it’s history, I will also be showing him other sports which I have recently started to enjoy, such as Rugby League.

    It will be interesting to see how many other parents encourage their kids to watch other sports than football in the future. My guess is the numbers will increase massively as football becomes more celebrity & business than sport.

  49. fatgingergooner says:

    Rasp,

    According to reports Levy is at it again by not allowing Holtby to go to Schalke, although I’m not sure how it’s possible to hold up a transfer deal for a player that has a release clause! Unless we are trying to negotiate the price and Levy is aware of this, or, as is more likely, it’s all media rubbish.

  50. Rasp says:

    Hi FGG, one of my reliable contacts (who has an ear on the inside a totnum) confirms that Levy did try very hard to prevent us signing Ozil so it wouldn’t come as a great surprise if he was doing the same in relation to Draxler.

    As I said earlier, he should concentrate on his own transfers and leave the superior clubs to their own business :?

  51. RA says:

    arnie,

    You said earlier that laws should not be ‘interpreted’ by higher authority and I am unable to agree with that and can give you a couple of practical examples.

    For my sins a number of years ago I was a specialist tax advisor and whenever companies feared a visit from the tax man or simply because they wanted an audit to check on their processes and give lectures as necessary they would call me in.

    The VAT ACT 1984 was contained in a small booklet maybe half an inch thick, and many people would think that must be easy peasy.

    When I showed them the huge volumes of Statutory Instruments that contained the amendments to that short Act of Parliament they were stunned that they measured about 4 feet tall from the floor.

    What were they for? Every time a new problem occurred with a Vat query that was either an edict from the European Court of Justice that changed the way a transaction was treated, or where C&E had found a taxpayer had queried the Vat category of a transaction from Exempt, Outside the Scope or as a taxable service or supply, rather than keep amending the VAT Act itself they issued these Statutory Instruments.

    What I am saying now and had mentioned in the Post was that Laws are frequently amended, and that is fit and proper.
    However, what I was intimating was that governments abolish Laws or introduce Laws in which the 60% of the population who did not vote for them may not agree and are left feeling disenfranchised as a result.

    My second example is that even written Laws can mean different things to different people and unless challenged can lead to charges of corruption or mis-government, and that arise from language often being clumsy and not reflecting what was intended.

    In another comment earlier you picked me up on a phrase that I had used as being unacceptable when I referred to a natural tendency to like opinions that agreed with your own and did not challenge you to question them and establish their value. I said “and sod the value” but that was me being ironic and not stating it as my own belief.

    That is the weakness of language in that those in government or FIFA/UEFA can take these ambiguous comments and interpret them to best suit themselves.

    Sorry if that sounds a little didactic (especially as you are a Professor) but my brother in law is a professor as is my sister and they get what for from me as well. :-)

    Don’t worry – no one else will read this comment. :-)

  52. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Bloody well am reading RA. All of it, and it’s great :-)

    Two fingered typists are given a chit from Nurse and excluded from long comments though :-)

  53. chas says:

    I’ve no idea if these figures are correct……..

  54. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Peaches/Rasp,

    Post e-mailed.

  55. fatgingergooner says:

    Rasp,

    I had heard that in the media also.

    I find it stunning that Spurs could spunk £100m+ on superstars of the future and then decide 6 months later that the manager isn’t good enough and neither are most of the players!

    As someone pointed out earlier, thank god for Arsenals traditions of standing by their manager and running a club properly.

  56. RA says:

    Shard @ 3:23,

    Don’t be disappointed, and try not to read into comments inferences that were not intended or written. :-)

    As I am now used to you being overly sensitive, I appended a note at the bottom of my response.

    — “N.B. I use the pronoun ‘you’ in its general pluralistic sense and not as a personal comment about you. :-)

    I was simply stating an objective expression of a fundamental precept of law, which is that subjective feelings that something is wrong or that someone has suspicions that there must be malpractice afoot, because that is a condition of human nature, is just not enough to condemn any individual or group of people who themselves have human rights and hard evidence is needed to back up someone’s suspicions when making allegations.

    It is tiresome having to keep explaining what has been clearly written, so I ask you to stop thinking everything that is written is about you. We were discussing key issues in an important topic and I for one was not discussing you!

  57. RA says:

    Norfolk,

    I am sorry to have ignored your earlier comments but suffice to say they brought a smile to my face as is often the case with your rapier wit. :-)

    Actually, I am slightly surprised that everyone has engaged with what might be seen as a somewhat stodgy topic rather than to have had fun with my Quantum Physics money making venture.

    You are all obviously to wealthy to be bothered. :-)

  58. RA says:

    Kelsey,

    I owe you an apology too as I meant to respond to you before now,

    It is kind of you to credit me with putting in a lot of work on the Post, but I am sorry to say it was a mental doodle over a cup of coffee when I was waiting for a friend.

    I actually posted it as a comment and then realised that it was a bit long and as the Rasper and Peaches are having to chase us up for Posts I thought it might do in the absence of anything else.

    That might sound as if I did not care about AA but the opposite is true, and that, in part, is because however awful my stuff is, everyone is always so nice. :-)

  59. Norfolk Gooner says:

    RA, I’m so wealthy that before going down the pub for a long half of bitter this evening I shall have to delve under the cushions on the chairs in the day room, I just hope Matron doesn’t catch me as she’ll want a share. :D

  60. RC78 says:

    Arnie – I agree with you to some extent. I believe that we have to find the right balance now to keep on nurturing young talent but also win trophies. We are AFC and we are a club with a tradition of winning also, let us not forget that. The past few years are unusual for us and while we understand the rhetoric behind our lack of success, we are now in a position to compete for trophies again and all fans should now expect some silverware in the cabinet!

    We have a lot of positives on our side:
    – Our club is well structured and it is ran in a very sustainable manner;
    – Our management is stable and in AW, we have a coach that has brought a great football style and vision;
    – Our finances are in the green :-) ;
    – The current crop of starters is rather young (GK, Gibbs, Ramsey, Wilshere, Walcott) and has been playing at Arsenal for a while and those pushing for a berth in the first XI are also young (Monreal, Ox, Gnabry especially) and adept of our philosophy;
    – Some players are adding experience, steel and grit to our team, which have been lacking in the past few years (Metersacker, Flamini, Giroud)

    so all and all, things are looking good but we are also suffering from:

    – The unlimited financial power of City, Chelsea, Utd and even Tottenam and Liverpool now. They distort the transfer market;
    – Our records in the last 8 years, which does not allow us to attract some trophy-hungry confirmed stars;
    – A lack of experience in winning titles, which may cost us

    As a result, I do believe that we need to bulk up our team with some established trophy-hungry players like Suarez, for example, or with players that have already won trophies in their careers in major leagues.

    However at this stage in the season, we need to be realistic and settle for helpful players like Mirallas or Berbatov, for example, that will not only add depth to the squad obut also grit and trickery…

    So yes, let us continue to nurture our young players but let us win trophies. We need to win to be attractive and to continue our growth.

    To do so, we need players that know how to do it and unfortunately in our team, they are not many trophy-winners…Adding players like Pogba/Matuidi or Shaqiri/El Sharawwy/Balotelli that are both young and have won things with thier clubs during the summer would not be a bad idea, for example. Even taking Van Buyten would be useful as he will bring his experience of winning trophies…

    Anyways, food for thought

  61. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Excellent Redders.

    I like to think that I can respect others opinions, but admit to finding it more difficult when its over the faceless internet.

    I have no go areas were there can be no compromise, such as Garth Crooks enjoys men in leather hot pants. Steve Archibalds image can cause partial blindness. And Daniel Levy started the Totnumb riots. But apart from things like that, I feel open to debate.

    Theres a big divergence between we the fans, and the powers that run football.

    Our motives are different. We want whats best for football in general, though twinged with bias for the clubs we support, and they want money.

    The bigger the game becomes, then the bigger the divergence will be.

  62. GunnerN5 says:

    Norfolk,

    In London, Ontario, Canada where I live 5:00am is 10:00am in London, England.

    Not time travel my friend, merely time zones!

  63. arnie says:

    Redders: :D Nothing much to disagree about, really. But, what an immense multifaceted personality! I dont want to mention the word enigma particularly after the discussion on Turing earlier, but there you are! Tax laws, physics, philosophy, probability, all in one!!!! Impressive. Much to learn!!!! :D :D

    I am a simple economist, as you might have well gathered. We deal with models that are grounded in philosophy and some imagination, but have little (if any) connection to reality. I know that laws and their interpretations are complex, and steeped in a collection of exceptions. However, in a simpleminded way, a model if you may, I like to think about law as sacrosanct and above interpretation. Real life is much more complex, obviously!

    On the question of disenfranchisement, I agree fully, even if I have scant sympathy with the “60% of the population who did not vote”. The question goes beyond that. Let us imagine that the rules (say, regarding professional fouls) are laid down well, together with all exceptions. Even then, interpretation of the law is subjective in practise, and usually favours the dominant opinion. This it should not do. This advantages the people in society who voted and were in the minority, but hold an alternate opinion. The question of fairness requires the interpretation of this law to be set in stone a priori, and not subject to judgment.

    On top of this, there is the question of changes in law, which also prefers the dominant view. As you rightly pointed out.

    On “sod the value”, I saw your irony but was trying to make a slightly different point. Perhaps this did not come across well. Individual opinions have some value, no doubt, but above that what holds value is the multiplicity of opinions and their balance within society. This is what a forum like the AA presents and which, in principle, lawmakers should take into account. The Greens may not win many seats, but in a pluralist society their opinions also hold value within the mix of all other opinions.

    No argument, and immense pleasure. As yours, no one else gets to read this comment!!!!! :D :D :D

  64. GunnerN5 says:

    Rasp, Thank you for the HC link – I’ve already ordered the book.

  65. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Wrong as well Arnie. Still watching :-)

  66. arnie says:

    Micky: :D

    RC78: I find substantial resonance with your view. But someone has to hold the alternate opinion up as well!!!!!! :D :D

  67. MickyDidIt89 says:

    By the way Arnie, I need firm words with you. I’m busy for half an hour, then happy to form an orderly queue outside Sir’s study.

    Should also give me time to grow a longer beard than yours, so I can out clever you once I’m in.

  68. Shard says:

    RA

    That my comment led you to clarify the importance of not impinging on human rights was disappointing. As for you.. You have this intensely irritating quality of being annoying and disarmingly clever and charming at the same time. It’s not fun to have someone be so maddeningly likeable. So despite the lack of concrete proof, I shall decide I like you, subvert your human rights and subject you to my friendship. That’s what your libertarian and librarian gobbledygook gets you.

  69. RA says:

    arnie, :-)

    I am a simple man and do not always express myself well.

    Rasper an Peaches know that I am averse to writing Posts but they both work so hard on the administration of the site that my conscience pricks me occasionally, and I feel the need to put something up for consideration, in extremes. :-)

    Suffice to say that immediately after doing, I regret it and I live in hope that something else will become available. Oh well and alack a day.

    What I do always enjoy is the support and camaraderie of this site and that very much includes your goodself.
    That support may change when I unleash my humour on you, as in recent times I have kept it well in hand, with only my gentle horse suffering the outrages of carrying a nineteen stone man and being the but of his jokes — and ‘but’ is right!! :-)

    That said, nothing compares with that mad sod Terry’s “Garth Crooks enjoys men in leather hot pants, and Steve Archibalds image can cause partial blindness.” :-)

    Anyway, thank you for your kind comments earlier :-)

  70. RA says:

    Shard, :-)

    My being irritating is unintentional, but understandable and I apologise.

    In any event, I welcome your friendship and trust you will allow me to reciprocate. ;-)

  71. GunnereN5 says:

    RA,

    Are you saying that you find Shard irritating? (lol)

  72. arnie says:

    Redders: Your humility is well accepted, but this was a fantastic post. Lovely discussion all day as well. Something tells me you enjoyed all of this stuff as well. So, I and I suppose all of us, look forward to many more!!!!! :D :D

    On humour, you are probably right. The British are the masters of humour, and it takes careful conditioning and cultural education to take it well. I have spent many years in this country but do I take it well? Well, not as well as I would have liked. However, I thing I can promise. After you have unleashed some of the stuff, even if a certain glumness ensues momentarily, the support will eventually emerge out of the din!!! :D :D

  73. GunnerN5 says:

    Wenger on Theo surgery and team news

    Arsène Wenger has revealed the latest fitness updates ahead of the Premier League game against Fulham:

    on Theo Walcott’s surgery…
    It went very well. The damage was real in the knee so he will have to take the needed time, so let’s not be hopeful that he will go to the World Cup – that is not possible. But overall his long-term future is very positive. It’s about being fit for next season now.

    on Monreal and Rosicky…
    Monreal looks a doubt for Saturday, a big doubt, because he twisted his foot on the kick. It is not the bruise, he turned and twisted the ligament. Rosicky had surgery with a general anaesthetic for a broken nose in two places. With a mask he may be available, but we have to monitor it closely.

    on Arteta (calf), Vermaelen (knee) and Ramsey (thigh)…
    Ramsey and Arteta are both out for this game. Vermaelen too. I personally believe the three will miss the Coventry game as well and will be available after that.

    on Bendtner (ankle)…
    He has a little chance to make Coventry. But in all probability it will be after that.

    Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source

  74. GunnerN5 says:

    So the good news from AW’s injury report is that they are all short term in nature with the exception of Theo.

  75. arnie says:

    Firm words, Micky? Should I be hiding? :D :D

  76. Thanks Redders !. I went to the Doctors this morning about my insomnia and all I had to do was read your post !. hahahaha

  77. Hi Arnie,

    you ‘have scant sympathy for the 60% of the population who didn’t vote..’
    I find that statement difficult to understand from someone as intelligent as yourself.

  78. RA says:

    Gn5,

    That’s a good update. Thanks.

    No, I did not say I was irritated by Shard, I was admitting that I am aware I can be irritating! :-)

  79. RA says:

    You little teetotal monster Cockie. :-)

    Terry is going to get us tickets when I get back to the UK and I will sort you out then – cheeky sod. :-)

  80. RA says:

    No I did not mean not monster Cockie — I have no knowledge of that!

    I meant, “You little teetotal monster — Cockie!” :-)

  81. JanMan says:

    RA. Very interesting post with much food for thought. I liked your comment about opinions. You are absolutely correct. I truly only believe in my own opinion :-) or at least only those in my close circle of respected friends. If you do a round up of the top five blogs you may find one particular subject matter but a 100 different related opinions. Blogs are great if treated in the correct way, it bothers me when people attempt to make a personal issue out of a perfectly harmless comment but it takes all sorts to make up a blog.
    I do think that overall AA has the better quality of contributing intelligent posters and the authors of the daily posts do a brilliant job. you will always get a certain percentage of dumb asses (see LeGrove) but with “most” posters on this blog you can hold a decent discussion. Keep up the good work.

  82. arnie says:

    WATA: My view is that people who do not vote disenfrachise themselves. If there is proportional representation, there is absolutely no reason not to vote. Even in first past the post, there is a choice between “I do not care” and “I give a NO vote to every candidate”, which is available to every voter.

    In my view, this right (and responsibility as well) should always be exercised. To not do so shows disrespect to the large number of people across the world who have fought, sometimes with their lives, to offer us the privilege of being able to vote. There are many people in this world who are not offered this privilege. I speak as one of these people who only had this opportunity quite late in life.

    Perhaps this explains my position. However, I am not at all intolerant towards those who decide not to vote. In fact, this includes people from my own family as well. I hope you would understand. :D

  83. Redders ….word of warning !. Bring the Ray-Bans to that game…..actually, bring them eye protectors that arc-welders use as Terry`s teeth can be seen from Uranus and celestial objects in the mid-night sky !. hahaha

  84. GunnerN5 says:

    RA,

    The only thing about you that is irritating is that you are seldom wrong and you are annoyingly intelligent.

    (lol)

  85. arnie says:

    GN5: :D

  86. No problem, Arnie. It depends what you’re voting for, and how significant your particular vote is.
    The political landscape in Britain has been cemented in place for over 400 years, and has always represented imperialist capitalism which panders to a very small percentage. The electorate in this country vote only to be controlled, punished by being forced to embrace life-long debt, and regulated to the point of suffocation.

  87. JanMan says:

    Here is an interesting link (see below).
    A great comment from the BFG. Basically he is saying, “Arsenal is a very good place for German talents: “We have already a little German Academy here. It’s really incredibly fun that the German discipline and the special talent are so much appreciated here.

    http://www.fussballtransfers.com/premier-league/arsenal-plant-einigung-im-winter-mertesacker-schwarmt-von-draxler_42246

  88. arnie says:

    WATA: :D

  89. arnie says:

    Chas: Fair enough. In any case, destroying the ballot paper usually counts as a NO vote. :D

  90. MickyDidIt89 says:

    GN5

    Face it, the trouble with these Academicals is that the moment they get out of the laboratory and into the real world, two things happen. First is that absolutely no-one understands a word they say, and the second is that they spontaneously combust.

    Oh, and they’re from Hamilton :-)

  91. chas says:

    arnie,
    Destroying the ballot paper or defacing it simply counts as a spoilt paper, which an idiot could do by putting two crosses where only one is permitted.

  92. GunnerN5 says:

    Jesus took his disciples up on the mountain and gathered them around him. And he taught them, saying

    Blessed are the poor in spirit.
    Blessed are the meek.
    Blessed are those who are persecuted.
    Blessed are those who suffer.

    When these things happen, rejoice, for your reward will be great in heaven.”

    And Simon Peter said, “Do we have to write this down?”
    And Phillip said “Is this going to be on the test?”
    And John said, “Would you repeat that, slower?”
    And Andrew said, “John the Baptist’s disciples don’t have to learn this stuff.”
    And Matthew said, “Huh?”
    And Judas said, “What’s this got to do with real life?”

    And then one of the Pharisees said, an expert in law, said,
    I don’t see any of this in your syllabus.
    Do you have a lesson plan?
    Where’s the student guide?
    Will there be a follow-up assignment?”

    And Thomas, who had missed the sermon, came to Jesus privately and said, “Did we do anything important today?”

    And Jesus wept.

  93. chas says:

  94. arnie says:

    Chas: reminds me of hanging chads!!!!!! :D

  95. chas says:

    Don’t be vulgar!

  96. GunnerN5 says:

    Chas,

    With our record against them that may mean we are the 1st team in the top four to be out of the race for the EPL Championship.

  97. RA says:

    GN5, :-)

  98. GunnerN5 says:

    An engineer, a physicist, and a mathematician are shown a pasture with a herd of sheep. They are told to put the sheep inside the smallest possible amount of fence.

    The engineer is first. He herds the sheep into a circle and then puts the fence around them, declaring, “A circle will use the least fence for a given area, so this is the best solution.”

    The physicist is next. She creates a circular fence of infinite radius around the sheep, and then draws the fence tight around the herd, declaring, “This will give the smallest circular fence around the herd.”

    The mathematician is last. After giving the problem a little thought, he puts a small fence around himself and declares, “I define myself to be on the outside!”

  99. GunnerN5 says:

    In the beginning was the Plan, and then the Program; And the Plan was without form, and the Program was void;

    And Darkness was upon the faces of the professors;

    And they spake unto the Associate Dean, saying “It is a Crock of Shit, and it stinks”;

    And the Associate Dean went unto the Dean, and he spake unto him saying, “It is a Crock of Feces, and none may abide the Odor thereof;

    And the Dean went unto the Vice President, and he spake unto him saying, “It is a Container of Excrement, and it is very strong, such that none may abide before it;

    And the Vice President went unto the President, and he spake unto him saying, “It is a Vessel of Fertilizer, and none may abide its strength;

    And the President went unto the Vice Chancellor, and he spake unto him saying, “It containeth that which aids Plant Growth, and it is very strong;

    And the Vice Chancellor went unto the Chancellor, and he spake unto him saying, “It promoteth growth, and it is very powerful;

    And the Chancellor went unto the Board of Regents, and he spake unto them saying, “This potent and vigorous Plan will promote the Growth of the University;

    And the Board looked upon the Plan, and saw that it was good, and ordered its Implementation forthwith.

  100. RA says:

    Can I perhaps be an intermediary between arnie and WATA as I think they are referring to a comment I made in the Post.

    I was recalling the rough voting split in the UK, as an example, and in that respect whoever gets in and shapes government policies is usually in the minority of the total vote.

    For example, if the conservatives get in, next time, roughly 40% of the total voters will have elected them, with approximately 35% voting for labour, and the balance of 25% for all the other parties.

    If Labour get in the figures between the two largest parties would be roughly reversed, but in either event approximately 60% of those who voted will be governed by a party they did not vote for.

    So there is no fault attaching to those who did not vote for the winning party, hence the feeling of disenfranchisement for those people in the majority who will have to wait for at least another 4 or 5 years and possibly many years longer before they can vote in a government of their choosing.

    So I think there may have been a misunderstanding of what I meant. :-)

  101. GunnerN5 says:

    Dear Journal Editor,

    I regret to inform you that I cannot accept your rejection of my manuscript at this time. As someone struggling to publish in a very competitve field, I have high standards for accepting refusals from editors. Although your letter certainly has merit, and although it may in fact apply to some other submission to your journal, it does not meet my standards as a junior faculty member.

    Even if you were to make revisions of your present letter, I am afraid it would not suit my needs. In addition, I at present have a surplus of letters like yours and could not justify accepting it. Given the large number of letters of rejection that I receive, I must be very selective as to which letters I do indeed accept, as I am sure you can understand.

    Friends of mine who read your letter gave reviews that were at best mixed. One friend said, “I cannot believe he wrote this letter to you.” Another wrote, “This make sense. He just wants to publish work by his buddies.” Given the mixed reactions of my friends and my own negative assessment, I would be remiss to accept a letter like yours in its present state. However, should you be willing to send a letter that is more accepting, more open, and more encouraging to publication, I would seriously reconsider my present rejection of your letter.

    Best of luck in rejecting future manuscripts.

    Sincerely,
    . . . . . . . . .

  102. GunnerN5 says:

    RA,

    That letter could well have been written by your good self.

    Was it?

  103. RA says:

    Chas, where do you hang your chads? :-)

  104. GunnerN5 says:

    I’ll give it a rest now and go back to my daily Sudoku.

    Do I hear you all cheering me goodbye?

  105. RA says:

    GN5,

    I like the concept of this letter in applying the same standards to the Editor’s rejection as are normally applied to the rejection of the would be contributor, but I could not possibly have written such a letter for two reasons; in the first part the author has used too many repetitive or duplicate words; and for the second part I would have simply written – Fuck off! :-)

  106. arnie says:

    GN5: We are all hiding in the shadows and enjoying your jokes!!!!! :D :D

  107. RA says:

    GN5,

    I particularly liked the neat solution of the sheep fencing @ 7:33. :-)

  108. arnie says:

    Redders: :D You are appointed. :D :D

  109. GunnerN5 says:

    Ok last joke about academics.

    ………………………………………………………………………………….

    Possible meanings of “PhD”:

    Patiently hoping for a Degree
    Piled higher and Deeper
    Professorship? hah! Dream on!
    Please hire. Desperate
    Physiologically Deficient
    Philosophically Disturbed
    Probably headed for Divorce
    Pathetically hopeless Dweeb
    Probably heavily in Debt
    Parents have Doubts
    Professors had Doubts
    Pheromone Deprived
    Probably hard to Describe
    Patiently headed Downhill
    Potential howling Derelict
    Paranoid hermitic Deviant
    Permanent head Damage
    Pretty homely Dork
    Potential heavy Drinker
    Pizza hut Driver
    Pretty heavily Depressed
    Prozac handouts Desired

  110. RA

    Any political ideology is fundamentally about controlling people.
    All three main parties in Britain like to publicly project opposing core values, but ultimately they’re different branches of the same thing.
    My wider point to Arnie was that Westminster never engage with the electorate regardless of which party forms a Government.

  111. GunnerN5 says:

    Dear Coach Adams,
    Remembering our discussion of your football men who are having trouble in English, I am writing to ask for your help in return.

    We feel that Simon Lilly, one of our most promising students, has a chance for a Rhodes Scholarship, which would be a great honor both for him and for our college. Simon has the academic record needed for the award, but the applicant is also expected to have other areas of excellence, and ideally one of those should be athletics. The problem is that Simon is weak physically. He is a good young man, and he tries hard, but he has trouble with athletics.

    We propose that you give Simon some special consideration as a varsity player, putting him in the backfield of the football team if possible. In this way, we can show a better college record to the committee awarding Rhodes Scholarships. We realize that Simon will be a problem on the field, but – as you have often said – cooperation between our departments is highly desirable, and we do expect Simon to try very hard, of course. During his intervals of study, we shall coach him as much as we can. His work in the English Club and on the debate team will force him to miss many practices early in the season, but we will see that he carries an old football around to bounce (or whatever one does with a football) during his work. We expect Simon to show entire good will during his work with you and, although he will not be able to start football practice until late in the season, he definitely will finish the season with good attendance.

    Sincerely,
    Dr. Aethelstan Wilberforce
    Head, Department of English

    P.S. We will delay our decision on your request regarding a passing grade for your fullback, Butch Johnson, until we receive your reply.

  112. arnie says:

    GN5: :D :D

    WATA: :D I cannot say I disagree with part of what you say. But perhaps, this is not the right place to discuss. Somewhere else, some other time!!

  113. Quite right, Arnie, this is an Arsenal football site, not an organic search for the meaning of life.

  114. Gööner In Exile says:

    I think 9:30pm was a bit late to read this post……

  115. chas says:

    …..and it took 17 minutes to read.

  116. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas

    The pic of the Aussie’s warming up is simply epic.

  117. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Right, now that the mental masturbation of yesterday is behind us, maybe we can get back to basics, and I really am talking of base, juvenile and puerile one liners :-)

  118. chas says:

    Who said the BFG was tall?

  119. chas says:

    Ahhhh, puerile, my favourite.

  120. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Right Arnie,
    Come in, grab a pew, and listen in while I’m talking at you, and take those stupid ear muffs off.
    I kind of sound like a Trophy Hunter, which I am not. I stood very merrily on the North Bank watching dreadful football throughout the 80’s and had a very nice time indeed.
    My current mantra of “buy someone horribly expensive” is that I believe that while we are in such a strong position, and the loss of Theo will be enormous.
    Bringing in a top class speedy goal scorer will do wonders for the team as well as the education of both Gnabry and The Ox, both of whom I anticipate ultimately moving more central anyway. Theo, I also believe will play central and would have had a role there this season, thus providing opportunities for both Gnabry and Ox anyway.
    Before the Theo injury, I was in the “buy a DM” as top priority. Now this could have been a young understudy to the aging Arteta and Flamini.
    I don’t think that there is a one fits all philosophy to buying ie young ‘uns for the future only. It’s a balance. The impact of Ozil is enormous for so many reasons, and I think the secret lies in this blend of buying in top proven quality to mix with homegrown talent.
    As always, the first priority is top four, and I do believe it’s vital that we stay at the top table so to speak. My feeling is that there will not be many points between first and fifth this season as I reckon there’s a good chance both Pool and Utd will take points from the current top three.
    The team have performed wonders to be in the position we find ourselves in at the half way point, and I see no merit in bringing in any kind of understudy for the forward line. With the absence of Theo we will be short on goals as well as a genuine alternative to Ollie and Nic.
    I hear, and like, what you say particularly about Gnabry and The Ox. I share your hopes and excitement about their futures, indeed I remember doing a nine hour round trip just to see The Ox debut (Shrewsbury, I think).
    If there is anything in the Draxler rumours, then it would imply AW is looking at a quality 20 yr old who has the potential to play anywhere across the front. I also genuinely believe AW was looking at Suarez which says an awful lot about where he perceives real quality should come in right now. I think he’s right.

  121. chas says:

    Flippin Noras

  122. chas says:

    This is a visual representation of RA and Arnie yesterday.

  123. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ha ha, brilliant :-)

  124. MickyDidIt89 says:

    The bloke on the right looks like he’s wearing cherry red dm’s, which just seems a little inappropriate for gymnastics.

  125. chas says:

    There there just in case he loses the mental masturbation contest.

  126. chas says:

    * They’re there

  127. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ah, that’ll be the good old fashioned extreme right wing kicking :-)

    Damn, those skinhead women were ugly.

  128. arnie says:

    Motning all.

    Nice banter. Lovely vid, Chas. :D

    And Micky, great “puerile one liner” @ 6:06. :razz:

  129. Big Raddy says:

    Motning Al.

    BR is back with a complete set of functioning limbs.

    Watched the AV game and thoroughly enjoyed the first half. The remainder I was swearing at a big screen in a pub full of foreigners …. somewhat embarrassing.

    Right, off to read RA’s post, though knowing his writing style I had better finish my morning coffee first

  130. chas says:

    BR,
    Get your Babel Fish ready.

  131. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Had to google Babel Fish :-(

    Motning Raddy.

    How were the rich Russkies in Zermatt? My sister told me that for apres-ski the women dress like they’d just walked out of a 1970’s Ann Summer’s clearout sale. True?

  132. Big Raddy says:

    Babel Fish in ear.

    Yes, the Russian ladies like to display their wares!

  133. arnie says:

    Micky: Never thought for a moment that you would be a trophy hunter. But the rhetoric sounded a bit odd for a long-time supporter, so just checking. :razz:

    As such, nothing much to argue about. I hear what you are saying, and I like it. Just as you like what I am saying. This year, there is an added complication. The World Cup is upon us. There is therefore a moral responsibility to provide Ollie, The Ox and Gnabry the best chances to be selected for their respective countries. Gnabry is a really long shot though.

    Ollie is first choice, so in that position what we need I think is a back up. Or else, a fantastic striker who can play together with Ollie. If we get a first choice right/ left winger and cut out our guys, that is I think a bit unfortunate. But being in with a winning chance is important as well.

    Draxler I think offers a good balance. Mind you, he too has to play regularly. But because he can play in multiple positions, he will be able to play without cutting anyone else out.

    Happy now? :D :D You kept me waiting till late yesterday with my ear muffs off. :D Naughty.

  134. arnie says:

    Welcome back, Raddy. :D :D :D

  135. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Yip, bad hair, just as I remember

  136. chas says:

  137. Big Raddy says:

    RA. Really enjoyable read which was a Yogic Salute to the Sun for the brain.

    Nothing to add to the comments above.

  138. Gooner in Exile says:

    Somehow that pug pic is playing with my mind!

  139. arnie says:

    Have to rush now. Back laters.

  140. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh God Raddy

    “Yogic Salute to the Sun”…. have you been staying in one of those “Wellness Centres” you old hippy :-)

  141. Big Raddy says:

    MUK :-D You know it …..

    GIE. Me too. Deeply disturbing

  142. kelsey says:

    Morning

    Well,

    Al Capone,Vidal Sasoon, Paul Young Muhammed Ali and I all have a bithday today so don’t all rush at once with the presents :)

  143. kelsey says:

    oh feck it, now everyone knows I have had plastic surgery.

  144. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Happy Birthday Kelsey

    You lucky Git. Thats what I wish I looked like. hahaha

  145. Räsp says:

    Many Happy Returns kelsey :P

  146. Räsp says:

    Morning all …….

    ….. New post ……..

  147. Hi there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and
    found that it is really informative. I’m going to watch out for brussels.
    I will appreciate if you continue this in future. Lots of people will be benefited from your
    writing. Cheers!

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