Lee Probert: Worst Cup Final Referee Ever?

I would not be writing this Post if we had lost.

Why?

Because in the crapstorm that would have inevitably followed, any complaints about the referee would have been written off as sour grapes.

But, basking in the still-warm afterglow of that most tortuous, thrilling and ultimately satisfying of Cup Final victories, I feel that Probert’s performance should not pass without detailed comment.

Frankly he was appalling.

The vast majority of his misjudgments went against The Arsenal, but Hull were also on the wrong end of a couple of decisions (not least the fact that the corner that led to our equaliser should actually have been a goal kick).

In the first half he allowed Hull’s clearly deliberate tactic of rotational fouling to go unpunished for far too long.

You didn’t have to be Einstein to work out that part of Steve Bruce’s pre-game instructions to his players would have been to “get in our faces” and disrupt the fluidity of our midfield work.

Rotational fouling (where players take it in turns to commit the fouls to reduce the likelihood of yellow cards) is a tactic straight out of the Alex Ferguson playbook and one with which Bruce is undoubtedly familiar.

These days referees are meant to be alert to the tactic and will normally issue a yellow after, say, the third deliberate little foul even if it is only the first offence for that particular player.

Probert allowed foul after foul to go by without producing a card. Although Arsenal started the game hesitantly, the referee’s refusal to deal with this illegal Hull tactic undoubtedly contributed to our slow start.

This is from the BBC’s Live Blog of the game:

9:06

Foul by Stephen Quinn (Hull City).

11:02

Foul by Liam Rosenior (Hull City).

14:29

Foul by Ahmed Elmohamady (Hull City).

14:41

Foul by David Meyler (Hull City).

15:30

Foul by Alex Bruce (Hull City).

17:57

Foul by Alex Bruce (Hull City).

23:19

Foul by Liam Rosenior (Hull City).

27:02

Foul by Jake Livermore (Hull City).

29:47

Foul by Tom Huddlestone (Hull City).

42:33

Foul by Matty Fryatt (Hull City).

Ten fouls in a little over half an hour, by seven different players: a textbook example of Rotational Fouling in action.

The fact that Probert did not produce a yellow card for a Hull player until well into the second half (Tom Hundredstone was booked on the hour mark) is simply terrible officiating.

I have already mentioned that we should not have been awarded the corner that led to our second goal (the ball went straight out off Sanogo’s heel) and it’s no surprise that that’s the one aspect of Probert’s performance the media have focused on. But it’s also worth noting that Hull’s second goal came from a free kick that was not a free kick (it should have been a throw-in to Hull).

Then we come to the penalties. Or, rather, the non-penalties, since they were not given.

Here’s what I remember from watching live:

A Hull defender saving a possible goal inside his own six yard box with his hands: the ball deflected onto his hands from quite close by – but it should have been a penalty because his hands were not in a “natural” position – they were raised above his head in the manner of a goalkeeper.

Giroud being dragged to the ground by Hundredstone, whose trailing arm was around the Frenchman’s throat.

Santi Cazorla skinning Davies in the Hull area then getting tripped.

Santi being bundled over in the area with an elbow in the back moments before the ball had reached him (I make this latter point because there could have been an argument – still flimsy – that, had he been in possession of the ball, it was a legitimate attempt at a tackle. But without the ball – a clear and blatant foul).

I may even have missed one, but the four penalty shouts above were all, to me, clear penalties.

You never expect to get all your legitimate penalty shouts (especially if you’re an Arsenal fan) but to get zero out of four? Very, very odd.

Which brings us back to Probert.

Is it possible that he had it in for Arsenal? Well, if this were an episode of CSI, you wouldn’t have to look far for a motive. In 2009 he was the fourth official at Old Trafford when Arsene Wenger was sent to sit among the United supporters for the heinous crime of kicking a water bottle.

When the League Managers Association subsequently apologised to Le Boss, its chief executive Richard Bevan said

Probert totally failed to manage the situation and created a needless pressure point taking the focus away from the pitch in a big event with only a minute to go.

No-one likes to be publicly criticized – and for those who are it is often easier not to focus on their own failings and, instead, to project the blame onto the true victim (in this case, Arsene).

Could Probert have a grudge against Arsene Wenger? Possibly.

But perhaps a more realistic explanation was given by Shard in the comments here on AA:

I didn’t think he was necessarily out to screw us. But this is where the media coverage makes a difference. He knows he’ll get a much easier ride in the media (and hence with his bosses) if it’s Arsenal he screws over rather than Hull. Hence his reluctance to give a penalty even when they were quite obvious.

“Because just in case it shouldn’t have been a penalty, he would be slaughtered. As it is the media are focusing on a wrongly awarded corner to Arsenal from which we scored and the penalties are forgotten. Can you imagine the uproar if any similar penalty incidents went against Hull? It doesn’t excuse his abysmal performance, but perhaps it explains it.

Perhaps it does indeed.

I have written before about how Arsenal regularly gets poor treatment from referees partly because of the media-inspired campaign against Wenger and aginst the whole culture of our club.

Add to that the layer of the “romance of the Cup” with “plucky underdogs” taking on big, bad Arsenal and you can get a sense of why Probert may have made the decisions he did.

It’s reminiscent of the way Phil Dowd, in the game at Newcastle where we were 4-0 up at half time and ended up drawing 4-4, got totally wrapped up in the “’Toon comeback” to the extent that he stopped being an impartial officiator and became part of the process of making the fairytale come true.

Probert may have crossed the same line without even consciously being aware of it.

It doesn’t excuse his performance (I hope he re-watches it several times and pauses to consider just how awful it was) but it might just explain it.

I’m sorry if this comes off as a negative Post – I’m not feeling in the tiniest bit negative: I am truly very happy.

But I have no doubt that we triumphed in the Cup Final despite Probert – and that’s quite a damning indictment of a supposedly professional referee in the English game’s biggest occasion of the year.

RockyLives

 

 

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168 Responses to Lee Probert: Worst Cup Final Referee Ever?

  1. chas says:

    Cheers, Rocky.
    I wonder what the referee’s assessor report said about the performance?
    I never know if we’re being paranoid or what.

    There was this as well (from the Telegraph live feed)………..

    12 min Wenger was furious after that second Hull goal. Hull were allowed to take a free-kick forward eight yards further forward from where the foul was committed. Early black mark against Lee Probert, but the fundamental fact is that Arsenal just haven’t turned up so far.

  2. fatgingergooner says:

    Is it true that a ref can only do the FA Cup final once during his career? Maybe this would go a little way to explaining the poor level of refereeing at the game?

    There are obviously more experienced and capable referees out there who were unable to do the game due to having done it before. Surely this needs to be looked at as it’s in the best interests of everyone to have the best referees present at the biggest games.

  3. Charlie Boy says:

    Most definitely the worst, most bias FA Cup referee in history.

    Almost as biased as the BT commentary team!

  4. GOONERKAM says:

    Well done ROCKY. very fair assessment. Thank god we were too good to be robbed this time. Credit to the team. There should be an uproar. The man was pure shit. He should be demoted. ARSENAL should raise the issue with the FA. our good blogs must keep it a live story. Some public shaming is in order. He should not get away Scott free.

  5. sean potter says:

    having watched and re~watched that match its only fair to say Probert was realy AWEFUL.how could he miss 4 clear penalties?!.there’s only one anser to that…conspiracy.

  6. fatgingergooner says:

    Also, not to forget when Fryatt (?) was clean through on our goal having barely touched Koscielny. The linesman never moved his flag but the ref gave a foul (thankfully for us).

    Hull also got some rubbish decisions against them, which would suggest pure incompetence rather than a particular bias.

    He was just awful.

  7. Jules says:

    It was 5 penalties I made it! He was disgraceful, but it seems so many of them are when officiating our games! Defo some sort of anti-Arsenal vibe going on with the refs in England

  8. sean potter says:

    guys i knw this is out of topic bt you will excuse me please?!…well,i just came across an article in the daily mail claiming aaron ramsey is too good for us.articler like this infuriate me big time.why didnt they write that when he was out his depth?!.am so furious that i cant even concentrate fully with what am doing.

  9. ai-zed says:

    Rocky, I could not have put it better myself. I still remember the early frustration I was feeling during those early minutes, knowing I would not be able to complain about the ref’s performance if we lost cos i’d be seen as a “conspiracy theorist”…..it truly was an awful, substandard refree performance by the man. part of my joy after the match came from the fact that we won the match in spite of the refree..which is a great testament to wenger’s “mental strength” team hypes….media wetdream thwarted by the arsenal, no underdog headlines (the underdogs remained under). Once again, top post rocky!

  10. gazzap says:

    If Probert was deliberately making decisions against Arsenal then I hope that he will receive his punishment from a higher place, because this one of the worst crimes in football. only he and the big man know the truth. But from an objective point of view, it was a terrible refereeing performance. But I was kind of glad we didn’t win it with a penalty.

  11. rhyle says:

    Couldn’t agree more, Rocky…bottled every single big decision.

    On a related side-note…after his reaction to pulling over Giroud….I was almost as happy to see Huddlestone pick up his losers medal as I was to see us lift the trophy!!

  12. Shard says:

    Wow. A rocky post in which I get a quote. I am honoured. 🙂

    Just so that I don’t lose my position as the conspiracy theorist, I want to make it clear that I have felt in the past, some games have been refereed with an objective in mind. The Phil Dowd Newcastle game was one such. Another was the opening match of this season against Anthony Taylor’s Villa team. Those two matches to me are the most blatant examples of cheating because that was not two teams playing football, not even with an incompetent referee. (Mike Dean is more subtle so can’t call it blatant)

    The FA Cup final however. I don’t think Probert was refereeing the game in a way to swing it towards Hull. At least he was calling the fouls mostly correctly. As pointed out by fgg, one of those went our way too (though I thought, even on the replay that was a foul, but maybe that’s just my bias) Not dishing out yellow cards early in the game probably showed a fear of having to send off a player in the final. Weak refereeing just as with the reluctance to give a penalty.

    That this could have cost Arsenal the game is a by-product, even if a more palatable one to the referee (due to the media), than if it were the other way round.

  13. Richard says:

    Hi think the critique is a bit harsh, he didn’t have the best of games but will go through the points you raise. Yes he missed sanogo putting ball out of play but in real time from his angle he probably just saw the ball deviate and two arsenal players appeal for a corner and gave the corner. The hull free kick was a free kick just taken yards from point of original fowl but everyone steals yards today. The handball yes his hands were not natural but the ball was flicked on so from that distance it would have been unlikely to be given had it travelled straight to hull player then would have been given. Now giroud’s one is easier both were pulling at each other and to be honest look at replays giroud goes down after huddle stone starts to remove his arm had he gone immediately he would have given probert more to think about. The two santi ones now, the trip was a definite fowl however replays show contact with the ball first which probably is why he didn’t give it but it was the second action that stopped santi carrying on that was a fowl. The second was more doubtful. You missed the foul on sanogo in box he kept his feet but was still fouled. Overall prober kept game flowing which helps our style of play more yes a few decisions went wrong but when you know every decision is being under microscopic analysis you err on the cautious side one big cock up and that’s his future in jeopardy.
    In case your wondering I’m a gooner and yes I ranted at time about a few of those decisions but looking back in cold light of day only a few were wrong and I always believe you take away the possibility of bad referee decisions by scoring goals and not making rash challenges. Overall I think probert handled game well but got a few decisions wrong.

  14. Phil B. says:

    I’m surprised nobody had mentioned the early & blatant timewasting that was happening all over the place?

  15. kelsey says:

    Rocky

    I agree with a lot of your post and in my eyes we should have had 4 penalties but I honestly think the occasion got to him as much as his incompetence in this match, but I don’t see a conspiracy against us.

    Probert was in charge of 4 of our league games this season of which we won 3 and drew 1.In total he issued 4 yellow cards 3 in one match

    Arsenal 4 Norwich 1 no bookings
    Newcastle 0 Arsenal 1 3 bookings
    Arsenal 2 Fulham 0 no bookings
    Arsenal 2 Swansea 2. 1 booking.

  16. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hi Rocky,

    May I take this opportunity to quote Mr Ron Atkinson:

    “I never comment on referees, and I’m not going to break the habit of a lifetime for that prat” 🙂

    Great article, thanks. Back later.

  17. Baz says:

    He had a shocker for the penalties.

    But surely under the laws of the game, if he did not judge them to penalties, he should have cautioned the Arsenal (Not won any silverware for three days….) players for simulation!

    You can’t even say that Hull won the ball, as several incidents the Arsenal players were moving to the ball and did not have it in their possession!

    but at the end of the day, in spite of the referee, WE WON!!!!!!.

  18. Salisu Abubakar says:

    What I want all Arsenal fans to know is this, all England Referees are idiot, all what Lee Probert did was deliberately making decisions against Arsenal, then I hope that he will receive his punishment from a higher place, because this one of the worst crimes in football, nothing more than that

  19. GOONERKAM says:

    @ Richard
    Unbelievable mate. Just unbelievable.

  20. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Cheers Rock

    I dont blame Probert. The mans a bit of a cock, he cant help that.

    It probably started when he was eleven, and for the first time asked a girl out on a date

    Rather than have his fantasy of sharing a bag of chips and feeling the tender, but salt and vinegar taste, of big Carols lips, she probably told her big brother who duly gave him a kicking.

    From that day forward Probert swore revenge. He didn’t have the bollocks to become a serial killer or solicitor, so opted for referring instead.

  21. sean potter says:

    does anyone think that probert would have hesitated to point to the spot if some of the fouls were committed in our box?!me thnk he wouldnt have hesitated!

  22. kelsey says:

    Oh by the way Probert is from Wiltshire.;)

    I have never ever thought there is a conspiracy against Arsenal and that refs are biased against us.We look at everything through Arsenal eyes which is quite natural.

    The guy had a bad game watched by a world wide audience.
    These things balance out.

    I said during the game Hull would play like Stoke against our small but talented midfield to break our game up and stop the fluidity. That’s why we need an enforcer or two in the side who are big and powerful men.

  23. GOONERKAM says:

    So at best probate is an incompetent buffoon that lets rotational fouling to proceed and doesn’t know when to use the yellow and red cards.
    At worst he is basterd with an agenda against AW or the ARSENAL.
    in both cases he is coward not worthy of referring any games at any level. Same goes for the head basterd riley and that idiot dowd. Most dishonest little pr••• at pigmol. The tree is rotten to the core and now so is the fruits. The whole system of choosing, training , promoting and demoting of referees must be revamped. End of. At least get them in good enough physical shape so they can keep up with the modern game and athletes. Ffs, the whole integrity of the competitions rests on these guys. Have modern technology help them if they are this helpless and this hopeless.

  24. arnie says:

    Brilliant stuff, Rocky. As ever. What a star!!!!! 🙂

    Probert, well, what a shocker! However, while I blame him for his performance on the day, I feel the larger blame lies with the FA and the press.

    Probert is the most lenient ref in the English game. Less than 1.5 cards per game (the average is about 5 I guess, but we can check). One red card every 11 games, average is 1 every 3 games. How many penalties has he given? I dont know, but I suspect the stats will be stacked up against him.

    Why would the FA appoint such a ref in a final against Arsenal? Well, it is true that a ref can only ever officiate one FA Cup Final. So, choice was somewhat limited. Having said that, there was I think method to the madness.

    It was clear that Hull would play an ugly game. How best to promote their interests, without blatant bias? Well, appoint a ref who does not give cards or penalties. Simples.

    I had the misfortune, partly inflicted upon myself, of listening to TalkShite on the 8 hour drive down from Kiltland. Greg Dyke came on, and was asked whether he would support the underdogs. He said he could not be expected to comment, but yes, the beauty of the FA Cup is that it produces so many memorable victories by the underdogs. Eh?

    And the press as well, as articulated beautifully by Rocky. Any errors of commission or omission that go against Arsenal is ignored by the journos, blatantly, so this is a safe bet. What p**icks!!

    And as to Richard, no comments necessary, but might you be a fellow ref, Sir, or perhaps Probert’s father-in-law? 😛

  25. GOONERKAM says:

    These things balance out?? how are we to balance out five broken legs in as many years KELS?
    name me one other EPL team that has suffered as many broken legs as direct result of assaults ( not fouls) ?
    Just one so I can’t believe in this balancing out malarkey…

  26. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I’m with Kelsey on this : “I have never ever thought there is a conspiracy against Arsenal and that refs are biased against us”

    Bad referees, for sure, but also as Richard said, when there’s a global audience and “you know every decision is being under microscopic analysis”, you do your best.

    Might not be good enough, but nevertheless.

  27. godlikemonolith says:

    Sorry Richard you are wrong on those first two counts. You can argue the Giroud one but he intentional used his arm around his neck even if Giroud fell dramatically. The handball was the most blatant as he was looking right at it and had his hands up in front of him. Hands up in the air leaping forward with the ball coming towards you is a penalty ricochet or not. Oh and you consistently see refs making players retake spot kicks when they move the ball forward and his assistant should have stepped in as well.
    The barge on Santi Cazorla was thw worst of the lot…..Cazorla had no reason to go down as he had a shot on goal, Snati did not know someone was about to make contact as he came from behind….clear and blatant foul and penalty. You may be magnanimous in victory but it does not change the facts and rules of the game.

  28. arnie says:

    GiE: Lovely stuff on yesterday’s post. 🙂 Great fun.

    Ant: As you would know well, I am never far from a jacket and long coat. On this occasion, I was driving, so had the opportunity to leave my long coat in the car. 😛

    And the half-time conversation with Evonne went as follows. Evonne asked what we thought the full-time outcome would be like. Nandini said she feared we may lose, eh%^^&&. I said getting one back in the first half was crucial. I reckoned we will win in extra time, but hoped it did not go to penalties. 🙂 🙂

    I can confirm Evonne had big smiles on her face, but at the end, she had to run off, so these were not captured on our snaps! 😦

  29. chas says:

    Ya, Gunners, Ya.

  30. fatgingergooner says:

    I think the way the match unfolded made it look more of a conspiracy when in actual fact it was just an awful refereeing display.

    We were camped in Hulls half and were the only ones creating the chances do it was inevitable that we would get the worst of the decisions. If Hull had been 2 down and were throwing bodies into our box then id like to think Probert’s incompetence would still have shone through, but mainly in our favour.

  31. KLV says:

    Thank goodness I am not the only one who felt that the ref was bias and crap. I watched the Cup Final live on tv from all of 6500+ km and 7 time zones away. Must clarify I am a Arsenal fan for 40+ years.

    We would have been robbed if we lost. No doubt. Thank goodness that I am in good company of those of you who have encountered ref bias independently.

    English refs have been favouring big “English” clubs like Man Utd for years because they are seen to represent the home countries, and against us because we don’t. Now with Man City gaining strength, it has levelled the playing field somewhat as ManC is as foreign as it can come.

    With such favouritism found only at home, you can see why despite its many chances, Man Utd could not dominate Europe. European refs don’t give a damn about home countries or what Sir AF says.

    As for Arsenal, sometimes we have only ourselves to blame. Arsene, always behaving like the righteous guy, never rouse or alert his players to such ref bias, always believing that the refs would be fair. Such naivety has caused followers like us much heartache. Worse, it further encouraged the refs to continue to do the same.

    To put in perspective, perhaps every fan always feel that refs are against their clubs. It is a natural reaction when your club loses a match. But what happened to Arsenal in numerous matches over the Wenger years is not coincidental. Cast your memory back to Game 50 of our unbeaten run. Away at Old Trafford. Everybody knows if we could stay unbeaten there, our unbeaten run will stretch very long. So what happened? Ljungberg was pulled down when clear on goal. No red card to Utd player. Then Sol barely touched Rooney, penalty given. Long unbeaten run ended. Conspiracy? It was, and will continue to be a concerted effort against the club.

  32. Norfolk Gooner says:

    We won the Cup! We won the Cup! Ee aye Adio we won the Cup!.

    OK, OK, I’ve just got home after a twenty-two hour journey from Kota Kinabalu to sunny Norfolk. I haven’t seen anything of the game, I got a sort of running comentary by text, from my son, while sitting on the hotel balcony overlooking the South China Sea until around two in the morning when the temperature was still in the mid eighties.

    I’ll be looking for all the reports I can find. so as to get a taste of the action.

    Lee Probert has always been a plonker, I don’t think it is just an “Arsenal” thing, he’s just totally incompetent.

    We won the Cup! We won the Cup! Ee aye Adio we won the Cup!.

  33. fatgingergooner says:

    Sean,

    I wouldn’t worry yourself about an article written by Durham. He’s a first class c*** and hates Arsenal.

  34. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Sorry Rocky, great post, I agree with every word.

    We won the Cup! We won the Cup! Ee aye Adio we won the Cup!.

  35. Vinay says:

    I do not know about anyone being biased against us but the fact was the ref had an awful game. 3 clear cut penalties on any given day.

    Daily shit mail has Adrian Durham saying Ramsey should not be playing for us but a much bigger club and playing in champions league finals like his welsh mate Bale.
    Durham is a piece of shit and so is that paper. Aaron Ramsey plays for a team which believed in him, any other team would have discarded him like a drop of a hat.

  36. jordan gooner. says:

    I completely agree with your detailed analysis, Probert’s performance was appalling! The penalty decisions or non decisions could have cost us the match. The media as you stated only concentrated on the non corner for Arsenal. None of the media particularly Sky Sports, ( the Manure club channel ) only mentioned the non corner. No you mentioned Hull second goal from the non free kick, or the 3 or 4 penalty denied to Arsenal. I noticed already the media are trying to criticise Arsenal in other ways. Can you imagine they Talkshite even drag that bitter little man Stewart Robson to have ago, at Wenger and Arsenal. Why do the media hate Arsenal so much !!

  37. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Look, the guys just a bit of a cock, thats all.

    He probably plays with train sets and has nice dreams of Nigel Farage.

    He went out of his way not to show cards and give penalty’s to avoid controversy, and in doing so bought on what he was trying to avoid.

    The refs are under to much pressure these days. They cant do right for doing wrong.

    Hes still a cock though

  38. fatgingergooner says:

    It’s going to be interesting to see if the media carry on with their hammering of our club. We have been easy targets over the last 9 years for obvious reasons, but maybe now there are other targets to go at, such as Liverpool, who once again bottled the chance to win the PL, or Chelsea and Mourinho, who did nothing but moan all season and ultimately failed to win anything.

  39. goonerjake says:

    Great post Rocky,

    Can’t say I’m surprised by the refs terrible display, he is a terrible ref.

    It’s not so much the cast iron penalties the ref missed it’s the first point you made about the rotational fouling.

    I think the refs and governing bodies need to take this more seriously. It is every bit as much cheating as diving, and this disease of rotational fouling, time wasting and general defensive stopping the other team from playing is driving me crazy.

    Thankfully the Good Guys beat the Underdogs

    Cheers

  40. sean potter says:

    it was clear from even the title that Durham hates arsenal.why such c*nts are allowed to write their articles in such papers is beyond me.i thought only kenyan journos write lots of crap about arsenal bt i was wrng.fgg,reading that article made me feel like punching that bastards teeth off(am not a violent young man for the record)

  41. Marimba says:

    It’s interesting as to why Arsenal and Arsene get such unjustified stick from the press. Why do they focus on a corner that wasn’t and not 3 or 4 penalties which probably were? Why do they bad mouth a club that’s run prudently without a sugar daddy who consistently perform?
    My theory is that it’s out and out racism. In 1996. Arsene Wenger was only one of two foreign managers in the Premier League, (the other being Ruud Gullit at Chelsea) and they’ve never shaken it off, even though the majority of managers are now not British.
    Mourinho who really deservers to be taken apart by the press seems to be revered even though he gouged somebody’s eyes on the touchline and he is a completely arrogant and graceless individual.

  42. kelsey says:

    Durham supports Peterborough whose chairman is Darragh MacAnthony.Check this out.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darragh_MacAnthony

    What it doesn’t tell you is that he is a wanted man in several countries and always travels with bodygaurds.

    He shut his offices in Marbella overnight not paying any of his staff and left numerous ex pats tens and even hundreds of thousands of pounds held on deposit, out of pocket. Fraud to the highest degree.

    Maybe Durham would like to talk about him.A real fit and proper gentleman as chairman of a league club.

  43. LBG says:

    Pure quality Rocky. I said to my son after five minutes Probert is the classic “play on” referee. But this was pure incompetence which could have cost.
    Richard – you are wrong my friend. Identifying that fouls were made is not good enough when the aim is to break up the game, avoid bookings. Its gamemanship and evidence, as has already been said of Bruce’s Ferguson background. As someone who ref’d regularly for more than 20 years, even if the hand ball and Giroud man-handling could be “excused” as mistakes at full speed, both fouls on Santi in the box were stonewall penalties.
    Conspiracy is a dirty, but questionable concept. But media bias is undoubted. Thank God they might shut up for at least five minutes.

    Revel in a glorious win. Dream of Durham’s slow and painful death. And enthuse about a new season and a new chapter.

  44. jordan gooner. says:

    @ Richard I went through your analysis in detail, whilst you have made some useful points. I completely disagree with many of your conclusions. The Hull second goal whilst the ball was moved forward, the decision to award a free kick was incorrect. Giroud was being held by the throat by Huddleston, in the penalty area, you are not permitted to hold players, definite penalty. If a player holds his hands up in a unnatural position, the position of the shot is irrelevant, why are the hands raised, penalty. Sonogo was fouled did not go down, when Westham had a player fouled by Sagna, who miss timed a tackle. The media critised the referee for not awarding the penalty. The player apparently was too honest! Possible penalty. Cozorla was tripped in the penalty area, Penalty. If Arsenal were awarded 2 penalties, no problem. But to get zero from four appeals is ridiculous. If for example Man United were playing they would have been awarded a couple of penalties, this also would definitely apply to Hull. Whilst decisions are subjective and not always objective, Probert clearly had a poor game. I have watched the game several times, I was also a referee at a senior level, and therefore have a good understanding of how, the technical issues, should be interpreted. My reading is Probert was not prepared to take any difficult decisions, inorder to avoid any controversy. Unlike other top referees he was not able or prepared to make difficult calls.

  45. sean potter says:

    fgg,it won’t be long before the media finds something else against us.infact nothing has changed so far apart frm the phrasing….”arsenal who have won one trophy in nine years….”,the media will never cease,they keep going round and round.like a circle they never come to an end,bt they stick the nine years trophyless phrase up their arse.

  46. gart66 says:

    The most egregious miss of all was the trip on Santi on the cutback…At the very least the side judge has to see that…If Arsenal would have lost it would have gone down as one of the all time screw jobs for sure.

  47. Gossy says:

    One Adrian Durham article on Daily Mail just got me so angry with his article stating that Aaron Ramsey is too good for Arsenal…who approves these sort of things before it goes out to the public… They really must be taking something stronger than Hemp. Where were these media vultures for the past two seasons? Now that we are poised for success, they are trying really hard to de-stabilise us. I had to take him to the ghetto university…saying a big F*** you to him on twitter.

  48. Rasp says:

    Excellent analysis Rocky. It is evident that Probert doesn’t like giving yellow cards – his track record proves it. Therefore he must be more accepting of the ‘physical’ side of the game, which in itself is an antiquated approach and certainly means that Hull would benefit more than Arsenal.

    I do not subscribe to the conspiracy theory that says everyone’s got it in for Arsenal, but more that the powers that be and the TV companies manipulate fixtures/choice of officials to favour a preferred outcome.

  49. sean potter says:

    gossy,you jst dont knw how angry i was upon coming across it.articles like those are one too biased to aproved for printing any paper.me thinks c*nts like those are out there to destabilise.you did the rght thng,he deserves just that.

  50. Big Raddy says:

    RL. Cracking post and one we can discuss at length.

    I am with Terry and a couple of others. Lee Probert has always been a shitehawk of a ref and expecting him to be anything else is foolish in the extreme.

    He had an awful game purely because he is an awul ref – I do not believe there was any bias

  51. Gossy says:

    Its surprising that the Daily Mail don’t have a comment section on their articles cause they sure would be receiving a lot of sticks for their negativity towards arsenal football club.

  52. JM says:

    There weren’t many penalties given out in the last 22 FA Cup finals (since the start of the EPL era). I can count on 2 occasions only (in 1994 & 2004 – both in favour of Man United).

    Altogether around 70 yellow cards (& 2 red cards) have been issued in those 22 finals (averaging 3-4 yellow cards per game).

    That average is the total number issued in this season’s final.

  53. fatgingergooner says:

    It’s such a shame that Wenger is a specialist in failure and Arsenal are in a negative spiral otherwise I would’ve really enjoyed this cup win.

  54. RA says:

    Umm, hi, Rasper, 🙂

    You said:
    — “I do not subscribe to the conspiracy theory that says everyone’s got it in for Arsenal, but more that the powers that be and the TV companies manipulate fixtures/choice of officials to favour a preferrred outcome.”

    That seems to be an excellent definition of a conspiracy. 🙂

  55. Hate is a strong word. Not strong enough for ardian durham though. I detest that fat piece of shit.

    I think the league is totally bent. It may not always go against Arsenal but it’s bent.

    Scudamore saying it was bad that the PL’s flagship brand was out of the CL and damaging to the PL brand says volumes.

  56. Rasp says:

    Hi Redders,

    “I do not subscribe to the conspiracy theory that says everyone’s got it in for Arsenal” = statement

    ” ….. but more that the powers that be and the TV companies manipulate fixtures/choice of officials to favour a preferred outcome” = qualification of said statement

    The inference I that I’d hoped would be clear was that the conspiracy is not just against Arsenal, but a more far reaching strategy aimed at increasing revenue by keeping the punters and sponsors happy 😛

    Sadly it is true that most of the country would have been rooting for the underdog and the media feeding frenzy that would have followed had Hull won would have generated far more income than an Arsenal win.

  57. RA
    Manipulating the choice of officials was what got Juventus relegated and Milan docked 20 pints

  58. I’m with Ra on this

    I think they like the league to go to the wire. It seems to affect whether they give retrospective red cards or not.

    No one (except mancs) can deny that MU have had shocking bias in their favour.

  59. GunnerN5 says:

    Well Rocky,

    I’m in the non conspiracy corner. I think that Probert simply decided not to be an undue influence.had a bad game, I always want to see a game decided by the players and not the referee – so you will not hear me complaining.

    I even the media’s constant negative coverage of Arsenal – their business is to sell their various forms of media and its obvious that by making us their whipping boys they achieve their goal. So I exercise my right and keep away from the negativity – so everything is hunky dory in GN5’s camp.

  60. Shard says:

    Rasp

    I think I would agree with that. But in my view Arsenal are among the most severely punished. The only reason I can think of – apart from the old provincial reasons of North/South and Wenger being French – is that Arsenal, through their policy of not overpaying for ‘star’ players, muck up the financial dynamics of the league and their marketability.

    This season, apart from on the opening day (and a few other incidents) the negative refereeing influence on Arsenal matches has been much reduced. The signing of Ozil for 42.5 m might actually go some way to explaining that. In fact, at the time, I read the Villa game as a threat from the ‘powers that be’ to spend or else… Since then, we have not had Taylor as referee. When earlier, we’ve had Dean regularly being appointed to our games despite biased performances. All a bit circumstantial in terms of evidence I suppose, but it’s still interesting. To me at least.

  61. GunnerN5 says:

    Should read –
    …….undue influence and did not have a bad game.

    I even understand the media’s………….

    ( I Should proof read before posting!)

  62. Shard says:

    In terms of the influence of the TV companies, I think Wenger this season hinted at Arsenal not having much of a link with them to influence their decisions which some other clubs might have. Of course he also stressed he didn’t think they were ‘unfair’ but what else is he to say? He did say that Arsenal have never received any favours from them.

    In fact, I think this was in the press conference before the Hull game, which was moved to a Sunday so Chelsea could play on the Saturday.

  63. RockyLives says:

    Good day all and thanks for the comments.

    I’m not really in the conspiracy camp (although sometimes I do wonder and some bad decisions against us in the past were clearly corrupt – I’m thinking of the RVP sending off against Barca for shooting half a second after the whistle was blown).

    But I do feel Arsenal gets the rough end of a lot of decisions through a sort of cultural bias against us among referees.

  64. arnie says:

    Rocky: yes, more than conspiracy, it is a cultural thing. The way Arsenal tries to play the game and conduct the club is not mainstream, so we get a lot of flak,. But id does matter. We will fight and we will overcome this perceived bias. COYG. 🙂

  65. Shard says:

    Rocky

    But why was it never so bad earlier? I’ve been watching since around 99 regularly (less Tv coverage earlier) and although there were some incidents earlier (such as Graham Poll sending off Parlour) which indicated bias, it certainly wasn’t as pervasive or as blatant as it got in recent years.

    Even as a stranger to English football I felt there was a bias against Arsenal, but I never saw it spill over into deliberate referee performances.

    I don’t think the referees were as bad then as they are now. Whether that is to do with falling standards I don’t know, but in my view the line between subconscious bias and deliberately incorrect decisions/performances has been crossed many time in the last few years. Not just for Arsenal matches I might add.

  66. arnie says:

    Peaches and Rasp: about the summer, I agree. I will try and pen a few words whenever I am around at noon if there is no post for the day. We mosr regulars try to do the same, maybe we will have posts for most, if not all, days. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  67. I’m going to watch the highlights again

  68. Shard says:

    arnie

    I loved the photos yesterday. But you look so…dignified.. No wonder you get invited to fancy dan events. How did that panel discussion go by the way? What did they make of the Indian democracy at work?

  69. Big Raddy says:

    Peaches. One in the Loading Bay

  70. Big Raddy says:

    GM. Great idea – so am I

  71. rhyle says:

    There is no anti-Arsenal bias from refs…it’s just some are completely incompetent, some are absolute bottle-jobs (Probert) and some are arrogant…and few, one or two, are actually good. Just don’t expect me to be able to name them…

  72. 26may1989 says:

    Top quality, Rocky, love the evidence on the rotational fouling.

    Fave line from the ensuing discussion: “He didn’t have the bollocks to become a serial killer or solicitor, so opted for refereeing instead.” (Transplant, Terry Mancini Hair, op cit.)

    Probert was crap, mostly to us, a bit to the Tigers, but most of all just crap. His Mum agrees.

    He’s a Webb Wannabe – the slaphead copper has the same amazing ability to miss obvious penalties right in front of him, operating on the basis that he’s a “Let play flow” referee. That makes the two of them think they are pro-football, since they will say they allow play to flow. But what they don’t understand is the importance of creative and attacking players earning the yellow cards for defensive player. Once you’ve got two or three of the opposing defensive unit booked, you get more space in which to be creative and attacking. So holding back from issuing yellows is actually anti-football.

    In a generation of English referees that I think is incredibly weak (give me a continental referee any day of the week), the two I quite like are Clattenburg and Swarbrick. Clattenburg rightly gets ridiculed for his gel and is too chatty but he is far more competent than almost all the others. And Swarbrick is the one that has impressed me the most this season – he really does understand the game and is completely even handed. Interestingly, both Clattenburg and Swarbrick also issue yellow cards pretty often ~(about 3.6 per game each) but send players off much less than the average. That suggests to me that they deliberately use the yellow cards to marshal the game. Probert by comparison issues fewer than half as many yellows pro rata.

    Is there a conspiracy against Arsenal? Conspiracy is in the eye of the beholder, but I do think there are pressure and assumptions. I do think the likes of Dowd buy into idea that the Arsenal players are southern or foreign jessies. And we know from his memoires that Mark Halsey had private lines of communication with Ferguson, which goes a long way to understanding some of the bizarre decisions at the Old Toilet down the years. We’re not the only ones to suffer, and I’m sure sometimes we get the benefit of that bias, but there is institutionalised bias that affects us more than most. The referees are a self-regarding lot, they watch Match of the Day and imbibe all that crap we see churned out, and that feeds back into the way they treat players in the subsequent matches.

  73. rhyle says:

    May already have a favourite story of the summer: Gervinho to Man Utd.

  74. stevepalmer1 says:

    Evening all,
    Good post Rocky and good subject.

    What we have to remember is that referee’s take a directive from the referee’s committee. Its as clear to everybody watching what they had decided before this game.

    We know what would have happened should that have happened at the other end.

    We won the cup so i don’t care, but it makes you realise why our players seem to suffer more injuries than anybody else doesn’t it.

  75. Big Raddy says:

    Oh and Curtis Davies goal was offside….

  76. I just watched that again Raddy. It does look offside.

  77. Yaya Toure is after another pay rise. He had one last summer.

  78. RA says:

    I occasionally pop onto the blogsites of other clubs and surprise, surprise, on occasion they also bleat on about refereeing bias against them, and even on the odd occasion how could they state that as Arsenal are a big club they get favourable decisions from the refs.

    For myself, I was seething, while watching the game, at the missed penalty decisions by Probert, of course, but bias? No.

    I have, like most of you, seen his refereeing style in other matches, and he makes many mistakes, which is a reflection of the inadequate training given to him and other refs.

    For instance, how many times have we seen wrestling in the penalty areas when there are corners being defended – hundreds over the years.

    An example of strongly different views on this subject is that Shard, who Rocky mentioned in his Post, and I have often come into verbal conflict, on another site which specialises in unforgiving referee analysis, and this used to puzzle me as we frequently agree on major footballing matters.

    The answer to this divergence of opinion, I suppose, is just the mind set of each of us.
    One of us is convinced that refereeing bias against Arsenal is endemic in English football, while the other one simply doesn’t, believe this, although being well aware that, as human beings, many factors can and do influence the way they make extraordinarily poor decisions, in a split second, in the glare of the public eye aided by technology that referees do not.

    So in a way it is pointless to argue as such views, held by either party, are deeply ingrained and inviolable.

    The one claims bias. The other doesn’t.
    It is simply a question of opinion — and we can all respect our differing views, remain friends and move on! 🙂

  79. rhyle says:

    Watching it again myself…he’s not offside, there’s a defender at the backpost who’s almost on the line…and he was onside from the initial header…

  80. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Love it. Tuesday 18:00 hrs, and half the blog are watching the game again.

  81. RA says:

    Sorry about the typos in the punctuation! 😳

  82. Big Raddy says:

    Rhyle. Cobblers 😀

    Davies was at least 3 yards offside. It was given because the idiot ref thought Fab had saved it whereas it came back off the post.

    Perhaps 😉

  83. fatgingergooner says:

    What’s wrong with you all!? Why are watching the Hull goals!?

    I’ve just fast forwarded to the Ramsey goal and then watched the celebrations at the end!!! If only MOTD highlights were this good! 🙂

  84. RA says:

    arnie,

    For a time I was worried about you as I noticed your absence from the site after the game.

    Thoughts that the Great White Bear had frightened you off did cross my mind, but your comment that she ran off after the game did raise more questions than answers. 🙂

    Was she the chaser or the chasee?

    Anyway, pleased that you are back, and obviously had a great day at the Ems with Exile, Peaches, Evonne and your Mrs! 🙂

  85. How funny, I was watching it again too, and I roared when Rambo scored 🙂

  86. I sat down to watch the Chelsea Flower Show but I just couldn’t resist watching the second half of extra time again. Giroud’s back heel ……… the outside of Rambo’s boot …….. sensational stuff 🙂

    Also I love how Arsene looks so disheveled when he gets up to the presentation line and that’s before he gets drenched in champagne.

  87. arnie says:

    Shard: 🙂 Yes, the Indian Elections event went well. I was inducted into a panel to discuss the AAP influence. What a disaster! I was not too upbeat though. 😛

    Redders: 🙂 Not yet back in Scotland, spending a mini holiday in North Wales, will drive back tonight. 🙂

  88. RA says:

    Rhyle/Raddy,

    Just thank your lucky stars you are not referees!! 🙂 biased sods

  89. Shard says:

    arnie

    If there was any interesting discussions I would be interested to talk about it. Not here though 🙂

    I’m curious how people in the West view India. Even though it seems you had an ex-Indian president and an author who’s basically Indian 😛

    Anyway, a discussion for later and elsewhere.

  90. Shard says:

    RA

    I think you’ll find that my stance on refereeing matters is a little more nuanced than what you portray there.. A little 🙂

  91. RA says:

    I really do not have anytime for Durham, but tonight they have been commemorating Rocky Rocastle’s, who died 13 years ago last March.

    They had Perry Groves, Nigel Winterburn and Alan Smith giving their memories of Rocky which was very moving.

    So I suppose I should give Talksport some credit for that – but Durham? Never!

  92. RA says:

    I use a broad brush approach, Shard, for both of us, otherwise we would be here all night/day! 🙂

    But the gist is there, I hope.

  93. GunnerN5 says:

    I would prefer to see a daily post to kick the day off, but failing that I think we should at least have a topic of the day.

    The World Cup will be a great source of post material, it will be good to see England becomes the media’s team to rip apart instead of our Gunners.

    I will continue to Blast to a brick wall every Friday – until I run out of things to Beast about.

    We won the Cup – We won the Cup……………..

  94. Shard says:

    RA,
    The gist is that you need a broad brush to paint yourself 😛

  95. When you watch the highlights we really did play some very nice football -just saw Rambo score again. But we had some great chances before that too.

  96. Happy Bear says:

    oi gorgeous! Tonight on Daily Arsenal there were 2 profound topics:

    1 Pearce Morgan talking to the fans in Nov 2012 trying to convince them that AW had no ambition and was past his best AND that either McNeill, or Redknapp, or Moist were much better managers.

    2 A lovely tribute to David Rockastle

    You should listen to it sometimes 🙂

    off to read the post

  97. rhyle says:

    Very true, Peaches…credit to the Hull fans, most of whom in the post match interviews acknowledged how much better we were than them…we created so many chances and that’s not even counting the 3/4 pens we should have had (the only I think is debatable…not definite either way…was Livermore’s handball. Seen ’em given, seen ’em not). Giroud’s volley, Gibbs blazing over…the chance right at the death when Rosicky put’s it across the box but it’s cleared just before reaching whoeveritwas…

    Raddy…how very dare you imply I’m a “Probert”..! Ramsey and Sagna are the guys deep on back post playing both him and Chester onside…ball is played backwards from Quinn. Definitely onside. Not that it matters 😀

  98. You have to watch the Hull goals because you know what’s coming.

  99. I’m on the contributors page of Elle Vietnam this month. They asked me who my Idol was and I said Henry. They asked me for my favourite quote and I gave them Rocky’s. It’s printed in Vietnamese in Elle. I’ll post a picture when it comes out on Thursday.

  100. Big Raddy says:

    Rhyle No, you are wrong. Arsenal Wembley Finals use the Potimski Offside rule as opposed to the FA rules. Under the Potimksi an opposition player is always offside.

    I am the Ref 😀

  101. rhyle says:

    My mistake Raddy…when the bar stewards keep changing the offside rule on you it’s hard to keep track of whether it’s day or night…didn’t think they used Potimski any more… 😉

    Yes…you are the ref 😀

  102. ArseneAround? says:

    Has anyone mentioned that the Hull free kick before their second goal was taken almost 10 yards nearer the goal from where the non foul took place?

  103. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Right, that’s it. I’m off to watch extra time again 🙂

  104. ArseneAround? says:

    There was a time when linespersons signalled with their flags the pitch length yardage position of all free kicks, for some reason this was scrapped?

  105. Happy Bear says:

    wow, and there is me thinking that Rocky ran out of fuel, hence no post last week and very few comments during the week.

    Superb post and absolutely spot on. I was angry, I could not believe how he allowed several obvious pens without batting an eyelid. GiE lost his voice shouting at the screen, but nobody cares – it is just Arsenal winging again. You are so right Rocky, had we lost this post would not have the same meaning as it does now. We won, but no thanks to what’s his name Proverb?

  106. PANTHER says:

    I think you have been too kind to Probert for his disgusting performance..I tgink he cheated deliberately and your explanations about why he may of made such dispicable decisions, are too kind for him. The FA cup was shown all over the world and Proberts obvious bias/dishonesty, has brought the English game into disrepute..

  107. RockyLives says:

    Well, I’ve just watched the Cup Final again in its entirety, this time in a state of (a) sobriety and (b) emotional stability.

    I was struck by many things, but the biggest of all was how simply amazing Ozil was.

    Everything he did was classy, smooth and designed to hurt the opposition (apart from that one moment when he failed to get any contact on a cross from Pod).

    I have read comments to the effect that Ozil “did not turn up” for the Final. There is obviously something about his manner and style of play that makes his contribution appear so much less than it is.

    Weird.

  108. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Rocky

    On Ozil. Some cannot divorce the price tag ie had he cost 20p, for example, they would be thinking what a sensational buy.

    Other are racist. Against flies.

  109. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Or as LB describes people who question Mesut……Morons 🙂

  110. chas says:

    My desktop is on the blink. Might be network card. Ouch

  111. Big Raddy says:

    Not the network card! Have you tried the flange – it worked for me.

  112. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I thought those things were for discount travel.

  113. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Gong Bath’s work for your sort Raddy, so you keep yer flanges to yourself, or at least, amongst your community 🙂

  114. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Any day now for the Arsene contract announcement me reckon

  115. kelsey says:

    Morning all

    I have to say that during and after the match I thought Ozil improved and had an excellent second half.

    Never mind his demeanour he needs players who can interpret what he is going to do next. One of those is Ramsey,then it gets difficult.

    I did a survey on the comments on here and 58% of people do not read what others have written,except RA who midstream draws a line through what he had written 🙂

    Now if I told you not to think of a pink elephant ,for a while that particular image would repeatedly reappear in your mind.

  116. kelsey says:

    Micky

    if we had lost do you think AW would have stood down. I do and so does another high ranking person on AA

  117. Happy Bear says:

    Yaya Toure criticised Man City’s owners for not giving him enough respect on his 31st birthday. What???? Unbelievable

    I hope the City’s owners deliberately blanked him

  118. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. You are just jealous because our community don’t accept your sort.

    kesley. I have an image of a young Brigitte Bardot.

  119. Big Raddy says:

    Worth looking at the Breakdown on Arsenal Iplayer – I hadn’t realised how many passes went between Ozil and Ramsey.

  120. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Kelsey
    If you’d read what I said early yesterday, you’d the answer to that 🙂
    So, to help you out, yes, and Van Gaal would have taken over.
    Does that tally with your high ranker, because it should 🙂

  121. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Actually Raddy, I passed the entry test, just shunned as I refused to wear the robe 🙂

  122. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Evonnnnne

    We haven’t met since the win. The Cup you so rightly always said was “in the bag” 🙂

    Did you hug someone odd when Aaron scored?

  123. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Kelsey

    I’m intrigued. There is an AA Ranking System. What number am I?
    🙂
    You’re at No 17, according to a source. It’s due to your doom tendencies 🙂

  124. kelsey says:

    How can I be number 17 with 12 executive members 🙂

    You Micky are always on the podium except when peaches asked you to come forth and you came fifth and got the consolation prize.

  125. Happy Bear says:

    Micky – I did! I embraced GiE 🙂 His belly is very nice to hug to
    When we equalised on Sat, the chanteur sent me a message ‘It’s in the bag’ – Peaches believed him, I didn’t.

    Re hugging – I had visitors on Sunday, a nice couple I’ve met twice before. I was rather alarmed when they were hugging each other, then took turns in hugging me. I am not kidding – there were about 50 hugs in a space of 4 hours. Is that normal? I don’t socialise much, so perhaps it is

  126. RA says:

    I have no idea what you are talking about, but I bags to be the Robe!! 🙂

  127. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Kelsey

    There’s an Executive Committee? And a Podium?

  128. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Evonne,

    No, not normal at all, other than amongst Raddy’s Sorts.

  129. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh do keep up, RA, or are you among the 58%?

  130. LB says:

    I’m going to spend the whole day thinking about Pink Elephants.

    I suppose it could be worse.

    Although, Scarlett Johansson without clothes would have been better.

  131. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Forty two percenter, me. Razor sharp and on the ball.

  132. MickyDidIt89 says:

    “Scarlett Johansson without clothes”
    Oh, God. Back shortly.

  133. Big Raddy says:

    What’s wrong with a robe? One size fits all, looks good on almost all body shape and easy to wash. The ideal one piece.

  134. Happy Bear says:

    thank Dennis Chas is at work, or this site would be flooded with photos of naked pink elephants

    LB – some cyclists are dangerous and arrogant ***** and I told them so yesterday

  135. kelsey says:

    Oh do keep up, RA, or are you among the 58%? classic 🙂

  136. Happy Bear says:

    Raddy – it is just one step away from wearing slippers, and the next one is Pampers

  137. kelsey says:

    Instructions

    1

    Have your spectator choose a number between 0 and 9 and double it. If she chooses 4, it would then be 8.
    2

    Add 8 to the number after Step #1. If you end up with 8, it would be 8 x 2 = 16.
    3

    Divide the Step #2 number in half (16/2 = 8).
    4

    Subtract the original chosen number from the new number. If she chooses 4, you will subtract 4 from 8 and end up with 4.
    5

    Convert this number to a corresponding letter: A=1, B=2, C=3, D=4, E=5, F=6.

    Have your spectator think of a country that begins with this letter.
    6

    Have the spectator think of an animal that begins with the SECOND letter of the chosen country.
    7

    Look at your spectator and say, “Oh, you know there are no elephants in Denmark!”

    This works just about every time due to the quickness of the calculations and because everyone will always end up with 4, thereby choosing a country starting with D.

    Conclusion: there are pink elephants in Denmark

  138. kelsey says:

    no this isn’t Raddy getting into the bath

  139. RA says:

    Kelsey,

    — “Oh, you know there are no elephants in Denmark!”

    — Conclusion: there are pink elephants in Denmark.

    You sure, Crystals? 🙂

  140. RA says:

    Morning Raddy,

    — “I hadn’t realised how many passes went between Ozil and Ramsey.”

    When he is not dreaming about naked Scarlett Johansen, isn’t that what LB was saying about Özzie Özil, after the Final? 🙂

  141. LB says:

    HB

    Sadly some cyclists are banned words. On the other hand I, as I am sure you can imagine, am a model calm politeness.

    Off to ride with a few friends to Box Hill (Surrey)

    See ya.

  142. RA says:

    Happy Bear,

    Were you all wearing clothes at the time of the hugs (7:24)?

    If yes, that is weird but OK-ish, if not, that’s an orgy! 🙂

  143. Happy Bear says:

    RA – yes, fully dressed, but no socks. Thanks for the advice, I won’t go to their evening barbie next week

  144. Gööner In Exile says:

    Morning all, I was happy when Probert was awarded final because I thought he was the ref I disliked the most, i have never thought he was bias against the Arsenal.

    But he got caught up with the idea of not ruining the spectacle rather than refereeing the match in front of him.

    My Dad had op yesterday to get stones, not sure yet whether successful but they have also fitted a stent to allow kidney to function properly. He is in surprisingly good spirits.

  145. arnie says:

    motning chums. back to pavilion now. the motning banter is getting weirder by the day. like Evonne’s party. 😛

    Redders: why is an orgy not OK? 😛

    Shard: let us exchange emails. 🙂

  146. arnie says:

    wish your dad quick recovery, GiE. 🙂

  147. LBG says:

    It’s obviuosly the start of the cricket season or everyone has had some funny mushrooms with their cereal.

  148. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Arnie
    Emial your address to Peaches or get my email same way re prog.

  149. arnie says:

    Thanks, Micky, address emailed to you. 🙂 🙂

  150. RA says:

    Hi arnie,

    I was not commenting on whether an orgy is OK, or not, simply using a noun to describe what a clothes-less session of kissing and hugging might be.

    Actually, I have never been to an orgy – or taken part in one – so I am happy to accept your knowledge and experience of these things. 😀

  151. Big Raddy says:

    Mmm I got there are no Unicorns in Dubai

  152. arnie says:

    Redders: I was hoping you might have some experience that I could draw upon. Myself, NIL. 😛 Well, then, we have to wait for someone more experienced.

  153. RA says:

    Step forward, Raddy? 😀

  154. RA says:

    Hi Exile,

    Wish your dad a speedy recovery from all of us on AA. 🙂

    And I did not mean to disrespect the long trousers you wore as a 14 year old — it was just that Saturday’s pics show you have grown a bit since then!! 😛

  155. Big Raddy says:

    I am staying shtumm ….

  156. What do you want to know ?.

  157. Morning you nutty lot 😉

  158. I had to read back to see why Raddy was staying shtumm …… can’t decide between orgies or pink elephants in Denmark 🙂 🙂 🙂

  159. RA says:

    Hiya, Peaches, 🙂

    Cockie you and Fonzie Bear playing with Miss Piggy does not count.
    Although I cannot speak for arnie, of course. 😛

  160. Will do the email exchanges for arnie and micky.

  161. GOONERKAM says:

    They have all been nutty and naughty PEACHES. I just as soon stay out of it. I don’t know who started it. I suspect MICKEY. can’t be sure. 😉

  162. Happy Bear says:

    of course it was Micky, who else ?

  163. We have a New Post ………………..

  164. Peter says:

    Newest memes football See it !!!!

    http://www.xdball.com/

  165. Antfannie says:

    Just to inform you that I know lee probert and he has nothing against arsenal or arsene wenger as a matter of fact he has been a life long arsenal supporter and acted in a very fair way considering!

  166. GOONERKAM says:

    Hummm.. a case of listen to what I say and not what I do .
    Nonsense. He was horrible and unfortunately for him THE ARSENAL was to good to get robbed this time. Its not the first time he has stunk up the joint with his performance and unfortunately as long as PIGMOL ( apt name ) is run by riley and his Ilk referees like lee probate will go unpunished for their substandard work.
    Don’t take his word for it and you can tell him from me that he doesn’t belong on the big stage and the EPL.

  167. jim says:

    AGREE!!! ALSO IN WATFORD GAME LAST WEEKEND HE WAS SHITTY! GAVE RED CARD AND IT WAS THE WRONG DECISION it was taken away

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