The Man in Black

January 8, 2019

World Cup 2018. The England team, despite playing some of the most boring football since Mourinho arrived at MU, did well.  Who were missing? PL referees, that’s who.

I love football, always have, and football is a game of rules, rules which have to be adhered to and judged by a referee. He has a very important role in the sport (as do his linesmen). A crap ref can ruin a game and frequently does, a good one is rarely noticed.

This season we have seen some of the worst refereeing performances I can recall.

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It is not an easy job, they run huge distances making snap decisions without recourse to VAR (more later). This requires a skill level few of us can match. And it doesn’t help that players spend hours thinking about how to fool the ref to their advantage.

Players cheat. Almost all of them. How often do we see a player running with the ball into the penalty area with a defender chasing only to see the attacker slow down forcing the defender to touch him? Penalty. This is blatant cheating and almost impossible for the referee to identify. Salah is an expert, so is Sterling and so was Bobby Pires.

Some of the refs are pedants, perhaps it is a requirement for the job, after all they are Onanists in the Black :-D. Some are narcissists, some are wannabee bullies (if you haven’t seen the film Kes, I recommend, the football scene).

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I can immediately think of two methods to improve the standard:

  1. The PL is International with players from all over the globe. There is enough money in the PL, even for teams in the relegation zone, to attract the world’s best players. Why do we only have UK refs? Surely it makes sense to bring in the highest rated referees, wherever they come from. Referees are professional and the PL can afford the best
  2. VAR.  Think of cricket. Is it improved by the use of technology? Of course it is. But it took time for the tech gremlins to be sorted out and the same will happen with football. There will be disputes, there will be mistakes but eventually it will work. Perhaps it will be to the detriment of the attending fans who do not have access to TV screens but I am sure this can be resolved, it has been in every other sport especially in American Football.

It is no good complaining about the standards, words will not change anything, only action helps and these poor sods need help. Investment is needed, technology is needed,  a change in punishment of cheating is needed, though this is more difficult as it requires the authorities to prove intention.

Or do we keep things as they are and enjoy the lambasting of the poor chap in the middle? There is a gratifying unity when the whole crowd sing “You don’t know what you’re doing” or “the referee’s an onanist”.  It wouldn’t work so well with VAR, would it?

written by Big Raddy

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Guardiola is right to be unhappy & Sorry Spurs

April 11, 2018

Elneny’s red card has been rescinded. His sending off could have been costly, the completely useless Andy Marriner clearly lost the plot when the game got heated (as it should be) Has Marriner been punished  with a suspension or demotion? No, he hasn’t Should he be?

The referee and two linesmen wrongly decided Sane was offside when scoring for MC last night possibly costing MC the victory and with it many millions of pounds. Were the referee and linesmen questioned about their mistake? Has there been any fuss apart from Guardiola being sent to the stands for stating a truth?

This post could go the VAR route but we have covered the subject in depth, instead I am questioning the punishment of referees who make blatant errors.

Chas mentioned Graham Poll yesterday, my example would also be against Newcastle when Phil Dowd gave the worst example of refereeing in my footballing experience in a 4-4 draw at St James in 2011. Dowd escaped with an unblemished record having given Diaby a red card, awarded two highly dubious penalties to the Magpies and allowed Barton, Tiote and others to repeatedly kick our boys.

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Yes, I know the argument about referees only being human and mistakes can be made but the general standard is poor. And of course, all referees are wa**ers, They have to be to pick up the whistle.

On another subject …

Did you know that since Spurs last won a major trophy (i.e. not the Carabootee Cup) in 1991, Arsenal have won the same number of trophies as Spurs have in their entire history!!

Ooh to be, Ooh to be, Ooh to be a Gooner

written by BR


Can VAR stop Spurs Cheating?

February 5, 2018

An exciting game at Anfield left Mr. Klopp fuming and a few million viewers shaking their heads at another example of the lack of moral fibre in the Spurs Miscreants. Which , to be candid, comes as no real surprise.What is surprising is that following at least a dozen slo-mo replays there was disagreement about both penalty decisions.

So how will VAR improve matters?

Let us look at both decisions.

Penalty 1. Kane is offside when the ball is played. It hits Lovren and thus Kane is adjudged onside (according to the TV referee Dermot Gallagher who has, at best, a loose knowledge of the game). Kane then sees the GK come towards him and dives, trailing his leg which brushes the GK’s arm. It is a clear dive. The man was falling before being minimally touched.

Much discussion followed. Penalty given.

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Penalty 2. Lamela gets into front of Van Dijk. Backs into him as Van Dijk attempts to clear the ball and hits the deck mortally wounded. No way a penalty – it was another example of crafty cheating.

Yet … penalty given and despite replays many would agree that it was a penalty.

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Would VAR have corrected either decision?

Alli got booked for an obvious dive earlier in the game, Lamela and Kane were simply better cheats.

We saw a similar act in our game vs Everton, when some no-mark got in front of the defender running at speed into the penalty area  -I think it was Calvert-Lewin – then halted abruptly causing the defender to run into him. The inevitable dive followed but the Everton miscreant was not booked, hence his cheating went unpunished.

Many say VAR would slow the game down whilst the decision is being made and that the fans would see less football. Given that the ball is in play for less than 45 of the 90 minutes, something could be done to correct this i.e. stop the clock when the ball is out of play at throw-ins, free-kicks and goal-kicks. It is an easy solution. What isn’t easy is finding a unbiased panel of referees to act as VAR officials.

In my opinion anything which stops a player cheating is beneficial, whether it is 100% accurate or not. There are players and managers who use diving and foul play as a tactic, VAR can help with this.

It is not perfect but IF, the replays are shown to the fans it can add to the excitement, as it has in rugby; unfortunately I doubt very much whether the replays will be shown to the attending fans. Which raises another point – VAR is for the home viewer, the billions who watch the PL around the world, not the tens of thousands who attend the game. And it is their dollar which counts.

Do you think VAR will make professional players stop cheating?

p.s. If you did not see the Anfield game, you will just have to take my  judgement as fact – after all, I am completely unbiased 😀 😀


Should we remove penalties from the game?

January 16, 2015

“What they should do is to get rid of penalties altogether?”

A friend made this suggestion to me the other day and once I started thinking about it, it seemed to make a fair bit of sense. So here goes.

Recent discussions on AA have focused on referees and how difficult it is for them to sort the wheat from the chaff when player behaviour is designed to deceive. Diving to win penalties by conning the officials seemed to be the start of it, so I wondered if removing unjustified penalties from the game may have a beneficial effect.

Discussing it with my brother, we tried to estimate how many penalties were proper reward for the rule infraction. In other words, how many had stopped genuine goal attempts. We set the bar at about 3 out of every ten, though thought it may be even lower.

Think of game situations where a penalty is awarded but doesn’t justify a free shot from 12 yards……….

Defenders having to stand with their hands behind their backs on the edge of their area, worried that the ball might be blasted against their arms. Wingers getting a toe to a ball which is heading off the pitch and waiting for “contact” from a full back making a genuine attempt at a tackle. Forwards making no attempt to stay on their feet when a much bigger reward ensues from going to ground easily.

There must be plenty if the 3 in ten assessment is anywhere near correct.

Conversely, referees rarely give penalties when there is shirt tugging and holding at free-kicks and corners. This is because the reward far outweighs the crime.

What could be done to resolve this perceived imbalance between infringement and reward?

Why not make all non-goal threatening incidents in the penalty area a direct free kick from where the incident took place rather than a penalty? Personally I love it when indirect free-kicks are awarded close to the goal and mayhem follows with 8 man walls and the attacking side having to use ingenuity to breach the barrier.

The existing penalty could be reserved for handballs on the line, last defenders hacking down a player as they are about to shoot and any other instance where it looks like a goal would have been scored.

Surely the reward for many incidents in the box far outweighs the actual crime? What do you think?

Written by chas

Footnote ….

Apparently Arsenal are very good at conceding penalties 🙂 Chas’ question of the day has also been touched on in an  article in the Independent ….

http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/laurent-koscielny-jokes-there-is-no-place-in-the-guinness-book-of-records-for-conceding-penalties-9782354.html

 


How poor is the officiating in the Premier League?

January 13, 2015

Hardly a week goes by without us reading complaints about the standard of refereeing in the Premier League. The complaints are not isolated to just our team, unfortunately they have become common place. Hardly a week goes by without a manager being fined, sent to the stands or suspended.

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My ten questions are simple –

  1. Are we being fair to the officials?
  2. Has the standard really dropped?
  3. Were there as many complaints back in the day?
  4. Do the referees favour particular teams?
  5. Has technology altered our opinion of officiating?
  6. Should instant replays be allowed on the ground’s big screens?
  7. Should the number of game officials be increased?
  8. Should the officials be given more tools/help?
  9. Are the rules too complex?
  10. Should managers be able to challenge decisions?

…………………………………………………………………………

In your opinion what needs to be done to correct the impression/reality of poor officiating.

GunnerN5


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

January 16, 2014

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)


Our Destiny Lies In The Hands Of One Man

May 8, 2013

Something very important for Arsenal takes place tonight. Coupled with our remaining two games, this is perhaps what our season comes down to. No trophies again (8 years!!), and fighting for a top 4 finish.

One man will have a huge level of influence in determining the outcome of this fight. Not Cazorla, not Walcott, not Bale. These players will be important, but will be less important than another man who takes the field.

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By now, most of you probably know I am talking about Mike Dean, the referee who takes charge of the Chelsea-Spurs clash tonight, and then our game against Wigan next week. Mike Dean, under whom we have a relegation worthy record, who celebrates when we lose Carling cup finals, or go a goal down and effectively 13 points behind Spurs. Mike Dean, who is from Wirral, and under whom Wigan have a win percentage near that of a CL team. Mike Dean, who basically is a clone of Mike Riley, the current chief of the Pgmol, probably as a richly deserved reward for ending our glorious run of unbeaten games.

Click here to read how the Daily Mail assessed Dean’s anti Arsenal bias

Paranoid? Not really. Just cynical about there being a scenario where one man has an inordinate amount of influence towards determining who gets a 30m pound plus payoff next season. What was that thing about money and power?

A few days ago on this site, I ‘outed’ myself as a ‘conspiracy theorist’. I feel the analogy of being outed is fair because of the social pressure put on those that don’t take things at face value and ask questions as to what lies underneath. It is a subject close to my heart mainly because it destroys all that sport is, and not because Arsenal haven’t won a trophy for 8 years (yes..8.. Remember?) But I always feel I have to tread on eggshells when it comes to this. There’s this complete refusal among many, to examine issues that beg for closer inspection. Issues that the media should be bringing out rather than sweeping under the rug. Anyone challenging the might of this PR assault, is accused of being a conspiracy theorist. The term that brings images of people shutting themselves in the basement (or closets), wearing tin foil hats for fear of having their mind read etc etc.. Not reasonable people, with legitimate reasons for having legitimate doubts, about a system which operates so much like an old boys’ network, in such an opaque manner, with so much money swimming around, that actually, the onus should be on them to prove that they are not corrupt.

But how do I feel about this as an Arsenal fan, rather than just a sports fan? I feel we were cheated from winning the title in 2008. I didn’t feel this at the time. It was the ManU-Wigan game at the end of that season, when wanting ManU to win (so that Chelsea wouldn’t) I saw Steve Bennett help Manchester United win the title. Rafa Benitez, in his ‘rant’ also made mention of this game the following year. I am not sure whether Liverpool were cheated out of their title as well, but I don’t believe the narrative that his ‘rant’ was the reason for their capitulation. I feel over the years we’ve had so many inexplicably poor decisions go against us, we’ve been allowed (by referees, and the media)to be systematically assaulted on the field (as evidenced by the number of broken legs in a short space of time), and off the field, through the narrative of Arsenal. And that in the years 2009-10, and 2010-11, this too played a part in us falling short (Note the word ‘too’)

Now, I am told that all football fans feel their team is discriminated against. Both by refs and the media. Perhaps this is true, although a lot of Arsenal fans seem to be quite perverse in that sense. And I am always, even now, open to the possibility of me being wrong about this. In fact, I positively hope I am. I’d rather my team was completely to blame for their loss/failings rather than only partially.

But a system more geared for corruption, I don’t think I can think of. No one that I know ever disputes FIFA being corrupt. Nor Uefa. Nor the Italian League after Calciopoli. Nor the Germans since they uncovered their own refereeing scandal. England though, is special. It doesn’t matter how many stats pop up, such as ManU going 560 days without a red card or a penalty, or Rio Ferdinand only getting one yellow card in a season where he kungfu kicks Sagna. No matter that Rooney (and now even RVP) can elbow an opponent in the head without it getting called a red card (a yellow protects them from being banned) , doesn’t matter that referee appointments are made arbitrarily (but unfortunately, not without design it seems) This current example of Dean is hardly an isolated occurrence. Atkinson didn’t referee ManU again for 11 months after Chelsea beat them in a contentious game. Clattenburg didn’t referee ManU again for a similar period after refereeing excellently in their humiliating 6-1 home loss to City. All these facts are from memory. I don’t have time to do the research, but there are people out there who do this. They do it in the belief of something being wrong with the game they love, not the team they love (most of them aren’t Arsenal fans)

Why Arsenal? Why ManU? Why??? I don’t have the answers. Only theories and more questions, which, if I have time, I’d be happy to share. Giving voice to them might make me a conspiracy theorist in the eyes of some. I don’t care. At this point, all that matters to me is that wherever we end up, it is to do with the players on the field and not the referees. Or should I say referee??!

Written by Shard