This article appears on the History Site, because Untold Arsenal is still down. Apologies for that – we hope to be back up soon.
By Tony Attwood
I thought we had seen the end of this type of refereeing back in the 1970s with the appalling Don Revie side, whose activities were so outrageous that the FA actually announced they would have an enquiry into the club’s behaviour on the pitch and its relationship with referees.
But then nothing happened and the FA and League backed off, Revie moved on, and eventually Leeds went down and down, financially and in terms of football success.
Now we have the scourge of football back with the most blatant Type I match fixing I have ever seen since those days with Revie and Leeds. First 15 minutes or so, moderately even handed, or so it seemed to me, (and as usual I was there to watch the match not there to monitor the match.)
But then suddenly everything changed and it was Leicester Leicester Leicester all the way from the referee. Exactly as the Untold Arsenal ref preview predicted. I will of course leave Walter and Obama to write up the full report on this referee, but I must say I was stunned to see such a blatantly lopsided approach. Match fixing? It looked like it to me.
Then, he eased back, having giving Leicester the lead and got the Arsenal yellow cards ranking up, it was as if he thought, “there you are Leicester, I’ve given you the lead, now it is up to you.”
After that he started catch up for Leicester’s card tally, and indeed Leicester’s yellow and then red card tally should have been higher, but the ref put on the breaks and decided that even he couldn’t actually give Leicester what they deserved. Certainly they should have been on 9 men, if not eight.
So they were allowed the fouls and endless, endless, endless time wasting for which the keeper should have been given a yellow and then a red. The ref kept pointing at his watch as if extra time was being added for the imitations of Allerdyce’s bus parking activities, but as we saw at the end, he didn’t even add enough time to cover the subs and injuries.
And so the fairy tale ending for Danny, and what better way to come back and show us that you still know how to play. And a well-taken goal from Theo.
Leicester will probably end up in the top four – if fourth I suspect they will go out in the knock out round before reaching the Champions League and so face the Europa. If they end up third, then they will face a different type of referee, and indeed a different type of rules. Either way the extra games will probably do for them, and they will sink back from whence they came. Surely they can’t find that many referees in the league to support them for a second season.
Meanwhile I failed to notice any sort of protest against Sky, and that was probably reasonable, because it would have done no good. Untold has put forward a proposal for live TV for every game which could reduce ticket prices, and that is the best solution – it will solve all the fixture movement and bring Arsenal’s games to many more viewers. I’ll come back to it later.
The press will of course say something like “Arsenal fans were already outside the ground when Arsenal scored,” but believe me that was not true. Certainly none of the regular early leavers around me had left.
Leicester have an easy run in, but they will have realised that no matter how much money they have available, there is a limit to what they can do. That ought to unnerve them a bit, and referees watching that match today will realise that this was a step far too far and recognise how closely they are being monitored in Leicester games from now on.
I’m just back home and not had a chance to gather my thoughts, but I hope the above rushed commentary (from one who doesn’t normally write post-match commentaries – but Walter won’t be home until midnight) make just give a little of the flavour of what it was like.
And hopefully Untold will be back tomorrow.