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From where I was sitting, I saw nothing!

August 14, 2009

Arsene didn't need to go to Specsavers after all

Who would be a manager, eh? Not only do they have to control a group of mischievous, binge drinking, gambling addicted idiots but from what we gather from post-match interviews, they have a severe case of missing the most crucial incidents and decisions, UNLESS they go against their team. It’s usually because a steward was standing in their way, or they were on the phone to the Mrs, or some other really valid excuse.

However, as if we didn’t know already, Mr. Arsene Wenger of Arsenal FC has admitted that he faked it all. Well I never. I’m not being funny, but Arsene didn’t really need to ‘admit’ that for us all to believe. It was as clear as daylight.

Speaking ahead of his side’s League opener against Everton at the weekend, Wenger stated that loyalty to his players is far more important than answering questions from the media. (I’m sure a few media personnel will have a word or two to say about that).

Asked whether Wenger had ever been economical with the truth, the Frenchman replied: “Yes, because you are thinking ‘why has he (the player) done that?’ and you know you cannot explain”. So why not just say he’s a cheat then? We can all see it, we all know what’s happened – the hundreds of camera angles take care of that.

“From where I was sitting, I couldn’t see it” is now code for “yes, he dived – he’s a cheat”. However, you can understand where Arsene is coming from – it’s his duty to protect his players from criticism and such like – but for years now the FA and all other major governing bodies have been trying to clamp down on foul play such as diving and manipulating the referee into making decisions. Surely these acts of protection and denial give encouragement to players to continue doing such things, as they know that they will get the backing of their gaffer.

It’s a different story when the bad refereeing decision, or a dodgy offside flag goes up AGAINST Wenger’s team – he’ll give it some after the match, claiming the referee is biased or not fit to officiate a PL match, or the linesman wasn’t doing his job properly – but when the rub of the green is going his way, he’ll keep quiet and act innocent. I think it’s wrong that they are allowed to behave in this way. We know that in Football, and in Sport in general there are going to be some bad decisions, and it’s tough to accept them, especially in such high-pressure arenas and situations like you get in the PL. But berating officials when they get something wrong against you, and then turning a blind eye to something that happened for your team isn’t the way to go about it.

Sir Alex Ferguson is arguably the King (it pains me to use the word ‘King’ in the same sentence as Fergie) at manipulating referees to such an extent that they are influenced during the match. Then when the rare occasion of a bad decision goes against United, you see him parading onto the pitch post-match and giving Howard Webb, Mike Riley, Steve Bennett a complete earful. It’s not fair on officials to be treated like that, and it’s not fair on opposing teams who have to be on the receiving end of a Ferguson tantrum – they ultimately affect a referees thinking.

Rafa Benitez received a lot of criticism when he spoke out against Ferguson’s influencing tactics, but none of that criticism was justified. He was 100% right in what he said, and I was so glad to hear about it – it was about time someone stood up and said something, and stopped letting Fergie get away with it. Benitez is a good one for staying quiet on the subject of criticising match officials. Seldom do you hear the Spaniard ranting Kevin Keegan style on TV after a bad match, and seldom do you hear about him getting involved in pre-match disputes about the men in the black.

The FA keep claiming they’re putting measures in place to give the referees more protection, but from where I’m sitting, I can’t see anything happening. Or perhaps that steward just got in my way. But seriously, last season a ‘rule’ came into place which allowed only the Captain of the team the right to speak to, challenge, whatever you want to call it, the referee, but on more than one occasion, much more than one occasion, did we see a mass of players aggressively approaching a referee. Chelsea are the main culprits – an Old Trafford Tie of the Avram Grant era springs to mind, when John Obi Mikel was sent off for a late lunge on a Utd player (prizes for naming that player). I’m looking forward to seeing if the FA’s latest attempt to give the referees some protection will actually work – I’m not 100% sure what they’ve actually changed, but we’ll see I guess.

It’s time that Wenger & Ferguson get a grip on their emotions, and be real here. It’s Football – you’re going to get done out of a few decisions – but deal with it. There are 20 teams in the PL all experiencing the same referees/linesman/officials – the World is not against YOU. I’m fed up of the words “I didn’t see anything”. I want managers to clamp down on cheats, and not protect them, and I want them to stop moaning about ‘bad’ referees.

Bring on tomorrow.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 14, 2009 12:51 pm

    ha! we know that Wengeritise is a contagious disease which has destroyed the Human Male Manager species ability to see crystal clear decisions (normally occurring 5 ft in front of the dug out) and bad challenges. Of course, he saw Eduardo break his leg in half, asking for the opponent to be given the death penalty as a consequence.

  2. August 14, 2009 7:15 pm

    Hmm despite this, I do recall watching an interview from Fergie where he said “sometimes you don’t get all the decisions going your way, and eventually it balances out in a season”

    Other managers have said this as well (Wenger not included!) like Sparky, Sam Allardyce, and David Moyes so not all managers are badly behaved. Its just the non-English ones haha!

  3. George permalink
    August 14, 2009 8:53 pm

    Yeah, they say that, yet they still behave badly afterwards. It leaves you thinking that they’re only saying that to avoid getting in MORE trouble with the governing bodies. So what’s the point in saying it at all?

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