by .

The debate over referees went into overdrive yesterday with the pundit class leaning in to ‘tell the peasants they aren’t allowed to speak’ on the matter of refereeing ineptitude.

Gary Neville called Arsenal and Liverpool dangerous for their statements – and had the audacity to reference his time as a player, forgetting the hold Ferguson had on referees

Jamie Carragher told us the statement was nonsense and Arsenal were bandwagon-jumping

Even Michael Owen piped up into the conversation saying Arteta was damaging the game

There are levels to this nonsense.

Howard Webb has taken over PGMOL and his big solution swing hasn’t been to change the quality of the rotten system – it’s been to get more face time with the big dogs in media. The referee association is in cahoots with the top pundits and now those guys are jumping to the defence after getting a Whatsapp message to cool the temperature after the horrendous officiating at the weekend.

Last weekend, Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher were telling us 6ft3 Rodri was pulled down by an arm around the waste by Hojland and it was a clear penalty.

This week, they are telling us Joelinton with a two-handed shove to the back of Gabriel wasn’t a foul.

How can we take the opinions of these guys seriously if they suffer the same consistency issues as PGMOL?

The pundit class is totally out of step with the feelings amongst the fans of all clubs this season. No fan media is out here loving on what is going on. We’re all sick to death of the desecration of the game at the hands of a group of men that are not at the top of their game. What made the defence of PGMOL all the more ridiculous was the disgraceful officiating in the Spurs/Chelsea game. It was absolutely farcical what went on. One of the most ridiculous games I’ve seen and I’ve seen some crazy things. Romero getting away with kicking out, Udogie getting away with a studs-up challenge, the most painful of VARing on multiple decisions. It was a game that summed up the authority issue bad refs have on the pitch, and the lack of technical nous going on at VAR headquarters.

The pundit class keeps telling us to stop looking back, to keep our emotions in check, and to accept that referees make mistakes – I’m sorry, that is not acceptable, we cannot normalize bad officiating.

Premier League clubs will track the mayonnaise consumption of players that burn 6000 calories a day to get a marginal gain – but they won’t address the biggest gain available to most clubs: getting refereeing decisions right.

Arsenal dropped at least 9 points last season based on shocking decisions. That’s the Premier League title. The most cost-effective and least resource-intensive way to get 9 points better off is… competence.

9 points were sacrificed because of egregious decisions last season. Why are Premier League clubs letting this slide? Well, it seems they might not be. At some point, these clubs, that pay very smart execs to solve problems, will have to get together and fix it.

Gary Neville and co like the pantomime of it. They like the debate. They like to divide fans. What they should be doing is suggesting ways to fix the problems.

There aren’t enough fresh ideas on this topic – so we just rally around conversations of injustice. Great for Sky. Not great for the game.

So here are 4 ideas.


We have a real problem with familiarity in PGMOL. Mike Dean has gone on the record to suggest that he has made decisions based on the feelings of his mate on the pitch. When you love the guy on the pitch to the extent you make bad decisions to protect them, you have a deep, deep problem you need to fix. Why does a VAR official have to be a Premier League or former Premier League referee? Let’s mix it up and take the emotion out of the game.

Let’s also think about referee diversity. One black referee in 15 years tells its own story – but the bigger issue for me is that London is represented.

This map from Reddit might not be fully updated – but it tells a story.

Who is the little guy in the bottom corner? That’s Jarred Gillet. Australia has more representation than London.

Like any country, there is regional divide. If you were going to serve up a model for fair refereeing. Would you look at that map and feel like you’d squeeze that through a fairness committee? Majority white referees, majority Northern, no representation of London, the east, the south, or the south east?

But let’s not be so isolationist here. Why can’t we have referees from all over the world? England doesn’t have a stranglehold on the best players, so we go to other countries. We certainly don’t have a strangle on the best refs, so why not look the Europe?

Diversity brings fresh ideas, stops cliches, and puts fairness at the centre.


Referencing the above problem with Mike Dein. I don’t believe referees have a strong culture amongst them. If you are a soldier, you are incentivized to put your life on the line for your country and your fellow soldiers. If you work at Apple, you about design, design, design. If you work at Disney, you’re about putting smiles on faces. Referees do not seem to believe that making the best decision is what their role is. Mike Dean said the quiet part out loud. But we hear all sorts of justifications every single game for bad decisions.

‘Ref didn’t want to send off Romero/Udogie because it’d ruin the game’

‘He’d be brave to give a penalty at Old Trafford’

We also know there are hot buttons refs don’t want to touch.

Sending Harry Kane off because he’s an England player

Making tough decisions against managers like Mourinho or Ferguson

Referees need to work in a culture that rewards great decisions – currently, it’s clear they are not in that space. Emotion, pecking order, love for thy colleagues, disdain for certain managers/players. This isn’t me making it up, just look at past comments of refs who are on record saying these things.


Do you, the fan, know if referees have a special analyst who briefs on players before the game? I don’t. If they do, why do certain players get away with the same things game after game?

Sadio Mane with the crafty elbows

Harry Kane reversing into defenders that are challenging for high balls

Rodri with fouls high up the pitch / general shithousery

Do you, the fan, know if referees get live data counts on tactical fouls and misdemeanors? I don’t. But I doubt it. They should be getting running scores of fouls, the severity, and the likelihood that those fouls are part of a tactical plan.

Mikel Arteta will be telling his players that a keeper is hard of hearing in one ear and demanding Ben White scream in the other to disorient him at corners – and he has a team of coaches analyzing the game in real-time to tell him if a player is flagging or having a mental meltdown during the game. Why aren’t refs equipped in this arms race to know if someone is playing dirty tricks?

Even at a base level for tech – why is that world cup offside radar thing not in all Premier League stadiums? We’re still relying on some guy drawing lines on a screen.


I was absolutely disgusted to learn that Premier League referees are topping up their salaries by taking midweek trips to countries that own Premier League football clubs.

Given the context of what is going on with Barcelona right now – this type of carry-on shows you the lack of control in the system at PGMOL and it shows you the perils of having top officials on yearly salaries gazumped by two weeks worth of work of an average player.

Three issues with this:

  1. At the level of ‘this isn’t a big deal’ you could still point to the lack of focus. Referees flying off to do other jobs like freelance TV presenters shows a lack of focus when you have one of the most prestige positions in the world. Longhaul flights impact fatigue – especially in older men – fatigue impacts the ability to make good decisions
  2. At the level of ‘what the fuck, this is legal but…’ you have to say that this throws up incredibly challenging ethical questions.
    1. When someone is giving you big money – do you show deference to them?
    2. When someone is flying you out to a nothing league, you have to ask, ‘why would they do that’?
    3. When someone is taking that money, are they thinking about ‘what’s next in my career, this is a nice hotel’ and are they thinking about 1 and 2 when they are making decisions?
  3. I don’t even want to get into level 3. What I will say is you are opening yourself up to very awkward questions by allowing yourself to be paid for by countries that own football clubs.

This lack of focus on the main job says the rewards system in Premier League football isn’t enough – and at worse, it shows the weakness for more money and post-Premier League career opportunities. It is scandalous more people aren’t talking about it. We’re out here chastising fans for getting angry about bad decisions, but no one on TV has anything to say about referees opening themselves up to awkward questions because of their side hustle jobs DURING the season?


I do not care what you earn. I do not care what you think is a lot of money. I am going to say this objectively: Premier League referees do not earn enough money for what they do. If they did, they wouldn’t be flying to the Middle East midweek to collect bonus cash.

You can’t retire at 45 on a Premier League refs salary. You need to find the next job. So what is your incentive as a ref? To get noticed. To be a face. To get that column with The Daily Mail or that nice job next to Merse and the boys. Who gets those jobs? The worst of the worst. Because no one remembers the guy that gets it right most of the time.

Refs that are great should earn more money and they should be subject to stricter standards. Why?

  • They are household names for all the wrong reasons – getting abused on the street is HORRIBLE
  • They are responsible for decisions that cost front office staff their jobs, clubs up to £100m if they are relegated, and player bonuses that could mean they can’t buy an extra house in the south of France
  • The Premier League is the BIGGEST sporting export England has – our officials should be the best and if they are the best, they should be paid like the best
  • You do not want to incentivise refs to be the star of the show because they can’t afford to retire in their mid-forties

Currently, referees are paid based on tenure and literally showing up. We should rework the structure so they are rewarded based on making good decisions.

The inverse of that is if you do NOT hit the standard, you drop out of the league.

If you make the reward package of Premier League referees good enough to retire wealthy, guess what? You’ll get more people entering the talent pool. You’ll get the best people at the top of the game.

If you build your culture around great decisions and reward the best people – it means you can justify binning people that cannot hit the standard.

I don’t want to keep seeing the same cast of characters making the same shocking decisions every season. I don’t want to see bad referees put in the VAR booth to ruin my life from Stockly Park. I want to see a high-performance culture with referees. We need more Collina’s in the world, not more Mike Dean’s.

Infamy shouldn’t pay. It does at the moment. That has to change.


The solve for poor officiating isn’t hoping Gary Neville and co give permission for a better PGMOL. The solve is hoping Premier League clubs come together to demand action as a collective. We cannot allow this mediocrity to flourish and we cannot accept Howard Webb’s big idea being ‘closer ties with the big opinion masters’ at Sky Sports.

I don’t think my ideas are the best out there – but I know they would progress the game better than ‘people make mistakes’ or ‘clubs are dangerous for suggesting PGMOL does better.’

Fans deserve better, so do the players/managers: So when are the clubs going to get serious about addressing the biggest problem in the best league in the world?

Who knows…

Give me your best ideas below!

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Guns of Hackney


Someone offers you £5000 for Arsenal to lose a match?

Someone offers you a £1,000,000 for Arsenal to be relegated?

Take your time and don’t lie.


Come on you yellows…

Thursday night football for the Saudi boys is just the ticket.


Just don’t mouth off about it


Jollof Rice – where is the best Jollof Rice ? My bets on Ghana .


GOH – a classic from you, we always have to lose in your book. You genuinely get off on it


GOH – I’m guessing £5 would excite you about Arsenal losing and 5 bottles of whisky for a relegation


New Castle fans and players must be lamenting the fact English refs aren’t allowed to work their games in Europe.
The Saudis really need to expand their pay to play ref programs through out the continent and not just EPL if barcodes are to make an impact.


I was just going to say if the Saudi’s haven’t widened the net i’m sure the phones are being worked now, still 20+ to see that put in action.


Hot even close. Naija all the way.


I really do wonder how many people who comment on here are real Arsenal supporters and how many of just trolling, the amount of comments that use language like you (ie Arsenal fans) is quite extraordinary. Don’t see the point in it myself, must have to much time on their hands


First off nobody .. would offer me a million dollars.. to bet against Arsenal because anyone that knows me knows where my heart is…and I’d tell them to Fuck off.

But the Ivan Toney defense doesn’t work no matter how you slice it. Wrong is wrong.


The Spanish referee putting the PGMOL mob to shame.


Lots of talks about dishonest refs.

Is there a player in the Premiership who does not cheat routinely – diving, faking injury, claiming every throw in and corner/ goal kick, pushing and holding.


Wow… excellent goal by Brandt.


That should do it…


Nice 2-0 to Dortmund


I’m sure Bruno G and Co will be stoked playing EL the rest of the way


Newcastle have to hope Milan wins today.. or they are near group of deathed out.. I think without looking at the schedule.


I don’t suppose Dortmund would fancy a swap between Havertz and Brandt? One German for another, seems fair.

Habesha Gooner

Orcs detting their ass handed to them. You love to see it.


Looks like Generational is being schooled on how to score against the bar codes. Now how did he put it again “Embarrassing and a disgrace.”


I hope PSG win today actually.


Arsenal vs Newcastle at the Emirates should always be a straightforward win for us unless we fuck it up.


Better hope they end up in the EL as that will help with their progress in the EPL..

Guns of SF

Hope they finish last, NO EL



Weird comment.

Nice to make some money off Newcastle losing today. Barcelona on the other hand bunch of useless cunts

Habesha Gooner

Honestly would avoid any bundesliga exports for a while. Especially attackers, Attacking midfielders and Wingers.The last few years, the players signed from there in the premier league have been horrible. I like Brandt, but I cant seem to get over the fact that he would be another shy flaky german. We already got Havertz for that. Diaby and may be Bailey the only decent exports the last 4 years.


Xavi is not very good in Europe. Losing to shaktar has to go down as a low point


Poor Newcastle. How dare the European refs not help Newcastle win



Florian wirtz is going to blow up same as musiala has. Both very insane talents


“Looks like Generational is being schooled on how to score against the bar codes. Now how did he put it again “Embarrassing and a disgrace.”

Literally, I was waiting for this sort of bullshit, just expected someone else to come up with it.
Mind that dortmund played at home in front of their great crowd of fanatic fans (something you will never understand) . Newcastle has zero experience in CL and borussia play there every year, it makes a hell of a difference.


Lol another game tomorrow, lets hope the players have moved on from saturday unlike most fans


Nketiah is a doubt for tomorrow.

Guns of SF



MG42 -> GD4 -> RP7 (deceased ) – normally in the dissociative conditions they will take on differing persona’s but to be honest in this case all 3 appear to be total and utter cunts


“Nketiah is a doubt for tomorrow.”

Kai as false 9 then, he seems to be a false player anyway, so who knows?


Nketiah being out may be good, i’d go with Martinelli at CF but knowing our manager its probably going to be Havertz who plays there


Habesha ..well .. It sounds like we might need our shy flakey German to score a goal tomorrow. Eddie’s fitness in doubt, apparently. And if not Eddie’s … Ode’s as well. Proper … hospital ward these days.

Going to have to order more of those adjustable beds.


Arsenal were the first English team to win away in Dortmund in 2013.

They drew with City at home last season, beat them at home in 2018… Beat Chelsea at home last season.

Not an easy place to go on big European nights… Where Newcastle screwed up was not doing the business at home, after taking a point in Milan.


Kai as false 9 then, he seems to be a false player anyway, so who knows?




All to win. Gonna put that Newsactle winnings on that.


Had a poster who used to post decent odds on here a while back.

Heck this place used to be a lot of fun by the way


FA write to Mikel Arteta and Arsenal after explosive VAR rant and remarkable statement via @Onefootball. Read it here:



I’m going Colechester, Bolton, Ipswich.




Man cheatty and var are friends for sure
VAR Report Card: Man Utd worst hit, Arsenal and Liverpool have genuine complaints, and more via @Onefootball. Read it here:


Habesha Gooner

Bati Writz looks great. but so did Sancho, Havertz, werner, Pulisic in the bundesliga too. The money it would take to get him would be astronomical imo. Szoboslai might be the first decent export to the Pl for a few years. Midwest Actually our shy flaky german has been putting the hard yards in. It is just the quality has been lacking so much. He just doesnt seem to be passing the ball, Shooting or trying to run with it with any arrogance or confidence at all. But Nketiah has been awful these past two away games so it really… Read more »


I used to post odds.. Bats.. especially on the World Cup. I was doing betting thru an on- line casino in Vegas. And used to do my fair share of sports bets. . But since I retired , I quit doing it. Seems dicey gambling real money on my retirement income.. haha But also the state I moved to doesn’t allow it.

Playing the stock market is risky enough for me. These days.

Habesha.. Oh man, I didn’t even think of that….. Vieira starting does sound slightly terrifying.

Guns of SF

What exactly is wrong with Ode?


Hip Injury Guns.

Ernest Reed

“ I really do wonder how many people who comment on here are real Arsenal supporters‘

Been bleeding Arsenal Red since 1977 !!!

Ernest Reed

“ Arsenal vs Newcastle at the Emirates should always be a straightforward win for us unless we fuck it up.‘

You can put that down in your calendar as Bruno G. Comeuppance Day as well. You have to believe that that prick is going to have his little red wagon fixed by someone in red.


You actively bet on arsenal to lose a NLD 3-1
What a wank stain



Yea now i remember…i paused for a while but lots of tasty looking odds btw now and christmas so why not.

I did go for under 1 goals in the Newcastlev v Arsenal game by the way, beautiful odds that one was


Feyenoord looking good in Lazio, Jurrien’s bruv is a pretty tidy player, left side of midfield, in the Xhaka role….


I said at the time that our medical staff must be miracle workers in having Odegaard back from a hip injury after less than a week… Seems like they are not miracle workers just incompetant ,.as he is now out for longer after being cleared to play a meaningless past 15 minutes v west ham when we were 3-0 down. Would like to see trossard and Martinelli renew their excellent on field relationship tomorrow that was so prolific for a spell last season before Arteta decided to bring back a less than 100% fit jesus back after injury.. Vieira starting… Read more »

Little Mozart

Totenham played that high line coz chelsea were that awful. They wouldn’t have tried doing that against a side like Brighton or Liverpool!!


Angela playing a high line was kamikaze football as the one thing chelsea have is pace ….sterling,Jackson and mudryk

Nigel Tufnel

Now I remember RP7, and I think you’re right.
All 3 specialize in the same trash… good catch.
I remember realvieiralynn, Tony, kroenkephobe, nasty content, there was some relation between them all.


City are on a different level…


No idea why dembele ever starts ahead of Coman for France


Milan didn’t get the memo they were supposed to lose. If they win that group closes up tight.


Leao. What à game


Yea we’re winning tonight but the sooner we see the back of Pioli the better for everyone.


put about 12+ digital high resolution cameras around the stadiums and expose them


not hard to align each side of the field and end lines…plus quadrants of the field


Some proper Catenaccio there the last 15 mins. Locked it down.


Loving this Milan win, ideal world Dortmund and Milan thru, PSG 3rd and into Europa with Stoke on Oil crashing right out of Europe.

Jollof Rice


Not gonna alienate any Ghanaians or Nigerians (or even any Senegalese, who insist they invented it) by declaring a preference for the best Jollof Rice.

Over here in North London, the best Jollof is London-Irish and served by some guy called Declan.


We need a CF that can head like Giroud as well as hold up play if we ever want to put silverware into our cabinet.


That audio is oof…any other line of profession there’d be sackings


Heck this place used to be a lot of fun by the way ___ Ya .. I agree and I’ve been thinking about this and why. I think it’s much easier to have fun in the comment section when the team is not doing so well. Because you get gallows humor which frankly is some of the funniest., more of a consensus on the issues, and frankly when the team is struggling you have to amuse yourself with other things. But when we are doing well.. there is much much much more pressure on every game .. it’s like a… Read more »


Nevermind it’s apparently not legit


To add to what could make an Arsenal blog contentious I say it is a manager, owner or executives that divide the fan base. For me it is Arteta & Edu with their misses in talent spotting and creating a squad that can’t compete in the EPL & CL. This creates a group of supporters that want to give the Execs more time but also others that want changes. At the beginning of this season more voices were heard, this is Arteta’s squad now and if he doesn’t produce after the mega money layout he has to go.


@ Batis:
“ Gd4Weird comment.Nice to make some money off Newcastle losing today. Barcelona on the other hand bunch of useless cunts”

You ok? What am I missing?


“ MG42 -> GD4 -> RP7 (deceased ) – normally in the dissociative conditions they will take on differing persona’s but to be honest in this case all 3 appear to be total and utter cunts”

The more I try to take high road, this sheep shagger keeps trying to drag me into the mire with her.
Okay it’s on now


I say lets make this place more fun for Bati… i’m with you Mid last season was like spending a full season just owning the nightlife in the Czech Republic only to awake back home with a serious case of herpes when the final whistle blew.


This place used to be more fun, agreed. You had big personalities (and Mantitties) in the likes of Keyser, gambon (we even had ‘bitch Gambon’ for a while, when gambon was bigger than Jesus), Carts, TYAG, N5, Romford Pele, Cesc Appeal and many more that added a lot of colour and insanity to the blog. Midwest is on the money though, it’s much easier to find humour when the team’s giving us purgatory and every year is groundhog year with us all being Bill Murray. I haven’t frequented that AFTV since Robbie dropped Claude and went the PC route, lost… Read more »


The Legends of Le Grove… add yourself to that list kid.

Nigel Tufnel

🤣 Mg42-gd4….. “the high road” 😂


For me it’s not even about the decisions against us. It’s the shit refereeing as a whole.
Refs can get it wrong. It is shit but it is part of the game. It’s the fact that var has intensified shite decisions with what should be a way easier pathway to making a correct decision.

Gmol needs to be replaced. And no-one who is part of that should be part of the new refereeing association.


Sorry gents late to the party there.


And that is me done with gmol.

Nigel Tufnel

Goober, In the past I was more understanding of refs job which I found almost impossible with the pace of the game and so many things to manage. What makes me furious is that a VaR ref can watch something time after time from 3 different angles, in slow motion and still get it obviously wrong. A forearm to the head “not too bad because it wasn’t an elbow” really??? Striking any player above the shoulders is written in the laws as violent conduct. He should be sacked for changing the laws himself, to justify what he wanted to do.… Read more »


Yep Nigel totally agree.

And I agree with other posters on the fact that slow Mo more often than not doesn’t do the replay justice and needs to be watched at regular speed sometimes to actually justify the decision.

Of course a push in the back or forearm to the face is going to look softer when it’s in super slow motion.

Guns of SF

All these fuckers that are claiming it was not a foul, no ball cross the lines, etc are just fucking gas lighters. stupid cunts


Guns you’re not wrong haha.

We need this Sevilla game to hurry up and get here. I hope tets has got the boys fired up for a massive performance to take away from the last couple of underwhelming matches and turn the tides on our form

Guns of SF

Saka better protect them ankles and everything else. Ramos might be out of the CL and seeing red!

Guns of SF

We need Ode back too Goober


Yeah despite a midfield of kai rice and jorgi being pretty solid defensively it is weak as piss creatively. So let’s see what Arteta can do to fix the attacking issues.

It’s sort of gone full circle back to being good defensively and shite attacking wise


Also in the case of both jorgi and rice playing midfield, why not use the fullbacks to help overload the wings and have the 2 defensive mids actually hold the centre of the pitch.

It would surely help Marti and saka do some damage and not leave the creativity to the midfield


And we need to see trossard play 8 in my opinion

Guns of SF

We are at home for this one, so I hope we can get more adventurous with our attack.
I think Kai will be at 9 if Eddie is out, and who knows who takes the left 8 spot

Guns of SF

I guess we will be seeing more Viera tomorrow

Nigel Tufnel

I like Trossard at 9 or false 9. I think Havertz body might be needed in midfield. He does that part of the game pretty well.



All these missing bodies are senior players and it got me thinking 🤔 are these pretend injuries? Are the players fed up with Arteta and trying to get him the sack? Would be interesting.

Nigel Tufnel

Mysticleaves wishful thinking is beyond delusional. Most bizarre post of the week..

Congratulations you beat Mg42-gd4 and Hackney.


Mystic Leaves – No the players are not trying to get him the sack. It wasn’t like we lost 1-0 to Luton away ( somebody else well known nearly did ) we were holding a Newcastle side to a credible if not slightly dull draw . Then all VAR hell broke loose.
Newcastle went 60 mins at home without a shot on target. Watch the game it’ll help you come to a rational conclusion


Nigel – RP7 got a ban for hate postings against Xhaka. I seem to remember the Cretan using the abortion comments that GD4 uses. GD4 who by the way recently denied continually posting abuse at Xhaka disappeared off very soon after the RP7 ban. My thoughts were he decided to lay low lest his links were discovered. All these letter and number combos and use of terms like village idiot etc. Hmm 🤔