By Tony Attwood
Graham Poll, in his book, tells the tale of how in 2007 Ashley Cole accused him of once saying that Chelsea needed bringing down a peg or two. The offence of Chelsea at the time in what passes for a mind within A Cole was that he had sent off John Terry. He also did not allow a Drogba goal in a game against Tottenham.
John Terry then joined in and said that the referee had altered his account of the sending off in order to cover his own back. The FA then stepped into the muck and charged John Terry with improper conduct and fined him £10,000. Terry was invited to apologise to the FA and Graham Poll and refused.
Since then we have had the racism trials, we have had the 2009 saga of Terry taking cash in return for a tour of the Chelsea training ground. (Mind you the fact that it was the News of the World which claimed that Terry took a £10,000 payment doesn’t help the story). So it goes, although stories regarding Chelsea need little help after A Cole took an air rifle to work and shot a trainee player.
Who knows what Clattenburg said to two players during a recent game, but perhaps the Chelsea case is not helped by the fact that Terry didn’t play last night because he is suspended after what he said to Anton Ferdinand a year ago.
It is said in some quarters that if nothing else, that tells us that Chelsea has now entered a new level of siege mentality. Us against everyone is an ok approach (I have always had the feeling George Graham did this) but there has to be a limit somewhere.
Of course it is one of those things on which everyone has an opinion. Neil Warnock even had an opinion. “I’m on Mark Clattenburg’s side. They are trying to kill him and I don’t agree with that at all.”
That is worthy of note because when Leeds United’s manager was Dennis Wise he accused a ref of much the same sort of thing in 2007.
There’s another thing however that I can’t work out. Is Chelsea making a complaint or are they just throwing muck around the place? If they do make a complaint, then they need evidence. If they don’t then by making the original complaint they are now guilty of bringing the game into disrepute.
The FA has already had a go at Chelsea of what it saw were problems within Cole’s evidence in the Terry hearing. If they get Chelsea before them again, presumably there will be another fine which raises the question: can you count fines as expenses when calculating if you are in the FFP guidelinese?
In our review of Clattenburg last season we found him to be one of the better referees with a below average level of bias. But here’s an interesting point from that review:
“The only game he did from Manchester United was the derby against Manchester City when United got beaten by 1-6. And even though Clattenburg was rather biased in favour of United in that game he never got another United game since that day. Is this a coincidence? Remember he is a Fifa ref so… well rather strange…”
And a bit later…
“The only question remains: why didn’t he get to do another Manchester United game after their defeat against their local rivals? I remember from that review he did all he could to not help Manchester City. He refused to give a blatant penalty for City. But for some reason it looks as if a certain person didn’t like the final result, and thus didn’t like the ref who allowed this to happen…and he never came back.”
If Chelsea are trying to influence referees and stop them doing any more of their matches, all one can say is that they are a lot less subtle than Manchester United.
But perhaps most of all what we can say is that this is getting totally out of hand. Racism and inappropriate remarks must not be part of football – surely everyone agrees. But, when a club makes complaints about refs in this way – complaints which are going to be very hard to unravel, where on earth do we go next?
When George Graham’s team were docked two points after a match at Manchester United, my recollection is that Arsenal did not appeal or say anything, no matter that to my Arsenal coloured eyes the punishment was bizarre – why suddenly two points? Why not a fine? But the matter was let go and Arsenal proceeded to win the league.
Times, it seems, have changed
You can support Arsenal or you can walk out. One of these is better for your health.
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- “The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal”: crowd behaviour at the early matches