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You can support Arsenal or you can walk out. One of these is better for your mental health

By Tony Attwood

According to most press reports lots of “angry Arsenal fans left the stadium in protest while others stayed to chant their disdain for the team’s showing, wailing: “We want our Arsenal back.”

No one seems to have found any of the “lots of angry Arsenal supporteres” to interview in terms of how they felt.

How do they feel?  Stupid?  Drunk?  Annoyed?  Surely interviewing these fellows ought to be one of the stories of the day.  Maybe I have missed it.  Maybe the Sun found one.

But dozens?   I think there were 4000 at the away end so that would make well under 1% who left.  Doesn’t sound so good then does it.  “Under 1% of Arsenal fans left at half time”.

So what did happen on Tuesday 30 October 2012?

Arsenal had 65% of possession, and Reading 35%.  Arsenal had 65% of the goal attempts too (34 to 19).

The team had nothing to do with our first team that was beating QPR last weekend:

Damián Martinez,
Johan Djourou, Ignasi Miquel (Jernade Meade, 108), Laurent Koscielny, Carl Jenkinson,
Francis Coquelin, Emmanuel Frimpong (Olivier Giroud, 62), Serge Gnabry (Thomas Eisfeld, 63),
Andrey Arshavin, Theo Walcott, Marouane Chamakh

Walcott had a bash at playing through the middle at times, Chamakh who can’t hit a barn door with a mallet from 3 inches scored two, and we ended up playing 4-2-4 (as my mate Ian pointed out).

Here’s what one correspondent of Untold said,

“The players may go back to the dressing room smiling and patting each other on the back but by and large they were nothing short of a disgrace and I am thinking specially of kos, djorou, coq and pingpong when I say that. Others may disagree but I thought that both full backs were dire and only marginally better than the two centre backs (how the fcuk can noel hunt score that header off jenkinson ??), I thought that chamakh was awful until he scored and walnut gave us no fcuking help defensively all night long.”

OK – that’s a point of view, and we published here – twice actually.  But consider this for a moment from a psychological position.

You can go to football because you support your tribe, and because you think football is fun, and because you want to be with your mates.   But when it gets to the stage of slagging off your own team because you have just won 5-7 away against a Premier League team, then surely a plot has been lost.

What would you sooner have?   A perfect defence and a 0-1 victory?

Let us go to another report at half time.   Many of the Arsenal fans, another paper told us, “left the stadium in disgust and missed their team’s comeback. Wenger said that those who stayed helped inspire the transformation.   I felt sorry for our fans and I would like to give them credit tonight. A big part of them stayed behind and I am happy that we paid them back.”

And for those who left? “I give them less credit,” he replied.

Here’s another view.  We have people who call themselves Arsenal fans who are complaining when the home manager of (I repeat) a Premier League club (who used to play for us too) said that this was the “worst defeat of my career”.

He also said what Mr Wenger said, Walcott’s goal for 4-1 was the turning point.  “When you give good players an opportunity, they take it. I really wanted us to get a fifth goal to finish them off, which seems a ridiculous thing to think when you’re 4-1 up. But we didn’t play in the second half, what we did was kamikaze stuff.

“We were really, really good for the first 35 minutes … but then when you see what we did in the second 45 minutes, it was bizarre to say the least,” continued McDermott. “When you consider that we were 4-0 up and who we were playing against and we end up drawing 4-4 [after 90 minutes], it’s just embarrassing for us all.”

We then had the argument about over time before McD said he had now given his players two days off to recover from this ordeal.

The 12 goals scored is the highest in one match in modern league cup terms beating Aston Villa 8 Wycombe Wanderers 3 in 2003.

Reading have played Arsenal 10 times and lost all 10 games.  McD said, “It was kamikaze football in the second half and extra time. Even at 5-5 it’s extraordinary.
So there is the choice.  We go four down and you lose and make a fuss, and then find you have missed the game of your life, or else you just say and be a loyal supporter no matter what.
.
Psychologically staying is better – it is always better mentally to see something through.

The books…

The sites…

It was a night oh oh what a night It was it really was such a night…

By Walter Broeckx

Sometimes you don’t believe what you see with your own eyes. That was after 36 minutes. Arsenal 4-0 down after what must have been the worst 36 minutes of an Arsenal team. The midfielders didn’t pressure the Reading players, the defenders didn’t attack the players or the ball. Reading went deservedly 1-0 up. And then Reading got a bit lucky. A cross deflected from the knee of Koscielny in to his own net. Those things happen. But this was not the right time for such a thing to happen.

And a bit later Arsenal let a Reading player wander in the penalty area without really attacking him and his shot was punched in his own goal by Martinez. I think he will have wanted to disappear under the ground the young Argentinean keeper. That didn’t look good at all.

And after that we slowly got our act together. But it was just playing the ball around with no real intent or threat. Arshavin was running his socks off and trying to bring some order in to our game. But he was preaching on an island at that moment. And when Reading made it 4-0 all seemed lost. One of my sons who was just leaving asked me: do you really keep watching to this? Of course I said: this is Arsenal. This is my team. In good or bad. I’m here (in a manner of speaking of course as I was at home watching on my computer) to support them.

And how I regret not adding what I was thinking at that time. I was thinking: one goal and we can still win this game. But even for me as a super optimist most of the time..that was one bridge too far at that moment.

And then when Arshavin sent Theo away seconds before the end of the first half I thought to myself: Come on Theo, score and we are back in to this game. And blimey ..he did. What a nice finish.

So in we went and out we came and the first minutes Reading was strong. But then we brought on Giroud and Eisfeld. And allow me to say that I really think that Giroud was the man that turned the game completely on his head. From the moment he came on he looked sharp and he was determined to get it right. He came close a few times and used his body and his power very well. And then a Theo corner and Giroud headed in superbly. 4-2 Still some 25 minutes to go. And Arsenal did all they could to pull another one back.

But chances were missed, the ref tried to stop us at all means by within seconds judging two similar situations completely differently and both against Arsenal. That was his clear pattern and the way he laughed and joked with the Reading players it looked as if he had a lot of friends over there on the field. But let us not waste our time on the ref; at least not now.

With almost normal time up we got another corner and lo and behold this time Koscielny headed home to make it 4-3. Can you believe that at that moment in the game I just felt proud. We were not winning this game but I felt proud for the way we had come back after that disaster of a first half.

Reading was wasting time (no card for them time wasting from the ref) but even he felt that enough was enough (and rightfully so) and after another substitution in injury time he gave us the deserved extra time.

And then came an extra ordinary moment…Giroud headed the ball to Walcott who took it with him and shot past the keeper. A Reading player stopped the ball on the goal line with his hand, the ball went further and went over the line but neither the assistant or the ref gave a goal or a penalty. Lucky Jenkinson put it over the line but that is what the reporters told me about who scored at that moment. I always look on mute but turn the sound on when something strange has happened. Later it looked as if the ref had given the goal from Walcott?

In extra time chances on both sides in the most crazy game of football you will ever see. And after 13 minutes the unexpected happened. A nice move involving Arshavin once again and Chamakh got the ball outside the penalty area and his low shot went in. 4-5 to the Arsenal.

But this game wasn’t over yet. Just, but only just onside Pogrebnyak headed home the 5-5 with 5 minutes to go.  This game was more than crazy. This was the ultimate and most open football game I have ever seen. Both teams almost running on their knees but both looking for the win.

And then Arshavin went past his man on the left and he could have pulled it back first time but the little Russian wanted to score himself and he would have but his shot was saved on the line. But the ball came out to Walcott who lashed it home. 5-6 in the last minute of extra time.

Reading again threw all they had forward but Martinez claimed the cross and then he made almost a big mistake and made Wenger angry by releasing the ball with a long punt up to Giroud but the ball ended up with the keeper and Reading could go forward again. But Arsenal cleared the ball and as Giroud came back from offside he cleverly didn’t make any attempt to go to the ball and so Chamakh could go on goal and with a nice lob put the ball over the keeper. 5-7  in the 122th minute.

WHAT A GAME!

I know people will moan about the first half hour. Yes that was bad. But a game is played over 90 minutes. And when you can get up from 4-0 down to even come close again you have done yourself proud I feel. And when you can equalise you have done a very remarkable thing and that without any help from the ref!

But when you can win such a game after having been 4-0 down, then you have produced a miracle. I have seen a miracle with my own eyes today.

After 89 minutes I felt proud of my team for having put up a fight after such a bad start and some silly mistakes and own goals.  I can’t really describe the pride feelings I feel for this moment. My English isn’t good enough for this.

Just say my oh my, oh what a night, late October 2012… well done boys. Very well done!

PS: But please next time think of our poor heart will you. Just score the goals without conceding. Thanks.

The books…

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Arsenal v Reading – a wild guess at the team.

Trying to pick Arsenal’s League Cup teams is like trying to … well rather like trying to do something quite difficult.

Arsène Wenger let’s us know who is not playing…

  • Gervinho has an ankle problem and will be out for some time, but how long is not known.
  • Szczesny is fit but not fit enough for the match
  • Wilshere doesn’t really need two games so quickly
  • Oxlade-Chamberlain is still out with an injury
  • Diaby is still out.
  • Rosicky is still out
  • Gibbs is still out

So who have we got then?

Sagna probably doesn’t need another game instantly so that gives us Mannone in goal and Jenkinson.

Koscielny hasn’t had much of a run this season, so that should see him in the middle

Francis Coquelin, Theo Walcott and Andrey Arshavin all look likely given their position on the bench for the last game.

Which gives me

Martinez

Jenkinson KoscielnyDjourou  Miquel

 Yennaris Frimpong Coquelin Gnabry

Walcott  Arshavin

 

Which even by some of my standards looks fairly odd.   Chamakh could make a return I suppose, but it depends just how far gone he is.   Could Walcott really play down the middle?  Should we not be finding space of Eisfeld?

This is the team we put out against Coventry

Damian Martinez

Ignasi Miquel, Johan Djourou (c), Martin Angha, Nico Yennaris,

Francis Coquelin, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Andre Santos

Andrey Arshavin, Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott

This is one of the oddest games to predict the line-up for, because there is every chance that Mr Wenger has some other experiment up his sleeve and something unexpected just like the sudden arrival of Gnabry took most of us by surprise.

Apparently if Arsenal win they will qualify for the quarter-finals for the 10th season running.  Not that anyone notices such things.

The books…

The sites…

 

How much money does one have to spend to guarantee constant success?

By Walter Broeckx

We should have spend the fucking money. Now if we look at the current Champions league this looks to be a bit strange.

Manchester United has spend a lot of money and for the moment it seems to work for them. Both in the league and in the CL. He who’s name we will not mention is fit and we can only wait for the moment when he falls in to his old habits of being out for half a season or so. I would like it to happen on February 1.

Chelsea has spent an enormous amount of money. In such a way that it looks as if financial fair play is only a wild dream that will have no effect in the next seasons. And in the Premier League it seems to work out mostly fine for the moment. We still have to see how Hazard and Oscar react when the season enters the hard winter weeks and see if they can keep it up as they do now.

But in the Champions League it is another story. We are not happy with 6 points of a possible 9. Mostly because the football was rather poor. But Chelsea a team that has no injuries at all and is playing in a group that has one (with all respect before angry Nordsjaelland supporters attack me) rather easy game. In our group we have a team of what could be the best league in the world for the moment (Yes the Bundesliga I mean) and two teams that won the title last season.

But despite spending all the money Chelsea has only 4 points so far. So spending the money can help but it isn’t the solution completely it seems.

And if we look at the new rich boys it is rather shocking. Manchester City have only 1 point after 3 games. I know they are in the most difficult group of the CL with 3 real top teams. Real Madrid is a spending-money machine. As is City of course. Dortmund is a sensible spending-the-money team. Working with a lot of own youth team players and a few players bought on the cheap.  And selling their best players every season. I’ve heard that before I think.

But the 4th team in that group is Ajax. Great history, great youth academy. But well the Dutch league is not the most famous in the world. In fact maybe it should be because the football that is on display is not just high quality most of the time but it is one of the leagues where most teams play an open and attacking game most of the time. A manager that does this (parking the bus) more than 3 times in a season gets crucified by the media, I think.

But Ajax is one of the better teams in the Dutch league. In fact they are only 4th in the league some 5 points behind the leaders Twente. And Ajax is having severe financial troubles and has to sell their best players to keep their head above water.  And they always find another youth player coming through to fill the gap. It is amazing in fact and I think something that Wenger is working on. But those things don’t come easy and it takes at least 10 years if not more to get that far.

So when Manchester City, the champions of England go to Ajax it is to take the 3 points home.  Manchester City one of the the richest teams on earth against a team struggling to survive financially. So no big names to buy. Just youth players from their own academy and a returning well known player like Babel.

And yet they won against Manchester City and leave City last in the group with only 1 point. And with Dortmund on top of the group and Real Madrid in second place it looks that the best thing Manchester City can hope is to join the Europa league.

And that with spending all the money they  have spend over the last season? With all the players sitting on the bench being paid loads of money.  For teams like City and Chelsea even having 8 or 9 players out is no excuse. For Arsenal it is because we live in a different world financially.  But they have hardly injuries and certainly Manchester City looks close to the exit door of the CL. Once again. If Real Madrid and Dortmund draw their game with City they are in fact out of it.

Of course this doesn’t justify us playing badly. But it should ring a bell and make people realise that there is no “easy” solution.  The easy solution “spending” big is no guarantee for success.

And if you say that we should have kept our best players like Cesc, Nasri and he who’s name we will not mention… it was their will to leave us. It was them wanting to get out. For the money, for the whatever reason you can say. It was them not signing the contracts Arsenal proposed.  Or even wanting out despite having years on the contract.

Arsenal was forced to sell them for various reasons. Not because we really wanted them out the door.

Life goes in cycles. So does the life of a football club. Certainly a football club that is being ran in the way we do it. In a cautious way so as not to bring our long term future in danger. If we like this way or not, it is the way it is for the moment. Unless you have money like an oil or gas baron there is nothing you can do about it.

Yes it can help spending money. But for the moment Chelsea and Manchester City are not really good advertising boards for this way of running a football club. Well not in the Champions League so far.

Just imagine… Manchester City not even qualifying for the Europa League. Well the thought of it can even bring a little smile to my face. Just for a short moment it takes away the sour taste of our own defeat.

Maybe it is time for Man City to try a different type of football game like the ones on offer at Ladbrokes casino online. They might have more chance of winning a game of Soccer Safari that winning a Champions League match at the minute.

The books…

The sites…

The current series: What do Fifa Agents Do?

Part 1  What do FIFA registered agents do

Part 2  Gestifute The route to success

part 3:   FIFA Agents from the good to the child trafficking.

Arsenal v QPR The Catering Review

I’ll have a Tony Adams please, no gravy:Arsenal vs QPR (and Schalke) the catering review.

Saturday started well, a big fry up at the best cafe in Stratford (I know it was the best because it said so on the sign) before a gentle (and cultured) stroll around Bunhill Fields cemetery with the GF.

Having retrieved my scarf (she was cold amongst the graves) I headed off, toute seul, to Arsenal station. I chose this destination because I wanted to sample the now famous legends pies at @pieburycorner.

Situated on the corner (naturally) of Avenell road just a short hop from the station Pieburycorner offers range of home made pies. They sell at about £4.50 each and you can choose from a small but interesting selection all named after our former stars.

Tony Adams is beef and ale, Thierry Henry a more exotic venison and red wine, Ian Wright is lamb and veg, a Bergkamp is chicken – you get the idea. There is a veggie option and you can add mini roast potatoes (little Liam Brady’s!) for an extra quid fifty. And gravy.

I opted for a Tony Adams and wasn’t disappointed. I had no pots or gravy because I was still pretty full of breakfast. It was deflections! Excellent pastry and beautifully tender big chunks of steak in a rich sauce. You must try this folks.

I believe they are opening up in a proper shop nearby very soon (it’s being fitted out) and the they have a twitter feed and website so it’s worth a google. Next time I’m trying the TH14 as I love venison. Mmmm.

Pie consumed I headed for the Auld Triangle which was pretty busy but as friendly as ever. Someone mistook me for Cameron Murray out of Emmerdale ( which I’m not, nor have I even seen Emmerdale but having googled the bloke I see what she means). I don’t wear wellies and have no interest in sheep (unless they are in a pie!)

Then it was off the the game, fuelled by pie and two pints of average Guinness ( it really should be looked after better and not served in a plastic glass..). The game was nothing special as I’m sure others have said but it was great to see Jack and Bak back and Arteta’s goal was cathartic – just what we needed.

So finally a brief report on catering before the disappointment of the CL game midweek. Tony and I dined at the Millennium cafe at 500 Holloway road. It’s a Turkish restaurant and cafe, a bit above a greasy spoon and fully licensed.

It offers a massive menu featuring pretty much everything you’d expect (burgers, breakfasts, koftas, kebabs but also pasta and fish etc). I had a steak sandwich which was fine, decent amount, good chips, good value at £4. I washed it down with a Turkish pilsner which the waitress recommended. Very nice too (the beer I mean!). In fact dinner was probably the highlight of our evening!

So there you go, I thoroughly recommend seeking out a Tony Adams pie but get there early, they sell out quick!

Latest story: 

Match Review: Lee Probert – Norwich City Vs Arsenal (1 – 0)

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The books…

The sites…

Match Review: Lee Probert – Norwich City Vs Arsenal (1 – 0) [20/10/2012]

Match Review: Lee Probert – Norwich City Vs Arsenal (1 – 0) [20/10/2012]

If you are new to this site and this is your first visit then please: Read this to fully understand our reviews.

Today’s referee is Lee Probert

MATCH REVIEW DETAILS – Lee Probert (2012-10-20)
Period 1
Min Type From On C/NC Reviewer Comment Weight
0 THROW IN NOR C Grant Holt concedes a throw in. 1
0 FOUL NOR ARS NC this is not advantage. Defender fouled near his own penalty area. Ball had to be played backwards. 3
0 ADVANTAGE ARS ARS NC this is not advantage. Defender fouled near his own penalty area. Ball had to be played backwards. 3
0 FREE KICK ARS NC For the foul on Santos 3
1 THROW IN ARS C Aaron Ramsey concedes a throw in. 1
2 GOAL KICK NOR C Anthony Pilkington concedes a goal kick. 1
2 CORNER NOR C Russell Martin concedes a corner kick. 1
3 THROW IN NOR C Elliott Bennett concedes a throw in. 1
3 GOAL KICK ARS C Lukas Podolski concedes a goal kick. 1
4 THROW IN NOR C Alexander Tettey concedes a throw in. 1
4 THROW IN NOR C Bradley Johnson concedes a throw in. 1
5 THROW IN ARS C Gervais Yao Kouassi concedes a throw in. 1
7 OFFSIDE ARS NC Gervais Yao Kouassi is played offside by Michael Turner from a ball by Carl Jenkinson. Gervinho was some 2 meters away from the side line but the ball ended up in the middle of the field with Giroud who was clearly on side and who had only one defender to beat and Podolski next to him. WAIT AND SEE is the only thing I can say to the assistant. A really poor decision 2
7 THROW IN NOR C Wes Hoolahan concedes a throw in. 1
10 FOUL ARS C Aaron Ramsey Commits a Regular foul. 1
10 FREE KICK NOR C Russell Martin takes a direct free kick. 1
10 FOUL NOR C Grant Holt Commits a Regular foul. 1
11 FREE KICK ARS C André Clarindo dos Santos takes a direct free kick. 1
12 THROW IN ARS C Santiago Cazorla concedes a throw in. 1
12 THROW IN ARS C Aaron Ramsey concedes a throw in. 1
13 GOAL KICK NOR C Anthony Pilkington concedes a goal kick. 1
13 THROW IN ARS C Vito Mannone concedes a throw in. 1
13 FOUL ARS C Carl Jenkinson Commits a Regular foul. 1
13 FREE KICK NOR C Javier Garrido takes a direct free kick. 1
15 THROW IN NOR C Russell Martin concedes a throw in. 1
16 GOAL KICK NOR C Bradley Johnson concedes a goal kick. 1
17 FOUL NOR ARS NC Turner jumps then wraps his arms around the neck of Giroud and hangs over him and pulls him down while winning the header. 3
17 FREE KICK ARS NC for the foul on Giroud 3
18 THROW IN ARS C Per Mertesacker concedes a throw in. 1
19 GOAL NOR C Grant Holt scores a goal for Norwich City. 1
20 CORNER NOR C Russell Martin concedes a corner kick. 1
22 FOUL NOR C Bradley Johnson Commits a Regular foul. 1
23 YELLOW NOR C Bradley Johnson recieves a YellowCard for the following reason: Foul. 1
23 FREE KICK ARS C Mikel Arteta takes a direct free kick. 1
23 FOUL ARS C Aaron Ramsey Commits a Regular foul. 1
24 FREE KICK NOR C Russell Martin takes a direct free kick. 1
25 THROW IN NOR C Elliott Bennett concedes a throw in. 1
27 THROW IN ARS C Gervais Yao Kouassi concedes a throw in. 1
27 FOUL ARS C Lukas Podolski Commits a Regular foul. 1
27 FREE KICK NOR C Wes Hoolahan takes a direct free kick. 1
28 OFFSIDE ARS C Olivier Giroud is played offside by Michael Turner from a ball by Gervais Yao Kouassi 1
29 FOUL NOR C Grant Holt Commits a Regular foul. 1
29 FREE KICK ARS C Thomas Vermaelen takes a direct free kick. 1
30 CORNER NOR C Anthony Pilkington concedes a corner kick. 1
30 CORNER NOR C Russell Martin concedes a corner kick. 1
31 OFFSIDE NOR C Grant Holt is played offside by Per Mertesacker from a ball by Javier Garrido 1
32 CORNER NOR C Elliott Bennett concedes a corner kick. 1
32 OFFSIDE ARS C Gervais Yao Kouassi is played offside by Russell Martin from a ball by Mikel Arteta 1
33 CORNER ARS C Santiago Cazorla concedes a corner kick. 1
34 GOAL KICK NOR C Michael Turner concedes a goal kick. 1
35 GOAL KICK NOR C Sébastien Bassong concedes a goal kick. 1
35 OFFSIDE NOR C Grant Holt is played offside by Per Mertesacker from a ball by Javier Garrido 1
36 FOUL NOR C Bradley Johnson Commits a Regular foul. 1
37 FREE KICK ARS C Mikel Arteta takes a direct free kick. 1
37 GOAL KICK ARS C Gervais Yao Kouassi concedes a goal kick. 1
38 FOUL NOR ARS NC Holt grabs hold of Arteta and then Vermaelen jumps in the back of Holt. First foul was from Holt so should have been given the other way round. 3
38 FOUL ARS NC Holt grabs hold of Arteta and then Vermaelen jumps in the back of Holt. First foul was from Holt so should have been given the other way round. 3
38 FREE KICK ARS NC For the foul from Holt 3
38 FREE KICK NOR NC For the foul from Holt 3
38 OFFSIDE ARS C Lukas Podolski is played offside by Michael Turner from a ball by Gervais Yao Kouassi 1
39 THROW IN ARS C André Clarindo dos Santos concedes a throw in. 1
40 FOUL NOR C Anthony Pilkington Commits a Handball foul. 1
40 FREE KICK ARS C Carl Jenkinson takes a direct free kick. 1
42 FOUL NOR C Grant Holt Commits a Regular foul. 1
42 FREE KICK ARS C Thomas Vermaelen takes a direct free kick. 1
43 THROW IN NOR C Anthony Pilkington concedes a throw in. 1
43 CORNER NOR C Michael Turner concedes a corner kick. 1
44 THROW IN NOR C Sébastien Bassong concedes a throw in. 1
45 CORNER ARS C Mikel Arteta concedes a corner kick. 1
Period 2
Min Type From On C/NC Reviewer Comment Weight
47 THROW IN NOR C Russell Martin concedes a throw in. 1
50 GOAL KICK NOR C Javier Garrido concedes a goal kick. 1
50 FOUL ARS C Olivier Giroud Commits a Regular foul. 1
50 FREE KICK NOR C Russell Martin takes a direct free kick. 1
51 GOAL KICK NOR C John Ruddy concedes a goal kick. 1
52 THROW IN NOR C Russell Martin concedes a throw in. 1
53 THROW IN ARS C Mikel Arteta concedes a throw in. 1
53 OFFSIDE NOR C Wes Hoolahan is played offside by Per Mertesacker from a ball by Bradley Johnson 1
54 YELLOW NOR C Wes Hoolahan recieves a YellowCard for the following reason: TimeWasting. 1
54 FOUL NOR C Elliott Bennett Commits a Regular foul. 1
55 FREE KICK ARS C Lukas Podolski takes a direct free kick. 1
56 THROW IN NOR C Anthony Pilkington concedes a throw in. 1
57 FOUL ARS NC Didn’t seen any foul 3
58 FREE KICK NOR NC Was no foul so no free kick 3
59 THROW IN ARS C Thomas Vermaelen concedes a throw in. 1
59 GOAL KICK NOR C Bradley Johnson concedes a goal kick. 1
60 THROW IN ARS C Carl Jenkinson concedes a throw in. 1
61 OFFSIDE NOR C Grant Holt is played offside by Thomas Vermaelen from a ball by John Ruddy 1
61 YELLOW NOR C Grant Holt recieves a YellowCard for the following reason: Dissent. 1
64 THROW IN ARS C Lukas Podolski concedes a throw in. 1
64 FOUL NOR C Grant Holt Commits a Regular foul. 1
64 FREE KICK ARS C André Clarindo dos Santos takes a direct free kick. 1
65 THROW IN NOR C Sébastien Bassong concedes a throw in. 1
65 CORNER NOR C Elliott Bennett concedes a corner kick. 1
67 THROW IN NOR C Bradley Johnson concedes a throw in. 1
67 THROW IN NOR C Bradley Johnson concedes a throw in. 1
68 THROW IN ARS C Carl Jenkinson concedes a throw in. 1
68 FOUL NOR C Elliott Bennett Commits a Regular foul. 1
69 FREE KICK ARS C Vito Mannone takes a direct free kick. 1
69 THROW IN ARS C Aaron Ramsey concedes a throw in. 1
70 FOUL NOR C Michael Turner Commits a Regular foul. 1
70 YELLOW NOR C Michael Turner recieves a YellowCard for the following reason: Foul. 1
71 FREE KICK ARS C Santiago Cazorla takes a direct free kick. 1
74 FOUL ARS C Giroud attempts a foul but ref gives advantage 3
74 ADVANTAGE NOR ARS C Giroud attempt to trip a Norwich player but he can jump over the leg of Giroud. Good advantage given as Norwich can start a counter 3
74 THROW IN ARS C Mikel Arteta concedes a throw in. 1
74 THROW IN ARS C Mikel Arteta concedes a throw in. 1
75 FOUL ARS NC Thomas Vermaelen was first to the ball was not a foul 3
76 FREE KICK NOR NC was no foul so no free kick 3
76 THROW IN NOR C Alexander Tettey concedes a throw in. 1
77 THROW IN NOR C Bradley Johnson concedes a throw in. 1
80 ADVANTAGE NOR C Good advantage leading to a chance for Norwich 3
80 FOUL ARS NOR C Vermaelen tries to bring Holt down after he slipped away, ref gives advantage 3
81 CORNER NOR C Sébastien Bassong concedes a corner kick. 1
82 GOAL KICK ARS C Serge Gnabry concedes a goal kick. 1
83 GOAL KICK ARS C Serge Gnabry concedes a goal kick. 1
83 FOUL ARS C André Clarindo dos Santos Commits a Regular foul. 1
83 FREE KICK NOR C For the foul from Santos 1
83 FOUL NOR C Russell Martin Commits a Regular foul. 1
83 FREE KICK ARS C Vito Mannone takes a direct free kick. 1
84 FOUL NOR C Bradley Johnson Commits a Regular foul. 1
84 FREE KICK ARS C Per Mertesacker takes a direct free kick. 1
84 THROW IN NOR C Sébastien Bassong concedes a throw in. 1
85 THROW IN NOR C Javier Garrido concedes a throw in. 1
85 THROW IN ARS C André Clarindo dos Santos concedes a throw in. 1
86 FOUL ARS NC Didn’t see a foul. Holt just going to ground and taking the ball. 3
86 FREE KICK NOR NC No foul so no free kick 3
86 FREE KICK NOR NC No foul so no free kick 3
88 THROW IN NOR C Grant Holt concedes a throw in. 1
89 CORNER NOR C Sébastien Bassong concedes a corner kick. 1
90 CORNER NOR C Wes Hoolahan concedes a corner kick. 1
92 THROW IN NOR C Wes Hoolahan concedes a throw in. 1
92 THROW IN NOR C Javier Garrido concedes a throw in. 1
93 GOAL KICK ARS C Serge Gnabry concedes a goal kick. 1
94 FOUL NOR C Steve Morison Commits a Handball foul. 1
94 FREE KICK ARS C Mikel Arteta takes a direct free kick. 1
95 GOAL KICK ARS C Santiago Cazorla concedes a goal kick. 1

Let us have a look at his competence numbers in this game

COMPETENCY SUMMARY – Lee Probert (2012-10-20)
Period 1 Called Total Correct %
ADVANTAGE 0 1 0.00
CORNER 8 8 100.00
FOUL 10 14 71.43
FREE KICK 10 14 71.43
GOAL 1 1 100.00
GOAL KICK 7 7 100.00
OFFSIDE 5 6 83.33
THROW IN 17 17 100.00
YELLOW 1 1 100.00
TOTAL 59 69 85.51
WEIGHTED 59 88 67.05
Period 2 Called Total Correct %
ADVANTAGE 2 2 100.00
CORNER 4 4 100.00
FOUL 11 14 78.57
FREE KICK 9 13 69.23
GOAL KICK 7 7 100.00
OFFSIDE 2 2 100.00
THROW IN 22 22 100.00
YELLOW 3 3 100.00
TOTAL 60 67 89.55
WEIGHTED 68 89 76.40
Totals Called Total Correct %
ADVANTAGE 2 3 66.67
CORNER 12 12 100.00
FOUL 21 28 75.00
FREE KICK 19 27 70.37
GOAL 1 1 100.00
GOAL KICK 14 14 100.00
OFFSIDE 7 8 87.50
THROW IN 39 39 100.00
YELLOW 4 4 100.00
TOTAL 119 136 87.50
WEIGHTED 127 177 71.75

Let us see if it evens out in this game and have a look at the bias numbers

BIAS SUMMARY – Lee Probert (2012-10-20)
Period 1 Norwich City % Arsenal % Total
Correct For 24 40.68 35 59.32 59
Correct For Weighted 24 40.68 35 59.32 59
Incorrect Against 1 10.00 9 90.00 10
Incorrect Against Weighted 3 10.34 26 89.66 29
Fouls Commited 9 64.29 5 35.71 14
Fouls Penalised 6 66.67 4 80.00 10
Period 2 Norwich City % Arsenal % Total
Correct For 21 35.00 39 65.00 60
Correct For Weighted 29 42.65 39 57.35 68
Incorrect Against 1 14.29 6 85.71 7
Incorrect Against Weighted 3 14.29 18 85.71 21
Fouls Commited 7 50.00 7 50.00 14
Fouls Penalised 7 100.00 4 57.14 11
Totals Norwich City % Arsenal % Total
Correct For 45 37.82 74 62.18 119
Correct For Weighted 53 41.73 74 58.27 127
Incorrect Against 2 11.76 15 88.24 17
Incorrect Against Weighted 6 12.00 44 88.00 50
Fouls Commited 16 57.14 12 42.86 28
Fouls Penalised 13 81.25 8 66.67 21

Please leave a comment!

The books…

The sites…

The current series: What do Fifa Agents Do?

Part 1  What do FIFA registered agents do

Part 2  Gestifute The route to success

part 3:   FIFA Agents from the good to the child trafficking.

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Malaga: 1984 revisited. Is this the way to win the Champions League?

In Qatar they build football stadiums.  Lots of them, because they are going to have a jolly world cup there.
.
The stadia are open to the sky – a bit like the Emirates.  All the people are under cover (although to avoid sunstroke rather than to avoid the freezing rain).   But they are supposedly also air conditioned.   Which presumably means that cold air is pumped up through the terraces and then goes up and out through the roof.  Which is a bit of a bugger because the stadia are supposed to be carbon neutral.

And as part of their build up to the big event Qatar thought it might be a nice idea to buy a club of their own.  A sort of Manchester City, PSG and Chelsea type club.  Only in Spain.   A club that could turn that rather drab and dreary two horse race of a championship in that country into a three horse race. So they bought Malaga and in their first season as a new super club they came fourth.

Except that it all went wrong.  The man with the money didn’t turn up with the dosh some days.  Players did not get paid.  There were legal cases.  Players walked.  In the end that awfully nice Mr Wenger sent a post-it note to the owner saying, tell you what, we’ll take Cazorla off your hands for 50p.  Just to help.

So that is what we did, but in reality there was never any shortage of money in Qatar any more than there is a shortage of gas and oil in Russia or a shortage of crap in the House of Commons.

Now everyone knows that just putting billions into a club doesn’t make the club champions.   Chelsea fell out with their manager, and then fell out with their manager, and then fell…. well you know.  PSG spent more on a team than the rest of the French league put together and came second to a team that cost less than PSG’s youth team.  Man City can’t quite get the hang of the Champions League.

Malaga did ok, coming fourth, because they made they qualifying round of the Champions League for what I think was the first time. But even as they did that it was said that no one was being paid, the sheikh had found a different sport (shuv ha’penny or some such) and the bottomless pocket had a hole in it.

But then Malaga (with their brilliant nickname, the anchovies) triumphed.  Managed by Manuel Pellegrini they have developed a defence that hardly lets in goals.  They are top of their champions league group.

Goodness knows what Financial Fair Play makes of all this.  Are they in the clear following the sell-offs or are they, like Chelsea, Man C and PSG all totally played out in financial terms?
But finances aside in the Champs League they have won all three games.  In the Spanish League here is the latest position at the top, which ain’t too bad for a team that couldn’t actually get its owner to answer any emails during the summer:

Spanish First Division League Table

Pld Pts W D L F A
Barcelona 9 25 8 1 0 29 11
Atlético Madrid 8 22 7 1 0 19 8
Málaga 9 18 5 3 1 13 5
Betis 9 16 5 1 3 13 13
Real Madrid 8 14 4 2 2 16 7
Sevilla 9 14 4 2 3 12 11
Levante 8 13 4 1 3 9 13
As George Orwell might well have said, had he lived a little later and had any sort of interest in football:  Freedom is slavery.  Ignorance is Strength.  Football is Chaos.
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Last story:  Time wasting totally out of control

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The books…

The sites…

The current series: What do Fifa Agents Do?:  Part 1  Part 2   part 3: 
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Was it just inept or… no it can’t be…? Time wasting out of all control

By Walter Broeckx

Well this is a better day to be a Gooner.  A narrow but fully deserved 1-0 win over a team that came for only thing: destroy whatever football is if possible.  We have seen another exhibit of time wasting and bending the rules till it get ridiculous.

And all this with a ref who was very very very very very very inept. Maybe it is just karma that the goal for Arsenal looked one that was against the rules. Because I think that Arteta might have been offside when he first headed against the crossbar.  Because for the one split second Arsenal bend the rules (not that being offside is really bending the rules) QPR lost the game. But I am waiting for the referee reviewer on this because maybe there is an angle where you can see the full goal line and maybe there was another defender somewhere along the line (the one that attempted to stop Arshavin maybe?)

But the amount of time wasting we have seen was again unseen before. And our friend the ref? He stood there and …did nothing.  Now of course it could be that he didn’t noticed the time wasting. But then I can only ask myself: how on earth did he get there?  That is something that as a ref you should be aware that it can happen and then you have to act and stop it.  I have seen a few refs doing this very well this season (Clattenburg just to name one) so one can assume that a ref in the PL must have heard of the notion of time wasting before. This ref on the day seemed to have never heard of it and didn’t do anything about it.

Another thing he didn’t seem to know was that when a free kick has to be taken the wall has to be 9.15 meters away or 10 yards. And this has to be the distance WHEN THE BALL IS KICKED! Because on almost every occasion the ref put the wall at about the correct distance. But then he allowed the wall to come forward again and so on a few occasions the wall was at some 6 meters distance away from the ball. And thus making it impossible to produce a decent free kick.

Surely a ref in the PL has to be aware of the phenomena of a wall encroaching by taking little steps over the ground without lifting their feet. An invisible moonwalk one could say. How on earth can a ref not notice this? How on earth can he not notice that the wall is no longer in the position he put it in the first place???? How on earth can a PL ref let this go so many times? Okay it can happen once. But twice means you are not paying attention. But almost all the time…it means that you are not suited as a ref in the PL.

And then we have not just the time wasting from QPR but the time wasting by …the ref himself. I think he was the only person in the ground to not notice the fact that one team (QPR) was doing all it could to stop the game flow. And I think he was the only person in the ground to not notice the fact that one team (Arsenal) was doing all it can to keep the game at a high tempo.  Of course he noticed this. And if not: just another example of hem not being fit to be a ref in the PL.

On almost any occasion when Arsenal had a free kick close to the QPR penalty area he used over one minute of game time. First he had to discuss with almost every player on the field what was going on, what they would have for dinner later this evening, the colour of the grass (which was rather green), it took ages before he even started to put the wall in the correct place.

And then he had to chat with the players in the wall about some facts that we cannot know. But I surely hope he didn’t tell them that they could not move forward to the ball. It looked like that but surely… then he should have punished it. But he didn’t. So what was he wasting Arsenals, yours and my time?  It just took ages to get everyone ready and by the time the Arsenal players could consider taking the free kick the wall was standing just a few yards away again. Time and time again.

Missing it once can be excused. Missing it twice raises questions. Missing it all the time shows that either you are completely unfit to be a ref in the PL or….

So he was inept when it came to time wasting from QPR. He was inept when it came to putting the wall at the right distance. He was inept by wasting time when Arsenal wanted to take a free kick. I leave the rest of his performance to the ref reviewer but this was something that made my ref blood boil.

And then to add to the insult of being a poor….or was it a biased ref, he did something extraordinary at the end of the 90 minutes. Now I know that when a team has wasted a lot of time and has bent the rules that if they lose when the time is up I will not allow them extra time. If QPR wanted to equalize of win the game, they should have hurried up a bit in the 90 minutes. And now with all the time wasting they got rewarded with 5 minutes of extra time to rescue a point.

And it was QPR that had wasted all the time! And yet the ref gave them 2 extra minutes outside of the more or less mandatory for the substitutes.  I think that made it clear that he was a man with not that noble intentions.

All his failures and all those failures going against Arsenal gave me the impression that he was once again trying to do his best to step in the footsteps of Dean in the previous seasons. Mr. Taylor you  really had a bad performance and all those things going against Arsenal didn’t look good.

But at the end of the day we spoiled your party. And if you really didn’t do it on purpose it is time to look at your performance on TV again. And see how you did all to take the speed out of the game, let the wall move closer without stopping it and not punishing the time wasting. Time to take your courses in your hands, time to try to the feeling of the game. Because on the things I mentioned you were more than poor.

Only you know it was just being inept or being biased.  If the first : do something about it and let the PGMOL do something about it. If the latter: shame on you. And you are starting to get a bit of history on those things I’m afraid to say.

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The books…

The sites…

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QPR at home. Billy the Dog discusses tactics with Dennis Bergkamp

By Dennis the Menace with Billy the Dog

On Tuesday we play Reading in the Diddly Widdly Cup.  I know this because on the official Reading FC site (which is just about the most incomprehensible web site of any Premier League club) it tells me everything with ! at the end of each sentence!

If you want to go the tickets are £25 adults, £20 17-21s, £20 65 & over; £15 16 & under.  Compare and contrast with the prices that would have been charged at Arsenal – £10 upstairs, £5 downstairs.   Will we see any shock horror news about Reading charging 250% of the price Arsenal charge?

But before that we have Jack Wilshere vs QPR.  So great is the clamour for Jack to return that when I spoke to Dennis Bergkamp before the game at his allotment in Enfield, where he was happily digging in the potatoes (or was it sprouts – these vegetables are rather confusing) he put forward a line up of

Wilshere

Wilshere, Wilshere, Wilshere, Wilshere

  Wilshere, Wilshere, Wilshere, Wilshere

Wilshere, Wilshere, Wilshere, Wilshere

I did point out that this made it a 13 man team Dennis told me that Wilshere was so good that it appeared there were two of him half the time.  Or more.  Or less.

But I said that Wilshere is only 80% fit, and Dennis agreed to modify his team to

Wilshere

Wilshere, Wilshere, Wilshere, Wilshere

  Wilshere, Wilshere, Wilshere

Wilshere, Wilshere, Wilshere

which I thought looked ok.

It was at this moment that Mr Wenger, armed with his pitchfork and wheelbarrow joined us for our regular pre match tête a tête in the potting shed and agreed to be quoted provided I got the circumflex accent in the right place

“If you look at a more selfish view, you can say a guy can play an hour. But during this hour it is important that he is fit enough to play. What I am considering is that he wants to play, it is an important game, but we want the players to be ready physically and he has not played for 14 months.”

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is also available Mr W told us as we bit into a passing marrow.  “It will be vital as some players finished very tired after Schalke,” he said. “We look to see how the troops are physically and mentally.”Mr Wenger calls Wilshere’s game his “little burst”, and he thinks this could be a shake up for the club.  Dennis agreed suggesting QPR will set the bounds on Santi Cazorla, and in fact the howling was heard all over London this morning.  Oxlade-Chamberlain is ok to play I am told.  Then it is the eternal wait for Theo Walcott, Abou Diaby, Kieran Gibbs and Wojciech Szczesny.

We spoke too of Bacary Sagna and suggested dropping Wilshere from left back and playing Sagna there instead of Santos.  Or perhaps Thomas Vermaelen at left-back with Laurent Koscielny in the middle.  But that would leave us with only six Wilshere’s on the pitch and everyone agreed that was not enough.

“It is important to bounce back,” said Mr Wenger as his wheelbarrow got stuck in a pile of mud for which Enfield is justifiably famous.

“Arsenal have won more corners than any other premier league team,” said Dennis.

As for Questionable Perverse Ricochets (or QPR as they are known) they at top of the first division if you turn the league table upside down.  The Ooze is their manager, so we know what to expect.

.
And here is a snip.  Did you know that Liam Brady scored his first goal, Bob Wilson played his last game and Alan Ball broke his leg – all in the same match against QPR? 30 April 1974.  Arsenal came 10th in the league that season, followed by 16th the next season and 17th the season after.  The manager was… Bertie Mee.
Last time around it was QPR 2 Arsenal 1 (Walcott), in March 2012.  And before that Arsenal 1 (van Persie) QPR 0, December 2011.
But Dennis reminded me of  QPR 0 Arsenal 6, FA Cup, January 2001.  So if you want to show off, you can give us all details of why Dennis remembered that.  And what was special about December 31 1994?
Arsenal have six yellows this season QPR 13.

Arsenal

Mannone

Jenkinson Mertersacker Vermaelen Santos

Wilshere Arteta

Cazorla

Gervinho Giroud Podolski

Other people hanging around hoping for a moment of fame:

Martínez, Sagna, Koscielny, Chamberlain, Djourou, Ramsey, Coquelin, Gnabry, Arshavin, Frimpong, Chamakh

FIFA Agents – from considered development to the trafficking of children

 Editorial cock-up note:

We recently started to publish a three part series on Fifa registered agents.  It is a topic that takes us to the very heart of the transfer market and the way it is working.

Unfortunately due to a clerical cock-up by someone (ie Tony) we published parts one and two, and then instead of part 3, part one was re-run.

So if you missed the series thus far, or got utterly confused, here are the links to the first two parts.

Part 1  What do FIFA registered agents do

Part 2  Gestifute The route to success

And now here is part 3:   FIFA Agents within the big five – the good, the bad, the ugly.

As stated in previous articles the big five is made up of Germany, Spain, France, Italy and England.

These are the leagues in which players can earn the highest wages (Russia soon to be the exception) across the professional game. With higher wages, comes a higher transfer fee or the other way around if you prefer, the driving forces behind these are two fold, TV money and rich benefactors.  Clubs that wish to compete within their own means face a playing field that is growing more uneven as time passes and I don’t just mean financially.

The football agent/agency is growing in stature and importance so much so that a single agent with a concentration of players at a club could cause havoc if they wished and I believe we have already seen this with Darren Dein (although of course there may be other explanations as to what has happened over the years at Arsenal).

On top of this we have regulations within the different competitions a team may enter, with the varying nature of the squads they can submit. With age and home grown rules, that has inadvertently directed clubs, private academies and scouting networks to ever younger targets.

The biggest nation within the big five by population and wealth is Germany.  The largest agencies within Germany are  Sports Total, pro profil, and Rogon sport management.

Now Sports Total is an interesting agency as they openly admit that they are primarily interested in the youth of today to mould in to the stars of tomorrow, they involve themselves in the education of kids from an early age through schooling and in to football. They do seem responsible, and maybe one of the better agencies out there. Through researching this agency’s client list, it seems to me that this agency encourages their clients to stay within Germany and not seek the big money move to utopia as they are already within the big five. I have found no evidence of any other network but that within Germany.

Pro profil, are another agency in the mould of Sports Total they employ local German scouts, qualified coaches, German registered agents as well as one FIFA registered agent. They offer a whole range of services from financial services to private physiotherapy and the usual services of contract negotiations and endorsement deals, some of their staff played football at the highest level in Germany for Bayern and Dortmund and at international level.

Their leading clients are Manuel Neuer and Shinji Kagawa. They seem to have a localised network but by looking at their client list they must also have a close working relations with a Japanese agent/agency or scouts working within Japan and Asia. So again we may see localised networks from different parts of the world working together hence the need for one FIFA registered agent on their books.

Rogon Sport management, another agency that seems to look out for their clients, they have a lot of young players on their books who have been released from several clubs and yet they keep finding new clubs for them within European leagues in the hope that their clients can make it within the game.

They also have some big names like Kevin prince Boateng, Luiz Gastavo, as well as a young lad I hoped Wenger would sign but he moved to Russia; Mario Fernandes. Again this agency liaises with parents at every decision making point and even have dieticians on board and will help with the re-location of a whole family if their client is transferred (I have found no evidence of this company moving 16 year olds from Brazil to any European academies).

They have two offices in Brazil, one in Germany and another in the states, a private international organisation set up to take advantage of the differing markets within football, similar to arbitrage within the financial sectors low risk, high profits.

The failing points for outsiders of this industry are that it is a closed market. Rogon openly admit on their website that they will not consider anyone for employment if they have not been in the industry in a professional capacity for many years, which from the client perspective is positive as you want to be guided by experience but this highlights the closed nature of the industry even within what I would consider a reputable business model.

Overall German agents/agencies, which I have looked in to seem to have the interests of their clients at heart. They employ fully qualified coaches as well as ex-players as scouts who have a good local knowledge and work closely with parents when they spot a talented youngster. Finding information on these German based agents was fairly easy and they seem to be quite open with their client lists, other agents/agencies from the big five are not so open.

I would like to draw your attention to the business model of the agencies I have described above; we start with a scouting network made up of ex-players whose judgement will be trusted by his employer and most importantly the parents of young talented footballers. They will sign a target with the promise of “DIRECTION” in his young career. He will be well advised by the agencies advisers who have trodden his path.

The young footballer will be made aware of the sacrifices that have to be made to become a top professional footballer and the pitfalls of a young disciplined life.  If the youngster is not already with a club the agent/agency will recommend him to one of their local contacts (clubs academies). If the young lad makes it in to professional football the agent/agency will be there to represent the young man and advise him on his career choices, if he has to find a new club the agent will do this for him unless he is being head-hunted by another club in which case the agent/solicitors job is to get the best for his client.

A lot of the time the agent is ever-present throughout the footballer’s career.  “UTOPIA” I hear you cry.  But no, not really. I use Germany as an example of good agents/agencies not because they are all good examples of how a private organisation within football can be run but because Germany does not have the same in-depth history of colonisation as some other European nations. A subject I will go in to further detail at a later date.

Everything has an opposite.

1. An intermediary spots a – usually young – player and promises to have him recruited by a European club. In most cases these players, who wish to emulate their idols, practice their sport in informal settings which are not easy to monitor.

2. The intermediary asks the player’s family for money in exchange for finding a “placement” for him in Europe. Sometimes the player’s family will sell all their possessions or take out a loan to pay the intermediary, in the hope of receiving a quick return on their investment.

3. The player arrives in Europe, in most cases with a one-month tourist visa. The travel conditions are often illegal (e.g. travelling as a stowaway in a ship) and dangerous (excessively long journeys, dehydration, hypothermia, etc.).

4. Once he arrives in Europe, the player is either abandoned or “put to the test” by several clubs, which are not necessarily those promised by the intermediary. He is taken from one club to another until the intermediary is satisfied or gives up the process.

5. If the tests are successful, the player signs a (usually, short-term) contract with the club (in fact, very often the intermediary encourages the player to sign a short-term contract). The contract is often precarious and its terms are disadvantageous to the player. If the player no longer has a contract with a club, the intermediary often “drops him”.

6. If the player does not pass any of the tests and is not recruited by a club, the intermediary usually abandons him to his fate.

7. In principle, an intermediary who brings a player to Europe should bear the costs of his stay as well as all travel costs, including the return fare to the country of origin. However, many intermediaries will abandon the player if the tests with the clubs do not lead to a contract.

With no money, no connections and often unable to speak the language of the country where he stays, the abandoned player usually has no choice but to remain in Europe in an irregular situation, i.e. without a work permit or a stay permit. He will end up doing undeclared, casual jobs for a living, possibly sending part of his earnings to his family back home. Most often, the player is unable to return to his country of origin because he cannot afford the fare or because he does not wish to return, since this would be perceived as failure by his family, which made sacrifices for him.

In general, it is apparent that very few players from these countries are recruited or given a contract in relation to the high numbers who travel to Europe – which results in a large population of destitute persons who are reluctant to return to their countries of origin and who try to remain in Europe at any price.

This is where we need to differentiate between the different methods at work to achieve the same goal. There are many underlying issues at work here, but the big five and other European leagues are a target for this desperate act of human betrayal.

As I have stated before you need a local agent/agency that has local permanent connections (a network) built over time within his area to introduce a player to a club. We see various networks within multiple territories working with those from other territories.

Unlicensed agents, academies and coaches in Africa and South America working with licensed/unlicensed agents and solicitors in Europe usually follow the format of old colonies exporting talent to the old ruling nations where obtaining visas or permits to work are easier to come by due to historic links or arrangements between former colonies and their European counterparts.

I have already shown you a route in to Europe from South America with the players entering Portugal.  I will later show you routes in to Europe from many African countries in to France, Holland, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Greece and more I can even show you old links within Europe itself with Austrian agents/agencies targeting Slovakia, Hungary, Poland , Czech republic, Croatia and other old nations that used to make up the Austro-Hungarian empire. It’s a weird occurrence to come across, seeing these old links so ingrained in to today’s mentalities something we thought we removed ourselves from.

The clubs also have to be complicit in registering a player for the first time. Hopefully TMS (transfer matching system) will make this “trafficking of sportsmen” in football near impossible. After all TMS was primarily set up to protect minors within football and deals solely in international transfers.

So I ask if there is no problem of this sort within football, why the need for a tracking system? Robert Beroud who heads up Olympique Lyonnais academy stated “we are regularly approached by traffickers who try to sell us 13-or 14-year-olds as if they were commodities”. There is an industry for the illegal importation of minors in to European football and has been for years, however if the clubs had said no from the beginning then there wouldn’t be a market for them, but there is? So some clubs must be or have been complicit.

It is this effect on European football that highlights the need for much more stringent regulation of FIFA registered agents and player tracking. European football is being used in the trafficking of minors which may or may not be the fault of registered agents, but it exists none the less.

So for the protection of foreign children FIFA needs to highly regulate its agents, players and clubs. Will this give FIFA more power?  Probably but what other choices do we have when faced with this form of criminal activity? With the European parliament dragging its feet with FIFA and allowing it to be treated differently from other industries, it is no wonder we face problems of race discrimination as well as the “trafficking of sportsmen”.

No other legal industry operates in the same manner as football and no other industry would be allowed to operate in this way, so why football, what is its “specific nature” why are we so willing to allow this sport to be set aside and treated differently. Why are football governing bodies seemingly exempt from some EU legislation? Also why should fans at football matches adhere to any rules when the governing bodies of the sport get exemptions from the highest courts in Europe?

Written by

Adam Brogden

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The books…

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

The sites…

Referee Decisions - just what are the refs up to this season?

The weight loss programme: The only guaranteed wayto stay fit

Looking for a terraced house in Northamptonshire?

 

 

 

 

 

 

How the Guardian newspaper made a total mockery of the Arsenal AGM

By Tony Attwood

I was going to leave the AGM, and let it be.  I was there, I watched and listened, and talked to fellow members of the club on the AISA Arsenal History Society stand, which we were granted by Arsenal.

So I’ve said my piece in an earlier article, but then I read the Guardian article, and I thought.  “Fuck, I was at the wrong show.”   Then I thought “No – they were at the wrong show.

According to the Guardian, and I quote:

“Arsenal have never seemed further removed from their original dictum. Victoria Concordia Crescit (Victory Through Harmony) seemed like a distant memory as supporters made clear their discontent…”

Oh if only the Guardian had shown an interest in reading a bit of real and proper history, instead of the history made up by their AAA allies.  A distant memory?   You don’t even have to go out and buy a copy of The Crowd At Woolwich Arsenal FC (and we had copies on sale on our stand at the AGM) to know that Woolwich Arsenal were regularly booed and jeered by their own supporters when they failed to move quickly up the league from division two in 1893 to champions of the first division in 1894.  The AAA dates from the foundation of the professional league club.

Then the Guardian says, “and the board members snapped back”.  To see how much this is part of the tradition of Arsenal AGMs all you have to do is look at the time when Sir Henry Norris (rescuer of the club in 1910, builder of Highbury, hirer of Herbert Chapman,) was kicked off the board of the club.  Reports of AGMs being suspended and the police called in are common place.  We’ve even done reports on the Arsenal History blog.

“Some of the exchanges were personal, prickly, and the atmosphere became quite sour. It was not such a surprise to see the shareholders aiming verbal bullets at the board members on the plinth, but it was highly unusual for the snipes to be returned.”

Oh come on.  Snipes returned?   It was the same boring old argument that the AAA has waged against Untold.  The AAA says, get money, somehow, anyhow, borrow it, bring in a rich Russian, put up prices, any old thing, but get money, and compete with Chelsea, PSG and Man C.

The board says, all that happens if you do that is that Chelsea et al pour in more and more money and wages and transfer fees go up more and more.   Unless you own half the oil fields of Russia you will never win.   Better to work with the vast majority of clubs in the Premier Leagues to bring in our own Financial Fair Play regulations.   Mr Gazidis felt sure they would happen, with or without Uefa – there’s an article on Untold which goes through the maths.    We were not sure if there was enough support: Mr Gazidis is closer to the action.

Here’s another guardian piece  “Gazidis had a sharp retort for someone who lamented that Robin van Persie’s departure was humiliating. “I’m not sure if that is a question or an expression of angst,” smarted the CEO, before ticking off another dissenter for monopolising the microphone as he tried to restore order.”

Oh really!  There was no breakdown of order.  One question-asker was dominating the microphone and boring the shit out of the rest of us who wanted to hear other issues debated.  There was no disorder.   And the response of Gazidis was actually a lot more interesting and amusing than anything else that was said by the questioners.

“Inside the cavernous hall, as long as the sidelines of the Emirates pitch” says the Guardian.  A point of detail, and not that important, but no, we were in one of the many club level areas, and actually behind the goal. 700 seats were laid out.  I know because I put an Arsenal History Society leaflet on each one of them.  It gave me back ache. And unlike the guardian reporters I took the trouble to look out of the window at the pitch.

“The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust had its manifesto, the Arsenal Independent Supporters’ Association its pamphlet” – yes Guardian.  So why not tell us about our pamphlet.  I think it is rather good and worth a mention.  (Mind you I wrote it).

Mr Wenger said, “We have to be united. I accept every different opinion but it looks to be like the modern world produces little groups of little opinion. The little communities need to live together for the common strength of our club, for the good of Arsenal.   The Guardian said, “he preached”.  What absolute nonsense.  It was a lucid speech delivered without notes in the man’s third language.

“Arsenal remain, for now, a club caught between their internal ideal of a sustainable business and external pressure to be bolder with their resources in search of success.”  No they are not.  Arsenal has made a decision to push for the Premier League’s own FFP rules and support Uefa’s rules – which have already started to have an effect with numerous clubs banned or fined already.   As Mr Gazidis reported.  And then explained further when a member of the audience failed to quite grasp what Uefa is doing. (a read of Untold would have helped him too).

Here’s a last bit of gibberish from the Guardian.  “Arsenal’s board have pinned their hopes on Financial Fair Play, and a slew of new commercial deals in 2014, to help them to find a silver lining. In the meantime, the outlook remains cloudy.”

“Pinned their hopes” indeed.  It is called strategy.  It is carefully thought through and planned.  It is well organised.  It is clearly analysed.  Discussions have gone through with every other club in the EPL.

Pinning hopes relates to putting a £1 into the lottery as a way of getting out of debt.   This use of language is all wrong.  It gives a totally wrong reflection of what happened at that meeting.  And given that the Guardian is written by people who know their English one cannot but assume that we are back to the old Bash-the-Arsenal approach.   But why?

700 people were in the hall, and an early speaker urged everyone to vote against the re-election to the board of those who were standing again.  17 people did.  17 out of 700.   Fractionally over 2% of the AGM voted to oust the board.

If that is a revolution in the making, goodness knows what peace looks like.

——————————–

Match Review: Martin Atkinson – Arsenal Vs Chelsea (1 – 2) [29/09/2012]

Match Review: Martin Atkinson – Arsenal Vs Chelsea (1 – 2) [29/09/2012]

If you are new to this site and this is your first visit then please: Read this to fully understand our reviews.

Today’s referee is Martin Atkinson

MATCH REVIEW DETAILS – Martin Atkinson (2012-09-29)
Period 1
Min Type From On C/NC Reviewer Comment Weight
0 THROW IN CHE C Ramires Santos do Nascimento concedes a throw in. 1
0 FOUL ARS C Mikel Arteta Commits a Regular foul. 1
0 FREE KICK CHE C Branislav Ivanovic takes a direct free kick. 1
1 FOUL CHE ARS NC Ramires catches Gervinho in the back. Foul 3
1 FREE KICK ARS NC 3
1 FOUL ARS C Lukas Podolski Commits a Regular foul. 1
2 FREE KICK CHE C David Luiz Moreira Marinho takes a direct free kick. 1
3 GOAL KICK CHE C Fernando Torres concedes a goal kick. 1
4 THROW IN CHE C John Terry concedes a throw in. 1
4 GOAL KICK ARS C Aaron Ramsey concedes a goal kick. 1
6 FOUL ARS C Aaron Ramsey Commits a Regular foul. 1
6 FREE KICK CHE C Eden Hazard takes a direct free kick. 1
7 GOAL KICK CHE C Juan Mata concedes a goal kick. 1
7 THROW IN ARS C Vito Mannone concedes a throw in. 1
9 THROW IN CHE C Branislav Ivanovic concedes a throw in. 1
10 GOAL KICK ARS C Santiago Cazorla concedes a goal kick. 1
11 THROW IN CHE C David Luiz Moreira Marinho concedes a throw in. 1
13 THROW IN CHE C Eden Hazard concedes a throw in. 1
13 FOUL ARS NC Mikel Arteta Clearly plays the ball. No foul. 3
13 FREE KICK CHE NC Branislav Ivanovic is wrongly awarded a direct free kick. 3
14 FOUL CHE C Fernando Torres Commits a Regular foul. 1
14 FREE KICK ARS C Laurent Koscielny takes a direct free kick. 1
14 FOUL ARS C Laurent Koscielny Commits a Regular foul. 1
14 FREE KICK CHE C John Obi Mikel takes a direct free kick. 1
16 FOUL CHE C Ashley Cole Commits a Regular foul. 1
16 FREE KICK ARS C Santiago Cazorla takes a direct free kick. 1
17 FOUL CHE ARS NC Terry loses his footing as he tries to tackle but in doing so pushes Gervinho into Cole. Foul. right on the edge of the area 3
17 FREE KICK ARS NC Should have been awarded a free kick for the previous foul. 3
18 FOUL ARS C Thomas Vermaelen Commits a Regular foul. After veiwing the tackle in slow mo from both angles it’s unclear if Vermaelen actually makes contact with Hazard. 1
19 FREE KICK CHE C 1
19 FOUL CHE ARS NC Torres has both hands up and is pushing Koscielny. Ref should blow for a foul. 3
19 GOAL CHE ARS NC Torres has both hands up and is pushing Koscielny. Ref should blow for a foul. 5
19 FREE KICK ARS NC For the push on Koscielny 3
20 CORNER ARS C Mikel Arteta concedes a corner kick. 1
21 THROW IN CHE C Juan Mata concedes a throw in. 1
22 CORNER CHE C Ashley Cole concedes a corner kick. 1
23 CORNER CHE C Ashley Cole concedes a corner kick. 1
24 FOUL CHE ARS C Mikel jumped in the back of Cazorla and had his hand on his shoulder. As no replay was shown we can only agree with the ref 3
24 PENALTY CHE C As said no replay, so we cannot judge this situation and have to agree with the ref 5
24 FOUL ARS CHE C Torres kicked against the leg of Koscielny who was running close to Torres. Koscielny was just running and the contact was made by Torres 3
24 PENALTY ARS C It was Torres who made contact so correct to give no foul 5
26 FOUL CHE C David Luiz Moreira Marinho Commits a Regular foul. 1
26 YELLOW CHE ARS NC Luiz clearly has an arm around Gervinho’s waist and pulls him back. Ref blows for a foul but should also book him. 3
27 FREE KICK ARS C Mikel Arteta takes a direct free kick. 1
27 THROW IN CHE C David Luiz Moreira Marinho concedes a throw in. 1
28 THROW IN CHE C Oscar dos Santos Emboada Junior concedes a throw in. 1
28 OFFSIDE CHE C Fernando Torres is played offside by Thomas Vermaelen from a ball by Juan Mata 1
29 THROW IN ARS C Vito Mannone concedes a throw in. 1
30 THROW IN ARS C Aaron Ramsey concedes a throw in. 1
31 GOAL KICK ARS C Thomas Vermaelen concedes a goal kick. 1
32 GOAL KICK CHE C John Terry concedes a goal kick. 1
32 THROW IN ARS C Vito Mannone concedes a throw in. 1
33 FOUL CHE C Oscar dos Santos Emboada Junior Commits a Regular foul. 1
33 FREE KICK ARS C Santiago Cazorla takes a direct free kick. 1
33 CORNER CHE C Oscar dos Santos Emboada Junior concedes a corner kick. 1
34 FOUL ARS C Aaron Ramsey Commits a Regular foul. 1
34 YELLOW ARS C Aaron Ramsey recieves a YellowCard for the following reason: Foul. 1
35 FREE KICK CHE C David Luiz Moreira Marinho takes a direct free kick. 1
35 FOUL CHE C Oscar dos Santos Emboada Junior Commits a Regular foul. 1
35 FREE KICK ARS C Thomas Vermaelen takes a direct free kick. 1
36 THROW IN ARS C Laurent Koscielny concedes a throw in. 1
37 GOAL KICK CHE C John Obi Mikel concedes a goal kick. 1
38 THROW IN ARS C Aaron Ramsey concedes a throw in. 1
38 FOUL CHE C Oscar dos Santos Emboada Junior Commits a Regular foul. 1
38 YELLOW CHE C Oscar dos Santos Emboada Junior recieves a YellowCard for the following reason: PersistentInfringement. 1
38 FREE KICK ARS C Thomas Vermaelen takes a direct free kick. 1
39 FOUL CHE ARS NC Torres challenges from behind and catches Ramsey on the ankle. Foul 3
39 YELLOW CHE ARS NC Ref is no more than 5yds form the incident and has an unobstructed view. Should definately blow for a foul and issue a yelllow card. 3
40 GOAL KICK ARS C Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain concedes a goal kick. 1
41 OFFSIDE CHE C Fernando Torres is played offside by Laurent Koscielny from a ball by Ashley Cole 1
41 GOAL ARS C Gervais Yao Kouassi scores a goal for Arsenal. 1
43 CORNER CHE C John Terry concedes a corner kick. 1
43 FOUL ARS C Aaron Ramsey Commits a Regular foul. 1
44 FREE KICK CHE C Petr Cech takes a direct free kick. 1
45 FOUL ARS C Kieran Gibbs Commits a Regular foul. 1
45 FREE KICK CHE C David Luiz Moreira Marinho takes a direct free kick. 1
46 CORNER ARS NC Valmaelen concedes a corner for Arsenal 2
46 GOAL KICK CHE NC Valmaelen concedes a corner for Arsenal 1
46 THROW IN ARS C Vito Mannone concedes a throw in. 1
46 THROW IN CHE C Eden Hazard concedes a throw in. 1
47 THROW IN ARS C Lukas Podolski concedes a throw in. 1
Period 2
Min Type From On C/NC Reviewer Comment Weight
45 THROW IN ARS C Lukas Podolski concedes a throw in. 1
46 THROW IN CHE C Branislav Ivanovic concedes a throw in. 1
46 CORNER ARS C Gervais Yao Kouassi concedes a corner kick. 1
47 FOUL CHE C David Luiz Moreira Marinho Commits a Dive foul. 1
47 YELLOW CHE NC David Luiz Moreira Marinho wrongly recieves a YellowCard for the following reason: Simulation. He does go down in the box but doesn’t call for a penalty. 3
47 FREE KICK ARS C Vito Mannone takes a direct free kick. 1
48 THROW IN CHE C John Obi Mikel concedes a throw in. 1
48 GOAL KICK ARS C Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain concedes a goal kick. 1
48 THROW IN CHE C Petr Cech concedes a throw in. 1
50 GOAL KICK ARS C Santiago Cazorla concedes a goal kick. 1
50 FOUL CHE C Branislav Ivanovic Commits a Regular foul. 1
51 FREE KICK ARS C Mikel Arteta takes a direct free kick. 1
51 FOUL ARS C Thomas Vermaelen Commits a Regular foul. 1
52 YELLOW ARS C Thomas Vermaelen recieves a YellowCard for the following reason: Foul. 1
52 GOAL CHE C Juan Mata scores a goal for Chelsea. 1
54 THROW IN ARS C Mikel Arteta concedes a throw in. 1
54 FOUL CHE C Ramires Santos do Nascimento Commits a Regular foul. 1
54 FREE KICK ARS C Kieran Gibbs takes a direct free kick. 1
56 OFFSIDE ARS C Kieran Gibbs is played offside by Branislav Ivanovic from a ball by Gervais Yao Kouassi 1
57 FOUL CHE C Juan Mata Commits a Regular foul. 1
57 FREE KICK ARS C Kieran Gibbs takes a direct free kick. 1
58 THROW IN ARS C Aaron Ramsey concedes a throw in. 1
59 GOAL KICK ARS C Aaron Ramsey concedes a goal kick. 1
59 FOUL ARS C Laurent Koscielny Commits a Regular foul. 1
59 YELLOW ARS CHE NC Koscielny clearly blocks of Oscar without getting anywhere near the ball. Yellow card. 3
59 FREE KICK CHE C 1
60 THROW IN CHE C Ashley Cole concedes a throw in. 1
61 FOUL CHE NC Ashley Cole doesn’t Commit a Regular foul. 3
61 YELLOW ARS NC Simulation 3
62 OFFSIDE ARS C Gervais Yao Kouassi is played offside by David Luiz Moreira Marinho from a ball by Thomas Vermaelen 1
63 THROW IN ARS C Kieran Gibbs concedes a throw in. 1
64 THROW IN CHE C John Obi Mikel concedes a throw in. 1
65 CORNER CHE C David Luiz Moreira Marinho concedes a corner kick. 1
67 GOAL KICK ARS C Gervais Yao Kouassi concedes a goal kick. 1
70 THROW IN CHE C Ramires Santos do Nascimento concedes a throw in. 1
71 FOUL CHE C Branislav Ivanovic Commits a Regular foul. 1
71 FREE KICK ARS C Kieran Gibbs takes a direct free kick. 1
72 CORNER CHE C Petr Cech concedes a corner kick. 1
73 THROW IN CHE C Ashley Cole concedes a throw in. 1
74 THROW IN ARS C Carl Jenkinson concedes a throw in. 1
74 CORNER ARS C Carl Jenkinson concedes a corner kick. 1
75 CORNER ARS C Carl Jenkinson concedes a corner kick. 1
75 GOAL KICK CHE C Victor Moses concedes a goal kick. 1
76 GOAL KICK CHE C Eden Hazard concedes a goal kick. 1
77 THROW IN CHE C John Terry concedes a throw in. 1
77 GOAL KICK ARS C Kieran Gibbs concedes a goal kick. 1
78 FOUL ARS C Kieran Gibbs Commits a Regular foul. 1
79 FREE KICK CHE C Juan Mata takes a direct free kick. 1
82 FOUL CHE C Ramires Santos do Nascimento Commits a Regular foul. 1
82 YELLOW CHE ARS NC Catches Arteta from behind on the ankle.Yellow 3
82 OFFSIDE ARS C Gervais Yao Kouassi is played offside by Gary Cahill from a ball by Santiago Cazorla 1
83 OFFSIDE CHE C Fernando Torres is played offside by Thomas Vermaelen from a ball by Petr Cech 1
84 OFFSIDE ARS C Gervais Yao Kouassi is played offside by Branislav Ivanovic from a ball by Santiago Cazorla 1
84 THROW IN CHE C Petr Cech concedes a throw in. 1
85 GOAL KICK CHE C Victor Moses concedes a goal kick. 1
86 THROW IN ARS C Kieran Gibbs concedes a throw in. 1
86 THROW IN CHE C Victor Moses concedes a throw in. 1
87 THROW IN CHE C Ashley Cole concedes a throw in. 1
87 FOUL ARS C Mikel Arteta Commits a Regular foul. 1
88 FREE KICK CHE C Branislav Ivanovic takes a direct free kick. 1
88 GOAL KICK ARS C Santiago Cazorla concedes a goal kick. 1
90 THROW IN CHE C John Obi Mikel concedes a throw in. 1
91 GOAL KICK ARS C Olivier Giroud concedes a goal kick. 1
91 FOUL ARS C Mikel Arteta Commits a Regular foul. 1
91 FREE KICK CHE C Ramires Santos do Nascimento takes a direct free kick. 1
91 FOUL CHE C Ramires Santos do Nascimento Commits a Regular foul. 1
92 YELLOW CHE NC Ramires Santos do Nascimento wrongly recieves a YellowCard for the following reason: Foul. That’s what it was. he went for the ball and as Carzola played the ball away the caught Ramires’s leg. 3
92 FREE KICK ARS C Vito Mannone takes a direct free kick. 1
93 CORNER ARS C Carl Jenkinson concedes a corner kick. 1
94 THROW IN CHE C Fernando Torres concedes a throw in. 1

Let us have a look at his competence numbers in this game

COMPETENCY SUMMARY – Martin Atkinson (2012-09-29)
Period 1 Called Total Correct %
CORNER 5 6 83.33
FOUL 16 21 76.19
FREE KICK 14 18 77.78
GOAL 1 2 50.00
GOAL KICK 8 9 88.89
OFFSIDE 2 2 100.00
PENALTY 2 2 100.00
THROW IN 17 17 100.00
YELLOW 2 4 50.00
TOTAL 67 81 82.72
WEIGHTED 79 120 65.83
Period 2 Called Total Correct %
CORNER 6 6 100.00
FOUL 12 13 92.31
FREE KICK 10 10 100.00
GOAL 1 1 100.00
GOAL KICK 10 10 100.00
OFFSIDE 5 5 100.00
THROW IN 19 19 100.00
YELLOW 1 6 16.67
TOTAL 64 70 91.43
WEIGHTED 64 82 78.05
Totals Called Total Correct %
CORNER 11 12 91.67
FOUL 28 34 82.35
FREE KICK 24 28 85.71
GOAL 2 3 66.67
GOAL KICK 18 19 94.74
OFFSIDE 7 7 100.00
PENALTY 2 2 100.00
THROW IN 36 36 100.00
YELLOW 3 10 30.00
TOTAL 131 151 86.75
WEIGHTED 143 202 70.79

Let us see if it evens out in this game and have a look at the bias numbers

BIAS SUMMARY – Martin Atkinson (2012-09-29)
Period 1 Arsenal % Chelsea % Total
Correct For 35 52.24 32 47.76 67
Correct For Weighted 41 51.90 38 48.10 79
Incorrect Against 12 85.71 2 14.29 14
Incorrect Against Weighted 38 92.68 3 7.32 41
Fouls Commited 10 47.62 11 52.38 21
Fouls Penalised 9 90.00 7 63.64 16
Period 2 Arsenal % Chelsea % Total
Correct For 32 50.00 32 50.00 64
Correct For Weighted 32 50.00 32 50.00 64
Incorrect Against 1 16.67 5 83.33 6
Incorrect Against Weighted 3 16.67 15 83.33 18
Fouls Commited 5 38.46 8 61.54 13
Fouls Penalised 5 100.00 7 87.50 12
Totals Arsenal % Chelsea % Total
Correct For 67 51.15 64 48.85 131
Correct For Weighted 73 51.05 70 48.95 143
Incorrect Against 13 65.00 7 35.00 20
Incorrect Against Weighted 41 69.49 18 30.51 59
Fouls Commited 15 44.12 19 55.88 34
Fouls Penalised 14 93.33 14 73.68 28

Please leave a comment!

Arsenal AGM report: Wenger gives an interesting review

By Tony Attwood

Apart from apologising for yesterday’s defeat and dealing (as usual without notes) about the problems facing the club, as well as its successes and its future) this year Mr Wenger told the AGM the story of a meeting of top European managers who meet from time to time.

Much of the debate concerned this hypothetical position.

A club is in the semi-final of the Europa League, but is also on the edge of qualifying for the champions league.

Some players need to be rested – they cannot play in every game.  So should the very finest that the club can offer be put out in the Europa League semi-final, or the championship matches to see if they can qualify next year for the top competition?

The answer was interesting: if the manager is playing for his own future, he will want the Europa Cup on his cv, so he will put the best team out in that.  If he is playing for his club’s future, he will go for the Champions League and all the money that brings.

Mr Wenger further explained this philosophy.  In order of importance he puts the competitions that club plays in as:

1: Winning the League

2: Winning the Champions League

3: Qualifying for the Champions League

4: Winning the FA Cup

5: Winning the League Cup.

It is an interesting revelation that puts the qualification in 3rd spot, above actual silver pots and trips to Wembley.   The reason he gave was simple.  If you are trying to buy a player he doesn’t look at the trophy cabinet and say, “wow, you have won the FA Cup last year”, he says, “are you playing in the Champions League next year?”

There was also the matter of the Ladies Team which won the Super League (again) and  the Continental Cup.  They got a sustained round of applause, and in answer to questions about why the club still played some games at lesser grounds, we were told to watch for announcements.  More games at the Ems are possible.

Elsewhere for me the highlight of the AGM was that for the first time ever the AISA Arsenal History Society had a sales stand there, and everyone of the 700 or so people attending the meeting got a copy of our new leaflet about the Society.   Copies of our three books were available:

Making the Arsenal

Woolwich Arsenal the club that changed football

The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal FC

as well as copies of our three booklets which trace the history of Arsenal from earliest times, which are sent out to all members.  There was a lot of interest in our work, and I believe we signed some new members up as well as selling some of the books.

As for the rest, the board was re-elected, Stan Kronke said a few words, Mr Wenger gave a terrific and insightful speech without referring to notes at any time, and there were the usual hostile comments from the floor of the meeting, demanding that more money was spent.

The board reiterated that it always advocated no dividend and no debt and clearly hopes that Uefa will not only introduce its FFP programme, but continue with its other financial programmes which have seen 23 clubs fined this year for not paying their debts.

There was much on the ticket pricing, and the extension of the pricing freeze, although this year nothing on catering.

In essence the story is, the landscape is moving, Arsenal is in the centre, and we are going to be there ready to take on the financial brave new world which lurks just around the corner.

Need for speed

By Walter Broeckx

Ah the life of a football supporter.  Easy in the good days. A bit more difficult in the bad days. And we seem to hit a few bad days for the moment.  There is no denying that.

From the game against Schalke and Norwich it is clear to see that without players who bring speed to the team we struggle.  We have a few players with some speed like Walcott and The Ox to play on the right flank. And on the left flank we have Gibbs who is also blessed with some speed and who can join the attack with his overlapping runs.

If we analyse the defeats so far we see that the game against Chelsea was lost because of 2 mistakes when defending set pieces. We weren’t outclassed in that game. Without the two mistakes we could have won it or got a draw.

But the defeats against Norwich and Schalke showed that the team played at the same speed for most of the time. No acceleration. Almost no player with a good timed run in to open space.  On the right hand side we usually had The Ox or Theo there. Their pace is stretching a lot of teams and when they play on the wing they can open up the defence. With both being out we don’t have the speed over there.

On the left flank we had the good combination between Podolski and Gibbs. Very influential in the first games of the season where they found each other rather well. Gibbs with the overlapping run and some good combinations with Podolski. Podolski looked really good with Gibbs behind him and Gibbs look good defensively with Podolski in front of him. That combination has been gone for the moment. Let us hope that they can play together as soon as possible.

But since we lost Gibbs we look a different team. There is no speedy left back/winger to do the overlapping runs and open the defence on that flank. And if you combine this with the absence of Theo and The Ox on the right flank you know exactly where the problem is in attack.

Cazorla has no wide options to stretch the opponents defence and make them spread their defenders so that gaps open up from where Podolski and Gervinho could run in to. So we get a kind of short passing with no real advantage or chances as a result. And that makes it easy to defend.

If we would have Theo, The Ox or Gibbs back Cazorla will have the options again and we can put more pressure on the other teams with our speed.  The only player who can do this now is Gervinho. And maybe Wenger can go for another youth player and put Gnabry on the field. He has speed and looks a promising player. Maybe he can fill the gap till Theo and The Ox are back? But we cannot put our hopes too much on the youngster. Can we?

Another option could be to bring in … Sagna. If he is really fit. Now I don’t know if you remember it but he used to run up and down the flank before his broken leg and bring something to defence and attack. A bit like Gibbs has done in the first games on the left flank.

Now I know that you will say: dropping Jenkinson? Well maybe it is time to give him a rest?  In troubled times you need players who have a lot of experience and Jenkinson is still a rough diamond and Sagna is a seasoned warrior.  And I do think, no I am sure of it, that Sagna is attacking wise much more important and can bring more than Jenkinson.

I think it is amazing to see how good a defender Jenkinson has become in this one year at Arsenal. Really and utterly amazing. But his game going forward still needs a lot of improvement. But I am sure that the first thing to learn him was to defend in a proper way. And I think as a right back he is now very capable of doing this. He is almost always in front of the central defenders so he will not play players onside. A very important thing to do. But going forward he is only effective when he can run with the ball in front of him along the line. He can’t go inside as Sagna can and the passing range of Sagna is bigger. Experience shows of course.

So I think it is vital to restore the partnership Gibbs-Podolski on the left as soon as Gibbs is injury free. And it will be vital to have or Theo or The Ox back on the right flank supported by Sagna. On that moment we will have back the overlapping runs from our backs, we will have the speed on both flanks and our midfielders will have options on both flanks.

But never has the “need for speed” been bigger in this team than now in my opinion.

And then we can hope that with the other injured players like Diaby and Rosicky back in some 2 weeks if all stays well and like the prognosis is now.  That would give us more options in midfield.

And of course we then still have Jack Wilshere. Some call him already injury prone. But let me doubt that.  He had one major injury with his foot that needed surgery and the heeling didn’t work out as planned. He then also had a problem fixed in his knee. But before that Jack was almost never injured. In fact the reason why he played so much in his first season was because of him always being fit. Maybe it would have been better if he would have had some injuries.  And some rest to recover.

Now it wouldn’t be wise to expect Jack to be the answers to our questions as I think the answer lies on the flanks and in bringing in speed in to the team. But with Jack his vision and his eye for the unmarked player and his fighting spirit he will bring also something extra to the team.

But for now we only can swallow the bitter pill. Wait for the injured to return to full fitness. And when that happens we will see the real quality of this team.

And until then I will do what I always do. I will support my team. I will wish every player to hit form as soon as possible and to do their best. And I, I will support them.  Because that is what a real supporter does in the bad days.

I will not desert you my Gunners!

What do FIFA registered agents do (and do any own football clubs?)

What do FIFA registered agents do?

Part 3

Firstly let me start by stating that FIFA recognises that only 42% of registered agents work full time within the industry. The other 58% have yet or are unable to break in to this industry full time although FIFA qualified and registered to do so.

As of February 2012 FIFA recognised that of the 6’082 (41% based in the big five = 2494) licensed agents only 83 agents or agencies represent half the footballers in the big five (England, Germany, Spain, Italy and France).  FIFA also recognises the closed circles in which these agents operate and also recognises that most agents are only there in name and license.

So to put this into perspective, there are fewer agents representing the interests of footballers than there are football clubs and that most agents report to an un-named source. FIFA again recognises that most agents operated within the industry before they were licensed.

Another fact for you is that half of FIFA registered agents represent their clients on behalf of someone else. So the paper trail finishes with the licensed agent and we are none the wiser. The English premier league does release figures that show payments to agents but yet again after these financial transactions, we are none the wiser so an agent can employ a go between. However FIFA estimates that the market for football intermediaries is worth €400 million per year.

Since the implementation of TMS (transfer matching system) we have been able to keep closer tabs on the migratory movements of players from one country to another.

In the first 9 months of 2011  7’854 international transfers took place worth $1.734 Billion, again FIFA recognises that this sum is between clubs and more monies was paid to intermediaries. As stated above the English premier league is the only league in the big five to release figures for agents fees in 2009 = £67 million, 2011 = £72 million, this represents, according to FIFA 3.5% of English footballs monies spent on transfers and wages.

Estimate of football intermediaries’ turnover in UEFA member national associations, per country (season 2010/11, millions €)

Country Commissions % cumulated
England 86.2 22.4
Italy 57.9 37.5
Spain 45.9 49.4
Germany 37.7 59.2
France 35.7 68.5
Russia 22.1 74.3
Turkey 15.0 78.2
Netherlands 10.7 81.0
Portugal 10.3 83.6
Ukraine 9.4 86.

To close this market even further FIFA recognises that only 24 agents or agencies represent 25% of all footballers within the big five leagues; please remember there are over 2’400 registered agents living within these nations which have a combined population of approximately 300million people.

So the next step for the interested football fan is to find out who these 24 agencies are and to hazard a guess as to who is behind them. I think Ann had a stab at this recently, And only through my own wondering am I becoming a bit clearer as to the road she was on, However many queries still remain.

The main topic for me was the amount of agents responsible for Arsenal players, so through researching this it led me on to other top flight teams and the findings were, that the bigger the club, the less reliant they were on the 24 agents. It seems through status they can obtain the services of said player regardless of the agent. However the further down the clubs list you go, you will find a concentration of talent belonging to (if you will) the 24.

Below is how FIFA classifies football clubs within the big five.

The main agencies I’m aware of are as follows.

  • Gestifute, mondial,
  • Sports entertainment group,
  • Key sports management,
  • Soccerbase,
  • Groupe usm,
  • Stellar football Ltd,
  • Firsteleven Ism,
  • OhneBerater,
  • beratungdurchfamilienangehörigen,
  • Sports Total,
  • SEM group Plc.
  • Kick and run management,
  • Bahia internacional,
  • World in motion,
  • Wasserman Media Group.

The above list is a work in progress and I would appreciate any help. Remember this is regarding the big five leagues in Europe; South America is another example of agents or agencies monopolising this industry.

Fifa has a list of top agencies.  Personally I wouldn’t trust this list as Gestifute represents Ronaldo, Mourinho, Falcao, Thiago Silva, Nani and Pepe with combined transfer fees around the 250/300million mark and these are just a handful of their clients.

So basically behind football and other sporting industries we have agencies that are driven by profit generation. How to stop this I do not know but the questions we should be asking are:

  • How much influence do these agencies have over some football clubs?
  • If a manager is signed to an agency how many footballers from that agency has he signed?
  • Can an agency ruin a football club?
  • Can an agency purchase shares in a club then place a manager and its players there?
  • How long do we have to wait to find out an agent or agency actually owns a football club?

The questions are endless as we have no or very little regulation and that allows for assumption.

There are a fair amount of clubs out there with a high dependency on these few agents/agencies Bastia and Athletic Bilbao to name just two.

For the moment it seems that top level clubs are not influenced by these agencies but with their successes at retaining the best players they can and do cause a lot of concern for top level clubs.

So back to the title of this piece, what do FIFA registered agents do?

They actually offer the following services, contract negotiations, marketing and endorsement deals, legal counselling and dispute resolution.

However most of us think they do the paper work for those we cannot see.

Written by Adam Brogden.

Resource CIES football observatory.

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“The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal”: the first ever analysis of crowd behaviour at the original Arsenal matches

Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910

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Arsenal crowd beat up the referee – Tottenham keeper assaults fan

As we are about to play against a team whose last match involved some serious confrontation between rival fans and the police, I thought this a good moment to think about Arsenal, and the crowd behaviour at our games.

In fact Arsenal has the utterly dubious record of being the first ever league club to have its ground closed because of crowd behaviour!

This fact comes from the book ‘The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal FC’  a book based on the research carried out by Mark Andrews of the Arsenal History Society.

In fact the work was done for his dissertation called ‘The Crowd and Crowd Behaviour: Arsenal Football Club at Woolwich, 1893-1913’.

Rather charmingly this was written while he was living with his good lady  at Plumstead Common, about 200 yards from where Royal Arsenal first played at home, and while drinking at the local pub the ‘Who’d a thought it’ which was owned in the early Twentieth Century by Woolwich Arsenal director, William ‘Jock’ Craib.

The problem with the history of football crowd violence and behaviour is that it has been hijacked by sociologists, whose main theory of a direct link between the hooliganism of the 1960s-80s and that of pre World War I Britain is encapsulated in the recent statement: “Although football hooliganism only rose to widespread public attention in the 1960s, it had been with the sport since its earliest development.”

This mantra is based around the belief that football hooliganism only “appeared” to start from the 1960s as the media then began to concentrate on it to sell papers, and the media had unaccountably previously ignored it.

Indeed from the 1960s to early 1990 there was a large amount of hooliganism (Hooligan was not a word in the English language until 1897), the main aspect being violent assaults on other team supporters.

The findings of this new book based around our fine club were quite different, and it soon became apparent that the dissertation would have been very, very short if I had relied on violence alone when Arsenal were at Plumstead; because there was so little of it between 1893–1913. So the topic was expanded to deal with crowd behaviour in all its guises at Woolwich.

The Woolwich Arsenal supporters, our precursors, were fans who enjoyed a huge “session” away from home and verbal abuse of the home team [the Anti-Arsenal Arsenal existed even then], away side and officials at their manor.

Much in the way our ancestors had enjoyed the pre-industrial traditions of drinking, inversion of the social order, antagonism to outsiders, dancing and music these supporters had far more in common with old English misrule traditions than as the beginning of a new tradition of organised football hooligans.

Especially true of this was the relatively large away support Woolwich Arsenal took to many away games in Nottingham, Bristol, Leicester and the Midlands.

This away support was made up of many different supporters especially from the Royal Arsenal workshops and was initially organised by director George Lawrance and his wife. The mainstay were the artisans from the Torpedo Factory who regularly, during the period of First Division football, took government sponsored fireworks to games and let them off at games and on the journey to games. They also drank and sang a lot.

Once this section of workmen had been shipped off to Scotland as part of the government’s centralisation of the torpedo manufacturing process the mass away support evaporated, and shortly after, the club moved to Highbury.

Having said all the above, as I noted, Woolwich Arsenal were the first club in the whole of English football to have their ground closed – in 1895 for 6 weeks, when the crowd beat up the referee after a fractious game against Burton Wanderers on 26th January.

They couldn’t wait for Walter’s review and meted out a short, sharp, shock to an inept official. The original sentence proposed for Arsenal, was that their ground would have been closed for the rest of the 1894/95 season. However, the “compromise” of a mere 6 weeks suspension was agreed upon by the FA.

However, an almost identical episode of ref bashing at Wolverhampton Wanderers next season in October 1895 led to their ground being closed for only 2 weeks. At least one non local reporter put the disparity in the harshness of the sentences from the FA, down to Arsenal’s role as the pre-eminent southern professional team.

There were also some altercations with Tottenham, the most serious being when the Spurs goalkeeper (ex-Woolwich Arsenal) punched a fan who was subjecting him to “foul and insulting language” from behind the goal.

Most of the findings point to a predilection for verbally abusing anyone and everyone, including the home team when they played poorly. Unlike today, the majority of supporters worked on the Saturday morning and only had that afternoon and Sunday as time off work, and also had very little annual leave. So this leisure time was precious in a way that, over a hundred years later, is very hard to appreciate.

They paid their 6d and saw it as their entitlement to exercise their verbal volleys at whoever they wished. If it was a home player who was the subject of their displeasure it was generally because pre-WW1 the crowd had an intense feeling of belonging and bond to that the club as a representative of “their” town. If the player was letting down the whole area with their uselessness, they were informed in no uncertain terms.

I cannot over state the role of Andy Kelly in getting this to publication.  Andy Kelly has a phenomenal amount of knowledge and resources about Arsenal History. He is also Renaissance man as he has proofed and set the formatting, re-sized cartoons and photos from the original.

Bizarrely during my time in the newspaper library at Colindale in 1990 reading newspaper after newspaper, a similarly minded Arsenal supporter, namely Andy Kelly, was in the same location beginning his collection of recorded Arsenal games, by researching early games, team line ups and scores.

“The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal FC” is available now from the publishers price £12.95 plus post and packing.  Or you can order by phone during office hours (with a credit card) on 01536 399 011.

Mark Andrews

 

Now that’s what I call a (reserve) team

Damian Martinez

Bacary Sagna, Sead Hajrovic, Ignasi Miquel, Jernade Meade

Emmanuel Frimpong, Jack Wilshere,

Thomas Eisfeld

Kristoffer Olsson, Nigel Neita, Chuba Akpom

 

That was yesterday’s team against Everton in the under 21 league.  Jack played the whole game, had a hand in both goals, and had both scored by Tom Eisfeld.

In fact both were Wilshere-Eisfeld combinations.  Superb.  And Eisfeld could have had a third, when he hit the bar.

So, look at the team.  Eisfeld, Wilshere, Sagna, Miquel, Frimpong, Akpom – all names to consider in the months to come.   And normally you would have had  Serge Gnabry, only he had played at Norwich.

Jack Wilshere has looked better each time he has come out – not just in terms of actually being able to play the full game, but in terms of confidence and readiness to play.   Tomorrow against Shalke might be too soon, but he will be in the first team very shortly.

Sadly the Arsenal web site still hasn’t fixed the glitch that means you can’t see the under 21 league table – at least with any reliability – but I think that we are still second in the league.

Meanwhile we also have an amazing 14 players out on loan at the moment.  The list runs

Eastmond, Aneke, Afobe, Watt, Roberts, Denilson, Park, Wellington, Campbell, Ryo, Bendtner, Gallindo, Henderson, Boateng.

We know of course some will not come back to Arsenal, but normally from a list of that size one or two do make it.  Ryo, Campbell, Aneke, Afobe…

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This is Arsenal, anything can happen

By Walter Broeckx

After the bad result on Saturday we get the same old comments from time to time on Untold and you can read them on other social network sites about Arsenal.

People blame Wenger for losing the game, for not having bought enough, for playing with the handbrake one, for every thing.

Now if we look at buying first. If we look at who was not available for this game we have Sczesny, Fabianski. Our numer 1 and 2 goalkeepers.  We have Sagna our first choice right back for many seasons now. We had Koscielny out, last season named as our best defender. We had Gibbs out; one of this seasons revelations for me.

In midfield we didn’t have Diaby and Rosicky. Diaby has shown his class earlier on in this season and his first injury came when playing for France.  And anyone who doubts Rosicky hasn’t seen football in the past 10 years. I might remind you that Rosicky got a small injury at the end of last season and then his national team turned him in to a complete wreck. You can also count Frimpong in if you want.

And of course Jack Wilshere. But it was clear from the start of the game that only if we would have a comfortable lead we would use him.

And in attack we didn’t have Walcott who was the victim of yet another international injury. A bit the Robin Van Persie story one could say. And according to the stats Walcott is the player with the most goal/assists for Arsenal this season.

Now if I still can count correct these are 9 players(I didn’t count Jack in and the link can give you some insight) who were not available before the start of the game. And apart from Gibbs and Frimpong all are full internationals for their country.

Ah but Wenger should have foreseen this and should have bought more players. Okay what kind of players? Because they must be good so they must be full internationals. If you know any names of full internationals who want to join Arsenal to come and sit on the bench be my guest but I don’t think you will find that many.

You cannot have 3 full teams of internationals at your disposal. Have you heard of the 25 squad rule?  So the players who were left had to play. In fact the inclusion of Jack and Gnabry on the bench should have made the alarm bells ringing. A player who is not match fit on the bench is not a good sign. And a 17 year old on the bench who has never played in the PL is a sign of two things. One: that we are short of players (just look at the list and you understand). Two: that he must have some talent and hopefully will be given a chance in the next weeks.

So the players on the field who all had been playing two games for their country had to deliver the goods. And some looked tired. Is it a wonder that the two players who looked best were Arteta and Jenkinson? Both who had been at Arsenal in the past 2 weeks.

Another thing I read is that Wenger is responsible for us playing with the handbrake on. Is there really anyone out there who thinks that Wenger starts his game talk with saying: Now look guys today we will play with the handbrake on. Those things just happen. I think that not being fresh enough or running out of steam will have more to do with playing with the handbrake on than the manager saying so. And I am willing to bet a few £ on the fact that Wenger will not tell his players to take it easy before the game.

And if you point at that they say: but he is the one that should motivate the players more. You can motivate the players all you want but if the players don’t have the legs to run there is nothing you can do. Expect rotate the team. But then we come back to the missing players. And to the 25 man squad. Take 9 men away from the 25 squad and you have 16 left.  So the tired players have to play.

But this is typical Arsenal (and of course Arsène Wenger) for Arsenal to play with the handbrake on they say. He can’t fix it so he has to go. I say this is typical for ANY football club. Or do you really think that it only happens at Arsenal?

Do you really think all other teams play for the full 100% in each game? Let me tell you I really doubt it. Do you really think that when we beat Southampton with 6-1 they played for the full 100%? Maybe they did but it wasn’t good enough to stop us. But we can assume that they had a bad day at the office that day. Just as we had last Saturday.

Except that we call it playing with the handbrake on. Maybe because we know we can be better. Maybe because we expect Arsenal to play better. Yes we have such days. But other teams also have those days. But then we don’t notice it. And we don’t care. But believe me it happens to all the teams every now and then. Even without injuries. Even without having 9 players out.

It just can happen on any day and maybe most when you don’t expect it to happen. That is why football is so popular. Because some things are unpredictable.

And as one of our oldest readers just told us the other day: this is typical for Arsenal in fact. Having a bad day against a team that has never won a game in the season. He has been following Arsenal for a longer period than I am alive. I think he has been a Gooner for twice the years that I have been following Arsenal and when he says it is something that happened all the time during his time as a Gooner who am I to contradict him.

So it just was another game in the history of our football club. A bad game and a bad result. But nothing is sure in football and in our existence on earth. Saying it only happens to Arsenal is ridiculous. I don’t like it when it happens and I was very upset with it. But that is the way it is. And who knows maybe next game the boys will be up to it, fit for the game and give us a magnificent game of football.

Remember this is football, this is Arsenal. Anything can happen.

By the way: Happy birthday Arsène.

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Arsenal v Schalke: a riotous preview

By Tony Attwood

While Arsenal were losing to Norwich,  Schalke beat Borussia Dortmund.   200 people and eight officers were injured (in Germany nor Norfolk).  Water cannon were used to stop Schalke fans from dismantling a barrier they had taken offence before the start of the game.

Before the game both Dortmund and Schalke fans launched a united attack on the police lines, followers of both clubs were tear gassed and in return attacked police who tried to segregate them.  Water cannons were also deployed.

Over 1000 police officers were involved, and Dortmund fans were accused of taking apart a restaurant.  However much doubt has been cast on this story even though it appears in most papers.  Police had claimed a beer garden was destroyed by Dortmund followers “with furniture ripped apart and used as missiles against opposition fans and police.”  But according to other sources  only one plastic stool had been destroyed ahead of the match.

Police vehicles were attacked, according to reports (and again this may or may not be true although much of the UK press has got excited by the situation), so on that basis the match might have been utterly peaceful.  The Schalke report makes no mention of any trouble, riot police or police dogs being brought in.

Mounted officers were “attacked by Dortmund hooligans with cobble stones”, according to police reports.

Schalke’s manager is report as saying, “That’s not what we imagined happening here.  Before the game, both clubs had made a statement that we hope the rivalry would be contained to the pitch. This is not nice and can’t be accepted. Maybe at some point, we can express emotions through chanting and cheering.”

Dortmund’s police chief, Dieter Keil, said: “This has nothing to do with the enthusiasm for football and has nothing to do with what we want to see in Dortmund.”

The actual incidents read very much like the sort of thing that happened on occasion in England as away fans deliberately changed their arrival points and journey to the stadium, in order to confuse the police, whose levels of intelligence of what might happen seemed painfully small.  I do remember Manchester United playing Orient in the mid-70s where a similar sort of thing happened – everyone in north London seemed to know what was going to happen – except the police.  (And I don’t pick that example as a way of getting at Man U fans – it is just an incident that was perhaps of a similar type to this one, which I happen to remember).

Reports suggest some Schalke fans met at the university while another group arrived at a different train station from that which the police had prepared a welcoming committee.   Police were thus wrongly positioned and their frantic journey back to find the supporters heightened the tension.  (This is not to suggest anything about this is the fault of the police – merely that they got their information wrong, and so had to move at speed, which always heightens tension).

It is also suggested that Dortmund fans had more information than the police and knew exactly where to find their city rivals.

However, initial reports of Dortmund fans destroying a beer garden ahead of the match were untrue, writes Ruhr Nachrichten. Police had claimed the beer garden was gutted by Dortmund followers “with furniture ripped apart and used as missiles against opposition fans and police.” But according to Ruhr Nachrichten sources only one plastic stool had been destroyed ahead of the match.

Inside the stadium Schalke supporters presented a stolen banner from Dortmund’s Ultra groups The Unity and Desperados. This led to both Dortmund Ultra groups trying to break through to the away section in an attempt to exact revenge but police were able to stop the fans and keep them on their side of the stadium.

So will that affect Schalke?  Will Arsenal’s defeat to Norwich affect Arsenal?   We know the injury list is growing:

Oxlade Chamberlain now joins the long list of absentees who won’t be available for this game so presumably the starting line up will be the same again

Vito Mannone

Carl Jenkinson, Per Mertesacker, Thomas Vermaelen (c), Andre Santos

Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey

Santi Cazorla

Lukas Podolski,  Olivier Giroud, Gervinho

One thing I would add about this team is that Jenkinson seems to have come on dramatically from his more hesitant performances last season.  He looks like being a remarkable buy.  If there are to be any changes I guess Ramsey could be replaced by Coquelin,
 

 

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Is “Kick it Out” ineffective in the face of the support of racism by Fifa, Uefa, the FA and the Premier League?

By Tony Attwood

If we want to combat racism just about the worst way to do it, I would have thought, is for a very rich man to get angry at the shirt worn or not worn by another very rich man.  Ferdinand chose not to wear a Kick it Out shirt, and Ferguson gives him a dressing down, which is announced in public.  Has the anti-racism cause benefited?  I doubt it.

After all Ferguson was not shouting at Ferdinand for being a racist – but for making him (Ferguson) embarrassed after he had criticised Jason Roberts’s refusal to support Kick It Out.

The obvious conclusion is that Ferguson’s standing as he who must be obeyed is seen as more important than getting rid of racism.

Agreeing with the aims of a campaign but not the means nor the results achieved, is something we have long experienced in Britain.   Racism has been opposed for years, but is still with us, as is homophobia.   Indeed “official” campaigns are often the less effective.

One only has to think back to the early years of the 20th century to see this in action in England.

Today we don’t speak of or remember the  National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, which believed in issuing leaflets, organising meetings and presenting petitions.   It was because this movement had no effect that Emmeline Pankhurst founded the more radical and militant Women’s Social and Political Union.   The Daily Mail gave them the name Suffragettes and it was their radical approach that we now remember – and which achieved votes for women in parliamentary elections.

As a white English male I have only had the most minor experience of anything akin to racism when I lived for a year in Algeria – and this basically involved having stones thrown at me as I walked home from work each night, probably in the mistaken belief that my non-Arab looks suggested I was French.

That was enough to make me believe that strong action was needed against racism, and I am not sure that the desire for every player to wear the T-shirt is having much effect.

That’s just my view, but if any players have such a view that Kick it Out is not working because (perhaps) it is not tackling Uefa and Fifa, then surely they should be allowed to express it.

Clarke Carlisle, the PFA chairman, said: “Everyone has a right to free speech – just like you can’t coerce anyone into shaking hands, you can’t make somebody wear a T-shirt – although I do personally believe that joining in with the campaign is the best way forward. And then for all these players to get together and put what it is they want down on paper so we together as a union – all the players, one with another – can make those changes and move forward.

“Sir Alex Ferguson is continual in his unwavering support for the Kick It Out campaign which is commendable and what we all want to see but you can’t vilify or coerce any individual for making a stand.

“This shouldn’t be seen as an element of control or defiance – just like Sir Alex Ferguson said when he was talking about Jason Roberts in his first interview, he doesn’t know the reasons why this stand is being made and what we should do first of all is hear those reasons and listen to them and take them on board.

“I would sincerely hope that Sir Alex Ferguson now speaks with Rio Ferdinand and asks him why he wanted to make that stand and hopefully supports the position he is in and it isn’t seen as a player-against-manager situation.”

Racism in football stadia is rampant in parts of the world, and the biggest problem is still that Uefa and Fifa, two bodies to which the FA and Premier League subscribe, are through their actions supporting racism.  If they did nothing, then at least we could accuse them of doing nothing. But to find associations for racist chanting at a level that is a fraction of the fine level and imprisonment imposed on people for “unlicensed marketing” is the greatest insult of all.

David Moyes, not for the first time, was the one who got it right.  Speaking of  Victor Anichebe and Sylain Distin he said,  “I think they’re disappointed, not with the Kick It Out campaign, but with other authorities and the way they’ve taken action.”

But of course with a sense of historical inevitability the biggest problem of all is that once again football and its supporters are being presented as the problem that needs special treatment, as if somehow football supporters are a different breed.  We are back to 1985 when the Conservative Party Conference went berserk with support for laws against trade union pickets and football hooligans.  It is not the society that we have had created by our political masters that is at fault – it is little groups of left wingers and other misfits who we can blame.

As a result the Public Order Act targeted people like football fans, and we are still suffering from this differentiation; we are treated in different ways from everyone else.   Yes of course football supporters who indulge in racism and homophobia should be dealt with within the law, but not by a separate set of laws laid down for football.  And not be a set of laws laid down by such organisations as Fifa, Uefa and the like

Away fans are not by definition violent racists who need to treated as sub-humans – and to treat us as such (as still often happens) causes more and more problems.  We are monitored, photographed, recorded, and then put on file – although then when it comes to dealing with people this way, the police seem singularly inept.   Consider, as always, the failure of the Portsmouth police to take action over the 2 hours of homophobic abuse directed at Sol Campbell by Tottenham supporters, as I endlessly quote.

The fact is that there are problems within football, particularly with chanting – as Mr Wenger knows to his cost, match after match.  The words are printed on line, rehearsed in pubs and sung in the ground.  Lots of fuss is made, but Kick It Out does not seem to have had any effect on the people who are the real problem: Uefa and Fifa. I am not at all sure I want the world for follow Scotland with the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act where you can be imprisoned for up to five years for singing ‘offensive’ songs.   I wouldn’t mind seeing everyone who has worked for the FA in support of Uefa and Fifa being subject to “assisting in the continuance of racism on an international scale by insisting it is less important than the economic rights of major Corporations.

In the end Kick it Out t-shirts are not the key issue.   Uefa and Fifa, and the support granted them through association by the FA and Premier League, are the issue.

Come on you gunners (where did you go?)

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By Walter Broeckx

This has to be the flattest Arsenal performance I have seen in a long while.  From the start it seemed as  we couldn’t get  of first  gear and well we got stuck in that gear for the rest of the game.

I think this was what can be called a typical case of international hangover.  Weren’t the players focused on this game? Well it looked like that. The good vibes that were in the team after the West Ham win were not visible at all. At West Ham we played with pace and with an good attacking game. Now we just played the ball around in a slow way. No penetration from the midfield. Nothing came from the flanks. It was as if the break had resulted in 11 new players playing together for the first time.

We could point at some missing players.  And don’t see this as throwing the stone to Santos but we sure did miss the overlapping runs from Gibbs today. Santos is a different player who drifts more to the center to join the attack and in today’s game we could have done with a left back who can get to the byline and run past defenders on speed. Santos is fast in his car but not the fastest around to continue to run his flank up and down.  Santos has his own qualities but today was not a game for him to flourish in.

I do think Mannone will be very disappointed.  And he does have all the reasons in the world to feel that way.  I also would like to say that it was one of those moments where you wondered where the midfield was to put pressure on the Norwich player who took the shot. It came but too little and too late. The shot was not the most difficult shot in the world and a top class keeper could have done all kinds of things. Smother it with your hands and let it bounce just in front of you. Push it wide if you are not sure about being able to retain the ball.

But never should you push the ball back to the middle of the goal. That is fine with a reactions save and then nobody will say a word. But with a shot like that you should make sure that the ball ends up in the safest area possible. Now it ended up in the most dangerous area you can find on the field. But for the rest I don’t think he did much wrong in this game.

But when the team has a bad game it is important to not commit mistakes. We made one and we paid the price. At West Ham we went on to put more pressure on the home team and we turned it round. Now we just didn’t seem to get that far. Was it being sure in our heads that we would turn it around? Maybe being too sure? After all we have a reputation of coming back from being behind.

But Norwich sat back and defended low and in numbers and with Arsenal playing too slow we couldn’t create much.  Those who know me a bit longer know I don’t like it when teams defend like that. But it is not against the rules and it was up to us to find the answers. And we just didn’t.

The most terrible thing about it is that when you look at the league table this is a big loss. A win would have taken us up to 4th place.  And right behind the teams who are leading the pack.  I think the players let themselves and the fans down big tonight.

And to add to the misery we maybe lost another player today with an injury. Oxlade-Chamberlain came on, made one run and then the defender made contact with him when he kicked the ball out and he was struggling. So we even had to bring on Gnabry for his début in the PL. Bad game to make a début one can say.

I know some will need to find a black sheep. I can imagine the usual suspects that will be in the line of fire.  But I do think that maybe today it would be better to not look for 1 black sheep but for 11 black sheep.  I do think that every player will be aware of the fact that this was a bad, bad performance on the day. I hope the manager will tell them that such a performance is not good enough for them and for Arsenal.

But things are like they are. We can get mad about it, it will not change a thing. We can be sad about it. That is usually my reaction and is the way I feel now. But well…it also will not change a thing. We just have to accept what just happened.

But as a supporter the only thing I can do is shake my head in disbelief. Feel let down by my team on the day. We must learn the lessons we should learn from this game like: no game is won on paper before the game!

And then we have to  look forward. On Wednesday there is another game. The team owes us a better match against Schalke. Who will be on a high after winning their local derby at Borrusia Dortmund yesterday (1-2). So well maybe next week they will be thinking that the game is won before it is played? And maybe we will be ready to make up for the loss of today.

Nothing is for granted in football. No game is easy in football. I hope today the whole team learned that lesson and will remember it for the rest of the season.

Come on you gunners! We can be down now but tomorrow is another day.  We can do better than that.

 

Arsenal in the watery marshes of the far eastern zone. It’s all Venta Icenorum.

The club that changed football

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By Billy the Dog McGraw

Now when a club of a footballing nature plays against Nor-Wich it is most important that they know exactly where they are going.  Many is the time when Tottenham H and Manchester U have lost a game against the club by turning up in Norwich Ontario, or Jamaica, Connecticut, Kansas or Michigan ready to play only to find they were in the wrong Norwich!

But no such fate will pass the Arsenal who have now hired me to ensure that the right city is reached in each game.   So I have written my report, pointing out that we are in fact playing at Venta Icenorum, wherein and upon the natives chant, “It’s fucking Icy Nora” as the wind blows in from the Northern Sea.

Local chants are fun.  Listen out for the song rising from the stands of

Caistor was a city when Norwich was none,

Norwich was built of Caistor stone.

Quite meaningless but a local tradition.   As is the fact that Norwich hasn’t won a league match this season and have let in nine in their last two games.  Leading to the local chant of

Caistor got six and Norwich got none,

So I watched in the rain and sat on my bum..

You get the idea.  Indeed Norwich even lost to Liverpool which these days takes some doing.  They have what journalists call “defensive frailties” and this is their worst start ever in the top league.

Grant Holt is their star.  He is 31 and scored “A goal” against each of Liverpool and Chelsea and indeed got 15 last year.  Indeed since we have let in four goals from set pieces except Norwich to get the ref’s whistle and the old boy will step up for a free kick.

For us Olivier Giroud ought to be getting some confidence back with goals for Arsenal in the league and the little cup, and for France against Spain.  And Jack is back in the team – although that might be because the young lad likes to travel on buses.  In contrast to Ramsey Jack has none of “the scars that the sun doesn’t heal (to quote Bob Dylan) although Mr Wenger, not known as a Dylan fan didn’t actually use that quote.

Arsène Wenger had the little boy play 90 minutes in a game for the reserves in the weak, but says he is still only 80 percent.   He also said, “The problem with Eduardo was that he had a restriction of his ankle movement, which is a massive problem for a football player. Jack has none of that – he has not been injured in a specific tackle. He had a stress fracture that came slowly, so he has no memory of having been injured by anybody.

“There are two aspects: one is the apprehension to go into challenges when you have been out for so long. On that front we are at 100 per cent. We even have to calm him down. Then you have the match fitness; he is 80 per cent.”

So the guess is, he is there for the ride and maybe two minutes at the end when we are 6-0 up, and will play in the under 21 game against Everton and then in the Diddly Widdly Cup against Reading.  Stuart Pearce meanwhile wants Jack in the under 21 tourney this summer.  “We can do with some more players who we can have injured” he said – although not quite in those words.

So to the teams:

Mannone;

Jenkinson. Vermaelen, Mertesacker, Santos;

Arteta, Ramsey;

Cazorla

Gervinho, Giroud, Podolski

The lack of huge numbers of injuries which are traditional for Arsenal has been worrying but we now have Diaby, Gibbs, Fabianski, Koscielny, Rosicky, Sagna, Szczesny and Walcott out.

Theo  has an injury to his chest and lungs and runs out of breath.  He’ll be out for two weeks.  Gibbs will be out for another week.  Rosicky and Diaby for several weeks.

But Sagna is more or less fit and Frimpong is also returned to fitness.   Lukasz Fabianski is out for three months having with ruptured ankle ligaments in training for Arsenal on Thursday.  Szczesny is out for two more weeks.
As to the format: Gervinho has got five goals in his last six, Podolski is scoring and now so is Giroud, so I suspect the three will play interchanging roles so that the opposition have no idea who the centre forward is.

The last three games 

Arsenal 3 (Benayoun, van Persie 2) Norwich 3; May 2012

Norwich 1 Arsenal 2 (van Persie 2), November 2011

Arsenal 4 (Henry 3, Ljungberg) Norwich 1, April 2005

Our last defeat there was in 1984.

And here’s another fact.  Norwich have scored with just 6% of their goal attempts – the worst in the league.    We on the other hand are unbeaten in their last seven away matches.  And Bradley Johnson has committed more fouls without being booked (16) than any other player in the division this season.

Norwich have 15 yellow cards this season!  Arsenal have six.

Santi Cazorla has created 21 scoring chances for team-mates from open play – the most in Europe’s top five leagues this season.   Lukas Podolski is the only player to be substituted in each of the first seven Premier League games of this season and in two days time Mr Wenger will be 63.

So onto the bench, which isn’t a bench but a row of comfortable chairs.   Here is a list of possibles….

Martínez, Wilshere, Djourou, Miquel, Chamberlain, Arshavin, Frimpong, Coquelin, Chamakh

Oh and in case you forgot Norwich are managed by Chris Hughton.

FIFA registered agents, part 2. Gestifute The route to success

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Making the Arsenal

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Part 2   FIFA registered agents.

Gestifute The route to success

Gestifute is owned by Jorge Paulo Mendes Agustinho of Portugal.   He has been voted on two consecutive occasions the best football agent in the world (how nice). He has a business partner, Luis Carreia also Portuguese.

His top clients include, Ronaldo, Jose Mourinho, Di Maria, Fabio Coentrao,Pepe, Ricardo Carvalho (all Real Madrid).  Falcao (Atletico de Madrid). Thiago Silva (PSG), amongst a lot of other talented footballers.

The following is a list of players who have been at the same club as Jose Mourinho whilst being with Gestifute and in brackets; the transfer fee paid by Mourinho, where no brackets appear Mourinho did not sign the player.

Ronaldo, Di Maria (£29m), Fabio Coentrao(£26.4m),Pepe, Ricardo Carvalho (£26.4m), Jose Bosingwa (£0.8m & £18M on two occasions), Paulo Ferreira (£1.8m & £17.5m on two occasions), Adriano Fabiano Rossato (£1.7m), Henrique Hilário (free), Tiago Cardoso Mendes (£10.5m), Ricardo Andrade Quaresma Bernardo (£21.6m). And at the opposite end of the scale Mourinho has only ever released one player attached to Gestifute Filipe Oliveira. Good business if you can get it.

Now I’m not suggesting that anything shady is going on with Gestifute and Mourinho, as many a manager takes players with them wherever they go but I do believe it to be suggestive of a possible conflict of interests. Plus I think this suggests that agents/agencies can on occasion have too much influence with regards to transfers and fees especially when the buying manager is also one of their clients.

It seems from Gestifute’s transfer and client history that they are fairly satisfied with the area almost under their control: Portugal.

Primarily agents have to build a network of contacts within their own territory, usually by the means of a friendship with the director of sport or the owner of a football club or the local scouts so they can sign a youngster early, quite contrary to most beliefs that agents go directly for the managers.

The managers are just another tradeable asset for these football agents.

For these agents to claim an area they have to have permanent contacts within a football club or scouting network. Below I will show you through the transfer history of Gestifute what an agent can achieve when he has a solid network within his chosen area and contact with a foreign network. In brackets total transfer fees exchanged over various moves.

  • Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro-Sporting Lisbon (£97m)
  • Radamel Falcao García Zárate-Porto (£46m)
  • Ángel Fabián Di María, -Benfica (£36m)
  • Thiago Emiliano da Silva -Porto (£54m)
  • Nani – Luís Carlos Almeida da Cunha -Sporting Lisbon (£22m)
  • Pepe – Képler Laveran Lima Ferreira -Porto (£28m)
  • Fábio Coentrão- Benfica (£27.5m)
  • Danny – Daniel Miguel Alves Gomes -Sporting Lisbon (£31m)
  • Ricardo Quaresma -Sporting Lisbon (£38.5m)
  • Deco – Anderson Luís de Souza -Benfica (£37m)
  • Bebé – Tiago Manuel Dias Correia-Vitória Guimarães SC (£8.75m)
  • Anderson – Anderson Luís de Abreu Oliveira-Porto (£32m)

Now, all of these players have played in Portugal; believe me when I state that this list could take up 20 pages.

The pattern that is emerging, is a network within Portugal’s club sides, which stands to reason as Gestifute is Portuguese and primarily deals with Portuguese talent.

But there is also a network in Brazil and an emerging network in Argentina.  So Gestifute must liaise with other agents/agencies from South America to arrange the transfers of players into Portugal and within a few years arrange for their high profile transfers in to one of the “Big Five” leagues consisting of Germany, France, Italy, Spain and England (with the odd exception of Russia).

It was in 2003 that Gestifute first started player trading within the UK, utilising Tony Henry’s (Formation) network of contacts. However over time this partnership broke down. The final act of betrayal was when Mourinho signed for Chelsea and Jorge Mendes cut the agency Formation out of any further deals and dealt directly with Chelsea (Abramovich). A court case is still on-going in Portugal over this partnership breakdown.

This is just one example of the route an agent/agency or multiple agents use to get their clients in to the biggest paying leagues in the world. Small networks either side of the Atlantic working together and not the clubs scouting networks as all good managers would have you believe. On the odd occasion that a Gestifute client has skipped Portugal they have ended up at Arsenal (Carlos Vela) & Barcelona (Giovani dos Santos).

Another crucial issue of the player transfer and representation market is the practice of third party ownerships related to players’ transfer rights. Many of the investments made by private investors on football players are in breach of Article 18 of FIFA Regulations and Transfer of Players (FIFA, 2010), which states: “no club should enter into a contract which enables any other part to that contract or any third party to acquire the ability to influence in employment and transfer-related matters its independence, its policies or the performance of its teams”.

According to FIFA some agents/agencies have owned shares of players’ transfer rights during their career as a licensed agent. This result is quite surprising given the fact that it was largely believed that third party ownerships mainly characterised the activity of football agents in South America. Several influential agents such as Mino Raiola, Juan Figer, Pini Zahavi and Jorge Mendes among others have been reported having active roles in investing on players’ transfer rights.

Recently, FIFA has started investigating the position of Quality Investment Fund, set up by the former Chelsea CEO Peter Kenyon and co-owned by CAA Sports International and Gestifute (Duff and Panja, 2011). Other third-party ownership projects such as Traffic, Benfica Star Fund, Sport Investment Fund and Soccer BR1 have been set up to directly invest in clubs and academies by controlling their key asset –players’ transfer rights– without being legally responsible for the club with respect to football governing bodies.

 

 

 

What do FIFA registered agents do?

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Making the Arsenal

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What do FIFA registered agents do?

Firstly let me start by stating that FIFA recognises that only 42% of registered agents work full time within the industry. The other 58% have yet or are unable to break in to this industry full time although FIFA qualified and registered to do so. As of February 2012 FIFA recognised that of the 6’082 (41% based in the big five = 2494) licenced agents only 83 agents or agencies represent half the footballers in the big five (England, Germany, Spain, Italy and France).

FIFA also recognises the closed circles in which these agents operate and also recognises that most agents are only there in name and license.  So to put this into perspective, there are fewer agents representing the interests of footballers than there are football clubs and that most agents report to an un-named source. FIFA again recognises that most agents operated within the industry before they were licensed.

Another fact for you is that half of FIFA registered agents represent their clients on behalf of someone else. So the paper trail finishes with the licensed agent and we are none the wiser.

The English premier league does release figures that show payments to agents but yet again after these financial transactions, we are none the wiser so an agent can employ a go between. However FIFA estimates that the market for football intermediaries is worth €400 million per year.

Since the implementation of TMS (transfer matching system) we have been able to keep closer tabs on the migratory movements of players from one country to another. In the first 9 months of 2011  7’854 international transfers took place worth $1.734 Billion, again FIFA recognises that this sum is between clubs and more monies was paid to intermediaries. As stated above the English premier league is the only league in the big five to release figures for agents fees in 2009 = £67 million, 2011 = £72 million, this represents, according to FIFA 3.5% of English footballs monies spent on transfers and wages.

Estimate of football intermediaries’ turnover in UEFA member national associations, per country (season 2010/11, millions €)

Country Commissions
England 86.2
Italy 57.9
Spain 45.9
Germany 37.7
France 35.7
Russia 22.1
Turkey 15.0
Netherlands 10.7
Portugal 10.3
Ukraine 9.4

 

To close this market even further FIFA recognises that only 24 agents or agencies represent 25% of all footballers within the big five leagues, please remember there are over 2’400 registered agents living within these nations which have a combined population of approximately 300million people.

So the next step for we, the interested football fan is to find out who these 24 agencies are and to hazard a guess as to who is behind them. I think Ann had a stab at this recently, And only through my own wonderings am I becoming a bit clearer as to the road she was on, However many queries still remain?

The main topic for me was the amount of agents responsible for Arsenal players, so through researching this it led me on to other top flight teams and the findings were, that the bigger the club, the less reliant they were on the 24 agents. It seems through status they can obtain the services of said player regardless of the agent. However the further down the clubs list you go, you will find a concentration of talent belonging to (if you will) the 24.

Below is how FIFA classifies football clubs within the big five.

Big five league club category according to sporting level (season 2010/11)

Clubs
Level 1 Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea,Manchester City, Arsenal, AC Milan
Level 2 Valencia, Bayer Leverkusen, Tottenham, Bayern Munich, Inter, OSC Lille,Villareal, Everton, Liverpool, Napoli, Hannover, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla,FSV Mainz, Olympique Marseille, SS Lazio, Udinese, Athletic Bilbao,Fulham, AS Roma,Olympique Lyon, Aston Villa, Juventus

 

Level 3 Newcastle, Sunderland, West Bromwich Albion, Paris Saint Germain,Sporting Gijon, Bolton, Nürnberg, Stoke City, Osasuna, Racing Santander,Espanyol, Fiorentina, Palermo, Kaiserslautern, Hamburg, Blackburn Rovers,Sochaux, StadeRennais, Levante, Malaga, Deportivo La Coruna,

Real Zaragoza, Hoffenheim, Birmingham City, FC Genoa, Getafe,

Level 4 FC Köln, SC Freiburg, Werder Bremen, Auxerre, Real Sociedad,Valenciennes, VfB Stuttgart, Chievo Verona, FC Parma, Blackpool FC,Wolverhampton Wanderers, St-Etienne, FC Lorient, Bologna, Catania,Schalke 04, Wolfsburg, Toulouse, Cagliari Calcio, AS Monaco, Nancy,

Montpellier, OGC Nice, Caen, StadeBrestois, Cesena, West Ham,

Borussia Mönchengladbach, Lecce, Hercules, Frankfurt, Sampdoria,

Almeria, RC Lens, Brescia, St. Pauli, AS Bari, Arles-Avignon

 

The main agencies I’m aware of are as follows.

Gestifute, mondial, Sports entertainment group, Key sports management, Soccerbase,  Groupe usm, Stellar football Ltd, Firsteleven Ism, OhneBerater, beratungdurchfamilienangehörigen, Sports Total, SEM group Plc. Kick and run management, Bahia internacional,  World in motion, Wasserman Media Group.

 

The above list is a work in progress and I would appreciate any help. Remember this is regarding the big five leagues in Europe; South America is another example of agents or agencies monopolising this industry.

Below is FIFAs list of top agencies/agents notice Mr Anelka.

 

Individual agents or companies whose current clients generated the highest fees over their career

Rank – Transfer fees generated (millions €)
1. Gestifute (POR) 369.8
2. Wasserman Media Group (USA) 347.5
3. Fernando Hidalgo (ARG) 209.7
4. Giuseppe Bozzo (ITA) 207.5
5. TecnosportImmagine (ITA) 206
6. Maguire Tax & Legal (NED) 192.3
7. Alain Migliaccio (FRA) 155.7
8. Pastorello& Partners (ITA) 149.3
9. MJF Publicidade e Promoções (BRA) 142.9
10. Bahia International (ESP) 142.2
11. Mondial Promotion (FRA) 131.1
12. Claude Anelka (FRA) 128.8
13. First Artist3 (UK) 112.4
14. PDP (ITA) 111.7
15. New Era Global Sports (UK) 111.5
16. Assist (ITA) 108
17. BranchiniAssociati (ITA) 107
18. SP International (NED) 106
19. IMG (USA) 99.9
20. Stellar Group (UK) 98.8

Personally I wouldn’t trust this list as Gestifute represents Ronaldo, Mourinho, Falcao, Thiago Silva, Nani and Pepe with combined transfer fees around the 250/300million mark and these are just a handful of their clients.

So basically behind football and other sporting industries we have agencies that are driven by profit generation. How to stop this I do not know or rather, do we even have the right to try and stop this, regulate yes. The questions we should be asking are;

How much influence do these agencies have over some football clubs?

If a manager is signed to an agency how many footballers from that agency has he signed?

Can an agency ruin a football club?

Can an agency purchase shares in a club then place a manager and its players there?

How long do we have to wait to find out an agent or agency actually owns a football club?

The questions are endless as we have no or very little regulation and that allows for assumption.

There are a fair amount of clubs out there with a high dependency on these few agents/agencies Bastia and Athletic Bilbao to name just two.

For the moment it seems that top level clubs are not influenced by these agencies but with their successes at retaining the best players they can and do cause a lot of concern for top level clubs.

So back to the title of this piece, what do FIFA registered agents do?

They actually offer the following services, contract negotiations, marketing and endorsement deals, legal counselling and dispute resolution.

However most of us think they do the paper work for those we cannot see.

Written by Adam Brogden.

Resource CIES football observatory.

(Part 2 Gestifute a way in to Europe)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The “Cannibal of Ajax”. Would banning players like Suarez stop diving?

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Making the Arsenal

By Walter Broeckx

With all the things said about Suarez and his diving skills I just want to give a few more details about his career so far and how he was looked up on in Holland where he played before he came to Liverpool. And then I will try to answer the question above and the problems there are with this.

He started his career in Holland with FC Groningen and then went to Ajax after some court cases where he tried to force his way out to Ajax in a not really gentle way.  He lost his case and so Ajax had to pay up to Groningen. Something Ajax didn’t want to do in the first place. Suarez also refused to play for Groningen in a period in an attempt to force his move.

From the start of his Ajax career he was very quickly known for the fact of going down very easily. The slightest contact was enough to bring him down. The Dutch media focused a lot on this. And even his manager Van Basten was critical about this part of his game. Saying that he would fine him if he kept on doing it.

At first the refs fell for the diving most of the time. But after a while they ignored him. Or they gave him yellow cards. In the season 2008/2009 he was the player with the second highest number of yellow cards in the Dutch Eredivisie. And that for a striker! And most of the cards were for diving as you can imagine.

I must say that also after a while his diving really turned against him. Defenders could almost kick the shit out of him without the refs acting in the penalty area. It is fair to say that I have seen him getting laughable penalties for laughable dives in his early days of his career. But I also have seen blatant fouls on him not given.

I think this is down to the fact that you can fool a ref one time, maybe two times. But if a ref goes home, sees the images and knows he has been fooled by the dive he will think twice the next time he sees Suarez going down. Some will call it karma, some will call it justice.

But he also had other problems at times. He once got kicked by his own team mate Luque during the game Feyenoord-Ajax because they had an argument with each other.

And the most famous incident was when during the game Ajax-PSV he bit an opponent. The ref didn’t see the incident but the cameras caught and the media turned really against him. A Dutch newspaper called him the “Cannibal of Ajax”. And Ajax gave him a suspension of 2 games.

But the Dutch KNVB also took action and gave him a 7 game ban. In fact when Liverpool bought him he was still sitting out his ban.

The general picture I have from seeing him play over the years is that first of all he is a great player with lots of skills and tricks in him. Sources in Holland have confirmed that Arsenal has been in talks with Ajax over buying Suarez. Even in the weeks before he finally joined Liverpool. What eventually kept Arsenal from buying him will be the price tag for a player who has gotten himself in to trouble a bit too much. 25M euro for Suarez is a lot of money and if you look at his track record maybe a bit too much.

But apart from the skill thing he is also a player that has surrounded himself with controversy.

The way he wanted to force his move from Groningen to Ajax is a bit sour. His diving to win penalties is showing him as a player who is not afraid to cheat to win a game. The biting of an opponent. The Evra incident….

But he usually is loved by the fans of the team he plays for. The Ajax fans adored him. And maybe this is understandable if you don’t mind how you win but take any win as it comes even with cheating. I know Ajax fans who didn’t like that part of his game but well they took the good and the bad but deep inside they didn’t like the way he acted.

He surely manages to make the refs turn against him wherever he plays. As said before refs don’t like it when they are made look stupid after a dive.

The media in Holland had a love-hate relationship with Suarez. Loving him when he played the beautiful Ajax game and he was very capable of playing the beautiful game. Hating him when he was looking for another penalty.

For the moment Suarez is 25 years old. And he once said that his dream move would be to play for Barcelona. Will he go there in the future? Well one part of his game would fit in there nicely…

And then we come to the question: would banning a diving player stop the diving?

First of all we have to find a way round things because when a ref sees a dive he can only give a yellow card. So a ban seen on TV would have a different punishment compared to a punishment on the field. In a way this is against the rules of treating the same offence in the same way. There is no such problem with punching another player because there the punishment on the field and off the field would be the same: a sending off and a ban.  But with diving this is different as I just said.  So unless you give the ref the right to send off a diving player I cannot see this happening any time soon.

With the current laws and instructions of the game we could however give them a retrospective yellow card.  And maybe they could bring down the number of cards before you get a ban.  Giving a ban after 3 yellow cards could be an answer and then go on an active search for dives and retrospective yellow cards. And a fine could also be helpful but then the fine has to be in the order of an amount that the players feels it. If you earn £100,000 a week you will not really miss £5,000 or £10,000 when you are fined.  I would miss it but well I don’t earn £100,000 a week.

So things are not that easy to just ban a player. It will take a change in the rules to force it. Of course what can stop Fifa, Uefa and the FA from taking steps to change the rules? As they all think it is despicable they should not just say it in words but start acting accordingly. But the problem is that the ones in charge sometimes win by the diving and so they an say it is a bad thing to do, but when their team wins by cheating they will brush it under the carpet.