By Tony Attwood
The press made a fuss, radio made a fuss, TV made a fuss. The big deal was that as all good English people know, you can’t trust these foreigners. Not only do they fix matches in their own countries but they fix a game on English soil too. [Just in case you are not of English origin, let me explain - this is a parody of how the English behave. Johnny Foreigner, as he is called, does terrible things and behaves badly, while the English are the only ones who know that cheating and match fixing is wrong. One plays up and plays the game.]
So now we know. 380 games have been tampered with and most of them were in Turkey, Switzerland and Germany. Which is what we might expect. And the corruption is based in the Far East – nothing to do with us.
“We know that in the past games have been fixed in England – and there is just no reason to believe that a serious threat has gone away. In fact, it is quite the opposite.”
Yes, there have been match fixing scandals in England, of course. At Arsenal there is one that we know very well, when Liverpool and Manchester United players joined together to fix a match at the end of the 1914/15 season. We know of it because in the shake out from that event Arsenal were elected to the first division in 1919 as the league was expanded. And then again in 1964 33 players were prosecuted in England for match fixing. One went to prison.
The game in England will not improve until there is open recognition that there is something strange going on with refereeing in the Premier League, and that there is every chance that there are many other games in England being fixed by gamblers, and that clubs in England are being manipulated for money laundering purposes (one only has to look at the demise of Portsmouth to realise something is wrong, and that is while we are awaiting the trial of the senior executive of Birmingham City). It is of course commonplace for fans of other clubs to say to us, “you are just bitter because you are Arsenal and you can’t win anything”. That plays into the media’s hands and ignores the mountain of evidence we have gathered, and all the articles we have written.
If we could be proven wrong, then fine, we would put these subjects to bed. But no one has done anything remotely like this, and the main hope of football seems to be that Untold and Referees Decisions will simply fade away.
Sadly for the authorities the more we uncover the more our audiences on these sites rise. And the more that happens, the more the little group of us involved in uncovering the nasty side of football is determined to push on.
- 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 FC: crowd behaviour at the early matches