A Man U fan replies, along with others

By ANR Administrator

Thanks for your emails, the best of which are below:

Ray Flaherty

Article: Homer Riley an embarrassing…

I agree with most of your points Ian, however, had cameras/better refs been in place against Portsmouth when Pires dived for a penalty, we might have lost that game, thus ending the unbeaten run much earlier. But I agree, the refereeing on Sunday’s game against Utd was a dsgrace.

Great site! Keep it up!



In reply to Ian Grant…would Collina have given that penalty. Yes he would have given the penalty because he gave England a penalty against Argentina when Owen did a similar thing to Rooney. Collina is whistle happy.

Gooner Digby

Sunday’s game

Just a couple of points on your article from Sunday’s game. Criticising the ref is futile, I was at the game and the decisions he made were all pretty much understandable at the time (even van Nistlerooy’s challenge on Ashley – who lets be honest has been guilty of a few in the past).

As for your point of introducing video replays for the ref. I agree this would have been useful for Sunday but could in future lead to ref’s blowing up for any slight incident to have a look at it on tape, which would clearly lead to the flow being taken from pulsating games, such as the one on Sunday. I think instead of all this moaning that is making us look like pathetic losers we should instead pay tribute to the 33 players that led us through the 49 game run.

Would finally disagree with your contention that if we had the benefit of replays we would have bettered Milan’s record (which lets be honest was achieved in a tough league rather than only facing two quality sides a season) – on the contrary our record would never have got started given Bobby’s outrageous dive against Portsmouth.

jack woan

Man U vs Arsenal Match

I was upset that Arsenal lost the match and the unbeaten run at old Trafford. But life goes on. Arsenal should accept defeat and learn from this defeat and use the defeat to strengthen their resolve to do better the next time.It is not what has happened to you (no control, cannot be changed) but how you respond to what has happened (within control,can be changes)that will determine your future.

Stop blaming anyone, referee or Alex Ferguson. The best response to deal with Manchested United is to win the Premier title,win the FA cup and the Champion League. Man U may have won one battle but make them lose the war!!!

No doubts,Man U was afraid of Arsenal so they resort to physical intimidation to win the match but this tactic cannot win championship.

The era of the 80s belong to Liverpool, 90s to Man U and why not make it the 2000s to Arsenal. Arsenal must not act like a bad loser. It is okay to be upset but the greatest thing to do is stand up again and win matches on a new unbeaten run.

If I am the Arsenal Manager/Captain, I will tell my players:

“OKay we lost. We are upset.What have we learnt from this defeat? Let see how we can capitalise on this defeat to our advantage. Losing our cool over the defeat only make the opponent achieve its aim to destabilise our team and morale.

We will get stronger together and beat them the next time.Let look at the next match……..”

In a Chinese character “Crisis” (Wei Ji)it means “there are opportunities in a crisis”.Many people see crisis as end of the world……smart people use crisis to generate opportunity for improvement.

Come on, Arsenal…….you are capable to do better the next time.I am smiling because I know the bully Man U will lose the next match…….arrogant Chelsea will also fumble…….Liverpool will improve, but not title contender………


mu-arsenal game

Henry and Berkamp didnt play well last nite.Berkamp has not played well vs united for the past 3 season.Lacked of idea noticed as mu packed the midfield.I was never comfortable when Mike Riley was as he cant play weekly at current demand. tq

Andrew McBain has sent this response from a Man U fan. It has been edited.

I emailed my ManU supporting friend Ian’s article…. thought you might be interested in the response!

>Homer Riley an embarassing advert for foreign refs and camera-based decisions By Ian Grant

>Rooney dives.

So does Owen, so does Pires, so does any player who is paid fortunes to do anything they can to amass the maximum number of points in a season.

A competitive nature can distort the boundaries of sportsmanship to some degree but throw in an expectant and vocal manager, the need to stay in the team to build a career, tens of thousands of temperamental fans and the notion of ‘what is within the rules’ quickly becomes ‘what I can get away with’. Anyone who seriously disputes this has clearly no experience of participating in competitive sport.

>As for the foul from Ferdinand on Ljungberg – this was Old Trafford, and normal football rules don’t apply. Relatively unbiased Alan Hansen said: “it was a foul, so he had to go. That’s why Riley didn’t give it.”

Hansen’s point could be interpreted (some would say more widely) as: ‘In a massive game where the Premiership could be potentially decided, with English football showcased to 450 million viewers worldwide, where tension exists from a large crowd and players with a history of antagonism, a referee would need to be absolutely convinced of serious foul play to do something as incendiary as give a red card’.

All referees are human beings. There is no evidence that the same may not have happened at the other end other than subjectivity.

>The only answer. Foreign referees, with no agendas, historical or otherwise; Video replays and an adjudicating panel.

Foreign referees are not a panacea. Language differences and variations in interpretations are just as likely to cause problems as any perceived favouritism may currently do.

Would we be happy to have Urs Maier (the Swiss villain of England’s Euro 2004 exit) officiating? Sure Collina may have officiated better – he’s a better referee. Not because he’s Italian but because he’s better, that’s all.

Video replays are used in Rugby League and while they reduce incidences of controversy, they do not eradicate them entirely. They can also disrupt the game pretty horrendously, especially if they’re required quite frequently.

They’re not currently sanctioned by FIFA because they want to keep the grass roots game as similar as possible to that played by the very best. Is all of the above really outweighed by the paranoia that our referees are not accountable enough?

>And this continual struggle against financial gravity (Man U’s squad £180m; Arsenal’s £82m, according to a Telegraph article) is bound to count against them from time to time.

It’s a free market and everyone must accept that. At least Arsenal are finally doing something about it by increasing their earning potential. If you want to blame economics, past Arsenal boards are partly culpable by not having done this sooner.

All football teams are businesses and have been for

decades in order for them to be run most efficiently.

What offends the fans’ sensibilities more is the notion that success can be ‘bought’ or guaranteed for a price. Lots of teams are PLC’s (rightly or wrongly) and the business structures and obligations can help as well as hinder their football ambitions Having said that, Chelsea aren’t and Blackburn weren’t particularly business-structured – they were just seen to ‘buy’ success via a benefactor which is perceived as being against the spirit of the game.

Much as I’d hate to see Chelsea win the league, this issue of finance (however begotten) sounds a bit like a Communist manifesto. The truth is less simplistic. That we admire Milan and Real Madrid would indicate that it’s only unfair for a team to have more money than anyone else when you feel like saying it is.

>If Chelsea win it, then Premiership football is truly on the way to terminal decline – unless of course the authorities bring in the wage cap.

As for wage caps, if you’re saying that people running

fotball clubs can’t be trusted, they’re at least more accountable under business law than anywhere else. We’ve all seen Leeds United’s implosion and any club that follows their example knowing that has no excuse.

If Everton or Villa or anyone else bankrupts themselves trying to chase the dream, let them. Don’t penalise those with a sound financial footing just because the rest can’t be trusted with their pocket money.

Ed reply

The point is sport should be sport not a business. The essence of sport is competion and uncertainty. When a team like Chelsea spends between £250m-£300m on its squad, £150-£200m more than the other 18 clubs (apart from Man U), and pays £20m more in wages than anyone else (three times more than the average) a border is crossed where it isn’t sport anymore but pure business.

It took around £150m for Chelsea to move from fourth to second. Another £90m may be enough to get them from first to second. And Abramovich can then spend what it takes to aim to keep them there ad infinitum.