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Arsenal: What’s done cannot be undone

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Good morning Positive Arsenal fans or annyeong-hasimnikka this May Day (as they say in Pyongyang),

I admit I woke with a sharp taste in the mouth this morning. My mood was subdued. Things to be done but unsure exactly where to start on jobs that stretch out in front of me this Bank holiday. The sky light grey, the dregs of yesterday’s defeat in the glasses strewn around the place.

Of yesterday’s game not an unexpected result against a good Tottenham side who, certainly in the Premier League if not in Europe or the FA Cup, are a level above Arsenal this season. Just as Chelsea and Citeh were beaten 2-0 we joined the disappointed band. On the day they were better than us. I see that there was no shortage of BLAME to be apportioned for the result on social media, and on here!. Cut into who you want boys, they scored two and we scored zero.

It was a genuinely ‘open’ game. NLD derbies are very rarely sterile, tactical affairs. It would never be 0-0. History demands commitment and energy and I saw no shortage from anyone on either side yesterday. To add to the tension by 4.30 earlier results had provided both sides additional incentives. For us an unexpected springboard provided by Boro and Swansea past the Manchester clubs for a top 4 finish, for Tottenham the final chance to chase Chelsea. Both sides really needed three points.

We concentrated during the first half and other than two deflected half chances I thought our five-man back line defended well. The home side was faced with 8-9 red shirts as they moved towards our box and a boot or a head invariably stabbed the ball away. Our resistance was well organised and effective. Spurs had understandably came out with a plan to blow us away with an early assault but their efforts failed. In the final fifteen/twenty minutes of the half we got into the game, began to pass accurately and quickly and began to probe the Spurs’ defence. Larry was involved in a constant physical battle with the Spurs centre backs. Sanchez was weaving and bouncing. We also created two difficult goal scoring chances. Our finishing was off target.

I had cautious expectations at half time, a point achievable certainly, and if we could add quality to our offensive efforts perhaps all three.

Within twelve minutes of Michael Oliver restarting the second period we were two down. Both goals a failure of the collective concentration that had impressed me in the first disintegrated. The first goal saw two players in white shorts outwit five players in red, plus the keeper, to put away a scruffy finish. Within a minute Gabriel faced a charging Kane in the penalty box. Not another red shirt close by. The inevitable contact with the Tottenham striker took place. Kane put away a perfect spot kick.

Savage those these setbacks were we had the best part of 35-40 minutes to react and recover. Our first half efforts gave me grounds for optimism. As I said in opening there North London Derbies have goals. We had time, we had the players ……..

During that final period of the game, during which I anticipated we would fling ourselves upon the home side, we created very little. Up to the final third our football was tidy, within the final third we showed nothing to suggest we could penetrate the defence or test Lloris. There did not seem much variation in our approach. For a team full of intelligent players it was a predictable pass – pass – pass. Our shooting was always off target or weak. We had plenty of corners but each one was comfortable dealt with. Changes were made with Danny and Hector on, and later Theo, to no obvious effect. The game petered out. We had failed. My expectations were ash.

Of our players I make no criticism of Cech, the Ox nor of Kosc. Of the others I imagine left the pitch feeling dissatisfied with their afternoon’s work.

We shall not wallowing in misery for more than one day however.

We have an absolutely vital game next Sunday, against the Prince of Darkness.

Enjoy your Monday.

About anicoll5

Arsenal supporter, 58, Dad, harmless and humourless, political militant moderate, school governor and worker bee

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147 comments on “Arsenal: What’s done cannot be undone

  1. You’re a cleverer and more patient man than I, HenryB.

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  2. This blog was set up and is run by people who hold differing opinions of life the universe and everything, as they were perturbed at the strange and unsubstantial accustaion* that people of differing thought who all support a sporting club must all therefore think the same thing.

    *ultimately this only reflects on those who make the construct. The rest of us know and understand how a conversation being two human beings usually works, with the added understanding that you can’t read tone on an informal text (so don’t take them too seriously!).

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m watching some of the NBA playoff matches. Some handbags/argie bargie happening, and that led to automatic video referrals.

    Also, apparently the refs for the playoffs are chosen based on an analysis of their decisions in the regular season, and the reports they get from the team coaches, players and officials. What a concept! (Cricket has something similar too)

    This process (at least of analysing their decisions) is repeated for every round of the playoffs, so only the best make it to the finals. Imagine that. A sports organization accepting that refs make mistakes and doing their best to help minimise them. Far cry from the PGMO coming out with ‘statistics’ showing their refs get 99% decisions correct.

    Also, as a result of the pushing and shoving, one player got ejected (sent off) and a ref came up to the commentators’ table and explained why they took that decision.

    The PGMO meanwhile dictates that none of their refs will speak to the media even after the game.

    Here you have the difference between a competent sports league, and an incompetent and possibly dishonest sports league.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. What are the statistics from the NBA on correct/incorrect refereeing decisions?

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  5. Shard

    What you’re describing with play-offs is pretty similar to set up for a world cup or Euros : foul up badly and your (ref and his team) chances of a game in next stage of tournament are almost sure to disappear .

    However, in pgmol something broadly similar supposedly happens : there’s a points system with those at the top likely to be rewarded with more games, biggest games, put forward for international competitions and tournaments,etc.

    I believe that points system must be based almost entirely on pgmol’s own assessments and reviews, which are supposedly extensive. I forget details of them but I’ve read up on it a few times.

    Managers do get to fill in a form each game- mark out of ten I think and personal comments- but i think that’s pretty much informal and it doesn’t sound like it is taken seriously – ‘managers always complain when they lose’,etc- nor handled properly : referees shouldn’t see those reports and comments but apparently they do *

    * Warnock mentioned in his autobiography that he was scathing of a ref, who he expected not to see again for a while (ref was being promoted) but promptly got soon after, and ref made clear he had seen it- knew wording- and was not happy.

    Basically, pgmol seem to be pretty thorough- match assessments, reviews, analysis, formal and informal meeting where players and all else are discussed- but they also operate in near total secrecy and are only accountable to their bosses, who are officially the premier league (premier league are the authority who can remove and replace head of pgmol)

    Like most organisations, really, if there’s rottenness within, then it can only ever be dealt with from without. You’d need a number of clubs to feel unhappy enough about their treatment to join forces and go to the premier league before action was a possibility.

    Briefly mentioned without comment in Halsey’s book that a number of prominent mangers from the North- including Ferg * and Allardyce of course- were supposedly unhappy with Riley’s predecessor in the time immediately before he was removed.

    Helped perhaps to have Utd chief exec (with Uefa now, forget name) as head of committee which set Scudamore’s bonus each year, while Scudamore himself was an original pgmol board member and remained on it for years. A small closed world.

    If you feel Riley and Pgmol are like a curse for us…you have to hope like hell as i do we can build an extraordinarily good team.

    * he had only respect and praise for him of course.

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  6. I don’t know anicoll. Does it matter? Whatever it is, the league is clearly not trying to say their officials are perfect and to avoid any talk of change/improvement. They are looking at mechanisms to improve, and also recognise that teams are stakeholders in this. They brought in video (with some conditions, which again are not perfect. What is?) In addition, I think they publish the referee reviews for the last 2 minutes of a game. (When the video can be used for line calls. So they aren’t hiding behind the video either as if that makes everything perfect)

    In addition, they put up videos of incidents on their website to illustrate how calls are made. Remember when Xhaka got sent off and every tackle thereafter the fans had to say, ‘but where’s the consistency. Look at these videos?’ The League does that from before, in an attempt to be transparent.

    They experiment with things like more referees in a game in their D-League (sort of like a second tier/academy league) and they’ve talked about increasing the numbers of the pool of refs and even bringing in refs from outside the country.

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  7. Rich

    THanks. Just to add to their secrecy bit. I think some years ago Untold Arsenal sent questionnaires to all European Football Federations regarding their criteria for judging referee performance. Not the scores, but the criteria. Apparently they got no response except from the Danish FA to say they cannot answer.

    PGMOL is not alone. Football as a sport has allowed this. But PGMO preside over the richest league, and a league that quite generally is agreed to have a different interpretation of rules than the rest of Europe. They also have very few numbers of refs, all from the north of England, and they seem overly obsessive about their secrecy. I mean, putting a non disclosure clause for retiring refs to get a ‘pension’ payment. (That’s hush money basically) Disallowing media interactions (Refs in Germany at least used to appear in front of the media)

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  8. Does it not matter ? That a football referee tried to control 22 players and is reckoned to cover 50 times the distance of one of three of the NBA officials in a 90-95 minute game – and had almost no technology to assist him?

    But you expect the same or a better performance?

    No I’d say it matters

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  9. I wonder how a PL referee would get on with five a side – and an 18 inch goal ?

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  10. 48 minutes

    I admit I thought it was 60

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  11. anicoll

    I am not talking about a referee. I am talking about the league and the steps they take to improve refereeing. It doesn’t matter how good they say their officials are. They, first of all, are willing to acknowledge they aren’t perfect, and aren’t afraid of admitting mistakes and to take steps to avoid those mistakes in the future.

    All this talk about a bigger field etc is obfuscating the fact that the PL does not behave in a similar fashion. They’d rather work under the pretense that their refs are infallible (ok, we’ll make a concession to you peasants and say we get 1% wrong.) Alright. Can you show us how you arrive at these stats? No. Can you show us videos with examples of what is or what isn’t an infraction? No. (and we ban all videos that show this if we can. Goals you can watch) Can you tell us why you have such a limited pool of refs, and why from a single geographical region, and do you think this can have any effect on ref performance? No.

    The thing is, they don’t even have to say no to all that. Because nobody’s asking. They get to release their stats, have them unquestioningly published by the media, and in addition trot out lines like it all evens out, and that is that.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Re NBA ref stats (they deserve to be called refs and not just officials)

    I feel remarkably comfortable speculating that their association does not pump out laughably fraudulent and flatulent claims (without any evidence supplied mind you) that their employees (we are referring to the pgMOB Ltd company after all) get 99% (or some similarly idiotic claim) of their decisions correct.

    That would be ludicrous behaviour and not in a good way. Would it not?

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  13. As for the differences between football and basketball. Bball has its own complications in calling a foul. There’s smaller spaces, bigger bodies, and the tiniest of touch can throw off a shot, or a fingernail on the ball before it goes out determines possession. They also have to see if the ball touched the rim, the players were standing outside a certain area of the court, for more than 3 seconds or not, whether their feet were moving or set before any contact, whether they jumped straight up or leant forward, punish foul language etc. In my experience, calling basketball games is tougher than calling football games. There’s quite simply a lot more rules to determine.

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  14. Meanwhile another round of PL fixtures.

    Another round of people discussing pelanty calls ultimately in favour of Team Sky or similar.

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  15. Well I seem to recall exactly the same conversation three months back about NFL officials (referees) all 7 of them on the field and backed by technology, and how they still make errors.

    as I have said until I am blue in the face I am amazed Football referees and linos get so much correct – not that they make the occasional error (generally picked by the exper ‘fan’ with the benefit of their third camera angle and slo mo review)

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  16. Well I seem to recall exactly the same conversation three months back about NFL officials (referees) all 7 of them on the field and backed by technology, and how they still make errors.

    as I have said until I am blue in the face I am amazed Football referees and linos get so much correct – not that they make the occasional error (generally picked by the expert ‘fan’ with the benefit of their third camera angle and slo mo review)

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  17. Oh also. The NBA has 82 regular season games(per team), plus postseason. I reckon the officials cover a lot of ground over the course of the season. Add in the fact that the US is a huge country (and Toronto) so there’s a lot of travel involved.

    You know who talks about this? The league. They say that refs traveling too much leads to them not being as sharp physically and can affect performance, so they are going to look at having a set crew of officials (like in the NFL) to reduce travel, in addition to increasing the number of referees available (and on the court).

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  18. If he only defence for the pgMOB is

    “You think the refs job is easy”

    That’s not a very good defence. Given the context.

    I see the Pakistan cricket board banned a player for failing to report an approach by a match fixing syndicate. Quite a contrast with what happened with Mark Waugh and Shane Warne (not given the captaincy) but there it is!

    Fortunately nothing like that could happen here in Blighty? Except for at Crawly Town FC. Or involving lower league players where there is less money and people are more desperate. Obviously.

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  19. I see referee Mike Jones was “relegated” from the PL to the Championship after his shocking performance at the Emirates last Wednesday.

    Odd that.

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  20. So tell me Fins – you watch the game – you know the rules – how many decisions do you get right first time ?

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  21. 50% if you are anything like me

    But don’t let that worry you – the bastards are all corrupt incompetent etc

    Especially the lino who robbed Citeh of their goal at Wembley no doubt

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  22. “It all evens out in the end?”*

    Is that the second defence for the pgMOB following

    “You think the refs job is easy?”

    There is no rational or reasonable defence for the set up of the pgMOB.

    *Even though you refuse to look at stats compiled using standard UEFA assume that methods, by people who know what they are doing. I’m not a former referee or even a team of former and current refs who’ve worked at all levels. But Andrew if you want to debate the numbers with them you know where to find them.

    As before I feel (opinion warning!) that those on PA not interested in defending the indefensible should be spared that particular conversation. Especially when there are specific forums for that specific thread. That is reasonable?

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  23. Imagine trying to book a drain survey with a Luddite surveyor:

    “Great, when you coming round for he survey?”

    “We have to book on the JCB diggers first. Lot of soil and concrete on top of that drain. No knowing what we’ll find!”

    “Diggers? What about a camera survey first?”

    “Cameras? Nah, fuck that. Sure everyone of our competitors and rivals in the yellow pages are using all these fancy go go pro gadgets these days what with all this wifi everywhere but we prefer to keep it old school. Real work for real men and all that. Hey, why are you turning around and walking away we have to sign an agreement and book in the big job…”

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  24. Can we differentiate between the individuals and the system?

    Individual refs can be corrupt in the NBA. Nothing stops them from deliberately tilting games. But the fact that this is happening, won’t stay hidden in their system.Not for long.

    By contrast, in the PL, the system will absolutely hide any wrongdoing because it is not interested in making clear how they call the game, and what calls are judged right or wrong. They don’t care about discussing the demerits of having a small pool of refs. Of what they can do to improve calls. They don’t even let refs explain themselves because heaven forbid, they might have to say they got a call wrong.

    An occasional ‘relegation’ without illustrating the basis for it doesn’t change that fact. If anything, they hide behind the randomness of it all.

    It is not the fans demand better calls be made that are harming the refs. It is the league that does nothing to help the refs and hides behind their authority that does that.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. It could be a sketch from Little Britain or Monty Python!

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  26. How do you know corruption can’t be hidden for long ?

    Isn’t that the point ? The most corruption is undetectable – or is that a bit too conspiracy theorist

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  27. Arsenal Fixture News‏ @AFCFixtureNews 9h9 hours ago

    Andre Marriner has been appointed the referee for Sunday’s home match against Manchester United.

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  28. *effective

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  29. Apologise for being several days late to the wake but I found myself a deep dark hole and have been hiding in there clicking my heels together saying there’s no place like home over and over again.
    Andy I don’t know how you do it you have been tested more than our defence this season and have come through admirably.
    Of the game, I was surprised the spuds weren’t better and thought we were bad first half as well as second.
    On a small ground and playing what a lot of the time was five at the back and still giving oceans of space out wide was criminal Nacho and Gabs were being pulled out to places the Ox and Gibbo should have been covering and that left us vunerable.
    The constant pass backs to Petre were losing possession most times and the front three never really got close enough to each other to test a very good defence.
    That was the most frustrating thing I don’t think the spuds player to their full potential but still we never really got going and city must of been wondering who it was that outplayed them in the second half last week.
    The other thing that it bugging me is on this site we respect the most successful manager in our History so in discussions can we use “Arsene” instead of wenger or even Wenger that just sounds like wobism, the only time we need to use a surname for someone with known over 20 years is in the term “Wengerball” and then it’s with a capital.

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  30. Jesus. So now we’re arguing that EVERYTHING is corrupt?

    Sure, I can accept that.

    At least the NBA then forces its corruption to be more and more clever, if it wants to stay hidden.

    At least they don’t just put up a wall and say this is our fiefdom and none shall dare question or demand better.

    Oddly enough, you seem to prefer the latter. I guess if you believe everything is corrupt, then the PL is more honest, or brazen about it than the NBA which tries to fool us by making efforts to tell us what is a foul and isn’t and then tries to get it right, and admits when it doesn’t.

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  31. Yeah I’m not a nice person late at night (actually likely all the time, but I’m sticking to the night time excuse for now)

    I am nice 99% of the time (cheeky banned smiley)

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  32. Hmmmm – everything in sport, in theory, could be corrupt. And everything in sport dependent upon human judgement is open to ‘persuasion’

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  33. looks like atletico madrid need a new coach, one who can inspire his team, and knows something about good defending

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  34. Athletico being taken apart tonight – did not expect that – don’t suppose Simeone did either

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  35. Exactly andy. Which is why it is important to have a system in place that aims to establish greater transparency and set benchmarks for how those decisions are made. (And periodically looks at further improvements/changes needed) The NBA (and US sports in general) does that. Not because they are altruists or inherently cleaner. But because their business depends on the public knowing that they are watching a fair, sporting contest, in a professional league that is interested in getting those calls right.

    And that is why arguments like yours frustrate me. Unless fans demand better (decisions, transparency, information) from the PGMO, they have no reason to open up, and any corruption that might exist gets to operate freely in the shadows. ( Large sums of money crossing international borders with a ‘commodity’ whose valuation is only how much someone willing to pay for it, is prime grounds at least for money laundering. I’d be amazed if at least a few fit and proper persons didn’t buy in for that very reason)

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  36. Goodnight from me. Thanks for indulging my long form essays. .

    Liked by 2 people

  37. Ed, apparently Marriner has done both Arsenal Utd fixtures this season.
    Let’s hope he does a good job……but surely this is not ideal…..I suppose it shows what happens when the pool of refs is so small
    On another note, a few reports on Pablo Fornals appearing , cannot say I know much about him, but as a confirmed Cazorlaista, will view these reports with some interest

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  38. Sorry, Marriner will have done both Arsenal Utd fixtures this season

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  39. Ugh. We seem to be talking in circles on the ref thing.

    I don’t watch NBA, or even much NFL. But I do watch college football (American) quite a bit. No one is saying the refs in those sports don’t get calls wrong. In fact, on field calls get overruled by the video all the time. And even after calls are reviewed fans still get pissed off and say they got the call wrong. But what you don’t see (not often, anyway) are TV commentators or Sports Center showing footage over and over that shows a ref completely missed a critical call. Because the ref got the privilege of seeing that same footage in the context of the game, instead of watching for the next week while pundits rake him over the coals for blowing the call based on a viewpoint he didn’t have. It’s beyond me why the refs don’t want this. It’s backup, not Big Brother. And lord only knows why FIFA still thinks one on field referee can possibly see 22 men and the entire pitch properly. Even adding two linesmen, it’s a monumental task. At least video would help them.

    I don’t think the refs are corrupt. I know others disagree. I think they do the best they can to try to be unbiased, and the PGMOL doesn’t help by shrouding them in secrecy, which makes people even more suspicious. They get calls wrong…why on earth wouldn’t they? Equally, though, why on earth wouldn’t they want something that might help them get it right?

    Liked by 3 people

  40. Henrik Hindby‏ @HenrikHindby May 1

    Arsenal have conceded more attempts (60) in the 4 games w. 3 at the back than previous 4 games w. 4 at the back (50). Also had fewer shots.

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  41. Nobody has ever proven the elite refs in this league are corrupt, but there could be bias, ways of smoothing career paths, media influence…..and we as Arsenal fans all know the influence one manager especially had on refs….hell, this guy even had the power to stop referees being selected at old Trafford. If Fergie did what he did in Italy, it would be termed corruption….but our media are more protective of certain people, especially those Sky may have favoured. Ferries influence on refs should have been investigated..
    We all know what Fergie did, and generally got away with,don’t for a minute imagine others…managers, players, owners, agents, corrupt bookies and organised crime have not noted the purple nose effect, and are not trying the same.
    If the pgmol are clean, above bias and other practices that bring about playing fields that are not level, their secrecy, fifty grand hush money, lack of referees, the never spotted mike Riley, lack of accountability, and reticence on video assistance does them few favours.

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  42. Bama – You appear to work from the foundation that referees do not want VAR. I have never heard referees say anything on the matter and they did not seem in anyway obstructive of goal line technology when it finally was brought in. As long as they are consulted in how it will work and the process can be carefully tested I can’t see why they would object.

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  43. Alabamalama, @ 11:31

    Superb comment!

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  44. Morning Anicoll, mon ami,

    Your final sentence @ 8:09, seems to be in agreement with the final sentence of Alabamalama’s @ 11:31. Very good synchronisation. lol

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  45. Aaron Lennon Detained by Police in Greater Manchester Under Mental Health Act

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  46. so that shithead pyles palmer is running a story today, that first appeared on twitter months ago, “that Ivan Gazidis resigned as CEO of AFC”, but that AFC refused his resignation – like they could actually do that.

    by the way the source of anr’s article, pyles was told by a gooner who was told by another bloke who really knows what is going on at Arsenal.
    yeah really, that is the basis of this big revelation. I wonder did the bloke who knows what is going on at AFC get it from twitter.
    By the way the story on twitter was there before Ivan done that recent meet with the supporters groups. Many of those at that event had ran the story on twitter, odd that none of them asked him about it at the meet.

    the anr piece is full of we don’t know if its true, even if AFC don’t deny it, that is not to say its true,

    we need to start a campaign – “Free Ivan Gazidis”, “Stop this Slavery at Arsenal”,

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  47. New post up

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