Season 2011-12
The Mail Bag

In this world you get what you pay for

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There was a time that I was disappointed and disillusioned by what I thought was the incompetency of refereeing in the Premier League. However I?m beginning to believe it?s no longer about a referee having ?a bad day at the office? but reflects how corrupt the game has become.

In the last two Everton games there is no doubt in my mind of the absolute premeditated duplicity of Webb and Atkinson, which virtually guaranteed the outcome of the game and left no room for an upset.

This is no longer about the wealthier the club the better the squad, this is about how the corruption has contaminated the very heart and soul of the game. Let me be clear, I?m not saying that referees get bunged brown envelopes filled with large wads of cash or even larger deposits paid into Swiss bank accounts. It?s the downward pressure from investors such as Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, John Henry and Roman Abramovich getting a guaranteed return on their investment by getting the prestige of their clubs playing Champions League football.

Equally there?s the need for Sky to deliver the premier league?s premium brands to ensure a TV audience to sponsors and advertisers. Occasionally, things don?t go always go according to plan, for example Beckford running the length of the pitch to score a goal against Chelsea or Everton outplaying Man City this last couple of seasons.

That said, the paymasters have asserted their influence to re-establish the natural order of the Premier League. And the quid pro quo for referees, if ?they play the game? they might get to officiate on the big stage for example a World Cup final.


Sam Fitzsimmons, United Kingdom     Posted 01/10/2011 at 23:26:11

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Derek Thomas
1   Posted 02/10/2011 at 04:03:33

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They will deny it to the ends of the earth, and it is pretty hard to prove conclusively. I mean how can you prove the existance of an ' un-written rule '..how can you 'print what is ' written between the lines '

But we all can see the evidence of our own eyes.

If we bemoan our fate for this one game we are called poor losers. If we keep banging on about it we get called Bitter Blues. If we REALLY go on about it the next step is paranoid conspiracy nutter...Illuminati, Cabal, Da Vinci Code, X Files, UFOs etc and we are all putting tinfoil on our heads.

But over so many years and so many different decisions.

On a different tack, we all know the TV ads are louder than the programs and we are constantly told, No it ain;t so, they just ' seem ' louder because of some technical gobbledegook frequency modulation blah blah or what ever. We all know the Petrol companies play follow the leader up and down with the price and that a massive wholesale price rise is passed on right away, but a massive drop takes months to filter through. In New Zealand the standard is 6c up and ...3c down, never fails. In Australia the price can vary 13c in one day and they all go up and down together.

I'm off for another roll of tin foil now, before I get started on the price of sprouts going up just before Christmas. cue Xfiles music
Yew Hung
2   Posted 02/10/2011 at 05:52:16

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If you have been watching EPL for some times, you know only the moneyed clubs get the "lucky breaks", "referees' mistaskes", that's why there is this resistance of using video technology like in other contact sports so that results can be manipulated.

I totally agree with you. I'll give up watching football very soon

Everton fan from Singapore
Alan Clarke
3   Posted 02/10/2011 at 07:46:22

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Absolutely spot on. I thought Kenwright's biggest mistake was not finding investment for the squad but it appears it's not finding investment to exert influence on the corrupt FA.

The thing is, if you shout about conspiracy theories, everyone else dismisses you as bitter or basically insane but where there are such huge amounts of money involved there is inevitably corruption. Unfortunately the PL brand is worth far more if Liverpool are challenging Man U for the title especially since the return of 'King Kenny' and doesn't European football miss those 'infamous nights on the Kop'?

When you get bad refs, they make bad decisions against both teams. I've witnessed refs getting booed off by both sets of fans before. But when we see these refs who just always rule in favour of the 'big' team (or should I say richest team), you have to think there's a wider agenda in the FA. The FA will probably take some action against Atkinson but only for being so blatant. He needs lessons from messrs Poll and Riley.

The game has now become so far removed from anything I started watching as a kid. I love being part of the Everton tribe but if it's rich teams and a corrupt ref/FA that now decide games, what is the point? We should have all given up after that Villareal game.
Simon Potter
4   Posted 02/10/2011 at 08:00:57

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Yes, the ref is a twat and got it wrong but in my view he was simply conned. Suarez is a cheat and it is he who the FA should be reprimanding. When you look at the replay Suarez was on his way into the air, probably to avoid contact as Rodwell looks like he is going to be first to the ball. Rodwell's boot makes the slightest contact with Suarez well after he won the ball and studs were well down by that time. Suarez lifts his legs up as high as he can for effect and then writhes around like he's been walloped in the shins with an iron pipe. Why does the FA not punish this sort of crap - this is actually what was directly responsible for ruining the game.
Wayne Smyth
5   Posted 02/10/2011 at 08:25:17

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Must've missed what happened at Man City last week, Sam. We went there with no ambition and no plan of attack and got precisely what we deserved. I don't recall the ref doing anything in particular that swung the result.

However, yesterdays decision was unreal, either the ref is incompetent or bent and either way he shouldn't be in that job.

I also agree that richer clubs often get benefit of the doubt because there is pressure from the managers of those clubs and pundits, via the media, who kick up a stink when something doesn't go their way.

A club like Everton where the manager and players generally observe the rules of silence in the media and not arguing with the ref during the game, and not diving and feigning injury to anywhere near the levels of players at other clubs......well, lets just say that moral stance doesn't do us any favours in games.
Alan Clarke
6   Posted 02/10/2011 at 08:41:09

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Simon, it wasn't just that one decision. It's not like Atkinson sent off Rodwell then reffed the rest of the game fairly. It was blatant how much he favoured Liverpool. Conning the ref does happen but there's more going on when the ref rules in favour of one team for the whole game.
Mick Wrende
7   Posted 02/10/2011 at 08:39:01

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Alan @3 you are quite right. What is the point of going anymore? Corruption now seemingly affects every sport and boxing gold medals already appear sorted in the Olympics next year. But that has been accepted in boxing for many years.

In football, fans are only just starting to realise how deep the corruption really is. A few may still think yesterday was simply one bad decision but the easiest way for a ref to change a game is to send someone off ? job done and in that temperature yesterday the result from then on was not in doubt.

But what else can us fans do with our time. Football has been part of my life for virtually all of it but now I would love to find a different interest. But I tell you this: I would far rather go to the Wigan game and the Stoke match where the powers that be have little interest in the outcome ? then the game may at least be fairer. I know at Blackburn you can buy a cheaper season ticket without the United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal games. That sounds an attractive alternative to me.
Alan Clarke
8   Posted 02/10/2011 at 09:20:14

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My solution would be for a European superleague. These rich teams can all fuck off. The press and TV pundits can all pour over their superstars and these plastic foreign fans in the Far East and foreing investors can enjoy watching their superstar games every week.

Meanwhile there can be a complete overhaul of the domestic game. Fans will have a greater say in how clubs are run, salary caps put in place, local players who know what the shirt means, accountable refs, wealth spread across the leagues, no foreign ownership, cheaper tickets and more emphasis on match going fans. This will restore the level playing field where anyone can win the league. I'm a socialist at heart but it's obvious Everton's problems are farther reaching than just an inept chairman. Unless these rich clubs topple the 'competition' just becomes more and more unfair.
Matt Traynor
9   Posted 02/10/2011 at 10:18:11

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Thin end of the wedge. Like you I don't think it's actual corruption on the scale of say, Serie A a couple of years back, or numerous leagues around the world, particularly in developing (at least football-wise) countries.

The money involved now is huge from sponsors. Whilst the Overseas TV deal delivers global brand exposure, these companies now feel that they are putting so much money in, they're on a par with major shareholders.

Last season the commercial or marketing director of Stan Chart not-too-quietly ruminated how it would be excellent if Liverpool were to sign an Asian player, or one from the Middle East.

I agree, as it's more than likely they would be gash, but from his point of view it would give them more bang for their buck in markets they still wish to increase share in.

In any sane world, Liverpool would've delivered a stern "get fucked" (and maybe they did, but in more measured, channeled ways), but it doesn't alter the fact that when someone pays you 20m a season they are going to feel they have a say.
Sam Fitzsimmons
10   Posted 02/10/2011 at 13:07:40

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Wayne agree that Everton went to City without any ambition however they did go with a game plan that was all but nullified because of three early bookings. Rodwell on 19 minutes, Neville 24, Osman, 29. The outcome was the fear of a second yellow therefore giving Silva the space to do what he does best.
Andrew Cunningham
11   Posted 02/10/2011 at 13:53:31

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Picture this. You are playing you're biggest rivals, backs against the wall, all hands on deck kinda stuff. Then the ref fucks up and sends off one of your players.

What do you do?

Roll sleaves up and get on with it and stick it up them? ? No. This is Everton; we get rolled 0-2 as fuckin usual.

We just don't have the cattle!!!
James Martin
12   Posted 02/10/2011 at 14:28:46

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Bit harsh, Andrew. Fans on here get disappointed when we're not turning over Man City and Liverpool every single week, in fact we should be doing it with a one-man disadvantage.

What gives us a divine right to be better than everyone else? Man City and Liverpool have spent hundreds of millions, do you not think that they're expecting, and mostly able to win the majority of games? How is a team of youth players, unwanted old pros and free trasfers expected to compete with them, let alone beat them, let alone do it either away from home or with 10 men?

The fact that we still played fairly well against Liverpool with ten men and still expect to win both games with a full 11 is testament to the work of Moyes and the effort of the players. The opinion that if only we rolled up our sleeves and stuck it to them then we'd somehow overawe some of the best teams in the league is ridiculous. They can just match this intensity easily, in fact they can surpass it and with a man extra on hot day easily.

The players did the best they could yesterday, and had it not been for ridiculous defensive lapses looked decent value for a draw. Sticking it to them (not that the ten men weren't trying to do this anyway) would probably have resulted in us getting a four- or five-nil hiding.
Lee Courtliff
13   Posted 02/10/2011 at 17:56:32

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Bloody hell Andrew. I think you're being a bit harsh mate. Nobody can say the lads didn't commit themselves after the red card.

In the second half Liverpool didn't really do anything until the goals and they could have been defended much, much better. The second goal was just a joke.
Steve Sweeney
14   Posted 03/10/2011 at 17:44:28

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Alan #8
Great idea, how would the refs know who to
suck up to.
Isn't it strange that they sent a referees representative to talk to the biggest cheat ever to wear a red shirt
and hey presto they start getting
decisions.
The premier league is just finished.
wait till Sky have no competition and offer peanuts for
the coverage and watch all the badge kissers fuck of to Russia or the middle East for big bucks.
It will be GOOD RIDDANCE FROM ME.

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