Tag Archives: Tony Pulis

Tony Pulis pontificates on the meaning of referees in the Premier League

Tony Pulis’ campaign to discredit the officials paying dividends?

Tony Pulis continued his assault on common sense and decency with a meandering criticism of referee Chris Foy for his part in Arsenal’s winning goal when Stoke visited the Emirates on Saturday. It’s widely being reported that Pulis criticized the Arsenal players for surrounding the referee but he actually took exception to Chris Foy overturning his linesman’s decision and intimated that Foy may have had ulterior motives in awarding Arsenal the winning goal. It looks, however, to be part of a broader campaign by the Stoke manager to earn his club favorable treatment by match officials. And it looks like it’s working.

The main controversy yesterday occurred in the 78th minute. Arsenal’s Theo Walcott earned a free kick for a foul just outside the box and German international Lukas Podolski lined up for a powerful left-footed blast. The shot was deflected off a Stoke player in the wall and easily beat keeper Asmir Begovic.

Linesman Dave Bryan raised his flag for an offside and several Arsenal players reacted by pleading their case with the official. The lead official, Chris Foy, who had already signaled a good goal, went over to confirm that no Arsenal players were in an active offside position and after a very brief conversation again signaled that Arsenal had scored a very good goal.

Television replays confirmed that Theo Walcott was in an offside position but was not active in the play as the ball took a deflection away from Walcott. Interestingly, linesman Dave Bryan is no stranger to offside controversy. Bryan was punished back in April 2012 for failure to flag two very clear offside goals that helped Chelsea to a win over Wigan.

Bryan had a poor game from an Arsenal perspective. Bryan missed Wilkinson slapping Theo Walcott in the face and several tackles from behind which prompted the Arsenal man to remonstrate with him well before the controversial offside call. Bryan was also seen shucking and jiving with Stoke’s Wilkinson during throw-ins, the two of them looking like fast friends.

Tony Pulis pontificates on the meaning of referees in the Premier League

As is often the case when Stoke and Arsenal play, the game saw its fair share of controversy from start to finish. Foy didn’t endear himself to the home crowd when he blew Arteta for a foul and the Arsenal man clearly hadn’t come anywhere near the Stoke player. “Intent” to foul we were told was the reason for the call. But where Foy called Arsenal for “intent” he failed repeatedly to call Stoke for “actual” fouls.

Foy also got Ryan Shawcross’ red card tackle on Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny wrong. The Stoke player had no hope of ever winning the ball and as he saw that the Arsenal man was going to clear easily, instead of pulling out he when in, studs up, wildly lunging, and stamped the Arsenal man’s groin. Foy awarded a yellow when red was the correct call.

And then after that poor call, Foy somehow managed to miss Stoke’s Michael Owen throw a sneaky elbow to the head of Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta which nearly sparked a brawl. The FA may still take action against Owen for that, depending on the referee’s report, which could also explain the Stoke manager’s comments post match.

After the game, Pulis seemingly looked to deflect from his team’s dreadful performance and place the blame on referee Chris Foy.

“I haven’t got a clue what offside is,” admitted Pulis speaking to the BBC after the game. “What’s disappointing is when the official, the linesman, gives it (the offside) the Arsenal players surround the linesman and then the referee reacts after that. I thought that if you surrounded referees more than three was it? Five people? Umm… err… You’re not supposed to do that. Their players were over there and the referee’s reacted off of that.”

“Now whether they are going to say it’s (the ball) has come off one of our players and it’s a good goal, well that’s fine.” Pulis continued, “but the reaction of their players, surrounding the referee or the linesman, effects Chris Foy.”

“If he (the linesman) has a clear view, then what’s Chris (Foy), why’s Chris questioning it?”

It’s a stunning accusation and it remains to be seen if the FA will investigate the comments. Pulis has previous questioning Chris Foy’s decisions and in fact this season has spent nearly every post-match interview moaning like a drain about the referees.

In August 2010, Pulis had a crack at Foy on the BBC and again it was in regards to Foy and the linesman. This time, Foy failed to give a goal that looked like it went over the line and Chris went to the linesman to see if he had a better view. With no conclusive evidence, Foy had no choice but to not award the goal.

It’s also interesting to note that Stoke’s players surrounded Foy in that game when they felt like they weren’t getting the call they deserved:

USED FOR EDITORIAL PURPOSES ONLY

USED FOR EDITORIAL PURPOSES ONLY

Pulis has spent a lot of post-match time talking to and about the referees this season. So much so that Pulis had a meeting with Mike Riley, the head of match officials in December over perceived bias against his team.

That meeting was prompted by a dire draw against Aston Villa which saw Ryan Shotton get a red card and where Pulis felt that Glenn Whelan was unfairly targeted.

Look at the incidents where our players are being booked or sent off, then compare them with similar incidents involving others that are going unpunished. There was the Clark one on Glenn at Villa. All we have ever asked is to be treated the same as everyone else, but there are preconceptions about us that are unfair.

Interestingly, Glenn Whelan was at the center of controversy just last week when his ugly two-footed lunge on Man City’s Javi Garcia went unpunished both during the match and after. During the match, Howard Webb failed to even call a foul, prompting the head of the Professional Footballer’s Association to say that he was certain Whelan would be pulled up on charges.

However, the FA did not charge Whelan because their own rules do not allow them to charge a player when the official saw the challenge. That means Howard Webb saw the two-footed lunge and chose not to call a foul. This is the same Howard Webb who gave Nigel de Jong a yellow card for a king-fu kick in the World Cup final and who allowed Fabricio Coloccini to kick Demba Ba in the face (breaking his nose) yesterday.

Given that Whelan, Owen, and Shawcross have not been punished for their transgressions it does look like Pulis’ concerted campaign to discredit the officials is working in his favor. In one week, three of his players have escaped deserved red cards.

Qq

The Orcs prepare for war

His name is Tony.

It is an unusual name in his town where most people are named after the heroes of battle and not given flowery names like “Anthony”. Anthony is hard for the townfolk to even say and when they do attempt it the words come out like they were clearing their throats: KhaAnthnee. So he shortened it to Tony.

The townfolk love Tony but it wasn’t always that way because he’s not one of them. Not much is known of his early life except that Tony was born in the hills of Wales and spent much of his life traveling around the countryside as a hired gun. He is probably best known as the pirate of Bristol, raiding up and down the coast and stealing loot. But truly his battle days were unremarkable and it was the fact that he immersed himself in studies and became one of the youngest men to ever complete officers school that set him apart.

When he first came to Stoke, he was seen as an outsider, someone who didn’t speak their language, someone who had flowers in his blood. “Tony… Lul Gijak-Ishi!” They would say after many pints of thick, dark beer. But in his first stint with Stoke he won the battle of Reading at the Brit and kept Stoke’s army from falling into disrepute. It was his brilliant tactics of using artillery to soften the Reading defenses before sending the men straight at their wall which endeared him to Stoke.

He was forced out of Stoke when he and Lord Gislason got into a confrontation over the spoils of battle. Tony wanted to use the money to improve his army, but Gislason wanted to hoard the money like all Ice Trolls do. The two nearly came to blows but agreed instead to end hostilities and Tony left.

Stoke fell on dark days without Tony.

But Stoke’s champion, born on Goldenhill in Stoke, Peter Coates defeated Lord Gislason and sent him back to the Ice-land. It wasn’t much of a battle, actually, not a sword was raised. Coates knew that Ice Trolls have an irresistibly avaricious nature and he simply laid a trail of gold coins out of the city which  Gislason followed until he fell into a trap. Simple as that, Coates banished Gislason and brought back the hero of the battle of Reading — Tony.

When Tony returned, the folks of Stoke were wary. But having heard their insults about his “flowery blood” he knew that the only way to “show his iron” would be for him to best one of their strongest warriors.

His chance came after a horrible defeat to The Arsenal: the most hated army in all of Orcland. His striker, Beattie, dared to question Tony while they were showering after the battle. It may seem unusual to you that a general showers with his men, but that is an Orcish custom. How else will they know the measure a man’s trunk? As they say.

Beattie felt like the men deserved extra rest but Tony wanted them to redouble training and when Beattie questioned Tony, the General rushed the younger man, nude, grabbed him and went for the kill. Beattie was quick, Tony was wet, and the striker escaped Tony’s naked embrace but the men all stood and watched with their jowls flapping: no human had ever tried hand to hand combat with an Orc before.

“Ang Gijak-Ishi!” (He has iron in his blood!) they all cheered as Tony stood there, naked, bouncing his chest muscles and drinking in their cheers. They even renamed him Angtony, “IronTony”. It’s his secret name, the one they use at tribal council.

Since then, Tony has done well by the Orc Army of Stoke. His highest achievement to date is that they nearly beat down the war machine of Manchester City in the battle of Facup – narrowly losing out in the final day when they were routed with a flanking maneuver.

But though they were defeated they went home singing songs of the battle and praise Tony to this day.

To this very day.

This very day where the long shadow of The Arsenal creeps north from their fairy castle in Londonium. Tony knew that they were coming, he told Stoke last week that he could smell the air change and began to prepare his defenses.

Begovic, Shotton, Shawcross, Huth and Wilson will man the inner gates. Shawcross is a particularly hideous Orc, who is known from sea to sea as The Butcher of the Brit. Those five will be tasked with defending against any aerial threat that The Arsenal might try to bring, though aerial bombing is not The Arsenal’s style.

Tony knows that The Arsenal will be more likely to try and flank Stoke with their Benayoun and Gervinho. Sending them in on raids to cause havoc and spread dis-ease in the citadel. Tony will rely on Pennant and Ethrington to fence off the flanks and push The Arsenal attack into the middle where Palacios, Walters, and Wheelan (collectively referred to as “The Shredder”) will grind The Arsenal’s attack to a standstill.

Tony loves Pennant for these games because he is an outcast from The Arsenal, and once held General Wenger’s highest esteem. He will be asked to drive at The Arsenal when they have a chance to counter attack, likely off a moment when The Arsenal stop the battle and set up an artillery strike. Orcs are masters of artillery and no Orcs have ever been as well versed in both defending it and using it as the Stoke Orcs of Tony Pulis. Tony will relish any moments that The Arsenal try to use their own tactic against them — and will look for Pennant to get into The Arsenal’s defense and cause havoc on his own.

And if that doesn’t work, Tony has his Two Meter Gun, ironically named “Crouch”. Crouch will be used to fire long, fire hard, keep firing, fire harder, longer, KEEP FIRING until they break down The Arsenal’s Koscielny/Vermaelen wall.

And let’s never forget the Orcish motto “We Fight How We Want”. They have no such pretense as “honor” that’s a concept for Elves and Dwarves. The only honor is to win the battle. That is the highest honor. Do what it takes to win the battle, then let the folks with flowery blood sip tea and complain about “cheating”, “shirt pulling”, and “rugby tactics”. In fact, the dirtier the tactic, the more “honor” they feel like they gain in battle.

To an Orc there’s nothing more beautiful than a blood red sunset and a goal-line scramble where Shawcross runs through the middle of The Arsenal defense covered in pitch and set on fire.

Aye, that is beauty to an Orc and to a man named Tony.

TO BATTLE!

Qq

Fergie moans like a drain, what else is new?

Before I get started, if you’re a United supporter, or some non-Arsenal supporter, you’re welcome to make comments here as long as they are reasonable, don’t make use of cliches like “ARSENE WENGER IS THE BIGGEST MOANER OF ALL” and don’t attack me or my readers personally.

Also, please don’t ask me or my readers to be “objective” I’m not paid to be objective, I’m an Arsenal blogger. The clue is in the title ‘innit?

Anyway there’s nothing even remotely Arsenal related going on this morning. Well, Tony Pulis, who can’t open his mouth without some rant about Arsene Wenger and Arsenal falling out has had yet another amazing outburst against the “top four” (read, Arsenal) this time claiming that there are two sets of rules; one for small clubs and one for the top four. Here’s the thing, I AGREE with him!

There are totally two sets of rules. A team like Stoke is allowed to take 20 minutes a game wiping off their balls for their long throw ins, Arsenal would certainly get a yellow card if they wasted time like that. A team like Stoke is allowed to be overly aggressive in their rotational fouling and they won’t pick up a yellow card but if Alex Song puts a toe wrong, he’ll get a yellow on the first foul. A manager like Pulis is allowed to basically whinge and moan like a paranoid schizophrenic about pretty much any topic and when he does it, it’s protecting his players or standing up for his club. If Wenger makes mention of anything, even a factual event, he’s “moaning like a drain.” And a team like Stoke is allowed to break a player’s leg with x-rated tackles and they will be lauded as “tough tackling” or “not even a yellow card” while if Arsenal mention the 7 broken legs they have suffered this season, they are “typical Arsenal, always moaning.”

You’re right Tony, there are two sets of rules and given the skill level of your throwball team of caveman leg breakers, you have benefited enormously from it. So shut up, you mug.

Speaking of paranoid schizophrenic moaning mugs, Sir Alex Ferguson has responded to criticism over his incredible and possibly xenophobic outburst against Germans by claiming that there’s a press bias against Man U. You can’t make this shit up, people.

Specifically he lashes out at one or two people celebrating on the press bus after the Champions League final last year saying:

You know, someone told me that the press came back from the Rome Champions League final last season and they were all delighted on the press bus that we had lost (to Barcelona). They were absolutely pleased that we had lost. The English press.

Well, it is disappointing that a British team is in the final and even one member of the press…

The issue is, a member of the bus told me that and he said he was absolutely disgusted by the British press in that final and that’s a fact. He has no reason to lie to me. And you were on the bus, You will know that. But what has been lost from the game on Wednesday is our performance. Our performance was fantastic. At 3-0, it could have been 5-0. We were magnificent and that gets lost just because you want to write a headline about what I say about the Germans. That is disgusting.

Couple of things stick out for me here. First, Ferguson has an expectation that the “British press” are not unbiased, but rather that they be biased in favor of the “British team” in the Champions League final. What, exactly, is “British” about Manchester United? Owen Hargreaves?And moreover, why should the British press be biased in favor of a team just because the ground is in a specific location? Would he have the same expectation of the press when Arsenal get to the finals or are they not British enough?

It’s just such a weirdly xenophobic remark in my mind. It’s like he makes a statement about “typical Germans” and his defense is that the English Press isn’t biased enough toward English teams. Huh?

But the second thing that struck me and that hasn’t been picked up at all is that at least one person on that bus has such a massive pro-United bias that he ratted out the rest of the press. Note how he just throws that out there, like this is to be expected. He basically just said, “I have spies in the press, if you lot don’t act right I’ll find out about it.”

And then, after telling them what he doesn’t like, he basically tells everyone what he does want from them: some rainbows and glory story which paints their ignominious exit from the Champions League as if they had just won the treble.

I guess it makes a certain sense, the press have had a pro-United bias for so long that he’s just used to it. So, of course any articles which tell the truth and paint him in anything less than a glorious light make him angry.

Right, time to watch the FA Cup match between Villa and Chelsea. I’m hoping that they turn the pitch into a disaster before the Tottenham game and at first glance it looks like they are.

Also, don’t forget to send me your Arshavin type questions for tomorrow’s blog. Some of you are pretty funny!