Phil Dowd - at best this man is a cheat
I'm writing this having just got in from my work Christmas do, but this is not the ranting of someone who's had one too many bottles of pop. I didn't write this review last night as I wanted time to calm down before going in to print. I didn't get around to writing it this morning as I was too busy. As a result I am typing in a slightly drunken state, but fully cognisant of what I want to say to you this evening.
I have stated on here before that I believe English football is in the grip of corruption. It has been proven in cricket and in rugby, so why should football be any different? Football is the richest, most popular sport in the Country, with high stakes involved. The only difference between football and the other sports is that footballers at the top level are too well paid to be nobbled. The same does not apply to match officials. If the News of the World had wanted to expose something big then they should have gone after football and its referee's and linesmen.
What we saw yesterday was a great game of football. However, if you are an Arsenal fan, then you did not enjoy it. The reason you didn't enjoy it is because we lost the game. The reason we lost the game was because of the officiating. Even if you give the benefit of the doubt for offside to Silva, in the scramble that became the winning goal, you can not excuse the decision to flag Robin Van Persie offside for what would have been a deserved equaliser, or for the offside that wasn't given against Micah Richards. Worst of all is the handball decision. Richards saw the ball come all the way across from the wing and he let it hit him on the arm. The referee, Phil Dowd, was no more than ten yards away with a clear view. He deliberately chose to not give the decision. He then had the audacity to laugh in the face of Aaron Ramsey when he questioned him. It is utterly abhorrent.
It is now a matter of time, in my opinion, before English football finally becomes embroiled in a fixing row. There is too much money involved for there to be no corruption. At the heart of it will be those who officiate. Games like yesterday do nothing to dissuade me. I don't doubt that I will get some stick from those who believe me to be a whingeing Gooner, bitter in defeat. However, when the richest Club in the World has a must-win game, and gets decisions like that in their favour throughout the match, you can surely see why I am writing in these terms. Football is corrupt, and it is costing Arsenal.
Just to illustrate something before I sign off I would like to draw attention to Mr Dowd's last three games in charge of Arsenal, away from home - Newcastle and Sunderland from last season, and yesterday - either the man is a cheat or there is something even more sinister, as it is surely not possible for one man to be so inept with the same team suffering the consequences at all times. In each of those games he and his colleagues have been more responsible for the end result than any of the players. There is something wrong, is there not?