Phil Dowd Is Spineless

By on September 19, 2010

I should begin by saying that I was forced to watch the match late last evening rather than live and fell asleep not long after it was over. Having awoken this morning still feeling ill when thinking about the match, I begin my reflections on our trip to Sunderland.

First, I have to say that a subpar performance was always likely to be in the offing following our midweek Champions League match. But I never, for a moment, expected a performance like that. Sunderland dominated us for at least the first hour. The goal was a fluke but it was solely down to the level of commitment and desire on the part of Fabregas to close down Ferdinand in a situation many other players would not have even bothered.

Also, on a positive note, Almunia looked solid and both Koscielny and Squillaci turned in proper performances at a tough away ground under significant amounts of sustained pressure. If any doubts remained that Koscielny is the real deal, they should be gone after yesterday’s match. The same can be said of Chamakh.

But now let me get down to the real reason I’m writing today’s piece. Phil Dowd’s performance yesterday was disgraceful. For the last week or two we have been treated to a concerted effort on the part of almost half a dozen of the Premier League’s managers to influence referees in matches other than their own. Phil Dowd came out onto the pitch determined not to give Arsenal anything. How else to explain all the fouls which Dowd ridiculously waved away including a blatant handball in the box? By the hour mark, Arsenal had been whistled for a dozen fouls while Sunderland had only one. ONE!!!

This kind of treatment by referees, especially based on what’s going on in the media, is nothing new. After Eduardo’s penalty against Celtic, Arsenal went most of the season without being given one penalty. But this is even more egregious because it’s not just the media, but the other managers in the league making a concerted effort to see that referees allow them to get away with things Arsenal cannot. This was all blatantly obvious and sickening as the match progressed. It’s one thing for an official to try to “even things out,” but Sunderland were allowed to get away with fouls, handballs in the box, etc… while Arsenal were penalized so often you would think they were the thugs.

Arsenal were the victims of a referee influenced by a full-out media attack by a bunch of two-bit hack managers of two-bit clubs. Dowd could have shown some spine and not bowed to the “Arsenal hate campaign” being waged by managers of clubs who get down on their knees and give thanks simply for avoiding relegation. Teams not even their own supporters care to pay to watch.

Now, I am not blaming the result on the referee. Obviously, the goal is our own fault (though we had played two attacks beyond the announced stoppage time) and Rosicky’s penalty miss was especially at fault for the result. Song’s two yellow cards were also legitimate. Nevertheless, during the regular run of play, Dowd was determined to show he was not influenced by the comments made by Wenger, but in the end he showed he was influenced by the comments made by Big Sam, Tony Pulis, ‘Arry, and David Moyes.


  1. Bio

    September 19, 2010 at 9:32 am

    I had expected a refreshing of the team from the mid-week game-2/3 changes just to give some guys a rest. AW had said he had to rotate the team somewhat. But the manager knows best.

  2. Long Island gunner

    September 19, 2010 at 10:19 am

    I am not in the UK but follow Arsenal and the EPL through online blogs like this one and the online versions of the mail, guardian and telegraph. I say that because I didn’t experience all the comments that you cited from Sam,Pulis, etc.

    That said – whatever the cause – your analysis of the referee’s first 30-45 minutes was exactly what I saw (watched the match twice -once live as a fan, again on TiVo for analysis). The waving off of many clear fouls by Sunderland players and a quick whistle for very touch of a shoe by our boys was a slanted field at it’s worse. The sense that such bias was in the
    game was what made Song react to his “air foul” whistle (first yellow) so poorly (nonetheless, an “unprofessional” reaction by Song and he rightly paid for it later).

    The 2 other big Issues coming out of that match were:
    – Trophy winning teams always find a way to take the whistle out of the referees mouth
    a- Rosicky can / must hit the spot kick
    b- Denilson can / must look to play keep the ball not go for goal at 92+
    c- ANY player can/ must head Zenden’s hoper ball away at 94+
    d- Clichy can / must understand rule 1 of clearing in your box – Up first, out second (up means no chance of a deflection)
    -What the heck are we going to do about Nasri and AA tactically when we
    are defending.
    a- Sunderland thumped up to the left side of our back line all day and they won the ball or throw most of the time. If we won the header or the knocked it back they had a fullback there to collect with time and space to spare. AA are you there?
    b- Nasri would overcomplicate his possession and lose the ball a number of times in this match (and many others this season). Will he ever get that sense of ” I lost the ball, I better work to get it back”? Without that he will be no more than 50% of the player we need in the side.

    • Arsenal Station

      September 19, 2010 at 10:34 am

      LIG, I’m in NYC too but all the comments were in the online versions of the paper. Nevertheless, I agree with your points especially about Rosicky and Denilson. He has no business pushing a counterattack 1 v 5 and then blasting a 30 yard shot with a 1-nil lead away in stoppage time. Rosicky’s penalty miss is also unforgivable. If you’re not a regular penalty taker and you step up to take it you better make damn sure you at least put the penalty on goal. Sunderland had loads of possesion but had only put 1 shot on goal before stoppage time. I think you’re being a bit harsh on Nasri. Let’s not forget we were playing down a man.

      • Long Island Gunner

        September 19, 2010 at 1:24 pm

        AS – I understand the “environment” of 10 men. But in my experience that’s when everyone realizes they have to pull up their socks and work extra hard.

        I thought – and have thought since summer 2009 – that Nasri’s contribution to our defensive presentation and he and AA’s lack of bite to get the ball back when it’s been lost is one of the very few “Arsenal ways” that have kept us from trophies over these past 5 years.

        • Arsenal Station

          September 19, 2010 at 2:20 pm

          LIG, I meant that Sunderland had been pressing us really hard in midfield for the entire match and going down a man only made it more difficult, though admittedly we did seem to play better after the sending off as far as keeping possession and creating chances.

          I think Nasri has improved greatly in his defensive work since he first came. Your argument is spot on when it comes to Arshavin and I believe his lack of defensive effort is a contributing factor to Clichy’s less-than-stellar defensive performances in the last two years. However, since Nasri has been playing more in the middle of the park than wide left in the old 4-4-2, I’ve thought he has done a fair job of defending.

  3. James

    September 19, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Shut up with your pathetic moaning. Dowd made one mistake, not booking Bramble for a foul on Wilshire, that’s it. Fans like you make this club a laughing stock with your constant bitching every time things don’t go our way. if your views are so blinded who the fuck do you expect anyone to respect or read your crappy blog again.

    • Fulham Broadway

      October 18, 2010 at 11:09 am

      Can I make a comment as a Fulham season ticket holder.
      If Dowd only made one mistake then you were lucky.

      He reffed Fulham v Wolves in September and somehow managed not even to give a free kick when Karl Henry went in two footed and studs up to break Zamora’s leg. OK he hit the ball as he did so, but the challenge was clearly reckless and dangerous.
      He turned down a total of 5 penalty appeals, including Hahnemann bringing down Davies when the keeper might have expected a red card.
      But the worst of all was the Wolves shout for a penalty, when Dowd had not even made it over the halfway line and so made the decision from about 55 yards away.
      The reason he gets so many decisions wrong is that he is too fat and slow to keep up with play. Watch him during a game, he just can’t keep up. And on the odd occasion when he does get close to the ball he’s having to breathe so heavily to recover that I suspect he can barely see straight let alone think straight.

      What a surprise that he was the ref who deprived Blackpool of a deserved 3 points against Man City yesterday!

  4. Muppet

    September 19, 2010 at 11:27 am

    James is a well known troll on ACLF. Ignore him.

    • Arsenal Station

      September 19, 2010 at 12:12 pm

      I know all about this idiot, but thanks, Muppet. Is it just a coincidence that after a week in which not less than 4 managers of teams not involved with Arsenal in the coming week speak out against Wenger, that we should end up with the kind of refereeing performance we had yesteday? At one point, fouls committed were Sunderland 1 and Arsenal 13. Does that sound right? Talk about overcompensation. Dowd did not want to appear as giving easy fouls against Arsenal but instead he gave none. The handball was a blatant penalty. The defender’s arm was not at his side. He only gave the other penalty because it was so obvious. Then you consider the added time, and the media campaign that went on throughout the week leading up to the match… Dowd played a bigger role in influencing the result than either of the two sides.

  5. Gunner1970

    September 19, 2010 at 11:32 am

    Denilson is NOT good nor mature enough for Arsenal, maybe for other teams.

    Song was stupidly careless to allow himself to be sent off; is he new to epl and the biased refereeing against arsenal?

    The moment we saw it was rosicky taking the penalty, my buddy beside me said “Oh NO!!”

    • Arsenal Station

      September 19, 2010 at 12:16 pm

      I was thinking the same thing, Gunner1970. I would rather Nasri have taken the penalty. In the end, a draw at Sunderland isn’t a horrible result especially on one of our bad days following a mid-week European fixture. Still, losing two points 1:30 after the allotted stoppage time leaves me quite bitter. You expect that kind of timekeeping when its ManU… this is my problem… The other big 4 sides get more favorable refereeing decisions than Arsenal ever have. And then those same refs who give United extra time and easy fouls come to the Emirates and do the opposite to “show” they are not biased when it comes to big 4 clubs.

  6. Gunner1970

    September 19, 2010 at 11:34 am

    FO dog fkr James, nobody ask you to read..

  7. James Arsenal

    September 19, 2010 at 11:44 am

    I tell you what. Some match officials may have a hidden agenda against Arsenal read Wenger.Therefore if opportunity beckons,they will try to hurt the gunners with decisions on the pitch.
    A two footed lunge at the back of a gunner maybe treated as a legitimate tackle.That’s why I believe England will never repeat never win the wc unless the FA acts tough on these match officials if they close one eye to this type of tackles.The FA should sack these officials and replace them with those from the continent.

    • Peter

      September 19, 2010 at 11:47 am

      Agreed. And the FA is influenced by certain clubs.

  8. buzz

    September 19, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Why did Rosicky take the penalty? He’s never scored a goal in such a long time n his face showed such a lack of confidence, it didn’t surprise me that he missed. And the referee Phil Dowd appears to want to teach Wenger a lesson not to tell referees what to do. He was harsh on Arsenal players n lenient on Sunderland. Even the TV commentators were agreed on that. And to help Sunderland, he gave them an extra min to score. Again, Arsenal couldn’t hold out for a win. Fabregas looking on must be totally frustrated. He’d gifted them a goal but they couldn’t do the rest. Having to play with 2nd rate players such as Rosicky, Arshavin – who misses so many chances in so many games & always give the ball away to the opponents – must be frustrating. Better to return to Barcelona & team up with 1st rate players such as Messi & Xavi. So beware, Mr Wenger…your 2nd rate players will cost you Fabregas come end of season!

  9. Frank

    September 19, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    There is definitely a campaign agaisnt Arsene Wenger in England. I do not know how his wife and daughter are taking it. Honestly, it seems all over the radio, in the print media and on telly there is an ‘explosion’ of Arsene-alysists who are delving into the weiredness of a subject called Wenger. He is no longer a football manager but a caricature’. Failed footballers who won nothing in their careers have been elevated to the positions of ‘Experts’ who are more knowledgeable than the so called Whinger.
    I am actually at a loss to understand the value of the press conferences Arsene Wenger holds. I do not think they do anything to improve the image of the club. There is no point in these press conferences because the media uses them to demean and insult the manager. They never bother about what he says. Instead they use them as a bait to twist whatever he says to generate the never ending ‘scandals’. I think the Club should shut shop as far as press conferences are concerned. There is no value to them because the intended message is always bastardised when it reaches the public.

    • Arsenal Station

      September 19, 2010 at 2:17 pm

      Absolutely spot on, Frank.

    • Jazbo

      September 19, 2010 at 3:43 pm

      Well said Frank, I agree with you mate, Arsene should stop this nonsense NOW!

    • Paul N

      September 19, 2010 at 4:24 pm


      I am english born but there is a terrible covert bigotry with the english.

      Its sickening.

      I want to know why so much time was added! why?

  10. mark reed

    September 19, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    dowd is a total t**t he should have booked 3 sunderland men for diving in the first half yet he waits for a chance to book a Arsenal man and it just happened to be song for a soft tackle then the red followed 2nd half you just knew it was coming the pen miss was a shambles then the 95th min goal with just 4 added mins im just sweeping up the tele from the back garden!!!!!!!!!!

  11. anto

    September 19, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    dowd shudnt be allowed ref in premier league again.surely the f.a senn tat performance .
    and denilson?wat a 1st class dipshit.92min and he fkin shoots.wat a wankpot.hes as much 2 blame as any1

  12. 5of12in1908

    September 19, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    I cant believe these posts.

    Dont you realise that you never had an attempt on goal in the first half?
    Dont bemoan bad luck……you could still be playing and if it hadnt been for a fluke of flukes you wouldnt have had a goal.

    The only surprise was that Arsenal still had 11 men at half time with so many persistant petty fouls.

    And you blame bad luck for the equaliser?……grow up lads….what the hell was your goal bar the biggest slice of luck you will gat this season!

    you werent good enough, and but for Sunderlands poor finishing, you should have been 3 down by half time.

    You were outplayed…even with your talisman Cesc….until you went down to 10 men then you seemed to counter attack alot better.,

    Good luck for the rest of the season…..and someone tell Wenger he is doing your club a diss service. Arsenal seem to have no dignity or humility……and people revel in your misfortunes.
    Thats down to the perception that Wenger is putting out. We know you arent like that….but he is the public face.

    • Arsenal Station

      September 19, 2010 at 6:29 pm

      Wenger is sticking up for his players, one of whom gets their leg broken every season. Fergie doesn’t have to talk about officiating because his club gets protected, as does Chelsea, in ways that Arsenal do not. No one’s blaming “bad luck” on the equalizer. We’re saying there was no reason for that much time to be played. If it was United at Sunderland wit a 1-nil lead the whistle would’ve been blown at 93:00 exactly.

      And maybe we didn’t have an attempt on goal in the first half, but neither did Sunderland. For all their possession, they couldn’t even test Almunia. But I bet you’re the sort who will say something like that and then go and criticize Arsenal when they have all the possession but don’t get many shots on goal. Everything about your post shows the double standards to which Arsenal are held in comparison not only with United and Chelsea but the rest of the league.

      Players are already leaving England for Spain. Top players will not want to stay and be hacked down while the offender gets off without punishment. Why would they? The Premier League is engineering its own inevitable demise by letting hacks like Shawcross endanger REAL footballers. People around the world want to see great players not hacks. When they get tired of it, the English can have their league back minus the revenue generated from overseas television and merchandising deals and go back to not being able to draw top players to the league anymore.

  13. Jishnu

    September 20, 2010 at 1:03 am

    1. The goal was a fluke, even though it was Fabregas’s determination that lead to it.

    2. Song’s sending off was bs.

    3. Dowd was out there to show that he is not intimidated by any big club … but he took it a little too much … would FA look into it ?? we dont care !!!!!! f**k him !!

    4. Rosicky … wat were u thinking ????

    5. Importantly … we shud take out the positives from the game. That was one strong spirited defensive display i have seen since the time we had campbell, lauren, toure etc at the back …

    Hopefully the players learn the trick of keeping the ball when you have a 1 or 2 goal lead in Injury time … like ManU did y’day against Liv …. they took a lesson from Everton and learnt well … so y cant we !!

    Squillaci, Koscieny, Vermaelen … thats way better than Gallas, Silvestre, Senderos I believe …

    Let us forget wat has happened .. mroe talk about it will only make it worse for each one of us …

    Let us try to take that frustration on T’ttham .. Gooo Gunnersss !!!

  14. UG gunner

    September 20, 2010 at 3:43 am

    Spot on Arsenal Station!! Some of us checked out of this racist agenda long time ago. No longer have the stress of having to watch the fuss (EPL matches) week in week out. I however keep in touch with the pre and post match emotions through the blogs and the ever lopsided, word twisting media as they enjoy their next take on the poor decent gentleman they call a “whinger”.
    Can you guess who benefits from this manipulated racist dross while poor decent footballers get their limbs broken because they are foreigners?
    1. They falsely claim to have championed English interests in order to create this racist agenda against a club that was not able to match the cost of established English players.
    2. They make phonecalls to Ryan Shawcross to encourage that he did nothing wrong(breaking Ramsey)! All because Arsenal STILL had a fighting chance of the title so they must continue being kicked!
    3. Meanwhile they take 4 titles in a row

    The best way to make a point against this racist agenda is for Arsenal to put out a squad of British boys (Shea,Eastmond,Bartley.Hoyte,Gibbs,frimpong, Cruise,Wilshere,Aneke ., Afobe ,JET, Freeman,Ramsey, Henserson,Watt etc) to face the English national team(YES antional Team!) , Blackburn, Everton ,Bolton and ManU and make them keep quiet once and for all.

    The Old man will definitely call his time on realizing that he can no longer exploit the racist agenda to mobilize the press, public, other managers referees and the FA! against a honest club.
    Sorry I may sound bitter but racism sometimes brings bitterness. Thank God I have never lived outside my country to experience it but I would wish that if my son had the talent to play football he be given a chance on the basis of his talent and not have his legs broken (with a GLEE!) because some manger from a club (lebelled foreigners ) tried to give him a chance.

  15. peter

    September 20, 2010 at 5:35 am

    4 me i feel that Phil Dow d is a fool 100 times because he couldn’t even see that time had ended 4 the match to stop thus he was just enjoying to blow his whistle so that he could impress the Sunder-land supporters and the fans because it seams that he was bribed by Chelsea boss in order to back slide Arsenal points please.

  16. riccardo

    December 14, 2010 at 5:44 am

    hi mate….nice blog! I would like to make an exchange of links with mine…is it possible? vist stadiogoal.com and let me know if you are interested in it…thanks…

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