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FA charge Arsenal for Newcastle match conduct

Oh no! A fine! Say it isn’t so!

Arsenal FC v Newcastle United - Premier League Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

The FA have charged Arsenal for a rule breach in the dying seconds of the Newcastle match. Apparently those stodgy old farts didn’t take too kindly to the Gunners enthusiastic protests of the scandalous decision not to award a penalty kick for a handball committed by Jacob Murphy. The Gunners have a week to respond or else they’ll be fined a small amount. And really, they’re going to be fined regardless of whether they respond.

I don’t see what the problem is. The referee was an idiot, and I’m assuming the Arsenal players told him as much. You can’t fault them for honesty, right?

In all seriousness, Arsenal probably deserve the charge. After the non-call, most if not all, the Arsenal players ran up to the referee to protest. You don’t often see that many guys from one team asking for a decision. But multiple players wearing the same color shirt crowding the ref? Happens in every match, every weekend.

That’s my biggest issue. The random, arbitrary enforcement of the FA rules on something that if consistently enforced, would be passed out like candy at Halloween. It’s particularly galling when if you tot up the bad behavior in the match, Newcastle lap Arsenal several times over. It’s like ignoring a crime spree to ticket a jaywalker.

Arsenal FC v Newcastle United - Premier League Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

“Arsenal FC failed to ensure its players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion,” you say. Oh boy, do I have a picture for you. Actually, there are countless similar ones of players in black and white following, surrounding, and hounding the referee. How embarrassing for you, FA. You forgot to charge Newcastle as well. What a silly goofy mistake.

If you want to know how I really feel: it’s just so fucking pathetic and petty. The referee had zero control over the match. He was so far over his head. Anybody who watched the match could see it. Newcastle exploited his weakness and naivete time and again. And instead of holding their guy accountable for doing an abysmal job, what happens? The FA doubles down and comes after Arsenal. Of course the Gunners, not the Magpies, catch the charge.

FA charges are meaningless, by the way. I hope the Gunners’ response is to tell the FA to pound sand. To go suck a lemon. To take their ridiculous charge and stick it where the sun don’t shine. Give ‘em the Amber Brooks double bird.

Arsenal will pay the nominal fine and that’ll be that. They will go back to the title race two points and a few thousand pounds lighter than they should be, but such is life. The FA will go back to being a bunch of gnats. An irrelevant, annoying waste of time hardly worth swatting away. They can buzz around their garbage, thinking they’re doing something important when really, they’re just flying around a pile of shit.

You know how they say those who can’t do teach? Well, those who can’t play (or coach) administer. Apologies for the strays, teachers. You’re awesome. The FA is not awesome.

By the way, I could have sworn I’d already written this article. So I ventured into the TSF archives (used Google), saying hello to Spendy McWarchester as I walked by his lavish enclosure, and sure enough, there it was. Arsenal were charged following the Manchester City match. Coincidentally, that match was also the first of a new year. Kudos to Arsenal for being an ornery, consistent bunch.

I remembered being happy when I published that one. And reading back over it, I’m still happy with it. The FA deserves the re-pummeling anyway.

The Arsenal players did nothing more or worse than you see from players at Premier League clubs on a weekly basis in response to refereeing decisions. If you actually cared about players “surrounding” (which is a weak description of what Arsenal did anyway), you’d be filing charges against multiple clubs a week.

But you don’t do that, do you? No, this is petty, retaliatory action against Arsenal for having the temerity to say your ref did a crappy job.

It’s a pathetic attempt at control from a group of small people with a big Napoleon complex. A group of stodgy dinosaurs, relics of the past, trying to remind people (and themselves) that they still matter. People with real power that actually matter don’t need to remind anyone of that. They are respected because they’ve earned respect.

Instead of shouting “we’re in control” like a cartoonish pipsqueak, maybe try doing your job correctly, creating transparency, and holding your “professional” referees accountable.

You’re a joke, FA.

Sod off, FA. Go boil ‘yer ‘eads.