When a ref wore a microphone and nobody told the Arsenal players

Arsenal players haven’t always been known for their backbone and fight, but you can’t accuse Tony Adams and Co of being soft in this clip from 1989.

In the 1989-90 season, some bright spark thought it would be a good idea to put a microphone on David Elleray for the Arsenal trip to Millwall.


Both clubs were told that the ref, who was a teacher at Harrow at the time, would be wearing a microphone, and everything the players said near the official would be picked up.

But, even though the Millwall players got the memo, someone forget to mention it to the Arsenal players.

It’s all standard stuff at first: Lee Dixon being told – I’m paraphrasing here – to piss off by Elleray, and David Rocastle being picked up uttering a few choice phrases.


But it’s when Adams has a goal disallowed when it all kicks off.

In an impossibly shrill voice, Adams screams at Elleray for minutes before committing the cardinal sin.

Adams calls Elleray the C-word. Not that C-word; he called him something that all refs are bound to hate. He called Elleray a ‘cheat’.

Watch the video to see how Elleray deals with it. Retro football gold.

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