Not seeing is believing with Arsene Wenger after Phil Brown's controlled burst of anger

PERHAPS the only predictable part of a truly extraordinary evening in north London was that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger claimed he did not see the incident that sparked what was, in every sense, a classic footballing spat.

Click here to read Hull City's response to the spitting the incident.

Click here to read a report on Tuesday night's controversial FA Cup quarter-final.

That the man who, throughout his time in England, has been to 20-20 vision what Sir Fred Goodwin is to doing the decent thing, managed to miss the alleged spitting incident involving Cesc Fabregas and Brian Horton surprised no one.

Wenger's ability to turn a blind eye to anything remotely controversial involving his Arsenal side is legendary with his view always seeming to be impaired at the vital moment.

So, when Wenger was asked about Phil Brown's accusation that his Spanish midfielder had spat at the feet of Horton in the tunnel during the aftermath of Tuesday night's FA Cup quarter-final, no one in the press room was shocked by the reply.

"I am sorry but I cannot speak about something I did not see," said the man who has been in charge of the north London club since 1996.

"I don't know what he (Brown) has seen. I am not a specialist to create stories or to create things that are a minor thing that might have happened in the tunnel."

The response drew a mixture of stifled sniggers and wry grins from the assembled reporters who, just a few minutes earlier, had witnessed a truly electric press conference from Brown.

The Hull chief had, justifiably it has to be said, railed against the people he felt responsible for his side's exit from the Cup.

Linesman Andy Garratt was understandably in Brown's firing line for missing that William Gallas had clearly been standing in an offside position when heading Arsenal's late winner, as was referee Mike Riley for what Brown perceived to be "succumbing to local pressure" during a frantic second half.

Brown's main ire was, however, reserved for Fabregas. In what can only be described as a controlled outburst of pure anger he said: "That is their club captain, hopefully he is proud of himself. He spat at his feet."

He may have stopped short of saying his side had been cheated out of a replay but the inference was certainly there amid the unmistakable sense of injustice and resentment that was raging within the Tigers manager.

Nowhere was this more evident than near the end of his outburst when revealing how Wenger had failed to shake his hand after the final whistle, just as the Frenchman had after Hull's previous two meetings with Arsenal this season.

Inferring someone had cheated while also complaining about their failure to shake hands could only happen in the twisted logic of the football world but it did, at least, serve as a fittingly surreal way for an extraordinary evening to be brought to a close.

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