By Walter Broeckx
If you are here for the first time, welcome. This is a blog about all aspects of football, written primarily by and for Arsenal supporters – but with a significant non-Arsenal readership, and occasional non-Arsenal writers too.
The thought today is: “Do you ever feel unhappy about a ref after a game? Did you have the feeling that the ref screwed up (or worse, screwed your team) during a game? Or do you feel they screwed you all season? Well, maybe that’s not passion and paranoia after all. It could be that you have been watching something much more sinister.
If you are a regular here, you will know what I am talking about. Every week through the season we review the major games from the point of view of the ref’s performance, looking for excellence, and noting bias.
Now you might say, “so what, it evens all out at the end of the season” In that case you also might be interested in what we will show you in the next few weeks. Because we will give you the answer as to whether this is true or not.
A team of qualified referees has been reviewing the performances of the referees in as many games as we could do. And we have been giving points for good decisions from the ref and taking points away when he makes a bad decision.
As this is an Arsenal blog site we of course made sure that we covered all Arsenal games. So we did 38 games of Arsenal – but our total of games reviewed was 149 games. That is almost 20% of all the PL games of last season.
And 75% of the games involved are not Arsenal games. We have done at least 6 games (15%) per team and in fact quite a few more than 6 games for many teams. That is the equivalent of 18 points in the table over which referees have control (if they are not doing their job absolutely correctly). You can imagine the impact this could have on the final table.
I will be explaining how we have done this a bit more in the next few days in different articles so you can get a notion on how we work, and how we are different from other websites such as Debatable Decisions.
We have done a review from the first second of each game till the last second. Our reviewers (who as I say are all refs) are based all over the world, watch each game in detail. And then give their points for referee performance. If you have not seen such a review here’s one by way of example: Fulham 1 Chelsea 1
So you can see our difference from Debatable Decisions in that they work on the highlights shown on MOTD. Our reviewers have done their review based on the live images shown on TV. So we have done fewer games but we have gone deeper into each game than others.
We are pretty sure of this that this is the first time that so many games of the EPL have been reviewed by an organisation independent of the referees own organisation, and the official football authorities. One can hope that the PGMOL (for those who don’t know this name it is the company that runs the refs in the EPL and the head of them all is former PL ref Mike Riley) does this for all the games and all the refs in each game they do. But as their numbers are mostly kept secret we don’t know if they actually do it.
Of course you might say: this is an Arsenal blog so they will see it through Arsenal glasses. Well I could point at our well know rivalry with our neighbours from North London, Tottenham Hotspur. And when Tottenham went to Stoke earlier this season we reviewed their game and you can read the review (And so you can see that even we as Arsenal supporters have openly stated that Tottenham got screwed in that game big time).
This is just an example to show you that when our reviewers did their job, they did it with a desire to tell it how it really is. Regardless of who is playing. A good call is a good call and a bad call is a bad call. Be it for Arsenal, be it for Tottenham, be it for Stoke or for what ever other team you support. We have tried to be as fair as can be.
After doing all those games we have gathered all the information from those games in one database. And from this database we will give you numbers and facts. Numbers that might surprise you. Numbers that might shock you. Numbers that might cause you to raise your eyebrows. Numbers that you maybe don’t like in some cases. But I can assure you that it will be very interesting to see how your team did, to see how the referee did.
So keep an eye on this site in the next days. The biggest independent survey on how the referees are doing in the EPL will be revealed over here on this site. How high is the standard of the referees in the EPL? High? Low? Average? Amazingly good? Shockingly bad?
One thing is for sure this is the place where you can find an answer to those questions.
The Billionaire Files:
- Arsenal to play in blue and white at home next season
- How football is being taken over, and the dangers that are emerging
- As the billionaires take over football clubs, Fifa urges “direct action”
- Usmanov and Kronke – what a deal would mean for each of them
- The billionaire clubs – their owners and their success