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So what is wrong with the Refs : Case study Manchester City

By Walter Broeckx

Next in our series as we cover each and every Premier League team we have Manchester City.

Now before any Manchester City  supporters comes on here and suggest that it is not the averages but the actual decisions that count (as some fans of other clubs have done) may we suggest you take a look at both the introductory articles which you can find here and here.  You may also enjoy our other site: Referee Decisions.

And if you did you can come back and have a look at the statistical pointers we have found when we compare the overall results of Manchester City with the results of each ref when he does Manchester City games.

Of course you might have bad experiences with some refs in some games but who, after seeing the statistics, you find are not really that bad in general. You can share your experiences of course. But this article is not really about those games in particular. It is more about the total picture of the referee and this team.

Under the table I will try to give a short explanation on what you see.

Total

won

draw

lost

won

draw

lost

% games

Man City

607

226

159

222

37,23%

26,19%

36,57%

Atkinson

23

12

3

8

52,17%

13,04%

34,78%

8,42%

Clattenburg

25

16

7

2

64,00%

28,00%

8,00%

9,16%

Dean

39

18

8

13

46,15%

20,51%

33,33%

14,29%

Dowd

29

9

8

12

31,03%

27,59%

41,38%

10,62%

Foy

30

16

7

7

53,33%

23,33%

23,33%

10,99%

Friend

8

4

2

2

50,00%

25,00%

25,00%

2,93%

Jones

11

9

2

0

81,82%

18,18%

0,00%

4,03%

Halsey

23

8

2

13

34,78%

8,70%

56,52%

8,42%

Marriner

21

11

5

5

52,38%

23,81%

23,81%

7,69%

Mason

11

6

2

3

54,55%

18,18%

27,27%

4,03%

Moss

2

2

0

0

100,00%

0,00%

0,00%

0,73%

Oliver

5

5

0

0

100,00%

0,00%

0,00%

1,83%

Probert

12

8

2

2

66,67%

16,67%

16,67%

4,40%

Swarbrick

2

1

0

1

50,00%

0,00%

50,00%

0,73%

Taylor

2

1

1

0

50,00%

50,00%

0,00%

0,73%

Webb

30

16

6

8

53,33%

20,00%

26,67%

10,99%

Now we all know that Manchester City is a bit of a special case. They haven’t been omnipresent in the PL and up to a few years ago were one of the teams to make sure we got 20 teams in the PL. But since the oil money came pouring in and the Middle East got interested in  Manchester City the stats have changed significantly.

If I have to take the whole PL numbers we would get see that all but two referees are being of the good ref category when it comes to getting good results. The two under whom they don’t do that well are Dowd and Halsey. And they would fall in the category “average”.

But all 14 other refs are refs under whom Manchester City does better than usual. Mind you three of those refs have only done two games so I don’t really want to count them in the numbers.

But based on this I could say that from the 16 refs we keep 13. And from those 13 we have 11 refs under whom City over perform and two refs who score close to the average score.

Now of course I can imagine Manchester City fans not agreeing with this. And saying we should look at smaller period of time. But then the sample becomes smaller. And the numbers go down a bit. And let it just be said that a Manchester City supporter told me that my sample of 20 years is already not big enough. That was about another team when he made that remark.

But despite his remark I will reduce the games to the last five seasons. Because nobody can deny that from being an average team Manchester City turned in to the big spending team and along with the big spending came the better results.

So it might be grim up north but here is the result of City in those last 5 seasons. And based on less numbers.

2009

38

15

5

18

39,47%

13,16%

47,37%

2010

38

18

13

7

47,37%

34,21%

18,42%

2011

38

20

9

9

52,63%

23,68%

23,68%

2012

38

28

5

5

73,68%

13,16%

13,16%

2013

29

17

8

4

58,62%

27,59%

13,79%

Last 5

181

98

40

43

54,14%

22,10%

23,76%

And then in the last line we see that City has a win percentage of 54%.

Again we leave the refs Moss, Swarbrick and Taylor out of this because not enough games done and then we only have to focus on 13 refs.

And the we see that Oliver is the best ref for City followed by Jones and Clattenburg.  And also Probert is a ref that brings lots of wins to Manchester City. So that is four “good” refs for City.

In the category “average” (results wise) we have Atkinson, Dean, Foy, Friend, Marriner, Mason, Webb. That is seven refs under whom Manchester City win what can be expected.

And then we move on to the refs under whom City don’t win that much and who the supporters might see as bad refs. We have Dowd and Halsey. And maybe their number is a bit lower because as they are somewhat the oldest refs in the PL they might have done Manchester City games from before the money came in.

If we now look at the number of games the refs get we see that Dowd who is the worst (result wise) ref for City gets to do some 10% of their games. And this means that at times he can be involved in 3-4 games each season. As I have said before to reduce the impact of any ref a maximum of 2 games should be how it ought to be done for each team and each ref. So having a bad ref up to four games in a season is not that good. But if we throw Halsey in the mix we see that we can go up to seven  games under refs who are not really Manchester City friendly (again result wise). And that means some 21 points that are more or less a bit more difficult to win.

But all the other refs who do a lot of Manchester City games are all in the category average and this is good news for City one could say.

In general some may claim that it might be grim up North but the refs surely are not that bad if we look at the results from City. Certainly not if we take their complete PL history. And when we take the last five seasons we see a more mixed picture but with most refs doing better than the average.

The referee analysis

The books…

The sites from the same team…

37 comments to So what is wrong with the Refs : Case study Manchester City

  • Adam

    Keep an eye on Taylor, he is from Manchester and is allowed to officiate all teams from the region.

  • CiTyBlUe

    You can spout off about statistics all you want Arsenal fan but the truth is Referee’s have screwed Manchester City over more often than not this season.

    The reason Manchester City are so far behind United are mainly due to injuries and absentees, include the idiot Balotelli wasting our time before January and there’s why. But that does not change the fact we have been robbed by referee’s left right and center this season.

    Lets also face another fact, an Arsenal fans opinion on Manchester City amounts to fecee’s. Your loving the fact Manchester City are faltering, also loving he fact your club hada part to play in United’s extremely lucky fortune because you hate City for taking players from you and you hate the players that left for City after serving your club well.

    You’re a bunch of inbred morons, in fact the whole of the Premier League pity you Arsenal fans. All you do is boo your players and think your above everyone else.

  • It's Grim Oop North

    Finally we have a team whose results do not conform to the spread that we have seen in all previous case studies!

    All the other teams have one or two favourable referees, and one or two unfavourable referees, with all the others being broadly in the middle, ie average.

    Manchester City have two unfavourable referees, Dowd and Halsey, and all the rest are on the positive side of average, if I interpret your words correctly Walter?

    So City are in fact discriminated against it would appear, as they have no statistically “biased” refs onside.

    I would assert the positive decisions are no better or worse than all the other clubs so far in fact, and apparently the negative decisions balance out too.

    I’m still waiting for these shocking statistics you keep promising Walter 🙂

  • ahmad

    give Mason more years he will top the bad refs list

  • kev

    OK statman why dont you do more refereeing decision stats, the stats that you show only represent game outcomes as City rarely have been out performed by opponents in past 3 seasons and probably most of our losses and draws should have been wins and prehaps just the odd 1 or 2 wins could have been a draw or a loss,Infact, I can truthly say only Arsenal have come to ours this season and been anywhere near us, a draw was a fair result!, Utd came to ours and we played them off the park for 70 mins and for a couple of dodgy refereeing decisions a win for us would have been a just result, but we lost, so stats from refs decisions for and against, iffy pens, sendings off, not sent off, offsides on/off etc. Eg our last game v everton felliani blatantly handled on the pen spot refs decision free kick! these are the sort of stats that tell the bigger picture, not if youve played crap and lost. If truth be told City would have won 2 leagues by now and would and should be top now..

  • Alan

    How the hell does City winning say if a ref is good for them?? Are all ref against QPR? I think you be better looking at how many fouls, cards and clear mistakes have been made for and against.

  • Alan I really think you should take Walter’s advice and read the Referees Decisions web site before you make a bit of a prat of yourself.

  • Kev – maybe you too should read the Referee Decisions web site. The link is on the page.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Or City Blue, Alan and Kev could look at our referee review of last season.

    For the index press http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/ref-review-2012

    for the Man City review press http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/archives/23004

    Just reading the title of that last link should be enough to feel stupid in some cases.

    But never mind because at Untold Arsenal we like to laugh a bit and so making a fool of yourself usually brings a smile to our face. 🙂

  • Rufusstan

    Firstly it is sad to see City supporters appearing (presumably picking this up on Newsnow), and either not really reading it (like the two gentlemen above, already picked out by Tony), or reacting like CiTyBlUe by not seeing the article in context.

    CiTyBlUe — mate, if you strip the Arsenal abuse out of your post, it sounds very much like the sort of stuff that was turning up around here maybe 3 years ago. Walter decided to take on the job of getting to the bottom of what the refs are up to. Alone at first, and just Arsenal at first, but now with other refs, and all the sides.

    The point is the article isn’t anti-City, any more than the last was anti-Liverpool. If it is anti-anything; its anti-bad ref. Trying to see if and where the dodgy decisions happen, and looking for a pattern behind them.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Rufusstan,

    oh well I think part of the problem is like Tony put in his latest article ‘reading” is a lost art for some.

    But I do will include the header of our review of the Man City games when looking at the referees. for those who not like to click on the link or for those who are too lazy or whose mouse just ran out of steam:

    REF REVIEW 2012: Manchester City – they didn’t win the league with referee assistance

    And yes if it is anti-anything it is anti the possible bad influence some refs can have on some teams.

    In fact I am just trying to help Mike and the PGMOL so that they can do what is needed to make the game fair and fairer FOR ALL!

  • kev

    Yes Walter i have read the mentioned articles and as i said City should now have 2 epl’s under there belt with a third this season,I am not blinkered i just never miss a city match home or away with just the arsenal trip missed for me because arsenal do not believe in FFP for football fans do they?

  • The trophy cabinet doesnt lie

    I used to have some respect for Arsenal as a club but as they have slowly sunk below the threshold of clubs with a chance to win anything their fans have become more and more bitter.

    I can only imagine that when Ferguson moves on Uniteds vast plastic army of fans will come to look more and more to resemble Arsenal.

    Sad and lonely trying desperatelytyo convince everyone lse that everyone has got it in for them. This persecution complex really is laughable.

    Lets be honest Wenger is a frustrated bookeeper whose only interest is in returning a net profit on player sales. He clearly doesnt buy into speculate to accumlate which is why its now eight years without anything to show for their efforts and next year will see it turn to nine years.

    Thats what the statistics really prove. Still my betting is that Wengers bank blance is in a very healthy state.

  • Adam

    Kev your boring, piss off.

  • Tasos

    Man City are/were Man Utd’s main rivals for the Premier league title = screwed over by the refs.

    Familiar pattern, different rivals.

    Been going on for years.

  • kev

    Adam you are useless tick turd who has an under-used penis stuck on your head. I am a manc how the hell can i boring boring arsenal!!!

    Note from the Co-editor: I just let the original post on the site. To show you how it shouldn’t be done when you visit the site of another club. So if you want to have a decent conversation, if possible on topic, don’t speak like this

  • WalterBroeckx

    The trophy cabinet doesn’t lie,

    so what has this tirade has to do with this article?

    Did you notice that in the whole article the name Arsenal is not once mentioned.
    Did you read it?
    Then how can you comment so far off topic in relationship to this article.

    As our Billy just said today:
    Reading (that is the action of looking at text and making sense of it, rather than the town) is something of a declining art among some football fans, which is why increasingly web sites are not writing about players so much as giving you Arsenal’s ten top targets in pictures.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Kev,

    Bye.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I must say that some fans from other teams behave most of the time but well some do seem only happy when coming on here and insult other people.

    I rarely go to blogs or websites from other clubs. But when I do this I always try to give a comment that is related to the article.
    I always try to say what I have to say in a polite way.
    Even when I disagree with the writer I don’t find it necessary to call him names.

  • Rufusstan

    Kev– Have to pick up on the prices thing. It sucks for city fans, but in 2 years they’ve been moved up from Cat B to one of our 5 ‘big game’ Cat A matches (when the hammers went down?), then hit with a huge rise so the club could introduce cheap Cat C games.

    It was designed to soak fans who just want to go to the big games (season ticket holders are not affected), and some away fans got screwed as a side effect. (The Reading fans who are coming up next weekend for £25 probably aren’t complaining).

    So City fans have gone from maybe 35 quid, to the £62 that everyone ripped into this year. Ironically, if you hadn’t been so successful, we’d probably still be charging you £35, and someone else (Everton, Fulham?), would be screaming at being ripped off.

    For perspective, I’d love to see a ‘charge them what they charge us’ policy. The cheering from our cat A opponents (Chelsea, Spurs, City, United, Liverpool) would be drowned out by the screaming from almost everyone else 🙂

  • Adam

    Sorry Walter, my fault, I shouldn’t antagonise the poor souls; they know the truth of their situation but don’t want to admit they have nothing to do with the clubs recent successes.

    Alot of their fans state that they are ripped off by the refs, yet you can show that overall they are doing much better than their history states they should.

    Amazing what striking oil can do for a football club.

    I think, It’s Grimm up north, sums up most football fans in general with the comment, “I’m waiting for these shocking statistics”, as they do just this, WAIT. Wait for others to do the hard work, and WAIT in judgement.

    Not many proactive fans out there willing to share information. Shame really.

  • mike c

    As a City fan myself i think the article is very interesting , although the old saying lies ,damn lies and statistics can be applied like for virtually any article like this . The fact that city have a good win average under most referees is purely because we now hav a better team ! I am sure if you do the same thing during the 90’s it would show us having a terrible record under most ref’s and neither would show bias either for or against city . What i would say is that (and i’m sure most teams could say the same ) certain decisions do seem to cost city points that you never see utd on the wrong end of . Sunderland away last year and their winning goal was offside this season a foul missed on zabaleta leads to another winning goal . Felaini handball last week a shocker of a decision compounded by the fact that he only made the wall go back 7 yards (count them) but we also should have been behind to the goal wrongly ruled out for offside. There are loads of these examples but how many times can you say utd are on the wrong side of bad decisions ? not many and at OT especially abu hamza can count them on the fingers of his bad hand !!!

  • CTID

    I think a lot of City fans think the refs hate us because we compare our decisions to United’s… and United have their own rule book. Compared to most other Premier League teams we probably endure the same amount of shite decisions as most others, but we’re so linked to United by rivalry that seeing them get away with murder makes the decisions against us seem criminal. Such as Barry’s retrospective ban for swearing at Clattenberg OFF the pitch while Rooney can visibly be seen swearing his head off at the referee ON the pitch every week to no punishment. And the “last man” red cards for Milner and Ivanovic in close succession while that United kid (Wooton?) got a yellow for the exact same offence against Chelsea in the League Cup.

  • Stuart

    It is shocking how some people reveal their real level of stupidity.

    This is an article not about Man City but about the refs of your games also linking to an article or two stating you did not win the league with the help of the refs but infact did it on your own merit.

    All Man City fans I’ve met were decent level headed people, even when I’ve drunk in Blue pubs on matchdays against us. I think the ones on here today got lost on the way to Stoke.

  • Stuart

    Mike C,
    I’m eager to see Man Utd too, I think really it would prove to be the whole point of this series of articles. Good to see a City fan not misunderstanding this to be a swipe at City.

  • Adam

    Mike c, there are few things that unify football supporters, the Muamba incident being the outstanding moment, then for me, the Old Trafford mystery, all supporters will agree bar Man U fans that Manchester United get more than the rub of the green.

  • It's Grim Oop North

    Adam,

    you said this about me –

    “I think, It’s Grimm up north, sums up most football fans in general with the comment, “I’m waiting for these shocking statistics”, as they do just this, WAIT. Wait for others to do the hard work, and WAIT in judgement. ”

    I think you’re out of order here mate, I’ve been following this whole series with interest, and I’ve been arguing that Walter’s interpretation of the stats is different to mine – he thinks there’s something rotten in the state of the PGMOL, I however am of the opinion that so far, all we have seen is a predictable spread of results which have not statistically deviated from the norm.
    That is to say, I see no evidence of foul play against any of the football clubs Walter has studied yet, and so I still await the bombshells he has promised me!
    I am enjoying this study, and I think it has genuine merit, even if a statistician would say the sample size is probably too small to take any real inferences from, but it is the nature of trying to pin down the performances of a small number of individuals and their impact on an equally small number of football clubs – If I had the resources or the expertise I’d like to have a crack at it, but I don’t, like apparently everyone else in the world except Walter, including you.
    I’m joining in the debate on the comments section, with I hope an opinion that also has merit, and I’m doing so without recourse to slagging anyone off.
    Walter has seen fit to make derogatory comments about “Middle Eastern oil money”, and bizarrely treat the statistics differently when the Sheikh bought the club and started to upgrade the playing squad, which he hasn’t done for the previous club’s studies, which has not particularly affected the stats within my interpretation, so I haven’t called foul, but it seems he has wound up some of the other City fans needlessly.
    This series will get more interesting as it develops I think, so I hope you will accept that I will continue to read and comment, as surely that is kind of the point of having articles and a comments section?

  • WalterBroeckx

    It’s grim up North,

    I don’t just think something is rotten in the state of the PGMOL.
    I just know it.

  • WalterBroeckx

    And its grim up North,

    I never see you commenting on the fact that some refs are over present at some teams.
    Or at the fact that there are only 16 refs in the PL
    Or at the fact that because of this some refs can have an influence of 18 points in one season on one club.
    do you think this is a normal situation?

    Let me give an example and I can give you also the numbers from other countries if you wish:
    Belgium has a 16 team top division. They have 25 (twenty five) refs to do the games of this division.
    Each team does 30 games and we have 25 refs. So you can see yourself that each ref can do each team 1 time and only 5 of those 25 refs do a second game. So 20 refs can only have an influence of 3 points on each team. And 5 refs can have an influence of 6 points.

    Compare this with some refs having an influence of 18 points in the PL.

    Is this acceptable in a league that calls itself the best in the world? So yes there is something very very rotten in the PL and the PGMOL. As this situation goes on for years and years and years without changing.

  • It's Grim Oop North

    Walter,

    certainly I think it would be best if we had one ref per team per season, and indeed there should be no reason why this could not happen that I can think of – you won’t find me commenting on these points as I agree, or can’t see any reason to argue with you.

    I do tend to post lengthy tomes, so I’m aware I can’t go on too long, so forgive me, it is better to give praise where it’s due, and I will try to do so more in future 🙂

    I would love to see a representative from the PGMOL give their side of the story to you, as I can smell BS a mile off, but I doubt they would risk it – the gauntlet is down if anyone of influence is reading this, and they ought to be.

    It is one of the benefits of a free society that we can question authority without fear of reprisal, and for that Untold do an excellent job where others do not go – I’m merely questioning your analysis of the stats, not your right to do it, or the need for it – I sincerely hope our refs are not bent, but if they are, I also hope you flush them out.

  • KB

    Great article though as a City fan its no surprise to see Phil Dowd and Mark Halsey in the negative column, its a shame Peter Walton was not checked out as this United supporter with a scouse wife always seemed to screw us year on year.

  • Steve

    We need 20 refs each game weekend
    10 refs on the pitch
    10 4th officials

    each ref gets 1 home and 1 away game of each team but not the corresponding fixture. They could 4th officiate more than 1 home or away game per team

    Everton v Man Utd Ref 1 4th 20
    Man City v Southampton Ref 2 4th 19
    Wigan v Chelsea Ref 3 4th 18
    Newcastle v Tottenham Ref 4 4th 17
    Arsenal v Sunderland Ref 5 4th 16
    Fulham v Norwich Ref 6 4th 15
    QPR v Swansea Ref 7 4th 14
    Reading v Stoke Ref 8 4th 13
    West Brom v Liverpool Ref 9 4th 12
    West Ham v Aston Villa Ref 10 4th 11

    Ref 1 could not officiate another home game in the PL for Everton and so on. I would have an extra 6 officials for injury’s and suspension of officials

    Is 26 officials to much to ask for a professional organisation?

    Would that work through a season?

  • Steve

    Sorry each ref is given a number between 1 and 26 to work out who does what and when

  • WalterBroeckx

    Steve,
    I will try to be the devils advocate and then give you my answer

    The possible problems.

    1. Money: paying 10 more professional refs. My answer: bull$h$t! With all the money being paid for transfers it is peanuts to pay 10 refs something around 60.000 A YEAR by all the clubs who are in the PL. That would be an extra cost of 30.000 a year for each club. I think the money could even be taken from the tv rights money. Money cannot be an issue in the PL.

    2. Competence: Not enough talents. If a country like Belgium can find 25 refs to do the games in the Belgium top division then why can’t England find 25 refs? There are much more inhabitants in England, much more referees. In fact using this excuse sounds like saying that English people are not fit enough to be referees. Now if the PGMOL would say they don’t find enough good referees then I think the FA or whoever is responsible for the training and education of referees in England should be thrown out of their offices and replaced by people who can produce better refs.

    In short: your idea is so simple and yet the PGMOL does not manage to do this and the current head of the PGMOL is in the office since 2009. That is 4-5 years and still we don’t see any improvement.

  • Stuart

    Walter,
    Your point 2 could be taken a bit further to be honest, as much like the issue of lack of quality English players, we could look abroad for referees to fill the void. This also raises the point of why? Why are there no non-English refs in the EPL? Institutional racism maybe?

  • Steve

    1-the money, the PL to pay a fee for the use of the PGMOL officials. The clubs pay the PL a fee to pay for the PGMOL officials.

    2-Why is there not enough talent? bad training practices, a lack of promotion to PL status. 92 refs are needed every weekend in the top 4 divisions in English football. Do the PGMOL expect me to believe that they can not find good enough refs/officials from the other 76 who are not in the PL!!!!

  • M18CTID

    Walter, I know we’ve had our disagreements in the past regarding your perception of City as a club (and will no doubt continue to do so) but this series of articles about refereeing in the Premier League is an interesting one.

    Some excellent points in there, particularly the fact that the pool of referees is so small that they get to officiate more games than they should and therefore can have an influence on a single team to the tune of up to 18 points. That is wholly unacceptable for the most popular and lucrative league in the world.

    Like most football fans, I’ve had more than my fair share of complaints about refereeing decisions down the years but I’m also accepting of the fact that we’ve benefitted from dubious decisions too. However, there are some games where so many decisions go the other way that you wonder whether the ref is being biased in favour of the other team. The most recent example was Marriner in our game at home to Chelsea the other week – although we won 2-0 they had something like 4 times as many fouls awarded in their favour than us. That’s an astonishing stat for a game between 2 teams of similar quality.