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What is wrong with the PL Refs: Case study – Sunderland

By Walter Broeckx

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

Now before any Sunderland  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.

So having done that let’s have a look at the statistical pointers we have found when we compare the overall results of Sunderland with the results of each ref when he does a Sunderland game.

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

Sunderland

443

119

112

212

26,86%

25,28%

47,86%

Atkinson

26

6

10

10

23,08%

38,46%

38,46%

10,79%

Clattenburg No games
Dean

27

8

5

14

29,63%

18,52%

51,85%

11,20%

Dowd

27

3

6

18

11,11%

22,22%

66,67%

11,20%

Foy

25

4

5

16

16,00%

20,00%

64,00%

10,37%

Friend

14

4

3

7

28,57%

21,43%

50,00%

5,81%

Jones

17

6

3

8

35,29%

17,65%

47,06%

7,05%

Halsey

23

7

6

10

30,43%

26,09%

43,48%

9,54%

Marriner

15

5

7

3

33,33%

46,67%

20,00%

6,22%

Mason

17

8

3

6

47,06%

17,65%

35,29%

7,05%

Moss No games
Oliver No games
Probert

13

4

3

6

30,77%

23,08%

46,15%

5,39%

Swarbrick

8

6

1

1

75,00%

12,50%

12,50%

3,32%

Taylor

10

5

4

1

50,00%

40,00%

10,00%

4,15%

Webb

19

7

6

6

36,84%

31,58%

31,58%

7,88%

In the PL era Sunderland has a win percentage of just under 27%. And that is the number we take in mind to see how a ref in combination with Sunderland is doing.

First of all of the 16 refs available in the PL we only have 13 refs who do Sunderland games. Clattenburg doesn’t do Sunderland and that is also the case for Oliver. Moss also has done no Sunderland games so far but being a new boy this could be a coincidence. But with only so few refs hanging around it would seem odd not to use him.

So who are the good refs for Sunderland? And in terms of good refs I don’t say that their decisions on the field were good but I mean that when this ref is around Sunderland win more games than their average win % suggests they should win.

The best ref around for Sunderland seems to be Swarbrick. His win percentage is very high. And also the refs Taylor and Mason are having a high win percentage in Sunderland games. And finally one could say that Howard Webb is not a that bad referee for Sunderland in their games.So that is four “good” refs for Sunderland.

If we try to look at the refs who come close to the average win percentage we can say that Atkinson, Dean, Dowd, Friend, Jones, Halsey, Marriner and Probert are refs under whom Sunderland more or less win according to their overall statistics.  That is 8 refs out of the 13 possible refs who perform at the average standard.

This means that for Sunderland we only have two bad refs. And the bad refs are Dowd and Foy. The win percentage of Sunderland when those refs are around is really bad. But there is more bad news for Sunderland.

Because those “bad” refs are very regular features in their games. Those two bad refs are responsible for almost 21% of their games.  That means that they are responsible up to 24 points in a season. That is for two refs. And well we know that we have one ref on his own responsible for 18 points. But still this is unacceptable for any team and also for Sunderland.

And their best ref (Swarbrick) is the ref they get the fewest of all the referees. Bad luck.

Yet again we see that because of the small numbers of referees, combined this time with the fact that of that small number of referees almost 19% of those refs are not allowed to do games you end up with an unacceptably low number of referees doing Sunderland games.  And so it is almost inevitable that Sunderland faces the same refs over and over.

The good thing is for Sunderland that they only have two “Dean-refs”. A Dean-ref is our local word for a ref under whom you cannot win a game and who is being sent over and over and over. A ref who just by being present on the field has his influence on the players in a ‘oh, it’s him again’ way.

Again another team that suffers from the way the PGMOL is running their affairs. In a bad way. Now if only the PGMOL would have a handful of refs coming from the South of England they would be able to do Sunderland games with no problem. But a ref from the South of England in the PL is as rare as a calf dancing on ice [Is that a Flemish expression Walter? – Ed] . “Not as long as I am reigning over the PGMOL” seems to be the thinking of Mike Riley, head of the PGMOL.

Sorry supporters from Sunderland, its not my fault. If you feel unhappy about Dowd and Foy I suggest you aim your complaints at the PGMOL and Mike Riley.

7 comments to What is wrong with the PL Refs: Case study – Sunderland

  • WalterBroeckx

    Yes it is Mr. Editor 😉
    I was thinking to myself: just throw it in and learn our readers a Dutch idiom. The meaning is : it will never happen.

    Of course it might happen. I mean a ref from the south or from London. And if the weather continues like this..actually a calf might dance on ice 🙂

  • It’s so good to watch a match that has a foreign referee nowadays. They don’t go hob-nobbling to players, nor continually try to steal the picture, they don’t continually stop the flow of the game, they give out a ” don’t fraternise with me, I am here to referee the match, I will not tolerate your childish antics and as you can see i give out the appearance of someone who is to be respected”

  • Adam

    You have got to be on to something Walter, Sunderland have landed Swarbrick for their Chelsea game. 75% success rate. Looks like Chelsea forgot to pay their subs?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Maybe dowd is a Newcastle fan? I remember seeing a game whereby I got that distinct impression.

  • Adm

    Mandy, Stoke, he’s a stoke fan. Any excuse to stiff us and he’ll accommodate.

  • Mandy Dodd

    If so, would love him to suffer the pain of relegation this season, a long shot but it could happen, they have a tough run in. What chance stoke and Sunderland relegated…..unlikely but one can dream……

  • bob

    Mandy Dodd,
    Sunderland’s already been relegated to the darkest southern region with it’s new hire DiCanio to replace Martin O’Neill. The one problem for their team is that the referees already are wearing the black shirts and he won’t be able to suggest that as a change of uniform: http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2013/apr/02/paolo-di-canio-sunderland-manager