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So what is wrong in the PL? Ref Case study: Swansea

by Walter Broeckx

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

Now before any Swansea  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 having done that, welcome back and have a look at the statistical pointers we have found when we compare the overall results of Swansea with the results of each ref when he does Swansea 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

Swansea

63

20

21

22

31,75%

33,33%

34,92%

Atkinson

6

2

2

2

33,33%

33,33%

33,33%

4,65%

Clattenburg

4

3

0

1

75,00%

0,00%

25,00%

3,10%

Dean

11

2

4

5

18,18%

36,36%

45,45%

8,53%

Dowd

9

3

5

1

33,33%

55,56%

11,11%

6,98%

Foy

4

0

1

3

0,00%

25,00%

75,00%

3,10%

Friend

8

0

4

4

0,00%

50,00%

50,00%

6,20%

Jones

8

2

5

1

25,00%

62,50%

12,50%

6,20%

Halsey

8

3

3

2

37,50%

37,50%

25,00%

6,20%

Marriner

11

5

3

3

45,45%

27,27%

27,27%

8,53%

Mason

10

4

3

3

40,00%

30,00%

30,00%

7,75%

Moss

11

3

5

3

27,27%

45,45%

27,27%

8,53%

Oliver

6

4

2

0

66,67%

33,33%

0,00%

4,65%

Probert

12

7

3

2

58,33%

25,00%

16,67%

9,30%

Swarbrick

6

2

1

3

33,33%

16,67%

50,00%

4,65%

Taylor

9

3

2

4

33,33%

22,22%

44,44%

6,98%

Webb

6

0

2

4

0,00%

33,33%

66,67%

4,65%

Swansea has an average win percentage of just under 32%. That is the number we will take to judge the referees  in the Swansea games.

Swansea is a team that can get all the referees in the PL. So that is really good news. The only ref we will exclude from the numbers is ref Foy because he has only done four games. We should notice that many refs have only done few games of Swansea. I think this is because Swansea is rather new to the PL and thus we have less data than we are used to compared to most other teams. But we will have to work with the numbers we have. So we will be counting the results of 15 refs for Swansea.

Now who are the “good” refs for Swansea. And I will say it again that with good refs we don’t look at the decisions on the field but at the win percentage of Swansea in the games with said refs.  We have one exceptional ref. Clattenburg. The win percentage under Clattenburg is very high. In a way it doesn’t surprise me. Clattenburg is a ref who in general is rather strict when doing his games and as a result I think the passing game of Swansea can flourish when he is around. So a good good ref one could say. Ref Oliver also has a high win percentage and the same goes for Probert. And we also have Marriner with a rather high win percentage in Swansea games. That is 4 good refs for Swansea we could say.

In the average category we have Atkinson, Dowd, Jones, Halsey, Mason, Moss, Swarbrick and Taylor. That is eight refs who have a win percentage that comes close to the average win percentage of Swansea.

So that leaves us with 3 bad refs to find. And the first bad ref we find is Dean. And I don’t want to turn this in to an Arsenal article but isn’t it rather strange that the two teams who play the passing game the most struggle under Dean? Ah, it will be one of those coincidences I guess. Is it?

The other two refs are really beyond me. When Friend or Webb is around it seems that Swansea cannot win a game. Rather strange. We could say that the number of games (8 and 6) is too small but well it sure looks like a trend and a bad trend.

If we look at the appointments made by the PGMOL chief Mike Riley we can only compliment him for his nice distribution of the refs. No ref has an influence of more than 10% and the ref that has been around most in Swansea games is one of their better refs.

On the other hand one of their “Dean-refs” is Dean and he has been around for  almost 9% of their games. So a possible influence of 9-12 points in a season. That is close to being too much. Way too much. The other two bad refs only do a handful of games. So their influence is more around the 6 points a season margin. So that is rather good. But Dean is also becoming a worrying factor at Swansea I think.

But all in all the way the refs are being spread is one of the better spreads I have seen so far. I really do wonder why we see such nice spread with the smaller teams but not with the “big ones”. A complaint I have made a few times before.

It seems that the PGMOL is making a difference between the small and the big teams. And forgive me, but 3 points for a small team in a battle to survive are as important as 3 points for a big team fighting for the title or for a CL spot. All teams have the same right to a good spread of referees.

 

The referee analysis

The books…

 

18 comments to So what is wrong in the PL? Ref Case study: Swansea

  • Ryan

    A very interesting analysis. I think as football fans all we ask is that the ref is fair to both teams (home or away) and after watching Swansea for 17 years I am still convinced that certain referees (Dean and Webb) have some sort of agenda. So thanks for enforcing that belief. On the flipside if we can Clattenburg every week then we could be in the Champions League.

  • Mark

    Great blog Walter.

    As a Swansea Season Ticket holder, this makes both interesting reading, but also seems to reflect what we witness week-in, week-out.

    Mike Dean has a history of giving poor decisions against us. On one occasion, in 2009, when we were playing our “friends” up the road, he was hit by a coin by the Cardiff contingent. He must have been concussed, as the then gave the most ludicrous penalty to them in the last minute. It nearly caused a riot!

    Does he have an agenda against us? Well he certainly fuels speculation that he does, having made a gesture to the Swansea fans when he reffed our game against Stoke a couple of months ago – a game we won, despite a lack of protection from the physical “challenge” of the Potters!

    Foy is another who gets up our nose, so no surprise he see him there. And Friend is no pal of ours!

    I was shocked to see Webb in there, but maybe that is because he is rated as one of the top refs around, and I have been hoodwinked by the hype. I will watch him more carefully in future.

    We had Lee Mason against you “friends” up the road on Saturday, and we thought he was very poor. Was inconsistent. Allowed Friedel to waste enormous amounts of time. And for Parker and co to kick at will. So stats can be deceptive.

    I must make a special mention to one person I would love to see step up as a ref. That is Sian Massey. She is by far the best person running the line in the PL by a mile. There are some of her peers that shouldn’t be anywhere near a professional football pitch.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Thanks for your comments Ryan and Mark.

    About Dean looking at both our teams (Arsenal and Swansea) we have one thing in common. We are teams that rather play an a not typical English game. We both try to play a passing game and try to play nice football based on technical skill and movement of players and ball.

    And both teams seems to suffer from Dean a lot. Maybe he just is a Neanderthal kind of ref?

  • Doanythingformoney

    Excellent work Walter. It makes one wonder- if all the games were reffed perfectly by all refs- what would the league table really look like and what would these percentages really be?

    And how come some teams get a fair spread of the rather too few refs whilst we get the same chuffs all the time?

  • Ryan

    One point on our last home game against Tottenham with A Taylor as the official. After Tottenham scored their first Goal, Brad Friedal did some of the most blatant time wasting I have ever seen. If Taylor had simply booked him after the third time he did it then….no more time wasting. I sometimes get the impression that certain refs are actually too scared to make decisions against certain clubs. I think Mike Dean is clearly a Stoke City type of man.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Ryan,
    one of the things that I find unbelievable is time wasting. Dean never does anything about it. He shrugs his shoulders when player point at it.

    Refs should understand football and should be attentive to the chance of a team starting time wasting. A whistle at the second attempt, point at the pocket and the next time give a card. It’s simple, yet only a few refs do it.

  • Max

    Great article. My least favourite ref is easily Taylor. He doesn’t look too bad in the chart, but it’s his style – he just won’t blow his whistle.

    He’ll play advantage in ridiculous situations when a free-kick would be better, and because the play isn’t stopped, tempers are allowed to build to boiling point.

    He’ll also allow a lot of near-the-knuckle tackles fly, which is so disruptive for a finesse passing side. He turns every potentially attractive game into a rugby match, ironically because he allows games to ‘flow’ – when all that happens is the players and fans and coaches get really wound up.

    Sooner or later, someone’s going to get badly injured in one of his games, and it won’t be the players fault, it’ll be his.

  • Alistair

    Thank you Walter for a well researched and well l written piece of work. Being a season ticket holder at Swansea I have also been witness to some really short sighted refereeing. I will be bookmarking your page and I suspect I will become a regular reader. Keep up the good work sir.

  • Mahdain

    Yet another mystery into the mysterious case of Mike Dean…Is he anti passing football or what? Truth be told i never thought any other team would rival his hate for us but alas here i am proven wrong.. We feel your pain Swans…We have only won once with him in charge in the last 15+ games. How he is continuously sent to us even with those most shocking statistics really say a lot about how the PGMOL is run and if im honest i am really starting to believe Dean will eventually take over Riley`s reigns someday…Dreading the day it happens

  • Adam

    Now now, Walter, Neanderthal? Dean? that’s very derogatory towards our ancient bipedal ancestry.

    On a serious note and with regards to Sian Massey. Top level assistant refs make the step up to referee in the lower leagues, It can take upto 5 years for them to get a crack at the top flight as a referee, although some seem to make the transition more quickly.

    I wonder why that is?

  • JJJack

    Very interesting article…thanks! Not seen this done previously. As already mentioned Dean’s attitude towards Swansea and it’s fans is disturbing and goes back to THAT incident in 2009. Mason’s performance against us up at WBA last month was terrible and the decision to disallow Lamah’s equaliser was widely (and correctly) lambasted by all and sundry. He was so far away from play all day it was scary. Personally I rate Oliver and Probert and Marriner as strong refs although I find Clattenberg and Webb over rated and was surprised to see we’ve done well under the former. One final point…we’ve had NO penalties this season. I find this very odd for a side that are often attacking in and around the box. then again, neither have Spurs which is even more remarkable :0 !!

  • Mahdain

    @Adam location of where they are coming from maybe? Seeing as Southern refs are deemed not fit to do PL games it will take a time for a ref from those areas than the ones up North. Just a thought

  • WalterBroeckx

    Max,
    don’t know if you will be back but are you a ref? You certainly have a good eye on them.

  • WalterBroeckx

    For your information:

    Now 4 teams to go in the team series.

    And then we will introduce to you the invisible factor in the referee world. Untold Arsenal makes the invisible visible. 😉

    And then we start with the refs and have a look at it from their side. That will be some handy pages to bookmark if you ever want to take a gamble and look at the refs and their past with the different teams.

  • Mahdain

    @Walter hurry up already lol

  • WalterBroeckx

    One post at the time Mahdain 😉

  • stevejack

    Very interesting article, I shall keep an eye on it in future. As a Swans fan I’ve been very puzzled as to why we’ve had NO penalties awarded to us yet I believe we’ve conceded 7 this season. For a team with one of the cleanest records (card-wise)who don’t play the same karate/rugby hybrid that teams like Stoke enjoy it really is a mystery.
    Some ref’s just don’t like football played on the floor I suppose.

    Sian Massey for President!!

  • Alistair

    Hell yeh Stevejack. Sian Massey is a legend. Mainly for ruling Micah Richards goal offside last year, which was spot on I might add!