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What’s wrong with PL Refs: Case study – Tottenham Hotspur

by Walter Broeckx

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

Now before any Tottenham  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 got the intros done, let us have a look at the statistical pointers we have found when we compare the overall results of Tottenham with the results of each ref when he does Tottenham games.

Of course Tottenham can have bad experiences with some refs in some games but then, 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

Tottenham

797

307

210

280

38,52%

26,35%

35,13%

Atkinson

22

10

5

7

45,45%

22,73%

31,82%

7,72%

Clattenburg

25

11

6

8

44,00%

24,00%

32,00%

8,77%

Dean

39

17

12

10

43,59%

30,77%

25,64%

13,68%

Dowd

32

19

7

6

59,38%

21,88%

18,75%

11,23%

Foy

29

14

5

10

48,28%

17,24%

34,48%

10,18%

Friend

7

4

1

2

57,14%

14,29%

28,57%

2,46%

Jones

9

5

4

0

55,56%

44,44%

0,00%

3,16%

Halsey

33

14

8

11

42,42%

24,24%

33,33%

11,58%

Marriner

20

8

7

5

40,00%

35,00%

25,00%

7,02%

Mason

10

6

2

2

60,00%

20,00%

20,00%

3,51%

Moss

2

1

0

1

50,00%

0,00%

50,00%

0,70%

Oliver

6

3

1

2

50,00%

16,67%

33,33%

2,11%

Probert

14

3

5

6

21,43%

35,71%

42,86%

4,91%

Swarbrick

2

1

1

0

50,00%

50,00%

0,00%

0,70%

Taylor

1

1

0

0

100,00%

0,00%

0,00%

0,35%

Webb

34

15

9

10

44,12%

26,47%

29,41%

11,93%

In their PL history Tottenham has had a win percentage of 38,52%. That is the measure we will use to see how the refs have done in their games.

The first remark we must make is that it seems that Tottenham can have all the refs in the PL. There are no refs with a known relationship with them. But we cannot take all 16 refs in our numbers. Because we have to exclude Moss, Swarbrick and Taylor as they have only done a handful of games between them. And so the numbers are not really reliable for them. So that leaves us with 13 referees.

Who are the “good” referees for Tottenham? First let me say that by saying “good” referees I don’t refer to their decisions on the field. I only look at the win percentage of Tottenham under those referees. A high win percentage is good for the team but says nothing about the decisions on the field.

So who is good for Tottenham? Well we have rather a nice number of good referees. The best ref of them all is Mason with a win percentage of 60%.  Dowd also seems to be an excellent ref for them. Closely followed by Jones, Friend and Oliver. The last good ref is Foy. I can imagine a few eye brows raising after the Stoke-Tottenham game of last season. We called it like it was at the time: a complete disgrace. But in general Foy is not that bad for Tottenham when doing their games. So that makes it 6 good refs out of 13.

Who are the average refs? The refs who come close to the average win percentage. We have Atkinson, Clattenburg, Dean, Halsey, Marriner and even Webb. So that is again six good refs out of the 13.

That leaves us with only one bad ref for Tottenham. And that ref is Probert. For some reason it looks as if Probert is no fan of the North London teams. Because he also is one of the bad refs for Arsenal. So we can jointly dislike him. Always nice to have something in common.

The next thing we then do is to have a look at the way the refs are spread by Mike Riley from the PGMOL. Riley is of course the person who does the appointments. And then we see that the bad ref (Probert) is a ref who doesn’t get many Tottenham games.  He has an influence of around 6 points in a season it seems. And that is good news for Tottenham. They have one “bad” ref and his influence is only the even for me acceptable six points per season.  Compare this to the 38 points at stake with the bad refs from Arsenal… a big difference.

But again we see also that 5 refs have an influence of around 12 points for Tottenham. Two of those refs are “good” refs and three of them are more “average”. So not that bad for them but this is not the way it should be Mr. Riley. We have been asking for a fair spread of the refs over all the teams in this series. Certainly when bad refs are sent over and over and over. But also when “good” refs are sent over.

Those 5 refs are almost responsible for 66 points of Tottenham in a season one could say. Now Tottenham are rather lucky with those five refs but imagine that they suddenly turned bad for them. Then it could turn in to a major disaster for them.

So once again I can only come to the conclusion that spreading the refs evenly over the teams will lead to less influence of each ref in the total of all things.

The referee analysis

8 comments to What’s wrong with PL Refs: Case study – Tottenham Hotspur

  • Big G

    Lad this is an interesting enough read but does need a lot of caveats which in fairness you do attempt to address.

    Basically all this tells is how Tottenham have fared when certain referees have been in charge of their games but is not evidence of how they are likely to perform if the same referee was not be in charge of their next game.

    One could argue that if you were to do a similar analysis by weather or temperatures or kick off time you could also draw some conclusions but I am not sure any of this, like your analysis would carry any statistical significance.

    Teams go through runs of form, even in Spurs case they have improved a great deal over the last few years so I would expect the stats of current referees to potentially be above average in favour of Spurs.

    Also bad referring decisions against a team does not ultimately cost that team the game e.g. Gareth Bale ‘winning’ the penalty at the Emirates last season.

    So while I did take time to read I would not use the above analysis to form any judgement on what the result is going to be the next time any of the above referees are in charge of a Tottenham game.

  • Man Overboard

    I’ve read quite a few of these referee case studies waiting for a valid point to turn up but alas there is none. The whole referee case study is based on statistics, and in my opinion they’re statistics that don’t really influence a game. As I’ve heard quoted; you can prove anything with statistics except the truth.
    Referees have a hard enough job as it is, having to make momentary judgements without the aid of the slow-mo replays that we all get to see at home on the tellybox, having to deal with primadonna players using bad language and arguing aggressively, and having to deal with pressure from the stands. It’s not surprising that sometimes they get decisions wrong and make mistakes. Having 12 referees there will be some that make more mistakes than others, and some that make mistakes that end up benefiting certain teams and sometimes those mistakes will influence the result of a game – I believe its the law of averages. It’s always been this way so why don’t we move on. This case study uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts – for support rather than for illumination.

  • Mandy Dodd

    as with all these, an interesting read. Was expecting Mike Dean to be top dog for them, but maybe my perceptions have been wrong or maybe he was in some way Arry skewed? Will assumeusing these criteria they get a better deal from the refs than us, although of course that remains to be seen!.. Reading all this makes me… at least wonder about the reasons behind it. Spurs now, like us have a foreign manager who does not appear to court the media in quitethe way Arry did,is unlikely to be the next England manager, and does not seem to have too much to do with Fergies LMA clique of stoneage home grown managers, wonder if this will have any effect over time?

  • John Smith

    A better indicator would be the referee’s record against a certain team

    Someone like Atkinson may be a good ref against the likes of Sunderland or West Brom but not against Chelsea

    And I doubt any Spurs fan thinks of Webb as a good ref

  • WalterBroeckx

    don’t worry you will see each ref with the different teams in the next weeks 😉

  • WalterBroeckx

    It is amazing that from most other teams we get comments (look at the Swansea article) who can talk about it and see it as it is: an exercise in trying to see who is statistically a good ref or a bad ref for the team in question. Nothing more, nothing less.

    And people have to look at it in a larger picture. We do judge the decisions on the field also in different articles. We did this last year. So we do know the impact bad decisions do have on the outcome of a game.

    But the thing is to see if you combine those two things, is that we can see if some things are based on coincidence (a bad day at the office from the ref) or having a continued number of defeats going against all other reasonable trends (a probable biased ref).

    But of course we could publish all this in one article that would have the length of a 350 pages book … that nobody would read.

    So don’t worry, we will put all and everything together: these statistics and the actual referee reviews and then we will have more a case if we see strange things.

    And starting a comment with abuse is not the right way to get your comment published. If you don’t know how to write a decent comment I can point you at the Swansea supporters in this article http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/archives/27824

    And you don’t have to agree with the articles to have your say in a decent way. You can disagree without insults. Just try it.

  • bob

    “I believe its the law of averages. It’s always been this way so why don’t we move on.”
    Man Overboard,
    Intestingly you invoke (I believe….) “the lAW of averages” and yet you reject statistics as evidence for something awry (bias). How about that? And you in effect are claiming that it all evens out in the end. Now would the end be in the same season? over two seasons? 5? 10? decades? centuries? How long do you need to prove you are right? No. You have a quaint belief system that spits in the face of the hard work of observation which (without inside poop from the hives of riley) is the best we can get. Yours is an act of faith. What Walter and refs do is open observational work plus open interpretation of that work and, if you cared enough about this to inspect it, you could try to refute it. But you don’t want to care enough, because it’s more comfortable to just assume that the best will prevail and it will all even out via “the law of averages.” You’re not man overboard; you’re comfortably in the boat.

  • Mick

    Man Overboard
    ‘you can prove anything with statistics except the truth.’
    A convenient phrase to hide behind and often quoted by people who have little contradictory evidence of their own to present. Ditto for ‘it all evens out in the end’ which you also imply.
    Do you dispute the ‘truth’ of the league table which after all is just a collection of facts presented in a statistical form?