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July 2021

REFEREE REVIEW 2012: Blackburn Rovers. The refs done ok (mostly)


If you think you know your Arsenal, it is time to think again.  Never before has one book overturned so many myths and revealed so many secrets about a club.  Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.


By DogFace and Walter Broeckx

Untold Arsenal has a team of qualified referees who have reviewed more than 40% of the EPL games from last season. The reviews themselves were based on full match video footage with the advantage of video technology features such as slow motion and pause.

By reviewing those 155 games we have made a database of more than 7000 decisions that have been judged by our panel of dedicated and qualified referees.

The numbers you will see are based on those decisions and those reviewed games.

After Wolverhampton the team that finished last in the league,  we now have another team going down with them:  Blackburn.

They constantly found themselves in the bottom 3 and so it was no a real surprise to see them go down in the end. The whole season was filled with protest from the fans against the manager but the board didn’t fire him. I doubt if it would have made a difference to be honest. Ask Wolverhampton fans if it did.

Untold Vs PGMOL - BlackburnRovers 2011/2012

We did 10 games in which Blackburn was involved. That is 26,32% of their total games. So slightly over 1 game in 4. I think this is a good result for a lower placed team.

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Of course things could have been better. But lack of games shown live on TV prevented us from doing more games. And if you know a ref in your part of the world who maybe would be interesting in joining us: tell him about us, ask him to join us so we can do  a better job next season. Let us see how competent the refs have been.

PGMOL Vs EPL - Basic Competency - BlackburnRovers 2011/2012

The number of correct decisions is better than the league average. So that is a good thing for the referees involved in the games. The un-weighted decisions are some 4 % better than the league average. And when we put weight on the decisions it still is some 3% better. We have seen better this season, but not that many in fact.

Let us now have a look at the different types of decisions.

PGMOL Vs EPL - Basic Competency Breakdown - BlackburnRovers 2011/2012

If we look at the different decisions we mostly see positive things. The goal decisions look good. Not ideal but better than the league average. I still will only be satisfied with an outcome of around 99%.

The offside decisions slightly better than the league average. Not the 99% claimed by Mike Riley of course.

The other decisions are also better and more than 76% correct.

But if we look at the penalties we see a big drop in the numbers. Only 30% correct and this is not even half of the league average. So it looks as if the refs had some problems in the penalty area in the Blackburn games.

The red cards decisions were much better but only half of them correct so this is not great.

The yellow cards are a bit better than the league average.

Now let us see if we can find if Blackburn got the wrong decisions in their favour or did they went against them?

PGMOL Vs EPL - Incorrect calls Breakdown - BlackburnRovers 2011/2012

Well we see that Blackburn away from home got a slight negative bias against them, but this is much lower than the league average of -1.826. And at home the bias is also slightly better than the normal home bias. Not by much but  a bit better than than the average. This leads to a slightly positive bias in total if we look at the un-weighted decisions.

If we put weight to the decisions we see the same. The negative away bias is better than what can be expected. And the positive home bias is also better than normal.

So again a total bias that remains positive for Blackburn. Not that there was a big bias visible in general in their favour but things could have been worse. Far worse.

Let us see who the refs were in their games and their score.

EPL vs PGMOL - Incorrect calls Breakdown by Referee - BlackburnRovers (Un-Weighted) 2011/2012

6 refs for 10 games so a few refs who have done more than one game.

3 refs with a negative bias score but a relative small one.A score of -3.000 bias points if not that big but it should have been more around the zero score to be perfect.

And 3 refs with a positive bias score. Two of them with a rather small one. The bias I mean.  Only exception is Andre Marriner with the biggest positive bias overall. Too big to be good.

EPL vs PGMOL - Incorrect calls Breakdown by Referee - BlackburnRovers (Weighted) 2011/2012

If we put weight on the decisions we see the same thing. 3 positive refs and 3 negative refs.

But the score of the negative refs has gone up a lot in some cases. The score from Anthony Taylor has gone up considerable and he looked very biased in his game against Blackburn away at Norwich. The numbers of Dowd and Dean also have gone up a bit.

Michael Jones keeps his low score of a small positive bias. The positive score from Webb rises a bit also.

Andre Marriner has the biggest positive bias in favour of Blackburn. A very high score in the two games he did Blackburn.

PGMOL Vs BlackburnRovers - Incorrect calls Seasonal Handicap - BlackburnRovers (Weighted) 2011/2012

If we look at the refs we see that after having two positive bias performances their numbers suddenly go up. It is very likely that the refs had something to do with that after a disastrous start of getting no points in their first games.

A big negative bias made them drop points. It looked as if they needed some help to get the points in some games. Except in week 19 when they won despite a negative bias.


The referees did rather well in general in the games with Blackburn.

But Blackburn  did seem to get some help from the refs when they picked up some points. Be it purely by mistakes or for any other reason. They only managed to win points in one game with a negative bias against them.

This is an example of the fact that if the ref is giving things against you it gets more difficult to win a game. And certainly for a team that is in the bottom half of the league.

Some links to the games

Tottenham Hotspur – Blackburn
Manchester City – Blackburn
Arsenal – Blackburn
Blackburn – Chelsea
Norwich – Blackburn
Blackburn – Manchester City
Fulham – Blackburn

Editorial Footnote: Occasionally readers wish to make the point that our figures or methods are themselves fixed or biased.  If you have such a view and wish to argue that point please do take a look at our article on data and conclusions first.   If you want to see past articles in this series they are at EPL REFEREE REVIEW 2012- An historic study on the refs in the EPL


10 comments to REFEREE REVIEW 2012: Blackburn Rovers. The refs done ok (mostly)

  • Pad Gooner


    In the homepage, the link for this blackburn review page takes me to someother site. Could you please check and correct it.

  • Pad Gooner

    to be precise, “Blackburn and the refs” Link’s target is a site called “”.

  • No way… I was after a shepherd hut myself – I’ll check it out!

  • WalterBroeckx

    Thanks Pad Gooner 🙂 What a strange world the internet is… 🙂

    fixed it

  • Mahdain

    i see the number of visitors from other teams have gone down a bit..not to worry though im sure we’ll get aplenty when we get to the big teams..i for one cant wait to read what the united fans will come up with..oh and spuds too

  • Pad gooner

    Initially, I thought we found a sponsor for our RefReview Project. I am saddened that it was indeed a Typo error. So it means that we still have a long way to go to commercialize our project.

    Just Kidding…!

  • Pad gooner

    @Mahdain, After a perfect storm (QPR Review), we are feeling a strange silence. Whether everybody else is happy except QPR fans.

    I think two relegated teams(Blackburn and wolves) have more than bad refereeing contributing to their relegation. May be because of that they have less to complain and quarrel.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    Question: is there a way to quantify the affect of WHEN a contentious decision is made? For example, sending off a player at the 10 minute mark has much greater affect on a game than sending off a player at 90+ 3 min. Or, are you doing that already?

  • @GoingGoingGooner – good question… and as soon as I figure out the the query to do that – I’ll include it in the RefWatch 🙂

  • WalterBroeckx

    OMG it seems soon even more fun things coming your way with the Untold ref review goes classic 😉