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July 2021

REF REVIEW 2012: Wolverhampton Wanderers get some bad ref decisions

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.

It’s never nice to finish bottom in the league. But someone will do it each year. This time it was Wolverhampton who got this unwanted privilege.  In fact they got of to a rather good start but after some 5 or 6 games the wheels came off and the season turned from bad to worse.

Untold Vs PGMOL - WolverhamptonWanderers 2011/2012

We did 8 games of Wolverhampton last season. I would like to say that if you think this is not enough to help us out for next season and ask referees to join our review team so we could do more games. And ask your sport stations to show more games so we can record more games and review more games.

But for now we had to do with the things we could and that is doing 21,05% of all Wolverhampton games.  Let us look at the competence from the referees in these games.

PGMOL Vs EPL - Basic Competency - WolverhamptonWanderers 2011/2012

The first thing we notice is that the competence score of the refs is well below the 70% mark. So not good at all! They are more than 4% under the overall league average. So one thing is for sure, the Wolverhampton supporters didn’t get to see a lot of good football, they also had to endure some bad refereeing. Let us see if there are certain decisions that went wrong in particular?

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

Well it sure wasn’t for the goals decisions. Because with more than 96% of the decisions correct we enter the good up very good side of things.

The offside decisions are a bit less than the league average but the difference is marginal.

The other decisions go below the 70% line and this is worrying. This means that the refs made a mess of things in the middle of the field in the little fouls.

The penalty decisions are slightly under normal but not much.

A good decision type is the red cards. With some 7% higher than the league average this sounds good. But it still means that 1 in 3 red card decisions were wrong.

The yellow cards are terrible. Only 38% of the decisions involving cards were correct. This is bad…very bad. Now, can we see who benefited from the referee mess?

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

We can see that there was a negative away bias in the un-weighted decisions. But it was very close to the normal average away bias. And also the positive home bias was not that far away from the average in the league.

And if we put weight on to the decisions we see almost the same picture. A negative away bias against Wolverhampton but lower than the league average. And the positive home bias is also lower than the league average.

All this leads to the final result that without weight there is a slight positive bias in favour of Wolverhampton and with weight a small negative bias against Wolverhampton.  But it all is very close to the zero line so not much wrong in total. Let us check the referees.

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

We had 7 referees and 3 of them had a negative bias. Kevin Friend is leading hat category of refs. Peter Walton who did 2 games is also rather negative it seems. Michael Oliver is also a ref with an negative score.

We also have 4 refs with a positive result. Lee Probert looks to be okay as does Neil Swarbrick. But the numbers from Anthony Taylor and Stuart Attwell are looking a bit over the edge.

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

If we put weight on to the decisions we see almost the same image. 3 negative, 3 positive refs but also one ref who has managed to get a zero bias score. Well done Lee probert

Michael Oliver is also close to the zero score so that is also a nice thing to mention.

I don’t know what Kevin Friend and Peter Walton have against Wolverhampton but they have a high negative bias against them. Could be down to the opponents of course.

Stuart Attwell has a very high positive bias as does Anthony Taylor and Neil Swarbrick.

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

In gameweek 6 Wolves had a negative bias and got no points. You can see that when there is a negative bias, Wolves most of the time doesn’t manage any points. I could be a bit naughty and say that this also wasn’t the case regardless the ref. You can see that with the big bias in week 18 they seemed to pick up a point. But for the rest a lot of dropped points and the referee has not spotted them.


All in all the refs have been poor in Wolverhampton games.

But the good thing is that the bias shows that most of the time it did even out when you look at all the bias decisions.

You could say some points were dropped in games with bad referees and this is always a pity as you don’t want a team to lose a game because the ref has a bad day. This can be seen in gameweek 6 when they had a totally negative bias and lost the game. Not something I like to see in our reviews.

Lots of wrong decisions and in fact the only thing they can be really happy with is the goals conceded  against them. We didn’t see much wrong with these when it comes to the laws of the game.

Some links to some of the reviews

Wolverhampton – Manchester City
Newcastle – Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton – Arsenal
Wolverhampton – Manchester United
Arsenal – Wolverhampton
Manchester United – Wolverhampton
Liverpool – Wolverhampton

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.


Publication on July 20th: Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.

The book that re-writes the Arsenal story.

8 comments to REF REVIEW 2012: Wolverhampton Wanderers get some bad ref decisions

  • paul

    If I am reading correctly the red card calls – “it still means that 1 in 3 red card decisions were wrong.” – should be 2 in 3? 29% correct, 71% incorrect?
    Thanks for all the hard work by the way, really appreciated.

  • Kentetsu

    “A good decision type is the red cards. With some 7% higher than the league average this sounds good. But it still means that 1 in 3 red card decisions were wrong.”

    With a correct score of 28.571% only 1 in 3 red card decisions were correct. 2 in 3 were wrong.

  • ross

    what a…… OOPS

    please read this or the rules on this site. We are used to a somewhat civilized conversations over here so no need for swearing or insulting

  • Stuart

    Yes Kentetsu, this is poor for red cards guys, 2/3 were in correct.

    Out of interest, how do we breakdown the incorrect decisions into incorrectly awarded and incorrectly not awarded?

    Oh and, there’s always one it seems (OIK).

  • WalterBroeckx

    This why I stopped doing more than two articles a day. After a while you start writing the wrong things. Sorry about that friends.
    The numbers from Dogface are correct. It was just me mixing them up in the text.

    For the record: 2/3 of the cards were wrong!

  • 🙂 I love it when they point out the mistakes – it shows that people are reading and paying attention; it means a lot to us.

    Thanks Paul!

  • Stuart

    A quick question for you DogFace.

    Do we have a way of breaking down the incorrect decisions into incorrectly given and incorrectly not given?

  • bjtgooner

    Another excellent piece of work, well done guys.