REFEREE REVIEW 2012: Kevin Friend


This article is part of the series : REFEREE REVIEW 2012


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.

Next in our series is referee Kevin Friend.

Kevin Friend
Kevin Friend

Untold Vs PGMOL - KevinFriend 2011/2012
We have reviewed 7 of his games last season and that was 35% of his total games in the PL.

Not a bad number I would say. People who want us to do more next season should get us some referees to join our reviewing team as soon as possible. We will welcome them with open arms.

Let us have a look at his numbers and we start as usual with the overall competency of this ref.

PGMOL Vs EPL - Basic Competency - KevinFriend 2011/2012

And those are fine numbers. We know by now that the minimum % you should get in other countries is 70% correct decisions. Wit a score of 78.47 correct decisions in the un-weighted numbers Kevin Friend is well above those numbers.

And if we put weight on the decisions he also goes over that with a very respectable score of 77.51% correct decisions.

So there can be no doubt that he is a referee that belongs in the PL based on those numbers.

Let us have a look at the different numbers on the different decisions we have covered.

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

The goal decisions were correct with a score of 90.48%. This is almost the league average. I have said it before I would love to get this up to around 99% correct decisions as this is the most important type of decisions. So not that satisfying but still in touch with the league average.

A very disappointing number are the offside decisions. Only 83.87 % correct. Way below the league average we found and miles away from the 99% that Mike Riley promised us. It looks as if he wasn’t lucky with his assistants.

The other decisions are rather good. A score of just under 80% is a great score.  One of the best scores of all the referees I think.

He had only a few penalty decisions to make and by missing one he only got a score of around 67%. Not a really great number but still better than the league average.

In the red cards he dropped a bit. With only 1 correct call in 3 decisions. So not really a good number.

In the yellow cards decisions he did better than the league average. A score of 63.64% correct decisions is not really great but we have learned to live with such numbers so we will not feel dramatic about it. Any more.

Let us have a look if we can see that he had a home bias or not?

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

Well he sure had a home bias. A rather positive home bias in fact. A score almost twice the normal league average bias for a home team. As a result the away teams had a hard time under his guidance.

And if we put weight on the decisions we see a rise in the numbers. The home bias becomes bigger and the away bias against the visiting team becomes stronger.

One could say that this ref is a home referee if we look at these numbers. If you have him as a ref for your team, better hope and pray you have him at home.

Of course this is something we don’t like at Untold. We don’t like any bias at all so home bias is something we don’t want to see.

This throws a bit of a shadow over his up to know excellent ratings in fact.

Let us have a look at the different teams he did and the bias we can see in those numbers.

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

Well they sure were no friends of Wolverhampton in their game. If my memory serves me right it was the game Liverpool – Wolverhampton. A game shortly after the Liverpool manager had a chat with Mike Riley head of the PGMOL. He gave Wolverhampton nothing in that game. I wonder what the reason was.  Looking at the other games he doesn’t appear to be overly pro-Liverpool at all. A rather close bias score for them.

We have a few teams with small positive bias numbers. Manchester City comes close to his average.  Everton and certainly Bolton look to be teams that were a bit favoured in the games from Friend.

Let us have a look when we put weight on the decisions.

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

The score from Wolverhampton goes down a bit dramatically.  He sure made some bad calls against him in that game at Liverpool. Nothing going the Wolverhampton way that day.

Sunderland also a not really positive outcome.

And again Liverpool clearly not his all time favourite team, except that one game one could say.  Because for the rest they end up with a negative bias.

Chelsea and Manchester City are a bit middle of the road for this ref. Fulham are getting a bit of a good treatment.

The scores from Everton and Bolton are very favourable for them but nothing really that goes out of control too much.


Some very decent overall scores from this ref certainly on the general competency score sheet.  Those are excellent numbers. Well above the 70% line so very satisfying for him and for us referee reviewers.

The different type of decisions are also rather good.

A negative remark is his apparent home bias.  Those positive home bias numbers are a bit too high for my liking. It gives the impression that the ref gives in too easily to the home crowd. So that is something he should be taking note and do something about it.

Apart from Wolverhampton and Bolton the team bias numbers were not that big. Those two teams went down so will not have him in the PL this season.

Everton also a big favourable number of calls from this ref. The other teams do rather OK with this ref.

Certainly a ref that will stay in the PL in the next season.

 Ordinary is Pointless

12 Replies to “REFEREE REVIEW 2012: Kevin Friend”

  1. Blame the ref if the gunners fail to get a result at Stoke.Wenger is great at attack but defensively he has taken Arsena back three steps.
    So don’t be surprised the gunners lose on Sunday because of a dodgy defence unless Bould shows otherwise.

  2. Marvelous! You actually found a ref that is not biased against Arsenal 🙂

    Of course it doesn’t look like he has refereed us, so that’s not much good. Still it’s a start LOL!

  3. only one referee is more southerly based than Mr Friend and that’s Mr Probert (Wiltshire 100 miles from London), Amazing that I mention Leicester as being southerly. For those who don’t know England that well, Leicestershire is in the midlands. Even more amazing is the fact that no select group ref is based within 100 miles of London, And London teams make up 30% of the premier league, With 9 teams in the premier league this year you would expect more of an even spread, Especially as the premier league just released a list of over 320 qualified officials so no shortage. Just a shortage in the fair play department.

  4. Based on one incident it’s not correct to judge if the ref is right to give a card. In some cases it is though, like with handball or incorrectly hindering the opponent to get a goalscoring opportunity. But most often the player has “three strikes” when he get a card even though the last of those offensen in it self might not be enough for a card. But ofcourse sometimes a player deserves a card for a challenge and it might not be given, that’s misstake from the ref and we can put that in the statistics. But it’s harder to judge if the given cards are correct. So I think the statistics won’t look very good for the ref because of this.

  5. A thought on these analyses:
    The offside decisions are really unfair on the individual ref. He has no chance, 99.99% of the time, of overturning a piss poor decision by his linesman. Even Mason last night will suffer. Sure he probably deserves to suffer, but really!
    Could you consider a separate chart for the linesman who drag down the ref’s scores?

  6. Gf60,
    I understand your point completely. Being both myself (ref and assistant-referee as the correct term is) I know all too well.
    The thing is and most referees I know do it in that way is that you try to make act as “a team”. In good and bad. We get the praise together for a good game and we go down together when one of us screws up.

    I can completely ruin the game of the ref when I am the assistant and make wrong decisions. But I could also be the saviour of a ref who is having a nightmare. So sometimes the assistant wins him points and sometimes he cost him points.

    An example: when a goal is scored and the assistant called the player on side when he was level with the last defender. The ref gets the good points for this decision when we give him the points for the goal. And that is not really down to the ref but the credit should go to the assistant. But in the system we use it is the ref who gets the points. If the assistant judged a player on side but he was offside, the ref loses points. And again this is the wrong call of his assistant and the ref gets the blame in a way.

    So it works in both directions. It is a 3-man team that is judged but as the ref is the main one in charge he gets the good points but also the bad points.

    And at the end of the day the most important thing is to see how many calls are correct. Seeing if it was ref A or ref B (or assistant C or assistant D) who made mistakes is not the most important thing to get the total results. To see which ref made which mistakes is to get a view on the individual ref (within the team) and see how he handles things. And to be able to see his flaws and strong points.

    The other option would be to fill in the names of the assistants also and review them separate. Well who knows…. if all goes right we might have a surprise for this season about the referee reviews… keep your eyes open in the next days/weeks (not just on this site) and we will be able to do even better than this season. And if we can pull it off to almost do all the games… who knows we could expand it to separate assistant reviews… Now you got me dreaming again… 🙂

  7. @Gf60 – the referee is ultimately responsible for every call made, the significance of offside calls should in theory ‘all even out’ to nothing if assistants rotate. The referee needs to have confidence in his assistants and raise concerns if he does not as responsibility ultimately rests with him as the leader of his team.

    The assistants are ultimately disposable entities so we should not attempt to make them scapegoats or easy targets… even though I know of some of them who I wouldn’t trust as far as I could throw them.

    There is no way to quantify it any other way.

  8. gf60
    Either way, there are still fundamental flaws in the current system that need addressing and bringing into the 21st century.

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