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May 2021

REFEREE REVIEW 2012: Lee Mason. Oh dear. Oh dear. Oh dear.


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.

The next referee in our review is Lee Mason. A ref that had a few horrendous moments in the past in some games. How did he score last season?  And this is also a ref that will be in our referee league tables that will come after these articles.

Lee Mason
Lee Mason

Let us have a look at his numbers.

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Untold Vs PGMOL - LeeMason 2011/2012

We did 6 games from Lee Mason last season. And that is 25% of his total games.

For those who want us to do more: please join us when you are a referee yourself and become a referee reviewer. Football needs you!

Now let us first check the numbers from Mason and his competency.

PGMOL Vs EPL - Basic Competency - LeeMason 2011/2012

Well some disappointing numbers over here. In the un-weighted graphic we only see a score of 67.61% correct decisions. That is below the 70% border line that is being used in other countries and that makes the difference between staying in the top league or going down. What is the change if we put the weight on the decisions?

Well the numbers drop even more. They drop top 64.67% correct decisions. These are really bad numbers. Numbers that are not good enough to be a referee in the PL.

In fact these are numbers that are even worse than the numbers from Stuwart Attwell! And he was relegated during the season. So we can wonder again why Mason was not sent back? Maybe because otherwise we wouldn’t have any more refs left in the PL? But then again this would have been the fault of Mike Riley, head of the PGMOL.

Let us see at the different type of decisions and try to find out from where the bad numbers are coming.

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

Look at that! Only 78.57% of his goal decisions were correct last season! That means that 2 goals in 10 were wrongly given or ruled out! I think this is a tragic number. This is terrible. This is the PL unworthy.

If we look at his offside decisions…they are of the same calibre. You remember Mike Riley saying that 99% of the offside decisions were correct in the PL last year. Well not when Mason was around.  Poor.

If we look at the other decisions that are about the ordinary fouls in the middle of the field we see that he also has a score below the 70%. This just isn’t good enough by any means.

A small change in the darkness of these numbers are the penalty decisions. 60% correct but that is not something to really be proud of I think. Penalties are important so should have a much higher score.

The red cards decisions are maybe what can be predicted by now: bad. Not one correct decision in the games we reviewed from him.

And if we look at the yellow cards the misery only gets bigger. Witt only 44% correct he stays well in the bottom half of the different referees.

In short: this is bad, really bad. Let us now look if we can find any bias for home or away teams?

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

These numbers give me a double feeling. First of all we have just seen that he was bad. And now we see that he bad for away teams in general. They have a negative bias to overcome of -2.999 points.  So we could say that he looks to be a home ref.

If we put weight on the decisions we see the same pattern. But to give him some credit: it seems that he was not out there to destroy a team with big decisions. Of course there have been major decisions going wrong but the total picture between home and away bias remains almost the same.

So not just a poor ref in general, but if you are lucky to have him at home he will give you the benefit of the doubt a bit more than when you have him away.

Let us see at the numbers when we look at the teams.

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

Two teams stand out on the negative side of things. Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion are the teams that have to climb a mountain to win a game with Mason in charge. And even QPR is not looking to be a favourite of the ref and that itself is remarkable as QRP in general had the refs on their side a bit according to the games we reviewed.

Manchester United got a bit of help from Mason in their games. Not that unusual one could say.

But Mason has something with the colour blue it seems. As both blue teams Chelsea and Everton have been getting a lot of things going their way.  Is this just down to a personal love for that colour?  Difficult to say.

But take a moment and look at the team he favoured most… Stoke.  That really is a big bias in their favour.

Does it change if we put weight on the decisions?

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

Well it actually does. Arsenal remains firmly in the wrong place. But QPR and WBA also have very bad results in the games under Mason.  And also Sunderland suddenly has more than the double of bad calls going against them from this ref.

In the games from Swansea and Manchester City he did rather all right it seems with only a very low bias score.

But he sure had a soft spot for Manchester United. They got a very high bias score. But that is nothing compared to his beloved blue shirt teams Chelsea and Everton. They got an amazing high score when it came to making mistakes from this ref.

But the masters of Mason and his bad calls are Stoke.  He almost gave them a free ride it seems. Not just lots and lots of regular mistakes in their favour but the number of big mistakes in their favour are somewhat ridiculous!


If we take the 70% border line that is being used in other countries we can clearly see that this ref was not good enough in the games we reviewed. And by this standard should be put back to the lower leagues.

If we then look at the different type of decisions we see that there are some really bad decisions on the important ones. So that itself should be sufficient to send him down to the lower leagues.

Yet the PGMOL has kept him on board for the new season. So he must have done something they like. Maybe you can find the answer in the team bias tables?

If being crap in your decisions and most of all your important decisions is not enough to send you back, then there must be something else that the PGMOL clearly likes.

If I ever would get the chance to have a conversation with Mike Riley, I would like to ask him about this referee.  Dogface had a brilliant article two seasons ago where he warned us that Mason would try to destroy Arsenal in their game against Everton in advance of that particular game.  And he was 100% spot on!

And yet two seasons later the PGMOL keeps him in the PL. And that despite quite clearly being not good enough. What is that smell that is entering my nostrils? Or is it the smell of “coincidence”?

 Ordinary is Pointless


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Ref Reviews: something very strange going on with Mr Taylor



33 comments to REFEREE REVIEW 2012: Lee Mason. Oh dear. Oh dear. Oh dear.

  • Adam

    The thing is Walter, If the Pgmol is bent then the Refs know about it, How on earth can they be punished by riley’s crew? Demote a ref and risk being exposed.

  • afc

    This is quite amazing(the stuff you do like the graphs and data) i wish you had some way of making the FA take notice in your work tho, Because it seems like all your work is going to waste with just the normal public reading it, really you need bigger heads in the game to see this, then maybe we will see a change in poor referring.

  • Mogooner

    Very interesting guys. Out of interest, have you ever sent your findings to Mike Riley? You probably won’t get a response but I think it may go a long way to making that little pedestal the PGMOL place themselves on a little less comfortable, and that can only be a good thing 🙂

  • Mogooner – in fact we are being noticed. During the time we have been battering away at this, we’ve seen the PGMOL web site close down, and we know for sure that some fairly serious big-wigs are reading. We’ve also just opened a new site for this season ( which will be taking our message to a wider audience still.

  • mickess

    Guess who’s our ref this weekend? Yes it Lee Mason again at Stoke wityh Howard Webb as the 4th Official. Do we stand any chance at all? Is this Riley sticking two fingers up to Untold Arsenal?

  • ClockEndRider

    As I never tire of writing, keep up the good work. The quality of your analysis is really first rate. I only wish I was a qualified ref as I would love to join you. All you refs out there, get off the fence and join these boys.
    On another note and as an Arsenal man through and through, let’s pray we don’t have Mason at the weekend…and if we do, let’s make sure these stats are publicised in advance. I don’t want refs biased in our favour. Just not to be against us. Shouldn’t be too much to ask, should it?

  • ClockEndRider

    Just seen Mickess post. Gooners: you know what you have to do……….

  • Minesy

    Isn’t the real reason for keeping him revealed in an earlier article ? If I remember rightly he is the ONLY ref from the South ( including London and East Anglia), even Old Mother Riley couldn’t deny a Northern bias then !!!!

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Stoke’s CBs won’t know what’s hit them if Giroud is fully fit. Hell, even Shawcross isn’t up to a physical battle with someone like Podolski. I predict cards and injuries but in our favour.

  • Clock Ender


    Mason this weekend for the Stoke match…

    What a surprise.

    Early in the season Fungusbum wants to get his tame legbreakers in there to take out potential threats asap.

    What’s the odds that an important player gets put out for three months or more by those cheating filth?

  • colario

    I appreciate these posts on refereeing in the Premier League. However I have small problem with them. I don’t understand the terminology you are using. Example: unweighted – weighted.
    Why is one set of figures unweighted and another weighted? What have you taken in to account?

    I appreciate that to provide a glossary on each report would make them long and tedious for you.

    I respectfully request that you make of glossary which we can down load and refer to and learn.

    Many thanks. Colario.

  • ne

    ohhh God, i have a hard feeling about these stoke game. Either injury or a penalty for us. Well seems like England football will never progress if thing like these keep on happening..

  • RobL

    ***Go on Amy Lawrence – here’s your chance to predict “anomalies in refereeing decisions” ahead of the match.

    Do the spirit of journalism proud***

  • createstrain

    so its thuggery lee-way masonic and the howard web of deceit,
    turning another blind eye to elbows, penalties and raised feet,
    what can we expect at the end of another week?,
    the red and white overcoming the odds nil three.

  • Ryan F

    @ colario:

    The unweighted stats treat every decision equally; the weighted stats place extra prominence on the ‘very wrong’ and ‘very right’ decisions. You can’t really judge a ref by his ‘marginal’ calls, which are ususally just a matter of opinion. So the weighted stats place less emphasis on the marginal calls and more emphasis on the important, game-changing ones.

    BTW, great analysis by the way. I’ve been critical of these features in the past, but I’m shocked by these findings in particular.

    That said, I think it’s entirely due to Mason’s incompetence (i.e. he’s rubbish) than the work of some shady conspiracy.

  • OK, so I see Arsenal on the wrong end of things again!

    Another ref – another bias against Arsenal. There will always be questions as to whether bias is introduced into the assessment, but I feel that any site that starts and maintains such an analysis is likely to do it in a fair way.

    The bias is sickening and in reality only confirms what we see week in week out.

  • Adam

    Some trivia for you all.
    Since 2004 only two referees from south of England have been appointed to the select group of officials, Steve Tanner(Somerset) & Keith Stroud (Dorset). Both were demoted (removed) in 2009.
    Since the inception of the select group 12 southern based referees have been retired and replaced by Midland and northern buys (no I did not spell that wrong).
    I always wondered why they called it the select group?

  • bob

    Dogface, colario,
    Yes, an easy-to-access online glossary page with specific examples would clearly expand new readership and reinforce the understandings for those who need refreshers.

  • bob

    Clock Ender,
    Yes, the targeted early hit is the greatest worry. If that happens, there ought to be a visible reaction – signs, protests, call-ins – from the fans. Also, the failure/refusal to give us any penalty shots at home – NOT ONE – last season is a related problem (though less serious of course).

  • Adam
    This link is for the chairman’s handbook 2012/2013. so the latest and greatest release,
    NATIONAL LIST OF REFEREES (too many to mention follow the link pages 436 onwards) approximately 327 qualified referees brought to the attention of the chairmen but we only get to see a handful?

  • colario

    @createstrain. You wrote: ‘the red and white overcoming the odds nil three.’ I think you will find that it is Stoke who will play in red and white. that being so I hope you are wrong.

  • colario

    Thank you Ryan F and Bob.

  • Clock Ender



    EPL is becoming a joke. Calciopoli Mk 2.

    The head of the Italian refs got given a rare 4-door Mazerati by one of the bigwigs at Juve for rigging a friendly ref for them.

    What’s changing hands in the EPL? Cash? Favours? or is it intimidation or blackmail?

    I haven’t watched any of this seasons matches yet and I just can’t muster the enthusiasm to do so anymore. I wonder how many other fans are getting this sick of bent EPL crap.

  • Matt Clarke

    well said, sorta.
    They certainly wear red and white, but who said that they ‘play’?

  • Stuart

    @ colario

    Un-weighted is where each decision gets counted as 1.

    Weighted is where the seriousness of the incident is taken into account. For example a Goal (incorrectly) not given is worth 3 points but a throw in awarded to the wrong team in the middle of the pitch has less impact on the outcome of the game so is only worth 1 point.

    @ Bob, If you keep asking, ye may shall receive one day 😉

  • Mahdain

    and guess who is the ref for sunday vs stoke? Yep this guy

  • rantetta

    Lee Mason!

    Where’s the bucket?

    I can see the smile/smirk. He’s as good as Dean and Walton when it comes to ignoring obvious and serious fouls on Arsenal players and he’s a specialist in turning away from the fouler – leaving the foul-ee to be berated and assaulted by said fouler and his fowl mates.

    Mason ‘follows the script’ – i.e. an Arsenal player breathing heavily in the direction of an opponent may well be pulled up for a foul, however, nothing short of broken limbs counts as a free kick for Arsenal.

    Even more “Oh Dear, Oh Dear, Oh very deary me” is the choice of 4th official: Webbmeister.

    What does this tell us? What is the message from PGM(bolux) – for our season? How many ‘ambuli’ will we take/need?

    Dogface: I know you’ve written eloquently in the past about members of this ref-team, but I expect a “right-proper” preview on this one, with astounding text. I mean, just look at the guy. Does he not have some “unfortunate” connections? (I’m sure the good folk of Stoke have some “connections”? Wink, wink – you KNOW what I mean.

    Thanks for the article. Whilst I feel a little bit of sick when I see the name, I still read through and there’s a hint of catharsis imparted having seen – clearly within, that it’s not just me who spots the yukiness of Mason’s reffing.

    I must acknowledge; it’s not only Arsenal who suffer under him but I suspect Arsenal get it worse and most consistently. (Refshite sufferage).

    Can some of you get onto S.Bould please. I think he came from Stoke to join Arsenal. Bould’s a bit of a shouter. Get him to threaten the 4th **** when he’s shouting at Mason to ignore Stoke’s rugby/leg breaking tackles.

    I presume the squad will have to stay up Norf overnight as the game kicks off early arvo Sunday – changed from Sat 3 pm, for/by Sky. Where do our players stay? Are they safe – up in the Potteries (They’re hardly safe on the field, innit?)

    Prayer’s please. (It’s come to that).

  • rantetta

    Sorry, I’ve just remembered seeing a photo of Arsenal’s players taking a train back from Stoke, so panic over – re: Where Ars’s players will stay. Mind you, there may be engineering works and they have to take some buses or something, as part of the journey. (They could use the probably-necessary multiple ambuli to transport the players TO Stoke’s “ground”.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Hopefully Bould can teach some of our players how to ride tackles and land studs down onto the tackler’s leg, just like they used to do to him…

  • Paul

    @Stuart Thanks for clarifying. colaria isn’t the only one asking for help on terminology and a glossary.

    Readership will increase dramatically I think if the content is more understandable.

    One point on consistenty, I commented on the ‘other’ category in a previous communication and how it caused me some confusion, I was under the impression it was fouls in the middle of the pitch. It was explained that ‘other’ refers to anything but goals; red cards; yellow cards; offsides and penalties. Now you confuse me again in this report by stating…… “If we look at the other decisions that are about the ordinary fouls in the middle of the field ”
    I know, nit-picking. The thing is, what you are writing is relevant. The more people who read it and can get hooked on on it, Arsenal supporters or not, the better the refereeing standards will be which will only help Arsenal.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I wrote this because well maybe some 75% of the “other” decisions are fouls in the middle of the pitch….

  • So we have Lee Mason in todays game against Stoke…coincidence????