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July 2021

REFEREE REVIEW 2012: Stuart Attwell


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 review we have a part time PL referee. With part time I mean that after a few months in the season he was put back to the lower leagues. But at the start we could manage to do a few of his games.

Stuart Attwell
Stuart Attwell

And if my sources are correct he will be back in the PL later this season. Not yet at the start it seems as the PGMOL has said that the same 16 referees who have been there at the end are the ones who start the PL. Just 16 referees for the PL… you got to be joking. Alas, they are not joking and it is the sad truth.

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The numbers please.

Untold Vs PGMOL - StuartAttwell 2011/2012

We did 3 of the games from Stuart Attwell last season. That was 30% of his PL games. Again not really much to work with but this time this is not just down to the lack of reviewers or games on TV but more down to the PGMOL.

Let us see if the PGMOL was correct to send him back?

PGMOL Vs EPL - Basic Competency - StuartAttwell 2011/2012

Well based on these numbers they had every right to send him back. As I have said a few times before a ref must get a minimum score of 70% in his games. Atwell didn’t make that score so in a way the PGMOL and the Untold referee review are on the same line.

The interesting thing will be of course to find out if there are other refs whom didn’t get that 70% and then we could wonder why Atwell was send down and they not?  Consistency is an important word when it comes to referees so we will be keeping an eye on any (in)consistency from the PGMOL on this.

Let us have a look at his decisions.

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

Well his goal decisions were correct. That couldn’t have been the problem.  His offside decisions also have been correct. So that also couldn’t have been the problem.

The other decisions are not good. Not good at all. Only 64.64% is not good enough. So that could have been a reason.

His penalty decisions are also very good. With two correct decisions made out of 2.

The only thing that is really bad are the red cards. No correct decisions in the games we reviewed. But there are another 6 or 7 refs in the same position so that couldn’t have been the point I think.

The yellow cards decisions are not good. But well he is somewhere in the middle compared to other refs.

So what do we have? We have a ref who was bad in decisions on fouls in the middle of the field. And who had some excellent scores on the goals and penalties in his games. And he got demoted. Our search for the reason continues. Let us have a look at his bias.

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

Now we do see a strange thing. Stuart Atwell is a ref that has managed to get a negative home bias in the 3 games we reviewed from him. And thus giving the away team a positive bias. Of course the best thing would be that there is no bias but this shows that this ref actually can stand up against the home crowd in general.

And if we put weight on the numbers we also see that he has a negative home bias of -3.666 and giving the away teams the benefit of the doubt.  As I am typing this I know that there have been 3 refs in total who had such a negative home bias. So this could also not be the reason for sending him back. Otherwise we would have seen a big name ref being send back and this hasn’t happened.

I admit it is a rather strange event for having a negative home bias but in general it is a sign of a strong ref for me. Giving in to the home crowd is the easiest option for a ref.

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

If we look at the weighted numbers we can’t immediately see something very strange. Of course the negative bias against Arsenal is almost normal. The negative bias against Norwich looks normal in a game against Manchester united.

The positive bias for Swansea is almost considered normal and even considered low as it was a game against Arsenal.

The big positive bias for Wolverhampton is a rather big one but then again it was an Arsenal game, so nothing surprises us any more. But there are some big swings in this and maybe this led to too much controversy on and off the field?

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

If we put weight on the decisions it looks as if we might have found a possible answer. We end up with some high numbers both for and against some teams. Maybe too outspoken numbers even for the PGMOL?

Of course it could well have been that in one of the other games he really screwed up some important calls.  But we can’t be sure about that as we didn’t review those other 7 games.


It doesn’t happen every day that Untold and the PGMOL can agree on something. Sending back Atwell was a correct move so we can agree with that. The bad thing is that in the games we reviewed he did rather good on the important decisions and we think it is important to have referees who make the important decisions correct.

But the numbers we found in the other decisions showed too many weak spots in his game. Too many things missed in general and that doesn’t sounds good for a referee.

According to someone I have spoken too, he would be coming back next season to the PL. But on twitter the PGMOL spokesman said that they had the same 16 refs starting the PL season as they had at the end. So no Atwell at the start of the season in the PL.

Untold Arsenal

How Arsenal started in the league – and how it nearly didn’t

9 comments to REFEREE REVIEW 2012: Stuart Attwell

  • colario

    Why are lower leagues given a failed referee arn’t their league and their games important?

  • Paul

    The amount of work that you put into into this is amazing. Of course an introduction like that means I am about to suggest you to put in more.
    Your page is daunting, no fun pictures, its full of graphs and writing which we have to read and work at. When I first started reading your offerings I could find no easy reference to what you used to calculate ‘bias’. I still can’t but I think I understand the concept now.
    Is it possible to permanently add a small key to explain concepts such as ‘bias’; ‘constructed’; ‘weighted’; ‘deconstructed’ etc.

    A small but confusing point for me was the use of ‘other’ to identify fouls in the centre of the pitch. Non-vital fouls really. I still have to re-read comments such as:

    “But the numbers we found in the other decisions showed too many weak spots in his game.”

    To find out if ‘other’ refers to the category ‘other’ or literally to his other decisions.
    Maybe cap ‘other’?

    An interesting experiment might be a seperate posting, sort of an introduction to referee performance.

    Referee performance reviews Stuart Attwell – 3 games reviewed
    Goal decisions – 100% correct
    Penalty decisions 100% correct
    Red Card decisions – 1 decision – wrong
    Yellow card decisions – 56% correct
    Fouls in neutral areas of pitch – 66% correct

    For a complete breakdown of his performance visit us at

  • Paul

    Referee performance reviews Stuart Attwell – 3 games reviewed
    Goal decisions – 100% correct
    Penalty decisions 100% correct
    Red Card decisions – 1 decision – wrong
    Yellow card decisions – 56% correct
    Fouls in neutral areas of pitch – 66% correct
    Bias – does Mr. Attwell show any bias?

    For a complete breakdown of his performance visit us at

    Add Bias at the bottom of the list…

  • Reviewer 02

    Paul to clarify

    Others is anything that is not

    A goal
    A Red Card offense
    A penalty
    A yellow card offense
    An offside

    we used to call fouls, fouls, and others was anything that was not the above, and not a foul. But it was changed to make the final summaries easier.

    An other offense can happen in any part of the pitch, a foul on a goalkeeper would be marked others, and the comments would discuss the foul. We do not count throw-ins and corners unless the decision is incorrect.

    However the system is constantly evolving dependent upon how Dogface wants his data. He is one hell of a taskmaster.

    We are always open to suggestion, many constructive ones have been taken up that came from users and commenters from the site

  • Wolfgang

    The problem is will the referees’ boss take action against errant officials.I know some have been punished.But what about those who make blunders which affect the outcome of a game involving winning a trophy and relegation?
    I refer to the game when the Stoke player charged the BR gk into goal and the goal stood.
    This is a very case of a mo blundering at the highest level of incompetence.He should be relagted permanently to the championship or retired.

  • paul

    Reviewer 02 Thank you, so simple it eluded me. Now if there was a key available explaining all the terms and graphs etc. imagine how much more I will get from your hard work.

  • Goona Gal

    The thing about Attwell is that there were rumours he was fast tracked to the elite group in response to Fergie’s comments about how old & unfit the refs were. Below is a link to brief catalogue of errors. Though I am prepared to be more lenient to a young ref, learning his trade than an experienced ref that seems to make the same mistakes, against the same teams, in similar circumstances over and over. That is more unexcusable and I think Attwell is a ref that is also being used as a ‘patsy’ to show that poor refereeing is being addressed.

  • Mahdain

    here is a link none posted on another article.. Does Riley really think we are all idiots?

  • bob

    Just to relieve the outrage some feel, can you name some of the Barclay’s PL referees that have actually been “punished”? I guess it depends on what’s meant by punishment (and for how long, etc.)