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July 2021

Life with a positive bias. Ref Review 2012/13: West Ham United

By Walter Broeckx

This article is part of the series of the Referee Review 2013. You can find links to earlier articles on the bottom of this article.


In this part of the series we have a look at each team and see how the bias panned out for each team. This is based on the decisions themselves without putting any weight on it. A total table will be published at the end of this and then you can compare each team with the other teams. Will be an interesting table I can assure you that.

But now let us move to the next team in our survey: West Ham United.

We did 17 games of West Ham United last season and that is 44,74% of their total games. Close to the 50% mark and way above the norm for this type of research. So I think we should be able to have a good luck but not really an optimal look at how things went for them.

We will show this in a table for each team highlighting each type of decision. We will show you the totals when the team in the article got a favourable decision and when they got it against them.  As you know the traditional mantra “it all evens out at the end of the season” should be visible over here. So why don’t we try to see if things did even out for each team or not?

In the table we just show the decisions as a decision and we didn’t put any weight on the decisions. That is something for later on. Now we just take each decision at the same value, which is of course not saying all because a wrong penalty call is a bit more important than a wrong throw in decision.

west ham united

In the second column we see the type of decision. And in the column “favoured” we see how many decisions favoured West Ham when we reviewed them. And in the column “Penalised” we see how many times a wrong decision went against them.  The total swing is the difference between the favoured decisions and the penalised decisions.

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A negative number in this column means that the total was against the team and a positive number means that the total decisions was in their favour.

In the last column we see the average swing per game based on the games we reviewed. And this gives an indication on how many decisions went against a team or were in favour of a team. The lower the number the lower number of decisions that were wrong. And a positive number indicates that in each game they get some decisions in their favour and a negative indicates how many decisions the team has to overcome.

If we look at the numbers for West Ham we see that in the games we reviewed they got some 28 decisions going their way in total. Which gives them a positive bias swing at the end.  If we look closely we see that they only got two  types of decisions going against them and that was the indirect free kick decisions and offside decisions.  The rest were decisions going their way.

The foul and free kick decisions went their way a lot and also the yellow card decisions was where they got some benefit from the referees.  Not many wrong goal and penalty decisions, but the total outcome was positive for them but with only one decision difference not that much to be upset about.

The number in the last column below indicates that West Ham United on average can benefit to 2 decisions in their favour in a game.

Earlier articles:

1. Who reviewed the games

2. What we did and what next

3. All the decisions in numbers

4. The first at times astonishing numbers

5. Home and away bias

6.  It all evens out in the end – Wigan last season

The books…

The sites from the same team…

3 comments to Life with a positive bias. Ref Review 2012/13: West Ham United

  • Florian

    The refs seem to like Big Sam’s style of play. And some call it “the beautiful game” 🙁

  • Wjo1974

    Thanks for the analysis. Just as a West Ham fan it really didn’t feel like that. And as for BS being favoured by Refs he was up before the beak for criticising them. Although that was due to the fat boy Dowd and his pentalty for Man U and waved away our one. Also the goal wiped out against Citeh when Nolan was clearly on side that would have won us the game. The sending off of CC for a high boot that got over turned against Everton. We do get silly decisions go our way but anything game changing is against us. Feels like it is done purposefully.
    Conspiracy theories abound. Good luck for next year and hoping you are up challenging and keeping the Spuds out.

  • WalterBroeckx


    The problem is that with not all the games covered of WHA you can point at incidents when your team was hard done by.
    I have something in mind to cover that in the next season for the big decisions.

    That is my hope for next season anyway to be able to cover the (own)goal, penalty (if shown in MOTD of course), and other dubious important decisions.