Ref review 2012/13: Kevin Friend. Over 90% right, but a red card disaster.

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.


For the next ref in our series we have ref Kevin Friend. Kevin Friend came in to the PL in 2009 and has now a few seasons of experience under his belt. He is 42 years old now and in normal circumstances we will be seeing him for a few years.

In the season just gone Friend did 24 games in the PL and we reviewed 12 of his games. That is 50.00% of his games we have been able to cover. So unless he did the complete opposite in those 12 other games that we couldn’t review I think we can draw some conclusions about this ref with the numbers we gathered last season. So let us first have a look at his overall decisions.

K Friend all

In the 12 games we reviewed ref Friend had to make 1673 decisions. Our panel of referee reviewers judged that he had 1509 correct decisions and that is 90,20% of correct decisions in total. Just as with ref Moss this is an excellent number. So just as with Moss I think the referee should  take a bow for these numbers.

Of course by now you know that judging them as correct is not the same as being correct completely. When we can’t judge a call or when we are not 100% sure he made a mistake we call the decision correct. But it might be that if we had seen other angles we might have seen an incorrect decision.  So in general the numbers could be even flattering the refs but this goes for all the refs and not the refs we are looking at today.

But this remark shouldn’t take anything away from his numbers.  For all the refs had the same treatment it will show you that some refs performed better than others. And I think we can say that Friend just like Moss was one of the top performers in the PL.

He also is a rather low profile ref I think and most people will not know him that well. And that is usually a good sign for a ref. It shows that in general his decisions are being approved by the public and he didn’t became famous with serious mistakes. Now let us look at the important decisions.

K Friend imp

When we look at his important decisions we see that his number just drops below the 80% mark.

In this set of numbers we see one stand out number. And it is a negative number. We see that he got all his red card decisions wrong. And that is a real shame if you ask me and throws a big shadow over what looks a great set of numbers for the rest.  It seems that he has some troubles with sending off players with a red card. Or handing out a second yellow card. He only got half of those decisions right.

His first yellow cards are good compared to others but I would like to see a higher number if possible. He has been criticised in recent years about not handing them out well and this might be his Achilles heel in his refereeing.

What is good is that his general foul/free kick numbers are above 80% and that is great. Not many refs in the PL get such a score. Which is bad for the PL.

And also his penalty decisions were far better than most refs in the PL. A score close to 80% is showing that there is not much difference between ref Friend inside our outside the penalty box.

And his goal decisions were also great apart from one decision where he made a mistake.

So a great set of numbers with almost in every aspect a better score than most other refs in the PL.  Kevin Friend can be a satisfied ref and if he could work on the cards he could become even better.

Will we still be satisfied when we see the bias numbers? Let us check them.


K Friend bias

If we look at these numbers we see that most teams had a negative bias and only a few with a positive bias. Manchester United is leading the way in the positive bias numbers closely followed by Liverpool. Not the most likely combination one could say but these are the numbers. Tottenham also had a fine bias going their way.  Stoke had a small bias in their favour and Southampton can be the team that said it evened out when Friend as the ref.

We note that Friend was rather kind to Arsenal with the smallest negative bias for Arsenal compared to the other teams.  Chelsea also had a small negative bias. Sunderland, Everton and Reading got a bit more against them.

Fulham and WBA have more reasons to complain. And I don’t know what went wrong when Friend did Aston Villa but the bias is amazingly big against them. For a ref who has a lot of teams with a small bias score this numbers looks totally out of place.  He sure must have a real bad day at the office in that game and Aston Villa seemed to have paid the price.

FINAL CONCLUSION: A great set of numbers with only a few remarks we can give. He should improve on giving his cards and that is the only negative remark I can give. For the rest outstanding numbers and showing a lot of his big named- colleagues how to do it. And rather low bias scores in general apart from the rather strange looking Aston Villa number. He sure wasn’t the friend of Aston Villa last season in the games we reviewed.


12 Replies to “Ref review 2012/13: Kevin Friend. Over 90% right, but a red card disaster.”

  1. I have always regarded Kevin Friend as one of the better refs in the PL and these numbers prove it. One of the few in the select group whereby I never shit it when we have him as ref. Even with his woeful red card record he should have a FIFA badge and not that crook Anthony Taylor..

  2. Good stuff Walter. I expect like me you are hoping to see a ref give a massive negative bias to Man U– well– if the playing field is level and fair- we should expect this- statistically. Mmm, I wonder.

  3. It’s not top flight corruption but corruption non the less in football. British players coming over to play 2nd tier football to help classy decisions ?

  4. It’s not top flight corruption but corruption non the less in football. British players coming over to play 2nd tier football to help sway decisions ?

  5. If you look at the fact that Mr Friend has given 6 red cards of which all were incorrect… That makes him a bad ref in my books. That is 1 red card every other game. Red cards along with penalties are game changers. So Mr Friend gets a 0% in my book!

  6. Mr. Pink,
    ref Friend has given 3 red cards last season.
    So I think it is more down to the fact that he should have send a few players off in the games but didn’t do it.

  7. From the bias table, he seems a bit leaning for the “big”/ top teams except Stoke. May be you can check if that is consistent over the years.

  8. Nelson,

    In last season he didn’t do MU in the games we reviewed or Arsenal.
    Bias in favour of Man C then (now not in the reviewed games alas)
    Liverpool a small negative bias last season.

  9. I see the BBC have approached the PGMOL for more information on Mark Halsey’s claims that he received very little support from them after receiving death threats after officiating in the Liverpool v Man Utd game at Anfield last season.

    Great to see somebody else putting the PGMOL under pressure for answers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *