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Ref Review 2012/13: Mark Halsey – With under half his penalties correct it is farewell, goodbye auf wiedersehen

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 Mark Halsey.  Now retired ref Halsey has been in the PL for many  years and stopped at the end of last season.

And if you have been paying attention you will know that we have been hearing from him because he refused to take the ‘silence money’ that retiring referees are offered at the end of their career if they sign an agreement in which they promise to not tell any secrets.

So he’s spilling beans, and we are getting new insights into the closed world.  And thus despite being retired we will keep on watching what Halsey does in the future.

In the season just gone ref Halsey did 18 games in the PL and we reviewed 5 of his games. That is 27,78 % of his games we have been able to cover. So a rather low number and this makes it more difficult to draw conclusions.  In fact this is the lowest percentage of all the refs we have. But it is still massively more than a sample undertaken to predict an election result, and anyway we can only work with the numbers we have and we have to take them as they came and that is what we will do.   So how did he do when we look at all the decisions?

M halsey all

In those five games we reviewed we have seen that Halsey had to make 719 decisions in total. Our panel of referee reviewers found that he had 597 of the decisions correct. This is one of the lower scores we had in the PL. But better than refs like Probert.  Mind you this is also better than last season but this might be down to what I will tell you next.

Of course for those who have been following us for a while,  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.

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But having some kind of decent general score is one thing. What matters more is seeing how his important decisions have been and this is something we can see in the next table.

M Halsey imp

When we look at the important decisions we see that Halsey had to make 338 of them.  And our panel of referee reviewers found that 228 of these decisions were correct and this gives him a score of 67,46 % correct important decisions. We have seen worse in this series and in last years series but still one of the lower scores. But better than his last year score.

His foul/free kick decisions were not really great with only around 70% correct.

His goal decision was not good at all. With a score of around 80% this is terrible I feel. After all goals is what makes the difference in the league table.

His penalty decisions were bad with not even 50% correct. Maybe at some point in life age is taking its toll on what is a very intense and demanding job?

His yellow and red cards score is also very below par. But this is in fact the way Halsey was in his later years. Very soft when it comes to handing out cards. Too soft.

But as he is retired now we will not think about it too much. Just have a quick look at his bias numbers.

M Halsey bias

And there we see that I think someone will have send him a good farewell text.  Liverpool with a big negative bias. Manchester City with a negative bias and Everton also with a big negative bias. He didn’t like teams from Liverpool it seems. The Not should have been Norwich with a small negative bias.  Sorry.

On the good side we see Tottenham with a small positive bias and Fulham also had some things going their way.

But on top we see that even though he claimed that once crossing the line there are no favours given…that he actually did give Manchester United and his phone friend some favours.

I could go on and tell bad things, but as he has retired I will let it go. I just hope he returns the favour and will be telling us more juicy tales about refs texting and phoning managers from a certain team.

And finally I want to applaud him for one decision he once made in a game between Fulham and Arsenal a long time ago. It was a game when Cole was first adjudged to have fouled a Fulham player and Halsey pointed to the spot. But the Arsenal players were so enraged that he started doubting his decision and went over to the assistant who was closest to the action who confirmed that Cole had played the ball and that then the Fulham player tripped over his leg and it was no foul. Halsey corrected his mistake and gave a dropped ball if I remember the end correctly. That was a brave thing to do.

So lets hope we hear lots more from Halsey in his new function and lets hope we can here a bit more about phoning the refs.


15 comments to Ref Review 2012/13: Mark Halsey – With under half his penalties correct it is farewell, goodbye auf wiedersehen

  • WalterBroeckx

    Interesting to see this high bias in favour of MU after him telling about his phone and text contact with SAF…

  • I would be interested to see a combined bias chart for all refs – I bet right now that Utd come out the most favourably.

  • nicky

    I hope Halsey makes a fortune with his book. It will encourage others to come clean and incriminate folk like Ferguson in the corruption infesting the professional game.
    I’m now beginning to wonder whether Ferguson’s unexpected decision to retire was spawned by the shape of things to come. Rats and a sinking ship come to mind.

  • Mandy Dodd

    That is quite a bias for Utd, but in the light of recent comments, hardly surprising. I wish him and his wife the best for their future, nobody can doubt their bravery i what they have been through,but during his time as a referee when it came to Utd, mr Halsey was clearly a wrong-un. He should have spent less time trying to earn fergies respect . Unless he puts things right, his refereeing career will always be remembered in this way.

  • Stuart

    What team is referred to as NOT in the final chart?

  • AL

    NOT was meant to be Norwich.

    Someone on here, cant remember who, last season said it did seem like ferguson’s resignation had been hasty and did wonder whether it was due to Halsey’s book. They also pointed that Gill was stepping down which was a bit unusual to have manager and chief exec go at the same time. Certainly looks like there’s more to come.

  • nicky

    The plot thickens!

  • Stuart

    Thanks Al, thought so but had to check incase I missed the Nottingham Forest games last season.


    Here is just one of the ways referees can influence which team wins the league. In a hypothetical league you have two teams clearly head and shoulders above every other team. Sort of like la liga or the SPL, Team A or B is gonna win the title. All it would take is for certain refs to give team A a few favorable decisions that turn some of team A defeats into draws and their draws into wins. Not many, Lets say two of each. That six points gained. The very same refs do the exact opposite with team B, A few questionable decisions the other way and team B loses six points. That is a twelve point swing right there. Spread that out among three or four refs and it doesn’t look fishy. Even something as innocuous as yellow cards can effect a game. A couple of yellow cards given out early can effect a team’s aggressiveness, Then comes the second half and another card and the team is a man down. The opposite way holds true also, Let a team kick it’s opponents up and down the pitch with no punishment and that team has an edge. The very same way Villa did to us the first game of this season. The people who think this cannot happen are delusional. I find it very disturbing that the refs get money not to disclose anything about the game when they retire. That sounds like hush money to me. What are they trying to hide. The organization that appoints the refs for the matches seems very shadowy. Over here in the States all the officials in our major sports are appointed on a rotational basis. No ref or umpire does any team’s games more than any other team. It don’t look right to do it any other way. If there are nineteen refs in the E.P.L. no ref should do a team’s games more than four times in a season. You guys have Mike Riley appointing the officials for every match. WHAT A FUCKING JOKE. Everyone knows what a fine, outstanding, honest pillar of society Riley is. Just watch the tape of the game that ended our undefeated streak. Math is not one of my fortes, Feel free to correct me if i am wrong about the number of games each ref should do per team.

  • rantetta

    “Just watch the tape of the game that ended our undefeated streak”

    Oh well, if you insist, but don’t just watch – take in the camera angles and the commentary – then compare to what you see and hear nowadays:

    @ GoingGoingGooner
    I find it hard to watch, too.

  • rantetta

    My theory re slurgy’s retirement (based on ‘not much’), was that he was set to retire one season earlier, but despite help from the refs, MU messed it up and $ity were too strong, ultimately.

    So in 12/13, right from the off, the powers that be – made abso-****ing-loooooootely sure.

    I also think (based on even less) that the house of cards would’ve come down if slurgy stayed on. I can’t explain this. It’s late – past midnight. (is that a song?)

    Some time ago I wrote about Halsey being embraced by Mr Wenger at the Ems. My thoughts at the time were, what a wonderful human being Wenger is. I had sympathy for Halsey given his plight. (All this on his return from cancer).

    However/Be that as it may/But just a moment there…

    I’ve got a game against Wolves in mind, where Carl Henry and his mob went around smashing up Arsenal. Halsey was in charge. Of ‘what’ I don’t know. There were some vicious tackles on Chamakh, and others. Just before the final whistle, Cesc lost it and took out one of their players. It should’ve been a red card, but Halsey could hardly do that after what ‘brave Mick’s’ men had done all night.

    I’m astonished to see Halsey’s numbers against Liverpool, as not too long ago, the brat Henderson crunched his shoulder into Arteta, leaving him having to be stretchered off, and the Scouser team were really at it all game, aided and abetted by our dear friend Marky H. Although Halsey’s back appeared to be turned away from the incident, he was so close he MUST have felt it. Naturally the lines persons ignored that just as they ignored lots of assaults the Liverpool players were making. (2011/12, I believe).

    I’m afraid Mark has resided over several smash-fest matches in the last few years. It’s not that long ago he was 10 yards away from McManamann’s thoroughly nasty attack on a Newcastle player. (He didn’t see it)?? (**** me – really?)

    I’ve occasionally popped along to the pub when I’ve known Mark’s gonna ref a ‘Blackburn v Bolton’ type match – just as an alternative to kick boxing. (not to see football, obviously).

    And sorry, but I’m not expecting mega-revelations from Halsey. That’s because he commented on an Arsenal game recently and I remember thinking: he’s doing the same jobby as Dermot Gallgher, of whom the less said, the better.

  • Florian


    The song is Living After Midnight.

    I guess it depends which side of the Earth are you on though;) It’s still daylight here in Seattle.

    On topic: Mr. Halsey’s retirement was overdue, and not only by 1 year. He bravely overcome cancer to come back on the field, hats off to him for that. It’s a shame really that his decisions went the way exposed by this rather small but I’d say not inconclusive sample. But I’m not saying anything new here.

  • Gord

    There are occupations which expect higher ethics (sales is not among them). I live one that does (engineering, at least in Canada). At first pass, what is needed in definitions of football referring, is a definition of unprofessional practice (or rather, define professional practice, and then anything not fitting the definition is unprofessional).

    Challenging unprofessional practice in engineering isn’t trivial. I suspect it wouldn’t be in football officiating either.

  • Rufusstan

    @BILL FROM MANHATTAN — Lets be honest here, there is no way that would happen.

    Imaging a Monday morning where the champions are 2 points off the lead after 4 games, and that could stretch to 5 points if a rival wins their game in hand that evening.

    Imagine then that they play away at their nearest rivals the next weekend so could well drop more points, especially as the top 2 have relatively easy home games that weekend.

    There is no way you could manipulate that situation. The champions would have to ‘randomly’ be assigned a referee that would give them the best chance go get a result.

    At the same time, the league leaders would have to ‘randomly’ get say, a relatively inexperienced (at this level) referee, who in the admittedly few (and all home) games he has officiated with the leaders, they have yet to earn a point.*

    Even with that, you would still have to hope beyond hope, that the second place team (in great form) would have to ‘randomly’ end up with the one ref out of 16-18 under whom they almost never win.

    It is so ridiculously obvious that no one would even try it.

    Oh wait…………..

    *The other two are well known, but just to point out

  • Toye

    Mark Hasley to me is one of the refs who make me angry. I can remember several games where he messed us up but two readily come to mind. 1. In a match against Man U(?) Every time we try to attack Mark Hasley runs in front of our player to disrupt the flow. He did that so many times I knew it was a setup. 2. In a Carling Cup match, our opponents cleared the ball, it hit Hasley, Fabregas played a through pass from the ricochet Hasley then pulled the ball back for a dead ball. In my books he is a Dean ref