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July 2021

Ref Review 2012/13: Who was a good ref for WBA. (Hint: it wasn’t Probert)

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.


After having dealt with the different teams and after having examined all the refs and having given the award for the best ref of last season according to the views of our referee reviewers we now will bring you something that will be an easy manual to see who is good or bad as a ref for each team.

We will of course bring you this in order so that from now on if you see that your team will play and there is a certain ref assigned you can see in a blink of an eye if this ref has a bad or a good history with your team. At least in the season 2012/2013.  And if all goes well we will even try to add the bias from the season before in to each article. And that way you can see anything that recurs over and over and …

Of course occasionally all refs can have an off day.  But if a ref has the same bias against a team it might show something more. If a ref of course has a big bias in favour of a team it also is saying something about that ref.

A little word of explanation about the graphics you will see. The ultimate referee performance occurs when you see a bias score (which is based on the wrong decisions) of around zero. Alas you will find very few of those scores in the total series. So the zero line will be the middle line of each graph.

If a ref has positive bias score for the team involved you will see a name (of the ref) and a green line and a number. The bias number for that ref.

On the other hand if the ref had a negative bias you will see again a name but then with a red line and a number. The negative bias score for that ref.

The longer the lines, the higher the number and the higher that bias has been from the ref. Short lines are better and would be nicer for all. I have also included a little table in the graphic just with the names and with a red or green label. This is for those who want to throw a quick look at the names as sometimes the numbers did get in the way with the name.

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Next in our series is West Bromwich Albion:

WBA bias per ref

One ref who is close to neutral in the first place is referee Anthony Taylor.

If we go to the refs who were more positive for WBA we find Mike Dean with a small positive bias. The refs with a bigger positive bias are East, Dowd, Oliver, Foy and Lee Mason. People who have seen the match between WBA and Arsenal this season will have noticed it.

But top of the bill for WBA is referee Howard Webb.

More negative refs for WBA albeit with a not-that-big a bias were refs Moss, Jones and Clattenburg.  A few refs with a big negative bias were Kevin Friend and top of the negative list is Lee Probert.

Now let us have a look at the numbers we found in the season 2011/2012:

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

We see a big negative bias from Mark Halsey in this and also Lee Mason.  Mason who had a positive bias last season as you will remember. That maybe had something to do with the opponents then?

But yet again we see that ref Lee Probert has a big negative bias against WBA. That is for two seasons running now. I suggest WBA fans keep a close eye on him. But that goes for a few other teams also when we speak of Probert.

Ref Jones had a positive bias two seasons ago and a negative one last season. So again this could be down to the opponents they have played in the game that he was the ref.

A more positive ref for WBA is Michael Oliver. A positive bias in both seasons. He sure is one they will like to see do their games.

17 comments to Ref Review 2012/13: Who was a good ref for WBA. (Hint: it wasn’t Probert)

  • WalterBroeckx

    Well look now…
    our numbers is telling us that Mason was rather pro WBA and was rather against Arsenal. And who did the PGMOL send for the game WBA – Arsenal? yes… Mason.

    And our numbers were telling us that Probert was rather pro Norwich and was very much against Arsenal. And who did the PGMOL send for the game Arsenal – Norwich? Oh yes… Probert.

    Ah but it will be a coincidence some will say…

  • Yassin

    Yes its all coincidence, and us not having a penalty everytime it is so obvious too is a coincidence….
    But i would like to salute Norwich for playinh good football, instead of kicking us off the park, watching all 4 goals were on the counter, i believe the tactics developed by WBA by fouling anyone trying to counter without having a yellow could have worked on saturday. But huge respect for Norwich and their coach for playing fair, they even made Probert a decend red, will not too decent i would say?

  • AL

    Nice work Walter. If it weren’t for the taylors of this world utd would be 13 points behind us right now, it hurts.

    So looking at the pattern we will probably get Atkinson for our CoC game v Chelsea. Not sure who we are likely to get for Crystal Palace and Liverpool(perhaps Marriner for the pool game?). We shall see.

  • bjtgooner

    This is an interesting series. While WBA were badly treated by some refs, at least some others favoured them – but, only at the expense of other teams.

    I wonder if any ref was a good ref for Arsenal – I look forward to that report!

  • Florian

    Right, PGMO* have a real problem with our next PL game;) One could predict they’ll send the uniquitous Mike Dean, just to make sure of the outcome? Even though they couldn’t achieve their goals even with the aforementioned 2. Oh well, never stop trying.

  • unbelievable belief

    Did anyone see Rafael’s appalling dive in Fergie time (yeah, I know) at the Old Toilet?
    not on MOTD. (He was trying to win a Penalty to cheat Saints out of their draw).
    The ref didn’t buy it, but he did’t book the little shit either.
    In the last ManU home game, the linesman didn’t give the manure an offside goal in injury time that would have been an equaliser.
    If Fergie was around….. things would have gone differently.

  • Gord


    It is getting late for people in Europe, so maybe someone elsewhere is still active.

    Was there anything unusual about 1993/94 in the EPL (2nd season)?

  • Florian

    @unbelievable belief,

    Not to mention ManU’s goal was scored from an offside position (Rooney).

  • Florian


    I wasn’t watching very closely at that time but still… can you elaborate?

  • Gord

    There are an exceptionally high number of games which end 0-0.

  • WalterBroeckx

    For those asking: it is Foy for our match at Crystal Palace.

    As we have no numbers of Foy and Crystal Palace we are a bit in doubt about this one. We don’t do bad under Foy but he allows a lot of kicking.

    But what we do know about Foy is that he is…a real home ref. I think he was the ref with the highest home bias of them all.

    Shall we put this down to another coincidence from Mike Riley and his gang?

    You couldn’t make it up…

  • Florian

    Yes, I remember he was Stoke RC’s best friend two seasons ago.

  • Florian

    From the Wikipedia page:

    There were 43 0-0 results, 51 1-0 results, 31 2-0, 16 3-0, 32 0-1, 22 0-2, 7 0-3. Together with the 4-0s and 5-0s there were 264 clean sheets. Only one team scored 6 goals in a match – Everton, 6-2 at home against Swindon. The goal average was still not so bad, at about 2.59 goals per game.

    As for Arsenal, they finished fourth, and had 3 0-0 results.

    The next season appeared to be worse. There were 50 0-0s, 277 clean sheets, and no team scored 6 goals in a match. Only 5 times a team scored 5 goals in a match, and no away team scored more than 4 goals. However, most interestingly, the number of goals scored was exactly the same as in the previous season – 1195 goals in 462 matches.

    Arsenal had a campaign to forget and finished 12th.

  • Gord


    1994/95 is going to be worse? I may not have had enough coffee yet.

    I hope you didn’t compile those records manually from the Wikipedia page. That is a lot of work. It would be better if there was a better summary of the year there.

    My records show more than three 0-0 for Arsenal:
    19931002 Liverpool-Arsenal,
    19931016 Arsenal-ManCity,
    19931023 Oldham-Arsenal,
    19931030 Arsenal-Norwich,
    19931124 West Ham-Arsenal,
    19940103 Arsenal-QPR,
    19940115 ManCity-Arsenal.

    Reading both the row (home) and column for Arsenal in the Wikipedia table, I get Arsenal as having 7 0-0 results (and 43 in total). Each team plays 42 games , which is about the same as the number of 0-0 scores present, so on average you expect each team to get two 0-0 results (one home, one away).

    Swindon Town gave up 100 goals against, they have 3 0-0 results (1 home, 2 away). ManU had 3 (one was last game of season).

    Swindon gave up 45 goals at home, and 55 away (totals 100). Of the 420 games not involving Swindon Town, there are 1195-100-47=1048 goals, which is a 2.50 average.

    I guess why this bothered me so much, is maybe not that there were so many 0-0 games in general, but that Arsenal has so many more than they should. It is perhaps surprising that Swindon managed to get 3, with having such a horrible goals against.

  • Gord

    @Walter (others?)

    I just glanced at the top of the BBC Football page, and there is a picture and headline, “Blatter Could be Succeeded by Webb”.

    My first thought was, “How the heck does Howard Webb get considered head of FIFA?”.

    But, it looks like they are talking some other Webb. 🙂

  • Florian


    I didn’t have to, I managed to do a simple text search in the page, and sum up the data in Excel. A 15 min job.

    I see what you’re saying. I think I focused more on the overall stats. It’s weird indeed that Arsenal managed so many goalless games that season. Actually, in the next season (94-95), they did only marginally better, gathering six nil-nils. They fared better under Bruce Rioch, with 4 in 95-96.

  • Gord


    I am glad you didn’t go to a lot of work.

    I think 0-0 is a failure, the game was a waste of everyone’s time in general. I do think some good 0-0 games exist, but in general a 0-0 game is a waste.

    But, what I want to do, is to compile a “never ending league ranking”. At the beginning of the EPL, each team plays 42 games (now 38). We have the standings for all teams, and we know which teams played what games in what order. We find out what is the first game arsenal plays in the first season (Arsenal home to Norwich: 2-4) and we find that same game in the next season (Oct 30, 0-0) and we replace that first game’s data with the next year. We do that for all teams, and compile a new “league standing table”. ManU won the first season by 10 points, so even if by this set of swapping ManU loses 3 points and Aston Villa gains 3 points, ManU would still be first. But the difference instead of 10 points, might only be 4 points. Advance another game, do it all over again. At the second week, it is possible that either Aston Villa or Norwich could take over lead spot. At game 41 of this never-ending league, ManU will finish first, because ManU had an 8 point lead on Blackburn at the end of season 2.

    Nobody wants to read about calculations, so I hope to find a neat way to present this never ending season view. I suspect there will be times where Arsenal is leading the league. But unfortunately, it wasn’t at the end of the season when the trophy is given away.

    Where I am getting my data, tells who scores (with some mistakes or missing or extra data), but doesn’t say when in the game. It would be nice to find a source of when that is easy to incorporate. That would make some other data easier to generate.