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August 2021

Ref Review 2012/13: Who was Tottenham’s bogey ref?

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 Premier League refs (leading to the best ref of the 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 for each individual team.

We will of course bring you this in order so that from now on if you see that your team is playing 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 if there are any possible situations that return from one year to the next.

And we do this because it might well be that some referee performances are a one off. But if a ref has the same bias against a team it might show something more. For if a ref 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 below.  The ultimate referee performance would be that the 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 graphic.

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.   That is the bias number for that ref.

On the other hand if the ref had a negative bias you will once again see 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 the bias that ref produces.  Short lines are better and would be nicer for us all, if only the world worked that way. I also included a little table in the graphic just with the names and with a red or green label. This is for any readers who want to have a quick look at the names as sometimes the numbers can get in the way.

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So here we go with the next in our series, which is Tottenham Hotspurt

Tottenham bias per ref

The first thing you notice of course is the overwhelming presence of the colour green. Only two refs had a negative impact on this team. Which is a rather unusual factor when compared with other teams.

The two refs with a negative impact were Phil Dowd (but that was a rather small bias) and Ref Probert who had a bigger negative bias but even that is rather small compared to some numbers we have seen in this series and we will see later on.

And then we also had 1 ref with a zero bias and that is ref Michael Jones.

And then the positive story starts. From a small positive bias starting from Atkinson and then going further with Halsey, Webb, Mason, Clattenburg, Dean and Foy.

We then have 4 refs with a very positive bias. Friend, Oliver and Dowd were very positive for Tottenham last season. But top of the list is ref Swarbrick.

Now let us see how things were in the season before. And we have a look at the numbers from the season 2011/2012:

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

And again we only see a few refs with a negative bias.   Foy was then the worst ref and that was the only real negative ref for Tottenham last season. Oliver and Probert had a negative bias but a very small one.  The only name returning in the negative bias index is Probert – with whom Arsenal also has some issues.

Dowd had a negative bias last season and with this season having a big positive bias.

Refs that have been positive for Tottenham in that season were Jones, Marinner, Webb, Dean and Halsey. And the only name that had a small negative bias was Marinner last season.

But all the other refs has had a positive bias for two seasons running. A rather amazing pattern I must say.

To answer the question in the title: no ref was.

11 comments to Ref Review 2012/13: Who was Tottenham’s bogey ref?

  • Howard I Hate Tottenham Webb

    Arsenal blog finds refs are biased towards Tottenham and biased against Arsenal. Shocking.

    And before you come out with the “we have neutral reviewers” response, this page shows the truth:

    It simply is not possible for neutral people to find a massive 800+ swing gap between two teams, even more so when those two teams are part of the teams that get the decisions against smaller teams.

    In conclusion all your reviewers need to be neutral, instead of 35% Arsenal fans, and you need to look at every single game

  • Mandy Dodd

    Quite like the spuds these refs don’t they. Media driven or something else?

  • bjtgooner

    I would like Riley to explain this pro Spuds bias – not that he will unless he is cornered in a public inquiry or equivalent.

    When we have a situation where nearly all the refs are blatantly favouring Spurs it has to be because they have been given orders.

    Last season there seemed to be a major effort by many to push Arsenal out of the top four – for the benefit of Spurs – where Riley and his rogues in on it?

  • Florian


    That is a very useful piece of advice. Walter repeatedly pointed out that each game’s reviewer(s) are in no way connected to the teams involved. You have the right to your opinion, but please provide evidence to support it.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Really strange with the spuds. I put some of the apparently biased reffing in the past down to the malign influence of mr redknapp, as we know,an old school kind of guy who has been accused of all sorts but resorts to claims of stupidity and canine capers in court . But it seems their positive treatment is continuing under AVB. I am not aware what influence they have in the corridors of power, but I do know they yield significant influence in the written press, especially of the London based variety. Some say they have a bit of influence with MOTD as well. Sounds like something that needs further investigation.

  • rantetta

    Ah, you got me there. I thought there’d be at least one bogey ref for tootymah. Nowt. Astonishing!

    Some will say there’s no bias for them lot. Of course it’s nothing to do with the avid T fans in the govt. Nothing to do with Lord Triesman. Nothing to do with tapping WHU’s phones to try and get the Olympic stadium. Nothing to do with Boris the mayor. Nothing to do with public money frittered towards the building of their new stadium/little or no sticking to the regulations re social housing. Nothing to do with a club who have some fans use bad words/chants – and suffer little or no prosecution when doing so. Nah.

    When I was a kid I liked totty – cos they were a London club. Just like I liked WH, Chelsea, Qpr and whoever else – cos I loved football. Amongst my peers I was the only Arsenal fan. I went to most grounds in London. Gimme the football.

    As I’ve got older I’ve noticed the constant praising of tooty whatever they’re doing – the outrage when summat doesn’t go their way (sometimes correctly, like the not given goal at OT), but I don’t hear much about how many managers they’ve had in the last 20 years, and what that says about them. Were there 3 or 4 matches in a row we had Mikey D reffing for them. What’s that about? (Van der fart handball then goal/Sagna’s leg broken/that 4-4 a few years ago, was that Dean too?)

    Anyway, this series of ref articles is simply magnificent. This is truly an amazing body of work.

    Thank you.

  • Florian

    And btw, I can even tell you who we had as ref in the NLD this Autumn. It was none other than Mr. Oliver – the third highest bias pro Spuds. I was there, and I could see it live what it is to suffer from his double-sided rule book. Walter, I think you need to change the format of your reports, to anticipate our next match opponents:)

  • Mandy Dodd

    Rantetta,,nobody plays the media like the spuds. You have to hand it to them. Don’t win anything, but provide us with swashbuckling roller coaster rides in Europe and domestically…or something along those lines. We are always reminded of eight years without a trophy, they are over half a century without a major trophy, ray parlour has more league wins than them, we have won more titles at WHL than they have in their history, but we are not constantly reminded of that. Lies, damn lies and spin. But as I have said before, I think the media coverage , however kind,ultimately puts undue pressure on them. For instance, how can Townsend live up to the hype…..but they will probably just not report it when he hits a poor spell and focus on mistakes by the likes of theo instead.

  • Jerry

    Good work and not really surprised at all!

    Just 1 correction, based on the graph the negative bias refs were Mariner and Probert, not Dowd. Overall great work and enjoying the read!

  • blacksheep63

    interesting report, but then how do we explain the fact that none of these refs gave them a penalty last season?

  • rantetta

    Mandy Dodd

    You are quite right about the meedja playing the spuds and vice-versa. Very good point about Townsend. I’d feel sorry for him except that – following Hodgy’s Feed the monkey comments, Andreos felt he had to go along with the “no offence taken” line. This is understandable. He’s a very young man. If he says Roy’s a racist at heart (see Ferdinand v Terry selection dilema) – he won’t have a job. I’m less forgiving because I know that out there in the real world, Black people have to suck this shit up day after day, pretending to not be deeply wounded, and fighting off any urge to give their employers and colleagues ‘what for’.

    It’s similar for many women. Accept being leered at/inappropriate comments, etc, or find another job/promotion.

    As hard as it must’ve been for Theo to miss out on WC2010 – given the way it went for England – I’m so glad he wasn’t picked by Capello. There were no Arsenal players to blame, or get injured.

    I’d better stop…