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July 2021

Saints Days – Does St Totteringham and St Totteridge Need Company?


By an anonymous statistician

Not everything in football is true.  Not everything on Untold is true.  Shocking I know, but there it is.

But inventiveness and creativity is good.  Take for example  St. Totteringham’s Day (also known as St. Totteridge’s Day) I think is a fun idea.  But it is restricted to The Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.  I think they might like some company.

Before I get into that, a person needs data before one can do statistics on it.  The details of how I have done this are at the end of the article (I wouldn’t want to lose my audience at this point with the technical bits)

Now let’s start with the fact that all teams supposedly start the season with the idea that they are going to win the league.  Or, at least that is how a fair system is supposed to work.  But of course it doesn’t go like that.  One team wins it a lot more than the others – hardly fair really.

So we have one regular winner, and a lot of teams that never get a look in at all, and it would nice to be able to celebrate these failures.

Now I am not religious, and have little knowledge of Catholicism.  But… the Catholic Church apparently has a patron saint of failure, St. Bridget (anglicized) or St. Birgitta (Swedish original).

I would propose to give to each team (other than the one that finishes top) a St. Birgitta Day, that being the day (at conclusion of a game) when there are no longer enough points to overtake the team that finally won the league (and I am ignoring all the details, this is supposed to be fun).

(Incidentally this is not a knock at Catholicism.  If you have alternative ideas for names, regardless of whether the Catholic Church has a problem with this, suggest them.)

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To be relegated is to be ostracized.  That word has Greek origins, and the singular noun of the piece of clay pottery involved is Ostrakon (in English).  So, I have invented another saints day, that being St. Ostrakon Day, and that is the day, at the conclusion of a game, when a team has enough points that it won’t be relegated.  If this name has problems (for example, we would not want to mix up a Zen philosophy with a suburb of a city), please suggest alternatives.

The only year processed so far, is the very first EPL season, 1992/93.  I give you the Saints Days of 1992/93.  The full league table is given below.

  • 11 December 1992 St. Birgitta Nottingham Forest
  • 26 December 1992 St. Birgitta Wimbledon
  • 28 December 1992 St. Birgitta Everton
  • 9 January 1993 St. Birgitta Sheffield United
  • 9 January 1993 St. Birgitta Southampton
  • 16 January 1993 St. Birgitta Leeds United
  • 16 January 1993 St. Birgitta Crystal Palace
  • 16 January 1993 St. Birgitta Tottenham Hotspur
  • 17 January 1993 St. Birgitta Middlesbrough
  • 23 January 1993 St. Birgitta Oldham Athletic
  • 6 February 1993 St. Ostrakon Aston Villa
  • 6 February 1993 St. Ostrakon Manchester United
  • 6 February 1993 St. Birgitta Chelsea
  • 10 February 1993 St. Birgitta Arsenal
  • 20 February 1993 St. Birgitta Ipswich Town
  • 20 February 1993 St. Ostrakon Norwich City
  • 20 February 1993 St. Birgitta Manchester City
  • 20 February 1993 St. Birgitta Coventry City
  • 24 February 1993 St. Birgitta Queens Park Rangers
  • 3 March 1993 St. Birgitta Sheffield Wednesday
  • 3 March 1993 St. Birgitta Blackburn Rovers
  • 20 March 1993 St. Birgitta Norwich City
  • 24 March 1993 St. Ostrakon Blackburn Rovers
  • 24 March 1993 St. Ostrakon Sheffield Wednesday
  • 3 April 1993  St. Ostrakon Coventry City
  • 3 April 1993 St. Ostrakon Manchester City
  • 6 April 1993 St. Ostrakon Chelsea
  • 9 April 1993 St. Ostrakon Tottenham Hotspur
  • 10 April 1993 St. Birgitta Aston Villa
  • 10 April 1993 St. Ostrakon Arsenal
  • 10 April 1993 St. Ostrakon Queens Park Rangers
  • 12 April 19930 St. Ostrakon Liverpool
  • 17 April 1993 St. Ostrakon Southampton
  • 17 April 1993 St. Ostrakon Wimbledon
  • 1 May 1993 St. Ostrakon Everton
  • 4 May 1993 St. Ostrakon Leeds United
  • 8 May 1993 St. Ostrakon Ipswich Town
  • 8 May 1993 St. Ostrakon Sheffield United

Manchester United won the league that year (Aston Villa in second), and they both had their St. Ostrakon Day on 1993 February 06.  The first team eliminated from winning the league, was Nottingham Forest on December 11.  They finished last and were relegated.

Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace were the other two teams relegated, but Wimbledon, Everton, Sheffield United, Southampton, Leads United and Tottenham Hotspur had their St. Birgitta Days before or on the day Crystal Palace had theirs. Middlesbrough had their St. Birgitta Day, the following day.

The BBC commentary on December 1 had a number of Manchester United Supporters whinging about people not being allowed to say that Manchester United’s St. Brigitta Day for 2013/14 could be as early as December 1.  But you can’t use the above data, because that is a 42 game season, not 38 games.

Here is the league table for the season (the AAA might care to note that this sort of finish, with Arsenal behind such luminaries as Norwich, Blackburn, QPR, Sheffield W and Tottenham, used to be commonplace).

Pld W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester United 42 24 12 6 67 31 +36 84
2 Aston Villa 42 21 11 10 57 40 +17 74
3 Norwich City 42 21 9 12 61 65 -4 72
4 Blackburn Rovers 42 20 11 11 68 46 +22 71
5 Queens Park Rangers 42 17 12 13 63 55 +8 63
6 Liverpool 42 16 11 15 62 55 +7 59
7 Sheffield Wednesday 42 15 14 13 55 51 +4 59
8 Tottenham Hotspur 42 16 11 15 60 66 -6 59
9 Manchester City 42 15 12 15 56 51 +5 57
10 Arsenal 42 15 11 16 40 38 +2 56
11 Chelsea 42 14 14 14 51 54 -3 56
12 Wimbledon 42 14 12 16 56 55 +1 54
13 Everton 42 15 8 19 53 55 -2 53
14 Sheffield United 42 14 10 18 54 53 +1 52
15 Coventry City 42 13 13 16 52 57 -5 52
16 Ipswich Town 42 12 16 14 50 55 -5 52
17 Leeds United 42 12 15 15 57 62 -5 51
18 Southampton 42 13 11 18 54 61 -7 50
19 Oldham Athletic 42 13 10 19 63 74 -11 49
20 Crystal Palace 42 11 16 15 48 61 -13 49
21 Middlesbrough 42 11 11 20 54 75 -21 44
22 Nottingham Forest 42 10 10 22 41 62 -21 40

The technicalities

English Wikipedia pages on the English Premier League yearly summaries, reference pages from the Rec.Sports.Soccer Statistics Foundation (where is a NetNews newsgroup).  NetNews died and was transferred to GoogleGroups.  But that is Internet history.

I am sure that what the RSSSF pages are, is a HTML wrapper around a text file, with a <pre> at the beginning and a </pre> at the end.  Parsing text can be annoying, fortunately Perl is very good at parsing text.  So, I have a Perl script written which successfully parses the RSSSF file, and produces an intermediate format text output (because there are errors associated with the names of players in the text), and it also saves a Perl data structure to disk using DBM::Deep.  A person corrects the mistakes in names, reparses the data, and generates a stage 2 structure, probably something that can read one or more years of data all at once, or append to a years data.

Distribution of data or programs possible.  Data needs to acknowledge RSSSF.  Program is typical Perl, choice of the Artistic License or GPL2.

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12 comments to Saints Days – Does St Totteringham and St Totteridge Need Company?

  • tamilgooner

    cOOL 🙂 very nice idea .
    how about 2007-08 data next, that was an interesting year for us IIRC .

  • Gooner S

    Personally I’m not fussed about other teams. I enjoy the banter with Spurs fans though 🙂

    Never heard of it being referred to as Saint Totteridge….which doesn’t make sense as a lot of Arsenal players ex and current live in that area, i.e Totteridge (in Barnet)!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Dear Anonymous ( whoever you are !)thanks for the laughs although they may have be mean or should that be off the chart? Still trying to figure it out ! Cheers ! In the meantime chew on this ..


    A statistician is a person who draws a mathematically precise line from an unwarranted assumption to a foregone conclusion.

    Statistics are like a bikini – what they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.
    – Aaron Levenstein

    Like other occult techniques of divination, the statistical method has a private jargon deliberately contrived to obscure its methods from non-practitioners.
    G. O. Ashley

    There is no truth to the allegation that statisticians are mean. They are just your standard normal deviates.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    The Devil and Your Dad’s Profession

    Three guys die and go to Hell.

    Satan asks the first guy, “What was your daddy when you were alive?”

    “He was a candle maker.” So, Satan burns off the guy’s d**k.

    Satan asks the second guy, “What was your daddy when you were alive?”

    “He was a rope maker.” So, Satan rips off the guy’s d**k with a rope.

    Satan asks the third guy, “What was your daddy when you were alive?”

    The guy smiles and says, “He made lollipops.”

    Can someone come up with a joke to what Satan did to the statistician ‘s son ?

  • jambug

    I love it. Infact it got me to thinking there should be more saints.

    I was wondering if there was a Saint of ‘Hyperbol’

    This could be relevent to a few clubs but is especially pertinent where Liverpool and Spurs are concerned.

    It could be awarded on that fateful day on which it becomes obvious beyond arguement to everyone that all that pre season hope and expectatation has just gone up in smoke……yet again.

    Now I realise that it may be a little hard to nail down an exact day for this award as it is a bit subjective, but lets be honest most of the time it could be awarded on the first day of the season.

    How goods that aye, sanctaty on the first day of every season !!!

    I’ve tried to find a Saint befitting such an important day and the best I can do is ‘Saint Seiya’.

    Not very poetic I know but netherless an achievement worthy of saintly recognition in anyones book I feel.

  • Mick

    St Giles of Assissi is the patron saint of eternal optimism. He was one of the earliest followers of St. Francis, from whom he received the habit in 1208. There are plenty of teams this would apply to I would think.

  • Gord


    A problem with data contributed by volunteers, is that the format can change. The first few years, a person seen scores and who scored with the RSSSF data, and little else. For a couple of years, a person got when the various scorers scored, and then a new format didn’t even give who scored. So, trying to come up with all this other data to make all the data is consistent is a bother. At the moment, I am 10 years behind (1997/98) what you would like.

  • Gord


    I would never hope to torture data, if anything I tend to give if anything, too much respect.

  • Gord

    Saints Days – 1997/98

    St. Birgitta Day for Everton
    St. Birgitta Day for Barnsley
    St. Birgitta Day for Tottenham Hotspur
    St. Birgitta Day for Southampton
    St. Birgitta Day for Bolton Wanderers
    St. Birgitta Day for Coventry City
    St. Ostrakon Day for Manchester United
    St. Birgitta Day for Crystal Palace
    St. Birgitta Day for Sheffield Wednesday
    St. Ostrakon Day for Blackburn Rovers
    St. Birgitta Day for Aston Villa
    St. Birgitta Day for Leicester City
    St. Ostrakon Day for Chelsea
    St. Birgitta Day for Wimbledon
    St. Birgitta Day for Newcastle United
    St. Ostrakon Day for Liverpool
    St. Ostrakon Day for Arsenal
    St. Birgitta Day for West Ham United
    St. Birgitta Day for Leeds United
    St. Ostrakon Day for Derby County
    St. Birgitta Day for Derby County
    St. Birgitta Day for Liverpool
    St. Ostrakon Day for Leeds United
    St. Birgitta Day for Chelsea
    St. Ostrakon Day for West Ham United
    St. Birgitta Day for Blackburn Rovers
    St. Ostrakon Day for Coventry City
    St. Ostrakon Day for Aston Villa
    St. Ostrakon Day for Southampton
    St. Ostrakon Day for Leicester City
    St. Ostrakon Day for Sheffield Wednesday
    St. Ostrakon Day for Wimbledon
    St. Birgitta Day for Manchester United
    St. Ostrakon Day for Newcastle United
    St. Ostrakon Day for Tottenham Hotspur

    Congratulations to Arsenal!

  • Gord

    I keep adding bells and whistles to the program I am using to do collect and verify this. Yes, a person could just add data to a statically designed database, but data like this really isn’t of any use without verification.

    By keeping track of every player’s name that gets mentioned in the records, you can sometimes spot where a name has been mis-spelled. Different versions of data, can have the same game taking place on different days.

    But, players are mentioned only with respect to goals, either scoring or an own goal. This was the first year where I looked at the type of goal a player was involved with. But, it looks like every own goal that was scored in 1997/98, was scored by the home team on themselves.

  • Gord

    Oops, inverted logic there. They were always the away team scoring on themselves, the goal went to home.