The untold ref review review: a comparison of all the refs we have had this season

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By Walter Broeckx

So here we are after about 1/3 of the season in the EPL and maybe a good time, with the (f*****g) international break this week to take a look at how the refs have done so far. To start with I give you a view on the games I have taken on in my weekly review and the points the refs have got. And I have tried to bring some colour in to it so you can see who got most points,  who was in second place and who got the third most points. And in red the lowest score.

ref cards penalty goals other total
Liverpool – Arsenal Atkinson 66 100 83
Arsenal – Blackpool Jones 50 100 100 83
Blackburn – Arsenal Foy 50 100 17 56
Arsenal – Bolton Atwell 50 75 100 50 68
Sunderland – Arsenal Dowd 57 66 100 30 50
CC Tottenham – Arsenal Probert 71 100 80 0 75
Arsenal – WBA Oliver 87 100 100 50 88
Chelsea – Arsenal Dean 28 50 50 14 30
Arsenal – Birmingham Atkinson 50 100 100 60 68
Man City – Arsenal Clattenburg 100 100 100 50 93
Newcastle – Arsenal CC Mariner 60 100 100 0 62
Arsenal – West Ham Jones 66 50 100 16 50
Arsenal – Newcastle Dean 83 100 0 60
Wolverhampton – Arsenal Halsey 60 100 54 61
Everton – Arsenal Webb 33 100 66 33 46

When there are no points mentioned this means that there was nothing to report in this category

If we just take the total points then we see that the best ref so far this season has been ref Clattenburg when we played at Manchester City. I think he had a very good game overall that day. As I had said at the start of my review a score from 90% means that the ref has had an excellent game.  In fact in ref circles they consider this as an almost perfect game. Ref Clattenburg had 93% in this game so one could say that humanly spoken he had a perfect game. He only missed one blatant tackle from Dejongh on Cesc when he gave no foul. So the best performance in a top game I have seen for a long time. And every ref knows that you will never get 100% right in a game as this is impossible unless you are a robot.

In second place we have ref Oliver who witnessed our home defeat against WBA with 88%, which is also an almost perfect game. And joint 3rd is Atkinson (who had a lesser game against Birmingham) and Jones(who also had a lesser game against West Ham) who did Arsenal – Blackpool with 83% each.

The lowest scores are for ref Dean when he did Chelsea – Arsenal with 30%. Webb at our game against Everton had only 46%. So in fact two Fifa refs have very bad scores.

But as has been remarked, this total score gives an indication but it doesn’t say it all. Decisions that have a direct impact on the result are more important than giving a yellow card or not, although this too could have a major impact further in the game. But let us first stick with the goals.

If we look at the goals we can see that most of the goals (for and against) are fine and within the rules.  There are only 3 goals that I think shouldn’t have been given.  The equaliser from Tottenham in the Carling cup was offside. So it could have saved us the extra time but did not affect the general outcome.

In the game Chelsea – Arsenal ref Dean missed a blatant foul on Song from which Chelsea scored. Chelsea scored another goal so we will never know if this changed the game but I think with 5 minutes to go and 0-0 on the score board we would not have ran forward as we did.

The other goal which was not valid if you ask me was the goal from Everton but this didn’t affect the final outcome. So in all just the one really goal that shouldn’t have counted and the ref was Mr. Dean.

If you look at the penalty decisions it is a fact that in most games the refs did rather well. Yes we had the usual miss from… Mr. Dean against Chelsea. We should have had another penalty against Sunderland but we missed one and we wouldn’t have missed two or would we?  So also in this department of keeping the records the usual suspect (Dean) but for the rest not many match deciding penalties were wrong at the end of the day.

If we look at the cards there was only one ref (Clattenburg at City) who did what I thought should be done, how it should be done. And I really wonder if the fact that he made a few errors last season in the same game, was the reason that he was so focussed and sharp in this game. But handing out cards is sometimes personal and can depend on each ref on the field. But some things have to be punished no matter what and those are things I try to focus on most of the time.

In the “other” score sheet I put in what I can’t include elsewhere.  This can go from blatant fouls that not have been given, to refs who are doing things that a ref shouldn’t do on the football field.  And yes I know it is boring but some refs managed to do a lot of things wrong and again the same name comes forward (Mr. Dean) who managed to mess up so much he got everything wrong in this category in one game.

But he wasn’t alone in this. I know some of the points I gave or took away from some refs are based on technical errors and wrong gestures and movement. Those are things that most of the fans don’t know about unless you are a ref yourself and you know how it should be done.

But these things can decide a game. Imagine if the score on Sunday had been 0-0 and Webb had have done his little act with Sagna and we would have lost the game. Maybe looking at it as a ref those are the worst things. Because I know as a ref you can miss a penalty, a foul, a handball,… because someone else is blocking your view. But making technical errors is something that should not be done by professional refs in the EPL as they should be basics to all the refs. And if a lower league ref makes such an error you can forgive him but refs who make a living out of it should be trained in these situations and not make such mistakes.

So in general one can say that if a ref has a score of +80 he has had a great game. The EPL is not easy to referee and when you manage to get around a score like that you done good. Between 60 and 80 you have had an okay game. Not great, not bad, just a bit mediocre. And everything under 60 is not good for an EPL ref.

If I use this scale on the refs so far this season we had four excellent refs in our 15 games in the EPL and the Carling Cup. Six refs were okay but also we had five refs that have performed badly. I do think those five bad refs are a bit too much as this means that every third game the ref was bad so far.

But then again not every game is the same and refs have bad days. The problem is not one bad game however, but when you have a bad day each game you do. Then it could mean that the level is too high for the ref. Or that you are too biased. But to know this I should be able to look inside the refs head and this is something I cannot do for now.


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16 Replies to “The untold ref review review: a comparison of all the refs we have had this season”

  1. As always, top aticle walter but i must say you cannot judge a ref from one match can you?Whilst i don’t have anything for Mr.Dean you cannot conclusively say that he doesn’t deserve to be here.I am sure clattenburg would have had a bad score too while refereeing another game.So how can that be brought into the picture,i know that its not possible for you to watch and analyse each game but then we can hardly conlcude by saying this ref deserves to be at the top level or not.. Where we got the worst treatment from the refs? and its no suprise it was at the BRIDGE, God knows what awaits us at Very Old Trafford…

  2. If i remember right, sombody wrote a piece about Clattenburg before the City game, more or less stating what we all know to be true that there had been a few question marks against said ref in the past,apparently clever Mr Clattenburg must have done his home work and snuck a look on the Arsenal webs and made up his mind that he would be marked, and decided to play fair, other than that he took a bung.

  3. Just reading my last comment on ref clattenburg, has made me think its probably not right of me to cast aspersions on the character of sombody in the public eye, appologies.
    but think of this for a moment, i dont know how much a referee earns in a season, i know its nowhere near the amount a pro footballer gets, so even normal run of the mill people like us who say are on round about 25 to 30 grand a year, wouldnt you be tempted to throw one game a season to double your money, just one important game and say 30grand comes your way via a brown envelope, NO NOR ME!!!

  4. Manchester City were 16 games unbeaten (11 wins – 5 draws) under Clattenburg before Arsenal done them.

    The key point of the match was the ‘last man’ sending off – I’m sure that any pressure applied on the ref before the match would have helped him make the right descision.

    An EPL referee (I think) earns a basic of around 60k p/a with appearance fees on top… now put this in the perspective of what the top players earn per week to secure those valuable points for their club.

    And, while we are at it, put what the top players earn in the perspective of the gambling liquidity of an EPL weekend… it has been estimated that the Asian black market liquidity for an EPL weekend is circa £5,000,000,000.

    Makes you think don’t it..?

  5. So which club/s are paying these imaginary bribes and for how long as there have been some rather dubious extratime minutes extended way beyond the norm ,rather dubious penalties awarded to the home team far to often over the past fifteen years and suspicious time keepers in the stands influencing the ref ,guess who ?

  6. Bloody hell… Your dedication needs to be applauded… Spot on statistic and excellent elaboration… Keep it up, Walter… Untold needs honest and skillful writers like you…

  7. Just few questions…? Can you at least predict a pattern for rest of the refereeing in Arsenal games throughout the season based on your statistic…? Will it effects us in the end…? Or do referees perform better as the season goes…?

  8. I know it doesn’t look good, but seams to me still it is a bit better than last 2-3 seasons, at last so far. Also look at how many penalty kicks we got so far. So I have feeling that Le Boss complains worked a bit.

  9. Like I told before if someone would offer me a nice load of money I would make it my full time job. No candidates? 😉 Oh well… 😉

    Serious now. I know better than most of you that is hard to judge a ref on one game. I have had games in my own career when coming to the dressing room being angry with myself for something I did wrong but realised later on. Or knowing for 90% sure that behind my back someone punched an opponent but as it was behind my back I couldn’t see it and so I couldn’t give a red card. So I can imagine that you can get it wrong even without wanting to get it wrong.

    I do think that when we are at the end of the season we will be able to make a more balanced review of each ref. At that time we will have seen most refs 2 and some even 3 or 4 times. And then you can look at a ref in more games and this will even out some highs and possible lows.

    In my last paragraphs I kind of mentioned it a bit but with only 3 refs that had 2 games so far I decided to keep it for my next review after the next 13 games or so.
    But for those who cannot wait I will give the points of those 3 refs and make some remarks

    Jones had two games (83 and 50 points in total) an average of 66,5%. One very good game the other bad. So he gets an average figure in total.

    Atkinson also had two games (83 and 68 points in total) an average of 75 %. Much better and I think he is a ref who sees things rather good but when he is doubting something he starts to lose things. I refer to the Arsenal- Birmingham match where he gave a correct penalty but the Birmingham players didn’t like it and tried to influence the ref of his wrong doing. And then you could visibly see him doubting himself (NEVER DO THIS AS A REF OR YOU ARE IN TROUBLE) and things got almost out of hand. Elbow on Chamakh, Nasri involved in an incident…. So if he could keep concentrated after a dubious decision he would have done great.

    And finally: Mr. Dean who had 30 and 60 points and so has an average of 45 %. Not enough as one can imagine and certainly for a ref who has a Fifa badge on his shirt.

    So I hope I will be able to do some more refs based on more games later on in the season. And who knows in 2 or 3 years time we will have a very good view on each ref what we can expect, not only based on a feeling but based on numbers.

  10. Outstanding stuff Walter. Please do keep it up. Whether or not people agree with your inidividual week-to-week judgements it provides excellent discussion fodder. I totally agree that the best refereeing performance in an Arsenal match this season was Clattenburg v City. He was totally in control of the match without being overbearing or egotistical. He TRIED to let the game flow but at the same time was prepared to make the really tough decisions (ie the sending off). Top performance. A video of that match should be shown to all the referees.

  11. “But to know this I should be able to look inside the refs head and this is something I cannot do for now.”

    for now? Walter, what kind of ref-investigation technology is being researched at Untold Labs?

  12. Michael, let us say that I do know what to expect from a few refs already. Mostly bad things. To see a pattern, based on numbers and not on feelings, I think you need more than 1 games and I think it takes some 4 or 5 games at least to have some usefull information.

    But I am keeping records of this and maybe from next season we could tell you the score in advance. 😉

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