Last season a group of qualified referees reviewed more than 40% of the EPL games. The reviews themselves were based on full match video footage with the advantage of video technology features such as slow motion and pause.
By reviewing those 155 games we have made a database of more than 7000 decisions that have been judged by our panel of dedicated and qualified referees.
The numbers you will see are based on those decisions and those reviewed games.
Below is the review we published in the summer on Newcastle and the refs. We are publishing it again because we hope to attract more referees who are willing to monitor what the refs in the Premier League get up to. If you would like to help us please have a look at our post which gives the full details.
We managed to review 16 games in which Newcastle was involved. That is 42% of their games. A good result I would say and a number that should give us a good insight in how the refs behaved in the Newcastle games in general.
However if you think this is not enough…well it never will be enough until we are able to get up to doing all games! So if you know a ref, if you are a qualified ref yourself, write us a note and join us. You don’t get paid for it but you will have the knowledge you have worked on a very important study. Of course if there is a sponsor out there somewhere who finds this interesting and wants to sponsor the ref reviews and make it possible for us to review all the games….now that would be a mouth watering prospect.
But for now let us see how the refs did in those 16 games with Newcastle involved.
And as impossible is nothing we start with a very interesting set of numbers. The first that catches my eyes is the fact that the total % of correct/ not correct numbers is the same. Weighted or not we end up at 72,29% correct decisions. This is very close to the overall league average. For any new readers I must say that I find the overall league average too low. So I do find that the refs weren’t at their best in the Newcastle games. This should have been a higher number.
Let us see if we find strange things when we look at the different type of decisions.
Let me start by jumping in the air with joy when I see the goal decisions. A score of just under 98% correct goal decisions is something that makes me very happy.This is the least we should expect. This is 6% better than the league average. Only one wrong goal decision in the 16 games Newcastle was involved. Great!
And also the offside decisions are better than the league average. But still 95% is not the 99% that was claimed by Mike Riley.
But nothing lasts forever and so we do find a number that is worse than the league average. And this is the “other” decisions. If you are new to this site, those are the decisions that are made for fouls in the middle of the field not directly leading to other more important decisions. The number of somewhere 67% is disappointing. People who have been around for a while know that anything below 70% is bad. So this was not good enough.
But if we we look at the penalties we move back to good territory. With a score of 72% we climb 10% higher than the league average. So that is positive but still could and should be higher for this type of decisions.
Decisions surrounding red cards were bad. Only less than 18% correct. Not that far below the league average but this is a really bad result.
But the yellow cards decisions were better than the league average but still below the 70% border line.
So all in all some good stuff here. But also numbers that are too low to be good. Now the next step is to see if we can find anything if we focus on the wrong decisions. Meaning we now move on to the bias numbers.
We did 8 away games and 8 home games from Newcastle so nicely spread out.
If we look at the un-weighted numbers we see that Newcastle away from home had to face a bias of -2.000. That is higher than the negative overall league away bias for -1. 826. Not a big difference but still worse than the league average.
If we look at the home bias we see that they scored a +4.500 and this compared to the overall positive bias we found of +1.826. So more than the double.
The total of these numbers lead to a positive bias swing of +1.249 bias points.
If we put weight on the decisions we see that they suffered a negative away bias of -2.125 points and that is better than the average we have found of -2.619.
The positive home bias rises to 6.000 and the overall average is +2.619. So this is also more than the double.
The total leading to a positive bias swing of 1.937 in favour of Newcastle in the games we reviewed.
Let us take a look at the refs involved in the Newcastle games.
16 games done and we had 8 different referees. We had one ref even doing 4 of their games in Howard Webb.
To start with the first numbers we see that 4 refs had a negative bias against Newcastle and 4 a positive bias.
Michael Jones had only one game and Newcastle will be happy about that I think as he showed a big negative bias against them. Even though he gave them one big wrong call.
Mark Halsey also had a rather big negative bias. The two other refs Marriner and Foy had a rather small negative bias.
If we move up to the refs with a positive bias we see that Mike Dean did 3 games and stayed below the 1.000 positive bias. Which means that he was rather even in his bias in those 3 games.
Lee Probert also was rather even with only a small positive bias.
Howard Webb showed a more outspoken positive bias towards Newcastle in his 4 games.
Peter Walton had a very high positive bias in his two games for Newcastle.
If we put weight on the decisions, the pictures changes a bit.
Michael Jones remains on top with his negative bias numbers. Mark Halsey numbers go up a bit. As do the numbers of Marriner and Foy.
Mike Dean goes from a small positive bias to a small negative bias. So he must have made a mess of some more important calls.
Lee Probert also jumps up a lot in his positive bias swing. Howard Webb remains almost stationary so meaning he didn’t mess that much with the big calls.
And the numbers of Peter Walton go up to the extreme heights. When he made a mess of the important call it all went in favour of Newcastle.
The first game was a mess from the ref. They got a point from it. If the ref had known the rules they could have lost that game. In week 13 we see a lot of things going against them but some major decisions in their favour and again they got a point from the game. Followed up with the next game some big calls against them and losing it.
In total we see that we only had 6 games with a bias that stayed under the 10 points line both in the good and bad side. So 10 games with a rather high number of wrong decisions. Some extremely going in favour of Newcastle and 2 games going extremely against them. The ones going against them could not be won.
If I look at the different type of decisions it looks as if the refs have been trying to make good decisions in the important areas and let themselves down when decisions had to be made in the middle of the field.
If we look at the bias numbers I have the impression that St. James park (or whatever it is called now) has a big impact on the refs. Away from home they had a greater negative bias than the league average (un-weighted) but at home the bias is both in the weighted and un-weighted numbers much higher than the league average.
The fact that the weighted numbers show an improvement compared to the overall league average means that it was not the big decisions that went against them away from home but more the small fouls in the middle of the field that went against them.
Some games with very favourable decisions could not be won. And the games when the ref was not on their side could also not be won. From that I conclude that if you want to play good football (and they did play some good football last season) you need the refs to be up to it. As soon as the refs starts to make too many mistakes the football suffers from it. We can clearly see that in the games where the refs made a mess (positive or negative)