Ref Review 2012/13: Manchester United

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 this 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 a 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 possible returning things.

As of course it might 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. 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 would be that the bias score (which is based on the wrong decisions) is 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. 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 are means 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 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.

Next in our series is Manchester United

Man Utd bias per ref

Now if you have seen earlier articles you will have noticed that many times we see as many red as green lines.  We don’t like big lines as they indicate lots of mistakes from the ref going one way. But when we see the green and red lines evenly spread we still can console ourselves with the thought that they have good and bad refs.

But when you see just one colour dominating, that something might be wrong. Looking at the massive presence of green one might assume that something might be wrong.

There are only two refs who had a negative bias against Manchester United. And those are two of the oldest refs in the PL: Foy and Dowd. But this negative bias is small.  Very small. A negative bias that most teams would sign for any given day. Can we say that they are long enough around to being less intimidated than some younger refs? Or that they don’t have anything to fear?

If we look at the refs with a positive bias we see that a few have a low score. Atkinson, Moss, Clattenburg and Taylor are those refs.

But from then on we only see big positive scores. Dean, Marinner, Friend, Webb, Oliver and Probert are all having a far too high positive score for United.

But top of the list is now retired ref Halsey. I do wonder what to think now of his words that he had to earn the respect of Sir Alex Ferguson. He sure did seem to do his best to earn it. And one might wonder about Halsey and Ferguson having phone calls and Halsey asking Ferguson a favour to stand up for Clattenburg.  If you look at that bias score you might wonder if some other favours were made.

Let us try to look at the bias score from the season before.


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

If we search for the two negative refs of last season (Foy and Dowd) we see that they had a rather big positive bias in the season before. So it might be a one off.

Taylor is also interesting as he had a negative bias in the season before. But since he got his Fifa badge he seemed to have become a bit more positive for United.

Atkinson had a small negative bias in the season 2011/2012 and an evenly small positive bias last season cancelling each other out one might say.

Marinner also had mixed seasons for United.

But for the rest…  Clattenburg ,Dean, Webb, Oliver and Probert all had nothing but positive bias scores for United.

An interesting thought entered my mind. In the season United didn’t won the title the ref bias balance was rather balanced. Still very positive in their favour but 4 refs out of the 15 had a negative bias or 26%. In the year they won the title they had only 2 negative refs or 15%. Did it help them? Well it surely will not have hindered them I think.

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