After Mark Clattenberg’s late penalty award on Saturday, I wondered about referees and their impact on games. How great an impact do they have? Are some swayed by the home crowd? Do others have subsconscious propensities to favour underdogs? That sort of thing. I don’t know that these questions can really be answered, but the following culled from football-data.co.uk might make for interesting reading.
I took each game played in the Premier League over the last three seasons and, using somewhat arbitrary cutoffs, coded each according to what the bookies thought would happen. There were five groups: strong home win, home win, uncertain, away win, strong away win. Then I looked to see what happened for each ref under each circumstance.
The results are as follows (see key for explanation, but for clarification: 13/17 means 13 home wins from 17 games where home team favoured to win; H% is home winning percentage in games that referee has overseen):
A Marriner – Both upsets were Liverpool away games
A Wiley – nothing to declare
C Foy – Fulham’s record with Chris Foy during Roy Hodgson’s Great Escape in 07/08: P3, W3, D0, L0, Pts 9; Fulham’s record without Chris Foy: P15, W3, D3, L9, Pts 12.
H Webb – Unsurprisingly, highest number of games with no clear favourite, suggesting he’s entrusted with the big ones (he often gets Liverpool v Utd and Liverpool v Everton)
L Mason – With Clattenberg, highest “home winning percentage”
M Atkinson – If the home team is favoured, it usually wins with Atkinson officiating (32/39)
M Clattenburg – All four of Clattenberg’s big upsets were when the away team was strongly favoured (4/10). These were at Wolves, Man City, Villa and Bolton, so hard to say he’s being influenced by a baying crowd. Has “denied” Man Utd four times when they were clear favourites away from home. Has joint-highest “home winning %” with Lee Mason
M Dean – Lowest “home winning percentage”, perhaps because he’s the only ref to be given more games where away team is favoured than home team is favoured. Despite this, high number of big upsets, including three over Man City
M Halsey – Has overseen two big upsets over Chelsea (at Wolves and at Birmingham)
P Dowd – Most “surprising” results overall (upsets + surprises). Home teams have won seven out of ten games when away team favoured
P Walton – Gets a lot of games with one side strongly favoured, and rarely oversees an upset. Solid and unspectacular or not trusted with conflict?
S Attwell – Has only been given one game where away team is favoured (Spurs at B’ham), which probably causes the relative lack of surprises. Is he being broken in gently? Is it working? Has never refereed United or Chelsea, but has overseen Hull and Portsmouth five times each
S Bennett – Not a single upset on his watch!