Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Stoppage Time or Fergie Time?

After Manchester United's 4-3 victory in their derby match with Manchester City last Sunday, care of a Michael Owen strike deep into stoppage time, City boss Mark Hughes was left furious that the referee Martin Atkinson had added so much time on.
Was Hughes correct and is there really such a thing as 'Fergie' time?

After watching the game on television, reading various post match reports in the newspapers, scouring the net, looking up the laws of the game, reading Club messageboards and listening to several radio phone-ins, I personally feel City have a right to feel aggrieved at the amount of added/injury/stoppage time allowed.

There's been much talk about whether the time added on was or was not correct.

So lets look at what the rules say:

FA Rules:

Many stoppages in play are entirely natural (e.g. throw-ins, goal kicks). An allowance is to be made only when these delays are excessive.

The fourth official indicates the minimum additional time decided by the referee at the end of the final minute of each period of play.

The announcement of the additional time does not indicate the exact amount of time left in the match. The time may be increased if the referee considers it appropriate but never reduced.

The referee must not compensate for a timekeeping error during the first half by increasing or reducing the length of the second half.

Dermot Gallagher (former referee)

"From Euro 96 we've had this standardisation that we're going to play 30 seconds per substitution, and for excessive goal celebrations we're to play another 30 seconds - so it starts to tot up, and this is why we find the three or four minutes we have on average at most games."

Right so lets break it down:

In the second half there were no injury delays and the medical team never went on the pitch once.

There was no time wasting by either side.

There was three substitutions in total in the 2nd half. So now we are on one minute 30 seconds (30 seconds per sub).

There were four goals in the 2nd half, (before the Owen stoppage time goal and the sub in stoppage time). That's another 30 seconds for each of the four goals.
That's a total of 2 minutes following the goals. So now with subs and goals taken into account the total is 3 minutes 30 seconds.

So where did the initial four minutes come from? I make it three minutes 30 seconds. Within the given 4 minutes, there was a substitution in the 93rd minute. An additional 30 seconds for the sub in extra time leads me to a grand total of four minutes 30 seconds.
If my mathematics are correct the referee should have blown the final whistle to signal the end of the game after 94 mins 30 seconds.

Micheal Owen's winning goal was timed at 95 mins 28 secs, almost exactly one minute after the match should have finished.

Referee Atkinson I assume then takes into account the excessive goal celebrations, following Owen's goal, (which is only applied by him and is based solely on his own opinion on events and remains questionable).

However allowing a full minute following Owen's goal he eventually blows the final whistle after 96 mins 58 seconds.......almost a full 3 minutes after the originally allotted 4 mins of added time.

Fergie time - Does it exist? The Guardian examines the phenomena using statistics.

'After the controversy over Michael Owen's winning goal in Sunday's Manchester derby, the 'Guardian' has looked at all of United's league matches at Old Trafford since the start of the 2006-07 season and discovered that, on average, there has been over a minute extra added by referees when United do not have the lead after 90 minutes, compared to when they are in front.
In 48 games when United were ahead, the average amount of stoppage time was 191.35 seconds. In 12 matches when United were drawing or losing there was an average of 257.17sec.

But there is also evidence to support the suspicions of many managers, players and supporters that United get preferential treatment at home. When Owen made it 4-3 on Sunday the game was five minutes and 26 seconds into stoppage time. In total, the referee, Martin Atkinson, allowed almost seven minutes, even though the fourth official had signalled a minimum of four. Mark Hughes, the City manager, spoke of feeling "robbed". His sense of grievance will not be helped if he analyses the last three seasons.'

In 2006-07, for example, United were winning 15 times on entering stoppage time and referees added an average 194.53sec. In the four games when United were not winning there was an average of 217.25sec. The following year the disparity was greater, Opta's figures showing an average 178.29sec added when United were winning and 254.5sec when they were not. Last season it was 187.71sec compared to 258.6sec.

The pattern has continued in the first three games of the season. In the two games United have led they have played an average 304sec of injury time. On Sunday, Atkinson allowed the game to go on for 415sec.

Make your own mind up and leave me a comment. I would very much like to hear what all fans of all Clubs feel about the outcome of the Manchester derby, the statistics that seem to favour United when they play at Old Trafford and the subject of stoppage time in general.

1 comment:

SoccerFanatic said...

I think that it is a little unfair that extra time was extended, but in the end I enjoyed watching the intensity and owen's goal that resulted because of it. I guess that i'd rather watch a game end in a win than in a tie.

Plus the contraversy gives us all something to chat about