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.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ten Classic Football Quotations made about 'Our Beautiful Game'

I have no morals when it comes to dealing with my clients. I would deal with the Devil to get the best deal for them
- ERIC HALL, Football Players Agent, 1989.

Three or four of the Villa lads buy quality newspapers. At Crystal Palace it was always eight Suns and four Mirrors - GARETH SOUTHGATE, Aston Villa defender, 1996.

Maybe my players have a rampant sex life when they stay at home on Friday nights - TERRY BURTON, Wimbledon manager on his team's poor home form, 2001.

It's not the sex that tires out young players. It's the staying up all night looking for it - CLEMENS WESTERHOF, Dutch coach to Nigeria, 1994.

On my debut for Besiktas they sacrificed a lamb on the pitch. Its blood was daubed on my forehead for good luck. They never did that at QPR - LES FERDINAND, England striker recalls his spell in Turkey, 1995.

The average English footballer could not tell the difference between an attractive woman and a corner flag - WALTER ZENGA, Italy goalkeeper, responding to Wimbledon manager Bobby Gould's quips that his players wanted the phone numbers of the Italian players' wives while the Azzurri were away at the World Cup, 1990.

Football takes all my pressures. The Police have my passport and I'm not allowed to train with the other players, but nothing bothers me out on the pitch - MICKEY THOMAS, Wrexham captain, as his team's FA Cup run coincided with his release on bail on charges of counterfeiting currency, 1992.

Liverpool won the FA Cup a few years ago with a team of eleven foreigers, including Scots, Welsh and Irish. Now we have Spanish, French and Italians. They speak better English, are more civilised and know how to use a knife and fork - KEN BATES, Chelsea chairman, on the influx of players from abroad, 2000.

Someone asked me last week whether I missed the Villa. I replied 'No I live in one' - DAVID PLATT, former Aston Villa player on life with Bari in Italy, 1991.

Football and politics are much the same. They're both full of people who are jealous of success - TONY BANKS MP, Labour, former Minister of Sport, 1999.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

'Brits All Ready To Hit The Ground Running' - Betting Tips with Betfair

In the last five years English teams have dominated Europe's premier competition and while that may not last forever, few would bet against a perfect start to this year's event, for all four Premier League sides.

Last night Chelsea and Manchester United both picked up three points, with victories against Porto and Besiktas respectively.

Tonight sees Liverpool and Arsenal enter the fray as they take on Standard Liege and Champions League newcomers Debrecen of Hungary.

There's very little value to be had backing a Liverpool victory, with the Reds as short as 1.11 in the match odds. However, there could be money to be made by predicting a high scoring affair. All three of Liverpool's wins this season have witnessed four goals or more and with Debrecen inexperienced at this level, there could be another goal fest at Anfield.
The Champions League betting odds currently stand at: over 3.5 goals in the match available at 2.08, with +4.5 goals a tempting 3.55.

Arsenal should face a tougher test as they travel to Belgium to play Standard Liege. The hosts came within two minutes of taking Liverpool to penalties in last season's Champions League third qualifying round and could provide tricky opposition for Arsene Wenger's team.

Unfortunately for Liege, they will face an Arsenal side with a real point to prove, after suffering successive league defeats. Arsenal can be backed to win both halves at 2.86 but if you fancy an upset, the Belgian champions look good value at 5.5 in the 'draw no bet' market.

Elsewhere, Rangers will be desperate to restore some pride in Scottish football after the national side's failure to qualify for the World Cup.

German side Stuttgart stand in their way, but could be prime candidates for an upset after picking up just five points from their opening five league matches in the Bundesliga.
Rangers are a massive 6.6 to win the game and complete a good opening week for Brits abroad.

By Josh Allen.
(Guest writer from Betfair on behalf of Beer Footy and Birds!)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Promotion to & Relegation from 'The Football League.'

The 2009/10 football season maybe barely a month old, but fans of Clubs up and down the country are probably already dreaming of a trip to Wembley, promotion to the Premier League, creating a major Cup upset e.t.c, but spare a thought for those Clubs in League Two who come the end of the season, will be battling for their lives just to keep their Football League status!

For much of the last century, the Football League was a distinct entity, a private members' club if you like. The reason was re-election.

Rather than a system of promotion & relegation that the four Football League divisions operated, any top non-league club hoping to become a member of the elite 92, had to wait for a current member to be 'kicked out.'

At the end of every season clubs in the top two divisions, 'Full Members' and four 'Associate Members' representing the bottom two divisions were presented with a ballot, comprising of the four clubs who finished at the foot of Division 4 (now League 2) and the names of a substantial number of non-league clubs, who were applying for League membership.
Each representative of an 'Associate Member' had to vote for the four clubs they wished to participate in the League the following season

A Football League club having to apply for re-election may have seen it as some form of ignominy, but for 50 years or so it was mostly nothing to worry about.
The system ensured that League membership remained relatively static, with non-league clubs having almost no chance of joining.

For some clubs it was an 'annual humiliation.' Several non-league clubs in particular, namely Nuneaton, Chelmsford & Cambridge City, routinely put themselves forward without success.

Only if a club applying for re-election were located in some tiny northern coastal town, meaning long awkward trips for other teams, and/or the size of their crowds was extremely poor, bearing in mind at the time that gate receipts were shared between clubs, were you in any danger of not being re-elected.

As a result Gateshead were replaced in 1960 by Peterborough, Barrow lost their league status to Hereford in 1972 & Wokingham (who had replaced another northern coastal town, New Brighton in 1951), were dropped in favour of the now defunct Wimbledon in 1977.

Other teams to lose their League status include Southport, who were replaced by Wigan in 1978, Bradford Park Avenue, who were replaced by Cambridge United in 1970, & are now ironically back playing non-league football themselves.

As it stands at the time of writing this piece, 7 out of the current top 10 positions in the non-league Conference division are occupied by former Football League clubs.

Finally in the late 1980's the League conceded that the 'closed shop' mentality they were running was indeed unfair. Therefore re-election was replaced initially by one-up, one down in 1987 (although it was on condition that the non-league Conference Champions were deemed as having stadium facilities of a League standard).

Since 2002-03 a change to a two-up, two-down system has been implemented. The bottom two teams in League 2 are replaced by the Conference Champions plus one other team. This is decided through a play-off system, made up of the Conference teams that finished 2nd down to 5th place.

Since 2002/03, none of the perpetual strugglers have slipped out of the League, with Hartlepool (re-elected 14 times), Crewe & Rochdale (ten each) all surviving & sometimes thriving!