ESPN have potentially put the cat amongst the pigeons with an investigation they launched this summer in conjunction with the University of Bath into mistaken referee decisions and errors that cost Premier League sides points in 2017/18.
Whilst their investigation into wrong decisions showed for them that Liverpool can consider themselves incredibly unlucky – the cheeky Scousers on their work should’ve had 12 more points under Jurgen Klopp – the flipside is those sides that lost out potentially on even more.
Stoke City fall into that group given we suffered relegation and dropped into the Championship for the season of 2018/19 which is now more than in full flow.
How much stock you put in their findings is obviously down to the individual reader.
As we know, we finished in 19th place in the top-flight table on 33 points – two points above West Bromwich Albion who propped the table up and ended with 31 points of their own despite a marginally strong finish to the year under their club legend Darren Moore.
ESPN’s work suggested that we should’ve had four more points that season, as well as four more goals, and that would – when compared to the final table – have put us level on points with Huddersfield Town who ended in 16th place, but the extra goals would’ve given us goal advantage over them so we’d have more comfortably survived and been ready to prepare for an eleventh season in the top tier.
They claim that our May 5 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace should’ve been a 1-1 draw and that our 1-1 draw with Leicester City should’ve been a 1-0 win in our favour – and those points would’ve made a marked difference.
No point being bitter, football isn’t a fair game and we all know that with certain biases existing, let alone flat-out incompetence amongst match day officials – and to be fair, simple human error – but it’s not going to do anything for greater calls for video technology to come into the game given so many millions and jobs now rely on getting things right.
Luck Index as a name might be a misnomer – you create your own luck after all – but ESPN might have run into trouble if they titled it ‘The Referee ****** Up How Much’.