A slightly different Talking this time around as we ask have you ever found yourself reading something and thinking that’s not right? When it comes to footy stats you would think it’s just a simple case of adding figures up, after all we keep being told it’s a simple game. The truth is however slightly more confusing.
For example, I recently went to check some figures regarding our European campaigns were correct and found myself going through three different sources and each had different totals.
I ended up with a pen, paper, fingers and toes and hopefully reached some figures I was (fairly) happy with, even if the outcome differed from the other three sources. I’m not criticizing anyone who attempts something and makes an honest error. A lot of the time it is down to interpretation as I will come to in a moment. There are some that are just plain wrong as in day of week, birthdays or the articles figures simply not adding up. I suspect the ‘reader’ that’s the chap at the publishing end of things who checks these things slips up. However if you read an article or text and go that’s not what I was told before and find yourself wondering well when is a goal not a goal. One of the main culprits for these discrepancies are the footballing authorities.
Why back in 2013 Jermain Defoe became our top scorer in European action. Well that is unless you work at UEFA. Where their records do not include goals scored in qualifying competition matches but only those in the ‘tournament rounds’. Thus when Jermain did break our record he had netted six times for Spurs that season and their records show it. Over at UEFA he had just four. While his career record was ten, even if he has actually scored thirteen goals!
Then of course UEFA include in their records Tottenham’s adventure in the Intertoto Cup as our first team playing in an official European competition, whereas we played our youth team (at Brighton) as a favour to the FA. Do check out this story @ http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/hotspur-towers-the-intertoto-cup.
It will certainly show you the workings of the footballing authorities mind.
Some databases have followed UEFA’s lead in one or both of these respects. Another, ‘well just how did they reach that figure’, arises when a game goes to penalties. So if the game ends even after ninety and one hundred twenty minutes, this to my mind (and many people) is recorded as draw. I discovered some sources however credit a win to the team triumphing in the shootout. One seemed to credit the result at 90 minutes even if that changed in the next 30. The fog gets denser when a team for instance wins one nil on the night but loses in the resulting shootout. Once again I discovered some sources appear to include the goals scored in these shoot outs in the goals scored column (surely that’s wrong). Without checking does that mean the individuals get credited with an ‘extra’ goal on their personal records, otherwise of course the individual totals won’t match the teams, which has been the case.
Some ‘curious’ totals were uncovered for which I could not find a workable reason and can only assume it was operator error or simply a nervous breakdown was setting in, quite likely I can assure you at times.
Our friends in the media don’t help, these days the dubious goals committee reassign goals and these are not always corrected in some systems. While certainly ‘older’ press reports sometimes differ from a another reporter covering the same game as to who actually scores a goal, etc. It’s not been unknown for a player to be given a mention even if he wasn’t actually playing. I recently came across an instance where the foreign press gave three different line-up’s for the same game. Two were plausible the third total nonsense.
The picture does not become clearer when FIFA have re-accredited a goal some time after the event or re- classified a game. Downgrading it from full international but at the same time allowing the full cap awarded to stand. This has happened up to 60 years after the game. When Tottenham played in Europe in 1963 one of their goals V Glasgow Rangers was re accredited some years later after careful examination of film footage.
I found one database that included two games that had been postponed in their totals . Other anomalies arise when games are removed from their records for instance, the Football League season of 1939/40 which was void after three games and the goals removed. Then there are games such as when teams withdraw from the competition later in the season and teh results etc deleted from the record. This has occurred several times in our history.
As for those European figures I mentioned they will appear shortly but I’ve had the same problem with the League Cup. Possibly one of the more confusing trails I tried following was Billy Minter’s career and he will appear in a Tottenham Mystery shortly.
I’m reminded of the old cricket story, as a batsman leaves the field he says to the umpire that was never out and the umpire tells him to check the papers tomorrow, you were.
So in conclusion, I mention this not as I said to find fault with others, but just to say, I (and I’m sure many other writers) do actually go to great lengths to ensure articles and figures given are accurate. But please bear with me (us) next time you come across a figure you think just doesn’t sound right. After all it is a simple game. Now Coffee, do you want one or two Paracetamol?
amended October 2016.
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