During the 15 years for which the Premiership/Premier League has consisted of 20 teams (excluding the as yet incomplete 2010/11 season):
- Man. Utd. has the best average finishing position: 1.6th
- Watford has the worst: 20th (in both of its seasons)
- Man. Utd. has scored the most goals: 1,150
- Of the seven teams to have competed in all 15 seasons (Aston Villa, Liverpool, Arsenal, Man. Utd., Spurs, Chelsea, Everton), Everton has scored the fewest: 734
- Of these seven teams, Everton has let in the most goals: 725. Man. Utd. the fewest: 493
- Man Utd. has won 13% more games than any other club (372), Arsenal being second with 329
- Spurs has the most losses (211) followed by Everton (205)
- Man Utd. has scored 1,230 points (2.16 per game), 8.6% more than its nearest rival (Arsenal: 1,133; 1.99 per game)
Since the 1995/6 season, when the Premiership was reduced to 20 teams, the best-placed relegated team (that in 18th-place) in the top flight has had:
- 30 points: once (2009/10)
- 33 points: three times (1999/2000, 2003/04, 2004/05)
- 34 points: three times (2000/01, 2005/06, 2008/09)
- 36 points: three times (1998/99, 2001/02, 2007/08)
- 38 points: twice (1995/96, 2006/07)
- 40 points: twice (1996/97, 1997/98)
- 42 points: once (2002/03).
This is the number of points that you’d need to exceed to stay in the league. This season, 39 looks certain to get you relegated.
At the top, the second-placed team (the number to exceed to win the league) has had:
- 68 points: once (1996/97)
- 70 points: once (2000/01)
- 73 points: once (1999/2000)
- 77 points: once (1997/98)
- 78 points: three times1995/96, 1998/99, 2002/03)
- 79 points: once (2003/04)
- 80 points: once (2001/02)
- 83 points: three times (2004/05, 2005/06, 2006/07)
- 85 points: twice (2007/08, 2009/10)
- 86 points: once (2008/09).
This season it looks like being a mere 73.
So this season has seen more competitiveness from the lower teams, leaving less spoils for the top teams.
I’m impressed with how Kenny Dalglish has managed Liverpool since he took over on 8 January. So much so that I decided to create a spreadsheet to compare his performance with that of Roy Hodgson. Below is a summary of the results.
In the Premier League:
- Dalglish: Managed 16. Won 10 (62.5%), Drew 3 (18.8%), Lost 3 (18.8%)
- Hodgson: Managed 20. Won 7, (35.0%), Drew 4 (20.0%), Lost 9 (45.0%)
Dalglish has averaged 2.06 points per Premier League game, to Hodgson’s 1.25. Incredibly, Dalglish would have averaged 2.06 points per game had all of his games finished at half time too. Hodgson would have averaged a meagre 1.15. Unfortunately, for Liverpool, the average points per game across the two managers was 1.61, not sufficient to trouble the top of the table.
In the Premier League, Dalglish has won four (50.0%) of his eight away games, drawing a further one (12.5%). Hodgson won one (10.0%) of his ten away games, drawing a further two (20.0%). In front of the Kop, Dalglish has won six (75.0%) and drawn two (25.0%). Not a loss in sight. Hodgson won six (60.0%), drew two (20.0%) and suffered two (20.0%) losses.
In Hodgson’s nine losses, his team lost by an average of 1.67 goals. Dalglish’s team lost by an average of 1.33 goals in their three losses. (This number is, by its very nature, always greater than or equal to one, btw.) Dalglish’s winning margin is a staggering 2.5 goals per game compared to Hodgson’s 1.71. Across all Premier League games, Dalglish racked up an average of 2.19 goals per game, letting in an average of 0.88; Hodgson’s team averaged 1.20, letting in 1.35.
At half time, Hodgson’s average was 0.5 goals for and 0.5 goals against. Dalglish averaged 1 goal for and a mere 0.19 goals against.
In Europe (including qualifying), Hodgson performed better, although he would have managed the easier games at the start of the season:
- Dalglish: Managed 4. Won 1 (25.0%), Drew 2 (50.0%), Lost 1 (25.0%)
- Hodgson: Managed 10. Won 6 (60.0%), Drew 4 (40.0%)
Across all competitions, Dalglish has won 11 (52.4%) of his 21 matches, Hodgson winning 13 (38.2%) of his 34, again inflated by early European competition.
Dalglish’s record in the FA Cup is less rosy. One game played, one game lost. 1–0 away at Old Trafford. It was on his second day in charge though.
There are two aspects of the things that government does that attract inordinate cost: fairness and transparency.
If the government wants to do something, it has to do it fairly. And it has to be able to demonstrate this fairness and defend it to scrutiny. Yes, there are thresholds beneath which fairness is less of an issue. But these thresholds are so relatively low, particularly given the scale at which government tends necessarily to procure things. And the result is that the vast majority of what government does is subject to these two features.
If you need to get your house painted (and have chosen to outsource the work), you’ll likely get three quotes, likely from decorators that you know or those that have been recommended to you. Each will quote for something subtly different, such are the idiosyncrasies of workmen, and you’ll plump for one—largely based on price but also based on gut feel. If one proposed to use Dulux to another’s Crown, you won’t ask them to re-align. And if one included the railings and one didn’t, you’ll probably sort this out once you’ve selected your preferred bidder.
Such shoddy supplier selection is unheard of in government, largely because of the possible reprisals. If a bunch of IT suppliers are bidding for a £600m multi-year outsourcing deal, then the government must invoke very strict rules to ensure that the suppliers bid against the same requirements, and that any information given to one supplier is also given to the others.
This process takes some orchestrating. Requirements need to be documented to the nth degree before suppliers are brought into the loop. Requests for information and requests for proposals need to be issued. And once suppliers are actively involved, an onerous process is needed to orchestrate communications and coordinate the objective evaluation of their respective bids. As well as necessitating significant resource from the government to manage this, each of the suppliers also needs to dedicate similar resource in navigating its own journey through the process. Sometimes the suppliers’ costs are paid for upfront by government. Where they’re not, they will doubtless be factored into the suppliers’ bid prices many times over.
Throughout all of this, a paper trail, or its modern-day equivalent, needs to be kept. In case of scrutiny, the government must be able to demonstrate the requirements against which the suppliers bid, what their responses were, how they were evaluated, and, ultimately, why the chosen option was taken.
Whether the government is buying buildings, cleaning services, IT systems, furniture, vehicles, people, laptops, security gates, carpets or urinals, the above process, to varying degrees, must be followed. And resources must orchestrate it. And the taxpayer must foot the bill. Such is the price of fairness and transparency.