How Tim used the media to justify his bad decisions

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Specifically I’m referring to one statistic: best win rate of any Premier League Tottenham manager. Now that’s quite a statistic, and in the right context can certainly be used to ward off any naysayers or haters. After all, who are we to judge his methods? How can we have an objective view on his tenure as Spurs’ boss? The stats don’t lie – he was the best.

Except that he was also the worst. Let me explain.

The tricky thing about statistics is that there are two things going on, and those two things are not always in agreement. One of the things is the statistic itself, and the other is the interpretation or explanation of the statistic. The objective is to have these two things in alignment, so that you can learn something about what you are investigating. Let’s take an example:


So here we have the population of the top 5 countries. We see China with 1.36bn and India with 1.24bn. So from that statistic we can conclude that China has more people living in it than India. That’s pretty clear and simple. Terms like ‘more’ are easy to interpret, and it is clear to everyone what that means.

But this can also be boring. Nobody buys a paper or clicks a link to read something that makes sense. The headline “Tim sacked after results are no better than AVB” isn’t nearly as interesting as “Tim sacked despite having the best record”. After all I have done the same thing in the headline for this article.

So how can Tim be the best and the worst? It all depends what you mean by best and worst, and how you look at the data. Let’s start with the best:

Premier League Win Rate

Manager              Played   Won      Win%

Sherwood            22           13           59.1%

Villas-Boas          54           29           53.7%

Redknapp            144        71           49.3%

Ramos                  35           10           28.6%

Jol                         114        47           41.2%

On that basis he has the highest win rate for Premier League games. But what about Cup games? After all the term ‘Premier League Manager’ doesn’t necessarily just mean for games played in the Premier League. It could just mean a manager that has a team that is in the Premier League.

All Games Win Rate

Manager              Played   Won      Win%

Sherwood            28           14           50.0%

Villas-Boas          80           44           55.0%

Redknapp            198        98           49.5%

Ramos                  54           21           38.9%

Jol                         149        67           45.0%

Now Sherwood is behind AVB, and pretty much on par with Redknapp. That’s not looking so good as a headline. But of course there are not just wins to consider. Draws can also get you vital points, and avoiding defeats to rivals can keep you in the hunt against them. So not losing games is important as well.

All Games Loss Rate

Manager              Played   Lost       Loss%

Sherwood            28           10           35.7%

Villas-Boas          80           16           20.0%

Redknapp            198        50           25.3%

Ramos                  54           17           31.4%

Jol                         149        44           29.5%

On losses Tim has the worst record of the last 5 managers. Even the calamitous Ramos lost fewer games than Tim as a percentage of total played. How is “Tim sacked for having a worse record than Ramos” sounding as a title?

So was he the best or was he the worst? Beats me. Probably neither. The fact is that Tim had very few draws (just 4 in 28 games), so I would expect that both the win rate and the loss rate have been pushed up because of this.

So I’m not saying that Tim did an especially bad job during his time. However you can doubt the wisdom to publically criticise your players. Even if you are correct in what you are saying it is probably not the right thing to do to say it. After all, if being honest doesn’t get you the results then it is not a good line to pursue. But the point is that by using that one particular interpretation of one particular view of his record he did seek to justify all that he had done. He is saying that you cannot criticise his methods because he was the best manager that Spurs have had.

So did he use the media, and were his decisions bad? Well, that’s just one interpretation.

Have something to tell us about this article?


  1. hello hello is there anybody there yeah you are you on a time delay or do you come from a different dimension where time is running a week or three behind earth time hello hello

  2. You clearly meant to write this in the name of fair statistics but it's biased. Sherwood joined the cups half way through so he had tough games. Where as the other managers you are comparing him with joined from the beginning so they had tough games and easy games. So of course Sherwood is going to have less wins and more defeats if you compare *tough games* vs *tough + easy games*.

    Here are the fair statistics:

    Sherwood premier league = highest points accumulation.
    Sherwood cups = went out to champions league teams who both progressed to the final.

    • That is biased too. Tim did not have an extensive run in the league. Fact is using stats to judge a manager with half a season, be it positively or otherwise is wrong. Tim shld just own up and admit he has much to learn and the quality at his side aided his win percentage.

      Came unstuck against the bigger teams because he was naive enough to think a DM is not required. If this was a championship side, i wld support giving tim a run next season. But too much is at stake to gamble on a novice to learn his trade in the business whilst the club is clearly looking at building on last seasons investments.

  3. Christ,avb went months ago,not a moment to soon,Tims gone, its just history,Just as long as history dosnt repeat itself.But it will we are Spurs ,Levy is Levy so please dont expect anything to stupendous next season.Whichever numpty takes on the Death Wish 3 job,dont buy any Xmas cards for him just yet.COYS

  4. Give the guy ( the writer, not Tim) a break. Pundits- ex pros, so supportive of a fellow pro – still use Tim's win percentage to argue that his record was good and he shouldn't have been sacked. They ignore the scraped wins against mediocre opposition and the disorganised shambles that disintegrated pathetically against the top clubs. As for our cup performances, our away loss to Arsenal in the FA Cup was awful – no fight whatsoever- while our home defeat to West Ham ( don't think they're Champions League qualifiers, at least the last time I looked) made Sam Allardyce look a tactical genius. As for the Benfica game, we only started playing after Erikson went into the middle and not the left where tactical Tim kept playing him and it was too little, too late. It needed someone to debunk the lying stats that Tim uses, so good, and timely, article in my view.

  5. I will celebrate and dance naked down the high rd when we are discussing Daniel Levy gone until then we resign ourselves to skin flint penny pinching bollocks telling the fans one thing and the agents and players another, spend some money you wankers or fuck off !


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