Thursday, January 31, 2008

Devils Benefit From Late Kick-off

On the final day of the season, all the matches kick off together to ensure no-one benefits from knowing the result they require in advance. Although results do not matter in the PRoBrum Match of the Day Running Order Index, those who played on Wednesday benefited from an earlier appearance on Match of the Day, allowing Manchester United to return to the top of the PRoBrum MOTD Running Order Index as well as the Premier League.

Does this mean the scoring system is unfair? I think not. The BBC made a decision to have one MOTD on Wednesday rather than one on each day, and in any case, they could have shown the matches in chronological order which cynics might say they would have done if it had benefitted Manchester United. Birmingham City, who lead the league throughout February, dropped to third as a result of the lower exposure of the Tuesday contests.

More interestingly, Villa and Blackburn who got 8 point by appearing as the only Premier League matches on Saturday probably would have got more if they had played on Tuesday or Wednesday night as a result of the multiplier related to the number of games. I don't think this is a huge problem, as the PRoBrum MOTD Running Order Index was always supposed to be a measure of how much overexposure a team gets on MOTD with a fullish fixture list rather than a measure of which teams are always last on the show; for the latter, it's the Gubbometer you are after.

Manchester United ....130+(10-2)*9=202
Chelsea ........................120+(8-1)*9=183
Birmingham City.........154+(4-2)*9=172
Tottenham ..................100+(7-0)*9=163
Arsenal ........................140+(5-3)*9=158
Reading .........................68+(8-1)*9=131
Everton .........................64+(7-0)*9=127
West Ham United.........50+(9-1)*9=122
Newcastle United........102+(5-3)*9=120
Liverpool ......................40+(9-1)*9=112
Middlesbrough ..............85+(3-1)*9=103
Fulham ..........................80+(2-0)*9=98
Portsmouth ..................18+(10-2)*9=90
Bolton Wanderers ........70+(2-0)*9=88
Manchester City ..........40+(6-2)*9=76
Derby County...............16+(6-2)*9=52
Sunderland ...................28+(4-2)*9=46
Aston Villa ....................(no match) 40
Wigan Athletic .............16+(3-1)*9=34
Blackburn Rovers ........(no match) 29

Finally, I will have to retire from blogging early from RSI if I keep having to type "PRoBrum MOTD Running Order Index" every time, so I have decided to shorten it. Taking the initial letters, a few inbetween and adding "ship" to the end, you get "Promroiship", which quite interestingly, nearly sounds like a bad cockney impersonation of a drunk Brummie saying "Premiership".

A perfect name, I'm sure you will agree.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Early Cup Exits Improve League Postions

'It allows us to concentrate on the League' has been the mantra of many a manager whose team has exited the worlds greatest domestic club cup competition at an early stage and yesterday saw Aston Villa and Blackburn obtain an immediate return at least as far as PRoBrum MOTD Running Order Index was concerned. Missing out on Round 4 of the FA Cup meant they were the only Premiership teams playing on MOTD in Round 4 of the PRoBrum MOTD Running Order Index and of course one of the rules in the initial post was that only Premiership matches count, leaving both Aston Villa and Blackburn achieving ten points for being the first Premiership match on MOTD, with two points being subtracted for each goal scored in the match. Mulitplying by the number of Premiership matches on MOTD (one) leaves both clubs with eight points added to their tally.

Birmingham 154
Arsenal 140
Manchester United 130
Chelsea 120
Newcastle 102
Tottenham 100
Middlesbrough 85
Fulham 80
Bolton 70
Reading 68
Everton 64
West Ham 50
Aston Villa 40
Liverpool 40
Manchester City 40
Blackburn 29
Sunderland 28
Portsmouth 18
Derby 16
Wigan 16

Villa vs Blackburn was actually the fifth match featured on MOTD last night, and I did toy with giving them the number of points usually given to the teams featuring fifth (six points) as the original rules were actually a bit vague on yesterday's unusual situation. In the end, I decided against this because more Premiership matches shown at the end of an FA Cup show would leave teams no longer taking part in the FA Cup with potentially large negative scoring.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

King Kev Reigns in Round 3

His first game back may have only been a disappointing nil-nil bore draw, but in the PRoBrum MOTD Running Order Index King Kevin produced an immediate result for the Toon Army by getting the Geordies featured first on Match of the Day, producing the highest score in a week since records began (three weeks ago). Their opponents Bolton also benefited greatly, getting into the top half despite this being their first appearance on MOTD since the New Year began.
Interestingly enough last night saw MOTD start with the lowest scoring match and end with the highest scoring match, leaving Portsmouth and Derby getting the same amount of points as the teams who did not feature on MOTD last night - none. This is perhaps a sign that the BBC's flagship footie show spends at much time discussing events of the pitch than showing the action on it. Derby fans may feel particularly hard done by this season, not only propping up the Premiership and the PRoBrum Index but also clearly leading the Gubbometer which counts the number of times a team features last on MOTD.

Birmingham continued their fine form (!?) maintaining their 14 point lead over their closest rivals Arsenal. Indeed, all three games involving the big three received a 42 point boost which means that the gap between the top four remains unchanged. With a break for the FA Cup next week, Brum will go into February having led the PRoBrum MOTD Running Order Index throughout the whole of January.

Birmingham 112+(7-1)*7=154
Arsenal 98+(9-3)*7=140
Manchester United 88+(8-2)*7=130
Chelsea 78+(7-1)*7=120
Newcastle 32+(10-0)*7=102
Tottenham 72+(6-2)*7=100
Middlesbrough 64+(5-2)*7=85
Fulham 38+(9-3)*7=80
Bolton 0+(10-0)*7=70
Reading 26+(8-2)*7=68
Everton (no match) 64
West Ham (no match) 50
Manchester City (no match) 40
Liverpool (no match) 40
Aston Villa (no match) 32
Sunderland 0+(6-2)*7=28
Blackburn 0+(5-2)*7=21
Portsmouth 18+(4-4)*7=18
Derby 16+(4-4)*7=16
Wigan (no match) 16

This is the first week all Premiership have featured in at least one Match of The Day since the New Year; the competition is well and truly under way.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Laptop For Sale

The theft of an MOD Laptop from a car in Birmingham containing the names of 600,000 people who have demonstrated an interest in joining the armed forces was of particular interest to me, mainly because on two occasions while minding my own business I have been offered a laptop for sale by total strangers. Once I was walking down the road and was called over by a woman and a child sitting in a car who spoke to me in such a strong accent I had to get them to repeat their offer twice before I went on my merry way. The other time I was parking my car outside my home when someone knocked on my window and offered me a laptop.

It begs the question: if I am offered a laptop in the next few weeks is it my patriotic duty to buy it just in case it is the laptop in question. Or would I be foolish to handle what are probably stolen goods? If I did come to be in possession of the laptop I would of course hand it over to the authorities despite almost certainly being under suspicion of being a terrorist; despite recent reports it is not true that everyone in Birmingham is now under the control of the global jihadists.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Bobby Fischer 1943 - 2008

I couldn't possibly begin to explain to someone not interested in chess the impact Bobby Fischer had on the game when in 1972 he defeated Boris Spassky to become champion of a game the Soviet Union had made their own at the height of the cold war, so I will have to point you to this article which will give you a flavour.

He never defended his single world title in protest at the nature of the chess tournaments were played, leading to a never-ending battle between Karpov and Kasparov in 1986 when his ideas were finally adopted and nearly bankrupted FIDE, the World Chess Federation.

In 1992 he came back defying US sporting sanctions against Yugoslavia, defeating his nemesis Spassky 10-5. He spent the final years of his life in Japan before taking citizenship of the nation which hosted the 1972 match, Iceland, to avoid extradition to the US in 2005. He spent some of this time praising the September 11 attacks and making the odd anti-Semitic remark despite being of Jewish parentage. Rabid anti-Americanism seemed to have replaced his rabid anti-communism.

There is a fine line between genius and madness, and I think we can safely say that Fischer straddled both worlds.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Best of Blogpower 2007

Blogpower is currently hosting the self chosen best posts of 2007. My submission was The Far-Right to Offend, an explanation to those particularly but not exclusively on the right-wing of the political spectrum, who often harp on about Islamofacism and the threat to our way of life exactly what freedom of speech is really supposed to protect. Not the politics of hatred but something far more important: our right to criticise the government without threat of persecution.

There are some good posts on this round-up so if you have some time get over there and have a look.

Six Goal Win Sees Devils Drop

Manchester United may have returned to the top of the Premiership, but thanks to their six goal demolition of Newcastle they dropped to third after Round 2 of the PRoBrum MOTD Running Order Index, with Birmingham sitting pretty at the top after two low scoring matches against the main Premiership contenders.

There could be few complaints about the running order last night which pretty much ran from the top to the bottom of the league table, leaving those involved in the Villa and West Ham matches feeling rather unloved near the end of the show despite scoring more goals than average this weekend.

Birmingham have a great chance to extend their lead at the top (I don't get to write that often) being involved in the Blues derby next week against Chelsea. However, the Gubbometer shows that Chelsea are the only Premiership contender to have featured last on MOTD - twice. Could a shock at St Andrews put the big two back in their rightful place?

A reminder, scores are calculated using the following formula:

last weeks points+(running order points-number of goals)*number of matches on MOTD

Birmingham 56+(9-2)*8=112
Arsenal 42+(9-2)*8=98
Manchester United 56+(10-6)*8=88
Chelsea 30+(8-2)*8=78
Spurs 24+(8-2)*8=72
Middlesbrough 24+(7-2)*8=64
Everton 24+(6-1)*8=64
West Ham 42+(4-3)*8=50
Manchester City 0+(6-1)*8=40
Liverpool 0+(7-2)*8=40
Fulham 30+(4-3)*8=38
Aston Villa 24+(5-4)*8=32
Newcastle 0+(10-6)*8=32
Reading 18+(5-4)*8=26
Portsmouth 18+0=18
Derby 0+(3-1)*8=16
Wigan 0+(3-1)*8=16

Bolton, Blackburn and Sunderland have yet to feature on MOTD this year.

I have treble checked this but if you spot any mistakes please let me know.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

PRoBrum Primary Delivers Boost to McCain

Hot on the heels of Iowa and New Hampshire, the People's Republic of Birmingham Primary delivered a boost to the McCain campaign after the GoToQuiz candidate selector gave him a decisive victory over fellow Republican rival Mike Huckabee. Unfortunately, both the Republican and Democratic parties have stripped the People's Republic of Birmingham of all its delegates due to the technicality of it not being part of the United States. Bill Richardson, who was given a boost by finishing fourth behind unknown Democratic hopeful Chris Dodd, has given up his Presidential bid in protest (although some reports suggest his poor showings in Iowa and New Hampshire were the real reason).

The full results of the People's Republic of Birmingham Primary are as follows:

71% John McCain
69% Mike Huckabee
66% Chris Dodd
66% Bill Richardson
63% Barack Obama
63% Hillary Clinton
59% John Edwards
57% Mitt Romney
52% Rudy Giuliani
50% Fred Thompson
49% Joe Biden
45% Tom Tancredo
44% Mike Gravel
44% Dennis Kucinich
37% Ron Paul

2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

It does not surprise me that John McCain came top in this poll as I have always considered McCain to be head and shoulders above the other Republican candidates. Like me, he is fiercely independent in his beliefs. His pro-immigration tendencies and belief that we should see out the war in Iraq probably were the deciding factors, even though I opposed the original military action. You only have to look at Kashmir and Palestine to look at the mess that can be made when the West (in those cases Britain) decide to mess with things and then cut and run before seeing the job is finished.

I was surprised that Mike Hukabee came second but to be fair, both our politics are heavily influenced by Christianity.

Next stop: Michigan.

Hat tip to Beaman's World

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Last on Match of the Day

(Update 12/08/2008: The results of this experiment along with a full explantion of the rules are available here. Click on the graphs to make them bigger.)

Being last on Match of the Day has become a bit of a topic recently, after Phil Neville's comments that Everton were always in that position. Last night Gabby Logan almost apologised for Walsall vs Millwall taking the uncoveted position, saying

“If you’re a Walsall or a Millwall fan, someone had to be last. It’s nothing personal, OK?”

Freelance sports write Mike Whalley has been keeping a tally of the teams ended up last on the BBC's flagship footie show on a table he calls the Gubbometer, after his belief that Tony Gubba also always ends up commentating on the last match of the show. I have decided that a slightly more sophisticated system is needed to find out if the BBC are indeed biased against certain teams, and have come up with the 'PRoBrum MOTD Running Order Index'. Catchy, isn't it?
(Updated 16/3: Now shortened to 'the Promroiship'. For an explanation, see this post.)

The rules are as follows: all teams appearing on Match of the Day will be awarded points based on the position of their game in the running order, the number of goals scored and the number of matches appearing on MOTD that weekend. Only Premiership games will count and MOTD2 is not included. Midweek MOTD will also count towards the total. The rules are as follows:

1) Teams appearing in the first match will be awarded 10 points, the next 9 and so on all the way down to 1 if necessary. As there are 20 teams in the premiership, a maximum of 10 matches can be played on any day involving all teams once.

2) Because matches with more goals should in theory come first, 1 point will be taken away for each goal scored in the match. I deliberated a lot about this rule, because a few high scoring matches before Christmas made this potentially unfair, but I think it is the easiest way to factor in "entertainment" at an objective level. In any case, it would not be football if their was not potential for an argument over the fairness of some rule or other.

3) Thanks to security considerations, Sky and European involvement, sometimes there can be very few matches on Saturday and so we need to factor in the number of matches shown. I have decided to multiply the result of the first two rules by the number of matches appearing on MOTD. Obviously the fact that some teams do not play on Saturday adds in some additional unfairness, but I hope that over half a season there will not be too much bias, and we should pick it up week by week if there is.

So, using the above rules for MOTD on January 1, we get the following results:

Manchester United 6*(10-1)=56
Birmingham 6*(10-1)=56
Arsenal 6*(9-2)=42
West Ham 6*(9-2)=42
Fulham 6*(8-3)=30
Chelsea 6*(8-3)=30
Aston Villa 6*(7-3)=24
Spurs 6*(7-3)=24
Middlesbrough 6*(6-2)=24
Everton 6*(6-2)=24
Reading 6*(5-2)=18
Portsmouth 6*(5-2)=18

Ironically then, Birmingham, who appeared last on three MOTD's over the Xmas period and were second last once, lead the table after the first round of matches by virtue of playing Man United.

I will keep this up until the end of the season or until I get bored, whichever is earlier. I think it will be interesting, in a kind of sad way, to see if we can glean any trends from this data.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Eight Wishes For 2008

A few people around the blogosphere have been tagged with an "8 wishes for 2008 meme". Although I haven't, and to be honest, I wouldn't know if I had, I struggled to get to sleep last night even once the fireworks had finished and so spent the time thinking of what I would like to see the New Year bring. I quickly gave up and thought up the following, which are the product of a sick and depraved mind. I apologise now unreservedly for any offense caused.


1) In a final attempt to secure his legacy, President Bush appoints an unborn child to the supreme court. As the most lively member, the child upholds Roe vs Wade. Mitt Romney accuses it of flip-flopping.

2) Unhappy with the choice of Republican Presidential nominees, the religious right throw their weight behind Mullah Omar of the Taliban, after he agrees to ban gay marriage, prevent gun control, stop (female) illegal immigrants from holding driving licenses and oppose female presidents. A new era of inter-religious peace ensues, where the Abrahamic traditions agree to bury the hatchet and some atheists instead.


3) Hugo Chavez, upset at not being able to run for a fourth term in his own country, runs for and wins the American presidential election on an anti-American ticket.

4) Fidel Castro is invited to the Oxford University Debating Society and turns up in a Che Guevera T-shirt.


5) Richard Dawkins finds God, but not his car keys. He writes a new bestseller, called 'The Fob Delusion'.

Closer to Home

6) Boris Johnson blows his mayoral campaign after describing London as "the a**ehole of England". He is immediately given the freedom of Birmingham.

7) Jeremy Clarkson is found dead in the Helmand province while attempting to drive through it with "Man Love Rules OK" written on the side of his car. The Tipton Taliban's new spokesman, Richard Hammond, claims responsibility for the killings. (Note: this is topical)

8) Birmingham City are not last on Match of the Day.

Happy New Year!