It seems like yesterday since the last football season ended, but despite a Euroless summer for the home nations, football fans can look forward to the daily grind of the league and another Promroiship season which promises to tell us once and for all whether Match of the Day is biased towards any Premier League teams. Following the recommendations of the Promroiship Review 07/08, the season will run from 16/08/2008 to 31/12/2008 in order to avoid title/ European/ relegation battles dominating the all-important Match of the Day Running Order. A reminder of the rules for those of you who have forgotten including one new one:
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.
4) New rule: As last season progressed, those who were following the competition would have noticed that Blackburn and Aston Villa seemed to play fewer matches on Saturday, which put them at a disadvantage, as foreseen by the third point above. So, for the purposes of fairness, the League Table will be based on average Promroiship points per appearance on MOTD - in other words, the total number of Promroiship points for each team will be divided by the number of appearances on Match of the Day that team had over the same period.
With seven games on the first weekend, there was no shortage of premutations for the BBC to play with and they kindly picked Premier League new boys Hull to appear first on their first Premier League Match of the Day. Seasoned Premier League followers of West Ham were probably a bit more disappointed with their position at the end of the programme, the "on alphabetical order of course" derby against Wigan. Why the late kick-off between Sunderland and Liverpool featured earlier despite producing only one goal is a mystery, unless you happen to believe the Beeb are more likely to feature the Big Four earlier on.
Promroiship Results August 16th 2008 (Match of the Day Running Order)
Hull City v Fulham..........49
Everton v Blackburn Rovers..28
Middlesbrough v Tottenham...35
Sunderland v Liverpool......42
Bolton Wanderers v Stoke....14
Arsenal v West Brom.........28
West Ham v Wigan Athletic... 7
The league table does not mean much at this stage, so here it is anyway:
The Promroiship Table after Round 1 (08/9)
West Ham United.. 7
Wigan Athletic... 7
With six teams yet to feature on Match of the Day this season.
Yes Hull fans, you are not dreaming; after the first round of the Promroiship you are in second place denied top spot only by alphabetical order.
Dreams are made of this for ever and a day.