Monthly Archives: October 2011

C change?

I posted a few bits of trivia on twitter@pssguy as the derby game was concluding but thought that the outcome was worth a bit closer review
So I did a bit of R coding to ascertain each club’s position at this time in the season
Here are the positions the two Manchester clubs have held in late October for every Premiership year

In the twenty years of the EPL (in some of which City were not present), this is the first time City have led United at this time of the season
United have always figured in the top 7 – a rarity for City until recently – but have actually only led the table once on October 24th in the past 11 years : this hasn’t stopped them winning five of those titles though

As for the seven ever-present teams

It is clear how the major clubs have taken a tighter grip of the league since the early days. City are the first outside this clique to head the table at this stage of the season since Leeds in 2001. The Yorkshire club were relegated two years later, a fate not likely for the Sky Blues


Well I guess Tony Blair is breathing a sigh of relief that there is not going to be a state funeral for Gaddafi
so that his friendship with the great departed is not once again brought to the fore

Whatever his faults, there is no denying the ex-leader`s longevity on the world stage. When he was the new kid on the block
he was mixing (or not as the case may be) with the likes of Nasser, Nixon, Breznev and Pompidou

Here is a chart of some of the leaders he mingled with

His fellow totalitarian neighbours in Egypt and Tunisia also lasted in power for many years whilst the highest turnover has been in Israel
which sported 12 change of leadersips during his 30 plus term

Age matters

I have yet to read Malcolm Gladwell’s book ‘Outliers’, but one of the chapters deals with how the structure of competitive minor hockey – where players are chosen on a calendar year basis – produces a much higher proportion of NHL players born in early part of year. The theory is that at age 7-8, the size and coordination advantage of a few months is telling and once you do not make a AAA team with its better coaching and competition it is hard to catch up.
Apparantly, he also looked at soccer in Europe, where the results were even more marked
Here are the number of EPL players since its inception who were born by month (adjusted to take account of varying days within month)

What’s going on here? There appears to be a downward trend going on but suddenly there is a leap. Let’s have a look based on a September start-up, the beginning of the school year in England

That is pretty telling. I have been out of the country for many years but back then school soccer was the main outlet for young children. This has likely changed somewhat and the same age-criteria for selecting representative teams may differ but the EPL data include all those who have appeared since 1992 and who will have been youngsters from the early seventies onwards

English players have accounted for around 50% of all players so let’s seperate them out and also show other countries which have contributed 35 or more players into the system

Most of the other countries have small sample sizes. Of the other major sources Scotland may have a similar, but less pronounced, trend but France is all over the map.
Seeing England in isolation, the general linear trend (apart from a couple of hiccups) is clear. Applying a linear regression to that data gives

Count = 210 -11 x monthOrder

which means that for every month later in the year (starting September) a boy is born there is a 5% less chance of him making the show

Something to think about in those long winter months