Is he the worst referee in the Premier League? Former referee’s chief Keith Hackett seems to think so.
In an article written in The Telegraph back in November, Hackett called into question Roger East’s ability to hack it in the Premier League. After failing to give a penalty against Ryan Shawcross for a clear foul on Callum Wilson on 19th November, East was roundly criticised and even dropped from officiating in the Premier League, finding himself relegated down the divisions.
His 111 yellow cards given in just 25 games all season means he gives 4.4 yellow cards per game, a rate far higher than most Premier League referees. Having only taken charge of six games in the top division this season, though, East’s rate drops significantly when you only take into account those games at the highest level.
His red card rate, on the other hand, is the highest in the league, as is his propensity to give penalties. East has given penalties this season at a rate of more than one every two games, as well as two cards in his six outings. That means only two thirds of his games don’t involve a red: if your team kept that rate over an entire season, you could expect to rack up around 13 red cards a season.
If West Ham and Leicester fans weren’t already worried about East’s stats coming into their game this weekend, however, perhaps the Hammers will spot one stat that seems to really stand against them: although home teams win most of the games in the Premier League, when East is in charge, exactly half the games he officiates end in away wins. Only one third of his games have ended in home wins.
That’s the kind of stat you would usually expect to find reversed to reflect home advantage. And as the home team this weekend, West Ham will have to make sure they control the game themselves rather than end up at the mercy of a dodgy decision.
It’s clear that the stats don’t make great reading, but it should be pointed out that East has only taken charge of one Premier League game since his nightmare in November. That was on January 31st, when he was in the middle of Swansea’s 2-1 win over Southampton, drawing only two yellow cards all game in a fairly serene outing. He hasn’t given a red card in any competition since December 3rd.
Perhaps some time refereeing down the divisions and away from the spotlight has helped East rediscover his form and get back into his groove. Perhaps his rough start to the season was just the refereeing equivalent of the turbulent starts both West Ham and Leicester have had themselves. And perhaps Saturday’s game is about redemption for all involved: pretty much everyone on the pitch at the London Stadium this weekend will be hoping they’ve turned their seasons around.