It seems that any dunce who takes a calculator to a football match can call themselves a researcher or statistician these days. The demand for this nonsense does nothing but keep some dull individuals with laptop computers and body odour in employment.
Sky Sports, for example (hmmm, I seem to have a thing about them at the moment), invest thousands in telling us meaningless things like how many passes were completed in each half of a pitch and the number of throw-ins per minute. Even the Rangers programme has a whole page of totally incomprehensible numbers in it these days.
Well - yes, yes, yes - all very interesting, but what does all this information gathering actually tell us? Nothing useful, I'll wager. For example, research might tell you that Roy Keane has a completed pass ratio of 73 per cent - which is fine as far as it goes, but it doesn't tell you why he is a whinging, aggravating git. Or a survey might reveal that 87 per cent of season ticket holders agree with the appointment of Gerry Francis, but it won't tell you who on earth charges him money for that haircut.
In order to restore the tarnished name of research and statistics, therefore, I have initiated my own piece of Rangers research to study the things that really matter. Over the course of the season so far, I have been collecting a veritable barrage of statistical information about all things Rangers. I hadn't really planned what I was going to do with it all, I was just hoping that I'd be able to prove something. Anything. Here is my initial report.
1. Mean Distribution Of Supporters
Using some set squares and a theodolite, I plotted supporter positions in relation to pie stalls, the goals, toilets and gangways. Over a number of games, I was able to detect a series of consistent patterns. Interestingly but not surprisingly, it seems that those with beer guts will tend to occupy seats nearer to gangways, thus affording easy access to pie stalls. The thinner the supporter, the greater the concentration toward goals rather than food outlets.
Thus, research proves that at any game, you will find Dave Thomas (or a person of similar stature) within 4.3 metres of a food source, whereas Clive Gifford (or similar example of lankness who can't hold a pint) may be as far as 19.77 metres from said pie outlet, providing he is no more than 6.22 metres from a goal-net or 3.18 metres from a urinal. This information will be very useful to those trying to locate their friends at games.
2. Supporters; Inclination Thereof
With a powerful portable computer and some remote imaging equipment, I went on to study supporter movements during matches. A number of interesting traits emerged. Notably, when the ball is played out to Leon Jeanne, supporters will lean forward by an average of 13 degrees - presumably in anticipation. This seems to be confirmed by the 14 degree forward lean evoked by Richard Langley.
If this proves that anticipation produces a forward lean, one would have thought that the ball arriving at, say, Karl Ready's feet would produce a corresponding lean back. Interestingly, this proved not to be the case at all. Indeed, Karl's involvement in open play actually leads to an average forward lean of some 88 degrees - to a point at which more than 93 per cent of the crowd can no longer see the pitch.
Clearly then, there is an optimum lean forward mark beyond which a forward lean ceases to be an expression of positive anticipation and becomes a protective manoeuvre. Further study of Tony Scully (after he has beaten a defender but before he attempts to cross the ball) is needed here in order to determine the exact point at which anticipation evaporates.
3. Profanity/Activity Co-incidence
My study further confirmed a link between sexual and/or religious centred profanity and incidents on the pitch. Using a high-powered sound recording device, I measured the responses to a number of match events in relation to the time they took place. Thus, I was able to prove that Kevin Gallen missing a one-on-one produced a fucks-per-100 supporters ratio (FSR) of 86, and the announcement of Iain Dowie in a starting XI produced a Jesus Christ Index (JCI) of 71.
A second, unanswered opposition goal within 15 minutes of the end of a match produces an FSR of 93 AND a JCI of 98. This is presumably due to very many utterances of "Jesus Fucking Christ" or similar. A two-goal deficit also leads to an INBCHA (‘I'm never bloody coming here again’) reading of 88, as well as a 43 per cent increase in the use of the exits in the eight minutes after the calamitous event.
4. Fluid Flow Dynamics
I have been able to prove conclusively that a poor run of Rangers form increases the amount of beer consumed by supporters before entering the ground. By plotting urine volume in the toilets against the number of supporters in the ground and applying a form quotient, I have determined a formula to calculate the exact amount of beer one needs to consume prior to kick-off in order to ensure optimum enjoyment of a game. Unfortunately, I lost the fag packet I was writing it on, so I'll have to do it from memory.
It goes something like this. Drink to the point at which you cannot imbibe without spilling beer down your shirt. From this point, have two more pints, then stop. You have now consumed the optimum amount of beer required. I can't remember where the bit about relating your drinking to Rangers form came into it but never mind, eh?
Further statistical revelations will follow as my research develops. Currently, there are two interesting phenomena which I am endeavouring to study in detail. Firstly, the hypothesis that Kevin Gallen expands to fill the space available to him. Secondly, why coffee bought at Loftus Road remains at nine million degrees Celsius whilst you attempt to carry it back to your seat... and then goes cold within 18 seconds. Watch this space.
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