'Big' club dominance in European leagues

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'Big' club dominance in European leagues

Post by Scottish » Mon Oct 21, 2013 2:23 pm

We're often told that the Old Firm dominate Scottish football to such a level as isn't repeated elsewhere. But is that right? These figures are expressed as the bottom club’s ratio of the top club’s points tally. In other words how much the bottom club gains for every point achieved by the top club. They can also be read as straightforward percentages by removing the zero and moving the decimal point to before the last figure.

The first caveat here is that the number of clubs in the top division and the format used varies greatly from country. The second is that as far as the Scottish figures are concerned, the loss of Rangers to the top flight inevitably means more points for other teams as they were far more likely to gain points against replacements Dundee than Rangers. The figure for 2011-12 when both OF were in the SPL was 0.269 and after 33 games - i.e. when every club had played each other an equal number of times and before any effects of the split kicked in – the figure declined further to 0.247.

Only Northern Ireland has the same number of clubs and structure as Scotland.

So, are Andorra quite close to Scotland and Northern Ireland much worse off? It depends on composition. If you have a team so far behind the rest as Distillery were last season then the Northern Irish figure will go down (just as when Gretna were in the SPL). In 2011-12 their figure wasn’t a baw hair away from Scotland’s.

As for Andorra, in 2011-12 their figure was a shocking 0.100 but they got rid of what was far and away their worst side (Ranger’s - but with an apostrophe in case anyone’s interested – with just four points from twenty games) and their figure rose as a consequence.

In general the percentages work against larger leagues as there is more scope for greater points differentials. All figures are post-split in those leagues which operate any type of this system unless otherwise stated. Home nations & RoI highlighted

0.559 Slovakia
0.554 Montenegro
0.500 Finland
0.477 Denmark
0.463 Poland
0.427 Austria
0.401 Israel (regular season only as clubs play unequal number of games post-split)
0.385 Czech Republic
0.385 Slovenia
0.380 Scotland
0.361 Switzerland
0.355 Wales
0.353 Belarus
0.352 Armenia
0.351 Croatia
0.345 France
0.341 Andorra
0.338 Macedonia (FYROM)
0.330 Spain
0.328 Ireland (RoI)
0.310 Turkey
0.308 Latvia
0.306 Azerbaijan
0.301 Netherlands
0.297 Russia
0.295 Portugal
0.281 England
0.279 Gozo
0.274 Norway
0.269 Gibraltar
0.260 Greece
0.253 Italy
0.245 Iceland
0.239 Malta (regular season only as points are halved post-split)
0.234 Hungary
0.231 Germany
0.228 Romania
0.224 Albania
0.222 Bulgaria
0.219 Kosovo
0.218 Georgia
0.217 Estonia
0.216 Lithuania
0.209 Belgium (regular season, before play-offs which don’t allow for comparison)
0.209 Jersey (Jersey Scottish were champions!)
0.209 Northern Ireland
0.208 Kazakhstan
0.205 Serbia
0.203 Luxembourg
0.203 Sweden
0.155 Faroe Islands
0.150 Moldova
0.139 Ukraine
0.137 Bosnia
0.104 Northern Cyprus (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus)
0.091 Cyprus (regular league as two relegated clubs don’t take part post-split)
0.000 Guernsey (Rovers lost all 24 games)
N/A Liechtenstein (no national league)
N/A San Marino (league split into two groups at outset then play-offs)

So, of 57 countries and territories (52 members of UEFA) Scotland came tenth last season. As commented on, last season (and this one and the next) was exceptional on account of the loss of Rangers. But even with Rangers included and even using the pre-split cut-off, the SPL would still finish just below midway as far as competitiveness is concerned. We would be around the same mark as Italy and Greece and surprisingly ahead of a number of established football nations such as Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Belgium, Serbia, Sweden and Ukraine.

Perhaps most surprisingly of all we would be ahead of Germany. Speaking of which reminds me of Jock Stein's famous remark about a race between two pensioners being competitive but would anyone want to watch it. Armenia seems to have a more competitive league than England, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal & Spain. I think I know which games I'd rather watch.

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Re: 'Big' club dominance in European leagues

Post by Gorgiewave » Wed Oct 23, 2013 1:31 pm

I don't think this is the best figure to measure "dominance". What about the percentage of league titles won by the top two (or three in Portugal or the Netherlands)?
What about average points difference between first and second. 83.8% of championship to the gruesome twosome.
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Re: 'Big' club dominance in European leagues

Post by Gorgiewave » Wed Oct 23, 2013 1:34 pm

Gorgiewave wrote:I don't think this is the best figure to measure "dominance". What about the percentage of league titles won by the top two (or three in Portugal or the Netherlands)? A figure like this could be distorted by the Loughboroughs and St. Johnstone 1976s of this world.
What about average points difference between first and second. 83.8% of championship to the gruesome twosome.
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Re: 'Big' club dominance in European leagues

Post by Scottish » Fri Oct 25, 2013 9:48 am

Well, it shows the points spread between top and bottom so is pretty accurate at showing competition in a particular league - but as mentioned in the post it depends on the make-up of the division in question. Average points difference between 1st & 2nd could just as easily be between bottom and 2nd last. Why not? The only reason for one and not the other is if you're seeking to "prove" something before looking at the evidence.

But by all means make the calculation and post it. I'm afraid that after all the analyses made in the past week I don't have the time to do any more for now at least.

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Re: 'Big' club dominance in European leagues

Post by Gorgiewave » Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:10 pm

scottish wrote:Well, it shows the points spread between top and bottom so is pretty accurate at showing competition in a particular league - but as mentioned in the post it depends on the make-up of the division in question. Average points difference between 1st & 2nd could just as easily be between bottom and 2nd last. Why not? The only reason for one and not the other is if you're seeking to "prove" something before looking at the evidence.

But by all means make the calculation and post it. I'm afraid that after all the analyses made in the past week I don't have the time to do any more for now at least.
When I have an afternoon to go through league tables, I'll do that.

Off the top of my head, I'd guess there is no major footballing country in which two teams have won more than 83.8% of the championships. Maybe Egypt.
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Re: 'Big' club dominance in European leagues

Post by the hibLOG » Tue Oct 29, 2013 10:35 pm

A cursory glance around Europe:

Portugal - 83 titles to Porto, Benfica or Sporting, 8 to the rest. 91.7% of titles shared between 3 clubs.
Greece - 71 titles to Olympiakos, Panathenaikos or AEK, 6 to the rest. 92.3% of titles shared between 3 clubs. Or, if you take out AEK (who have won 11 titles to Panathanaikos's 20 and Olympiakos's 40) it reads nearly 80% of titles to two clubs.
Ukraine is the only other league so heavily dominated by two clubs, but the number of titles is only since the break up of the Soviet Union. Kiev 18, Shaktar 3, and one other winner, giving 95.5% to two clubs, or 81% to a single club.
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Re: 'Big' club dominance in European leagues

Post by Scottish » Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:55 pm

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Uruguay.

Since professionalism was adopted in 1931 these have been the champions
38 Peñarol
33 Nacional
4 Defensor Sporting
3 Danubio
1 Bella Vista
1 Central Español
1 Progreso

87.65%

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Re: 'Big' club dominance in European leagues

Post by the hibLOG » Fri Nov 01, 2013 2:19 am

scottish wrote:1 Progreso
Regreso, surely?
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Re: 'Big' club dominance in European leagues

Post by Scottish » Fri Nov 01, 2013 2:50 pm

the hibLOG wrote:
scottish wrote:1 Progreso
Regreso, surely?
Given the penchant for place names meaning the opposite of what they actually are, I expect Danubio to be on some arid plain and Bella Vista's ground to be in the middle of a Montevideo equivalent of a favela.

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