Do red shirts lead to more wins?

OK, so maybe this post belongs over at Improbable Research because it amused and bemused me in equal measures, but this article is worth noting for how anthropologists get published.

In the latest edition of the Journal of Sports Sciences, Attrill, Gresty, Hill & Barton have reported in “Red shirt colour is associated with long-term team success in English football” that:

Since 1947, English football teams wearing red shirts have been
champions more often than expected on the basis of the proportion of clubs
playing in red. … Across all league divisions, red teams had the best home
record, with significant differences in both percentage of maximum points
achieved and mean position in the home league table. … No significant
differences were found for performance in matches away from home, when teams
commonly do not wear their “home” colours.

Is it possible we can stretch the marketing literature to the extreme to build the argument that red shirted teams were initially more attractive to fans/sponsors and this created a positive feedback loop and the current distribution of on-field success? Could shirt colour be the missing variable in our models of attendance, wins and club profits?

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Author: Robert Macdonald

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