Thursday, 1 September 2011

European Golden Boot Recalculated

Since 1967 Europe’s top goalscorer has been rewarded for his efforts with the European Golden Boot (now Golden Shoe). In the early days of the award no account was taken of the relative strength of the league that players competed in, resulting in winners coming from the likes of Cyprus, Wales and Armenia. From the 1996-7 the European Sports Magazines group who present the award introduced a weighting system to more accurately reflect the difficulty faced in various leagues. Goals scored in the top five leagues according to the UEFA coefficients list are multiplied by a factor of two, while goals scored in the leagues ranked six to 21 are multiplied by 1.5 and those below that level are given no additional weighting.
In order to revisit the early years of the award I have recalculated who would have won the Golden Boot in every year since European club football was introduced in 1955-6 using an equivalent weighting system. In doing so I have made a couple of tweaks in order to best reflect the changed circumstances of European football.

European Golden Boot
The current UEFA coefficients include all 53 member countries meaning that the factor of 1.5 applied to the top 21 nations equates to 40% of members. I have therefore applied this 40% to the number of UEFA nations in any year meaning that for the early years far less nations received such a factor. I have kept the factor of 2 for the top 5 teams to reflect that the proliferation of member nations has largely occurred at the bottom end of the scale with little impact on the leading nations. In addition as the coefficients are based on the past 5 years, I have use the coefficient placings after the first 5 season for each of the first 5 seasons to best reflect the longer term strength of the league, rather than reflecting the volatility in the annual coefficients.

As my aim is only to determine who would have won such a European Golden Boot in each season I have only looked at the top goalscorer for each league in Europe. My rankings therefore do not include  players who scored prolifically in a league but failed to be top-scorer (eg Lionel Messi in 2010-11 despite the fact that he finished second in the official ranking behind Cristiano Ronaldo). The information provided on those missing out on the topscorer award are for information only.
Note: information on UEFA coefficients has been drawn from Bert Kassies's outstanding site

No comments: