Sky Sports bust common football myths: Home advantage?

Myths

They often say a team has home advantage - but is there such a thing? We've checked every league result since 1888 to bust the myth...

You will often see managers rallying their home fans - but how much does home advantage affect results?

Home advantage has been on a steady decline since the Football League kicked off 129 years ago.

At its peak in 1895/96, home teams won 64.6 per cent of their games, when 480 games were played across two professional tiers.

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Sky Sports bust common football myths

From that summit, home win percentage hit an all-time record low in 2015/16 - crashing to just 41.0 per cent across all four tiers from 2.036 games. That same season, away win percentage hit an all-time high at 31.5 per cent.

So the value of home advantage plummeted more than 36.0 per cent, proportionately, between 1895 and 2016.

HOME ADVANTAGE
Image: Home win percentage hit an all-time record low and away win percentage hit an all-time high in 2015/16

The reason behind the decline is a mystery. Crowds may have become less hostile or teams may have become more accustomed to travel.

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Home win percentage bounced back to 45.0 per cent last season, its highest level since 2009/10 (46.4 per cent) - but an inverted trend towards 1895 levels is unlikely.

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Sky Sports bust common football myths

In fact, home advantage has hit record lows in each of England's four professional leagues over the last five years.

The proportion of home wins reduces with each drop in league tier. Last season, 49.2 per cent of Premier League teams won their home fixtures, 47.5 per cent of Championship sides, 44.9 per cent of League One teams and 40.0 per cent in League Two.

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But home advantage does still exist: teams were 12.0 per cent more likely to win if they played at home last season, across the four tiers on average.

To be precise, home advantage increases the chances of winning by 15.9 per cent in the Premier League, 14.1 per cent in the Championship, 11.6 per cent in League One and 6.7 per cent in League Two.

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