Regular visitors will know I’ve been in the habit of looking at the relegation spots for the last couple of years. I haven’t wanted to, it’s just that I’m not sure where the top half of the table is.
So, about a year ago, instead of making my own predictions, I asked readers which clubs were going down, with the aim of tracking these clubs as the season progressed.
The poll ran from June until the end of the transfer season. Initially it was more or less confined to SAFC fans then others came on board, and some of them weren’t complimentary about us.
Toad, for example, posted
“You guys have been hanging on too long. Sorry, but it’s your year. Only so long you can throw money at situations”.
Toad’s comment got 10 likes, he clearly wasn’t on his own but, with three votes for up to three candidate clubs, things did even out a little. (Toad also thought Watford would go down, in response to Gizau’s prediction that both Bournemouth and Watford would thrash us).
And as the season kicked off this is what our voters thought:
As the transfer window was still open I left the poll running. By the time the window closed we were not only still out of favour, we were in deep trouble. It’s no surprise we remained one of the three favourites to go down, along with Bournemouth and Watford.
By the end of the polling period some 7,000 votes had been cast and we had dropped down to third favourite:
There were votes cast after the graph above was produced but they didn’t change the overall shape. Percentages voting for each club remained more or less the same.
So there we had it. Bournemouth were favourites for the drop, Watford were right behind them. Together, these clubs had almost half of the votes cast.
In contrast, only a quarter of the votes cast went to Aston Villa, Norwich and Newcastle United combined. The Magpies, with only 5% of the votes, were thought to be the least likely of the candidate clubs to be relegated. An even smaller percentage of voters thought a club other than these 7 would be relegated (and only West Ham was identified, by just one person). Here’s the full list of clubs in descending order of preference:
|Club||Votes||% of vote|
So how did our punters do?
Not too well, I have to say.
Aston Villa were out of it from the start, NUFC were at risk for far longer than a 5% vote would suggest, and what about the 10% who said Leicester would go down? Leicester weren’t just safe by Christmas, they were fighting with Arsenal for first place, with 11 wins and 39 points in the bag.
As for the three relegation favourites, Sunderland scraped along the bottom, despite a new manager, but the other two kept out of danger. One out of three, and that one has form when it comes to staying up.
Which is what happened. (and which is why you should read relegation watch revisited (2), due out shortly)
Here’s the list again, this time with each club’s final position, the number of wins they managed and how their season unfolded.
|Bournemouth||1,503||24%||16th||11||Made a poor start but recovered and hung on through a poor end of season. Did well against mini-league competitors|
|Watford||1,385||22%||13th||12||A steady start meant they were never in trouble, despite a poorer second half and a long wait for that 10th win.
*except Harry Hornet, who posted on June 20, 2015, ‘I think we’ll finish in the top 12. Now, when I say, “top 12”, I pretty much mean 12th, or there about.’
|SAFC||1,098||17%||17th||9||Changed their manager early and had Jermain Defoe. Even so, they almost didn’t get there (but get there they did)|
|Norwich (R)||694||11%||19th||9||Kept out of trouble for a long time then repeated 2013-14;|
|Leicester City||613||10%||Champions||23||Only lost three games all season; were never lower than 6th|
|Aston Villa (R)||488||8%||bottom||3||Won their first game then went to the bottom and stayed there|
|NUFC (R)||371||6%||18th||9||Spent over £80 million; changed their manager too late and even he couldn’t beat Villa.|
|Other team(s)||221||3%||Who picked West Ham? Who qualified for Europe?|
Can any of our readers claim they know owt about football?