This will be my final dodgy numbers post of the season. (If you haven’t seen the previous ones you can follow the link above, and/or those below). There is still a game to go, and two questions remain unanswered, but we can now look at the league table and judge how well our start of season pundits did. Their choices for the top six spots, in order of popularity were: Middlesbrough, Aston Villa, Fulham, Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday and Sunderland.
Three out of six, and wrong about the top two. Is that a “not bad” verdict or something worse?
Let’s go back to the start of the season (and don’t we wish we could).
I polled our readers as to who would make the top six. These clubs came up favourite ( in the order given) and I began tracking them and reporting on their progress from time to time:
By Christmas, if not earlier, it was obvious some changes were needed.
Here’s a brief chance to give your view now that the transfer window has closed. The site will be busy soon, we’ll have views from Lars and Pete, plus Pete looking forward to Ipswich tomorrow, so this will only be around for the rest of today.
Pete Sixsmith has already produced a “first time” post for ‘Boro away so I’m using his usual spot to bring you an update on the progress of the clubs our pre-season poll predicted would be the top six. (Over 8,000 votes were cast. If you’re new to the series or wish to catch up you might try some of the links at the bottom of the page).
The clubs were:
The last time I reported in, Leeds were the only club from our readers’ pre-season choices to be in the top six positions. The other five – Cardiff, Wolves, Sheffield United, Bristol City and Preston, in that order – had together accumulated only 617 votes, about 7.5% of the total cast, and Wolves had had over half of them.
Four of our choices, it must be said, were queuing up on the boundary, ready to pounce on any slips from the leaders, and only one was languishing (with great languor) in the doldrums. That was just over a month ago, in which time there have been five games, potentially fifteen points, to contest.
With the arrival of another international weekend we have a chance to review the situation and see if the natural order (as defined by our readership) has been restored in those five games.
Another international break, another chance to catch up on our favourites for the promotion and playoff places.
You might remember they were, in no particular order, Fulham, Leeds, Aston Villa, Middlesbrough, Sheffield Wednesday and Sunderland. How have they done?
Do we know owt about football?
That’s what I asked a couple of years ago, when I was comparing a pre-season poll with end-of season positions. And that’s more or less what the Mrs said when I showed her the graph I’d done to compare the current championship placings with our readers’ pre-season expectations.
Just as the last time, the expectation is nothing like the reality, although it must be said that this time around it’s still early days.
As foretold, the poll we’ve been running slipped down the front page and then off it so, although it remained – indeed remains – live, it no-one has visited recently. Before it disappeared from view we’d had over 7,000 votes cast, with well over 1,200 people taking part, from all parts of the UK and beyond.
That’s enough to provide me with a guide as to which clubs we’ll report on as we try to get an idea of who’s heading out of the Championship in the right direction.
As the headline says, Sunderland’s in the mix, probably only because of the loyalty of diehard fans.
Has that loyalty been strained too much by recent events? Or did they, perhaps, inject a dose of realism? The poll’s still open, perhaps Norwich will make that jump from seventh before the season starts.
I have to say I’m a bit surprised by the poll results to date.
‘Boro being top is reasonable. They have proved they are capable of handling the Championship, have money coming and have a decent manager.
Sunderland in the top six is understandable. It’s a Sunderland site, and no matter how jaundiced the fans are, no matter how concerned over the owner, there will always be a loyal following willing to vote for them.
But last season’s form has gone out of the window with this poll. Villa, who finished bang in the middle of the championship, are up there in second place, while Hull and Derby are out of the running. What’s going on?
The poll I set up a couple of weeks ago is still running and you’ll find it below, so you can still vote if you have a mind to. (If you’re new to the site and want to see what it’s about follow this link.)
At the time of writing we have had some 3,818 votes cast, with Middlesbrough leading the pack. Sunderland crept up a couple of places and edged Norwich out of the top six by two votes. Given this is a Sunderland fans’ site we could be expected to do well so I’m taking that as a vote of confidence in Norwich. I’m a little surprised by Fulham, who have exceeded my expectations, and by Derby and Reading, who haven’t done as well as expected and at the moment aren’t going to make the cut.
“What cut?” You may be thinking. Well, read on, and all will be revealed