Sunderland’s lengthening list of promotion rivals: Ipswich, plus Rotherham, Peterborough, Portsmouth and Doncaster (or Wycombe, Fleetwood, Blackpool and Coventry)

Another weekend without football, another weekend providing space to keep our readers – and pundits – up to date with our chosen clubs. If you think as far back as the start of the season you’ll probably recall six clubs being selected by our readership as the most likely to finish in the top six slots come the end of the season.

Sunderland made the cut but would have been selected regardless. The other five clubs were Ipswich Town, Rotherham, Peterborough Portsmouth and Doncaster. Ipswich apart, they haven’t done as well as expected. In fact, they haven’t done as well as Sunderland who, as the first two graphs show, haven’t done as well as they did last season

Read moreSunderland’s lengthening list of promotion rivals: Ipswich, plus Rotherham, Peterborough, Portsmouth and Doncaster (or Wycombe, Fleetwood, Blackpool and Coventry)

No need to panic but Sunderland are doing worse this year than last

You might not like this post. You might be able to ignore it. And in truth it probably doesn’t matter too much, being so early.

We’ve had the naysayers making their presence felt after we began with draws. We’ve had the eternal optimists metaphorically singing, maybe even swinging, from the rafters after three wins on the trot. And we are in the playoff positions, so all is not doom and gloom. What’s more, compared to some of the promotion candidates chosen in our poll, we’re doing very well.

Read moreNo need to panic but Sunderland are doing worse this year than last

Sixer’s sevens: Portsmouth make it heavy at the Stadium of Light

John McCormick writes: Let’s not quibble. We were not good. However, we had enough character to come back from a poor goal against a team that will feature at the end of the season and that must bode well,  for morale as much as for League position. Such wins are not to be sniffed at and I’m sure the crowd will have gone home happy.

We’ll find out tomorrow whether that can be said of our men at the match, when we get a full report. At the moment I don’t know if Malcolm or Pete will supply it. I do know Pete’s immediate post-game feelings, courtesy of a seven word text that winged its way south as the final whistle blew:

Read moreSixer’s sevens: Portsmouth make it heavy at the Stadium of Light

Sunderland, Portsmouth, Ipswich, Peterborough, Rotherham and Doncaster – the League One top six?

John McCormick,  writes: our ‘who to follow’ poll remained quiet, although the trickle of votes that came in over the last week did result in some changes. Sunderland and Portsmouth are clear leaders, with not much between them, after which we have Ipswich, Rotherham and Peterborough. Then come Doncaster, who edged ahead of Coventry, followed at a distance by Lincoln and Burton.

I did expect Blackpool to do better but our site appears to have attracted few of their fans. Their season tickets had reached 4,818, when I last checked, so there’s obviously life returning to this once-troubled club. That’s about twice the number sold by Coventry, whose own troubles are nowhere being resolved and who slipped out of our top six after Doncaster Rovers gained a few votes. A third troubled club, Bolton Wanderers, who might or might not be sold by the time this post goes live, also didn’t do too badly and finished in the top half of the table. I don’t know how they’ll do that with only 7 first team players but what do I know about football?

Read moreSunderland, Portsmouth, Ipswich, Peterborough, Rotherham and Doncaster – the League One top six?

Promotion poll: Sunderland vie with Portsmouth but can Burton, Lincoln or Doncaster make top six?

John McCormick, associate editor, writes: things have quietened down with our ‘who to follow’ poll, as we might expect. Portsmouth, Sunderland and Ipswich are clear leaders, with not much between them, after which we have Rotherham and Peterborough. Then comes Coventry, followed at a distance by Donny, Lincoln and Burton.

That’s interesting because on Wednesday over at  Roker Report, Nick Barnes, who knows more about football than I ever will,  identified Lincoln and Burton as teams that could mount a challenge to Sunderland, along with Ipswich, Portsmouth, Peterborough and Coventry. He didn’t mention Rotherham.

I could extend our watch list to eight clubs, even nine on the grounds that Donny are ahead of Lincoln and Burton in our poll, and I have added clubs during the season – Luton last season being the most recent – but it makes graphics difficult to follow. So I’m going to stick with six.

Read morePromotion poll: Sunderland vie with Portsmouth but can Burton, Lincoln or Doncaster make top six?

Portsmouth then Sunderland, Ipswich, Rotherham, Peterborough and Coventry top our poll. But where are Lincoln?

On Friday we had over 3,000 visitors, followed by a quiet weekend. Not everyone took part in our top six poll  but over 1200 votes (not voters) have now been cast. That’s not bad, I suppose, for a League One fans’ site but I am expecting a few more will chip in before the season kicks off.

Early results suggest the headline I used then – for which I visited a couple of betting sites to find the promotion favourites – was on the right lines. Of the six clubs I named five are in the top spots. Lincoln (currently lingering in 8th place) are the exception with Sunderland, unsurprisingly, replacing them. There’s a gap – slight but quite evident – between the top three and the next three,  after which numbers drop off, so Lincoln and Doncaster, who made last season’s playoffs and now lie seventh, have quite a bit of ground to make up.

All of the clubs in the League received votes, which I’m taking to signify that we  managed a wide reach. It will be interesting to see if enough fans of so-called smaller clubs, which are predominantly towards the bottom of the poll, visit in large enough numbers to move their favourites upwards. Crowdwise, numbers are against them but we have only small numbers voting so you never know.

Read morePortsmouth then Sunderland, Ipswich, Rotherham, Peterborough and Coventry top our poll. But where are Lincoln?

Ipswich or Portsmouth? Rotherham or Peterborough? How about Lincoln or Coventry? It’s your choice

Last season our punters got it more or less right and correctly predicted most of the top six. Luton were missed but that was mainly down to the Coventry Ninjas, whose hijack of last year’s poll pushed them (Luton) out of the top places.

Maybe the ninjas or another club’s fans will do the same again this season. As far as I’m aware the polldaddy vulnerability that allowed multiple voting still exists and all I can do is disable the ability of readers to see the results in real time. That might change how the poll coding works (it’s built-in and can’t be changed) but it takes something away. A pity, but there we go.

I’ve got a lot on for the next few weeks so I won’t be conjuring up a novel method of tracking and displaying our chosen clubs’ progress or the lack of it. All I’ll be doing is monitoring the accretion of points for now, though I might come up with something different later in the season.

As always, your comments are welcome. We hold posts for moderation but they do go up eventually, subject to meeting commonsense rules of decency, manners, libel etc.

Read moreIpswich or Portsmouth? Rotherham or Peterborough? How about Lincoln or Coventry? It’s your choice

Coventry hanging on to Doncaster and Charlton as Portsmouth chase Barnsley, Sunderland and Luton.


Another international break brings an opportunity to revisit the six clubs our readers* and the Coventry ninjas**  chose way back in the summer, and I’ve added Doncaster and Luton Town, who thoroughly merit more than a mention.

I last visited this series at the end of January, when I had this to say:

“… before I go I must mention Coventry City. They will finish the month with only four points from a possible fifteen. February includes some winnable games but I can’t see them doing us any favours when they travel to Kenilworth Road. Mid-table safety looks to be their destiny and I’m almost certain they won’t be returning to this series.

But you never know, do you? That’s what football’s all about.”

Read moreCoventry hanging on to Doncaster and Charlton as Portsmouth chase Barnsley, Sunderland and Luton.

For we are Sunderland, and we know not to get carried away

I’m no different from anyone else who visits this site in that I don’t know whether or not we will go up at the end of the season. I tend to be optimistic, while some of our readers (at least one, anyway) are not, and I think the majority side with me.

Here are four comments (or extracts from comments) made in response to posts on our site, and a few numbers from me to chew over in respect of them. Have a think about them, then form your own opinion – and why not then share it with us, like the good folk below?

Read moreFor we are Sunderland, and we know not to get carried away