Part one of our mid-season review looked forward to the Christmas games.
Part two looked at what had happened up to New Year’s Day.
Part three was delayed until yesterday, and I’m taking the time to update that post after yesterday’s results. The first part of this one is the same as yesterday, given that we didn’t play. It’s the discussion of the breakaway group that has changed:
By now you should have read part one of this series, the preview of the Christmas period which I wrote for the SAFC programme. You might even remember some of the words I wrote, especially the conclusion:
“Christmas and early January remain crucial, which for us means holding our own away and completing doubles over Bradford and Shrewsbury at home. I’m not one for predicting results or tempting fate, and am all too aware there are no easy games in this league but I think we can do that, and I can see us still being in contention when the decorations come down.”
There should have been an update to this series (see the archive links below for the earlier posts) at the start of the season but I travelled up early for the Charlton game, spending the Friday in Leeds before driving on to the North-East, then when I got back home I did a match report to complement Pete Sixsmith’s and didn’t have time for anything else.
This was followed by five games in two weeks, with no space to fit anything in, and here we are.
This means my last post in the series was the one that explained the role of Coventry City‘s fans in propelling their club up and Sunderland down in our poll and asked who should be the sixth team to join Coventry, Sunderland, Charlton, Barnsley and Portsmouth in our deliberations. Peterborough was the very clear preference from the four choices offered; they got more votes than the other three clubs (Southend, Plymouth and Luton) combined.
Those six will be the ones we start with, and I can’t imagine it changing before Christmas.
John McCormick writes: if you want to know the origin of the headline you’ll have to read on to the middle of this piece, where Malcolm, our esteemed deputy editor, has reworked a version of the old Fulwell End favourite “Monty is better than Yashin” following a recent barrage of voting from the Sky Blue bit of the West Midlands.
I have to say I found that barrage a bit strange. After all, when a blog adopts a title which includes the phrase “dodgy numbers”, and then ends with a disclaimer which states “the arithmetic’s correct, it’s just the rest could be a bit wonky” it’s best not to take it too seriously.
And when it says “unless new voter(s) decide to cast vote(s) for only one team and to throw rationality to the winds – and why not, it’s what football’s all about”, which is what I wrote in my last post, you might get some idea that we welcome other clubs’ fans and enjoy hearing from them.
UPDATE: we saw the poll had grown, improbably, to 11,000+ votes with Coventry way out in front on 26 per cent. Couldn’t blame Jimmy Hill this time but something was clearly up. For the culprits, go to the Coventry site Sky Blues Talk … but don’t get too cross as our lot would gladly have done the same to them. The poll, unsurprisingly, is suspended …
After Colin reposted our “who’s going up?” poll (on the left, below) in one of the Question and Answer sessions with our owners there was brief flurry of voting, as you might have expected given the number of visitors we had. And then things slowed down until, by the weekend, things were at a trickle, although votes were and are still coming in. Again, this was to be expected as the eyes of the football world were on Russia, where eight or nine ex-Sunderland players were taking part in the World’s most prestigious competition outside the Third Division. We now have over 800 votes cast, which is enough to be going on with, although Colin in his gut feeling poll, had almost as many when only one vote was allowed per person.
When I first put this poll up, a mere week ago, I wrote
“this is predominantly a Sunderland site and we aren’t claiming results are totally unbiased… …Nevertheless, I think it’s fair to say that SAFC fans have not been blindly optimistic.”
After only a week I would not able to add a lot to this statement, were it not for two things. The first is that the poll was tagged to promote it to all League One fans for over 24 hours before it was promoted on our facebook page and then on Colin’s subsequent posts on this site. This gave us a small (very small, as it happens) hint of what the whole of the League One fanbase might think. The second was that Colin’s own poll closed, with some findings we can bring to bear on this one.
The original promotion poll, now closed, received 818 votes. Of those, 664 predicted – whether through blind faith or genuine belief – that Sunderland would bounce straight back. It was desperately close but just half of them thought we’d do so as champions.
Only 18 per cent (still a sizeable minority, totalling 148 votes) were pessimistic, though mostly about promotion chances, just four per cent (36 votes) fearing another relegation scrap.
The poll allowed other responses and there were six of these, listed below.
And so we have it: the fixtures are out. You’ll be getting your fill of dates, and conjecture from all over, no doubt, and enjoying the pre-season buzz of anticipation that it brings.
But when you’re tucked up under the sheets, reading Charles Buchan’s “Football Monthly” with a torch and reality bites, do you think you’ll win League One?
Or even get promoted?
If you do, please let us know. If you don’t, let us know who you think will make the grade.
Monsieur Salut keeps his promise (threat?) to repeat the obvious poll as developments present themselves. You can check the results for yourselves but as the number of votes cast reached 600, we were just above 82 per cent not just wanting but believing in promotion …
Salut! Sunderland’s associate editor John McCormick has already bagged naming rights should Jack Ross – could a Sunderland manager be blessed with a better moniker? – restore the tradition of post-match managerial e-mails. They shall be called Ross on Why, and wye not?
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?