Relegation watch revisted (1): admit it, we fans know nowt about football*

John McCormick:

John McCormick
having a rest between graphs

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:

relegation poll results after the close of the summer transfer window

relegation poll results as the season got under way

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:

Relegation poll results as the season kicked off

Relegation poll results as the transfer window closed.

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

favourites for the drop

Our readers’ favourite for the drop.

Bournemouth 1,823 24%
Watford 1,660 22%
SAFC 1,320 17%
Norwich 890 12%
Leicester City 756 10%
Aston Villa 598 8%
NUFC 420 5%
other team(s) 249 3%

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.

club votes % finished won
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?


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Salut! Sunderland is written, illustrated and edited by - and principally for - supporters of Sunderland AFC. The site aims to be sufficiently literate and entertaining to appeal to people who do not follow SAFC but enjoy good football writing.

3 Responses to “Relegation watch revisted (1): admit it, we fans know nowt about football*” Subscribe

  1. Rob May 31, 2016 at 9:25 pm #

    I created this text file, way back. Around March, and I was really worried.
    It will most likely look silly in a comment, so I will mark it as START
    H D Manchester United WIN #1 = 2-1 Points = 23 3 Points gained
    Sat 27 12:45 A D West Ham United L 0 – 1, Excellent second half
    Tue 01 19:45 H W1 Crystal Palace!!! 2-2 2 Points lost
    Sat 05 15:00 A Southampton 1 point gained.
    Sat 12 15:00 H W2 Everton !!
    Sun 20 13:30 A D Newcastle United 2 Points lost.
    Sat 02 15:00 H W4 West Brom !!!
    Sat 09 15:00 H D Leicester City
    Sat 16 15:00 A D Norwich City
    Sat 23 15:00 H Arsenal
    Sat 30 15:00 A W5 Stoke City
    Sat 07 15:00 H W6 Chelsea
    Wed 11 H Everton
    Sun 15 15:00 A D Watford
    Home Machester United = WIN #1 !!! Newcastle Run IN Norwich
    Away West Ham United
    Home Crystal Palace Win #1 DREW
    Away Southampton DREW Bournemouth H – LOST Swansea A – LOST
    Home Everton Post Leicester A – Lose Man City H – Lose
    Away Newcastle United DREW Sunderland = LOSE WBA A – Lose WON!!!
    Home West Brom Win #4 Norwich A – Please Draw Newcastle H – D
    Home Leicester City LOST Southampton A – Lose Palace A – Lose
    Away Norwich City WIN!! Swansea H – D Sunderland h – LOSE
    Home Arsenal DREW Liverpool A – Lose Watford h Lose or Draw
    Away Stoke City Win #5 Palace H – Please draw or lose Arsenal A = Lose
    Home Chelsea Win #6 Villa A = OUCH Man U H Maybe WIN
    Away Watford Spurs H = LOSE Everton A – Lose
    Copy and paste everything between START and FINISH into a text file to read my thoughts (My original text file is in Linux). Then you will see my predictions from March onwards, and I predicted Sunderland would survive and Newcastle & Norwich would join Villa.

  2. Drummer June 4, 2016 at 8:50 am #

    I did a results predictor with six games to go involving the bottom 5 I think . This was with the Rafa effect and the mags improving . I was as unbiased as I could be and was still suprised to find that we stopped up on 37 points , 2 less than our actual total . As for predictions at the start and middle of the season , I thought we were gone .

  3. Geoff Bethell June 5, 2016 at 8:45 pm #

    What fans always forget is that it doesn’t matter who the opposition is in the final few games of the season. This is true for all clubs not just us. Predicting results is a waste of time. If that Chelsea game had taken place a month or two earlier we would not have won. But I still think we’d have found a way to stay up. We wanted it more than the others.

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