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.

That post went live about half an hour before I tootled off to the airport and hence to Spain (where the beer in the fridge assumes much more importance than even Salut! Sunderland, and where I have to make a serious effort to connect to the wider world) and I thought no more about it.

When I first put up its predecessor announcing this season’s poll (on June 22nd) I kept the results hidden, as is my wont. After about a week I reported on what was happening and made the results visible, or tried to, and experienced a glitch. With some operating systems and some browsers voting was no longer possible. I’ve no idea why but it seemed to be a gremlin in the poll’s coding, which I can’t touch. My only alternatives were to keep the results hidden or to disable the button that blocked multiple votes. I chose the latter and from then on there was always the possibility that someone would vote more than once, and it appears that that someone (and it could be someones) lives in Coventry.

But let us briefly return to my holiday. If you think it has been hot here you should try Spain. However, I had arrived to a well-stocked fridge and there was football on TV. I had no need to go anywhere and I didn’t so it wasn’t until four days later that I found that Colin, aka Monsieur Salut, had thought it best to suspend our poll over concerns that Coventry City fans were voting more than once. Where we had been picking up a single vote here, a single vote there, 10,784 votes were cast in about 24 hours, thanks mainly to Sky Blue Talk, which, inadvertently or not, seemed to take umbrage when 98 per cent of the the entire third division didn’t rate Coventry City and decided (SBT, not the third division) we needed to be punished for it. If that is the case I respectfully suggest Sky Blue’s readers go back to the first post in the series and start from there to get the full picture.

Those 10,784 votes appeared to delight the CCFC fans visiting Sky Blue Talk. I’m not surprised, given that Coventry’s average attendance was 9,255 last season, but aren’t they overlooking the fact that 10,784 is more than 9,255,  so we’re getting more Coventry City fans here than usually go to the Ricoh? No wonder those fans are happy. They’ve found a better place.

And to help them celebrate Malcolm came up with that reworked song; it’s now a bit of an earworm which you can hear echoing round the corridors of Salut HQ:

We all agree: Salut’s big down in Co-ventry,   

thought our site was class so they voted en masse

more Sky Blues at Salut than the Ricoh!

As I suggested above, however, I gleaned from Sky Blue Talk that it’s possible that we didn’t really have 10,784 individual Coventry fans making the journey north. It could have been 10,783, or maybe even fewer as some people voted again and again and again and, from what they wrote, gained a lot of pleasure in doing so. That nearly wrecked my holiday as it conjured up a picture of a Skinnerian dystopia in which Coventry fans, esconced in garrets and wrapped tightly in anoraks and sky blue scarves, cackle uncontrollably into the small hours as they repeatedly press the vote now button and stimulate their pleasure centres.

Whatever the truth, we now have a quandary. Here are the top six clubs for the start and end of the period in question:

10/07/18 14/718
Sunderland Coventry City
Barnsley Southend United
Charlton Athletic Plymouth Argyle
Luton Town Barnsley
Portsmouth Portsmouth
Peterborough United Charlton Athletic

The point behind this series is that I want six clubs to follow and compare over the course of the season, and I like to involve fans rather than select clubs on the basis of  stats like betting odds. This being a SAFC site Sunderland will be one of the six, irrespective of votes, but it doesn’t matter too much who the others are.  CCFC’s fans have ensured their  club will be included, which is fair enough, but in their efforts to dislodge us from the top  (to their apparent delight, and my total unconcern, Sunderland have been punished and are now second bottom) they have also resulted in changes elsewhere. Southend, Plymouth, Barnsley  Portsmouth and Charlton now complete the top six.  So as things stand Charlton, Luton and Peterborough United from the original list should be discounted. Personally, I think Charlton merit inclusion, besides which I have a lot of respect for their fans, so am exercising my discretion on their behalf.

When Charlton are added to Sunderland, Coventry, Barnsley and Portsmouth there’s only space for one more club. Southend United and Plymouth Argyle are now prime contenders, but is it ethical to exclude Luton and Peterborough United given that it might be on the basis of dodgy practice rather than dodgy numbers? I have my own ideas but I’d like to know what you think, so I’ve set up another poll. You only have one vote this time and I’ve disabled multiple voting, which means I can’t let you see the results live and you’ll have to wait a  while to find out who’s getting that cherished place.

But that shouldn’t matter, unless you’re taking this seriously.  And if you are you need to get out of that garret a bit more.

 

Other posts in this series:

The bookies say Sunderland, Barnsley, Charlton, Portsmouth, Luton and Scunthorpe. What about you?

Barnsley drop, Burton and Posh replace Luton and Scunthorpe, Walsall get off the bottom in our promotion poll.

Burton, Scunthorpe or Peterborough – who’ll join Sunderland, Barnsley, Charlton and Portsmouth?

and there’s also

How our Coventry friends hijacked Salut! Sunderland’s League One promotion poll

 

McCormick’s dodgy numbers: the arithmetic’s correct, it’s just the rest could be a bit wonky

 

Acknowledgement:

cartoon courtesy of  wpclipart, other graphics by Jake

 

 

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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.

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