John McCormick: We're not bottom, so is it a Happy Christmas?

John McCormick. Going for a Burton

Should I be disappointed? Not with the goings-on at the offices and by the officers of Sunderland Football Club but with the response to my “who’ll be the top six” poll. In 2015 our “who’s going down” poll had over 7,000 votes cast, last year we had over 2,500.

This year it wasn’t until events at the club brought in new readers that we got past 1,000 votes. To date we have had perhaps 200-300 readers bothering to take part. What’s more, whereas in the past we have had interesting and entertaining comments from fans from other clubs this year we had had nothing. Is this what the championship’s like? Or is it the Ellis Short effect? I don’t know.

Yet, there are grounds to be pleased. Within the first 24 hours my post about the poll had received over 1500 hits. 30% came from overseas, with the remaining 70% from all over the UK. Many were from the Northeast, as you might expect, but most regions could be found in the ISPs which could be located – I can remember Lowestoft, Cardiff, Hampshire, the Potteries, Bristol and Scotland, as well as a few from various parts of Yorkshire and Lancashire, but there were many more regions that I can’t recall.

So maybe I did come up on the radar of fans representing a lot of Championship clubs, but perhaps only small numbers of them responded to my invitation. That’s what’s reflected in the poll results; we have a spread of votes for a number of clubs. A few – Bolton, Ipswich and Millwall, for example, hardly scored but only Burton and Bristol City didn’t get any votes, which is why they appear in the headline. A bit harsh, perhaps, but I thought it worth highlighting as every club usually has fans whose loyalty is unbounded, and those clubs might might now get a few votes from their fans. You could say this will distort the poll. I’d say all clubs have biased fans who will vote for them out of loyalty so it’s even-ing things up. (And others might say we need to get out more).

Anyway, with the caveat that it’s early days yet, Middlesbrough lead the poll, and have done since the start. Close behind come Aston Villa, who were lagging behind for the first 24 hours. Fulham have been consistently in the running, as have Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds. Early on all three were ahead of Villa.  Did Villa fans find the site later than others? If so, then maybe Millwall and Ipswich will pick up votes too. The club in sixth place is Norwich,

Sunderland lead the chasing pack, helped, I think, by a rise in visitors to our site after we appointed a manager. We weren’t doing brilliantly at the start, which suggests that neither our own fans or those from elsewhere will be trotting down to the bookie and putting their hard earned cash on the Championship’s northernmost club. And nor am I, although I do remain more optimistic about our chances. After all, I’ve been here before.

Here are the full results to date, in table form. I must warn that you shouldn’t take the table as providing readers’ opinions on final league positions, however, as they were asked to identify only the top six. The poll shows that no-one thinks Burton etc. will be in the playoffs; that doesn’t mean they think Burton will be bottom. (Another way of looking at it is to do some sums with the percentages of votes cast for each club. 1400 points are typically earned during a Championship season. If they were distributed according to our poll Middlesbrough would finish the season with about 180 points and nine clubs would have none. You know that’s not going to happen)




Here’s the poll again







Aston Villa






Sheff Wed
























Sheff Utd






Notts Forest












season 2017-18 is ready to take off      



















Bristol City






If you haven’t already done so you can still vote (so get a move on, Burton and Bristol fans). I’ve made it possible to see the voting this time – If you can’t see the results it’s a site fault  – and I’ll return in a few days to bring you an update and maybe some more of my thoughts, or to tell you my plans for tracking some of these clubs over the season.

If you want to see how your club is doing as votes come in you can bookmark our home page, update your RSS feed, or call in every now and again. You might be lucky and find one of Pete Sixsmith’s posts instead of mine.

And, as always, your comments are welcome

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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.

9 Responses to “Middlesbrough, Villa, Fulham, Sheffield Wed, Leeds, Norwich top six. Bristol and Burton Albion – ‘nul points’” Subscribe

  1. Cliff July 2, 2017 at 8:26 am #

    You will now experience the ‘sky’ treatment, you will,like us at Fulham be airbrushed from sight, 13 yrs in the premier then suddenly we don’t exist, you will now be mentioned sparingly on soccer Saturday by Jeff stelling, the league table barely big enough to read in the papers, match reports virtually non existent, mention of your club anywhere is usually about who is leaving or how your staff have all been laid off.
    On the plus side,you get to play on a Saturday again, the real fans stay true and in a strange way the club and you ‘rebond’ you don’t panic when you lose, you start seeing there is a calmer more realistic world out there, if the premier is the holy grail then it is only so for about 8-9 clubs the rest exist only to survive.
    And you know what !! You almost get to despise what the premier does and means, for if and only if you go back up your just back on the lets buy a striker for 30 squilion quid who is not actually that good and will sod off as soon as his agent tells him too, your season tkt price which will now be frozen or reduced will go back up as will all things associated to pay rediculous wages which get the club into serious debt despite what you read about your income.
    At the moment your pride is a bit dented but believe me life outside the asylum is really not that bad.

    • John Mac July 2, 2017 at 8:33 am #

      We’ve already had a lot of that

    • Neil July 2, 2017 at 1:20 pm #

      Great response…..makes me want to visit Fulham for the first time… these testing times a sense of perspective is needed. Hope u have a good season

  2. CSB July 2, 2017 at 8:55 am #

    Cliff hits it on the head. I have not voted due to having a complete and absolute ignorance regarding the Championship and the teams therein. Even with the great unwashed from up the road being in it last season I paid scant regard to scores or the teams in form.

    I would struggle to name all the teams who came up from the Championship and who were relegated from it, so engrossed and navel gazing do you become in the PL when in it.

    Yet, its the prize, its where we all want to be and where most of us, teams that is, will achieve little or nowt at all. Illogical or what!

    In Gladiator, the character played by Oliver Reed, goes off into a big monologue about the ‘Whore that is Rome, sucking all in’, I have always imagined the PL like that and its not good for football that’s for sure.

    The Wife turned to me the otherday and said ‘so its the Championship your in next season? ‘Yes!’ ‘Does that mean you will be playing Barcelona?’ ‘No, that’s the Champions League and don’t get me started about that ‘Whore’!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Leveller July 2, 2017 at 10:02 am #

    That’s a difficult poll to analyse. Not a silly question, but one that doesn’t really produce an analysis of the whole table. Virtually no Bristol City fan will expect to be in the top six. However, while we have our share of doom & gloom types, the majority will hope (and maybe expect) to establish ourselves in the middle third next season.

    • John Mac July 2, 2017 at 10:16 am #

      Thanks for visiting the site and for leaving a comment.

      It was never my intention that the poll would list the entire league (hence my statement that “you shouldn’t take the table as providing readers’ opinions on final league positions”). That would not only be too much to expect but also probably lead to something biased in favour of the clubs with the biggest support – which might still be the case, but there’s a limit to what I can do.

      You might not expect Bristol to be in the top six but your vote on who will be there is valued – and will help the development of this series. And it’s always interesting to receive comments from fans about their clubs’ prospects.

      thanks once again for contributing, hope you’ll return and see what happens next

    • Neil July 2, 2017 at 1:24 pm #

      Like all polls and surveys the best it can do is provide insights and topics for discussion. It does that.

      Look at the Election night polls….they have to use 30000 participants to get it right…..and Paddy Ashown still didn’t believe it in 2015. I look forward to Prof John Curtice of Strathclyde Uni conducting a Salut Sunderland survey….

  4. salutsunderland July 2, 2017 at 6:56 pm #

    From Monsieur Salut: wow. There’s been an explosion of interest – and voting – in John Mac’s poll. Thanks to all for a great response

  5. John July 2, 2017 at 10:16 pm #

    I think you like us (Aston Villa) had flirted with relegation for too long to survive season after season. The trap door closed on you a season after it did so for us.

    I think you may have a season much like the one we had last year where you need to recover from the previous season before pushing on towards a return to the top flight.

    This division is not as easy to get out of as we had hoped and there are some decent teams with a proud history (like us both) that will fight us both tooth and nail this season.

    I wish you luck this season (other than against us) and look forward to ending the season promoted and to your club joining us up there soon (if not this season).

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