Fuller Flavour: The stats show how hard it is to bounce straight back up from League One
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One more week and we can kiss goodbye to this most horrendous of all seasons and I for one cannot wait, writes Karl Fuller. We just need to be put out of our misery once and for all and next Sunday night cannot come soon enough!
The moment our relegation was mathematically confirmed should have been the end of it. But no, a heavy defeat against Preston, a lethargic display against Swansea and a 2-0 hammering at Sheffield United has made our woes look even greater by the day and by the time Leeds have finished with us, we’ll be totally down and out.
Then it will be a question of how long it will take to recover from this mess. I still look back to the recent spirited displays against Derby, Stoke, West Brom and Forest and hope that that is a level to gauge what we can do next season.
Add some strikers, tighten up at the back and play like we did then and there can be something to look forward to. Surely the last three games are just a hangover and against weaker opposition next season, it will not be as bad will it?
I’ve said right from day one that Paul Lambert has until Christmas and I will stick by that. Yes, I am worried, and I did say back in January that I was concerned that by next January, if things do not change, we could be worrying about League Two.
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I’d like to think that I’m being a bit hysterical with those thoughts but boy, if we don’t pull our finger out, there’s nothing to stop that scenario. Lambert needs a good pre-season transfer wise and damn good backing from Marcus Evans.
Even if everything falls into place over the summer as we would like, recent history shows how hard it is to come straight back up at the first attempt.
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In the 10 seasons leading up to the start of last season and of the 30 relegations from the Championship to League One, only 11 of those relegations resulted in clubs coming straight back up.
That’s just a 37% chance statistically in making an unwanted stay in the third tier of the game last just one year.
Only once in the last 10 years have all three sides relegated bounced straight back at the first attempt and that was when Blackburn, Wigan and Rotherham went down in 2016/17 and came back up in 2017/18.
You must go back to 2008/09 for two sides to have come straight back up in the same season which was Leicester and Scunthorpe following their relegations in 2007/08.
There have been six seasons where only one club returned straight away and in both 2010/11 and 2013/14, each of the three sides relegated in those seasons failed to return the following year.
By the time we reach the end of this season, that 2008/09 season where two sides came back up will drop off the ten-year list and who knows, if only one or indeed none of Barnsley or Sunderland go up, that 37% figure will reduce further.
Sheffield United all but confirmed their promotion on Saturday and from the moment they came back into the Championship at the start of last season, they’ve shown themselves to be worthy of promotion.
Last year was a good consolidation season that saw them finish 10th and then this year, they have been consistently good throughout. But they spent six years in League One to get back to the level they’re at.
Charlton Athletic are in their third year and Sunderland look set to miss out on automatic promotion having lost just three games all season.
I use these three clubs as examples of clubs that could all be as big (or small) as us.
Granted, Sunderland would have a far bigger attendance on their day, but we are all clubs of a similar stature and there’s little to suggest that we can eclipse anything each of those sides have achieved in their respective relegations.
I have renewed my season ticket and I am looking forward to next season. But there is much work to be done to ensure that those feelings do not evaporate too soon in the new season.