The sobering stats following Town's Millwall loss... so are the Blues destined for the drop?
PUBLISHED: 11:36 02 January 2019 | UPDATED: 11:59 02 January 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
The facts are sobering for Ipswich Town this morning.
The Blues’ defeat to Millwall yesterday ensures they have now made the worst start to a season in the history of the Championship.
Ipswich have claimed just 15 points from their first 26 Championship games, leaving them bottom of the table and 10 points adrift of safety.
The New Year’s Day loss, coupled with a Rotherham win at home to Preston, means no side has had a worse start to a season through 26 games since the Championship was re-launched in 2004/05.
The Rotherham sides of 2016/17 and 04/05 both had 16 points at this stage and both finished bottom of the table, 28 and 21 points adrift respectively.
Blackpool (2014/15) and Bolton (15/16) both had 17 points through 26 games and finished bottom by margins of 20 and 19 points, while no side possessing one of the worst 10 starts to a second tier season has managed to survive.
You have to go down as far as the 2015/16 Bristol City side, who had six more points than Ipswich at this stage, to find a team who managed to survive. They possess the 13th-worst Championship record after 26 matches but ultimately finished 18th.
Only 16 of the worst 50 starts managed to survive.
Yesterday’s 3-2 loss and, perhaps more importantly, the manner of the defeat as individual errors saw Paul Lambert’s men squander an early lead given to them by teenager Jack Lankester, was another hammer blow during a season packed with disappointment.
It was all the more disappointing as, once again, the improved displays which have followed Lambert’s appointment did not yield the result they perhaps deserved.
Indeed, 2018 was a miserable year from an Ipswich Town perspective.
A combined league table covering the top four divisions of English football shows the Blues to be 89th in the standings during the calendar year, averaging just 0.85 points per game and winning just eight matches under Mick McCarthy, Paul Hurst and Paul Lambert.
With 20 games remaining, Lambert’s men would need to average a little more than 1.5 points per game and pick up 31 points to reach 46, the average total needed to secure safety in the 14 seasons of Championship football.
They currently average a little more than half a point per game and, if that trajectory continues, are on course to finish on just 26 points. Rotherham possess the worst Championship finishing total, with their class of 2016/17 recording just 23 points.
Following Saturday’s FA Cup visit to Accrington Stanley, the Blues face fourth-bottom Rotherham in the Championship.
The Millers are 10 points ahead of the Blues and, if Paul Warne’s men continue on their current path of picking up slightly less than a point a game, they will end the season on 44 points.
That’s the size of the task now facing Ipswich Town.