TABLE TOPPERS IN PERSPECTIVE
A HISTORICAL COMPARISON
The aim is promotion to the top flight – so with ten games played and without any premature October assumptions that we’re going to make it, we thought we’d take a look at how we compare at this stage to previous top-level successful promotions in years gone by.
We have gone up to the top tier (the original Division One) three times - 1920/21, 1951/52 and 1959/60. In each of those seasons a victory was worth two points, the three-points system being introduced in 1981/82.
, having been elected to Division Two from the Southern League First Division. It was a good start for us, the opening ten games giving us five wins, four draws and just one defeat (the equivalent today of 19 points). We were in second place at that stage, and eventually finished as runners-up to Birmingham for the only two promotion places.1920/21Our very first season in League football was
after we had finished fifth, fourth, tenth and third in the previous four years. But it was not a particularly good start in ‘51/52, the opening ten games giving us a record of four wins, two draws and four defeats (the equivalent today of 14 points). We were in sixth place after ten games, but an outstanding home record during that season of 18 wins, two draws and just one defeat saw us finish as runners-up to Sheffield Wednesday when just two clubs went up.1951/52The next promotion to top level came in
season the opening ten matches saw us with exactly the same record as this season – seven wins, one draw and two defeats (the equivalent today of 22 points) and we were second in the table behind eventual title winners Aston Villa, finishing as runners-up to them in the only two promotion places.1959/60What then of the last time we went up to top level? In the
on one occasion, but that was after just four matches.2009/10To recent times, we did lead the division in
when a 2-0 home victory against Birmingham City in our fifth match put us into top spot. After ten games we were still top with 23 points (seven wins, two draws, one defeat). We held number-one place to mid-November, but then fell away. It was eventually a disastrous end to the season, our final eight games giving us just one point! We finished in thirteenth place after holding such high early hopes.2006/07However, the last time that we topped what is now the Championship after ten games was in
– semi-finalists). Three years ago we had gained 16 points from the opening ten matches; two years ago it was 20 points from the first ten games, while last season we had 16 points from the first ten matches.2011/12 – semi-finalists, 2010/11 - Finalists, 2009/10In the last three years we have reached the Championship Play-Offs (
So we are currently one point adrift of our 2006/07 opening ten-game record, and we all know what happened that season. That year we were dealt the harsh lesson of what can happen when consistency can’t be maintained in a notoriously difficult division. This year the completion is as strong as usual and we’ll be hoping for a better return in May 2013, a long way off indeed. Rest assured that the big C word of consistency has been and will continue to be drilled into the squad on a regular basis. Buckle up… again.