Maths of the Day – August


The Appletonmeter is the rolling accumulation of points over 46 league games. That is, a full season. We ended last season with 61 points, so every game we play this season, drops one from the start of last. For example, our draw against Crawley at the start of the month means our opening day defeat to Burton last year no longer counts, as a result we gain a point. It judges Appleton’s overall performance by discounting most variances like time of year, home and away bias and seasonal factors. Cup games aren’t included because one season we could have drawn Dagenham at home the next Chelsea away; that would skew the results.

The good news is that the Appletonometer has increased from 61 points to 69 in the year to the end of August. The less good news is that it couldn’t have been worse; we didn’t gain a single point at the start of last season until the draw against Dagenham at the end of August. Our first win wasn’t until mid-September.

With such a handicap, it’s no surprise that we’ve yet to string together a 46 game sequence which would take us into the play-offs (70 points), but we’re close. Still, as far as the Appletonometer goes, his star is in the ascendency.

Five game form

Five game form calculates our accumulated points over a rolling five game sequence since Appleton came to power. It’s a better indication of where we’re at today, rather than being handicapped by the poverty of our form a year ago.

The graph shows, unsurprisingly, that we’ve been in our best spell of form since Appleton’s arrival. For a period, it would have been good enough for the title. It dipped a little as the wins from last year were replaced by draws from this, but with the win over Yeovil, we end the month in automatic promotion form.

Run rate

The run rate calculates the accumulation of points over the season and then benchmarks it against a typical straight-line promotion trajectory. It’s useful because it discounts short-term form. For example, Leyton Orient have maximum points so far, but it would be a miracle if they did that all season. This works on the basis that 87 points gets you the title, 81 points gets promotion and 70 gets you into the play-offs. We don’t factor in relegation points, at least not yet.

So early in the season, the differences between the title, promotion and the play-offs is small, so individual results can have a significant effect. After a slow-ish start, the win over Notts County propelled us into the play-off zone, but we dipped back out after the draw with Mansfield. Yeovil took us into the zone of automatic promotion, which is a very good place to be, if we can keep it up.

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