OK, I know it’s the Euros and the government is collapsing, but we’re less than a month from the start of the season and everything still feels a little bit sleepy. So, to ease ourselves into pre-season, I thought we’d do some general stretches by looking at your predictions for last season, and how accurate they were.
This is all in preparation for the results of this year’s survey, which I’ll start rolling out as we build up to the new season. If you haven’t taken part, then it’s all here for you to give your rating and predictions.
But now the dust has settled, how did we really do last season?
We finished 8th last season, which given that we spent long periods in the play-off zone felt a bit underwhelming. Eighth is always a popular placing in your pre-season predictions, with 12.4% of you accurately predicting our finishing position. But, generally speaking there was an expectation that we’d finish higher. In total we finished lower than 73.8% expected.
When asked who were going to win the title and who would finish bottom, you accurately predicted an eighth place finish. Wigan won the title, even though you thought they’d finish 16th, Rotherham were runner’s up; you had them finishing fourth.
The four play-off contenders were Sheffield Wednesday (predicted: 1st), Sunderland (3rd), MK Dons (17th) and Wycombe (21st). So the two northern clubs broadly finished where you thought they might, the two southern clubs way above expectations.
You predicted Ipswich would get automatic promotion and that Charlton and Lincoln would make the play-offs. All finished well below expectations.
At the bottom, Crewe (predicted: 19th), Wimbledon (20th), Doncaster (11th), Gillingham (18th), so Doncaster’s capitulation was the big surprise.
You expected Morecambe, Cheltenham (15th) and Cambridge (14th) to go down, but both had decent season’s and respectable finishes.
Over-performers were the ever-unpredictable Wigan who finished 15 places higher than you were expecting and Wycombe, who you spitefully had down as relegation candidates. The biggest under-performers were Lincoln and Doncaster who both finished eleven places lower than you predicted.
The only club whose position you accurately predicted? Oxford United.
Most of you predicted we’d make it to the second round of the League Cup, which we did before falling to QPR. We met the expectations of 19.7% of people and exceeded 6.6%. It still means we underwhelmed just under three-quarters of people’s expectations.
Hopes for the season
Your biggest hope for the season was simply getting back to games, and we did enjoy a full programme with no breaks. It’s hard to imagine the state of play this time last year, but we were still longing for some very simple pleasures. You’ve got to love the NHS haven’t you?
More specifically we wanted full stadiums and away days, exciting prospects back then. We enjoyed both of those with six home games having attendances over 10,000. So in terms of hopes, though they seem moderate, they were all fulfilled.
You predicted that the stadium situation would be resolved, and while we haven’t quite gone that far, it’s certainly moved further forward than at any point in the last 20 years. The Kassam hasn’t been renamed Tiger’s Den. You thought we’d have new owners, and yet a year down the line, rumoured takeovers have still not been formally agreed. One of you predicted a UK based Euromillions winner would take over and, well, no.
You expected a change of manager during the season with Karl Robinson going to a club in a higher division, well, he’s still here. Steve Kinniburgh didn’t become a coach. Did he play four wingers? Well, against Shrewsbury in March we did start with Williams, Sykes, Holland and Whyte. They were also on the pitch against Ipswich and Plymouth.
Elliott Moore did sign a new contract, so the prediction he wouldn’t was wrong. Sean Clare wasn’t our best player, Shandon Baptiste didn’t come back, Rob Atkinson did leave, but Mide Shodipo wasn’t the predicted returning hero (Gavin Whyte and Nathan Holland were, perhaps?). Dan Agyei didn’t quite score twenty goals, but Sam Winnall was injured. All. The. Time.
Some of you predicted a good start to the season and being unbeaten in the first four games wasn’t too bad, certainly better than in the past under Karl Robinson. We didn’t give Wycombe a good thrashing, so let’s not go there. Trevor Kettle didn’t send of three players or give away three penalties.
There was no dog on the pitch, Wycombe didn’t get promoted via the play-offs, but got darned close.
Personally, I enjoyed last season as much as any for years. League One is a great division with plenty of big teams to play and lots of competition. But, objectively, we did seem to fall a bit short. Maybe we’re just a spoilt and, let’s face it you lot are terrible at predictions, so none of us are perfect.
So, there you go, the results of this year’s survey will be out over the coming weeks; your hopes, predictions and ratings. If you haven’t taken part, why not do it now?