|Posted on May 27, 2013 at 11:10 AM|
A new entry to the "team" stats deserves a bit of explanation. "How seasons unfolded" displays the side's highest and lowest league positions during a season, and shows whether the highest pre-dated the lowest, or vice-versa. Other columns show the side's league position after ten games, and with ten games to go, beside the finishing position.
The last columns were added in response to the idea that Chesterfield always start brightly and run out of steam with the finishing post in sight. The amateur football historian in me is uncomfortable at seeing the word "always" in any such claim, so I thought I might be able to establish that the idea was simply an understandably gloomy but undeserved assessment.
So, are we "chokers?" We've improved our league position over the last ten games in 27 out of the 85 Football League seasons since 1921-2, whereas we've contrived to worsen it in 35 of those seasons. In all the rest - 23 of them - we've finished in the same position that we held with ten games to go. As is usually the case with Chesterfield FC, then, the evidence is inconclusive, and can probably be shaped to fit any point of view. The first ten full seasons of this century saw us contrive to worsen our league position over the last ten games on nine occasions, which slants the figures slightly towards the fatalistic view.
What might be recorded is the fact that our improvement over the last ten games last season - from 14th place to 8th - equalled our record last-ten improvement. We had previously improved by six places only once, when we climbed from 20th to 14th in 1975-6. Our drop from 8th with ten to go, to finish in 16th place in 2005-6, remains our greatest margin of collapse.