4 May 2013

2012/2013 Football League: was I right?

The regular Football League season has come to an end after nine months of thrilling action.

Before a ball was kicked in anger, The Daily Transfer Request predicted how the Championship, League One and League Two tables would end up at the close of play. Now that the regular season is over and all that is left to determine is the winners of the play-offs, it's time to find out how accurate - or inaccurate, for that matter - my predictions were.

The actual final positions for each team are listed below. (The figure in brackets indicates where TDTR predicted they would finish, and how far off that particular prediction was. The brackets are also colour-coded: correct prediction, within 3 places, within 6 places, within 12 places, wildly inaccurate)

I thought Cardiff were mid-table at best, but how wrong I was!
1. Cardiff City (Predicted 13th - 12 places better)
2. Hull City (Predicted 14th - 12 places better)
3. Watford (Predicted 17th - 14 places better)
4. Brighton & Hove Albion (Predicted 2nd - 2 places worse)
5. Crystal Palace (Predicted 22nd - 17 places better)
6. Leicester City (Predicted 5th - 1 place worse)
7. Bolton Wanderers (Predicted 1st - 6 places worse)
8. Nottingham Forest (Predicted 4th - 4 places worse)
9. Charlton Athletic (Predicted 16th - 7 places better)
10. Derby County (Predicted 20th - 10 places better)
11. Burnley (Predicted 9th - 2 places worse)
12. Birmingham City (Predicted 8th - 4 places worse)
13. Leeds United (Predicted 15th - 2 places better)
14. Ipswich Town (Predicted 10th - 4 places worse)
15. Blackpool (Predicted 3rd - 12 places worse)
16. Middlesbrough (Predicted 7th - 9 places worse)
17. Blackburn Rovers (Predicted 6th - 11 places worse)
18. Sheffield Wednesday (Predicted 23rd - 5 places better)
19. Huddersfield Town (Predicted 11th - 8 places worse)
20. Millwall (Predicted 21st - 1 place better)
21. Barnsley (Predicted 24th - 3 places better)
22. Peterborough United (Predicted 18th - 4 places worse)
23. Wolverhampton Wanderers (Predicted 12th - 11 places worse)
24. Bristol City (Predicted 19th - 5 places worse)

How did I do? The top six finishers stand out, but mostly for the wrong reasons. I didn't give Cardiff City and Hull City much of a chance, predicting them both to finish in the top end of the bottom half, but they somehow won automatic promotion! I was also quite far off with my prediction for Watford - despite tipping their new team of Udinese rejects to finish a lowly 17th, they came within touching distance of the Premier League. As for Crystal Palace... well, I thought they would be exiting the Championship, but it looks like they're going to do so in the opposite direction to what I predicted!
I did much better with predicting the other couple of teams in the top six, Brighton & Hove Albion and Leicester City, as they both finished very close to where I thought they would be. However, Leicester and Millwall were the only predictions that were just one place off being 100% accurate, so as far as the Championship is concerned, I'm more Mystic Maggot than Mystic Meg.

Anyone who tipped Yeovil for relegation has lost their shirt.
1. Doncaster Rovers (Predicted 11th - 10 places better)
2. AFC Bournemouth (Predicted 6th - 4 places better)
3. Brentford (Predicted 7th - 4 places better)
4. Yeovil Town (Predicted 21st - 17 places better)
5. Sheffield United (Predicted 3rd - 2 places worse)
6. Swindon Town (Predicted 13th - 7 places better)
7. Leyton Orient (Predicted 18th - 11 places better)
8. Milton Keynes Dons (Predicted 1st - 7 places worse)
9. Walsall (Predicted 23rd - 14 places worse)
10. Crawley Town (Predicted 4th - 6 places worse)
11. Tranmere Rovers (Predicted 19th - 8 places better)
12. Notts County (Predicted 9th - 3 places worse)
13. Crewe Alexandra (Predicted 16th - 3 places better)
14. Preston North End (Predicted 22nd - 8 places better)
15. Coventry City (Predicted 2nd - 13 places worse)
16. Shrewsbury Town (Predicted 17th - 1 place better)
17. Carlisle United (Predicted 14th - 3 places worse)
18. Stevenage (Predicted 5th - 13 places worse)
19. Oldham Athletic (Predicted 20th - 1 place better)
20. Colchester United (Predicted 8th - 12 places worse)
21. Scunthorpe United (Predicted 12th - 9 places worse)
22. Bury (Predicted 15th - 7 places worse)
23. Hartlepool United (Predicted 10th - 13 places worse)
24. Portsmouth (Predicted 24th - no change)

How did I do? A bit better, but not much. My tip for Portsmouth to finish bottom was spot on, although to be honest, the writing was on the wall once they received that 10-point deduction. I came very close with Shrewsbury Town and Oldham Athletic, but to be honest, I certainly did not see Doncaster Rovers finishing top (I thought they'd come 11th).
With regards to Yeovil Town, I don't know what happened - I'm sure that Yours Truly is not the only one that has been stunned by the Glovers' 4th-place finish. There were also a couple of other particularly wild tips: Coventry City were massively disappointing, as their young guns weren't as good as I anticipated, but in stark contrast, Walsall went from 23rd in my pre-season predictions to 9th in truth.

Rotherham United and Steve 'Six Bellies' Evans never let me down.
1. Gillingham (Predicted 9th - 8 places better)
2. Rotherham United (Predicted 1st - 1 place worse)
3. Port Vale (Predicted 14th - 11 places better)
4. Burton Albion (Predicted 15th - 11 places better)
5. Cheltenham Town (Predicted 6th - 1 place better)
6. Northampton Town (Predicted 21st - 15 places better)
7. Bradford City (Predicted 19th - 12 places better)
8. Chesterfield (Predicted 10th - 2 places better)
9. Oxford United (Predicted 12th - 3 places better)
10. Exeter City (Predicted 5th - 5 places worse)
11. Southend United (Predicted 7th - 4 places worse)
12. Rochdale (Predicted 16th - 4 places better)
13. Fleetwood Town (Predicted 3rd - 10 places worse)
14. Bristol Rovers (Predicted 2nd - 12 places worse)
15. Wycombe Wanderers (Predicted 8th - 7 places worse)
16. Morecambe (Predicted 18th - 2 places better)
17. York City (Predicted 24th - 7 places better)
18. Accrington Stanley (Predicted 20th - 2 places better)
19. Torquay United (Predicted 4th - 15 places worse)
20. AFC Wimbledon (Predicted 11th - 9 places worse)
21. Plymouth Argyle (Predicted 13th - 8 places worse)
22. Dagenham & Redbridge (Predicted 23rd - 1 place better)
23. Barnet (Predicted 22nd - 1 place worse)
24. Aldershot Town (Predicted 17th - 7 places worse)

How did I do? Hooray, I'm not entirely useless! Rotherham United lived up to my prediction, securing automatic promotion, although they were denied the league trophy I tipped them to win by pesky Gillingham, who were no better than 9th in my eyes. The other two teams tipped for League One, namely Fleetwood Town and Bristol Rovers, actually ended up in mid-table mediocrity.
The rest of my League One predictions ranged from being very close (Cheltenham Town, Dagenham & Redbridge, Barnet) to being miles away (Northampton Town, Torquay United). Bradford City fell in the latter category. I thought they would come 19th, and also believed that they didn't stand a chance against Notts County in Round 1 of the League Cup, but we all know what the Bantams did next.

In summary... Out of 92 Football League teams, the number of 100% accurate predictions made by The Daily Transfer Request this season was... ONE. That works out as just over 1%. You have to take your hat off to the lad Fuller - when it comes to making predictions, he really is the Harold Camping of football!
Portsmouth celebrate being the only team to finish exactly where I predicted.

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