One of the defining features of Sir Alex Ferguson’s final title-winning season at Manchester United was his team’s ability to win matches from losing positions. They found themselves behind on 16 occasions in 2012-13, and took 29 points from these games.
Whilst Ferguson was undoubtedly a master of late and come-from-behind victories, you have the question the sustainability of winning games in this nature so often.
Looking at Premier League teams from the start of the 2006-07 season, unsurprisingly we see that most teams will find themselves behind in games as often as they were the previous season.
There’s another method I want to visit – the Borda Count, a variant of which is used in the Eurovision Song Contest.
Using this method, a team gets the most points for each first preference vote, less points for second preference votes and so on.
The original Football Democracy survey revealed that of the 234 respondents, Arsenal were the most popular team, with 24% of fans picking them as their ‘first choice’ team.
The Alternative Vote method supported the claim that Arsenal are the Premier League’s most popular team; the north London club were also the second, third and fourth preferences of a number of fans, which allowed them to win the majority of votes by this method.
Arsenal, however, are the last preference of a small number of fans – 7.3% to be precise – and the Coombs method takes this into account when determining a ‘winner’ of this popularity contest.
With 234 respondents listing the Premier League teams by order of preference, we can attempt to determine – at least in theory – the league’s most popular team.
We’ve already established that Arsenal are the favourite team of 23.5% of fans, but it is also true that they are disliked by many fans, and therefore cannot justifiably be called the most popular team.
Firstly, a big thank you to those who took the time to participate in this small project, in which I am trying to establish the ‘true’ popularity of each Premier League team. For the uninitiated, more details are available in an earlier post.
Each respondent was asked to rank the Premier League teams by preference, from their favourite team to their least favourite team. Historically, Manchester United have dominated these kind of polls, but whether due to the small sample (234 replies) or type of Twitter followers I have, Arsenal won 23.5% of the first preference votes in this example.
For the rest of you; a few thoughts.
As the Football Association prepares to evaluate the current state of English football, I thought I’d provide a different perspective on the results of the national team, by looking at the consistency of performance.
The term ‘consistency’ in this post doesn’t refer to match-to-match consistency, but rather the variability of the strength of a national team on a year-to-year, or even decade-to-decade basis.