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02/03: Preview:
The Census Explained

Each respondent was invited to predict their team's final placing. These have been summarised according to whether the prediction was for automatic promotion (1st-2nd), a play-off spot (3rd-6th), a top-half finish (7th-11th), mid-table (12th-16th), bottom half (17th-21st) or relegation (22nd-24th). The reported mean prediction is a straight average of these predictions, rounded to the nearest integer on the individual team pages. Where appropriate, the corresponding prediction in last year's census is listed for comparison purposes.

The Perfect Table
Each respondent was asked which three teams they would choose to be relegated from Division One and which two teams they would want to accompany their side in promotion. The "perfect table" on each team's page summarises responses; the points which define a team's position consist of the number of nominations for promotion minus the number of votes for relegation from supporters of the club in question. Teams tied on points are separated by number of votes for promotion (in a positive "goals scored" kinda way). We allowed implausible nominations for local rivals being relegated three times (for example) on the basis that if someone feels this strongly, who are we to argue ? Again, where appropriate, the prediction each side occupied in the corresponding table after last year's census is listed, although the basis for comparison is slightly tarnished as last year we took "worst trip" votes into consideration also. Grimsby will hence do better on the whole this time...

Choice Signing/Weakest Link
Each respondent was invited to choose one Division One player that their club should ideally sign, plus their club's weakest link. The most popular nomination(s) in each category are listed. More than any other categories these are sensitive to the timing of the survey. Last season's choices are also listed where possible.

The Worst-Ever Eleven
Each respondent was invited to nominate their team's worst eleven of all-time. We insisted on a 4-4-2 formation with wingers because, well, we're like that. Shirt numbering also follows GT's classic formula (so 4 and 10 are centre mid, 5 and 6 centrebacks, 7 right wing, 11 left wing, 8 and 9 up front).

The most frequent nominee(s) in each position are selected. Where two or more players tie on number of votes, their nominations in other playing positions are considered. When this too yields a tie, the player from further back in history is selected on the basis that their votes must have come from a smaller pool of supporters who remember them. Or else we just picked one of the tied candidates arbitrarily. The armband is awarded to the player with most votes overall, and the number 9 shirt goes to the most unpopular striker.

World Cup Games Watched
Each respondent was asked how many World Cup games they managed to watch, options being "None", "1-10", "11-20", "21-30", "31-40", "41-50", "51-63" or "64". Averages are calculated using the midppoints of these ranges, so a club with one vote in each of the first three categories would have returned a mean games watched of ((0)+(5.5)+(11.5))/3=5.67.

Worst ITV Pundit (except Gazza)
Each respondent was asked to pick the worst of the ITV pundits - no small task. Options offered were Clive Allen, Robbie Earle, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Ally McCoist, Bobby Robson, Andy Townsend, Terry Venables, Barry Venison, and "No Idea". Gascoigne wasn't an option or else this whole category would have been a redundant exercise. Okay, I forgot to put him in.