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BLIND, STUPID AND DESPERATE
 
02/03: Preview:
‹beranalysis

Predictions
The table below summarises the relative confidence (or lack of) of Division One supporters at the start of play. As ever, the results are sensitive to timing... surveying the Bradford masses after their future was clearer might have yielded different predictions. Eighteen clubs predict a top-half finish, down on last season's 20, with 9 (instead of 11) predicting a play-off place. The mean prediction has also dropped from 7th to 9th, which may be down to a combination of both less arrogant clubs entering the division than exiting, and the generally poor health of the game over the last twelve months.

Nobody knows what Wimblestein are going to do. Last year's confidence position in brackets...

                        VOTES        MEAN PRED
1  (-)  Ipswich            27             1.81
2  (5)  Wolves             27             2.48
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3  (-)  Derby              21             3.52
4  (17) Norwich            28             3.96
5  (4)  Preston            21             4.19
6  (-)  Leicester          20             4.20
----------------------------------------------
7  (10) Coventry           25             4.48
8  (15) Millwall           30             5.90
9  (16) Portsmouth         21             6.14
10 (13) Burnley            14             6.62
11 (14) Cr.Palace          41             8.03
12 (7)  Watford            96             8.86
13 (11) Sheff United       16             9.00
14 (-)  Stoke              53             9.48
15 (12) Nottm.Forest       29            10.21
16 (20) Gillingham         29            10.34
17 (18) Sheff Weds         27            10.74
18 (-)  Reading            25            10.92
19 (-)  Brighton           30            14.80
20 (24) Walsall            15            14.87
21 (6)  Bradford           27            15.85
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22 (22) Rotherham          19            16.58
23 (23) Grimsby            23            18.30
24 (-)  Wimblestein         0              ???

TOTAL                     664             8.73

The Perfect Table
The table below summarises the pet hates and sympathies of Division One supporters by standardising each club's votes to a weight of 25 and then summing. Thus, a club with 25 correspondents has the votes added straight into the pile, whilst a club from which 50 responses were received will have its votes halved. From Watford, for example, the number of votes for relegation for each club according to the Hornet's support is multiplied by 25/96=0.260. Clear ? Good.

As last year, Watford's apparent popularity has to be questioned... logic dictates that many supporters ethically opposed to the Hornets would not have bothered to complete the survey, hence the vote is biased in our favour. That's you, Burnley. With only 50 votes for promotion or relegation in total, Watford was overall the least frequent choice (cowards), with Portsmouth second on 69. Ipswich (266) and Millwall (257) picked up the most votes in total.

                                UP      DOWN    POINTS
1  (-)  Ipswich              200.9      38.1     162.8
2  (6)  Norwich               81.6      29.8      51.8
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3  (1)  Preston               61        14.7      46.3
4  (-)  Derby                100        57.1      42.9
5  (4)  Watford               35.7      11.2      24.5
6  (3)  Coventry              31.2      32.8      -1.6
------------------------------------------------------
7  (9)  Walsall               48.7      55.6      -6.9
8  (-)  Brighton              90.9      99.8      -8.9
9  (5)  Nottm Forest          44.9      66.6     -21.7
10 (15) Burnley               36        57.8     -21.8
11 (11) Portsmouth            15.1      41.5     -26.4
12 (-)  Leicester             49.2      76.9     -27.7
13 (18) Grimsby               34.6      62.6     -28
14 (20) Wolves                92.8     120.8     -28
15 (7)  Rotherham             46.3      79.2     -32.9
16 (-)  Reading               25.1      62.9     -37.8
17 (12) Gillingham            22.8      60.9     -38.1
18 (-)  Wimblestein           25.2      87.9     -62.7
19 (-)  Stoke City            22.2      87.6     -65.4
20 (16) Sheffield United      12.3      79       -66.7
21 (21) Crystal Palace        15.9      93.1     -77.2
------------------------------------------------------
22 (10) Bradford City         16.9     106.7     -89.8
23 (19) Sheffield Weds        17.6     115.4     -97.8
24 (24) Millwall              24.7     188.1    -163.4

TOTAL                       1150      1725      

Choice Signing/Weakest Link
Bobby Zamora was the most popular choice overall, picking up 71 votes from 22 clubs. Wayne Brown was second in line, his 48 votes all coming from one club. Matt Holland (25) was third. Luther Blissett, at the age of 44, chalked up more votes than Pierre Issa, Ramon Vega and Patrick Blondeau combined.

The Weakest Link polls were wide-ranging but included (deep breath) 144 players, 14 areas of squads, 9 sets of supporters, 7 chairmen, 6 managers, 6 boards, 4 mascots, 4 directors, 4 bank balances, 3 stadia, 3 ticket offices, 2 supporters' clubs, 2 catering managers, 2 PA Announcers, 2 tea ladies, and 2 ex-managers. There were also votes for a set of administrators, an assistant manager, a Police Force (guess), a financial advisor, a chairman's son, a university, a local council, a PR Manager, a physio, a coach and ITV Digital. Supporters of 3 clubs said everything was wrong whilst those of 5 said nothing was wrong. Anne Robinson also picked up two votes.

Worst Ever Elevens
Stand out names are Irvin Gernon, Graham Harbey and one-time Watford loanee Keith Scott, who all received nominations in three worst-ever elevens and made in into two...

The World Cup
Sheffield United, averaging over 40 games apiece, claimed to have watched the greatest number of World Cup games, with Walsall coming a close second. At a modest 24 games each, Millwall appeared to be the least bothered.

BBC won the Final battle hands-down. Almost 87% of respondents claim to have watched Brazil's victory on the Beeb. Only 12 respondents (2% of poll) admitted to having watched it on ITV. Good show all round.

Andy Townsend squeaked the "worst pundit" award with 109 votes, Barry Venison his closest challenger on 104. Townsend has done something to upset the East Midlands, with Leicester, Derby and Forest each giving him particularly high ratings. Venison's stock was lowest in the South East, with Watford and Millwall both awarding him over 25% of their vote. Regional centres of resentment for other pundits were Stoke (Clive Allen and ex-Vale Robbie Earle), Burnley (Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink), Portsmouth (Ally McCoist), and Coventry (Bobby Robson), whilst Portsmouth (again) and Palace duelled for the right to resent Terry Venables.

The "World Cup Stars" poll was the most redundant on the survey. Ronaldo's funny turn in 1998 can obviously be put down to a very split personality, supporters of every club claiming that he epitomised their side. With 117 votes overall he was well clear of nearest challengers Rio Ferdinand (30), Ronaldinho (22) and Hassan Sas (18).

The Watford Adjective
We got off quite lightly here, with the quite literal Yellow (37) receiving the most votes, followed by Friendly (aaah) (23). It goes a bit downhill after that with Average (22), Boring (15) and Underachievers (15) next in line, but you have to get down to 11 votes before finding anything really nasty.

My Cup of Tea
Milk No Sugar (37%) was the overall winner, followed by Milk One Sugar (22%) and Milk Too Much Sugar (13%). Only 8 people confessed to consuming Fruity crap, and at least one of these was taking the piss. Of the less popular choices, Grimsby is the home of Black tea consumption (14% of poll), whilst Walsall have the biggest thing for Coffee (27%)

A Bullet in the Gun of...
Wide ranging targets here. Everyone in the World seems to have good cause to fear somebody. The Big Brother poll was won by Jade (8 votes, 4 from Watford), narrowly beating Tim (7). Top of the Political target list was Osama Bin Laden (15 votes), followed by the ever popular Margaret Thatcher (11), George W Bush (8), Tony Blair (7), Saddam Hussein (6), Gerry Adams (3), Ariel Sharon (2), David Blunkett (1), Colonel Gadaffi (1), Ken Livingstone (1), Jack Straw (1) and Donald Rumsfeld (1). As regards non-political figures, David Mellor also picked up a vote.

Can you help Ramon ?
No seems to be the short answer (73% overall). 7.5% wavered on maybe with a particularly desperate 6.5% saying yes. A fortunate 13% claimed never to have heard of him. Sheffield United appeared to have the lowest resolve overall, with 38% interested or thinking about it. Preston (37%) claimed the greatest degree of ignorance.

Have you been to the Isle of Wight ?
A fairly even split, with 50% saying "Yes", 48% "No" and 2% claiming ignorance. Patterns were predictably regional with Pompey (!), Brighton and Watford the most reliable visitors, Sheffield United, Bradford and Walsall the least. Two residents of the Island completed the survey.

Should Cake be sold in football grounds ?
Another close call, but the ayes have it (48% to 44% with 8% abstaining). Coventry were the most in favour (67%) with Burnley the least (80%) and Sheffield United (20%) the most apathetic to this issue.

Custard. Good or bad ?
The forces of evil are repelled 70% to 15%, with another 15% opting for "somewhere in between". Sheffield United pinned their colours to this particular mast with a 88% yes vote. Preston were the only fans to poll as high as 30% against. 36% of Reading fans sat on the fence.