Half time ? now is it up or down?

Last updated : 17 December 2002 By Tony Scholes

It has been suggested that a points total of 32 at the half way stage means we are too far behind to chase a play off place and also that we have far too many points to find ourselves getting dragged into a relegation battle.

Neither of those are strictly true although it is probably fair to assume that a fourth consecutive season in Division One next time around is the more likely.

We have researched the last ten seasons in this division and taken a look for each season at the teams who finished in the top six and those who finished in the bottom three and then checked out just how many points they had at the half way stage.

In those ten years there have been five instances of a side with 32 or less points at half way winning a place in the play offs whilst there have been just two occasions where a side with 32 or more have actually gone down.

The most intriguing of seasons was 1995/96 when Millwall had 34 points at the half way stage and were relegated whilst Crystal Palace with two less on 32 finished 3rd and won a play off place.

The only other side to have a dramatic fall from grace were Brentford in 1992/93 when they went down despite having 33 points after 23 games.

The 1999/2000 season saw two clubs make a second half of the season climb as Birmingham (32 at half way) and Bolton (31) both made the play offs but the best of all at this are Ipswich.

In the 1996/97 season they finished 4th with 74 points having collected just 29 in the first half of the season but a year later they went one better.

When they lost 1-0 at home to Birmingham on Boxing Day 1997 they had just 27 points from 23 games and were 16th in the league. Many in Suffolk were fearing a relegation battle but they turned it round with an incredible run.

The second half of the season yielded 17 wins, 5 draws and just 1 defeat and they ended the season on 83 points. They finished 5th and won a play off place by a massive 9 points.

So the answer clearly is that Burnley can still go up and can still go down although history says there is more chance of making the play offs than the relegation places.

One thing we will have to do though is tighten up at the back. Our total of 41 goals conceded is our worst ever in a 46 game season at this stage although we did concede 43 goals in the first 23 games of the 1982/83 season (from a total of 42 games).

After spending time looking at all the stats we can now say with total conviction that we could go up, we could go down and we could stay exactly where we are. So to find out exactly what will happen you can join us as we crack on and see where it takes us.