5th place was a statistical anomaly says Forbes

5th place not to be repeated

5th place not to be repeated

For all of our fans who claim that Newcastle United are destined to finish in the upper echelons of the Premier League this season purely on the basis that 2 seasons ago we finished 5th, listen up!

Statistical research from the famous Forbes magazine have concluded that it was always likely for Newcastle United to fall away drastically without major investment, as well as claiming that we far overreached and bucked statistics by even finishing 5th. I have heard so many claim what a fantastic manager we have for guiding us to 5th, and what a wonderful owner we have for getting us back into Europe. Well you can quit that now, because apparently it was one giant fluke.

Many of us thought at the time, myself included, that we would go on to have a relatively successful season last season with the squad that we had. However, it became incredibly apparent that we clearly did not have a big enough squad to cope with the rigours of the Premier League. What’s more, we now have a numerically weaker squad from the squad that finished last season, having only made 1 first team addition with the loan signing of Loic Remy. So it would appear that not only did we not learn from the mistake of not strengthening when we finished 5th, we actually went and repeated that mistake over the summer by not strengthening once more.

Here is the statement that was released in Forbes magazine,

‘Last season Newcastle completed one of the worst season to season points drops in the history of the Premier League. The Toon finished 2011/12 in 5th place with 65 points from a +5 goal difference, which meant that they were going to have to make a number of changes in the close season or face a regression in points total and table position more in line with their goal difference. There was minimal player movement (Anita the only first team squad signing) into the club in the summer 2012 transfer window, the net sum of actions in the January 2013 window doing little to change Newcastle’s fate at the end of the season. They would finish the 2012/13 season with 24 less points, 11 places lower in the table, and a -23 goal difference as they avoided relegation by only five points.

While few would have predicted such a drop from one season to the next, there was little doubt that Newcastle’s points total had greatly outperformed  their actual play on the pitch and the resultant goal difference in 2011/12. Historical data suggest teams that outperform their goal difference as Newcastle did (+10 points) often regress towards the mean next season.’

“While few would have predicted such a drop from one season to the next, there was little doubt that Newcastle’s points total had greatly outperformed  their actual play on the pitch and the resultant goal difference in 2011/12” – it is this little snippet that I find most interesting. An apt explanation for why we regressed so far last season was that we should not have even been up in 5th place in 2011/12 and this is proven by historical data of the Premier League. Factors like Chelsea and Liverpool under-performing, as well as Everton not being as competitive were as much factors in our 5th place finish as our own play was. Perhaps even more so.

Although, if Newcastle United regressed towards the mean last season (16th) then that is a very worrying turn in fortunes. I do not think with the squad that we have that we will be fighting relegation this season, however I do not foresee us finishing within the top 10, nor do I see us finishing within the top 10 for the foreseeable future.

What do you think? Do you agree that our 5th place finish was a statistical blip? Or were we more worthy of 5th than these statistics seem to indicate? I’d love to hear your views.

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  1. Forbes are doubtless right. And they are just looking at the stats. If you actually watched the matches it was noticeable how often we were average to poor and just scored, and won, with wonder strikes and goals out of the blue. It was also clear that we had very few injuries that season, fewer than our very high norm. And it was obvious at the time that other teams underperformed that season.
    The thing that really set us up was a remarkable defensive performance in the first part of the season. For a couple of months or so, I believe we had the best defensive record in the PL. Us, NUFC ! It relied on a stable back four, with, I believe, 2 or 3 Brits (including the unsung and much-missed Ryan Taylor at LB), plus Colo. In other words they could, and apparently did, communicate and work as a unit ( Simpson made several goal line clearances too). In my book, that phenomenon is the one clear coaching success of Pardew’s reign, and, as Forbes state, it has not been repeated.


    1. Nor is it destined to be repeated in the foreseeable future with teams that finished below us that season all considerably stronger than they were, even down to the likes of Southampton, Norwich, Swansea and Aston Villa.

      With lack of investment off the field, and poor execution on the field, there is little room for optimism these days.


  2. Yup. Unfortunately quite so.
    (But the phenomenal phenomenon I meant was just that of a remarkably good defence for a third of a season).

    Btw thanks for pointing out the Forbes stuff and for the Interesting blog


  3. Sorry I missed this earlier, very interesting.
    I always thought that it was as much other teams slipping up as us grinding out results, flukey results along with that “4-3-3” Pards stumbled upon.
    Pards even started to believe his own hype and the shocking 8 year contracts dished out like confetti! Crazy times.
    Ashley doesn’t know which way to turn, he sacks one close friend to hire another but they are all letting him down. I don’t think he cares that much though.


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