League 1 table “footprints”, 2016/17

With the regular League 1 season now over – and while we await the play-offs – I wanted to revisit some of the post-season graphics I produced this time last year, starting with something that was very popular last time around: how many days each club spent in each league position. I’ll also churn this out for the other EFL divisions and Premier League after their final rounds of matches.

This graphic works as follows:

  • The clubs are listed down the side, in the order they finished in the final league table
  • Each row shows how many days that club spent in each league position
  • The season is considered to run from the date of the first match to the date of the last and excludes the play-offs
  • I’ve added dividing lines in both directions to indicate the automatic promotion places, the play-off zone, the division between top and bottom half and the relegation zone
  • There are also fainter outlines around each club’s final league position

The idea of this is that you can see the “footprint” that each club left in the table this season. Some stayed up one end, others bounced around a lot more etc. This isn’t supposed to be anything particularly profound, but when I ran it I was surprised to see how much time certain clubs spent quite a long way from their final position and how far most travelled over the course of the season.

Scunthorpe are the only team who didn’t spend a single day outside the top six, although frustratingly for them almost two thirds of their season was spent in an automatic promotion place. The 112 days they spent in top spot was only narrowly fewer than the 114 that champions Sheffield United managed.

Bolton are the only other club who never slipped into the bottom half of the table at any point: the lowest spot they occupied was eighth place for the first week of October.

There were three teams who never set foot in the top half, although only one of them went down. Coventry‘s highest position this season was during the first week when they sat 17th, with Shrewsbury and Oldham also exclusively occupying the bottom half but rallying to avoid relegation.

Only six clubs – a quarter of the division – failed to spend a single day in a play-off position while only eight were able to avoid the relegation zone completely. Interestingly Gillingham – who could still have been relegated on the final day – were one of only two bottom half teams not to set foot in the danger zone.

Apart from title winners Sheffield United, only one team – Oxford – finished the season in the highest position they occupied during it, while the aforementioned Gills and Swindon were the only teams apart from bottom club Chesterfield to end the campaign in the lowest position they sat in.