League 2 table “footprints”, 2016/17

With the regular 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.

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.

Portsmouth won the title despite not being top until the final day, while Exeter were the only top seven side never to venture into the top three. Incredibly there were only two clubs who spent more time in the relegation zone than the Grecians.

Third-placed Luton and sixth-placed Carlisle were the only two clubs to spend the entire season in the top half of the table. The Hatters only spent a week outside the top seven and even that was only in eighth.

Every club spent some time in the top half of the table, although Cheltenham and Newport only managed 10 days in 12th place between them. The Exiles avoided relegation despite spending over three quarters of their season (207 out of 274 days = 75.5%) in the drop zone.