National League table “footprints”, 2016/17

There’s less data around for the National League these days but I can still produce things like this, showing 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.

Lincoln spent over half the season in top spot so it’s not surprising to see them crowned champions, but they did have a brief stint in the lower half of the table. Only two clubs – Tranmere and Dag & Red – didn’t spend a single day outside the top half, which there were five teams who didn’t venture outside the bottom half.

Two clubs in particular showed how much the league table can deceive this season: Aldershot claimed a play-off place despite only spending 48 days in the top five this season, while Guiseley escaped the drop despite spending 169 days – over 70% of their season – in the bottom four.