Numbers, the last ten seasons, a backup plan and no silly graphs

Regular visitors will know that I like to look at what has happened in the past to get an idea of what might happen in the future. The history books can tell us a lot about what is going to happen.

So today, rather than read more speculation and posts about what is going to happen although we all know it isn't, I've done a little research and while what I've found out isn't completely positive, there is some light.

What I've done is look at the last ten Premier League seasons and specifically at the team in 18th place after twenty-one games. You see, we are 18th and we've played twenty-one games. I tried to keep it simple.

I've also looked at how many points the team in 18th place had at the end of the season, where we would sit with our current twenty-one points after twenty-one games, which three teams were in the bottom three after twenty-one games and which three teams were finally relegated at the end of that season.

No silly pie chart

I was going to use a pie chart to show you that of the thirty teams in the bottom three, when the team in 18th place had played twenty-one games, only seven teams survived the drop, but I think seeing it in black and white makes enough of an impact.

No silly graphs

I was also going to use a graph to show you that twenty-one points after twenty-one games would have seen us in the bottom three in only two of the past ten seasons, but I'm not. The words are not difficult and I'm sure you understand that things could be a lot better.

You're probably getting the gist of where I'm going with this today; I'm not using pie charts or graphs. Words have more impact.

So, I'll move on to more of the numbers. In the last ten seasons, the last one was the lowest points total for the team that finished in 18th place and relegated and if your memory is as bad as mine, you'll need reminding it was Burnley with 30 points.

You'll likely also need reminding that West Ham got relegated in 2003 with 42 points - the highest points total in the last ten seasons and to still go down. That was a big number and four points better than the average over the same period for the team finishing in 18th.

Any conclusions?

I could have dug deeper, but I didn't. One thing did stand out for me though. In the 2008/09 season, Spurs were also 18th after 21 games with twenty points and we all know what happened at Spurs that season and we all know where they are playing now. Things can change very quickly in this league.

Also and as things stand, we have more points today than any team in the last ten seasons who were in 18th place, but in two of those seasons, twenty-one points would still see us where we are today.

But for me, the really important number was the one I was going to give you in the pie chart earlier - twenty-three teams of the thirty that found themselves in the bottom three at this stage of the season were relegated. The other big number is the average points of the team that finished in 18th. You see, the average of 38 points is a point a game - exactly what we have right now.

Those number really do set off alarm bells for me and while I have hope that Houllier will turn it around and all things point to him getting the chance, the club need to have a backup plan this time, because they clearly didn't have one when the previous manager walked out on us.