Were Crawley Town really better against the top sides? Well, you can prove anything with stats – Steve Leake

Well, here I am watching the League 1 Play off final but longing for June 23 when next season’s fixtures will be published.

What will next season hold for us as we set out under new owners and a new manager?

Who is making player related decisions at the moment without a manager in position? When will we know when season tickets and our new strip will be available?

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I don’t know the answers to these questions but I am confident we will know soon, and I, for one, am looking forward to a profitable season in terms of points gained and cup rounds won.

Crawley Town players celebrate in front of Forest Green Rovers fans

However, before next season comes upon us, I thought we could have a look at how we fared over the last two seasons.

I often hear how we play better against the top sides than we do against those towards the foot of the table, and certainly in 2020/21 that proved to be true, with Crawley Town earning 56% of the points available from the top eight, whilst only getting 38% from the bottom eight.

This obviously put the “we play better against the top sides” thought into our minds, but if we look at last season, then there is no evidence which supports that theory.

In fact, we didn’t beat any of the top eight on their own grounds last season and four of them did the double over us.

This saw us only gain 29% of the points available.

Fortunately, we increased our points tally against the mid table clubs from 38% to 57%, and the bottom eight from 37% to 48%.

Points aren’t everything, but they do make prizes, and I can accept that the football against the top sides might have been better to watch.

What we must try to do now is ensure that attractive football isn’t just good to watch but is also profitable in terms of points gained.

If that’s one myth slightly busted, the next we need to address is how much better we appeared to be away from home last season as opposed to the season before.

In 2021/22 we actually won just three more points away from home than we did in the previous year and actually lost one more game.

This only goes to show that you can prove anything you like with statistics, it just depends on how you interpret them.

However, there is one statistic that we, the fans, can do something about, and that is the attendance. Averaging around 2010 last season, we need to improve upon that figure if we are ever going to realise the ambition of climbing the divisions and staying there.

I deplore the practice, used by supporters of most clubs on the League 2 forums, of ridiculing the quantity of support that teams take away, as I prefer to assess the quality of support rather than the quantity.

However, we have to face facts that increased home gates are required if we are to progress how we want.

Hopefully, new investment will provide the impetus for the undoubted quality of our support to be matched by its quantity.