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Desperate Data – the Extreme Numbers That Defined Ipswich Town’s Dismal Season
Written by realprojection on Friday, 2nd Jun 2017 23:02

Think Ipswich Town’s 2016/17 Championship record redefined tedium? Think again. Despite a low mid-table finish, set against a background of increasing supporter discontent at insipid management and directionless ownership – Town actually topped (or tailed) the league for many key attributes. Not the characteristics of a mundane team.

First up, passing. Nothing defines a Mick McCarthy team more than good passing. That is, good passing is an anathema to a Mick McCarthy team (Jay Tabb famously revealed that McCarthy “blasted” Town for trying to pass the ball too much, at half-time in a match against Brighton).

And, sure enough, Ipswich top the league for two key passing Stats. Town played more inaccurate long passes than any other Championship team. 2,666 misplaced long balls! That’s 178 more than second best hoofers – Rotherham.

Given their style, stellar inaccurate long ball numbers are perhaps to be expected. But what about short passes? Surely Town don’t play enough short passes to excel at this stat. Well, err…..somehow Ipswich also managed to play more inaccurate short passes than anyone else, 3,344 – ahead of Norwich, Brentford and Huddersfield.

So, Ipswich bettered the rest of the league at both inaccurate long and short passes. I (genuinely) believe that Mick will see these figures as a badge of honour.

But where he may be disappointed is that both Reading and Blackburn managed to average more long passes per match (although presumably they hit their target more often). Still, third place isn’t bad.

The next stat will come as no surprise to anyone that’s spent 30 seconds or so watching Ipswich this season. Town hit the least shots, an average of 10.4 per match, a full five fewer than top placed Fulham.

But shots aren’t everything. More shots usually imply increased entertainment, but not necessarily success. For example, Reading were a penalty or two away from promotion after a conspicuously shot-shy season.

Shot paucity and passing inaccuracy are statistical evidence (if evidence is really needed) that Town suck. But is there actually a measured attribute that indicates Ipswich were best at something in 2016/17? Well, here’s one – 'Aerial duels won'. OK it’s a bit peripheral but being decent at winning headers is surely a good thing? I’m positive Mick will also be delighted at this one – although sadly Town’s master aerial-dueller, Christophe Berra, has departed to dominate the Edinburgh skies.

Another season high is number of drawn matches, 16 in total. And who can forget this was Town’s 15th consecutive season in England’s second tier, longer than anyone else. Certainly Norwich fans can’t – presumably because their lack of trophy-winning history causes them to focus on their more successful neighbour’s past.

And, to add insult to this statistical injury, the team with the fewest shots and the most inaccurate passes, is also the Championship team with the highest season ticket price, £842 (according to the BBC’s Price of Football study). That’s £3.30 per Portman Road shot!

So, here’s Ipswich Town’s full 2016/17 roll of dishonour

• Most inaccurate long passes – 2,666
• Most inaccurate short passes – 3,344
• Fewest shots – average 10.4 per match
• Most Aerial Duels won – Average 27.3 per match
• Most draws – 16
• Most consecutive seasons in England’s second tier – 16
• Highest season ticket price - £842

Any crumbs of comfort to be drawn from the numbers? Not really, apart from the fact that there are few managers with a better record of defying football’s perceived numerical wisdoms than Mick McCarthy.

But 2016/17’s numbers don’t auger well, and in today’s football world the numbers that matter most are preceded by big pound signs – a measure that Ipswich won’t be topping any time soon.

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tractorboy12341234 added 01:41 - Jun 3
This post is so depressing but shows how dismal our season was! £3.30 to watch Town have a shot. MADNESS. I fear for next season now that Berra has gone, think Mick will have to move quickly to replace him, or better yet replace himself! Really intriguing blog!

Penguinblue added 07:10 - Jun 3
A very good but damming read.
Pathetic football management, insipid a great word for Milne's performance.
I was not aware of the Tabby quote - you couldn't make it up.

Foul mouthed McCarthy OUT


RegencyBlue added 08:01 - Jun 3
Unfortunately these stats just confirm what anyone who watches Town on a regular basis is very aware of.

More of the same next season I fear although being the longest serving club in the Championship may be under threat and I don't mean in a good way!

Suffolk_n_Good added 08:49 - Jun 3
"STATO, STATO, STATO!!" 😂😂😂 only joshing, a good, intriguing read, interesting to see that the stats actually back up what most of us watching from the stands think :)

Superblue95 added 09:41 - Jun 3
I'm amazed we even averaged over 10 shots a game this season. Also holding the title for most misplaced long and short passes I find strangely quite impressive 😂

SpiritOfJohn added 11:53 - Jun 3
Does this mean we didn't 'win' the following categories:
Fewest shots on target
Most free-kicks or corners that did not lead to a goal-scoring opportunity
Most long throw-ins that went straight to the opposition goalkeeper
Most blocks by defenders
Most saves by a goalkeeper
Least effective substitutions

Bergholtblue added 10:14 - Jun 5
Some interesting stats especially the shots per match being over 10!. Must have had a lot in the matches that I didn't get to, to bring that average up. Or perhaps they are mistaking our inaccurate long ball passes as long range efforts at goal.

Ferguson added 12:34 - Jun 5
These figures don't lie, and if Jay Tabb's comment is true I'm glad that I'm now firmly in the Mick Out camp. Evans and his team have much to account for, but clearly it's Mick's way or the Highway in the dressing room. It's looking like a Highway to Hell at the moment.

madmouse1959 added 23:26 - Jun 5
........and no interest in any cup competitions either. McCarthy wanting an easy season void of any extra football matches. Now we have no pre season games at Portman Road !!! It gets worse every year under Evans, McCarthy, Conner and Milne etc etc .

woohoo added 08:03 - Jun 6
The stats just reinforce the feeling of those of us who endured last season at PR.
Dull, dreary, unimaginative, unadventurous and unsuccessful football... ...and no sign of any change.

Not forgetting the national humiliation by Lincoln.

Still, could be worse.... ...errr..... ..hmmm...


Len_Brennan added 13:08 - Jun 6
It is disappointing that this excellent blog has not received more of a response over the last 3 days. The stats are indisputable and the post itself is very well structured in order to drive home the point.
Anyone who still argues that MM is the man to lead this club into a positive future should be first asked to defend those stats. An argument citing basket case clubs like Blackpool, Blackburn etc., who have dropped out of the Championship through chronic mismanagement, should not be used to deflect from the very real problems we have. Going down that path is not the only possible outcome of changing the manager and playing better football.

MicksZzzTactics added 14:22 - Jun 6
Well done @realprojections!!! ... and I broadly agree with & echo the sentiments of the other posters here.

PS: Oh one other thing which **might** also be worth mentioning in relation to your fine statistic-based summary, which happen to not be DIRECTLY linked to neither the disgraceful ITFC pricing nor the sleep inducing & unsuccessful on-the field ITFC action .... but nevertheless quite **possibly** very INDIRECTLY linked to it, is ehmmm the steadfast 'rumor' that Suffolk based pharmacies collectively reports a notable boom in sales of various renowned Anti-Depressants as well as Benzodiazepines and other forms of tranquilizers over the course of the last 9+ months..... i.e. the exact period of the from a fan pov very 'mentally strenuous' 2016/2017 ITFC season! :-) LOL :-)

Lightningboy added 10:48 - Jun 8
Yep..and it'll happen all over again next season with the footballing genius of Cole Skuse at the heart of our midfield.

Depressing beyond belief.

vanmunt added 09:08 - Jun 9
That just doesn't make any sense, how can you be the highest number of inaccurate long and short passes.. what the hell do they do in training. The most basic thing in football passing to a team mate and we are the worse at it. Mind boggling.

shakytown added 10:52 - Jun 9
Just proves what everyone already knew and that is we are a bloody awful team with no talent whatsoever and a pathetic manager who delights in mediocrity.

shakytown added 11:06 - Jun 9
How about the least amount of movement at the slowest speed by a player. Hmm I wonder who that was?????

jonnysuave added 08:35 - Jul 7
Can you say what the source was for these stats? Hoping its Opta or some such as the clubs subscribe to that.

Then the club should be made fully aware of the analysis and asked to give a response to their paying customers about why this was seen as acceptable last season (and maybe seasons before that).

Great post Realprojection, unless of course you made it all up. Smiley face thing.

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