Many words have been used to describe the last season in English football, but one more than any other: unpredictable.
A quarter of the way through the season, I wrote a series of prediction for the top four divisions, predicting what I thought the end of the season promotion and relegation picture would look like. I had waited until a quarter of the way through on the basis that it had a greater chance of being accurate - but was this correct?
Promotion: Leyton Orient, Portsmouth, Carlisle United
Play-off winners: Plymouth Argyle
Relegated: Newport County, Yeovil Town
Promotion: Northampton Town, Oxford United, Bristol Rovers
Play-off winners: AFC Wimbledon
Relegated: Dagenham and Redbridge, York City
Prediction score: 0/6
Wow, what a strong start. It really is quite an achievement, I think, that in my first prediction article I had a hit rate of exactly zero. Let's just say I was just warming up, and completely neglected the miracles Chris Wilder was working at Northampton, just as I overestimated Kevin Nolan's managerial capabilities. The closest I came was predicting Plymouth to win the play-offs - they lost in the final at Wembley.
Promotion: Burton Albion, Coventry City
Play-off winners: Wigan Athletic
Relegated: Chesterfield, Swindon Town, Crewe Alexandra, Blackpool
Promotion: Wigan Athletic, Burton Albion
Play-off winners: Barnsley
Relegated: Doncaster Rovers, Blackpool, Colchester, Crewe Alexandra
Prediction score: 3.5/7
Much more like it - a solid 50 per cent success rate. I managed to call Burton's incredible rise to the second tier, although my praise for Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink is slightly undercut by his departure t QPR about a month after the prediction was made. I have given myself half a point for Wigan - I said they would go up, but via the wrong method. Meanwhile, a couple of my misses are perhaps understandable - Barnsley were in the relegation zone, and Doncaster in the play-offs, when I predicted in October, and they ended the season switched around.
Promotion: Birmingham City, Middlesbrough
Play-off winners: Hull City
Relegated: Leeds United, MK Dons, Bolton Wanderers
Promotion: Burnley, Middlesbrough
Play-off winners: Hull City
Relegated: MK Dons, Charlton Athletic, Bolton Wanderers
Prediction score: 4/6
Two-thirds correct, my best effort. Rowett's Birmingham imploded with one win in their last 12 games, but Boro clinched an automatic place on the last day and Hull were promoted through Mo Diame's wonder strike against Sheffield Wednesday (who I also predicted would make the top six). Bolton's relegation was on the board from day one and MK Dons were never strong enough, although Leeds, despite another year of calamity, were not quite as bad as I made them out to be.
Winners: Manchester City
Champions League: Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur
Relegated: Bournemouth, Watford, Aston Villa
Winners: Leicester City
Champions League: Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City
Relegated: Newcastle United, Norwich City, Aston Villa
Prediction score: 2.5/7
I've given myself half a point for saying Man City would be top four - generous, I know, but it's my rules, my party; and besides, they almost contrived to miss out. In the article, I said Leicester "will be in with a Europa League sniff", Bournemouth "look woefully ill-prepared", and Watford "haven't adapted so well to the top tier". Makes you wonder why the Huffington Post keep me on.
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