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Nigel in numbers


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Following the concession of late goals early in the season, people have again began talking about Nigel, his record, his tactics, his team and how he deals with players. A lot of claims are thrown around, most of which are only backed by feelings and impressions rather than the figures themselves. As such I felt that it may be useful to go through what we can see about Nigel's time as manager in numbers, as it may help shed some light on what is fact and what is mere myth during such debates. What is posted below is posted merely as a discussion of the figures, what conclusions others draw from it are their own, but I may post some of what I see in the numbers. This will largely deal with Nigel's record in the League rather than in cups and so forth. All data used is current upto the end of last season, the two games from this season will not be used as it is far to early to be useful in drawing conclusions, however an analysis of our performance may be performed later in the season.

I would also ask that others please note that there may be minor errors in some of the figures, and if any are found I would ask that you inform me of them, so in the future these can be correct. I have tried to error check all figures, but a large amount of data has gone into some of figures that are posted below and the occasional error is possible.

Nigel in the League:

People have talked about Nigel's record (before the start of the season), but what is it really?

Played: 158

Won: 53 (34%)

Drawn: 35 (22%)

Lost: 70 (44%)

Below is a graph showing a running 46 game average of the side over the course of his 158 games in charge:


Here the solid blue line represents points per game over the last 46 games (note that the average is an average over his time at the club up until the 47th game). The red dotted line represents the average points per that would see a club relegated, the purple is the points per game for the playoffs and the green is points per game for automatic promotion. These averages were found from the Championship over the last 15 seasons.

Please carefully note that the early values of the average are greatly influenced by single results and the averages seen should be largely ignore. They have been included for completeness sake.

On the above plot you can see that the side has not managed to maintain playoff form over a 46 game period yet under Nigel's management, but have, for a brief time, maintained relegation form. Whilst this occurred during our slump early last season, the cause of it is largely our very poor form the season before.

For the sake of comparison, here is the same plot done with a 10 game average:


The figure colours are the same as before, but note that the scale of the vertical axis has been changed slightly. Here we can see several cases where the club has been in both great form and very poor form.

As a side note, using the data it is possible to produce an "average Nigel" season in terms of points per game, here using a 6-game average:


Here the figure colours as the same as before. In this it is clear that we generally perform well shortly after the first international break and poorly approaching the middle of the season. It is also worthwhile pointing out that Nigel hadwon all 3 opening days before this season, which is why the average starts as 3 points per game.

Nigel and goal times:

With all the talk of late goals I thought it might be worthwhile having a look back at the times that goals were scored and conceded during Nigel's time at the club (in the League). The total record is (up to the end of last season):

Games: 158

Scored: 187 (1.18)

Conceded: 222 (1.41)

As for the times, the goal times were broken up into bins of 10 minutes, except for 3 special bins, the 40-45* minute bin leading upto half time, the 45-50 minute bin immediately after and the 90+ bin for injury time goals. As a general rule, for all but goals listed as 90th minute, goals listed for a minute were treatedas the previous minute, that is, for goals scored in the 20th minute, they were included in the 10-20 minute bin, and not the 20-30 minute bin. The only except was 90th minute goal as the 90th minute can either mean 89:00-90:00 or 90:00+ and as such they were all included in 90+. This however may have lead to a small error or overestimation in the number of injury time goals. In any case, the results are below, with goals scored in blue and goals conceded in red:


Note how we conceded far more goals late in games than we scored. The totals for those interested are 11 scored in the last 10 minutes before injury time, 11 scored in injury time, 22 conceded in the 10 minutes before injury time and 19 conceded in injury time. Another way of looking at it is 22 scored in the final 10 minutes and injury time, and 41 conceded.

For a better comparison, a plot using percentage scored was also made:


Note, the percentages refer to the percent of goals scored at that time for either goals scored or conceded, not both combined. This seems to show that the team is at its best at the start of halves.

As a side note, here is a plot showing the goals scored and conceded times for last season alone:


Note how few goals were scored or conceded late on in games. As stated in another thread, it turns out that Nigel's tactic of sending on a defender (for example, Buxton) late on in place of a midfielder or striker, actually worked. The side didn't conceded in the last 10 minutes or injury time once when this was done. We did however conceded a couple of late goals when it wasn't done though, as can be seen above.

Nigel and the young squad:

As a final note, after much talking from myself about how young our squad is, I decided to see what the effective age of the squad actually was. Instead of merely being an average of all the players regardless of playing time, I instead used a weighted system were it was basically an average age by playing time. That is, an effective average age of the playing side, rather than just the average age of the first team and however many youth players are chucked in. Both starts and subs were taken into account with a sub appearances treated as a 25 minute appearance. Whilst seeming potentially odd, all things considered (early injuries, early tactical changes, half time subs etc.) this actually turns out to be a decent estimate, and I have previously tested this against football league data and it was a very decent estimate. All ages were calculated to players age on the 1st of August the year that season started. Below is a graph of this effective average age:


Note how the average age actually increases in Nigel's first season in charge, before dropping rapidly. This season has not been included yet as the calculation requires a fair amount of data to have an real meaning, although the effective average age found for the season so far (3 matches in all competitions) is actually roughly the same as last year. That is, the changes to the squad, or the first team at least, has resulted in a net loss of 1 year to counter act the year of ageing for the side. The actual values are:

2008/09: 25 years, 11 months, 12 days

2009/10: 26 years, 12 months, 18 days

2010/11: 25 years, 12 months, 18 days

2011/12: 25 years, 5 months, 15 days

Thank you for reading...

...and I do hope my syntax was alright...

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Great post Albert.

I'd like to see graphs detailing our finances when Clough took over to the present day.

Those would likely make for amazing reading and highlight just what a great job the guy is doing.

Add a fairly derisory two million a year onto Cloughs wage bill and his stats would be up there with the very best IMO.

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Great post Albert.

I'd like to see graphs detailing our finances when Clough took over to the present day.

Those would likely make for amazing reading and highlight just what a great job the guy is doing.

Add a fairly derisory two million a year onto Cloughs wage bill and his stats would be up there with the very best IMO.

Ramblur, where arrrrre youuuuuuuuu?

Finances and graphs! Get on it!

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All these figures are in various threads! Could the lovely mods bundle them together? The key one for me which is in another thread, is the win percentage from when we score first and when we concede first, that to me is a stat everyone must see.

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