This is an idea that I had when I was still at school. Although it has crossed my mind a few times over the last forty years, I have not done anything with it up to now.
The reasons for this are: It is just a fairly meaningless distraction and secondly, I needed to learn the IT skills to turn match scores into a dynamic table.
With some time on my hands, I have been able to do that and now I am ready to introduce my idea – Optimist Tables!
When I was young I used to waste a fair amount of time at the weekend pouring over the football results, scorers, minutes, attendance, referee etc. in the Sunday papers. Of course this also meant close scrutinisation of the league tables.
Now, when I mean close, I mean close! “We have two games in hand on so and so, but then again we have played more games than such and such. What if we win both? What if we don’t and they win theirs?”
As time went by I began to realise that the games in hand scenario was nearly always viewed with optimism. Of course! They are games in hand what if we WIN them? This applied if my team were in with a shout of Europe or at the bottom of a relegation scrap.
So my optimists table reflects that optimism. Instead of seeing your team languishing in mid table 3 games in hand on those above, wouldn’t it be more joyous to see them in a table on the edge of the playoffs? After all we ARE going to win those games in hand aren’t we?
So my Optimists Table assumes just that! Instead of ranking teams on points won, it ranks teams on points still attainable.
Yes, I know, for the statistician, the table cannot look this way in reality because a win for one team means a defeat for their opponents. But I don’t care about the other team, only mine, and I am an optimist!
Here is the League One table again in traditional format and also as an Optimists table. My team are not in League One at the time of writing but I chose this as there was a bigger discrepancy between games played compared to some other leagues.
I don’t mind at all if you think that it is a daft idea. I’m not seriously suggesting league tables should look like this instead. I know it is more important to have points on the board than games in hand. I just thought it was about time I shared it. Although, in this modern era where there are plenty of meaningless stats being quoted, about football, this might just have a bit more credibility than some of them.
It is probably going to give a league table produced after the opening day of the season a run for its money, and of course for those poor supporters who don’t even get to see their team play in the opening week because the opponents are competing in a European competition, a table with their team at the top end on 114 possible points looks a lot better than down the other end on zero.
I would like to thank tigerspreadsheetsolutions.co.uk for the inspiration, learning and understanding to tackle the spreadsheet via their YouTube channel.
I would as always be interested to learn what you think, I might even produce some for other leagues or keep the EFL ones up to date.
Here are the updated Optimist Tables for the Championship, March 21 2021 after Saturday’s games. I will update after the International Break.
And here are The Latest for League One and League Two after quite a few of those games in hand were played last night (23/3/21)
The Optimists Tables shown are for entertainment purposes only and by visiting this blog, you understand that some errors may occur during their preparation and that the writer accepts no responsibility for any usage other than their illustration for entertainment on these pages.