These are the only teams I have in my database (1888-1992) who had worse defensive SD scores than did Fulham last year.
Loosely translated, it’s a measure of how much worse than the competition a team’s defence was in any given season. So if, like last year, the average team conceded 53 goals and 1SD either side was 13, that means that the standard range was between 40 and 66. 15 of the 20 teams fell into this band. Chelsea were well below it, Everton and City were just below it, Cardiff were quite a bit above it and Fulham were well above it.
In 1963-64 the average team, playing 42 games remember, allowed 71 goals. The standard deviation here is 15, and so we’re looking at a ‘normal’ range of 56 to 86. Only three teams were outside this range: Liverpool conceded 45, Birmingham conceded 92, Ipswich melted their way to 121 (having won the league two seasons previously!).
So we’re looking at teams whose defences fall well outside the norm for the division that season. The big point here is that Fulham weren’t just outside the norm, which is one standard deviation each side of the average, Fulham were 2.5 standard deviations outside the norm.
That puts them among the worst 1% of top division teams ever.
Having spoken at length on Monday about how Magath and co are being hard headed in rationalising spending, which I believe they absolutely are, I feel I need to re-stress the obvious: we are tearing last year’s team apart because it was bad, historically bad, far worse than has generally been acknowledged.