At This Stage: November 2023


By Pete H

November 2023 is done; the season’s halfway point all but on us. So, let’s take a look at how we compare at this point in previous years. Because why not, eh? Since our last deep dive at the end of October 2023, Boro’ have got through four more League One outings. Three ended in victory, while the other – most recently at home to Peterborough – finished all square.

This, coupled with two cup victories, make for a very successful month in isolation.

League One comparison at this stage

The upshot of a strong November means that we’ve now overtaken our previous best record at this stage of a League One campaign. The 2012-3 season had taken a turn for the worse at this point; two straight 4-1 defeats in this period wiping our Goal Difference out. The current campaign, therefore, sees us two points better off (and +10 goals) than Smiffy’s side. And the 2011-2 side that made the playoffs? We’re currently five points (and +4 goals) up on them.


Boro’ have never scored more or conceded fewer at this stage of a League One season. Our win rate of 50% is also as good as it has ever been.


Are there any notable lookalike seasons?

The short answer to this is “no”. In no other season so far have Boro’ accumulated 36 points from 20 league outings. We’re three points in arrears to the 1996-7 and 2007-8 campaigns. At the same time, we’re a point better off than we were at this point of the 1988-9 season.

The best and the worst after 20 games

By this stage of the 1990-1 campaign, we were well on the way to breaking all sorts of club records; ones that still remain in place. In our opening 20 games that year, we had won 16 and lost just once. At the same time, we’d racked up an imposing 61 goals – and had a half-century of points under our belt too. In contrast, the Boro’ class of 2019-20 had two wins to their name; a win rate of 10%. It didn’t get much better either – as we’ll no doubt find out.


In the 1980-1 and 1990-1 seasons, Boro’ weren’t half rattling along in front of goal; averaging at least three goals per game. At the same time, we were sitting on 44 points at this stage of the 1991-2 season – despite averaging fewer than two goals per game.


Our form in the 2002-3 season under Wayne Turner had gone into a real nosedive as we got closer to the midway stage. It left us with our second-worst record after 20 fixtures (to date). It’s also worth pointing out that, on a points earned basis, the 1981-2 and 1982-3 seasons are comparable with our worst returns. But they were the days of two points for a win, so…

Main photo: Jim Steele

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