At This Stage: December 2023

By Pete H

December 2023 didn’t end in quite the manner we’d hoped or expected – but Boro’ are still in a good position at this stage. As far as this League One campaign is concerned, we’re now up and over halfway and the points continue to accumulate. The challenge, obviously, is to keep it up as we head into the New Year. For now, though, let’s take a small look at how it all looks when compared to seasons of yesteryear.

League One comparison at this stage

It continues to be Boro’s best performance in the third tier of English football. Mind you, we still have much to do to keep tracking in that manner. As things stand after 24 fixtures, we’re five points better off than 2011-2 – when we made the playoffs – and 2012-3. Of course, Boro’ would start to struggle in the latter of those two going into the New Year. So, we don’t really think that campaign will continue to feature much in the comparison stakes.

FACT:

The writing was perhaps on the wall already by this stage of the 2013-4 campaign. Based on points gained, it’s our second-worst return of all time after 24 league games.

SeasonPWDLFAPtsGD
2023-424127536234313
2011-224108633213812
2012-3241077313337-2
2013-4245415224319-21

Are there any notable lookalike seasons?

No – not exactly. This current campaign – and its return of 43 points – is unequalled. On one side, we have the 1988-9 season in which we were a point better off. On the other side is the 2005-6 campaign, where we were a point worse off.

The best and the worst after 24 games

It’s no shock to see that each of our top campaigns after 24 fixtures ultimately led to league title success. In fact, that’s true of our five highest points-hauls at this stage of a season. In the mix too are the 2022-3 and 2007-8 campaigns; the latter of which being one where Boro’ imploded towards the end to miss the playoffs. Looking at our best efforts after 24, though, we can only stare at our 1990-1 effort and think how insanely good that is.

Just nine points dropped!

SeasonPWDLFAPtsGD
1990-124203170156355
1980-1*24175282293953
1993-424172553295324
FACT:

The 1980-1 campaign suffers by virtue of the fact we only got two points for a win back then. But 17 wins and 82 goals for speaks volumes – even if our win count for the 1990-1 campaign is so much better. It’s also worth pointing out that Boro’ only lost two games in our opening 24 of the 1989-90 and 2009-10 seasons too.

SeasonPWDLFAPtsGD
2021-2245811193723-18
2002-3245514293520-6
2019-202421111153017-15
FACT:

In just two seasons have Boro’ failed to reach – let alone pass – the 20-point mark at such an advanced stage of proceedings. Of course, one of those came a few years back in 2019-20; us being deep in the doo-dooh at the wrong end of the League Two table. Weirdly, a total of 11 draws is the second-highest we’ve ever recorded after 24 league games. Let’s face it, though – two wins is a rubbish return. Especially when we were on our fourth manager by that point.

Main photo: Jim Steele

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