Dafuge & Data: Season Summary 7 – Escape from League One?

After the heartbreak of last season, unexpected though it was, we go again in league one. The year is 2027, and the Seagulls are getting bigger.

But before we cover season 7 consider catching up below.

Where are the numbers?

I basically got really excited about potentially get promoted so didn’t stop to do much in the way of number crunching. In many ways, this post is filler between the longball and statistics meat. I largely had the team set up, playing in a way that channelled the angry seagull spirit, and was happy. Another influencing factor was the mess that is the current stats set up in FM21. It’s not pretty. For every interesting value in the game, there’s another broken one, or a poorly implemented one. As mentioned in choosing violence, xG per 90 is in there but xG per shot is just broken. Both are hidden away.

That doesn’t mean I’m off stats. Just that its going to take a bit more work. I’m going to be hopefully writing about pass type and position in the game after being inspired by this article. It fits in nicely to some of the stuff I’ve done on xA and received pass position.

I’m also trying to look at team level stats and predictors of success. A bit like the DNA approach but with overtones of Moneyball and sabermetrics. Partly inspired by Simon’s work about Bolton over at DTG, and FMVars Moneyball approach.

Takeover Saga

We were definitely punching above our weight last year, and as always remained rooted to the bottom of the salary table. If we were to repeat the playoff feat of last year we would need to improve so we could rely on more a few heroic individuals.

Sasaki and Fairs did a good job up front, and Varian although he didn’t do as well was still in the running. An update to the striker health check suggested that league one might be a little too much for Varian but he’s too important to the club.

So it was to the transfer market we needed to go. But what’s this? A transfer embargo because of a takeover attempt?

Perfectly timed to derail our preparation for the new season. New Chairman Neil Pinkerton (who’s moved down to Scarborough from Gateshead, lucky man) finally got the deal over the line a few days after the transfer window opened. But basically from just after the playoff final in May to the start of July we were unable to approach anyone. We lost out on a lot of players and in the end, I only brought in a few 1st teamers.

Teams that go up through the playoffs often suffer the next season as they’ve had less time to prepare. This is the situation we had but without the benefit of promotion. Thanks Neil. Great start.

Added insult to injury was that the cash injection following the takeover was just a loan. Again, if I’d wanted to wonga it I could have done it myself.


So moaning and excuse-making aside. What did we do in the transfer market when we finally had to go ahead?

It’s probably worth noting that Akande (though very promising) was a late arrival and wasn’t due to arrive till midseason because of the differences in the calendar between the UK and Nigeria. Javier Torres, Conor Coyle and Gerry O’Brien were probably the big signings for the season though.

Torres offering options as cover or competition for Sonny Winn in the WTM role, or for Sasaki in the actual TM role. Ger was the replacement for Duggan in the BBM role who returned to Cardiff after his loan-back ended. Coyle could play left-back and in the centre so offered covered and options.

Plenty of other players came in, with Gale, Meredith and Esajas being the other stand outs for the future.

We also made a little money as well. Unhappy but promising backup keeper Duffy went out to Shelbourne, Lehane followed him over to Ireland after only really being an impact sub, and Hardarson and Dawson moved together to Tranmere. A combined £78k being made off of our bit-part players. Enough to keep us in shinpads for the season.

The Season

It started well, and kind of stayed that way. We did far better than our predicted lower mid-table position and demonstrated from the start of the season that our finish last season wasn’t a complete fluke. We never really looked like the title would be for us, with is fair considering we are Scarborough. But we did hover outside the automatic spot like a bad smell in a seaside bingo hall.

We actually ended up in a bit of an East Coast-West Coast duel against the long since fallen from grace Blackpool. One run-down seaside town versus another. I’d feel more sorry for Blackpool if their home kit wasn’t an orange eyesore. They had been 1st for much of the season but slipped to 2nd. We on the other hand rose like the avenging seagulls we are into a solid 3rd place with the last quarter to go.

Tragedy then struck for Blackpool. A swing in results, 3 games from the end of the season. Saw the Seadogs soar above them and into 2nd place. Blackpool had been well and truly tangoed.

We beat Walsall 2-0, and Blackpool drew to Plymouth. That allowed us to squeeze ahead of them. We then won our last 2 games, where as Blackpool lost one and drew the other.

We avoid the playoffs and any potential slip-ups. In a way, I was a bit sad about this as my younger brother is a chronic bottler in FM and I wanted to show him how it was done again. But maybe next year?

Season Round Up

Some records set, some awards won, and some players punching above their weight. Varian made it to 150 goals, and is just shy of 150 league goals. It may be difficult for him to break that record in the championship as he was already struggling in league one. That said, sentiment won out, and his contract was extended *COUGH* for 4 years *COUGH*.

Ger O’Brien got stuck in, and Torres was a good creative outlet. The assists not quite capturing the number of left-backs he violated in the process. And I also got Manager of the Year for once as the sheer insanity of Scarborough in their 5k stadium getting to the Championship was recognised.

Broken record incoming – we once again overperformed our xG, xPts, and position based on xPts. By huge margins (by 23, 31, and 13 respectively). We are once again statistical freaks and again I’m having my doubts about how useful the xG model in FM21 actually is.

However, some of it can again be explained by being secure in defense and clinical up front. Good goalkeeper efficiency (or poor xG against per shot due to a good defense), and good xG added or conversions up front.

Our super keeper Harrison saved a useful 85% of shots, a very efficient keeper who according to the xG against efficiency calculation saved an extra 23 goals. At the other end, our conversion rate of 17% wasn’t too shabby either.

Next Season in the Championship

We’re going to get destroyed, aren’t we? All 5k Scarborough fans are going to witness a crime every home game. Eventually, it will be more as the board have a plan to expand. Somehow and at some point.

They are evasive on the details but that would potentially bring in more revenue and allow us to be more competitive. As it’s an expansion as well we don’t need to worry about losing the soul of the club, Flamingo Land Stadium will stand for some time.

And we could do with an increased cashflow at somepoint.

Whilst this is the biggest budget, both wage and transfer, we’ve ever had. It is still peanuts compared to sides in the Championship. To be fair it’s not great for league one either, but we have to spend where our pockets can reach. As always to make up for the shortfall we will kick the opposition harder. I hope the championship know what they are in for.