Well, the 2015/2016 season was one to forget for Crewe Alexandra. Relegation to League Two (English football’s 4th tier) was confirmed on 9th April with a 3-0 defeat to local rivals Port Vale. Painful.
Maybe Repeat Failure is a bit strong. Under Dario Gradi, the Railwaymen eventually broke into League One/Championship (the 2nd Tier) where they punched above their weight for 8 seasons. The stats for all league finishes can be downloaded and plotted out to get a sense of Crewe’s fortunes over a century-and-a-bit.
The data are normalised because the number of teams in each league has varied over the years from 16 to 24. There were several years where The Alex finished bottom but there was nowhere to go. You can see the trends that have seen the team promoted and then relegated. It looked inevitable that the team would go down this season.
Now, the reasons why the Alex have done so badly this season are complex, however there is a theme to Crewe’s performances over all of this time. Letting in too many goals. To a non-supporter this might seem utterly obvious – of course you lose a lot if you let in too many goals. But Crewe are incredibly leaky and their goal difference historically is absolutely horrendous. The Alex are currently in 64th place on the all-time table, between West Ham and Portsmouth, with 4242 points – not bad – however our goal difference is -952. That’s minus 952 goals. Only Hartlepool have a worse goal difference (-1042). That’s out of 144 teams. At Gresty Road they’ve scored 3384 and let in 2526. On the road they netted 2135 but let in 3945.
See you in League Two for 2016/2017.
The post title is taken from “Repeat Failure” by The Delgados from their Peloton LP.