A tricky month in which the Appletonometer - the rolling accumulation of 46 games - took an alarming dip. It didn't help that in September last year we did start to pick up a small number of points - losing one game (but only winning one as well). The bookend victories against Bristol Rovers and York City saw two peaks. Despite the dip, Appleton ends the month higher than he did at the end of August.
Five game form
Unsurprisingly the rolling five game form took a dramatic dip, but in the context of Appleton's entire tenure, it's hardly time to hit the panic button. Those who screamed that we were showing relegation form were wrong. Very wrong.
Although the run rate - the accumulation of points in a season compared to a straight line title, promotion and play-off trajectory - looked like it was heading off the play-off radar, the win against York saw it spike back upwards. Form remains comfortably in the play-off zone and heading towards automatic promotion. Those with short memories might like to have a look at the run rate from this time last year (in grey). After 10 games we had just limped to the 7 point mark and any hope of promotion was already dead. You don't know you're born you don't.
The Wilder comparisonLast month someone asked me what things would look like if you extrapolated back a few more years. In a sense, that's of limited value because it would span a number of managers, a couple of owners, and countless players, of course. You can judge long term performance from your league position. Maths of the Day is looking at shorter-term trends and performance against a promotion objective.
However, there may be some value in looking at Chris Wilder's performance against similar criteria as a benchmark. It's still comparing apples with pairs, not least because Wilder was in charge for over three years in the Football League (there's no point in looking at the Conference). The results, I think, are quite interesting.
Most notable is the 46-game Wilderometer, which spans 110+ games as opposed to Appleton's 10. At no point in that period did we trouble the automatic promotion places. So even though there were times when we topped the table, it was no more than a short term thing rather than the culmination of long term development. Interestingly, Wilder's performances generally improved towards the end of his tenure after quite a long period where we were quite a way off the pace.
Wilder was a short-term form man. Anyone who watched us over that period would recognise that. The range is remarkable; we had a five game stretch where we took no points and one where we took maximum points. On nearly 20 occasions we were in short term title form, but on at least as many occasions we were in dire relegation form. We just seemed incapable of stringing together any long-term form. This probably why Wilder became such a Marmite manager; there were those to suckled off the thrill of big results, and those who couldn't handle the massive come-downs that typically came afterwards.
Does that characterise Wilder's time at the club? Yes, I think so. Does it show what Appleton has to conjour up to move us forward? Indeed.