I had lunch with a Blade today who I had not seen before the start of our promotion season from League 1. He reminded me that I had forecast correctly two of the teams that would go up (Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield Town), but had omitted Charlton, naming Sheffield United instead. Perhaps the general pessimism of the Addickted has started to seep into me.
However, he observed that both Sheffield United and Doncaster had done better away than at home this season, albeit with more home wins than the Addicks. Doncaster have won twelve times away and lost only three times. At home they have won eight times and lost six times, i.e., twice as many times as away. The Blades have also lost away only three times, but have won on ten occasions, whereas at home they have won just seven times. Further down the table, Coventry have an almost 2:1 ratio in terms of away to home wins, but they may have been affected by the trouble with their landlords at the Ricoh (they are in the High Court tomorrow and I have been busy doing pre-records this afternoon for the local radio station's coverage from the pavement outside).
In the Championship, apart from Charlton, only Blackpool, Wolves and Peterborough have won more games away than at home, although there are a number of clubs on a 50:50 ratio such as Birmingham City and Sheffield Wednesday.
Is there a trend for home advantage to be eroded? The Blade thought that at Bramall Lane, the crowd started to get discontented once an error was made or the Blades failed to go ahead by 30 minutes, whilst the players could play with freedom and confidence away? Is there a trend here, or does it simply reflect the fact that many random factors can affect outcomes in a game of narrow margins?
If Poyet goes to Reading, 75 per cent of Championship managers will have left their job this season, most usually because they have been sacked. No wonder the League Managers' Association are concerned (unfortunately their headquarters is no longer in the same road as the coffee shop I visit, as they have moved to Burton-on-Trent). Hopefully, Chris Powell will not join that number, although many Addicks have become dissatisfied with him.