Championship: Aston Villa's ineptitude will be rewarded next season

Gabriel Agbonlahor has been suspended more often than he has scored for Aston Villa this season
Gabriel Agbonlahor has been suspended more often than he has scored for Aston Villa this season

Statistics suggest that the more dreadful you are in relegation, the better you respond in the Championship...


"Thirteen sides were relegated with 29 points or fewer and of those five shot straight back up – Bolton (29) in 1995/96, Leicester (28) in 2000/01, West Brom (26) in 2002/03, Sunderland (15) in 2005/06 and QPR (25) in 2012/13 – which is an impressive 38% success rate."

If you had no choice but to witness your team's relegation from the Premier League, would you rather see them go down fighting valiantly for every point, or accept their fate halfway through and carelessly rack up the defeats?

Judging by the contrast in reception for Newcastle as they earned a point from 2-0 down at Liverpool and Aston Villa as they sidled to a tenth successive defeat 4-2 at home to Southampton, most fans are far fonder of the first option.

However, the statistics show that sides who surrender in the meekest possible fashion actually have a vastly superior record when it comes to reclaiming their top-flight place at the earliest opportunity to those who throw all their resources and energy into avoiding the drop and still fail.

There are numerous logical explanations for this phenomenon: perhaps having longer to acclimatise to prospect of Championship football aids the adaptation and maybe realising just how rotten you are forces you to take more drastic measures to prepare for life in the second tier.

On the flip side, believing until the last minute that you are going to survive and then missing out is more crushing, while it could encourage false faith in the players and staff already at the club and prevent the owners from conducting the overhaul work necessary to ensure promotion.

Whatever the reason, the numbers don't lie. Since the Premier League thinned to 20 teams in 1995/96, 57 squads have been demoted and completed the Championship campaign which presented their chance for an instant return.

Thirteen of those sides were relegated with 29 points or fewer and of those five shot straight back up - Bolton (29) in 1995/96, Leicester (28) in 2000/01, West Brom (26) in 2002/03, Sunderland (15) in 2005/06 and QPR (25) in 2012/13 - which is an impressive 38% success rate.

The figures are nowhere near as favourable for the 44 who waved goodbye to the big time with between 30 and 42 points. Only ten of those immediately resurfaced, which translates as 23%.

So while Aston Villa's current points haul of 16 from 35 games, which will go down as the third-worst in Premier League history unless they can reel in the 19 of 2002/03 vintage Sunderland, is a source of embarrassment right now, there is potential for it to be rewarded with a victory-heavy season.

It isn't yet clear who will guide them through it though four weeks on from Remi Garde vacating the managerial position. 2013/14 Championship winning-boss Nigel Pearson is the 1.654/6 favourite in the Betfair Exchange market, followed by the likes of David Moyes at 13.012/1 and Simon Grayson at 14.013/1.

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