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Fan Letters: Nigel Clough for Sunderland and an interesting solution to the PPG problem

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Chas provides a thought-provoking alternative to the unweighted PPG table the EFL are tendering and Martin wants to see Nigel Clough at the club with SuperKev as his number two! Got something to say? RokerReport@Yahoo.co.uk!

Bolton Wanderers v Burton Albion - Sky Bet League One Photo by Andrew Kearns - CameraSport via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

The current EFL statement for deciding League One, on an average PPG method based on all matches played so far this season, is totally unfair.

Not only does it not take into consideration the strength or weakness of remaining opposition but it sends out a clear message to those gaining from this method of calculation to do nothing to prevent this clear EFL statement of intent to finish the season early.

The league this season is clearly a very close one both at the top and the bottom, in reality it can be broken down to three tiers:

1) Those fighting for automatic/playoff places.

2) Those who have nothing left to play for being out of both playoff and relegation contention.

3) Those fighting to avoid relegation.

Each tier currently consists of different numbers of teams in my opinion, tier one has probably eleven teams (Coventry to Gillingham), tier two only five or six teams and tier three the other six teams of which two (Bolton and Southend) are considered by all as guaranteed to be relegated.

In my opinion, calculating each teams’ remaining fixtures both home and away by using a PPG calculation based on the average results of the other teams within each tier against the same opponents either home or away would be a fairer method of calculation and give a more accurate reflection of the promotion/playoff/relegation issue. The PPG averages could then be totaled together and added to the current points held by each team to ascertain total points for each team and give a more accurate final league table.

I do not profess to be a expert in calculation nor do I know what this method will mean in relation to final league positions but surely it will produce a far more accurate league table than the one which the EFL wish to thrust upon us. Perhaps someone at Roker Report can produce it? I would be interested to see the final result.

Yours in Sport,

Chas Shergold

Ed’s Note [Alex]: This is a really intriguing suggestion, Chas. Grouping teams from this league together into ‘tiers’ would account for the issue of contrasting run-in difficulties that the unweighted PPG table seems to controversially ignore. Your idea seems - on the surface - to be arguably the fairest way of crediting teams for their strength and formidablity this campaign in the absence of their ability to play out their remaining games. I have a couple of counter-arguments to make though.

First of all, grouping the teams into tiers seems hypothetically to be a great idea, as it swerves the issue of some of the top teams having easier run-ins which in turn would grant them a higher score on an unweighted PPG table than - say - a team with a run in like Sunderland’s. However, introducing a tier system would inadvertently and unfortunately introduce another point of contention among League One teams: is everyone definitely in the right tier?

I personally think you’re spot on with those groupings you’ve proposed, but if the EFL leveled this idea with each of the league’s twenty-four competitors, I think it’s likely that at least a handful would claim they’ve been placed in a group unfairly. Burton Albion might debate it; they sit eleven points from the play-offs with thirty-three points still to play for, so their fans might feel aggrieved if they were lumped in tier two under a category akin to ‘nothing substantial to play for’.

Assuming all teams were placed in groups they deemed acceptable though, I think there is a lot to be said by judging and ranking teams based on how they perform against opponents of their caliber. Certainly there is a case to be made for your suggestion - though I don’t think it would see our sorry lot promoted either way!

Ipswich Town v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Bringing in Nigel Clough would be fantastic - he’s a great young manager and a Gentleman. With Kevin Phillips.. wow.

Yes please. I have seen him with Sheffield United and he did a great job at Burton.

Lovely man. Give him the Job!

Martin Quinn

Ed’s Note [Alex]: Cloughie Junior has League One promotion on his CV already, and although I hate to blindly throw around the phrase ‘he gets the club’, Kevin Phillips would be a right-hand man who most certainly does. It stands to reason that if Nigel can oversee a club like Burton rise from complete obscurity to the status of a competitive Championship team - with relatively so few resources - he could charge straight through the ceiling at a club like Sunderland.

If Parkinson left tomorrow, and I could choose two people to take over, your choices would also be mine.

Burton Albion v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet League One Photo by Andrew Kearns - CameraSport via Getty Images