Saturday, 22 August 2020

Measly Draws

Although I have every confidence in the rationale behind Longsight's 1964 revelation about "the tendency for clubs to draw several matches after ending a long run without a draw" just in case this method fails me, I've been continuing my research which of course knows no bounds.

Next up is this little nugget from the Aberdeen Evening Express of February 22nd, 1956 which reveals "the extraordinary way drawn matches cluster together on the [football pools] coupon".

Describing this phenomenon to be "almost as catching as the measles", Paul Burden finds it curious "the way one drawn game seems to affect several others immediately below it".

This is top-notch research, and if Paul Burden is still alive 64 years later, he must be a very wealthy man. If he has passed away, presumably his family are enjoying the fruits of his ground-breaking research. I'm not sure how I've missed this, since I've always considered matches to be independent events, but it's hard to argue against this evidence.

Somewhat surprisingly, the same writer was still banging on about "consecutive draws" nearly eight years later for the same paper. From Xmas Eve 1963, and some of you may recall the unusual set of results two days later in Division One when 66 goals were scored in the 10 games played:
I wonder how helpful the tip on how you can get a free line because "the stake runs to an odd farthing" was? "Look after those farthings, and the pennies look after themselves", said no one ever. 

One possible reason why Mr Burden hadn't retired to a life of luxury may have been that Draws don't necessarily follow other Draws! 

This from Super-X (possibly not his real name) in the Daily Herald of November 6th, 1963:
I'm not quite sure I get how "that's the next best thing" but almost a year later, (December 1964) Longsight was forced to defend his reputation against a regular reader's accusation that he "must be bonkers".

The accuser was actually mistaken as prior to the Derby County match, Crystal Palace had drawn two consecutive league games followed by a (rare) defeat but the game in question did actually end in a 3:3 Draw. 

Palace were in the midst of a run where they drew five matches out of seven. 

The Crewe Alexandra v Oxford United game also ended as a Draw (2:2), presumably why these two matches were cherry-picked in Longsight's response.

The accused continued with his defence: 
The answer was: Yes.. So what?

There is absolutely no point in avoiding for treble chance purposes matches matches involving clubs which have had a run of successive draws.
The question is not "Can they be expected to draw again ? But "Can they be expected to draw these particular matches against these particular opponents ?"
This week, for example, my nap draw is Exeter v Grimsby, although Grimsby have drawn their last three away fixtures.
The match fulfils so many of the draw probability tests I apply to all games that it tops my Formula X list.
Unfortunately for followers, the match ended 4:1 although I am curious as to what these "draw probability tests" might have been, but probably too late to inquire now.

It appears there is a lot about the Draw I don't know but I did know that in 1921, Crystal Palace set a club record of five consecutive Draws:
And that it was in 1961 that Palace set the club record of 24 league games without a Draw:

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