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Fun fact: Chelsea have not been bottom of the league in 30 years despite relegation in 1988

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Science!

Ben Mayhew — i.e. @experimental361 — runs one of the more interesting accounts out there in football-Twitter-land, focusing, as he puts it, on analysis and visualisations with a Football League bias. It’s the latter bit that’s especially interesting, even if most of the visualizations concern the non-Premier League teams of the 92 professional sides in the top four divisions of English football.

He ran a fun little experiment recently that did involve all 92 teams, namely to find out which teams have gone the longest without sitting top (or bottom) of any table. And by any table he means any of the top four divisions.

The longest streak for futility is currently held by Barnsley, and by some distance as they have an almost 1000-day lead over Accrington Stanley. During these 4800 days, Barnsley have actually been promoted twice (!) but have done so both times without even once leading a league at the end of a matchday!

Meanwhile, at the opposite end, the record for having the longest active streak of not sitting on the bottom of any table belongs to Chelsea! And it’s a rather lengthy period of time, dating back to well before the Premier League and even well before Chelsea’s last relegation to the second division in 1988.

The last time Chelsea were bottom of a league was Boxing Day 1986, almost 11,000 days ago. This is actually a pretty decent accomplishment as a poor start to a season could very well drop even a good team to the bottom. This is exactly what happened to Manchester United in 1992-93, after they lost their opening two matches. Of course they would go on to win what was the first ever season of the Premier League. United own the second longest streak after Chelsea, though the Blues do have over a 2000-day lead.

May it stay that way for a long, long time.

Be sure to read the full post over at experimental361.com and give Ben Mayhew a follow on Twitter if this sort of stuff interests you. He really does do some interesting visualization work, some of which are starting to catch on in the more traditional media as well.