Season six league format

My friends, we need to set how the league will be structured this season.

The Countdown Conundrum: We don’t want the league containing so many games that the season becomes a slog, but also not too few that it lacks credibility.

What I mean is…

If the season is long with 15+ league matches, after the early season buzz goes you’re staring at a long stretch of grinding out teamsheets before the end of season excitement. Around match four the title is still a long way off for the contenders and an even longer way off if you had a poor start and know it’s going to be a struggle. Add in the cup games and the season’s even longer.

Conversely, if the league is brutally short, say 6 games, then the competition becomes a lottery. If you lose a game that’s your entire season over (grim if it’s your first game) and the competition lacks credibility.

8-10 is probably a good amount of league games; there’s no mid-season slog, there’s enough games that the winner is a reflection of their quality and every game becomes a cup final.

With 9 teams per division we have 8 league games if we play each other once and 16 league games if we play each other twice, so let’s go for 8. We’ll have nine league games next season if the divisions expand to 10 teams.

After Round 9 last season, when all teams had played eight games, the tables looked like this:

Pl   Team                    P    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts
-----------------------------------------------------------------
1    Dulwich Islators Crew   8    6   1   1    11    5    6    19
2    Opulent Knack           8    6   0   2    12    5    7    18
3    Tulse Hill Superiors    8    4   3   1    15    5   10    15
4    Ivor's Army             8    3   2   3    10    6    4    11
5    Wilko's 92 All Stars    8    3   2   3     6    7   -1    11
6    Aguerissimo FC          8    3   1   4    11   10    1    10
7    Kay FC                  8    2   3   3    10   11   -1     9
8    Hackbridge Harriers     8    1   3   4     4   11   -7     6
9    CSKA Tulse Hill         8    0   1   7     5   24  -19     1
Pl   Team                    P    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts
-----------------------------------------------------------------
1    Archway Athletic        8    7   1   0    13    1   12    22
2    Galacticos              8    3   3   2     6    5    1    12
3    Victorious Secrets      8    3   3   2     8    8    0    12
4    Finidi FC               8    3   1   4     6    6    0    10
5    Ferlys Burlys           8    3   1   4     7    8   -1    10
6    Arse Special Schemers   8    2   3   3     9   11   -2     9
7    Merstham Magic          8    2   3   3     3    5   -2     9
8    Clapton Crusaders       8    2   2   4     8   12   -4     8
9    Clapped Out FC          8    2   1   5     3    7   -4     7

Division Two is perhaps a bad example. Archway smashed it and won over double the amount of games than anyone else, an amazing achievement in only eight games. Division One is the more probable scenario. It’s likely that 2 teams were competing for the top and two teams were playing to beat the drop. One team was fucking abysmal.

Last season we had 16 league games and two mandatory cup games, so 18 total. This year we’ll have eight league games and one mandatory cup game for most, so 9 total. Abs will be doubled to keep the current rate of skill increases and the games required for youth bonuses will be halved.

The calendar would be 8 weeks / 2 months (we’ll need 9 rounds if there’s nine teams as one team sits out a game per round):

WedsFriendlies
SunLeague round 1
WedsLeague round 2 
SunChampions League Quarter-Finals
WedsLeague round 3 
SunChampions League Semi-Finals
WedsLeague round 4
SunChampions League Final
WedsLeague round 5
SunCup Prelim & L16
WedsLeague round 6
SunCup Quarter-Finals
WedsLeague round 7
SunCup Semi-Finals
WedsLeague round 8
SunCup Final
WedsLeague round 9

Your players don’t recover fitness/availability the round you’re not playing. If your striker has 87 fitness and is suspended for 2 games after match five, and you’re not playing match six, they’ll still have 87 fitness and be suspended for 2 games for match seven.

I did toy with ‘doing a Scotland’ by repeating some fixtures at the end of the season and adding two extra league games. The leagues would have divided neatly into three groups of three, meaning if clubs played the other two around them after game 8 there would be 10 league fixtures and the added drama of a shootout against your closest rivals. In the end, I decided to keep it simple.

Mike

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