Opinions, eh? Everyone has them, and we always hope that they have a basis in fact- but sadly our North Division prediction table for the season shows that there are some things that you just can’t be sure about, and football is certainly one of those!
So, what did you predict?
It made perfect sense back in July to think that newly-relegated Canvey Island would go back up at the first attempt, and that the Jammers would reprise last season’s second place and this time win automatic promotion. Another newly relegated side, Grays Athletic, had shown some decent form towards the end of the season and you felt that this may get them into the playoffs, and the third member of the relegated trio, AFC Sudbury, were always going to do well, weren’t they?
Bostik North prediction table 2017-18
Let’s look at what our prediction team got right, then. Well, you expected the Urchins of Hornchurch to have a good season, and indeed they did, surpassing everyone’s expectations- even perhaps their own- to win the division at canter. You also had Bowers & Pitsea in the playoff places, and that is indeed where they finished, you were spot on with the final position of Bury Town, not far away with Barking, Hertford Town or Tilbury, and very nearly right with your positioning of Mildenhall Town. But perhaps- just perhaps- it’s fair to say that a number of our sides caught our predictors (and perhaps the rest of us) on the hop!
The biggest surprise was the form of Potters Bar Town. It must be said that the people of the Pakex showed great surprise when they were placed in eighteenth place in your table, as they had much loftier expectations. Well they were undoubtedly right! Two other sides that vastly exceeded expectations were Heybridge Swifts- who had an incredible season in all competitions- and eventually promoted Haringey Borough, who followed up last seasons fifth place not by falling away to midtable as you suggested but by improving to finish fourth- and then, of course, to defeat Canvey Island in the Playoff final. Credit where it is due, nobody could have expected Swifts meteoric rise after escaping relegation by the skin of their teeth last term; not even manager Jody Brown expected that when we interviewed him early in the season.
At the other end of the table, you were perhaps right to expect Ware to struggle a little, although they eventually pulled away from relegation danger- but Soham Town Rangers certainly defied your predictions by finishing the season a full ten places higher than you expected. You also had very much higher expectations for Norwich United than the Planters sadly managed to deliver.
Now, just for a bit of fun- there is no prize apart from permission to boast about your prowess- we’ve been through all of the Bostik North Supporters predictions we received, and come up with a winner. The outcome, rather surprisingly, wasn’t all that close. Giving three points for a correct prediction and a point for guessing within two places, the winner- and a man with something else to celebrate- is Alan Evans of Potters Bar Town!
Stand up and take a bow Alan- you predicted the correct positions for Bury Town, Haringey Borough, Romford, Soham Town Rangers and Tilbury, and you also predicted promotion for AFC Hornchurch. That gave you far more points than any of our other North Division predictors.
North Division Final Table 2017-18, courtesy of the Non League Paper
We’ll be doing this again for the new season, so if you fancy representing your club, answering questions about your favourite moments of last season and your hopes for the next one, and then putting together your prediction table, email Ian on firstname.lastname@example.org.