Bristol Rovers’ average league position is meant to be as a mid-table League One side. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)
The 2021/22 season saw Rovers finish third in League Two, which is 71st in English football’s top four divisions whilst City’s finish of 17th has them in 37th.
With that, there are 34 places separating Nigel Pearson’s men who have come off of a transitional campaign whilst Joey Barton’s Rovers promotion heroes have delivered the task of what was set out at the start of the season.
Despite perhaps the fans of Horfield having a happier season, a slight gloss has been taken off of their achievement, as apparently it is the least to be expected from them.
A study from Sky Sports has worked out each club’s average league position over the last 50 years for every club that has played in English football’s top tiers for at least a decade.
Adding up their finishes this season and comparing it to how they finished over the past 49 seasons, stemming back to 1972, then Sky Sports’ ‘Ultimate’ League has City in 37th and Rovers in 58th.
For City, it says that there is no difference between the years they have underachieved or overachieved with only Tottenham Hotspur of a similar fate.
Rovers meanwhile should be performing 13 places higher if you were to add up their league finishes. This would give them an average position of about 14th in League One based on the last 50 years.
Of course Rovers spent a year in the National League after their relegation from League Two in 2014 which ended a 94-year stay. It’s news that comes as a slight shock given that Rovers won promotion back to League One at the first time of asking.
The city itself has not had a top flight team since the 1980s when Bristol City were in the old Division One, when they finished second from bottom following four seasons of top flight football.
The closest that any Bristolian team have got to reaching the Premier League since its inception in 1992, was City’s play-off final defeat to Hull City back in 2008.
Rovers best league finish since 1972 was back when they finished 13th in Division Two in back-to-back seasons in 1991 and 1992.
Overall the study has Accrington Stanley, Brentford, Wycombe, Burton Albion and Fleetwood Town as England’s over-achievers. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the biggest underachievers are Oldham, Notts County, Southend United, Ipswich Town and York City according to the study.