12 May 2014

Spurious Correlations

Looking ahead to the second leg of the playoff semifinal between Orient and Peterborough I couldn’t help but think of all the wondrous facts fans on both sides use to prove that the final result in this match series was determined long before kickoff.

Everywhere you look there are facts that support any given standpoint. Goals scored in the away leg in previous playoffs. Winning promotion through playoffs in earlier attempts. Final league position. League form leading up to the playoffs. Number of players in the squad with earlier playoff experience. This experience being positive or negative. Having your supporters being the 12th man. Number of matches won from a losing position. And of course that most coveted of abilities, having played at Wembley before!

Cheese and stairs = dangerous combination

I’ll be the first one to admit falling into this trap myself at times. It’s an effective way to ease frayed nerves. Finding facts, evidence, that removes any pressure by just being believable. Calm and assured you state the obvious. Everybody knows this right? Why worry? Orient have never lost a weekday game at home against an opponent with the word borough in their name and having an all white away kit. This is going to be so easy.

But let’s face it. This season has been all about smashing records and killing off old bad runs against various opponents. Do we really want to know the outcome before the game is played? Isn’t a flutter of butterflies essential to the whole matchday experience? I’ll imagine that many Man U fans had to seek medical advice this season in order to explain that upset stomach on match day. To them it felt like defeat. As Orient fans we should embrace that bubbling and put our faith in a team that cost the exact same sum as our spurious correlations are worth. It’s worked before this season, right?

Want more? Visit the Spurious Correlations website.

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