West Bromwich Albion’s chance of staying in the Premier League this season can be roughly judged at 50-50 on the basis that only 23 of the 47 teams promoted to the division have survived to see a second year.
And, after that stage, five more have fallen back into the clutches of the Coca-Cola Championship.
Reveal such basic research to Tony Mowbray and it is met with an exasperated, almost disdainful snigger, followed shortly by a rub of his furrowed brow.
However, it is because of numbers like these that Albion are once more among the ‘experts’ and bookies’ favourites to be relegated – along with Stoke City and Hull City – which was news to the Baggies’ manager, especially as no one has seen his side play.
“Is that what people are saying?” he said. “Well, let’s wait and see. I am always interested in the what the so-called experts have to say about these sorts of things.
“But if I am not taking any notice of our pre-season results [Albion have won one from nine] then I’ll not take any notice of what people are saying about our chances.
“How do they know how the season is going to go?
“They are basing their tips on historical views, I would suggest, and I’m sure they were saying the same thing about Ipswich some years ago and they went on to finish fifth.
“I am confident we’ll go out and prove a few people wrong.”
Not that Mowbray would ever allow the annals of history to help form or change his opinion, spun another way they also dictate there’s every chance he is right.
Only once have all three promoted teams to the Premier League been those relegated (Crystal Palace, Barnsley and Bolton in 1997/98) and, conversely, only once have all teams that were promoted successfully stayed up (Blackburn, Fulham and Bolton Wanderers in 2001/02).
By process of elimination these facts would suggest that at least one or two of the promoted teams are doomed – but not all three.
Mowbray has every belief his side will escape, despite an unconvincing close-season.
He said: “We might go and win the first ten games of the season, or we might lose the first four or five, at which point journalists will probably bring that up [pre-season results].
“The results genuinely do not interest me. It is all about getting the players fit and giving them the minutes they need under their belts.
“Yes, getting a few wins might have bred some confidence – but this weekend’s result is far more important. As the pre-season has gone on we have started putting out stronger sides and the team has started to resemble more of a starting eleven.
“We have not scored many goals but we have not conceded many, which is a positive considering the league we are going into.”
Just days before Albion’s Premier League campaign starts at the Emirates Stadium, Mowbray reiterated his desire to add more players to his squad.
“We don’t want to replace anybody,” he said, “We want to create competition by getting the numbers right so that when the injuries and suspensions come along we have enough strength in depth.
“Seeing as there is no loan system we can use [after the transfer window closes on August 31] that is important.”
The injured Luke Moore and Robert Koren will be unavailable for the game at Arsenal, but they are only expected to be out for a week.