Now we have taken a look at each of our managers individually, it is worth comparing their records to identify who the winners might be next season – and which ones may become contestants in the great sack race as the new season gets underway. Nothing is certain in football of course, and a good few are setting out on the managerial ladder in earnest; whilst that makes some of these records unreliable, there is no doubt that success over an extended period is indicative of a true winner. As ever, there will be surprises.
An average points per game figure is given for each manager. In order to translate that into something more tangible, the table below shows how many points that figure equates to over the course of a 46-game season. Although other factors obviously come into play, it gives an indication of how likely that manager is to be involved in a relegation struggle (under 1.20 PPG), a play-off challenge (above 1.50 PPG needed) or an automatic promotion challenge (above 1.70 PPG needed).
Here are the scores on the doors:
– PPG = points per game as a manager
– WIN% = percentage of games won as a manager
– PROM = promotions achieved as a manager at all levels
– Table sorted by points per game.
– Figures are league games only; cup matches and playoffs are not included.
** Astonishing to see identical points-per-game and win percentage figures for the top two – Danny Cowley and Micky Mellon – although Cowley has sustained that record over a longer period and with much lower budgets. Mellon may argue that he has achieved his promotions at higher levels.
** Only nine managers have a previous promotion to their name; they have twenty-seven promotions between them.
** Only eight of those twenty-seven promotions have been in the Football League.
** Only six managers have won promotion in the Football League (Johnson, Tisdale, Brown, Mellon, Flitcroft and Sheridan). All six have won promotion from League Two previously.
** Only Gary Johnson and Phil Brown have won a Football League promotion with more than one club.
** Although he does not have a promotion, Mark Yates has taken a club to two League Two play-offs (Cheltenham).
** There is a great contrast between the experienced and inexperienced. Ten managers have managed more than 250 games, but eleven have yet to reach 100.
** Almost half of the twenty-four managers may be considered very inexperienced: five managers are starting their first full season in management (Jolley, Lowe, Bunn, Austin and Taylor); four others are starting their second full season in management (Nolan, Kewell, Flynn and Artell). Dino Maamria has never completed a full season at any of his four clubs.
** Experience does not always equate to success. Mark Yates (478 games) and Jim Bentley (322 games) have never won a promotion. John Sheridan (486 games) has only one.
** Two managers (Cowley and Mellon) have a points per game return in the automatic promotion zone (above 1.70).
** Four other managers (Aspin, Nolan, Tisdale and Flynn) have points per game returns in the play-off zone (above 1.50).
** Six managers (Way, Bentley, Lowe, Bunn, Jolley and Austin) have points per game returns in the relegation zone (1.20 or below), although only Bentley has a significant number of games.
** In terms of a promotion-to-game ratio, Mellon has one promotion every 92 games. Cowley is next (one promotion every 115 games), followed by Tisdale (157), Aspin (191), Johnson (195), Brown and Flitcroft (221 each), Cooper (250) and Sheridan (486). This equates to a promotion every 2 seasons for Mellon, a promotion every 2.5 seasons for Cowley, 3.4 for Tisdale, 4.2 for Aspin and Johnson, 4.8 for Brown and Flitcroft, 5.4 for Cooper and 10.5 for Sheridan.
The caveat is obvious: it is not just a case of having an experienced manager with a good track record, of course. Previous success and experience does not secure the future, neither does a lack of success or experience mean more of the same. Gary Johnson took 327 games to win his first promotion, and has done very well since.
The players each club possesses will play a huge part in dictating their destiny, and the better players tend to belong to the wealthier clubs. Those wealthier clubs can afford to employ the better managers, theoretically creating a potent mix. Clubs able to retain their better players will have stronger continuity. On the flip side, a good manager and a good budget does not guarantee a good season.
As usual, the Vital Lincoln City Season Preview will try to bring together all of these strands: the managers, the players, the budgets, the continuity. Coming very soon to a computer screen near you.
— Vital Lincoln City (@VitalLincoln) August 1, 2018