Montanier Tops The Championship Underdog Table

Mike Holden by Mike Holden / 17 November 2016, 15:41

In the latest of Mike Holding's study of underdog managers, he runs the rule over those managers plying their trade in the Championship.

The graphic below shows the number of games in which each manager has started a game with his team priced up at 2/1 or bigger, followed by the profit/loss figure had you stuck £10 on every one of those matches and the overall percentage return.

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We haven’t seen much evidence of it in England yet but Philippe Montanier boasts an extraordinary record as an underdog from his time in France and Spain, securing big profits from each of his tenures at Valenciennes, Real Sociedad and Rennes. Only one other manager across the four divisions (Jim Bentley) can claim a better record.

The Frenchman conquered Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla (three times) and Valencia (four times) during his two-year stint with the San Sebastian club, adding to the prize scalps of Marseille (twice), Bordeaux (twice), Monaco (twice), Lyon and Lille during his first two years in the French top flight.

A solid away record over the course of the past three seasons at Rennes included a sensational 2-1 victory over Paris Saint-Germain in May 2014, landing odds of 18/1. All of which must make it only more frustrating for Nottingham Forest fans to learn that the Frenchman has yet to upset the odds in eight attempts since arriving at the City Ground in the summer.

Garry Monk suffered a shaky start at Leeds but that feels like a long time ago now. A run of seven wins in the last ten league outings have lifted the Whites up to sixth, including underdog triumphs at Cardiff (12/5), Wolves (14/5) and Norwich (10/3), which have rekindled the buzz around a young manager who was being touted as a future England manager a couple of years ago.

Monk, of course, served up arguably the most memorable chapter in Michael Calvin’s excellent book 'Living on the Volcano' and his two years in charge at Swansea produced three wins over Manchester United and a league double over Arsenal, which contributed significantly to profits of more than £200 when the Jacks started as outsiders.

The Championship as a competition is renowned for its unpredictability, so it’s probably not a surprise to see so many seasoned campaigners trading healthy profits. Dean Smith and Gary Rowett are relative newcomers compared to the likes of Kenny Jackett, Neil Warnock, Paul Lambert and Mick McCarthy but they too have continued a trend developed in the lower leagues of punching above their weight when unfancied.

Meanwhile, Lee Johnson has the dubious honour of the worst underdog record across the four divisions, most of which stems from his first job at Oldham where he managed just four wins in 32 attempts when starting as an underdog, while further losses were posted in his year-long spell at Barnsley. At Bristol City, he’s more or less par.

And the numbers for Steve Bruce are fairly easy to make sense of. When he manages in the Championship, he’s rarely ever an underdog and he wins matches consistently. When he manages in the Premier League, he’s nearly always an underdog and hardly ever wins. Sometimes, the numbers really are that simple.

Championship Underdog

Notes

  • Pld = the number of matches each manager has started with his team priced up at a best price of greater than 2/1 (digital odds 3.0).
  • P/L = the overall profit/loss figure for each manager had you placed a lb10 stake on each of those matches started as underdogs.
  • % = the percentage of profit/loss when divided by the overall stake for the number of games played.
  • The tables include all matches played since the start of the 2008/09 season across the four English leagues, La Liga, the Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue Un.
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