What statistics say about the most entertaining gaffer in League Oneby Mike Holden / 08 December 2016, 16:14Tweet
In the second instalment of Mike Holden's (@Ratings_Mike) four-part series on Entertaining Managers - ranked by average goals per game - he takes a look at League One.
His managerial career might only be 25 games old, but Grant McCann already appears to understand the brief when it comes to satisfying Darragh MacAnthony and his veracious appetite for goals. The Peterborough boss is currently operating at 3.04 per game, which is marginally better than the 2.97 average across the whole of MacAnthony’s ten-year reign.
Mind you, he hardly needed a crash course in Posh culture and how he should go about his business at London Road. The 36-year-old Ulsterman gave United the best years of his playing career, providing no shortage of guile from centre midfield and delivering a constant threat at set plays for much of the Darren Ferguson era.
It was followed by a spell at Linfield that lasted barely a month before he was back in a coaching capacity following Ferguson’s dismissal. So when a couple of opportunities came his way to audition for the role last season, he made his intentions abundantly clear with a couple of 5-1 wins over Oldham and Blackpool, not to mention a 4-3 away victory at Shrewsbury.
Neil Harris and Darrell Clarke are quite a way back in second and third position, albeit from samples nearly three times the size. In both cases, the emphasis is on results rather than entertainment per se but a never-say-die spirit combined with some ropey defending usually makes for some high-scoring encounters in any case.
Danny Wilson’s lofty average of 2.77 goals per game is certainly no coincidence, stretching over the full eight seasons of the data set in charge of four different clubs. At Swindon, Sheffield United, Barnsley and now Chesterfield, Wilson has always delivered a team that produces games above the league average for total goals.
Keith Hill isn’t particular cavalier but his overall average is boosted by Rochdale’s capacity to put teams to the sword once they establish a comfortable lead and find themselves in the ascendancy, particularly at Spotland. Recent home wins over Southend (3-0), Swindon (4-0) and Walsall (4-0) offer fine examples, although you could say the opposite about recent away defeats at Swindon (0-3), Bradford (0-4) and Gillingham (0-4).
Meanwhile, Charlton’s controversial owners will be hoping Karl Robinson can maintain his 2.71 goals per game ratio at The Valley, if only as a means to distract an angry fanbase from their protests. The former MK Dons boss is renowned for favouring an expansive approach and his total goals record over a hefty sample of 291 games bears that out.
At the opposite end of the scale, Steve Robinson will make no apologies for the scarcity of goals in matches involving Oldham given the scarcity of resources available to him. The former Bournemouth midfielder has only be in charge at Boundary Park for 19 games but his total goals average of a meagre 1.69 is nonetheless remarkable.
Few will be surprised to see the name of Phil Parkinson towards the bottom. He averaged just 2.36 goals per game across the entirety of his five years at Bradford but his refined knowledge of the division has enabled him to be even more miserly at Bolton. After 20 matches, Wanderers are currently operating at just 1.8 goals per games, scoring twice as many as they concede in the process.
- Pld = the number of matches involving each manager since August 2008.
- GPG = average goals per game over the course of stated matches.
- 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.