Who is the most entertaining manager in League Two?by Jack Kitson / 08 December 2016, 13:22Tweet
Mike Holden (@Ratings_Mike) kicks off his four-part series on Entertaining Managers - ranked by average goals per game - by delving into League Two.
Sometimes you don’t need an Excel spreadsheet to tell you what you already know, and it should come as no surprise to long-standing EFL followers that Darren Ferguson tops the goals-per-game table for League Two. The former Peterborough boss has a long association with high-scoring matches, stretching back to his first spell at London Road and continuing now at Doncaster.
Only last weekend, Ferguson was involved in a 4-3 victory at Stevenage, the 11th time in 19 games this season that Rovers have played their part in a game that has produced at least four goals. Naturally, as league leaders, they also top the table for goals scored (42) but even more impressive is their goals against column (28), which is bigger than all but four teams.
The two figures put the Keepmoat outfit ten goals clear of next-highest Carlisle and Hartlepool for total goals combined, making Ferguson the only manager outside of the Premier League who averages over 3.00 goals per game based on a sample of more than a full season. That his sample happens to be as hefty as 354 games only adds weight to the phenomenon.
Only time will tell if Ferguson has a long-term rival in Marcus Bignot but the early indications suggest the new Grimsby boss will also be a lot of fun. His first four games in charge of the Mariners have produced 16 goals, following from a National League North title-winning season with Solihull Moors that served up 132 goals.
The sample used to collate these tables doesn’t include non-league data but Bignot’s five years in charge at Damson Park produced a grand total of 640 across 228 league matches. That’s an average of 2.80 goals per game and would rank him sixth in this table, although Bignot himself was keen to distance himself from any notion that he takes a cavalier approach following a 3-2 defeat at Crawley last time out.
John McGreal and Craig Hignett are both fairly new to management but seem determined to make a lasting impression one way or another. The goals are going in at both ends with Colchester treading on the right side of fine margins with a +1 goal difference after 19 matches this season, whereas Hartlepool - who were beaten 6-0 in the FA Cup at Port Vale last weekend - have conceded four fewer than they’ve scored.
Keith Curle, Steve Evans and Gary Johnson are all considered fairly attack-minded and their position above the 2.7 general average is easy enough to grasp but perhaps the biggest surprise is that all sit above Jim Bentley. The Morecambe boss has been involved in countless high-scoring matches over the past two seasons but evidently not as many over the past eight years as you might think.
- 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.