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So just who was City's top boss?

It is a question that, to the best of our knowledge, has never been posed before – and has prompted a quite unexpected answer.

To mark Norwich City’s centenary the EDP decided to delve into the club’s record books to discover the identity of the most successful manager in the history of the club, from a statistical point of view . . .

How Norwich City's managers compare (Updated 3 Oct, 2006)
    P W D L F A Av
1 George Swindin (1962) 20 10 5 5 41 25 1.75
2 Martin O'Neill (1995) 26 12 9 5 46 29 1.73
3 Norman Low (1950-55) 258 129 56 73 449 324 1.72
4 Archie Macaulay (1957-61) 224 105 60 59 394 296 1.67
5 John Bowman (1905-07) 78 31 23 24 114 92 1.49
6 Ken Brown (1980-87) 367 150 93 124 483 442 1.48
7 Doug Lochhead (1947-50) 104 42 28 34 178 170 1.48
8 Willie Reid (1961-62) 31 13 6 12 50 44 1.45
9 Nigel Worthington (2000-06) 280 114 62 104 - - 1.44
10 Dave Stringer (1987-92) 229 89 58 82 290 292 1.42
11 Ron Saunders (1969-73) 221 84 61 76 268 266 1.42
12 James Kerr (1929-33) 168 65 43 60 291 277 1.42
13 Tom Parker (1933-37, 55-57) 271 104 69 98 317 259 1.41
14 Mike Walker (1992-94, 96-98) 179 69 46 64 235 257 1.41
15 Ron Ashman (1962-66) 162 59 39 64 253 257 1.33
16 Lol Morgan (1966-69) 14- 5- 37 53 179 194 1.33
17 Bruce Rioch (1998-2000) 93 30 31 32 107 112 1.30
18 Maj. Frank Buckley (1919-20) 43 15 11 17 64 62 1.30
19 Albert Gosnell (1921-26) 223 79 59 95 307 346 1.27
20 John Bond (1973-80) 340 105 114 121 436 488 1.26
21 Bert Stansfield( 1910-15, 26) 248 78 75 95 376 366 1.24
22 Arthur Turner (1909-10) 86 27 22 37 123 149 1.20
23 Bob Young (1937-39) 78 26 14 38 106 154 1.18
24 Cecil Potter (1926-29) 101 30 26 45 154 160 1.15
25 James McEwen (1907-08) 43 13 10 20 51 69 1.14
26 Bryan Hamilton (2000) 35 10 10 15 38 46 1.14
27 Jimmy Jewell (1939) 20 6 4 10 23 37 1.10
28 Charles O'Hagan (1920-21) 21 4 9 8 17 24 1.09
29 John Deehan (1994-95) 58 13 22 23 65 84 1.05
30 Cyril Spiers (1946-47) 65 15 12 38 95 148 0.88
31 Gary Megson 32 5 10 17 31 41 0.78


. . . We’re not talking here about the longevity of the various men in charge, the divisions they plied their trade in or even the number of trophies they won.

For the purposes of this exercise we’ve looked purely at the results each man has achieved in all competitions. We’ve then given him three points for a win and one point for a draw, and divided the total by the number of games they had in charge to come up with an average.

Our table doesn’t purport to be a definitive guide – Gary Megson can rest assured we’re not claiming he is the worst manager in the club’s history! – but it does provides an interesting insight into the work of the 31 men who have helped shape Norwich City as a club over the past 100 years.

The man at the top of the list, George Swindin, was only in charge at Carrow Road for six months, quitting the Canaries after only 20 games of the 1962-63 season to take over at Cardiff City and is the shortest serving City boss. But his departure had nothing to do with poor results. City lost only five games under the former Arsenal goalkeeper – now 87 – and his average of 1.75 points per game leaves him just ahead of another ‘short and sweet’ City boss.

Step forward Martin O’Neill who brought so much hope to City’s long-suffering supporters at the start of the 1995-96, City’s first after being relegated from the Premiership in such demoralising fashion. Robert Chase’s stunning coup in bringing the fans’ favourite back to Carrow Road looked to be paying handsome dividends as the Canaries made an excellent start to the campaign. But, after winning 12 and drawing nine of his 26 matches the Irishman decided it was time to move on – and he hasn’t exactly lived to regret the decision! O’Neill’s points-per-game average was 1.73 – but like Swindin his record is devalued by the brevity of his tenure.

The same can’t be said of the next two men on our list who between them were in charge for nearly 500 games during the 1950s and early 60s. In at number three is Norman Low, the former City player who was manager between 1950 and 1955 and recorded an average of 1.72 over 258 games. It’s only fair to point out that the Canaries never managed to get out of Division Three South during his stewardship, but they were always there or thereabouts and, despite the near-misses, foundations were laid that the man at number four in our list could build on.

Archie Macaulay’s average might be slightly lower, but he fashioned a side good enough to reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup in 1959 and gain promotion to the Second Division the following season. He is revered to this day by the men who played for him.

City’s first professional manager John Bowman, in the hot-seat for 78 games between 1902 and 1907, is fifth on the list and is followed by the man who holds the record for the most games in charge, Ken Brown, whose marvellous total of 367 is 27 higher than the man he succeeded, John Bond.

Brown’s average of 1.48 is considerably lower than the likes of Swindin and O’Neill but was achieved over a far longer period, included long spells in Division One and produced two pieces of silverware – the 1984-85 Milk Cup and the 1985-86 Division Two championship.

Two other long-serving bosses, Dave Stringer and Ron Saunders, are also well up on the list with Stringer deserving a special mention, having spent his entire managerial career in the top flight. Bond is, surprisingly, way down in 20th place with an average of just 1.26, although he too spent the majority of his time rubbing shoulders with the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal.

Elsewhere Mike Walker (14th) would have been far higher had he not returned for a second stint after guiding City into Europe in his first, as would Tom Parker, who enjoyed great success at Carrow Road in the 1930s but could not repeat it during a short stint in the mid-50s.
Nigel Worthington, with 76 games as manager under his belt, stands a highly respectable ninth in the table.

Down at the bottom is the man who is currently doing a terrific job at West Bromwich Albion. Gary Megson managed just five wins in 32 games and boasts an average of only 0.88. But circumstances always dictated it was going to be a tough introduction to the profession for the former City midfielder – and he is now regarded as one of the brightest young managers in the country.

 

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