It wasn't a huge surprise to learn that Simon Davey was recently voted as Barnsley's Worst Manager, in a poll conducted on Vital Barnsley.

Perhaps it isn't the most authoritative survey ever revealed, I don't think many fans participated in the exercise. In fact I hadn't either. But you kind of get a sense that most fans would probably agree with it's result. Well, wouldn't you?

As the good old idiom says, "the devil is always in the detail", so I chose to take a deeper look at the facts. And what I've found tells a radically different story...

We're not exactly unaccustomed to so-called saviours swanning their way down Grove Street from Spotland. Fans may recollect the start of Steve Parkin's tenure in November 2001. The former Rochdale gaffer taking charge of a squad in disarray and low in confidence following the departure of Spackman. The fans were smiling, we had seen the back of "Nige".

With a prohibitive transfer budget to play with, Parkin was probably destined to be fighting a losing battle. The result was exactly that. Relegation to League One followed his first season in charge and turmoil ensued as administration ravaged the club.

In his brief stint - lasting a mere 44 games, Parkin had lost 40.9% of the matches he was in charge of. Perceived as an unacceptable performance by the then hierarchy, smiles turned to snarls and Parkin was soundly ejected from the Oakwell hot-seat.

However, when comparing Parkin's loss percentage to other managers including Simon Davey (45.7%),  Mark Robins (41.3%) or even Keith Hill (54.3%), Parkin's Reds start to take on much more solid look than local memories might allow.

We're not talking about Parkin - I hear you say. Davey was the worst manager! Wasn't he?

Well apart from the fact that many fans had marked Simon's card from the get-go, on account of his appointment being seen as the "cheap option", something had to be done to reverse the team's fortunes.

Andy Ritchie, who despite leading the Reds back to the Championship had only won 27.5% of his 80 games in charge, one of the worst performances by a Barnsley manager this decade, unless you also account for Glyn Hodges (25.7%) and that man again, Keith Hill (25.7%).

Management loyalties offered very little in the way of squad flexibility or changes to player personnel and the board felt Ritchie had to go.

But we've strayed off the point. Davey was the worst. Surely?

Click image above to enlarge

The fact is - if you want to assess a manager on success, perhaps that litmus test is by games won.

Simon Davey won 32.6% from his 138 games in charge, only bettered by Gudjon Thordarson who achieved 33.3% wins from his 42 games. None of this article has been written to sugar-coat the facts and anyone can read these on Soccerbase for themselves.

With the worst record of just 25.7% of games won, and a whopping 54.3% of games lost (to date) - Keith Hill holds the mantle of the Worst Barnsley Manager.

Statistically speaking - the summary is worrying for Barnsley fans!

Despite the numbers, do you feel there's a broader measurement for success? Should Barnsley re-assign responsibility for the first team elsewhere? Can Keith Hill still turn results around? Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment below, or join the debate on Twitter by following @OnThePontyEnd.

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Ian Wilkinson

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Anonymous said...

Points per game from best to worst:
Thor 1.4
Ritchie 1.3
Rob 1.2
Dav 1.2
Hart 1.2
Hod 1.1
Parkin 1.1
Hill 1

Anonymous said...

I don't buy into that points per game nonsense. Some of these guys were managing in Div 1! Also, the Championship is more competitive now. All this talk is typical of Barnsley; we have no bottle to see it out. Do we conveniently forget we were favourites for relegation. The current predicament is not great, however lets give the manager and the players the support they need. How many managers we had in 10 plus years; it tells the story.

Anonymous said...

I don't think points per game or percentages tell the whole story. Every manager has had different players, different budgets and some in different leagues. Chopping and changing managers is not really the answer. I don't see much changing other than continued Championship struggle. The Sheff Wednesday game however could be a defining one for Keith Hill.