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Bolton Nuts » BWFC » Bolton Wanderers Banter » Why Bolton may finally have beaten the Manager of the Month curse

Why Bolton may finally have beaten the Manager of the Month curse

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karlypants

karlypants
Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
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Wanderers had more than one reason to celebrate Saturday’s slender victory at Port Vale, for it ended a ‘jinx’ that stretched back some 20 years.

Supporters have long since given credence to the theory that the Manager of the Month award is both a blessing and a curse.

Though it is usually dished out to the boss who has accrued the most points in the previous calendar month, there is a general belief that it also triggers a disproportionate downturn in results.

Evidence to prove the conspiracy theorists is thin at best across the whole of football but here in Bolton, there is a reasonably solid set of statistics to back up the argument that what is good for the mantlepiece isn’t necessarily great for league form.

Wanderers managers have picked up the prize on 12 occasions since its modern reinvention in 2001 (Premier League) and 2004 (EFL) and on no occasion until last weekend had the team won their next game after the official announcement.

The trophy itself is often distributed part-way through the following month, due largely to logistical reasons and to allow a judging panel to make their choice. But it is also fair to say that results have almost always dipped in the month following a managerial award at Bolton, with only two exceptions.

Evatt was rewarded for the upturn in fortunes in February, during which the team took 16 points from a possible 18 (2.66 points per game). The good form continued into March with the Whites taking 10 points from a possible 12 so far, an average of 2.5 per game.

That improves on the seasonal average of 1.62 points per game (PPG) and, if the trend were to continue over the last 11 games, would give Bolton a finishing total of 85 points.

Research from the BWFC Analysis Twitter account recently analysed the average points total for each finishing position in League Two for the last five complete seasons. Third place has averaged 83.6 points over that time period, with second place 85.8 and top spot 91.6.

Phil Parkinson is the only other manager to improve upon the seasonal points average in a month following a manager award.

He won three Manager of the Month trophies in the 2016/17 season and though he never won the game immediately after receiving the prize, his side did enjoy a successful November after his award in October 16, taking nine points from a possible 12 (2.25PPG) against a seasonal average of 1.87PPG.

It may come as a surprise to some that Parkinson’s three awards in a single campaign sees him match the number tallied by Sam Allardyce between 2001 and his departure in 2007.

Big Sam got his first award after taking Bolton into the Premier League and winning three out of three in August 2001, including a stunning 5-0 destruction of Leicester City and a 2-1 win against Liverpool at the Reebok.

His second award was in November 2003 and included wins at Tottenham and Everton and a League Cup win at Liverpool – made memorable because it contained Mario Jardel’s one goal in a Wanderers shirt – before the award was presented and Allardyce’s men were beaten at Fulham.

The hat-trick was completed in December 2006 in the middle of a stellar run of wins against West Ham, Aston Villa, Manchester City, Newcastle and Portsmouth. A goalless draw at Leeds would end the run.

Gary Megson won his one managerial award at Bolton in November 2008, with the month bookended by impressive wins against City and Sunderland – the latter a 4-1 hammering that spelled the end of Roy Keane’s managerial reign with the Black Cats.

Owen Coyle picked up two prizes in his time in the Wanderers dugout, the first towards the start of his tenure in November 2010 when Spurs were vanquished 4-2 at the Reebok, Wolves beaten 3-2 at Molineux courtesy of ‘that’ Johan Elmander goal and five were put past Newcastle United.

The Scot’s second coincided with a tough spell for the club after Fabrice Muamba’s collapse at White Hart Lane. His recovery provided inspiration for a brief upturn in form with wins against Blackburn and QPR plus another dramatic victory at old foes Wolves.

Dougie Freedman got in on the act at the tail end of 2012/13 – although he collected his trophy after a late charge for the play-offs had ended with a disappointing home draw against Blackpool on the final day.

It was hoped the excellent late season form would spill over to the following campaign but the ‘curse’ lingered over the summer and the former Crystal Palace boss never again got momentum with results or supporters.

After Parkinson’s three awards in the promotion campaign, we had to wait just over three years for Evatt to claim the next award, in November 2020.

December brought just four points out of 15, with a defeat against Saturday’s opponents Walsall following the award of the trophy.

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WANDERERS’ MANAGERS OF THE MONTH

Sam Allardyce: August 2001.

August – 9pts out of 9 (3PPG).

September – 3pts out of 15 (0.6PPG).

‘Cursed’ game: Leeds A (drew 0-0).

Seasonal average –1.05PPG.

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Sam Allardyce: November 2003.

November – 10pts out of 12 (2.5PPG).

December – 5pts out of 15 (1PPG).

Seasonal average –1.39PPG.

‘Cursed’ game: Fulham A (lost 2-1).

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Sam Allardyce: December 2006.

December – 15pts out of 18 (2.5PPG).

January – 2pts out of 12 (0.5PPG).

Seasonal average –1.47PPG ‘Cursed’ game - Wigan H (drew 1-1) .

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Gary Megson: November 2008.

November – 12pts out of 15 (2.4PPG).

December – 3pts out of 15 (0.6PPG).

Seasonal average – (1.07PPG).

‘Cursed’ game - Aston Villa A (lost 4-2).

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Owen Coyle: November 2010.

November – 11pts out of 15 (2.2PPG).

December – 6pts out of 15 (1.2PPG).

Seasonal average – 1.21PPG.

‘Cursed’ game - Man City A (lost 1-0).

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Owen Coyle: March 2012.

March – 9pts out of 12 (2.25PPG).

April – 5pts out of 15 (1PPG).

Seasonal average – 0.94PPG.

‘Cursed’ game - Fulham H (lost 3-0).

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Dougie Freedman: April 2013.

April – 13pts out of 18 (2.16PPG).

May – 1pt out of 3 (1PPG).

Seasonal average – 1.47PPG.

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August – 2pts out of 15 (0.4PPG)

Seasonal average – 1.28PPG

‘Cursed’ game following season - Burnley A (drew 1-1).

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Phil Parkinson: August 2016.

August – 13pts out of 15 (2.6PPG).

September – 3pts out of 15 (0.6PPG).

Seasonal average – 1.87PPG.

‘Cursed’ game - MK Dons H (drew 1-1).

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Phil Parkinson: October 2016.

October – 15pts out of 18 (2.5PPG).

November – 9pts out of 12 (2.25PPG).

Seasonal average – 1.87PPG.

‘Cursed’ game - Peterborough A (lost 1-0).

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Phil Parkinson: March 2017.

March – 16pts out of 18 (2.66PPG).

April – 11pts out of 21 (1.57PPG).

Seasonal average – 1.87PPG.

‘Cursed’ game - Scunthorpe A (lost 1-0).

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Ian Evatt: November 2020.

November – 13pts out of 15 (2.6PPG).

December – 4pts out of 15 (0.8PPG).

Seasonal average – 1.62PPG.

‘Cursed’ game - Walsall A (lost 2-1).

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Ian Evatt: February 2021.

February – 16pts out of 18 (2.66PPG).

March (to date) – 10pts out of 12 (2.5PPG).

Seasonal average – 1.62PPG.

‘Cursed’ game - Port Vale A (won 1-0).

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