“I think I’m doing a great job if I’m honest…”
The words spoken by Neil Warnock in the wake of Leeds United’s sorry performance at Barnsley not only caused mass incredulity amongst Whites’ followers, but also prompted me to look into Warnock’s record as Leeds Manager.
Now I think we’ll all agree that the word “great” can only comfortably be applied to the likes of Don Revie and Howard Wilkinson when we are talking about Leeds Managers. So taking Warnock out of that bracket, just how do his stats stack up against the likes of Kevin Blackwell, Dennis Wise and Gary McAllister? The answer, as you’ll see, is not well.
Since taking charge against Portsmouth in February 2012, Neil Warnock has Managed Leeds United for 47 games. Of those 47 games, Leeds have won 18, drawn 10 and lost 19. That gives Neil Warnock a win ratio of 38%. Bear in mind also that these stats include cup games, so take out this seasons Carling Cup successes and things would look even worse…
I think a fair comparison for circumstances would be with Gary McAllister. Macca was in charge for 50 games, lasting just under a year in the job. He was derided for the 5 match losing run that ended his reign, culminating in defeat at Histon Macca’s win ratio? 50%. Looking at other Managers from Leeds United’s recent history doesn’t do Warnock any favours either. Simon Grayson had a win ratio of 50% too. Dennis Wise won 44% of his games in charge. You have to go back to Kevin Blackwell, Peter Reid and Terry Venables before you start to find comparable records to our current Manager. Blackwell matched Warnock’s record of 38% (well he did used to be his assistant manager, he must have learned a few things !), whilst Peter Reid has the worst record of modern times, only managing a 27% ratio. Venables also matches Warnock and Blackwell, not a good omen for Leeds Managers with a 38% win ratio!
Look further back, and the European nights that the O’Leary reign brought us showed a 50% win ratio. George Graham just pipped the magic 38%, managing 39% instead. I’ve not checked, but I bet there were a lot of 0-0 draws in there…Howard Wilkinson, surprisingly, only had a win ratio of 43%, just 2% better than Billy Bremner. The great Don Revie had a 53% win ratio. Now I’m not suggesting Warnock should be hitting those heights, but as the stats above show, from the last 20 years or so, there is only one Leeds United Manager with a worse record of winning games than him.
Warnock will probably blame the takeover uncertainty, the “dead wood” he was left with from the previous Manager, and various referees for his poor record. Yet look at some of the names above. Kevin Blackwell took over a team that had just been relegated from the Premier League (famously with only him and Gary Kelly left). Dennis Wise was in charge when we came out of administration with -15 points and about half a team just weeks before the season started. Yet both of these Managers, who most supporters would probably class as failures, have at least the same, if not better, records than our current Boss.
The last thing I’ll look at is the amount of time previous Managers were given. I think the comparison with Gary McAllister is a fair one. Macca had roughly 11 months in charge, almost exactly where Warnock sits right now. We played far more attractive football under Macca, and won more games. Kevin Blackwell lasted just over 2 years, and Simon Grayson just over 3. Blackwell took us to a play-off final, and Grayson got us promoted. They were the last 3 Managers to be sacked by Leeds United.
Whichever way you dress it up, Neil Warnock is not “doing a great job”. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Should he be allowed to continue? Managers with better records were not, and that’s not even taking into consideration his planned retirement at the end of this season. GFH have a decision to make, and it’s one that needs to be made soon. Either back Warnock with cash right now, or replace him. One thing is for sure, when only Peter Reid has a worse win ratio than you in recent Leeds United history, you might want to save the self publicising sound
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