Football has many wonderful aphorisms which fans can call upon when poor play besets their team. “You’re always vulnerable when you’ve just scored” and “We always concede late goals” are two of my particular favourites.
In fact to call them aphorisms is a touch misleading, aphorisms are supposed to point towards a general truth. Most matches are not filled with late winners and equalisers, nor are most goals responded to in kind by the opposition in seconds – football is all the more exciting because these occurrences are rare and noteworthy.
The Manager of the Month Award is another facet of the game which has its own received wisdom – winners of the award promptly go on to lose their next match. Leicester fans will be acutely aware if this quirk. Four Leicester managers have won a total of eight Manager of the Month Awards between them since 1996. Martin O’Neil (3), Peter Taylor (1) and Rob Kelly (1) all failed to win their next match. Nigel Pearson won just one match immediately following his three Manager of the Month Awards at the club.
So far the ‘curse’ theory is looking quite convincing, but a wider canvas gives a rather different picture.
Since the 2004/05 a total of 54 Manager of the Month awards have been made in the Championship. Their recipients have gone on in their next league fixture to win 21, draw 11 and lose 22.
If there is a curse, it doesn’t seem to be affecting anyone else too badly. That’s just typical of Leicester, isn’t it?