Managers Countdown: Neil Harris, Paul Hart and Iffy Onoura

No.31 | Neil Harris | Manager June 1939 – Aug 1940 | Score 44.33

I had to include everyone who’d managed a competitive game so it’s very harsh on Neil Harris as he is 30th and bottom of this list with just 44.33 points.

FA Cup Final winner with Newcastle United

The Scot was born in 1894 in the Tollcross area of Glasgow and played as a centre forward for Partick Thistle, Newcastle United, Notts County, Oldham Athletic, Third Lanark and Burton Town between 1913 and 1932.

His most successful spell was on Tyneside with 87 goals from 174 league appearances, scoring the first goal in the 1924 FA Cup final in a 2-0 victory over Aston Villa. International recognition came whilst at St James’ Park making his first and only cap for the Scottish national side against England at Wembley.

After taking managerial positions at Burton Town and Distillery, Harris moved to Swansea Town (now City) and then on to Swindon Town.Harris only managed Town for 3 winless Football League games in 1939 (versus Northampton, Cardiff City and Aldershot) until the league was abandoned following the outbreak of World War Two.

As the Football League shut down, Town participated in the Wartime South West Regional League with a makeshift side. As players were called-up for national service, all teams were short of players. In one game at Bristol City, Harris, now 45 and retired for some 8 years, played the match, borrowing a pair of boots which were too small, losing 2 toenails and the match 5-1 in the process. At the end of the campaign the club shut down and with his services no longer required, Neil Harris was sacked. Harris died a year later aged only 47.

Harris’ score of 44.33 points reflects the fact that non competitive games are not counted in this assessment. Also he never participated in the FA Cup.

Good, bad or ugly? Well…Harris is none of them, with little chance to prove his worth and definitely the most unfortunate manager in our history. I’m ashamed to say he comes last on this list.

  • Leagues: 1 season in Division Three South
  • Fa Cup: Not entered
  • League Cup: Not entered
  • Achievements: None
Pld Won Drn Lst For Agg Pts P/G League Score FAC Score FLC Score
3 0 1 2 2 4 1 0.3 44.33 0 0

No.30 | Paul Hart | Manager March – April 2011 | Score 84.64

Paul Hart was so bad, so destructive for Swindon Town, that he has only been beaten by a man who’s only reason for his sacking was Hitler’s invasions in Europe and the carnage of WWII…And what was Hart’s excuse..?

To be fair to Hart, joining an already sinking ship with just 13 games to play is far from ideal. However, relegation was in no way a done deal as Swindon sat 21st and only 3 points from safety on his appointment.

Hart was the “experienced and first choice to lead us to safety” according to former Chairman Andrew Fitton, who might as well had left Danny Wilson in-charge.

Hart’s failures are so fresh there’s no need to regurgitate this bile.

Good, bad or ugly? – Ugly. An unwelcome choice who very soon lost any fan and media support. Thank god we’ll never listen again to one of his post match interviews.

  • Leagues: 1 season in League One
  • Fa Cup: Not entered
  • League Cup: Not entered
  • Achievements: Relegation to League Two
Pld Won Drn Lst For Agg Pts P/G League Score FAC Score FLC Score
11 1 4 6 6 12 7 0.6 84.6 0 0

No.29 | Iffy Onoura | Manager Sept 2005 – May 2006 | Score 151.47

After hanging up his boots and joining the Town backroom staff in October 2004, Iffy was thrust into management after taking over from Andy King. Initially caretaker manager, Iffy was soon confirmed in the post, although he could do little to put a stop on a club record 8 successive defeats, leaving Town bottom with 7 points from 13 played. Iffy couldn’t save Town from relegation

Iffy takes Town down to League Two

Soon enough Onoura began to turn things around, losing only 1 more game in 2005 and by the end of December, Town had climbed off the bottom and with a fighting chance of avoiding the drop.

At this time the Board’s decision to allow disgraced former manager and pundit Ron Atkinson to work alongside Onuora whilst filming his Big Ron Manager documentary was definitely one of the most poorly judged moves of any Town chairman. Iffy, who was already under significant pressure, had the beady eyes of a racist trying to interfere and filming his every move. Atkinson was soon given his marching orders.

Three wins in February moving Town to 16th (38 points) was the high, the decline thereafter was dramatic.

For those, including myself, at The City Ground, Nottingham on the 25th February, watching Town get played off the pitch by an average Forest side 7-1, still remains the lowest ebb of my time following Town. For me perhaps this wasn’t helped as I was sitting in the Trent End that day…

With only 2 more wins gained, a win was needed at Ashton Gate in the penultimate game, however a limp Town managed a 1-1 draw at City and Town fell to the 4th tier for the first time in 20 years.

Onoura still retained fan support, however with new investment from Bill Power meant changes behind the scenes and soon enough Iffy was forced to reapply for his own job, only being offered a role with the youth team, Iffy decided to move on.

Last year Iffy made a surprise move to coach the Ethiopian national team, until being sacked earlier this year.

Good, bad or ugly? – Bad. The inexperienced Iffy performed well with very limited resources to even give Town a chance to avoid relegation and ultimately delay the inevitable until the penultimate game. His ousting removed any opportunity to put right his wrongs and I’ve no doubt Iffy could’ve led us back up the following season.

  • Leagues: 1 season in League One
  • Fa Cup: Knocked out in 1st Round
  • League Cup: Not entered
  • Achievements: Relegation to League Two
Pld Won Drn Lst For Agg Pts P/G League Score FAC Score FLC Score
36 9 14 13 34 48 41 1.1 151.47 0 0

Click here for a full list of the managers in the countdown so far and their scores, including an explanation of how the scoring works.


Comment Here...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s