STFC Manager Countdown: Paolo Di Canio – The greatest?

After Paolo Di Canio has resigned as manager of Swindon Town we now can now rank the Italian by his results in the Football League, FA Cup and League Cup to establish where he fits into our list of greatest STFC managers…

A League Two title and flirting with promotion in League One a year later, then the club’s majority shareholder wants to leave, Matt Ritchie is sold – allegedly behind his back – then just over two weeks later Paolo Di Canio formally resigns.

Paolo Di Canio Scarf

It’s been a roller coaster journey with the Italian at the helm over the previous 20 months and his departure has been as public as many of his spats and disagreements. He’ll be sorely missed, especially here, as we’ll need a new logo… We’ll have a more detailed review of Di Canio’s resignation later this week.

Back in the Summer of 2011 ranked the then 30 permanent Swindon Town managers according to their Football League results (including Play-Offs), FA Cup and League Cup performances. The aim was to establish whether Paul Hart could really be labelled as the worst Swindon manager of all-time and who could lay claim to the distinguished title of ‘The Greatest’.

Instead of assessing managers according to their achievements, failures and personal feelings towards them, we took a more objective approach and, big surprise,  turned to statistics. For those wanting to find out a little more about the methodology then the details are below.

Now that Paolo has left, we can publish his score and where he ranks amongst club legends including Lou Macari, Glenn Hoddle, Danny William, Bert Head…and er… Paul Hart…

Paolo Di Canio’s score is… 361.10

League Pld Won Drn Lst For Agg League Pts P/G League Score FAC Score FLC Score
77 44 16 17 127 44 148 1.92 215.78 67.00 78.33
  • League: 1 season in League Two and 1 season in League One
  • FA Cup:  5 ties and 3 victories – Best 4th Round vs Leicester City 2011/12
  • League Cup: 6 ties and 4 victories – Best 4th Round vs Aston Villa 2012/13
  • Achievements: League Two title 2011/12

Where does a score of 361.1 put Di Canio in the list of greatest Swindon Town managers…?

#31 – Neil Harris – 44.3 points

#30 – Paul Hart – 84.6 points

#29 – Iffy Onoura – 151.47 points

#28 – Jimmy Quinn – 157.7 points

#27 – Maurice Lindley – 181.1 points

#26 – Colin Todd – 185.1 points

#25 – Maurice Malpas – 191.84 points

#24A – Committee Selection – 199.1 points

#24 – Dennis Wise – 206.7 points

#23 – Dave Mackay – 212.3 points

#22 – Ken Beamish – 214.8 points

#21 – Andy King (1) – 229.6 points

#20 – John Trollope – 230.3 points

#19 – Ted Vizard – 244.8 points

#18 – Andy King (2) – 247.2 points

#17 – Louis Page – 250.4 points

#16 – Sam Allen – 256.9 points

#15 – Les Allen – 258.1 points

#14 – John Gorman – 259.5 points

#13 – Paul Sturrock – 265.5 points

#12 – Danny Wilson – 278.2 points

#11 – Bert Head – 287.4 points

#10 – Danny Williams (1974-1978) – 305.5 points

#9 – Roy Evans – 326 points

#8 – Steve McMahon – 340.7 points

#7 – Lou Macari – 348.1 points

#6 – Paolo Di Canio 361.1 points

#5 – Ossie Ardiles – 363.9 points

#4 – Bobby Smith – 388.9 points

#3 – Glenn Hoddle – 404.6 points

#2 – Fred Ford – 409.6 points

#1 – Danny Williams (1965-1969) – 423.2 points



Manger performance in the Football League

League results are only counted since the election of the club to the Football League for the 1920/21 season.

Points are scored on the basis of 3 for a win and 1 for draw, even though 3 points for a win was only introduced in 1981. Play-Off match results are counted.

As the number of league games per season has fluctuated over the years, each manager is assessed on a points per game basis (P/G).

P/G of each season is then multiplied by a league multiplier. This is where I’ve introduced an element of subjectivity as I consider a point gained in the Premier League is more important to the club, in terms of our history as a whole, than a point in League Two. The principle was to limit the spread of the multiplier so that it remained possible to outscore a Premier League season P/G in the 4th tier.

  • League Two = x1
  • League One = x1.33
  • Championship = x1.66
  • Premier League = x2

The sum for each season is then divided by the total league games under their tenure. The rating is then multiplied by 100 to give a final score.

No bonuses are awarded for league position as this assessment purely takes into account each manager’s win, drawn and loss record.

An example:

  • 2011/12 – X secures 86 points in League Two from 46 games ((86 x 1)/46)*100 = 186.95 points
  • 2012/13 – X secures 76 points in league One from 48 games* ((76 x 1.33)/48)*100 = 210.6 points (* including playoff semi final defeat)
  • Total score = ((86+101.1)/94)*100 = 199 points

Manager performance in the FA Cup

Each manager is only rated on the basis of the number of cup ties won, rather than matches won, drawn and lost.

Each cup round is assigned an importance multiplier, gradually increasing as the rounds progress. The post 1924/1925 FA Cup tie win ratings by round are:

  • 1st Round = x1
  • 2nd Round = x1.1
  • 3rd Round = x1.25
  • 4th Round = x1.45
  • 5th Round = x1.7
  • 6th Round = x2
  • Semi Final = x2.4
  • Final = x3

Prior to 1924/1925 the FA Cup was played over 6 ‘proper’ rounds and an equivalent weighting is used.

The sum of scores achieved for each season are then divided by the total cup ties played (x100) to provide an FA Cup score.

An example:

  • 2011/12 – X’s STFC are knocked out in the 4th Round = 3.35 points
  • 2012/13 – X’s STFC are knocked out in the 2nd Round = 1 point
  • Total score = (4.35 points / 6 ties) * 100 = 72.5 points

Manager performance in the League Cup

An identical method to the FA Cup is used, however a different importance multiplier is used as there are less rounds and the competition is for League clubs only:

  • 1st Round = x1
  • 2nd Round = x1.25
  • 3rd Round = x1.45
  • 4th Round = x1.7
  • 5th Round = x2
  • Semi Final = x2.4
  • Final = x3

An example:

  • 2011/12 – X’s STFC are knocked out in the 2nd Round = 1 point
  • 2012/13 – X’s STFC are knocked out in the 3rd Round = 2.25 points
  • Total score = (3.25 points / 5 ties) * 100 = 65 points

Total Manager Score

The manager score is the sum of the League, FA Cup and League Cup totals.

An example:

  • Manager ‘X’ = 199 + 72.5 + 65 = 336.5 Points


The reason behind the choice of points per game for the league and cup score divided by total cup ties is that a manager could technically become the club’s greatest manager in a short period of time. What I am looking at here is how each manager performed over the entirety of their reign.

The drawback in using this method is it can distort the rankings as it equalizes performances so it doesn’t matter if you managed Swindon for 500 games or 15.

I decided to discount a method whereby points are accumulated as this wrongly emphasises longevity as the crucial factor to success.

However, the inclusion of cup success in this assessment does favour those managers who stayed around for long enough to compete in them.

Of course this ranking doesn’t take into account his performance in the Football League Trophy, therefore this doesn’t reflect Paolo Di Canio’s run to the final in 2011/12.

This isn’t perfect, but was an interesting task finding out the results and hopefully start some debate!

All match statistics are from the excellent


  • So Paolo is ranked #6 in the all-time STFC managers list. Where would you rank Di Canio?


  • I would place Lou Macari above Di Canio and put Glenn on top of the pile for the ultimate achievement of promotion to the top tier. Other than that about right.


  • Don’t forget Ardiles also got us into the top flight, with a better team than Glenns……


  • “I decided to discount a method whereby points are accumulated as this wrongly emphasises longevity as the crucial factor to success.”

    Wrongly empahsises? I disagree with the wording. Longevity IS a crucial factor to success, you only need to look at SAF’s career to see a fine example of that.


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