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Ch-ch-ch-ch, changes…

By: Chris Laishley
Date: 27/11/2009

I REALLY have no opinion on whether Woods is better than Newell. As far as I can see, they're both achieving the same result. I was, admittedly, flabbergasted that Woods was deemed to be deserving of the job, what with the manner of our 2-0 loss to Bath City.

However, I decided that I might be judging the man too harshly, and as such decided to rectify this by comparing our former boss with the new one.

How? Statistics, of course! You can prove anything with them. Not that I'm trying to prove anything, we're just having a bit of West Wing-style geekery here. Still, if that's not fun, I don't know WHAT is. So, Newell vs. Woods - statistically, who is better? Let's judge over the last seven results of each man. Here are the figures, with the averages at the end:

Newell - 7 games

Possession: 54 44 50 50 45 51 48 48.857% (average)
On goal: 6 15 11 3 5 12 14 63 (9 per game)
On target: 5 7 9 1 3 2 6 33 (4.714 per game)
Goals s: 2 1 2 0 2 1 0 8 (1.143 per game)
Goals c: 0 1 3 3 0 2 2 11 (1.571 per game)
Points: 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 4 (out of 18)
Wins: 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Draws: 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Losses: 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 4
Cup wins: 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1

Neil Woods - 7 games

Possession: 55 48 57 40 63 50 52 52.142%
On goal: 8 9 8 13 2 4 10 54 (7.714)
On target: 5 6 5 6 1 1 2 26 (3.714)
Goals s: 1 2 0 1 0 0 0 4 (0.571)
Goals c: 3 2 2 3 0 0 3 13 (1.857)
Points: 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 3 (out of 15)
Wins: 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Draws: 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 3
Losses: 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 4
Cup wins: 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

So, on this basis, Woods has done better on the possession front. Pretty much every other statistic, however, is worse than Newell's. This is where we REALLY have fun though. We take Newell's results and add an EIGHTH game to them, giving us the following:

Newell - 8 games

Possession: 49 54 44 50 50 45 51 48 48.875%
On goal: 8 6 15 11 3 5 12 14 74 (9.25)
On target: 5 5 7 9 1 3 2 6 38 (4.75)
Goals s: 1 2 1 2 0 2 1 0 9 (1.125)
Goals c: 0 0 1 3 3 0 2 2 11 (1.375)
Points: 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 7 (out of 21)
Wins: 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
Draws: 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Losses: 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 4
Cup wins: 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1

So, for Woods to statistically equal Newell's record as much as possible over this period (excluding goals conceded, obviously, which is impossible for Woods to rectify as it's already in excess of Newell's figure), the following must happen: Grimsby must beat Macclesfield by five goals, with 20 shots on goal (12 of which must be on target). Our possession must not dip below 26%, which I'm sure will be fairly easy.

But... hang on. There's an anomaly. Newell had one cup game in that period, Woods had two. So perhaps this is an unfair reflection? Okay, well, let's look at it again. Woods has had five league games in charge... let's see how that compares with Newell's record.

Newell - 5 league games

Possession: 44 50 50 51 48 48.6%
On goal: 15 11 3 12 14 55(11)
On target: 7 9 1 2 6 25(5)
Goals s: 1 2 0 1 0 4(0.8)
Goals c: 1 3 3 2 2 11(2.2)
Points: 1 0 0 0 0 1
Wins: 0 0 0 0 0 0
Draws: 1 0 0 0 0 1
Losses: 0 1 1 1 1 4
Cup wins: 0 0 0 0 0 0

Neil Woods - 5 league games

Possession: 55 48 63 50 52 53.6%
On goal: 8 9 2 4 10 33 (6.6)
On target: 5 6 1 1 2 15 (3)
Goals s: 1 2 0 0 0 3 (0.6)
Goals c: 3 2 0 0 3 8 (1.6)
Points: 0 1 1 1 0 3
Wins: 0 0 0 0 0 0
Draws: 0 1 1 1 0 3
Losses: 1 0 0 0 1 2

And now for that part we've all been waiting for: add Newell's SIXTH league game...

Newell - 6 league games

Possession: 54 44 50 50 51 48 49.5%
On goal: 6 15 11 3 12 14 61 (10.167)
On target: 5 7 9 1 2 6 30 (5)
Goals s: 2 1 2 0 1 0 6 (1)
Goals c: 0 1 3 3 2 2 11 (1.833)
Points: 3 1 0 0 0 0 4
Wins: 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Draws: 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
Losses: 0 0 1 1 1 1 4

...and there we have it. Judging purely on league performance, to statistically equal Newell's record, we have to secure a 3-3 draw, with 28 shots on goal, 15 of which must be on target. Our possession must not dip below 29%.

Of course, we don't WANT Neil to equal Newell, we want him to be better than his predecessor. However, purely on the basis of statistics, this is what Newell must do to at least be better than his predecessor over the same period in terms of number of matches played.

It's up to you which you choose: we either need to win 5-0 (for those of you choosing the 8-match comparison), or draw 3-3, for a statistical match.

To finish, some of you may be questioning why possession, goals scored and goals conceded were included. To answer this, it's to compare style of management. A lot has been said about how Town are more exciting to watch. Passing-wise this is certainly true, as can be seen in the increased possession rates under Woods. But under Newell, Grimsby had far more chances to score, and so naturally scored more. So which is better - increased possession, or number of chances?

Roll on Saturday when we find out, statistically, which boss is better!

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