Lambert has no fear over 'weak in the mind' manager-of-the-month curse... but history suggests it may just be real
PUBLISHED: 10:14 13 September 2019
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert has the League One Manager-of-the-Month trophy in his grasp after an impressive August.
So now it's customary to discuss whether this means the Scot, and indeed Ipswich Town's game with Doncaster Rovers tomorrow, is cursed.
The manager of the month curse is a real fear, with fans of clubs whose manager has been put up for honours taking to social media to plead with the judging panel to present their trophy elsewhere.
Lambert doesn't think so, though and has made his feelings clear, saying yesterday: "I've never been superstitious or bought into any of that. I think if you're like that you're maybe a bit weak in the mind.
"I'll go and try and win and it doesn't matter, that kind of thing."
But are the fears of others founded in reality?
We take a look here.
Ipswich managers have only previously won manager of the month awards three times since the EFL was re-structured in 2004, creating what we now know as the Championship and League One.
And the good news is the curse has never completely struck.
Joe Royle was the first to pick up such an award, claiming the second tier prize in November 2004 following a month made up of four wins and one draw. His first game after winning the award was away at Crewe, with the Blues coming from 2-0 down to secure a 2-2 draw thanks to Richard Naylor and Darren Bent.
Mick McCarthy picked up the prize in both September 2014 (when Tyrone Mings also won the player of the month award) and then again in November 2015 (alongside Daryl Murphy). These were followed by a 1-1 home draw with Blackburn and a 1-0 victory away at MK Dons.
No curse there.
However, George Burley had a less successful time after picking up individual prizes. The November 2000 award was followed up by a 1-0 defeat at home to Derby, August 1999's prize brought a 1-1 draw with Portsmouth and the five-successive wins which won the March 1998 gong were rewarded by a 2-1 defeat at promotion rivals Nottingham Forest.
Conclusion: A mixed bag.
Now we move on to boss Lambert, who has now won monthly divisional awards on five occasions.
His successes with Colchester were recognised in January 2009 but a 1-0 loss to Tranmere followed, before he secured back-to-back awards with Norwich in December of that year and January 2010.
That stunning run saw the Canaries go 12 games unbeaten and win the final eight of those before, you guessed it, the men in yellow lost their first game in February as they went down 2-1 to Millwall.
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They still won the league, though, and followed that up with a second-place finish in the Championship to secure Premier League football. Lambert's success in the second tier was never rewarded with a monthly award but he did ultimately pick up the LMA Manager of the Year award for the Championship.
His only monthly award in the second tier came with Wolves in March 2017, which was again followed by a defeat as the men from Molineux went down 3-1 at Bristol City.
Conclusion: Lambert may indeed be cursed.
The League One picture
Looking back over the League One monthly winners over the last three years doesn't make particularly good reading.
Of the 27 winners only eight have followed up their awards with victory in their next game - that's a hit rate of 30 per cent. Another seven managed draws.
If you want to look at that in positive sense, 56 per cent of managers have claimed points from the games immediately after they lifted the colourful glass trophy.
But 44 per cent of winners went on to lose their next game so, combining that with those who could only draw, gives you a figure of 70 per cent of managers who failed to win their next games over this three-year period.
Conclusion: You can prove anything with statistics, but these suggest the idea of a curse may have legs.
A further curveball
As if one curse wasn't enough…
This game of course sees Town return to action following an international break and it's fair to say Town's record coming out of those is dire.
They haven't won their game after returning to action since September 2014, when Mick McCarthy's side beat Millwall, with the record since then reading: P18 W0 D8 L10.
Over the last 10 seasons the club's record following international breaks reads: P35 W4 D13 L18.
Conclusion: It's unclear whether one curse cancels out the other.
Whether or not you believe in curses or are in any way superstitious is of course up to you.
As a club Ipswich have a mixed set of results following successful months while Lambert's own personal history isn't particular good in this regard.
Then there's the League One statistics which show less than one in every three managers to win awards back that up with a win.
The truth is, though, if Ipswich play better than Doncaster tomorrow and score more goals than Darren Moore's side then, curse or no curse, three points will stay at Portman Road.