Mark Robins 1: The Mark Robins Effect.
Mark Robins has never managed a club from the start of a season. At Rotherham, he was installed to improve a spluttering Millers team, while Barnsley took a punt on him improving their form early in a season. Having left Oakwell after a dispute (which still rankles the fans a bit, from what I've seen) his stint at Coventry began after their season didn't begin as planned.
Now, as Huddersfield Town are looking to invest in his abilities, he would take over a Terriers team who started well but have seen their form dip, worryingly, after that. He'll get a reputation if he keeps fighting fires. Still, that's how he made his name, saving Alex Ferguson's job, so there's a certain poetry to it if it is to be so. He will, of course, be the fourth ex-Manchester Utd player out of nine Huddersfield Town managers (Macari, Bruce and Ritchie the others)
You've read these pages before, so you know well enough that I'm not going to wax lyrical about the strengths of Robins, or my hopes for his tenure - they're fairly consistent with the majority.
• Work within a budget but seek to improve the Huddersfield Town squad with shrewd acquisition of younger players and development of our own youth.
• Maintain and gradually improve upon current league status.
• Treat us to a decent cup run every few years.
I'll move on, then, to the graphs and numbers. You knew it was coming.
Seeing as Robins is being used as a fire-fighter, I'll do the same as I've done with a few managers before - a quick comparative analysis with teams before and after they joined. We've progressed, in football, to a point where a 'bad spell' is shorter than ten games, so I'm going to do this for six game periods. As a new manager, you don't get long to make an impact, and six games isn't long.
I'm sure you can appreciate, looking at the yellow 'improvement' bars that Mark Robins makes when he first takes over a club. It's a pretty immediate change - which is a good sign. Obviously, an improvement of results can be quite difficult to analyse in terms of what has happened. Well, yes and no. Its worth looking at those PPG figures in terms of goals for and against - they're represented on the same graph below (goals for in red, goals against in blue).
Mark Robins' teams score more goals early on. Not millions more, but more. They don't, necessarily, concede fewer. That will win games. If you're not losing by many, and you start scoring a few more, you'll win more. The teams, because they're struggling when he comes, then improve in terms of results. It suggests good things to me - suggests he'd come in to Town and try to get them scoring more goals immediately. That's been the problem all season, so why not bring someone in who is known to try tackle it head on?
Of course, Mark Robins has not yet been installed as Huddersfield Town manager, but now would be a good time to do it. A 'free' game against Wigan at the weekend to get to know the squad coming up, then a couple of games against teams who were his rivals as a player (Forest, from his Leicester days and Ipswich, from his Norwich days). If you can't get a team psyched up for those lower-table ding-dongs...well...