Caretaker bosses often get overlooked in the grand scheme of things. when one man goes and another comes in, we’re either looking backward or forwards. The here and now feels like a form of stasis.
However, did you know that one man, a three-time caretaker boss, spent more days in charge of the Imps than Steve Wicks, a permanent manager? Grant Brown has had three stints as caretaker, totalling 46 days, four more than Steve Wicks managed. He got more points than Wicks, as well!
The caretaker manager is not something that was all that common once upon a time. Going back over dates for the last sixty years, we often changed managers during the summer or unveiled a new face almost immediately. One of our first caretaker bosses, Ian Branfoot, didn’t take charge of any matches, bridging the gap between George Kerr and Willie Bell without a ball being kicked. When Keith left, it was summer, ditto Alan Buckley. Often, when one man leaves, another is there waiting in the wings – quite literally when Wicks was replaced by John Beck.
I’ve gone back to the seventies and tracked each caretaker manager we’ve had, their length of service, the matches they oversaw, and what happened to them afterward, to see how Tom Shaw, our current man, compares. It’s revealed something quite startling: he is our most successful caretaker manager ever – he’s the first to oversee back-to-back wins and the first to get more than four points.
Since 1978, we’ve had a caretaker take charge of the team on no fewer than seven occasions. Here’s how they did.