Outside the Box: Pilgrims' progress was slow but Jack got them up at last


Figures compiled by the League Managers Association suggest that the current average length of tenure for a manager is three years, 11 months in the Premier League; 17 months in both the Championship and League One; and 26 months in League Two.

All of which makes it the more remarkable that if Sir Alex Ferguson is still in position at Manchester United come August, he will be among the top dozen longest-serving managers of all time with one club. According to the LMA's records, his 28th season at Old Trafford will put him joint 10th with Brighton's Charles Webb (1919-47) and Bob Jack, who held the reins at Plymouth Argyle from 1910-38.

Jack was a fellow Scot, whose team set a record by finishing runners-up in the Third Division South for a frustrating six consecutive years (1922-27). These days he would probably have been sacked, but the Pilgrims' board, like United's in Ferguson's early days, held firm, and promotion was finally achieved in 1930.

His son David joined Bolton from Plymouth and in 1923 scored the first FA Cup final goal at Wembley, later playing for Arsenal and England. However, even Fergie may struggle to match Fred Everiss, who was in charge of West Bromwich Albion as secretary-manager from 1902-48.

Echo down the years

Words of wisdom from another great manager, the late Bill Shankly, were always sought after, and a collection from his earliest days at Liverpool has now been published as Shankly: The Lost Diary (Trinity Mirror Sport Media, £9.99).

It's based on a weekly series he contributed to the Liverpool Echo starting in May 1962, which he intended "to maintain interest in football in Liverpool and district during the close season". As his team had just won promotion back to the First Division, where they would join the next champions, Everton, interest seems unlikely to have been in short supply.

A bout turn by troll

Since last week's item about rival Sheffield United and Wednesday fans contesting a welterweight bout at the Don Valley Stadium, another Sheffield pugilist with football connections has been making news.

Curtis Woodhouse, the former United captain who turned to professional boxing, was bitterly upset at losing his English light-welterweight title to Lancashire's Shayne Singleton on a disputed points decision, and did not have his mood improved by abuse from a Twitter troll, who called him "a complete disgrace". He used Twitter to discover the troll's address and announced that he was on his way round before his arch-critic suddenly – and understandably – backed off with a weasly tweet or two about "a bit of harmless fun".

Five go off in a strop

Having had last Sunday's Ryman League match against Thurrock abandoned because five of their players were sent off (in separate incidents), Wingate & Finchley can hardly have been surprised that the result has been confirmed as a 1-0 defeat, which was the score at the time. And the name of the League secretary investigating the case? Ms Kellie Discipline.

Coaches' sharp practice

As the theme tune to the 1980s children's TV series Jossy's Giants (written by the late darts commentator Sid Waddell) used to claim, "Football's just a branch of science". Here to prove it is the Science + Football conference at the London Soccerdrome (adjacent to the O2) next weekend.

Speakers addressing the theme "intelligent coaches produce intelligent footballers" will include the former England coach Steve McClaren, Manchester United's head of sports science, Chelsea's head of international scouts and Liverpool's director of performance analysis. For further details, visit: www.scienceandfootball.com.

s.tongue@independent.co.uk; twitter.com/@stevetongue

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Gabriel Agbonlahor, Alexis Sanchez, Alan Pardew and Graziano Pelle
footballAfter QPR draw, follow Villa vs Arsenal, Newcastle vs Hull and Swansea vs Southampton
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam