Can Dean Smith give City the new manager bounce?

Brentford manager Dean Smith

Warming to the task - Dean Smith during his days in charge at Brentford - Credit: PA

Dean Smith will step out at Carrow Road on Saturday with 25,000 Norwich City fans looking for him to prove the theory of new manager bounce. 

It’s a term with no mathematical certainty attached to it, of course, but it’s become a decent gauge of what fans can expect in terms of impact when a new manager arrives at their club. 

Smith’s first game in charge after succeeding Daniel Farke will be at home to Southampton on Saturday, followed by Wolves at home a week later, then trips to Newcastle and Tottenham before a home game against Manchester United. Five games in which his impact can be measured. 

But what of his impact at the three previous clubs he has managed? His managerial career began at Walsall in January 2011, before he moved on to Brentford in November 2015 and then Aston Villa in October 2018. 

Coventry City manager Mark Robins (left) talks to Walsall manager Dean Smith during the npower Footb

Dean Smith, then at Walsall, chats to Coventry City manager Mark Robins - Credit: PA


Smith had played for Walsall, and returned as head of youth before a 17-day spell as caretaker boss turned into a permanent deal. 

Walsall were nine points adrift at the bottom of League One when he took over - they finished one place and one point above the drop zone. 

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First five results

Exeter 2 Walsall 1 

Walsall 1 Oldham 1 

Walsall 6 Bristol Rovers 1 

Notts County 1 Walsall 1 

Carlisle 1 Walsall 3 

Form: L-D-W-D-W (8 points from possible 15) 

Soundbite: “I’m happy with how we are developing as a club. Now I’m looking forward to continuing the progress we’ve made. I’ve enjoyed my time in charge so far and I’m still learning every day. I feel like I’m getting better as a manager and I just want to keep developing.” 


The Bees were 11th in the Championship, four points off the play-off positions and brought in Smith to replace the sacked Marinus Dijkhuizen. 

First five results: 

Brentford 2 MK Dons 0 

Fulham 2 Brentford 2 

Cardiff 3 Brentford 2 

Brentford 4 Huddersfield 2 

Brentford 0 Brighton 0 

Form: W-D-L-W-D (8 points from possible 15) 

Soundbite: “It is an exciting club - there is a project here and a strategy of how they want to do it and how they want to do things that fit in with my values as well and that is important... it’s a good fit.” 

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith (left) and first team coach John Terry during the Carabao Cup, Quarte

Dean Smith with his first team coach at Aston Villa, John Terry - Credit: PA


Villa had made a slow start to the 2018-19 season so parted company with Steve Bruce and brought in Smith, a lifelong Villa fan, who named John Terry as his assistant. Villa were 14th in the table and in need of a pick-me-up. 

First five results: 

Villa 1 Swansea 0 

Norwich 2 Villa 1 

QPR 1 Villa 0 

Villa 2 Bolton 0 

Derby 0 Villa 3 

Form: W-L-L-W-W (9 points from a possible 15) 

Soundbite: "It was great to win it (against Swansea) for the fans. It was one of the biggest crowds of the day, including the Premier League. It just shows what can happen at this club if we have a plan to move forward." 


Smith’s points return from his first five games at each of his previous clubs averages 8.33 or 1.8 points per game. So far, Norwich have picked up just five points out of a possible 33, an awful lot of fingers and toes will be crossed this weekend that the new manager bounce theory holds water. No pressure then, Dean. 

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