The Manager’s Sack Race

Even at this early stage of the season, there will always be talk of managers being sacked. This season sees the top three Premier League clubs with new managers and it is causing a ruckus among fans and in the press who are all wondering, does a new manger affect the performance of a club? After all, it’s the players that are out there defending and scoring goals.

Last year across the English top football divisions, 20 people resigned and 43 were sacked. That’s a huge number of changes. After the resignation of Manchester United stalwart Alex Ferguson last season, the longest serving manager at a club is Arsene Wenger, who has been with the Gunners for 18 years. There’s little chance of Wegner going. He’s even named slightly in line with his team, like it was his destiny to work there. This is despite his team failing to win a trophy in nearly ten years.

Next up is Alan Pardew, but shockingly, his time with his club doesn’t begin to compare to Wenger’s, with the manger at beleaguered club Newcastle a mere two and a half seasons since joining the team in December 2010. In a recent poll on the Guardian Website, 32% of people voted that Pardew was going to be the next man to face the chop in the Premier League.

Why is it so easy to sack a football manager, seemingly at will? In other industries, it is much rarer to see someone in an executive or managerial position let go but in football, it seems to be at the drop of a hat.

The list of reasons for sackings is huge, from the manager ‘losing the dressing room’ where the players lose faith in the managers ability, issues between the club and the manager, timing issues, where there s no win for a number of games, cultural or even behavioural issues between the chief executive and the manager, and more.

However, research by a Dutch economist has shown that despite the sacking of management in claims that it will improve a team’s lot, there is little statistical evidence that sacking a manager has any effect on a team’s outcome. If a team has a run of bad games, those will sort themselves out to a normal standard regardless of who the manager is.

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