A recent study by leading economics consultancy firm London Economics has concluded that a mid-season change of manager in the Premier league results in clubs earning up to seven extra points over the course of ten matches.
A rather bold conclusion perhaps, with many feeling that any kind of reaction to a manager’s departure is entirely organic, enigmatically subjective one; however, this unique study takes into account a range of variables such as ease of fixtures, opposition form, and new manager pedigree to quantify the overall impact a change in the hot seat has.
London Economics’ study, led by economists Rohit Ladher and Edward Glossop, analyzes data from the past five seasons in the Premier league, statistically calculating clubs’ points in relation to a range of natural variables to establish an estimated trend seen in recent years. A significant proportion of the study focuses the impact had on managerial changes amongst teams placed in 15th position and under, evaluating the resultant performance levels of the respective sides and the financial consequence this may likely have.
The figures accumulated from such clubs over the past five seasons show a marked improvement in form over the following ten games compared to the final ten games under the previous manager. Notable examples show Sam Alladyce replacing Paul Ince at Blackburn Rovers, resulting in an 11 point improvement, and Roy Hodgson succeeding Roberto Di Matteo at West Bromwich Albion, garnering an extra ten points. Calculations from such data show that changing a manager could produce five extra points over the ten games following the change. Project leaders Ladher and Glossop also took into account variables such as strength of opposition, meaning that victories against higher placed teams, for example Manchester United, would in effect be worth more points. Under this method the pair calculated that this ten-game rule could have an even greater impact, reaching up to seven points depending on the strength of opposition faced.
As the study identifies, this point increase provides overwhelming benefits for the clubs involved, particularly when considering the inevitable relegation episode seen on an annual basis. Over the past five seasons teams have required a final points tally of 37 in order to avoid the drop, with relegated clubs finishing the season with an average of 35 points. This therefore creates an incredibly fine margin, with a mere two points making a significant financial difference come the start of the new season. From this accumulated data a mid-season change of manager will gain teams the extra points required to save them and retain Premier league status.
The main example cited in London Economics study is Sunderland’s decision to replace Martin O’Neil with Paulo Di Canio last season, which, according to their calculated conclusions, hypothesizes that this managerial change saved them from relegation as they amassed five points more than they would have had O’Neil remained in charge. In this case, you can look back to Sunderland’s memorable derby victory over Newcastle United and Di Canio’s iconic celebration, a moment that truly changed the side’s mentality and confidence.
The financial implications of retaining Premier league status are truly immeasurable, with clubs now receiving phenomenal sums of money in broadcasting revenues each season, income that is invested to improve and maintain the health and hopeful status of the club. In accordance with London Economics figures, the points increase will save a club in relation to media revenue, resulting in clubs gaining around £40 million in broadcasting revenues. This is of course dependent on the club’s league position when the manager is changed, as a club already consigned to the Championship when the new boss takes over being exempt from this conclusion.
Furthermore to this, using the compensation payments of Roman Abramovic at Chelsea since he took over the club, the average payout to a manager relieved of his duties works out at £8.5 million, acting as an upper estimate for compensation for the higher league sides. Considering the £40 million broadcasting revenue gained for each club, the financial gain therefore massively outweighs the compensation payouts made by clubs. The payouts made by teams further down the table will logically be more menial amounts, resulting in an even greater financial gain as a result.
With the managerial merry-go-round now a regular and all too common occurrence, statistics and studies such as these ones can perhaps bring about an air of positivity and optimism for fans. Situations like this often arise following a string of indifferent results on the field, and a change of personnel it seems is becoming a proven and legitimate method of freshening clubs and improving their chances of success on various levels, however there will always be a call for patience and belief in whoever is at the club’s helm.
How do you feel managerial changes positively impacts clubs? What mid-season appointments can you think of that have turned a clubs fortunes around and why were they so successful?