Managers DO make a difference!

30 01 2009

IN the midst of what appears to be a negative phase of my study I decided to try to apply a little more rigour and see if there was some more concrete evidence that managers do make a difference.



My commenter gnomechompski pointed out something I had been considering for a while about the performance of football teams under new managers. So, what I have done is gather data on the last 10 matches of various managers at various clubs and the same for their successors in the following 10 matches. The constant here (at least roughly) is the same squad. I have used the standard points (win =3, draw=1) and calculated a “value” for each Manager for those games played. The results are below.


Juande Ramos 0.3
Harry Redknapp 0.73
Roy Keane 0.23
Ricky Sbragia 0.56
Paul Ince 0.13
Sam Allardyce 0.62
Harry Redknapp 0.57
Tony Adams 0.37


It makes interesting reading. The first three teams were clearly in a very poor vein of form in the 10 games prior to sacking their managers. In each of the three clubs the same squad subsequently had a significant improvement in performance. In the case of Portsmouth, the Manager Harry Redknapp was actually doing well and was lured back to Tottenham to take over there. His team were taken over by his No2 Tony Adams. So, the same team and in fact a manger well known to the players, took over and performed significantly less well.

Accepting that these are not perfect tests and that the opposition was not identical in the pre- and post managerial changes I do believe that this gives some significant evidence to the fact that Managers DO make a difference!


update. 2 years later. First thing to note is that Harry Rednapp is STILL the manager of Tottenham and they are doing very well under his care. both the other managers have again moved on. lastly here is a link to the Freakonomics guys discussing the same in North American Football




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