It is a common belief with Premier League owners that sacking your manager will improve their clubs results, but is this really that case?
We look at whether teams sacking their manager has a short-term or a long-term impact on their side and whether it was better off sticking with the manager they had in the first place.
We have looked at all the managers that have been sacked by Premier League clubs in the 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 seasons.
First of all, we look at whether sacking your manager has a short-term impact on the teams performances. We have done this by comparing the previous managers last 6 matches to the new managers first 6 matches and looked at how many points were earned per match, how many goals were scored per match and how many goals were conceded per match.
Chris Hughton was the first Premier League manager to be sacked in the 2010/2011 season when he was replaced by Alan Pardew at Newcastle.
As you can see Pardew took one more point per match in his first six games in charge of Newcastle than Hughton did in his last six matches. Newcastle also scored 1 more goal per game and conceded 0.66 fewer goals per match in Pardew’s first six matches.
Sam Allardyce was then sacked by Blackburn a week after Hughton left Newcastle and his replacement was Steve Kean.
Kean took 0.33 fewer points per match in his first six matches in charge compared to Allardyce’s last six matches for Blackburn. Blackburn scored 0.66 fewer goals per match in Kean’s first six matches but did concede 0.66 fewer goals per match.
Roy Hodgson was replaced at Liverpool by Anfield legend Kenny Dalglish on the 8th January 2011 and Liverpool took 0.67 more points per match in King Kenny’s first six matches in charge. Liverpool also scored 0.34 more goals per match and conceded the same amount of goals per match in Kenny’s first six matches than they did in Hodgson’s final 6 Premier League matches at Liverpool.
Roberto Di Matteo was also sacked in the 2010/2011 season by West Brom and replaced by former Liverpool and now England manager Roy Hodgson. Hodgson made an immediate impact at The Hawthorns taking 2 points per match in his first 6 matches, which was 1.33 points per match better than West Brom took in Di Matteo’s final 6 matches. West Brom also scored 1 more goal per match and conceded 1 less goal per match in Hodgson’s first six games compared to Di Matteo’s final six matches.
Carlo Ancelotti was sacked by Chelsea at the end of the 2010/2011 season and replaced with Andre Villas-Boas for the start of the 2011/2012 Premier League season. Villas-Boas took 0.5 more points per match in his first six matches than Ancelotti did in his final six matches at Stamford Bridge, while Chelsea also scored 0.17 more goals per match in Villas-Boas’ first six matches and conceded the same amount of goals.
Martin O’Neil replaced Steve Bruce at Sunderland in November and had an instant impact on results by taking 2.17 points per match in his first six matches. This was 1.34 points per match more than Bruce took in his final six matches at Sunderland. Sunderland also scored 0.83 goals more per match and conceded 0.34 fewer goals per match in their first six matches under O’Neil than they did in the last six matches under Bruce.
Mark Hughes was brought in by QPR to replace Neil Warnock at Loftus Road in January 2012. Hughes took 0.5 more points per match , his team scored 0.66 more goals per match and conceded the same amount of goals per match in his first six matches than Warnock did in his last six matches
Wolves decided to sack long-term manager Mick McCarthy in February and replace him with McCarthy’s number two Terry Connor to try and help them avoid relegation from the Premier League (Editors Note: After every manager they approached knocked them back!). Connor didn’t impress in his first six matches though, as Wolves took 0.5 fewer points per match, scored 0.34 fewer goals per match and conceded 0.5 more goals per match than they did in McCarthy’s final six matches.
Finally, in March, Roman Abramovich made the decision to sack Andre Villas-Boas and replace him with fans favourite Roberto Di Matteo. This turned out to be a good move as Chelsea won the FA Cup, Champions League and took 0.87 points per match more in their first six Premier League games under Di Matteo than they did in Villas-Boas’ final six matches. Chelsea also scored 0.33 more goals per match and conceded 0.17 fewer goals per match in Di Matteo’s first six matches.
On average, in the last two seasons, the Premier League teams that have sacked their managers have made an improvement in the first six matches under their new managers (short term). The teams that sacked their managers took on average 0.59 more points per match in their first six matches than they did in the previous six matches under their old manager. The teams also scored 0.37 more goals per match and conceded 0.26 fewer goals per match in the first six games under their new managers.
We now look at whether sacking your manager has an impact at the end of the same season that the manager was fired or in Anceloti and Villas-Boas case the next season as Ancelotti was fired after the last game of the 2010/2011 season.
Newcastle decided to replace Chris Hughton with Alan Pardew during the 2010/2011 season and Pardew took 0.03 more points per match than Hughton, conceded 0.05 fewer goals per match than Hughton but scored 0.11 fewer goals per match than Hughton. Pardew also finished the season in 12th position, one position lower than when Hughton left the club.
Sam Allardyce was replaced as Blackburn manager by Steve Kean, but Blackburn’s fortunes didn’t improve. Kean took 0.01 fewer goals per match than Allardyce, scored 0.04 fewer goals per match but did concede 0.18 fewer goals per match in the 2010/2011 season than Allardyce did. Blackburn finished the season in 15th position, 2 places lower than when Allardyce left Ewood Park.
Kenny Dalglish improved Liverpool’s fortunes when he took over from Roy Hodgson, as Liverpool took 0.58 more points per match under Dalglish. Liverpool also scored 0.74 more goals per match and conceded 0.41 fewer goals per match under Dalglish than they did under Hodgson in the 2010/2011 season. Liverpool then went on to finish the season in 6th place, 6 places higher than when Hodgson left the club.
Roberto Di Matteo was the final manager to be sacked during the 2010/2011 season when he was replaced by former Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson. Hodgson made a much bigger impact at West Brom than he did at Liverpool as he took 0.58 more points per match than Di Matteo. West Brom also scored 0.68 more goals per match and conceded 0.15 fewer goals per match under the new England manager. West Brom also finished the season in 11th position, 5 places higher than when Di Matteo left the club.
When Ancelotti was sacked after his second place finish a lot was expected of Villas-Boas, but the former Porto manager didn’t live up to expectations. Villas-Boas took 0.25 fewer points per match than Ancelotti, scored 0.08 fewer goals per match and conceded 0.32 more goals per match. Villas-Boas left Chelsea in 6th position, 4 places below where Ancelotti left the club.
After Steve Bruce’s poor start to the 2011/2012 Martin O’Neil was bought in to Sunderland to turn the clubs fortunes around. O’Neil took 0.51 more points per match than Bruce, scored 0.05 more goals per match , but conceded 0.09 more goals per match than Bruce. Sunderland finished the season in 13th position, 3 places higher than when Bruce was sacked. Last season O’Neil was the most successful of new managers in turning it around and improving results.
Mark Hughes was bought in to replace Neil Warnock but QPR finished in exactly the same position under Hughes than they did when Warnock departed. Hughes took 0.07 fewer points per match, but did score 0.28 more goals per match and conceded 0.03 fewer goals per match than Warnock.
When long term manager Mick McCarthy was sacked from Wolves Terry Connor finally got the chance to step up. Connor did not win one single game in charge of Wolves and took 0.41 fewer points per match than McCarthy. Wolves also scored 0.16 fewer goals per match and conceded 0.54 more goals per match under Connor. Wolves finished the season rock bottom, 2 places below McCarthy’s final position.
Villas-Boas was finally sacked after not improving Chelsea’s fortunes but would another manager change improve Chelsea’s results. Di Matteo took 0.06 fewer points per match than Villas-Boas, scored 0.10 fewer goals per match and conceded 0.08 more goals per match. Di Matteo also led Chelsea to a 6th place finish, one position below where Villas-Boas left the club.
Overall the new managers took 0.10 more points per match than the managers that were sacked, scored 0.14 more goals per match but conceded 0.03 more goals per match which is not really much of a difference as over a twenty game period it’s a two point increase. With the amount of money spent on pay-offs is it really worth removing the manager?
Also, the position that the team finished at the end of the season did not change from the position the team was in when the manager was sacked in the first place.
We then looked at how the four new managers from the 2010/2011 season got on in their first full season in charge of their new clubs and compared the average to how the managers got on in the previous season.
On average the managers took 0.03 fewer points per match, scored 0.19 fewer goals per match, but conceded 0.07 fewer goals per match in their second season. Alan Pardew was also the only manager to improve any of his statistics in the second season compared to the previous season.
Sacking your manager does have an impact during the first six matches of the new managers reign, as new managers take on average 1.5 points per match in their first six matches.
The impact of the new manager is still there for the rest of the season, but the impact decreases as time goes on. The new managers took 0.21 fewer points per match in a whole season compared to when they took charge of their first six matches and then 0.18 fewer points per match in their second season compared to their first season.
The goals scored per match also decreases as time goes on as for the first six matches teams scored 1.57 goals per match, while teams scored 1.48 goals per match in the rest of the season and 1.29 goals in their second season.
In short the short-term gains are high for teams that change their managers but not all of these changes bring sustained results over the long-term. Out of the managers mentioned last season only Alan Pardew has significantly improved Newcastle from the short-term and longer term statistics (ie over two seasons) whilst Martin O’Neil shows signs that he could improve Sunderland further too. Are teams becoming too trigger happy to make changes? On the reflection of this article we’d say they are.
With at least three new managers being appointed at Premier League clubs this summer it will be interesting to see how they compare to their predecessors last year.