Maybe it’s my age? Or the fact that I coach youth football? Or it could just be down to Jose Mourinho?
Whatever the reason, my main interest in football these days is in the ‘Cult of the Manager’. I am a little obsessed in what they know, their style of management and their impact on games, examples of my previous articles in this vein are here and here.
I often ponder the question whether football managers actually make any difference to teams, surely they just pick the team, the tactics and then the players do the hard work? And yet, in todays’ world, managers are as famous and revered as the players, if not more so. Indeed, there are a number of clubs where the manager is the highest paid ‘player’.
Managers are now celebrities and are regarded as one of the most important factors in the success of teams. Whilst there are a growing number of blogs and sites that provide insights, statistical analysis and all types of data on players, there is very little out there looking at the performances of managers.
Castrol have provided a manager league table on the LMA website (here) for the past 10 years, which is based on wins and losses, goals and clean sheets and winning margins. However, it doesn’t take into account any impacts before or during games or the level of opposition, so I’m going to support that with my version of a Premier League manager index. Let’s call it the Managers Impact Index (MII).
The Manager Impact Index makes the assumption that managers only have an impact before the 1st half, at half-time and with substitutions. We also, for the sake of the MII, have to assume that impacts of substitutes are measured in goals and assists. I’m not a huge fan of the assists stat when looking at individuals, however, this isn’t about analysing players so I think I’m safe in using it.
For the sake of my own sanity and to make the collation of the Index as simple as possible, I have kept the measures as basic as possible. Take it at face value. It may develop into a deeper Index over time.
The measures are:
Explanations for each measure as follows:
Result Points – Managers are given points for Wins, Draws and Losses, however there is a catch. Points are awarded by the standard of the opposition. Using the well-respected (and much reported) Bloomberg Sports Premier League Projections (here) I have split the league into 4 sections based on where Bloomberg have predicted them to finish. Don’t shout at me if you disagree, shout at Bloomberg.
Points are then graded based on the level that managers are playing, as per the table below:
For example, a manager in Group 1 that beats a manager in Group 4 get 0 points, as they are expected to win. Whereas a manager in Group 4 beating a manager in Group 1 is worth 10 points to the winning manager and -6 points to the loser.
The Half Specific scores speak for themselves. 1st and 2nd half wins and clean sheets earn 5 and 2 points respectively and the first goal scored in each half is worth 5 points.
The Half Time Response measures are based on the changes to half time scores results after the final whistle. For example, if a manager is losing at half time and then goes on to win the game the manager will earn 10 points, conversely if a manager is leading at half time and then goes on to lose, they will receive -6 points.
Subs Score Defining Impact is defined as either a goal or an assist by a substitute and is worth 5 points for each impact.
Finally, in order to account the (perceived) difficulty in winning away games, an extra 4 points is awarded for a win, with 2 points for a draw.
The points are fairly arbitrary, in that I wanted a large enough reward for a Group 4 manager beating a Group 1 manager as, in all honesty, if Steve Bruce beats David Moyes at Old Trafford he will have pulled off one hell of a result. One that no-one would expect (except Hull City fans).
So to the MII as it stands:
Or, for an alternative, easier on the eye view:
So after 2 weeks in, David Moyes is leading the Manager chart, largely as a result of Rooney’s 2 assists after being brought on as a substitute v Swansea. Southampton’s Pochettino is doing surprisingly well at gathering the points, with his points being mainly won by his teams excellent 2nd half responses (after his interpreted half-time team talk?).
Alan Pardew has a bit of work to do, with his managerial impact almost non-existent so far.
Remember, the Manager Impact Index isn’t about how well a team is doing, it is about awarding points for assumed manager impacts. I will update the Index after every game and publish the table on a weekly basis.
Please feel free to comment below (or tweet me @trigsmith) or offer suggestions so that the Manager Impact Index can grow and develop as the season progresses.