Club changes manager stats

Betting Fallacy 4 & 5


I beg your pardon? This excuse is trotted out even though sometimes four or even five days can elapse between a midweek European tie and the next Premiership fixture. Half of all European games, of course, are played at home.

And even the furthest-flung away game rarely involves a flight of more than three hours. And we are asked to believe that highly-paid, highly-trained athletes, in the peak of physical fitness, are still feeling groggy half a week or so later? I don't buy it.


Again, it isn't true - at least, not as a generally applicable rule.

It is often said that you should back a team who have just changed manager because the players will be eager to impress their new boss. The argument presupposes that they are capable of impressing their new boss.

The odds, in any case, will often have been adjusted to reflect the widely held belief that the team who have just changed manager will now get better. I have conducted a number of studies which suggest this simply does not happen.

One, on the Premiership between seasons 1998-99 and 2003-04, found that clubs who changed manager actually did worse in their next game than might have been anticipated. We remember the clubs who changed manager and promptly won. We forget all those who changed manager and promptly lost again.

In the longer run, the outlook is still grim. A 35-year study of the Bundesliga by University of Munster researcher Alexandra Tippenhauer - whose father, Hans-Dieter, was sacked by Arminia Bielefeld in 1980 -found that clubs who sacked a manager did no better in the next 12 games than they had done in the previous 12. A study in Holland by Dutch academics reached similar conclusions.

Ultimately, the net effect of all managerial changes must be zero. All clubs change their manager at one time or another. For every club that goes up in the standings, another must go down.

Which ones go up will depend on many factors, among them the quality of the new manager, the calibre of the players already at his disposal and the funds available to buy new players. The belief that changing a manager, in itself, improves results, if only in the short term, is false.

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