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19/12/2008 No.54
Kevin Pullein
Fri Dec 19, 2008
How bad do results have to be before a Premier League manager loses his job? It is a question punters need to answer to bet in "sack race" markets. Blackburn Rovers fired Paul Ince for failing to win any of his last 11 games but managers are often dismissed for less.

A typical sacked Premier League manager is one whose team had been performing at relegation level for the last dozen or so games and seemed to be getting worse. The teams who finished one place above the relegation line in the past 10 seasons gained an average of 39 points, or just over one per game. Forty managers who started one of those seasons at a Premier League club left involuntarily before its end. On average, their teams had gained approximately 1½ points from their last three games, 4 points from their last six games, and 9½ points from their last 12.

Thus, they gained fewer than half as many points from their last three games as they did from their last six, and fewer than half as many points from their last six games as they did from their last 12. In other words, results had been getting progressively worse. Over the whole period they had been performing at a relegation-threatening level, averaging just 0.8 points per game. Half of these teams were already in the drop zone and most of the rest were heading rapidly toward it.

Obviously, different clubs start out with different degrees of faith in their manager, and retain different degrees of confidence in his ability to get them out of any slump they might find themselves in. Great calm is being expressed at the moment on behalf of the owners of Manchester City.

It is easy, however, to understand why Mark Hughes is currently 7-2 favourite with Paddy Power to be the next Premier League manager to leave his post. His team Manchester City are one place above the relegation line and from their last 12 games they have gained just two wins, three draws and seven defeats. Typically, a sacked Premier League manager gained these results from his last 12 games: two wins, three draws and seven defeats.

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