With an average of 40 dismissals a season, almost half the clubs in the Premiership and the Football League now change their manager every season. This is one of the findings from research conducted by Dr Sue Bridgewater from Warwick Business School. She found that over 500 managers from the four top English divisions have been dismissed since 1992. 678 managerial changes between August 1992 and December 2005 were examined. During that period she found 94 were still in post, 48 resigned for personal, advancement or other reasons, but no less than 536 were dismissed from their posts. On average this season a manager remained in post for just 1.72 years, down from an average of 2.7 years in 1992/3. Lower league managers have actually lost their posts at more than twice the rate of the Premiership. Last season three times as many managers were parted from their posts in Championship clubs than in the Premiership. The research dispels the myth that this rapid turnover in managers is simply a giant game of musical chairs with managers simply swapping clubs. In fact almost half of first time appointees go out of the game on losing their first post and are never appointed again. The research also showed that enormous turnover in managers is creating an unacceptable level of instability that damages individual team performances. The report found that clubs with the fewest managers over the period studied had an average win percentage of 40.9% compared with 32.7% for those clubs with the most frequent changes of manager. However, the report also found a significant change in the fortunes of managers brought about by the increasing uptake of relevant professional qualifications which is already making a real difference to management performance and thus length of tenure in management posts. The researchers found that managers with no qualifications, or only the more limited B license, achieved on average a score of 32.3% wins whereas those with Pro License averaged 37.1% wins.
If you want to read some other Warwick research on football, click here to read a recent paper by Wyn Grant.