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Halloween marks new peak for football manager dismissals - 13 chopped by end of October

  Dr Sue Bridgewater with Paul Ince and Les Ferdinand

New research by Dr Sue Bridgewater at the University of Warwick’s Warwick Business School reveals that the rate of dismissal of football managers continues to rise with a new peak in dismissals by Halloween. The research shows that the increased rate of dismissals is not matched by a decline in the performance of the managers dismissed.

In her most recent study for the League Managers Association (LMA) Dr Bridgewater looked  at dismissals from 1992 to the current season in 2007 – 08 season in which 15 managers have parted company with their clubs (Neil McDonald, Carlisle United; Martin Allen, Leicester; Ronnie Jepson, Gillingham, José Mourinho, Chelsea; John Gregory, QPR; Martin Foyle, Port Vale, Willie Donachie, Millwall, Peter Taylor, Crystal Palace, Peter Grant, Norwich, John Schofield, Lincoln, John Ward, Cheltenham, Steve Thompson, Notts Co, Sammy Lee, Bolton, Gary Megson, Leicester and Martin Jol, Tottenham Hotspurs). Only two of these departures have been resignations (those of John Ward and Gary Megson. The remaining 13 are dismissals.   

Dr Bridgewater notes that 10 of the managerial changes have taken place in October and that the first dismissal occurred after the first game of the season.  Since 1992-3, the pattern of manager dismissals shows two peaks. The traditional peak in May/June at the end of the season is increasingly matched or exceeded by an earlier peak in October/November. This pattern has emerged more clearly in the last three seasons. This years October/November peaks looks like being second only to that of 2001-2 which was a year of exceptionally high dismissals after the collapse of ITV Digital. This high early rate of dismissals may have been exacerbated by the timing of the international break this season, when clubs may have taken the opportunity of the break to make pending changes.    

In 2006 – 2007, the final figures stood at 46 dismissals and an unprecedented 11  resignations The dismissals were split 5 Premiership, 12 Championship, 15 League 1 and 12 League 2. The departures this season to date involve 3 Premiership, 5 Championship, 5 League 1 and 2 League 2 Managers. 

Last season’s high rate of departures in Championship and League 1 looks set to continue this term. The Championship figures may well be a consequence of the pressure to reach the Premiership. The chance of making that increasingly lucrative leap makes championship clubs take more dramatic measures early in the season.   

The report also shows that despite the acceleration in manager dismissals (The average tenure of dismissed Managers having dropped from 3.12 to 1.89 years over the period of the study  the actual  performance  of those managers has not declined (see win rate table 1 below)

   Table 1: Manager Dismissals and Resignations (by Season 1992 – 2007)
Season Manager Dismissals Manager
Average Tenure Dismissed Managers in Years Average Win % of
Dismissed Managers
1992-1993 30 1 3.12 37.24%
1993-1994 38 4 2.30 33.41%
1994-1995 44 7 2.55 33.17%
1995-1996 35 8 2.33 32.44%
1996-1997 40 2 2.42 34.64%
1997-1998 33 7 1.81 34.42%
1998-1999 38 5 1.68 35.15%
1999-2000 37 3 2.04 33.27%
2000-2001 41 5 2.13 32.54%
2001-2002 53 10 2.04 36.53%
2002-2003 31 4 2.02 34.7%
2003-2004 38 8 2.08 33.56%
2004-2005 34 5 2.23 34.15%
2005-2006 40 7 1.84 33.6%
2006- 2007 46 11 1.89 33.97%
2007 – 2008 to date 13 3    
Totals 591 87 2.19 years 33.94%

NB The two resignations this season are John Ward who moved from Cheltenham to Carlisle and Gary Megson from Leicester to Bolton Wanderers. Paul Ince only had a one year contract at Macclesfield Town and departed on 25th June 2007 to take up a post at MK Dons. As he progressed he has been counted into resignations rather than dismissals.  Season taken from June 1st to following May 31st in line with LMA convention.     

For further information please contact:    

Dr Sue Bridgewater Warwick Business School
024 76524341

Peter Dunn, Press and Media Relations Manager
University of Warwick Tel: 024 76 523708
or 07767 655860 

Vin Hammersley, Media Relations Manager
Warwick Business School Tel: 024 76524124 

PR96 PJD 31st October 2007