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Cull of managers continues


The managerial merry go round continues in the Football League.   Of the 72 clubs, 42 have made managerial changes and eight clubs have made a second change of the campaign.   Charlton have had three head coaches.

At Notts County Mark Cooper replaced Jamie Fullarton only 69 days after Fullarton himself replaced Ricardo Moniz.   Cooper has been given a points target to meet if he wants to remain in post.

In Money and Football, Stefan Szymanski notes that the median tenure of a manager in the top division in England was three and a half years.  In the last decade, it has fallen to one and a half years.   In the fourth division of English football, the median tenure of a manager was less than fifteen months back in the 1980s.   By the last decade it had fallen to 271 days, barely the length of the season.

Why tenure is shorter lower down the leagues is unclear, but it may be because it costs less to dismiss a manager at that level.

There is some disagreement in the literature about how much difference a manager makes.   There does seem to be a boost in performance for the first three matches as players try to impress the new boss.  There are also some outstanding managers, notably Sir Alex Ferguson, who make a big difference in the long run.

Even if managers are responsible for only 15 per cent of their club's success, with money being the main driver, that 15 per cent can be vital in a game of fine margins.

Szymanski argues that the job has become less skilled because if a prosperous club wants a talented player they can get him if they are prepared to pay his price.   This has sometimes led to the separation of the jobs of player recruitment and coaching, not always with great success.