As 2012 gets into gear, struggling football managers will be looking over their shoulders as they ready themselves for the season of sackings.
Last season a staggering ten bosses got the boot in January 2011 following poor results. And now a new study shows that appointing a new manager mid-season can actually mean the difference between relegation and staying in the Premiership.
The study was conducted by Sports Interactive, the developers of the Football Manager series to mark the launch of their new iOS release Football Manager Handheld 2012, which is already topping charts around Europe.
The report shows that replacing a failing gaffer mid season can gain a team on average an extra 4.7 points. In the 2010/11 season the four managers who took over Premier League clubs mid season had an overall positive effect on the team.
A specific example of the new manager effect is Liverpool in the Premier League season 2010/11; Roy Hodgson managed 20 games for Liverpool and gained 25 points. Thus gaining a points per game average of 1.25. Kenny Dalglish managed the club for 18 games and amassed 33 points. Thus having a points per game average of 1.83. This means that Kenny Dalglish gained 0.58 points per game more than his predecessor. Over the 18 games that Dalglish managed he amassed an extra 10.4 points.
Normally, more managers are shown the door at the end of the season (around June). But the economics involved in staying in the Premier League is making clubs look to a quick-fix rather than long term stability.
And stats show that more and more clubs in the top division are latching on to this trend. They are more prepared to pull the trigger to make a fresh start to the New Year in order to keep their team in top flight football.
This research will be a big concern for the managers of clubs lurking at the bottom of the table around the New Year, as well as for Andre Villas-Boas who is coming under increasing pressure. Both the morale boost and the extra 4.7 extra points a season delivered by a new manager will not go unnoticed by clubs that are looking for a turnaround of fortunes. This may make the 2011 /2012 festive period and transfer window the bloodiest in football history.
Will AVB, Owen Coyle and Steve Kean make it to February 1st?