This is veeeeeery interesting:
This paper evaluates the extent to which the performance of English Premier League football club managers can be attributed to skill or luck when measured separately from the characteristics of the team. We first use a specification that models managerial skill as a fixed effect and we examine the relationship between the number of points earned in league matches and the club’s wage bill, transfer spending, and the extent to which they were hit by absent players through injuries, suspensions or unavailability. We next implement a bootstrapping approach to generate a simulated distribution of average points that could have taken place after the impact of the manager has been removed. The findings suggest that there are a considerable number of highly skilled managers but also several who perform below expectations. The paper proceeds to illustrate how the approach adopted could be used to determine the optimal time for a club to part company with its manager. We are able to identify in advance several managers who the analysis suggests could have been fired earlier and others whose sackings were hard to justify based on their performances.
Martin Jol – Tottenham Hotspur 2007/08 (See Figure 3)
Martin Jol was relieved of his duties as the manager of Tottenham on 25 October 2007 after 113 games in charge. Results from the bootstrapping model showing that Jol’s performance was not only improving, but that it was comparable to the best coaches in England. Only 18 randomised managers were better at the beginning of his tenure, and this had further enhanced to just 1% prior to his release. The model suggests that Jol should not have been sacked based on his performance. The previous season had seen Tottenham narrowly miss out on 4th position in the Premier League and a UEFA Champions League berth to local rivals Arsenal. This may have prompted the kneejerk sacking by the club’s board even though Arsenal’s budget and expectations were significantly higher than that of Tottenham.