Okay, just for the sake of it, here’s the Hodgson Great Escape Monte Carlo’d up. In short if I’d created the model at the time Hodgson took over I would have predicted between 32-34 points.
We ended up with 36, and then only with that silly late run. So you can say that Hodgson gained the team one win over what the model expected. This isn’t trying to do Hodgson a disservice: we all know that we’d have gone down without him. But this is exactly the point. The model says that Hodgson basically got the team back to a reasonable level and then some, which took an awful look of hard work. That’s the challenge: not making us good, but getting us back to where we should be. The current model says that doing this, which is what Meulensteen can achieve, will still perhaps not be enough.
What I think this shows is that even with a new coach who knows what he’s up to, it’s very hard to change a team’s trajectory that much. This is why I think the earlier model for the current team is important. It takes in the team’s established level and says what it’s likely to do. The argument that we don’t know the team’s level because of the new coach is valid but over-estimate’s a coaches ability to change a team. That would take a great deal of money in addition to basic team organising.
It’s also worth noting that Meulensteen has effectively the same task ahead of him as Hodgson did. The model for now sees greater possibilities ahead than it did for Roy’s escape but it amounts to the same thing: the model things we’re destined for a points total in the lowish 30s. Hodgson beat it by the narrowest of margins. Can Meulensteen?