Football managers just don’t matter that much, according to Soccernomics co-author Simon Kuper.
On the BBC flagship news show, Today, err today (February 7) the Financial Times journalist and economist said,
“Most managers add so little value that it is tempting to think they could be replaced by their secretaries or by stuffed teddy bears without the club’s performance suffering.”
The comment comes after Africa Cup of Nations hosts Cote d’Ivoire sacked their manager following a disastrous start to the tournament – but who have successfully powered through to the semi finals against Congo DR tonight.
In another football galaxy, far, far away, struggling English League One club Port Vale have sacked manager Andy Crosby after yet another comprehensive defeat on Saturday (Feb 3) .
The result left the Valiants 20th in League One, just two points above the relegation zone – so Mr Crosby was despatched, bringing the manager mortality rate at the Stoke-on-Trent club to six since 2019 – that’s two more than the number of UK prime ministers during the same period.
Carol Shanahan, the Port Vale’s chairperson wrote an open letter today, assuring fans the club is “interviewing potential new managers … looking to see if this is the sort of club they want to join.”
Perhaps Carol should take a leaf out of the Soccernomics playbook,
Managers simply don’t matter that much. Players do. By far the best predictor of where a team will finish in the table is its wage bill: the team with the highest wages generally finishes top, and the team with the lowest wages bottom.
With rumours that global pop star Robbie Williams is set to front a takeover of Port Vale, the beleaguered Valiants might be better putting the money into new players and focus on featuring in Robbie’s eponymous Netflix docuseries. And let her managers sleep with fishes, angels instead.