It is only early April and there have already been a record number of Premier League manager departures this season, with the recent sackings of Antonio Conte, Brendan Rodgers and Graham Potter meaning there have been 13 casualties during a turbulent campaign.
We have looked back at every in-season departure since 2003-04 to understand how top-flight management has changed.
This season’s tally of 13 Premier League manager departures has surpassed the old mark of 10, set on three previous occasions in the last decade (2013-14, 2017-18 and 2021-22).
In total, 138 permanent managers have left their posts across the past 20 seasons, at an average of just under seven per campaign.
Newcastle have changed managers in the middle of a season on 10 separate occasions since 2003-04, with Eddie Howe most recently replacing Steve Bruce in November 2021.
Meanwhile, Tottenham’s last four permanent bosses – Conte, Nuno Espirito Santo, Jose Mourinho and Mauricio Pochettino – have all departed during a campaign.
How long does a manager last on average?
The average tenure of a Premier League manager has fallen from more than four years in the mid-2000s to fewer than two following Potter’s departure.
The retirements of Manchester United’s Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger – who served their respective clubs for more than 20 years apiece – have accelerated the decline.
Among modern-day coaches, the decorated duo of Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola have reigned for a combined 14 years at Liverpool and Manchester City respectively.
With Rodgers’ four-year spell in charge of Leicester having come to an end, Thomas Frank (Brentford) is the only other incumbent to have been appointed before December 2019.
Is the ‘new manager bounce’ real?
History suggests that players respond well to a change of coach, with teams averaging a higher number of points per game in the six fixtures after their manager departs compared with the same period beforehand.
However, according to results since 2003-04 this new manager effect only holds in the first half of the campaign.
On average, changes made in the final 19 games have seen no improvement to a team’s performance.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has generally swapped managers at the right time, with the club’s points-per-game ratio rising from 0.94 to 1.56 in the six matches either side of a departure.
Only Sunderland boast a better record since 2003-04 – Gus Poyet, Dick Advocaat and Sam Allardyce are among the managers to have overseen a mid-season upturn at the Stadium of Light.
Is it worth appointing a caretaker?
Following Conte’s exit from Tottenham, the club has appointed his assistant Cristian Stellini as caretaker boss until the summer.
Results from the past 20 seasons show that interim managers entrusted with a run of games have engineered a bigger uplift in points per game (0.67) than their permanent counterparts (0.53).
Chelsea employed this strategy with great success under previous owner Roman Abramovich.
The Blues finished comfortably in the top four under caretakers Avram Grant, Guus Hiddink and Rafael Benitez following the sackings of Jose Mourinho, Luiz Felipe Scolari and Roberto Di Matteo respectively.
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