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The numbers that show Alan Pardew’s time at Newcastle is near an end

by Aidan Elder | September 30, 2014

When someone goes to the trouble of buying a dedicated URL, you know you’re in trouble. How very 21st century. Six games in and Newcastle are spared the embarrassment of being bottom of the table by virtue of the fact Burnley score goals like the Pope scores bags of ketamine.

Alan Pardew (53) is a man under serious pressure. With the Magpies stationed in the relegation zone and few signs of the players being able to turn around the nose-diving form, his worries should be far greater than his usual ‘does this suit and glasses combo make me look like I’m having mid-life crisis?’. The knives marked ‘first managerial causality of the season’ are out for Pardew and it’s only a matter of time before Mike Ashley drives it through his metaphorical Paul Smith suit and into his back.

Pardew will go down as the first sacking of the season because not for the first time, a ball hadn’t been ballooned into row Z in anger before we saw our first departure of the season. Having finished 11th after at one point looking like relegation bankers, Crystal Palace decided they don’t really like life in the Premier League and parted ways with Tony Pulis – the man voted Manager of the Season for his incredible efforts. In fairness, Neil Warnock has made a promising start with them


But with the football has kicked off, the managerial merry-go-round can whir into action based largely on the quality of the football. The Paddy Power Blog has looked back over the history of the Premier League to establish what the main elements of the first manager sacked of the season are. It doesn’t look good for Alan Pardew.


Before we begin, it’s important to note that the stats are based on the season starting when the Premier League does. You might think the season officially starts when you attach your club rosette to your sheepskin parka, grab your wooden clacker and walk down Wembley Way for the Charity Shield, but we’re calling the first day of the Premier League season the start of the season which means we can conveniently ignore Pulis’s sacking and a couple of others that would ruin our data.

The key details of the research tells us that on average, the first manager sacked of the season:

  • Gets about 10 league games into the season
  • Collects less than a point per game (0.87 points)
  • Loses around 55% of the league games that he’s involved in

Plotted on the graph, we have the managers who got most time, least time and the average time before being the first manager turfed out in their particular season. Ian Porterfield of Chelsea is the first manager of the season to get sacked who last longest of them all. Back when football was a gentleman’s game, contracts actually meant something and having a Frenchman in the league was an amusing novelty, he made it 29 games into the very first Premier League season before a dip in form saw a P45 land on his desk. The decorum didn’t last long as the next season, Peter Reid was sacked by Manchester City after just four games in charge. Off to Sunderland with you, mate. Ouch.

At the other end of the scale, Kenny Dalglish at Newcastle represents the manager kicked out the quickest after the commencement of the Premier League season. He began the 1998/99 campaign with a not disgraceful two draws and a defeat, but this – and no doubt a clash of personalities with the club’s deluded owners – was enough to see him exit St. James’s Park. But the club replaced him with Ruud Gullit and as we all know, that kick-started a period of incredible success and trophies for the Magpies. Didn’t it?

We Mean Business

On average, the first manager sacked in the Premier League season normally lasts about 10 games. Double figures. Maybe there’s something about reaching that mark that helps ease the conscience of the metaphorical executioner. It possibly gives the sense of being a ‘fair’ period of time. Nearly a quarter of the way into the season. The equivalent of being sacked on the Tuesday morning of your working week. Not premature in the slightest. ‘He had a good run at it, but his photocopying just didn’t improve after a shaky Monday’.

What gets viewed as success over a short period of time will obviously vary wildly. Claiming a point and a half per game for the first couple of months of a season might be enough for Burnley to hire out an open top boss for the day, but further up the table, it’s not going to win many popularity contests. The magic mark seems to be around 0.9 points per game. The average of the first manager sacked in each of the Premier League seasons is less than one point a game. Combine that with losing around 54% of your games and you’re in serious danger of a seat in the Sky Sports News studio to explain why everything would have come good if only you’d been given more time to work your magic.

Pard Luck Mate

Before losing to Stoke, Alan Pardew was under serious pressure. So much so that someone went to the trouble of setting up

On each of the key metrics, Pardew is behind the curve in terms of the record amassed by the first manager sacked of the season. His 0.5 points won per game and loss rate of 50% is pretty much in line with other first sacked managers of the season. The only saving grace is that on average, managers get 10 league games before getting turfed out. Four more games people of – at least you won’t need to renew the URL next year.

Thanks to the form and the ‘jokey’ Mike Ashley comments that clearly weren’t a joke, Pardew is the overwhelming favourite to be the first manager sacked of the new season. Other managers will be less than thrilled with their team’s progress so far this season, but the Newcastle fans seem to have built-up the right combination of delusion about how high up the table this squad of players should be and frustration to spur Ashley into action.

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