Sunday, 2 February 2014

Powell out brigade gain traction

At least in terms of vociferousness, the 'Powell out' brigade is gaining momentum, although it is always difficult to judge what the balance of opinion among fans is. I didn't expect to get anything out of the Wigan game and a 2-1 defeat away to a side that was in the Premier League last season and is now hitting form after the end of their Europa League exploits is no disgrace. The Football League Paper says this morning that it was a 'gutsy' performance and gives good marks to a number of Charlton players: Thurman-Ulien, 7; Morrison, 8; Poyet, 7; Jackson, 7; Nego, 7; 'Gucci' 7; Sordell 7. Hopefully, Peter the Pole will be available for next Saturday.

I also found this comment from a fan interesting, 'On Friday CP lost his most creative player and main goalscorer, neither of which he wanted to lose. He then also loses his only fit goalkeeper. The team today included 3 players making their first starts and two more playing their second games. Plus the centre midfield was comprised of an 18 and1 9 year old. We were up against a team who were in the Premiership last year and we all said before the start we would get nothing from this game. Yet we are all focused on the last few minutes when we were under the cosh the whole match. We were lucky to be ahead in the first place and even luckier to still be ahead with 2 minutes to go. We could equally argue Powell was lucky for 85 minutes as to argue he got it wrong for 5. Probably the goals were coming anyway.'

I think that the outcome of the season depends a great deal on how good the new players are and how they settle in. I remain concerned about the midfield. However, we could keep the manager and stay up, or change the manager and go down. I think that in modern football, the difference the manager makes has been exaggerated, and there is too little focus on the players. For example, yesterday we were defending too deep in the second half: the bench urged the players to stop doing this and got no response.

As a result, we see the tenure of managers getting shorter and shorter, despite the evidence (see below) that more often than not, a change of manager makes no difference. There are exceptions to the rule, of course, but one has to be careful about how one interprets them. I think that Sir Alex Ferguson could see the writing on the wall at Manchester United, realised that there was a big rebuilding job, and got out while he was ahead.

I do not think that Chris Powell is perfect, no manager is. He makes mistakes, as they all do. I think that Bradley Pritchard is a technically limited player (and I am not alone in that view) and I would not have brought him on as a substitute yesterday. I hear that Leroy Resonior defended Chris Powell on the Football League Show, saying that given the patchwork nature of the side Charlton fans should be proud of the performance they turned in.

I think that Chris Powell will go, but probably not until his contract expires in the summer. As Neil Warnock observes in the Football League Paper today (in relation to Leeds), foreign owners want to hire their own bosses. Rumours persist about Avram Grant being brought in as director of football, but I still don't see this happening - and I don't think it would be the answer. I think that we will move to a director of football/coach model and this would be no bad thing. I also hope that any replacement would be a foreign manager who would develop a more sophisticated style of patient possession football.

Technical appendix

My former colleague Sue Bridgewater, now heading up sports research at Liverpool University Management School, has taught Chris Powell and has a high opinion of him as a person and as a manager. She is also a critic of the rate of managerial turnover. So what is the evidence?

First, one has to avoid the individualistic fallacy, that is generalising from an individual case to a general proposition. To put it another way, anecdotal evidence is not good enough.

Last summer I had the pleasure of meeting Chris Anderson, co-author of the best selling The Numbers Game in London for lunch. From the States, Chris is currently living in London and occasionally visiting The Valley. There is a lot of detailed data analysis in his book. His message is clear: 'Sackings do not improve club performances. Clubs simply regress to the mean ... The idea that sacking managers is a panacea for a team's ills is a placebo. It is an expensive illusion.'

Sue Bridgewater analysed sackings in the Premier League from 1992 to 2008 and found that there is a boost for a short honeymoon period (perhaps because players want to impress the new manager). The average club earns 1.3 points a match. It typically sacks its manager when it averages only 1 point a match, that is at a low point in the cycle. When you are at a very low point, you are always going to improve. In other words, there is a cause and effect issue: does the manager cause the positive swing or is he the beneficiary of it? Bridgewater found that three months after a sacking the typical club was averaging the standard 1.3 points a game.

27 comments:

Dw50 said...

Powell has become very negative with his tactics and substitutions this season. Yesterday Wigan are chasing the game so Powell brings on a defensive player and Pritchard. Sueely Green would have been better as an outlet and an attacking option. An experieced tacticle manager is required to help our players suceed

Dave said...

Dw50 - Powell has always tended to be cautious with his tactics. He is a defender at heart and also experienced the most successful period of his playing career with Alan Curbishley when caution was the watch-word. He may be even more cautious this season because of our desperation for points. I have to laugh at all of those screaming and shouting that he didn't put more forward players on instead of Dervite and Co at sub time. If he had dne that and Wigan scored twice, imagine the furore.

DRN said...

As they can only ever come up with one reason, that being negativity, the argument for replacing Powell is flawed. Yesterdays starting line-up was a very positive one with the players available. Another defender was brought on when we started getting battered. All managers would have done so. You cannot blame a manager for players getting nervous and falling back too much, he didn't ask them to! I note that the Powell Out lot never propose a solution either, I think they have another agenda, and there's only about 10 of them anyway.

Ketts said...

I think you are under estimating the effect appointing the right manager at the right time can have Wyn, albeit finding the right man is far from an exact science.

Steve McClaren has totally transformed Derby & Pulis has given Palace a fighting chance of staying up, as has Gus Poyet at Sunderland.

You are right, we could stay up with Powell as manager but go down if he was replaced. Equally, we could go down under Powell but stay up under someone new, and there lies the problem, there are no guarantees either way.

What is certain is that if Powell continues with his current strategy we will not survive. We are on another long run of matches without keeping a clean sheet (11), following on from a run of 18 last season and one of 12 spanning the end of last season & the beginning of this.

In 27 games this season, we have scored more than 2 goals in a match on only one occasion (Brighton). For a defensive strategy to render a reasonable points return, a team needs to be able to rely on keeping a high percentage of clean sheets & we just don't do that.

Ian Holloway was similarly cautious & got mediocre results before changing his ethos whenhe moved to Blackpool.

The composition of the team at Doncaster was clearly an intent to not lose rather than to go for a win that was vitally needed.

Right now Charlton need a lift & a more positive approach to games. We need to start winning matches, we have just the one victory to show for our efforts during the past two months, if that form continues, we will go down.

Whether the manager is Powell or someone else, the philosophy has to change.

oligab said...

Interesting as always , but does your analysis work out when you should sack a manager ? CP in my eyes still has to prove himself at this level so their is a logic to sack him and replace him with a proven manager with a track record of success , that is a harsh reality so we should not be to surprised if the owners decide Chris has to go .
Trouble with Chris is that we all love him !

MrLemon_CAFC said...

Good balanced commentary Wyn. I also didn't think we'd get anything yesterday looking at Wigan's form and squad but like everyone else my heart was pumping fast at 87 mins and willing us to do it.
The ludicrous short termism of football management is well illustrated here:
http://www.leaguemanagers.com/managers/longest-current.html
Chris Powell is currently 8th and longest serving in the Championship. I'd like to see him stay and honestly believe we can get to safety this season.
With the new players, spirit, fans and some tactical nous I believe we can do it.
I think decision will be in the summer based on how we fare in the 2nd half of the season. If we can get results and move away from relegation that may help sway decision whether CP stays for next season but then RD & team may have their own ideas. On to Birmingham next week...

Wyn Grant said...

There are cases where a change of manager can make a difference, but you have to get the appointment right and that is not easy. If there was a change of manager, I think it would involve a change of system and playing style. The question would be whether that could work in the time left. I agree that Powell is a rather cautious manager in the Curbishley style and there are some things I don't like such as not having an outlet when we defend corners. However, Curbishley was able to grind out results.

addickted2charlton said...

Yeah thass a very good thread. I don't think CP is at all negative with is tactics n to me e set them ahrt to win. Wass appenin is e aint been able to bring in players of the standard of wot we ad lass season like Fuller, Aynes, Obika on loan n then we lose Cameron Stewart n e wasn't doin to bad n all.

So as you say iss dahn to the players, the manager can't pass n defend for them n iss clear from wot I've been sayin they aint doin to score goals but then we aint got a prolific striker on our books or dahn our gaff.

Anonymous said...

The arguement may be academic:
I count myself of a 'supporter' of CP.
The issue is not just about yesterday, where what was so nearly a valuable win turned into a defeat.
We've won five league games this season. That is pathetic and relegation form.
Yes, Powell has worked under severe constraints, but he has not improved the team performances all season long. His team selections remain bamboozling at times and his substitutions confusing.
He does himself no favours.
Roland is looking down on all this. How long do you all think he will tolerate this situation??

Daggs

Blackheath Addicted said...

Another stat that might be interesting/illuminating is how well teams do when there is considerable uncertainty hanging over the future of the manager. I'd guess the answer is not very well.

Only Duchatelet can end that uncertainty, either by offering Sir Chris a new contract/extension (which I very much favour) or by making a change.

Doing neither might suggest Duchatelet is intent on making a change at a time of his choosing, which would be tantamount to hanging Sir Chris out to dry. He deserves better.

Anonymous said...

If this was not Chris Powell we were talking about then supporters would be baying for his blood.
Facts are we have not won since November,only won 5 all season ,are lowest goal scorers in League,can't keep a clean sheet.
Chris picks wrong players,in wrong positions and cannot make a substitution to save his life.
if I had just committed Millions of my Pounds to buy CAFC my intention would be to get to Premier League ASAP ,and get my money back with a nice fat profit,not save £4mn by getting relegated,as losses to come back up last time were around £7mn a year.
So what would I do,move some of my better players to Charlton,get some quality loans in and get someone tactically astute and experienced at managing a diverse bunch of players,that means sack Powell now and get started,I dont think for one second Roland Duchatelet gives a flying toss what any of us think,particularly the Supporters Trust or Charlton Lifers ,it's his money and a handful of supporters who love Powell ain't gonna influence him one iota , and you know what I agree with him .

addickted2charlton said...

Well I don't n it aint juss an andful of fans who support Chris I reckon iss still the majority but we're the silent ones.

Even lass season when e was winnin you wouldn't see them negative types on ere then only when the goin gets tough do they come ahrt in force, far right types who aint wanted dahn our gaff n the sooner the club vets fans n gets them ones ahrt the better. There the ones who come on ere as anonmous.

They've got no understandin of the constraints under which e works, lack of money for better players then the best ones bein taken away from im withahrt is say so n thass all there is to it.

Anonymous said...

Trying writing in English so we can understand you please.

ChicagoAddick said...

Just as a heads up. it took Roland 4 managerial changes at Standard to find the 'right man' and his son at Ujpest is on his 6th manager in 2.5 years.

addickted2charlton said...

If all you can do is post as anonmous it aint worth the bother n we don't need far right types doin our club dahn. Use a dictionry if all you can do is moan, it might elp you support the team n gaffer for a change.

Anonymous said...

The last game we won was December not November.

Powell deserves at least till the end of the season. Hopefully with the new players bedding in and a couple of quality loans we can start getting some more points on the board

addickted2charlton said...

Yeah the other anonmous even gets is facts all wrong n all.

Anonymous said...

I have supported Charlton for 50 years, and have seen some bad managers and good ones in that time. I have also seen when a manager loses the plot and cannot see the wood for the trees and keeps trying same old tactics all the time.Powell is now in that position, yes he had very little money this year accepted,buy in League 1 he was given a huge budget and was encouraged to buy players that would be able to cope at Championship Level which he obviously did as we finished ninth last year.Where did he go wrong this year ,tactically mainly picking wrong formations,taking too long to change things during games, being far too defensive in his approach,even at home,he basically after one year managing in Championshp got found out and other Managers spotted that we very rarely change anything and play to our weaknesses. He has run out of ideas and will take us down time to say goodbye I am afraid.

Anonymous said...

I was at Doncaster last week and the team line up was odd but saturday was envouraging. I do not buy into this theory about contract uncertainty. Sir Chris has the ability and he has till the end of the season to prove it. He and the team have my 100 per cent support.

Iain Ambler said...

I've never been in the "Powell Out" camp, and I don't intend to start now, but I do see that his position is now extremely vulnerable - I'd say it's almost impossible to call how things are going to pan out at the current time. I really don't think the those calling for the Gaffer's head are doing themselves or the Club any favours - it's just causing more instability. What we do really need is stability for everyone to move forward.

As that fan's interesting comment said, CP fielded a team that's been picked from a significantly changed squad with young players featuring in it. They then proceeded to maintain the lead for 85 minutes (some of that with 10 men) against a side which had been in the Premiership last season. On the face of it, that doesn't exactly sound too shabby.

Bad luck, the opposition exploiting a momentary weakness, tiredness, complacency - whatever you want to call it, the last 10 or so minutes into injury time was when our lead was overturned, and we walked away from the game without any points whatsoever.

Yes, I agree that the players have to accept their share of the blame in any defeat, just as they get their fair share of the credit for a win but for a squad that's seen some unexpected changes and has new players who will have had a minimal period to get to know their new team-mates, expectations need to be realistic.

I think that's why I'd not judge CP or the players too harshly on the Wigan result. 95% of the opinion before the game was that the realistic outcome was a draw at best. If judgement is to be made, it really should be on the basis of the next 3 or 4 games at the very least, and ideally over a longer period. CP has waited well over a year for investment in the squad, now he's got it he needs to be given the chance to make use of it - that to me seems like the only fair thing to do for a manager, team and club that have been treated so shabbily by their previous owners.

That brings me round to my final point, and that's the fact that any club, regardless of manager, players or supporters is at the mercy of it's owners. Roland will have his own agenda - anyone investing millions in a football club is, of course, entitled to have one. We don't know the entire extent of his opinion, but it's clear that he is looking to run the club like a business and not as a rich man's toy. As we all can see the only real money making in football is in the Premiership, where one player can be sold for over double the price tag of Charlton Athletic, RD's business plan surely will have "Premiership" written in it. If you want to get a return on your investment, and realize those plans you will have to make decisions that will enable that to happen. We may find RD is not as keen on giving CP a the same degree of latitude that we are, and he could be sacked at any point between now and the end of the season, or indeed given a new contract!

I'm looking forward to our home game on Saturday. Hopefully we'll see Peter Parsley and the rest of the new recruits get the full and vocal backing of the home crowd. Come On You Addicks!!

Anonymous said...

addickted2charlton I think makes some good points for someone embarking on the first rung of the ladder of literacy.

Your sincerely.

The Campaign For (Plain/Any) English.

addickted2charlton said...

I'm behind Chris Powell all the way n all n e's perfectly capable of usin subs n tactics to win games juss like e did lass season unlike sum on ere. E can only make do with wot e's got n e aint got a super sub striker like Obika or the strength in midfield, Hughes is ardly ever picked n neither is Gower but e could keep cos e was cheap. Powell wanted other players in but I spect the board wasn't goin to give im the money to spend. You can't juss rest on ur laurels in the Championship like the board is forcin Chris to do, you either get better n good replacements in n move forward or you juss go backwards if the best players aint bein replaced with anythin better dahn our gaff n thass wass goin on. The ones bein brought in now are worse than wot we've lost n thass all there is to it n thass thanks to the board not the gaffer.

addickted2charlton said...

Still anonmous n the far right types will keep warblin the anti Powell rubbish.

CAFC-J said...

A2C I know Kermorgant and Stephens were great players but I think they should be given a chance before you assume they are worse.

Maybe Peter the Pole and Gucci can become a great pairing up top and we're still yet to see who gets signed in the loan window.

Hopefully a creative midfielder and a genuine winger will come in.

Geoff said...

We need a touch of the Corporal Jones "Don't panic", not least because, loans apart, the squad is now set. For what it's worth, that was our "best" defeat in our short history of playing at the JJB/DW.

Sir CP must surely stay until the summer at least. A businessman like RD could well take the line that it's partly Powell's mess to sort out, but I suspect his time may be up if the Feby results go wrong. As others say, he does have a particular fault in delaying substitutions until it's too late. So did a bloke called Curbishley, and particularly at Wigan in 2005, as it happens.

Wyn, do you know anyone in the IAEA? We might need a rep on permanent secondment to the Valley if Avram Grant and Goochannejhad are in the same set-up.

Wyn Grant said...

IAEA! Unfortunately not!

Anonymous said...

Has he gone yet after todays crap Team Lineup and putting Cousins wide and Sordell in the team.We need new Coaching blood,Powell its time to pack your bags.