Departures: Managers in charge of teams they’ve played for get more time to bring success

20 March 2019

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Photo: Getty Images If Solskjaer lands Old Traffort job, he will get more time to be successful than others, data suggests.

If Solskjaer lands Old Trafford job, he will get more time to be successful than others, data suggests.

LMA report shows that managers who have previously played for the team get more time to bring success.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer really hopes he gets to hold on to the wheel at Manchester United, as a study finds that managers who have a link with the club they’re in charge of get significantly longer to make a success of it.

Solskjaer has led a dramatic revival at Manchester United, with a top four challenge and an unexpected and dramatic Champions League campaign very much alive.

What he doesn't know is the curious amount of time given to managers who have played for the club they manage. Managers taking charge of teams they’ve played for will be allowed to head into year two to bring stability and success.

More than two years

The curious statistic has been unearthed by the League Managers’ Association.

The LMA has found that for those managers in the bear pit of English football with clubs they represented, the average time to find success is 2.16 years.

The number of managers that previously played for the club they now manage is currently at 28 out of the 92 English league sides. Anecdotal evidence would suggest a greater patience afforded because of their affiliation with the club.

Solskjaer spent 11 years of his playing career at Manchester United, before retiring in 2007 and famously helped the club complete a dramatic comeback in the 1999 Champions League final which finalised The Treble.

Eddie Howe’s reign

Those managers who have no affiliation with the club they manage, and there are 64 of them, although only 60 in permanent positions, get just 1.34 years to make a success of their clubs.

Those findings are borne out in striking fashion in the top two divisions in England. In the Premier League Eddie Howe played more than 200 times for Bournemouth between 1994 and 2002. Howe took the reins at Dean Court in 2008, leaving for a brief spell at Burnley in 2011. Since his return Bournemouth have enjoyed a four-year spell in the Premier League. Howe is also the top placed manager in the Premier League who is English, with his side sitting 12th in the table.

That is also the case in the Championship.

Win percentage ratio of 53 per cent 

Chris Wilder, born in Yorkshire, played for Sheffield United during two spells, between 1986 and 1992 and 1998 and 1999.

He began his managerial career with Alfreton Town in the Northern Counties (east) League Premier Division (which he won) before moving to Halifax in 2002. In 2016 he was put in charge of the club he played for and the effects have been dramatic.

The Blades were promoted from League One in 2017 and, following victory in the Yorkshire derby with Leeds on Saturday, rank second in the Championship, despite having a wage bill of just £19 million in their most recently published accounts.

That also showed an annual turnover of just £20 million.

Wilder has a win percentage ratio of 53 per cent since taking control at Bramall Lane in May 2016. Promotion would yield a staggering windfall for the Blades were they to make it, with television money alone landing a newly promoted club in excess of £100 million per year.