From prior research, we know the sole act of changing a coach does little to guarantee performance impact over the long run at an average club.
However the right coach in the right environment can prove to be significant, particularly over shorter horizons of a couple years. Such increases in performance can boost a club into new atmospheric levels, creating real value and a healthy buzz across the entire organization.
How might such an impact begin to be quantified? Who are modern-day exemplary coaches? What can clubs do to cement their newly-established heights as the new normal?
Appreciating that coaches impact clubs in a number of ways means there are countless perspectives to consider when choosing to evaluate their impact. If we think about modern-day football clubs as businesses, one perspective that stands out is considering a coach’s implicit financial impact – their “boost” to overall club efficiency through maximizing squad performance.
With club value intrinsically aligned to performance, executives are consistently grappling with balancing team performance against costs. Everyone’s ideal scenario? Increase performance on the pitch without increasing costs.
Efficiency scores are measured in World Super League (WSL) points, quantified as the difference in actual performance and expected performance given a certain wage bill. To begin understanding a coach’s average boost, we consider each season of their tenure and compare the average in-tenure score to that of the club when the coach is not present. As coaches must build up experience within and across multiple tenures to be accurately assessed, coaching boost calculations can sometimes require patience.
Major boost with an efficient starting point
Little surprise in seeing Guardiola’s name among the top. Often hailed as the world’s best coach, his ability to influence clubs is impressive considering they already punch above their weight without his presence. A non-Guardiola Bayern Munich or Manchester City averages out to an efficiency score of 47 WSL points above expected. Comparing to his Premier League counterpart, a non-Klopp Dortmund or Liverpool sits at a 12.
Putting Guardiola’s impact into financial terms, his performance boost of equates to paying over £18m annually in additional player wages – more than 10 percent of Manchester City’s existing wage bill.
Despite a performance boost of half the size, Marcelino shares a similar ability to impact clubs that already operate highly efficiently. Villarreal and Valencia, without Marcelino at the helm, perform at 48 WSL points above expected.
Major boost with an inefficient starting point
Pochettino’s tenure with Spurs has been longer than most in modern football, and rightly so. He has turned out to be a brilliant hire by Tottenham, taking the club to historic heights last season. Pochettino’s average boost to the club turns out to be greater than that of any other coach in elite football. But unlike the coaches from our first group, Pochettino’s 2014 arrival at Spurs came during a time of notable inefficiency for the organization – performing 29 WSL points below expected.
Minimal boost with an inefficient starting point
Ignoring his relationship with the media and keeping solely to the numbers, the Special One still presents a unique archetype amidst world-renowned coaches. Mourinho’s performance boost across his time at Chelsea and United averages out to be quite the minimal impact, despite both organizations presenting an opportunity for improvement given an overall inefficiency when Mourinho has been uninvolved.
Making decisions on the right head coach is complicated. While coaching boosts give just one example of how to quantify an ability to impact clubs, it strongly resonates with our more-colloquial understanding of coaches. In future posts, we will continue sharing how coaches impact clubs as well as explore tactics that clubs might choose to increase their performance relative to wages.
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