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The current situation has reminded me of this research, which I heard about on the BBC's More or Less programme a couple of years back:


It shows that a slump in form generally comes to an end whether the manager is changed or not, and that the upturn in form associated with a new manager is often something that would have happened anyway.

Of course what the article doesn't expand on is how long "short term" is, or how one can tell whether a slump in form is the beginning of a short-term underachievement or the end of an overachievement. That is to say we don't know whether the current form is temporarily bad, or if the start of the season was temporarily good. Other stats seem to suggest that we're a good team performing badly, rather than a bad team performing as it should.

I know most people have made up their minds about the manager and there has to be a point where a dip in form becomes "simply not good enough", which for most people has now been passed, so I certainly don't think the article makes a straightforward case for "stick with him whatever, it's bound to get better", but I do think it's an interesting piece of research.

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It feels like a lot to ask, to stick with LJ, on a run like this. Too much. For a coach to be given such faith, he needs to offer something in return. This run of results is testing the notion of backing, not sacking to the max. It feels like SL is playing Russian Roulette.

It could be a way of gaining an edge on our peers or rivals, our usp if you like - a better coach might be tempted to work here in future, if he could clearly see he would receive unprecedented backing. It could work.

But in the short term, to stick on a run like this, not knowing if the regression to the mean comes too late and means L1 football next season, rather than a late run of wins to keep us up, that will take some strength from SL.

I would like to see us carve out a reputation for doing things differently - and so better - than most, but is LJ the one to try this all out with? I do believe the players are plenty good enough, and that most - pretty much all - Championship coaches would be doing considerably better than LJ. 

Glad it's not me making these decisions


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