The rights and wrongs of Chris Hughton – Norwich City manager – have taken up column inches and web pages aplenty for most of 2013; the battle between ‘outers’ and ‘apologists’ breaking new ground with every backward step and subsiding at every forward one.
With one step forward invariably accompanied by two in a backward direction those calling for change have been provided with several rounds of ammunition over the course of the year. Yet those who resist it – which in truth includes most of the writers on this site – insist the case for status quo (no, not Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi) is just as compelling.
We at MyFootballWriter pride ourselves on being a forum for informed debate and for the most part those for and against have done so eloquently and without discussions disintegrating into petty arguments and name-calling.
For the sake of balance Dave Bowers has kindly written a piece that puts forward, in a reasoned and rational perspective, the case for a change in management.
Over to you Dave…
As we enter 2014 and the second half of the season we face a difficult and uncertain future. Norwich City Football Club is led by Chris Hughton. A manager who undoubtedly splits fans’ opinions.
On one hand under Hughton we finished a respectable 11th with 44 points last season, we are without debt, and spent big in the summer attracting a lot of top talent. On the other hand, in 2013 we have witnessed our team’s playing style deteriorate, performances against the big teams turn from competitive matches to roll-overs, and we sit just 3 points above the relegation zone.
This mix of success and failure has created passionate sides for both keeping and ousting the boss.
What if we put passion aside and looked at 2013 statistically?
The average points required for safety in the Premiere League is 40 or 1.05 per game. Are we on course to make this?
Looking at 2013 as a whole, from Jan to Dec 2013 NCFC have averaged 1.03 per game. Not enough.
In the 2013/14 season NCFC have averaged 1 per game.
Put simply, with our current form, in the average season we will be relegated. Ignoring the mean average and looking at previous tables, Norwich would be relegated 11 out of 21 seasons on their current point per game ratio. More than half.
To put it another way, our odds of relegation are similar to flipping a coin and calling heads.
Looking at our position now compared to this time last season City went into 2013 eight points above the relegation zone. Instead we enter 2014 a mere 3 points above it.
Sometimes the table can hide more complex factors, such as a difficult run of games. What if we took like-for-like ties and compared results for our home games where we should be picking up points:
2013/14 : 8/24 points
2012/13 : 10/24
In this case three of our results have declined, two improved. Overall both seasons show a worrying trend of dropping large quantities of points at “Fortress Carrow Road”.
We should also review our performances. Key indicators being goals scored vs. goals conceded.
Goals scored per game:
Goals conceded per game:
Again, we have regressed over last season with a leaky defence and impotent strike force, despite large squad investment.
To highlight our lack of goals, we have failed to score in 8 out of 19 games. To use the coin tossing analogy again, toss a coin and call heads; those are approximately the odds of not seeing Norwich score for your ticket purchase. It’s also 16 points we never competed for.
As a rational person, looking at these statistics individually and as a whole, it paints a worrying picture of a team in decline. Regardless of whether you like the manager as a person, believe he can turn our team around and save us from relegation, it’s clear there are significant issues that need to be addressed.
For me the course of action is clear. Statistically I do not see Hughton saving us. In the unlikely event we survive I can’t see him reversing such a decline and taking us forward in a meaningful way.
If you still believe Chris is going to take City forward, I would suggest grabbing a coin and tossing it a few times.
Many thanks to Dave for taking the time to compile his well thought out and statistically compelling case.
Over to you now. What do you think?