Barclays Premiership Awards: A Blessing or a Curse?

Brian RhodesSenior Analyst IDecember 6, 2009

The Barclays Premiership Manager of the Month Award has become synonymous with the proverbial poisoned chalice. The winners of the trophy seemingly become a big fat loser after been the conqueror of all before them.

This weekend, Carlos Ancelotti, the current recipient of the Award, and his Chelsea side lost to Manchester City. This against a Manchester City team that were on the Premiership's longest drawing streak in it's history with seven consecutive draws.

Chelsea had gained maximum points from the month of November with great victories against the arch rivals, Arsenal and Chelsea. Another interesting incident of this weekend was the injury to Hull City's Jimmy Bullard.

Bullard had been instrumental in Hull City's great November with the Tiger's getting eight points from a possible 12 points and rightly won the Barclays Player of the Month Award.

It seems that the Premiership Awards are indeed a poison chalice, but let's see if the commonly held idea that if a manager wins the award it causes a blip in his teams form?

This season, the winners of the awards have been Ancelotti (Chelsea) for November, Roy Hodgson (Fulham) for October, Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United) for September and Harry Redknapp (Tottenham Hotspurs) for August.

Ancelotti gained nine points from a possible nine points, then lost to Manchester City the game after winning the award.

Hodgson gained eight points form a possible 12 points, then lost to Roma in the Europa League, then drew against Wigan.

Ferguson gained nine points from a maximum nine points, then drew with Sunderland.

Redknapp gained 12 points from 12 possible points, then lost to Manchester United.

So what does this prove? Nothing on it's own except that each manager did a great job during the months that their teams won the award. They then had some very tough games to follow their awards.

Up to 2005, the average points gained by manager who won the monthly award was 2.6 points per game and after been awarded the trophy the points tally was 1.6 points per game.

If a team was to get 2.6 points per game all season, they would win the title with a huge points total of 98.8 points for a Premier League season. A tally of 95 points is the most a team has ever won the Premier League title with. This was by Chelsea in 2004/5 from 38 games. Manchester United managed to win it with 92 points in a 42-game season in the 1993/4 season.

If a team got only 1.6 points per game all season, they would be on around 60 points and over the past 10 seasons the average points tally for a European qualification place has been 59.9 points. So even if manager could get their team to get a consistent points tally of just over 1.6 points per game without winning the trophy they would still be in the European places in most seasons.

In the past five years, of the 45 manager awards given out, only 13 have gone to clubs that did not end up in the European qualification spots. Two of those clubs ended up getting relegated, Middlesborough last season and Southampton in 2004/5 season.

Also there were only two other teams that ended up out of the top half of the table. Phil Brown last season for Hull City who had a fantastic start to last season but ended up in 17th position and Portsmouth in 2004/5 season who ended up in 16th place.

Of the none European qualifying winners, the managers are usually very early winners in the season, when teams are still getting up to speed for the season. Or, on two occasions, teams that were trying to stave off relegation late in the season. Midseason the managers to win the award will almost certainly end up in the European spots.

An interesting aside to this is that of the managers that have ended up winning the award and been in the bottom half, twice the winner was Harry Redknapp. Once with Southampton and once with Portsmouth, and he has won the award five times in total in the past five seasons. Winning two more awards than Arsene Wenger of Arsenal, who managed to win three times and the same amount as Rafa Benitez of Liverpool.

So what does this really tell us? It tells us that the managers that tend to win the award are usually consistent performers with teams that are challenging for European spots in that season. The months that managers tend to win the award are months when their teams have performed exceptionally.

It would appear that after a great month a manager slips up, but that isn't the case. A manager and his team just generally revert to their usual standards of high quality football. The curse is in-fact a return to good form after a spell of great form.


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