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Who Will Be The Next Premier League Manager To Be Sacked?

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes, 25 seconds

It’s pretty much every week you hear about who the next manager to be sacked is. A bad performance against a weaker team or letting your captain go to your rivals (I’m looking at you Mr Wenger) is enough to get the rumour mill talking about getting the chop.

Well the guys over at Bantr have been keeping a track on how much faith the fan’s have in their manager’s. Below is the current premier league table (18th October 2012) and the percentage of fans who believe the manager can do a good job.

Team Name Fan faith in manager as sourced by Bantr
Chelsea 85%
Man United 93%
Man City 91%
Everton 90%
Tottenham 90%
West Brom 100%
Arsenal 89%
West Ham 100%
Fulham 80%
Newcastle 91%
Fulham 80%
Swansea 100%
Stoke 90%
Liverpool 97%
Wigan 80%
Newcastle 91%
Aston Villa 100%
Southampton 100%
Reading 90%
Norwich 100%
QPR 71%

There are some surprising results – despite being top of the league with nearly full points, playing exciting football and with some of the top signings of the year Chelsea fan’s still aren’t 100% confident in Di Matteo.

On the other end of the spectrum Norwich find themselves in a relegation battle yet all the registered fans on Bantr have faith in Chris Houghton being able to perform. Are they still in a Honeymoon period? Will they still have the same faith come January when points are harder to come by?

Who’s next for the axe?

This got us thinking- could we look at Twitter and using sentiment analysis (looking at the positive and negative words used in fab’s tweets) reliably predict which of the managers are likely to be sacked this year?

First thing to do was to look at trends which happen on Twitter preceding a manager losing their job. Two examples of high profile managers who have recently left their jobs are Steve Kean and Owen Coyle.

Below are the charts on how positive or negative Twitter users were being about them during the last 180 days with the key dates which marked a change.

Steve Kean

Key Dates
May 12- Crisis meetings with Venkys
Aug 15- The day that negative tweets overtake positive tweets in the regular season 
Sep 22- Day Kean resigns – Only one month and a week after Negative tweets outweigh positive tweets. 

Owen Coyle

Key Dates 
Aug 18- Day that negative tweets overtake positive Tweets 
Oct 06- Day that Coyle is sacked – less than two months after negative tweets overtake positive.

The key change in the sentiment was that in the weeks prior to them leaving the club was that the negativity consistently outweighed the positivity. Put simply there were more sad or angry tweets mentioning their name than happy or optimistic optimistic. Ironically Owen Coyle received a lot of positivity on the day he left, most likely due to the public support in the manner he left the club.

Using these as templates we looked at all the current managers in the Premier League and studied the data over the last 90 days and decided which three are most at the risk of the chop before Christmas. It also includes some tweets from fans and pundits looking deeper into the negativity. You can also seen at the end of the graphs how there most recent game (Weekend of 21t of October) has affected their chances.

Most likely to be sacked now 

Martin Jol- 3rd Place

This is the surprise result of the three. Despite having a fit team, a good league position and some cracking wins under their belt football fan’s aren’t feeling the love for Mr Jol. Could a rocky transfer season which saw fan favourites Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembélé move to London Derby rival’s Tottenham Hotspur have something to do with it? At the start of the chart below you can see there is a lot of negativity during the transfer season which dissipates as the team begin to get results. This then leads to some recent negativity as the form drops and rumours begin to surface.


Key Dates

7th of September to Sept 22nd-Good wins against West Brom and Wigan keep the positive tweets about Martin Jol up.
23rd september onwards -A loss to Manchester City and a draw with southampton knock the tweets into negativity. This tied with a rumours over players not liking Martin Jol from ex-Fulham striker Bobby Zamora add flames to fire.

Paul Lambert – 2nd Place

New Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has had a funny old start to the season. Leaving Norwich in less than amicable terms, signing a relatively decent striker whilst having a bust up with star player Darren Bent. Whilst some of Villa’s performances have been dire, a 2-1 win over Manchester City in the cup have seen for a certain period the positivity stay up. However the negativity has for weeks now been above. Without a few good results in the coming weeks Mr Lambert could find himself in the firing line. It will be a testing few weeks for the manager as a relatively easy run of matches will test hit mettle.


Key Dates

Week beginning Sept 28th – Negative tweets overtake positive tweets,  Paul Lambert confirmed as taking Norwich to court for unfair dismissal. Draw with West Brom
Week beginning October 5th- Negative tweets stay above positive tweets- Aston Villa lose 2-0 to Tottenham. 
Week beginning October the 12th-Negative tweets still above positive Tweets- Rumour of training ground bust up with Start Striker Bent increase negative sentiment which is lifted on the 18th of Oct by Chairman’s backing of manager. 


Mark Hughes – 1st Place

A fairly obvious one we felt and one that is inline with Bantr’s analysis as well. Hughes spent vast amounts of money in the transfer season, bought seasoned international players (Two of them being Goalkeepers- Sorry Ben Foster) and yet the results aren’t following. After handing over points to other potential relegation battlers and with comments from fans, punditry and journalists we think, despite backing from chairman Tony Fernandes, that he’ll be the first to go.


Key Dates 

Aug 18th- QPR fail to sign Dawson and lose 3-0 to Swansea at home- Negative tweets overtake positive tweets 
Sept 9th- QPR lose at home to West Ham- Negative tweets peak above positive tweets
October 6th- Football fans take delight in the Irony at being 20th when Mark Hughes comments that ‘ Last season we finished 17th and it will never happen again’ 

Using this sentiment analysis with betting

Below is a post from a popular betting site with their odds on who the next manager to be out of a job could be

 Mark Hughes is joint favourite with Nigel Adkins (Who incidentally has his positive sentiment completely out weigh his negative on Twitter) , Paul Lambert is then second and then Martin Jol is fairly safe. If it’s proven that the Twitter analysis has some grounding then will betting companies start taking into account what the fans are saying to predict the next manager out?

Why is this important? 

By understanding what your fans and users are saying and approaching them,  you’re now proactive opposed to reactive. By having this data and knowing who the fans taking to social media to vent their anger are you can approach them, listen to them, engage with them and let them know that their frustrations aren’t being sent to the internet abyss for no one to take note.

Whilst these fans may not have appreciated the performance on the field they will appreciate the effort you’ve made to engage with them and this will lead to not only a strong brand loyalty but an advocation of the team brand. When it comes to the pub talk in the evening they’ll be able to turn to their friends despite the defeat and advocate the team and that, ladies and gentleman, is what it’s all about.

If you want some bespoke Twitter analysis, if your brand needs help to maximise it’s Twitter output or you want to target the people who like you brand then why not have a chat with us?


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About Christian

Christian is a Digital Strategist at We Play. He plays Lacrosse on the weekends and has a signed birthday card from the Arsenal Invincible squad. He's rubbish at COD, fairly OK at FIFA and cites Zelda as his favourite ever game. Follow him on Twitter. View all posts by Christian

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