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The Stats Case For Backing Jaap Stam

The numbers show that sacking the manager would be a bad idea for Reading.

Bristol City v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images

In his debut piece for TTE, Matthew Lees points out that the stats for managerial changes mid-season show Reading should stand by their Stam. New appointments rarely push the team higher up the table, and don’t tend to last long in the job.

Following the defeat to Bristol City many people are calling for Jaap Stam to be sacked. I personally do not agree with this view as I believe that currently there are no better options out there and any change in manager will not have too much effect on the rest of the season, as well as the fact that many of the players seem to like Stam.

I also believe in the idea of giving a manager a long period of time to build a side - to back this up, I’ve looked at how sackings at this point of the season have worked in the last few years.

Since the 2010/11 season, 20 clubs in the Championship have sacked their manager in either December or January. Two of these times were Reading, and on neither occasion was the replacement able to improve on their starting league position - with both Steve Clark and Brian McDermott guiding us to places slightly above the relegation zone.

Half of the clubs that sacked their manager were able to improve their standing in the table by the end of the season, however on average there is no change in position. This is partially due to the fact that both Birmingham last season moved 12 places down in the league, and Reading moved down 10 places in 2015-16.

The largest climb up the table was Wigan in 2013-14 when they climbed nine places, reaching the play-offs by the end of the season. However, this swing happened when they changed manager very early in December and so this would not be good enough for Reading to get in the play-offs this season based on the table currently.

Wigan Athletic v Reading - Sky Bet Championship
The appointment of Uwe Rosler was initially a boost for Wigan, but was ultimately unsuccessful
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Additionally, none of the managers that were appointed were able to get their clubs promoted before leaving their clubs, which demonstrates that this was not a viable way to get promoted. The managers were on average sacked after only 11 months which would lead to Reading being forced to search for a new manager again at this time next season most probably, which is not in my view an enjoyable or viable way of moving forward.

In conclusion, I believe that this demonstrates that sacking Stam now is not a good way of moving forward. Currently we are well clear of the relegation zone and even if we did sack him it would be almost impossible for any new manager to come in and get us into the play-offs which means that this season we will almost certainly be finishing in mid-table.

Stam proved last season that he is a very capable manager and can get this side playing well. He is our biggest hope at the moment and with him we probably stand the best chance of getting back up their again next season.