Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A detailed look at Hughes' record

Now that it's official, let's take a good look at what sort of manager we've got.

When Hughes took charge at Blackburn on 15th Sep 2004, the club were second to bottom of the Premiership with two points from five games. The previous season, under Graeme Souness, they had finished 15th, compared to 6th the season before that. Here's how they performed under Hughes:

When placed in the context of the financial resources Hughes had available, his record at Blackburn looks more impressive. The table (below) shows the net transfer spending for each Premiership club over the last four seasons, and reveals that Hughes has spent less than any other manager except Wenger.

(Profits from transfers are in brackets. The Blackburn figures include the £1.5m fee for Morten Pedersen, who signed a month before Hughes became manager).

And here are his signings in full:

The signings of Santa Cruz (fourth top Premiership scorer last season with 19 goals), Benni McCarthy (26 goals in 59 appearances) and Bentley clearly show he has a good eye for a player.

More importantly, his ability to spot of bargain is also striking. Yesterday The Sun claimed that Santa Cruz could be the subject of a £15m bid from Man United, while The Times estimates Bentley to be worth in excess of £12m - making a combined potential profit of £23m. That's in addition to the £2m he's made from his signings so far, with a £2.5m profit on the sale of Kuqi, £1m on Bellamy, and a £1.5m loss on Savage.

The final table, I believe, is one of the best indicators of a manager's ability. It shows how much each Premiership club paid in wages in the 05-06 and 06-07 seasons, then divides that by the number of league points won (£ per point). I've separated the Top 4 clubs from the others as they're pretty much in a different economic league.

The figures for wages are from accountants Deloitte (listed by the BBC here) and unfortunately are only available for those two seasons.

Of course, Sam Allardyce's position at the top of the table shows that brilliant management of resources can count for little when stepping up to a bigger club with higher expectations. The fact that Hughes has only had four years as a club manager also leaves a question mark (I've excluded his time as Wales boss from this feature as I just don't think it's that relevant to club football).

As to whether we're better off with Hughes than Sven, that's a question that may never be answered. But my gut feeling is that, in the shape of this combative and successful former international, we've got ourselves the thinking man's Stuart Pearce. And that has to signal progress from where we were just a year ago.

Whether he'll do enough to satisfy an impatient billionaire owner, or be in agreement with his advisors about potential signings, only time will tell.


Bogey said...

Good stats.
I think Sven served a purpose to raise the profile of the club but is too much of a cheque book manager. Hughes signifies the next step - a young ambitious manager who has proved himself in the Prem with BR and who now has the tools to take his career to the next level with City. Still unproven in European management.

1.618034 said...

I always admired and feared him as a player and I reckon we've got someone special... Time will tell of course but there's a great article on the BBC site which does include his Wales job and when you hear what kind of Man he is then it fills me with more confidence than another season under the "playboy" stewardship of Sven.

Bring it on!