Lech Poznań manager Maciej Skorża – from title-winner to bottom of the table – but still in his job
Since I’ve started following the Ekstraklasa, I’ve been bewildered by the sheer rate that clubs change their managers. Often I’ll be watching a game, and I simply have no idea who is managing a given club, especially as it’s so common for managers to move from one club to another over a short space of time. So, inspired by a piece by Przemysław Zych, I decided to do a little statistical analysis regarding the extent of managerial change in Poland’s top division. My analysis relates to the 16 clubs currently in Poland’s top division, thus including some sides which have spent time outside of the Ekstraklasa in the last few seasons. I decided to take an arbitrary date to show the rate of change – so I have monitored the managerial situation from January 2013 to the present.
What do the stats tell us? Firstly the average amount of time in which a manager gets to do his job in the Polish Ekstraklasa is approximately a season. Some clubs have been incredibly impatient over the last couple of years with Lechia Gdańsk (7 managers) and Podbeskidzie Bielsko-Biała (6) being the worst culprits. We can also see that is very common in the Ekstraklasa for managers to skip between different clubs, even when they have supposedly failed in their previous job (or as was the case with Dariusz Kubicki at Podbeskidzie Bielsko-Biała – left a club in the lurch when a better job came along and was subsequently employed by the same club soon after). Leszek Ojrzyński is the highest mover, having worked at three Ekstraklasa clubs since January 2013 but another nine managers have worked at at least two clubs.
The great majority of examples show something which is a common complaint with regard to Polish clubs, that the owners are simply not prepared to give managers time to get through crises – and that they prefer to hire someone who has failed somewhere else rather than give managers the time and space to succeed.
There are several more positive examples however. Górnik Łęczna’s Yuriy Shatalov, the longest serving manager in the Ekstraklasa (27 months), has had his difficult moments but the Łęczna board have not pressed the panic button and the club (who have a low budget) survived last season and are comfortably ensconced in mid-table this time round. The appointment of Tadeusz Pawłowski at Śląsk Wrocław was criticised in February 2014 but, after creating a side which is playing an attractive style of football, he seems to be safe in his job. Of course the key test for managers such as these is what happens when a real crisis comes along? – and a real crisis in Polish terms is losing 3 or 4 games in a row.
Perhaps the model Polish club in terms of trusting their manager to get out of a crisis is Lech Poznań. The current incumbent, Maciej Skorża, has lost 7 out of the first 9 games of the league season – and last season’s title winners are bottom of the table. Despite this, the Poznań club do not seem to be close to sacking Skórza – something that suggests that, even in the panic-stricken managerial world of the Polish Ekstraklasa, perhaps some better habits are being developed.
Here are the statistics:
Managers at Ekstraklasa clubs since January 2013 (in order of current league position – current managerial occupant first).
Piast Gliwice: Radoslav Latal, Ángel Pérez García, Marcin Brosz
Legia Warsaw: Henning Berg, Jan Urban
Pogoń Szczecin: Czesław Michniewicz, Jan Kocian, Dariusz Wdowczyk, Jan Skowronek
Zagłębie Lubin: Piotr Stokowiec, Orest Lenczyk, Pavel Hapal
Jagiellonia Białystok: Michał Probierz, Piotr Stokowiec, Tomasz Hajto
Wisła Kraków: Kazimierz Moskal, Franciszek Smuda, Tomasz Kuławik
Ruch Chorzów: Waldemar Fornalik, Jan Kocian, Jacek Zieliński
Termalica Nieciecza: Piotr Mandrysz, Dušan Radolský, Kazimierz Moskal
Górnik Łęczna: Yuriy Shatalov, Piotr Rzepka
Cracovia: Jacek Zieliński, Robert Podoliński, Wojciech Stawowy
Śląsk Wrocław: Tadeusz Pawłowski, Stanislav Levy
Korona Kielce: Marcin Brosz, Ryszard Tarasiewicz, Juan José Rojo Martín, Leszek Ojrzyński
Lechia Gdańsk: Thomas Von Heesen, Jerzy Brzęczek, Tomasz Unton, Quim Machado, Ricardo Moniz, Michał Probierz, Bogusław Kaczmarek
Podbeskidzie Bielsko-Biała: Robert Podoliński, Dariusz Kubicki, Leszek Ojrzyński, Czesław Michniewicz, Dariusz Kubicki, Marcin Sasal
Górnik Zabrze – Leszek Ojrzyński, Robert Warzycha, Ryszard Wieczorek, Adam Nawałka
Lech Poznań – Maciej Skorża, Krzystof Chrobak, Mariusz Rumak
Longest serving managers – Top five: Yurij Shatalov (Górnik Łęczna) – June 2013, Henning Berg (Legia Warsaw)/Piotr Mandrysz (Termalica Nieciecza) – January 2014, Tadeusz Pawłowski (Śląsk Wrocław) – February 2014, Piotr Stokowiec (Zagłębie Lubin) – May 2014.
Managers who have been employed the most amount of times over the period in question: Leszek Ojrzyński – 3, Marcin Brosz, Czesław Michniewicz, Piotr Stokowiec, Dariusz Kubicki, Michał Probierz, Kazimierz Moskal, Jan Kocian, Jacek Zieliński, Robert Podoliński – 2 (Kubicki twice at the same club).
Club with the most managers since January 2013: Lechia Gdańsk – 7
Club with the fewest managers since January 2013: Legia Warsaw, Górnik Łęczna and Śląsk Wrocław – 2
Mode (i.e the most commonly occurring number of managers per club in the period in question) – 3