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Is the new manager bounce a myth?

Is there any such thing as the fabled “new manager bounce”?

Aston Villa fans will certainly be hoping so when City travel to Villa Park on Sunday afternoon for Remi Garde’s first match in charge.

Put it down to the psychological effect of new voice in the dressing room or an opportunity for previously cast out players to catch the new manager’s eye but it’s often said that having a new man at the helm midway through a season has a short-term positive effect on a team’s results.

The current City boss certainly believes in this oft-touted maxim.

He told journalists at Friday's pre-match press conference: “Always when you have a new manager, you have some reaction.”

Does this assumption hold for City managers of yore? Let’s take a look at our bosses in the Premier League era (including the years we weren’t in it) to see if we’ve benefitted from this much-celebrated “bounce”.

Brian Horton was our first in-season Premier League switch after he took the reins from Peter Reid on 28 August 1993 and he got off to a winning start with a 3-1 win over Swindon Town.

Following on from Alan Ball’s one-year tenure and a brief caretaker spell from Asa Hartford, Steve Coppell’s short-lived City career began in October 1996 with a 2-2 draw away at QPR – not the worst result considering the miserable run the Blues had been on previously.

Frank Clark then took permanent charge on 29 December 1996 and he also started with a draw on 11 January against Crystal Palace at Maine Road.

Fast forward a year and there was another in-season managerial switch, with Joe Royle assuming first-team responsibilities on 18 February 1998.

Big Joe's Blues did bounce to the tune of a 3-1 win over Swindon with Uwe Rosler bagging a brace at the County Ground.

Joe Royle.ashx (500×281)

Kevin Keegan took over in the summer but 2001 but Stuart Pearce was the next to take charge in the middle of a campaign, with his appointment coming in March 2005.

Sadly, Chris Perry pierced Pearce’s bounce, levelling in the 90th minute to prevent City from winning away at The Valley against Charlton.

Sven Goran Eriksson and Mark Hughes were both close season appointments, meaning Roberto Mancini was next on the Blue throne in in the middle of a season back in December 2009.

The Mancini era started with a 2-0 win over Stoke City on Boxing Day which means that the “new manager bounce” certainly seems to hold some sway when it comes to Manchester City.

Indeed, no mid-season appointment at either Maine Road or the Etihad Stadium has ever lost their first game, with a 50% win ratio from the six relevant games.

What about the rest of the country though? Does this new boss effect register up and down the Premier League? Well, not really…

There have been 31 managerial changes part way through Premier League campaigns since the start of the 2010/11 season.

Of those 31, just six have registered a victory in their first match, while nine have picked up a point and 16 (more than half) have started their reigns with losses.

It’s unlikely this research will do anything to stem the tide of pre-match previews touting the legitimacy of the “bounce” dictum but, perhaps more relevant to Sunday’s game, is Remi Garde’s first game record as a manager.

The former Arsenal player has only had one previous job, so there’s only one game to look back at, four years ago.

It was 6 August 2011 when he took his Lyon side to Nice and they won 3-1.

No doubt the majority of supporters inside Villa Park on Sunday will be praying for a similarly significant impact from the new man in the dugout as they look to climb off the bottom of the Premier League table...

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