Even if you don’t care who wins the 2012-13 EPL you can’t help but be entertained by the revolving door cum-grand opera that is the annual Premier League Manager Sack Race.
Before a ball has been kicked or a game won or lost (or drawn) the sportsbooks’ knives have come out and have been pointed at the next Cesar they come to bury (not praise). After a busy “Summer Break” that saw a total of seven clubs make managerial changes, picking the first to be sent back to the dole office is a slightly tricky pick.Crazy, crazy and thrice crazy, contenders
While the name on the first “Sorry you’re leaving” card is a hotly debated topic, there are a couple of “safe as houses” jobs in football.
The two managers from the two Manchesters are big 66/1 odds with the bookmakers to be shown the door first in the 2012-13 season. The old and established, gum chewer and “Most successful manager in the history of the league ™” Alex Ferguson
, has to retire (eventually) but I don’t see him stepping down on the back of anything other than a winning season, while the idea of anyone booting out a manger who delivered the League Trophy (even if it was a last minute nail biter) last season
is utter, utter madness. Getting ready for a seat on MOTD
It may be a long overdue return to the top flight for Southampton, but Saints’ boss Nigel Adkins is an early front runner to become the first top flight manager to go the way of Bob Diamond. It’s a decent, if unsympathetic 6/1 to come to pass as Saints could be the team that struggles to find form in the top flight after such a long spell in the lower regions, and the call may go out for a (new) saviour.
Other Returning Faces and New Arrivals are also near the front of the sack race pack.
West Brom’s Steve Clarke is favourite with some of the betting odds
makers and as low as 5/1 to be the first manager out the door, but despite having England Manager sized shoes to fill in the Baggies’ top office, Clarke has the bar of expectation set sufficiently low to survive anything other than total implosion.
Bad tempered, walnut faced Sam Allardyce who returns to the Premier League with West Ham is at 8/1 and due to his temperament (and West Ham’s track record) he is certainly worth a cheeky bet.
Probably looking at a very rough season, but pretty sackproof, is Chelsea’s new boss Roberto Di Matteo (offered up at 12/1) who is very much an unproven force in the realms of football management, but having delivered the Champions League trophy
(against this handicapper’s prediction) will be Teflon-coated should Chelsea’s stars fail to shine back in the domestic league.Tempting, tempting and thrice tempting
My cheeky little bet is on Mark Hughes, who is a very seductive 16/1 to be the first out the door. QPR only just escaped relegation last season and Mr Hughes has speculated, hoping to accumulate (points) in the summer transfer window, but that demands rapid results. Should the result turn against him the board will soon follow. Bigger odds but bigger drama
A couple of other managers to pay particular attention to include; Liverpool's Brendan Rodgers and Tottenham gaffer Andre Villas-Boas. Big names, big clubs, high hopes, decent odds. Rodgers is at 20/1 and AV-B is at 25/1, both worth a couple of quid but I’d call these both “Mattress Bets” as neither are hardly a logical or a “savvy” bet. Keep your betting slip under your mattress, until the unlikely happens and then (and only then) crow about your Cassandra-like foresight. Announcing you’ve backed either of those managers to be the first to see a P-45 might see you relegated to the children’s table at Sunday lunchtime.
If you want a “possible” big return stick a couple of quid on Everton’s David Moyes being the “winner” of the sack race, it’s been a rocky few year for the Toffees and I fear something’s gonna give (soon). Can you spell P-45?
Last season there was nothing lucky about the Black Cats as the Sunderland manager Steve Bruce became the first casualty of the 2011/12 EPL season when he was sacked at the end of November following a sorry run of form. His replacement, Martin O’Neil is a healthy 40/1, interestingly the equal of his cross Tyne equal number; Alan Pardew of Newcastle United. O’Neil and Pardew share the 40/1 spot with one other man; Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger.
Out of those three I’d say that Wenger has the greatest reason to worry (and therefore is worth a wee LOL bet, or a large spite bet if you’re a Spurs fan) as the Gunners seem to be lagging behind the Manchesters and another poor run of results could herald calls for a fresh pair of hands at the Emirates. However, my ever reliable spy in the Arsenal camp (known only by his codename “Paul”) has assured me that Wenger is going nowhere any time soon. Le Professor is 8/1 to be the next Real Madrid manger (if that has any bearings).
Who stays? Who goes? Who don’t know yet, but as for Who Cares? We all do!