As the 2014/15 football season looms upon us it becomes clear that no one in their right mind should want to be a Premier League manager. Increased player power, financial pressure, media speculation and a rich Arabian ready to crack his whip means that the job is not for the faint hearted.
Unfortunately this aspect of football has become somewhat a comical farce. Think back to the 2011/12 season. One of the most entertaining aspects was the reign of Steve Keane at Blackburn. Slated by fans and press, Keane remarkably managed to keep his job for the entire season, much to the amusement of rival fans.
The sheer publicity of football management means it is now one of the most popular betting markets offered by bookmakers. For the punter this market can offer some real value, and an easy way to win money back after your team has just conceded a last gasp equaliser.
The bookies make Sam Allardyce the clear favourite, at odds of evens, to be the first manager sacked this season. There are many reasons why his odds are so short. West Ham are traditionally known as a club that play attractive football. Allardyces’ ‘hoof and run style of play simply doesn’t mix well with the fans, who will likely play an integral role in his future. Big Sam is also not in the owners good books. The Hammers drastically underperformed last year narrowly avoiding relegation. These two factors as well as reports of players not being happy means Allardyce job hangs on a thread. Anything other than a positive start to this season will likely see his sacking.
The next favourite is Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert at 7/1. Similarly to Allardyce, Lambert is disliked by the Villa fans. Combine this with a disappointing previous season, and few big-name summer signing and Lambert’s job look anything but secure.
Alan Irvine is the next manager to have the “privilege” of being on this list priced at 8/1. Being new to the job at West Ham he is at least neutral in the fans books. His main problem will be finding a replacement for Romelu Lukaku. If he can do this and have a steady start to the season then the pressure will ease.
Following third favourite Irvine it becomes clear that the bookies are struggling to find a fourth favourite in the market. Pardew, Monk, Koeman and Pearson are all priced very similarly, around the 10/1 range. With it looking too hard to pick a “winner” out of these managers it is worth scrolling down a little further, where a gem of a bet can be found.
Whilst Redknapp did secure QPR’s promotion last year, the team’s performance was anything but convincing. Constant rumours of unrest in the dressing room, and with players like Taarabt and Barton in the frame Redknapp’s job stability looks questionable. With heaps of money being invested in the team by the Hoops’ expectant owner, Tony Fernandes, the prospect of a relegation scrap may lead to Redknapp’s dismissal, making 16/1 outstanding value.