Premier League: Blackburn’s Steve Kean is top for the chop
Who would want to be a Premier League manager? You have to deal with players who are at least 10 times wealthier than you, agents trying to flog you a guy from Ghana for £10 million, who is as fast as lightning but has never kicked a ball in his life, and chairmen who expect success as of yesterday, even though they’ve made you sell all your best players and given you peanuts to replace them with. Not to mention dealing with the pesky media.
They say you have to be mad to be a goalkeeper. If that’s the case then I think you have to be insane to be a manager! However, these top flight positions are never vacant for long as there are always egos needing to be inflated and necks that just love to be placed on the chopping block.
The new Premier League season is just hours away and the pressure for a good start is already mounting. Blackburn Rovers narrowly escaped the drop last season under the stewardship of Steve Kean, but the Scotsman is the bookies’ favourites to bite the bullet first this campaign at 11/4 at Sky Bet and William Hill.
The Venky’s axed Sam Allardyce after they capitulated at Old Trafford last season and while the football may not have been easy on the eye, the former Bolton boss would have kept them up no bother. As it turned out, Kean managed to do just enough to secure his side’s place at the top table, but with the Indian chicken owners in charge, there could be some fowl play in the dugout at Ewood Park.
Next on the Premier League hit list is QPR boss Neil Warnock. Now I don’t know about you but after guiding the R’s back to the Premier League as champions I’d be expecting a new contract and money to go out and strengthen the squad. Unfortunately, despite having some of the world’s richest man in charge, that it not how things work at Loftus Road.
The former Sheffield United boss is 4/1 at William Hill to be the next manager to be given his P45. Following his heartache at the hands of the Carlos Tevez affair, everyone’s favourite Colin thought he would never get the chance to manage in the top flight again. Well, unless something drastic happens between now and Saturday, he will realise his dream again, but how long he will remain at the club remains a mystery.
Warnock is closely followed by Newcastle United’s Alan Pardew. The former West Ham United boss has seen his star striker sold from under his nose, lost his club captain to West Ham and fears Joey Barton and Jose Enrique will be heading off for pastures new too soon. I’m sure that wasn’t in the brochure when Mike Ashley appointed him. Pardew has been given hardly any of Carroll’s £35 million transfer fee to invest in the squad and Mike Ashley seems to have a habit of sticking his oar in when it’s not wanted. Whether Pardew walks or he is axed remains to be seen but the price of him being the first Premier League manager to leave his post is 5/1 at both Blue Square and 888 Sport.
Sunderland’s Steve Bruce has spent more cash on men this summer than the hideous beast of a so-called model Jordan. The experienced heads of Wes Brown and John O’Shea have arrived at the Stadium of Light alongside the highly-rated striker Connor Wickham, Craig Gardener and Sebastian Larsson among others.
However, having spent all of that money, Bruce is under pressure to deliver. Last season the Black Cats endured a terrible run of results, before turning it around. A similar performance this season could see Niall Quinn’s patience run out. You can get odds of 12/1 at Victor Chandler for Bruce to be the first manager to go.
Tottenham’s Harry Redknapp and Wolverhampton Wanderers’ boss Mick McCarthy are next in the firing line at 16/1. Despite guiding Spurs to the Champions League last season, the folks at White Hart Lane are never happy. Redknapp will be under pressure to get them back into the top four, but, with the England position being dangled in front of him, Daniel Levy could well spring a shock and give him the boot, especially if they have a poor start. Redknapp himself may decide to walk if Luka Modric is sold, despite Levy’s assurances that the player is not for sale.
McCarthy has done well to keep Wolves in the Premier League and surprised a number of big boys last season. That said though, McCarthy has never been universally loved at Molineux. The former Republic of Ireland boss has had five years in charge of the Black Country club, but a poor start could see his tenure come to an end.
Manchester City’s Roberto Mancini is 18/1 at Blue Square, despite guiding the Citizens to a top four finish and winning the club its first piece of silverware in decades.
Alex McLeish, who crossed the divide in Birmingham to take over at Aston Villa, is 20/1 at William Hill and although the furore over his appointment has seemingly calmed down, it won’t take much for the McLeish Out brigade to find their voice.
McLeish is the same price as Everton’s David Moyes. Arguably one of the best pound for pound managers in the country, Moyes has been in charge at Goodison Park for nine years. What more can he do there? I can’t see the Toffees ever wanting rid of Moyes, but Moyes may be tempted by a new challenge somewhere else.
For years Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger was untouchable at the Emirates. Unfortunately six seasons without a trophy has seen his standing slip among Gooners and you can get odds of 33/1 at William Hill for the Frenchman to be axed or walk out of Arsenal. With a tricky start to the season, combined with a lack of action yet again in the transfer window, that may be worth a punt.
Wenger is the same price as new boys Brendan Rodgers, Marin Jol and Paul Lambert, as well as the greatest manager in Premier League history Sir Alex Ferguson.
Liverpool’s Kenny Dalglish, Stoke’s Tony Pulis and Chelsea’s new manager Andreas Villas-Boas are all safe as houses in the bookies’ eyes. The best price you can get for them to be unemployed first this season is 66/1.
And if you think Santa is real and the tooth fairy exists then this bet will appeal to you. For no Premier League manager to leave or to be axed this season you can get odds of 100/1. That’s the same odds of Blackburn Rovers’ new striker David Goodwillie and West Brom’s Chris Brunt finishing the season as top goalscorer! Considering there were at least five new faces in the dugouts during the course of last season, and sackings and football go hand in hand, you would be throwing your money down the drain.
Who is your money on?
Here is a list:
Steve Kean 11/4
Neil Warnock 4/1
Alan Pardew 5/1
Steve Bruce 12/1
Harry Redknapp 16/1
Mick McCarthy 16/1
Roberto Mancini 18/1
Alex McLeish 20/1
David Moyes 20/1
Owen Coyle 25/1
Roberto Martinez 25/1
Arsene Wenger 33/1
Brendan Rogers 33/1
Martin Jol 33/1
Paul Lambert 33/1
Sir Alex Ferguson 33/1
Roy Hodgson 40/1
Andreas Villas-Boas 66/1
Kenny Dalglish 66/1
Tony Pulis 66/1
No manager 100/1