Brace yourself, the ball to get the England’s Premier League underway is about to be centred. Between now and next May there’ll be hours and hours of televised action and sports pages filled to the gills with match reports, interviews and stories of transfers and bust-ups. And, oh yes, there might just be a mention or two of managers.
It’s all change along the line. Ferguson’s gone, along with Mancini and Benitez, David Moyes has changed colours, and though just a little over three years in the job, Alan Pardew is the second-longest server, not counting Mourinho’s previous stint with Chelsea. The father-figure, of course, is Wenger, calling the shots at Arsenal since 1996, and happy, no doubt, that his nemesis at Old Trafford has packed it in.
The bookies bet on almost everything, and they’ve already put up their prices for the coming season. Forget about who’ll win the title; which manager will be the first to go? This is what’s called the Sack Race, and heading the market is the already-mentioned Pardew.
It hasn’t been easy for AP. He did more than okay the season before last, steering his team from the relegation zone to a top half finish, and seeing off Sir Alex and the others for the top manager gong. But it wasn’t so good last season, and the recent appointment of former manager, Joe Kinnear, to oversee transfers at the club can’t have filled him with confidence. He’s as low as 3/1 to be the first to go.
Another of Pardew’s predecessors at St James’ Park and current Norwich boss, Chris Hughton, is 20/1, and is being tipped up. If it happens, it just proves that nice guys don’t win.
There’s no betting on which of the Premier managers has the best name. If there was, Malky Mackay would be odds-on. The Scot guided Cardiff City to their best season since Ivor Allchurch played with them hundreds of years ago, winning the 2012/13 Championship, and he’ll be depending a lot on what the widely-travelled Craig Bellamy has to offer in City’s bid to avoid a quick return to the second tier.