Sam Allardyce remains in the driving seat in the next England manager betting market, available to back at 1/2 from second fancy Jurgen Klinsmann (4/1).
An enraged Sunderland granted the FA permission to speak to the bookies’ favourite last week, but encouraged the Three Lions’ governing body to make their decision swiftly so as to minimise disruption to their pre-season preparations.
Allardyce dragged the Black Cats to safety last season after taking over with the club joint-bottom of the Premier League. Having flirted with the prospect of demotion only to pull off 11th-hour escapes in several campaigns prior, it was believed ‘Big Sam’ would instill the sturdiness that kept the Wearsiders clear of trouble henceforth.
Indeed, there are six teams priced shorter than Sunderland in bwin’s relegation betting, but the departure of their current boss will definitely spark a shortening of their 333/100 for the drop.
The truth is, however, it should have the opposite effect, with teams’ fortunes once their boss has left for the England job yet to worsen this century.
Take West Bromwich Albion, for instance, who finished a commendable 10th in Roy Hodgson’s final season at Hawthorns helm.
He had previously guided the Baggies clear of pending disaster and was replaced by rookie Steve Clarke for the 2012/13 season. It was a turn of events that led many to speculate it would be their last in the top flight.
Aston Villa’s current assistant coach didn’t just defy expectation, he improved West Brom to the extent they finished two places higher.
A similar situation took place at Middlesbrough in 2006/07, where Steve McClaren was succeeded by Gareth Southgate.
Boro recorded a 14th-place finish in McClaren’s final campaign before England came calling; they wound up 12th in Southgate’s first term.
Lazio lost Sven-Goran Eriksson midway through the 2000/01 edition, but their Serie A stature didn’t wane as a result.
The Swede exited in January, with the Biancocelesti in third place, six points off the Scudetto pace, their exact position and deficit to the top following the final match of the season.
It was a similar situation at Real Madrid in 2007/08, although they didn’t directly lose their manager to England.