Let’s get one thing clear. It is never acceptable to take delight in another person losing their job. Unless that person happens to be Sepp Blatter, or possibly the man whose job it is to stop Justin Bieber getting punched. Oh, and of course Premier League managers who have done something hopeless and/or hilarious to bring about the big dirty boot. So now we’ve established it’s morally sound, let’s peer ghoulishly into the haunted eyes of this year’s front runners to be sacked next – after Tony Pulis walked the plank.
Sam Allardyce 7/4
There’s an old Chinese proverb that roughly translates to “let Big Sam do it. But only for a bit.’ The Allardyce version of events is the struggling, mid-budget club that he has kept in English football’s top flight with no real ‘pants in your mouth’ moments to speak of. The alternative, and increasingly popular view, is that he is a human handbrake on a club with proud (but distant) traditions, high expectations and a potentially era-defining stadium move on the horizon. The fact that most fans could no more describe the mythical ‘West Ham way’ than they could a wistful baguette is of little importance, Sam doesn’t get ‘it’. A fairly horrible pre-season, an eclectic bag of signings and a chairman ‘accidentally’ favouriting tweets that read ‘Sam out’ all point towards an Allardyce exit before long. Has anyone got Avram’s number?
[A hat-tip to Andrew McQuillan for this gory piece of design work]
Alan Irvine 15/2
Who is Alan Irivine? What is Alan Irvine? There are low key appointments and then there are appointments where the key is so low it’s in serious danger of being bummed by moles. Irvine, aside from being very much a left field choice, also has no significant success in the lead role. His record as a coach and academy head is largely endorsed but considering West Brom finished the last season just about bunging their way to safety, punching each other in the face and wondering if it was too late to swap Pepe Mel for something more useful, like a selection of continental meats, perhaps that isn’t quite enough. Add that to the fact that West Brom haven’t exactly staggered the league with the quality of their signings – with record buy Brown Ideye being quite the gamble – and the Baggies may be forced to bosh the boss once again.
Paul Lambert 8/1
It’s hard to say what message you’re trying to send when you appoint Roy Keane as your number two. Perhaps Lambert is hoping he will add some much needed steel and focus to a perpetually tepid Villa team. Perhaps Keane just turned up in a tracksuit one day and everyone’s too scared to tell him he doesn’t work there. Either way Lambert must consider himself remarkably fortunate to still be in the position to appoint anyone, following consecutive seasons where Villa have looked like the Championship’s boney fingers were resting on their shoulder. A return for Benteke will be a plus, but summer signings such as Joe Cole, Kieran Richardson and Philippe Senderos (aka the ‘Swiss Cheese’ – any defence he’s in will be full of holes. Boom) point to a club not quite sure what needs fixing. Don’t be surprised if we see suddenly see a lot more of a certain cheerful Irishman. That’s what Adrian Chiles is hoping for.
Harry Redknapp 9/1
The only real factor in whether Harry Redknapp getting the boot or not is probably the simple fact that he doesn’t especially give a fuck. By his own admission, had QPR not swindled their way to promotion he would have walked away. Not the words of a man so dedicated to the cause he’s named his left testicle Clive Allen and his right testicle Sir Les Ferdinand. However, it is rumoured that Harry has put his foot down over summer transfers, especially taking on 35 year old Rio Ferdinand. Also the signings of Mutch and Caulker from Cardiff are both pretty good, although a cynic may remark that he’s adding two relegated players to a squad that barely deserved promotion. Expect him to walk when he’s had enough rather than wait to get pushed.
Alan Pardew 10/1
Alan Pardew could take hold of his young, hungry global signings, mould them together with the core pros at the club and turn up with the Newcastle United that was recently close enough to the Champions League places to lick the back of Arsene Wenger’s head. Alternatively, Pardew could turn up for the first game, vomit into his own pants and fling the severed head of Hatem Ben Arfa into the crowd. Anything that sees Newcastle floating around 10th and above will keep him a job. Unless a maniac tracksuit salesman owns the club of course.
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