Next Aston Villa Manager?

This entry was posted on Saturday, June 4th, 2011

Situation Vacant

At first glance it may not appear a dream job. The Villa hotseat almost killed the previous incumbent, top players are fleeing as if being forced to swallow German cucumbers, and above all, it’s in Birmingham. Yet if you believe the bookies, plenty of top managers (and Steve McLaren) have tossed their hats (and umbrellas) into the ring.

In betting, there is nothing quite like a ‘Next Manager’ market to illuminate bookies’ eyes with £ signs. Prices move up and down, names come and go, although Harry Redknapp’s friends tend to cash in. Allegedly. Even by these standards, the Villa job is particularly sweet for the turf accountants. Firstly, it tends to be a regular event. It’s also sufficiently big for some huge names (Rafa, Carlo) to be priced up, but also for some lesser lights to join the fray (Paul Lambert for example.) In addition, the secretive nature of Randy Lerner means there are very few journalists who genuinely have an inside steer. Let us not forget that Gerard Houllier’s appointment caught everyone by surprise.

So who will it be? With favourite Sparky Hughes having seemingly ruled himself out, attention turns further down the list. Although names such as Roberto Martinez and Steve McLaren are being mooted, I’d focus on two others.

Martin Jol was on the shortlist when Martin O’Neill resigned, and having played football in nearby West Brom, would be keen for a return to the Midlands. He is priced at 15s on Betfair.

A far more audacious option could be Didier Deschamps. Is it possible that Houllier’s farewell present to the Villa was a cheeky phone call to his compatriot? Betfair offer as much as 80/1. Fill your boots!!!

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