Aston Villa next manager betting madness

The saga that is the race to become the next Aston Villa manager shows no sign of coming to an end soon, and Alex McLeish’s resignation from Birmingham City earlier today has just increased speculation that he is the man to take over after Gerrard Houllier’s resignation/sacking.

McLeish was odds on favourite a couple of hours back and both he and Mark Hughes have traded below even money on Betfair. On top of that Rafa Benitez has traded down as low as 2.00, Roberto Martinez down to 2.12, Steve McClaren has been as short as 3.05 and Claudio Ranieri 3.10.

Most of these have also been odds on with the bookmakers as well, it has been a layers delight for the bookies and punters on the exchanges.

If my opinions are correct, this is set to continue as I can’t see Alex McLeish getting the job. There are good reasons to back this up, although the lack of a convincing reason (so far) for McLeish’s resignation has got me slightly questioning myself.

First, Randy Lerner does things properly and doesn’t involve himself or his club in underhand behaviour. As a result of this it is widely regarded that Mark Hughes ruled himself out of the running by quitting Fulham in the manner he did.

If Hughes won’t be appointed because of this, then why on earth would Randy Lerner employ McLeish if he has pulled the same stunt as Hughes did?

Also, Randy Lerner is supposed to have ruled out Steve McClaren because of a potential fans backlash.

So surely the prospect of employing a Blues manager would be a total no go with the fans, and not just any Blues manager, but one who has just overseen his team get relegated. What chance that? It seems highly unlikey to me.

Unless Lerner is running out of options and is getting desperate that is, in which case maybe it could happen. But the rational thinking is that this is a total no goer.

So who could it be? I did think that after what happened with Roberto Martinez that the chance of another Premier League manager coming to Villa Park was very unlikely. Who would want to be seen as second or third or fourth choice behind the Wigan manager? Would Owen Coyle or David Moyes consider the job after that? I’m not too sure.

I did think it would be an out of work manager or a foreigner, but now the name of David Moyes doesn’t seem to be going away. He has a proven track record and the fans will surely approve.

One problem could be his club though. I can’t see Everton giving in easily over this and if Lerner sticks to his Mark Hughes principles, then he won’t employ him if he walks out on Everton.

At times last season Moyes cut a frustrated figure on the touchline with Everton. Could he have decided he has taken Everton as far as he can on the current budget? Maybe he has been told he has to sell to balance the books this summer? I now think there could be a number of reason why Moyes might consider the job.

He now seems to be the name on the move, as I write he’s joint favourite with McLeish at Skybet and is closing in on favouritism on Betfair, it will be interesting to see what Monday brings.

The integrity of Mark Hughes

“As a young, ambitious manager I wish to move on to further my experiences, I believe my management team and I have done a good job and the club (obviously Fulham) has a strong foundation from which they can go forward. I would also like to take this opportunity to clarify that neither myself nor my representative have approached or have been approached by another club.” Mark Hughes statement earlier today after resigning as Fulham manager.

When I first heard these quotes, it would be fair to say I wasn’t totally convinced I believed Hughes. For him to leave a perfectly stable job to apparently further his career without the promise of another job would be a pretty risky gamble.

The bookies were convinced, most had closed the book on him going to Villa by this evening. So why is he now drifting on Betfair?

Well a good reason for this could be because Randy Lerner has apparently got principles. When Martin O’Neill left at the start of last season, Lerner is supposed to have made a point of not going for a manager currently in a post. Basically, Lerner won’t do to others, what he wouldn’t like done to himself.

Villa were also supposed to have contacted Fulham today to confirm they hadn’t approached Mark Hughes behind their backs, not the sort of behaviour you would expect from a club looking to poach someones manager. Randy Lerner is also rumoured to have a good relationship with Mohamed Al Fayed, which makes an approach for Hughes all the less likely.

Finally, as a man of principles, it is now reported that Lerner isn’t impressed by Hughes conduct in departing Fulham. He also did a similar thing to Blackburn when Manchester City came calling.

So why wouldn’t he do the same thing to Villa a couple of years down the line if Manchester United came calling? Well he obviously would, and I think Lerner is well aware of this, which is why I wouldn’t be putting any hard earned on him ending up at Villa Park. Ending up with egg on his face? Well that could be worth a few quid.