There was a big move in the market to become Fulham’s next manager overnight, as the face of Sky Sports, Gary Neville, was dramatically cut to take over from the ousted Kit Symons at Craven Cottage.
The England coach is Ladbrokes’ current second favourite at 5/1, just behind current Rangers supremo Mark Warburton.
Whether his leap up the betting – he was 8/1 yesterday – is a result of actual concrete interest from the Londoners or big money wagers, his appointment would be the latest in a line of risky moves by owner Shahid Khan.
There is little doubt that Neville knows football. He is an articulate and informative pundit and is clearly a highly valued coach among Roy Hodgson’s backroom staff, but he doesn’t have a jot of managerial experience.
In fact, two of Khan’s last three appointments to the Fulham hotseat boasted a similarly bare managerial CV and the other, German Felix Magath, had never managed in England before.
All three of those managers were underwhelming. Rene Meulensteen and Magath both gained less than a point-per-game during their brief spells in charge, while Symons fared better, but only marginally at 1.33.
Yet it seems Khan has learned nothing about the dangers of hiring an inexperienced boss if the Neville rumours are true.
A quick scan down Ladbrokes’ market throws up at least five names at various prices that would be better appointments than another untried coach.
The most obvious is Nigel Pearson at 9/1. He remains curiously unemployed following his heroics in saving Leicester from Premier League relegation last term and knows how to gain promotion to the top flight too.
Two far more ambitious jobless targets are David Moyes and Brendan Rodgers, 20/1 and 25/1 shots respectively, who would prove far harder to lure to the Championship. They both share the same profile as Neville in terms of celebrity status, but carry far greater experience.
Towards the bottom of the betting, priced at 40/1 and 50s, are Ian Holloway and Malky Mackay. Neither have been in managerial positions recently, but haven’t been out of the game long enough to become archaic (like Alan Curbishley). They are also successful Championship managers with promotions to their names.
Surely any of that list would provide a steadier hand to the Cottagers than Gary Neville?
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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