We only occasionally dip our toe into the ‘Next Manager’ market as often the eventual appointed boss will be a) obvious from the start or b) a complete curveball, and while option a offers very little for punters to get excited about option b does occasionally deliver some value.
Have a glance at the head of the Next Middlesbrough Manager market and you’ll instantly feel two things: are these the best candidates for the job? and b) we have a real chance of finding some great betting value in amongst this minefield.
Chosen at random, SkyBet have the next Boro boss shaping up like this:
- Steve Agnew – 2/1
- Paul Ince – 11/4
- Alan Pardew – 9/1
- Bryan Robson – 14/1
- Nigel Pearson – 16/1
- Harry Redknapp – 16/1
If you are rubbing your eyes in disbelief at that shortlist then you’re not the only one. This, a Premier League side, are simply not going to employ Ince or Robson, no matter of their local connections. The same can be said for Pearson – a much beloved Boro player, but a man who was sacked from his last job at Derby for allegedly headbutting the chairman.
Redknapp’s mention coincided nicely with Comic Relief on Friday, while Alan Pardew is not the kind of gaffer that Boro chairman Steve Gibson would typically employ.
Gibson has a well-known love of continental, technically-focused managers, as the appointments of Steve McClaren and Aitor Karanka testify. Remember, Karanka was a complete unknown prior to his arrival that had never managed before; he was assistant at Real Madrid to Jose Mourinho, and yet with a win ratio of 52% he is, arguably, the Boro’s most successful manager of the modern era.
So the chairman is willing to a) take a risk and b) go foreign if necessary. Interesting stuff for punters.
The elephant in the room is Agnew, a long-serving member of the backroom team who has taken over temporary charge. With ten games remaining of the Premier League season, will he be left in charge until the end of the campaign so that Gibson can make an appointment based on their league status for 2017/18?
That’s a distinct possibility, and the rules of the Next Manager state that, for the purposes of the market, a caretaker is classed as a permanent appointment if they take charge for ten or more games. Hence Agnew’s price of 1/2.
But if we assume that Gibson will make an appointment in the next few weeks, then a familiar Spaniard might just be his chosen selection.
Say it With Flores
When Quique Sanches Flores was sacked as Watford boss last summer, there were plenty among the Vicarage Road faithful who felt slightly aggrieved by the decision.
The Spaniard led the Hornets to a comfortable thirteenth in the Premier League and to the semi-finals of the FA Cup. Fast forward 12 months and Watford will need to claim 14 points from their remaining 10 games simply to match their league achievements of 2015/16.
Progress? Not a bit of it.
Since then Quique has looked to put that debacle behind him at Espanyol; and boy, what a job he has done there. Last season they finished just five points clear of the relegation zone with a goal difference of -34. Fast forward 12 months and they are ninth – just eight points shy of Real Sociedad in sixth.
To call Flores a miracle worker would be over-egging the pudding, but he could be exactly the catalyst Boro need for a shock survival mission. If they go down, Quique seems as good an option as any in the Championship.
You’ll find prices vary on him to be appointed next Middlesbrough manager from 20/1 to 30/1, but anything towards the latter end of that price range is outstanding value.