WEST BROMWICH, UK - Roy Hodgson was today named as Fabio Capello’s successor as England manager, and at the same time the search began for his replacement for West Brom. The bookmakers are already taking bets on the next Baggies manager, although Hodgson has told the club that he will be seeing out the season at The Hawthorns.
The favourite to replace Hodgson at the time of writing is Alan Curbishley, who must be the bookies’ favourite unemployed manager in the UK, as he has featured in the betting for plenty of jobs since resigning as West Ham manager in 2008. ‘Curbs’ is best-priced at 7/2 with high-street bookmaker Ladbrokes to return to management this summer at West Brom, as it seems that one of the days he will finally return to either the Premier League or the Championship. Back in February Curbishley interrupted a skiing holiday to talk about the Wolves job at Molineux, so it looks like he is eyeing up a club in the top tier. Significantly, Skybet have Curbs at odds-on at 4/6 and Paddy Power has trimmed his odds from 7/2 into even-money today.
The early favourite had been Chris Hughton, but he looks comfortable at Birmingham, who are in the play-offs, vying for promotion to join West Brom in the Premier League. Hughton opened up a 6/4 with Skybet on the basis that he was shortlisted for the job the last time it was up for grabs, so he is clearly flavour of the month with the board, but his ties with Birmingham means that he is weak in the market this week at 5/1 with BetVictor and Bodog.
Michael Appleton is 10/1 from 11/1 with Stan James today, and few could blame him if he does jump the Portsmouth ship, who have been relegated to League One and are set to lose 17 or 18 players this summer. Appleton was short in the betting last time the West Brom job was vacant, rather like Hughton, but unlike Hughton he has ties with the Baggies, as he played in midfield for them as a player before and briefly worked in a managerial role for them. Last year he made two loan signings for Pompey from West Brom so he clearly still has strong ties at The Hawthorns, but on the other hand he is inexperienced.
At 14/1 with Skybet is Roberto Martinez, who is currently in charge of Wigan and has sufficient Premier League experience. He is definitely the rising star amongst the Premier League managers and could be the man to take West Brom to the next level. Interestingly he rejected overtures from Aston Villa last summer, and whilst West Brom are not going to be fighting alongside the likes of Everton and Spurs near the top of the table, they still have a useful budget and seem to be an ambitious club.
Former Scottish international Derek McInnes is quoted at 14/1 with Betfred and William Hill and is currently in charge of Bristol City. City remained safe in the Championship for another year, but since they were promoted they have failed to deliver on the promise that they showed in League One. McInnes has experience with West Brom as a player, 88 appearances, which is why he is shortlisted by the bookies. A high-pressure job in the Premier League is a huge ask though and his odds are hardly generous taking into account his inexperience.
Lee Clark is weak at 16/1 and both Gus Poyet and Steve Bruce have no momentum at 20/1. However the two interesting moves at bigger prices are Rafa Benitez, 25/1 from 100/1 with BetVictor, and Ian Holloway, who is 20/1 from 50/1 with bet365. Benitez could be a shade of value as he is still living in Wirral and is an ardent student of the Premier League, but it looks as though he was snubbed for the Chelsea job. His dream is to manage Liverpool again, but that looks a non-starter, at least for the next few years, so West Brom could give him something to do to keep ticking over, but the lack of European football could put Rafa off.
The likes of 50/1 Mick McCarthy, 66/1 Avram Grant, 66/1 Harry Redknapp can all be ruled out by punters, as can BetVictor’s 150/1 outsider, Pep Guardiola.