This summer threatened to be heavy on Premier League managerial changes as several clubs signed off 2014/15 dissatisfied. However, at the halfway point in June, with less than eight weeks left before the 2015/16 top-flight campaign commences, the total appears to have settled on three.
West Ham were the first to act, confirming the much-anticipated departure of Sam Allardyce with a statement on the club website within seconds of the final whistle blowing on their closing league game at Newcastle.
Rafael Benitez, Unai Emery and seemingly Marcelo Bielsa were all contacted, but they ultimately appointed long-term frontrunner Slaven Bilic, who made his name by guiding Croatia to Euro 2008 at England’s expense and reaching the quarter-finals.
Bilic’s unremarkable club record in lesser leagues than this and the tendency of Allardyce teams to struggle the season after his departure – Newcastle and Blackburn were relegated; Bolton survived by a point – has led to the Irons being odds-against at [2.2] to hit their target of a top-half finish.
The Irons’ loss to Newcastle in Allardyce’s farewell unsurprisingly wasn’t enough to earn caretaker Magpies boss John Carver permanent control on account of the run of one point from ten matches which preceded it.
In a move that had been discussed pretty much from the moment that Alan Pardew vacated his position on Tyneside to take charge of Crystal Palace in January, Steve McClaren took over at St James’ Park.
Though his reputation on arrival was damaged by Championship side Derby’s decision to dismiss him, the former England manager did oversee their two strongest campaigns of the past seven years, beating the previous best by 13 points even in their supposedly disappointing 2014/15.
Unlike West Ham, there has been a small amount matched at odds-on that Newcastle crack the top ten.
By far the most shocking dugout renovation to occur was at Watford, where Slavisa Jokanovic’s request for a pay rise after promotion was met with an ushering out of the door. His replacement is another Premier League rookie in Quique Sanchez Flores, albeit one with experience at big clubs like Valencia, Benfica and Atletico Madrid, and a Europa League title to his name.
Relegation odds of [1.72] indicate that the switch isn’t critically acclaimed, though their continued progress after the contentious removal of Sean Dyche in 2012 and three changes last autumn hints that they deserve the benefit of the doubt.
The coaching change count should stop at three though because there hasn’t been a Premier League sacking this late into the post-season in nine years, with the latest one in that period being Harry Redknapp’s June 13 Tottenham axing in 2012.
Simply put, Manchester City and Liverpool have had over three weeks to pull the plug on Manuel Pellegrini or Brendan Rodgers if they so wished and declined to.
As a result, respective prices of [1.04] on Pellegrini and [1.08] on Rodgers still being in power on the opening day look like sound investments for punters willing to back at those prices.