It seems in an attempt to take a bit of the limelight away from FIFA’s decision to “award” the World Cup to Russia and Qatar last week, Mike Ashley has surpassed what even the most divisive of commentators may have predicted about him. If Ashley ever thought the days of drinkin’ pints with the fans of his club had gone, they’re now off on a never-ending holiday to Mars. This all comes after he today took the decision to fire manager Chris Hughton. If you’ve been in a coma for the past four years it may come as a surprise, otherwise you will share Hughton’s bewilderment.
Hughton took the job after the club were relegated, after which he won the Championship title at the first time of asking, beat Sunderland 5-1 earlier this season, and steered the club to 11th place in the Premier League. They may well have lost 3-1 at West Brom yesterday afternoon, but this sacking is one of the more surprising pieces of news this season.
After a flurry of bets early this morning, a number of bookies suspended betting, Stan James among them. Head of PR, Charlie McCann, also explained that the markets for who will succeed Hughton are already full of life.
“From first thing this morning all punters wanted to know was Hughton to be next manager to leave his job and there was no smoke without fire. We have had a number of enquiries about Alan Pardew being the next Geordie boss and whilst he has the necessary managerial experience we aren’t convinced he would be first choice for the Toon army. Indeed we would be surprised if he was still favourite in a couple of hours time such is the volatility of these markets.”
Pardew is currently favourite at 11/4, Martin O’Neill closely following the former-West Ham and Charlton boss at 7/2. As for Mr Hughton – I hear there’s an assistant manager job down at Chelsea that needs occupying.