There’s been a distinct change in the bookies odds on the next Aston Villa manager since our recent report over the weekend that saw Steve Bruce as the bizarre new front runner.
While the ownership uncertainty at the club rumbles on, appointing a new Villa boss is never going to be a clear cut decision. As we’ve stated previously, common sense dictates that Villa chairman Steve Hollis (pictured above) must find a new owner before a new manager is announced. Thus any announcement of a new manager first, would signal a new owner is pretty much a done deal.
That’s why Bruce suddenly becoming a favourite with some bookies and various newspaper stories (*cough cough* Daily Mirror) seemed a load of old tosh, since Bruce is still manager of Hull City, who are in the play-offs and could easily end up in the Premier League next season.
But what happens if the sale of the club stalls indefinitely?
Obviously Villa will have to draw a line in the sand at some point in appointing a manager, if a there is such a hold up, or even worse, the sale falters completely. While the noises out of Villa Park this time around suggest a breakdown in the sale process is unlikely due to the numerous bidders involved, this is Aston Villa after all and anything that ultimately inflicts misery on its supporters is always a possibility.
If there was no new owner before the Championship season kicked-off, the flare-up between Lerner and his board members David Bernstein and Mervyn King, that led to their resignations, would in hindsight prove to be a pointless occurrence. Certainly the club were better off heading into next season with them on board, if Lerner remained the owner.
Currently most of the press and bookies seem to be playing catch-up on the Villa manager situation. Certain recent media reports of the club meeting with Nigel Pearson seem especially off the pace, considering the Villa board were doing their due diligence on potential Villa managers while the club were locked in protracted severance deal discussions with Rémi Garde.
When Brian Little was asked to describe the ideal attributes of the next Villa boss at the Fan Consultation Group meeting last week, he essentially described all the attributes of Pearson. In fact, he might as well have flashed us a picture of the ex-Leicester City boss, as you’d be hard-pressed to think of another manager who would fit such a detailed description.
Whispers of Villa having additional meetings with the Sheffield-based Pearson seemed to have finally convinced the bookies that he is the hot favourite for the job, with his lowest odds yet. Meanwhile the other previous favourites fell considerably with Bruce dropping back to 4/1, while Moyes is at his longest odds yet of 16/1.
Latest Villa Manager Odds
PP: 3rd May 2016
Considering Pearson’s work in winning the Championship and building the foundations of the newly elected Premier League Champions, Leicester City, he seems the logical choice for the Villa job, but the ownership uncertainty means nothing can be considered a foregone conclusion.
Ideal scenario? The announcement of a new owner and boss at Villa’s final home game of the season to put the focus immediately on next season.
I wouldn’t bet on it though.