In all honesty, I’ve never been one to follow ‘The Sack Race’ – the multitude of betting sites that now offer odds on the first manager to be sacked every season.
In Norwich’s case, of course, the odds are for the first Premier League manager to be given the heave-ho – all of which merely adds to the general frisson in the air as punters take the proverbial punt on the first hapless soul to be booted out of the door.
And, according to one site, that ‘honour’ belongs to Southampton’s Nigel Adkins.
Which strikes me as, well, wrong.
The Saints board in years gone by might have been one of those with itchy fingers on the trigger, but given the Lambert-like feats Adkins has performed of late – and the spirit with which Southampton have played on their return to the top flight – I don’t ‘get’ that.
Why I dug the odds out in the first place is because, this year – more than most – it strikes me that there are a lot of new managers, fresh in their post, determined to nip the doubters in the bud with a bright and successful start to their new employment.
Obviously, one of those is Chris Hughton.
And, obviously, in the immediate aftermath of events at Fulham you didn’t have to stray to far ‘off piste…’ to find a whole raft of noisy punters calling for a change. One game in.
They wouldn’t have been alone. Somewhere in West London there would have been calls for Mark Hughes’ head following their 5-0 start to the new campaign; at home, to boot.
Given the money that has exchanged hands of late around Loftus Road, I can see how Hughes might be No2 in the list. Anyone with a background in Formula One tends not to be the patient sort.
The trouble is since Fulham I haven’t watched how ‘the market’ has moved with regards to Hughton’s hold on the Carrow Road post. Nor have I watched it react again to the Spurs performance and result which – if there is any justice in this world – ought to have moved him ‘up’ the table.
In fact, looking at it again, moving out to 16-1 is probably a fair reflection of his standing; I’m not alone in thinking that the manner in which his side has responded to that opening day defeat suggests there is much about the man and his management that deserves applause.
His moves in the summer transfer market don’t appear too shabby either – particularly when you think that Alex Tettey, Jacob Butterfield, Steven Whittaker, Mark Bunn and Harry Kane have all yet to be thrown into the fray.
Robert Snodgrass, Sabastien Bassong and Javier Garrido all did themselves big favours at White Hart Lane; the jury may have to wait awhile before delivering its verdict on Michael Turner.
So I don’t see Hughton going very far for quite a while.
He’s managed to slip his feet far enough under the table to feel pretty comfortable.
Not something that could be said of a few of his ‘new boy’ contemporaries.
Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool, Andre Villas-Boas at Spurs and, of course, Mr P Lambert at Aston Villa must all be desperate for a first win.
Steve Clarke at West Bromwich Albion and Michael Laudrup at Swansea can join Hughton in feeling the heat might be off them; though why Laudrup is a safer bet than a Pardew or a Mancini is a moot point.
What’s very interesting to this whole debate is where Laudrup takes his Swans next as Premier League hostilities resume next weekend…
They travel to Aston Villa. To face Paul Lambert and Co. In a game the Birmingham public will be expecting Villa to win on the back of that decent draw away at Newcastle.
After that Villa are away to hapless Southampton – a game that the bookies will insist could be one to decide the autumn fate of the luckless Adkins, should the Saints still be pinned to the floor.
New men at the helm, new levels of expectation – and an ever more vocal and engaged social media audience able to vent and publish their frustrations like never before.
Who’d be a Premier League boss with a point to prove?