Date:Thursday February 9 2006
The odds on Wolves boss Glenn Hoddle replacing Graeme Souness at St James Park havent so much tumbled as crashed from the 11th floor.
The one time long shot is now either outright favourite, joint favourite, or second favourite with most bookies. At least one online bookie suspended betting on Hoddle today. William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe says that they got caught cold by a rush of national bets that will see Hill's massively out of pocket if Hoddle does take the job.
Such was the clamour over the story that earlier today Glenn Hoddle felt the need to issue a denial through the club's official website saying 'I can assure you there is absolutely nothing in this. It isn't a story.'
So what has caused the panic? Why are so many punters staking so much on Glenn Hoddle moving?
Seven days ago, the Press Association news wire released a statement from Newcastle United. It read “Newcastle United today announced Glenn Hoddle will take charge of first-team affairs for the immediate future.” They of course, meant caretaker boss Glenn Roeder, and the mistake was quickly corrected. But by then it had been out in the wild long enough to attract more than a little attention.
I'm not sure how often bookies get managerial races on the nose. Maybe someone could let me know? But I dont remember Hoddle being favourite for the Wolves job.Or the Chelsea job. Or Southampton job for that matter, not when he actually got it anyway.
He is now linked with that particular vacancy every time it arises. It doesnt necessarily mean it is going to happen. Allardyce has also been linked with every high profile job in the North, and some of them in Scotland, with punters now evidently thinking the two are neck and neck in the St James running.
The only people that think that it's NOT going to happen are the odds makers themselves. The people frequently found smiling while others tear the shirt off their back in disbelief. Any change in the odds has been based solely on the betting patterns of the general public. Initially they set Hoddle's chances at 40-1, so confident were they that he was not going to bag the vacancy.
Just as there are always mug punters willing to take the outside odds on a first round knock out, there will be those willing to stake their last pound on a hurried and mis-typed press release. And rumours have been started by lesser things than that.
Typo or Tyne-bound? Only time will tell. But I know where my money's gone, and it wasn't on Glenn Hoddle leaving.
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