Thursday 9 December 2010

(Not So) Super Al

As a Crystal Palace man, I have fond memories of Alan Pardew the football player (he also played briefly for my 'really' local team Whyteleafe), I have fond memories of Alan Pardew the football player, but as has been much written about elsewhere, what a bizarre decision to appoint him as manager of Newcastle United, if indeed the rumours are confirmed. Pardew is not a big name manager. Yes, he has two promotions on his record, at Reading and West Ham United. However, this was followed by ‘guiding’ West Ham to their worst run of defeats in over 70 years, before he was sacked there, moving on to Charlton Athletic where he was in charge as they were relegated from the Premier League. Then sacked, and on to Southampton where admittedly he was in charge as they won their first trophy since 1976 (the less than prestigious Football League Trophy) before being dismissed earlier this season.

What makes Mike Ashley, or anyone think that Pardew is qualified for the Newcastle United job, or in any way a better candidate than Chris Hughton? Soccernomics has a few paragraphs on the subject of football clubs making bad managerial appointments.

Some highlights: The average search process in ‘normal’ business takes five months. “In soccer, a club usually finds a coach within a couple of days of sacking his predecessor”.

The new manager “... is also almost always white, with a conservative haircut, aged between thirty-five and sixty, and a former professional player. There is no evidence that being a good player (or being white and of conservative appearance) is an advantage for a soccer manager. Arrigo Sacchi, coach of the great Milan from 1987 to 1991, who couldn’t play soccer himself, explained ‘You don’t have to have been a horse to be a jockey’".

The book later comments that “The new manager is appointed either because he is able to start work immediately (often as a result of having just been sacked)”.

Finally “A manager must above all look like a manager. Clubs would rather use traditional methods to appoint incompetents than risk doing anything that looks odd”.

Anything above sound familiar? I’m guessing Mike Ashley has yet to read Soccernomics. He should. It’s full of fascinating stuff.

Before I change this subject, I did get some amusement from Sports Trading Life's post titled A Betfair Market To Avoid At All Costs! We were in full agreement until the end, where we read:

However, I know some will not be able to resist having a punt at this market and if I could offer any advice based on my observations on these markets down the years, that is normally to lay the first favourite when the market is first announced which in this case is Alan Pardew @ 2.20.
Sorry - these markets are a minefield. If you're not the chairman, or have close ties to the chairman or board, forget it. There's no beating these markets long-term, and laying Pardew is looking like a very costly mistake. Remember that if you can lay Pardew, it's because someone else wants to back him. Do you know more than they do? Anyone who "will not be able to resist having a punt" needs help.

Another two winners for Football Elite since my last post. Deportivo won 1-0 from the short-list, while Bologna beat Chievo at 2.74 earlier today as a Recommended Bet. The hot streak continues.

My main PC crashed earlier in the week, though fortunately not in mid-trade, but my ratings data is one of the few things that are safe. Still waiting to hear what the damage is, but I’m hoping the data at least is safe. I was having a look at some free copies of some of the ‘systems’ being sold, and I’m sure most of them are written by 14 year olds who trial the ‘system’ for about two weeks. The standard procedure seems to be to write a 30 to 40 page document, of which the first 30 pages describe how Betfair works, then half a page describes the ‘system’ (with no rationale explaining why this ‘system’ should work), followed by 7 pages of screenshots showing how profitable it is. Example (can’t remember the name of it): Lay the odds-on favourite in the EPL and put a back bet in at 40% higher. Ok, I’m all-in on that one. Apparently it IS possible to lose, but very rare. Hmmm.

1 comment:

mouldhouse said...

I'd like to see data - but I doubt 50% of the managers in the "next manager markets" that have traded evens or below have then gone on to be settled as the winner.

I would add a rider. I'd get involved in any one where the vibe from the club is that an appointment "wont be made overnight". I recall the next spurs manager market some years ago where 4 or 5 traded at evens or below - its certainly not the only time it has happened.

Judgement on the time frame the market will be open for is essential. Then, if getting involved, the only sensible way to do so is a layer of the short prices. These markets are BADLY inefficient - and that should be the trader's best friend.

There's more paranoia than usual in these markets - but I would be stunned if (H R excluded) the majority of money that went on was real "informed" or "smart" money. Aside from anything else, the volumes matched (the infamous 16 million market excluded) are tiddly, especially in comparison to the people who REALLY know what's going on, not "my dad's hairdresser works in the boot room", which is the usual source of such "sure bets".

They are markets where the layers of short prices will make money over time - especially if they are sensible about when they get involved. IMO of course.