Victories for Blackburn’s Steve Kean in the League and Carling Cup mean the bookies’ favourite for the sack race this season is a bit more secure.
According to William Hill, third favourite at 8-1 after Sunderland's Steve Bruce is Arsene Wenger, not helped in any way by the recent public vote of confidence from Gunners' chief executive Ivan Gazidis.
It’s a bit early in the season for Premier League clubs to be pressing the panic button.
- Most seasons, they wait a bit longer. October is the cruelest month, though by this time in the 2007 season, Jose Mourinho had already parted company with Chelsea. That one was by mutual consent. Roman Abramovich told his henchmen to kick Mourinho out, and they mutually consented.
- The following season, Spurs’ Juande Ramos was fired in the last week of October.
- And in 2009, we had to wait until the dark days of November until Portsmouth finally made the hapless Paul Hart walk the plank.
- Last season, the wait was even longer. Poor old Chris Hughton—surely one of the most unjust sackings in Premier history— was shown the door in the first week of December.
- Villa fans might like to claim that their boss, Martin O’Neill, was the first to go last season. True, but that was pre-season. And that was no sacking, that was a walkout, a sulk the dogmatic Irishman is probably still regretting. He hasn’t worked since.
- Pre-season disruption is a Villa speciality. Deadly Doug Ellis fired manager David O’Leary in the final week of July 2006. Ellis described it as “an amicable parting of the ways.” A bit like Julius Caesar and Brutus amicably parted their ways.
So, who will be the first boss with the bullet this season, and when?
Probably late next month, the statistics would say, or early November at a push.
Wenger has got a bit more time to pull things round. However, as Ramos and Mourinho have proven, the big names at the big London clubs are always worth an early little flutter in the sack race.