Arsene Wenger has today become a surprise choice as next England manager for many at 25/1.
To answer the question of whether Wenger becoming the next England manager is actually feasible it is worth looking at how the FA have made their decisions in the past, based on the odds.
The FA announced in January 2006 that Sven Goran Eriksson would be replaced after the 2006 World Cup and there were a number of suitors for the role. Martin O’Neill was the bookies’ favourite, with Sam Allardyce and Alan Curbishley behind him. England’s assistant manager, Steve McClaren was best odds 25/1 on 20th February 2006 and sixth favourite for the top job.
England still rated Eriksson’s methods highly and after being Middlesbrough manager and England’s assistant, the FA decided to go with an Englishman in McClaren.
After the infamous night at Wembley where Steve McClaren became better known as ‘the wally with a brolly’, he was relieved of his managerial duties. Such was the disaster of promoting their assistant manager last time around, the FA’s priority was a candidate with a proven track record of winning major trophies. As such, Capello was installed as the bookies’ favourite, with best odds 16/5 on 24th November 2007.
No one else really got close to the job and Capello was appointed manager in December of that year.
When Capello left the England post on 8th February 2012, most observers saw Harry Redknapp as the man most likely to take over the reins. When betting opened on 9th February, his odds were an incredible 1/41 with 32Red. Amongst others, issues with tax saw him fall out of the frame, however.
As a result, the FA turned to the safe choice of Roy Hodgson who was, at that time, the fourth favourite for the job. On the same day, 9th February, he was best-price 26/1.
Before Sven in 2001, there was another English manager at the helm, in Kevin Keegan, and there seems to be a pattern developing here. The FA seem to switch between going for an English manager and then turning towards an experienced, successful foreigner.
Arsene Wenger is currently tenth favourite for the job, with his best odds at 23/1 with Betfair Exchange. There’s certainly precedent for the FA throwing a curve ball with their managerial appointments and this could well be another.