Football: Punters put on hold by cautious bookies

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The Independent Online
BOOKMAKERS WERE last night refusing to pay out to the punters who have backed Kevin Keegan to be the next England manager because he has not been given the job on a permanent basis.

Most layers are waiting until today's press conference before updating their betting on a race which, in their eyes, is still on, although a spokesman for Coral, while describing the Football Association's announcement as "unsatisfactory from a betting point of view", said the firm will examine the FA's statement before deciding whether to pay out on Keegan.

However, last night William Hill reissued prices, making Keegan 6-4 favourite to land the job permanently after his four-match stint ends.

Roy Hodgson is their 5-1 second-favourite with Alex Ferguson, who might become free at the end of the season, down to 8-1 joint third favourite along with Bryan Robson, David Platt and Martin O'Neill. Hills then bet: 10-1 Terry Venables, 12-1 Arsene Wenger, and 14-1 John Gregory. Howard Wilkinson, 5-4 favourite just over a week ago, is now 20-1 along with the former England manager, Bobby Robson.

Keegan was the focus of punters' attention last Thursday, being backed from 9-2 down to 4-6 before bookmakers suspended betting on him.