James Moore: Losing Streak (01/07/10)

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Today's bets: Argentina to beat Germany 3-0 at 25-1 (Blue Square)

The bloke waiting for the train to Newbury races seemed so plausible as we stood discussing the form for he upcoming races. His sister, you see, worked as a secretary for a football club. I forget which one, but he assured me Bryan Robson was going to be installed as manager and the 10-1 on offer was a steal. He was so convincing I set aside my misgivings and indulged in a small bet. It looked like an inspired move as the price I'd taken became 5-1 in a matter of days. Only to become 50-1 by the end of the week. If the race-goer's sister did indeed work for her football club, she was badly misinformed.

The trouble with football manager betting is that you see this sort of thing happening all the time. Rumours rapidly become fact, and huge gambles are the result. One bookie once told me it was because, with a horse, even if you have allegedly inside knowledge, you can never really be completely sure that the stunning work at home you've been told about will translate to the racecourse. When it comes to the appointment of a manger, though, punters hear a snippet of information and they get convinced, absolutely convinced, that Roy Race is going to be managing Tadcaster Rovers next week. When, in fact, it's all just smoke and mirrors and the club always intended to appoint Hot Shot Hamish.

The current market for England manager is like that. It's swinging up and down like a yo yo as first one rumour then another takes hold about when Fabio's going to go and who'll replace him whether it's Harry, Roy, or AN Otherio.

Here's my take. Fabio stays, largely because the FA can't afford to get rid of him. If they do, they'll have to stump up £6m for starters. And then another £6m or so for his replacement. So Fabio stays, even if the 1-2 offered by William Hill on him to be in place when England play Hungary later this year isn't going to make anyone rich. In the meantime, I'm going to take a portfolio of bigger prices on both sides of the quarter-final between German and Argentina. Here's a starter: 25-1 with Blue Square on an Argentina 3-0 victory. That's a huge price in the sort of game where anything could happen.