Sunday, 12 May 2013

End of a very long era

The big news this week has obviously been Sir Alex's retirement and tributes have been flooding in from all around the globe as English football's most successful manager of all time is hanging up his hairdryer at the age of 71. I don't know if we will ever see a manager quite like him and it will be very sad to see him go, particularly as I have not been alive long enough to have ever seen anyone else manage Manchester United. I'm sure he doesn't need me to tell how good he is though so we will have a look at what this has done to the markets instead, along with the news that David Moyes will have the horrendously difficult task of succeeding the Great Man.

The United share price was reported to have dropped 5% after Ferguson's news hit the stock exchange, before recovering by the end of the week to finish around what it started the week as. Although the Betfair markets have been more ruthless and unforgiving to United's title hopes next season, we did see the price shorten a small amount after Moyes' appointment. I can't help but think that the praise and support he is being given by the majority of the media is having some impact upon this, as people are beginning to realise that possibly losing Ferguson is not the worst thing in the world. It is difficult to see what impact the 'Rooney out' stories are having on this price but I don't believe it would make too much of a difference unless he was sold to a Premier League club. As I write, City and United both sit on 3.1 for the title next season in a market which was only opened a few weeks ago by Betfair. United have been matched as low as 2 and as high as 3.25, with the latter during this tumultuous week. City, who started the week around 3.45 were backed into 2.7 before drifting back out to their current price.

It is Chelsea though who have been the biggest movers due to the Mourinho chat/Ferguson's departure/Moyes installment (ie not Mourinho)/Almost definitely securing their top 3 place. They are in from a high of 5.8 to 3.85 now, having been matched as low as 3.55 during this week. Needless to say the market already has this down as a three-horse race.

It would be interesting to see what the loss of Moyes has done to Everton's perceived hopes next season but there isn't really any data to show this so far. Sky Bet go 2/1 that they will finish top 6 next season but I have nothing to compare this to as I do not know the price before this week. One thing which has been affected for Everton is the potential loss of their top players and those of you who follow me on Twitter would have seen I tweeted Coral had Baines to go to United before September at a huge 16/1, before quickly altering this to 2/1. Luckily I was able to have a small dabble of £10 at the 16/1 price, although I normally don't get involved in markets like this I knew the price was not an accurate reflection of the situation and jumped on it accordingly.

Overall it is clear that the prices I am quoting now will not be the same by the season opener as there is still so much to be resolved. Chelsea and City look to be changing their managers and I imagine they and United will be spending big this summer too. The Rooney situation is unresolved and should he go to City or Chelsea it would really shake things up.

For now though, we should just savour the end of a brilliant career as Sir Alex bows out in style.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Ronnie Rolls On

Well I admitted that I wasn't sure if Ronnie O'Sullivan would be able to recreate his magic from the past and to be quite honest I was spot on. He wasn't his old self throughout the tournament: He was a million times more incredible. Even his biggest fans surely could not have expected such a ridiculously imperious return to the game as he swept aside everyone and made light work of the world's biggest snooker tournament. Okay, he didn't have the toughest run to the title and a glamour tie with Judd Trump was as close as he came to leaving the tournament, and we all know how much of a pain in the ass he can be at times; for someone who claims he doesn't like attention he sure is good at kicking up a storm, but ultimately it was a phenomenal performance from a player who hasn't been in the game for a whole year. While I am really hoping he stops moping around and plays on the circuit next year, I am still unsure as to whether the snooker world needs him or not. While it is brilliant to see him back and he certainly brings in the crowds, it is a bit like Man United bringing Paul Scholes back in the middle of the season last year. It is great to see an old genius back playing and he has shown he is more than capable of competing at the highest standard, but the problem is it doesn't really allow for new stars to come through. This season has seen the trio of Trump, Selby and Roberston rise to the top of the rankings in much the same way the 'big four' have in tennis. The three have been interchanging in the rankings throughout the whole year and each of them has their own style of snooker flair, providing great entertainment throughout in my opinion. If I was Barry Hearn, I would have marketed the rivalry between these three as much as I possibly could as they look to be the best talents for the future and could go on to dominate between them. Domination is definitely something the game needs but I am still undecided as to whether Ronnie being the dominator at this late and unpredictable stage in his career is good for the sport. Maybe that debate is for another day though.

Now the snooker is over it is back to football for me, though that is nearly over too and I will soon find myself lost for a whole summer (though perhaps this is good as it will be a summer of mad job hunting). The form of the three teams going for the champions league has been exceptional over the last few weeks and I must admit I thought at least one of them would falter. Chelsea in particular have impressed me the way they have balanced their European efforts and their league position simultaneously, though in fairness I couldn't think of many better managers to do this, I wonder how many Chelsea fans will be annoyed at Rafa's appointment by the end of the season. I am beginning to wonder about the threat Chelsea will pose next season in the title race as they have a big squad with some fantastic young players, while they have the appropriate mix of experienced players too, but I will wait until after the transfer/manager window before making any decisions. If you are looking at this though, they are currently 4.4 to win the league next season on Betfair, which is considerably shorter than the 6.4 they started at this season. They still have a massive match tomorrow against Spurs and anyone willing to stick their neck out on a Spurs win could take a big profit as a huge flip in the markets would be probably should Spurs win. As it is though, the markets have Chelsea firmly in the top 4 spot at 1.09 and their top 3 price is now at 1.28 following their victory at Old Trafford. Spurs remain outsiders for the top 4 at 2.86 while Arsenal are at 1.36. 

Enjoy the football this week. Savour it. It won't last for much longer!