Immorality in the Odds Market

So after only 78 days in charge of Hull City, Mike Phelan, former assistant manager to Mr Bruce before he quit in the summer, found his tenure of the club cut short yesterday evening. A press conference was called and we the exhiled Black and Amber Faithful woke to learn of the club’s search for a new manager this morning. I know what you’re thinking. Exactly what you want to happen when you’re at the foot of the table in the transfer window.

We are not going to question whether or not it was warranted. We are not going to cast our vote on who we think should be given the open seat at Yorkshire’s #1 club. We’ll let the other blogs and pundits do that. Instead, we wanted to take this opportunity to highlight a rather disgusting practice that has become commonplace.

The young know only too well how difficult and scary the job market is these days. With so much competition and expectation, simply keeping your job becomes a major priority in your life, rather than something as abstract as enjoying your job. Whatever your profession, you know someone could take and would take your place quickly. Baring this in mind you grow to have a certain sense of empathy when you hear news of someone (you know) having lost their job. As long as you are not directly responsible for their output, you sympathise for them, understanding their frustration and despair. Especially if you have suspected them underperforming for a long time.

Mike Phelan
Original Image by Dom Fellowes

So why then bet on the likelihood of them losing their job? One of the biggest side-features of the start of every league every year is the “Sack Race”. Bookies tempt with odds predicting the most likely Football club managers to fall relative to one another. I for one think it appalling. Football managers are regular joe employees like every one of us and do not deserve to be the subject of such humiliating speculation regarding their length of survival in an absurdly stressful job where success rate is determined by so many uncontrollable factors. Yes, at the end of the day they work in entertainment, and as such must always follow what the audience want. They accept that mantle of entertainer when they sign and acknowledge their position as subject of potential ridicule in the eyes of fans. But casting judgement over whether or not a man has the skill set and ability in a job to last longer than the next man for something as insignificant as a bet is a bit sick.

Is it the bookies’ fault? Or is it simply a market created by the fans who enjoy this perverse entertainment? I don’t know enough about the history of betting to know. But every man brave enough to put himself under the spotlight as manager does not deserve the crude ridicule of having his chance of failure compared to that of his counterparts.

Here is to the fallen managers, including Mike Phelan


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