West Ham manager Big Sam Allardyce has received the unwelcome billing of "Premier League manager next expected to leave his post."
The Sack Race website lists odds of 6-1 on Allardyce becoming the first Premier League managerial casualty of the coming season, which means he shares joint-top position with West Brom's Steve Clarke
The loss of England goalkeeper Robert Green
to London rivals QPR is expected to be only the start of Allardyce's woes as he faces the unenviable task of chasing survival with last season's playoff winners. Indifferent pre-season form has already elicited negative reactions from some fans, while a legal battle with his former Blackburn assistant Steve Kean
may have a Harry Redknapp
-style effect on his job.
For now, the key to Allardyce's fate lies with whether his new signings pay off. If he does actually succeed to bring in Andy Carroll
for 17 million plus, that would increase the pressure on him to deliver further. He must also resign himself to not being able to produce the champagne-style flowing football that characterized West Ham's Premier League golden years under Harry Redknapp. The notoriously passionate Upton Park faithful will not take too kindly to that if results fail to go their way.
However, despite his potential problems, Allardyce seems an unlikely choice for next Premier League boss to be sacked. Surely, that dishonor will fall to a man who works at a club with far bigger expectations, only to fall short in the first three months. Steve Clarke, who must try to match Roy Hodgson's commendable feats last season, is not the only one in that boat.
Again, the finger points at Andres Villas Boaz, who must somehow match or better Harry Redknapp's fourth-placed finish despite the loss of key players. And such is the ruthlessness with which Chelsea dealt with AVB, that their current manager Roberto Di Matteo
has been listed fifth most likely to next lose his job.
An outside bet, though, might be former West Ham manager Alan Pardew
, who enraged the Hammers fans at the start of his reign, only to lead them to their highest Premier League finish ever two years later. Pardew worked similar magic at Newcastle last term, but it remains to be seen how he can do the same again with big spending rivals strengthening so much. It would be grossly unfair for Pardew to go first, but a bad first eight games might cause panic in the Newcastle Board Room.