Racing & Football Outlook December 21-26, 2011
I hung my hat on Huddersfield at the start of the season and, although
I’ve been able to lock in a fair bit of profit with them in the first
part of the season, results have not gone well for the Terriers
A heavy defeat to Swindon in the FA Cup was the first warning that Lee
Clark’s side was starting to show some frailties and not long after
that their unbeaten run in the league came to an end.
The fact that their 43-game undefeated run came to an end against
fellow League 1 front-runners Charlton at the end of last month means
that it’s definitely time to revisit the numbers to look for an
approach to take into the next phase of the season.
Charlton are the obvious first port of call, not least because of the
excellent job that Chris Powell is doing at The Valley, and perhaps
he’ll become the first black manager to achieve a significant
breakthrough at the top level.
With Paul Ince and the late Keith Alexander paving the way it surely
can’t be long before this last vestige of a very ancient looking facet
of the game is finally removed.
Irrespective of colour, Powell’s start to managerial life as been
nothing short of revelatory given that he took charge of an Addicks
side floundering in the doldrums after a little over two years of
depressing mediocrity under Phil Parkinson.
The memory of a relatively recent period in the top flight has been
quickly receding, and while they don’t find themselves alone as a
fallen ‘giant’ in League 1 – with both Sheffield clubs also in the
doldrums – the heady days of Premier League football look a long way
away from this current incarnation.
However, as we’ve seen with Norwich, there’s potential for teams with
bright, progressive managers to make a serious splash in the bottom
half of the league and quickly ascend to the top flight. There’s at
least a season and a half before Charlton can achieve such a leap but
it’s clearly a possibility.
So how progressive a side are Charlton and is Powell cut from the same
sort of cloth as Paul Lambert?
In Powell’s favour is the fact that he knows the south-east London
side intimately, having played over 200 games for the club. While that
sort of experience doesn’t make it a shoo-in that a manager will
successfully make the transition, it does give a head start to someone
as smart as Powell and, having taken the reins back in mid January,
his effect on the club does appear to have been as near instantaneous
as you could get.
League 1 is still quite a curiosity from an Outlook Index perspective,
in that things are still very close at the top. With so little between
the teams I’m defining the division more by its Index Trend values
than actual ratings.
Charlton and Sheffield Wednesday are the form sides but it’s a measure
of the relative closeness of the competition that Charlton remain five
points clear of Wednesday despite having drawn their last two games.
That lead is the crucial part of the equation. It may be less than two
wins in terms of closing the gap, but once I’ve fed all that into my
software it comes back with the answer that Charlton’s chance of
winning the competition is currently running at 57 per cent.
Convert that into a price and we’re in luck when comparing it to the
outright market on Betfair. My price for Charlton is well into odds-on
territory at 1.75, so I consider it an early Christmas present that
they’re backable at 2.6 with the opportunity to place an order closer
to 2-1 than you would have ever thought possible.
Happy Christmas to all RFO readers.