Hammer-Tastic manager special - Ballardini, Redknapp, di Canio, Bilic, and Allardyce
By Steve Turner
Thursday 04 Sep 2008 09:11:00
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Well, colour me surprised and buy me a turnip...we all thought Curbs might leave, but this soon after the transfer window?

Luckily, you've got the UptonSparks lot on the case. Quick as winking we were down the ol' bookies (it's almost like we were there when we heard the news or something) to get the odds on the new West Ham manager.

So, without further aga doo doo doo, here's our rundown over who is likely to be next in the West Ham hotseat:

Slaven Bilic - 6/4

Obviously this fellow would be installed as favourite ASAP, given he's been linked over and over again in recent months.

If he came, would Curbs be the first ever manager to quit for the sake of the national team, in a bid to unsettle the Croats?

Bilic has been as tight-lipped as one of his close-rolled cigarettes on this one, saying he has had contact with 'someone in England':

"It is true – I get calls from England all the time, just like before," He said to Setanta Sports. "But I can't say anything about West Ham United."

"Now that the game with England is getting closer, they will write more about me coming there." He added.

"I signed a new contract to coach Croatia and that's all I can say."

"I will continue my job as national team coach until end of World Cup 2010."

'Arry Redknapp - 7/1

We all know that 'Arry 'as a soft spot for the 'ammers, but it's unlikely he would leave his post at Pompey.

He is building a good team there, and he's not known for going back once he's left...oh no, wait, he IS known for that, maybe there's hope yet!

He would be a great manager for the Hammers, and would certainly be welcomed back with open arms.

However, he was totally dismissive about the link just ten days ago, which never bodes well:

"It's an absolute load of rubbish," Redknapp said. "A few people have rung me up in the last couple of days, but I have never spoken to anybody about it.

"We are building a team here and want to have another good season."

Davide Ballardini - 8/1

In many markets he's installed as second favourite...but who is he? His name has cropped up thanks to a flurry of betting on Betfair, and our inside tipster has stated that he may have more links with Nani than many know.

With a reputation as a 'relegation-saver' in Italy, the former Cagliari boss would certainly know how to hit the ground running with the Hammers, and could easily get on board with a team that barely knows each other anyway thanks to injuries.

Betfair spokesman Tony Calvin said to the Daily Mail: "It is very early days and Bilic is the predictable favourite, though his Betfair price suggests he is rather more unlikely to get the job than some believe.

"Ballardini is a very interesting candidate to judge from the early Betfair betting."

Paolo di Canio - 8/1

Also hotly tipped as second-ish favourite, this former player has put himself so strongly in the running by issuing a 'come and get me plea' to the board.

As a fans favourite, he would be a popular choice, though his relative lack of experience would definitely count against him.

Di Canio said: "I took the coaching badges in the summer and I would like to have a job.

"I am waiting for a job in England because my dream is to come back and I think there are a lot of good things I can bring.

"My dream team is West Ham. I keep the club in my heart. One day I hope to come back to London and sit on the bench at West Ham."

Sam Allardyce - 8/1 to 20/1

Short odds over on William Hill, this is UptonSparks' pick of the bunch from the hundreds of other names in the melting pot.

Out of work and sacked stupidly by Newcastle, this is a manager who knows how to get a team winning, albeit a bit ugly as some have said.

However, with the blend of player currently plying its trade at Upton Park, he could really help make a crack at the top six this season.

Compare the current West Ham team to that he inherited at Newcastle, and you'll begin to feel as optimistic as we do.

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