The end of June is normally a quiet time in domestic football – with most players still away on their summer holidays, but there were a couple of bits of interesting news last week which had the potential to shift ante-post prices for the 2017/18 Football League season.
In the Championship, Leeds United’s title odds remain unchanged at 16/1 but the swift move by the club’s new owner to re-purchase Elland Road, sold in the firesale that followed their relegation from the Premier League in 2003, has certainly raised some eyebrows.
With the stadium now back in the club’s hands – and almost £2m a year saved in rent alone – supporters are optimistic that the move is the pre-cursor to more significant investment in the playing staff, although compilers have taken a dim view of the departure of manager Garry Monk.
While there hasn’t yet been a rush of money in support of the 1992 English champions, that’s not true of League One Northampton Town – who sold a majority stake to Chinese investors last week. Comparisons are already being drawn with AFC Bournemouth, who rose from League One to the Premier League on the back of significant investment from the Russian businessman Maxim Demin, and punters have been quick to drive down Northampton’s promotion odds.
A couple of weeks ago you could get 16/1 on the Cobblers going up to the Championship – but the best price is now 12/1 with BetVictor. Bet365 and Betfred have cut them to 7/1 and that is surely where the industry price is headed.
16/1 Orient one to avoid
Alongside the developments in the Football League, there are new owners of Leyton Orient, the second oldest football club in London after Fulham, as they prepare for life in non-league football this season.
A consortium led by Nigel Travis, the chief executive of Dunkin Donuts and Baskin Robbins, has pumped what he describes as “many millions” into buying the East London club – sparking a run of bets on The O’s winning the Vanarama National League 2017/18 title.
Ladbrokes and Bet365 have cut their title odds from 20/1 to 10/1 and 12/1 respectively, but this is a rush that is best avoided. As Travis readily admits, he must now build a club from scratch after the previous owner left them with no coaching staff and only nine players, the oldest just 19. The club has appointed former manager Martin Ling as their director of football – but does not yet have a manager and with just a 6-week window to put together a squad and staff, a slow start to the season looks highly likely. With that in mind, the best price of 16/1 with Sky Bet looks skinny in a division where Tranmere are strong favourites – having failed to go up despite winning 95 points last season.