Lennon in Everton gamble

  • By: Andy Schooler
  • Last Updated: May 10 2013, 12:38 BST

Neil Lennon has been the subject of a "monster gamble" to become Everton's next manager.

Neil Lennon: New Everton job favourite
Neil Lennon: New Everton job favourite

That was the description given by William Hill who slashed their odds about Lennon moving from Celtic to Goodison Park to replace the Manchester United-bound David Moyes.

Several other firms, including Sky Bet and Ladbrokes, also cut Lennon into favouritism. He was as big as 20/1 in the market at one stage.

Hill's went into 5/4 from 6/1 on Thursday after "a sustained gamble from the Celtic manager's native Northern Ireland", but by Friday morning Betfred's evens was the standout price.

William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams said: "There can be little doubt that his countrymen believe that he will be offered the Everton job and he is now our favourite."

Only Sky Bet, BetVictor and Coral joined William Hill and BetVictor in quoting prices on Friday morning, and all three made Lennon odds-on.

Early front-runner Roberto Martinez continued to drift, the Wigan manager being forced out to 4/1 by Sky Bet and BetVictor.

Martinez spent the day preparing Wigan for Saturday's FA Cup final - they are also involved in a relegation dogfight - and vowed not to be distracted by talk about a switch.

"At this moment in time it would be a waste of time,'' said Martinez when asked if he had been approached.

"The most important thing is to be as ready as we can for Saturday and then the two other finals we have in the league after that."

Porto manager Vitor Pereira, current Everton player Phil Neville, Swansea boss Michael Laudrup and Mark Hughes were all cut prior to the Lennon gamble. Hughes had already declared his interest in the post before Moyes' departure had even been confirmed.

However, an appointment seems unlikely to be made quickly.

Asked about a replacement for Moyes, Everton chairman Bill Kenwright said: "Everton supporters are no fools, they took to David Moyes instantly. I will be looking to those supporters, not to get individual names, to get the guidance that true football fans can give to its chairman and its football club. You can't individually poll each of them, but it is important that they get the right man.

"Of course it's important that the football club gets the right man, but they know the adventure they have had for 11 years and they don't want that to stop. They want it to continue and continue to grow, that's vital for them. It's a very important time of my life, to see that they are not let down. I don't want to see Evertonians let down."

There was more bad news for Everton fans as bookies began pricing up moves to United for their current stars.

Leighton Baines was slashed from 16/1 to 5/2 by Coral to make the move to Old Trafford this summer. William Hill offer 11/4.

Marouane Fellaini is 4/1 to make such a switch with Hill's. Sky Bet and Coral go 9/4.

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