Monday 28 July 2014

What are the odds of Accies staying up?

As the new season approaches what are the odds of Accies staying up? Arguably the squad that has won promotion via the play offs does not have the same depth as the one that won us outright promotion in 2007. Then the presence of the '3 Diamonds', Alex Neil fit and at his peak alongside experienced players like Canning and Mensing, saw Accies hit the track running so to speak with opening victories against Dundee United and Inverness. On the face of it then you might expect Accies to be the bookies favourites to be relegated and you would be right with Coral offering odds of 12/5, Ladbrokes 11/5 and others 5/2. But the big difference since 2007 is the seismic change in the membership of the Premier League as the financial meltdown has taken its toll. No Rangers, no Hearts, and although not due to financial overspending, no Hibernian either. Aside from Celtic, the only Premiership clubs with comparatively big player budgets are Dundee United and Aberdeen and even they have to balance budgets against debt. Other clubs might not have the budgets but both Motherwell and Saint Johnstone have developed squads that look as though there is still more to come in the new season. That leaves Accies playing in a league that has this time round has a more level playing field in terms of resources. In effect we are in a league of seven including ourselves, and an Accies side judiciously strengthened and injury free should be capable of taking points from any of the others. Nor should we discount taking points of the likes of Aberdeen or Dundee United.

Inverness took their time last season to get used to the managerial change from Butcher to Hughes and they seem to have lost some of their sparkle but with Butcher’s departure from Hibs, an anticipated raid during the close season on their squad hasn’t materialised. Kilmarnock appear to have sorted out their financial problems but their management team of Alan Johnston and Sandy Clark came in for a lot of criticism from their fans and it was interesting to see Clark depart to be replaced by Gary Locke. Despite an apparently strong contract offer, losing Kris Boyd who scored 22 goals for them to Rangers will have an impact. Can’t see his replacements Lee Miller and Josh Macgennis equalling that total. Interestingly Johnston is the bookies favourite to be the first to lose his job this season. Saint Mirren’s board clearly felt that the squad they had was underachieving under Danny Lennon but the appointment of Tommy Craig caught many by surprise. Championship winners' Dundee have had a big clear out of players as Paul Hartley has sought to reshape the squad that he had inherited from John Brown. Sometimes too many as much as too few changes can be dangerous and it will be interesting to see how Hartley moulds his squad with 11 new faces. Partick Thistle under Alan Archibald’s guidance survived their first season back in the top flight aided by the mid season loan signing of Lyle Taylor. Taylor has since been released by Sheffield United and Partick were looking for him to sign full time but he has gone to Scunthorpe. And then there is Ross County. A bad start to the season saw manager Derek Adams strengthening the team quite radically mid term backed by Roy McGregor's money,  but they will not want a repeat this season and to date have made 8 summer signings.

All the Summer ins and out can be found here:

So all to play for in my opinion. 11th place, as we are well aware, will no longer guarantee safety but league reconstruction means that any team getting relegated via the play offs will receive a parachute payment of £500,000 in their first season down and £250,000 in year two assuming they stay down. A significant financial cushion that should allow teams to weather the drop. Back to the odds. Currently you can get odds on Accies to win the Premier League of between 300 and 750 to 1 but we are the bookies' favourite for outright relegation with Partick Thistle closely behind. While the odds will change I’m still confident we can survive.

For all the odds see here :