There is still much to be decided in the domestic 2016-17 English football season but with only weeks to go it is difficult not to begin looking forward to next season. And the bookies have done just that, eyeing an early opportunity to keep the soccer coffers ticking over in the summer months.
Recognising that the one big club with a large fanbase who might fancy a flutter who do know there fate, green listed bookmakers have made odds available on what sorry Sunderland will achieve next season.
The Black Cats, of course, have had their relegation confirmed from the Premier League following a miserable season where expectation of beating the drop has never risen beyond tepid.
So next term offers fresh hope. Coral have made them a 4-1 chance to come straight back up from the Championship. Sunderland will look to take inspiration from their north east rivals Newcastle who bounced back at the first time of asking.
It is 12-1 with Bet365 that Sunderland win the league and 16-1 that they go down again. David Moyes is 4-7 with Hills to still be in charge on the first day of the 2017-18 campaign.
The 4-7 looks like free money given that Moyes has already met with the board and he has their backing to have a tilt. The time for him to be sacked has passed. He has basically said it himself.
“We had initial discussions about how we move forward,” he said. “I wouldn't say it was an uplifting kind of meeting, but we will meet again in a few weeks. The board want me to stay. We need to make sure we get a good bit of momentum heading into next season by winning a few games.
"Our performances have been good in recent weeks but the results haven't matched that. I will know more come the end of the season, once we see exactly what we are able to deal with, what we can work with, then we will know exactly what we can do.”
Indeed, it would be mighty foolish of Sunderland – and by no means they are not short of the odd bonkers decision – to replace him because they would have to find someone better.
Moyes is perfectly suited to the role in the Championship and knows exactly what it takes to get out. There are very few managers around who could say the same, even fewer who are actually available.
They probably couldn’t afford to sack him anyway. They have just paid off their chief executive to the tune of £850,000 while the charge for removing Moyes from a four-year deal would be hefty in the extreme.
One player who might not be there is Jermain Defoe, who has a clause in his contract which allows him to go at the right price in the event of a relegation. Defoe is as short as 1.62 with BetVictor to end up at Bournemouth, where he kickstarted his career with a profitable spell.
Crystal Palace are 7 for his next destination. And that looks worth a poke. Sam Allardyce has already stated his interest.