Scottish & English treble featuring Crystal Palace, Fulham & Dunfermli…

THE Tenner Bet can vaguely remember the last time he tipped a winner. The wager was placed at an illicit gin palace in Glasgow where the maximum stake was a tanner, the king’s horse was running at Ascot and had to swerve a associate of Suffragettes in the final furlong before crossing the line; a band played By The Light Of The Silvery Moon as he was led into the winner’s surrounding.

Okay, the last winner to appear in print was truly in 2014 not the early 1900s but when losing streaks last this long and there’s a big, glaring deficit at the foot of the page, the mind has a inclination to distort reality. A lot has changed in those seven years, of course. The sheer quantity of markets has increased for a start, as has the number of bookmakers offering odds. The Rangers manager market is a good example of that: it says something when it’s truly a surprise to discover that there’s no Pope Francis or Neil Lennon on the bookie’s shortlist while the equally doubtful Chelsea women’s manager Emma Hayes (80/1) and Tory MP Liam Fox (150s) are there.

There were considerably less outlandish names touted to succeed Peter Grant as Dunfermline manager – that honour went to serial relegation dodger John Hughes (who’s also on the list to succeed Steven Gerrard by the way) with the Pars rooted to the bottom of the Championship and the denizens of East End Park starting to get twitchy.

With that in mind, today’s first pick is based on gut instinct instead of tangible evidence. ‘New manager bounce’ is what the pundits call it and without getting all scientific and providing actual statistics, it’s impossible to know whether this an actual thing or purely a cliche. Certainly, if Hughes’s start at Dunfermline is anything to go by then perhaps there is some heft behind the occurrence whereby hitherto struggling clubs suddenly start to enhance results simply by dint of appointing a new manager. Hughes, only recently installed eight days ago, took Dunfermline back to one of his old side’s Inverness and the effect was moment, ending a 15-match run without victory in the Highlands.

Today, Dunfermline great number another of Hughes’ old sides in the form of Ayr United who have just a single win in the league consequently far. That makes Dunfermline a tasty proposition to test out whether ‘new manager bounce’ is real or not.

The importance of good leadership used to be a meaningful theme of this column and argued on the assumption that a strong manager can often trump an inferior set of playing personnel. Both of those conditions are met in the identity of today’s second and third picks. Patrick Vieira has been a breath of fresh air at Crystal Palace this season but he’s also had an improved squad to select from with a number of exciting youngsters drafted in during the summer. The Frenchman has Palace playing some excellent football but his side has also retained some of the steel associated with his predecessor Roy Hodgson. They take on Burnley at Turf Moor this afternoon – there’s a well-worn trope that says Sean Dyche’s side are a great prospect at home but they have won just once on their own patch since January and while Palace’s away form has been less than stellar, results have not always been indicative of performance.

The final selection is Fulham. Their manager, Marco Silva, has won trophies in Portugal and Greece and has plenty of experience of English football. He also has a squad packed with Premier League talent. At 3/10 to beat Barnsley, they aren’t value but they should be a banker.

Selections: Dunfermline (11/10), Crystal Palace (31/18), Fulham (3/10)

Treble pays: 6.43/1

Season’s total: £-70

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