After picking up a mere one point from five matches in the Scottish Premiership, Dundee United sacked manager Jack Ross on August 30. Ross’s sacking brought an end to just 71 days in charge of the Tangerines.
Ross oversaw seven matches in all competitions at Dundee United before his dismissal. He posted an abysmal record of one win, one draw and 5 losses. Seeing the downward spiral at Tannadice Park, Dundee United cut ties with the manager.
Bookmakers have drawn up a list of potential replacements to take the reins of Dundee United. Fans will hope a manager can be appointed swiftly to steer the Tangerines away from the relegation zone.
For now, Dundee United have appointed Liam Fox as caretaker. He is one of the favourites to get the job, but some big names are on the list of potential Dundee United managers according to leading bookies.
Why was Jack Ross sacked by Dundee United?
Ross joined Dundee United in June 2022 after being dismissed by Hibernian six months prior. The manager’s exit from Hibs came with the team preparing to play the Scottish League Cup Final. Hibs cut ties with Ross after the team claimed a mere one league win in nine matches.
Ross wasn’t given the opportunity to lead the team out against Celtic in the Scottish League Cup Final. Hibs sacked Ross to prevent a cup final win from protecting the manager from being dismissed. The Edinburgh club went on to lose the final 2-1 to Celtic.
Prior to joining Dundee United, Ross had been a manager on the rise in Scottish football. Ross got his managerial start at Alloa Athletic in 2015 before moving to St. Mirren. Positive results had Ross at the pinnacle of his young career and led to him being hired at Sunderland.
It feels like Ross’s downfall can be traced back to Sunderland. He managed 76 matches with the Black Cats. While Ross picked up 1.91 points per match and posted a record of 40W-25D-11L, he was the victim of a club trying to return to the Championship.
Dundee United may have given Ross more time, but a 9-0 loss at the hands of Celtic on matchday No. 5 was the final straw. The Tangerines conceded a league high 18 goals and scored just two times under Ross’s leadership. Making the defeat worse was it came at Tannadice rather than at Celtic Park. The heavy defeat left Dundee United’s hierarchy with no alternatives but to sack Ross.
Who are the bookies’ favourites to take charge of Dundee United?
Bookies have drawn up a list of potential managers to take over at Tannadice. Regardless of which manager is appointed, they will need to lead the Tangerines away from the relegation zone.
Duncan Ferguson – 6/4 Odds To Be Next Dundee Utd Manager
Former Dundee United player Duncan Ferguson is the current favourite to take charge of the club according to leading bookies. Ferguson played for Dundee United from 1990 to 1993 before moving on to Rangers.
Ferguson has never managed previously, but he did have two decent interim spells with Everton. In July 2022, Ferguson left Everton, which is potentially one of the reasons the Toffees have been so poor this season.
At 50 years old, it feels like Ferguson needs to take charge of a team full-time or he may never have the chance to do it. Ferguson got to learn under the likes of Carlo Ancelotti, Rafael Benitez, and Frank Lampard. He could be a strong manager for United.
Liam Fox – 4/1 Odds
Fox is the currently interim boss at Dundee United. He will lead the side into their upcoming matches until a permanent manager can be appointed. Dundee United need to work quickly to get a manager sorted. If the club wait too long, they could slip further away from relegation safety.
At just 38, Fox is a youthful prospect that could bring fresh ideas to Dundee United’s first team. He has been with the club since June 2021 when he became an assistant manager.
The former Hearts player got his coaching start with the Edinburgh club. Fox worked his way up through the ranks with Hearts and had a brief spell in charge of Cowdenbeath. A return to the Hearts’ set-up saw Fox get an assistant manager’s job at Livingston following his arrival at Tannadice in 2021.
Michael O’Neill – 8/1 Odds To Be Next Dundee United Manager
Fresh off of being sacked by Stoke City in the English Championship, Michael O’Neill is in line for the Dundee United job. The former Northern Ireland manager took over at Stoke in November 2019 with the aim of getting the Potters into the top six.
In just over two and a half seasons, O’Neill failed to get any type of consistency out of Stoke City. He was sacked after five matches this season with a record of 1W-1D-4L. Believing the team was headed downhill further, Stoke City acted by sacking O’Neill.
O’Neill’s best managerial stint was from 2008 to 2011 at Shamrock Rovers. He managed 145 games and averaged 1.83 points per match.
Neil Lennon – 16/1 Odds
Neil Lennon has won plenty of silverware as a manager in Scotland. However, the knock-on Lennon, other than being tactically inept, is that the silverware he won was at Celtic. At Bolton Wanderers and Hibs, Lennon struggled on the touchline.
He is currently in charge of Omonia Nicosia in Cyprus. Omonia are 14th in the Cypriot First Division. Lennon feels like a step backwards for Dundee United.
Kevin Thomson – 16/1 Odds
Former Hibs and Rangers youth coach Kevin Thomson is another favourite for the Dundee United job according to bookies. He has had little experience managing teams and most recently worked for Kelty Hearts. Thomson left after one season in charge, overseeing 46 games, and gaining 2.11 points per game.
Thomson feels like a long shot due to the lack of experience he has. However, at 37 and a lack of managing top-flight football, Thomson could provide fresh ideas.
Next Dundee United Managerial Prediction
Fox could get the job full-time with the club re-evaluating the decision in the summer of 2023. He is already at the club and Dundee United will likely see how the interim man fares before making a decision.
However, a decision needs to be made to prevent Dundee United from dropping more points and slipping away from safety.
Ferguson would be a great appointment. He had promising interim positions at Everton and plenty of fans wanted him to get the job over Benitez and Lampard.
Still, Fox seems to have the inside track. If he struggles as interim boss in Dundee United’s upcoming matches, then Ferguson could get the job. A win against Motherwell could influence the board to stick with Fox.
Main image credit: Daniel from Galashiels, United Kingdom, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons