Moyes & O'Neill lead by example
Two names that never appeared near the top of any odds were Everton manager David Moyes and his Aston Villa counterpart Martin O'Neill - a tribute to the stability of their positions but also inexplicable given their proven abilities.
O'Neill crept into some quarters at 33/1 and Moyes at 40/1, but might they not have actually been just as suited to doing the job at Stamford Bridge as Hiddink?
Former Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini, Bayern Munich's Jurgen Klinsmann, Croatia coach Slaven Bilic and Spartak Moscow's Michael Laudrup were placed ahead of both in the betting.
Is it because they are not fashionable or showbiz enough for the top four? Is it that the default position for many clubs is to simply reach for the familiar list of foreign names when two prime candidates are actually on the doorstep?
Mysterious, but just perfect for two great institutions of English football who meet in the FA Cup fifth round at Goodison Park on Sunday.
This is not an attempt to drive either Moyes or O'Neill out of their respective jobs and into the arms of others. Who is to say they would even want to take charge at a club that sacks a World Cup winner after only seven months?
It is, however, a recognition of the work they have done at Everton and Aston Villa. The teams they have produced are a credit to them.
Big vacancies come and go at places like Newcastle, Manchester City and Spurs - and yet Moyes is never seriously linked with any of them.
Everton fans will state, with great justification, that Moyes is already at a club that is at least as big, if not bigger, than that trio other than in financial terms.
But it seems strange that a manager who has made Everton regulars in the top six, and even broke into the top four to reach the Champions League in 2005 on a shoestring is never mentioned when the major vacancies occur.
Moyes is under-stated, dour at times admittedly, but he has produced an Everton team full of passion, character and team spirit. The days of Goodison Park's flirtation with relegation have gone.
The Scot rules pretty much all he surveys at Everton. He is not to be trifled with, just ask Victor Anichebe when you next see him, and his players are seen rather than heard.
He has manouevred his budget skilfully, using particular guile when dipping into the Championship to pay £4m for Phil Jagielka from Sheffield United, £5m to buy Joleon Lescott from Wolves and - in one of the game's great bargains of recent times - £2m to take Tim Cahill from Millwall.
All three have been huge figures for Everton, with Jagielka arguably the pick of the crop this season.
He has been outrageously written off as an international player by some on the basis of a misplaced pass for England against Spain, arguably the world's best international team on Wednesday, but ask Moyes for his rating of Jagielka and he will put it at pretty much priceless.
Indeed, it is interesting that much of Everton's recent resurgence has been based on an all-English back four of Lescott, Jagielka, Tony Hibbert and Leighton Baines.
Moyes has proved himself an able builder of teams, willing to give young English talent a chance and dip into the lower divisions to find talent. He is also happy (well relatively happy) to work within a restricted budget and yet still comes up with results.
If there is a gap in his track record, it is his failure to mount any sort of cup run apart from reaching the semi-final of the Carling Cup last season. This would be the best opportunity to provide silverware to go alongside his outstanding work in giving Everton stability via their Premier League placings.
Moyes will see a home tie in the fifth round of the FA Cup as an opportunity to put that straight.
It is hard to argue with him - but a delight for Everton fans that this theory has escaped the notice of boardrooms up and down the country.
O'Neill deserves praise in equal measure for his transformation of Aston Villa, in partnership with the mature and low-profile leadership of Randy Lerner.
The nervous tics and touchline mannerisms of O'Neill are an acquired taste for some, but he has built on a reputation shaped at Wycombe Wanderers, Leicester City and Celtic after arriving at Villa in August 2006.
Lerner's money has been used carefully, with O'Neill seemingly keen to sign and nurture young English talent in the shape of Ashley Young, Nigel Reo-Coker, Curtis Davies, Steve Sidwell and James Milner.
He has welded these signings on to experienced campaigners like Brad Friedel, John Carew and Gareth Barry to establish a formidable side using the familiar O'Neill template of pace and power.
Gabriel Agbonlahor's development through the ranks has added to his weaponry, while he returned for one of his former players, Emile Heskey, to add squad strength in January.
O'Neill has proved a shrewd motivator and never gives the impression that football is anything other than a simple game, a mantra of his legendary former Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough.
Good players want to play for him. Ally this to a common sense approach to tactics and you have O'Neill's Aston Villa.
He is just as formidable a personality as Moyes, as proved when he stood firm against Rafael Benitez and point-blank refused to see Barry to Liverpool in the summer.
Villa won a dramatic game at Everton 3-2 earlier this season, but both sides have improved since then.
Moyes and O'Neill will see victory on Sunday as opening up a potential route to Wembley - and adding further gloss to their glowing reputations.