Newsletter April 2014
The domestic football season nears its end.
Everyone acknowledges it has been the most unpredictable of seasons.
I even heard one wise man say that anyone betting on games in the Championship should be taken away by men in white coats.
It’s true that, in more than one division, anyone can beat anyone. And they often have.
But we’ve had a good season when it comes to profitable punting.
The season began well, with a few winning accumulators.
Then it all went wrong with unpredictable results. It was my very own winter of discontent.
But, as winter turned into spring, we were back among the winners.
With both single bet successes and some winning accumulators.
At the time of writing we’re over £400 up for the season, which is decent profit when taking into account the mitigating circumstances already mentioned.
Inevitably, there were some painful near misses.
I try not to dwell on those. But it will be a while before I forget the magnificent 7 accumulator that went down due to a 96th minute equaliser.
Indeed it was a series of magnificent 7 near misses that made me hold back from offering another one at the start of April.
Instead I decided to play safe and offer members a safety first option. Four teams to win at accumulative odds of 9/1. Leicester, Wigan, Rotherham and Scunthorpe all duly won, as I predicted. That bet paid off and many members were happy.
For my own part, I had all four teams lined up in my betting account. Then I got greedy. It happens to all us punters from time to time.
I thought I would turn 9/1 into 109/1 by adding wins for Crystal Palace (23/10), Everton (29/20) and Arsenal (2/5).
And, what do you know?
All 7 won. My £10 stake returned me £1092.80. I felt elated. And guilty!
Why did I ‘bottle’ out of offering members the full seven?
Because I didn’t want them suffering another near miss, that’s why.
Obviously now I wish I had. Members of VG Tips would be even better off and my profit figures for the season would read even better.
But, if you’re a punter, you will know that the words “if only” are never far from our lips.
The main thing is that another football season will end with us in profit. Betting on football can be fun, fascinating, frustrating and a real challenge.
Of course luck plays a part. But form study still plays a major part in bashing the bookie on the football front.
Keep an eye out for new signings. Watch out to see if a manager picks the first team or reserves. Is a crucial player injured?
And, as always should be the case, is the price a bookie is offering in your favour? Is a team odds against to win a game when, by rights, they should be odds on?
There’s still a few games left in England this season. A few more chances to deprive the bookie of some money, including on the hard to call play offs.
And then, in the summer, we have the feast of football that is…
When you’re a 12 year old boy and you get to see on TV a football team as brilliant as the Brazil of 1970 (the best team I have ever seen play the beautiful game); then you know you were born lucky.
England sent a team to that Mexico tournament and, coming four years after the glory that was the World Cup of 1966, we schoolboys were hopeful.
After all, we had filled our Panini sticker booklet. We had collected all the free coins from Esso petrol garages. They displayed images of the England squad. In some cases it was just as well the coins had the names of the players on them. The likeness was not always an obvious one.
No side in my lifetime will match that Brazil side of Pele, Jarzinho, Gerson and co. But I am very much looking forward to the 2014 World Cup.
True, a competition played in South America will always favour the South American countries. Brazil and Argentina will be well backed in the betting market.
If a match gets boring – and some will – then all heterosexual males can look forward to the TV cutaways of beautiful Brazilian women, scantily dressed, bouncing around on the terraces.
I know European teams struggle to win such tournaments in South America. The high temperatures and/or altitude usually do for them.
I guarantee England will not win – that’s me sticking my neck out!
I do still fancy Germany to be involved come the finish. They may well be the best country there from a technical point of view. But the best team does not always win a World Cup.
Since 2008 I have been surrounded by supporters of Spain who have grown accustomed to winning. They may well be able to deal with the temperatures.
But, as the successful Spanish sides have been made up chiefly of Barcelona players, I don’t fancy Spain to win this World Cup. FC Barcelona are not the force of old. Some of the players who turn out for club and country are already knackered.
And the best Real Madrid players may well be involved in a Champions League final only weeks before the Spanish squad flies off to Brazil.
There is a suspicion in Barcelona that their star player Lionel Messi has been saving himself for his country. Argentina go to Brazil as 5/1 second favourites. I would fancy them to be in the semi-finals, but I’m not convinced they’ll win.
The hosts Brazil are 3/1 to win with William Hill. That’s a decent price right now. Home advantage counts for plenty in a World Cup, as the Boys of ’66 will tell you.
Germany are best price 11/2 with Bet 365. I’ll be having a little something on them also.
But the best betting for a World Cup can often come during a tournament, rather than before it.
Wait to see how the early matches go. Don’t rule out a side based on their first match. Countries often come good later on in a World Cup, when they have acclimatised to their surroundings.
Lots of folk got caught up in the first year of racing on Good Friday. I saw people I thought knew better get carried away with the big money rewards on offer for winning horses and “high quality” all weather racing at Lingfield.
There’s a contradiction in terms, if ever I heard one.
Fine. Have Good Friday racing if you like. I am not religious so that is not an issue with me.
But, if we are to have racing on bank holidays, then let’s scrap several other days of racing during the year to compensate.
Do away with those days or racing when the meetings are dross. There are plenty to choose from.
How about the days of class 5 and 6 races for horses rated 45?
Or the multitude of sellers and claiming races. Let’s reduce the number of those considerably. Oh, and the three horse races with favourites priced at 1/6 or less. There has been no shortage of those this past year.
Get rid of those race meetings.
And for each new day of racing we add, let’s scrap 5 others.
I agree with bookie Geoff Banks when he says these extra days of racing exist only to ensure the big bookmakers can open their shops (that’s in part 3 of my three interviews with Geoff, on the website).
The bookies don’t open their doors for people to bet on horse racing. Such folk are a dying breed. Literally.
Bookies aren’t in favour of racing on Good Friday because it allows them to pay their overworked, underappreciated staff double or treble time (they won’t). They want racing on Good Friday so that their shops are open for their most regular customers.
The people whose fingers are much faster than their brains.
Those people who spend every hour pouring money into the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBT’s) that now outnumber seats or copies of the Racing Post in each bookies shop.
There needs to be fewer race meetings, not more. I join Tanya Stevenson and many others in campaigning for more quality and less quantity.
Of course, the defence this year is that the money put up as prize money ensured the racing on the all weather at Lingfield was as good as it gets in that sphere of racing.
But what about the countless other days of all weather tripe served up at Lingfield, Wolverhampton, Southwell and Kempton Park?
The meetings played out before one man, his dog and a couple of on course bookies?
I hope you enjoyed the racing on Good Friday. I didn’t watch.
I think it morally wrong to have yet another day of racing.
And I think of the stable lads and lassies I know who just lost one of the very few days off they look forward to each year.
Will their employers have paid them extra?
The rich bookies based in Gibraltar just got richer.
Those who love to go racing to quaff expensive champagne just had a nice day out.
And those young, keen, underpaid stable workers who love their jobs will still be putting the horses to bed while bookies count their pennies and pissed people – who couldn’t tell you the name of any horse they saw race – fall into their flash motors or stagger their way home on a train.
When did racing cease to be staged for racing enthusiasts?
When the tax dodging big bookmakers located off shore began running the sport. That’s when.
The tail now wags the horse.
The big bookies tell the British Horseracing Authority to bend over.
And the reply comes thus: How far?
Was Good Friday 2014 a good day for the sport of racing?
Will it prove to be an innovation that launched a hundred better days of racing?
Will the very well attended meeting at Lingfield Park on Good Friday lead to a vast improvement in the overall quality of all weather fixtures?
Somehow I doubt it.
But we’ll not know the answer to those questions today, Friday.
Time will tell.
If it’s deemed a big success then, no doubt, the bookies will now be keen to stage racing on Christmas Day.
If they try that one, as far as I’m concerned at least, they can get stuffed!
A whole new series of video diaries are being filmed from my new home. There had to be a hiatus on that front while I moved lock stock and barrel to a new home with an even better backdrop for those videos.
So I will be offering short instructional videos about profitable punting. They will be about how you too could make a profit each year from betting on horse racing and/or football.
Tips about tips. Little nuggets of information aimed at helping you make an extra income each year.
Not a fortune. I have never promised to make members millionaires. Not least because I am not one myself!
I don’t claim to be a high roller betting with thousands of pounds.
But since 1998 I’ve been happy with my lot. Content with the annual profit made from taking on the bookie, and winning.
I shall pass on to you my guide to profitable punting via short, instructional but – hopefully – not dull video guides.
On the interview front, watch out for my on camera chats with the former Chief Executive of the Football Association, Brain Barwick (a lively exchange between the pair of us).
With seasoned sports journalist and prolific author Norman Giller, as he recalls his privileged position in the press box at the 1966 and 1970 World Cups.
And my fun packed chat with the poet, Ian McMillan.
In 1997, when I was producing the live two and a half hour long show ‘Under the Moon’, I had Ian as a guest on the show. I knew him from my time working for Yorkshire Television.
Ian was not yet famous, as he is today. He wrote me a little ditty on a scrap of paper. It was about my love of eating pie and mushy peas at football matches.
How I wish I had kept that poem safe. It would be worth something now that McMillan is one of the most sought after poets in the UK.
Last November we met at his second home, Oakwell, the home of Barnsley Football Club. I wanted to see how the Reds got on this season before editing the captivating interview. At the time of writing Barnsley look set to drop down to League 1. Or, as Ian and I will always call it, Division 3.
Ian talks hilariously about his early days going to football matches with his extended family. About that season when Barnsley made it to the Premier League and, according to the title of one of his books, “It was just like watching Brazil.”
I ask Ian to imagine he is the manager at half time in a crucial match and he must give an inspiring team talk.
I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing Ian McMillan and I hope you enjoy watching the edited film.
Until next time.