For as long as competitive sport has existed, people have sought to profit from it. I’m not talking about your average multi-millionaire who takes over a club, asset strips it and looks to sell it on; nor your run of the mill leeching agent with the national newspapers on speed dial and dollar/euro/pound signs in his eyes. I’m referring to the humble, betting punter. It’s a curious past-time gambling on sport, you tend to lose at least as much as you win but people (including myself) continue to do it religiously. We’ve all had those days when you analyse a team’s form, opposition, availability of key players or whatever it may be and place your bet convinced that only an incomprehensibly cruel God could prevent you from winning. But the major factor preventing me from fully embracing atheism is the weekly proof I receive that such a God does exist.
Despite these Biblical set-backs and regular promises to myself that I’m done with frivolously wasting my money, I find myself returning the next week with an unjustifiably renewed optimism. I’m sure many people would call it selective memory but I am convinced that every time I bet big on an apparent ‘sure thing’, it fails miserably. For example, if I make a bet on Friday for a team in great form, playing against relative no-hopers who are on an appalling run of form (such as Chelsea – Wigan last weekend), I don’t think you need to guess the usual outcome.
To combat this I have experimented with some of the classic betting routines, such as sticking with a hopeless team in the knowledge that they have to get back on form eventually. My case study for this recently has been Roy Keane’s Ipswich™. Touted as promotion candidates at the start of the season they are yet to win a game thus far and sit second-bottom of the Championship with a princely return of two points. I would now like to hold my hands up and apologise to Ipswich fans everywhere as clearly my regular betting on their team has prevented them from winning. The fates’ refusal to allow me to make money has had a knock-on effect on other people in a different country. As soon as I discovered this powerful phenomenon I decided to try and use it for my own benefit and so, I will now be focusing all this anti-luck of mine on one of my main bogey sides, Aston Villa. Villa have long been a chronic annoyance to me due to their unerring ability to be the one team that makes a balls of my accumulator. My plan from now until the end of the season is to lump a considerable portion of my weekly income on Villa to beat whomever they are playing that weekend, thus relegating them from the Premiership. Vengeance will be sweet my Brummie friends. I am of course aware that this is likely to cost me quite a lot of money over the course of the season so your contributions are most welcome. You can get in touch with me about the Relegate Villa Fund by e-mailing the Express Sport address at the bottom of this piece.
I wish to thank all of you lovely Express readers in advance for your generosity and look forward to hearing from you soon.