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Hope & Change or You Don’t Get Much Change from a Visit to the Bookies.

Little story for you from my past.  Cast your mind back to 2005, the night was Wednesday, 25th May 2005, expectations were high but tempered with the achievement of simply reaching the Champions League final against AC Milan; what followed was the Miracle of Istanbul.  An evening full with a maelstrom of emotions; dejection, abject lows to euphoric incredulous highs.  In my opinion (over a period of a little over 2 hours), only the love of football can do this, and especially the love of Liverpool FC.

Now I was (some might say, still am), a bit of a smart arch (apparently I can’t swear in my blog, I’ve been advised that’s the rule), I was going to make a killing on the fact that my beloved Liverpool were going to get knocked out of the tournament  in the group stages.  Stupidly, I had become involved in spread betting (for God’s sake don’t get involved), I’d ‘sold’ on Liverpool’s advancement, that is I expected them to lose.  So each round involved another spread bet to cover the losses of the previous one (clever, eh?), and so it got to a point where the Reds had reached the final.  How bitter sweet?  Win and lose £1000, lose and gain £0.  Still, Rudyard might call me a man, except that risking it all on pitch and toss, has ended up on me mentioning this loss (what cute paraphrasing).

Well, most of us know what happened?  Stevie G, thank you!  You set the Reds on the journey with your wonder goal against Olimpiacos (sometimes, you just have to read the signals), then we turn over Juventus, followed by the ‘ghoul’ goal that upset Chelski-Chelsea so much.  Swiftly moving on; the invitation to a Sports Bar in Town by Sporting Index, invite some guests along too, it’s a free bar for you all, all six of us.   At half time and 3-0 down, we were going to get our money’s worth and were drinking copious amounts of beer, that soon changed and we all became immersed in what happened after the 54th minute.  Quick mention about the half time phone call from the inimitable, laughing Evertonian Steve Winch, the taunt that ‘we’ were going to be embarrassed by a superior Milan side and that it would likely finish 6, 7 or 8 nil.  Sorry Steve, you weren’t so smug after the final penalty kick!  Just recollecting the evening gives me goose bumps even now.  Just last month I met Didi Hamann at Manchester Airport, I was shaking like a leaf, like a giddy teenager, just asking for his autograph.  He was an integral part of that night’ success, the holding battling midfielder (I’m sure he ended up having a bit of a gambling problem too).  The final result at full-time, after an immense fight back (that is unlikely ever to be repeated) 3-3, then to extra time and heroics from Jerzy Dudek, finally to penalties and Stevie G ending the night lifting Old Big Ears aloft in front of an adoring throng of red (transferring their love from the Kop to Constantinople and a wowed TV audience at home too, including us 6 at the Sports Bar). The night continued with high jinxed revelry, never to be repeated, an evening in Windows Bar, one of our party’s dalliance with a lady of the night, insults to Thomas Castaignede and one of our the lads non-stop journey around the Circle Line.  A great night but overall a loss of £1000 to Sporting Index, it wasn’t the last time either.  What an idiot!

Now, on to recent events and fast forward 12 years, separation, realisation and reparation, an effort to make amends.  On a long run the other day I got to thinking ‘outside the box’, some might say?  Management/motivational speak is such cliched codswallop isn’t it, why don’t we just speak with some thought and feelings but equally do something about what we say we are going to do?  On my run, I came up with a plan; to write to as many of the betting companies that I’d lost money to, in the hope of inviting them to take bets on my completing the 10 in 10 challenge, the expected result that they would donate some profits to Brathay and to other charities interested in personal change, like Alcoholics Anonymous and Gamblers Anonymous.  What follows is the list of companies I’ve written to:

Sporting Index

William Hill



Paddy Power

Sporting Bed

Bet Fred

Sky Bet

Victor Chandler

Bet Fair

The expectation is that one of the companies does something positive, perhaps it might not be their cup of tea, but I hope they change?

By the way, we won it five times…

You’ll Never Walk Alone!

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