One L of a Season

Published by The Sage.


As July turns to August every year, my thoughts temporarily betray the summer game to consider the impeding football season. Of all the thousands of bets I have in the course of the sporting year, the one that perplexes me the most is the ‘bigun’. The Goliath. The Nostradamus. The one that never wins.

The idea is simplicity itself. Select two teams from each of the four divisions, one of which must win their league, and place them into an accumulator. That’s sixteen bets (2x2x2x2=16). Place a unit stake of £10 and you’re in for £160. That’s cheap if you ask me for a season’s worth of nail biting entertainment. A bargain. And let’s say the average price is 10/1 – that’s £146,410. ‘Life changing money’ as the erstwhile host of ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ was want to chime.

Suffice to say, my life hasn’t changed yet. Not, at least, if we are talking about for the better. Usually hope burns until about the second week of September when it becomes crushingly obvious that what I know about League One and League Two combined could be written on the back of an average sized postage stamp – for the under 20s, that’s the things we used to stick on the back of envelopes to send letters which were the main means of communication before email. You may have used one at Christmas.

As the years have passed, the structure of the bet has remained the same. In recent times the stake has dwindled, and now I satisfy myself with a £2 stake and a layout of £32. On two occasions I have had three out of four. I could almost smell my changed life. But usually, I am done before the leaves are falling from the trees. Suffice to say, my two Championship choices this year include a team that has already sacked its manager, and another one who think it’s a good idea to retain the services of Tony Pulis.

I never reinvest on this bet, but instead content myself with my usual match accumulators as the season progresses. Until this year. A friend was talking about it being a ‘hell of a season’ and was banging on about the competitive nature of all four divisions. I was only half listening, but began perusing through the tables at the same time. Premier League leaders: Liverpool. Championship leaders: Leeds. Division One leaders: Luton. Division Two Leaders: Lincoln City. A hell of a season? More like an L of a season.

In my time predicting the winners of all four English leagues I would meticulously research all the evidence available. There was science going on here. But maybe that was where I was going wrong. Random coincidence was the way forward. I swooped. A £30 accumulator at combined odds of just under 21/1. It’s going well so far – if I placed the bet now at the time of writing it would only pay just over 10/1.

So when the four Ls come home first, I stand to win £640. Far from life changing I grant you, but at least it might be evidence of luck changing.


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Shin Pads & Angry Dads

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