Well, I still can’t bring you the updated figures for this past week. Not in their entirety anyway. But there is a story behind why not.
Monday night I get in the car, in the piddling rain, to drive the six miles or so to my nearest William Hill. There looks to be value on a football coupon I can back, and besides, there are about six slips I need to pick up the returns for, with amounts ranging from pennies to…well… a few more pennies. Do that, and I can see exactly how the football betting had fared over the weekend, and I can do my admin and see where we stand.
So, I walk into the Hills where they know me. I’m a regular. They also know that nine times out of ten I’ll be putting a bet on the footie, and as I nod a quick “Alright, mate”, they see me walk over to where the various football coupons are displayed. I imagine they then watch me – and smirk – as I take the ten minutes to fill in the relevant coupon (takes me longer than it should due to increasing age and failing eyes…but seriously, those little boxes in the green area of the ‘Team To Score’ coupon…what’s that all about?!? I could be 30 years younger and still be squinting as I try to make sure I’m filling in the right box, so difficult are they to see properly!), but it’s not until I take it up to the counter, stake money in hand, before they tell me they can’t accept the bet.
Pre-conditioned as my brain is, I automatically jump to the conclusion that this is a personal thing and that I’m being restricted. I must look really puzzled as seriously, anyone analysing my football coupon betting over recent weeks would not be refusing my bets, I can tell you that much for nothing! Anyway, clocking my confusion, the chap points to his screen, and tells me with no lack of clarity in his choice of language, that “they’re fu&*!d, mate”.
He’s a big lad, this one, and I’m not going to do anything to upset him, so instead of letting him know what I thought about driving all this way, in the pouring rain, at a time when I should be sat at home with something warm to eat and alcoholic to drink, and that he could have told me before he watched me struggle to fill out a coupon, that all their computers were on the blink. Instead – because he really is a big, big lad – I smile, make some sort of pathetically weak joke, and somehow make this whole sorry situation appear to be my fault in some way.
Anyway, before I know it, he’s come out on to my side of the counter, pointed towards one of the SSBT terminals, and said he’ll put the bet on for me through that. Clearly, he’s trying to be very helpful and hats off to him for that, but as I’m standing next to him watching him put my money on the wrong teams at the wrong prices (clearly those green boxes aren’t only difficult for me to read!) whilst gleefully telling me stories of watching Sutton United (one of the teams I hadn’t wanted to back but which now had my money on) play at Grimsby and not letting me get a word in edgeways, I can’t help thinking this sort of thing surely can’t ever happen to anyone else.
I’m too nice. The guy is really trying to help, and is obviously happy to talk to someone who isn’t either overly aggressive because he’s just done his dough on the slots, too drunk to talk coherently, or stoned (I always come out of that shop feeling slightly more chilled than I did when I went in…must be something in the atmosphere) and so I let him stick my money on a football coupon with an EV more negative than an Antonio Conte team’s midfield.
And to cap it all off, I couldn’t pick up my returns because they had no computer to process them, and therefore still don’t know what they add up to and where I’m at.
An appropriate finish to this story would be that all seven teams on the coupon won and oh, the irony, blah, blah, blah.
But that didn’t happen. Not by a long way. Seems that coupon only had the names of losing teams on it…