Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughThe Man City fan that backs United and Fergie every fail that is! - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough The Man City fan that backs United and Fergie every fail that is! - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

The Man City fan that backs United and Fergie every year…to fail that is!

After a long, not so hot ‘Summer’ break, the Premier League season is inching closer to its return, and there’s no better place to take the pulse ahead of the new season than the local bookmakers. The off season has given the equestrian fanatics and A.P. McCoy worshippers the chance to bet twenty pence each way on the 2.50 at Newmarket in peace, but now it’s time to get back down to the bookies again and start playing high stakes with your wages or student loan.

Leaving the girlfriend to her beauty sleep (not that she needs any she hastens me to add), I sneak off early on Saturday morning to the absurdly well lit Ladbrokes. The Ladbrokes ‘stores’ as they prefer to call them these days, seem to get brighter and whiter every year. I’m convinced it’s a tactic to disorientate the mind of the gambler, but that’s perhaps a conspiracy too far, although, it does help to line up your excuses for when you almost inevitably end up going home with less money in your pocket than when you arrived.

However, by now, as an experienced loser and having quickly ran out of excuses for failure, I have my bets well and truly prepared before Ladbrokes have the chance to dazzle me like a rabbit caught on a country road.

I run the rule over the Community Shield odds whilst chatting to a Man City fan whose stood so close to me that his oversize gut is almost kissing my t-shirt. I take a step back, already knowing, despite being an Everton fan, and being stood with a huge, burly City fan, I’ll be putting my money on United today. It pains me to cheer on United, it really does, but at 13/10 it would be an insult if someone didn’t make some serious money out of these uncharacteristically generous odds. However, someone like me, with no money, could only afford to put £13 on and a few hours later, fill my pockets with £23. It was like buying money, although it didn’t feel like that when City lucked to 2-0 up at half time. Still, could be worse, as I discovered when the City fan I couldn’t shake off began telling me all about his bets for the coming season.

‘Fergie to be sacked first and United to be relegated, same bet every year, mate’ he booms, causing the young lads on the fruit machines to snigger. ‘I was at Old Trafford in ’74 when Dennis Law put them down’ he continues in a thick Brummy accent, referring to the sublime backheel Dennis Law scored for Man City in his last ever professional game and sending the side he is better remembered playing for, Manchester United, crashing out of the top division just six years after he had helped them conquer Europe.

Out of interest, I cast my eye over the odds of Fergie not only getting the boot, which seems suspect enough, but getting sacked before the likes of Neil Warnock at QPR and Alan Pardew at trigger happy Newcastle. Clear as day however on the Ladbrokes managerial odds under ‘First Premier League sacking’ reads ‘Sir Alex Ferguson 16/1’. For genuine value and viability, this is Ladbrokes at its stingy, low risk worst, a bet that the ragged copy of The Sun in the corner would call a ‘Donut’. I urge the City fan that, as much as I’d love for his greatest wish to come true, it wasn’t going to happen and that he was wasting his money. But the man was not for turning, and I grimace with genuine pain as he hands £20 to the cashier.

Later, I try to work out the total in winnings our optimistic friend will be due should the unthinkable actually come true, passing the bookies I wander in and ask a new cashier who is on duty what the odds are of Manchester United being relegated ‘Sorry, are you serious?’ he replies, giving me the same bemused look I gave the City fan. ‘Do you even watch football?’ he continues. I’m sure plenty of people will be asking a certain City fan that question over the coming season.

Michael Smith @Mr_MichaelSmith

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