In this issue of Punters’ Verdict….
- A big fuss about nothing….
- What is wrong with Victor Chandler?
- It’s that time of year….
A big fuss about nothing….
This last week will go down in the sporting annals as the week when Johnny Foreigner (the 22-man FIFA executive committee) betrayed not only England but also football and, if the British Press pack can be believed, the concept of fair play and decency.
Never has so much sycophancy, so much shameless toadying and so much undignified boot-licking on foreign soil led to so much disappointment, so much outrage and so much wailing and gnashing of teeth back home.
The 2018 and 2022 World Cups will be held in Russia and Qatar respectively – not England.
I’m quite relaxed about it myself – taking solace in the fact that my hard-earned tax dollars will not now be used as seed capital for building showpiece stadia that Plymouth Argyle, Bristol City and Milton Keynes fans would leave 75% empty in years to come.
The outcome seems to have come as a shock to many observers. But not to me. I knew our bid must be in serious trouble the minute the British media, as one, began to refer to the triumvirate of ‘Becks’, David Cameron and HRH Prince William Windsor as ‘the three lions’.
Becks, I can understand. But Cameron and Prince William? Come on, get a grip, man! It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever unless Lenny the Lion and the cowardly lion out of the Wizard of Oz are two of those ‘three lions’ you’re talking about?
Now the scale of the failure is apparent the current incumbent of Downing Street and the future king are said to be ‘furious’ at having been associated with the bid – a mindset that betrays their preening self-interest and which illustrates perfectly why they were the wrong people to head up the English presentation in the first place.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson has hit back at the FIFA scoundrels by withdrawing longstanding grace and favour invitations to attend the Olympics in 2012 – including sumptuous complimentary accommodation in the Dorchester.
Fair play, Boris. It plays well to the cheap seats and enables you to pass yourself off as a man of the people. But how does this Olympic invitation differ from the ‘graft’ we are quick to criticise and condemn (however tacitly) when it is associated with bids other than our own?
Isn’t it the fact that we are happy to play our part in the hypocrisy and the corruption when it suits but quick to spit the dummy and cry ‘foul’ when we get the ‘wrong’ result?
What is wrong with Victor Chandler?
Victor Chandler’s outfit is the latest sportsbook to turn to TV advertising in an effort to build the brand and drum up business – joining the likes of Ladbrokes, Hills, bet365, Paddy Power and Skybet.
It amuses me how the sportsbooks are choosing to sell the ‘idea’ of betting.
The general approach is to have some guy in a sharp suit wandering up and down like an extra from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, looking directly into the camera, talking out of the corner of his mouth and generally acting like the kind of smart Alec you’d like to see slapped around a bit in a dark alley.
The message appears to be that if you bet then you’re one cool and edgy dude – the kind of guy an impressionable and callow youth might look up to and want to emulate until he grows up a bit.
Victor Chandler’s ad, which you can check out here, conforms to type in many respects. But, where it differs, is that old Victor himself makes an appearance – putting a distinct face to the VC brand.
Pushing Victor into the limelight is a good idea – in theory. In practice, it just doesn’t work because Victor looks and acts like he’s been sedated prior to filming. Either that or he’s had his jaw wired shut. Check it out yourself and tell me I’m wrong. Theories on a postcard please.
It’s that time of year….
It’s the time of year when you find out what your bookmaker really thinks of you.
The worst case scenario is that he’s got the hots for you. And, if he does, he’ll show his affection by sending you one of his diaries for the New Year.
It’s just about as loving a gesture as a bookmaker can make. Think of it as a tender-hearted thank-you for your loyalty and continued patronage.
To get a diary off a bookmaker is absolute gold dust to some punters. It’s a trophy – something that they’ve won with their betting prowess over the punting year just gone. They absolutely thrive on it. ‘Yeah, mate… I got one off bet365…. And one off Stan James…. And I got a Tote one…. I’m expecting one off Paddy Power…’
They camp out under the letterbox, waiting for the next addition to the collection to thump onto the doormat. Then they strut up and down like the proudest little turkey cock in the farmyard – a different bookmaker’s diary sticking out of every pocket they possess.
They can’t wait to whip one out with a theatrical flourish and flick through it all serious-faced likes there’s a pretty big deal going on inside – eager for you to jealously marvel at their standing in the world.
Thing is if you get one of these diaries off a bookmaker it means just one thing – you’re a loser, baby.
The only punters who get a diary off a bookmaker are punters he wants to keep sweet… the ones he wants to make sure keep betting with him…. the punters who lose badly over the long term.
So, if you don’t get a little pressie off the bookie this Christmas you can console yourself with the knowledge that he doesn’t like you for a very good reason. Pat yourself on the back, my friend.
If you do get one…. or more…. then by all means enjoy the moment and bask in the sunlit uplands of the bookmaker’s favour.
But know this one thing: that wodge of paper and those glossy photos (all bound up in an imitation leather cover in the bookmaker’s colours) is the most expensive diary you’ve ever possessed. Treasure it, my friend. Enjoy it. Cherish it. Caress it. Because, believe me, you’ve earned it… and paid for it… a few hundred times over.
I’ll back with the Verdict next week.