There’s been a series of very entertaining and well interacted with ‘Top 5’ lists on Twitter. They’ve been posted by professional punter and former #BettingPeople interviewee Nick Goff. One that particularly caught my eye was the one entitled ‘Top Five Bookmakers That No Longer Exist’.
As the replies came in, one of the interesting points was how many were remembered with affection. Some were for personal reasons, anyone who remembers racecourse bookies Kenny Wager, Jack Lynn or Michael Mendoza, will know why they are so fondly remembered.
The majority appeared to be off-course and fledgling internet firms also fondly remembered, but by shrewdies who had it off in style before the hapless layers went skint.
Be it laying newspaper prices in the morning, being the first to price up overnight, or just giving the clever punters too much rope.
It reminded me of working on course, my boss was looked down upon. Why? Because when the guy whose firm used to get to know what the off-course firms were going to back before they backed them came in with a smile and a request for £600-£400. He got nothing. What he often got back was;
‘Wanker, call yourself a bookmaker?’
When the son of the rails bookie who used to get red hot information came sliding in for a £600-£400 a two-year-old that would soon be odds-on. He got nothing.
(No swearing too much of a gentleman) ‘Call Yourself a bookmaker’.
When one of the shrewd beards came in for the fractions each-way the second-in against the odds-on shot in the novices’ hurdle. He was told, ‘Leave me out.’ ‘Call yourself a bookmaker?’.
When the ESL bookie that got in on the back row and destroyed the market by betting overbroke came cap in hand asking for borrow a grand after three races because he’d knocked his readies out, he got nothing. ‘Call yourself a bookmaker?’
When a known knocker swaggered to the joint shouting over the heads of the cash punters asking to back a horse to win ‘Two Grand’ he was asked to pay on.
‘Wanker (no gent this fellow) call yourself a bookmaker?’
Of course, there were some ‘Brilliant bookies’ who would accommodate all the above, the trouble was, after a while they’d stop coming.
My old boss died in his 90’s, he didn’t call himself a bookmaker, he still was one.
Simon Nott is author of:
Skint Mob! Tales from the Betting Ring