SIMON NOTT: Don’t Feed The Trolls

I have been lucky to have worked in the betting industry since 1989 and have gone racing since 1983, it’s been a massive part of my life and like I said, I’m very lucky. It’s not all been luck mind, I’ve had to work hard and stay pretty skint in my younger years to remain involved. The saving grace of not having taken advantage of my education chances was that the jobs on offer to me didn’t pay much better than three or four days on course at a pony a day. I’d always rather be a bit short than give up being able to go racing and I don’t regret a second.

I was always keen to get involved in writing too, I had a brief column in a racing fanzine called ‘Final Furlong’, used to produce racing reports for my local paper for free then finally hit paid work with ‘Inside Edge’ and ‘Racing Ahead’, the former short-lived, the latter still going though I’m no longer involved. My writing pinnacle came when I had half a dozen or so articles published in the ‘Racing Post Weekender’ I was immensely proud, I remember buying the very first issue when it was prefixed Sporting Life and used to feature Jeffrey Bernard and Alastair Down.

I finally got my press accreditation via my job with Turf TV as part of the SP team, getting to occasionally work alongside people like John McCririck really was a dream come true for me. Fast forward a few years and I’m getting to talk to hundreds of interesting people helping create the #BettingPeople series and attend most of the top meetings, for Star Sports and others which continues, on a freelance basis. Like I said, I’ve been very lucky.

Back to the early days and it was a bit of a standing joke amongst us workmen, that most of the older bookmakers were a bit ‘mad’. We all assumed that it was a combination of their longevity and the constant pressure that sent them all a bit crazy. I’ll not mention any names as the ones I’m thinking for are all now dearly departed and were lovely top characters, but nuts they were.

Fast forward to now, I’ve come to a different conclusion, it’s the gambling that does it, but not just for bookies but also some of the social inadequate and underachievers in life that lurk behind keyboards. How have I come to that sweeping notion? Well, it’s just doing my dream job. Putting things in perspective, I don’t go around stealing, hitting people, or being a horrible bad bastard to anyone. I write about betting rings and bookmakers and create what I hope is entertaining video content for people to enjoy, and get paid for it.

That may not seem like such a hard job, once again, I acknowledge I’m lucky. How does the saying go, ‘Find a job you love and you’ll never do a day’s work in your life,’ that’s me, fortunate. To be fair I didn’t think that it would be the sort of job to generate much ire. Now I have set up the premise, this blog isn’t going the way it was when I sat down to write it.

I was going to post the voice recording of the person who called me me several times from a withheld number telling me I was being reported and was ‘finished’, anonymously of course. They also called, the Star Sports Mayfair office which was recorded, announcing that they had complained to the BHA and that my press pass was being revoked. All because I was writing reports from behind closed doors meetings during lockdown. I’ve decided there’s no point posting it, let’s hope they regret it now, benefit of the doubt.

I was going to cut and paste the email I had from ‘Giles Wrench’ informing me I was about to ‘risk everything I have in the world’ unless I posted his preprepared ‘statement’ on twitter. I decided against replicating it on here, if anyone ever found out who ‘Giles’ was, they’d die of embarrassment about how badly written it was, we wouldn’t want that. Maybe they’d had a beer and woke up wishing they hadn’t sent it. We’ll probably never know though, they used an encrypted email, like legal firms do you know.

Then there’s the various comments on YouTube which aren’t all that nice, the latest one is a fair old tirade which some might enjoy, it’s still there if anyone wants a laugh but I decided not share as originally planned. It sounded a bit like the guy who liked posting on my website telling me what he thought of me, at least I knew someone had read it. I didn’t share it, I’d like to think I’m not as bad as he says, and of course he’s welcome to his opinion. Besides, I’d hate to spoil his fun checking back to see if I’d replied again. I haven’t, someone quite rightly posted a bit of advice, don’t feed the trolls.

Don’t feed the Trolls. That’s my belated resolution for 2022. But I’ve gone a bit off tangent, but not really, we’ve got to twitter trolls.

The absolute multitude of anonymous troll accounts on twitter that post up all sorts of bile behind the anonymity that twitter gives them. Funnily enough, they have never really bothered me, I don’t block them, but admit the mute button is my friend. Luckily, I know that if an actual friend sees a gif of me with ‘nonce’ written on it they know it’s been made by someone to be pitied. Imagine having that much time on their hands and spending it doing that, and to what effect? Sadly, if it were just sticks and stones it would just be a bit funny.

Some do go further, like the account that messaged me to question me about my ‘gambling debts’. Happily, I have none – so I thought I’d have a bit of fun by asking how they found out such things, the fun stopped when they asked, ‘what my wife would say if she found out’. That’s just mild compared to the filth that was posted on-line about a friend of mine recently, but I’m not going to post those messages or that vile post as originally planned either.

It does make you wonder quite how pathetic some lives out there on racing twitter might be. Imagine spending hours making nasty posts for the entertainment of your followers at the detriment of someone else. How galling it must then be they check back after doing whatever else it they do in what must be a very unhealthy, lonely and miserable existence to find nobody apart from other trolls have interacted. It doesn’t bear thinking about does it, as if their lives weren’t bad enough.

Even so, 2022 resolution, don’t feed the trolls.

No, so sorry, I’ve not posted any of that stuff for the reason outlined above. I feel for those poor souls responsible for the above and wish them well. Come on guys, life is far too short to be so squalid, have a word with yourselves and get the help you need.

As for everyone else, don’t get annoyed by what you see on social media, I’ll reiterate, the mute button is your friend, use it but be charitable and feel some pity for the afflicted, you wouldn’t want to be them would you.

Don’t feed the trolls.


Views of authors do not necessarily represent views of Star Sports Bookmakers.

Simon Nott is author of: Skint Mob! Tales from the Betting Ring
available on Kindle