When I was a youngster I was fascinated by professional gamblers, I really wanted to be one. The trouble was I didn’t wanted to study form hard and learn. Instead, I thought that if I tried to get all my money in pound notes, so I could flash a wad in the bookies and did my best to look the part I’d be half way there. The other half would be by backing horses that every tipster in the Sporting Life tipster box put up, always well odds-on of course would do it. That, or sending Ryan Hartley two of my pound notes every week for his Weekender advertised ‘Saturday one horse nap’.
My bedroom, still in my mum’s house (of course) was adorned with old greyhound wall sheets and little homemade holders for various betting slips. All bets were written with the best un-chewed William Hill pens I could find stored neatly next to them. I remember one Boxing Day I wandered to the bookies with my new cardigan, I was sure I’d seen a photo with Barney Curley in one, sporting my sister’s grey felt hat that looked a bit like a trilby.
All professional intentions went out of the window that day, by the end of racing I’d done my brussels, my step less jaunty and with pockets devoid of Christmas present money I ambled home. All the way I cursed my lack of professionalism having bet on pretty much every race and swore I’d make a meaningful New Year’s resolution.
New Year’s Day arrived, I’d decided that I’d record every bet, like proper professionals. I bought an expensive faux-leather ledger in which to write my wagers. The reasoning being I’d be more selective, by writing every bet down, win or lose, so I couldn’t kid myself.
Things didn’t exactly go to plan.
By the end of that year, probably 1984, there were plenty of new additions to the contents of my bedroom. A multitude of nice faux-leather ledgers with the first page ripped out. I can see now with hindsight, what a business idea, instead of backing horses I should have invested in setting up a business. One selling one page faux-leather ledgers to novice punters who’d decided to record all of their bets.
I’d have made a fortune.
Thanks for reading in 2018, wishing everyone a very happy New Year.
Simon Nott is author of:
Skint Mob! Tales from the Betting Ring