14 April, 2009

Beat the Spread

Betting on football is great. You know the drill…wake up late on a Saturday morning, stroll down for a cheeky fry-up then spend the next twenty minutes pouring over the Billy Hill Long List picking your accumulator…it’s bliss. Anyway, four Football League players have found themselves in hot water this week after allegedly betting against their own team, Accrington Stanley, to lose to Bury at the end of last season. It’s taken the FA ten months to assemble a crack-team of monkeys capable of blowing this case wide-open, and having spectacularly failed to do that, they’ve just bugged a couple of lamps and sent a patsy in ‘undercover.’ Regardless of how they assembled their evidence, word on the street is that this is the first time the FA has actually acted against players involved in betting on their own team to lose. Pretty low, eh lads? Four of those charged – Jay Harris, David Mannix, Robert Williams and Peter Cavanagh – were registered with Accrington Stanley at the time of the game (Harris and Cavanagh both actually played), while Andrew Mangan was registered with Bury.

All five are reported to have placed bets on Bury to win the match, which they did with a 2 – 0 victory. Mannix is alleged to have placed stakes of approximately £4,000; Mangan £3,500; Harris £2,000; Williams £1,000; and Cavanagh a big-spending £5 accumulator. Several high street bookies, including Billy Hill and Coral, stopped taking bets on the match after noting suspicious ­betting patterns involving rather “larger-than-normal” bets in specific parts of the country, including Liverpool. Reports at the time said £300,000 had been wagered compared to the typical average of £20,000 for a game of this somewhat dubious ‘stature.’ In order to place them above suspicion, the FA changed the officials and also sent an independent assessor to monitor the match.

Interestingly Harris, now registered with Chester City, has also been charged in relation to betting on a game involving his new club and another two League Two fixtures. Quite a tasty lad then, must have an expensive hobby or two if he’s so keen on making easy money. The heart says niche prostitute addiction, but my head says he’s got a problem with the drugs. Cavanagh has also been charged with further breaches in relation to betting on another Accrington Stanley match in which he played, and on a number of other League Two matches. Sounds like a real class act too.

The club issued this helpful statement yesterday: “Accrington Stanley are aware that two of our players have been charged by the Football Association in connection with betting on football matches. They have until later this month to respond to the charges, and we will wait until the Football Association reach a final verdict before any action is taken by the club.” Thanks for that guys, informative as ever.

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This needs to be completely stamped out of the game and thankfully, pretty much is! Although in other European leagues it is a different story. Makes a Football Betting Tips Accumulator all the more difficult than it already is.

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