Sunday, May 30, 2010

SUNDAY .....

Both selections won yesterday, Betis left it very late to find their winner, but it could help them find a way back to La Liga and they all count, regardless of when they are scored.

I couldn't be more pleased for Millwall who secured a return to the Championship and whom I have something of a soft spot for. They dominated the first half, with Neil Harris running around up front like a 21 year old, complaining about everything and leading by example, alongside him I was ultra impressed with Steve Morison . Things never worked out for him at Northampton and he was allowed to drift into non league football, but hard work takes you a long way and 100+ goals in four years later, he is in the Championship. Morison is still only 26, quick for a big lad, he glides past players and is so much more than just a goalscorer. Guess all the talk this week will be about Jermaine Beckford, who is the same age and had his contract cancelled early by Leeds this weekend to enable him to find a new employer asap, but I know who I would sooner sign, not that Millwall will be in a rush to let Morison go !

Swindon got back into the game after the break and had chances to draw level, but the Lions held on and the bonus for me, is that this will leave Division 1 just a tiny bit weaker next season, when I am hoping my beloved Bees will be making a top 6 push.

That late winner for Betis meant that 18 of the last 26 blog selections have won, a strike rate of almost 70% and hopefully we can keep this up right through the summer. I have found three selections today, but to save you time checking back, can tell you that I will not be posting any on the blog . One is from an area I am going to specialise in next season, when I will be focusing not exclusively, but mainly on just four divisions, this is quite a big change for me, but I am certain it will result in even better returns and even at my advanced age, I am always looking to improve !Anyway, I do not want to give away any early clues there and it is the same case with my "international" bet today, as I expect to write similar notes about the teams involved when they take the field in South Africa. So, you are on your own today !

Good Luck.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Don't get me completely wrong, I have a pretty high opinion of myself, but on occasion, I would like to step outside my body for 30 seconds and give myself an almighty kick up the backside !

I watch a lot of lower level football and consider myself a very good judge. Division 1 is my league, it is the third tier of english football and where, as a Brentford fan, I have watched most of their silky skills. This season, four teams stood out for me, two went up automatically, one made the playoffs (the other was not the Bees btw) and yet as soon as they got there, I started to doubt them. That team is/was Millwall and I am not going to make the same mistake today, when I expect them to make a well deserved return to the Championship.

They came withing 20 minutes of doing so last season, when in the final here they led Scunthorpe 2-1 entering the last quarter of the game. That experience will be invaluable today, they know what to expect from the day, what the atmosphere and level of expectation will be like, they also know that even if they lose, that life goes on, so the fear of failure will not be so great.

Since the one game playoff final was introduced, seven teams have returned to either Wembley or Cardiff the following year, Millwall will be the eighth. Six of those won the next time round and the single failure, Leicester City in 1993, actually returned a third time the following season and then completed the job.

I deeply regret opposing Millwall with Huddersfield in the semis, not just because they lost, but because I did not go with the evidence of my own eyes. Which is that Millwall were the best team entering the playoffs and with the experience from last year, were the obvious pick. The South Londoners will have 40,000 noisy fans behind them today and can introduce a number of match winners from the bench, which could prove key in a one off final. Man for man I rate them the superior outfit by far, with 12-13 of the squad having been here before. Swindon have big doubts about a couple of key players and whilst I don't want to single out any individuals especially one that has been as prolific as Charlie Austin this season, but he was playing non league football earlier this season as there is no telling how the occasion might get to him and some of his team mates, with the Lions, it is pretty open and shut. Even their non league recruit Steve Morison has two Wembley appearances to his name, scoring on both occasions and he has Mr Millwall, the vastly Neil Harris to keep him on the straight and narrow.

I have nothing but admiration for Harris, who is Millwall's all time highest scorer and loved by all at the New Den. He has battled testicular cancer and twice been told he was surplus to requirements at the club he loves, but forced managers to do an about turn by his determination to score and pure strength of character. Kenny Jackett actually told him his contract would not be renewed in the off season of 2008, Harris responded that he had no intention of leaving, his goals kept them up that season, he got a new contract in the summer and the rest is history ! Now that is a man to lead you into battle !

Millwall -0.5 2.10 + ........ 2.20 still available in places.

Good Luck.


Real Betis -0.25 1.88

All still to play for at the top and bottom of Segunda with just a single point separating third from seventh in the hunt for a La Liga spot and as many as 12 teams looking to avoid the drop. Normally in these circumstances, I like to take the home side looking to avoid relegation, as their desire is often a little greater, but I don't quite see it like that today. Spanish football is in something of a mess, only three clubs and I doubt you could name the third (Numancia) are opearting at a profit and there are going to be some huge changes in the next season or two.

This is something I touched upon recently and I am certain we will be returning to in the future, as bad a state as some of the EPL sides might be in, I feel that the underlying problems in Spain could be significantly worse.

All neutrals would like to see the bigger clubs back in the top flight, Sociedad look poised to be one of them this season and Betis who are one of the top 30-40 supported clubs in Europe definitely fall into that category. They are geared up for an immediate return to the top flight and the squad is packed full of experience, with 17 of the squad of 18 named today (see below) having played at the highest level, many with their current club.

Real Betis: Goitia, Ricardo, Rivas, Juanma, Arzu, Caffa, Damiá, Capi, Mehmet Aurelio, Pavone, Odonkor, Iriney, Jonathan Pereira, Carlos García, Nelson, Nacho, Juande y Rodri.

Real have made hard work of this at times, but seem to be coming with a perfectly timed challenge and are on a four match unbeaten run.They lie in fourth spot outside the top three on goal difference, but with so many teams battling for promotion probably know that they need 9 or 10 points minimum from their remaining four starts and this hugely experienced group, both on and off the pitch will be greedily eyeing up the three on offer today at Huesca, who usually play at a lower level and who have conceded ten in their last four outings.

Just fourteen months ago Betis were celebrating a famous win in the stadium of their biggest and nearest rival, half of this 18 man squad took part that day. Since when they have had to suffer the humiliation of relegation and watch Sevilla play in the Champions League, which they have again qualified for this season and win the Copa del Rey. Tough times to be a fan in the green half of the city and the prospect of another two huge derby games next season will be a mighty incentive, away win.

Back later.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

WORLD CUP ......... FIRST THOUGHTS ........

This is going to be a world championship unlike any other we have seen before, with teams switching venues, some on a match by match basis and playing in very different conditions, this is information we can really make use of.

I will start with some basic info and then discuss how this is likely to benefit or put at a disadvantage, individual teams.

All teams have to annouce their 23 man squadS on June 1st , although injured players can be replaced up to 24 hours before that team's opening match.

The Venues :

Durban .... sea level, although much of the metro area is hilly, with some parts as high as 850m, but for our purposes... sea level.

Cape Town .... sea level, but it can get very windy and wet here, remember this is South Africa's winter.

Port Elizabeth ..... sea level.

Nelspruit ..... altitude 700m

Pretoria ...... altitude 1350m

Bloemfontein ..... altitude 1395m

Polokwane ..... altitude 1300m but proably the "short straw", venue is isolated on the Mozambique border, with coldest seasonal tempuratures, tiny size wise with a population of just 140,000 and facilities to match, some countries are set to play both here and Cape Town, which is some 18 hours by road (they will fly of course) away.

Rustenburg ...... altitude 1500m.

Johannesburg ...... 1750m +

Lets put these altitudes in context, highest capital city in europe is Madrid at 646m, five of these are double that, with parts of Joburg three times higher. It will be an advantage for any teams that have played at altitude coming down to sea level and tough for those moving up, to acclimatize in the few days available between games.

I will of course be looking further into the games, but have to point out one or two things for you to keep an eye on.

Firstly teams that played in the Confederations Cup last year, will have got invaluable experience of the conditions, with all those matches played at high altitude venues. Brazil and the ultra fit USA side flourished in the conditions, Spain less so, although they were coming off almost 18 months with little break, however, I do have my doubts about their ability to handle the conditions (certainly in relation to their very short odds) and see a potential banana skin in their second game, when after starting at sea level, they face underdogs Honduras in Joburg. Their opponents will also be making the move up, but at least from Nelspruit and will be more used to playing at altitude. I would not be rushing to take the talented european champions at the circa 1.16 currently offered for that game !

Germany start with two matches at sea level and will be ultra keen to get maximum points from those starts, before finishing in Joburg against a talented Ghana side, who will have two games at altitude under their belt, we all know how well prepared the Germans are and they will to looking to have progression assured ahead of this tough looking encounter.

Argentina will already have a match at Joburg under their belts before they face South Korea on the 17th, Seoul is at sea level and SK open in Port Elizabeth, so this will be really tough for the Koreans.

Brazil already have a couple of games at Joburg in the bag from last year and after opening with another two, will be full of running moving down to sea level for their final group game to meet Portugal.

1400-2200 m is the optimal height for high altitude training, too much above that and your desire to work is diminished. Therefore, this is an absolutely perfect start for Brazil IMO.

Finally for now, France have it very tough in their second game, when, after opening in Cape Town at sea level, they make the ultra long journey to Polokwane, which is like another world, there they will meet Mexico, who will not only be stepping down from JoBurg, but most of the squad will have grown up at altitude with Guadalajara at 1600m and Mexico City 2200m. The 3-1 about the Mexicans in places looks very tempting at this early stage .

This is a World Cup where wind, rain and thin air will all play a big part and I suggest you do plenty of homework before parting with your hard earned cash

Good Luck............ this was written 21/5 btw

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I am looking forward to the World Cup, but something I could do without is the constant berating of the England national team which is absolutely pointless and probably unfounded. The squad is at least as good as most, but lacks a couple of world class players, most other countries are in a similar or worse position. England have in my opinion, a 10-12% chance of winning the competition, whenever they qualify for the finals their chance is similar, so probably we can expect them to win once every 30 years or so, the 1966 win came early, you could now argue that they are overdue, but equally might not win for another 40 years..... god forbid !

Chances do not come around very often and people forget, they could/should have made the final in both 1970 and 1990, if they had then things would be viewed very differently. England have appeared in twelve finals and made the last eight on eight occasions, they are ranked 8th in the world by FIFA and the top 7 are all playing. So, I would argue that another quarter final spot would be par, failure to get that far possibly a disappointment and a semi-final spot a big success. Spain have also played in twelve finals, with just 4 quarter final appearances. so they are the real flops on the world stage. But I would not be too harsh on them either, only seven countries have ever won the cup and just six have been number one ranked by FIFA, those are elite club's and new members are not welcome !

Still, we will never stop the knockers, it is something of a national pastime in the UK, Tim "nice but dim" Henman was a bottler, despite being an eleven time winner on tour, a top 4 player and six time grand slam semi-finalist and winner of $12m. But he was an under achiever to many of those sat at home with a beer in one hand and a sandwich in the other ! Andy Murray at the ripe old age of 23, has only $11m in the bank, 14 titles, two grand slam finals and is the 3rd or 4th best player on the planet, he is another right "mug". Don't believe me ? Take a look at the Betfair forum all the armchair pundits there will tell you, but they will have to put either the beer or sandwich down first !
Good Luck.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

SUNDAY ......

So much to discuss after yesterday, Blackpool in the EPL ! A fantastic achievement for everyone at the club and done on a tiny budget, ground capacity at Bloomfield Road is only 12,000, but I guess plans are already underway to get that increased before the start of the new season.

On a quick side note, Matthews and Mortensen might have enjoyed greater fame in their pomp, but no one is more loved at Blackpool than Jimmy Armfield, a true gentleman of the game. I have never understood why greater honours have never come his way and those that have, he has had to wait for. It took him 43 years to get his World Cup winners medal and he was finally awarded an OBE in 2000 and a CBE earlier this year. Although it would never occur to him to even think so, this was far too little too late for a man who has done an enormous amount not just for the club he loves, but his community and anyone that ever asked, it should have been a knighthood. Maybe the increased profile of Blackpool will put that right, look him up on wikipedia, James Christopher Armfield, gentleman footballer, a dying breed.

Jose Mourinho won another Champions League and he now has 16 major trophies, in eight years, at three clubs. He should have won a third CL title with Chelsea, but that is the only "blip" on a peerless record in the last decade. The special one will officially sign for Real Madrid this week, how that will work out goodness only knows, I am sure that he could win another european title with them, but that will probably mean totally changing Real's attack at all costs philosophy, on the plus side, it will also see the Madrid team with a balanced eleven and not just a group of galacticos. Guess the spanish giants and their fans will live with that for a while, but will soon tire of the entertainment on offer, if the titles do not flow better than the football.

Of course, maybe Mourinho will surprise us all yet again and win everything playing the beautiful game, but deep rooted in his soul is the belief that a 1-0 win is as good as a 6-1 victory, maybe better and that is not the Real way. One thing is for sure, all eyes will be on Madrid and that's the way Jose likes it !

Inter were a good winner for us yesterday and although you only have my word for this, I am in excellent form at the moment. Something I am looking to carry forward through the World Cup which starts in just 19 days time. I have already done an enormous amount of research on the competition and sent some friends my first notes on the tournament, which will be unlike any major football event ever played, this week. Doubtless I will share some of these thoughts with you in the coming weeks, but certainly do not want to post anything on an open forum at this stage.

I have just one selection (football) today, at very attractive odds of circa 3.40 and might post this online later this afternoon if there is time, but only have basic notes at the moment and I want to watch as much play as possible from Roland Garros and also prepare for what looks a very busy betting day tomorrow, so no promises.

Good Luck.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


It is very warm in the south-east of England today and conditions at Wembley will be draining. Temperature might show as just 24 degrees or so come kick off, but it will be much hotter pitch side and for some reason, 22-24 degrees in London always feels more like 30 in any case. There are bound to be some very weary legs in the second period at the end of a long season and the game could get very stretched after the break.

Blackpool's last 11 starts have seen 13 goals in the last 13 minutes, so certainly hope of a late goal there, but it is City's stats which caught my eye. In 2010 they have gone into the final quarter of 14 matches all square and have found a winner on nine ( 64%) occasions.

Something to consider if you are following the match in running.

Good Luck.
update: 35 degrees pitch side at 13.30 with no crowd in stadium, going to get hotter !


The Champions League final on a saturday night ......... it just doesn't feel right !

Busy weekend, in addition to the "big one" with the "special one" we have the Championship playoff final, where Cardiff and Blackpool do battle for the ultimate prize, a place in the EPL and the well documented £90m that comes with it. Blackpool will have the support of many neutrals, as it would be a true fairytale story, not least for Ian Holloway who has done a fantastic job with the Seasiders, especially with his "wheelin and dealin" in the transfer market, the on loan signing of Seamus Coleman from Everton was a masterstroke. Whoever decided to risk £60k on the left back, who looks to have a massive future in the game, must be in line for a very big bonus from the merseyside club.

I recall Holloway doing some pundit work on the radio little more than a year ago, basically begging someone, anyone, to give him a job back in the game he loves. Suspect he would work for free and it is not always about the money !

Tomorrow also sees the start of the French Open and I have had my first bet of the tennis season this week and am hopeful of landing that today. Pretty sure that I will be covering the action from Roland Garros on here in the next fortnight, but it is almost impossible not to discuss the Champions League final, so ............


Inter -0.5 ball 2.31

I have read in several places that Jose Mourinho will not be too concerened about the result today, as he is already on his way to Real Madrid next season, that is pure hogwash ! Yes, the "special one" will be gracing La Liga with his talents, but the thought that he would pass up the chance to showcase his talents on such a world stage are laughable, his massive ego would simply not allow that to happen, he also happens to be the best coach in the world and remember, he was already on his way to Chelsea, when winning the title with Porto.

He is a master at finding oppents soft spots, searching out any weaknesses and exploiting them, whilst at the same time suffocating the greatest threats. Bayern are clearly weak in central defence and Diego Milito , who is on fire atm, must be licking his lips at the prospect of facing Van Buyten and Demichelis, if Milito wasn't enough for those two to handle, then Eto'o, Pandev and Balotelli most certainly are .

Of course, we all know Bayern are much happier on the front foot and Arjen Robben has looked world class this Champions League campaign, however, the absence of Franck Ribbery means that Inter can concentrate on stifling him and that job will probably fall to Javier Zanetti, who did a similar job on Lionel Messi in the semi-finals. Inter also nullified Drogba in similar fashion during an earlier round and Mourinho knows all about Robben from their time together at Chelsea, I suspect we will not see him as such a force this evening. I give Inter an edge in all three areas of the pitch and a pretty big one on the bench, although I should say I am not a huge fan of LVG and as a former Barcelona coach , JM would love to rub the nose of his former boss in the Bernabeu turf, especially playing in what will be his new home town. Inter all the way for me.

Good Luck.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

WEDNESDAY ............

Not much joy recently, although we have basically been on the right track with most bets, Huddersfield were well in the tie last night until the second goal came late and I would like to have the Serie A final round replayed and to place our bet on the Atalanta- Palermo game a second time. The home side alone had 26 attempts on goal in that game and on another day, this match would have produced five or more goals.

On a more positive side, we have still won with 15 of our last 23 bets, so it is hard to complain too much. Also, my beloved Bees finished the season in 9th spot, ahead of Bristol Rovers, which I will be able to make use of next time I have dinner with my friend, who's entire family are Gasheads !

I watched Oxford get promoted to the Football League on sunday, it was just about deserved although the 3-1 scoreline flattered them a bit. I suspect that United will do well in Division 2 next season and aside from Bradford City, it is difficult to think of a bigger club at that level, maybe Southend, but they still have big financial problems. The U's will probably average 8-9,000 crowds in the fourth tier and I understand that their finances are in reasonable shape now, after some very tricky times. The club will have received a massive boost in that regard, with some 50,000 of their own fans at the three playoff games, they took 33,000 to Wembley alone, more than either Chelsea or Portsmouth were allowed for the Cup Final and goodness knows how much they spent in the club shop last week, with the whole crowd seemingly dressed in yellow.A club on the up !

I have three selections today, but only basic notes and no time to write any more on the blog today, but I have sent these notes by email to everyone that has written to me in some form or other recently.

Good Luck.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Division 1 Playoff : Millwall-Huddersfield Town

Some very basic notes about the match tonight, which I wrote this morning .....

Millwall had the better chances in the first leg, but Town still had plenty of the ball and put 26 crosses into the Lions box, a very acceptable number.

It will be very difficult for the visitors tonight, the New Den is an intimidating place to go at any time, let alone in front of a big crowd, under floodlights, in cup tie, which this effectively now is. Millwall have only lost once here all season and are an incredible 6-1-0 against the other top 8 teams. However, and this is where I think we have a spot of value, they fell behind in four of those, the matches against Southampton, Norwich, Swindon and Colchester, they also took an age to get going in the local derby with Charlton . Also, in the league fixture here between these two, Town had a "good" shout for a penalty turned down with the game scoreless. Jordan Rhodes was still complaining about that several weeks later he was so aggrieved ! It was only really in the Leeds game that Wall came out all guns blazing and at that time the visitors were unbeaten , so there was little pressure or expectation on the home team.

It is fair to say that as intimidating as the venue is and believe me, it is, that at least early on, this puts as much pressure on the home team as it does the visitors. I like the 3.0 for Huddersfield to qualify with Sbobet, these playoff games are rarely as clear cut as they look and this could easily go to extra time IMO, if Millwall start a little sluggish again and Town take the lead, I will probably look to tie in a profit at that stage.

BTW, everything I wrote on saturday about Town's help with the mental side of things of course stands double for tonight. Also, I have just remembered that 9th placed Brentford also took the lead here and led for a long time before the hosts scored a late equaliser and that was another vital game for the Lions, so don't be surprised to see the visitors in front !

Good Luck.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Last day's play in Serie A has been very good to us in recent seasons, including a 150-1 correct score winner.......... those were the days !

Very different today, as we had ideal circumstances that day, but I am keen on goals in the Atalanta -Palermo game, hosts will probably not want to go down without a fight and wish to give their supporters something positive to remember over the summer. Palermo need to win and hope that Sampdoria slip up (which seems unlikely) to clinch the final Champions League spot.

I smell a sneaky away win, probably by the odd goal in five, or something similar, to make it look good, it would not surprise me at all for the hosts to take the lead and Palermo to win a "thriller". Final round last year saw the ten games produce a massive 42 goals, an average of 4.2 per game, with six containing four or more and a few could easily follow suit today, the match at Cagliari also attracted me and I might bet something along the same lines there for minimal stakes, but the odds in that one are much skinnier, so I will just put this game up as my selection. I know that one of you will ask, so my idea of the exact score would be 2-4 (50-1 +) or a repeat of possibly our second most famous win ever 3-4 (at an identical 150-1), if lightning ever strikes twice, why not today !

one stake on each....

"over" 4.5 goals 5.0 + ........ 5.1 on the exchanges for tiny stakes.

"unquoted" correct score 6.4 exchanges.

The unquoted scoreline basically pays out on either team scoring four or more goals.

Good Luck.


Not a good day for me yesterday and when Frank Lampard stepped forward to take that penalty, I just knew.............

The normally dependable midfielder who regularly scores more than most EPL strikers, did not even hit the target and it was just one of those days.

I am going to Wembley today, my brother in law is an Oxford United supporter and has managed to drag me along. "Business" aside, it is rare for me to attend any game that does not involve my beloved Brentford nowadays, but I have not yet been to the "new" (when can we stop calling it that ?) Wembley yet and this is an opportunity to tick that particular box and check out a couple of lower level teams. I have spoken about United many times, they are a massive club at this level and have sold some 37,000 tickets for today, about four and a half times as many as York City, unfortunately for Oxford, they can only field eleven at a time, but they will definitely have an extra man in the crowd.

I have been at one of these playoff finals before when there was a similar crowd split (guess who that involved ?) and believe me it is a huge advantage, I would say far more than for a home game in some ways, as you expect the venue to be neutral. Anyway, for the sake of a happier day out, I shall be hoping that Oxford return to the Football League today, when they could be big players in Division 2 next season.

However, I shall leave that match alone for the purposes of the blog and will return shortly with a selection at far more rewarding odds...... time to gamble !

Good Luck.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Chelsea have been made huge favourites and it is hard to disagree with that. They have scored an incredible 17 goals without reply in winning their last three EPL games whilst taking the title and have a 5-0 win at Fratton Park from March 24 still fresh in their memories. They could have scored any number that day and it is difficult to see the wide open spaces of Wembley (although playing surfaces are similar in size) not suiting them even better, I fear for Portsmouth today ! Pompey did see off Tottenham here in the semis, but that day Spurs had 31 attempts at goal and on another day might easily have scored four .

I expect Chelsea to win with a degree of comfort, but prefer a little on Frank Lampard to score. We have talked in the past about FL and the fact that his goals come in groups, with a barren spell usually followed by a really hot streak. Since scoring in the last meeting between these two, that's nine starts, he has scored in seven matches, 11 goals in total, he will take any penalties, there will be no wrestling for the ball with Drogba today and I suspect Lampard will be extra hungry to impress after missing out on the PFA team of the season, in arguably his best season for several years. This is said to have hurt FL, especially with several others chosen having missed large chunks of the season through injury and I do not think it is coincidence that his performance levels have stepped up since the "team" was announced.

Frank Lampard to score at anytime 2.0 general quote .... up to 2.10 available in a place.

Good Luck.

NO ONE LIKES THEM........... WELL I DO .......... JUST NOT TODAY !

Division 1 Playoff : Huddersfield Town - Millwall

I like these two teams, in any other season, at least one of them would have gone up automatically, but this was the strongest third tier in history and they both have to look to do it the hard way. I also have to admit to having a soft spot for Millwall, with a very good friend who passed away some years ago (RIP Frank), having been a massive fan and who once took great amusement in "outing" me as a Brentford supporter in the main home stand at the Old Den .... happy days !!!!

Few would dispute that both are happier on home soil, with only champions Norwich having a stronger record at their own stadium. Huddersfield are 14-8-1 here, scoring a league high 52 goals, which includes a 1-0 win in the league meeting between these clubs last month, Millwall are a daunting 17-5-1 at the New Den and given that and the intimidating atmosphere there, Town will not want to travel south without a lead of some sort.

Home boss Lee Clark has a big backroom staff at his disposal, including a couple who just work on the mental side of the game, today is exactly what they have been employed for , to get Town in the right frame of mind, calm, concentrated and focused ahead of this huge encounter . Number one amongst these is Steve Black, who is one of the top motivational speakers in the UK and who worked for a long time with the national Rugby team, especially as Jonny Wilkinson's mentor, his game was all about preparation and followers of that sport, will already appreciate Black's attention to detail. He carries huge respect in that sphere and has also worked with Newcastle, Sunderland and Fulham, who were all promoted to the top flight during his time working with them.

This backroom staff extends to some twenty people about six of whom you would know by name, including Terry McDermott, Derek Fazackerley and Andy Cole, these "staff" have around 4,500 league games between them an incredible amount of experience. I have to say that amongst these is fomer Bee Paul Stephenson who was a very tricky "old style" winger and a former favourite of mine ( actually, he hasn't changed much in the last 20 years ... see photo). This is an enormous investment and the club will have to see a return either this year or next. Few clubs outside the EPL would even consider spending this type of money off the pitch, but this is exactly the kind of day it should produce dividends.

I am sure that Clark has a big coaching future in the game, it takes a man confident in his own abilities to build and head such a strong team this early in his career, but he is very close to getting things right at the Galpharm and they are the sort of team who will flourish if they can just get out of this division. They can go a long way towards that with a win this afternoon.

Huddersfield -0.25 2.13 asian line.

Good Luck.

Friday, May 14, 2010

FRIDAY ..............

I do have three fairly strong ideas today, one of which I almost made a "maximum" bet, but have little time to write any previews. So, rather than say I might post something later in the day, it is probably better for all of us to just wait until tomorrow.

Good Luck with your bets today !

Thursday, May 13, 2010


I have taken a short break from posting on the blog this week and been getting up to date with all those jobs that get put to one side during the regular season. Will almost certainly be back with some more detailed previews either tomorrow or saturday, but can at least tell you that I am quite keen on Nurnberg today. They meet Bavarian "neighbours" Augsburg in the first of two legs to decide who will play in the Bundesliga next season.

The visitors did rest several key players and still got a point at champions Kaiserslautern on Sunday, but those that did play put in an awful lot of work, the home side had 60% possession and you do much more running when your opponents have the ball. They will also have had 24 hours less recovery and preparation time, as FCN completed their regular season on saturday afternoon.

Hosts came up through the playoff system last season, so have vital experience of these extremely tense encounters, when the pressure can become too much for some. They will have a massive home crowd behind them and will be looking to put this tie to bed in the first game, which is what they did against Cottbus last year.

Nurnberg -0.75 ball 2.17 asian line.

Good Luck.

Sunday, May 09, 2010


It was from the school of the blindingly obvious, but at least Tranmere won comfortably enough yesterday and kept our really good run going.

I will be a little more adventurous today and whilst I have bet three football games already, which is and will always remain ,our bread and butter, I want to talk a little about golf this morning and the final round of the Players Championship, often referred to as the fifth major.

As we enter the final round at Sawgrass, once again Lee Westwood leads the way, he held his nerve well at the Masters, will have learnt a lot from that and is a proven worldwide winner, but I do think he is plenty short enough in the betting and that there is better value out there.

I am very keen on final round stats,as long term readers of the blog will know, this is the "money" round and proven sunday performers tend to produce the goods time and time again.

Ben Crane has played well week in week out in Round 4, since returning from injury in 2008. That year he was ranked 38th on tour for sunday scoring, climbed to 6th last year and is a very solid 26th this year after just seven rounds, to put that into perspective, it would put him in the top five on tour for the three seasons combined.

Today he is paired with Lucas Glover, who is/was 98th, 121st and 145th for the three years respectively. That means that in 17 final rounds last season he averaged almost 1.8 strokes per round more than Crane and a whopping 2.86 this campaign, if you are not big golf fans you will have to take my word that these are HUGE numbers.

After an up and down opening round Crane, who is known as the slowest player on tour has played flawless golf for the last 33 holes, which he has completed in seven under par. Just two strokes off the pace he might be the one to benefit from a Westwood slip up , at 10-1 plus is a working man's price and with a title under his belt already this year, there will be less pressure on the man from Oregon, but it is the odds against quote to beat Glover that I am most interested in.

Sawgrass suits Crane perfectly and after finishing 5th last year and 6th in 2008, he is a winner in waiting. I have to say that BC a committed christian and a man who never does anything in a hurry, would not be your first choice for a drinking buddy , or someone to organise your stag night,unless you wanted to be home before nine o'clock. But it also means he makes few mistakes out on the course and very little fazes him.

I would suggest splitting your stake across two bets with the much bigger slice on the two ball bet.

75% unit Crane to beat Glover 2.05 in two ball betting general quote ............. 2.0 is acceptable, we lose on the draw, if you can bet with Pinnacle, the 1.80 draw no bet option is probably just about better.

25% unit Crane outright 11.0 + ...... 11.42 Pinnacle as I write, you will probably get similar on the exchanges.

Good Luck.

Saturday, May 08, 2010


It has been an annus horribilis for Stockport County, the club have massive financial problems, their budget is non existent and a swift return to Division 2 has been on the cards almost all season. County have collected just two points from their last twelve starts, recording just two wins on home soil all season, last two matches alone here at Edgeley Park have seen nine goals conceded and the end of the campaign cannot come quickly enough.

Tranmere gave themselves a lifeline last week and received a further and massive boost in midweek, with Hartlepool being deducted three points which throws the North East side back into the relegation mix (appeal pending) and gives the visitors a real chance of survival with all three points today.

The visitors are a big physical team who will match up well against County's pick and mix of youngsters and those a little too long in the tooth. Rovers caused Brentford problems especially early doors just three weeks ago, they were perhaps unlucky to lose that night and have since earned a point at Colchester and beaten highflying Millwall, so arrive in a positive frame of mind and hungry for the points. It is true that they are much happier at Prenton Park, where a number of top sides have been put to the sword this season, but they will have some 3,000 travelling fans behind them today and with County's loyal and long suffering supporters not in a rush to suffer another afternoon of humiliation, it should feel like a home fixture for Rovers.

Tranmere will have on loan Andy Robinson available again today, he scored against the Lions and on a going day, is way too good to play at this level , as a local lad he is determined to help Rovers stay up in this, his final start for the club. Home boss Gary Abblett also has strong association with the Wirral (Tranmere) area having been born and raised in Liverpool and spending some 15 years playing for both Liverpool and Everton. Whilst I would not go as far as to say he would not mind his team losing, I suspect another home defeat might not be quite as hard to take as the previous fourteen !

If Exeter City were to lose at home to Huddersfield Town, Rovers could survive with a point, but that would be cutting things very fine and City are very strong on home soil. Town are playoff bound and might at some stage have to turn their thoughts to next week, so best chance for Rovers is to get the three points and hope that City or Hartlepool drop points.

Before anyone writes and says that Huddersfield can still claim an automatic promotion spot, that is true, but they would have to win by 4 goals, hope that Leeds and Charlton both lose and that Millwall and Swindon draw their game ! I make that a circa 5000-1 chance , maybe a shade less, which puts their "chance" into perspective.

Tranmere -0.75 goals asian line 1.84 +.

Good Luck.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


The games are really coming thick and fast at the moment, with many countries having double rounds in an effort to get some prep time in before the World Cup, which starts in just over five weeks !

I have taken a view on four games today, however, most eyes outside of Spain, France and Italy will be on the match at the City of Manchester Stadium, where City and Tottenham will do battle, with both hoping to emerge in pole position for that final and much desired remaining Champions League spot.

I like the "over" 2.75 goal option pre match (currently on offer @ 2.02), but am likely to get more involved during the course of the action. Happy Harry Redknapp knows that a draw would suit his side well, especially with a trip to Turf Moor on the last day of the season. Burnley's early season home form was enough to worry even the big 4-5-6 in the EPL, but it is many months since anyone has taken the field against them without feeling superior and usually left the pitch with all three points and a boost to their goal difference. So I expect his side to start slowly, as is normally the case with them on the road, get as many men behind the ball as possible and try and keep things tight. Infact, since last October in matches against EPL teams, that is seven months and 15 away starts, they have only managed two first half goals, one came after 27 minutes, the other deep in first half stoppage time.

Harry likes the other side to make the early running and then look to shuffle things around a bit. City are also often a little slow to put forward and I have noted that they have only scored inside the opening 37 minutes in one of their last seven starts, that in the game at the aforementioned Turf Moor, when Burnley defended like nine year old schoolkids and home fans were making for the exits after eight minutes of "football" !

In their last five outings, City have scored an incredible seven times between the 38th and 58th minute, coming on strong immediately before and after the break.

Therefore, I shall probably be looking at the "over" market in play if we are scoreless after say 20 minutes, or looking to get with City shortly before their golden period, even more so if Spurs have managed an early lead. Especially as the home side will be forced to go all out for the winner.

This is always the kiss of death............ but I cannot resist ...... I am expecting to be entertained tonight !

Good Luck.

Monday, May 03, 2010


We have the second legs today, with everything still to play for and both games set to be played before full houses. Luton Town and Oxford United are giants of the non league and I have little doubt that each could have sold another 6-8000 tickets at least for today. Should they meet in the final at Wembley the "sold out"signs will be up within days.

However, York City and Rushen & Diamonds will be looking to spoil that particular party and have Football League dreams of their own. It will not surprise many long term readers of the blog that I favour Oxford to edge out Rushden, they had the better of the first leg, which ended 1-1 and which I discussed on Thursday (see below). By the way, away goals do not count double in these games, so any draw would see the match enter extra time and then potentially, penalties. I suspect we might see the best of United today, they have come to terms with the way their season panned out and have been able to focus solely on the post season for a number of weeks. The Kassam Stadium will be jumping today and a shade of odds against seems perfectly reasonable, although the more cautious might want to look at the circa 1.62 to qualify.

However, for the purposes of the blog I am more interested in the match at Luton, where the Hatters entertain the Minstermen. The atmosphere at Kenilworth Road can be quite intimidating at times and doubtless the locals will be baying for blood this afternoon ! City arrive with a 1-0 lead which came courtesy of BSP top goalscorer Richard Brodie as time expired on Thursday. Brodie is a proven naural striker who has received a lot of interest from league clubs, with him on the pitch City always have a chance and he is not their only offensive threat by any means with Rankine, Gash and Pacquette ( one career game for Brentford), giving them plenty of options up front, but Brodie is the focus of most of their play.

Town finished the season on overdrive and looked at one stage like they might steal the sole automatic promotion place, but eventually fell a little short. Few non league followers would dispute that they have been the best team since the turn of the year and that are certainly full of goals with an incredible 42 in 13 home starts since the beginning of December.

City are well aware of this and know that they probably need another goal of their own, possibly just to take this into extra time, as keeping Town out for another 90 minutes seems unlikely. Luton had the better chances in the first leg and will throw everything at the visitors today and I expect this to get very stretched in the second half, especially with legs tired after a long season and brains a little frazzled after a mentally draining first game, just a few short days ago. City boss Martin Foyle seems to have acknowledged this and promised that his side will not try and sit on their lead, seeing this as potentially fatal.

The first game was a fairly open affair, this should be even more so and I am keen on the "over" 2.5 goals option, currently offered at odds against.

Good Luck.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

SUNDAY .....

Grimsby secured a famous win yesterday meaning that their "great escape" is still on and doubtless we will return to that next weekend. Just as importantly for us, it meant another winner on the blog, making twelve correct from the last 14 selections, or eleven and a half if you want to be pedantic and doubtless someone will !

I have been very busy this morning, four straight football selections, my second golf bet of the year, hoping to build on the Masters success and several "fun" bets, which is not my normal style, for the Championship matches, where I have spotted a big trend on this, the final day of the regular season.

I did send my personal notes on all of these to some of you that have written to me recently, but these are very basic and not anything I would feel comfortable posting on the blog..... we have to keep up standards you know ! Therefore, as I am very short of time, it will not be possible for me to preview anything on the blog today and it is not just because I am sulking as my beloved Bees (unjustly, of course) saw their long unbeaten run ended at Swindon yesterday !

Good Luck with all your bets today and please check back tomorrow.

Saturday, May 01, 2010


It is tempting fate in the extreme to oppose a side at the weekend that you have backed in midweek, especially when they have let you down big time, this is when sod's or murphy's law comes into play and that same team bounces back to bite you on the ............

However, I am talking myself round this by saying that I did not really back Barnet at Stanley on Tuesday, just that they would at least get on the scoresheet and show a bit more fight. To be honest, their performance left me undewhelmed and I have to oppose them today.

It is unlikely that they will be backed by more than 100-150 supporters, less than 80 made the long trip to Accrington in midweek, whilst over 100 Grimsby fans went to that game to help support Stanley. That gives a clear indication of how much they have bought into the "great escape" and that is what this would be if Town were to survive, a month ago they trailed the fake Bees by 12 points, that lead will be down to just a single point should the Mariners claim all three points today.

Tickets have been snapped up in double quick time, the match was sold out for home fans days ago and the club have been looking at ways to shoe horn a few more in. The atmosphere will be intimidating and white hot and if Barnet underperformed in midweek, it will be difficult to see them doing much better here, with the home fans baying for their blood.

There has been a big change in backroom staff at Barnet this week, see my Thursday post for more about that, but little time for the new regime to do anything more than try and instill some self belief and once your confidence goes, that is a very difficult thing to redress in such a short period. So much sport is played between the ears, most sportsmen know what to do and how to do it, but once that tiny voice at the back of your brain is not so sure, you are really up against it.

I feel Town will have the mental edge today, the crowd behind them and arrive on the back of three wins in five starts, as they were without a single win in 24 outings up to the end of February, that is a massive turnaround. Since March, they have averaged over 1.5 points per game and scored eight goals here against highflying Bournemouth, Chesterfield and Shrewsbury, collecting eight points in those games. It is clear that they are performing at a much higher level now and they must be wondering how they got themselves into such a mess in the first place. Home win for me.

Grimsby -1/2 ball 2.0 + trading at bigger in asia as I type.

Good Luck.

SATURDAY .......

Fairly quiet for a Saturday, at least by my normal standards and I have come up with "just" three selections. At the moment I intend to post at least one of these on the blog a little later, so please check back.

Still plenty to play for , but it is hard to see too much being resolved in the EPL, even with City hosting Villa and Spurs at home to Bolton, the battle for 4th spot seems certain to go down to the wire.

In the fourth tier, the three automatic spots have been decided, but amazingly we still have nine clubs in contention for all four post season spots and at least two of those still seem likely to be up for grabs come 17.00.

It is in Division 1 where the picture might be a little clearer by that time. Leeds United fans will be hoping that results at Prenton Park and The Valley will leave them celebrating a return to the Championship. They can certainly expect every help from Tranmere, who host Millwall and are desperate for the points to help their survival bid. Wycombe make the short but not easy journey to East London , with their safety hanging by a very thin thread. However, they can expect no favours from Orient, who have relegation concerns of their own. Hard to see this all being decided today, but there will be plenty of drama ,heartbreak for some and unbridled joy for others in the next six hours.

Brentford are looking to make it twelve games unbeaten and end any lingering hopes Swindon have of clinching the automatic promotion spot. It must be obvious (!) that their chances of beating the mighty Bees is so small, that they would be better off resting players and preparing for the post season !

Back later.