Cheeky Punt: Winning and losing with England

Date published: Wednesday 16th November 2016 9:37

Like most I awoke last Wednesday morning to the extraordinary news that Donald Trump was going to become US President. The day before I had £50 on Trump at 9/2 knowing full well it would be folly to underestimate the sheer stupidity of the US public.

Let’s have it right. Trump is a clown, a man who is redefining stupid, one sentence at a time. On a personal level I’ve always found myself strangely torn by the fact I hate ‘Donaldo’ and all he stands for, while still having a strange f**king admiration for his wild syrup.

I felt worried about the future of the world on Wednesday and cannot remember ever feeling so glum after winning a bet paying £225. America, we salute you.

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Having procured a ticket for the England v Scotland game at Wembley, I was on the train at 9am sharp on Friday morning. Given that kick off was roughly 11 hours away the decision to crack my first can at 9.02am was controversial but I wanted to make sure I was suitably hydrated by the time they were belting out the national anthems.

And while I had a bit of a wobble on by the time we reached Kings Cross, the Scottish fans we saw in Trafalgar Square were taking drunkenness to new levels. I lost count of the Scotsmen I saw piddling in the fountain or lifting up their kilts to reveal a moody set of tartan c**k and balls. It was like Braveheart meets American Pie at times.

One of the highlights of the trip was watching a lad who travelled down with us – who was the subject of a football banning order, thus meaning he should have been nowhere near Wembley – hide his face behind an assortment of items ranging from cocktail menus to bottles of HP Sauce every time he caught a glimpse of the police or indeed anyone who looked official, including traffic wardens. When questioned he claimed he picked up this counter-surveillance technique from watching American drama CSI.

Having studied Scotland’s recent 3-0 shellacking at the hands of Slovakia I was convinced that England would prevail and so had £100 on ‘England to win and Over 2.5 goals’ at 13/10. The £130 windfall I collected was much needed as London is not the cheapest place in the world. Indeed, I bought two sandwiches and a coffee on Saturday morning from a place in Covent Garden that cost roughly the same as a three-bedroom terraced house in Hartlepool.

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Yet if I was toasting England on Friday I was cursing the b**tards on Tuesday night. It had been a rough couple of days since the weekend with my hangover from the capital lingering but by Tuesday evening I felt back in the game and, having spied the team news, had £100 on England at 2/1 to beat Spain. Though betting on friendlies is usually a mugs’ game.

But on paper I felt Gareth Southgate was putting out a decent side, and he will have wanted to beat the Spanish to nail down the England gig on a full-time basis. My theory looked golden as the Three Lions went 2-0 up through goals from Adam Lallana and Jamie Vardy. I could smell the coin as the clock ticked down at Wembley and was not overly concerned even when Iago Aspas popped up with what looked like a consolation for the Iberians on 89 minutes. However, when Isco smuggled home a last-gasp leveller in the fifth and final minute of injury-time just as I was fixing myself a late night snack I couldn’t hide my rage.

Incidentally how do you get beetroot off the ceiling? Asking for a friend.

Cheeky’s Punt of the Week: Liverpool to beat Southampton at 21/20 (Paddy Power)

Degsy Bilton

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