I pulled the curtains open on Thursday morning – the second day in June – to see it was blowing a hooley and absolutely miserable outside. I don’t know if it was the moody summer weather or not but stood there, in my skimps, I suddenly came over all patriotic.
I think it was Abraham Lincoln who said, “I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.”
Abe probably didn’t have me in mind when he uttered those words but my patriotism was such that I stuck £130 on England at 13/10 to beat Portugal that evening and even had a dabble on England at 9/4 to win the World Cup of Darts.
In the football of course England were hopeless for the most part. It was a bizarre game.
Portugal were down to 10 for almost an hour, minus star man Ronaldo and still we couldn’t break them down.
It didn’t help that Harry Kane was running around Wembley taking every free-kick and throw-in like it was his birthday. What the f*ck was all that about?
Thankfully Chris Smalling’s header five minutes from time got England, and me, out of dodge. I did a little jig around the front room at the final whistle, then stuck the £299 in my Paddy Power account on Kane to win this year’s X Factor.
Saturday was a day of extremes. First came the lows. I awoke just after 6am to the sad news that Muhammad Ali, the greatest heavyweight who ever laced them up, had died. Ali was not just a fighter. He was a prophet. A swaggering braggadocio who was arguably one of the most significant social figures of the last century. I don’t mind admitting that I shed a few tears over a bowl of Coco Pops at the passing of the man who was once “so fast that last night I turned off the light switch and was in bed before the room was dark”.
Then the highs. My record napping Derby winners is unenviable. Indeed the last time I had the winner at Epsom Ali’s great rival George Foreman was still throwing punches for a living, rather than flogging grills. However this year I strongly fancied Harzard, a three-year-old who I had lumped on at Cork in March and who’d proceeded to run amok there, winning by 16 lengths. I backed him to the tune of £45 at 10/1 on Saturday, then did a little sick in my mouth at news emerged that he had spread a plate in the build up and had spent Saturday morning with his hoof in a bucket of ice (as you do).
However sore tootsie or not, the son of the legendary Sea the Stars was not to be denied and stamped his class all over proceedings as he romped to a length and a half success amid complete and utter scenes at Epsom.
Sunday was a strange one. I won a fortune on Michael Bisping at 11/2 in the UFC early doors, then lost the lot backing Andy Murray in the French Open final. I finally got back in front when a dog called Whiteys Eagle produced the goods for me at Poole later that evening. Hand on heart I was loathe to get involved betting on Soccer Aid and so elected to take a watching brief in proceedings at Old Trafford.
However the combination of England absolutely battering the ROW team early doors and the fact a What’s App gambling group I am involved in was all over Robbie Williams’ men meant I couldn’t abstain for long.
I thought 6/5 in-play on England was a gift as they were battering the Rest of the World team, even though Olly Murs deserved a spell of community service for some of his ‘finishing’. England took the lead and I thought that would be that. It probably would have been but for Ben Shepherd, or ‘The Butcher of GMTV ‘ to give him his proper title, getting sent off for a quite ridiculous tackle.
The ROW went 2-1 ahead through Dimitar Berbatov (who’s still got it by the way) and my heart began to sink. However Big Sam Allardyce showed his worth as a manager by having Paddy McGuinness (head like a sniper’s dream) man-mark Ronaldinho.
They may have been a man light but brave, brave England roared back and ended up winning 3-2 to send the WhatsApp group, who had staked a shameful £878 on the match collectively, into raptures. Thank you thank you Jermain Defoe, I’m so f*cking glad your mam and dad didn’t wear a condom back in ’82.
Cheeky’s Punt of the Week: England to win all Euro 2016 group games at 9/2 (Betfred)