There are players whose deeds will live with us for the ages. Pele. George Best. Diego Maradona. And Martin Braithwaite.
Let me explain. On Wednesday night I had myself a £15 result and both teams to score four-timer, paying over £700. PSV Eindhoven were 3-1 winners at Excelsior in the Dutch league, while Manchester City beat Everton 3-1 in the Capital One Cup. Barcelona also ran out 3-1 winners over Athletic Bilbao. This meant I only needed Paris Saint-Germain to beat Toulouse (but Toulouse to score) for a full house.
PSG were meandering to a routine win in the Parc des Princes, and I was glued to the action on bet365’s in-play updates. Then, in the 90th minute, betting was suspended. Quite incredibly, Toulouse were awarded a penalty, meaning I was essentially 12 yards away from dreamland. Better still, between the sticks for the hosts was third-choice ‘keeper Nicolas Douchez, who was getting a rare run-out in the absence of Salvatore Sirigu. Martin Braithwaite, who won the spot-kick, grabbed the ball and strode confidently to the scene of battle. He surely couldn’t miss? Could he?
Pele once said that “a penalty is a cowardly way to score”. Yet with respect to the greatest player of all-time/erectile dysfunction salesman (delete as applicable), I am swimming in debt so couldn’t give a flying f*ck about the aesthetic nuances of how the goal was scored. Only that it was.
Braithwaite stepped up with his big afro and bulging biceps….and his a*se went. A pathetic effort was easily gathered by Douchez, meaning there would be no 700 shekels. No glorious four-timer. Just an evening laid in bed staring at the ceiling asking myself whether my life was actually The Truman Show.
Gas. Oven. Job.
Friday gone. Talk about from the sublime to the ridiculous. Firstly the sublime. The morning started in fine fashion as I smashed into the 6/5 on offer about Andy Murray beating Milos Raonic and both players winning a set. I was over £200 in front when Murray closed out an epic five-set win Down Under, and off work so decided to take ‘er indoors away for the night.
The hotel we chose (which for legal reasons that are soon to become apparent, I won’t name) were wonderful hosts. Alas I started too early on the red wine and when my two horse fancies for the day, Custard the Dragon (10/11) and Big Chief Benny (9/4) also obliged, my alcohol consumption intensified. By the time Manchester United kicked off their FA Cup clash with Derby live on the BBC, I didn’t know if I was in Cork or in York. They say I passed out at one point, only to wake up at 03.00am and order two further bottles of red wine. Suffice to say the next day I was a mess as I sheepishly paid my bill and slinked out of the hotel.
What I wasn’t prepared for was an email on Saturday afternoon from said hotel demanding £400 for ‘damage’ to the room. Basically they were billing me after alleging a bit of red wine had been spilt near a coffee table and an ironing board (which I may or may not have been surfing on at one point) was now out of commission. As hotel trashing goes it’s hardly up there with Keith Moon driving a Lincoln Continental into the swimming pool of a Holiday Inn, but given my fragile mental state I agreed to pay up. Or more accurately a staunch ally of Cheeky Punt, namely The Big Woodowski, agreed to take the £400 hit on my behalf until my Murray/Custard the Dragon/Big Chief Benny winnings cleared and I could reimburse him. 400 sovs? For an ironing board? F*ck you David Cameron…
The shame of my red wine-fuelled hotel trashing antics proved too much and I was back on the booze the next day. ‘Er indoors was at a ‘baby shower’ and in a bid to save me from myself had cunningly locked me in the house and hid all my trainers and shoes. So when the taxi pulled up for me I made a judgement call, and went out via the front room window sporting a pair of Only Fools & Horses slippers. It was a decent old day considering my footwear restrictions, fortified by a decent touch by backing Chelsea and Real Madrid in a handicap double.
I was in a world of pain at work on the Monday however, and vowed to stay off the demon drink until my 50th, which is approximately 13 years away.
Cheeky’s Punt of the Week: Sunderland to beat Liverpool at 9/1 (Paddy Power)