Curiosities & Oddities – Soccerwidow Football Betting Maths, Value Betting Strategies Fri, 16 Oct 2020 10:04:36 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Start of the 2020/21 Season: Matches Seem to Have More Goals Sun, 11 Oct 2020 13:32:44 +0000 more »]]> There seems to be an unprecedented shift from the Over/Under 2.5 Goals ‘benchmark’ to an ‘Over 3.5’ threshold. It’s early in the season but interesting to observe.

The opening month of the 2020/21 Premier League season was one of the most entertaining in living memory.

Round two, spanning the 19th-21st of September, was particularly outstanding with 44 goals scored across ten fixtures – for the fans it could only be described as pure entertainment.

This tally broke the existing record from February 2011 for the most goals scored in a single Premier League weekend under the 20-team format (number of goals that weekend: 43).

With such a high quantity of matches making an impact on the ‘Over/Under’ sportsbook, there is inevitably a ripple-effect on other staples of Premier League wagering, such as HT/FT, handicap markets and BTTS (Both Teams to Score).

Feet Up, Watching Soccer on TVFeet Up, For the Big Match! (photo courtesy of

It almost seems that the absence of fans from Premier League games may lead to a shift in several key markets… Really?

Here are a few thoughts. Feel free to share yours in the comment section.

Will Over/Under 2.5 Goals ‘Benchmark’ Become Less Focal?

As can be seen from the wide variety of live sportsbook betting markets out there, there is now ample opportunity to explore a number of niche markets related purely to goal scoring.

Given the normal average of goals per week across previous seasons, it is widely accepted that using 2.5 goals as a division between ‘high’ and ‘low’ scoring encounters provides an optimal, and easy-to-negotiate meridian.

But perhaps further weekends of high scoring games with questionable defending from once-reliable teams may lead to Over/Under 3.5 goals becoming the new baseline in goal betting?

Naturally, the coming months will see player stamina impacted by European involvement for last season’s high-flyers and, for the newcomers, the continuing culture shock and adjustment needed to survive the rarified atmosphere of the Premier League.

With the glut of games ahead the use of the ‘2.5’ figure to make vital decisions in the total goals market may return to a balance.

What does seem certain is another boom in people backing both teams to score within Premier League multiples, accumulators and proposition bets. So too will there be a greater scrutiny upon teams that are often involved in such matches, such as Leeds United, who found themselves at both ends of two 4-3 scorelines, in consecutive games at the start of this campaign:

12 September 2020: Liverpool 4-3 Leeds was the first of several games featuring over 6.5 goals.

Can a Change in Underdog Results lead to HT/FT Impact?

Again, this depends on continued shock results, such as Crystal Palace and Leicester winning by multiple-goal margins at Manchester clubs United and City respectively.

The absence of home-biased crowds, whether complete or partial shutouts, has undeniably played its part. When using last season as a source of information for future betting decisions, it has become common practice for many punters to split leagues into before and after the lockdown began.

Last season, there was little fluctuation in the Premier League, except for away underdogs drawing less often and winning or losing more without a hostile home crowd to face. The hosts’ lack of a ‘twelfth man’ (the crowd) seems to be a leveller, helping unfancied away teams achieve unlikely results at normally difficult venues.

A more attacking-style of play is now evident and it is becoming rarer to see away underdogs defending deep and attempting to play on the counter-attack. This sea change will undoubtedly be significant for the HT/FT and Goal Time markets, though public opinion will continue to play its part.

Backing goals earlier in live play can only become more of a phenomenon if underdogs continue to be adventurous from the start. And so too will backing late goals, as the effects of an energetic start are felt more amongst squads less accustomed to the rigors of Premier League action.

Is this the same Across Europe?

On early evidence, the unprecedented inflation of importance on the ‘Over 3.5’ threshold will certainly transfer to other major European leagues. For example, Bayern Munich’s opening two Bundesliga games illustrated this newfound sense of unpredictability in the Over/Under market. The two games produced a total of 13 goals – an 8-0 win and a shock 4-1 defeat.

Bayern Munich - Allianz ArenaBayern Munich’s Allianz Arena (photo courtesy of

Both games paid out for anyone backing Over 5.5 goals, which represents the point at which the goal odds begin to surge upwards, regardless of how good the favourite is compared to the underdog.

The opening Saturday of Serie A also produced a number of high scores, with three of the four matches producing over 4.5 goals, and threatening the long-held stereotype that Italian football is focused more on defence.

Last season, the Bundesliga was also notable for seeing a decline in favourites losing away from home, with only 12.2% of teams losing to home underdogs between May and August.

Other leagues have seen a similar trend, albeit less drastically, and this certainly provides an opportunity for bettors. With or without fans, home advantage is usually observed as a factor for travelling favourites in many odds starting off longer than they otherwise would be. In turn, away favourites will perhaps become more of a staple than ever when it comes to placing the bets.

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Top 10 Memorable Moments at FIFA World Cup Finals Thu, 10 May 2018 10:16:14 +0000 more »]]> For countless numbers of fans around the world, the FIFA World Cup is more than an international football tournament – it is an event that holds the world spellbound for a whole month every four years.

The World Cup, like the quadrennial Olympic Games, brings with it an almost endless barrage of media coverage which, is particularly frenzied during the initial group stages where countries battle it out for a place in the second phase of the tournament.

Germany Celebrate Winning FIFA World Cup 2014Image: Danilo Borges (Wikimedia Commons)

Since its inaugural 1930 tournament, the World Cup has delivered a multitude of fantastic moments but, some are above and beyond the others when it comes to drama or brilliance.

The following list contains ten unforgettable moments from World Cup history…

(1) zidane’s headbutt in 2006 final

The 2006 World Cup was full of drama, but nothing really topped French footballer Zinedine Zidane’s actions during the final itself. In the second half of extra time, Zidane headbutted Italian Marco Materazzi and received his marching orders. His actions were more akin to a street ‘assault’ than behaviour befitting the world’s most important soccer match, and Zidane’s moment of madness ended both his tournament and international career. It also cost his country who went on to lose 5-3 to Italy in a penalty shoot-out, but the midfielder’s actions were arguably the bigger story, making headlines across the globe.

(2) senegal upsets france in 2002

Picture the scene. Defending champions France playing the opener of the 2002 World Cup tournament against tiny Senegal, who were playing in their first ever World Cup Finals match. And against the odds, David slew Goliath as Papa Bouba Diop became an instant celebrity by scoring the game’s only goal. France, the reigning world champions, shocked by the nature of this defeat, were unceremoniously dethroned without scoring a single goal in their three group matches: The worst performance by a defending champion in FIFA World Cup history.

(3) the ‘original’ ronaldo and brazil’s 2002 world cup win

Four years after he suffered an epileptic seizure before the World Cup final against France, Ronaldo returned a hero, winning the tournament’s Golden Boot. He topped the standings with eight goals, including two in the final against gallant Germany. His performance is still cherished years later as nothing less than brilliant.

(4) Croatia beats Germany in 1998

The result that changed a nation’s thinking. In 1998 Croatia, playing in their first ever World Cup, beat the heavily favoured Germany 3-0 with a first half stoppage time goal and a dominant second half display. The defeat was such a shock for ‘Die Mannschaft’ that they immediately set about reforming their entire football programme, culminating in a runner’s up spot at the following FIFA World Cup and a victorious showing at the 2014 competition.

(5) rossi returns from ban to win world cup, 1982

Paolo Rossi was serving a three-year match fixing ban, but was reinstated after two, allowing him the opportunity to return to international football as the hero of the 1982 World Cup. His predatory hat-trick against Brazil is remembered by all who saw it, and in the final against West Germany, he scored the first goal in a 3-1 victory, which also handed him the Golden Boot award for top scorer in the tournament. A true assassin.

(6) kuwaiti sheik’s antics in 1982

During the World Cup in 1982, Kuwaiti Sheik and Football Association President, Fahad al-Ahmed al-Jaber al-Sabah, ordered his team off the pitch in disgust believing they had heard the referee’s whistle to halt play. Their opponents, the french, had continued playing despite the apparent whistle and, as Kuwait hesitated, France scored. After a ten minute hiatus the referee eventually disallowed the goal, but France scored again shortly after the re-start. The theatrical protest and end result is one World Cup moment that has been replayed many times since.

(7) brazil and italy in 1970 final

In Mexico City during the 1970 World Cup, the world witnessed one of the most beautiful goals of all time. During the build-up to Brazil’s fourth goal, eight different players masterminded the move which saw Carlos Alberto rifle the ball home. This picturebook goal is so well known that it is replayed time and time again, even some five decades later.

(8) pele tears it up, 1958

During the 1958 World Cup finals a 17-year-old Brazilian named Pelé burst onto the world stage, scoring a hat-trick in the semi-final against France. Playing against Sweden in the final, Pelé scored twice, including an insanely imaginative goal that belied his youth. The celebrations after the final win with the teenage hero crying with his team mates is the stuff of legend.

(9) the miracle of bern, 1954

At the time, Hungary were the number one ranked team and by far the most dominant side in the world, led by the inspirational Ferenc Puskás. In the six months leading up to the 1954 World Cup finals Hungary had demolished England 3-6 away (only their second home defeat ever) and 7-1 at home. No-one gave West Germany a chance in the final, especially after Hungary had raced into a two gaol lead inside eight minutes. The rest is history, with West Germany grabbing an 84th minute winner in a game dubbed ‘The Miracle of Bern’. Even a feature film has been made about this match.

(10) USA defeats england 1-0, 1950

Lastly, another giant-killing act featuring the best team in the world against lowly outsiders. In 1950 America’s mostly amateur squad of players upset the professionals from England, with janitor and Haitian citizen Joe Gaetjens scoring the game’s only goal in the 38th minute. It’s a game still talked about today and has also been the subject of a movie. After the match Gaetjens returned to his native Haiti where he was allegedly murdered by the Tonton Macoutes secret police in 1964. His legacy of scoring the lone goal in a huge upset continues to be the highlight of US football to this day.

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Weird and Funny Novelty Bets offered by William Hill and Notable Payouts Wed, 27 Sep 2017 05:05:13 +0000 more »]]> Attractive brunette with sunglasses fanning herself with a wad of bank notesImage: Poznyakov (Shutterstock)

In 1998, William Hill were the first bookmaker to accept wagers via the Internet, and their online betting platform is one of the most sophisticated in the market. (For sports betting alternatives check out this list).

Their online betting platform is one of the most sophisticated in the market.

Hill also have a tongue-in-cheek reputation for offering odds on literally anything you can think of.

Here is a compilation of our ten favourite left field bets they have accepted, and some notable payouts they have honoured:

  1. In April 1964, David Threlfall placed a £10 bet at odds of 1000/1 that man would walk on any planet or heavenly body before January 1970.

    This was the first officially recorded ‘space’ bet and the stake was equivalent to the average weekly wage at the time, worth over £170 today.

    The bet led to an avalanche of wagers on the same event.

    Neil Armstrong duly obliged on 21st July, 1969, and Threlfall was £10,000 richer. William Hill eventually paid out over £50,000 on this event (around £860,000 today), ruing the fact that the man in the street knew more about space than they did.

  2. Elvis Presley related novelty bets are struck even now, almost 40 years after his ‘death’. Notably, Ciara Parkes stands to win £125,000 after the King’s next comeback following a £250 bet at 500/1 in the mid 1990’s.

    Elvis also features in the biggest betting odds ever offered by Hill:

    A Glaswegian postman took a price of 20,000,000/1 that Elvis would crash a U.F.O. into Loch Ness, striking the legendary monster supposed to inhabit its depths.

    Urban myth suggests this bet was actually for Elvis to ride into town on the long lost, kidnapped racehorse ‘Shergar’, and then to play against the missing and disgraced Lord Lucan in the Wimbledon tennis final!

  3. Betting on the outcome of TV shows was first introduced by William Hill in 1980, when they allowed punters to wager on ‘Who shot J.R.?’ in the popular American soap, ‘Dallas’.
  4. Screaming Lord Sutch, the late leader of the Monster Raving Loony Party, stood to make the biggest betting shop payout of all-time at a cool £15,000,000 from a £1 wager with Hill that he would one day become British Prime Minister.

    Sadly, the ‘loony’ never made it, much to the chagrin of us mere mortals.

  5. In 1988, Chris Bonnington, the famous mountaineer, bet with Hill that he would return from his Himalayan expedition with proof that the ‘Yeti’ existed.

    Upon his return, he claimed he had the required evidence, until the Department of Agriculture confiscated and burned it.

  6. In 1995, John Richardson, aged 55, struck a novelty bet with William Hill that he would father a child in the year 2040. You can do the math!
  7. In 2008, Fred Craggs, won an eight-horse accumulator, triggering Hill’s maximum horse racing payout clause of £1,000,000.

    His selections were random and Craggs had no idea he had won until he next visited the shop.

    Not bad for just a 50p stake at combined odds of over 2,000,000/1, and during his 60th birthday week. Bonza!

  8. William Hill’s penchant for bizarre proposition bets entered the World Cup 2010 arena. Odds of 7/2 were offered on any England player repeating Paul Gascoigne’s 1990 watershed moment by crying on camera at any time during the tournament.
  9. Euro 2012 also received the Hill treatment with 4/1 offered that the Euro currency would collapse before the end of the tournament. Eyes were on Greece not to rock the boat in either contest!
  10. Of course, proposition and novelty bets are usually fun and good-natured and in mid-2013, Chris Brooker cashed in odds of 6/1 to return £700 that his romance with a fellow student would outlast the duration of their university studies together.

Whatever your betting requirements, William Hill has just about every online option you can imagine but if you can think of something weird, wonderful, and original you are encouraged to contact them for consideration and pricing of your proposition. You never know, you might even get some publicity!

How about buying a funny, weird, or eclectic novelty bet from Hill for a family member, or even a colleague during the Office Secret Santa gift giving season?

It would certainly create a topic for debate in the pub, and it doesn’t have to be too expensive. The choice is yours and limited only by your own imagination!

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Why Football is Better than Sex ! Sat, 20 Sep 2014 11:00:23 +0000 In 2008, a survey carried out by Canon in six European countries(1) came up with the remarkable result that 72 per cent of those asked said they would prefer 90 minutes watching their favourite team rather than an intimate evening with their loved one.

Isn’t this delightful?

A few reasons why women should like football more than sex:

Fashion girl in a sexy position with a soccer ballImage: Andresr (Shutterstock)
  • Because it takes 90 minutes
  • Because there are plenty of two-footed tackles
  • Because tired men are substituted
  • Because there are 22 men to select from
  • Because after 45 minutes men are ready to go again for another 45 minutes
  • Because there is no scoring without dribbling first
  • Because losers have to come from behind
  • Because the calorie consumption is higher
Sexy female couch squatting with football ball by her legsImage: OLJ Studio (Shutterstock)
  • Because after the final whistle no-one snores
  • Because it doesn’t matter if the children watch
  • Because leather feels much better than rubber
  • Because you cannot get pregnant
  • Because one can switch off if it’s boring
  • Because the first time doesn’t hurt
  • Because there are plenty of box-to-box players
  • Because men have to apologise for poor performances afterwards
Sexy soccer player / Sexy FußballspielerinImage: Andreas Meyer (Shutterstock)
  • Because there is always hope for extra time
  • Because shooting and scoring outside the box is common
  • Because no-one looks funny at you if you scream or shout during the action

…and why men find football better than sex:

  • Because cup sizes are always large
  • Because everyone cheers if it’s in
  • Because you do not have to call anybody afterwards
Sexy female sitting on a large football with red and yellow cardsImage: Zametalov (Shutterstock)
  • Because a penalty shootout involves at least another five shots at the box
  • Because it is easier to get the ball in the goal than a woman into bed
  • Because you can score more than once in 90 minutes
  • Because striking doesn’t lead to a divorce
  • Because positions constantly change
  • Because instant replays are available
  • Because you can have it daily
Sexy female dressed as soccer refereeImage: Jason Stitt (Shutterstock)
  • Because it is possible to attack from the right or left and not only through the centre
  • Because there are so many wonderful passes
  • Because one can also score with the head
  • Because the box is peppered with shots
  • Because you can watch it in a crowd without getting embarrassed
  • Because no numbers are exchanged afterwards only shirts
  • Because nobody complains if you keep your socks on
  • Because it keeps the wife constantly moaning

Is there anyone out there who still says that football is not better than sex?

(1) Countries surveyed: England, Spain, Sweden, Germany, Portugal and Belgium

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Get Permission to Use Images Displayed on Soccerwidow Sun, 02 Feb 2014 09:56:23 +0000 more »]]> Copyright Law & Licencing

The images we use for illustration purposes throughout this website are often stock photos, purchased from outstanding libraries such as Shutterstock.

Young woman opening empty coin purseImage: alexkatkov (Shutterstock)

We sometimes modify these images and/or combine them to visualise messages, and it is then that they become our own “derivative” works.

Only where our visualisations are significantly different to the originals does our derivative work become subject to copyright itself. You will then need our permission to use any of these illustrations.

Otherwise, should you wish to use any of the images displayed on this website in your project(s) then you will need to purchase the image and its rights from the respective legal owner.

Our licences permit us to use images for our own projects, which includes the display on our sites, as well as modifications, but the artists and/or the stock photo providers continue to own the original images.

For example, the featured image for this post is owned by Shutterstock contributor ‘alexkatkov’. (The young lady opening the empty wallet).

We have purchased this image and used it to illustrate our content but, by doing so, the image does not by default become public property for everybody else to use for free.

Four Different Examples of Image Rights…

(1) The Stock Photo Provider and/or the Artist clearly own the Image

The following image is an unadulterated Shutterstock photo and you do not need to obtain permission from us to use it. Instead, you will need to visit Shutterstock (just follow the link in the byline displayed under the image) and purchase this stock photo yourself:

Businessmen with helmets racing in office chairsImage: Luis Louro (Shutterstock)

Of course, we are always happy to be mentioned as the source of your idea, but legally this is not required.

(2) Soccerwidow owns the Rights for the Derivative Work but not for the Image

Below is a quotation illustrated by a Shutterstock image:

Moving on quote: Life is like riding a bicycle - Albert EinsteinImage: Stephane Bidouze (Shutterstock)

The image can easily be cut away from the quote and used on its own. Again, you will need to purchase the image rights from Shutterstock should you wish to use this photo.

However, if you choose to use the full visualisation of the quote then in certain circumstances obtaining permission from us alone should be enough. We have given the image a ‘new spin’ by combining it with a quote; the resultant work is deemed to be an “original work of authorship”, and therefore Soccerwidow owns the copyright.

Nevertheless, in cases like this, proper linking to us and recognition of our authorship, as well as referencing to the particular Shutterstock image(s) from your site, will be required to acknowledge the artist(s) concerned.

(3) Soccerwidow owns the sole Rights for the Derivative Work

Below, to visualise a famous quote, we have used a combination of two Shutterstock photos:

Business Quote: Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm - Winston ChurchillCollage of Shutterstock images; Foreground: Warren Goldswain, Background: Sam.C

This collage is therefore our own derivative work, for which we hold the intellectual design copyright, but again I stress that we do not own the images.

If you wish to use the underlying images for your own creative project then you will need to purchase them from Shutterstock.

However, if you only wish to use the collage, then obtaining permission from us will be enough.

(4) We (Soccerwidow) own the Full Rights

The following illustration employs just one of our own personal photographs.

We hold the full intellectual rights for the photo as well as the visualisation of the quote. Only our permission is required to use pictures of this nature:

What beauty is, I know not, though it adheres to many things - Albrecht DürerPhoto: Elena Schälike (Soccerwidow)

How to get our Permission

  1. Please email (support[at]soccerwidow[dot]com) your request to us and provide a link to the sub-page where you found the image; if the page contains more than one visualisation then please describe which you are referring to
  2. Send us a link to the website where you wish to use the illustration
  3. If you intend to use our work in connection with a new article you have not yet written, then briefly describe in which context our picture will be used
  4. We will consider your request and usually reply to you (including byline code) within 24 hours
  5. That’s it. We do not charge for access to our own works, but depending on which visualisation you are intending to use, a Shutterstock licence purchase may be necessary. However, don’t worry about this yet. We will communicate this to you in our reply email.

Unfortunately, this is a manual procedure at the time of writing. We are using hundreds of different pictures and visualisations on the site and each requires different byline coding if used somewhere else.

Why Obtaining Our Permission is Necessary

The examples we have outlined above are not exhaustive.

Whether you need just to obtain permission from us to use a particular illustration from this site, or purchase the actual copyright licence for it from the provider, depends on the individual circumstances of each image and/or visualisation, as well as the licence terms and conditions for the underlying image(s).

Pictures used without permission violate international copyrights, not only Soccerwidow’s rights, but also the rights of the stock photo providers and/or artist(s) involved.

Uploading our images to your website using a method called “hotlinking” (calling the image direct from our server) is bandwidth theft, which is a serious crime!

Therefore, please play fair and contact us to obtain permission to use a picture. We will send you detailed information on how to implement it together with all the necessary byline and link codes.

Permission from Us is Free of Charge!

We will not charge you for our work, whether you are interested in our own photographs or, in any derivative work we have created based on photos we have the rights to use.

Copyright & Licence Issues

For your own protection, please note that no licence we have purchased will extend to cover you if you choose to copy and display images from our site without proper permission or, acquiring your own user licence.

Without any doubt, your website is not owned by us and can never legally be covered by any of our licences. We cannot be held responsible if any stock photo provider or artist decides to legally enforce their rights against you.

Therefore, in addition to linking back to us as the source of the visualisation where necessary, in many cases (e.g. example number (2) above), you may also need to purchase the image rights from the stock photo provider, for example, Shutterstock, and obtain your own licence for that particular image.

I must stress that it is absolutely crucial to ensure that you have full rights to use an image before displaying it on your site. This applies not only to our illustrations, or stock photos in general, but to every single image you include within your own website.

Further Reading on Image Licencing

Thank you for your understanding and helping to make the Internet a more fair and transparent place. After all, the Internet is all about sharing information and helping one another. By referencing to each other’s work, legality is maintained and the time, effort and creativity of contributors is fully recognised and compensated.

We are all very grateful to have the Internet around. There is a multitude of talented people who produce great images for websites and, like you and I, these people also have to pay their bills. Please respect their image rights.

Read more…

UK Copyright Law on Derivative Work
US Copyright Law in Derivative Works and Compilations

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Observations of EPL Football Mania in Uganda Thu, 28 Mar 2013 04:30:59 +0000 The Start of it All:

In early January 2011, this article was one of the first ever written in the Soccerwidow blog. I remember it clearly; another hot, sunny day on the verandah of our residence in Lugala, towards the end of our 2-year stay in beautiful Uganda…

Football Fans of English Premier League Clubs in Uganda

Photo: u.g. boy (Skyscrapercity)

There is hardly a Ugandan male who is not fanatical about the English Premier League. Arsenal is the most popular team closely followed by Manchester United, and then smaller support for teams like Chelsea and Liverpool.

Many, many of the local ‘Matatu’ mini-bus and ‘Boda-Boda’ motorcycle taxis are adorned with club logos, team or player names splashed across the windscreen sun-shield vinyls, let alone the number of people walking the streets wearing replica shirts (mostly Chinese fakes).

This is not a Ugandan phenomenon either; I am told that in former times the boda-boda stage outside AIG’s office in Nairobi, Kenya (AIG being a previous Manchester United shirt sponsor) was simply known by everyone as ‘Man U’. If you wanted to reach AIG’s office, one simply had to say, “go to Man U”. However, it is amusing that not many of the Ugandans I asked actually know where England is or that England is in Europe or even where Europe is.

Arsenal is apparently the most popular EPL team simply because of its recent history of fielding more African players than any other team. Also, they were the most successful and glamorous club in England when satellite TV was introduced into Uganda and people began to follow football for the first time.

Many people jumped on the Arsenal bandwagon as they completed their unbeaten league season in 2003-04.

As I mentioned, football club logos are seen everywhere from buildings to vehicles and in most cases have been carefully painted by hand. A lot of time and effort goes into parading support for a football team they are only ever likely to watch on TV and which plays football in a country that they are never likely to visit.

In Uganda, EPL games are broadcast via the South African satellite service, DSTV, via their Super Sports channels. These live feeds are also watched by radio stations who then give commentaries in the local Lugandan language only.

Football Betting in Uganda

Photo: u.g. boy (Skyscrapercity)

On a Saturday afternoon, up to three EPL games are shown simultaneously, whereas in England it is not possible to watch a 15.00 hrs Saturday kick-off at all. Therefore, for my (English) husband, Uganda, apart from the constantly beautiful weather, is simply a football paradise. If you support Arsenal or Manchester United especially, you have live TV access to literally every game they play whichever competition they are playing in.

Ugandan league games are seldom shown even on the local UBC (Uganda Broadcasting Company) networks, but there is intense support for the national team, which is currently managed by a Scotsman, Bobby Williamson.

If the national side is playing an international match not too far away from home, there is a tribal away support that travels to watch the game.

Recently, Uganda played Kenya in Nairobi and the border was absolutely clogged for a couple of days with people trying to get into and then back out of Kenya.

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Betfair Premium Charge Part 1 Fri, 20 Apr 2012 17:00:54 +0000

The Naked Truth:

I had always believed that if I found one good strategy (or hopefully more), I could sit back and earn an easy, tax-free living from betting, whilst at the same time having fun operating this blog and explaining to other people how to develop their own successful betting strategies…

G-cramp squeezing oil from coinsImage: Shutterstock

…Like I said, I only ever thought of the pleasant side of the equation.

Unfortunately, I quickly became aware of my naïvity and realised the extent of greed within the betting industry as pieces of my hard earned cake were quickly ‘robbed’ from under my nose. What I mean is that so long as you remain a ‘loser’ you are the best friend of all the bookmakers.

I had no idea until recently that the betting exchange, Betfair, discriminates against customers who actually win more than they lose. My misaligned presumption was that surely the winning bettors reward Betfair via their commission payments for the privilege of using the trading platform? Wrong! Carry on with the naïvity play…

Although I haven’t yet crawled out of the primordial soup onto dry land with my betting systems, I already seem earmarked for the Betfair ‘special club’, which sounds akin to some exclusive lounge at a top airport. It’s even better when you realise that to qualify, you have to be within the top 0.5% of Betfair’s most successful customers.

However, instead of being treated to reclining seats and waiter service, it came as more than a slight shock to realise that my membership will entitle me to no more than ‘Premium Charges’ on my account purely when I have reached the stage where I have won more money than I have lost.

Never heard of Betfair Premium Charges? Here’s a screenshot from one of our account statements showing that although we haven’t yet qualified to pay higher commissions, the trap is set:

Betfair Premium Charges
The above P/L screenprint shows the result of 397 back and lay bets from a starting bank of £348.10 with stakes (risk per bet) between £0.80 and £10.50 each.

The whole idea of receiving Betfair points to claim commission discounts now becomes somewhat misleading because as soon as regular profits are made at Betfair, you are hit with their form of ‘stealth tax’. In a way, Betfair prejudices and/or takes advantage of a small minority of its customers who succeed to turnover their money less frequently but win more often and who therefore ordinarily pay less commission than clients who turnover their pots more rapidly, and who perhaps top-up their accounts more often.

Bearing in mind that Betfair is a profits driven company, they are undermining the dream of every gambler with this surcharge, which paints only a cynical picture that on one hand they prey on gambling ‘victims’ to make their money and on the other they exploit their more successful customers to maximise profits (as if they aren’t already making huge profits!). Their target seems to be to retain at least 20% of their clients’ profits. From customers who make more than £250,000 profit during the life-time of their account, you will see from Betfair’s Terms and Conditions that a 60% premium charge applies to all subsequent winnings (read more:

Here’s an excerpt from Betfair’s T’s & C’s:

Premium Charges
In addition to other charges, a small number (less than 0.5%) of our most successful customers will incur Premium Charges… …Higher rates of Premium Charge will apply to the very small number of customers (less than 0.1%) that satisfy the following conditions over the lifetime of their account:

  • Lifetime net profits exceed £250,000
  • Commission generated less than 40% of lifetime gross profits
  • Bet in more than 1,000 markets

Lifetime commission generated to gross profits ratio: Applicable Premium Charge Rate
5%: 60%
5%-10%: 50%
10%+: 40%”

Go forward to Part 2: Death Of The Dream

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Manchester United’s Magical Powers of Recovery Wed, 08 Feb 2012 08:24:11 +0000 On Sunday, 5.2.2012, millions of football fans around the world witnessed Chelsea leading 3:0 at home after 57 minutes. They subsequently went on to gain nothing more than a draw from a position which had looked completely lost for their bitterest Premier League title rivals of the last decade.

Although the 3:3 draw at Stamford Bridge was a highly dramatic game for spectators, it was not a particularly surprising outcome from a statistical perspective. Soccerwidow explores why…

Champions League Finale 2008 Manchester United v Chelsea FC: Ryan Giggs and Ashley Cole compete for a ballRyan Giggs and Ashley Cole at the
Champions League Final at Luzhniki Stadium
Moscow 21 May 2008
(Mitch Gunn | Shutterstock)

Following the match, the headlines are all in praise of United’s powers of recovery: “3-3 draw in a stunning comeback on Sunday”; “Manchester United’s dramatic comeback against Chelsea”.

Soccerwidow has checked the record books to see if such a result is in fact so unusual as it is not the first time in recent memory that a match has turned in such a fashion when United have been two or even three goals down.

Probably the most famous come-back etched into the memories of all football fans old enough to remember is of course the UEFA Champions League final of 1999, where United scored twice in added time at the end of 90 minutes to defeat Bayern Munich 2:1.

How often does an event like this actually happen?

Six of 55 matches Manchester United have played in all competitions since 1.1.2011 finished with noteworthy come-backs from losing positions. Discounting 13 home matches in which United did not concede a goal and 11 away games where they also kept a clean-sheet, the remaining 31 matches produced the six ‘recoveries’, equating to a statistically significant 19.35%!

This means that on average when Manchester United concedes a goal, almost every 5th match sees them recover against the odds from a losing position to grab an unlikely victory or a praiseworthy draw. In these situations, everyone would be well advised to consider laying in-play the team which is beating the Red Devils, should the lay odds be 1.19 or less, which is quite possible if the lead is 2:0 or even 3:0.

Surprises and unexpected comebacks since 1.1.2011:

  1. 25.1.2011: Blackpool vs Manchester Utd (Premier League)
    Manchester United 2:0 down at half time; came-back to win 2:3
  2. 29.1.2011: Southampton vs Manchester Utd (FA Cup)
    Manchester United 1:0 down at half time; came-back to win 1:2
  3. 2.4.2011: West Ham vs Manchester Utd (Premier League)
    Manchester United 2:0 down at half time; came-back to win 2:4
  4. 22.5.2011: Manchester Utd vs Blackpool (Premier League)
    Manchester United 1:2 down up to the 57th minute (half-time 1:1); came-back to win 4:2
  5. 7.8.2011: Manchester Utd vs Manchester City (Community Shield)
    Manchester United was 0:2 down at half time; came-back to win 3:2 (neutral venue)
  6. 5.2.2012: Chelsea vs Manchester Utd (Premier League)
    Manchester United was 0:3 down up to the 57th minute; came back to draw 3:3

Can Anyone See a Pattern??

Since 01 January 2011, there have been only 12 matches where United were losing at half-time, but four of these occasions were turned around into victories, and one was drawn (five of 12 = 42% recovery rate from losing positions at half-time).

Conspiracy theorists are welcome to speculate but the enduring fact is that United is a team which, under Sir Alex Ferguson, never stops fighting until the final whistle. They are always good value with their collective backs against the wall and with the scent of a heroic performance in the team’s nostrils.

Other Notable Recoveries of Manchester United

Other noteworthy performances from Manchester United in recent years include being 2:0 down against Juventus in Turin during the 1999 Champions League semi-final. At that time, United were 3:1 down on aggregate, with the added baggage of an away goal against, and staring at certain elimination from the competition. Booked and certain to miss the final, their skipper, Roy Keane, inspired the come-back and United won the game 2-3, and thus the tie, 4-3 on aggregate.

Losing 3-0 at half-time against Tottenham Hotspur during the 2001-02 season, the Red Devils put five second half goals past the hapless lilywhites to win the game 3-5.

Despite being 2-0 down away to Everton in a must-win match during the finale to the 2006-07 Premier League season, United turned it around with four goals in the final 40 minutes, winning 2-4.

Tottenham Hotspur were again brave enough to take a half-time lead, this time 0:2 at Old Trafford during 2008-09, and once again, United responded with five goals in the second half to win the match 5:2.

Perhaps Chelsea’s downfall on the 5th February 2012 was the apparent ‘cockiness’ their players displayed after going 3:0 up. If there is anything more likely to produce a lashing-out response from a wounded animal, then taunting it is never recommended.

In whichever direction the Premier League title is eventually decided, the game Chelsea vs Manchester United looks to have been one of the more pivotal games of the season. It has once again suggested that doubters of Sir Alex Ferguson’s supposed ‘team in transition’, write-off their title challenge in favour of Manchester City’s at their peril!

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Fenerbahce match sees all men banned Wed, 28 Sep 2011 17:17:30 +0000 More than 46,000 women and children filled Sukru Saracoglu Stadium to watch Fenerbahce play against Manisapor in a Turkish Super League match in Istanbul on Tuesday night, 21st September, 2011.

The Turkish authorities came up with this radical solution for tackling crowd violence at football matches – ban the men and let only women and children in. Under new rules approved by Turkey’s football association, only women and children under the age of 12 will be admitted to watch games – for free – involving teams which have been sanctioned for unruly behaviour by their fans.

Fenerbahce were ordered to play two home matches without any spectators after their fans invaded the pitch during a friendly against Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk.

It was the first time in history of football that a crowd so large comprised only women and children and I would certainly have liked to have been there. It must have been great!! 🙂

Read more:

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Football Betting Scandal: Match Fixing Thu, 10 Feb 2011 09:00:05 +0000 more »]]>

Match-fixing on the rise, 24 countries affected say experts
Reuters, Berlin, 9.2.2011
Some 24 European countries have been affected by match-fixing and up to 100 games have been manipulated in the past five months alone, said a betting watchdog official on Wednesday. Speaking as an expert witness at a match-fixing trial in Bochum, Germany, Sportradar CEO Carsten Koerl said match-fixing was on the rise given the financial incentives involved: “In the past five months we assume that between 70 and 100 games in Europe were manipulated.”

Dollar notes and gun, mafia inspirationImage: holbox (Shutterstock)

Four suspects are on trial after a 2009 German police operation unearthed a European match-fixing ring with more than 200 suspected members who fixed or tried to fix around 200 matches across the continent, including three in the Champions League. Initial estimates had put the illegal gains at about 10 million euros but court officials said the figure was just “the tip of the iceberg.”

Up to one hundred fixtures manipulated in the past five months
Spiegel Online, 9.2.1011 (Article is in German)
Those pulling the strings in the largest scandal in European football must answer for themselves before court, but worldwide their manipulation of match outcomes is being busily continued. In 24 countries, fixtures have allegedly been manipulated, and in the past five months up to one hundred parties were involved it was announced…

FC Bayern Munich and others vs. Boksic Robin
Court sitting in the LG Hamburg 324 O 543/10, 4.2.2011 (Article is in German)
The court session lasted over one hour. Five legally trained solicitors with doctorate degrees – Ventd, Wiese, Dunckel, Link, Maatsch – faced the defendant and his lawyer (no doctoral degree). It was a negotiation which would be worthwhile as an academic course.

However, it was a spicy one. The plaintiff’s representative also has the Osmani family as clients who are active sponsors in football circles and likewise active in player transfers. Thus we find interesting stuff about Nelson Valdez in the Internet. There is also a well-known goalkeeper who was cared for by Osmani and thereupon resigned from football. The player didn’t agree with the conditions of his coach.

Champions League game named in match-fixing trial
The Express Tribune, 21.5.2010
The Champions League was on Friday dragged into the Europe-wide betting scandal after a group stage match was named in the trial of six men accused of match-fixing. The Group E match between Hungarian side Debreceni VSC and Italy’s Fiorentina on October 20 2009, which finished in a 4-3 win for the Italians, has been named as one of those allegedly fixed by the group.

Football match-fixing: How betting gives the game away
BBC news Europe, 19.11.2010
Some 300 football games a season are fixed in Europe’s top leagues, experts say… The former German football manager Sepp Herberger once famously said that people go to football matches because they do not know who will win. I have just watched a match in the almost certain knowledge not only of who would win, but with a fairly shrewd idea of what the score would be.

Suspect scorelines: It is Saturday morning in a small office in southwest London. “We’ve been watching this for a couple of weeks now,” he says. “The odds have gone to a very suspicious level. We believe that this game will finish in an away victory. Usually an away team would have around a 30% chance of winning, but at the current odds this team is about 85% likely to win.”

German Magazine Stern Uncovers UEFA scandal, 15.09.2010 (Article is in German)
The UEFA watchdog in charge, Peter Limacher, who was heavily celebrated in quashing football scandals now comes under criticism himself: According to investigations by the Hamburg magazine Stern, Limacher has been fooled several times by impostors. Among other things there are accusations that FC Bayern Munich sold the UEFA Cup semi-final second leg in 2008 versus Zenith St. Petersburg (0: 4) to the Russian mafia…

What effect do the above stories have on the ‘small’ bettor, who regularly lays out bets on his or her sport of choice, follows their team enthusiastically, analyses fixtures, form and statistics with a passion, only to find out it is all pointless due to darker forces in the beautiful game?

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