Monday, 30 January 2012


Despite having lived within a couple of miles of him for a decade, I don’t know Robert Rock. However, I’m probably more aware of his career progress than most, despite my aversion to playing the game of golf. Rock is from Armitage near Lichfield, a city with little sporting heritage, which in turn has ensured that his ups and downs on the European tour have been well documented by my former free weekly paper, the Lichfield Mercury, over the past few years. I’m sure this week’s edition will reach a crescendo of congratulation following the 34 year-old’s win in Abu Dhabi.

Much of the comment on yesterday’s result noted him as a journeyman tour pro with one previous career win. But further delving shows a guy on an upward curve, having taken six years to go from club pro at Swingers Golf Range in Lichfield to a top 30 finish in the 2009 European rankings. His first tour victory came in 2011, and he finished joint 23rd on his US Open debut the week following that win. This is a guy making steady but impressive progress. In six appearances in majors, he has missed the cut just once.

So with that build up, I anticipated yesterday’s win on the morning of the fourth round then? Err, no. Maybe I don’t have enough knowledge of Tiger’s form or mindset, but my overriding theory from watching plenty of final rounds of majors over recent years is that the worst job in the game is being Tiger’s playing partner, particularly on ‘red jumper’ final round day. I suggested to Mrs B yesterday that Rock would probably finish joint 34th. The result suggests it’s worth keeping a close eye on Rock ( Mrs B already is! ). It takes bottle to take on the pressure of having both McIlroy and Woods in close attention, and I’m sure this win will give him a confidence boost. Watch the Rock!

Opportunity for dodgy video link!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Singin' The Blues

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has looked to make his first January signing with an audacious bid for Black Eyed Peas’ Los Angeles-based playmaker, Will-I-am.

I-am, a multi-instrumentalist with an ability to ‘get up and down the pitch’, is in the final year of his BEP contract and is looking for a move to Europe under a Bosman transfer. Villas-Boas, discussing the signing whilst stumbling out of Mayfair’s Annabel’s nightclub, said ‘Will can add that rhythmic beat to our midfield to put alongside the Samba of Ramirez and the Flamenco of Juan Mata’. ‘I’m sure Will can fit into the club. He’s used to working with a load of self-important drama queens within the Black Eyed Peas, and he’s happy to dump the hat and fuckin’ stupid sunglasses.’
One of Chelsea’s main problems will be to calm the waters with defender Ashley Cole. Will-I- am has had a well-publicised ‘professional’ relationship will Cole’s estranged wife Cheryl, and produced her seminal debut album, ‘3 Words’. This may cause strains within the team, although it is believed that Will would be playing on the right of midfield, and right back Jose Bosingwa’s wife allegedly ‘can’t sing for toffee’. At one of the low points of their marriage, Cheryl complained ‘Ashley’s all one foot. Even in the bedroom, the right foot’s just for standing on, whilst Will’s got two good feet and a nice soft touch on the ball’.

It is also believed I-am was shocked to find that Chelsea’s players don’t all live on the Kings Road, drifting from nightclub to nightclub outside of training hours, but prefer tacky warehouse-sized mock-Georgian pads in leafy Surrey. An insider said ‘Will is an urban sort of guy who won’t appreciate driving his 4x4 anywhere near the countryside’.

In a separate manoeuvre, Chelsea are also looking to meet Shaktar Donetsk’s £18 million valuation for midfielder Willian..(pause)……. aww, bugger.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Q dos

I first looked at internet bookmakers due to an interest in tennis, and a belief that I could pick winners. It didn’t take long to work out that solely picking winners has little to do with making profit. Since those early days, I’ve been rather wary of tipsters. I generally prefer to have all information available to me, whether it be courtside temperature ( particularly relevant at the moment ), team selections or paddock news. Therefore, it seems like working blindfold to determine selections well in advance of an off-time, and I place most of my bets close to the event start. I appreciate that there are deadlines for publishing information, and pro tipsters have to email out their info in time to allow subscribers time to put a wager on. But those selections are being made without the full picture being available. I’m happy to take on board any tips as part of a build-up of knowledge leading to a final selection, but following tipsters is not for me.

So, obviously, I’d now like to big-up a tipster! A free one at that.

Amongst the morass of rubbish on Betfair forums are a few names that are respected and followed closely. When the thoughts posted on the forum back up a regular column on an established national industry website, we have a poster worthy of note. And when that information not only picks winners regularly but also details how an event may unfold and how most of its participants may fare, I’m sold.

The forum poster is Mr Q, also known as Manchester-based US horse racing pundit Paul Quigley, who writes a column for the At The Races website two or three times each week and often appears on the Betfair US racing forum with some interesting insights. He describes himself on his twitter header ( @paultheq ) as a full-time gambler on US racing, specialising on the tracks at Presque Isle, Sunland and Zia Park, and a writer on the subject. Certainly, his regular Tuesday column generally revolving around the above noted tracks is consistently successful, and last night’s performance ( starting with three winners and missing the four-timer by a short head ) brought me to my virtual paper and pen.

Worth a look.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Canary Wharf

Those people who have read my earlier post will, I'm sure, have noted the following phrase - 'I seem to be able to make a consistent profit....'.

Plenty of readers of blogs on the subject of betting and trading are searching for help in doing just the same. So it only seems fair that I offer up some of the strategies behind my success.

Let us turn to today's 4.55 at Wolverhampton. Generally my advice for this course would be to avoid - full of horses that really should be being used for pony practise for teenage girls. But today a selection hit me immediately - Canary Wharf. One of my favourite places on earth! Yep, today's biggest win came courtesy of a tenner on a horse with a nice name.

Glad to be of help.

Staying Awake

You know you’re getting old when……..

I understand the Football League Show will not be re-commissioned by the BBC after this season. It is deemed too expensive to make, in comparison to its viewing figures. I would like to give a solid
opinion on the worth of the show to the grass roots football follower, but I have to admit that after ‘watching’ for the last couple of years, I’ve never seen one whole episode!

My late Saturday evenings tend to consist of Match of the Day, followed by the F.L.S. My problems start when both Mrs B and I use the two sofas as mattresses rather than sitting upright. The routine then tends to go as follows:

Watch MOTD, watch start of FLS, drift off during the ‘main match’ in the championship section, wake during Yeovil versus Tranmere ( having always missed the Leeds highlights ), occasionally nod in agreement at some of Steve Claridge’s no-nonsense assessments, stay in a semi-conscious state through Sheffield United versus Wycombe, which then somehow morphs into Barnet against Aldershot, bypassing a dozen games. Then, finally, awake shivering to a BBC News 24 discussion on the state of Palestine at around 1.45am.

Welcome to life in your forties!

As a long-term blog reader with a huge google reader list (ooh, err missus), I have come to appreciate those who manage to write on a regular basis over a long period. Many blogs ( my own included ) falter through the writers’ inability to find new topics of interest. My own blog slowed as I struggled to find anything to say on the ‘defined’ topic, and find time for writing.

I’m hoping that my current situation ( both physical and mental ) will give me space to write. One of the reasons for the move to London was to make more of life outside of work. I could probably earn more, but I seem to have found a level of workload that means I have enough energy left on
weekends and evenings to have a social life ( at least until 11.00pm ish! ), and enough money to pay the bills. During the winter months, I’m happy to use time on Betfair as part of my income portfolio. I seem to be able to make a consistent profit when I treat a laptop session as ‘work’, even to the extent of leaving the flat and working from an office base or coffee shop for a defined length of time. When I play around at home, I tend to make bugger all.

I expect workload to naturally increase in the summer, and my time on the exchange to reduce accordingly, so the blog subject matter may drift from sport towards random matters. I’m certainly feeling optimistic coming into 2012, so here’s hoping that the reality matches my expectations.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Conspiracy Theories

If you don't follow sports news, this picture will mean little to you. I do, and it struck a chord.

The title of this post reminded me of another Yorkshireman seen around SE20 in recent years, Mr Neil Warnock.

As I noted here, I'm not a fan.

Once again, my emotion towards his recent dismissal at QPR should be sympathetic - it's tough when you take a team beyond it's natural position and then struggle against wealthier and more established clubs. He did a decent job and is probably unlucky that the change in club ownership means that the proprietor has no loyalty towards the existing management.

Yet, I am left with a final image of him having a ridiculous rant at the FA over Joey Barton's latest misdemeanour. Warnock described the FA's decision to throw out Rangers' appeal against the Barton red card as 'disgusting'. He then laid into Norwich's Bradley Johnson for conning referees. The basis of this argument presumably being that Joey's attempted headbutt missed Johnson's nose by at least 2 millimetres.

I'll say it again - Warnock's a tool. I'd be happy to see him go back to to his original trade (dentistry) rather than put up with any of more of his paranoia-filled rubbish. Bye, bye Neil.

Monday, 9 January 2012



Where did that 10 months go??

Well, sole remaining reader, welcome to the rejuvenated 2012 version of the blog – new title, new template, new location, new random thoughts!

It’s been a busy time, and thankfully we’ve (Mrs B and I) managed to achieve most of what we wanted to from 2011. Lichfield is a distant memory, the city crashpad is presumably re-let to someone younger and trendier than I, and the locals now follow The Eagles rather than The Brewers.
So here’s my new South London-based blog. As noted previously, I started the blog at a time when my main income was (hopefully) being generated via the betting exchanges after what is remembered as the 'credit cruch' decimated the housebuilding industry. The blog has changed along the way in line with my life. I expressed my thoughts on blogging in one of my latter posts -

Obviously, the blog seems to have taken a back seat. I started writing at a time when Betfair dominated my days, betting full-time. Whilst I returned to work a month or so afterwards, I've generally had something to write about on a regular basis. With sport ( and Betfair ) taking up less of my thoughts, the blog has suffered. I'm finding that I still have plenty of ideas to write about, but most are off the subject area. Regular readers will have noticed my tendency to wander from the 'designated' subject, and it's been noticeable that I get little feedback when I do stray. This suggests that the 'betting blog' community is really only interested in reading about sport and gambling. So what should I do? :-

i. Carry on the blog and say 'sod it', I'll write about whatever I want.
ii. Keep the blog for occasional posts when I do find something worth saying in the betting/sports field.
iii. Start a new blog, hoping to find a new audience for a more random 'popular culture' themed blog.
iv. Go back to Lichfield and get that Betfair screen working for me.

I'll have a think about it in the next few days. ( I'm not seriously considering iv. )

Well, the blog returns, and option 1 it is. I may be leading myself into writing for no-one, but I enjoyed blogging, yet simply don’t have enough worthwhile points to make on one subject. With my life hopefully now settled, it feels like a good time to resume writing. So I’ll be led by whatever interests me, and hope the results are enthralling enough to gain a readership.

I’ve regularly noted my enthusiasm for rock music, particularly new music and artists. So let’s begin with, er, a song from 25 years ago!