When Steven Pienaar netted Everton’s second equalizer and fourth goal at Old Trafford yesterday afternoon there can’t have been many looking more worried than Betfred’s Fred Done.
It was 20 days ago that the betting shop supremo decided the time was ripe to pay out on Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United side winning the title. With just three points in the title race and two protagonists playing each other next Monday the decision could turn out to be somewhat foolish to say the least.
Fred has form here too. 14 years ago the company paid out £500,000 and earlier this month he commented that he had “not got it wrong this time”. It’s a bold statement to make but if you study the form over the past five years, Fred should be okay.
In their last three league visits to the Etihad Stadium, United haven’t lost and the last time they conceded was way back in August 2007 in the league. If you check the record over the 19 seasons the Premier League has been in existence you find that United have won eight at City with the home side triumphing just four times and the two drawing twice.
If City does triumph, you’d back them to take the Premier League title to the Etihad for the first time and in the process leave Fred with quite the liability. On the flip side, it gives the firm free publicity and Paddy Power will be the first to tell him that it is by no means a bad thing. Could Betfred’s decision to pay out be worse than some of Paddy’s capers in the past? They’d have to top £1.3 million and by the time this article went to press we’d heard no reply from Betfred as to whether this could be the case.
Even if they don’t top Paddy Power it’s nailed on that it will top the liability last time. Since 1998 the sports betting market has ballooned thanks to online gambling and more recently mobile. Betfred is one of those at the forefront of the growth and could lose a fair whack should City come home in first.
You still have to remember that City have got to get all three points against their rivals as a draw is simply not going to be enough. If it goes down to the final day you’d always back United to prevail but if City win next Monday the ball is definitely in their court.
Luckier than the fans that backed United and then decided to take a cheeky punt on City once Fred had paid out was one fan betting on yesterday’s 4-4 at Old Trafford. A tweet from SkyBet said: “One lucky punter backed Jelavic 1st scorer and 4-4 final score yesterday! Was it you? Just the 4000/1 shot! #betoftheseason”.