My Pet Project

November 21st, 2015

Just as I arrived in the town centre my wife phoned me to get a great wager for her.
What price, I said,
“If you go into Iceland you can get me as many boxes of there Mince Pies as possible they have been voted number one,
1. Iceland Deluxe Mince Pies: £1.50 for 6
2.Betty’s Classic Mince Pies: £10 for 1
3. Fortnum & Mason Traditional Mince Pies: £9.95 for 6,

It is an amazing coincidence for just before I left I had been reading the final pages of The Druids Lodge Confederacy. One of the most important stories that lovers of the Sport of Kings, seem to enjoy, written very well by Paul Mathieu.
I had purchased the book originally in 1991. but all of a sudden I have been looking a lot closer into the so called 5 brains involved if the skulduggery.

What has fascinated me the most was the timing of the strokes, after looking at all my thousands of notes about the period 1895 to 1905 as any racing fan will know that one of the most important periods in british horseracing occurred at this time becoming known as the American Invasion.

Hundreds of Americans had flocked to our shores, the vast majority did so to take the advantage that there own country had just banned.

*The legal use of DOPE.

They also brought with them a better class of Jockey riding to the clock, as against the eye.
They also brought with them gamblers who when told what to do by there connection, Plonked it on, and certainly not Planked as the Druids Lodge clever dicks are purported to have done.
The first question I asked myself was what was the gambling record of the two so called tricksters,Percy Cunliffe and Wilfred Purefoy, They were virtually unknown by any of the Tattersalls Ring, before 1901 when there first big price con, took place. so how had these Etonians become the biggest brains in Our Sport of Kings. only bettered by Barney Curley over a 100 years later.

Part Two Tricky Dick..

Sorry Dad.

November 13th, 2015

Watching T.V. about Pat Eddery death and the alcoholism that must have made his retirement, a living hell.
I felt very sorry for his daughter, but watching I remembered how my father spent his last few years with a bottle of beer always close at hand.

In my case, I blamed him, for the loss of the family success, not old enough to talk it over.

Being the only bread winner who was prepared to work three occupations, in a week, factory work at the Austin as an apprentice Die Sinker one of the finest Tick Tacs in the oncourse betting industry, (Horseracing, Shirley Ponies) followed by three greyhound pitches,

I guess he worked himself into an early grave, like Pat.

One moment I remember was at Selly Oak were I had been picked for a Birmingham Boys trial.
as I run out on to the pitch there were at least 500 spectators, and as I ran towards were my father was I could see that along side were he stood were 1/2 a dozen Double Diamonds to think that these were his refreshments for the 90 minutes entertainment.

I am not saying that it affected my play to a degree that I wasn’t picked even though I scored one goal in a 4/2 loss.

When I arrived home my mother always a great supporter asked him how I had played.

“He was Ok, he could make an opportunist.”
in 1961 and the introduction of betting shops we found him a job, managing a little shop in west heath, so that he didn’t get his own cash mixed up with the shops, we gave him a night safe container so that he could bank the shops profit and payout, after racing.

One night after a Grand National. we told him not to bank it and we would collect it off him in a west heath pub,.

When my brother and I arrived at the Pub Dad was standing at the bar, with a double scotch and his favour tipple a point of bitter.

Well away from were he stood, was the night safe wallet, chock a block full.

“Quick I said to my brother walk over to were Dad was standing and I will steal the wallet and teach him a lesson. this I did and went outside to the car and placed the days cash, winnings,
for Nicholas Silver had been a great result. under the drivers seat.

When I arrived back into the pub, Phillip junior my brother was in conversation with Dad about the days success.
I said OK dad, give us the Wallet and we will get off.
As my Father turned around towards were the wallet had been, both my brother and I gave him what was the commencement of a master bollocking.

It was at the end of the bar but its gone,

Yes you idiot, £900 and someone has stolen it, while you got pissed.

No Dont worry I only had the betting slips in there here is the float.
Pulling the £900 out of his inside pocket.

Sorry Dad, you deserved better,


Grand Ma was always right.

July 11th, 2014

During tne 1940s, it appeared that my grand mama was always giving me advice, quite a lot I must admit I have forgotten.

“Chew your food Son.”
But the one she seemed adamant was
“Never go back to the same restaurant that you complained about previously”

When I was courting my wife, I befriended a great chief working at the Midland Hotel.Birmingham as soon as I arrived he had given instructions to inform the head waiter I was there.

I found the food to be exquisite, but if I ever ordered something that he advised against, it was
obviously not his cooking skills that were out but the quality of the Food. that particular day..

The Chef was in love with my girl friends sister, one period a Yiddish professional gambler came to the
Midlands to carry out his cheating skill. in the towns casinos, It appeared that he was very good at his chicanery
Flash Arrogant, and Ostentatious, he loved nothing better than to pull a wad (Money) out of his pocket
before leaving the waiter a shilling tip.with the comment tell the Chef to try a little better next time I come.

By chance he met my future sister in law, at the city centre Hairdressers Raymonds, and she was swayed by the amount of cash he had. as well as the fact he had a Merc Sports drop head
When invited out the girl accepted.

The Chef was distraught and threatened one day he would gain revenge.

It was months before he had the opportunity,
Obviously the card sharp didn’t have a Gran. as worldly as I did.

“Steak Diane with brandy and mustard sauce for two. I hope it is as good as I have been told it will be if not I will not be paying”

“I will inform the Chef of your request Sir” counterd the waiter.

A few months later I was in the company of the Chef who explained, that he remembered the incident. and explained the sauce differed in content, from what he had been taught by Albert Roux his French teacher.

Only after we both got drunk did he divulge what the Manchester Spiv had devoured, not to mention the sister in law.which I will refrain from comment, not wishing to spoil the day for you.

71 year later to be precise, my wife who is not well, asked me to fetch a take out meal from Morrison’s, my local super market. for she could not pull herself to get ready, to go out for a meal. at our usual Pub.

“Two Lasagne with Sallad. to take out please my Dear.”
“Sorry we have no containers for a take out meal”

You would have thought that I would have known better, and just gone to one of the other willing super markets of which there are a dozen.

As I arrived at the Morrison complaint desk a lovely young girl was in charge who knew the amount of money we spent in the shop. during a normal week, and although I didn’t expect preferential treatment.I wanted answers,

After a while she returned with one large container, where the manageress of the restaurant had indicated that it wasn’t big enough for two Lasagne and salad.
It was obvious that the extra work contained in a take out was not for the Manageress,s liking that morning,

When I went back I complained that it was bad management to allow the stock to fall that time in the morning, which meant they could no longer offer a take away anyone.

It was clear that I was getting sucked into a difference of opinion than the one offered by my grand mothers during WW2,

When I went to pay, it was £9.50 for two Lasagne and Salad. not a great deal you may say.

“But I have no salad.” all I have been offered is two Lasagne. The difference of opinion was no longer with any human, it was against the Till that couldn’t differentiate between Just Lasagne and Lasagne and Salad.

After a wait of 35 minutes, two containers of Lasagne and two containers for Salad plus arrived. were she found the extra three containers I left un answered.

As I placed it on the plate at home I could hear some one speaking to me.

Ne pas manger de la merde it sounded very much like the Chef.

I called the Staffordshire Terrier and placed my dish in the dogs bowel Tiller (The Hun.) devoured the lot without fact I guess in her black country accent she would have stated,


Whilst the Wife thought that it was nice, I was content for a home made Banana Sandwich.

I then sat alone in my computer room, trying to remember all my gran,s (Charlotte) best advice, to jot them down for my grand Kids to remember.
At least I doubt the added content would have not done much harm.

The one were she told me to chew my food and not just swallow whole. was more serious.
The day that I swallowed a Pineapple Square whole. almost resulted in death by Choking.


What,s Happened to Ladbrokes.?

March 12th, 2014

The battle that commenced a decade ago. in the Betting Industry, was lead by Bet365, offering a FREE bet if 2/1 or bigger in all Channel 4 events, after a reappraisal of the cost the Stoke Bookmaker changed to 4/1 but still gained a great edge,
FredDone (Betfred) remained the Bonus King, until Paddy Power publicity Gimmicks of Shock and Or. was launched,

Many of the Bookmakers failed to realize the art of Customer base theft, with the change of Gambling Debt laws, to lock a customer in with an account will generate a profit over time, making the give away when a selection is second minuscule,
A new account holder worth its weight in gold. There is no doubt in my mind that this is the most successful Bonus scheme, of the lot.
So Entered the Freebys Ladbrokes, one time leaders of BB (British Bookmaking) never mind what Hills told us,
My confidence in the ability of the Irish Greats, to only back winners, by purchasing shares in Laddys, has me confused .
I can only assume that Ladds wont worry about being a coppy cat, after all it was Hills who follwed Corals and Ladbrokes in the 1960s Licence to Print Period.

One thing I will claim is to have been the very first racecourse Bookmaker to have offered a Money Back if Horse is second. of the 25 racecourse pitches that I had during the first quarter of the 21st Century.
It was in deed a licence to print money, before the Rails Shattered the on course industry for off meetings, other than festivals.

The History of Money Back if second commenced in the 50s at Wolverhampton and other Midland Greyhound tracks. it became so popular Hall Green refused the Bookmaker to offer the concession.following complaints from the Bookmakers Track Maffia of Green,and Jack Woolf,

What made it such a winner for the Bookmaker was the fact that the bigger priced dogs, looked attractive were the short priced runners were ignored, by the public, the bookie had layed the 3 dogs that were usually the non triers, and un layable in the win books.

When I started offering the service at Bangor Worcester, and Wolverhampton for starters, it was a massive, advantage, What had to be done was make sure that the professional traders, were curtailed the same as William Hill. do by minimising stakes

Betting next to a Betting Without the Favourite Service, outstripped him, at once, the outsiders that were sure to drift, were offered the same price as the straight Bookmakers,
Gobbling up what little amount there was for these rags.

However Hills have a greater advantage than I never had, they are creating a massive customer base worth a fortune for what is a very minor bonus. even though it looks attractive.

Not a William Hill fan usually, they will lose customers, if they restrict bets to a minuscule amount.

It is my opinion that all UK Bookmakers will be offering the same service (Money Back if 2nd) for phone clients. by Derby Day, however they may find it two late for William Hill has jumped the gun.

Bonus’s of Horses that fall, beaten by a short head or head, are a waist of time, only a firm like Boyle and Corals, would be so out of touch with the game.

As for Corals at least they try, with there over the odds, bonus,s even if the limits are so desperately tight, this causes animosity with there regular minimum stake customers. A £25 bonus for a even money chance offered at 4/1 may return but a good high stake punter will still be pissed off.

I am sorry to see Ladbrokes having been left behind, I am requires a re think. or a new least.

Watch this space, or better still watch, Daily Politics It will be interesting to see how the Bookmaking industry get them selves out of the tax changes about to be created in legislation. (Gambling)

The Self exclusion policies being discussed in Parliament if passed will make Great Britain the Illegal Gambling centre of the universe. Conservative support, is a little thin in the back bencher’s, with only Mr Davis, there only backer, it will be interesting to see what the Exchange brigade will do when a turnover tax, is introduced. The biggest fear, for the UK Bookmaker is the Sleeper Lobby, now that will make William Hill turn over in his grave.

Don Butler.


December 8th, 2013

In a recent article in the Betting Business Magazine “December Edition,” written by John Samuals for IBAS, “If you cant win you cant lose”
Fascinated me only because the writer seemed at a loss to understand gambling rights fully.

The 2005 Gambling Act states
A bet can be a wager on an event that has already taken place and were one party of the bet knows the result,
Many bets taken in running are not first past the post, doctrine, so a wager were a horse pulls up. still requires, a stewards interpretation of the weigh in, before all bets can be concluded.
So even if a horse does pull up. odds can still be offered, there are many other happenings were the race or event, is still active take for instance football were a team could have been relegated, and yet betting still occurs. for days, offering relegated teams, until it is clear that non of the teams safe from relegation, have not done some thing during the season that will not cause any FA enquiry and a point deduction. altering the original result.

Betting in running is a very technical transaction, certainly in many events too many to explain in this short, feature.

In the case of “The Great British Bake Off” the Bookmaker obviously knew the result along with 90% of his new customers created by leaving the betting up. on offer even though the result was known.

This in my opinion comes into a category known as “Punter Theft” a specialty being a well known Irish Bookmaker.prepared to pay heavily short term to build long term customer base.

As every one must be aware during the past decade, internet and mobile technology has revolutionised off course betting the main reason is the removal of bad debts, owing to change of the Gambling Act for Debt Recovery. this and the fact that it is convenient, to bet using a debit or credit is also compulsive.

These changes created a Diamond and Gold Rush, expedition, in creating as massive a customer base as possible once again William Hill was left behind, firms like Bet365.

The start of the period I call, The Bonus or Conscien War’s between Bookmakers, began in 2005 and has never eased. only a betting turnover tax, of 15% Point of Consumer being contemplated by foolish politicians, will alter the whole structure. but this will cost punters so much and will create the largest Illegal Gambling Industry since the American Roaring 20s that they will soon see the error of Parliaments ways.
And the following poem will become popular once again.

Mother’s in the kitchen
Washing out the jugs;
Sister’s in the pantry
Bottling the suds;
Father’s in the cellar
Mixing up the hops;
Johnny’s on the front porch
Watching for the cops.

I am no poet so to alter the concept to Bookmaker and bets, Dope and Hope as against Hops and Cops. may be easy for some but not me.

Until this happens, It is continuous to see free bets, money back, so attractive that it is possible to be in a no lose only win state, but like smoke and mirrors, it is only short term I am afraid. it is clearly a policy of enticement to bet.

Of course the paragraph “Some would argue that the Bookmaker offering bets after the result was known would make many say that they deserved to have there fingers burnt.”

Requires a response.

The Bookmaker in question certainly did not have his finger burnt, simply because he had created a large customer interest many of which would become hooked into a account , with the firm. the cost to the Bookmaker minimal. and no more than a Free Bet, concession. however as for those 10% who did not back the known winner will certainly get there losing wagers refunded, already I am sure of that.
I assume that of the bets taken and all refunded would place this Bookmaker in a short list of very clever operators.

I will explain the history of Money Back, if 2nd for I am the only racecourse Bookmaker who offered this concession, in its history all though a Wolverhampton Greyhound Bookie offered the concession in the 50/60s I did it in 2000 to 2004. and found it to be better than Without the Favourite betting that made John Gillibrand a multi million£ before he died tragically in the early 2000s,

In the 50s this Wolverhampton Greyhound Bookmaker offered this money back concession at the Dogs, so successfully that no Bookmaker has ever been allowed to do so since. the complaints being to powerful for the racecourse to stomach,

By way of offering an historic story, of why Bookmakers, would bet on an event were the result is known, is very simple,
The question is how many people know the result. a five thousand, lets say, the wager is limited, so that the Bookmaker is purchasing a list of customers, who now have a £5 Free bet, but there credit details are locked in permanently, even if the customer only bets on the Derby and the Grand National. the plan would have been a massive success. of the 5000 how many compulsive gamblers has the Bookmaker landed.

In 1960s I was betting at Royal Ascot, in the silver ring on the colour of Her Majesty the Queen.s Hat

I only had 12 different colours, on my list happy to use my own judgment if there were differing shades of opinion.

I had calculated that there was a window of opportunity for my offer, between the the Queens Hat becoming public knowledge, as she stepped out of the front door of Windsor Castle and when many race goers using large binoculars, as the Royal Cavalcade entered the course.
I guessed that a few insiders, like the Queen Mom, would have been told of the opportunity, to back a winner for after all everyone knew that the Old Dear loved a bet.

At 12.0 I started betting and at one time I had a crowd of over 500 people congregating, all of them being entertained like only a few racecourse Bookmakers knew how to.

From time to time someone would request a wager so large that it would have placed the profitability that I demanded, for my work at jeopardy. His wager of £200 at 3/1 was quickly reduced to £10 at Evens. fortunately others did not follow his lead, even though he ranted and raved for 15 minutes, telling every one who were in the crowd that he had seen the Hat and it was Blue, before driving from Windsor, by fast motor bike.

I was entertaining the public so effectively that he was ignored when I called him a white man’s Prince Monolulu.
When I commenced the betting it was obvious that no one knew the result. other than this man who just happened to be a fellow Bookmaker. from Tattersalls. I was happy to bet all wagers, maximum of £5, after all it was a wager known in the trade as a Fun Bet. more for entertainment than gambling,

In no time I had taken £200 and was a £30 over round meaning that I could not lose anything, but could win £30, minimum.

At approx, 1.30 a very well dressed man, with a members badge into the Royal Enclosure

I cant say that I was enlightened by the gents manner’s, after all the sign on the top of my joint (Board) clearly indicated my full christian name. as Donald.

I looked in to his pale blue eyes they were as cold as stone. he must have been 6ft 4 inch, I guessed a Guardsman working at Windsor or Buck House, I then noticed his wonderfully manicured nails I was also drawn to the size of the “Wad” he was waving about contained a minimum of £1,000 from the Queens Bank Coutts. I wouldn’t have been surprised if he been a Windsor, for there are hundreds of them,

What colour ? do you want Sir. I questioned.

Blue had been shortened so much in 2 hours that it was now 4/6. from the early 3/1 by now it was certain that Blue was the result.

Although I guessed an Eton Education,
He was out of his depth, in all gambling was then that he over played his hand. not by the way his hand shook, but the fact that instead of requesting Blue he asked for a £1000 on Cerulean.

i assumed that it was a shade of blue.
Having been educated not very well in a Small Heath Slum, Birmingham, I can assure you Cerulean had never been mentioned, during my spell there.

“If Cerulean is one of the many shades of Blue then you can have an even £10. I stated.

Standing next to the man was a punter who was indicating he required a £10 on Red. at 3/1. obviously no royalist.
The Toff, was not amused by my indication that
“Its only a Fun Bet Mate”, but you can have £1000 on White of you wish.

I will not say what the Gentleman said next, for although I understood what it meant. but not the particular phrase. I also remembered that if I had ever used the phrase in school. as a child I would have received minor capital punishment to my rear. in short sharp doses.

To conclude, The statement “If you cant lose you cant win.” may well apply and yet it is not factual.

For by opening an account you may well lose £1,000 at the end of the year.for the bet even if already known as a winner, it was just a sprat to catch mackerel.

The clerk was amazed that I was now holding £50 and Blue still won me £50

The Bookmaker will know the % of those who will draw there £5 winnings without ever placing a further wager,

This is just a further, part of the many Concessions and Free bets offered in the internet market.
Some just good value, others a guaranteed earner by the new gang of internet traders.

Paddy Power one of the leaders in what I now call no longer Fun bets but Daft bets. is happy to give quite a large Sprat, to catch even larger Mackerels. however if I see the customer base, of the many internet, firms. I will confirm that the period has been the greatest successful Trade War in History. and one of the most successful policies ever conducted in British Bookmaking.
What? you may say should IBAS do about this anomaly.

Take another quote that exists in Bookmaking parlance,
“Let the Buyer Beware” used more in The Spread Betting Market than anything else,

That is fine as long as IBAS are satisfied that all markets being promoted, are honest and truthful.
IBAS should look at all markets on there merit, if it is clear that there is definitely no chance that the backer could have ever have drawn his winnings then they have a duty of care to the british public to have the stakes refunded.

There is nothing wrong with a Bookmaker offering odds in a market already known but what about the punters, who did not know that the result was known. are they entitled to there money back.

YES They ARE. and at Once.

The final problem with IBAS is that they are Bookmaker funded but that should give them an opportunity, to explain to the Bookmakers, that Enticement to bet abused will only result in a tightening of old enticement rules. 1961. not understood by politicians. now but were then.

Any further opinion, on punters rights,just ask

I would like to end by making a statement that should be understood, by all but I am afraid it is not.

Every betting coup. gambling con, Ringer, etc, through the ages, aimed at Bookmakers, in fact, steal the Bookmakers take not necessarily his own money, the money being held by the Bookmaker in the main will have been honest punter.s wagers filling the Bookmakers odd, by backing the other horses in the race, these are not always returned when in fact if the punters that organised the coup failed to get paid, the losing punters should certainly have done so.
Gay Future was a very clever coup. organised by the Irish, the only mistake was inviting a Scotch idiot. giving him a simple but very important duty. of withdrawing the two non runners, by doing a simple engine fault to the horse box.
I always wondered how much the Cartmel racecourse customers. lost, with all due respect they had been well and truly caycuffed.

The whole event should have been cancelled.


Peaky Blinder.

October 17th, 2013

Well for those who have watched the 6 episodes,I am sure that you will have found it riveting.
No doubt you will read a great deal in revues, from respected historians on the subject.
However the best report of the truth is the Gangs of London by Brian McDonald, his family were one of the powerful forces and partners with Billy Kimber, in the Racecourse Wars, Thomas Shelby,s, not mentioned so how he was going to take over the industry, (Bookmakers) but never showed or when.

His pals the Lees were also Pikeys, have no mention in any sporting book on the subject, I feel that they were making enough running the fairs, never mind a game that they have never excelled. Cheltenham which resembled come dancing was kept quite by my dad, who it appears was a womaniser, under my mom’s noes.

As I have already stated Come Dancing before racing at Cheltenham, is laughable and Kimbers Mansion. and Rolls Royce a figment of the directors imagination.
My father born 1907 in Golden Hillock Road opposite the BSA. was operating on all the relevant courses, and certainly the two mentioned, Cheltenham and Worcester, as a 16 year old, Tick Tac, in 1925.

The firm he worked for my Uncle Ernest Fletcher who was in the Cold stream Gaurds’s in WW1 and won the George Cross and the French equivalent.

They arrived back in 1918 and were racecourse Bookmakers under the control of William Billy Kimber during the period this film depicts. 1919.

It is true that in several silver rings and cheap enclosures and certainly the open courses, like Brighton and Epsom Pikeys (The Lee,s) had a hand for they had all the fairs and dictated quite a bit of the land. required for Bookmaking unlike the pitches you see today Leading Bookmakers had very large joints and side flags, Fairs were a major earner for the Romany Guys, Bookmakers they never were.
There is a great deal of fact, that the Shelbys were a local Birmingham gang, but never ever broke into the racecourse set up. in fact I see no mention of there name on any of the 59 race courses during 1921 to the present day.

It is not for me to challenge some of the facts of the drama, it was certainly a period were the IRA and the Communists were causing mayhem, after WW1,and I assume the stolen Guns has some truth. about it.

The drama was set in 1919. and fortunately I have something that even Brian McDonald does not posses. not even Mr Chinn who I respect as a great writer on the subect and a Bookmakers Son (Buck Chinn) and what’s more he talks like a brummie.

I have all the midland racecourse lists, that were created based upon the seniority of all racecourse Bookmakers from 1900.

In 1921 the Jockey Club, decided that they would attempt to call a halt to on course villainy. that wasn’t as easy as expected.although Retired Copper Divall made a great effort to do so.

In fact The Jewish, Italians, and the Bummies Battled away, for a few more years, before the Backers were dropped off the trade name and become the BPA Bookmakers Protection Association’s.
Many of the villains and scoundrels, formed the BPA, rather Ironic, But even they found it difficult to keep the game free of trouble. until after the Spot, Billy Hill (Not William Hill) war, and the Twins thought it was a child’s game.

Kimber had been part of local villainy and imprisoned in Winson Green in 1900 for approx 3.5 years.
I assume he may have been part of the Peaky Blinders, until he had a brain wave. and became a copper’s nark, (Divel) followed by a more successful nark in Derby Sabini,(The Flying Squad)

To see Kimber shot and killed outside the Garrison, in 1919, was a shock for he was certainly shot in the buttocks by Mr Nasty Soloman. years later, Billy jumped out of the window and taken to hospital were Solomon was charged with attempted murder, until Kimber gave evidence that it was a accident.

He had a great deal of charisma did Billy but I do not remember ever being told he was a born again Christian.

All the leading Bookmakers had there own minders during this period, and we are talking about the outside rings not Tatersalls the main encloses, had been trouble free for years, with people like Thomas Dey, (Leaves from a Bookmakers Book)
I remember being told that Kimber would take on anyone and was a shrewd individual.
To see him standing in front of the Shelbys, who were armed with Tommy guns, and he had a little pistol makes me change my mind perhaps he was as big a prat as all the others, when they could have been at Worcester racecourse betting away. and making money,×451.jpg

These are the names operating in the midland silver and cheap enclosures, at the time.

J Hartland
J Randall
A Bowen
Apple Hale
T Williams
G Taylor Ernie Robinson)
Hak Walker
Alf Martin
Tom Lewis
Tas Parkes
Captian Fred.(F.Sansom)
Fred Binns (W,Cope Before, Sturman)
M Sweeney.
All these were given a 1921 date when the Bookmakers and Backers Association was formed. changed later to BPA.all in all at Cheltenham there would have been 60 Bookmakers, at Worcester not a lot less. .

Kimber born (Summer Lane) in 1882 lived no more than a short distance from the Shelbys Small Heath would have known all about the Peaky Blinders, and would have dropped them like a stone.
In fact for a ferocious gang there were a little light don’t you think. One car that would hold perhaps 6.

By 1919 Kimber had all ready hit the jackpot by seeing the trouble that loose cannons on course were creating,
Stealing the entrance fee, gate calling bets out not paying and claiming if they won, following any winning client to the bar and picking him up (6 Handed and taking the money off him)
About 3 teams of Pick Pockets, all getting drunk and fighting amongst them selves,

He pulled a master stroke, went to see several track owners and agreed a fee to run the pitches,
Several of the tracks jumped at the suggestion,
For there was no way a manager would attempt to collect fee,s before or during racing.without a Kimber there would have been no racing or a Tote monopoly, Bookmakers are no fools, they knew that it had to be cleaned up. and considering the money they were making the charges for Lists, Chalk, Water, Dots and Careful s, was a small fee to pay.

When Kimber called a meeting with all the minders, already looking after there own gaffers, they didn’t take any convincing that it needed a strong force, even 50. to clear all loonies out off the courses,
Even the police who were getting beaten up themselves, had lost any control. backed the plan.


A Very Cross Dot.

October 14th, 2013

When I was younger than I am today, I was always a thinker, my father was quick to point out that I had the makings of a successful gambler, for the main ingredients of all successful gamblers is there capacity to control and never chase there loss,s.

Dont take my word for it, just read comments by the best gambler’s over the last 65 years and at the end of there tale the last chapter always contains do’s and donts. in gambling.

No 12 Dont ever CHASE.

Watching my wife, shop in her super market, makes it clear that, the last thing she does is Chase, she looks about like a Waterloo Cup finalist. (Courser) ready for the slip.if there is no bonus she will ignore the object unril it is back on offer.

During the middle of the 1940s, as a 10 year old I was taken horse-racing when no school. at least once a week, at first just as a beer fetcher.

I had picked up the art of tick tac quickly, and I was allowed to go into tatt’s and show over to the silver ring to keep the family business up to date with the price moves. by he time I was 12.

As I would arrive at least an hour before the first I loved nothing better than scour the ring for faces.

After the war the rings were full of punters, many still in uniform, in fact bookmakers who had not even been in the conflict had changed there betting board to Captain, Fred or George, no doubt being a hero was no disadvantage.

During the period before the traders first shows, I was mesmerized by the famous people who went racing. at this time.

Prince Monolulu would hold court for what seemed ages, so confident, did his spiel appear that I admit having purchased one of his shilling specials.but after I told my father, the £2 wage I had received in silver from the many bookmakers who I fetched drinks for, was taken from me as a fine. making sure that my time as a Prince Monolulu client ended as quickly as it started.

The one thing I fully remember of the time was the constant smell of tobacco.

From the moment we left home either in our little Austin Rubie, or the Worthingtin Coach that we all joined opposite the Birmingham Hippodrome, smelt no different stale smoke.

On arrival I would go into tatts, and see the earliest odds were offered by Snuffie Long, a pure brummie, with a snuff habit, that must have created 100s of apprentices, every day for he used a large silver spoon, to actually shovel the brown powder,up his nostrils one after the other. any surplus would find itself covering his lapels. from rime to time he would slap the lapels and cause a cloud of poisonous powder, making every one of his punters dart for cover.
If you disliked his habit then Eli Bradley an ex Coventry Football star, did the same, catting you at the start of a different line.
Staying out of the ring, as long as possible I used to love picking out the stars, of Stage and Film, Jockeys, who all looked the same and of course the many aristocrats, who I did not know but could guess they were what it said on the tin. Aristocrats.

I felt sorry for my many school chums, who would at the same time monitoring train numbers, to put in a little book,
Those who could not afford a book would have been birds nesting, climbing tree,s to steal some in offensive birds of there offspring.

How privileged I felt.

One of the first aristocrats I remembered was Dot, for that is what I had been told×382.jpg

That Lady there is Dot, if you see her backing a horse of someone with her backing a horse then let us know right away for her bets will collapse the ring.

It was months later when I was told that Dot was actually Dorothy Paget, the daughter if a Lord. and her standard bet was between £5000 and £10,000

Well in 1947 she had passed her glory days but still stood out as one of the very few women in the betting rings.

Always a very polite boy, it was at Kempton, one day when the temperature was in the 30s, and standing in front of me was Miss Paget now a middle aged women, dressed in a WW1 Trench Coat that must have been made to protect from bullets.

Surrounded by friends, two pretty young women, listening to her every word.

I turned to a Bookmaker fiend of my fathers and said “shall I ask her of she wants me to fetch them an ice cream of a bottle of pop”

All the Bookmakers staff began to laugh out load,

I knew that I had said something inappropriate.

But without having to ask,
The Bookmaker explained that Miss Dorothy Paget hated Men and any Boy who was on the way be becoming a man, was just as obnoxious in her eyes,

Well at least the smell was a vast improvement, that Snuffy could offer.

Watching for a move however was not as easy as I thought, it was clear that they had discussed any transactions on the way to the course but my father was right as soon as they placed there bets, usually with William Hill alL the Bookmakers tick tac’s standing around would show a sign representing a crown on your head.
This was all the ring wanted to know, the Queen of the ring, was on..

During the period I found that a there was a further women betting in the ring not a Dot but a Pat. who also bet in massive amounts, £10,000 at a time.
The difference was that Pat Rank a very attractive lady who unlike Dot, used all the muscles in her face by smiling a lot In fact I did once fetch her a glass of water, and was thanked graciously. were

There had been a further women but she was always right down the rails and not an area I often worked.

I would from time to time go and take a look at the Ladbroke site for there representative was Helen Vermet, I always wished I had seen her in the 20s for she was pure class,
Dressed like a film star, an although I never placed a bet with the firm, she never seemed flustered, everything under control.

The one thing that always impressed me was the smell that come from the site, a little like Pat and Dot, but a little more classy. ,

The first thing, I noticed that there were a few women racing than the glorious 3, but they all seemed to be in the members side of the rails, and all betting with Helen.
By 1949 I had been head hunted by Abe Burnard a Blackpool Icon who only bet on the away’s so if we were at Stratford and Kempton was on at the same time Abe would offer his service for Kempton. ,

This meant I was either on top of a 10 ft stool. or at the back of the grandstand missing out on star gazing.
It was during this time when I was offering a service from behind a Bookmaker called Gus Demmy as soon as I built my stool up the smell of the famous women, came flooding back again.

When I mentioned it on the way back to Birmingham I was told how yes that’s Puffy Gus.

Every time Doncaster November Handicap is on he and his wife are off on a cruise around the world.bringing back with him fragrance for men that are not available in the UK.

Us Brits having to be happy with Old Spice.

Pat, Dot and Helen all died between 1954 and 1960. ending what I describe as one of the classiest period,s of racing. certainly a little better than Aintree Ladies Day.

The other thing I missed after moving into the off course industry from 1962 was to see William Hill and his Tommy Gun skill. no one I have ever seen in the British rings during his reign could ever bet as fast.
Taking hundreds of bets, in minutes.
I was told from a member of his staff that although he had a clerk as good as any. William could tell the workmen, within a few £. what his liabilities.

It is a pitty that not more women, go racing. although it appears they like the internet and casino games much more than the Sport of Queens.


Mass Murder.

October 10th, 2013

When I parted company from my brother and went alone in the licensed betting trade, there was one thing that I excelled and that was promotion.

When ever I bet at the races my working tools were always the best, working on the old assumption that if a punter was expected, to give you money on a horses chance of winning you had to convince that they would be paid promptly if it was successful.
The old saying it is never a crime to be poor but it is to look it.

I doubt a high street bank would do much business if it looked like a slum.

In 1970s the big three Bookmakers of Hills, Ladbrokes and Corals, were spending fortunes on there units, making them accessible.

Even though I had only one shop, it had to be the best that I could make it, in fact the moto included in my company badge was the motto County Bookmakers was in Latin, “Not the biggest but the best”

One day I was at home contemplating a move that would get me in the local news

I had created a trophy for the return of three of the country’s, most infamous, called the Welcome Home Cup.

It had been on the front page of the SUN. no less.

The three runners were for that is what they were, having done a runner from our shores

JOHN STONEHOUSE. 4/5 Favourite.

It was obvious that none of them, wished to return, so when the SUN caught Stonehouse, they wanted me to be at Heathrow Airport when he stepped onto British soil and to present him with the winners trophy. never afraid of confrontation, but the Cup (Tin)which I had purchased from a fishing tackle shop for £2.50. may have given the winner the impression that they worth worthless.

The letter,s I received all positive, having made the British laugh, surprised even the Suns feature expert.

I was due another promotion , that would cost nothing but give my Bilston betting shop.a needed boost.

Having lived in the country side 5 miles from Evesham, and 3 from Henley in Arden, for 10 years I was getting a little bored. having always been a city centre chap.

The wife who was a born again Greenie, had been badgering me about having some chickens, fed up with the quality of The British Egg. she longed for fresh new laid..

One day when she was in the local Post Office she had discussed a Hen Project.and the postman’s wife had told her that she should have some worn out Hens from the Inkberrow Battery Unit, before they go to Muhammad Hussain’s Curry House.

She told Pauline that every 3 months, they have a clear out after the Hens had laid twice a day, every day, for 12 months they were featherless and almost dead.

However she said, take 2 dozen at 50 pence each and just drop then into the field behind your house they will appear as if dead by the end of the 5th day, gradually beginning to recover, in a short time the feathers will return, and they will begin laying again, fresh new laid Eggs,

When we arrived at the Battery Unit, there were two big sacks, with not a movement inside.

I carried them home and placed them in a empty run, with there own shed, with golden straw. a foot deep. not before the wife noticed that 3 of them were in a terrible state, and required a little woolen jumper each,

Ever morning I would go down to the bottom of the garden to see the expected recovery.

One morning there was blood everywhere, a Renhard,the true name for a name for a fox, had appeared and although he could not get in the shed, he had caught three by the beak, and pulled them through the small space in the fence, feathering them, before lunch.

Not a great start, however within a week the remaining hens were beginning to recover with beautiful new feathers,
A short while and I would let them out into the fields and I could find eggs every morning.

Week ends friends and relations would come over for a chat a glass of wine and a dozen eggs each.
Like all good things, friends, began to have just the odd dozen and then 3. every one was getting fed up of Eggs. not concerned with the loss of some so called friends but even relations were giving us a miss.

It was here that I planned a new promotion for my shop.

Driving the 14 miles to W.H.Smiths in Bromsgrove I ordered a ink stamp,


I then purchased 10 small straw buckets,

Placing a dozen eggs in the container, with the advertisement, prominently displayed.

Phoning the Express and Star Wolverhampton I told there feature writer, as it was near to easter I would be giving the New Laid Eggs away FREE to my older customers.

In the shop was a regular punter of mine, Albert Swale a WW1 veteran, who was always complaining about the good old days, when the meat and vegetables tasted much better.

He was reaching a century, and looked as fit as a fiddle. Ladbrokes had even refused to bet him against receiving the Queens Post card.

As I arrived at the shop. there was a reporter and camera man, waiting to interview me.

“Beautiful Fresh New laid Eggs, just like the olden days. before the World Wars.”

First one in was Harry, although that was no surprise for I had told his daughter, he was required to hold an Egg in one Hand and the sign, “County Bookmakers will lay anything”

With the photo’s and comments completed both the old veteran and the reporter, dispersed. back to there home or office for a lovely breakfast.

I made a nice cup of tea to await the front page, report later in the afternoon.

Within 30 minutes however the door to the Betting Shop flew open almost kicked off its hinges.

“Were is the Bookie, The Bastard ” came the cry, standing in the doorway was the old soldier who had came back from the Somme intact but was prepared to do battle with his 26 year old Bookie.

In his hand was a newly boiled egg placed carefully on a round of buttered toast.

Albert had already cut the egg, in slices, and like a bar of Blackpool Rock, the advert, would read


When I looked the blue dye was beginning to run into the egg, and it didn’t look half as attractive as the original advert.

“I have phoned the Police about you. the soldier raged. If I had eaten this crap I would have had Salmonella BY NOW”.

When the Police Inspector arrived he couldn’t stop laughing. desperate to get back to the office and tell his pals.

Most fortunately the other 9 gifts were still in the car, and the police decided not to charge me with attempted murder. or take the Eggs away as evidence.


Remember my Time in the RAF.

September 30th, 2013
Arriving at West Kirby RAF.
1954 was the time when we all had a Ducks Arse Haircut called a Tony Curtis. when I arrived for my sqaure bashing (Drill)
The CO (Commanding Officer) noticed my hair and placed me on report.

Thar night all the lad’s in my hut were getting me at it, telling me that I would get at least 14 days CB (confined to barracks) for having long hair.

I thought I would bet on it
Get away with it .evens
3 days evens
7 days 4/1
others 16/1

All the Airman who had been in the camp more than a week knew that it was a certainty that I would get 3 days for a first offence. and get my hair sheared. after.

Within 1/2 hour I had taken over 40£ with people coming in from other huts to clean up. every bet 3 days.

As I walked in with the RS (Regimental Sargent) the CO gave me a right bollocking about my DA. before saying

“3 Day Confined to barracks.Take him out.Sargent.”

I never budged “What do you want? ” cried the CO.

” I don’t think its fair I only had it cut on Wednesday”

“Sargent Take the fool out in quick time and make it 14 Days.”

You should have seen my comrades eyes when they found out.


Spot the Difference.

September 30th, 2013

In the 1950s Betting in the UK was very mundane, Football Pools dogs and horses about your lot.

Win or each way, forecasts, tri-casts, horses, anti post a few of the important races, Football coupons, led by William Hill. seemed exiting enough, with one concession, if you ignore the trade war on Football draws.
Locally there would be a few fishing contests even a famous human running event called the “Powderhall”, The days of huge betting coups on this event and malpractice are long gone but the tradition, spirit and atmosphere remain. To win the “Big Sprint” remains the dream of all competitors no matter their age or ability. and many coups were organised with years in advance creating a good handicap.
No doubt the most cunning of tricksters were the Druids Lodge Confederacy, but it was ringers and doping of American Gangs made it very interesting to hear that Barney Curley thought that the DLC brigade were his very best read.

In June 1956, the telephone wires were cut off at Bath, allowing a few Birmingham racecourse Bookmakers operating on the track, to knock out the price of there selection because the cash spread all over the place off course remained un hedged. the 10/1 should by all accounts have been odds on.

The Dagenham Coup a greyhound con, also remained as a sleeper in many cases, the small stakes not worth travelling back to collect in some cases.

The Rochester Coup also greyhounds was a brilliantly planned con, never got paid.

Other Ringers, at Leicester and Newton Abott never gained the gold. other than from a few genuine punters who bet without any prior knowledge.

In all these events and a few I have forgotten there would be those who would try to circumvent an advantage. not in the interest of the Bookmaking industry or fellow punters not in the know. what many ignore is that a confidants payment is made up of Bookmakers stake not there own money but genuine punters who bet in the event backing the losers.

Winning coups, have been part and parcel of the gambling industry ever since the word bet was first used. Cheating is a word, that was a little strong when you consider the terrible value for punters. during the war years, with limits so restrictive it was almost impossible to win.
Of the large cons, or strokes during the early years 50s/70s. 99% fell by the wayside, when it was clear that the instigators had forgot to include in the possible outcomes the fact that Bookmakers did not have to pay for the law protected them if they wished to claim the Gambling Act, if they didn’t wish to. and the cleverer the stroke, there was a thank you but no thanks.on many occasion.

Gay Future by far the best of all scams, until Barney Curley used his copy cat plan mimicking the trick to perfection. and what more he got paid.

It was when Bookmakers began a few years ago to increase wagers within a bet known as spot betting did the flood gates open on crooked scams. making cheating Bookmakers an art form. carried out in many cases by Bookmakers themselves.

Any one who knows a professional sportsman, can discuss making easy money, And instead of frightening the life out of him by saying let your opponent win, and we can clear up.
You can convince him that by betting on bets within the overall wager is money for old rope..

many of the spot cons, take place at an early stage of an event, In Tennis, when a graded player plays some one graded in the 500s. “Look Billy, lose the first set, and pretend you have a strained back. we will sure to get an even £10,K. lovely jubly.”
There have been many who do not understand the concept, probably thinking this is honest enough. for the game itself is correct.

When in running betting commenced with the onset of exchange betting, (Betfair) it was possible to create 100 bets within a single event. all of which on the eye seem to have crept under the radar. as far as security or transparency, is concerned. but what the recent snooker player forgot to remember is that Fraud is like Herpies it never goes away.

In cricket it was the clever Asian Bookmakers who launched the Spot Bet, to the danger it is now, the cricket game has been well known fir the amount of crooked tossing of a coin on who bets first no one would think this is a terrible thing after all it is only Bookies money. but it is not.

What made single bets on a test match boring opened up so much excitement, when ball by ball. betting was launched.
But it took the no ball fiasco that opened up. a massive enquiry into major cheating, showing every one the possibility, for a simple gain.

However what very few people understand is that Betfair markets, are so accurate that a thinker can smell a rat, before that animal can smell the cheese. itself.

It was the Knock Out by clever dicks, in the late 40s early 50s, who first perfected this stroke.
I remember one day a good thing at 5/4 was backed all over the country, but not win but each way.

Many Bookmakers thought it was a bet worth taking, until it was knocked out to 9/2, it was difficult for it to be hedged when the Bookmaker on course was only prepared to take win bets.

The Miss World betting even after they had reached the last dozen, showed the potential

It was the word LIVE that allowed for fortunes to be made.

The introduction of internet markets, with a trade war offering every conceivable concession, of bonus. just to build a massive customer base. has allowed wonderful opportunities. The best was the day that John Macrirrick was 4/7 to be first out of a reality show. he was abusive slobbering even undressing, he openly admitted that he wanted out,

When I received a telephone call that said, This is a great bet, Ive been told by a telephone enginer that the public are phoning 90% to get him out.
I told him to phone the program and ask them what the rules are. he phoned me back stating you wont believe it they are bringing in another runner.

Sylvester Stallone’s Mother. a 4/11 chance.

The money back concept in horse-racing,(2nd) and Football. Draw is as good as it comes, but of course it is for new clients only, and someone who uses the Bonus to great affect will soon be shaved. and account closed.

I was the only racecourse Bookmaker to ever bet money back if 2nd, I did so only when a race was competitive, to do so when there is a very short price favourite, then even William Hill who is making up for the time they let the 1961 betting act slip out of there reach, and caused a million £ catch up.

As one of the very first Bookmaker’s to bet on the colour of the Queens Ascot Hat, this was well before mobile phones, but when the mobile first came out, I stationed some one at Windsor great park, to wave to the queen and get the result, 30 minutes before her coach reached the 1 furlong post,. I was working on the assumption that if some one was going to get the result first it had to be me,

On one occasion a gentleman, waved an envelope, containing a £1,000 I assumed, asked for an even money wager long after the result was known. well at least to him and me.

This wasn’t the first time, that an advantage had been sought, one day at Devon a man came to me and offered me an envelope sealed from a bank. and asked if he could bet money in hand,

Placing a £10 bet on the first he probably thought I would be happy to leave the envelope intack. the second time he came to me he wanted a £300 on the next favourite at evens, he was shocked when I opened up the envelope, only to find £200 and a block of paper.

One of the first spot bets I conducted was The during a 1984 FA Cup when I bet on a possible “Streaker” getting the lead from the previous years when a young girl interrupting a game of rugby, Erica Roe was frint page news when she did the act at Twickenham.,

I introduced a list of streakers from one to 5. within a day I had a team of Students from a famous Collage, in Birmingham attempting a clever coup. were they intended to all attend the match, with long mack’s on with nothing under ‘underneath. and as the odds for one streaker was 10/1 they must of dreamed of a Barney Curly type success.

When the bet was promoted by a local newspaper, The Express and Star, the feature writer, attempted to get on himself having been told by the planners what they intended to do.

I certainly did not intend to go down without a fight. so it was imperative that the event should contain certain strict rules.

One of which was that to be seen as an official streaker they would have to be stark naked and get as far as the centre circle. what a pity fir the planners it was cold and they all wore thick socks.

I also sent a copy of my bet to Wembley. in case they wanted a wager fortunate for me, there were an extra 50 policemen, in appropriate positions. looking after my interest.

It was a few days after the match when I was told that there had been an attempt by 3 students, but had been thwarted,

When I bet on the naming of Charles Diane first child I had a great list printed and in an attempt to make it exiting, I wanted 16 runners fir each way interest.
I was having trouble finding 16 appropriate names, starting with
Charles, Henry, George, I got to 14 but was struggling however Abbe and Elvis soon filled up the blank spaces.

I have always giggled when the first bet a 50 pence win, on Elvis, was followed by
“You may as well pay me now, for Elvis is already the King.”

The best wager I ever struck was in 1960s a double “Man on the Moon and The Lochness Monster.” both 100/1 and it has been over 43 year since the punter asked me if I would pay him out, on half the bet. when a man did set foot on the Moon. and as he looked to be in his late 60s, I doubt I will hear from him again.

One thing I do know is that many strokes that take place can be foreseen before the event takes place and this we have to thank BETFAIR,

The recent Snooker scandal was so blatant that even I almost joined in. my advice is for punters to monitor all spot bets, and use there common sense, for of a banana looks like one it probably is one.

One of the best Spot bets, I ever saw was the Football Throw in Saga were a Bookmaker offered spread wager, against the time taken for the first throw In.

When several large bets, were requested, under 10 minutes then as the odds shortened, to 5 and even lower. the bet was suspended.

With excitement, I sat in the stand as the game commenced, watching the Centre Forward slide the ball to his inside right, who booted it over the grandstand into the river tames, making gambling history. the result 3 seconds. well worth an enquiry don’t you think.

Were ever Gambling takes place, there will always be a planners seeking an advantage. that will never end.

So just think outside the box, and seek the impossible.dream