Saturday, 29 May 2010


This is my tribute to the daredevil, fearless Glasgow layer John Banks who nearly went bankrupt on a genius display by Jim Baxter against Red Star Belgrade in 1964. His downfall was offering typically overly generous odds on players to score. Anyway John regrouped and if I’m not mistaken not only got his money back (those bookies always do) and later sold up his chain of betting shops for a lot of money. His generous odds were genuinely missed by punters and are still fondly recalled by older Glaswegians.

"The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that is the way to bet." Damon Runyon.
-And I would add the tortoise v the hare was definitely fixed. The hare has since denied ever meeting with members of a far east betting syndicate.

Firstly the pre tournament prices are slim so you might as well wait for a couple of games to check out the form. The International Friendlies before the tournament when managers are still experimenting are not a great form guide.

Betting on the finalists is a tricky business, especially as some of the better teams are not always too upset about being group runners up. However that’s why the odds are long. If you want to have a punt it’s often a good idea to pick 2 teams from the same group (as they can’t meet again until the final) or teams from opposite ends of the draw.

For match betting, the games to look out for are the last games in the group stages and the ‘dead rubbers’. Where a qualified team team plays an eliminated one.

Sometimes nations that have already qualified will use these matches to rest their best players, omit players on a yellow card as they don’t want them to risk suspension for the knock out stages, rotate the squad to keep fringe players happy etc.. and of course sometimes if you’ve got your eye on the big picture it is no great heartache to finish second in the group and possibly get an easier route to the final. For a team already out, there is considerable pride to play for, players one last chance to showcase their talent, putting on a show to ease the forthcoming criticism back home and of course a desire to say that they won a game at the World Cup.

What I’m saying is, this is the set of matches when there’s real value in backing the underdog.

Another thing to look out for is for teams that are sluggish starters, the odds on them drift out. Historically Italy are a good example of a team that are slow out of the blocks (possibly due to their defensive first nature) but are very dangerous in the knockout phases. Their 1982 win, a very good example. Sometimes a big team might be shocked early on eg Argentina against Cameroon in 1990, not only will this galvinise the team but their odds after that defeat went out to 33-1 and if you backed them ‘each way’ you would have collected as they went on to reach the Final. (And if you’re good at maths, you could have then laid off the bet in the final to guarantee a bigger win)

The other thing to bear in mind is that in the knockout phases, draws are particularly frequent over 90minutes.

Celtic football club once appointed a guy called Lou Macari as manager, Lou was what is known as a category Z punter. that’s a phrase in the betting industry for bookies to be very wary of said punter. Among his coups, famously he collected at 100-1 on a team he then managed, Swindon to lose a match 5-0. I think he does quite a bit of media work so I’d listen closely to his predictions!
(Edited To Add : Just googled Lou Macari and it seems his betting predictions of late have not been so great)

OK – CAMEROON! (80-1 with Corals)
“With the competition on the African continent, an African country is well placed to launch a serious challenge and Cameroon have got some very good players and have plenty of World Cup Experience.” But whilst that’s all very true, I’m actually basing my prediction on the Rino Gattuso theorem.

Namely they are managed by one Paul Le Guen and so somebody who was not successful with Rangers will therefore go on to lift the World Cup. If only John Banks were still laying odds.

Don’t bet more than you can afford, but if you’re a compulsive gambler you will ignore that anyway. Bear in mind that if I was a top gambler (or like Lou once was, a category Z punter) I would be in the Caribbean sipping tequilas not a rundown home office in rainy North London.



Whilst I’m waiting for the new website to be coded and uploaded, I would like to begin by a quick round up of the Rangers in London clubs for 2010.

Firstly, Congratulations to Rangers on their world record 53rd Scottish title and a remarkable 9 man victory in the League Cup Final. Particular praise must go to Walter Smith and the coaching staff for getting the most out of our squad when financial constraints have made buying re-inforcements impossible. Yet it is the very quality and tradition of resilience in the face of adversity that makes Rangers so special. Equally so, the support given to the 9 men at Hampden was not just breathtaking but a crucial factor in a triumph against the all the odds.

A special well done to 40 year old Davie Weir who played in every minute of every league game against and with players old enough to be his sons. You are an inspiration. Delighted Walter Smith will be in charge for 1 more year and the chance to make it 3-in-a-row.

Incidentally, I’m in that camp that thinks his assistant the legendary Ally McCoist will be a great manager when he takes over in 2 years time as unlike some players who immediately become managers, Ally has patiently served his apprenticeship working alongside Walter Smith. In the process sacrificing a cushy, lucrative and fantastic lifestyle as a media pundit to work daily on the training ground. He is and will be determined but I trust remain the popular, smiling and fun gentleman that he’s always been.

Obviously, the sooner the financial mess is sorted out and David Murray is once and for all out of Rangers the better. I hope at least a responsible custodian is installed who is there for the football, Rangers and not the chance of a quick buck or a bit of property. I hope we can move upwards in Europe where even if we probably won’t win the Champions League, we will at least punch our weight again.


Also Thanks to former Celtic manager Tony Mowbray for his contributions or lack of them during the season. A special Thanks to Scottish Cup Finalists Ross County for giving me the best laugh of the season with their glorious semi final triumph. Listening to Neil Lennon afterwards, pure comedy gold.


Congratulations to Chelsea for winning their first ever League and Cup Double. Not just for collecting the trophies but the way they won them with dynamic, attacking football and a hatful of goals. Carlo Ancelloti hit the floor running and though Manchester United without Ronaldo and Tevez were not the team they had been (see also Arsenal below), you can only beat what’s in front of you and the longer Ancelloti is there the better you should become. Incidentally if I’m not mistaken this is the 3rd consecutive season that the winners of the Champions League have been the team to beat Chelsea. Maybe next year Roman’s final wish will come true. (Looking at his wealth and Chelsea’s triumphs, here’s the man who found a lock up full of lamps complete with genies inside)

Congratulations to Spurs on reaching the Champions League for the first time and earning their first tilt at the big eared cup since 62. It’s been great talking to normally cynical Spurs fans in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and beyond already looking forward to next season with an excitement akin to a young child the night before Christmas. That’s what football is about. For so many years, all the aggravation, recriminations and then the hit of joy that makes it all worthwhile. For goodness sakes Spurs, don’t screw up your Champions League Group Stage qualifier, the Samaritans in North London couldn’t cope. Incidentally, even my cousin an Arsenal fan (his Dad is a Spurs Season Ticket holder and he’s been wandering around with the widest grin on his face) didn’t begrudge you your Champions League spot, he’s very moralistic and was pleased it went to yourselves rather than Man City who spent a small fortune trying to buy their way there. And well done to Harry Redknapp for setting a high target, reaching it and for somehow making a quality keeper out of the man formerly known as Hilarious Gomes. A metaphoric slap (this blog does not incite or condone violence) though and I daresay more than a few of you will agree with me is deserved in the direction of the Directors for recently buying up the historic Corner Pin pub only to immediately close it and turn it into another ticket office. That is not progress it’s cultural vandalism.

When you look at the Arsenal team of the early 1960’s a 3rd place finish would be worthy of Congratulations. However by the standards set by Arsene Wenger and not least by his ‘invincibles’ it’s probably a case of Better Luck next time. As usual Arsenal played some absolutely glorious stuff at various points of the season but I hardly need to tell you about the clowning around between the sticks and lack of depth up front. Still in Arsene Wenger you must trust, to those Arsenal fans who get on his back well frankly it could get plus mal quand il quitte l’Arsenal. You might also want to watch out for an impending boardroom battle, Arsenal is extremely well run, your new stadium amazing but you don’t want to be another Manchester United or Liverpool run by spiv, leverage merchants.

Thank You for hosting the Emirates Cup and I can’t believe you considered Jack Wilshire surplus to requirements for this season and loaned him to Bolton, that young man was simply brilliant against us. Finally, wishing young Aaron Ramsey a full and speedy recovery from that terrible injury sustained at Stoke.

Congratulations to QPR for their attempt at breaking the world record for managers hired and fired in a season. Not sure if it’s been verified yet. Still at least you stayed up and hopefully can now remove the revolving door in the manager’s office as you now have in place a really good manager who knows the division and how to get out of it and has funds available from the assorted billionaire owners with the one’s now running the show promising no further boardroom interference. So long as they keep to their word, I think you’re in with a real shout for Promotion next season.


Congratulations to Red Star Belgrade on their 2010 Serbian Cup Triumph.
Red star though are like Rangers in that they are a massively and passionately supported club whose fans expect them to win the League Championship every season. Sadly this year it wasn’t to be and it was a 3rd place finish. Still football is frequently cyclical and who knows it might not be too long until you have another great side like the European Cup winners of 1991. Good Luck in Europe next year.

Commiserations to Sparta Rotterdam who finished 16th in the 18 team Eredivisie but then got relegated in the play offs. Least said, the better. Hope you make a speedy return to the top flight. Bring back Dennis Neville!

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Welcome To The Blog To Accompany Rangers In London.
~Lots of ½ interesting content coming soon~

The Rangers In London website is currently being updated.
(Yeah I know, last update 2005)

The Rangers In London ebook will be released
with the updated Rangers in London website.

Both website and book with a bit of luck should be ready
before the World Cup kicks off. (They better had!)