Gonzo’s Betting Diary; I’m back baby

It has been a while but the betting diary is back.  This was going so badly that I decided to stop, then lo and behold I started winning again.  I’m not a tipster, I don’t post on Twitter about guaranteed winners, or systems – I’m a straight-up gambler.  And as such, I took it as a lucky sign that the week I decided to stop posting was when I started bringing in a healthy profit again, and for a few weeks it worked.  But the luck has run out now and last week was particularly tough – two four folds let down by one match in each, both of those games ended in draws.

So I’m back with a slightly different format and a more ambitious attitude.  Fortune favours the brave etc.

The Outsiders Treble

I love looking for value and Las Palmas at Granada sticks out like a goth in Sports Direct.  Struggling Granada are unbeaten in five at home but all of those opponents have been fairly weak, or mid-table teams with little to play for.  Las Palmas however, are one of the form teams in La Liga – over the last 10 games they’ve picked up more points than Barcelona and at a top price 29/5 (mostly 11/2) they cannot be ignored.

West Ham are 11/10 to win at West Brom and they’re worth adding to this treble (admittedly they’re not the outsiders in this fixture but odds against is good enough).  The Baggies managed a huge draw at Spurs last time out and that kind of result can go one way at this stage of the season – either it inspires them to a grandstand finish now they’ve got nothing to play for, or it took a lot out of them.  I’m banking on option B and as the Hammers are still pushing for Europe they’ll see this as one they should win.

It is party time for Rotherham United as they’ve successfully avoided the drop, Blackburn meanwhile are ending what has to be viewed as a disappointing season with uncertainty behind the scenes.  This doesn’t always impact on the performance on the pitch but in any case I reckon the Millers will want to put on a show in their last home game so I’ll be on them at 6/4, making this a tidy 33.59 (just shy of 33/1) treble.

Hollywood Bet

Portsmouth are in the play-offs now, maybe they’ll rest some players at Hartlepool as automatic looks too far away, even though it is mathematically possible.  The Pools are looking to bounce back after two defeats with a newish manager in charge so there is some motivation there.  Big call but a 10/1 Hartlepool win with both teams to score is what makes this a Hollywood bet.

Still in League Two, Wimbledon are 3/1 at Stevenage with both teams to score and in League One Millwall at 13/4 to do the same to a visiting Oldham side.

This ambitious punt splashes out 175.95 (almost 175/1), worth a nibble surely?

This was written on Thursday evening and published on Friday so the odds may have changed. I use Oddschecker, but am in no way affiliated with them.

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Gonzo Sports Digest; Where are Snooker’s Great Entertainers?

The World Snooker Championship starts tomorrow and I had intended to do some kind of preview, maybe looking for a potential winner, first round upsets and that kind of thing, but if I’m being honest I’ve just not watched enough lately to offer any real insight.

That’s the problem with writing about sport, sometimes you have to cover an event that maybe you don’t know too much about. A lot of the time the audience is probably more clued in than the writer, especially in niche stuff like snooker.

I get caught up in that fairly often in my job, Formula 1 would be the main contender there as I’ve totally lost interest in it as a fan, meaning I only ever watch the racing at work but anyway I digress. The key point being I didn’t want to pull that kind of shit on here.

So instead I’m going to take a look at some comments made to Press Association Sport by Mike Watterson, a former player himself who worked as a promoter and brought snooker’s top prize to Sheffield.

“I don’t think it’s more professional at all. The old pros like John Pulman, Fred Davis and John Spencer, they were playing in working men’s clubs for £40 a night, they were entertainers. If they weren’t making big breaks, they’d be doing trick shots.

“These days they’re just po-faced kids. It all goes back to Steve Davis, he started the rot. We used to call him the Romford Robot. He’s a very nice guy and he was so professional in a playing point of view.

“The other lads would show a bit of character and personality.

“Then of course you got Stephen Hendry. He was very shy and he was a follow-on from Steve Davis.”

Watterson is 73 now and this could quite easily be written off as a ‘things were better back in my day’ kind of rant from an old-timer.  But in fairness there’s more than a smidgen of truth in his observations.

Davis is a great pundit; he’s insightful, quite the raconteur and a big personality – but as a player he was boring as hell. It is easy to forget that when he’s having a chinwag with Hazel Irvine on a BBC couch.  Hendry was slightly more enjoyable to watch around the table but he’s a truly awful pundit, devoid of charisma. Both were exceptional ‘match players’, by that I mean winning is all important and how you do it is almost irrelevant.

There are loads of guys around now who loosely fit that mould, going through this year’s World Championship draw I’d pick out Ali Carter, Martin Gould, Graeme Dott, Peter Ebdon to name a few and, of course, the masters of ‘match play’ Mark Selby and Neil Robertson.

I don’t necessarily think all of these guys are boring, Robertson for example can be exhilarating when in full flight. But for these players and countless others, results are the be all and end all and the spectacle is often sacrificed.

The true entertainers are those who don’t mind taking the odd risk to get a frame smashed off quickly. The guys who see safety shots as a last resort and will blow the reds open at the earliest opportunity. The Jimmy Whites, the Alex Higgins characters and the Tony Dragos….  Obviously Ronnie O’Sullivan fits the bill and Judd Trump with his ‘naughty snooker’ definitely goes into the ‘entertainer’ category but aside from those two, who are we looking at?

John Higgins has drifted more into the pragmatic type these days.  That’s fair enough, he probably wants to stay at the top level for as long as he can and has decided that’s the best way to do it.  Mark Allen, Ding Junhui and Stuart Bingham, the current world champion, probably deserve a mention but no more than that.

I’ve always been more of an occasional than hardcore snooker fan.  I make an effort to watch the ‘Triple Crown’ events but the others I can take or leave most of the time, usually my interest builds ahead of the Crucible but not so much this year, and perhaps that’s due to a lack of players on the tour who are genuinely looking to put on a display as well as winning titles.

Maybe they are just “po-faced kids” but regardless I’ll still be watching the World Championship.  I suppose if World Snooker want to make the game more entertaining and encourage risks there has got to be some incentive to do so, and ten grand for a maximum apparently doesn’t cut it anymore.

Further reading;

Mike Watterson full interview

World Championship draw

O’Sullivan snubs 147 video

Follow/abuse us on Twitter @GonzoSportsDesk, we’re not fancy we follow back.

Gonzo Sports Digest; Doncaster Rovers, One Direction and Daniel Sturridge

Life can be a bit like a blind date, regardless of the initial level of promise having an exit strategy or fallback plan is a necessity.  Mine is to wait until I’m old enough to no longer be seen as a threat, at which point I’ll become a con artist. Not one of these Daily Mail fodder types stealing pensions and whatnot, more the lovable rogue you don’t mind being hoodwinked by. Currently I’m speeding up the aging process by drinking excessively and regularly so I can realise my dream sooner. It’s a winner.

One Direction have the world at their feet at the moment (sort of anyway, they’ve probably got a few more millions to make after this hiatus) but Louis Tomlinson is already thinking about his next move – designing football kits.  Daniel Sturridge has gone the other way as apparently a hip hop career beckons after his playing career is over but we’ll start with 1D.

Doncaster Rovers and Louis Tomlinson

Donny native Tomlinson entered the competition to design Rovers kit with his granddad in what could have been a sickeningly sweet narrative, but it hasn’t quite worked out that way.  Understandably many see it as some kind of fix, perhaps a marketing ploy to sell more shirts to young girls blinded by their love for the world’s hottest boy band or orchestrated internally due to his links with the club (he’s played for the reserve team in the past).

I’ve got no idea whether it was contrived or not and in fairness it is a pretty decent strip but I do have one question; isn’t he a little bit too old to be entering a design your club’s kit competition?  Louis Tomlinson is 24, a father and a millionaire for Harry Styles’ sake. There are probably some kids out there in South Yorkshire gutted that they didn’t win, he’s stealing all the happiness. Even if it is totally legit some credibility has been lost there, or it would have been if any of his hardcore fans were of legal drinking age.

As a club Doncaster probably didn’t handle it too well either.  To announce the One Direction star’s winning design they went with the headline ‘Top of the Tops’, a reference that probably doesn’t carry much weight for the vast majority of Directioners and seems kind of lame and way too obvious to anyone who does remember ‘Top of the Pops’.

(Louis Tomlinson, his granddad and the club have all denied it was in any way a set-up, he also isn’t accepting the prize, a free holiday to Thailand)

Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge fancies himself as a producer

While Louis Tomlinson is a frustrated footballer, Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has musical aspirations.  The England international did an interview for Highsnobiety and hinted he could be tempted by some musical endeavours, then the NME ran with it and made a bit more of his comments than perhaps he intended.

Anyway, he lists Drake and Kanye West as guys he admires so whatever he’s got planned chances are it isn’t going to be too groundbreaking.  He also refers to 50 Cent as a ‘legend from way back’ which makes me feel kind of old even though we’re a similar age, I’d be sticking Public Enemy and The Pharcyde in that category myself and I’m not even sure whether Eminem falls into it (the way back part, not the legend part). I’m with him on Jordans though, Sturridge is a man who knows his kicks.

Further Reading;

‘Top of the Tops’

BBC reaction piece to the Doncaster kit

Highsnobiety

NME

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Doctor Mark Bonar and the Latest Sports Stars Doping Scandal

I woke up this morning to the headline ‘Footballers ‘doped’ by London doctor’, but there is an undercurrent to this story that seems to have been largely overlooked, if not totally ignored.

The doctor in question is one Mark Bonar, who has been the subject of a Sunday Times investigation.  I’ve had to use the BBC’s report as I don’t particularly want to pay a subscription for The Times and in any case what’s the point when their biggest stories get re-reported elsewhere?

Anyway, Bonar was secretly filmed claiming he’d prescribed performance-enhancing drugs to 150 athletes both in the UK and abroad over the past years.  These athletes include a number of Premier League footballers, an England cricket player and tennis players.

Sensational stuff indeed – providing it is the truth.

Within the article the BBC make a passing mention to the fact he is facing a misconduct tribunal later this month unrelated to this apparent doping scandal.

A link to the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service is provided outlining the details so I did a bit of further research (typed Mark Bonar into a search engine) and came across an article on that impending tribunal in The Mirror.

He is alleged to have hidden a patient’s terminal cancer so he could carry on charging her for treatments and to have informed her she was not eligible for NHS treatment as she was not a British citizen.  Bonar denies all 16 allegations of misconduct – but what if they are true?

Granted, the two cases are unrelated aside from the fact Bonar is at the centre of both. But if these allegations are proven to be correct that would paint Bonar as an untrustworthy individual. A man whose testimony could not be taken at face value, regardless of the fact he was seemingly secretly filmed.  If someone can lie to a woman dying of cancer about the severity of her disease he can probably lie to anyone, undercover journos included.  The Sunday Times make a good argument and there is almost certainly weight behind the story but by the same token they have probably jumped the gun by publishing now rather than wait until after his misconduct tribunal. Maybe a rival was also aware of the story so they felt they had to run it, who knows.

If this doping story is on the money make no mistake it is huge – but before we go witch hunting for any of his former sporting patients/clients perhaps it might be better to wait and see just what kind of man Bonar is then re-evaluate the situation from there. The tribunal is set for April 11-16, so it isn’t like we’ve got too long to wait.

Dr Mark Bonar Update 12/7/2016

I’ve been keeping an eye out to try and find the result of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service hearing but Bonar’s keeps getting put back. Currently he is on their calendar from today until Thursday (July 14th 2016) but this has happened before. As soon as something happens I will update again.

Further Reading;

BBC article

Mirror article

Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service

UpdateThe Guardian have written something along similar lines to this, only fancier and with more research.

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