There are bigger acca wins out there, but this historic £500,000 accumulator win is noteworthy because it was won at odds of over 1.6 million to one – 1,666,667/1 to be precise – and cost the punter just 30p.
What’s more – he had done it before.
The bet was placed at William Hill by a Lichfield based punter who apparently has a crystal ball. Mick Gibbs, a roofer who was 59 at the time, had already won £157,400 on a £2.50 acca in 1999.
This time, he put a bet on 15 different competition winners before the 2000/01 season began, so that 30 pence bet carried a heck of a lot of entertainment value over that time.
Since the bet was placed over 20 years ago, information on the individual odds for each bet isn’t easy to come by, but we know the 15-fold acca included winning predictions of the following:
- Premier League
- League One
- League Two
- National League
- Scottish Championship
- Scottish League One
- Scottish League Two
- Champions League
- Rugby Union Championship
- Rugby NatWest Trophy
- County Cricket Championship
Plus three bets for Arsenal, Hibernian and Falkirk to win league matches played in August of 2000.
It really was a hotchpotch of an acca.
Imagine Mick watching each leg of it come in, one after another, week after week, realising what could be about to happen (again), and then sitting down to watch the final game that would make or break his bet.
A Nervous Night of Penalties
As it turns out, he couldn’t face watching it. He tried, but ended up pacing around on his patio and checking teletext every 5 minutes instead.
He obviously has a talent for picking games that are going to get the heart pumping though; his last acca won when Man Utd unexpectedly beat Bayern Munich by scoring 2 goals in the last 2 minutes, and this one would be no less stressful.
The last leg of the acca was the Champions League final in Milan, a hard fought battle between Bayern Munich and Valencia which ended 1-1 after extra time, resulting in a penalty shootout.
Interestingly, both goals in the game up until that point had been scored from the penalty spot as well, and a third had been saved by Valencia’s keeper, Santiago Cañizares, so it had already been a tense night.
The bet on the ticket was for Bayern to lift the trophy, but things didn’t go well as their first penalty went miles over the bar, and Valencia scored their opener easily. Oliver Kahn saved Valencia’s third attempt though, giving Bayern (and Mick, who must have been gasping for air at this point) fresh hope.
Unbelievably though, Bayern’s 4th spot kick was an embarrassingly poor attempt that was easily saved, but Kahn put his hero cape on once more making a great save straight afterwards, keeping the score at 2-2.
It was 3-3 by the time the match reached sudden death, and after a few more successful spot kicks from both sides Oliver Kahn saved his third penalty, ending the match and giving Bayern their first European Championship in 25 years.
About 950 miles away, screaming his lungs out somewhere in Lichfield, Mick Gibbs had just won half a million quid for the price of a packet of Smarties.