If paying out on Man Utd early in the 1998 season and losing by a single point felt cruel, the 2011/12 incident was something else.
Not only did Fred Done once again lose a ton of money, but his gamble only lost because of goal difference. He must have been gutted.
He played a more cautious game in some respects this time, there were only 7 games still to play rather than the 10 left the last time he paid out early back in 1998, but instead of a 12 point lead United were only 5 points clear.
What’s more, Man City away was one of their remaining games.
“Even with the Derby to come a five point lead is just too much for City, so once again I’m letting my United punters have their dough early to the tune of just over half million quid. Back in 1998 Fergie told me to never pay out early again but Sir Alex need not worry, I’ve not got it wrong this time, United are past the post for a record twentieth Premier League title.”
Oh Fred, when will you learn?
You have to wonder whether this might have been a bit of a dig in the ribs to City fans from the famous Red Devils supporter, but it was an expensive dig if that’s the case.
At the time the bets were paid out, United had just beaten Blackburn 2-0 while City had drawn 3-3 with Sunderland. They had both played the same number of games, but City had scored one more than United. In 3rd was Arsenal, 18 points behind United and 13 behind City, so it really was a two horse race by this point.
Manchester Derby Doom for Betfred
Things were looking good for United until the end of April, when a 4-4 draw with Everton coincided with Man City’s 2-0 thrashing of Wolves, taking their lead to just 3 points with three games to play.
But the next game was City away, and a tough 90 minutes at the Etihad ended with a 1-0 victory for Man City thanks to a first half injury time header by team captain, Vincent Kompany. He beat Chris Smalling to the ball from a corner, and sealed United’s – and Betfred’s – fate there and then.
This brought both teams to 83 points, with City ahead only by goal difference of +8.
Manchester United fought hard to bang in the goals over the next two matches, managing a 2-0 win over Swansea at the same time as City netted the same number against Newcastle, and just a 1-0 over Sunderland in the final game of the season.
City had won on goal difference, United had failed to win their 20th League title, and Fred Done once again had to pay out twice; once to those who bet on United to win the league, and once to those who bet on Man City.
He has been quoted as saying the United bets cost him £300k, but with the City bets on top it is estimated to have cost Betfred around £500k.
No prizes for guessing which payout hurt the most.
The interesting thing is that at the time Done announced the early payout, Betfred had the Sky Blues pegged to win the league the following season as 7/4 favourites.