Friday, August 27, 2010

Betting Scams - Rigging Football Matches

Upton Park, 4th November 1997, Crystal Palace are leading West Ham United 2-1 when in the 65th minute Frank Lampard collects the ball on the edge of the penalty area and drills home a well-earned equaliser.

Seconds later, as the West Ham players celebrate, the ground decends into darkness as, inexplicably, the floodlighs fail.
A quarter of an hour later, two of the floodlights on the North Stand flicker into life before going out once more. With the ground in darkness the referee David Elleray has no option but to abandon the game.

A month later at Selhurst Park, Wimbledon (who were ground sharing with Crystal Palace at the time) were holding Arsenal to a draw, when precisely the same thing occurred. Selhurst Park's floodlights died after just 13 seconds of the second half. On this occasion, engineers managed to restart them just 12 minutes later, only for them to go out again - this time permanently - while the players were warming up to go back on. Referee Dermot Gallagher immediately called the game off.

Again, nobody had the faintest notion of what happened. No one suspected anything suspicious, after all electrical problems did happen, and in the darkness fixing them quickly was almost impossible, so there was no option but to abandon the matches. So the blame was laid squarely at the feet of shoddy maintenance and dodgy wiring.

It would be two years before police finally uncovered what really occurred during those games and, when they did, they found a scam so devious that it stood to make the operators millions of pounds whenever they felt like putting it into practice!

The man behind it was Wai Yuen Liu, who Police suspected of having links with the Triad gangs of Hong Kong. Based in London, Liu was a notorious gambler and convicted credit card fraudster, and was the first point of contact for the syndicates in the Far East. With the help of two Malaysian henchmen, Liu set about targeting games that would reap the biggest dividends for the syndicate back home.

After their successes at Upton Park and Selhurst Park, the gang set about rigging the Premiership game between Charlton and Liverpool at The Valley. But first they needed a a contact at the ground.
They eventually approached Roger Firth, a 49 year-old security guard who had been working there for four years. With the promise of £20,000 in cash for his co-operation, the syndicate had now secured guaranteed access to the ground's power supply.
It only took a couple of hours to install a device capable of picking up a radio signal into the circuit controlling the flow of power to the lights. The device could then be used to switch off the lights using a hand-held remote control, similar to that used to open and close garage doors.

Under British betting rules, a match is considered void and all stakes are returned if it does not reach full-time. The crucial difference in betting legislation in the Far East is that if the game is abandoned after half-time, the result at the time of abandonment stands as the final score........and this is how the syndicate planned to make their millions, by stopping games in the second-half, when the scoreline stood at a point which would allow them to make the most possible money.

The syndicate's activities may have remained undetected, but for a loss of nerve on the part of security guard Firth. Firth still feared officials at The Valley might rumble the gang, and things fell apart when he tried to bribe another security guard. It was the man Firth tried to bribe that contacted the police.

As their investigation progressed, the police discovered a working remote control device in the car used by the men at Charlton and a further eight devices in their possession. The idea that 11 matches - each capable at the time of generating up to £30million - could be interfered with, gives you some idea of the kind of money they stood to make.

When the case came to trial in August 1999, Chee Kew Ong, a Malaysian businessman and Ena Hwa Lim, a Malaysian electronics engineer were both sentenced to four years imprisonment, while Wai Yuen Liu received a 30 month sentence. Roger Firth meanwhile, got 18 months.

Although it affected Asian betting, it thankfully left no slur or question mark on English football, and precautions were put in place to ensure it couldn’t happen again. It must be said, the Malaysian syndicate did not at any point make any attempt to subvert players to influence the scores.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Champions League Draw 2010/11 - Group Stages

Group A:
Inter Milan, Werder Bremen, Tottenham, FC Twente

Group B:
Lyon, Benfica, Schalke, Hapoel Tel-Aviv

Group C:
Manchester United, Valencia, Rangers, Bursaspor

Group D:
Barcelona, Panathinaikos, FC Copenhagen, Rubin Kazan

Group E:
Bayern Munich, AS Roma, Basel, CFR Cluj

Group F:
Chelsea, Marseille, Spartak Moscow, Zilina

Group G:
AC Milan, Real Madrid, Ajax, Auxerre

Group H:
Arsenal, Shakhtar Donetsk, Braga, Partizan Belgrade

Fixture Dates:

Matchday 1: 14th/15th September
Matchday 2: 28th/29th September
Matchday 3: 19th/20th October
Matchday 4: 2nd/3rd November
Matchday 5: 23rd/24th November
Matchday 6: 7th/8th December

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Battle of the Wannabes - Betting News with Betfred


Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson has been given possibly the hardest challenge to start his Premier League life with his new club, and he now has to do it without his marquee summer signing.

Joe Cole's sending off in the opening weekend draw with Arsenal means he is now unavailable for Monday's clash with Premier League moneybags Manchester City, with Liverpool priced at 23/10 win the clash with Betfred.

Hodgson's predecessor Rafa Benitez was criticised all the time for tinkering so it was interesting to see how many changes the new man made in the Europa League qualifier with Trabzonspor.

The boss gave a second half run-out to Fernando Torres, who the football odds make 11/2 to score the first goal on Monday, and he looked much fresher than he did during the World Cup, so the Spaniard could be in line for a start at Eastlands.

Daniel Agger and Javier Mascherano are struggling with injuries and if the duo recover then they could face new signings James Milner and Mario Balotelli, who will both be making their Premier League debuts.

It is the first home game for City this season, and given their multi-million pound spending spree during the summer they will want to put on a good show for their fans.

They were disappointing against Spurs in their opening game and know they need a good start to the season if they want to win the Premier League title this season – something which they are 9/1 to do with Betfred compared to Liverpool who are priced at 14/1.

There is no doubting the overall strength of the City squad, something that Hodgson would love to have at Anfield, so the clash at Eastlands looks like it could be a sign of how both sides are likely to do over the coming season.

My Tip for Monday Night:

It's early days and neither team has settled into the season yet. Therefore I expect both teams to cancel each other out at Eastlands, and the game to end in a 1-1 draw, which at 11/2 looks a reasonable bet.

Manchester City v Liverpool - Monday 23rd August, kick-off 8pm, live on Sky Sports.

By Drew Swainston
(Guest writer from Betfred on behalf of Beer Footy and Birds!)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Edgar has Landed!

Oh, what a time to be a Crystal Palace fan!

Just weeks, literally, after the Championship club were on the brink of going out of business, and on the very day it is announced they are 'officially' out of administration, the new owners and management team have pulled the most almighty, humongous rabbit out a seemingly invisible hat!

Days ago fellow championship rivals Cardiff were celebrating their very own coup in the form of Craig Bellamy, without a doubt a terrific footballer, but with a temperament that saw him more or less 'forced' out of the bright lights of Manchester, as he chose the somewhat less salubrious surroundings and the somewhat dimmer lights of his home town, as he joined Cardiff City F.C on loan.

Why Cardiff? Well Bellamy is a Welshman, he comes from Cardiff, has a home in the vicinity, his family are still based in Wales and he wants to play first-team football. He can have ALL that at Cardiff for the same money, instead of collecting splinters while sitting on the bench at City, playing second fiddle to fellow strikers: Tevez, Robinho, Adebayor, Jo, Santa Cruz and Balotelli.

I myself was scratching my head at the beginning of the week as I wondered how on earth a club struggling financially, not dissimilar to the plight that Palace found themselves in, could afford to bring on board such a player and offer him first team football for a 'mere' £45,000 per week (and that is only half of his contracted weekly wage), while those good 'samaritans' at Eastlands, the blue side of Greater Manchester have agreed with the 'Bluebirds' to subsidize the outstanding balance of Bellamy's wages, the further £45,000 per week - sheer unadulterated madness!

In my humble opinion this year is promotion to the Premier League or bust for Cardiff City.........the scenario of putting all your eggs in one basket and 'hoping' for the most fruitful outcome. A BIG gamble that can only end one of two ways - glorious success over 46 league games resulting in Premier League football next season, or au revoir to English club football, the League of Wales awaits you!

Now the cynics out there may well point the finger at Palace and justifiably so. I wholly and naturally expect plenty of vigorous finger wagging in the direction of London SE25 over the forthcoming days and possibly weeks, and I fully understand and accept any sort of denigration and vilification regarding the events today.

How much you may well ask are this recently rescued club going to pay a 37 year-old former Dutch international who hasn't kicked a ball in anger for two years, to pull on Palace's red n' blue shirt?
Well you can be sure the new owners (CPFC2010) will have done their maths and that if this arrangement was a non-viable monetary option, the plug would have been pulled immediately. These guys have just saved the club, in no way will they put their money and the clubs security in jeopardy, less than 24 hours after exiting administration.

But in Edgar Davids (pictured right) you have a man and a football player that once graced the game across Europe, from the days of his Ajax debut back in 1992, followed by a glorious career at the likes of footballing giants AC Milan, Juventus, Barcelona, and Inter Milan, as well as a spell at Tottenham, winning numerous club trophies throughout his illustrious playing career, not to mention his 74 international caps for the Netherlands.

Now he is a Crystal Palace player on a 'pay-as-you-play deal', who will provide as much off the pitch as on it!
Crystal Palace have a football academy second only to Arsenal's, and the youngsters at Palace in the shape of Zaha, Cadogan, Clyne, Djilali, Scannell, Holland and Pinney to name but a few can surely only benefit from the arrival of a genuine 'footballing icon' at their Club, whether it be on the training ground, in the dressing room, in the form of advice or even as a shoulder to cry on!

The obvious income Davids will bring to the Club will more than likely come in the form of an initial (and hopefully a prolonged) increase in crowd attendances at Selhurst Park, from shirt sales and possibly even designer glasses. Any income by whatever means can only be of benefit to the Club.

The Club itself will undoubtably receive additional media exposure, possibly resulting in an increase in the number of live TV games shown, and therefore the increased revenue that is generated as a result.

On the otherhand maybe Davids will become an overbearing unwanted media distraction at the club, ruffle a few feathers and put a few noses out of joint amongst the more experienced, senior players already at the club. Maybe Davids will pick up a serious injury, be unable to sustain the level of fitness required, along with the hunger or desire and passion required on match day. A cold, wet Tuesday night fixture away at Deepdale, the Keepmoat or Turf Moor hardly rivals the Stadio Olimpico di Torino or the L'Estadi Camp Nou.

But football fans, even if Davids move to South London doesn't work our for whatever reason, remember he is on a 'pay-as-you-play' deal, an absolutely crucial condition of his contract, bearing in mind the current economic climate.
I believe every single football club in the country would like to have had the 'opportunity' of working with a player of his calibre, whether your club be Birmingham, Blackburn, Barnsley, Brighton or Bury!

Edgar Davids will be at Selhurst Park at tomorrow's game against Ipswich Town to be introduced to the crowd.

'Edgar the Eagle' a Crystal Palace player, 20th August 2010 - What a story, what a coup, what football dreams are made of............. bring it on!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hope Solo - USA Soccer Babe

Hope Amelia Solo (born 30 July 1981, in Richland, Washington) is an American goalkeeper currently playing for Atlanta Beat in the (WPS) Women's Professional Soccer league in the United States. Hope is also a member of the United States women's national soccer team, having won 91 international caps to date.

Lady Booze - Baffled by your 'hostesses' drink selection, then remember the golden rule - steer well clear of whatever in God's name she is having!

Some people think that the drink a person chooses says a lot about that person in question. Just like there are some drinks you would probably not order at a workplace event or when out with a potential business client.

Therefore it will come as no surprise that if you find yourself baffled by your 'hostesses' drink selection, then remember the golden rule - steer well clear of whatever in God's name the lady is having!

It's in no way a lazy, mindless generalisation to state boldly and unequivocally that some drink are best suited to gentleman, and some are best suited to ladies; it's just the way it's meant to be.

Men have traditionally liked strong, sour, foul-smelling liquids: the kind that make your face screw up when you drink them and that leave a stinging tear in the corner of your eye.

Women, on the otherhand, have always been suckers for sweet, sticky, colourful fare: the kind that matched their nail varnish or their outfit.

So far, so good, but over the last few years the natural order has started to crumble.

It's not that it is socially unacceptable for men to drink fruit flavoured continental beer, vanilla vodka, blush wines or alcopops: we're not actually supposed to like them!

So unless your aim is to be the kind of man who finds himself - at 50 - propping himself up in wine bars and losing the battle to hang onto his hair, his dignity and his alcopop, stick to what you know best.
If it looks dull, tastes like medicine and burns the back of your throat, you're fine. If it looks like one of the colours of the rainbow, tastes of watermelon and kiwi fruit and clashes with your shirt, you're on a slippery downward slope!

# Blue Nun Spritzer - Sweet, cheap, crap German wine with a splash of soda. Up there with houses completely plastered in flashing lights and dancing reindeer at Christmas, as an indicator of class.

# Advocaat - bravely utilising Dutch eggs as its principal ingredient, along with sugar and brandy. It has a distinct yellow colour, smooth consistency and custard like flavour. Everyone bought one bottle out of sheer curiosity. That soon stopped.

# Jello shots or any variety of neon shots with about as much alcohol as a juice box. Pointless.

# Rose wine - It's not red, it's not white and it can't possibly be drunk by men without rumours starting. Drunk by those suffering from an identity crisis.

# Umbrella drinks - Those fruity, creamy concoctions can make an impression. But is that an impression you want to make?
Drinks with umbrellas and lots of garnish (cherries, oranges, pineapples) or those with contents on the rim are usually consumed by young ladies. Take it away, whatever it is!

# Any drink or shot that boasts whipped cream as an ingredient or garnish. Nowadays it could get you locked up.

# Malibu - Poncey rum and coconut concoction. A marketing departments dream. A drink wrongly associated with clear blue skies, golden sands, palm trees etc. For the man most comfortable wearing Hawaiian shorts, flip-flops and sunglasses indoors!

# Baileys - Take away the meagre whiskey content and you basically have a cream-laced coffee with ice in it. Not so clever.

# Cocktail - Often it's a primary colour and has a straw in it. Usually fruity, bright and downright girly. Ban it!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Physio Room - Injury Update

With the new Premier League season only days away, managers, chairman and owners are busy wheeling and dealing in the transfer market, in an effort to strengthen their squads.

So spare a thought for the English Premier League clubs' physios and medical teams and their 'healing hands.'

Here is why:

The 2009/10 Premier League season finished on the 9th May, the F.A Cup Final took place on the 15th May, and many English Premier League (EPL) players were involved in international friendlies prior to the World Cup, which itself began on the 11th June.

On the 24th May England themselves hosted Mexico at Wembley, on the 30th England played Japan in Austria, and after arriving in South Africa they had another warm-up game before their opening World Cup group fixture against the USA on the 12th June. They played Algeria on the 18th June, Slovenia on the 23rd, before going out of the competition on the 27th to Germany.

The English Premier League is littered with 'foreign players' from all over the world, who participated in the World Cup, yet ply their trade on English shores.
The World Cup lasted a full month for a few of them, culminating in the Final on the 11th July.

On their return the pre-season friendlies were immediately upon them.
Last Sunday saw the traditional season curtain raiser - the 'Community Shield' played at Wembley, which was this year unusually competitive, as Chelsea and Manchester United locked horns in an effort to get a winning and early physcological advantage over their fiercest rivals.

Tonight sees an 'England XI' play Hungary in what can only be best described as an ill advised, badly timed and meaningless international friendly, which will involve the participation of Premier League players just 72 hours before the new season kicks-off!

What remains to be seen is how well the various managers and their coaching staff along with the healing hands of their respective physios can manage their squads, rotate them effectively and nurse their injured players through the early opening season exchanges, whilst being able to juggle and prioritise their fixtures, and in doing so succeed in maximising performances and results.

Many teams will start the season without some key players, already victims of injuries picked up last season, during the World Cup or in pre-season.

Obviously some Premier League teams have the budget to sustain sufficiently large enough squads to nullify this problem as best possible. However with the transfer window still open, they still have the opportunity to shore up any problem areas, with additional players, whether they be through loan deals or permanent moves.

Meanwhile there is a full programme of English Premier League fixtures this weekend, so here is your chance to catch up on which players are definitely out injured, who is doubtful or struggling, and who will be fit to play for their clubs.

Click on the 'link' to find out the latest on your Club's injury worries, and how soon it will be before some of your teams players will be back in action.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Will City Buy the Premier League? - Betting News with Betfred

The World Cup seems a long time over now and many football fanatics will have been getting restless, but fear not because the Premier League is back on the horizon.

This weekend sees Chelsea and Manchester United play the traditional curtain raiser that is the Community Shield at Wembley and the defending Premier League champions are 11/8 to repeat their victory over the Red Devils in this game 12 months ago.

However, when the season proper gets underway on the 14th August, all eyes will be on Manchester City as they have blown the rest of the Premier League out of the water when it comes to spending, bringing in the likes of David Silva, Yaya Toure and Aleksandar Kolarov while deals for James Milner and Mario Balotelli are also in the pipeline.

The Premier League odds make City 5/1 shots with Betfred to win the title, and this could be a good bet.

You can tell City have got some of their rivals running scared by the fact that players from both Chelsea and United have come out and taken a swipe at the billionaires from Eastlands.

First of all United's Paul Scholes stated football fans "do not know yet" exactly how good City are going to be this campaign.

Meanwhile Chelsea's Salomon Kalou has weighed in by saying he is "not sure" if Roberto Mancini's side will be stronger than last season.

"Just because you bring in 10 new players every year doesn't mean you are going to finish top of the table," the Ivory Coast forward said.
"Spending a lot of money on new signings doesn't guarantee anything."

The blue half of Manchester boasted an impressive record against the teams sure to be their title rivals in the shape of Chelsea, United and Arsenal last season and will need to repeat that this campaign, which kicks off with a clash with the team that pipped them to Champions League football in the shape of Spurs.

Despite City failing to break into the Premier League top four last season, many football fans fancy the club to copy the likes of Jack Walker's Blackburn and Roman Abramovich's Chelsea and 'buy' the title.

However, they will need to gel as a squad and ensure they don't draw as many games as they did last season, and these are no mean feats. The football betting odds suggest they should win a trophy, but it might not be the league.

My Tip for the 2010/11 Premier League Season:

It's hardly controversial, but I expect Chelsea to prove too strong for an ageing United side and a City side which could struggle with so many big egos in one squad - so 11/8 for the Blues to retain their title looks a good option.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Crystal Palace Squad List - 2010/11


# 1.Julian Speroni
# 13.Lewis Price
# 35.Charlie Mann


# 2.Nathaniel Clyne
# 3.David Wright
# 4.Claude Davis
# 5.Patrick McCarthy (Captain)
# 6.Adam Barrett (on loan at Leyton Orient)
# 17.Jack Holland
# 18.Lee Hills
# 19.Julian Bennett (returned to Nottm Forest, Jan '11)
# 20.Edgar Davids (left Nov '10, now a free agent)
# 22.Anthony Gardner (on loan from Hull City)
# 24.Charlie Holness (on loan at Lewes)
# 26.Matthew Parsons (on loan to Barnet)
# 29 Dean Moxey


# 7.Darren Ambrose
# 8.Neil Danns
# 10.Owen Garvan
# 11.Andrew Dorman
# 15.Kieron Cadogan
# 21.Kieran Djilali (on loan to Chesterfield)
# 23.Nathaniel Pinney (on loan to Braintree Town)
# 25.Alassane N'Diaye (on loan to Swindon Town)
# 28.Stuart O'Keefe
# 30.Alex Marrow
# 33.Kemy Agustien (on loan from RKC Waalwijk)
# 34.Kagisho Dikgacoi (on loan from Fulham)


# 12.Calvin Andrew (on loan to Swindon Town)
# 14.Sean Scannell
# 16.Wilfried Zaha
# 19.Jermaine Easter
# 20.James Vaughan (on loan from Everton)
# 27.Ibra Sekajja
# 29.Jonathan Obika (returned to Tottenham, Jan '11)
# 32.Pablo Counago (on loan from Ipswich)

# Subject to change.