How to Score (On and Off the Pitch)

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Chapter 6

Kevin McNair was annoyed and disappointed by Bradley’s reaction to his call. He wasn’t asking for much, just some inside information that he wouldn’t necessarily be party to. McInally wasn’t going to be too pleased, he had told him that Bradley was a good friend of his and he would help them out when making bets. He had to think of a way to get Bradley onside without doing anything illegal.

In the meantime, he needed to come up with two or three decent bets for McInally. He studied the upcoming fixtures and the odds offered by the High Street bookies and came up with four games where the bookies may have priced wrongly or not taken into account outside factors like injuries to star players, bad records and the like. By Friday morning, he had compiled a report ready to tell McInally and the odds that were available.

‘Hugh? It’s Kevin. I’ve got four games for you to have a look at. Arsenal at home to West Ham is 5/1 for an away win. Good value when you consider that West Ham is Arsenal’s bogey team and since Gardner left the Emirates their form hasn’t been as great. I’ve also picked out Leeds versus Milton Keynes for similar reasons. 4/1 is a good price for the Dons to win and Leeds have their top scorer out with a late injury. The other two I’m a bit more guarded with; I’m going with Queen of the South to beat Hibs at 3/1 and Lyon to beat PSG at 5/2. I’ll probably just do them in a £1 Yankee, but what you do with this is up to you.’ Kevin told him.

‘Thank you, Kevin. Very interesting. Of course, I am unlikely to get the same odds as you have got, but I will have a punt and see how you get on. I’ll be investing a lot more than you on these bets so they had better come in.’ McInally threatened.

‘I’ve done my homework, Hugh. I’d be looking for at least three of these games to go your way. Good luck.’

‘You’re the one who needs the luck, Kevin. I’ll be in touch after the results come in.’ McInally told him and hung up.

McInally looked at what he had written down and checked the odds with the High Street bookies. The beauty of them only offering fixed odds, rather than a floating price as in horse racing, was that they would publish the odds days before the games were played and so anything that happened in the period between then and kick off, could have a drastic effect on the result. He hoped McNair had done his research as he picked up the phone to call around his network and lay some of the bets off.

He had forgotten to ask McNair how he got on with that Gardner lad who played for Barcelona. He wasn’t expecting much on that front, his ultimate intention was to try and get Gardner to throw a game so he could get silly odds. But, with the money these players were earning now, it wasn’t so tempting for them to throw games anymore. Gone were the days when he could lean on players like McNair and offer them the equivalent to a month’s salary to play badly, get sent off, miss penalties and so on. You could bet on anything now and that presented lots of opportunities to fix games without being caught.

Satisfied with his day’s work, he got one of his goons to drive him to his golf club where he could watch the results coming in with a bottle or two of nice Claret. He imagined McNair watching the TV at home sweating on the outcome and smiled. He controlled McNair, just like he controlled a lot of people. They lived in fear of him and would do anything for him. He liked that. It was the result of years of hard work and prison time building up an empire he had no right to after leaving school with no qualifications. He managed to blag a job as a bookies’ runner at Musselburgh races when he left school which gave him a better education than school ever had.

By the time five o’clock came around, McInally had a very big smile on his face; all four results had come in netting him a very tidy £50,000 profit. He listened to the pundits on TV expressing their surprise at some of the day’s results, especially West Ham’s 2-1 win at the Emirates. He would have to congratulate McNair on coming up trumps and reward him accordingly. This boy could be useful after all.

McNair was also watching the results with glee. He was relieved when all four games came in and worked out what he was due to receive from the local William Hill. £925!! All for an £11 outlay. Not bad at all. This was how he subsidised his income each week and is why he hated the summer when there would be no games going on. He wondered if McInally had followed his advice and if so, how much he was going to receive out of his winnings, if anything. Deep down, he was just grateful that he wasn’t going to be spending Saturday night in the hospital. Hopefully, if McInally found him useful, he would survive until either McInally went back inside or got bumped off by one of his many enemies.

He didn’t have long to wait.

‘Kevin? Well done, son. You certainly came up with the goods today. Thanks to you I’ve had a very profitable afternoon so I think it only fair that you are recompensed as promised. I’ll be sending Ludo round later with a few shekels for your efforts. Let’s hope you can repeat the good fortune next week, eh?’ McInally sounded pleased with himself, and more than slightly tipsy.

‘I’ll do my best, Hugh. Glad you had a good day. Speak to you soon, no doubt.’ McNair replied.

‘You will, son. You will.’ McInally told him and hung up.

So, thought McNair, I’m going to get a present delivered by one of his goons. He never knew their real names until just then. They never spoke at all whenever McInally was in the room and all McNair knew of them was that they were from somewhere in eastern Europe and were looked after well to ensure their loyalty.

Around seven-thirty, McNair’s doorbell rang. It was Ludo dressed all in black, no doubt for effect. He would look menacing in pyjamas McNair thought as he took the envelope from Ludo and closed the door. He felt a tinge of excitement as he opened it and counted out the cash. £2,000 wasn’t exactly what he was hoping for, he would have liked another nought at the end, but he wasn’t going to query it. His legs remained intact for another week and he could head into town for a good night out.

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