Fred Done, the founder of bookmaker Betfred, agrees. The lifelong Manchester United supporter is so incensed by the club’s lacklustre season that he is returning bets on the club winning the Premiership title, with the payout expected to cost around £200,000.
How I See It
Will Holt, head of Scotland, Consolidated PR
As the old maxim goes, a bookie is "a pickpocket who lets you use your own hands".
In this case, Betfred is bucking the odds and giving Man United fans a reason to smile. And that's only good news, though I'm curious how many supporters had the balls to back the team in the first place.
As a media story it’s OK, it’s quirky, it's timely.
My niggle though is that it’s firmly Paddy Power territory. This most challenger of brands is the undisputed master of the 'money-back specials'. Back in 2009, it famously paid out a whopping £1,250,000 to customers who'd backed Tiger Woods to win the USPGA. And then it shrewdly parodied itself in press ads.
So it’s generous, but not original. Dig deeper, however, and you sense that this is as much a publicity wheeze as a cry of desperation from Betfred founder Fred Done, a lifelong Reds fan who was once close to buying the club.
Call me a sucker but that works for me and having just returned from the Cheltenham Festival several sheets lighter, I’m all for bookies making amends.