An anonymous Manchester United fan from Lichfield, Staffordshire was, no doubt, disappointed when his team were beaten 3-1 on aggregate by Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League in 2000/01. However, the same fan had cause for rapturous celebration when ‘Die Bayern’ edged out Valencia 5-4 in a tense penalty shootout at the San Siro in Milan, Italy the following month to become European champions.
In so doing, Bayern Munich completed a 15-fold ante-post accumulator, placed the previous August, which also included the winners of the Premier League, Championship, League One, League Two and National League among various other football, cricket and rugby selections. The accumulator paid an eye-watering 1,666,666/1 – believed to be a world record, in terms of a football-related payout by a British bookmaker – so, for his modest £0.30 stake, the self-employed businessman collected £500,000. Previously, the most profitable football bet in British history was the £400,000 won by Solihull florist Adrian Fitzpatrick, albeit for a much larger stake, at the 1994 World Cup.
It was not the first time that the same punter had won a six-figure sum from the same William Hill betting shop, having previously netted £157,000 for a £2.50 stake when Manchester United won the UEFA Champions League two years previously. At that time, he boldly told betting shop staff, ‘I’m going to do you again’, and so he did. Manageress Janet Dykes, who paid out on both bets, likened his most recent success to ‘winning the Lottery twice’.