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I struck Hamilton bet which cost company £103,000

30 August 2011

Age - 56

Job description - I enjoy my sports controller role with a passion and I look afte rtrading on sports such as tennis, snooker, golf and rugby. I celebrate 40 years with the company today.

So you were 16 when you started at Ladbrokes? I was actually 15 when I was first interviewed after noticing an ad in my school magazine. Following a three-month course, on a salary of £10.50 a week, I was trained to be a telephonist, taking and settling bets. The odd thing is that I've never actually worked in a high-street betting shop.

How did you end up in trading? A form analysis role came up, and as I loved horseracing it seemed natural. In those days there was no SIS, just network TV and newspaper/formbook analysis, so there was more emphasis on going racing. Customers are spoilt nowadays. Eventually the volume of trading activity increased, with the advent of cable and satellite TV, and it led to a choice -racing or sport. I felt racing had become a little stale, because of the increasing numbers of meetings, but I was an all-round sports fanatic. It's the perfect job for me, albeit one with massive homework.

How do you regard the recent changes at Ladbrokes? Chief executive Richard Glynn is shaking things up. That's healthy.

Did you know Cyril Stein? He'd ring up for information - he was a bit of a punter. He would have made the perfect Sherlock Holmes with his attention to detail. I found him a fair man. He would back you 100 percent as long as you performed the job he expected.

Favourite racecourse - Newbury. My brother took me there for the first time in 1969 when I was 14.

Least favourite I haven't got one as such, but perhaps Newmarket for its poor viewing. But every racecourse offers a different and enjoyable experience.

And what do you think about greyhound racing? I don't get there too often nowadays but have always found it a fun evening out. I remember Yankee Express winning the Scurry three times in a row at Slough for George Curtis in the 1980s. He was a tremendous dog.

Favourite horse Mill Reef. - The way he won the Greenham at Newbury still makes me shiver.

Favourite sport - Formula One. Most memorable sporting occasion going to the 1986 SuperBowl, Giants v Broncos in Pasadena . I'd backed the Giants pre-season at14s, 12s and 10-1. Thanks to our legendary Ron Pollard, I ended up out there for a wonderful week. I needed to cover my bets but couldn't find any real value and crazily ended up only doing Broncos-Giants ht-ft at 14-1. It was 10-9 to Denver at the interval, 39-20 my way in the end. It was a dream like experience. Backing Nashwan at 100-1 for the Guineas-Derby double was helpful too.

Most painful sporting occasion Tiger Woods winning the 2006 Open at Hoylake. The course symmetry made it wide open, which didn't play to Tiger's strengths. Best price elsewhere was 4-1; we went 5-1 and took on the world. It was as big a loss on sport as I've ever experienced. But we've had our moments too - taking on defending champion Lleyton Hewitt at Wimbledon in 2004, for instance. I'd watched Hewitt at Queen's; he wasn't in the mood, yet we were filled in. He became the first champion of the modern era to go out in the first round.

Another bad moment came when Lewis Hamilton won his first Grand Prix. He was 23 and a bet emerged that had been struck when he was nine to win a Grand Prix by the age of 23 (50-1) and to be world champion (150-1). It cost us £103,000 and I couldn't even remember striking it - but I had. It was a horrible, sinking feeling.

Who do you support? The Red Imps - Lincoln City . As a boy I'd watch the football results and they always seemed near the bottom of the old Fourth Division, but would get re-elected. I felt they had to do better and would go and watch them when they played a team near London , but I've never been near Lincoln in my life.

Unfortunately we went down to the Conference at the end of last season. I've always rooted for the LA Clippers, a US basketball team. I don't think they'd mind if I describe them as poor, but I love them.

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