While these comments are not specifically about Manchester United but football in general, I have an uneasy feeling that a new curse could be facing the game.
In addition to the existance of unscrupulous players agents, greedy players AND clubs, the sellout to television and so on, we may now be facing the curse of grubby betting agencies.
Rumors about Franck Ribery signing for Liverpool a few weeks ago caused some bookmakers to suspend betting before it was discovered to be totally baseless.
Another story surfaced yesterday about Rafa Benitez walking out of Anfield which spread around the internet like wildfire…then laughed off by Rafa just a few hours later. Rumours on the net are normally dismissed out of hand but when large, reputable betting agents start to slash the odds, more serious notice starts to be taken.
Never having been a betting man who knows nothing about the goings on in the industry, an uncomfortable thought has nevertheless come to mind which may only show me up as simply being naive.
How simple is it for bookmakers to start a false rumour themselves, reduce the odds on it dramatically to make it look genuine, then wait for the wagers to start flooding in…wagers which has no chance on earth of being won!
Can it possibly be that simple? My lack of knowledge on betting matters is such that for all I know this practice may have been going on for years. Is there anyone out there who will be able to educate me.
If this is something new however, aided by the growth of the internet, it’s just another grubby practice that football certainly does not need.