The pools boy

Every week I’d do the pools.  Well, I didn’t, my nan did; I was her expert adviser.

We’d sit in her Balham flat: she’d have a pen, a Player’s Weights hanging out of the side of her mouth and a selection of farthings; I’d have a copy of Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly.

As Jimmy Hill used to live in our block of flat, we felt the gods were with us – assuming the gods had a pointy beard (which, in hindsight, is more like the Devil).

I’d played football for the school team; had a subscription to Shoot and several decent players in my youth were called “Mick”, so, for some reason, my nan thought I had some magical insight.  She never scooped the potential million on offer, I was more orifice than oracle.

My nan would ask if I thought St Mirren might be good for a score-draw?  I didn’t have the heart to tell that a. I didn’t even know who, what or where St Mirren was, and b. wasn’t she the patron saint of reflective glass, anyway, so unlikely to be a footballer?

We would watch Grandstand on a Saturday afternoon – having turned over from watching Kendo Nagasaki being goaded by Jackie Pallo – and listen to the intonation of the score announcer’s results and his slight delay if it was a score-draw. 

Every week we’d be praying that the same inflection would only be used on the eight games of the boxes we’d ticked. 

If that happened, we’d be millionaires, nan 😊

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