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Bookmaker to refund bets on Manchester United

Betting shops to refund punters after owner loses patience with club's performance.

Alex Livesey

Everybody in and around Manchester is dealing with Manchester United's struggles in their own way. Some are preaching patience, others calling for axes, heads, and the introduction of the former to the latter. Some are gently sobbing into their scarves. Others are swapping stories of the possible-even-worse days under Dave Sexton and Frank O'Farrell. City fans, naturally, are laughing so hard that they snort.

Fred Done, Salford resident, millionaire bookmaker, and co-founder of betting shop chain Betfred, is putting his money where his misery is. Anybody who bet on Manchester United to win the league this season will be receiving a full refund. He explained:

These loyal fans never had a chance of winning with United. This season the Reds have been useless, hopeless and meaningless. Anyone who has a bet on United winning the title need only take their slip to any shop and I will refund every penny.

One of the reasons I'm doing this is, and becoming the first bookmaker ever to do so, is because of the way the fans were still singing for their team even though we were losing 3-0 to Liverpool. I couldn't believe it and they deserve a team much better than that put out by David MoyesThey deserved a run for their money and they didn't get it. They never had a chance. United are robbing the fans.

Strong stuff. The thought occurs that anybody foolish enough to bet on Manchester United this season probably shouldn't be trusted with control over their own money, but no matter. The other thought occurs that this is a cynical publicity stunt, but then most things are these days. Either way, "useless, hopeless and meaningless" is an excellent line.