Spotting Talent at an Early Age Can Produce Big Wins

Betting in the ante-post market can often bring dividends. It might take a few years sometimes for the bet to be a winner. That’s been the case with two bets that have recently come up, one of them winning £25,000 for a £100 stake.

It was in 2012 that a Coral customer placed a rather ambitious bet. The anonymous 63-year-old had seen nine-year-old Charlie McNeill play in a youth football match for a team called West End Boys. He knew O’Neill’s family and used to regularly watch him playing and was so impressed with his performances that he compared him to the legendary George Best.

The gambler decided to put his money where his mouth is and headed to the bookies. He placed a bet of £100 at odds of 250/1 that one day he’d play for the Manchester United first team.

His bet got off to a good start when O’Neill joined Manchester United. However in 2014, O’Neill signed for local rivals Manchester City. O’Neill scored over 600 goals at youth level but none of that was helping this bet.

The Coral punter wasn’t too disappointed though. He’d also placed a bet of £100 on O’Neill playing for the Manchester City first team, again at odds of 250/1.

In 2020 O’Neill returned to Old Trafford in a deal reportedly worth £750,000. His prolific scoring continued with 24 goals in 21 games in his first season for the United under-18 team.

Manchester United are playing in the Europa League this season. That’s a competition in which clubs tend to play weakened line-ups. That played into the hands of this lucky punter. O’Neill came on as a substitute for United in their home game against Real Sociedad to make his first-team debut and the bet finally came up.

Now all he needs is O’Neill to return to Manchester City and play for their first team. That’s not his only chance of future winnings. He also has a bet of £100 on O’Neill to play for England at odds of 50/1.

He’s also got £100 on McNeil to play for England at 50/1, and those things combined would land him another £30,000!

Speaking about his win, the punter said: “As a United fan I don’t want the City bet to be a winner now, as we need all the help we can get to beat them! But hopefully the England bet will be a winner in the future.”

That’s not the only bet that is going to be a winner. 21 years ago, the horse racing trainer Ian Balding (now retired) had a verbal bet with the then Tote Chairman Peter Jones. Balding was so impressed with 13-year-old jockey Wiliam Buick that he bet £50 at odds of 100/1 that he would be a future flat racing champion jockey.

That bet will become a winner this weekend and the £5,000 win will be donated to the Injured Jockeys’ Fund. “I am absolutely thrilled he has fulfilled the potential I always knew he had,” said Balding.

“I have finally had a successful bet,” he joked. His wager has been close to being a winner in recent seasons. Buick has twice been close to winning the title but this season has ridden over 150 winners with no other jockey even getting into three figures.