Bookie who already paid out on Man United needs final-day surprise to avoid £500,000 loss

Brooks Peck

In 1998, Betfred founder Fred Done lost £500,000 by paying out early on Manchester United winning the Premier League title when they were 12 points ahead of Arsenal, only for Arsenal to close the gap and win by a point. Done became the first bookmaker to pay out early on a title race that year and you would think he learned a very expensive lesson, but he didn't.

Last month, Done -- who is a big Man United fan himself -- paid out early on his favorite club yet again. Said Done on Twitter (via Eurosport):

"Even with the (Manchester) derby to come a five point lead is just too much for City, so once again I'm letting my United punters have their dough early to the tune of just over half million quid," he said.

"Back in 1998 Fergie told me to never pay out early again but Sir Alex need not worry, I've not got it wrong this time, United are past the post for a record twentieth Premier League title."

Except, they weren't and Fred proved why you shouldn't betray advice from Man United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

So as we head into the final day of the Premier League season on Sunday, Man City lead Man United on a comfortable goal difference of eight after beating United 1-0 in the derby two weeks ago. That means City must drop points to QPR and Man Utd must beat Sunderland (or if City lose, at least draw) for Done to avoid another £500,000 loss.

On Friday, Done wrote for the Manchester Evening News:

[F]or all the United fans who say I've jinxed the title or the City fans who think I've been arrogant, I paid out early because I thought they were home and hosed.

If it does go wrong, which looks highly likely, it was an honest mistake. And if City are celebrating on Sunday, I will wish them all the best and send Bobby Manc [Man City manager Roberto Mancini] and his staff a bottle of champers.

And if the Reds do the incredible turnaround, I'll be celebrating with all the other United fans.

Believe it or not, football is always about the heart with me and not the wallet.

Then maybe you shouldn't take bets on football, Fred. Or, at the very least, stop paying out early before Alex Ferguson makes you stop. You won't like his methods.