The mountain of work was in danger of being sequestrated by the government and redistri- buted to the unemployed to massage statistics.
Brighton at home to Watford had a special significance last Monday night as it became apparent that a syndicate needed the match to end in a draw or an away win in order to trigger a £1m payment from Coral, as part of that company's Football Jackpot accumulator which asks punters to correctly predict 15 results in return for a seven-figure sum. When Watford took a 1-0 lead then appeared to go 2-0 in front, only for a dubious decision to rule the goal out, there were groans. An announcement over the PA system asking Mr Jack Pot to contact his nearest steward when Brighton equalised heightened the surrealism of what, to the ignorant, was nothing more than an early season fixture between sides hopeful of three points but not exactly desparate for them. A stunning Manuel Almunia save with seconds remaining would confirm that Coral had been stung.
But it became apparent that the syndicate was not made up of postal workers, council staff or shopworkers. Instead, the winners were a rival betting firm - one that offers a similar bet to the Football Jackpot and a firm that clearly had the financial wherewithal to pay the stakes required to increase the chances of a payout.
It took the syndicate the better part of £34,000 to cover the bets that ultimately triggered the windfall, a revelation that took some of the gloss off the win not least because the bettors had significant expertise in the field and, especially, because the coupon looked considerably easier to call with two or three options to safeguard an outcome.
If that sounds like sour grapes, then good. Because it is. Meanwhile, this week, I'll plod on with the one tenner Mrs Tenner Bet allows me per week. After all, she's not Mrs Pony Bet - although given what Pony is Cockney rhyming slang for, she might as well be . . .
There is no science this weekend just gut instinct backed by a modicum of research which, it must be said, makes for compelling reading. Newcastle United have won just one of their last six matches against Chelsea (4/6) at St James' Park. That victory came in February, when you would hardly have said the London side were infallible, and was, in no small part, down to an injection of French players which gave the hosts an impetus that lasted for a grand total of two games. Since then, fortunes have been contrasting, such as in midweek with Newcastle's 120-minute toil against Manchester City and Chelsea's dismantling of Arsenal.
Elsewhere, Inverness Caledonian Thistle (4/5) appeal at home to a Kilmarnock side yet to win away, not least as Terry Butcher's side are four from five at the Caledonian Stadium. Meanwhile, a Dunfermline Athletic outfit that has recorded eight from 13 are 3/4 with Oddschecker.com to see off a woefully out-of-form Elgin City in the fourth round of the William Hill Scottish Cup. Paddy Power are also offering an enhanced special to new customers in which Tottenham are 7/1 to beat Everton at Goodison Park or the resurgent Fernando Torres is 4/1 to score any time at Newcastle. I'll plump for the latter.
It's not getting any better but then we don't all have a spare 34 grand lying about just waiting to be gambled. At this rate, though, it might not be long before the total reaches the negative of that figure. As it stands, it's -£46.60.