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April 2021

The power of the world cup sweepstake

The power of the world cup sweepstake

By Blacksheep

As you may know I work in a British university where I teach history (the history crime to be precise). As you also know I am quite interested in football – mostly Arsenal but also non-league and lower league as well. In fact I’d probably stop and watch park football if that’s all that was on offer.

Amongst my colleagues are a handful that follow football, if not as avidly as myself. The history department has a Southampton fan, a couple of indifferent Man United fans and a Liverpool fan who likes rugby slightly more than football but who got more interested last season (I wonder why).

So I decided to arrange a World Cup sweepstake; £2 to enter and winner takes 75% of the pot (£48 I think). But with only 8 colleagues it wasn’t going to be much of a sweep so I invited academics and support staff outside of my immediate circle.

I drew up a list, created a spreadsheet and organized a FIFA style draw (without the razzmatazz or any bribery of course).

Many of those taking part had no real interest in football before the first game kicked off. The law lecturer who drew Germany was delighted but professed no real knowledge of how they might do. A criminologist was disappointed to get Argentina because she had no idea they were a ‘big team’.

The opening matches pitched the Dean and Deputy Dean (they head up my school of social science) against each other with Australia and Chile respectively. And it was interesting how involved people have become. My German friend in Architectural technology drew Croatia and watched every game as well as supporting Bosnia because she knows Begovic quite well. Before this she had no interest in football and was bemused by my tales of going to Arsenal to watch Bayern. She was livid that Bosnia had a perfectly good goal ruled out and that Croatia were denied a penalty!

I did quite well in getting France who I probably would have rooted for anyway with all the Arsenal connections over the years. Each Monday I’ve sent a round robin email updating people on their team’s progress and its stimulated quite a lot of traffic. My poor Spud supporting colleague in history drew Portugal and so got loads of flak from the head of Law (a big Chelski fan – who got Belgium) causing much hilarity across the group.

The sweepstake has brought several people together who wouldn’t otherwise have crossed paths and as we move into the business end of the tournament I’m looking forward to seeing how people react to their teams progressing or getting knocked out.

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Its just a bit of fun of course and loads of people are doing this across the county so do share your experiences on Untold.

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10 comments to The power of the world cup sweepstake

  • ARSENAL 13

    Thats interesting, should try that with my cricket mad friends.

    And one day convert them into Gooners

  • WalterBroeckx

    So you are still in it Blacksheep 😉

    If I had to put money on a team before the tournament I would have put it on France.
    Last time I went on holiday to France, they became world champions. I’m going to France later this year… 🙂

  • Agooner

    I drew spain in ours, was pleased at the time!

  • Gf60

    And who was the lucky soul who got England. At least there’s a new Kama Sutra position:
    The new sexual position is called the ”England football team” ! . . . Neither of you know what you’re doing or why you’re there, there’s no passion, no communication & you never make it past the 1st stage. There’s horrible dribbling & never a clean sheet. It’s over far too quickly & when it does end you know it’ll be at least another four f’in years before it happens again!

  • GoingGoingGooner

    @Gf60 Hah!

  • WalterBroeckx

    are you in brickfields in disguise? 🙂 🙂 Nice one 🙂

  • nicky

    An enjoyable post proving, without doubt, that academics are NOT in fact the dry old sticks they are often portrayed to be.

  • Linz

    I got Honduras and Japan in the sweepstake and put a tenner on Spain (my biennial football bet,Euros and World Cup).Definitely not my lucky year.Must be that FA cup win.As one of the lowest paid in the company the fact that my loaded supervisor got Brazil AND Argentina is particularly galling.Can’t complain though;at my last workplace I got Spain in both 2008 and 2010.For that WC, to make things a bit more interesting for those with the obvious no hopers (like England!) we had a prize for the worst team as well. I won that with North Korea!!

  • Linz

    When I said must be that FA cup win I meant that the footballing gods have declared that I cannot see Arsenal win a Trophy AND win on the sweepstake in the same year!!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Gf 60 – Nice ! Always coming up short and premature ejaculations since 1966 !
    As I have chosen Costa Rica to win ,am still on tract .
    Almost won 2 bottles of wine ,but they too fell short against England by firing blanks .
    Now for the last 16 . Go Joel ! GO COSTA RICA !