Roger Hamilton-Kendall has placed £10 on City to win 4-1 for past six-and-a-half seasons
When Reuben Reid scored his first goal for Exeter City with nine minutes left to play against Barnet on Saturday, Roger Hamilton-Kendall suddenly became the focus of a lot of attention in the away end at The Hive.
His phone started to buzz with messages of good luck as the majority of the 360 travelling supporters held their breath.
Fans had their fingers crossed that neither end would see much goalmouth action in the remaining minutes of the match. Not because they were worried about a comeback but because they knew that now there was just a little bit more than three points at stake for one of City’s staunchest and devoted supporters.
That is because Roger – ever since Exeter City beat Torquay United 4-1 in the Conference play-off semi-final in 2008 – has placed £10 on his side to win by the same scoreline in every competitive match they’ve played. He bet the same amount on Saturday, with Coral, at odds of 100/1.
“I think it is common knowledge that I do that bet,” said Roger. “When City are 4-1 up and there is nine minute to play, I get loads of messages saying: What price have you got on it this week?
“It can vary from 33/1 to 500/1 and people are generally interested in it and wish me luck because they know I do it every week. It is a bit of fun on my part, but it has become a bit of a point of interest with most City fans.”
4-1! Exeter City players celebrate after Reuben Reid's goal on Saturday - Picture: Pinnacle
So how did this routine start?
“It goes back to the Torquay United game (the Conference play-off semi-final in 2008),” explained Roger. “I had a dream the night before the home game that we beat Torquay United 4-1. It was quite a strong dream so for a laugh I put a bet for a 4-1 scoreline on and we lost that game 2-1.
“Then before the second leg I was walking up past St Mary’s Church in Torquay and I passed by a bookmakers and I remembered the dream.
“I only had a couple of quid on me so I walked in and put a bet on for us to win 4-1 at 100/1. The game was quite an emotional rollercoaster and we ended up winning by that scoreline.
“Ever since then I have just continued to do the bet. It is my sporting bet and it is nice to get the good will messages. I have even got 4-1 on the back of my City shirt.”
So how has Roger fared with his 4-1 bet? Well, the score has only come in five times since the Torquay United match, but twice in the last in the last 26 games.
And with such good odds he has estimated that he is up by about £600. However, he admits he has not always been so fortunate.
“I have been very close to the scoreline on numerous occasions and you get different prices at different bookmakers,” said Roger. “I can remember getting 500/1 for us to win 4-1 away at Charlton Athletic and were 3-1 up with about 10 minutes to go and Jamie Cureton put one over the bar.
“Then there is the other scenario when we were 4-1 up at home to Sheffield Wednesday and in the 88th minute John O’Flynn went and scored a fifth. That cost me £800.
“It was a bitter-sweet goal. John O’Flynn made up for it though as he got the fourth against Bradford when we beat them 4-1 in 2013. So, I’ve let him off.”
Forgiven - former Exeter City striker John O'Flynn - Picture: Pinnacle
Roger says, although he only does the bet as a bit of fun, he is pleased to be up overall. However, that is down to his discipline and steadfast support for the Grecians.
“I have had a lot of ridicule over the bet from time to time, especially when we have not been playing too well but I have stuck with it,” he said. “You can never tell as football is a strange game, isn’t it? You can go into a game not expecting it to come off but when it does – like it did on Saturday against Barnet – it is a reward in so many ways.”
City manager Paul Tisdale thanked Roger for his loyal support and admitted he was pleased to give him and the other 359 fans who backed the Grecians so loudly on Saturday something to cheer.
“I am pleased for Roger and glad he has kept faith with team,” said Tis
“The players have been working very hard this season and I am very proud of their efforts. I want to thank all the supporters – both home and away – who have stuck by the players and I hope we can give them many more moments like Saturday to cheer this season.”
The successful 4-1 bets - May 5, 2008: Torquay United 1 Exeter City 4
September 27, 2008: Macclesfield 1 Exeter City 4
December 20, 2008: Exeter City 4 Rochdale 1
March 16, 2013: Exeter City 4 Bradford City 1
March 19, 2016: Notts County 1 Exeter City 4
October 15, 2016: Barnet 1 Exeter City 4