Date:Friday February 10 2006
Betting on Glenn Hoddle joining Newcastle United reached fever pitch earlier this week.
After starting out as a 40-1 outsider, Hoddle found himself going to bed Thursday night knowing he was favourite to land the St James Park vacancy. On Friday he faced the press explicitly stating that there was no substance to rumours he was about to change jobs.
His bemusement was entirely genuine. I'm sure he had no idea, why, over the course of of just one day he had risen to be the prime candidate for a job no one has spoken to him about.
The sudden media speculation over Hoddle's intentions has been driven solely by the bookmakers odds. When he was a 40-1 outsider he was getting as much coverage as he has since his Molineux arrival. Then something changed. Film crews at the training ground, hastily convened press conferences, statements of denials that are still being reported tonight.
What caused the flurry of money that was thrown at bookies nationwide. What caused the odds to tumble so dramatically? Why did so many people, across such a wide area all decide to have a punt on Glenn Hoddle leaving Wolves?
What seems increasingly likely, is that a group of bored, mischievous Wolverhampton Wanderers fans looking for a mornings diversion started one of the biggest betting stampedes this year.
With time on their hands and looking for a way of filling a slow Thursday mornin they infiltrated a number of Newcastle United internet message boards and started an unlikely rumour.
Starting with a 'a good friend who is a high ranking Premiership official has told me...' style rumour posted early thursday morning they slowly started to disseminate their story. Glenn was off to Tyneside.
If there is one thing the internet was built for, its spreading insubstantiated hearsay. It doesnt take much to spread a message. But to convince huge numbers of people takes a little more effort.
Registering multiple ID's on the Toon boards, the Mixers set about weaving an elaborate web of untruths regarding the imminent arrival of Hoddle at St James'. Sometimes posting messages amongst themselves they released, and confimed untruth after untruth and the odds began to tumble.
It started as a ripple, but as their activity increased, the bookies started to shorten Hoddles odds
By midday he was challenging Sam Allardyce for the top spot to take the job.
The coup de grace came when 'I'm on my mobile phone and i can see hoddle at newcastle's front entrance' appeared on a board and Glenn Hoddle became the new bookies favourite.
Some bookies received mysterious phonecalls from shady punters asking if they could put 5 grand down online.
Shortly after, some online gambling sites suspended betting on Glenn Hoddle, and The Molineux Mix lads had pulled off one of the cheekiest stings this year. Without a sheet, or a yacht being in sight.
Newspapers, television stations, news programmes, every sports media source has shown an interest in the story solely based on Glenn Hoddle's bookies odds. There isnt any story without Glenn being the betting favourite.
And that was brought about by a small mischievous group of Wolves fans with time on their hands, and a little inspiration.
Congratulations lads, not a bad effort.
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