A trip down Memory Lane

A trip down Memory Lane

Celebrating over 90 years of creating winners!

The Football Pools is the UK’s leading football pool betting company and we’ve been creating that “Winning Smile” since 1923.

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Pre-Lottery, the Pools was the only way you could become a Millionaire overnight – no wonder then that the dreams of over 14 million people hinged every week on those Saturday tea-time football results.

Here, we’re revisiting some of favourite winning stories from the good ol’ days! Enjoy!

Joe Fryers wife, Mary, was told that the couple would come into money by a fortune teller in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire. The fortune teller proved to be right as Joe, a retired police sergeant from Blyth in Northumberland, picked up a cheque for £861,742 in 1977.

Confusion over the Australian football results meant that retired couple Harry and Winnie Crees took some convincing they had the 8 score draws need for a jackpot win on the Pools. Winnie explained “The results were in the evening paper, but because they were Australian matches, they weren’t in the same order as the English ones. I just checked our matches and when I got to eight draws, I thought I’d made a mistake. I didn’t say anything to Harry, I just checked them again. When I eventually told him, I still didn’t know how many draws there were in total on the coupon.” Harry added, “the more I checked the scores to make sure we’d won, the more blurred the printing got!” The couple received a cheque for £625,567 from Comedians Cannon and Ball.

Burton-on-Trent brewery worker David Preston won almost £954,000 in 1980 and said that the lucky numbers had been chosen from the sprig of white heather his wife had bought while on holiday in Spain. TV personality Michael Parkinson presented the cheque and told David: “If it hadn’t been for my team, Barnsley missing an open goal in the last minute at Gillingham, you wouldn’t be here now mate!”

Pottery worker Edwin Dodd, his wife and their 4 year old son celebrated a £1,000 Pools win in 1934. Mr Dodd, then aged 21 was working for 48 shillings a week as a pottery labourer in Stoke-on-Trent to help the family buy a home of their own. He was recovering from a major operation and had ignored doctor’s orders by carrying on working. Almost 50 years later, Mr Dodd recalled: “The win saved my life because if I had not had the money, I would have carried on working. I would rather have died working than starve.” With the money, Mr Dodd bought a family home and newsagents business, but had over £100 left to give to other family members and his local church. He retired with ill health in 1964.

In September 1992, Graham Barlow from Leicester was just about to give up on his hopes on getting rich quick as his weekly stake was proving a strain on the family finances. With pregnant wife Diane due to give birth shortly, Graham planned to tell his father, Arthur that he was throwing the towel in on their Pools entry. Instead, Graham decided to try his luck for one more week and what do you know, the father and son partnership promptly became the latest Pools Millionaires, winning £1,120,705 between them.

Ask most people outside of Liverpool who they most associate with Pools and the answer is likely to be Viv Nicholson. Keith and Viv Nicholson scooped £152,319 in 1961 (equivalent to £2.2 Million today) and when journalists asked what the beaming people were going to do with their winnings, Viv declared “I’m going to spend, spend, spend!” And spend she did! In an interview four years later, Mrs Nicholson admitted “We just went off on a giant spending spree. We bought two cars and lots of clothes. I went shopping every day. It was nothing to come back with four coats, two pairs of jeans, three suits and jumpers & a couple of cocktail dresses.” Four crazy years of spending accounted for nearly half of their winning fortune. Sadly, not long after the aforementioned interview, Keith passed away tragically in a car crash. Littlewoods Winners Advisory Service made a total of 19 visits to Mrs Nicholson following her husband’s death.

If you've got a winning story that you'd like to share with us, old or new, please contact us at pools.winners@footballpools.com.