Bookmaker Fred Done of Betfred is paying out early on Manchester United to win the Premier League title after they extended their lead at the top to 12 points with 12 games to play.
And that comes despite the Salford bookmaker famously losing over £1million by paying punters early on United and getting burned twice before, including last season when Manchester City pipped them to the title in the dying seconds of the final day of the season.
Sunday’s 2-0 victory for Sir Alex Ferguson’s men over Everton combined with Manchester City’s shock 3-1 loss at Southampton on Saturday extended their’ lead at the top to 12 points.
Done has decided to hand over £300,000 to United backers with 12 games still to play, almost a third of the campaign, including a derby against nearest challengers City.
The Betfred chief was the first person to pay out early on United in March of 1998, when they blew an identical 12-point lead and were pipped to the title by a point by Arsenal.
That cost lifelong Reds fan Done a cool half a million, a loss which was matched last term after paying out on United when they sat five points clear with seven games remaining.
A late collapse saw bitter rivals Manchester City famously snatch the title with virtually the last kick of the season against Queens Park Rangers.
Fred Done said: “After it all went wrong last year, my missus made me promise to never do it again. But with United 12 points clear with just 12 games left the title race is over, so my punters can collect their dough on United.”
Done is not just risking the wrath of his missus but also Sir Alex Ferguson and United fans. Fergie told him never to repeat the move after 1998, and fans have blamed him for jinxing last season’s challenge.
But despite being stung in the past he is sure that there is now no way back for United’s rivals and insists they are a cert to clinch a 20th Premier League crown.