From the Bernabeu to Betfred – Joe captains flagship new Middleton shop

 | Sunday 26th May 2024, 14:44pm

Sunday 26th May 2024, 14:44pm

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Betfred boss Fred Done knew it would be an impossible task keeping all the people happy all the time when he opened the company's state of the art £200,000 new betting shop in Manchester on the eve of the FA Cup Final. But even the disappointed Blues who poured into the shop next to the shopping precinct in Middleton had to accept it was a winner.

Can't help but admire the swish fittings which are as far removed from the spit and sawdust atmosphere when Betfred opened its first shop in Salford over 50 years ago - and you can forget about blackboards and chalk for the latest odds, for this Betfred shop has digital Racing Post screens highlighting the runners, riders and much more besides.

Joe Football

The shop manager Joe Collinge epitomises Betfred's forward thinking as he is the youngest to hold such a position in the company, at just 20 years of age.
Joe was set to be a pro football 'keeper at Port Vale (above) until he was told "sorry son" at 18 - and landed a job at Betfred.

Initially he tried to combine his job at the bookies with playing for non-league Congleton but as he rose through the ranks at Betfred found he couldn't commit to weekend matches.

Instead as well as managing four staff, Oldham Athletic fan Joe, whose personality and banter is appreciated by his customers, has thrown himself into a little known sideline as the drummer in fast-emerging indie band Jack Dolan and Co.

He said: "I was gutted when I was released at Port Vale having been there from the age of 14. They talked about my communication and distribution. But it's all worked out brilliantly at Betfred, being promoted three times in two years.

I once played for Port Vale academy against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, which was quite an experience. So it's a case of Bernabeu to Betfred for me!"

Joe Balloons

Among the United supporting customers who sampled all the "specials" including free bets and breakfast vouchers, having passed through the Wembley arch of balloons, was 72-year-old Peter Rain (above, with Joe).

A big fan of Reds' heroes of yesteryear such as George Best and Bobby Charlton, Peter didn't have much faith in the modern team at Wembley against "them lot" on Saturday.

He did think United might force the final to go to penalties - but that wasn't needed as United to a man played with the battling qualities rarely seen this season against the well under-par record-breaking Premier League champions.

Betfred's divisional manager for the North Craig Sykes explained the theme for the opening was Red or Blue - Who Are You? Betfred branded mugs were handed out and there is an ongoing raffle of signed United and City shirts to raise money to boost the Betfred MacMillan Cancer Day.

Betfred boss Fred Done, a big United supporter since he was in short pants, said: "Sadly I couldn't make it to Middleton on Saturday as I was a little bit preoccupied at Wembley enjoying what admittedly was an against the odds triumph for mighty Manchester United. However we have a smashing team led by a very enthusiastic young fella in Joe in place in an excellent new shop in Middleton - and I want to wish them all the best for the future."

"No doubt music man Joe will be able to drum up some business!"

Joe Drummer

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