How English football cashed in on the rise of betting

    Story highlights

    • The Secret Footballer reveals players made money using in-play betting
    • Players could make money by manipulating who would take the first throw in
    • Bookmakers now go to extreme lengths to prevent spot fixing in sport
    When I first started playing, I was simply too young and too naive to realize what was going on. I just thought that the full back who was clipping the ball down the line and out of play was s*** and there was no helping him. It was only years later that I found out what had been going on.
    "In play" betting was a relatively new thing in those days. The internet was just taking off and the algorithms used to detect fraudulent gambling were nowhere near as sophisticated as they are now. Let me give you an indication of just how easy it was to manipulate the system back then ...
    Let's say that you are the captain of the team. At the start of every game, you are involved in the toss of a coin to determine which team has the kick off and which end you are going to kick towards. No team wants to win the toss so that they can have the kick off; an away team only wants to win the toss so that they can choose which end to kick towards -- so the home team does not have the advantage of kicking towards their home fans in the second half.
    So, we know no team is interested in winning the toss to get the kick off. Now, imagine what would happen if, as the captain, you went in to each of these tosses with the sole intention of making sure that your team got the kick off. You could, in theory, kick-off every time and, if that happens, it becomes ridiculously easy to bet on which team will win the first throw in.