When 16-year-old Harry Wilson appeared for Wales on Tuesday, he not only became the youngest player to appear for his country, he also won his grandfather £125,000.
That’s how much Peter Edwards, Wilson’s 62-year-old grandfather, made off a 2,500-to-1 wager placed in 2000. The electrical contractor bet his then-18-month-old grandson would one day appear for his national team. When the Liverpool academy star came off Chris Coleman’s bench in the 87th minute against Belgium, that £50 wager financed Edwards’ early retirement.
“I retired immediately,” Edwards said. “I told my manager yesterday that if Harry plays I wouldn’t be coming back.”
“I’ve retired one year early. I have come home now and will not be going back. Not bad for a daft bet.”
Sure, the bet looks good now, but when he put that £50 own on an 18-month-old, it was as good as gone. But at 12, Wilson enrolled in Liverpool’s academy, where his development progressed quickly, at which time Edwards attempted to put even more money on his grandson’s potential success.
“Harry was about 12 then. But they (William Hill) turned me down and said I already had a substantial bet with them.”
It’s a wager William Hill will surely be chagrined to be paying out, but if anything, they’re getting off easy. At 2,500-to-1, Edwards took very short odds on an 18-month-old’s changes to play for Wales. In a country of three million people, the odds of playing for the national team should have been much longer.
But Edwards’ bet wasn’t about being rational. It was a whim.
“He used to chase the ball around the front room on his hands and knees even before he could walk, that’s what gave me the idea. But I hoped the bet would come up.”
On Tuesday, that hope came good, but I wouldn’t feel too bad for William Hill on this one. Not only is it hard to have too much sympathy for a big money broker, but can you imagine how many hopeful grandfathers around Great Britain have read Edwards’ story and decided to give some money to their local bookies?
In the long run, William Hill may make money off the whole thing. That is, after all, what bookies do.