Recently, I had the pleasure to sit down and talk with Glen Kirkham who is a member of my premium course, Ultimate Football Trading and is someone who has done exceptionally well with his football trading in the past year.
He joined me as a fresh newbie but recently shared with me that he is now profiting “5 figures per month” from his football trading after learning a few harsh lessons along the way.
And so I had to get him on the blog so he can tell us more about his journey.
And below you will find the FULL Q&A interview. Expect lots of golden nuggets of info and some revealing hints about his strategy and approach to football trading.
Grab a cup of tea, coffee or a nice cold beer and enjoy!
Hey Glen. Many thanks for sitting down for this interview for the Sports Trading Life readers.
No problem mate, thanks for having me. Hopefully some of your audience can gain something from what has been quite an eventful year for us so far with COVID and all.
Yep it has been one hell of a year that is for sure. So lets start at the beginning, how did you get involved in the world of football trading?
I actually only really started trading football “properly” about 6 months before lockdown but I was doing it for a couple of years before without being too serious about it. Prior to that I was a bookmakers dream i.e. trying to land outrageous 20-team accas every Saturday and failing with stunning regularity.
Then despite classing myself as pretty knowledgable about football (I can hold my own in a debate about the pro’s and con’s of the the Gegenpress), I was atrocious at making money with football because I was, well, gambling. My decision making process was based purely on emotions and hunches. For the past few years I’ve been running a number of successful YouTube channels to do with football and I’ve always been addicted to football which didn’t help my betting on it.
Yes I hear that, sounds like a familiar story. How did the turning point come about?
Well I’m from Blackpool so for me and my friends/family, there’s a real grass roots cultural significance to the game.
Discovering the Betfair Exchange effectively allowed me to reverse this dynamic to get better odds, in-play value and an edge I’d never found before. Rather than accept a terrible price on an outside chance during a rainy night in Stoke, I could effectively find ways to use probability and outcome to make my own odds, at my own price. It went from punting on random teams, to becoming basically a broker on ‘the stock market of football’.
This education matured over the space of about 9 months to the point where I started making profit consistently.
Since then, I have refined my trading and analysis system so that I can fit it all in as a father of 3 kids with a busy schedule.
Today, for me, It’s the greatest lifestyle business I’ve ever come across.
Nice! I still remember when you first joined me at UFT and you sent me a link to your Youtube channel. I was totally baffled when I clicked on it as it was not what I was expecting at all…
Well, I’ve always been an entrepreneur. Maybe more Del Boy than Richard Branson, but we all have to start somewhere.
And in a nutshell, I started writing songs about footballers. “Mo Salah, Mo Salah, running down the wing”, I wrote that one “Southgate you’re the one, football’s coming home again” I wrote that which was just mega during the World Cup. Then we had Gary Lineker and Gary Neville tweeting about it and I ended up almost getting sued by Atomic Kitten. It was a whirlwind few years because every ‘Football Song’ I put out seemed to go viral…
Blimey! Yes I saw your Youtube button award. You must have made some good money out of all of that?
Well, the only problem was, because of copyright on YouTube, I made much less doing it than the figures would suggest.
But having a song which you wrote in a spare bedroom being played before the Champions League final, broadcast in the England camp during the World Cup, appearing on The Premier League, Sky Sports, Bundesliga, BBC, Liverpool FC, La Liga, ITV etc… Madness. This all went full circle when I got a call from EA Sports about using some of my music on the new FIFA game, I was invited to their launch, met their team etc.
Now I do some exclusive content for the Bundesliga. Imagine trying to write a catchy song about Borussia Monchengladbach… It certainly keeps me on my toes.
Very interesting stuff, so back to the football trading, how did you learn in the beginning?
I started following some ”Tipsters” (I use that term very loosely) on Twitter and paid for a service from a guy on Whatsapp who did exclusively First Half Goals. To be fair, he was the only one who would win consistently long-term but he had a strategy whereby you’d place a First Half Goal bet about 10 minutes into a game, then if it hit the 30 minute mark and there still wasn’t a goal, you’d place another bet (at a higher price/less stake). The strategy was hoping to lock in some more profit, taking advantage of the better price as the stats suggested there would be a goal and you’d get more bang for your buck effectively.
That was the first time I’d done more than 1 bet on a match, utilising the price of a match to lock in more profit. It was a lightbulb moment and it opened up the doors to the understanding that you can use the moving in-play odds in your favour rather than just taking the SP at the start of a game.
I started doing some maths on the difference between placing a £20 bet at 1.3 with your bog standard bookmaker, compared to staggering bets into the market, let’s say, £5 at 1.3, £5 at 1.6, £5 at 1.8 and £5 at 2 for example.
Embarrassingly, before knowing the Exchange was a thing, I was doing this manually on Bet365. Literally sat there waiting for the price to go up tick by tick before manually placing my next entry. I’m quite an analytical guy and the long term benefit of dripping bets in slowly, without me knowing it, was my gateway to full blown trading, although I didn’t know it at the time. When I was told about the exchange and that I could place these entries automatically and the market would eat them up as the price moved, I nearly cried. I started seeing some success and I invested in a couple of programs and software’s to try and educate myself about what’s going on and become consistent.
It was very clear early on that the Betfair Exchange was the platform and there were patterns in football matches which would appear over and over again.
Patterns I could profit from.
So at what point in your journey did you join Ultimate Football Trading? Did that help you much?
I’m normally very closed about my trading but with you Ben I’m happy to talk about it because I put a huge amount of my success down to you and the Ultimate Football Trading course.
To clarify for anyone reading, I’m not being paid to say this, I’m just being real, it’s the best trading training I’ve done. I was on your email list for about 6 months and when you opened the cart to take new members on the course, I really wanted to buy it, despite it being quite a lot of money for me at the time.
I thought I HAD to get this info. – Sneakily, on the last day of enrollment, I saved the shopping cart link and waited until I had the money, at which point, you’d closed the doors on taking on new members. I was hoping going direct to the shopping cart page would skip passed the ‘closed to new members page’,
Lucky for me, it did and I managed to get in!
Yes I remember now, good thing I closed that loophole right away 😉
So what happened next?
So I went through the whole course over a couple of days (It’s ridiculously in-depth) and I made charts, diagrams and spreadsheets about everything you were talking about. It’s not because of your success students which drove me, more, it was the simplified and repeatable process that made sense to me and the very definitive “If This, Then That” methodology to it.
I needed someone to take me by the hand and say IF A: The price is below X, and B: the home team has scored Y goals in Z, THEN do this. I was a bit blind before that, but suddenly, these strategies had names and criteria which just blew my mind. Since then, I’ve developed and changed some of your strategies to fit my own trading processes, but at the core spine of my strategy sits the methods you teach…
I think I saw a webinar with you trading some French Division 2 games and the info was exactly what I was looking for. I’ve never been afraid to pay for information/training/education so I took the plunge and it really opened up a lot of possibilities for me
The community is cool too, a little chat room where everyone else who is as weird as us, placing trades on football all day can talk about the who, what, when, where’s and why’s of trades and games. Like I said, it’s the best training I’ve done.
Thanks Ben 🙂
Yes I always say that people often tweak things to fit what they are comfortable with since the key to being consistent is when you have something you are comfortable with.
So you told me that you deposited £800 into Betfair and turned it in to £14k within a week. But this wasn’t necessarily a good thing?
To be absolutely accurate, it was 12 days, but yeah by the end of that 12th day I’d turned £800 into £14,088.46 pure tax free profit. It was bonkers.
Understand that before I did this, I was all over the place from a bankroll perspective, I had a ton of holes in my trading game, I wasn’t sticking to a plan and I was ‘trading’ on every game day or night.
Then I made one switch which changed everything, it’ll sound absolutely pathetic to anyone reading this – but – I made a spreadsheet.
I thought to myself “I’m making awful decisions, I’m trading on marginal games, I’m reading my analysis wrong… I need to be accountable for everything!”.
My plan was to start treating trading like a business and document every market entry, game selection, thought process, decision. I became my own ‘Betfair lab rat’. The main reason for the spreadsheet is so that when I inevitably made a ridiculous trade, it would be etched in Black and White, staring me in the face from the annuls of history, mocking me for how much of an idiot I was for dreaming of placing such a trade. I thought to myself “I’m going to give this a proper go, with a proper bankroll, with a real logical mentality, money/staking management, strict game selection etc”.
So I put £800 into my account and focused on a few key markets.
First Half Goals, Laying The Correct Score and a few Match Odds strategies. I made my own filter which was outrageously tight with regards game selection and I would only trade on games I could watch.
My staking plan was to place 5% per trade across the board, but move up to 10% if I was extremely confident.
I started day 1 with a £1k+ profit day, luckily it was a Saturday and I ground out the trades all day and turned over my profits into more games and more games, basically recycling my cash into more and more trades, still sticking to my staking plan mind! Day 2 was a £740 profit day, then £916 etc. I had a couple of losing days over the 12 days but my big winning days, £4,195.15, £2,434.87 etc far outweighed the losers.
I was trading A LOT. I’m talking 20 – 40 matches every day (regularly staking £4,000/£5,000 rolled up) but my strike rate was massive, I’m talking 75%+ on a bad day and my ROI’s were monster.
OK I think I know where this going now…
Yes so after almost 2 weeks of making serious bank, I had a dark night of the soul.
I was over £14,000 up, it was a Monday night after another long day idolising a computer screen, not a huge amount of games on, but I was on the run of my life and needed to continue momentum.
I found some games that didn’t really fit my strategy and I started trying to force square pegs into round holes. Compound that with the fact that I traded WAY outside of my staking plan (Liabilities of £3,000-£4,000 per bet from a £14,000 balance (I was supposed to be doing 5%-10% of my roll per trade, max!).
I took a ridiculous game from Poland which I fancied a first half goal in. The goal came too early and nothing was matched, rather than what I normally do which is to move onto the next game, I lumped the lot on O1.5 FHG’s. That never came in, so I bet an even larger amount on the game not ending 1-0…. It did…
That ridiculous rush of blood cost me £3,659.59.
Later that evening, Real Madrid were 1-0 up early in their first half and I took the trade for O2.5 goals. They scored straight away into the 2nd half and I was sat on nearly £700 cash out profit. Instead, I let it run. The game ended 2-0 and I’d lost £4,082 on that one game.
Spurs came through my filter as expecting a first half goal, that didn’t come, so I went massive in the second half for a goal, it ended 0-0. Neither team wanted to win the match. I saw that but thought because of my run, a goal would come from somewhere.
Over the space of these 2 days I’d lost in excess of £10,000 of my balance. I still had £3k/£4k+ profit in my account but the devastating loss of needlessly spunking that much money cut me real deep.
I hear stories like this quite often. What would you say was the reason for this happening?
There was one reason for this …I thought I was completely and utterly invincible.
I got greedy and I thought I couldn’t lose. I’d traded for nearly 2 weeks straight without a break. I’m not just talking about the couple of hours when the games were on, I’m talking all day everyday. I was waking up and entering my trades, spending the afternoon analysing form etc and in the evening watching and live trading the games. Ironically, in this losing 48 hours, I traded less matches than I had done on previous days, but I went much bigger in terms of stake.… Too big.
In total, I literally threw away ten grand on about 3 or 4 games. When the first bet lost, I traded more on the next game to try and win it back. That one would lose and so I’d go even bigger trying to recoup my losses…. I became a gambler again.
This was the toughest 2 days of my trading career and it absolutely wounded me, but it needed to happen as it completely humbled me. It gave me a ginormous real world red flag of what happens if you don’t respect the strategy, your balance and the markets themselves, even if you are on the run of a lifetime.
Yes I often tell people that you need to gain market experience and when doing this you should trade as much as you can but keep those stakes small when you do it. Otherwise it can be an expensive lesson.
At the same time, I hear people who do exactly what you did and it either inspires them to come back and improve or they give up. In your case you came back, what did you do differently?
Yes I considered if this really was for me. If the stress of losing that much was worth it?
I decided very quickly that it was.
It’s not the markets, games, trading in general that was the problem… It was me!
I think trading is 20% process, game selection, bankroll management, market choice, price analysis, form etc and 80% mentality, your confidence, trust in yourself and trust in what you are doing.
From that point, I started from where I stood (with about £4k in my account) and grinded it out. But something had changed.
I found an inner discipline and I suppose a patience where I genuinely knew deep down that trading works, I just needed to become totally impersonal about it and refine my processes to completely minimise this happening again.
You can’t go 12 days being consistently profitable averaging over £1,000 profit per day, 75% and above strike rate day after day and it just being luck? Losing days are a guarantee, but how they shape you and how you react is totally of your own design. I really knuckled down, tweaked my strategy which was more about protecting the down side.
More importantly, and I think this is major for anyone even remotely considering this as a serious endeavour, I had to totally disassociate myself from the money and what it means in the “Real World”.
That £10k could be a deposit on a house, a holiday for the family, a new car.
From this point onward I changed my focus from “This trade = a new X” to “These numerical units (pound coins) in my account are my soldiers. I deploy them into markets where I know the likelihood is they can realise a profit. If they don’t, I stand by my decision and my reading of the situation and do not beat myself up because 22 men couldn’t give me the outcome I wanted”.
I know it probably sounds corny and silly hearing me retell all of this but I genuinely reincarnated myself with regards my entire approach to trading. Straight away I traded every game which matched my new stricter filter and since then I have never once gone over my staking plan.
It’s not about finding winners, it’s how you handle the losers which is the measure of the trader.
So which markets do you have most success on?
My most profitable market by a long chalk is the First Half Goals market.
I use 3 filters for my whole trading setup, one setup for First Half Goals analysis and 2 for the match odds strategies you use in the course.
In the morning I set my entries into the market for all of the games which match the FHG filters as statistically more than 90% of the time, the games should have a first half goal. Obviously this is football and nothing is a guarantee but the strike rate on my filter strategy is 78%. The average profit per FHG game entered (for me) is £83 and I’m trading on average 10-20 games per day.
As for the Match Odds markets, I want to watch the game as much as possible as there are plenty of shils throughout a match. For example as I’m writing this, an in-form Man Utd are hosting a resolute Southampton side at Old Trafford. Southampton (some would say against the run of play) scored the opener and to LAY them went down to 3’s when originally they were up around the 7/8 price. I quickly layed against Southampton for £1,000 and Man UTD scored a quick fire double to realise a beautiful locked in profit.
I’m not keen on laying the draw from kickoff, especially towards the end of a season where good sides are resting on their European places while underdogs are fighting for their lives, although this creates a lot of opportunity to trade.
Thankfully, I could tell you exactly how each individual strategy and market performs for me, the average strike rate, the ROI, the average return per trade etc all because of the spreadsheet! (Honestly, if you don’t have one, make one!)
You also told me before how videogames have helped you with football trading. This is different, tell me a bit more…
Some would call it a misplaced youth, I call it an invaluable education.
Fifa, Football Manager, Champ Manager, playing Sunday League or whatever the poison, being able to really read a football match is the best way to achieve success in trading.
Understanding pressure, tactics, the motivation of the teams and watching the flow of a game is nothing short of invaluable.
I say to anyone getting into this, you MUST watch the game in as real time as possible, and trust your gut and what you’re watching.
I was recently conversing with a member in the UFT live room about how the big data companies relay their data to the various bookmakers.
Watching that little dot on the screen – Attack > …. Dangerous Attack >> …. Corner…. Injury for 4 minutes – it’s very similar to watching those little circles move around a pitch on football manager, it’s great but it tells nowhere near the real story.
It can’t tell you the morale of the players, the strikers lack of form, the ball carriers desire to get into dangerous positions, how compact the defence is, yet some people insist on trading using just that image and the in-play dots on a screen.
Football is a war between 2 football teams and watching the game combined with having a deep understanding of the tactics and motivation of a game is a mammoth edge. Watching how a few hand gestures of a manager moving a striker back and subbing an attacker off for a defender should scream to you as a trader what the motivation of a team is and thus, what we should trade accordingly.
In the same way when you’re playing a mate at FIFA and he pushes “All Out Attack” to try and get a goal back, he is more likely to score a goal, yes, but he’s so open to your counter attack, especially if you’ve got pace on the wings. If you notice that happen in a real football match you have a strong chance of a late goal.
These things are obvious really but applying the deep understanding of the mechanics of football which you can get by playing games like Football Manager/ FIFA I find really helps when analysing action in the markets.
So today you are now doing 5 figures per month profit from football trading. For many that is quite a big sum, how do friends and family react to the numbers that you trade with and make?
Honestly Ben, I don’t tell most of them.
I mean, they know I am doing it but I don’t think they realise the extent of what I’m doing and the money that I’m making from trading.
I started sharing some of my results and the kind of success I was having and the majority of people around me either A: didn’t really ‘get it’, B: they just saw it as gambling or C: Thought I was an arrogant bugger for sharing it with them.
With certain mates I have meaningful conversations where I find myself defending what I’m doing which isn’t right.
The ongoing joke is if we watch a football match someone would chime in “Have you got a bet on this Glen?” which, the majority of time I do.
But it’s a very different conversation however when people realise you’ve not got £5 on a Chelsea win, but £6,000 involved in the Norwegian league.
I know there is a stigma surrounding football trading and it is quite sad.
Indeed, did you say some know the amounts you are trading with and making now? Surely they must be impressed?
I think this is a conversation for another time but I definitely find a lot of people react negatively if I share how much I’ve made or my results over a day/week/month.
With other traders, business people, entrepreneurs, investors etc it’s more acceptable, but I learned a long time ago not to go into the local on a Friday and start talking about my week’s trading activity in the same way others talk about their week on a building site.
Now, if anyone asks, I tentatively explain I’ve had a good week, and if they ask, I’ll divulge a few good and bad trades, but I don’t broadcast the numbers anymore as it leads to being termed arrogant, cocky, flashy and the like.
There’s definitely a psychology in our society about money which some have, especially in working class northern towns, where rather than congratulating and celebrating someone’s success, it is trodden on and dispelled. Mad really isn’t it. The irony is, not one of these people have ever asked how it’s done so they can do it for themselves, it’s just instantly dismissed.
I think they call it the poppy syndrome? Each to their own I guess.
I just had to Google “Poppy syndrome” and yes I totally hear that and have experienced something similar myself down the years.
One question many readers often ask is when and how do you actually withdraw from your profits and pay yourself?
The one thing I’m not that strict on is paying myself. You’ll probably laugh at this but my method is at the end of the day to take out a number which will leave me on a whole number again, so, if I have £XX,372.48 in my account, I’ll take out £372.48 to take it down to £XX,000 – I don’t know, I like opening my account in a morning to a round number, like if someone can’t have the TV volume on an odd number or can’t get up when their alarm clock is anything other than at a 15 minute increment.
Haha, I am laughing as I do a similar thing. For me I might often take the excess and put it on a “value bet” overnight that is around 2.0. If it doubles up then great. If not then my balance is at a round number and I probably don’t even remember the value bet by the next day.
Anyway, do carry on…
I started taking out lump sums of a few thousand at a time as security against anything happening to my Betfair account but that’s not my pay, that’s my asset and legacy money so it goes into a separate bank account. T
There’s always a healthy balance in Betfair to trade from though and now that I’ve actually lowered my stakes to around 1%-2% of my overall profit since I started, it’s amazing how much you can generate over 30 days with relatively small stakes dripped correctly.
Betfair have upped my exposure limit to £25,000 of trades at any one time, but I just don’t need it, I can make a great living even sticking within their default £5,000 of exposure. I realised from my 48 hour dark period that you don’t need to just keep going up and up and up with the stakes, not only because it’s as stressful as moving house every day but also, the markets will cap out when you hit a certain amount…
Believe it or not, there’s not a HUGE amount of money going on in the Icelandic 2nd division at 5pm on a Wednesday. If you’re trading 15 games per day, at a 75% win rate, what’s your daily target in profit? This will suggest your stakes and I think it’s only then you realise, even £100 per game can yield MASSIVE results by the end of a month.
Nice, and the profits you do withdraw are they going anywhere else? Like another business?
Yes, I am investing in property.
I’ve got a few houses now which I’m developing and doing up to rent/sell on which is ace and it’s so freeing to know that the money from trading is always coming in and building up that buffer.
I’m just so blessed and grateful for the way things are right now.
Wicked so what has been the most memorable football trade?
Funny, I have a hard time remembering the particularly brilliant trades but I can remember with remarkable accuracy games where I’ve lost big or made stupid decisions.
But one good one that happened recently was in the Portuguese league with Benfica who were 0-2 up against Portimonense.
Benfica are obviously the big guns in the league but they’d not been convincing at the back in previous matches I’d watched and they had even more defensive issues with players being out, suspended, ill etc. I layed against them despite leading 0-2 after half an hour at a price of 1.16 for a liability of £1,600 which had a £10,000 upside if Portimonense went on to draw or win.
The underdog levelled it at 2-2 in the second half and I had a beer that night. ?
Finally, if you were just starting out today what advice would you give yourself?
OK, In no Particular Order…..
Get the Ultimate Football Trading course, it’s brill and gives you some techniques that will stay with you for the entirety of your career doing this. I regularly still do a variation of Fireball or Snowball almost every day.
Also, get a proper spreadsheet going. Google sheets is free so there are no excuses. Go and start documenting every trade you do. Teams, odds, stakes, liabilities, strategies, notes, prof/loss at a minimum!
Colour the winning trades in green and losing trades in red. It’s immense when you get 15/20 greens in a row and adds a real motivation and validation to your trades. As for those pesky reds, they’ll happen, but you’ll start seeing patterns as to why you keep losing on said strategy and you can quickly phase those gremlins out of your trading.
Three, Stick to a staking plan.
I overheard a conversation last week where a guy had won a bet and he said ‘Nice, I can buy a hot meal for my tea tonight’… Not sure if he was being serious but if this is the situation, you shouldn’t be trading. If you trade with emotions on the money you’re trading with, you’re toast. It’s important that you’re OK losing the money you put into Betfair, obviously, not that you intend to that do that, but if you start trading with scared money, you’ll make mistakes.
Make sure your deposit isn’t going to screw your life up if you lose it and I would recommend in the beginning not staking more than 5% of your overall balance on each trade.
I would also say that ‘paper trading’ isn’t worth the time, you’ll only really learn by having skin in the game, with real money.
Four, get your head straight.
It is entirely possible to make a lot of money with trading, but you are at the mercy of a lot of factors and moving parts. Leave your own fears, doubts, worries and beliefs about money at the door before you trade. If you feel strongly about your choices and game reading, go with your gut, it’s so powerful when you hit a winner that you knew was a good call and you learn massive amounts if it loses.
Always be learning, always improve your trading, read, invest in yourself, grow.
Five, Don’t step up too quickly. If you’re winning and making some OK dosh, don’t instantly up the stakes and go for the world heavyweight title belt before you’ve ever stepped in the ring. Take it slow, there’s always another game tomorrow. Never go with a game out of the need to trade, let the results, stats, form and game reading make that decision for you.
Oh, and don’t support Blackpool, it’s horrifically stressful!
Many thanks for taking the time Glen!
No worries, thanks for having us mate. Good luck everyone 🙂
You can find and follow Glen Kirkham at the below links. Definitely check out his Youtube Channel/s!
Youtube: Football Songs
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