In this edition of Trader Talk, we speak with Tom S who has gone from working in construction to being a full time football trader.
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His story is very interesting as he literally swapped his day job income working in the cold and rain to making the same income from the warmth of his home trading football.
But there were many challenges on the way as he describes.
Grab a nice cup of tea, coffee or an ice cold beer and let’s get into it!
Hey Tom Many thanks for sitting down for this interview for the Sports Trading Life readers.
I am very excited to speak with you about this.
But firstly, tell us a bit about what you were doing before football trading came along?
I left school after failing my GCSEs and went straight out into working in construction. It was probably the only job I could get with no formal qualifications and an industry I was in for a very long time until last year when I went full time with my trading. Probably not a very interesting background at all!
How did you discover the world of football trading? What attracted you to it?
I know that lots of us at work would always be right down the bookies to place an accumulator and on lunch breaks we would often pop in there for a bet on a horse race. I had a cheeky quid here and there but wanted to stay away from it as had always heard that “gambling” was bad for you from my mum.
And it seemed that way as I would see some guys spunk a weeks wages on those roulette machines and then head back to work to try and make it back. That never made sense to me.
But I remember winning an accumulator on the Premier League where £1 pound won me £100 after I predicted them all correctly. A last minute goal making me a winner too.
That was the first time I got a taste of anything betting related and it did give me a bit of a taste for it.
Things developed a bit more when Betfair started pushing the cash out feature in TV ads and we all downloaded the app and would play around with it. Maybe some can remember the ads around the time? Betting against your mates was how they presented it even though we know that isn’t really the truth.
I remember we all went to a pub after work with our accounts loaded with money and were “locking” in profits using the cash out watching some Champions League matches on the screen.
We all made good money that night but then gave it away in the coming days.
But it made me think that maybe it was possible to actually make a living at this?
Out of all of us I was the only one who went online and started researching and found various sites on football trading.
One site sold a “Lay The Draw” system for around 50 quid. I bought that and it wasn’t very good but that was my first entry into this crazy world.
Interesting. How did you do with that? Did you get success right away?
Well yes and no.
There were obviously good days with lay the draw and then there were bad days which took the profits away.
I remember showing everyone the system in the pub and we all got involved on an Arsenal match which then somehow finished 0-0 and most others were put off by it and back to their accumulators.
I was still intrigued and actively followed lots of football trading blogs and traders after that. Buying some systems and trying to learn what I could.
But looking back I wasn’t really serious about it. I was becoming a system jumper.
I would buy a new system and back then there were new ones every week on Clickbank. I would try it for a bit until there was a losing run then I would stop it and wait for a new one. Then do it again.
The worst part was following tipsters. I would hear about a tipster doing well, buy their service then go straight into a losing run but stop following their bets only for them to turn it around and make the profits back.
Looking back I was caught between two worlds, doing it for entertainment but also wanting to win and be profitable at it.
But when you get so many bad experiences in a row you begin to question if it is really possible even though looking back I can see what I was doing wrong.
I had no consistency.
That is understandable. How did you manage to overcome this?
This “cycle of doom” for me went on for so many years I lost count to be honest. I was in and out of the football trading world even being out of it for 2 years at one point.
The turning point was when I was on holiday in Cyprus in 2017. I had not even looked at Betfair for 2 years before this and was by the pool and got talking to a guy who was there with his young kid.
We got talking and I asked what he did. He first said he was an investor but a few beers later and I dug deeper and he said he was an investor in sports.
I took a shot and said “Oh like football trading on Betfair?” and his eyes lit up and he said “Yes mate exactly that, how do you know about it?”
He said he had never met anyone that knew what it was which was why he described it as “investing” but after that he opened up and told me more about it. The beers helped haha.
I told him about my experiences and he told me what I was thinking along, be more consistent but also keep it simple.
He also traded the horse racing alongside it.
Anyway, the most memorable thing about it was talking to him about his lifestyle.
He was a single dad and was able to take his kid on holidays whenever they had time off school and the trading paid for a very easy lifestyle for him.
Being a father who only gets to see my son every other weekend this struck a chord with me as it would be amazing for us to do more fun things than just go to the local McDonalds on a Saturday.
I added the guy on Facebook but I knew he wouldn’t give me much more advice other than what he told me over those beers and I haven’t bothered him since.
But it did inspire me to explore this thing a bit more seriously when I returned.
Looking back I wonder if that was fate calling!
Interesting to hear. I think in all my time I have only bumped into fellow traders once or twice out in the wild. Not everyone wants to advertise that they do it.
So how did things develop after that?
This was in August so right at the start of the season so as soon I got back I promised myself to give it a good go for the season. I dug up all my old systems on my old harddrive that I had bought and began to give it a more serious go.
I told myself the strategies I picked would be the ONLY ones I would use for the season and see where I ended up.
From there I began to experience some wild swings with one profitable month followed by giving it all back the next month.
This was a learning curve for me.
My staking plan was terrible.
But also, I realised I did much better trading matches when I could watch them live.
If I had live pictures I had a very high strike rate. If I traded just by looking at the scores was when I gave the profits back. Work took up a lot of time too so I couldn’t trade as much as I wanted.
Anyway despite this I managed to finish the season in profit. Not a big one but I knew if I did the same using bigger stakes I could replace my day job income which became my goal.
Around which point in your journey did you join Ultimate Football Trading and in which ways did that help you?
So that was around the World Cup 2018 when I joined.
Like I said, I just finished the season in profit and I knew it was possible but I wasn’t that confident I could do it again. I thought it was a fluke, i guess we all get those doubts.
I wondered if it would be worth spending the full money on the course since I only needed a few more bits of advice. I wasn’t a total newbie by this point and I was sure I would have seen the strategies in some form before.
But I figured that if it were too help me reach my goals I had then I would be making back the course cost and much more every month eventually and when I look back at it like that I do wonder why I took so long to make the decision.
I think I joined on the final hour of the final day. I was so indecisive!
I can safely say it had a big impact on helping me get improve. The strategies I was using were a bit dated at this time so it was good to learn some new/different approaches.
But the main thing was getting some sort of structure to follow which made things a lot clearer in my head. The things I had bought before never went into as much detail as UFT.
I can imagine it would be a revelation for the newbies and maybe if it was available right at the start I might have improved quicker!
Glad to hear it mate. Which strategies or approaches do you like to use?
The 17-18 season was eye opening as I had to learn which strategies I was really comfortable with using and I began to learn my style.
I realised I like the low risk high reward strategy like System X but I don’t like the losing streaks that can come with them.
So my football trading style and the one that got me into full time is to use the first hour of the match to generate some low risk profit and then leverage the profit late on to try hit a big win.
For example, doing something like Reback to get some green on match odds but then using that green on a System X if that scenario comes up.
Similar could be using snowball during a slow first half then anticipating some goals late on. The snowball max was an interesting inclusion as it is quite similar to much of what I do.
The big money is made in the late stages I found. Short priced teams conceding late equalisers are the dream scenarios for my style.
What made the decision to go full time?
I made a good profit in the subsequent seasons but I just did not have the time to trade that I wanted.
I felt that if I had more time I could trade more and then make more. I was getting back from work around 8-9PM at night and exhausted some nights which meant I just couldn’t trade mentally.
I began to feel like my day job was actually holding me back.
Plus I just turned 40 in 2019 and I began to wonder, do I still see myself doing this at 50? I hope not and so I have to change something now.
I have worked with people who are older than me and most have all sorts of back problems and other injuries they carry around but they have nothing else they can do. That is a scary future since we can’t all do such physical jobs forever.
I remember getting injured several years back and I noticed there was no sympathy from anyone. I was in severe pain for months but everyone just expects you to get on with it and stop complaining. If you don’t someone else will take your place.
I needed a desk job but I don’t have the option of going back to school so I figured it was worth giving it a go with the trading. I didn’t have much to lose but everything to gain!!!
Interesting to hear. So you told me that going full time didn’t exactly go to plan initially...
Haha yes you can say that again mate.
So I handed in notice to them on January 1st 2020 which meant I would be free to begin my football trading full time life on March 2nd 2020.
Some might remember what happened very close to that date as we were in full lockdown by the end of the month and all football was cancelled. Great start!
I remember being relieved that I was leaving as at that time I was really concerned about the virus and jumping on the trains every morning when all these rumours were flying around was a scary time.
I felt really happy to know I was going to be working from home when March arrived but I didn’t bargain on football being cancelled at the same time.
So what did you do at this particular point?
Well like most I sheltered in place for the next month or so as it seemed like the world was ending. Everyone was in the same boat and out of work so my own current woes weren’t the biggest deal anymore.
But by late April I got a call to ask if I wanted to come back and work on a project as they were low on staff. Construction work went on pretty much all the way through the lockdowns as it was.
Anyway, I had no choice but to accept since there was hardly any football to trade (apart from Belarus).
So a month or so after going full time football trading, I was BACK in my old job.
Not the future I had planned!
Haha. Yes it was a wild time. I remember rumours of football not returning for a year at one point. So how did things play out after that?
The project I was working on was running till September. I decided to just stick with it so I missed the project restart matches but at that time you never knew what was going to happen next. I wasn’t going to quit again just for football to be cancelled again. It feels silly saying this now but at that time nobody really knew anything.
Anyway, I stuck it out and retired for the second time in September just in time for the new season.
I was determined not to go back this time but also I felt a bit reassured since my boss told me there would always be work for me if needed.
How did the season go in the end?
I achieved my goal of matching my previous income and never had to make the call and ask for extra work, not that I wasn’t tempted once or twice.
There were some nervous times. Lost a fair whack with some freak results over Christmas and you do doubt yourself a HUGE amount all the time.
Two losing days in a row can have you questioning everything and wanting to change something but you MUST keep things consistent. I learned this the hard way.
This season has started well and being able to commit more time to this has been the big gamechanger. I can trade with focus and my plan is to scale up to do more automated or trading just based on the in play stats.
I still feel I need a peak at the live action before making a trade but I want to get good at doing stats alone since then I can fit in more matches to trade.
Apart from the lockdown how has full time life treated you?
Yeah its been a strange one since I have been grounded for the past year or so and not really had anywhere to go.
Waking up with no alarm has been the nicest thing but also little things like not having to look over my shoulder in case a boss was going to be up my a**e.
Oh and being able to clock off when I want. I had a very profitable one particular day at the end of the season and so I told myself the next day was a day off to just lounge about, eat pizza, play FIFA online and drink beer.
Not having that depressed feeling on a Sunday night before going back to work too.
These are small things but in the 9-5 grind I was in before I simply NEVER had time to do this in all my life.
Hopefully life is back to normal by next summer and then things like Eurodisney, Legoland etc are all on the cards with my boy.
Any particular memorable trades to mention?
The Euros were brilliant to trade and included a day I will never forget.
I had my BIGGEST profits ever made twice in one day.
The Spain- Croatia match and then the France Vs Switzerland match.
Both fit my game plan perfectly and it was bonkers to break my own record and then break it again the same day. Once in a lifetime!
For those who don’t remember, both Spain and France went 3-1 up and traded down to 1.01 before drawing 3-3.
I got in a bit higher than 1.01 though.
Yes I remember those matches. I am sure many watching will wonder what made you get involved when those matches seemed over?
Good question and this was from one of the videos in the course about anticipating the flow of the match. It is quite common for a team to relax when they are 2 goals ahead and it is something I go for quite often.
Remember I am only using profits already made from earlier trades. If it doesn’t come in I am still making a profit.
There can be times when I go “all in” and risk my profit on a big turnaround. I end up with zero if it doesn’t come off but I am prepared to accept that.
Tell us about your WORST day as a football trader.
I had plenty of dark days before I began to take this seriously.
But the period around new year when I lost my previous months profit in the space of a few days was a seriously bad time. This was when the ever reliable Liverpool had some strange results and I remember it seemed like everything was going against me.
The timing of the goals, the wrong team scoring at the wrong time.
We were still in peak lockdown, the weather was dark and depressing and I remember being in quite a bad place all around. I think everything caught up with me which is why I remember that period as being particularly hard. But I am not the only one!
What are the future plans? You want to be full time forever?
I want to do it for as long as I possibly can but I am fully aware from talking to others that I might get burned out and to keep my options open.
It is not likely I could get a job that pays as well as this with my qualifications so I am probably on my own now but that is fine.
I am learning how to sell on Amazon currently and exploring similar things that I can do from home that can bring in significant income or even passive income. I want to trade and save as much as I can going up to the world cup then maybe explore something else after that.
No firm plans but I am buying courses on everything these days and learning some amazing things. I never would have thought there were so many opportunities out there.
Finally, what other tips or advice can you give to help newbies?
I would say be consistent but I think that is something people say all the time so I will try and be different.
Number one is probably to find your own trading style.
These courses are great to do but remember you are essentially learning someone else’s style which might not suit your own style. Best thing is not try and replicate what someone else is doing fully. Take the principles but apply it to your own style.
For example and without giving too much away my own version of Snowball is a good example as I use more lay stakes than suggested in the course but this is because I am a bit more cautious when using this method.
The principle is still the same but I feel more comfortable this way and this is MY style when going against goals.
Many thanks for taking the time!
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