Picture the scene: one minute to go. That dozy Wanneroo striker at last overcomes his allergy to the ball and makes contact. It  bobbles beyond the despairing lurch of the Dianella goallie and bumps in off the post to make the score 4-4. Both Wanneroo support­ers begin to think about a cheer (true Aussies don’t watch soccer which some over there dismiss as "wogball". They prefer their own Oz Rules football where the stretcher-bearers outnumber the players). Then the whistle goes. And that result means that you win £250,000 on the other side of the globe. Funny game, football pools.

            There IS something intrinsically silly about betting on Aussie soccer. You must remember I'm a UK journalist who spends the winter dealing with our professional game where even the lowest Division games in Scotland and top non-league games in England can be attended by thousands. So when I get info about Aussie scores, there so often seem to be gems and it seems appropriate that for some Aussie sides the season some years starts on April 1st: Georgetown v Ulverstone. Note: George­town won on forfeit from Ulverstone. Georgetown awarded 11-0 (ELEVEN-ZERO) scoreline when Ulverstone failed to appear. Score determined on current average.” Determined "on current average”? If Ulverstone were actually expected to lose 11-0 on current form, no wonder they didn’t turn up!

            No other football set-up on the planet can be so prone to teams forfeiting games, changing names, or collapsing out of existence one season and being reinstated the following year. One year EIGHT Victorian sides had three points deducted for breaking rules. A lawlessness unto themselves they are, it seems.  Why is it that Aussie teams keep changing their names? Is it the legacy of a convict colony where people had to keep changing their names while on the run? One year we confiden­tally expect to learn that Australia has changed its name to Rooville. Some of the team names reveal which ethnic community is supplying most of the players so there's no prizes for guessing which nation Floreat Athena derive from. But over the years we have had teams called Deception, Rosebud and Fairy Meadow - and I've always wondered if Queensland outfit Slacks Creek was made up of footballers suffering from groin strain.


            So some of the Aussie soccer we bet on is watched by the trainers plus the families and friends of the players and maybe two men and a dingo. The general ab­sence of spectators may explain why playing at home is less helpful than it is in our League. Grasp this fact and you have taken your first step towards summer soccer betting success. Because many clubs do better away than at home, it's common for those defeated at home one week to win or draw their next away game, while those winning away often follow up by dropping home points. See the piece on our Summer Draw Factors elewhere in our Analysis section.

            When the Pools Companies first started using Australian matches in the summer just after the war, only 10% of their clients continued to submit entries. Unfamiliarity breeds contempt.  Nowa­days, less than 10% stop sending in coupons. And because Aussie soccer follows form more, it makes more sense to start doing the pools in May than to stop doing them! Runs of success or failure last longer than they do in the UK professional game, and so do runs without a draw, so when you devise your Treble Chance entries, it's usually easier to see which games you should leave out. This is why the Pools Companies normally require more selections for their Homes and Aways pools during the summer, too.

            Another reliable factor is that the soccer played in the Victorian Divisions is of a higher standard than that of Queensland and Tasmania who usually occupy the bottom slots. As other Tables in our Analysis section make clear, South Australia is often good for draws and a dozen games from there can usually be found around Nos 35-45, but with Western Australia (usually around 27-37) poor for draws, systems that take 60% of their selections from the top half of the coupon and 40% from down below make sense.

AND FINALLY....Back in March 1984, Littlewoods were amused to notice that three winners of a £45,000 first dividend chanced to be called Gam­ble, Luck and Rich. On June 30th, 1990, they paid nine top dividends over £260,000. And one of these summer winners was a Mr Luck from Hertfordshire - who was related to the Mrs Luck who won six years before. I hope that brings you luck - on either the Pools or the Lottery.