By Keith Brookman
Following Tuesday’s mention of Bristol Rovers on ITV, when stable lad Bob Grace led in Battaash, the winner of the 3.35pm race at Royal Ascot, there was news of another Rovers / racing connection this week.
Former Rovers midfielder Craig Stanley won £25,000 on the ITV7 competition!
The free to enter competition sees punters predict the winners of all seven races on any particular day and last Saturday ‘Stanners’ went through the card at Newbury.
Going into the final race of the afternoon 300 people had selected six out of six, so there was a lot riding on the outcome of race number seven. The prize money on offer was £50,000 and shared between 300 people it wouldn’t have been a lot.
However, 298 people fell at the last, leaving ‘Stanners’ and one other punter to share the jackpot.
One day later Craig took to Twitter and said this; “Thank you for all the msgs. Crazy day yesterday but what a day picking 7/7 on @itvracing@itv7. This will make a massive difference to me and my family. Thank you.”
This Saturday saw him interviewed on ITV as part of the Royal Ascot coverage and he said that it had been a very hectic week and that the money would go to pay off some debts and also go towards a house purchase.
Sadly, he forgot to mention Rovers; mind you, he didn’t mention any of his other clubs, either – they didn’t have enough air time for him to mention the other 13 he’s turned out for – and I may well have even missed a few!
The former England ‘C’ international joined the Gas in June 2011, arriving from Torquay United along with several others from Plainmoor, including manager Paul Buckle. It was just a one year spell at the Mem, though, and after one goal in 34 league games he departed for Aldershot Town.
Last season saw him begin the campaign with Clitheroe before moving to Nuneaton Borough last September. However, the travelling proved to be too much for him, and it was reported that he had left them in November. He eventually found himself back at Clitheroe who play in the Northern Premier League Division One North West.
When the season was declared null and void, because of the coronavirus pandemic, during lockdown Clitheroe were in sixth place in the league.
Now 37 years of age, his playing days are probably coming to an end and it remains to be seen whether he will stay in the non league game as a coach or a manager. He did have a run of six games as joint caretaker manager of Lancaster City in 2018, so don’t bet against it!
Mind you, if coaching or management doesn’t appeal, there’s always a role as a tipster; that £25,000 might well have whetted his appetite for an alternative career!