Littlewoods Football Pools History
The Football Pools was created by John Moores, Colin Askham and Bill Hughes of Littlewoods in 1923, since its creation 85 years ago its has given out over 3 billion pounds in prize money to over 60 million people. The concept of the classic pools was an instant hit with the public and it flourished until the start of the war in 1939. In 1946 normal service was resumed as the football league started up again.
The 1950's became a pivotal year for Littlewoods in 1950 the Football Pools celebrated it's largest winner to date and paid out a dividend of £100,000 to Mrs E Knowlson of Manchester. In 1951 Littlewoods combated the summer void by introducing Australian football teams to the coupons, thereby allowing the pools to be played all year round. In 1957 the first £200,000 winner a Mrs Nellie McGrail of Stockport was announced, also in 1957 Littlewoods introduced the collectors network which allowed the Pools to be played by even more people.
The Freezing Sixties
Disaster struck for football matches up and down the land in 1963 as the United Kingdom endured one of its worst ever winters it was dubbed "the big freeze" and this inevitability led to the cancellation of many football matches for a pro-longed period of time to combat this Pools was created, this was a panel that would decide what the outcome of the game would have been it consisted of Sir Gerald Nabarro (a Conservative party backbencher), George Young, Ted Drake, Tommy Lawton and Tom Tinney (who were all ex professional football players and lastly Arthur Ellis (an ex referee).
The 1970's became another important decade for the Football Pools firstly in 1972 Mr K. Grimes of Liss, Hampshire became the first ever £500,000 Football Pools winner this would worth well over £5 million by 2008 standards. In 1973 Littlewoods introduced the Spot the Ball competition which was played all year round and by 1979 Littlewoods paid out its first £750,000 dividend.
By the 1980's nearly 15 million people are playing the pools each week and Dave Preston of Burton on Trent wins almost £954,000 after wining on both Littlewoods Pools and Vernon's Pools coupons and by 1986 the first million pound payout is announced, the largest prize ever in any competition in the United Kingdom this was won by 11 nurses from Wilshire who all shared the prize of £1,017,890. Littlewoods will also sponsor thr League Football Cup for the first time.
The last decade of the 20th century is kicked off in style by Rodi Woodcock from South London when he becomes the first person to win more than £2 million on Littlewoods Pools and will with just a stake of 54 pence. In 1994 the FA Cup is sponsored for the first time in its 123 year history by Littlewoods in a sponsorship deal worth £14,000,000 over 4 years, also in 1994 a syndicate of players from a pub share a jackpot of £2,924,622.
The New Millennium and Beyond
A new chapter in the Littlewoods legacy is written when in 2000 Sportech Plc buys Littlewoods Gaming (formerly Littlewoods Leisure) from The Littlewoods Organisation for £161m. As part of its 80th birthday celebrations one lucky punter is given a free £20,000 bet on the Football Pools, making it the largest ever single stake ever placed on the pools. By 2007 Sportech Plc has also acquired Vernons and Zetter's Football Pools allowing it to rebrand and re-launch in 2008 to help gain back the revenue lost to the National Lottery by creating new games such as Footy Fifteen and Premier 10 to go alongslide the classic pools betting.