Tuesday, 23 Jul 2024

The Football Pools: A Fascinating History

The Football Pools History
Original Football Pools Advertising

The football pools have a rich and captivating history that dates back to a time before the National Lottery and other forms of gambling. In its heyday, the football pools was an exciting way for people to engage in gambling without feeling like they were taking part in traditional betting. It’s incredible to think that, by the 1950s, the football pools accounted for around 15 million postal packets every week, with over 100,000 people working in the industry.

The Origins Of The Pools

Painting of John Moores by Charles William Oliver
Painting of John Moores by Charles William Oliver

The football pools might not have existed if not for the unwavering determination of John Moores. Initially, he faced challenges in convincing football fans to embrace this new form of gambling. However, he persisted, and eventually, the pools became one of the UK’s most popular ways to gamble. By 1936, the pools accounted for four million of every six million postal packets being sent. Despite its immense success, the advent of the National Lottery marked the beginning of the end for the football pools.

The Modern Football Pools

Modern Day Football Pools

In the modern era, the football pools have reinvented themselves to keep up with the times and maintain a loyal fanbase. The games have evolved, with both classic and new options available online. The introduction of a new sportsbook in 2021, powered by FSB, allows users to access modern betting products while still enjoying the classic pools games.

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How It Worked

Football Pools Coupon 1970s

Traditionally, entries in the pools were made via the postal service. Collectors would go around gathering coupons, receiving a fee of 12.5% of the money bet. The coupons would then be taken to regional offices before being dispatched to central offices. Over time, the scoring system for games varied, but players would typically select their results and accumulate points based on wins, draws, and goals. The player with the highest score would receive the largest payout.

Winning The Pools

Winning the football pools

Winning the football pools was a thrilling experience for many. Players could choose to pay a higher stake, increasing their chances of winning a larger share of the jackpot. Some winners achieved life-changing amounts, like Viv Nicholson, who famously declared she would “spend, spend, spend” when her husband won over £150,000. The allure of the pools was undeniable.

The Downfall Of The Pools

Littlewoods Pools Building Derelict
Littlewoods Pools Building Abandoned Since 2003

The National Lottery’s launch in 1994 marked a turning point for the football pools. The lottery offered bigger prizes and had broader appeal as it wasn’t tied to football. Additionally, the rise of online betting in the mid-2000s further impacted the pools’ popularity. However, despite the challenges, the football pools persevered, attracting a loyal player base.

The Future Of The Pools

Future of the Pools

The future of the football pools is an intriguing topic. While its popularity has declined compared to its heyday, it continues to draw players who enjoy its unique appeal. The introduction of online platforms and a variety of games has helped the pools remain relevant. As long as there are people who want to bet on football and seek a different experience from traditional betting, the football pools will endure.

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Q: Can I still play the football pools today?
A: Absolutely! The football pools are still available to play. The New Football Pools offers various games and the chance to win prizes for as little as £1.

Q: How do I participate in the football pools?
A: Participation in the football pools can be done online. Simply visit the Movin993 website and explore the games on offer.

Q: Are the prizes as significant as they were in the past?
A: While the prizes may not reach the same heights as in the past, the football pools still offer the potential to win substantial amounts. The top prize for the classic pools is currently £3 million.


The football pools have left an indelible mark on the history of gambling in the UK. From its humble beginnings to its rise in popularity and eventual decline, the pools have endured, offering a unique betting experience. Today, with online platforms and a range of games, the football pools continue to attract a dedicated community of players who appreciate its rich history and the excitement it brings.