“Work is not work to me. Work is my life, it’s my pleasure, I enjoy it. I don’t work for money, I work because I like working with the people, I like challenges, I like the future and I like developing all sorts of businesses.”
– Fred Done
Part 4 of the Betfred story (see part three here) is the final chapter in the story, and looks at the ways in which the company has taken measures to cement its legacy in the world of British bookmaking.
Done talks candidly about his relationship with work, admitting his love for the world of bookmaking, and claiming this is his main motivation rather than further financial rewards.
He also talks about the love he has for his weekly slot on Betfred TV, describing it as “the best hour of the week (…) because I’m not talking to the accountant, the lawyer, or advisers, I’m just talking to the punters – and that’s what I enjoy.”
Looking to the future, Done gives his views on the future of retail betting, and the shift in impetus towards betting online.
“Shops still have a good life in them. I believe it’s still there, but you’ve gotta work at it, you’ve gotta work every day at it,” he advises. “But the bigger business is gonna be online. I look at our numbers every day and we’re growing like topsy with the internet.”
Barry Hearn spoke fondly of Done and his legacy, saying: “He invests a lot of money that people don’t see, in young entrepreneurs and things like that. He wants them to do well, and I know that’s genuine because you don’t read about it in the papers! It’s something that’s personal to him.”
But aside from the business side of things, another of Done’s most noble acts was his financial support for good friend and bookmaker Gary Wiltshire.
Wiltshire describes how he was 37 stone at the time and in hospital with a number of illnesses, and how Done paid for an expensive private operation to remove a large percentage of his excess weight.
“Here I am now, 15 stone lighter (…) and without Fred, it wouldn’t have happened – the man saved my life,” he described emotionally.
But modestly, Done insists he is uninterested with his legacy, rather he just wants people to look back and think “he wasn’t such a bad fella.”