Last Saturday saw the third round of the FA Cup, arguably the most romantic day of the football season. Whilst the traditions of the oldest cup competition in the world have been under attack for years, third round day gives the so-called 'lesser sides' the chance of glory against football's elite. Given the vast sums of money now available to Premier League teams, cup upsets are becoming increasingly rare. Gone appear to be the days when non-league Sutton beat Coventry or Bradford beat Chelsea. Last weekend we had to settle for Oxford United beating Swansea. Given this, last weekend was the ideal opportunity to have a cheeky bet. And so it proved for one 25 year old who correctly predicted the exact scores of all six of Soccer Saturday's chosen games to scoop a prize of £250,000. Whilst Owen Burrows will have had a good week, his win, at odds of 770,000 to 1, has been over-shadowed somewhat by David and Carol Martin who, on the same day, won Britain's largest ever Lotto jackpot of £33m. The Martins faced reported odds of 45 million to 1 and had a significantly better prospect of becoming the next Mother Theresa (at 20 million to 1) than winning. If you are still looking for a reason why you should probably consider not having a flutter, then remember that there is more of a chance of David Cameron, Jeremy Corbyn, Tim Farron and Nigel Farage winning the coxless fours at the Olympics in Rio than you winning the jackpot!
Continuing with the theme of predictions, the last couple of weeks has seen the property industry have its say on the sector's prospects for 2016. Despite the plethora of publications released, the excellent turn-out at two seminars we attended this week (EPRA's at The London Museum and IPF/SPR's at Allen & Overy), suggests that the industry is still looking for more clarity on the year ahead...or some easy CPD hours. If it's the former then the industry is in luck as our intrepid predictors, Bull and Bear, have been banging their heads together too and come up with their thoughts for the year. Their latest publication, Prospects for 2016, will be released on Tuesday and contains a review of 2015 along with predictions on the economy, politics, sport and, of course, the UK property market. If it is CPD that everyone is after, then the publication provides plenty of informal learning that will count to the required 20 hours!
So why are St Bride's releasing their predictions on Tuesday and not Monday? The answer is simple really. Tomorrow is recognised as the most depressing day of the year! Blue Monday, the third Monday in January, is the day we wake up and realise just how much money we spent at Christmas, how pointless our new gym membership is and how long it is until the summer holidays. Blue Monday is based on the claim that there is an equation that exists that takes into account variables such as the weather and the number of days since Christmas. The reality though is that there is no science behind the day whatsoever. However, Bull and Bear are not willing to take that chance and would rather let you digest their thoughts in, hopefully, a far more positive frame of mind.