ROGER Deane went into The Merlin for a quiet pint of ale yesterday afternoon and came away £50 better off.

The lifelong Swindon Town fan, who is currently studying a foundation degree in criminology and criminal justice with the University of the West of England, had popped into the Drove Road pub after a morning of library research.

The last thing he expected was to be collared by William Hill’s Rupert Adams, who worked his way out from the town centre to find the first person he could in a Town or England shirt.

Roger, 63, of Berenger Close in Old Town, proved to be that lucky person, and he was presented by Rupert with a free £50 bet as a part of the bookmaker’s World Cup tour of the country.

“It was utter surprise,” said Roger. “I was absolutely stunned. Normally I would be doing something with England at the World Cup, but now someone’s done it for me.

“It’s super. I’m very grateful to William Hill. I was in the library all morning, researching things for this afternoon.

“I came in for a quiet pint and couldn’t believe it when they wanted to give me £50. My response was: ‘That’s better than a kick in the head’.”

Research carried out by William Hill in Swindon recently showed just one per cent of England fans in the town would bet on the Three Lions to lift the trophy next month.

Roger goes against the grain. He said he would be sure to have a bet on his nation achieving immortality, and can never bet against the team he supports.

“I have to do something on England. I will probably cover it with something else. I’m the same with Swindon Town.

“I can’t bet against my own team.

“My old man would strike me down from up there, sending a thunderbolt or something, if he knew I had bet against England or Swindon.

“If I weren’t to go with England, I would have to go with one of the two Spanish-speaking nations: Spain or Argentina.

“I don’t fancy Brazil. They have got too many European superstars that won’t gel.”

Rupert said: “The reality is, you can do all kinds of online competitions and give away free bets, but we have a feeling they are dominated by professional gamblers.

“We wanted to get to fans on the street and have them benefit from our round of World Cup promos, so we went out and tried to find the first fan we could in England colours or the home town’s colours.

“We are going to 32 cities and towns across the country, one of which was Swindon.”