A bookmaker has apologized for mistakenly offering odds for a deceased to take up the position as coach of Birmingham City after the dismissal of Harry Redknapp last Saturday.
Ugo Ehiogu, a former centre-back who made more than 200 appearances for Aston Villa between 1991 and 2000 and then spent seven years at Middlesbrough, had four England caps under his name.
He passed away in April at the age of 44 following a cardiac arrest on 20 April at Tottenham’s training ground, where he worked as a coach with their under-23 side.
Gambling firm Paddy Powers briefly advertised odds of 66-1 on ex-Aston Villa and England defender Ugo Ehiogu taking charge of the Championship club, and his inclusion provoked anger on social media.
Tom Wainwright said it was “sick” that punters could bet on the former centre-back, while David Kelly said it was “pretty poor taste”.
Replying to Twitter users individually, Paddy Power — which also offered odds of 2,500/1 on Brummie rocker Ozzy Osbourne replacing Redknapp — has apologised for a “genuine error”.
The company later issued a statement to the Press Association, saying: “This was a genuine error, a trader re-used an old market as a template for this one, and didn’t notice that Mr Ehiogu was included. Obviously, that was a mistake, one which was rectified as soon as it was spotted, within minutes.”
A spokesman said customers were able to put money on Ehiogu for “less than five minutes” before the error was discovered, adding that nobody actually placed that particular bet.
“We would like to apologise to Mr Ehiogu’s family if they did see the tweet,” he said. “It was obviously a mistake and no offence was meant.”