In Memoriam: Daniel Gould

Daniel Gould died suddenly on 14 December 2018. He was 43 years old. It was completely unexpected. I understand from Daniel’s family that the autopsy showed the cause of death was a blood clot resulting from a brain tumour. Six years ago Daniel had skin cancer, which appeared at the time to have been treated successfully. It seems from the autopsy that the cancer had since spread slowly in his body, without him being aware of it.

What is there to say? It’s impossible to comprehend.

Sofabet will now cease to be active. The existing content will stay up as a legacy to Daniel.

Daniel and I started Sofabet in 2010, and we had a blast with it. For those who have enjoyed the site with us over the years, I offer a few personal reflections below.

Daniel and I became friends at university in the 1990s, bonding over a shared teenage interest in horse racing. We’d spend every Saturday at Sandown or Kempton, Newbury or Ascot or Cheltenham, often meeting up with Daniel’s father Martin. These were happy days. After graduating, we both worked for the Racing & Football Outlook newspaper.

In time we both drifted away from horse racing, and for a few years we slipped into more sporadic contact. Daniel went on to edit a gay news website, then became a history teacher. In late 2009, during an exchange of catching-up emails, we discovered that we’d independently become fascinated by… Jedward.

Specifically, we were amused by how the X Factor walked the tightrope of pretending to want rid of Jedward, while actually trying to keep them around for as long as possible. Daniel won money on Jedward surviving the singoff against Lucie Jones. We chatted about how the show worked, and pored over the voting statistics when they came out.

Daniel told me he was thinking about quitting his teaching job to devote himself full-time to betting on Eurovision. He’d spotted Alexander Rybak early that year, and built up a healthy bank.

Out of these discussions, Sofabet emerged.

We had a few aims for the site. Daniel wanted to build a profile for himself that would enable him to apply for press credentials to attend Eurovision rehearsals. This worked perfectly, and was just as valuable for betting purposes as he’d imagined it would be. We both liked the idea of having a plaything to learn more about blogging, social media and internet business models, which we felt we didn’t understand as well as we should.

Above all, we thought it might be fun.

It took us a year or two to find our rhythm, and also to realise that Sofabet itself was never going to generate an income; but that didn’t matter, because something else was happening. Sofabet was attracting a community of incredibly smart, amusing and perceptive people. The comments section buzzed with often erudite, entertaining discussions.

Over the years, during Eurovision seasons Sofabet has been entirely Daniel’s domain. I was one of his “outside-the-bubble” sounding boards, and I learned just enough to have some appreciation of the depth of Daniel’s knowledge, and marvel at the remarkable reliability of his gut reactions about which entries would play with voters and juries, in which parts of Europe.

I’ve enjoyed chipping in more with our X Factor coverage, which has reflected a behind-the-scenes conversation among Daniel, myself and Kenny (@thepixelfactor). Daniel always had the final say on what we published: here, too, both Kenny and I were fully aware that his instincts were right far more often than ours were.

Regular readers will be able to imagine how much fun and laughter we had in coming up with some of the stuff that made it into Sofabet posts. We were often somewhat tongue-in-cheek in floating theories that amused us even if they seemed highly speculative, while always taking the view that the balance in Daniel’s Betfair account was the ultimate arbiter of whether we maintained an overall grasp on reality.

Having learned in my horse racing days that I lack the temperament to wager more than token amounts, I was in constant awe of Daniel’s ability to hold his nerve and think clearly with five- or six-figure sums resting on which nation’s flag flew out of an envelope in a Eurovision semi-final graphic, or which name emerged from Dermot O’Leary’s mouth after a pregnant pause.

I often talked to Daniel about the psychology of gambling. He considered his lack of stubbornness to be a great asset – the ability to reverse course as soon as he realised he’d made a mistake. He did make mistakes, and sometimes incurred hefty losses. I was invariably amazed by his ability to bounce back from these reverses, without dwelling on regret or doubting his own capacity for judgement.

Daniel won much more than he lost. During the nine years of Sofabet, Daniel’s winnings on Eurovision and X Factor funded a lifestyle of travels between those two big events. Daniel was in Florida when he died.

Others spent far more time in person with Daniel than I did – we lived in different parts of the country – and were more familiar with other parts of his life; still, I considered Daniel to be one of my closest friends. We could talk to each other about anything. Daniel was kind and generous, courteous, self-aware, wickedly funny and with a keen sense of life’s absurdities. Very many people will miss him very much.

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56 comments to In Memoriam: Daniel Gould

  • Paul O'Leary

    Fantastic tribute. Daniel’ death has affected me deeply. We never met, chatted occasionally on Twitter, but loved his insight and knowledge. Rest in peace Daniel – you’ll be missed.

  • EM

    So sorry to read this. He sounds a true one-off who lived a full life and left a little something behind. What more can we ask for.

    Thoughts with his family and friends. What a terrible time for it to happen.

  • Tom

    Deeply saddened to hear the news. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading your insight over the last few years. Thank you for everything you’ve done, and farewell, Daniel. You’ll be sorely missed. My thoughts and condolences are with his family and friends during this difficult time.

  • dicksbits

    A fitting and insightful tribute. I was very saddened to read this news on Twitter today. I wish his family and friends my condolences at a very hard and difficult time. It seems extremely unfair that this has happened. Thank you for writing this for us to read.

  • Andy

    I can honestly say I’ve broused this site more than any other for years, absolutely loved the gossip and banter, and of course the useful insight from the many posters and always done with politeness and respectfulness, I’m happy to say Daniel and myself were probably matching each other many times on Betfair and there would be no other who I would gladly lose my money to, Thanks to both Daniel and Andrew for all the work involved in keeping SOFABET operating and well done Andrew in putting this tribute out as I’m sure it will have been a difficult task.
    I will miss this site very much, RIP Daniel, A true gentleman.

  • Emre

    I can’t believe. So sorry to read this. Rest in Peace Daniel.

  • Beanie

    Deeply saddened to read this news this week.

    The creation of sofabet coincided with my own growing interest in reality TV betting and through the years Daniel’s insights were always my first port of call. His ability to remove emotion from his analysis was unparalleled.

    Beautiful tribute to someone who sounds like an all round top bloke – RIP Daniel and condolences to his friends and family.

  • Ben Cook

    Lovely tribute, Andrew. So sad to hear this news. I loved reading Daniel’s insights into X Factor and Eurovision, and I particularly liked that he was humble enough to listen to other people’s views, despite the fact the money he was making could have made him rather smug or arrogant! Rest in peace, Daniel.

  • Chris Bellis

    What can I say. I’ve loved this site for many years. The best forum on the internet. I’m deeply saddened by this news. Thank you Andrew for a respectful and fitting obituary. I will miss Daniel’s humorous and witty assessments. Eurovision will not be the same without him.

  • Burlington Bertie

    Like others who have commented, I’m so sorry to hear of Daniel’s death. As a hardcore Eurovision fan and once a year hardcore gambler, Sofabet has been my go to website every May for years. Daniel offered a knowledgeable yet never predictable angle on the contest which in turn sparked some high quality discussions. This year was the first in which I started leaving comments and I had a great time posting and reading posts in the weeks leading up to the Eurovision. I found that reading the comments on this website was as addictive as the gambling itself and had to wean myself off it after the contest – I felt I should return to speaking to actual people rather than online ones. Thanks Andrew for your tribute to Daniel, and know that we all appreciate the work that the two of you have put in since 2010. May Daniel rest in peace and may we, the Eurovision gamblers, remember him fondly every spring when the contest comes around.

  • Score

    What a fitting and heartfelt tribute. It’s such awful, sad news. I wasn’t a regular contributor to this site but I always enjoyed reading Daniel’s insights and thoughts. Reading this tribute it is clear he was a brilliant person and will be sorely missed. I am so sorry to hear about what has happened. RIP Daniel and thoughts with his friends and family at this difficult time.

  • 360

    How absolutely awful. Thank you for the entertainment this site has provided. I have been reading it since the Cher Lloyd series, though I didn’t start commenting until a few years ago. This is upsetting for me so I can’t imagine it for those of you who were personally closer. Look after yourselves and take the time to heal and make it through.

  • Woofie

    So sad to hear the news of Daniel’s passing. A fitting tribute.
    I am grateful for this site, sharing his insight and giving us an outlet. He will be missed. RIP.

  • I have little to say that hasn’t been said already. Once a year I’d head over to this site to read both Daniel’s thoughtful articles on the contest, and the equally thoughtful comment threads that would follow. There simply isn’t another site like this one. Daniel’s passing is both a human tragedy and a loss of a unique online resource. He gave so much and had so much more to give.

    I will be thinking of him and his friend and family while watching Festival i Kenges this week.

  • Aaron

    I’m very sorry indeed to read this. I don’t recall ever having commented here before, but I’ve long enjoyed Daniel’s pieces.

    As a fellow betting industry insider it was obvious that Daniel understood both our industry and the entertainment industry at a very intuitive level, which of course led to both great tips and great writing.


  • Jessica Hamby

    Thanks for this Andrew.

    I will miss both you and Daniel. I have loved reading and commenting on Sofabet since I first came across it.

    Daniel always came across to me as charming, courteous, intelligent, empathetic and insightful – as have you.

    I feel sad and I will miss you – not just Daniel but everyone on Sofabet – commentators and all. Despite never having met anyone in person I have still felt a sense of community with my fellow posters and readers. I will miss that.

    My condolences to you, to Daniel’s family, to all my fellow sofabettors. I’m glad Daniel had a full life, well lived and that he got to do so many things that he wanted to do. I hope I can be more like that. I hope that when my time comes I will be remembered with as much respect and affection as Daniel.

  • Caroline

    This is such terrible news, condolences to his friends and family. I loved reading his posts on here, I probably watched X Factor 3 years longer than I should have just because I loved reading his take on it. RIP Daniel.

  • Ben Gray

    I never did have the pleasure to meet Daniel in person, but even through the occasional Facebook PM during Eurovision season, he came across as nothing short of a true gent, bright and easy to talk to. His death came as a great surprise to me. It’s surreal.

    I have taken great value in his many articles here on Sofabet and all of the comments and other contributors here and his approach to online gambling in general, and have made a few good friends along the way too, which is why I do hope that we’ll be able to continue the discussion amongst ourselves for the upcoming contest in Tel Aviv. If not here, then perhaps a new open forum for us to do so could be set up in Daniel’s memory?

    While Sofabet will stand as a proud legacy to his life’s work after he left the teaching profession, no doubt there is so much more to Daniel than Sofabet, and I’m sending my deep and sincere condolonces to all those who knew and loved him.

  • Dan H

    A thoughtful and enlightening tribute to Daniel’s life. As others, I wasn’t fortunate enough to meet Daniel, but through this site and his posts on ESCNation I came to appreciate and respect the man and his insight greatly.
    Best wishes are with you, and all of his family and friends, it is such a sad situation, but the community he brought together will always remember him and be grateful. Hugs to all <3

  • Katie S

    A fitting and well put tribute Andrew. Creating Sofabet with Daniel was a huge gift -not just to your followers, but to him. Well done. You’ll miss him awfully – we all will. x

  • I wrote a small tribute to Daniel already, he was a huge influence for me when I started betting and I’ve followed Sofabet for many years. What were once theories are now common, accepted knowledge thanks to Daniel.

    I hope Daniel’s friends and family can take some small solace in the outpouring of unanimous support, respect and compliments from the many people whose lives he touched. RIP Daniel.

  • Ben

    So shocked and saddened to read this as I have know Daniel even before Sofabet was set up. Was, only speaking to him a few weeks ago to sort out our annual catch up! RIP Daniel I will miss our racing chats.

  • Hippo

    Really sad to see this today, I am just gearing up for the next esc season so naturally this was one of my first stops to see if one Daniel’s great threads had been posted yet.
    I never met Daniel, nor can I say we ever conversed more than the odd occasion on these pages but it’s clear from everything I’ve seen of him, and all these other comments here, that he was a really decent, good guy whose knowledge on this industry was second to none.

    My condolences to all those who were lucky to have known him better.

  • Froggitt

    Great tribute Andrew. Daniel was one of the best at this game, will be missed by everyone who followed him here or on Twitter.

    RIP and condolences to his family

  • Annabel Ross Jones

    I arrived back for Christmas this morning to find a card from Dan’s father and an so saddened , shocked really. Dan and I taught together for several years at North Bridge House and we both had Year 9 forms which kept us busy , tired and amused in equal measure.
    I will miss his travel tales and wicked sense of humour. My sincere condolences to his family.

  • Jim Duncan

    I’m very sad to learn of Daniel’s premature death. This is a lovely tribute to his Sofabet years. Deepest condolences to all those who personally knew him personally. RIP Daniel.

  • Montell

    Shocking news. I feel deeply sad for what happened. I’ve grown my interest in Eurovision and betting mostly because of this site. Daniel, we never met but in my heart you will not be forgotten. Rest in peace, friend.

  • James Martin

    I’ve said everything I have to say before but it’s still terribly sad news. I’m sorry to hear the site will become inactive and without a doubt the run-up to Tel Aviv will be a less bright one without Daniel and his incredible body of work.

    I’ll miss the banter and I’ll miss the unique insight.

    It’s so clichéd to say but he really will leave a huge hole in the Eurovision community.

  • James Martin

    It’s appropriate you note the 2009 X Factor singoff of two future Eurovision contestants, as that was the true “Jumping the shark” moment for me, when the dark arts were truly exposed. Then Richard started Betsfactor and from there during Little Mix’s year I got hooked into the betting thing. As luck would have it I’d always had an unhealthy love of Eurovision and this year managed to go to both the UK National Final (where I was lucky to meet Dan, who suggested I might be onto something by laying Asanda!) and all six shows in Lisbon for the first time. Since Copenhagen 2014 this site became my Bible, even when I completely wrote Netta off on the nose.

    I was also lucky enough to meet Eurovicious in Lisbon, who came straight up to me in Eurovillage after the Blue Carpet and said “Hi, are you James Martin off Sofabet?” Loved that mate! I hope his thoughts and musings find a new home.

  • Martin Green

    So sad to hear about Daniel’s untimely death. I have spent many summer days with him at Highgate ponds for 10 years, swimming, chatting and hanging out.Such great company. He will be missed by his many friends at the pond. A tragic loss for us all.

  • johnkef

    This is so sad! I have been reading and participating on this blog and threads for 6 years. Daniel’s mindset and philosophy regarding Eurovision betting were top quality.

    He has given us food for thought multiple tines and his reporting and insight from rehearsal were spot on. He was always calm and never exagetated on his posts. I had the impression that i was present at the rehearsals as well through his eyes and thoughts.

    I have spent hundreds of hours in this page reading and commenting and i have to say Eurovision season will never be the same again.

    He will be missed!

  • martin

    i am shocked by this news. i know it’s been a period of time, but i hope that andrew and any others who are closely affected by daniel’s passing are taking the time to grieve and look after themselves.

    daniel was an astonishingly talented man and sofabet has been an enormous safe space for me through a turbelent few years. although i was mostly here to read, enjoy and take part in the comments section over gambling, daniel’s insight and knowledge was immeasurable and has kept us all coming back to this magical site for years.

    this is a beautiful tribute andrew. to say daniel’s death is premature is an understatement, but there is comfort that he absolutely squeezed every drop out of his life, and it seems that he lived it exactly how he wanted to, which is remarkable.

  • Frank Müller

    It took me a few days to write something! I’m still in Shock and it’s difficult to accept that he is gone! It’s so sad! I don’t know him for very long but every time I came to London we met and we had constantly contact over WhatsApp and instragram! He felt like close friend to me and every time I had a problem he was more than supportive with his intellect! Sometime I felt stupid next to him! He was so well educated and had lots of private interedts! I only understood now how he financed his nice lifestyle! He is a great guy! He told me that he had a stroke a couple of months ago and was lucky but never that he had cancer! Before he went to Fort Lauderdale we met in London and he was so excited to go! I don’t know why but I had a bad feeling already at this time! On the day he died I had a last contact via WhatsApp and he seem distant to me! I feel very sad and every time I look on our pics it’s difficult to understand that I can never met smart daniel! My deepest condolences to his family and friends! Rest In Peace Daniel! I will never forget you … I was so happy to found a nice friend

  • alison cassells

    condolences to his family, andrew and everyone on here who had their lives enlightened by his insightful observations and knowledge. i will miss it although i did not post that often i read a whole lot, much like many.

  • Piresistable

    This is incredibly sad news, my condolences to Daniel’s family and friends. A very touching tribute Andrew.

  • Showlad

    1 of 2: With Thanks
    Hello to dear friends on here and especially of course to Daniel sending you a big love on your new journey and may you live it as you lived this one: with kindness, a sense of adventure and a calm, considered wisdom.
    Like many of you on here I began that sleepy, joyous return to the Eurovision ‘on season’ that is usually tinged with excitement and anticipation yesterday.
    I then read this ground shaking news and whilst it has rocked my world it as also given me deep gratitude for Daniel and what he gave – the expert analysis, the wit and warmth and also in turn for my own life I felt a renewed gratitude, perspective and appreciation going forward.
    My thoughts and thanks to his family, friends and Andrew. Hi family especially thanks for giving us all our dear friend.
    I had the pleasure of knowing Daniel online here with you great guys and some personal emails too. All the laughs, cool tips and gripping reads.
    BIG Thanks and a warm and heartfelt group hug

  • Showlad

    2 of 2: 2019 Wish

    I strongly echo Ben Gray’s sentiment and hope that we can carry forward what Daniel has built up in his honour.

    If it is not continued on here I take that decision with respect.

    I do feel compelled though that Daniel would have wanted the debates, wit and warmth to continue that he lovingly and studiously built up and even if it is not facilitated on this site I really hope we can efficiently pull together as a team (I am happy to help) to continue his legacy perhaps on a simple site ‘Sofabetters’ or something respectfully fitting with posts and blog.
    The great people on here, Eurovicious and all, have such talent and have learned so much from Daniel and I feel it would be great for our community on here and most of all such a fitting tribute and legacy to Daniel that what he has built up is continued ❤❤

  • Showlad

    2 of 2: 2019 Wish

    I strongly echo Ben Gray’s sentiment and hope that we can carry forward what Daniel has built up in his honour.

    If it is not continued on here I take that decision with respect.

    I really feel compelled though that Daniel would have wanted the debates, wit and warmth to continue that he lovingly and studiously built up and even if it is not facilitated on this site I really hope we can efficiently pull together as a team (I am happy to help) to continue his legacy perhaps on a simple site ‘Sofabetters’ or something respectfully fitting with posts and blog.
    The great people on here, Eurovicious and all, have such talent and have learned so much from Daniel and I feel it would be great for our community on here and most of all such a fitting tribute and legacy to Daniel that what he has built up is continued ❤❤

    • Chris Bellis

      I would second that Showlad. It would be a fitting tribute to Daniel if his extremely perceptive work were to form the basis of a new sofabet style site. His site was unique – none of the other betting sites come close in either wit or insight. Obviously I too respect the opinion of the main authores of the site and those who knew Daniel personally.

    • Jessica Hamby

      I would also enjoy some sort of continuation of Sofabet. It would be hard without Daniel though. It’s not just a question of time and effort, it’s his insight.

  • eurovicious

    I would recommend people use Rob’s site ( for Eurovision, Strictly and X Factor, and Tim’s site ( for X Factor and Big Brother. Both of those have a comment function, so it’d be possible to get a discussion thread going. Alternatively, I’ve set up a comment thread for Sofabet readers to discuss Eurovision 2019 here.

  • David

    Coming on this site as the Eurovision season starts brings an overwhelming sadness. The contest will never be quite the same. Thank you for everything. Rest in Peace Daniel.

  • James Martin

    Hi Eurovicious, thanks for this.

    Although I didn’t know Dan personally I’ve experienced personal loss before time and without warning. That in mind, I can imagine he wouldn’t be best pleased if we didn’t pick up the body of work he left behind and carry it on. It’s clichéd and cheesy as the show itself, but the best tribute we can all do is what Dan bought us together to do and make some money at the bookies in May.

  • Milton

    Still shocked and saddened by this news, especially as Eurovision 2019 starts to take shape.

    I agree that it would be great if this site could continue as a discussion forum, even if it there is no further editorial content, which is entirely understandable.

    Either way I am glad that you plan to leave the site live as an ongoing tribute Andrew. It seems unfair that the costs relating to hosting, domain name renewal etc should all fall on your shoulders. I’d be happy to make a contribution to this as I’m sure many others who have benefited from the site over the years would if you were to set up a facility enabling us to do so.

  • mark dowd

    This is a link to a one hour January EUROBLISS show, recorded on 16th, in which tributes are made, favourite Daniel songs are played and an attempt is made to capture what made him such a unique and joyous presence in the ESC community.

    • Chris Bellis

      Many thanks for that Mark. What a great tribute, in tune with the mood of everyone who’s been a regular contributor to his site. As the Eurovision season gets going, we’ll all realise even more how we miss him.

  • CRC

    So so sorry to hear of Daniel’s untimely passing. He was a bright, cheerful, witty, positive teacher who was loved by staff and pupils. Amazing character who simultaneously completed a Masters, taught history and managed the extra curricular which we found out about via a national press headline thereby becoming a hero!

  • Chrisr

    I saw the EYD songs today, and immediately thought of logging into sofabet to get stuck into this years season kicking off. I can’t believe it… so so sad that we’ve lost such a great guy. Suddenly I’m not looking forward to ESC anymore, it all seems so sad. My thoughts are with those closest to Daniel, hoping their pain becomes more manageable in time. May you rest in peace, you are missed by many. I hope this is not the end for our group. I wish you all the best x

  • Victor

    Hi, just to send my condolences to his family and friends. I logged on 2 days ago and this really hit me. Although I never met him I have followed this blog for a few years now and always took into account Daniel’s opinions. Such a shame someone so young and full of life is leaving us. Rest in peace Daniel. You will not be forgotten.

  • John

    Hi everyone, so sorry to hear of Daniel’s passing. I’m an infrequent poster but was a dedicated reader of his site. He had a rare insight, balanced approach and I particularly admired how tactful, humble and decent he always was. He seemed like a really awesome guy, and my sincere condolences to everyone who knew him personally and through the site.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Am shocked to read of Daniel’s death. I never met him, but from avidly reading his many posts and articles, and listening to his contributions in podcasts, he seemed a very articulate, deep thinking, savvy, upbeat and kind gentleman.

    It was very kind of him to post some of my bits and pieces on this site. I quickly learnt he had a terrific talent as an editor, too!

    Although I’d watched X Factor, Eurovision etc over the years, it was only through Daniel and the whole witty, perceptive and challenging Sofabet community that I gradually learnt to see what I was watching.

    My thanks to Daniel and to everyone else here for that.

    It all feels so sad and shocking.

    Condolences to his friends and family.

    RIP, Daniel.

  • Stephen Muckle

    This came as a huge shock when I found out about this. I always enjoyed reading his analysis whether it be Eurovision or X Factor. I’ve always enjoyed Eurovision but his analysis was probably one of the reasons I became such a dedicated fan in more recent years. RIP Daniel

  • Henry VIII

    Thank you very much for the tribute Andrew. Daniel was the gentleman of the betting game. I’ve been reading and commenting here for years and I regret never meeting him in person.

    I hope the other sites can take up the slack but I think there is still a gap for a budding new bet site owner as Sofabet was unique. I say “was” but thanks Andrew for keeping it’s to date history online. It has a huge reserve of information for those new to this game, and for all those interested in the dark arts behind the making of something like X Factor. There’s nothing like it and it is a great legacy to Daniel.

  • Angus

    This is terribly sad news.

    I had the pleasure of meeting Daniel twice. First, when he was kind enough to give me his time to be interviewed for my blog. I was a recent graduate without any background in journalism but Daniel didn’t hesitate. Then, a few months later, in his favourite Kentish Town coffee shop.

    On both occasions, he was warm, kind, smart and funny. I’m grateful for having met him, and send condolences to his family.

    If anyone would like to read the article, it’s published here:

  • RonH

    I have watched Eurovision ever since 1970. I kept hoping for another victory of my country ever since 1975. Today I closely watched Duncan Laurence gradualy reach first place at Betfair Exchange. This is my most favorite Dutch entry ever! And despite all, I suddenly felt sad and shed tears. In these moments I truly miss Daniels enchanting love for Eurovision, so eloquently expressed thru Sofabet. Rest in peace Daniel Gould.

  • Mark Dowd

    Ron… When I heard “Arcade” I thought straight away of Daniel.. I know he’d have totally loved it and it just rubs in the pain knowing he’s not here with us to comment and enjoy.
    Maybe he’s tuning in from another vantage point? We’re not to know.. But if he is, hope he knows we’re missing him.

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