Cllr Jeremy Birch pictured on the East Hill steps, Hastings. 6/3/13
Cllr Jeremy Birch pictured on the East Hill steps, Hastings. 6/3/13

A LEADING bookmaker has made Hastings rank outsiders to take the City of Culture title in 2017 infuriating council leader Jeremy Birch.

Just days after the organising team submitted its 30 page dossier to win over the judging panel, William Hill installed the Roman city of Chester as 4/1 favourites with Hastings way out at 25/1.

Councillor Jeremy Birch hit back at William Hill asking what the firm knew about “culture.”

He said: “One might ask what does William Hill know about culture.

“I doubt they have read our bid or know much about what goes on in our community.

“On the other hand it might be very good odds come November if we were to be named the winner. This year’s Grand National winner was originally quoted at 66 to 1 by William Hill.”

William Hill has reported money flying in for East Yorkshire rivals Hull who have been riding a crest of a wave this week following their promotion back to the Premier League.

The city by the North Sea has dropped from 16/1/ to 14/1.

There is now also some conjecture at to whether Dundee and Aberdeen will still be eligible should Scotland vote for independence next year.

Jack Crilly, spokesman for William Hill, said: “We had a team of seven, all of whom know or have visited the candidate towns.

“We put our heads together and wrote down the order to start the betting.

“We looked at who had done what and we took the opinion of experts at William Hill.

“Not at all of them decided that Hastings should be outsiders. We had to make the decision between all of us. There is no form on this.

“We’re not even sure what will happen to the Scottish entries as technically they might be out of the UK next year.

“So that might help Hastings.

“And there’s every possibility that Hastings could shorten its odds if we see a similar rush like in Hull.

“We saw a rush of money for Hull over the weekend, possibly from Hull City fans feeling particularly buoyant after their side’s promotion to the Premier League on Saturday. This represents the first big gamble on this particular market.”

Cllr Birch added: “I’m sure the other city of culture bidders who have been given closer odds to win have very good bids but I think our’s will take some beating.

“The weekend these odds appeared was the Jack in the Green Festival. Up to 20 000 people watched with around 10 000 enjoying the finale on the west hill, which overlooks our harbour and historic fishing fleet, the largest beach-launched fleet in Europe.

“The same day we entertained 30,000 bikers. What town in the world could rival that mixture?”

The odds: 4/1 Chester; 5/1 Leicester; 5/1 Swansea Bay; 8/1 Aberdeen; 8/1 Portsmouth & Southampton; 10/1 Dundee; 10/1 Plymouth; 14/1 Hull; 14/1 Southend 16/1 East Kent;