Northampton’s hit bingo manager posts autobiography on the hobby
A successful Northampton bingo manager shared his decades of experience in his first autobiography on the hobby.
The book, which is published by Austin Macauley, marks a 40-year globetrotting career in bingo that has seen some of his greatest achievements occur in Northampton.
Julian Cotterell has said he started his career as a doorman at a small bingo hall in Chester, where his parents were mayors and mayors, before his potential was spotted by a superior.
Over time, Julian built his career one club at a time, until he found himself managing director of many bingo clubs in the north of England, which he said saw their revenues increase. up to ten times under his direction.
He said: “I had eleven bingo clubs in the north of England, which I ran for ten years.
“We generated a lot of additional business, which prepared me well to go there for the next step in my career.”
Next on the horizon was the exciting land of South Africa, where Julian says he soon launched the country’s first regulated bingo hall.
In October 1998, Julian says he picked the first legal bingo number ever called in South Africa from his club in Pretoria.
But the benefits weren’t just for Julian, as the new club presented a huge opportunity for new jobs in the area.
Julian said: “It was a stipulation in the license that we would only employ people who did not yet have a job because unemployment was so high there.
“Before even starting to advertise, four hundred people had come forward for the jobs.
“We hired 120 young people who had never worked or were not working at the time.
“We showed them what a bingo ticket was because they had never seen one. We even showed them what a ballpoint pen is. They hadn’t seen that either.
“It was a huge learning exercise to teach people these things that they had never experienced before.”
After being successful in South Africa, Julian returned to the UK where he took charge of the Beacon Club at Weedon Road, Northampton.
The father of two said, “I saw the attendance drop from six thousand five hundred people to nine thousand per week between 2000 and 2007 when the club was sold.
“People think there is huge value in bingo. They would come from Wellingborough and beyond because the prices were so phenomenal.”
A few years later, Julian says that he and his wife Erica, whom he met in South Africa, traveled to Spain to care for his elderly mother. She sadly passed away at the age of 98, in 2019.
But, by a seemingly cruel twist of fate, it wasn’t long after that that Covid-19 locked Spain in, leaving the couple locked up for months with little to do.
Julian said: “With the lockdown we had two months of severe restrictions. We only had an hour a day to go anywhere and, like my wife said,” there is not a lot of gardening you can do. “
Julian then began dictating his transcript which, after several months, was published on November 30, 2021.
If all goes well with this one, Julian has said his next project will be a children’s storybook.