Cuppa and a car for football fan who scooped £9.3m lottery jackpot
Leyton Orient fan Paul Long bought the winning lucky dip ticket after the club’s victory at the weekend.
An unemployed football fan who scooped £9.3 million on the lottery said he celebrated with a cup of tea before buying a new car.
Paul Long, 55, put his luck down to his beloved Leyton Orient’s 3-0 victory over Woking on Saturday, which he celebrated by buying the winning lucky dip ticket.
The father-of-three, from Wickford, Essex, said he initially believed he had won £9,000 before his friend pointed out to him that he had scooped the jackpot.
He received an email on Sunday morning from Camelot saying he had won but when he logged in, saw his account only had £3.90 left.
After ringing the customer helpline, he said he “must have been in denial” and came away believing he had won £9,000.
Mr Long said: “I’ve rung my mate and told him, and he said text me the ticket over.
“He then said ‘Hi mate, I’m not being funny, you’ve won £9 million’.
“I said ‘Shut up’.”
After ringing the Lotto helpline back to confirm he was the sole jackpot winner, and asking them ‘Is this a scam?”, Mr Long told his close family as his good fortune sank in.
He said: “I think I opened a bottle of Coors Light and then thought, you know what, I need a cup of tea.”
The following day, Mr Long, who worked at the Ford plant in Dagenham for more than 14 years, put a deposit on a new Ford EcoSport sports utility vehicle.
He said: “I’m just a normal guy – I don’t want a Lamborghini.
“I would never buy something like a £100,000 car because that’s just not who I am.”
Having been unable to work for 11 months after injuring his Achilles’ tendon while pulling a suitcase up the stairs, Mr Long’s job hunt is now permanently on hold.
He said he plans to use the money to give his 27-year-old daughter and two sons, aged 24 and 21, a secure future.
But he said: “I’m not going to make them millionaires. I think they should learn the value of things.
“I want to give them a life where I know they are going to be all right – that’s what I take satisfaction from.
I want this win to help change people’s faces so that they go from humdrum to beaming grin Paul Long
“I keep saying, I want this win to help change people’s faces so that they go from humdrum to beaming grin. This is going to be one hell of an exciting adventure.”
He said he has no plans to invest in the football club he has supported since he was 11, although he may fork out for a season ticket in the seat where he sat for Saturday’s win.
He said: “What I’ve won, (Orient major investor) Kent Teague probably thinks is a tenner. They are doing a fantastic job.
“I cannot afford to lose money – as quick as I’ve got it, it will go.”
Danny Macklin, the east London club’s chief executive, was at the Orsett Hall Hotel, in Orsett, Essex, on Wednesday to congratulate Mr Long.
Orient were taken over last summer by a consortium led by another boyhood fan, Nigel Travis, the chief executive of Dunkin’ Donuts, who rescued a club that had been at risk of going bust under previous ownership.
Mr Long’s winnings could cover the £782,000-a-week salary of the world’s most expensive footballer, Neymar, for just 11 weeks – totalling £8.6 million.
This would leave him with enough change to relay the Matchroom Stadium pitch, complained about by team manager Justin Edinburgh, if he paid around the £500,000 League One club Rochdale recently forked out ahead of an FA Cup tie with Tottenham.