A TEENAGE barman who thought he had scooped £1m after correctly guessing the winners of 14 football matches has been told he filled in the wrong form and has won nothing.
Friends celebrated his success at the pub on Sunday evening and on Monday staff at Ladbrokes in Middle Street in Consett confirmed the good news.
Mr Donnellan, who works over the road in the Coach and Horses, was told to come back later as the shop "did not have that kind of money on the premises".
But instead of making him a wealthy man he was given the news that his betting slip was worthless.
Mr Donnellan, who planned to pay off some debts, save the money and continue with his ambition to become an apprentice firefighter with the RAF, said: “All of that money wouldn’t have changed me but it would have been really nice and would have helped out a lot.”
Mr Donnellan went to The Traveller’s Rest in Consett on Sunday to watch the football when he realised he only needed three more wins to make him a rich man.
After Atletico Madrid beat Real Betis 2-0 in Seville and Stoke beat Aston Villa at Villa Park 4-1, a group of about 25 people stayed for the 14th and final game between Catania and Juventus.
Argentinean Carlos Teves put Juve ahead in the 59th minute, and, as word had spread, the final whistle signalled a time for celebration in the pub.
Mr Donnellan’s mother even bought a giant round of shots to toast the family’s good fortune and partying continued into the night.
He said: “I left the receipt at home. I did not want to take it out in case I lost it.
“I genuinely believed I was going to win a million pounds and there were some people who stayed with me to see how it went.
“The atmosphere was amazing. It was a brilliant night. Everyone was cheering.”
The following morning, when he went to collect his winnings staff initially congratulated Mr Donnellan, a former pupil at St Leonard’s Catholic School in Durham.
He said: “The woman was looking at the scores and ticked them off. She looked up and smiled and said ‘I think you might have won, do you want a hug?'.
“She had to ring her area manager because they did not have that sort of cash.”
But when he returned three hours later a friend who had been discussing the bet with staff told Mr Donnellan it had been deemed invalid.
He later learned he had filled in a Weekend Result Rush, which requires both teams to have scored, instead of a Weekend Quickslip.
He was told he would have been entitled to "only a few hundred pounds", had he filled in the correct form, rather than the bumper jackpot he had been expecting.
Mr Donnellan said: “As I was about to go back in a mate who had been in the betting shop told me my bet was wrong.
“I didn’t want to believe it. I said ‘are you joking?’ But he had been in talking to the woman. When I went in she said ‘we have a little problem'.”
A spokesman for Ladbrokes declined to comment.