Predictorship Week 18 – Mumbai High to Bengal Fall – The Ups and Downs of Haresh Mirani

Players: 33 out of 49. Points scored: 189. Highest score: 9 (David Roberts, Michael Whitty, Mark Young). Average score: 5.72. Prediction of the Week: Rob Molloy, Michael Whitty (Nottingham Forest 2-0 Charlton).

Results: West Ham United 3-0 Brighton & Hove Albion (2); Manchester United 2-1 Aston Villa (6); Sheffield Wednesday 1-1 Manchester City (13); Tamworth 1-4 Norwich City (0); Nottingham Forest 2-0 Charlton Athletic (2); Cardiff City 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur (1); Liverpool 1-3 Arsenal (0); Hull City 1-1 Middlesbrough (2); Birmingham City 2-2 Newcastle United (0); Chelsea 6-1 Macclesfield Town (0).

Quicker than you can say (John Terry’s) sequestrated lumbar intervertebral disc, it’s all change at the top.

Week 10 leader Nick Watson returns to the summit from fifth place but Christine Butters, a whisker away from becoming our sixth different front-runner, and Hope Arnold, a slightly thicker whisker away from claiming her seventh week at the top, join Tractor Boy on 116 points. You wait ages for a three-way tie and then two come along in consecutive weeks.

Week 17 headline-maker Haresh Mirani slumps from pole position to sixth but is thankful to Chelsea for providing him with his solitary point. Elsewhere, there are seasonal highs for John Collins (fifth) and Mark Young (seventh). Mark, David Roberts and Michael Whitty are nine points better off than last week (maybe not the last time the words “Watford” and “Bunch of Losers” will appear in the same sentence this season) and the aforementioned John and Simon Gold each dine out on eight points.

Chelsea v Macclesfield – the facts. Has all the fun gone out of the Predictorship? Twelve of this week’s 33 players thought the English champions would “thrash” the side second bottom of League Two 3-0 at Stamford Bridge and another seven were even less adventurous: 2-0 to Mourinho’s men. Paul Bentley, Steven Dunlop and Janet Jones were the only players to see a Macclesfield goal in their crystal balls and the whole field predicted a total of 107 Chelsea goals (average: 3.24).

This was your chance to throw caution to the wind, stick your big central defender up front and really have a go. Instead, you sat back, soaked up the pressure and settled for a point. FA Cup third round weekend is a time for sixes, sevens, eights and, dare I say it, nines (what was I thinking?) to come out of the closet. I hope you feel ashamed when you wheel out your boring 1-0 and 2-1 scorelines next weekend.

And so to the Preliminary Round of the Predictorship Cup. Sixteen ties, 11 winners, five replays:

1. BUNCH OF LOSERS (Michael Whitty) 9-5 METROSTARS (Paul Dolan)
2. TRICKY TREES (Alex Iskandar Liew) 5-5 NEWCASTLE UNITED (Basil Bradley)
3. SUNDERLAND (Trevor Morris) 5-7 SOUTHAMPTON (Tom Palmer)
4. CYPRIARKOS F.C. (Neil Hayes) 5-8 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (Simon Gold)
5. LIVING THE DREAM (Paul Bentley) 7-7 LINFIELD (James Bradley)
6. HORNETS FOREVER (Mark Davies) 5-5 ABERDEEN (Scott Christie)
7. WATFORD (David Roberts) 9-5 SEATTLE GOONERS (Maziar Sattari)
8. PURPLE HAZE (Brian Dunlop) 5-5 DONCASTER ROVERS (Sanjiv Sachdev)
9. DC ADUNITED (Patrick Bevilacqua) 6-5 WEST HAM UNITED (Wendy Nathan)
10. LIVERPOOL (Joe Zalewski) 5-4 FARNBOROUGH TOWN (Rob Molloy)
11. BOURNEMOUTH (Della Torra) 5-6 BENFICA (Steven Dunlop)
12. CRYSTAL PALACE (Dave McAleer) 7-5 READING (Stuart Claxton)
13. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (Gabe Bevilacqua) 5-3 ARSENAL (Ted Warland)
14. WINCHESTER CITY (Nicola Savage) 7-4 CHELTENHAM TOWN (Rob Dimery)
15. CHARLTON ATHLETIC (Nigel Birrell) 3-5 WEST BERGHOLT WANDERERS (Jodie Kemp)
16. SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY (Janet Jones) 5-5 STADE RENNAIS (Ronan L’Heveder)

Congratulations to the winners. You take your rightful place in Round 1. Matches 2, 5, 6, 8 and 16 will be replayed this coming weekend. The same rules apply: just submit your scores and hope lady luck is smiling on you.

The last time we all met up like this, I asked who is the only footballer to have played in the Premiership, Championship, League 1, League 2, Conference, Uefa Cup, Champions League and World Cup. A gold star to anyone who knew the answer: Liverpool defender Steve Finnan.

It could only happen to a goalie …

In 1975, Manchester United’s Alex Stepney dislocated his jaw shouting at his defenders … Barry Town’s Andy Dibble was hospitalised with chemical burns after diving on the turf … In 1970, Brentford’s Chic Brodie had his professional career brought to an end by a dog. The pitch-invading terrier chased a back pass and leapt towards the ill-fated shot-stopper, sending him crashing to the ground. The damage? A shattered kneecap … American goalie Kasey Keller knocked out his front teeth while pulling a golf bag from the boot of his car in 1998 … Spain’s Santiago Canizares was ruled out of the 2002 World Cup after dropping a bottle of aftershave on his foot … England’s Dave Beasant was sidelined after he dropped a bottle of salad cream on his foot while making a sandwich … Chris Woods cut his finger open wrestling with the string on his tracksuit bottoms with a penknife and was unable to play for England … Former Liverpool reserve ‘keeper Michael Stensgaard dislocated his shoulder erecting an ironing board. He never played for Liverpool again … David Seaman missed the first half of the 1996-1997 season after damaging knee ligaments bending down to pick up his television remote control … Grimsby’s Aidan Davison was felled by a hard-boiled egg during a Second Division play-off game against Fulham … Stalybridge Celtic’s Mark Statham missed a game in 1999 after getting his head trapped in a car door … Estonian shot-stopper Mart Poom once injured his genitals in a charity match – against an Iron Maiden XI. Ouch!

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