The Predictorship Week 25 – Butters on a Roll

Players: 40 out of 49. Points scored: 263. Highest score: 12 (Christine Butters – surprise, surprise). Average score: 6.57. Total correct scores: 48. Prediction of the Week: Mark “Baggies Boy” Young (Liverpool 4-0 Sheffield United).

Results: Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea (17); Charlton Athletic 4-0 West Ham United (0); Fulham 1-2 Manchester United (12); Liverpool 4-0 Sheffield United (1); Middlesbrough 2-1 Reading (6); Watford 0-3 Everton (0); Blackburn Rovers 3-0 Portsmouth (0); Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 Bolton Wanderers (0); Wigan Athletic 1-0 Newcastle United (4); Sunderland 2-1 Derby County (8).

Manchester City’s Christine Butters is rewriting the Predictorship record book faster than a Shabani Nonda goal at Ewood Park.

Another chunk of rainforest will have to be felled somewhere in the world to provide the paper for the next sizeable chapter in the fascinating tale of the Predictorship 2006-2007. For the third time this season – and the second time in three weeks – Christine racks up 12 points and now owns 75% of the 12-pointers this season. That’s “neatier” (David Pleat’s fabricated word of the week).

Like third-placed Dave Taylor (Chelsea), who is now 10 points off the pace, Christine recorded nine correct results at the weekend and failed only to predict a Wigan win against Newcastle. More importantly, she now enjoys a four-point lead over Manchester rival Hope Arnold, who might have expected to steal a march on Christine after bagging eight points. It wasn’t to be.

Analysts and statisticians across the globe have been scratching their heads in disbelief at Christine’s purple patch. They’ve ruled out any possibility she’s been secretly submitting her scores after 5pm on Saturday afternoons or slipping Premiership referees and/or players small brown envelopes stuffed with cash, and they don’t believe she’s suddenly adopted Russell Grant-like psychic powers or is simply pressing the wrong numbered keys on her computer keyboard. No, they’ve put it down to a lethal and undiluted concoction of skill and luck. For the sake of some end-of-season shenanigans at the top of the Predictorship, we’d all better hope she overdoses soon.

Three cheers for Wendy Nathan, manager of the hapless West Ham United, who notches up her second 11-point week (not bad for a mid-tabler), and two cheers and a video of Abou Diaby’s foot connecting with John Terry’s head in Sunday’s Carling Cup final (plus exclusive footage of Wayne Bridge throwing himself to the ground like a wet blanket) to Steven Dunlop (Benfica) and Matthew White (Ankaragücü), who both bag 10 points to move into contention – whatever that might be.

Keeley, Monday’s Page 3 “stunna” in The Sun newspaper, is “delighted” Terry has recovered from his sickening, face-mashing incident. I couldn’t have put it much better myself.

The Predictorship Cup …

Home advantage was the crucial factor in last weekend’s two outstanding Round 2 replays. Clapton F.C. (Cathryn Harker) defeated Peterborough United (Steve McHugh) 7-5 and Watford (David Roberts) marched on with a 9-6 win over Tottenham Hotspur (Simon Gold).

Therefore, Clapton F.C. and Watford join Bengal Mumbai F.C. (Haresh Mirani), DC Adunited (Patrick Bevilacqua), Living the Dream (Paul Bentley), Manchester United (Hope Arnold), Sheffield Wednesday (Janet Jones) and West Bergholt Wanderers (Jodie Kemp) in the quarter-finals of the Predictorship Cup, with the ties to be played on March 10-11.

Eight teams left, and only two – Manchester United and Watford – are eyeing the Predictorship and FA Cup double. Or is the Cup heading to Clapton, India, DC, Sheffield or West Bergholt? And can Paul Bentley’s Living the Dream – the lowest ranked team still in the draw – continue to do just that? Questions, questions, questions. And no answers until the final at Wembley – maybe – on May 19.

Quotes of the Week …

As a once in a lifetime treat for our Stateside predictors, here begineth a new series of quotes from the US soccer team’s much-maligned interim coach, the right honourable Bob Bradley.

Let it be said right from the first whistle that this man is no fool (despite our best efforts to make him appear one in the coming weeks). Even though the US have slipped down the FIFA world rankings to a shameful 28th (behind Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Poland and even Scotland), Uncle Bob is the head coach with the most wins in Major League Soccer history. His charges were Chicago Fire, MetroStars and Chivas USA.

(A rhetorical question, unless anyone knows the/cares to answer: Could Chivas USA be the only team in world football whose name includes the country they play in? It might catch on: Milton Keynes Dons England, Inverness Caledonian Thistle Scotland, FK Habit Pharm Javor Ivanjica Serbia and Montenegro. Anyway, I digress.)

Here are three Bob beauties to set the ball rolling …

Poetic Bob: “A sea of humanity. What a wonderful sight to see at the start”.

Social commentary Bob: “Our people’s standard of living has gone way up. People have been able to buy washers and dryers and cars. They’ve put new roofs on their homes. We’ve been able to buy more Christmas gifts than ever before”.

Come again Bob?: “We don’t have to, but we’re always looking everywhere”.

More zaniness from the good-for-a-quote interimer next week …

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