Thanks Gabe, and welcome to The Predictorship 2007-08. Itâ€™s season nine, if youâ€™re counting.
So whatâ€™s new around here? First of all, we have some fresh talent â€“ Saleel Satheâ€™s wife, Anuradha Shenoy (New England), and the Wallers, Gary and Marion, who take up managerial roles at Q.P.R. and Queens Park Rangers respectively. (If you think these teams are one and the same, think again.) A warm welcome to you all.
Elsewhere, Norman No Mates has been sacked as manager of The Nil-Nils, usurped by his long-suffering wife, Norma, and for the first time in Predictorship history we have a celebrity predictor, BBC pundit and former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson. â€œLawroâ€ is a seasoned predictor on the BBC Sport website, and his scores will be fed into the Predictorship merry-go-round this season. Can you beat the master at his own game? Come and â€˜ave a go if you think youâ€™re â€˜ard enough!
The top 27 predictors from last season are back onboard, but we say â€˜au revoirâ€™ to Brian Dunlop (Purple Haze), Scott Christie (Aberdeen), Paul Bentley (Living the Dream) and Della Torra (Bournemouth).
Now to the rule changes:
1. Yellow and Red Cards.
A yellow card will be awarded if you donâ€™t submit your scores in any given week (as before, players who fail to submit scores will be awarded 10 0-0 scores). A red card will be awarded if you donâ€™t submit your scores for a second consecutive week. For that second week, predictors with red cards will score 0 points (i.e. they are not even awarded 0-0 scores).
Yellow cards will be â€œrescindedâ€ if you submit your scores the week after picking up a yellow card, although yellow cards will stay on your record and will result in a â€œsuspensionâ€ if you pick up a further four yellow cards during the season (see below).
If you pick up five yellow cards during the season, you will receive a â€œsuspensionâ€: the week you get your fifth yellow card, you will score 0 points for that week (i.e. you will not score points for 0-0 scores). For every five yellow cards you pick up, you will be â€œsuspendedâ€ for a week.
You will be exempt from receiving yellow and red cards if you go on holiday, but you should let us know when youâ€™ll be out of action â€“ otherwise youâ€™ll be penalised for absenteeism.
The best advice I can offer to anyone confused by this new rule: submit your scores every week and you wonâ€™t get into trouble!
2. Failing to Submit Your Scores.
All players who donâ€™t submit their scores in any given week will be awarded 10 0-0 scores â€“ without exception. You cannot choose alternative default scores in place of 0-0s.
Finally, Iâ€™d be grateful if you could take a couple of minutes to fill in the following questionnaire, which will give me some ammunition for my write-ups! Please forward your completed questionnaire to email@example.com. Many thanks.
* Nickname (optional):
* Predictorship team (2007-2008):
* Soccer team(s) supported (if different):
* Age (optional):
* Occupation, company name and town/city of work:
* Home town/city:
* Place of birth:
* Predictorship debut (if known):
* Predictorship honours:
* Favourite soccer player(s):
* Favourite goal:
* Favourite sport(s) (other than soccer):
* Explain the offside rule in 20 words or less (optional!):
And so to Week 1. 2005-06 champions John Collins (the inaugural Predictorship Cup) and Mike Dufficy (The Predictorship) lead the pack after the first weekend of action, with Arsenalâ€™s Ted Warland â€“ the only predictor to bag three correct scores â€“ hot on their heels.
New dad Simon Gold, who is busy nurturing â€œSpursâ€™ left winger for the 2024-25 seasonâ€, finds himself at the bottom of the pile with two points, below the 11 â€“ yes, 11 â€“ absent predictors in week 1. As explained above, you 11 will be given red cards and score no points if you fail to show your faces in week 2. This is your first and final warning.
Premiership Results (Week 1): Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool (9); Bolton 1-3 Newcastle (0); Derby 2-2 Portsmouth (0); Everton 2-1 Wigan (6); Middlesbrough 1-2 Blackburn (6); Sunderland 1-0 Tottenham (5); West Ham 0-2 Manchester City (0); Arsenal 2-1 Fulham (12); Chelsea 3-2 Birmingham (0); Manchester United 0-0 Reading (1).
* Figures in brackets show the number of correct score predictions for each game.
Highest Score (Week 1): 8 â€“ John Collins, Mike Dufficy.
Average Score (Week 1): 5.42
Prediction of the Week (Week 1): Joe Zalewski (Manchester United 1-1 Reading) â€“ the only predictor who thought Manchester United would NOT start the defence of their Premiership title with three points. He was right.
Top of the Table (Week 1):
1. Millwall (John Collins) â€“ 8 pts
2. Jersey United (Mike Dufficy) â€“ 8 pts
3. Arsenal (Ted Warland) â€“ 7 pts
4. Philadelphia Eagles (Gabe Bevilacqua) â€“ 7 pts
5. FC Squan 1980 (Patrick Bevilacqua) â€“ 7 pts
6. Manchester City (Christine Butters) â€“ 7 pts
7. West Ham United (Wendy Nathan) â€“ 7 pts
8. New England (Anuradha Shenoy) â€“ 7 pts
9. Q.P.R. (Gary Waller) â€“ 7 pts
10. Liverpool (Joe Zalewski) â€“ 7 pts