The Predictorship: Week 8 – What a Starr!

Iain Starr’s surname could lend itself to all sorts of pun-tastic headlines this week, but we should deal with the facts rather than lower ourselves to tabloid-style ribaldry.

The Starsenal man’s round dozen is not only the loftiest score of the season to date but, for the first time in living memory (unless you know better), a predictor claims a full house of correct results.

Not content with bagging a point for Fulham’s away draw at Avram Grant’s stuttering Chelsea, Microsoft’s Seattle-based whizzkid marched through a statuesque defence to deliver points for Blackburn’s trip to Sunderland (one of his two correct scores) and Tottenham’s highly improbable, Houdini-style, Martin Jol-reprieving comeback against the Villa. Without Younes Kaboul’s last-gasp leveller, Iain would have been nothing more than back-page news.

All this in the week he added the following (woefully ill-timed) comment to his predictions e-mail: “I have to admit, not that I thought I would easily be good at this (predicting), (but it) has been A LOT harder than I thought.” Think again, Iain, you’re laughing in the face of The Predictorship. If 12 points is hard, bring on easy!

Dave Taylor sits proudly atop the table for the third week in a row after bagging 10 points and completing a 1-0 away win treble for this season’s three likeliest Premier League title contenders: Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool. Sadly for Dave, a Predictorship title might be the only silverware his Chelsea boys get their hands on this season – a thought scarier than Avram’s face. At least there’s a job in a horror flick waiting for him when he gets the boot from Stamford Bridge.

In a week with lots of predictable results, there are also 10s for Charlton’s Nigel Birrell, who moves into third, Blackburn’s Sally Moon and Ipswich’s Nick Watson, who offers up yet another comment ahead of his impending re-lurch into the murky world of gambling: “Hopefully my limping tractor will be up to full speed again this week – I need to get a few decent weeks under me belt before I can start putting my hard earned dough-ray-me where my keyboard is.” Indeed.

Anyone who scored nine points this week is also worth a mention: Mike Dufficy, Cathryn Harker, John Collins (Harker Collins, now there’s a novel idea), Dave McAleer, Saleel Sathe, Ben Wallis and Janet Jones.

And you wouldn’t expect me to turn a blind eye to Reading’s record-breaking (Craig Glenday, take note) 7-4 win over Reading, so I won’t disappoint you. There you go.

Sunderland’s Trevor Morris is another predictor with egg on his face this week. “Looks like I’d better start trying,” declared our Trev after propping up the table for three consecutive weeks. One week and four points later he’s still there. If that’s trying, bring on not trying!

Keep those comments coming …

To complete the picture in this busiest of weeks, Steven Dunlop moves house as he continues to move down the table, poor Ben Wallis records the most inaccurate prediction in the history of the competition (see below) and Simon Gold’s predictions spend three days in the commentary box at Vicarage Road – and live to tell the tale.

Last Saturday, an audibly distressed Simon rang David Roberts – who was on his way to watch the Hornets take on Blackpool at Vicarage Road – with some disturbing news: he’d forgotten to submit his scores. Rather than incur the wrath of the Predictorship’s controversial Yellow Card Committee, Simon successfully begged David to scribble down his wayward predictions over the dog and bone when David was comfortably perched in the commentary box.

However, obviously elated by Watford’s table-topping antics, despite only drawing the game, David waltzed off into the early evening without Simon’s scores and they were left at the mercy of the Vicarage Road cleaners until Tuesday night, when David was back to watch the Hornets drive a nail into the relegation aspirations of Sheffield Wednesday.

Scores retrieved, three points accumulated, no yellow card for Simon. Here ends the tale.

Premiership Results – Week 8: Birmingham 0-1 Manchester United (7); Chelsea 0-0 Fulham (1); Derby 1-1 Bolton (11); Manchester City 3-1 Newcastle (0); Portsmouth 7-4 Reading (guess what: 0); Sunderland 1-2 Blackburn (7); West Ham 0-1 Arsenal (4); Wigan 0-1 Liverpool (6); Everton 2-0 Middlesbrough (8); Tottenham 4-4 Aston Villa (guess what again: 0).
* Figures in brackets show the number of correct predictions for each game.

Highest Score – Week 8: 12 – Iain Starr.
Average Score – Week 8: 7.15.
Predictions of the Week – Week 8: Rob Dimery and Michael Whitty (Chelsea 2-2 Fulham); Sally Moon and Iain Starr (Chelsea 1-1 Fulham). We all thought it could happen – only these four brave souls put their necks on the line. Ben Wallis (Portsmouth 0-0 Reading). Has a predictor even been 11 goals away from a correct score? Of course not! The stuff of legends.

Top of the Table – Week 8:

1. Chelsea (Dave Taylor) – 59 pts
2. Jersey United (Mike Dufficy) – 56 pts
3. Charlton Athletic (Nigel Birrell) – 54 pts
4. Clapton F.C. (Cathryn Harker) – 52 pts
5. Millwall (John Collins) – 52 pts
6. Seattle Gooners (Maziar Sattari) – 51 pts
7. Philadelphia Eagles (Gabe Bevilacqua) – 51 pts
8. West Ham United (Wendy Nathan) – 51 pts
9. Wycombe Wanderers (Stewart Newport) – 51 pts
10. Crystal Palace (Dave McAleer) – 50 pts

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