Thirty-nine players, 168 points, five draws, 36 goals. Donâ€™t bother working out the average score. It was surely the worst week of scoring in the history of The Predictorship, and a handful of predictors are thanking their lucky stars that Sunderland and Arsenal chalked up wins to save them from the embarrassment of all embarrassments â€“ a blank score sheet.
Still, it could have been far worse. A computer malfunction at Predictorship HQ could have spelt D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R for the competition and had us all registering big fat zeros for week 39. Fortunately, at the 11th hour, common sense prevailed and our predictions returned from their unscheduled trip into hyperspace. They might as well not have bothered. Indeed, the average score this week, for anyone disobedient enough to ignore my request in the first paragraph, was a pathetic 4.3 (which, incidentally, is about the score Didier Drogba would get for artistic merit had a panel of judges been marking his most recent collection of dives).
The few players who found a modicum of success this week scattered a plentiful number of draws amongst their 10 predictions â€“ or all 10 predictions in the case of a highly perceptive Southampton fan called Tom Palmer. Tomâ€™s unprecedented scorecard furnished him with six points, including a well-earned maximum for Everton 2 Aston Villa 2, but there was even better to come â€¦
Crystal Palace follower Dave McAleer recorded a remarkable nine points, aided by Chelsea 2 Manchester United 1 and Tottenham 1 Bolton 1, and Rob Molloy claimed eight points courtesy of three correct scores, a number matched only by Ted Warland, whose seven points was matched only by John Collins and fast-finishing Liverpool Lawro gaffer Mark Lawrenson. Right, thatâ€™s enough matching for this week. Now for something completely different â€¦
Regrettably, after two seasons of facts, figures, fun and indeed frolics on FC Camena, The Nottingham Florist will vacate the position of Predictorship scribe at the end of the season. Would anybody like to step into his size 10-and-a-half boots? If youâ€™re interested in writing a weekly (or bi-weekly?) column from the start of next season, please send your CV to Predictorship chairman David Roberts, together with a covering letter specifying your current income and relevant qualifications and, while youâ€™re at it, why not submit a 1,000-word article saying why, in your opinion, The Predictorship is so damn good. If there are no takers, then sadly The Predictorship will return to the days of yore, when just a hearty bowl of broth, a juicy orange and a league table sufficed.
Premier League Results (Week 39): Birmingham 2-2 Liverpool (0); Chelsea 2-1 Manchester United (7); Manchester City 2-3 Fulham (0); Sunderland 3-2 Middlesbrough (0); Tottenham 1-1 Bolton (5); West Ham 2-2 Newcastle (3); Wigan 0-0 Reading (3); Everton 2-2 Aston Villa (5); Portsmouth 0-1 Blackburn (4); Derby 2-6 Arsenal (0).
* Figures in brackets show the number of correct predictions for each game.
Highest Score (Week 39): 9 â€“ Dave McAleer.
Average Score (Week 39): 4.30.
Prediction of the Week (Week 39): Nigel Birrell, John Collins, Cathryn Harker and Steve McHugh (Portsmouth 0-1 Blackburn).
Top of the Table (Week 39):
1. Jersey United (Mike Dufficy) â€“ 280 pts
2. Chelsea (Dave Taylor) â€“ 266 pts
3. Nottingham Forest (Matthew White) â€“ 266 pts
4. Liverpool Reserves (Saleel Sathe) â€“ 263 pts
5. Clapton F.C. (Cathryn Harker) â€“ 263 pts
6. Manchester City (Christine Butters) â€“ 257 pts
7. Charlton Athletic (Nigel Birrell) â€“ 256 pts
8. Blackburn Rovers (Sally Moon) â€“ 255 pts
9. West Ham United (Wendy Nathan) â€“ 255 pts
10. Benfica (Steven Dunlop) â€“ 254 pts
Question of the Week â€¦
What links teams that were relegated out of the Football League in 1993, 2002, 2003, 2006 and 2008? Answer at the bottom of the page.
Quotes of the Week â€¦
Following â€œcourt jesterâ€ and former BBC pundit Ian Wrightâ€™s ranting and raving (see last weekâ€™s column), here are a few â€˜Wrightismsâ€™ from the man himself:
* â€œIt took a lot of bottle for Tony Adams to own up to alcoholismâ€
* â€œI donâ€™t make predictions. I never have done and never will doâ€ (So you donâ€™t want to be our guest predictor next season then Wrighty?)
* â€œYouâ€™ve got to take the rough with the smooth. Itâ€™s like love and hate, war and peace, all that b*******â€
â€˜Question of the Weekâ€™ answer: the letter â€˜Xâ€™ â€“ Halifax Town (1993 and 2002), Exeter City (2003), Oxford United (2006) and Wrexham (2008). Could Crewe Alexandra be next?