On the very same weekend the legendary Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons stormed into the UK Top 40 with a greatest hits collection entitled Jerseyâ€™s Best, a man fitting that very description was busy wrapping up his second Predictorship title. Congratulations to Jersey Unitedâ€™s Mike Dufficy, who wears the 2007-08 Predictorship crown with 293 points.
Mike, an ever-present in the top five this season, has led the field since week 13 (the weekend of 27th & 28th October 2007) and also had one week at the top in week 5. In other words, he has been in pole position for 30 of this seasonâ€™s 41 weeks, including the last 29 weeks consecutively. Such has been Mike’s dominance that only three other predictors have topped the table during the course of the season: John Collins (week 1), Maziar Sattari (weeks 2-3) and runner-up Dave Taylor (week 4 and weeks 6-12).
Even more remarkable is the fact that Mike has won the title without posting a weekly score of 11 or more. Rob Dimery (week 14) and Nick Watson (week 20), incidentally both founding members of GWR band The Infamous Grouse, recorded the best weekly scores of the season with 13. There were eight scores of 12, including an impressive double from Dave Taylor, and 24 people registered 11s, a score achieved twice by Dave McAleer, Wendy Nathan and Maziar Sattari.
â€œIâ€™ve been asked that question for the last six months,â€ said Mike when harangued for a comment on his second league title in three seasons, quoting one of the â€œlegends of English footballâ€ (his words not mine), Terry Venables. â€œItâ€™s not fair to expect me to make such a fast decision on something that has been put upon me like that.â€ OK Mike, not to worry.
Furthermore, if youâ€™re longing for a useful tip from a seasoned Predictorship maestro on how to find some inspiration for those weekly predictions, youâ€™d do well to heed Mikeâ€™s sound advice (which again is a Venablesism): â€œIt may have been going wide, but nevertheless it was a great shot on target.â€ In other words, we should all predict 10 0-0s from now on.
Mike, who finishes nine points clear of Dave Taylor and 12 points ahead of Matthew White (whose only crumb of comfort is the seasonâ€™s finest collection of correct results, 240), also has three joint â€˜Prediction of the Weekâ€™ accolades to his name: Manchester City 1-0 Manchester United in week 2, West Ham 3-1 Sunderland in week 11 and Middlesbrough 1-2 West Ham in week 20.
Mike joins Steven Dunlop, who guided Sporting Charleroi to the title in 2002-03 and 2004-05 before switching allegiance to Benfica, as the only two-time winner of The Predictorship. Mike, as you might recall, won his first league title (2005-06) after throwing in the towel at Everton and taking the top job at Jersey United, a move that now seems as smart as Steve Bruceâ€™s defection from Birmingham to Wigan.
The Predictorship Roll of Honour
1999-2000 – Stewart Newport (Queens Park Rangers)
2000-01 – Gabe Bevilacqua (Philadelphia Eagles)
2001-02 – David Roberts (Watford)
2002-03 – Steven Dunlop (Sporting Charleroi)
2003-04 – Janet Jones (Sheffield Wednesday)
2004-05 – Steven Dunlop (Sporting Charleroi)
2005-06 – Mike Dufficy (Jersey United)
2006-07 – Christine Butters (Manchester City)
2007-08 – Mike Dufficy (Jersey United)
The antiquated and overtly sexist â€˜Top Femaleâ€™ accolade went right down to the wire. Christine Butters â€“ who relinquishes her title-holding status this week â€“ and Cathryn Harker both finish on 275 points but Christine claims the prize courtesy of four more correct scores and out-scoring the Clapton F.C.â€™er by six points to five in week 41. Jill Taylor (7th), Sally Moon (9th) and Wendy Nathan (10th) ensure that half of the top 10 predictors are female. Who said football was a male-dominated sport? Forget the â€˜Yorkie â€“ Not for Girlsâ€™ slogan and mark these shocking words: â€˜The Predictorship â€“ Not for Boysâ€™. Or it soon will be.
Congratulations also go to another lady, Anuradha Shenoy, who is the highest-placed rookie in 12th, ahead of Mark Lawrenson in 15th. Fellow newcomers Ben Wallis (26th), Iain Starr (34th) and the Wallers, Marion (36th) and Gary (39th), didnâ€™t fare quite so well, but hopefully theyâ€™ll be back for another stab at Predictorship glory next season.
For more stats than you can shake an extremely large stick at, delve into The Nottingham Floristâ€™s painstakingly-compiled and appropriately-titled Predictorship Stats 2007-08 spreadsheet, distributed free of charge with this weekâ€™s table. In the meantime, cast your eyes over this little lot …
Most Weeks at Top: 30 – Mike Dufficy; 8 – Dave Taylor
Most Weeks at Bottom: 27 – Norma No Mates; 6 – Neil Hayes
Highest Weekly Score: 13 – Rob Dimery and Nick Watson
Lowest Weekly Score: 0 – Norma No Mates (x3) and Gary Waller
Most Weeks in Top 5: 41 – Mike Dufficy; 38 – Dave Taylor
Most Weeks in Bottom 5: 37 – Norma No Mates; 35 – James Bradley
Most Consecutive Weeks Without Submitting Scores: 18 – Neil Hayes; 16 – Stewart Newport
Most Yellow Cards: 20 – Neil Hayes and Stewart Newport
Most Red Cards: 9 – Neil Hayes; 8 – Stewart Newport
Most ‘Predictions of the Week’: 10 – Marion Waller; 7 – Rob Molloy; 6 – Wendy Nathan, Ted Warland and Michael Whitty; 5 – Sally Moon and Ben Wallis
The Predictorship Cup â€¦
The Predictorship Cup final takes place this weekend, 17th May, along with the not-half-as-interesting FA Cup final between Cardiff City and Portsmouth. Sally Moonâ€™s Blackburn Rovers take on Alex Iskandar Liewâ€™s Tricky Trees in the sold out showpiece. Sally finished ninth in the league campaign, eight points and four places better off than Alex, but you might as well rip the form book to shreds because Alex is the form predictor going into the final after scoring eight points last weekend. However, league form counts for absolutely nothing in the Cup, so find another form book and rip that one to shreds too (if you still have any strength left). Basically, itâ€™s as open as the Derby County defence, but one thing is for sure: one of them will join John Collinsâ€™ Millwall and Janet Jonesâ€™ Sheffield Wednesday on the honours board come Saturday evening.
Sally, Alex, listen up! What we need from you is a full-time score for Cardiff v Portsmouth (be that after 90 minutes or extra time) and your estimation of the time of the first goal. As per usual Predictorship rules, you get one point for a correct result and another point for a correct score. In the event of a draw, the winner will be the person who most accurately predicts the time of the first goal (0-120 minutes). Note: the Cup will NOT be decided on who has the nearest prediction to the actual result should you both predict the same winner but a different scoreline (i.e. if the result is 5-0 to Portsmouth, 3-0 is not superior to 2-0). If you both predict the same result and there are no goals in the final (which is one of your options), then Predictorship HQ will panic, phone a friend (probably Sir Trev) and decide what the heck to do next.
Please send your score and first goal predictions to both David Roberts and firstname.lastname@example.org by 1pm on Saturday. Good luck to you both and may the best woman/man win.
Premier League Results (Week 41): Birmingham 4-1 Blackburn (0); Chelsea 1-1 Bolton (1); Derby 0-4 Reading (0); Everton 3-1 Newcastle (1); Middlesbrough 8-1 Manchester City (0); Portsmouth 0-1 Fulham (3); Sunderland 0-1 Arsenal (8); Tottenham 0-2 Liverpool (0); West Ham 2-2 Aston Villa (3); Wigan 0-2 Manchester United (9).
* Figures in brackets show the number of correct predictions for each game.
Highest Score (Week 41): 8 â€“ Hope Arnold, Alex Iskandar Liew, Steve McHugh, Nick Watson and Michael Whitty.
Average Score (Week 41): 5.32.
Prediction of the Week (Week 41): Late â€˜Prediction of the Seasonâ€™ contenders from Rob Molloy (Chelsea 1-1 Bolton) and Mark Young (Everton 3-1 Newcastle).
Top of the Table (Week 41):
1. Jersey United (Mike Dufficy) â€“ 293 pts
2. Chelsea (Dave Taylor) â€“ 284 pts
3. Nottingham Forest (Matthew White) â€“ 281 pts
4. Liverpool Reserves (Saleel Sathe) â€“ 280 pts
5. Manchester City (Christine Butters) â€“ 275 pts
6. Clapton F.C. (Cathryn Harker) â€“ 275 pts
7. Dartmoor Rovers (Jill Taylor) â€“ 270 pts
8. Charlton Athletic (Nigel Birrell) â€“ 269 pts
9. Blackburn Rovers (Sally Moon) â€“ 267 pts
10. West Ham United (Wendy Nathan) â€“ 267 pts
Wanted! A last desperate plea for end-of-season Predictorship tables from before the 2004-05 season to help The Nottingham Florist compile an all-encompassing table of tables, charting the hot shots and the flops since 1999-2000. Where will you be in the all-time league?
‘Prediction of the Season’ … Don’t forget to register your selection for ‘Prediction of the Season’ (see last week’s column for details). The result will be announced after this weekend’s Predictorship Cup final …
Iain Starr carved out a large chunk of Predictorship history this week by predicting a combined goal tally of 2,169 for the 10 games, including a preposterous and quite frankly laughable 1-1 draw at the Riverside between Middlesbrough and Manchester City. Here are Iainâ€™s 10 predictions, which come with a liberal sprinkling of gold stars for sheer entertainment value and three points for his faltering league campaign:
Birmingham 17-35 Blackburn; Chelsea 6-6 Bolton; Derby 34-0 Reading; Everton 0-99 Newcastle; Middlesbrough 1-1 Manchester City, Portsmouth 33-33 Fulham; Sunderland 0-1,893 Arsenal; Tottenham 0-0 Liverpool; West Ham 2-4 Aston Villa; Wigan 2-3 Manchester United.
Quote of the Week â€¦
â€œIain Starr has just gone plain mad!â€ â€“ David Roberts
So there you have it. Just like Zoom Bakayogo, released by Millwall, and Edrissa Sonko, shunned by Walsall, itâ€™s time to get out of here and find a new club. The Nottingham Florist sincerely hopes that heâ€™s entertained and, at selected times, amused you during the course of the last two seasons, and maybe even awoken your inner statistical beast. Thanks for the memories.