A Totally Irre–sponsor–ble Rant

It’s about time The Predictorship weaned itself off the beetroot and tackled some of the pressing football-related matters of the day.

Aping Newcastle United’s rib-tickling example, this week’s report is brought to you courtesy of suffolkscribes.com @ The Predictorship. I know Kedington’s finest, the much-maligned Moonerazzi, would heartily approve of the catchy moniker as she recuperates a little further down the A143. Get well soon, Moony!

Before flinging the words ‘pot’, ‘kettle’ and ‘black’ in my direction for having the downright cheek to necessitate an expansion in the width of the Predictorship table with the pretentiously-titled team name Elements Cefn Druids A.F.C. of Plaskynaston Lane (spot the sponsor), let me point out that I’m not a rotund, multi-millionaire, club strip-wearing, terrace-dwelling owner desperately trying to get my team back into the top flight of English football, just an ordinary bloke trying to win the glittering top prize in fantasy football.

To cut a long rant short, Newcastle United can keep their sportsdirect.com @ St. James’ Park Stadium (although Blue Square Premier outfit York City are quite welcome to their Kitkat Crescent, which sounds kinda cool). Three unabashed company plugs in one moderately-sized sentence makes grim reading for those who already believe flashing, revolving, epileptic shock-inducing advertising hoardings around pitches are a gargantuan step too far, but York’s sponsors are more than welcome to deliver my free stash of wafer-smothered chocolate bars to Predictorship HQ c/o Chairman Roberts.com @ Church Langley to aid the Druids’ surge up the table.

Maybe gouging herself on chocolate bars is the secret of Janet Roberts’ phenomenal success this season. The familiar strain of “I’m just popping out to work, Mr. Chairman, shan’t be long” should now be viewed with as much suspicion as a collapsing David Ngog at Anfield. [From this day forth, I’m pronouncing Ngog’s name phonetically to voice my displeasure, but he’s not the only one, is he Mr. Dogbra?] We’ve suspected all along that Janet is refuelling at her local Tesco store, even without the Mini, but by never putting on an ounce around her midriff – a fact confirmed by Steven Dunlop, who was in close proximity to the Chairman’s wife a couple of weeks ago and is now even cosier with her, just a point adrift of the top spot – there was not a shred of cocoa-stained evidence against the Owls fan. Furthermore, Janet is as fit as a fiddle and could easily outpace Premier League ref Alan Wiley in a 100-metre sprint, with or without a slab of Dairy Milk inside her, but Sir Alex – gesticulating and, indeed, masticating from a stand inside Old Trafford – already knew that.

Chairman Roberts has desperately tried to tap into Janet’s predicting psyche, but his advances are always swiftly rebuffed. “How does it feel to be only the third best Predictorship-playing Roberts in your family?” snarled Janet after his last attempt to weedle a few secrets from his wife’s top security computer. Alas, until Janet reveals the truth behind the Wispas, we simply don’t know what’s sustaining her impressive league challenge.

The form book reared its ugly head over the weekend as the rampant goal-scoring machine that is the 2009/2010 Premier League was put on hold for some dull and excruciatingly dull internationals. Or, as Sanjiv Sachdev beautifully put it: “Wales 1 Scotland 1 (Who cares?)”. I’d never dream of boring you with a plethora of stats but, incredibly, last season’s top three predictors, Saleel Sathe, Christine Butters and Pete Yoder, digested the low-scoring fare without the merest hint of a gulp to lunge up the table in tandem with (this week’s only three) seasonal highs of, respectively, 10th, 6th and 14th. Beware: the big boys (and girl) are shuffling into contention faster than Cristiano Ronaldo’s dancing feet … on crutches.

Please make yourself a nice cup of tea while I reel off a list of my favourite daft football names before getting down to the nitty gritty …

* Atletico Madrid’s Koke Resurreccion (with Atletico down among the dead men this season, he needs to bring the team to life … again)
* GKS Belchatow’s Carlo Costly (we beg to differ: the Poles signed him for a fiver and a cold meat pie)
* Croydon Athletic’s Shabazz Baidoo (Hackney’s finest Ghanaian/Montserratian)
* East Stirlingshire’s Michael Bolochoweckyj (regularly on the receiving end of a dressing-room b******ing so the name stuck)
* Ebbsfleet United’s Gavin Heeroo (that’s a matter of opinion)
* Floriana’s Akanni-Sunday Wasiu (personally, Saturday is always a cannier day for me than Sunday)
* Ex-Hamilton Academical Izzy Iriekpen (answer: no)
* Histon’s Erkan Okay (he was bloody marvellous last month, though)
* Leeds United’s Enoch Showunmi (oh, wait a minute, am I thinking of eunuch?)
* Morecambe’s Manny Panther (hunting down opposition midfielders is his game)
* Skonto’s Andrejs Pereplotkins (at least he’s not a plonker)
* Swansea City’s Ferrie Bodde (hopefully not a sign of impending doom on a Dover-Calais crossing)
* Swansea City’s Angel Rangel (surely the finest daft name in the history of football)
* Swindon Town’s Kevin Amankwaah (not a name you should quickly follow with the words Nwankwo Kanu)
* FC Utrecht’s Ricky Van Wolfswinkel (a well-proportioned footballer, or so we hear)

A couple of reminders …

Surprisingly, only 12 jokers have been played so far this season. Any jokers that have not been played before the last week of the season will automatically be activated in the final week, so don’t leave it too late …

Fantasy football’s greatest Cup competition, the obviously-named Predictorship Cup, will be back for a fifth season in 2010. The league’s top 22 predictors on 31st December 2009 will book their place in Round 1 while the remaining 20 will fight it out in a Preliminary Round, with the 10 winners joining the aforementioned 22 in Round 1. Full details and Cup dates to follow …

Week 14 Stats …
* Top score: 12 – Christine Butters
* Top score in just about any other week: 11 – Cathryn Gregory (predictions delivered by husband Mike from Aon Limited’s Finance & Administration department in Romford, Essex) & Saleel Sathe
* Total players: 41/42
* Total points scored: 266
* Average score: 6.48
* Total correct scores: 42, including 10 for Russia 2 Slovenia 1
* 4 correct scores: Christine Butters (Republic of Ireland, Brazil, Northern Ireland & Slovakia), Cathryn Gregory (Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Spain & Slovakia) & Saleel Sathe (Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland & Slovakia)
* Shame on you award: Every American who underestimated the might of Slovakia
* (Boring) prediction of the week: Christine Butters, Sally Moon & Pete Yoder for Brazil 1-0 England
* Jokers: 0
* Yellow cards: 1 (Mark Lawrenson, who took yet another prediction-making sabbatical)
* Red cards: 0
* Quote of the week: “I meant to e-mail my predictions before I got on a flight but totally forgot. Having said that, I still got as many points as [GWR’s Director of Television] Rob Molloy!!” – GWR Records Manager Ralph Hannah incites an office feud. Staple guns and elastic bands at the ready …

That’s all folks!

Matt ‘the Stat’ Wayne