Banners are being crafted in Predictorship HQ as the race for the silverware hots up apace.
The stakes are high and Janet Robertsâ€™ campaign headquarters are buzzing with more excitement than a hairdressers on a Saturday morning. The walls are adorned with good luck wishes and the lady of the moment, slightly squiffy from the previous nightâ€™s celebration for the weekâ€™s top scorer (12 points including four correct results), is plumping up her rampant lime curls in the mirror.
On the other side of the room, a throng has gathered around the Chairman, sprawled over an old bed sheet and paint brush in hand. Sporting a Che Guevara T shirt and dishevelled beret â€˜our leaderâ€™ is carefully filling in the ribbons of an FA cup in Sheffield Wednesday colours. Chris Butters (fellow cup winner with Mrs Roberts in the previous season and with 4 correct scores this week) reads out the accompanying lettering to the gathering.
Dunlopâ€™s in Trouble. Roberts for the Double!
The Church Langley Popular Front
Meanwhile, on the far side of the World by the Indian Ocean other plans are afoot: Quarterfinalist John Collins, after a run of recent form, drops back to 3 points away from the leader after scoring only 6 this week. Now only 2 points above Mrs Roberts and 4 points behind Steve Dunlop, the Millwall man is planning a coup of his own.
He dials a number on his satellite phone and waits.
â€˜Baggieâ€™s boy. Is that you?â€™ Mark Youngâ€™s voice on the other end mumbles a response.
â€˜Have you stopped dressing up those lycra body suits yet?â€™ continues Collins. â€˜Weâ€™re all getting a bit worried about you, mate.â€™
â€˜Well, Iâ€™ve emailed you details of the job we set up for Janet this week. She should be outside the car park at 7am on Saturday morning. Just donâ€™t miss with the umbrella, OK?â€™ Sally Moon (fellow quarter-finalist) comes into the room and gives a thumbs up sign to her co-conspirator.
â€˜Remember, they donâ€™t like us and we donâ€™t care!â€™ Collins hangs up and smiles.
â€˜You take care of Matt this weekend and leave the rest to me. The Monacled Gunner shouldnâ€™t prove too tricky to deal with. Markâ€™s got his instructions.â€™
A man in a top hat slopes out of a phone booth in New York City unaware that the eyes of Matt Wayne (quarter-finalist and 4th place in the table) are following him from the recesses of a shop doorway.
Saleel Sathe enters the campaign headquarters, obviously a little worse for wear after rising to 5th in the table â€“ a seasonal high. â€˜Congratulations!â€™ pipes up Hope Arnold, wiping blue paint from her hands. Hope, like Saleel, Dave Taylor, Nick Watson (once again, clearing out the cat litter in the corner) and Pete Yoder predicted 3 correct scores which have lifted her 5 points up the table. In addition, as Predictor of the Week for the Stoke and Burnley matches (alongside Janet Roberts and Tom Roberts) sheâ€™s understandably in buoyant mood.
Maziar Sattari is wearing a cowboy hat and strumming his guitar happily in the corner with a contented and bespectacled Joe Zalewski listening appreciatively and tapping his sandals to the beat. 33 and 36th in the table respectively but with an impressive 4 correct scores each this week the Seattle and Liverpool the boys are happy to offer their support to anybody likely to offer them a few tips and a bowl of beetroot soup.
But it will take more than a few seasonal vegetables to stop the plot being hatched in far flung corners of the globe; the Lions are definitely not sleeping tonight.