A Bright past

MARK Bright woke up tied to a chair.

He had no idea how long he’d been there. It was dark and smelt of moist and turpentine.

“What’s this, Mr Bright?” a voice demanded as he came round.

In front him the dim screen of a laptop barely lit the shabby table on which it stood. The voice seemed to be everywhere.

“Where am I?” murmured Bright.

“Mr, Bright. What’s on the screen?” said the voice.

Bright’s eyes adjusted to the light. He was in a cellar he didn’t recognise. The last he remembered he was interviewing Titus Bramble for Al Jazeera. How had this happened?

He peered at the screen:

“Who are you? Why are you doing this me?” said Bright, still woozy, although he recognised the tweet.

“Everything will be explained, Mr Bright,” replied the voice calmly. “First, tell me what this means to you?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Bright said, recollection beginning to seep back.

“Perhaps this will jog your memory, Mr Bright,” said the voice before the screen changed to another tweet. It was Bright’s:

Bright remembered everything. “Oh that. I was watching Match of the Day on Saturday and saw a funny tweet about Gary Lineker’s shirt so I decided to share the joke,” he said, forgetting himself a little.

“You mean you stole the joke, Mr Bright,” replied the voice. It filled every inch of the dank so well it’s owner had to be in another room.

“I wouldn’t say I…”

“Don’t even try, Mr Bright,” said the voice with a thin edge of impatience. Then after a couple of moments: “You have no idea who you’re dealing with, do you, Mr Bright?

“Have you ever heard of the Kenna League?”

“The what?” said Bright, confused.

“The Jeff Kenna League. It’s London’s leading pub-based fantasy football league,” said the voice, as if the catchphrase was a national phenomenon.

Bright offered: “Is it anything to do with Jeff Kenna? The Republic of Ireland full back?”

“Not at all,” replied the voice. “Well, the league was named after Jeff, but he has nothing to do with it. Although, irritatingly we do get stray emails intended for him from time to time.

“On the face of it the Kenna League or Kenna – as it’s more commonly known – is a group of managers who congregate in the pub a few times each year to buy and sell Premier League players in an auction format,” this did little to cheer Bright. Whoever was behind this stunt was clearly out of their mind. The voice droned on as Bright’s mind began to race, thinking of how he could escape.

“…and one manager is a real pirate. Hot headed sort. The only manager to quit during an auction…”

Bright tried the ropes on his wrists. They were bound tight behind him. He scanned the darkness for anything to help cut, catching the last sentence of the inane monologue: “But underneath, Mr Bright, the Kenna League isn’t all rounds of drinks and worn out jokes about Titus Bramble.”

Bramble! He was involved in this! Bright wondered what the former defender was really up to since being released by Sunderland in 2013. It definitely wasn’t Bramble talking now though.

The voice continued. It definitely belonged to an Englishman, as non descript as it was preposterous: “You have shown disrespect to the Kenna, Mr Bright. Even taking into account your prolific spells at Crystal Palace and Sheffield Wednesday, you must learn to understand the power of the Kenna committee.”

“B-B-But, I ‘at’ mentioned you in the tweet along with the Linkear. I acknowledged the joke was yours. I’ve got more than 87,000 followers, you probably got some more followers out of it,” Bright was pleading.

“Mr Bright, your little caper only earned the Kenna three extra followers: a Birmingham City fan service, a self-publishing ‘comedy’ author and an American woman who retweets credit card advice.

“Therefore, Mr Bright, we have no alternative but to keep you here.”

“What? I’ve got a home, a job, a family. People will wonder where I am. Please, please, please let me go!” said Bright, writhing in his bonds.

“I’m afraid that won’t be possible, Mr Bright, but we have got a little surprise for you.”

The voice went quiet. After a few moments the opening bars of a slow, start-stop, R&B pop beat filled the room. Bright immediately felt pinpricks of cold sweat all over his body. How did they know? It was impossible!

A woman began to sing:

Folks say I’m tripping and I’m losing my mind

It was ‘Sweetness’, the 1994 hit by his ex-wife Michelle Gayle. Good God, no!

Much as he had loved Michelle, and indeed he was still on good terms with her, Bright couldn’t bear that song. He had never admitted it to anyone out of respect, so how did they find out? And why were they doing this to him?

He managed to negotiate the track’s three minutes and 37 seconds without swallowing his tongue, and when the music faded he began to breathe more slowly.

The room was silent for a few seconds and then he heard it:

Shoop shoo doop
Shay day shoop shoo doop

It was on repeat!


Mark Bright’s own voice awoke him with a start. He was in his own bed. He felt his wrists and wasn’t tied up. Oh, thank the heavens, he thought, it was just a horrible nightmare.

He checked the time on the bedside clock. 3.37am. He was about to drift off to sleep again when his blood ran cold. Opening his eyes wide he looked at the bedside table again.

The curtains weren’t completely drawn. A small gap let in enough sodium street lighting to reflect from a small shiny square propped against the lamp.

It was a signed photo of Titus Bramble.

Photo credit: Prostate Cancer UK

Cup roundup


Go For Broke Cup – semi final second leg

Judean Peoples’ Front 0 (0) – 2 (2) KS West Green

Fat Ladies 0 (0) – 0 (0) Hoxton Pirates
Fat Ladies win 23-7 on points scored in second leg

Fixtures – this weekend

Canesten Combi Cup – semi final first leg

Team Panda Rules OK v Cowley Casuals

Dynamo Charlton v FC Testiculadew

Kenna table – week 33 of 37

Kenna week 33 - 28 April 2015
Kenna week 33 – 28 April 2015

Weekly scores

Manager Points Goals
1 Young Boys Denney 42 2
2 KS West Green Stix 36 2
3 Cowley Casuals Stu 29 0
4 Sporting Lesbian Ben M 28 2
5 Lokomotiv Leeds Ben S 26 0
6 Walthamstow Reds Dudley 25 1
7 Dynamo Charlton Alex 25 0
8 Pikey Scum Jack 23 1
9 Fat Ladies Ted 23 0
10 St Reatham FC Mike 21 0
11 Team Panda Rules OK George 20 1
12 Just Put Carles Carles 19 1
13 Piedmonte Phil 19 0
14 Hairy Fadjeetas Aiden 18 0
15 FC Tescticuladew James N 16 1
16 Still Don’t Know Yet Pete 15 0
17 Judean People’s Front Sholto 14 0
18 Bala Rinas Lewis 14 0
19 Headless Chickens John N 10 0
20 Hoxton Pirates Abdi 7 0
Points Player
Player of the week 12 N’Doye, D – HUL – STR
Club Unsigned
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The Imitation Kenna

THE chairman stared at the screen and frowned.

He was in the habit of receiving emails from managers on all sorts of matters. The boss of Young Boys complaining about the new cup format. The treasurer complaining about the level of expenses coming out of the league reptile fund. The Still Don’t Know Yet manager complaining about the car containing two heavy set men parked outside his Singapore address for the last week.

These were mere day-to-day bagatelle, bread and butter for a football administrator of 10 years’ standing. In comparison this latest development was a real conundrum, the type to make Richard Whitely bristle with excitement. Even now.

The chairman could only stare at the email from the FC Testiculadew manager. After 20 minutes, in need of inspiration, he clicked print and went to the Kenna HQ roofgarden to muse.

Outside a couple of chalkstripes from the speculations department were coming to the end of a three-martini lunch. They were in heated discussion about whether Gary Glitter would be more effective as a midfielder or a striker.

Upon seeing the chairman, both men abandoned their drinks, gave the accepted salute and retreated inside.

Alone to think, the chairman took a seat and puzzled over the Garamond 11 characters on the page. For all the sense they made they may as well have been in Dingbats.

I’m often mystified by the ways of Mourinho, i have to confess.
I’ve read with great worry the activities of the Welsh, maybe now is the time for all good Englishmen, Geordies and Somalis to act, (the Somalis are noted for there distaste of the Welsh)
I stand ready to assist in any way

The chairman was sure the FCT boss was up to something underhand. He had to be, by Jove! His form for exploiting every league rule and regulation out there made the communication smell worse than the Fat Ladies rear guard on a muggy afternoon.

But just what in the name of Bramble’s bejabbers was the fellow up to now?

Of course, the rules were not perfect. The many checks and balances put in since the tactical Brambling affair, an episode entirely contrived by the FCT manager, had done nothing but paper over the cracks. The forfeit procedure couldn’t stand up to closer scrutiny, and that’s why he couldn’t raise membership fees without causing a backlash.

The in absentia bidding rules were also flawed. How else could the FCT boss not turn up to the pre-season auction, be given leftover players and now find himself seventh in the league? Torres, Podolski, Fellaini. The utter dross with which he had started the season. And now he was only a couple of good weeks from a European place. It beggared belief.

He looked at the email again. Taken on face value it was straightforward. In the first line the FCT manager admits the Juan Cuadrado signature at the second transfer window was a gamble yet, and unlikely, to bear fruit. Next he makes reference to recent reports about gun-toting Welsh crackpots taking over the league (the chairman reminded himself to drop into the manager experiences department later for the latest surveillance report).

Continuing to study the words he was stumped. Geordies? There were no Geordies among league managers any more. What did they have to do with Kenna HQ? And why was the word Somalis used twice?

The chairman stared at the last line: ‘assist in any way’. He scribbled an anagram: Taiwan any sissy. What could it all mean?

Throwing down the confounded riddle, he snapped his fingers and ordered Madeira wine. Finishing his second glass he suddenly remembered a film he had watched on a recent flight.

A group of well-spoken crossword buffs won Britain the war because a girl had broken her landlady’s rigid curfew.

Wait! They had built a big machine to decipher the code.

He pulled out his phone and hit speed dial for his personal assistant.

“Mavis? Set up a meeting with Benedict Cumberbatch.” He rang off.

A wry smile on his lips, the chairman picked up his fifth glass of Madeira. He would soon get to the bottom of this.

Cup news

A riveting week in the Go For Broke Cup…

Go For Broke Cup semi final first leg results

Judean Peoples’ Front 0 – 0 KS West Green

Hoxton Pirates 0 – 0 Fat Ladies

This week’s fixtures – Go For Broke Cup semi final second leg

KS West Green (0) v (0) Judean Peoples’ Front

Fat Ladies (0) v (0) Hoxton Pirates

Kenna table – week 32

Full scores available from The Rub.

Kenna week 32 - 21 April 2015
Kenna week 32 – 21 April 2015

Weekly scores

Manager Points Goals
1 Sporting Lesbian Ben M 36 2
2 Dynamo Charlton Alex 29 1
3 Bala Rinas Lewis 26 2
4 Walthamstow Reds Dudley 26 1
5 Lokomotiv Leeds Ben S 23 1
6 Young Boys Denney 23 0
7 KS West Green Stix 22 0
8 St Reatham FC Mike 21 0
9 Headless Chickens John N 19 0
10 Cowley Casuals Stu 18 1
11 Still Don’t Know Yet Pete 17 1
12 Hairy Fadjeetas Aiden 16 1
13 Team Panda Rules OK George 16 1
14 Pikey Scum Jack 16 1
15 FC Tescticuladew James N 16 1
16 Just Put Carles Carles 16 1
17 Piedmonte Phil 13 0
18 Hoxton Pirates Abdi 13 0
19 Judean People’s Front Sholto 12 0
20 Fat Ladies Ted 11 0
Points Player
Player of the week 12 Sanchez, A – ARS – STR
Club Sporting Lesbian
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Kenna invaded by ‘gun toting final solution crackpots’

THE top four of London’s leading pub-based fantasy football league is being overrun by right-wing reactionary Welshmen, according to organisers.

The chairman of the Kenna League said the top flight’s top flight had been invaded by ‘gun toting final solution crackpots’ from across the border.

“That Taff bloke who resembles the Scandy [sic]. Yeah, him. He’s a menace. What’s he doing in the top four again? He couldn’t manage his way out of a wetsuit,” said the chairman.

It is thought the comments were aimed at the Judean Peoples’ Front manager, who looks like steering his side to a second consecutive top four finish. He also looks like Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik.

Photographed a few days ago sporting a Tyrolean hat, shotgun and the notorious ‘summer camp stare’ (above), the JPF boss claimed to have been responsible for the death of more than six million ‘cosmopolitan’ pheasants.

In the league, his strike rate has not been as impressive. A front two of Diafra Sakho and Nikica Jelavic have seen the goals dry up in recent weeks, but consistent if unremarkable industry across his starting eleven has put the club in third place.

Managed by the Kenna treasurer – another Welshman – Bala Rinas sit just behind in fourth.

The JPF manager will be hoping the finale doesn’t turn into a repeat of 12 months ago, when having occupied third for 13 successive weeks he was leapfrogged by the Bala Rinas manager in the penultimate round of the season.

Immediately after the end of the season Samir Nasri and an ill-timed visit to the lavatory at the second transfer window were blamed by the JPF boss for this misfortune.

The Breivik lookalike claims while he was on the throne pinching one off the Bala Rinas  manager was pinching the signature of the petulant Frenchman.

Full scores and tables available from The Rub.

Canesten Combi Cup quarter final second leg results

Team Panda Rules OK 1 (4) – 1 (1) Pikey Scum

Cowley Casuals 3 (3) – 1 (2) Walthamstow Reds

Just Put Carles 2 (2) – 0 (4) Dynamo Charlton

Hairy Fadjeetas 0 (1) – 5 (5) FC Testicualdew

Semi final first leg fixtures – Tuesday 5 May

Team Panda Rules OK v Cowley Casuals

Dynamo Charlton v FC Testiculadew

Semi final second leg fixtures – Tuesday 12 May

Cowley Casuals v Team Panda Rules OK

FC Testiculadew v Dynamo Charlton

Final – Tuesday 26 May

Go For Broke Cup (least goals wins)

Semi final first leg – Tuesday 21 April

Judean Peoples’ Front (Group/Pool A last place) v KS West Green (Group/Pool B last place)

Hoxton Pirates (Group/Pool C last place) v Fat Ladies (Group/Pool D last place)

Semi final second leg – Tuesday 28 April

KS West Green v Judean Peoples’ Front

Fat Ladies v Hoxton Pirates

Final – Tuesday 19 May

Kenna table – week 31

Kenna week 31 - 14 April 2015
Kenna week 31 – 14 April 2015

Weekly scores

Manager Points Goals
1 FC Tescticuladew James N 46 5
2 Young Boys Denney 41 2
3 Lokomotiv Leeds Ben S 41 1
4 Cowley Casuals Stu 36 3
5 KS West Green Stix 36 2
6 Team Panda Rules OK George 34 1
7 Fat Ladies Ted 32 2
8 Judean People’s Front Sholto 32 0
9 St Reatham FC Mike 31 2
10 Bala Rinas Lewis 28 1
11 Just Put Carles Carles 26 2
12 Piedmonte Phil 25 1
13 Hairy Fadjeetas Aiden 24 0
14 Dynamo Charlton Alex 24 0
15 Walthamstow Reds Dudley 22 1
16 Sporting Lesbian Ben M 21 2
17 Still Don’t Know Yet Pete 20 1
18 Headless Chickens John N 14 0
19 Hoxton Pirates Abdi 9 0
20 Pikey Scum Jack 7 0
Points Player
Player of the week 30 Benteke, C – AVL – STR
Club FC Tescticuladew
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Shooting sweet

AS the van stopped it jerked him awake.

He had no idea for how long he’d been out. The buzzing pain in his head felt like it had been hit hard.

Slowly he opened his eyes. Darkness. The smell of dusty wood and oil. And was that icing sugar?

The back door of the van was thrown open and country air flooded in. He tried to sit up but realised with an ache his hands and ankles were bound tightly. There was a sack over his head.

He heard a step on the metal tailgate and then his hands were grabbed behind him. Emitting a yelp as he was yanked along the floor of the van and roughly pulled off onto wet grass.

A pair of large hands picked him up by the armpits and dragged him backwards a few yards. He tried to resist, but it was useless and his feet slid harmlessly through the sod. He was too tired and dehydrated to put up a fight against someone who was certainly so strong. In a few moments he was tied to a large tree. He felt the rough bark on his hands.

“What do you want?” he rasped. His throat was sandpaper.

Ignored, he was about to ask again when the sack was whipped off his head. He squinted into the light and eventually made out one door standing open on the back of a dirty white van. The only evidence a numberplate and the words ‘Turbo Daily’ on the closed door. There was no one to be seen in the isolated countryside.

Then he looked down. His heart skipped a beat.

Standing just in front of him was a metal frame holding a small chair and a mechanical arm. The end of the arm was extended to within five inches of his groin.

“Get comfortable, manager,” said a deep French accent in his ear. There was particular Gallic disdain on the last word. He froze.

The stranger moved into view. He was well built, bald and African. He was also familiar, but he couldn’t place him.

“You’ve been sent by the department, haven’t you?” he said, trying to get tough in spite of his disadvantage. He knew Kenna HQ was behind this little game. He wouldn’t be intimidated, even if his captor looked like he could pin a tiger inside three rounds.

“You don’t remember me do you, manager?” the disdain was there again. He could remember the face, but from where he was stumped.

The African continued: “In the 2009-2010 season, you paid £3m for a striker, but you let him go because you said he ‘couldn’t shoot’. You insisted he did not deserve to play even for Timbuktu, manager.”

His heart sank. He should have known straight away. The Staffordshire numberplate. The West African patois. The smell of pastry. It was his former player Mamady Sidibie.

“You scored two goals all season,” he couldn’t help retorting. He checked himself. Big Mama was not interested.

Sidibie fetched a wooden crate from the van and seated himself on the contraption. He reached forward and slowly pulled back the arm, the spring creaking. From the crate he took a pastry. It looked like it was once a delicious apple turnover, but was now clearly well past its sell-by date.

“The French pastry business is not so good, manager,” said the Malian. “It turns out people in Stoke would rather go to Greggs. Who would have guessed?”

Before he could offer any response, Sidibie pulled a small string on the device and it flinged the bichon au citron into his genitals at over 40mph.

In the split second between initial shock and crushing agony, he could only contemplate another trophyless season.

After a couple of minutes Sidibie stood up and came face to face. “You know why you’re here, manager, so you know I will keep firing stale pastries until you convince me I do otherwise.”

Big Mama picked up a mouldy pain au raisin and reloaded the trap.

Canesten Combi Cup – quarter final first leg results

Pikey Scum 1 – 3 Team Panda Rules OK

Walthamstow Reds 1 – 0 Cowley Casuals

Dynamo Charlton 4 – 0 Just Put Carles

FC Testicualdew 0 – 1 Hairy Fadjeetas

Kenna table – week 30

Full scores and tables are available from The Rub.

Kenna table week 30 - 7 April 2015
Kenna table week 30 – 7 April 2015
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Fadges fingered in cup probe

THE manager of Hairy Fadjeetas could lose his place on the Kenna League committee after an inquiry into amended cup fixtures found he was trying to undermine the chairman.

Investigations into whether Kenna HQ was right to amend Canesten Combi Cup fixtures at short notice unearthed damning evidence linked to the Fadges boss.

Aided by a specialist team from the league’s manager experiences department, the inquiry raided the committee member’s office at the club’s Bikini Lane ground on Friday night and found a black box stuffed with detailed plans to topple the Kenna leadership by fomenting discontent among managers.

Frogmarched from the premises in Y-fronts and a Sheffield Wednesday Carlton Palmer shirt, and into the back of a league Bedford Rascal, the Yorkshireman said: “It’s a plant. You won’t lock me out the cockpit!” before being winded by a truncheon blow to the torso.

He is being held in the Kenna HQ ‘Frtizl Suite’ on charges of perverting the course of fantasy football.

The chairman said: “When I promised an open and transparent investigation into the cup fixtures I had no idea such pernicious activity was going on right under my nose, and by God I should have noticed sooner because it turns out those Hairy Fadjeetas really smell.

“Needless to say, we will explore every last inch of these Fadges, and no matter how hard it gets we’ll keep pummelling away until we go as deep as we can.

“I can’t promise it’s not going to get messy. We’re going to be squeezing every last drop of sedition out of our members, so it could get sticky. Some people may end up with something on their faces. But afterwards we’ll have thoroughly washed our hands.”

The Hairy Fadjeetas manager shot to league favour ahead of the 2012 Emmanuel Olisadebe Euros, when his witty live social media reporting of the auction saw him join the committee as director of wry tweets.

However, his light has faded at Kenna HQ ever since the abortive attempt to live blog the 2014 Emerson World Cup auction. Over recent months he has cut a remote figure at league headquarters.

Kenna HQ gazers believe the chairman is using the cup fixture inquiry to purge the committee and strengthen his own position by eliminating threats to his totalitarianism.

The chairman’s biggest critic, the Young Boys manager, is still missing. He was last seen with Mamady Sidibe getting into a dark Mercedes thought to belong the manager experiences department.

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