Kenna season three: The Titus Bramble ruling born

LITTLE did they know it at the time, but Kenna managers attending the third auction on Wednesday 8 August 2007 were marking the end of a era.

The following day (Thursday 9 August 2007) was some years later pinpointed as the official start of the global economic decline.

For the Kenna, the night before in the Black Horse, Fitzrovia, marked the introduction of another phenomenon which similarly came to dominate headlines for years to come – the Titus Bramble ruling.

An awry auction decision by the Titans manager (now in charge of Young Boys) led to defender Daniel Agger being removed by league regulations and replaced with Bramble.

The chairman suffered a double Bramble blow. Discovering the inclusion of two illegal players after the auction led to much wrangling between managers over email in the following days. Eventually managers decided Robbie Savage and Lee ‘The Lazy Genius’ Dong-Gook should find their way into the Vasco De Beauvoir starting line up.

With just a few hours left to slosh around before the crunch, most money at the auction found its way to Wayne Rooney.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Dider Drogba, the driving force behind FC Gun Show’s title the previous season, also attracted high fees.

Most expensive summer signings

1 W Rooney £37.5m Onward Christian Soldiers
2 C Ronaldo £34m Fat Ladies
3= D Berbatov £33m FC Gun Show
3= S Gerrard £33m Dynamo Temple
5 D Drogba £30 Fat Ladies

Story of the season

Despite being shackled by the Titus Bramble ruling, Titans made the early running. Joint top after the first week, by the second week Bramble accounted for a fifth of the team’s score. They collected the August Manager of the Month award.

Spearheaded by Dimitar Berbatov, FC Gun Show initially defended their title well.

The first transfer window in November, also held in the Black Horse, was to prove pivotal to Fat Ladies.

Second to last and struggling for the first few weeks of the season, the Fat Ladies manager rung the changes. Yakubu and Emmanuel Eboue were among the new recruits, and in less than a month their handsome form saw Fat Ladies top of the table.

By the New Year, Berbatov had helped FC Gun Show top. By February Barking Hackney’s summer signing of Elano and November signing of free agent Emmanuel Adebayor saw him collect January’s Manager of the Month award. Barking posted a record score of 237, which would stand for another four seasons.

With David Bentley leading the charge at Recreativo Brockley, the chairman was moved to write in the wake of the February transfer window:

“Like a game of Hungry Hippos, the dispute for the title looks likely to be set from four corners, each manager furiously bashing away, balls flying everywhere.”

The spring saw the four sides battling it out, taking it in turns at the top. Occasionally the Kenna’s first female manager, in her second season this time in charge of Volzmanian Devils, dipped into the fray.

In mid table, the biggest splash was being made by Onward Christian Soldiers (the manager is now in charge of Pikey Scum).

The God Squad, as they came to be known for the religious overtones of signing Linvoy Primus in defence, picked up February’s Manager of the Month award. Outstanding performances from most-expensive signing Rooney, Benni McCarthy and Cesc Fabregas earned them a place in the Canesten Combi Cup final.

A stellar performance from Stewart Downing crowned the God Squad cup winners in May, the manager’s first and only piece of domestic silverware to date.

Making his Kenna debut, the manager of The Trinny Men would later become league treasurer. Nevertheless, it was not a performance to treasure for the future bean Kenna HQ bean counter, who went into hibernation for three seasons after finishing last.

In the title race, despite posting a worst-ever weekly score of minus six on 20 February, Fat Ladies bounced back to reclaim the top spot by the end of March with seven goals in one week (a hat-trick apiece from Ronaldo and Drogba, and one from The Yak).

FC Gun Show made a decent show of defending their title to the hilt, but with a May Manager of the Month performance Fat Ladies prevailed.

When it came to the crunch, for the second title race in a row Ronaldo and Drogba had proved decisive.

Final league table and form guide

2007-08 table
2007/08 Jeff Kenna League table – final standings

The Rub 2007-08

Highest scorers

1 C Ronaldo 284 £34m Fat Ladies
2 F Torres 204 £22m Thieving Magpies
3 D Berbatov 200 £33m FC Gun Show
4 S Gerrard 197 £33m Dynamo Temple
5 C Tevez 175 £27.5m The Trinny Men
6 R Keane 172 £10m Titus’ Titans
7 A Young 161 £8m Titus’ Titans
8 D James 158 £9m Recreativo Brockley
9 C Fabregas 157 £16.5m Onward Christian Soldiers
10 S Downing 151 £9m Onward Christian Soldiers
Share Button

Devil of a time to breathe life into title race

EVERY summer a select group of senior Kenna HQ blazers get together to pray for an interesting title race in the upcoming season.

The exact identity of the footballing deity whom they try to summon is unclear – and the Kenna HQ ethics committee has questioned whether the pointy masks, velvet drapes and naked girls are absolutely necessary – but whoever it or He is every season leaves those prayers unanswered.

For yet again the neutral spectator of the Kenna League is left with the dull plod of yet another title going to a club to dominate the table since autumn.

Should the inexorable march of Young Boys towards their second Kenna championship come to pass, they would join FC Testiculadew and Sporting Lesbian to become the third club to win two leagues in the last six seasons.

With credible challengers as sparse as pubic shrubbery on an Adam Johnson date, the phenomenon reached its nadir in April 2012 with the Kenna-in-the-bag inquiry.

There have been flickers of hope since. The Piedmonte manager came closest to breaking the cycle in 2013-14, but for a calamitous moment of transfer window business: swapping out a resurgent Samir Nasri for the lumbering Andros Townsend.

This season it’s another Kenna co-founding manager making a fist of it while the rest of the league gets fisted.

Philippe Coutinho, Jonathan Walters, Jermaine Defoe and Robbie Brady all scored this weekend to put Walthamstow Reds within 84 points of Young Boys.

But the chalkstripes in the Kenna HQ speculations department remain unconvinced of anything but a Young Boys triumph.

The Welshman’s side is enjoying sprightly form. Over the last seven weeks they’ve been popping along at more than 39 points a week, compared to Walthamstow Reds’ 29.

With just seven competitive weeks left of the season, it would take a Herculean effort from the Reds manager never before seen in the Kenna to overcome the deficit.

And he’s got Andros Townsend in midfield. No amount of virgins’ blood spilt at Kenna HQ can rectify that.

Kenna League – week 30

Kenna table - week 30 - 22 March 2016
Kenna table – week 30 – 22 March 2016

Weekly scores

Weekly scores - week 30 - 22 March 2016
Weekly scores – week 30 – 22 March 2016
Share Button

Chairman ‘recognised’ in pub crawl feat

THE first man to visit a pub for every tube station in London has recognised the Kenna League chairman for ‘providing wisdom and élan at crucial moments of the crawl’, according to the Kenna League chairman.

Sam Cullen completed the three-year odyssey of 270 London Underground stations last week, in the order they opened.

Posting on his blog INNside Track yesterday, Cullen thanked his friends and supporters during the crawl, including a nod to the chairman for pub recommendations.

“I’m not one to brag,” said the chairman, micromanaging a Kenna HQ lackey hang a framed print off of the blog post on the wall of his executive office. “But I can say I’ve been instrumental in Sam’s journey, providing wisdom and élan at crucial moments of the crawl.”

Critics of the chairman, and there are many, claim he is trying to bask in the reflected glory of Cullen’s feat. They say the only advice he gave was to spam tweet links to his own meagre London pub crawl posts in an attempt to drive traffic to the site.

The chairman denied he was overplaying his role: “This is about pubs, not search engine optimisation, pubs, pub crawl, beer, bar, boozer, tavern, ale, saloon, inn, kenna, jeff kenna, fantasy football, premier league.

“And that’s all I have to say on the matter, underground, tube, transport, train, london, capital, big smoke, west end, east end, Mary Poppins.”

Cullen’s achievement drew a slew of media coverage, which included his own recommendations of London pubs based on his experience.

Supporters of the chairman, and there are few, were pleased to see Kenna HQ local The Westbury picked out in the ITV London piece on Cullen’s top 10 pubs.

Kenna table – week 29

Kenna table - week 29 - 15 March 2016
Kenna table – week 29 – 15 March 2016

Weekly scores

Weekly scores 29 - 15 March 2016
Weekly scores 29 – 15 March 2016
Share Button

Coach and Horses all dayer: report

The doors may not have been unlocked until 10 minutes after the advertised opening time, but Kenna managers were undeterred in their drinking session to watch the north London derby.

The manager of league leaders Young Boys arrived first in Stoke Newington.

The Welshman bought a Guinness, got a good table and by the time the Kenna chairman arrived was set up perfectly to gloat about his side’s dominance this season.

Sitting down with a pint of Staropramen, the chairman was then subjected to a lengthy complaint about the Young Boys’exit from the Narcozep Cup that week at the hands of league runners up Walthamstow Reds.

Reservations about holding the tie during a Rumbelows Cup final week were swept aside. Young Boys’ form has been so pitiful of late, the chairman asserted, it’s only their massive lead which has spared them losing the top league spot to Reds as well as a place in the Narcozep Cup semis.

Events in Bruce Grove were already well underway when the ISIL manager entered the pub.

Lately the Pirate has taken to turning up for beers in jogging tights and ordering OJ. This worrying trend continued on Saturday.

It was then the turn of the Judean Peoples’ Front manager to enter the arena. He looked wearier than his side’s chances of finishing outside the bottom half of the Kenna this season.

The JPF boss had still been up for dawn patrol earlier in the day, but within minutes of arriving he had smoked two cigarettes and had a handled glass of bitter in his hand. That’s the sort of form to see managers invited back to the Kenna again and again regardless of events on the pitch.

Punters red, white and neutral had filled the Coach and Horses by now, and the north London derby produced its usual fireworks.

By the time the match had finished, Kenna managers were a few pints in and the casual drinking rumbled on through Soccer Saturday and onto the final whistle of the evening fixture between Watford and Leicester City.

Whoever devised Saturday league football scheduling either must or should have shares in Staropramen.

Kenna table – week 28

Kenna table - week 28 - 8 March 2016
Kenna table – week 28 – 8 March 2016

Weekly scores

Manager Points Goals
1 Pikey Scum Jack 62 4
2 Cowley Casuals Stu 61 5
3 Lokomotiv Leeds Ben S 60 3
4 Dynamo Charlton Alex 58 1
5 Wandsworth Network Solutions Will 56 3
6 Bala Rinas Lewis 56 2
7 Headless Chickens John N 54 3
8 Young Boys Andrew D 52 3
9 KS West Green Stix 51 2
10 Hairy Fadjeetas Aiden 50 1
11 Thieving Magpies Phil 50 1
12 Carles Carles 46 2
13 Judean People’s Front Sholto 45 2
14 Newington Reds Ben D 45 1
15 FC Tescticuladew James N 41 0
16 Northern Monkeys Hugo 38 1
17 ISIL Abdi 37 0
18 Team Panda George 33 1
19 Uncertain Pete B 13 0
Points Player
Player of the week 17 Lennon, A – EVE – MID
Club Unsigned
Share Button

Craft Beer Rising

I’VE never been to a beer festival before.

People inside and outside the Kenna League may find that hard to believe.

I run a fantasy football league to all appearances with the sole purpose of organising as many all-day drinking sessions in as many different London pubs as possible.

Outside the Kenna I regularly kneel at the altar of licenced premises. Some would say too regularly.

But for some reason I’ve never happened upon the promised land of a big room full of lots of different beers and likeminded souls. Like an itinerant Fifteenth Century monk visiting churches, monasteries and other holy places throughout Christendom without once thinking to go to the Vatican.

So it was with a little trepidation I went to Craft Beer Rising in the old Truman Brewery last Friday night. Having lived in Brick Lane for almost half the noughties, the venue and area were well known. But what goes on at a beer festival was based on barely-remembered, badly-told, second-hand accounts from friends.

Before I go on I should admit bitter disagrees with me. That’s a pretty big obstacle to going to beer festivals, I suppose. Lager, cider and IPA? Can’t get enough of them, but traditional English ale is a nonstarter.

So as a committed lager drinker, I must assert – ahead of a description of Craft Beer Rising – that for too long the British tippler has been enslaved by the evil of big breweries limiting options to Kronenbourg, Stella Artois, Carlesberg, Fosters and other poor excuses for enduring session pints. To the part-time palette and Paul Calf they may be acceptable, but to me they’re all on a par with Skol.

A few years ago Peroni came along and brightened bars for a while, or at least until a visit to Craven Cottage. After the match I tasted a watered-down version at The Temperance on Fulham Palace Road.

Peroni ruined, Veltins stepped up. This is a pilsner one can drink and drink and drink, but sadly it’s only available in a finite number of boozers I know, none of them convenient to home or work.

Then three years ago I started working in Holborn, and there, beneath the faux Romanesque pillars of Sicilian Avenue, I found The Whippet. And Lagunitas.

In truth, Lagunitas IPA is a little too strong to knock back in large amounts, but Lagunitas Daytime is, and by thunder it’s good. They both are.

For £15 then, a room with Lagunitas IPA, Daytime and 598 other beers made with the same care and consideration for the consumer could only be a good thing.

After work on Friday, and the customary weekly après in The Skinny Dog, two colleagues, the ISIL manager and I went to E1.

Entering the sell-out event we were issued with a glass and ascended some stairs. We entered a huge room full of cheerful people and an overwhelming amount of beer.

Like the barefoot, medieval pilgrim entering St Peter’s Basilica for the first time, I was filled with wondrous awe and reverence, but also the sneaking suspicion such excess should inevitably lead the to the utter corruption of the weaker man’s soul.

Struggling to maintain composure in front of my drinking companions, we approached the first stand. It was only after I had tried and bought a third of a pint of Williams Double Joker IPA I realised it was 8.3 per cent. Well-laid plans had already come unstuck, but it tasted good enough to make the Pope blaspheme.

Next we tried Bru. An Irishman with the most marvellous whiskers explained their mission to replace Guinness as the stout of choice. This was the cleanest tasting beer I’ve tried since visiting the hometown of the Żywiec brewery in the Polish mountains a couple of years ago. I hope Bru can repeat their Nottingham feat in London and break the St James’s Gate monopoly.

The evening passed in a jovial blur, and in between all the beer and the chat there was an observation among the demographic of the event that requires deeper inquiry.

Predominance among the people was not the tubby, ageing, male pedants associated with real ale campaigns, Morris dancing and celebratory pub scenes at the end of Time Team episodes. There were certainly plenty of blokes, but there was also a sizeable minority of women. And they were really enjoying themselves.

In fact, they were enjoying themselves so much that as the night wore on – more drinks, going for cigarettes, throwing a few woefully-executed shapes in the cider hall – it dawned on me this event was an absolute meat market.

As a taken man I was keen to repel any slurred advances, but unfortunately the ISIL manager had his own predictable agenda and I was forced into the role of reluctant wingman. I’m proud to say my marriage vows remain intact.

What also remains secure is my conversion to the way of the beer festival. Even without the Ballet of Chestnuts unfolding before me, this was a superb event and a must for anyone revelling in the Renaissance of lager.

And anyway I have to go back. In five hours we didn’t even get halfway round.

Narcozep Cup

Quarter final second leg results

Uncertain 9 (19) – 12 (41) Pikey Scum
Walthamstow Reds 30 (84) – 12 (38) Young Boys
Northern Monkeys 18 (51) – 11 (54) Dynamo Charlton
Thieving Magpies 15 (48) – 25 (51) Lokomotiv Leeds

Semi final fixtures

Pikey Scum v Lokomotiv Leeds
Walthamstow Reds v Dynamo Charlton

First leg – 12 April
Second leg – 26 April

Kenna table – week 27

Kenna table - week 27 - 1 March 2016
Kenna table – week 27 – 1 March 2016

Weekly scores

Manager Points Goals
1 Wandsworth Network Solutions Will 37 2
2 Newington Reds Ben D 30 1
3 ISIL Abdi 28 2
4 Lokomotiv Leeds Ben S 25 2
5 Hairy Fadjeetas Aiden 25 2
6 Carles Carles 22 1
7 Cowley Casuals Stu 22 0
8 FC Tescticuladew James N 21 0
9 Judean People’s Front Sholto 20 0
10 Northern Monkeys Hugo 18 1
11 Thieving Magpies Phil 15 0
12 Young Boys Andrew D 12 1
13 Pikey Scum Jack 12 0
14 Dynamo Charlton Alex 11 0
15 Bala Rinas Lewis 10 0
16 Headless Chickens John N 10 0
17 KS West Green Stix 9 0
18 Uncertain Pete B 9 0
19 Team Panda George 7 0
Points Player
Player of the week 15 Rashford, M – MUN – STR
Club Unsigned
Share Button