10 reasons to miss the Kenna League fantasy football auction

LONDON’S leading pub-based fantasy football auction takes place this Saturday afternoon.

Those taking part will tell you for the armchair manager it’s a unique experience unlikely to be found elsewhere.

Six hours of fierce bidding and fierce drinking to sign eleven Premier League players in the tried-and-tested 4-4-2 formation.

Last week we looked at reasons why managers should get involved, but what of those who shun the Kenna?

Here are 10 reasons why you wouldn’t take part.

1. You’re a Premier League manager

Jose Mourinho

Surely the reason not to take part in fantasy football management is if you have a job in real football management.

2. The other half is in charge of your diary


You’ve never liked her old school friend. Yet here you are in a rural village at her bloody wedding. Surrounded by people whose interest in football is comparable to the strength of your phone signal. It’s a cash bar three miles from the nearest hole in the wall. You curse your lack of initiative in domestic arrangements.

3. American dentists consider you good sport


Poached eggsHow did Cecil the lion have his eggs?

4. You don’t actually like football, you just pretend to because everyone else does.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto

Chipping into water cooler chats with the occasional ‘Costa is really suited to the English game’ is an easy way to stay in with the crowd. Spending six hours in a pub surrounded by football ‘bantz’ is unfettered torture.

5. Preparation for a slumber party.

Slumber party

Only four days until guests arrive and so much to do: bake cupcakes, buy two extra microphones for SingStar, try on every cotton hot pant/vest combo in the wardrobe before deciding on what to wear. Quite why a potential Kenna manager would invite several teenage girls to a sleepover is anyone’s guess…

6. Death in the family. Close family, mind. A cousin’s pushing it.

Funeral crasher

Who’s not only selfish enough to die, but gets buried on a Saturday too?

7. You’re an enemy of the Kenna

NKVDWhether it’s a gripe over league rules or a throwaway comment about the competence of the committee, several hours of ‘football reeducation’ in a soundproof room beneath Kenna HQ is never far away. The eyes, ears and agents of the manager experiences department are everywhere.

8. You’re a loser.

Kip Dynamite

Even taking part in a fantasy auction in public is too cool for you.

9. A life-changing windfall

Brewster's Millions

Let’s face it: the league’s annual investment in Premium Bonds has less chance of paying out than a Euromillions ticket. If one manager was that lucky winner this Friday, those new-found riches could be just enough to turn the head.

10. A specialist appointment

Bestd clinic

You tried to find out if you could prove number 10 wrong from last week, didn’t you?

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10 reasons to take part in the Kenna fantasy football auction

Next Saturday sees the 11th Kenna League fantasy football auction.

It’s a unique experience. Around 20 managers perched around a pub table, player lists at the ready, trying to make eleven signings in a 4-4-2 formation to win them the league.

In a process that takes up to six hours, alcohol, self-doubt, bluff and double bluff are just some of the challenges managers must overcome.

Where no manager can buy more than one player from each Premier League club, the Titus Bramble forfeit ruling lurks at every turn.

With many already paid up, here are the benefits of taking one of the few remaining places at the table.

1. ManYoo v Spurs and Chels v Swans will be on in the background

Pub TV football

For the first time, the auction will take place on the opening day of the season. Managers will have to to decide whether a Carlton Cole brace means he’s a top, top, top, top, top, top player or just plain old CFC (Carlton effing Cole) on a lucky day. Hundreds of other mind-boggling permutations await.

2. You will only have to make transfers twice this season

Ruud Gullit Terek Grozny

As Ruud Gullit discovered, football isn’t all bars and discotheques. Expect for Kenna managers, it is. They are only required to visit the pub three times a season to stay in with a shot at the title: the auction and two transfer windows.

3. Proper champagne will be served before the bidding begins

Champagne opening

Thanks to the generosity of last season’s cash winners, a toast will be made before the auction to The 1,000-year Kenna. Which is a damn sight longer than this Kenny Rogers wannabe, who looks like he wouldn’t last 1,000 milliseconds.

3. For the next nine months, you can smugly explain the Kenna to wide-eyed, envious simpletons still sucking from the teat of FPL/Mirror/Sky Sports fantasy football

Pigs feeding

Kenna managers past and present will tell you it’s the superior form of the game. Everyone else is just lining the pockets of media barons.

5. From midday you can start drinking. Heavily. 


Your unfathomable thirst has a home. So long as you buy the chairman a drink.

6. The joy of watching other, less-informed managers sign injured players.

Mr Schadenfreude

Sly glances shoot across the table. Wasn’t he was stretchered off in a friendly last week? He’s out for a few months, isn’t he? But now two people are actually bidding for him. Can everyone keep a poker face until the hammer goes down? The sale. The mirth. The pure relief you checked your initial instinct to bid. ‘He’s injured.’

7. The auction will take place on a balcony with an outdoor telly and a retractable awning so you can smoke without interruption to your bidding tactics.

Camel cigarettes

The old days of crowding around a table bursting with pint glasses, player lists and hedgehog ashtrays are back.

8. At some point someone will Bramble themselves both hideously and comically.

Jean Luc Picard face palm

Like the morning session of the first day of at Lord’s, the opening lots are a low key affair. Those assembled bubble quietly. Politely. A slow dramatic build up as managers begin to fill their team sheets and rounds of drinks appear and appear again. The moment will finally come when someone, somewhere buys an illegal player. The stumps clatter, bails fly and everyone shouts ‘BRAMBLE!’. All of a sudden it’s the evening session on the third second day of Edgbaston.

9. Due to other commitments, the treasurer is sending a second who’s never taken part in a Kenna auction before.


Either by carelessness or design, the treasurer is unable to attend the auction in person. In his stead will be a second. A decent enough sort, but by all accounts a Kenna virgin who will spend the first hour wondering what the blazes is unfolding. It remains to be seen whether this recipe will improve on the two third place finishes the treasurer achieved in the last two seasons.

10. At £25, it’s cheaper to enter than most STD-free hookers.

Redlight district

How willing are you to prove this wrong?

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Bayer pulls cup sponsorship 

GERMAN pharmaceutical giant Bayer has withdrawn Canesten Combi sponsorship of the Kenna cup competition over a disagreement about new rules.

Kenna HQ announced the Canesten Combi Cup regulations will be changed this season so total team points rather than goals will be the deciding factor in head to heads. The decision follows an extensive consultation period with managers.

Bayer claim the rule change is inconsistent with its brand values. A company suit said: “When we first partnered with the Kenna in 2006 the contest was based on points, and that was congruent. Back then we were focused of reducing irritation both for our customers and for managers who found themselves in the lower half of the table halfway through the season without a chance of silverware.

“In 2012, the cup format was changed to goals, which was absolutely in line with our own goals as world leader in the fight against vaginal thrush. However, we feel Kenna HQ has made a right gorilla salad of the competition with this latest rule change. We like our cups to be neat and tidy.”

Under pressure to find a new sponsor, and with less than two weeks until the start of the new season, Kenna representatives yesterday met executives from Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche. A deal appears to be have struck.

A bleary-eyed chairman said this morning: “Talks were going well yesterday but when negotiations began to stall the guys from Roche insisted Swiss custom dictates we take a half-hour break to join them for a drink.

“Things get a little hazy after that. The next thing I knew I’d woken up in a strange hotel room feeling like a Bill Cosby co-star. In my hand was a signed five-year sponsorship deal. It had even been named.”

The Narcozep Cup kicks off in the autumn.

The group stage draw will take place in the pub ahead of next Saturday’s auction.


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Fantasy football head to heads: points or goals?

FANS of fantasy football around the globe are being asked to vote in one of the format’s most controversial issues.

As the world prepares for the opening round of the English Premier League two weeks tomorrow, we’re asking them: should fantasy football head to heads be judged on points or goals?

The Jeff Kenna League has been running a head-to-head cup competition since 2006, the original aim of which is to give managers whose sides are not faring so well in the league an opportunity to pick up silverware in a knockout tournament.

The Canesten Combi Cup, as it was named after a lucrative sponsorship deal with German pharmaceutical giant Bayer, ran for some years pitching managers’ points tallies head to head in a particular gameweek.

In 2012, Kenna League organisers changed the format to goals. The idea was managers could more easily follow their fortunes over the weekend, rather than wait for the scores and tables roundups published every Tuesday, known to managers as The Rub.

Over the last couple of seasons, Kenna HQ has come under criticism for changing the cup from points scored to goals. The debate has become so fierce the Kenna chairman has been moved to seek wider opinion on the matter.

“We want the fantasy football community to help guide our future plans,” he said in a press conference at opening time in the saloon bar of the King’s Arms, Waterloo.

“The Kenna’s democratic and open governance means we’re not just going to tell you what to do and expect you to adapt, like some other fantasy football competitions which I won’t name here. We promise to read, digest and act upon every single comment left on this article,” the chairman said, without adding the most comments a Kenna post has ever attracted is three.

“The comments below will inform Kenna HQ in which format will be used this season.”

Should head-to-heads be based on goals scored in a week or points? Tell Kenna HQ below.

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Registrations open for 11th Kenna auction

TWENTY places are up for grabs at the Kenna League auction next month.

The 11th Kenna auction will take place on Saturday 8 August in The Hoop and Grapes on Farringdon Road.

Due to the second-earliest start to the season in Premier League history, Kenna HQ has taken the unprecedented decision to hold the auction on the opening day. 

Bidding will begin at 12.45pm to coincide with kick off of the opening game – Manchester United v Spurs.

Managers will have to cope with the added dynamic of events on the pitch influencing events in the pub.

“The venue has a large balcony with a TV screen and a retractable awning. The good old days of sitting around a table covered with pints, player lists and brimming ashtrays are back. Hashtag pressure cooker,” said the chairman, who made the announcement at a launch event alongside the league treasurer (pictured above).

Potential managers are urged to reserve their place by contacting the treasurer to transfer the £25 entry fee.

Tuning in to Radio Luxembourg

Rules will adhere to the accepted Titus Bramble conditions, but there are a few tweaks.

Players to be introduced to auction will be picked at random using cutting-edge technology devised by the chaps in charts and graphs.

Managers not completing their team in the allotted auction time will have the gaps filled at random afterwards, and receive a remaining budget decided by the committee. Most likely this will be the average remaining budget of everyone else.

For those who can’t attend there are two choices:

  1. You can make arrangements with a second to bid remotely.
  2. Applications are open to submit silent bids (see below). Whether your application is accepted will depend on auction attendance numbers (no more than 20) and your commitment to the league.

Silent bidding must be seen as a last resort by managers who cannot attend next month. Anyone submitting silent bids must attend at least one transfer window this season to qualify for next summer’s auction, which they must attend in person.

Silent bids

Successful applicants will pick 11 desired players, attributing a bid to each one. The total bids must not exceed £100m. Bids for individual players can range between £0.5m and £50m. The Titus Bramble ruling will be enforced.

The manager submits the bids confidentially to charts and graphs. When a player with a silent bid attached is introduced to auction, the reserve price and interested manager will be announced, and bidding will start from there.

A silent bidder is unlikely to fill a team. See the paragraph above about non completion.

Contact the chairman for application details.

Transfer windows

Silent bidding is for the auction only. It will not be run for transfer windows.

If you cannot attend a transfer window and cannot bid remotely through a second, any gaps in your team will be filled at random.

The first window will be held on Friday 16 October, the eve of the Premier League restart after the international break.

As tradition dictates, the first Friday after the January window shuts will hold the second Kenna transfer window – Friday 5 February.

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Winger and wing back value to soar after points change

COMPETITION for marauding full backs at next month’s Kenna League auction is set to be stiff after changes were announced to points scoring.

Defenders and goalkeepers will collect an additional point (now +5 in total) if their side keeps a clean sheet.

The change means those defenders getting goals, assists and clean sheets are likely to attract big bids from managers.

Last season’s top-scoring defender Branislav Ivanovic can expect his value to skyrocket. Just under a year ago the Serb was snapped up by KS West Green for £9m.

Under the new system Ivanovic would have scored an additional 17 points, making him fourth highest scorer behind Sergio Aguero, Alexis Sanchez and Eden Hazard.

Kenna HQ has also extended the key contribution of +3 points to players winning a penalty. Joining Fat Ladies for £5m before being released in October to spend the remainder of the season unsigned, Ashley Young is likely to enjoy more Kenna kudos this campaign.

In a lunchtime press conference at the upcoming auction venue, the Hoop and Grapes on Farringdon Road, the chairman explained why the scoring had changed.

“I don’t know where I got the idea from really. It must have come to me in a flash of inspiration,” he said over the remains of a gimlet and a chilli chicken burger.

Aside from a sketchy Talksport article in 2012 – featuring Ashley Young at number two – there is no more recent data on number of penalties awarded to certain players.

Counting the number of clean sheets last term, the following defenders would have benefitted most from the new scoring system:

Terry and Ivanovic +17

Mignolet, Fonte and Lescott +16

Cahill and Azpilicueta +15

Joe Hart, Mertesacker, John O’Shea and Gareth McAuley +14

Koscielny, Neil Taylor, Fabianski, Ashley Williams and Craig Dawson +13

In detail – points changes

Clean sheets – goalkeepers and defenders

In order to earn +5 clean sheet bonus points, your player must complete at least 60 minutes of the match and his team must keep a clean sheet for the entire match (excluding penalty shoot-outs).

If a player is on the pitch for less than 60 minutes and his team keeps a clean sheet for the full match, he’ll score +2 clean sheet points.

While the player is on the pitch, he will not be penalised for the first goal conceded but will lose one point for every goal conceded after that – same as last season.

All players still earn +2 points for being in the starting XI of a match and +1 for coming on as a substitute.

So, for example, if your player starts the match, plays an hour or more and his team finishes the match with a clean sheet – then your goalkeeper / defender will score +7 points.

Key Contributions

There will be some small alterations to the Key Contribution rules. A goalkeeper judged to be punching the ball away will now cancel out a key contribution as opposed to a keeper making a save or parry which may still result in a KC.

A player being fouled for a penalty will now be awarded a KC – we are dropping the requirement that he is in control of the ball when that foul occurs.

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Kenna ‘Vader’ nears completion of Death Star

REINFORCEMENTS for the FC Testiculadew trophy shelf are on order at B&Q as the manager looks to be the most successful ever in the Kenna League.

The chairman (Stix) remains top of Jeff’s Hall of Fame, but in a career less than half the length the FCT manager – known as the Tactical Brambler for his ingenuity at finding loopholes in league rules – has surged to second in the silverware table.

Two league and cup doubles, and a podium finish in four campaigns see the Kenna League’s answer to Lord Vader (James N) standing on the brink of unprecedented glory if he can win another title next season.

On recent form, only this year’s championship-winning manager at Sporting Lesbian (Ben M) can hope to fire a proton torpedo into the FCT Death Star. In just three seasons, the Sporting boss has won two titles.

The chairman aside, of the managers to compete in all 10 seasons of the league the Piedmonte manager (Phil) pips the Newington Reds manger (Dudley) with three podium finishes to two.

The former PSV Mornington manager (El Pons) is bottom of the trophy stats. The Catalan is the most hopeless Kenna manager of all time having been relegated twice and collecting seven Turkey of the Month awards (TOTMs).

The outgoing Hoxton Pirates manager (Abdi) was relegated for the second time this season and has 10 TOTMs, but finds himself up the table due to unlikely Canesten Combi Cup glory in May 2013.

Jeff’s Hall of Fame 2005 to 2015

The table below orders managers in the number of leagues, cups, podium finishes and Manager of the Month awards (MOTMs) they have won. Managers (campaigns entered in brackets) must have completed at least three seasons to be in Jeff’s Hall of Fame.

League championships

Cup winners

Podium finishes




Stix (10)







James N (4)





Ben M (3)




Denney (7)






Yellboy (6)







Higgin (4)






Ted (6)





Jack (9)




Abdi (5)





Phil (10)





Dudley (10)




Ben S (3)



Sholto (6)




Lewis (5)





Will Y (3)




Helen (4)





Carles (5)



Seares (4)



Alex (4)


Clare (3)




John N (4)


Aiden (4)



Pete (3)




Mike (3)




El Pons (5)




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Pirates campaign worst ever

HOXTON Pirates’ campaign this season was the most godawful in Kenna League history, it was revealed today.

Picking up eight consecutive Turkey of the Month awards between October and May and a lowest ever points total, the outgoing Pirates manager saw the side relegated as he finished bottom of the Kenna table last month.

It is the second time the Somali has steered a club into the abyss of a non-existent Kenna second tier.

The performance was even more limp than PSV Mornington the season before, the previous record for gammon. The managers of Pirates, fellow relegatees Fat Ladies and the ill-fated PSV are the only ones to finish two campaigns in the drop zone.

“Yarrrr! I fight ye again another day!” said the defiant Somali who just refuses to go down with his ship.

The Kenna all time stats published today for the first time in two years (below), also show Young Boys of Vauxhall to have had to the driest season on record in 2013-14.

The YB boss used the services of five strikers during that campaign – Jonathan Walters, Nicholas Anelka, Sone Aluko, Emmanuel Adebayor and Lacina Traore. Between them they prodded in a paltry 16 goals.

Determined not to learn a lesson, the Welshman went on to sign Emmanuel Riviere and Bojan Krcic at last summer’s auction.

The last two transfer windows saw Young Boys go through a barren Mario Balotelli spell before rectifying matters with the signings of Charlie Austin and Daniel Sturridge. They ended up joint-second most prolific side this term.

Nevertheless, it’s clear the manager places little to no emphasis on proven strikers at the summer auction.

Looking to defend his league title in August 2011, he left the pub with a front two of DJ Campbell and Gervinho. FC Testiculadew went on to take the league with double the goals of Young Boys.

The Tactical Brambler still holds three records, although this year’s champions Sporting Lesbian came the closest to beating FCT’s mammoth 251-point December 2011 Manager of the Month award.

All time Kenna stats - 2005 to 2015
All time Kenna stats – 2005 to 2015
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Without a legacy to stand on

THEY came with promises.

Regeneration. Future prosperity. Football benefitting a community.

Now those promises lie as empty as The Prince Albert, a derelict pub on Colombo Street in south London.

For this particular site was a chosen venue of Kenna League between 2007 and 2009.

Four transfer windows, an awards night, a domestic auction and the 2008 John Jensen Euros auction were all held at the Prince Albert, but predictions of increased bar takings and a contagious atmosphere bringing future trade never materialised.

Instead, the pub went into years of decline and has now closed down. An innocent hope. A tragic ending.

A former Prince Albert regular said: “I remember the landlord said he had the Kenna League coming. We were all impressed.

“The organisers told the landlord they’d drink enough to send his kids to university so he offered them a free buffet. He was really disappointed when only a handful of Herberts turned up, gobbled the grub laid on in seconds and sniggered their way through four hours of weak jokes about Titus Bramble. It was disgusting.

“There was this tall, blonde bloke who started coming with them. He was so loud you could have heard his voice the other side of the North Sea, which was the funny thing because a couple of years later I saw him on TV stand trial for killing all these kids in Norway. I knew he was a wrong ‘un.”

The Prince Albert is not the first pub to be so cruelly raped and discarded by the Kenna League. 

The 200-year-old Black Horse in Fitzrovia played host to an auction and two transfer windows between 2007-2008 but soon after the Kenna moved on it closed down and later became a squat.

Since 2010 the Kenna League has enlarged and adopted a policy of moving from one venue to the next. Experts have warned UEFA against copying the format for the Euros tournament, but it would seem to no avail.

Quizzed over legacy issues this morning, an unrepentant Kenna chairman said: “The Prince Albert was an Enterprise Inn, for crying out loud! You know the sort of place, cheap beer that tastes like chemicals and a clientele who haven’t washed for a week.

“There was no place in the Kenna’s strategic direction for such a venue. Football’s a world game and we’re all about bringing fantasy football auctions to those places where it’s needed most, like pubs with craft beer on tap and Arab satellite dishes showing the 3pm games.”

Broken legacy – Kenna events at the Prince Albert and Black Horse

Prince Albert

  • June 2007 awards night
  • February 2008 transfer window
  • June 2008 John Jensen Euros auction
  • November 2008 transfer window
  • February 2009 transfer window
  • August 2009 auction
  • February 2009 transfer window

Black Horse

  • November 2007 transfer window
  • August 2008 auction
  • October 2008 transfer window
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Sporting wins wheeler dealer award

KENNA champions Sporting Lesbian won the league before the season even started and were most effective on the transfer market, it was revealed today.

Comparing the starting lineups of each club from way back in August, Sporting and Cowley Casuals emerged as one and two – as they did last month in the league proper.

In the transfer market, the Sporting manager was also most efficient, on average getting another 54 points out of each signing when he released Paulinho and Pablo Hernandez in favour of Nathan Dyer and Ahmed Elmohamady.

The FC Testiculadew manager was next biggest transfer shark, coaxing an average of 42 points from each of the eight players acquired in October and February.

This remarkable feat transformed the fortunes of a manager who didn’t even turn up to the pre-season auction and started with an automatically-picked team including Torres and Podolski.

Snaffling Christian Benteke after a sloppy autumn invocation of the Titus Bramble ruling by Fat Ladies would prove to be a decisive boost for the Tactical Brambler.

The chairman’s side KS West Green was the most hampered by the manager’s transfer activity, primarily due to the costly forfeit of Sergio Aguero in the February window.

While replacement Bramble player Fred ‘The Weatherman’ Talbot put the chairman’s integrity beyond probity, he failed to address more pressing problems both in front of goal. KS West Green lost nearly 20 points for every piece of transfer business the manager conducted.

Kenna HQ critics claim the research is slightly spurious, since it doesn’t take into account any points scored early season by players no longer listed, such as Alvaro Negredo of Judean Peoples’ Front, Andre Scheurrle of Team Panda Rules OK, Joel Campbell of Hoxton Pirates and Davide Santon of Pikey Scum to name but a clutch.

“This research is in no way slapdash,” said the chairman on the pavement outside the Holborn Whippet to a media briefing attended by a Kenna PR flunky, an elderly couple on holiday from Winnipeg looking for directions to the British Museum, and Metro Man.

“This is merely an indication of how good or bad managers have performed in the transfer market. There may be a few discrepancies with numbers, so I’m sure when someone takes the time to work it all out they’ll find KS West Green were by no means the worst windowed team this season.”

Meanwhile, gossip is rife over the futures of the three relegated managers.

The former Hoxton Pirates boss is said to be interested in a move to either the Wenlock Bucaneers or Shoreditch Sea Shanty.

The ex Fat Ladies manager is considering a role either with the Morbidly Obese Matrons or Corpulent Crones.

The outgoing Still Don’t Know Yet gaffer is reported to be unsure of his future.

Kenna starting XI league 2014-15
Kenna starting XI league 2014-15

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