Asians surgical masks

Fat losers

RETURN to the top flight of fantasy football has been a chastening experience for the Fat Ladies manager.

Crowned Kenna League champions in 2008, their first full season back after a three-year absence has left the Fat Ladies crying into their family-sized buckets of Hagen Daas watching Bridget Jones after a calamitous campaign where they have only managed one goal between them in 11 competitive weeks.

Daniel Sturridge, the manager’s £35m star signing, provided that solitary strike in the first week of proceedings before he succumbed to injury a fortnight later.

The manager has failed to coax even mediocrity out of his band of misfits since, and he finds his side bottom of the Kenna, trailing three managers who didn’t even attend the August auction.

Instead of the springboard to turn around the Fat Ladies’ misfortunes, October’s transfer window only compounded issues on the pitch.

Inexplicably, the manager failed to jettison Qatar-based training ground agitant Chico Flores, opting to wave goodbye to regular starter Fabrizio Coloccini from defence along with unfavoured Vlad Chiriches. In their place perennial Kenna desperation signing Phillipe Senderos arrived beside Central American dice throw Christian Gamboa.

In midfield, the decision was taken to swap Antonio Valencia for Ashley Young, essentially replacing one flakey black minority ethnic Manchester United winger with another. Events on the pitch have done nothing to allay criticism this was little more than an HR tick box exercise.

Nevertheless, it’s up front where the manager suffered his biggest howler. Christian Benteke looked a good August investment for £8m. Laid low with injury for a few weeks, he would surely burst into goalscoring form upon return.

Whether it was the unusually mild mid-October evening, the premium lager or the Hoxton Pirates manager threatening proceedings with a cutlass, somehow the Fat Ladies boss contrived to forfeit the Belgian goal machine under the Titus Bramble ruling. It was unlikely to be Danny Graham’s big comeback.

All of which means the Fat Ladies manager finds himself 11 points ahead and two goals behind the PSV Mornington’s efforts at the same point last season. The Catalan was sacked by Christmas.

So complete is the inadequacy permeating Fat Ladies Football Club that instead of half-and-half shirts and selfie sticks Asian supporters have begun to arrive at home games wearing surgical masks for fear it’s contagious.

And therein lies one ray of sunshine in the Fat Ladies manager’s whole sorry snafu: at least some cries of terrace dissent will be muffled.

Kenna table

Kenna table week 11 - 11 November 2014

Kenna table week 11 – 11 November 2014

Weekly scores

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

Wan Chai at night

High rise: The imperious form of Alexis Sanchez, Graziano Pelle and Raheem Sterling have put Sporting Lesbian top of the league (photo: Cokedragon)

SIGNING Ahmed Elmohamady at a transfer window can only mean a Kenna manager has run out of one of two things: money or ideas.

The Egyptian winger rarely finds the net but his regular starting berth and intermittent assists can make him the panic buy of choice late in the evening when the pints have ceased to taste.

For the Sporting Lesbian manager the transfer night acquisitions of Elmohamady and Nathan Dyer may have stunted a promising follow up to his 2013 championship, but like that season a South American strikeforce continue to carry the can the club.

While Elmohamady has plodded through the last three weeks for Lesbians exactly like he’s plodded through English football for the last four years, Graziano Pelle and Alexis Sanchez have exploded all over the Kenna campaign just like Sergio Aguero and Luis Suarez did for the Lesbians two years ago.

Fast, ruthless and squat, Sanchez (60 points) in particular looks like he was made for a wet Tuesday night in Stoke. Only Pelle has done more (61 points) to put Lesbians top of the league.

In response, the Bala Rinas manager’s decision not to tinker with his side at the window appears to have backfired.

Like Elmohamady, Bala striker Marouane Chamakh has managed but one assist since the window, and although it came last night it was not enough to stop Sporting Lesbian easing away from the pack.

The rotting corpses of two sex workers, a murder weapon found on the crime scene and a lead suspect calling himself in to authorities meant only the Hong Kong police had an easier time of it this weekend.

Kenna table

Kenna week 10 - 4 November 2014

Kenna week 10 – 4 November 2014

Weekly scores

Manager Points Goals
1 Sporting Lesbian Ben M 36 2
2 St Reatham FC Mike 36 2
3 KS West Green Stix 36 2
4 Cowley Casuals Stu 31 0
5 Piedmonte Phil 29 1
6 Young Boys Denney 27 2
7 Walthamstow Reds Dudley 27 0
8 Pikey Scum Jack 27 0
9 Headless Chickens John N 25 0
10 Hairy Fadjeetas Aiden 21 1
11 Still Don’t Know Yet Pete 21 1
12 Dynamo Charlton Alex 21 0
13 Team Panda Rules OK George 21 0
14 Judean People’s Front Sholto 19 1
15 Lokomotiv Leeds Ben S 19 0
16 Bala Rinas Lewis 16 0
17 FC Tescticuladew James N 15 0
18 Just Put Carles Carles 13 1
19 Fat Ladies Ted 13 0
20 Hoxton Pirates Abdi 7 0
Points Player
Player of the week 14 Chambers, C – ARS – DEF
Club KS West Green
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Busting for an update

The Piedmonte hardline

Burqa-use I’m happy: Despite his leanings, the Piedmonte manager was overjoyed to find in his absence from the transfer window he automatically signed Abel Hernandez (photo: 4thlion)

THE Kenna League has awarded the lucrative contract to refurbish the committee’s executive bathroom to a Polish builder.

Work many considered to be long overdue began late last week, but critics of the chairman say the project has led to a bureaucratic slowdown at Kenna HQ.

No communication has been published since the season’s first transfer window 10 days ago. Managers desperate for confirmation of which mid-table treadwater bought which form-fiddling flake, who topped last week’s league and exactly what time the chairman woke up the day after transfer night have been disappointed.

The chairman brushed aside concerns he’s losing is grip on the league.

“Do you think Martin Luther King made his famous speech while busting for a jimmy? Did Hannibal trek through the Alps without stopping to pinch one off on a vinegary rock? The Kenna committee is making crucial decisions with far-reaching consequences every single day. You expect us to consider these matters reasonably and equably without serenity to which to retreat when it’s touch and go?”

“Kenna HQ will only be running essential functions during the period of renovation,”he said, returning from the garden while doing up his fly.

The building work may have interrupted normal operations, but is has led to some hilarious moments for followers of the chairman on social media networking site Twitter*.

*Warning: moments may not be hilarious

Kenna table

Kenna table 28 October 2014 - week 9

Kenna table 28 October 2014 – week 9

Weekly scores

Manager Points Goals
1 Lokomotiv Leeds Ben S 40 4
2 Cowley Casuals Stu 37 1
3 Young Boys Denney 35 2
4 St Reatham FC Mike 31 1
5 Sporting Lesbian Ben M 29 2
6 Still Don’t Know Yet Pete 28 1
7 Piedmonte Phil 26 0
8 Headless Chickens John N 23 1
9 Bala Rinas Lewis 23 0
10 Hairy Fadjeetas Aiden 22 0
11 Walthamstow Reds Dudley 22 0
12 Pikey Scum Jack 17 0
13 Fat Ladies Ted 17 0
14 FC Tescticuladew James N 16 1
15 KS West Green Stix 16 0
16 Dynamo Charlton Alex 12 0
17 Team Panda Rules OK George 11 0
18 Just Put Carles Carles 11 0
19 Judean People’s Front Sholto 9 0
20 Hoxton Pirates Abdi 6 0
Points Player
Player of the week 12 Sanchez, A – ARS – STR
Club Sporting Lesbian
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Tonight’s transfer list now available

Seagull Alcatraz

Free as a bird: The Kenna transfer list isn’t the only thing to be released today (Yang and Yun’s Album)

From: The chairman
Sent: 17 October 2014, 09:04
To: Kenna League managers
Subject: Player list comes out


Like Ched Evans the Kenna transfer window player list is out today.

At the top you’ll find each manager, their available funds and the positions in their teams they need to fill.

Players are grouped into position and ranked by points scored this season. Those in black are unavailable unless a manager decides to make his one surprise release of the evening.

The blue circles are a hangover from the cut-and-shut format job of Kenna HQ weevils. Click the circle to open up the player’s individual stats page on the [national newspaper] site.

Players without a circle are either listed as injured or suspended. Don’t ask why they haven’t got the orange circle. There’s been enough swearing about the blue and orange circles this week to rebuild Billingsgate Market.

Fishy rumours are circulating about the Just Put Carles and Still Don’t Know Yet managers, who have both utterly failed to engage with the Kenna over the transfer window.

Hoxton Pirates and St Reatham FC were granted dispensation from the deadline because:

  • The Pirates manager was not going to attend the window because he’s taken up ‘Stop-tober’ or ‘Oct-sober’ or some other w@nky agency-inspired charity name. Now he has to spend four hours in a pub buying three average players. How long until he cracks, Brambles himself and resigns?
  • The St Reatham FC manager emailed early this morning to say ‘I’ve been in San Francisco and not had a chance to email earlier’. Really? San Francisco? The home of Silicon Valley? He then tried to release a player he didn’t even have.

These are the kind of madcap antics that curry favour with the chairman, but be warned: the next window deadline is Wednesday 4 February. Miss that and there’s no respite and no bonus.

Breivik – bring your hammer.

Jack – bring your laptop.

See you in the pub.

The chairman

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Hide and groom

Bianca Westwood linkedin

Swiss con: The manager stalks his prey from the Alps using both wifi and Bluetooth

THE St Reatham FC manager has been exposed in a grooming ring which targets female sports presenters just days ahead of the Kenna League season’s crucial first transfer window.

Using a sick alias on social media networking site LinkedIn, the manager was discovered luring unsuspecting Sky Sports broadcaster Bianca Westwood to the page.

In a leaked email the St Reatham boss bragged the journalist’s name was Bianca ‘Betshewood’ and made lewd remarks, calling her ‘little treacle’.

A regular feature on Gillete Soccer Saturday, Westwood complained to authorities but her inane babble was too steeped in popular culture and pseudo-gangsta slang for them to understand.

The St Reatham manager runs the sinister grooming ring from his hideout in Switzerland. He has been on Surrey Constabulary’s top 10 most wanted list since last April, when the battered corpse of Sky Sports News presenter Natalie Sawyer was found on Chobham Common.

It is widely thought the manager is also behind the grimey @SkySportsWomen Twitter account.

The revelations threaten to disrupt St Reatham FC preparations for Friday’s transfer night at the Artillery Arms on Bunhill Row. Injury to defender Geoff Cameron and the form of ‘luxury man’ Hatem Ben Arfa are of considerable concern to a manager still chasing his first piece of Kenna silverware. The side are fifth in the table.

The Kenna HQ doormat has been troubled by letters from four managers ahead of the submission deadline tomorrow (15 October), with a total of 10 players released by clubs through the post. Each manager will attract the £10m bonus kitty.

A further four players were released by an email from the Cowley Casuals manager reading: “Greetings from Beirut – scene of the Casuals’ international break training camp. Unfortunately, I do not have faith enough in the Lebanese postal service to deliver my transfers to Kenna HQ before the deadline. Therefore, here they are in an old fashioned email.”

The limp effort sees the Cowley Casuals manager the minimum £5m bonus.

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Hoxton Pirates boss

Our man in the Kenna

“So in conclusion, the Islamic State’s decision to promote the beheading of Westerners on the internet has led to better engagement with potential recruits, more exposure in the media and increased intimidation of infidels. As a social media campaign it’s quite brilliant.”

Delivering this last line he bristled with pride at his succinct summary. He was enjoying every moment of getting one up on his peers around the table. As the organisation’s head of online terror, it was important he could show he had his finger on the pulse.

The other department heads around the table had struggled to impress, particularly the head of pirate relations. The gradual loss of coastline over the last six months, or more precisely the stress of it, was believed to be the root cause of his continued adoption of that ridiculous English West country accent when talking to the committee. He would be one of the first to go when the purges began.

The head of online terror was way ahead on that front. An unplanned change of leadership meant organisational upheaval was inevitable. The former head man had suffered an ailment all too common to African extremists, he had walked into an American sniper’s bullet. Internal promotions were there for the taking for those who made the right allies.

The intelligence committee chair sat motionless for a few seconds at the end of the talk and looked impassive before speaking to the whole group.

“We must congratulate our colleague on his extensively-researched and well-presented talk.”

The head of online terror beamed. The chair continued: “I think we can all agree that our colleague’s presentation demonstrates incredibly well…where our movement is failing miserably.”

The head of online terror’s face dropped for the audience, but he was ready for this comeback. He would allow the chair build up a head of steam before delivering the master plan.

“Our recruitment levels are dropping,” said the chair, “Our popularity in our own country is dwindling. We have no significant networks outside of the Horn of Africa. And the Islamic State is grabbing every newspaper front page in the world with an internet meme!” he thundered as the rest of the committee avoided eye contact.

He had become increasingly short-tempered since the change of leadership. No one said it but everyone knew purges were on the horizon, and those who couldn’t prove their worth would find themselves waking up before morning prayers with the muzzle of a Kalashnikov thrust in their face. The intelligence committee chair needed results fast.

Still standing after his presentation, the head of online terror treated the chair’s outburst as a Q&A session. He said: “But sir, the Westgate shopping mall attack was shown throughout the globe. Our social media evaluation showed record levels of fear in its wake.”

“I should remind you,” replied the chair in a quiet tone that still betrayed his anger bubbling beneath the surface, “that Westgate was over a year ago and authorised by the previous command. The new leadership want to move on. They want us to continue the spread of terror going into the future. We need recruits. We need terror cells on foreign soil. We need to show that we’re still in the game.”

Everyone stared down at the table in front of them. The head of online terror waited a few moments before striking: “I have an agent in London, sir.”

Usually heavy with mint tea preparation and the mastication of khat, the room went deathly silent. The chair said: “Surely all our British networks are blown.”

“That’s correct, sir, but I’ve been running this agent as a sleeper. He’s under deep cover. He’s nearly ready to strike right at the centre of the infidels’ belief system.”

“And what exactly is he doing?” asked the chair, still visibly reeling from this knock out news.

“He’s infiltrated a fantasy football league, sir.”

“A what?” boomed the chair. He despised infidel culture and learned as little of it as possible. It was probably the reason his career was hanging by a thread. Now, even the head of pirate relations could have smelt his desperation.

The head of online terror was implacable: “Well, sir, you may have heard of the Premier League. It’s a typical example of Western decadence. Athletes are paid vast sums of money to play association football. The matches are televised throughout the world and the best players become infidel household names.”

Some of the committee were pretending to be as ignorant of this subject as the chair, but they had illegally watched televised games on the internet.

“So is our man one of these footballers collecting funds to further our cause?” said the chair, trying to appear knowledgeable.

“Not quite, sir, but an admirable suggestion” snaked the head of online terror. “Allow me to explain a little further. It’s become very popular among infidels to operate an elaborate form of gambling where an individual will pick eleven footballers from the Premier League to make their own team. That team will then score points depending on the performances of those players. Whichever team has the most points at the end of the football season wins.”

“Ridiculous pastime,” dismissed the chair. “It’s no wonder these Godless morons will never get to Paradise. They must have the souls of Kenyan goatherds.”

There was a ripple of tittering around the table. It was accepted practice to find the chair’s witticisms funny, no matter how awful they were.

“Be that as it may,” replied the head of online terror. “Our man assures us that the winner of the particular competition he has entered wields considerable influence. It is by all accounts London’s leading pub-based fantasy football contest.”

“Stop right there! Pub-based? Is our man frequenting houses of vice?” the chair was alarmed.

“As I said, sir, he’s deep undercover. Meetings are only held in London pubs, in particular the pre-season auction in early August. Our man must not arouse suspicion, although in all his reports I have not found a single incident of him breaking fast Ramadan.”

“So how’s he getting on?” said the chair begrudgingly, not quite satisfied.

“In the first couple of seasons he was getting himself acquainted with the league and results on the pitch were not positive,” said the head of online terror. “Then last year he went on an incredible cup run and won the Canesten Combi Cup.”

The committee were nonplussed.

“I won’t go into detail here,” said the head of head terror, “but suffice to say that represented a considerable coup for our agent.”

“What about this season? How did he get on in the pre-season auction?” asked the chair, picking up the gist of this operation quickly.

“Ah, well sir, there were some complications. In short, he didn’t attend the pre-season,” shrugged the head of online terror.

“How is he supposed to build a decent team?” the chair was indignant.

“The team was picked automatically using a computer from the remaining players after the auction,” said the head of online terror.

“That doesn’t sound like a successful strategy to me,” frowned the chair. “Imagine we did the same with suicide bombers? It literally would blow up in your face. What was the outcome of this so-called automatic selection?”

“Actually quite positive, sir. He’s got Frank Lampard in midfield.”

There was a low groan around the room. The chair looked astonished at the rest of the committee, like he’d never seen them before.

“What’s wrong with this Crank Shampard character?” said the chair slowly.

The head of online terror talked over the stifled smirks: “There is an opinion that Frank Lampard, sir, will not perform as well now he has left Chelsea, but evidence shows that he is already a promising asset for our man at Manchester City.”

The chair stared blankly at the head of online terror. After a few moments he said: “So where do we go from here?”

“Well, sir, next Friday is the first transfer window. It represents an excellent opportunity for our man to strengthen his side in a bid to win the league,” said the head of online terror in a businesslike manner. “Once he wins the league he will be in a position to exert powerful authority over the infidels.”

“And this agent is of good temperament? He’s not likely to lose his head?” said the chair.

“Oh absolutely not, sir,” said the head of online terror. “He assures us that throughout all his dealings with the fantasy football league, and despite the temptations of alcohol and pork scratchings, he never loses focus or composure even for a second.”

“Excellent,” said the chair, placated. He looked forward to having this little gem of an operation up his sleeve at his next meeting with the new leader. “What can we do to support our agent?”

The head of online terror suppressed a Cheshire Cat grin and pushed a form towards the chair: “Our man says the operation is very resource heavy. If you would just sign this expenses chit please, sir.”

Kenna table – week 7 of 37

Kenna table 8 October 2014 - week 7 of 37

Kenna table 8 October 2014 – week 7 of 37

Weekly scores

    Manager Points Goals
1 Headless Chickens John N 31 1
2 St Reatham FC Mike 30 2
3 Young Boys Denney 29 0
4 FC Tescticuladew James N 27 0
5 Judean People’s Front Sholto 26 1
6 Sporting Lesbian Ben M 26 0
7 KS West Green Stix 22 2
8 Hairy Fadjeetas Aiden 22 1
9 Bala Rinas Lewis 21 1
10 Lokomotiv Leeds Ben S 20 1
11 Cowley Casuals Stu 20 0
12 Pikey Scum Jack 18 1
13 Piedmonte Phil 15 0
14 Still Don’t Know Yet Pete 13 0
15 Just Put Carles Carles 13 0
16 Walthamstow Reds Dudley 12 0
17 Team Panda Rules OK George 10 0
18 Dynamo Charlton Alex 9 1
19 Hoxton Pirates Abdi 9 0
20 Fat Ladies Ted 4 0
  Points Player
Player of the week 14 Fletcher, S – SUN – STR
  Club St Reatham FC
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No Show Three sow seeds of discord

Saddam statue

Back from the brink: Angry protestors outside Kenna HQ last week show their contempt for the chairman

‘THE Kenna should be won and lost over a pub table groaning with empty pint glasses and dog-eared player lists’ were the words of the chairman this week in deciding London’s leading pub-based fantasy football league’s latest debacle.

The arguments over remaining budgets will no doubt rumble on, but effectively the outcome has answered the question over which managers should be favoured by the league: those who attend the pre-season auction over those who don’t.

The two camps had credible arguments. Those who turned up to the auction used their £100m budget in the time-honoured Kenna tradition, by attempting to buy eleven players through the fog of alcohol and the 50p game. They either make an outlay for the big names or take the shrewder approach of picking up less fashionble footballers and leaving themselves a sizable war chest for the first transfer window.

Those who did not attend were offered the chance to have players picked at random from the most well-thought-of dregs by the charts and graphs department’s new spreadsheet tool. At the minimum cost of £0.5m a player, the non-attendees would be left with unprecedented resources at the window, ultimately giving them first dibbs on such available talent as Angel Di Maria and Leonardo Ulloa.

The attendees said this was unfair. Why should someone who didn’t go through the emotional mangle of six hours in the upstairs room of a pub on a scorching August afternoon have a budget to eclipse the rest of the league?

The ire of those attendees had last week threatened to overturn the legitimate power of Kenna HQ. The Young Boys of Vauxhall manager led a vociferous faction that caused one league member to lock himself in his South London flat, declare martial law and claim his side would be placed top of the table until new leadership was installed at Kenna HQ. The Still Don’t Know Yet manager’s curtains are still reported to be twitching wildly. His neighbour’s cat, Mr Tibbs, is still missing.

The chairman ultimately came down on the side of those loudest voices, but the murmur of dissent from managers who did not attend the auction could still be heard.

They claimed that having been awarded a team automatically from the dregs of the players after the auction meant they needed the tremendous remaining budget to edge their way up the table. All three auction no shows – the managers of FC Testiculadew, Hoxton Pirates and Just Put Carles – are in the bottom five.

The chairman decided to award those three managers the average remaining budget of all the others – £17m. They now have the eighth highest spending power going into the transfer window. It is not enough, they say. Will the straitened managers come to the pub in three weeks’ time? Could the window turn ugly if they do? Only time will tell.

Of course, the Young Boys manager – with his paltry £4m fund and serious questions being asked of his decision to part with £20m for a misfiring Bojan Krkic – will claim ‘The No Show Three’ have been given too much. His case will be dismissed by the majority who see through his sedition as political ambitions in the Kenna boardroom.

For now the chairman appears to have regained control of the league and many see his solution as a common sense approach, but how quickly this snafu escalated will cause some concern in the corridors of Kenna HQ.

Kenna table (*awarded average remaining of managers who attended the auction)

Kenna table 30 September 2014 - week 6 of 37

Kenna table and remaining budgets -30 September 2014, week 6 of 37

Weekly scores

    Manager Points Goals
1 Piedmonte Phil 32 1
2 Still Don’t Know Yet Pete 30 3
3 Cowley Casuals Stu 29 1
4 St Reatham FC Mike 26 2
5 Young Boys Denney 26 0
6 Headless Chickens John N 24 0
7 Hoxton Pirates Abdi 23 1
8 Bala Rinas Lewis 23 0
9 Hairy Fadjeetas Aiden 22 1
10 KS West Green Stix 22 1
11 Lokomotiv Leeds Ben S 22 0
12 Just Put Carles Carles 20 1
13 Team Panda Rules OK George 19 0
14 Walthamstow Reds Dudley 18 1
15 Sporting Lesbian Ben M 18 1
16 Dynamo Charlton Alex 18 0
17 Judean People’s Front Sholto 16 1
18 FC Tescticuladew James N 15 0
19 Pikey Scum Jack 13 1
20 Fat Ladies Ted 8 0
  Points Player
Player of the week 12 Dzeko, E – MCY – STR
  Club Still Don’t Know Yet
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Croydon tram pub crawl

Croydon tram

Tram to nowhere: Many consider Croydon the end of the earth

Croydon. The word itself has become synonymous with the ills of British society.

‘Croydon facelift’ and ‘Croydon strobe’ are two examples of how putting the name of the Greater London borough in front of a word immediately turns it into a cruel parody.

So what about ‘Croydon tram’? For those unaware of that mode of transport, it could conjure up images of a nightmare conga snaking its way through the love triangles and DNA tests of the Jeremy Kyle Show studios.

But for a committed band of pub crawlers familiar with the buses, boats and underground lines of London transport, it represented the opportunity for a few drinks.

Meandering its way through the environs of Croydon from Beckenham Junction to Wimbledon, the 39 stops may not be classic spy tale, but there were enough pubs on the way to get a slice of life on the Kent borders.

Perhaps even a Croydon facelift would be spotted in its natural habit. And during spring mating season.

Almost 14 years after its opening, the Croydon Tramlink hosted its first ever recorded pub crawl. At 1pm on Saturday 12 April 2014, tipplers met at Beckenham Junction with the following itinerary:

  1. Patrick’s, Beckenham Junction
  2. Claret Freehouse, Addiscombe
  3. The Tamworth Arms, Centrale
  4. New Addington working man’s club, New Addington
  5. The George, George Street
  6. The Dog and Bull, Church Street
  7. The Wandle Arms, Wandle Park
  8. The Crown, Mitcham
  9. The White Hart, Merton Park
  10. The Alexandra, Wimbledon

In a world first, pubs would be rated on the quality of hand dryers in the gents. Irish Jonathan did the honours.

Afterwards it turned out drinkers travelled a mammoth 22 miles, surely the longest pub crawl to date.

View Larger Map

1. Patrick’s, Beckenham Junction

The cast of crawlers convened included a few recognisable faces such as the Kenna chairmanSutcliffe, Vicky the bus spotter, Binksy and Palts the Balt. The chairman was seen making what was thought to be a deprecating note of the distinct lack of Kenna League managers present.

Patrick's hand dryerA shortage of pubs in proximity to the tram network meant it was impossible to visit a pub for every stop. The group would have the chance to sample the unique delights of each boozer for around half an hour.

In the case of Patrick’s, the lasting impression given by this bar was the bar itself, which had a greasy sheen your hands took with them.

Like most flatpack Irish pubs, it looked like a down on his luck Leprechaun had been violently sick all over the walls and ceiling. The beer was no pot o’ gold either.

There were some plus points: lots of widescreen TVs hinted this would be a good place to watch sport, it’s very close to Beckenham Junction tram stop and there’s an excellent hand dryer in the gents. Although, perhaps a little too excellent…

Having finished their drinks and posed for Sutcliffe’s patented ‘outside the pub’ selfie, crawlers crossed the road to begin an epic tram journey.

Sutcliffe’s bitter rating: 1/10 as only Guinness available (what do you expect from somewhere called ‘Patrick’s’?).

Boarding the tram for the first time that day, the party crackled with expectation. The bubble was burst when Sutcliffe started pulling out tram facts. Everyone realised he’d be at these all day.

South Norwood Country Park and Croydon driving range passed. The next intrepid stage of the journey arrived.

2. Claret Freehouse, Addiscombe

The Claret Freehouse

The Claret Freehouse: Can I get a roll please love?

The Claret Freehouse is a stone’s throw from Addiscombe tram stop. From the outside it looks like an old restaurant hardly open for business, but once inside a fully functioning single-room boozer is found.

Claret hand dryerOn the left a bar, at the back Sky Sports and on a right wall an impressive display of current and upcoming cask ales. All of which surround the Claret’s dedicated clientele, who seemed a little taken aback by the file of crawlers thrusting into their dimly lit snug.

A pint of Peroni greeted the lager drinker. In what’s becoming a rarity these days it wasn’t watered down. Sutcliffe was unusually positive about the ale on offer and the cheese rolls. A proper drinker’s pub.

Sutcliffe’s bitter rating: 9/10 and probably the best I’ve seen south of Bradford.

Trams were running about every 10 minutes, so it wasn’t long before the crawl made it’s way to Croydon town centre.

3. The Tamworth Arms, Centrale

Tamworth Arms

Tamworth Arms: Makes even crawlers look classy

The leafy suburbs left behind, this was the first taste of Croydon’s epicentre, and it wasn’t positive.

Tamworth hand dryerThe Tamworth stands alone very close to Centrale tram stop, with a few steps leading up to the front door. Once through, the visitor is greeted by a bar, an odd set of patrons and an overpowering aroma, which upon tasting the Kronenbourg was partially explained.

Let this not be a reflection on the good names of the regulars, but none of the crawlers will visit this pub ever again.

Sutcliffe’s bitter rating: 3/10 as it was a limited selection, but what there was available was quite good.

Emerging from the pungent odour of the Tamworth, crawlers were back on the tram again for the lengthiest jaunt of the day to New Addington.

4. Disappointment, New Addington


New Addington tip

New Addington tip: If one photo could sum it up

Over hills and through fields, this is the most rural leg of the network. New Addington itself is on the top of a hill, a kind of dystopian town planning nightmare, like the Rio favellas but without the sunshine, climate, pretty girls, bikinis, good footballers, glamourous location or enchanting music. All that’s left is the squalor.

Finding a pub in New Addington proved to be a task too much for the crawl. The Randall Tavern, of notorious former patronage, is the only recognised pub in the area, but too far from Fieldway tram stop for the crawl’s purposes.

A working men’s club is to be found next to the community centre, advertised by a neon OPEN sign. As the party approached at 4pm disaster struck. That’s when it shuts.

Barmen don’t come less friendly than the one in the New Addington working men’s club and he suggested we try the 21 Club around the corner, just past the tip.

Children playing pool and Argos gold greet visitors to the 21 Club, but alas it was a ‘members only’ bar. Snubbed, the crawl returned to the tram stop in low spirits and even lower blood/alcohol levels.

Ironically, despite being the oddest and least friendly bar inspected that day, it was the only one to have a Dyson Airblade in the gents.

Sutcliffe’s bitter rating: The promising bar closed just as we arrived. We sought refreshment at the nearby 21 Club and found little of it. Definitely for members only. This post apocalyptic boozer had the clientele of Mad Max 2, the decor of the Fuhrerbunker and atmosphere of 1984. Didn’t get a chance to check out the alcohol on offer but I suspect it was something along the lines of ‘Victory Gin’. The women were on the large side and looked like they regularly battered the weedy looking men into sexual submission. Maybe I could pick up a tip or two.

5. The George, George Street

The George

The George: The chairman tries to rally the troops

Almost an hour since their last round crawlers marched gasping into Croydon’s premiere Weatherspoon’s. The George is a giant reverse L-shape with a bar on the inside corner of the L at the front and another at the back. Flags of every country hung from the ceiling which may have been a nod to the nearby UK Border Agency headquarters.

George hand dryerOf the sea of four-seater tables only one was free, chiefly because most of them entertained a lone man drinking. The exercise of ordering from an exasperated and overwhelmed bar staff was comical.

After the disappointing mission to New Addington some were a little peckish and one of two would have eaten anything. Which was lucky.

Sutcliffe’s bitter rating: 8/10 What can I say? It was a Wetherspoons with all of the usual trimmings. Good selection of amusingly titled guest ales and stressed bar staff but they can microwave a fine hotdog (that’s not a euphemism). Also a very good place to meet other solo bearded drinkers who have also given up on life.

6. The Dog and Bull, Church Street

Dog and Bull

Dog and Bull: You’ve pulled, Your Maj

Following the tram lines along George Street for a few minutes and turning left, crawlers were presented with the jewel in Croydon’s pub crown, The Dog and Bull.

Dog and Bull hand dryerCroydon residents were keen to point out the Dog and Bull’s credentials in the build up to the crawl and it didn’t disappoint. After the disappointment of New Addington and the contemptible familiarity of Weatherspoon’s, it felt like the crawl was getting back on track standing at the island bar.

The two barmen were the only ones all day to show an interest in the enterprise, and such enthusiasm was in evidence in more than just their chat. The establishment served a pint of Young’s tidier than a tsunami.

Sutcliffe’s bitter rating: 3/10 Limited selection and pretty much the same as the Tamworth Arms. Smelt a little funny, but I think that might have been down to the market outside or the large pile of rough sleepers you had to step over top get into the place. Faded picture on the wall of the Queen Mother pulling a pint behind the bar. Probably taken on one of those ‘see how the serfs live’ walkabouts of which the Royals are so fond.

7. The Wandle Arms, Wandle Park

Wandle Arms

The Wandle Arms: The Child Catcher’s local

It’s a 10-minute walk from the Dog and Bull past Church Street and Reeves Corner tram stops to The Wandle Arms. The stroll takes in the site where the House of Reeves furniture store was razed to the ground during the London riots in 2011, now a white-picket-fenced square.

Wandle Arms jugsThe Wandle Arms was the most charming and intimate pub on the crawl, and served one of the best pints of Guinness outside Dublin. The snug is like someone’s front room and has lots of interesting old branded water jugs hanging from the ceiling. Since that most rare occurrence on these days out – the sun was shining – tipplers opted for the two picnic tables on the street outside.

The managers of Hairy Fadjeetas, Headless Chickens, Still Don’t Know Yet and FC Testiculadew joined the throng. Six weeks before he would scoop the Kenna league and cup double, it was a little premature for the FCT manager to be victoriously parading his daughter in front of his soon-to-be vanquished opposition.

Despite lack of photo evidence, be assured the hand dryer in the gents was purely deocrative. An adjacent towel wetter than an otter’s pocket is the only option for those caught short.

Sutcliffe’s bitter rating 1/10: Guinness only again. Interesting and friendly (in a passive aggressive way) little back street boozer. This is definitely a ‘Derry’ rather than ‘Londonderry’ sort of place though…

From Wandle Park the next few tram stops are in an industrial area before the welcome green of Mitcham Golf course. Sadly, a phone call a few weeks before discovered that despite its propinquity to Mitcham Junction tram stop, the clubhouse was not a public bar.

8. The Casaurina Tree (The Crown), Mitcham


The Crown: There’s a picture of the Queen in it

Is it a south Asian restuarant or is it a pub? The second royal portrait of the day gave no clue.

The ‘drinking area’ at the front felt like a takeaway and any moment a hurried man in a motorcycle helmet would barge through. The restaurant area and dancefloor could probably cater for weddings, wakes and bar mitzvahs. Certainly not a place to stand and drink after work or to spend Sunday afternoon with the papers.

The food smelt powerful. The hand dryer’s qualities remain a mystery.

Sutcliffe’s bitter rating: 4/10 They only had Doombar (not a bad pint but pretty much the ‘oxygen of ales’). Great little place that can’t decide whether it wants to be a pub or a curry house. Why choose though? Big shrine to Her Majesty in the corner was a nice touch.

9. The White Hart, Merton Park

White Hart

White Hart: The chairman shrugs off concerns

For the rest of crawl the chairman was not to live down a second bout of disappointment created when tipplers arrived at the White Hart to find it closed for a private party. It’s proximity to Merton Park tram stop and the cornucopia of prohibited buffet food inside visible from the twilit street almost fomented a full-scale rebellion.

Fortunately, the chairman’s leadership qualities shone through and before long the crawl found an alternative in the Wibbas Down Inn along the short walk to Wimbledon. It was the outing’s second Weatherspoons pub, and a busy but mediocre one at that.

Sutcliffe’s bitter rating: The White Hart was closed for a private function and another one of the chairman’s fails. The Wibbas Down Inn was another Wetherspoons which was pretty much a carbon copy of the earlier one except without the microwaved hotdog this time. Ale 8/10

10. The Alexandra, Wimbledon

The Alex

The Alex: Everyone’s bored now, Sutcliffe

Recollections are dim of Wimbledon’s flagship boozer. It was large. There were lots of people there. It was a Young’s pub.

Alex hand dryerBy this point only Sutcliffe still seemed to be with the programme.

Sutcliffe’s bitter rating: 7/10 I have only a vague memory of this place which means I was probably totally steamed or that it was pretty unmemorable.


After the Alex, crawlers repaired to the nearby Wimbledon Tandoori for a hot debrief. The party were cheered by the waiter taunting Sutcliffe and his potentially-fatal nut allergy.

Wimbledon Tandoori hand dryerIt’s fair to say that the length of the crawl and the irregular distances between pubs led to a desultory atmosphere late on. Due to events beyond the control of crawl organisers – notably the Emerson World Cup and some weddings abroad over the summer – it has taken more than five months to publish this report of the day, but lessons are still fresh in the mind.

When it comes to next month’s autumn offensive, careful consideration will be given to pacing. Pubs at regular intervals building to a crescendo of drunken bonhomie are the key to a successful day’s boozing.

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Battle for the Kenna

BBC Breaking News

Genuine threat: Kenna HQ has survived a potential uprising, for now

“We turn now to events in the Kenna League where a cabal of managers has threatened to overthrow the established power of the league. Our political editor Nick Robinson is outside Kenna HQ.”

“Thanks, Hugh. As you can see I’m standing outside Kenna HQ, the epicentre of events today where an attempted coup d’etat was made on the league leadership of London’s leading pub-based fantasy football competition.

“From the outside it just looks like a building on a normal London street, but inside the wheels of administration are just about still turning after a small group of managers led by the Young Boys of Vauxhall boss moved for a vote of no confidence in the league chairman.

“It’s understood that discontent has been bubbling away under the surface of the Kenna for some time.

“Critics of the chairman say his rule over the league has become ever more authoritarian in recent months.

“They say that while in appearance the Kenna governing body has maintained the bureaucracy that so frustrates managers trying to get a reprieve from the Titus Bramble forfeit process, the chairman has been stripping back the checks and balances of the apparatus and placing more and more power in the notoriously ruthless manager experiences department.

“On the face of it, this shadowy arm of the Kenna is responsible for ensuring the smooth running of the league, but stories of abductions, beatings, blackmail and even torture are all too commonplace.

“It is thought the department is increasingly bypassing league rules and regulations to ensure swift actions against malcontents, on orders thought to come straight from the chairman’s office.

“In particular, the department’s archive of compromising social media photos of managers has become a tool of terror.

“Today’s attempted coup was sparked by disillusionment amongst a small group of managers unhappy at those who did not attend the pre-season auction in August, or to be more specific at their remaining budgets ahead of next month’s first transfer window.

“Here’s the statement released by the Young Boys manager today, which explains the origins of the conflict:

With the first transfer window nearly upon is quite clear that mangers who did not attend the first auction will have a distinct advantage with a much larger transfer budget, whilst those who did attend will be punished for turning up, getting drunk and making ludicrous bids on average players (which is basically the point of the Kenna) adding to the feeling of growing disillusionment of the hard working mangers towards Kenna HQ. Furthermore, the problem has been exacerbated by the ever increasing authoritarian Kenna HQ’s decision not to return the full amount paid for a player when they are released for transfer. This is just another example of Kenna HQ becoming more and more removed from the needs of the normal, everyday, Kenna manager.

“How did the league respond? Well, earlier this afternoon the chairman did address members of the press outside Kenna HQ.

“He dismissed the Young Boys manager and ‘his pernicious little band conspirators and Charlie Chesters’ as troublemakers. He assured the media he was in full control of the league and that this was ‘yet another pathetic attempt by the Young Boys manager to wrest power’. He pointed out that under ‘the gentle teasing of my firm hand the league has grown to become a towering feature of the fantasy football landscape’.

“The chairman then went on to utterly dismiss any notion that he had lost touch with the everyday Kenna manager. He pointedly said, and I quote ‘we are dealing with the issue of remaining budgets. This is complicated, sports administration and far too complex to go into here. We’ll sort it out and send our resolution to Ceefax for distribution’, although he made no indication of how the issue would be addressed.

“Of course, there is another angle here. It is widely known in the Kenna that the Young Boys manager has been obsessed with taking power at Kenna HQ for some time and maintains that his origins as a Welshman are keeping him from the chair. Most moderates consider the issue of remaining transfer budgets a smokescreen for the Young Boys manager’s true ambitions.

“With only four weeks to go until the transfer window, the bout looks far from over, but after this round the chairman still has the upper hand.

“This Nick Robinson, for BBC News, outside Kenna HQ. Back to you in the studio, Hugh.”

“Thank you, Nick.

“And finally, as the serious business of the Kenna League is played out, one manager is taking an alternative view of the matter. We now join BBC News reporter Alice Bandherkravi in south London.”

“Thank you, Hugh. I’m here in Wandsworth where Kenna League member the Still Don’t Know Yet manager has barricaded himself in his flat.

“It appears that when he heard news of the attempted boardroom rebellion he took it to mean a full-scale civil one.

“Neighbours have reported seeing the Teesider dressed in a tinfoil hat roaming around the premises claiming that, and I quote, ‘as a temporary measure during this time of unrest my side are now top of the Kenna’.

“Of course, he’s currently mid table and even the non-football fan could tell you that he’s not going to get much higher than that.

“Police were attending the scene, but have since stood down when it was decided the manager remained intent on locking himself in his house and occasionally shouting ‘Stay in your homes. Do not panic’ from a first floor window.

“This is Alice Bandherkravi, for BBC News, outside a deranged Northerner’s house. Back to you, Hugh.”

Kenna table – full scores available from The Rub

Kenna table - 23 September 2014 (week 5)

Kenna table – 23 September 2014 (week 5)

Weekly scores

Manager Points Goals
1 Cowley Casuals Stu 36 3
2 Still Don’t Know Yet Pete 31 2
3 Pikey Scum Jack 29 1
4 Lokomotiv Leeds Ben S 28 1
5 Fat Ladies Ted 23 0
6 Hairy Fadjeetas Aiden 22 1
7 Young Boys Denney 21 1
8 Piedmonte Phil 21 0
9 St Reatham FC Mike 20 1
10 FC Tescticuladew James N 19 2
11 Headless Chickens John N 19 0
12 Bala Rinas Lewis 18 0
13 Sporting Lesbian Ben M 16 1
14 Judean People’s Front Sholto 16 0
15 Walthamstow Reds Dudley 14 0
16 Hoxton Pirates Abdi 12 1
17 Team Panda Rules OK George 11 1
18 Dynamo Charlton Alex 9 0
19 KS West Green Stix 9 0
20 Just Put Carles Carles 9 0
Points Player
Player of the week 19 Vardy, J – LEI – STR
Club Unsigned
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KS West Green 2014/15

Chairman 69 problems

…but running the world’s best pub-based fantasy football auction ain’t one: The KS West Green manager and Kenna chairman

Manager: Stix

Twitter name@jeffkennaleague

Since: 2005 (co-founder and chairman)

Last season: 10th

Trophy cabinet: Champions 2005/06, Canesten Combi Cup winner 2006, treble in 2009/2010 (league, cup, Dr Khumalo World Cup 2010)

Sympathies: Kidderminster Harriers

Darts musicLet Me Be Your Fantasy – Baby D

Season preview in one sentence: In a bid to pick week-in-week-out players and grind out consistent performances, the chairman has assembled an unspectacular side heavily reliant on the fitness of Sergio Aguero.

Speroni, J CRY  £7.00 
Ivanovic, B CHE  £9.00 
McAuley, G WBA  £4.00 
Sakho, M LIV  £3.00 
Davies, B TOT  £10.00 
Arnautovic, M STO  £14.00 
Carrick, M MUN  £0.50 
Routledge, W SWA  £1.00 
Barton, J QPR  £2.00 
Aguero, S MCY  £40.00 
Long, S HUL  £7.00 

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