IN THAT brief period of English sport when there’s no proper football, it’s too wet for cricket and the only diversion is the mind-blowing sight of a man raised in Kilburn wearing the yellow jersey with six days to go, rumours abound.
For Kenna managers eagerly awaiting next month’s auction ahead of the Premier League opening on 18 August, tittle tattle is at fever pitch as to how the administration will tighten up rules in the wake of May’s illegal bidding scandal.
Now the man responsible for Tactical Brambling, the practice of bidding for a player to deliberately incur a forfeit and free up funds, gives his dark insight into what happened that fateful evening in late spring – the time when the rain began.
But retribution works in mysterious ways: if he’d had kept Franck Ribery instead of Karim Benzema he’d have been the champion.
Sitting in his murky office, sinister music playing in the background, the Testiculadewland manager recounted his frame of mind:
“When Benzema first came up my first thoughts were: ‘I’ll go for him’.
“Slightly later I realised that I had Ribery. I then thought: ‘Sod it, I wanted Benzema from the start and I want a good strike force. I can still have three good midfielders and the Bramble for losing Ribery’, as I saw it in my tipsy state.
“It was a gamble on my behalf, one in hindsight I don’t think really paid off. And Benzema only became available because of an earlier Bramble by someone else.
“I think tactical Brambling could pay off if done very carefully, but would only pay off the first time and if a manager was to repeatedly do it their team would very soon suffer.
“I think there’s an argument to be had to allow it as part of the game. It certainly makes the mid part of the auction more interesting and because your team is affected every time, your team exponentially becomes worse the more you do it, and there are already rules in place to deter it.
“I didn’t set out to tactical Bramble. It happened on the spur of the moment. Even if it was allowed I wouldn’t set out with it as part of my auction game plan, but if half way along things aren’t going well, its a rash gamble that could be played.
“Wracked with guilt I’ve tried to think of a way of stopping it, or a way you can distinguish between tactical Brambling and old-fashioned honest stupidity Brambling, but can’t think of anything as practical or fun as allowing it.”
If, as early reports suggest, there are to be stiffer penalties to the Titus Bramble ruling being announced later this week, the Testiculadewland manager’s cavalier approach will be frustrated.