Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson having a ‘siesta off’ to prove their worth to the Just Put Carles manager.
The Sporting Lesbian boss interrupted with news of the fast approaching transfer window during a game of bowls on Plymouth Hoe dismissing concern with the words: “We have time to finish our game of bowls and defeat the Spanish.”
These are some of the things that could be happening this morning as managers rush to get their players released to Kenna HQ ahead of today’s noon deadline.
Come Friday night it’ll be game faces ‘on’ for the second and final transfer window of the season before clubs make their assault on the title / relegation survival / mid-table mediocrity (delete as appropriate).
Top-performing unsigned players, and a few new faces, are listed below. As everyone steels themselves ahead of Friday the question hanging in the air is: just who will walk away with Emmanuel Pogatetz?
Hernandez (MUN, 89)
Le Fondre (REA, 87)
Benteke (AVL, 83)
Shaun Maloney (WIG, 64)
Di Santo (WIG, 62)
CRYSTALLIZED at the bottom, breathless at the top and much jiggling around in the middle: in many ways the Kenna table resembles a fat man with gout and a carrier bag over his head in the final throes of rubbing one off in the shower.
So it’s fitting that the coming weekend sees the climax of the race to the cup knockout stage. Who will breathe a satisfying sigh of relief? Who will tumble through the shower curtain, sustain a fatal head injury on the sink and be found naked three days later by sniggering paramedics?
Going into the deciding week, each manager will be looking at his team for goals, the key to a successful cup campaign. Chances of progression to knockout stages are analysed below – starting with the most wide open.
The Lickers will be backing Peter Odemwingie (7 goals this season) and club top scorer Fellaini (11) to combat the recent upturn in form of Just Put Carles striker Daniel Sturridge (4). Lokomotiv Leeds will hope that Jonathan Walters (7) will score at the right end, while Piedmonte look to Lambert (10) and Lampard (7) – a draw will not guarantee survival for either club.
Sporting Lesbian trio Luis Suarez (18), Michu (14) and Sergio Aguero (8) will take some beating from Newington Reds, who rely on, oh dear, star striker Fernando Torres (7). A woeful goal difference means FC Testiculadew will have to keep out Spartak Mogadishu star Romelu Lukaku (9) to ensure safety.
No player at either Vasco De Beauvoir or Judean Peoples’ Front have found the net for two weeks, and being on equal goal difference survival may be decided on who ships the least in the final game. A 1-1 draw was played out between the clubs in December, so JPF carry the advantage having scored one more goal in the contest.
BINOCULARS trained on the bedroom of next door’s saucy, late-30s divorcee can scarcely produce such a fascinating window as the dilemma facing one Kenna manager in the build up to 1 February’s transfer night.
Demba Ba’s move from the Big Market to Fulham Broadway leaves the PSV Mornington boss in the unenviable position of choosing between the goal hungry African or the twinkle-toed creativity of Juan Mata.
Under Kenna rules, no manager may have two players from the same Premier League club, and PSV must release either the Senegalese or the Spaniard come the 12pm deadline on Wednesday 30 January.
At the prospect of the coveted signature of either Ba or Mata to boost their campaign, Kenna managers will be monitoring the situation in the window more closely than a teenage boy surveilling a rough and ready tradesman’s visit to the neighbourhood cougar.
Faced with a similar quandary – albeit child’s play in comparison – between Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson, and with no other Chelsea players in his side, fellow Catalan the Just Put Carles manager is a strong suitor.
If Demba Ba or Juan Mata joined JPC it would be a major coup for the manager after losing out in last season’s bitter midtable ‘Cat’-fight to his rival at PSV, and go someway towards closing the 39-point gap between the two clubs.
A GARETH BALE goal was not enough to keep Bala Rinas from being dumped out of the Canesten Combi Cup.
Four hapless group game defeats left the side without a point, and with his team also struggling in the league the manager, yet to win a trophy in six years in Kenna, is under increasing pressure.
“People are saying that I’ve got no silverware, I can’t bring success to the club and I’ll never know the difference between riding the normal team coach and riding an open-top bus, but of course I knows the difference – one’s got a fcuking roof and one fcuking ‘asn’t,” sing songed the Welshman.
Bala Rinas weren’t the only ones not celebrating this week. Footballers are fashionable creatures, and a new craze has swept through the Kenna: not celebrating goals.
In Group D, Daniel Sturridge found the net to help Just Put Carles to their first cup win and a chance at the next round, but ‘out of respect’ the England striker did not cheer after scoring against his former club Lokomotiv Leeds.
In the other Group C match there were remarkable scenes at FC Testiculadew’s ground, the Death Star, where no players celebrated any of the eight goals in Sporting Lesbian’s 7-1 destruction of the hosts.
Hairy Fadjeetas, on the end of five-goal thrashing by Headless Chickens, were the only side to have the decency to avoid any awkward embarrassment by not scoring any goals at all.
The final cup game will be played on 29 January, where the top four from each group will go through to the last 16 knockout draw.
Teams below in yellow have already qualified, teams in red are out.
ONE QUESTION was only the start of it. How could we ride the new model number 38 bus?
It was accepted that the ‘hop-on, hop-off’ routemaster-style bus only runs around once an hour on one bus route – the number 38.
Despite its meandering path through the boroughs of Hackney, Islington, Camden and Westminster – taking in some of the most iconic sights in London – there was one problem: none of us ever used it.
All of a sudden the answer was clear: a number 38 bus route pub crawl.
The curious mix of order and chaos that happened on Saturday 20 October 2012 is chronicled below. Where applicable comments about the route, the pubs and learning points have been noted. It is hoped these will instruct, inform and entertain both the crawl aficionado and the casual drinker.
We immediately determined to make the excursion as achievable, fun and damaging to the liver as possible. We had three considerations:
Number of pubs – Circle Line or Monopoly board pub crawls have two flaws, there are too many stops to take in surroundings, and everyone drink halves. We decided on visiting 10 pubs, so we could comfortably spend 38 minutes in each one.
Direction of travel – this was simple, start in north east London and travel south west to Victoria. No one wants to be without their wits in Clapton Pond on a Saturday night, an area on a stretch of road commonly referred to as ‘The Murder Mile’.
Pub locations – establishments should be chosen at even intervals along the route, and as much as possible on the same side of the road as convenient bus stops. This second point would prove invaluable in the later stages.
A Sunday morning bicycle ride two weeks beforehand identified a number of suitable boozers, rubber stamped by a kangaroo committee. The route would not be followed to its absolute end because, as any Londoner will tell you, there are no decent rub-a-dub-dubs in Victoria.
Here’s the list:
The Clapton Hart, Clapton Pond
The Cock Tavern, Hackney Central
The Duke of Wellington, Ball’s Pond Road
The George Orwell, Essex Road
The Old Queen’s Head, Islington
The Old Red Lion Theatre, Angel
The Exmouth Arms, Exmouth Market
The Old Crown, New Oxford Street
The Marquis of Granby, Cambridge Circus
Ye Grapes, Mayfair
Each pub name links to it’s location on Google maps. The nearest bus stop is also included.
At 1pm a handful of intrepid souls, including Vicki the Bus Spotter, fat Peter Sutcliffe and the athletic frame of the Vasco De Beauvoir manager, met near the Lea Bridge Roundabout. The weather was overcast, but not inclement.
The Clapton Hart has an airy, pleasant feel with respectable staff, and for a moment the social depravity of the surrounding neighbourhood was forgotten, until a regular ambled in with a dog on a string.
Lunch was adequate, but had that fairtrade, made-of-recycled-principles taste about it and the cauliflower was purple. In hindsight, three pints was excessive.
A couple of new 38s idled in the middle of the Lea Bridge Roundabout, but the clock was ticking. There’d be plenty of time for that.
A few minutes ride on a boring old Wirght Gemini 2 and we discovered that Jesus was wrong: the meek did not inherit the earth. The meek grew up and moved to east London to work in digital marketing and stay up since last Thursday banging meow meow. A trio of such specimens scratching around the Cock early doors hinted at the clientele, but by thunder did the place stock ale.
After a quick beer we emerged to see… Not already? No, it couldn’t be? It was the new 38!
In a moment not unlike an episode of long-running ITV police drama series The Bill, we crashed along the pavement towards the bus stop, except instead of chasing drug dealers through a notorious Sun Hill housing estate, we were trying to take pictures of an arriving bus. And what a bus it was.
Decadent maroon soft furnishing tastefully intertwined with the luxuriant caramel glow of the hand rails. The step entrance was pristine, yellow trim shining, with not a drop of chewing gum, blood or urine tarnishing its surface. The ‘new car smell’ was yet to be overpowered by half-eaten boxes of fried chicken and old people.
For a few intense, heady minutes at the front of the top deck we sailed along Graham Road and over Dalston Junction. Then it was time for another drink.
Charming island bar and abundance of natural light aside, the Duke always feels brittle, as though ordering a round of Jägerbombs for the whole pub would reduce it into a delicatessen. One notable feature is the former doorway turned into a cosy corner which still boasts the original floor mosaic bearing the pub’s name.
At this point latecomers – including Anders Breivik doppleganger the Judean Peoples’ Front manager – swelled our numbers and the throng dutifully moved onto pub number four. Vicki the Bus Spotter was beside herself: at the next bus stop we took another new 38.
Orwell famously treatised of the perfect London pub where the punters were friendly, barmaids affable and beer well served. When visiting his namesake establishment in Canonbury the dream the author weaves, like Boxer the horse in Animal Farm, takes an ugly one in the knackers. Not quite Room 101, but a bit more Down and out than Moon Under Water.
More joined the ranks, with even a one-year-old child putting in a shift.
Whether the Old Queen’s Head is an accurate representation of what’s going on inside the monarch’s noggin is uncertain, but if years of wet paint fumes have finally got to the old girl then why not retro furniture, a slim fit crowd and a baby seeing off a pint of bitter?
Middle-aged men in turtle neck sweaters using the shallow cover of literary drama to crack onto impressionable, young girls awkwardly asserting their creative independence having thrown off the shackles of a sheltered, suburban upbringing – is what you expect to find in a theatre pub. We found Norwich City Football Club fans. Loads of them.
A Canary army had descended on the Old Red Lion to watch their team play Arsenal in the dim red glow of the pub’s quasi ghost train decor. Some crawlers had something to eat. It could have been chips.
At the introduction of the 50p game in the Exmouth Arms events spiralled out of control. For the uninitiated, if a 50p piece is dropped into your glass while you’re holding it, you must immediately drink its contents. The coin is then yours with which to cause mischief.
Composure regained, we found the Marquis of Granby was shut – a common symptom of central London pubs on weekends. Panic spread through the camp, but it turned out there were lots of other pubs nearby and everyone realised they weren’t really that fussed anyway.
We went to the Cambridge. A horrendous place that only exists to convince thousands of tourists every year who know no better that they’ve been to a traditional English public house. The former Young Boys of Kilburn manager ordered a large glass of red wine thinking it would be exempt from the 50p game.
Ye Grapes is also the last pub on the official Monopoly pub crawl, which meant they were used to people wandering in on the sharp end of 14 pints. This was fortunate, as through a consequence of bizarre, delayed trauma to having their childhood television memories recently besmirched in the media, some crawlers were singing the theme song to Jim’ll Fix It.
A fair amount of leering at the barmaid took place, people bought poppies and the Lokomotiv Leeds manager took it upon himself to neck pints with astonishing speed.