FOR MANY Englishmen the Germany 2006 World Cup was a rude awakening.
In the build up to the tournament expectancy filled the air, and the airwaves. Everyone was telling us that this was England’s chance. The Golden Generation.
“Look at our players. Just look! They’re all playing for top clubs reaching the latter stages of the Champions League.”
“They’ve knighted Geoff Hurst! This must be an omen, because he beat the Germans in an era we can’t remember and from which we’ve never watched a full game, just the same clips over and over again.”
“All the World Cup winners since 1966 form a mathematical sequence that is completed only if England win in Germany. I’m not saying it’s in the bag, but by thunder it’s our best chance for years!”
Such were the sentiments fanning the flames of hope.
As with any tournament it all ended with tears for the English, and that was the moment most Kenna managers should have realised that no matter how many ‘years of hurt’ they’d undergone mediocrity should just be accepted.
Looking back now, the 90s – two semi-final finishes and a roller coaster of a game against Argentina in Massif Central – were the pinnacle of England’s international endeavour since lifting the Jules Rimet, but as managers assembled in the One Tun near Goodge Street tube station for the 2006-07 season’s auction in early August, the memory of that Madeirense eyelid movement on a field in the Ruhr still cut deep.
Most expensive summer signings
|1||T Henry||£36.5m||Tourette’s Allstars|
|2||A Shevchenko||£35.5m||Tourette’s Allstars|
|3||W Rooney||£34m||Fat Ladies|
|4||S Gerrard||£29m||Thieving Magpies|
|5||J Terry||£28.5m||Fat Ladies|
The auction became a morality play. Footballers were merited on their performance in Germany rather than their week-in, week-out trade at club level.
Widely vilified for failing to find the net in the World Cup, Frank Lampard went for a paltry £18m to Thieving Magpies despite being one of the domestic game’s top performers the season previous.
On his Kenna debut the FC Gun Show manager, noted for his pragmatism, loose morals and Hackett socks, cleaned up.
As he bought diving Drogba for £5m, Berbatov for £18m and the anti-christ himself Cristiano Ronaldo for £22m, the rest of the league guffawed at the folly.
Story of the season – (see the Rub for the season)
The Portuguese went on to enjoy a three-season reign of majestic dominance in the Kenna, and helped FC Gun Show become the second ever manager to win the league.
His three star players aside, only one other of the FC Gun Show manager’s original eleven chalked up over 100 points – Stewart Downing.
Thieving Magpies came second, although at the time their inability to do better was touted as further evidence that Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard can’t ‘dovetail’ in midfield.
Defending champions Vasco De Beauvoir could only muster third place, but were consoled by winning the inaugural Canesten Combi Cup competition, beating 120 Checkout in the final by 34 points to 19.
The Kenna’s first ever female manager bumped right into the glass ceiling. Building a team around Ricardo Vaz Te was held at fault, rather than gender issues.
Every manager learnt two important lessons that August night in Fitzrovia: no one wins the Kenna buying players they like and the One Tun is not a good auction venue.
They also discovered that the Kidderminster Harriers squad possessed more Premier League winners medals (one) than the Liverpool squad. And so the Stuart Watkiss League was renamed to become the Jeff Kenna.
Final league table
|1||C Ronaldo||247||£22m||FC Gun Show|
|2||W Rooney||236||£34m||Fat Ladies|
|3||F Lampard||215||£18m||Thieving Magpies|
|4||D Berbatov||211||£18m||FC Gun Show|
|5||D Drogba||199||£5m||FC Gun Show|