Fantasy bidding in absentia

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THE child who gets sucked off in a Mediterranean riptide while dad’s glued to the television in a Greek taverna.

The bride who spent a lifetime planning her special day around herself without a thought for the guests wondering why half the congregation are looking at Sky Go rather than her flouncy dress.

What do these two unfortunates have in common?

Both their August Saturdays have been ruined by football.

Such distractions may lead you to believe organising a fantasy football auction would be easy.

Everyone would rather spend an August Saturday in the pub signing their team than at a wedding with a cash bar or surrounded by dehydrated, screaming children.

‘I’m on a ferry to France’, ‘I’m going on a stag do to Edinburgh’ and ‘It’s the same day as the annual family picnic’ are three genuine excuses already sidled into Kenna HQ.

No matter how far ahead the date is set, potential managers are liable to fall foul of these life inconveniences. So how does the fantasy football auction organiser accommodate the absentee manager?

Preparing for its 12th annual auction next Saturday, the Kenna League has tried phone bids, Skype, Whatsapp and any other number of methods of remote bidding with varying levels of success.

Here are the two of the best solutions Kenna HQ will be employing next weekend while most of the league enjoys the auction at the Hoop & Grapes on Farringdon Road.


Social media and live communication was always difficult. Who wants to watch, let alone manage, a five-hour Skype call from a budget Spanish apartment to 15 tipsy managers in a London pub?

At the Boumsong Euros auction in June, we trialled video broadcasting app Periscope with some positive feedback.

Using a smartphone, tripod and battery back, we broadcast the auction live. Granted, it made pretty shocking viewing to the casual observer, but to the league treasurer it gave the platform to buy what turned out to be a mid-table outfit.

The advantage of Periscope is it allows the bidder to share their bids almost instantaneously and for the auctioneer to see them flashing up on the screen.

The manager just has to be dedicated enough to watch their phone for a few hours.

A perfect way to pass the time at a distant in-law’s wedding.

Silent bidding

Total absenteeism. It’s been a common feature in the Kenna almost since its creation.

‘I can’t make the auction. Can I get eleven players from the leftovers?’

If the Kenna chairman had a pint for every time he heard this request his liver would be mostly, rather than partly, packed up.

The problem here is the leftover team is cheap and awful, but the absent manager goes into the first transfer window with huge war chest. It makes it difficult for those who actually attended the auction to remain competitive.

Therefore, absentee managers are now required to make 11 silent bids, dividing their £100m budget among target players.

The bids remain confidential until the price is met at auction. A silent bid on a player is only announced after the hammer has gone down. The winning manager present then has to decide whether to beat it.

Absent managers only sign around three or four players this way – the rest of the side is filled automatically after the auciton – but they are more competitive. Their transfer window funds are adjusted to the average remaining funds of managers who went to the auction.

Of course, one manager even fought back from not showing up to the auction to win a World Cup.

So if your children drown or a self-obsessed bride throws you out of church, you’re still in with a chance of winning Kenna.

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Author: The chairman

Ascended to the chairmanship of the Jeff Kenna League Fantasy Football League in 2007 after co-founded the league in London in August 2005.

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