Season preview in one sentence: With a 14th-place finish and a 17th-place finish under his belt, the manager knew that – for a third successive campaign – sticking to his auction strategy of blowing half the budget on Robin van Persie and the rest on a bunch of no hopers and bench warmers would be the last thing his competition would expect.
van Persie, R
First transfer window – Friday 17 October 2014
No transfers. Did not attend. Paying over the odds for drinks in discreet Lisbon bars.
Remaining budget (for the Kenna): £10.5m
Second transfer window – Saturday 7 February 2015
No transfers. Did not attend. Paying over the odds for drinks in discreet Singapore bars.
Outlook (on 20 August 2013): Despite earnest, late 90s conversations to the contrary, the internet definitely caught on. Not only did it allow the Still Don’t Know Yet manager to Skype into the Kenna auction from his summer sojourn in the Med complete with sunglasses and a panama hat, it gave him the platform to prove that no matter where you are in the world it’s possible to spend half your budget on Robin van Persie and the rest on a bunch of no-hopers who’ll make less substantive appearances this season than Madeleine McCann. Still, if there’s a chance of her mum turning up looking worried in a bikini…
Of course, for the SDKY manager the auction was less about mounting a title challenge and more a further opportunity to nurture his growing disillusionment with the league apparatus. Disappearing early for a can Boddingtons and re-runs of Only Fools and Horses in Valencia’s premier English pub, he left three gaps in his team filled by correspondence later that week. An Andre Wisdom, Philippe Senderos and Billy Jones later (see paragraph above), a leaked email about how the auction was run revealed the struggling manager to be apoplectic:
“For a start I’m only missing three players which means I’ve done 73% of a job not a “half a job” which considering I was only able to see the first 1/16th of the auction I believe was a creditable performance. I used to think that your offer to take transfer requests via fax was some sort of retro joke but now it seems more likely that this is due to the antiquated technological set up at Kenna HQ. I hope some of this year’s increased fees will be invested in infrastructure.”
The leaked email also revealed the SDKY manager clearly hasn’t forgotten that Gary O’Neil/James Collins incident last summer, which resulted in the Irish defender being kidnapped from the team hotel by a van load of goons with poor elocution, thought – but never proven – to be acting on the orders of the Kenna executive. He raged:
“I’m not having your bureaucrats cripple my team again this year after O’Neil-gate with petty administrative attacks.”
Kenna HQ remain tight lipped about the affair, except to make a firm rebuttal that there was “no retro joke involved in such a serious matter as faxing in transfer window requests”.
Outlook: After a warm-up 12th in the Olisadebe in the summer, this was a chance to stamp some authority on the domestic game but the SDKY manager already finds himself under considerable pressure. Not content with being the first manager in eight years to lose a goalkeeper on a Bramble, and hence have the services of missing reserve player from the Cameroon Olympic women’s team Drusille Ngako between the sticks, the SDKY boss unsuccessfully appealed against a controversial decision to remove defender James Collins from his side.