EVEN the world’s leading London pub-based fantasy football league is not beyond the reach of a global pandemic.
Usually, 20 managers gathering in a boozer to run an auction is enough to socially distance them from anyone who isn’t a ranting nutcase, a drunk dwarf or landlord with a ringing till.
Two weeks ago the league was forced to into the remote world of video conferencing.
But Kenna managers are a worldly bunch, and far from wholly unfamiliar with shutting themselves away in a dark room to stare at people performing strange acts online for hours on end.
The weirdest act of the auction came early in the day. Six managers who had gathered outside one household – which came to be known as ‘the garden’ – witnessed first hand one of the most unprovoked and suicidal acts of Brambling the league has seen for many a year (excluding the Pirate).
Having picked up midfielder Willian at a snip in opening game of chance The Wheel of Misfortune, the Walthamstow Reds manager then bid for and bought fellow Gooner Gabriel Martinelli, triggering the Titus Bramble forfeit for buying two players from the same club.
Once the schadenfreude has subsided and Willian replaced by Bill Cosby, the Reds manager appeared unable to account for his actions.
He said he thought he’d bought goalkeeper Emilio Martinelli, another Gooner who would have also lost him Willian.
“It was remarkable,” said the chairman. “There I was auctioning Martinez to a man who had just bought Willian. All through the bidding the Reds manager appeared confused, like he couldn’t stop himself from making this Kepa.”
Rumours immediately began circulating the Reds manager’s bulk order of six per cent Buxton beers may have been behind his peculiar error.
In other news, the Pirate now has Muswell Hill murderer Dennis Neilsen in attack after spinning The Wheel of Misfortune in a game of ‘North London’s finest’.
The two players the Somali missed out on – Aubameyang and Kane – ended up going to defending cup holders Clotted Cream First for £41m and £37m respectively.
After picking up Kyle Walker for £9m, the Cream boss rung off ‘the phones’ and left his side to autofill.
“People have tried to win the Kenna with two expensive strikers and dross. For all the good it’s done them they may as well have shoved it up their nose,” said a chalkstripe from the Kenna speculations department before entering a pub toilet.
From: The chairman <firstname.lastname@example.org> Time: Tuesday, 31 October 2017, 11.52am To: The head of charts and graphs <email@example.com> Subject: The Rub audit
I must urge you to immediately correct errors in the Kenna scores spreadsheet The Rub before we are facing serious consequences.
Since first being notified of a mix up with teams and scores, I took a closer inspection. I found no fewer than six teams that appear to have been unrecognisably altered since last month’s transfer window.
I need not remind you the smooth running of this league (or at least the appearance of smooth running) is of utmost importance to the Kenna in its standing as the world’s leading London pub-based fantasy football league.
Don’t tell them I said this, but the managers in the Kenna are (how shall I put it?) a shower of bastards. They will take any chance to jump on an administrative folly like this by Kenna HQ. Animals. That in particular goes for that feckless Welsh wannabe usurper the vice chairman.
I must admit I have a second – most expedient – motive for sweeping this under the carpet quickly and quietly. It will not have escaped anyone’s notice that in your absence at the transfer window, the task of filling in the spreadsheet was delegated to the Lokomotiv Leeds manager. A Jew.
Antisemitism is most definitely not entertained in the Kenna executive. However, may I remind you one of those chiefly affected by the blunder was the Judean Peoples’ Front manager? The same man who looks like and, for all we know, harbours the anti-cosmopolitan views of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik?
If the Breivik-a-like finds out Sergio Aguero has been ripped from his team and replaced with Wayne Rooney because a child of Abraham muffed up the spreadsheet at the transfer window…
I don’t know about you but I don’t want to get plugged by a blonde supremacist in a dripping wet suit, and I expect neither does the Lokomotiv Leeds manager nor Aguero (ironically, Rooney’s the only one in this equation no stranger to getting plugged).
I’m sure I can trust your speed and discretion when it comes to resolving this matter.
PS – if you’re going to fiddle The Rub so you’re top of the league, can you at least bump me up a few places from 19th? Thanks.
The feeling first flickered on Tuesday evening, as Germany gave one of the most assured performances in World Cup history.
Before then I’d barley noticed this cog in the German machine. As so often happens at major tournaments the eyes of the beholder were drawn to a young pretender: the outstanding James Rodriguez.
The young Colombian was unbelievable in Brazil. Beating players, setting up and scoring goals with panache. The jaw-dropping chest, turn and volley versus Uruguay and the eye-contact penalty against Julio Cesar won James the admiration of the world.
If any parallels can be drawn between a multi-million dollar international football tournament in industrialised South America and a love story set in an early 19th Century rural community in Dorset, then it’s clear that Rodriguez assumed the role of the young, flash Sergeant Troy in Thomas Hardy’s pastoral masterpiece Far From The Madding Crowd.
Initially successful in wooing the much-sought-after Bathsheba Everdene, Troy didn’t last the distance, and from the fringes of consciousness the sturdy, honourable, hard-working shepherd Gabriel Oak figure of Kroos emerges to win the her heart.
For Kroos excels in attacking midfield. He moves the ball around with ease and picks out teammates with little difficulty, splitting the opposition in half with a subtle dink.
In between the battle cries of Thomas Müller and the all action swashbuckle of Bastian Schweinsteiger, the brilliance of Toni Kroos can be overlooked, and like Bathsheba rehiring Oak because he’s the only man who can cure her flock of sheep from bloat, I feel the fool for ignoring his talents for so long.
It wasn’t until this week’s semi finals, where the hubris of the tournament is stripped away to leave the most efficient and worthy teams – and sadly in this instance Brazil, Netherlands and Argentina – that one realises the person right in front of them all along is the true star. I felt a similar awakening four years ago when Diego Forlan scored a sublime long-range goal against the Dutch. While I was awaiting magic from household names, I suddenly realised Forlan had been doing this all along.
Kroos is not only an excellent player, he hasn’t succumbed to the celebrity of his peers. As others insert hair plugs or shave their squad number on the side of their head, Toni wears the quaff of a seven-year-old boy whose mum has just fiercely brushed it before the funeral of an elderly relative.
Even as one can imagine the rest of the German team whooping and hollering in the dressing room at half time in Belo Horizonte, of course before Jogi Löw slid in to cool enthusiasm, Toni would be quietly restoring his side parting, not out of vanity but because he wouldn’t want his family to get disapproving looks from neighbours.
At 24, Kroos can surely go on to be one the most enduring stars of world football and the most deserving lifter of the Jules Rimet on Sunday night. As an Englishman he makes me no longer feel ashamed of wanting to a replica Deutschland shirt to add to the collection of Italian club sides and Eastern European minnows.
There’s only one catch to this beautiful romance. It turns out Toni Kroos was signed at the Emerson World Cup fantasy football auction by the Testiculadew Land manager.
In second place with 170 points, Botafogo Pirates FC will rely on David Luiz, Jerome Boateng and Sergio Romero.
In third, Fat Ladies could add to their 169 points with performances from Thomas Müller, Martin Demichelis, Wesley Sneijder and, ahem, Fred.
In a cruel paradox for the rest if the league, T-Land are also a red and yellow card away from picking up the Emerson Unfair Play award.
Added to his Kenna league and cup double last season, the manager would enjoy the most successful year of any since the league was founded in 2005, taking the mantle from the chairman’s domestic double and Dr Khumalo World Cup in 2010.
But I’m not bitter. I just hope Toni Kroos is happy.