A LATINO will not take the vacant manager position at Barcelona because of their miserable Kenna League form, the Camp Nou has confirmed.
Luis Enrique’s announcement he will vacate the Barca position at the end of the season prompted club president Josep Maria Bartomeu to play down rumours another Iberian could get the job.
“You look at how a Catalan is performing this season at the highest level of the game and he’s 300 points adrift at the bottom of the Kenna. The chorizo is mouldy,” said Bartomeu referring to the manager of Just Put Carles.
IT HAS never been remarked upon that any team won a top-level football league because they ‘transfer windowed well’.
In the brief hiatus between the end of the season in May and the start of the World Cup in June, whoever the winners are will be noted for their long-term strategy, the conviction instilled into the team by the manager and most of all their luck.
They may have signed a useful player in January who immediately gels with his teammates, but that will only be a footnote in the side’s chronicle of success.
The Kenna League takes pride in reflecting this particular nuance of modern football. In every Kenna season to date, the winning manager’s preparations in the summer, his approach to the auction, the core of team purchased therein and good fortune, has decided the campaign.
That’s not to say that transfer windows are obsolete, despite the Pikey Scum manager’s claim today that his Senderos/Jenkinson swap in the last window was like ‘rearranging the deckchairs the Titanic’. To remain competitive Kenna managers must ensure their peripheral players are making appearances – it’s little surprise that three of the bottom four managers didn’t attend the October window.
Transfer windows are as integral to the Kenna League manager as they are to the Premier League manager, but for the most part of the season they must both rely on the finite resources at their disposal.
Which is why other, much less exclusive fantasy football competitions have got it wrong.
If any manager wants to remind himself of the superiority of the Kenna all he needs to do is enter the ‘official’ Fantasy Premier League.
At this point it would easy to list the many faults of this contest, that everyone ends up with pretty much the same players in their team, the ridiculousness of picking a captain and vice captain each week, the folly and oversight of not giving prominence to manager darts entrance music, but the argument will be kept to one strain – transfers.
The season is one long transfer window. The manager is essentially picking his team from one squad of every player in the Premier League. No player is off limits. How does that mirror the game?
Of course, the banner advertising on each page hints at why the FPL wants ‘managers’ to keeping checking back on their selections for the upcoming week. The Kenna suffers from no such obstacle to improving manager experience, as the trifling amount of visits to these pages testify.
But satisfying sponsors at the expense of sophistication is nothing compared to FPL’s single biggest foible.
The crucial period of the FPL manager’s week is time between Friday morning and Saturday lunchtime, between squads being announced for the weekend’s fixtures and the cut off point for making changes to your team.
So why does the chairman kick himself every week five minutes into the Saturday early game on the Kenna HQ kitchen radio? Because for any self-respecting Kenna manager this 36-hour ‘transfer window’ is dedicated to planning, executing and recovering from a Friday evening’s entertainment after the working week.
Almost exactly a third of the way through the season it’s a welcome reminder of why the Kenna was founded, and why the preferred time for the next Kenna transfer window is a Friday night.
It’s also the best way to explain why the chairman is bottom of every FPL league he’s entered.
Canesten Combi Cup – group stage standings after two match weeks
Fading from the first team over the next 18 months, the Cameroonian was sold to Aston Villa for £1.5m – a £5m loss for United. Competition from Gavin McCann and Steve Davies meant Djemba-Djemba played only once for the Villains before being farmed out on loan to Championship club Burnley.
Only the most devoted followers of Qatar SC, Odense BK and Hapoel Tel Aviv could add nuance to Eric’s 162 appearances and six goals following his release by Villa in summer 2007.
Djemba-Djemba never featured for a Kenna side, mainly because the bulk of his meagre Premier League appearances happened before the Kenna’s creation in 2005. Official Kenna records from the period are as patchy as the Bible, but it’s believed he did spend some time as a Titus Bramble player in 2006/07.
Be that as it may, his combative ‘Claude Makalele’ role in front of defence meant he was more likely to pick up bookings than assists and goals, a highly undesirable trait considering the Kenna’s scoring system.
A glut of new midfielders have flooded into England since Sporting Lesbian lifted the Kenna title in May. It remains to be seen which of those new recruits have the X factor and which have the Djemba-Djemba factor, but that won’t stand in the way of bold predictions based on national stereotyping and sweeping generalisations. When it comes to the auction on Saturday, on whom will managers gamble?
The list of Brazilians to flake in the Premier League is long and distinguished, but Paulinho’s formative years in Eastern Europe give the impression he can deal with a lot chillier and more hostile climes than a wet Tuesday night in Stoke. A likely first-team starter for Spurs and no stranger to the score sheet, although if his season goes too well a protracted transfer saga to Real Madrid next summer looms. Djemba-Djemba factor: 1/5
Fernandinho (Man City)
Another box-to-box Brazilian with experience of Eastern Europe’s icy depths. Manchester should be a stroll compared to any winter’s night in Donetsk. Maybe not guaranteed the starting place of his compatriot above, but lightening pace and a powerful shot. Djemba-Djemba factor: 2/5
José Cañas (Swansea)
In the last four years and 66 appearances, Cañas never scored for his former side Real Betis. Djemba-Djemba factor: 4/5
Aleksander Tonev (Villa)
The wiry Bulgarian international collected an Ekstraklasa runners up medal last season with Lech Poznań and offers width and pace. A former young Bulgarian footballer of the year, Tonev clocked up his first goals for the national side in March – scoring the first hat-trick of his career in a 6-0 thumping against Malta. How much will he feature? Djemba-Djemba factor: 3/5
Leroy Fer (Norwich)
Nicknamed ‘The Bouncer’ for his physical approach to the game, the Dutch international played in a range of positions throughout his early career but is now seen as a defensive midfielder in the mould of Patrick Viera. Not many goals or assists expected. Djemba-Djemba factor: 4/5
André Schürrle (Chelsea)
Certain to go for big money at auction, the German scores a goal every three games at club and country level. Unlikely to be the next Marko Marin. Djemba-Djemba factor: 1/5
The Sunderland midfield
Phil Bardsley may have been rebuked for that casino snap, but it’s his club paymasters who are spinning the wheel for the highest stakes. Paulo Di Canio’s wholesale replacement of players means the team that finished last season could be unrecognisable from the one lining up next week. El-Hadji Ba, Cabral, Diakite and Giaccherini all have no experience of the English game. Will the Italian’s gamble pay off? No one knows, but even his critics would say Di Canio always tends to be right. Djemba-Djemba factor: 4/5
Victor Wanyama (Southampton)
An African defensive midfielder who for the last two years has honed his skills in a league even more unfashionable than France’s. Are you Eric in disguise? Djemba-Djemba factor: 5/5
PLANS to introduce a new open market system to Kenna transfer windows were unveiled today.
In what league blazers have smugly branded ‘Jeff’s transfer bazaar’, managers selling players in the season’s two windows will only receive what another club is prepared to pay for them. Previously, managers received the price they’d paid for a player.
The announcement comes comes 11 days before the annual Kenna auction, where managers will gather in the pub to buy their teams ahead of the English football season.
In a press conference this afternoon in the saloon bar of the King’s Arms in Waterloo, the chairman said: “Managers will have to be a lot more wary of who they outlay the big money on at the auction. You don’t want to be stuck with a £30m out-of-sorts Andy Carroll on your hands, or even worse a Titus Bramble forfeit player.”
A top secret brochure of players to be sold in set order will be distributed to managers immediately before the auction starts – a move away from the traditional method of managers taking turns to pick players at random.
The chairman has hit back at critics of the plan, who think it will lead to less spontaneity: “To improve the auction experience, every manager will have one wildcard pick each, so that they can introduce a player of their own choosing at any stage of the auction.
“Five selected lots will be sold in a first-price sealed bid auction – where potential buyers will secretly write down their maximum bid, with the highest winning.”
No indication was made of who exactly the forfeit players would be for the auction, but Kenna HQ did confirm a 23-strong squad.
Made up of 11 young or loaned out Premier League footballers (The Bramble Youth) and 11 high-profile individuals who have earned notoriety off the pitch (Titus Bramble’s Pub XI), the Titus Bramble squad will be used as bogey players for managers breaking the rules.
THE FORMER manager of Vasco De Beauvoir has been announced as the best ever to compete in the Kenna League.
Despite getting sacked in two months ago after leading the side to relegation for the first time in an eight-year career, the Vasco manager tops the charts through winning two league titles and two Canesten Combi Cups since the Kenna was founded in 2005.
The Worcestershire man also holds 11 Manager of the Month (MOTM) awards, the league record.
The Young Boys, FC Testiculadew and Dynamo Temple managers – all with one league championship and one cup apiece – will be mindful that they could take top spot in the all time stats if they scoop the double in the upcoming season.
Kenna managers past and present with at least two campaigns’ experience were ranked against each other on leagues won, cups won, podium finishes and MOTM awards.
The veteran managers of Piedmonte and Newington Reds, the only others apart from the Vasco gaffer to compete in all eight Kenna seasons, find themselves down the rankings with just two podium finishes each and no silverware.
The Devils boss, who led the club between 2006 and 2010, is the highest ranked female manager with one podium finish. A condescending and cringe-worthy corporate awards ceremony involving flowers and chocolates awaits.
The former Vasco manager, who is also the Kenna League chairman, said: “To be fair, if I hadn’t always had a feeling that two championships and two cups meant I was the best ever Kenna manager, I probably wouldn’t have spent so much time working out the damn stats to prove it.”
Rumours abound as to which team the chairman will manage in the new term. Westgreenspor, Eintracht Mind, Getoverit 96 and Total Network Failure have all be linked to the former Vasco boss.
The publication of ‘Jeff’s hall of fame’ comes 25 days before the ninth annual Kenna auction, where managers will gather in a London pub to buy their teams in preparation for the Premier League season.
Top footballers are anticipated to attract sky high bids – while even prices for those of middleweight quality are predicted to swell – compared to previous auctions.
At the unveiling of the new player list this afternoon, exactly one calendar month and a day before the auction, the Kenna chairman said: “It used to be that quality players came to England from around the world and managers could get lucky at the auction.
“If they want to be competitive this season managers had better do their homework. As membership of the Kenna has gone up over the years we’ve seen more money spent on the most desirable players, and we expect this trend to continue. This auction will be harder, better, faster, stronger and more drunken than anything that’s come before.
“Whereas Sergio Aguero fetched a record £40m last August, we expect him to go for a lot more than that this year as managers come face to face with the task of securing the best talent.
“The maths is simple: if 25 managers attend next month’s auction it will take 275 players to fill all the teams. That means an average of nearly 14 players from each Premier League squad will go under the hammer.
“It won’t just be English players fetching a premium. Continental Europeans, South Americans, Africans and even Asians will cost a fair coin, and there’s always something about US players that makes them popular.”
The ninth annual Kenna auction will take place in a London pub on 10 August, one week before the start of the Premier League season.
Each manager will start with £100m to buy their eleven players in a 4-4-2 formation.
Two opportunities to keep teams fresh will be offered during the campaign, at transfer windows in October and February.
At this morning’s press conference, the chairman refused to be drawn on rumours of a new open market transfer window system for the 2013/14 season. Confirmation is expected in the next few weeks.
The chairman did put down reports the auction was to be broadcast on Radio 5 Live.
“We thought with the turmoil and BBC evolution (or, whatever, revolution) 909 medium wave might be interested in buying the rights, but it turns out it clashes with a cricket contest we’ll all be glued to anyway. We probably should have pitched it to niche broadcasters – you know how these people in digital love something different.
“Oh yes, and did I mention the entry fee rise? No? I thought I did. Oh well, one more time: we’re putting up the entry fee to £25 per manager,” said the chairman, as he climbed into the back of the league’s executive prestige car just before it sped off.
THE KENNA League is jumping on the pundit bandwagon about the Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny partnership being the basis of Arsenal’s realised European ambition.
The four best defences in the Kenna this season helped their team to a top-half finish. Joe Hart, Ashley Cole and Jose Enrique shared a tremendous season at Judean Peoples’ Front to crown the team best at the back.
In midfield, the Just Put Carles manager’s decision to stick with his starting four of Arteta, Silva, Osman and Henderson – more likely through not turning up to transfer windows than anything else – paid dividends.
Despite winning the league on Sunday with the most goals scored of any side, Sporting Lesbian fell short in defence and midfield for which the front pair of Luis Suarez and Sergio Aguero more than atoned. Only Robin van Persie and Arouna Kone at Still Don’t Know Yet did better.
The Sporting manager’s celebratory tweet today suggests a William Hill account has taken a bit of beating over the last few months.
@jeffkennaleague Delighted with the season, the prize money just about covers all the dodgy bets I’ve made this season..
HE TRIED his hardest to mess it up at the end, but the Sporting Lesbian manager still cruised to victory.
Looking back at May’s turkey of the month award, the Sporting boss will be keen to welcome the return of the banned Luis Suarez next season, as will every other club in the league if he stays on these shores.
Vanquished champion the FC Testiculadew manager is consoled with second place. Expect him to come back strong and remorseless.
The Newington Reds and Just Put Carles managers shared April’s manager of the month award, which means just a fiver each for them.
The sacked Woking manager may have to review his transfer policy ahead of the new campaign after picking up turkey of the month awards in the immediate aftermath of both transfer windows.
The best (prize money)
Sporting Lesbian – League champions plus August’s and November’s manager of the month (£120), also May’s turkey of the month
FC Testiculadew – League runners up plus September’s manager of the month (£50)