The next 24 hours will see New Year celebrations from everyone in the world, except perhaps the Schumachers.
Therefore – as Hairy Fadjeetas become the fourth team this season to sit on top of the table – it’s time to look back on the last 12 months in the Kenna to recognise the best, worst, biggest, most inappropriate and most mediocre of the world’s leading London pub-based fantasy football competition.
“What a year it’s been,” said the chairman, more focused on visiting the Polish mountain town of Żywiec today.
Best newcomer – the Sporting Lesbian manager
Michu, Luis Suarez and Sergio Aguero allowed the debut manager to cruise to victory in May…
Performance of the year – Spartak Mogadishu
…but Sporting Lesbian’s domineering league success was not enough to overshadow the previous season’s record set by FC Testiculadew. It was the Pirates’ 7-1 walloping of Just Put Carles in the Canesten Combi Cup final – including hat tricks from Kevin Nolan and Romeleu Lukaku – that was the stand out effort.
Worst performance of the year – the PSV Mornington manager
The opportunity to rectify a dire situation at October’s transfer window was shunned, and the Catalan was out on his ear by Christmas, setting the record for the worst ever start to a campaign and the earliest ever Kenna sacking.
The Wally with the Brolly award for most hapless tournament campaign – Bala Rinas
Despite worrying the top three places this term, success comes rarely to the league treasurer. Never was this is in so much evidence as January when yet another disastrous trophy attempt came to a sorry end. Played four, lost four is the worst Canesten Combi Cup group stage performance ever. And he had Gareth Bale.
Captain Mainwaring leadership award – the Still Don’t Know Yet manager
Many will claim his task of whipping a bunch of misfits into into some sort of shape should sew this one up for the Kenna League chairman. But when questioned in February on his decision not to release absentees Drusille Ngako and Anton Ferndinand ahead of the transfer window, the Still Don’t Know Yet manager came out with this corker: “Do you think Napoleon focused on every individual soldier? No, he was looking at the big picture, and so am I.”
Biggest dilemma ahead of a transfer window award – Juan Mata or Demba Ba?
How the outcast PSV Mornington manager must have wished for this doozy in the recent October window? Back in January his side were flying high, but Demba Ba’s move to London meant he either had to jettison the goal hungry Senagalese or the mercurial Juan Mata. His decision to keep Mata was vindicated when the Spaniard went onto be widely lauded as the player of last season, while Ba lost his way. All three of them must look back fondly from their current slumps.
The Dr Evil award for the Kenna’s biggest nemesis – the Catholic Church
Despite his obvious talents at administrating a group of men whose names should be on some sort of police register, the chairman was cruelly overlooked by the Vatican when the big job came up in February. To add insult to injury the chairman was again thwarted by those fools in Rome in October when the farcical timing of his even more farcical marriage lessons meant the transfer window schedule had to rearranged.
The Kevin Keegan ‘I would LOVE it’ award for coping with April pressure – the Woking manager
Natalie Sawyer, Chobham Common, a socket wrench and a Genesis classic. Cue darkness.
The Jack Wilshere xenophobe award – Mo Farrah’s pirate accent
Not even Jack’s misplaced comments on English nationality could overshadow the heinous crime of cack handedly bringing the UK’s favourite Somali immigrant into the ongoing Spartak Mogadishu pirate gags.
The Amsterdam red light district award for most false promise in the window – Jason Puncheon
Despite his unpredictable bowl movements, Jason Puncheon’s run of form leading up to the February transfer window attracted a sizeable fee. His average performances for the rest of season were not enough to help Vasco De Beauvoir avoid the drop.
The Notorious BIG Life After Death award for best post-Kenna career – the former manager of The Dan Terry Seduction
From boardroom dressing downs to unsuccessfully slipping a roofy to a young, female journalist, The Dan Terry Seduction’s former boss had all the qualities of a Kenna manager off the pitch. When inevitable relegation and P45 collection came, he picked himself up, dusted himself off and turned his particular talents to terrorising a middle England golf club. Rumour has it he still parks in the club pro’s reserved space.
The Men from the Ministry Bureaucratic Balls Up award – Kenna HQ
Just Put Carles may have been trounced in the Canesten Combi Cup final, but it’s remarkable they even made it past the quarter finals. Initially Sporting Lesbian had been announced as victors of the tie, but inaccuracies were spotted and a few days later Kenna HQ revised the outcome. Where was the chairman during this state of emergency? Allegedly dicking around in Warsaw at the former Gestapo HQ. The champions league first goal scorer sweepstake, which no one won because Mario Mandzukic wasn’t in the hat, comes a close second.
Best night out – August auction
The Two Chairmen in Trafalgar Square followed by a casino visit at the February window and the nine-hour session in the Pakenham Arms at the end of season awards in May were both eclipsed by August’s marathon event. Eight hours of bidding for players in the upstairs bar The Roebuck, followed by another six surrounded by intrepid young Spanish women on a disco boat moored at Temple Pier, left many managers reeling for several days.
The Operation Yewtree award for best youth set up – the Young Boys manager
|Judean Peoples Front||Sholto||57||3|
|This is Sparta…Prague||Rich||49||2|
|Team Panda Rules OK||George||47||3|
|Sporting Lesbian||Ben M||46||3|
|St. Reatham FC||Mike||44||3|
|FC Testiculadew||James N||42||1|
|Headless Chickens||John N||40||1|
|Still Don’t Know Yet||Pete||40||1|
|Rapids De Cullons CF||Jorge||39||1|
|Dulwich Red Sox||Luke||38||2|
|KS West Green||Stix||33||0|
|Just put Carles||Carles||29||2|
|Lokomotiv Leeds||Ben S||24||1|
|PSV Mornington||El Pons||17||0|
|Player of the week||
|Walcott, T – ARS – MID|
NEXT Wednesday marks the eighth full calendar year of the Kenna League.
As Christmas turns from work parties to family meals to the creeping burn of stomach acid, it’s time to look back on the last 12 months in the Kenna – the world’s leading London-pub based fantasy football competition.
It’s also time to reveal the top five most popular posts of 2013 on the Kenna site.
“It’s been a roller coaster year,” cliched the chairman, too full of his future mother-in-law’s cabbage surprise to care any more.
The year in a nutshell
Sporting Lesbian brought in the New Year with a 36-point lead over defending champions FC Testiculadew, and maintained a healthy buffer until lifting the league title on debut five months later.
The Woking manager faced serious questions from authorities at the February transfer window, held in the upstairs bar of The Two Chairmen in Trafalgar Square. The league leadership is still adamant that after a trip to the casino following the window, he did not fall asleep on the night bus and wake up miles from Kenna HQ in Enfield.
In April, some managers were seen on the banks of the River Thames lamenting their failure to capture league form on the first of three Kenna-organised London pub crawls in 2013. As Sporting took the league a month later, the Spartak Mogadishu manager celebrated his team’s first ever Kenna silverware when his side walloped Just Put Carles 7-1 in the Canesten Combi Cup final.
May’s end of season awards bash at the Pakenham Arms in Bloomsbury was the prelude of an international tournament free summer when the chairman had nothing better to do than bother a top European football ground in Lisbon and announce himself as statistically the best manager ever to compete in the Kenna.
In August, 23 managers convened for a record-breaking auction event at The Roebuck in Borough that saw a clutch of them hitting Club Duvet way past dawn to found The 7.08 Club.
While February’s transfer window enjoyed record attendance, October’s was a reminder of the disappointing turnouts of the late noughties. Just eight were seated around the table in the upstairs room of The Three Stags in Lambeth, and it led to calls for a managerial cull and unsavoury reprisals.
Soon after the October window closed and the heavy cogs of the Canesten Combi Cup group stage ground into action, early-season pretenders Headless Chickens lost their place at the top of the table to perennial underachiever the Piedmonte manager.
There was still time for two more pub crawls – one at the start of November, and one at the end – before the PSV Mornington manager became the first ever Kenna manager to get the sack by Christmas when the club’s board lost patience with the poorest start to a season ever recorded.
Much to universal astonishment, AVB joined the Kenna just before Christmas.
The Kenna blog’s top five posts in 2013 (that weren’t about pub crawls)
- Lezzers lose libido late on – It’s highly likely that not everyone looking for this page expected to find details of Sporting Lesbian’s wobble towards the end of the 2012/13 season.
- In too deep – The Woking manager’s brutal murder of an attractive Sky Sports News anchor to the music of Genesis was a firm favourite all around.
- A Tale of Two Cissés – Kenna revisit of the Charles Dickens classic to compare the fates of Papiss and Djibrial after joining the league in February.
- No Sporting chance – Difficult to see why news of an administrative debacle over which team really progressed from a cup semi final was so popular, unless the accompanying photo is taken into account.
- What a bunch of can’ts – The chairman’s failed attempt at skiing captured on camera was an instant hit.
ANDRÉ Villas-Boas is to take up a post in the Kenna League as assistant manager at Rapids de Cullons CF.
The Portuguese, who many were surprised to see sacked by Tottenham last week, was snapped up by Rapids de Cullons primarily to help in their bid for the Canesten Combi Cup, the Kenna’s knockout tournament.
“We’re delighted to get André on board to lend his expertise in pursuit of our first piece of Kenna silverware,” said the Rapids manager at a press conference that appears to have been held on public transport.
Despite leading Porto to Europa League glory and leaving Spurs with a 100 per cent record in that competition this season, Villas-Boas was forced to dismiss concerns he will find it difficult to step up to the additional pressure of the Kenna.
“This is definitely the best Christmas ever,” began the former Tottenham boss, who forfeits a considerable payout from Spurs for accepting a new role so soon.
“Managing dressing room egos and boardroom expectations to date pale into insignificance compared to the Kenna. Standing in a London pub while drinking several pints of premium lager on an empty stomach as you buy players without Brambling yourself is the biggest ask of my life.
“It’s a real badge of honour for foreign managers to adapt to this nuance of British life. On the Continent we always sit down in bars and drink halves of shandy. Very slowly.”
A London nightlife veteran, the Rapids manager was quick to point out that as assistant coach AVB would not making any transfer decisions until the end of a probation period. The Catalan confirmed that for now his new recruit’s brief at the February Kenna transfer window would be restricted to buying the beers, crashing the chairman cigarettes and, when the last orders bell sounds, encouraging managers to move on to the Rapids manager’s boat bar on the River Thames.
The Catalan manager failed to make an impact in his only other season in the Kenna League, finishing mid table at the helm of Atletico Temple, but he did manage to reach the latter stages of the Canesten Combi Cup. The team lie second in group B with two games to go.
The latest Kenna table will be published as soon as the chairman tracks down the chaps from charts and graphs.
PSV MORNINGTON sacked their manager last night, citing poor performances and a lack of commitment as reasons.
A week before Christmas the north London club is pinned to the bottom of the table with the lowest points tally of any team at this stage of the season since the Kenna was founded in 2005.
Question marks hang over the manager’s dedication to PSV Mornington after another dismal display on the weekend. Rather than focus on improving team discipline, he was spotted partying into the early hours at the Dolphin in Hackney.
Failure to attend the transfer window in October, for which the manager allegedly suffered psychological torture at the hands of Clint Dempsey in retribution, is also thought to be a critical factor in the Catalan’s dismissal.
A club statement issued this morning read: “We could say PSV and the manager reached a mutual agreement and we wish him all the best with his future career, but we’d be lying. He was an absolute disaster.
“Since his appointment three seasons ago he’s never finished higher than 10th in the table, and we should’ve cut him loose in December 2010 when we found the club in exactly the same situation. We wouldn’t wish his services on any club. Or his bar bill.”
The Catalan manager has struggled to make an impact from the campaign’s outset.
He was widely criticised by everyone associated with PSV after the summer auction for buying players well known to injury and indifferent form.
The comical strike partnership of Andy Carroll and Fernando Torres has come to be symbolic of his tenure’s steady demise. Charles N’Zogbia the kiss of death.
Leaving the club car park late last night with a handful of personal effects which only appeared to be a tub of arroz con leche, the manager declined to be interviewed. His relationship with the media broke down in April last year after a bitter war of words with a rival Catalan manager.
The club denied rumours the dismissal paves way for newly-unemployed André Villas-Boas to take the helm.
Until the position is filled permanently, PSV Mornington will be managed by the club’s assistant coach – a life-sized cardboard cutout of Pep Guardiola.
Worst Christmas ever
The outgoing PSV Mornington manager has beaten his own record for the least points scored by the week before Christmas. Only once in history has the last-placed Kenna manager finished outside the relegation zone.
17 December 2013: PSV Mornington – 194 points
14 December 2010: PSV Mornington – 246 points, finished 17th (last, relegated)
16 December 2009: Fat Ladies – 268 points, finished 12th (last, relegated)
13 December 2011: The Dan Terry Seduction – 284 points, finished 17th (relegated)
19 December 2007: Dynamo Temple – 304 points, finished 10th (out of 12)
18 December 2012: Vasco De Beauvoir – 307 points, finished 18th (relegated)
13 December 2006: Vazmanian Devils – 317 points, finished 9th (last, relegated)
17 December 2008: FC Gun Show – 318 points, finished 12th (last, relegated)
14 December 2005: Stockwell Stockwell – 343 points, finished 8th (last, relegated)
|1||This is Sparta…Prague||Rich||48||4|
|2||Just put Carles||Carles||40||3|
|3||KS West Green||Stix||39||3|
|4||Sporting Lesbian||Ben M||38||2|
|5||FC Testiculadew||James N||37||1|
|7||Team Panda Rules OK||George||31||0|
|8||Dulwich Red Sox||Luke||28||2|
|11||Rapids De Cullons CF||Jorge||24||1|
|13||Judean Peoples Front||Sholto||21||1|
|17||Lokomotiv Leeds||Ben S||17||0|
|19||Headless Chickens||John N||13||1|
|20||PSV Mornington||El Pons||13||1|
|21||St. Reatham FC||Mike||13||1|
|23||Still Don’t Know Yet||Pete||6||0|
|Player of the week||21||Suarez, L – LIV – STR|
|Club||This is Sparta…Prague|
GODALMING became the centre of national scandal in 1726 when a local woman began giving birth to rabbits.
Mary Toft raised herself from obscurity by convincing even King George I’s own surgeon she was capable of delivering a bumper litter of 16 bunnies, as well as bits of other animals.
The deception was uncovered when Toft was found to have inserted woodland creatures inside herself before faking the births.
Fortunately, Vicki the bus spotter was not in such capricious mood 287 autumns later when a party of regular crawlers made the day trip from London Waterloo to sample the pubs in her new Surrey home. A deer was spotted in her garden though.
A couple of Binksy’s extremely fiery Bloody Marys were more than enough to warm their house on a Saturday lunchtime and the group – including the Kenna chairman, Palts the Balt, the Spartak Mogadishu manager and of course the irrepressible Sutcliffe in a shirt of questionable taste – ambled down the hill to sample four of Godalming’s ale houses.
The first town in the world to have a public electricity supply in 1881, it was fitting the day of the pub crawl would also see the people of Godalming throng the streets to see their Christmas lights switched on.
Tipplers were made to shuffle through thoroughfares tightly packed with market stalls, carol singers and wide-eyed locals around the town’s centrepiece – the Pepperpot – as Vicki assured everyone it was ‘never normally this busy. Just old people’.
Having fought through the crowd, crawlers filed into the first pub, which according to the badly-punctuated sign outside has stood on the site since the Eighteenth Century, and has retained much of it’s ‘Olde Worlde’ charm.
Inside the pub was a low-timbered place with one of those frustratingly small bar serving areas which cause a pseudo flash mob in one part of an otherwise quiet snug. Table service must have been the norm when people believed women were capable of siring quadrupeds.
Despite its size, the bar served an interesting array of obscure ciders. Sadly, a roll of the dice produced a vinegary snake eyes. The barman was only too happy to point out better choices afterwards.
Sutcliffe was reasonably impressed with the ale on offer, and his hypersensitive pretentiousness-o-meter, which strobes wildly in all but the most down to earth London pubs, didn’t even register. The pub was solid.
Outside the Rose and Crown looked like a charming old building perched on a hill. Inside it was all refitted wooden floors and Jeff Stelling’s face. The cosy bar area makes it difficult to stand somewhere that isn’t blocking someone’s view of the vidiprinter.
Committed lager drinkers looking for something more than Stella Artois or Kronenbourg would be disappointed here. Committed deviants would not – the barman looked like a 10-year-old boy.
Only because the toilets were located in a separate building out the back, was it discovered the boozer has a charming beer patio and a sizeable covered area to delight any smoker.
Christmas is a difficult time for any pub. Striving to maintain tradition while giving punters the flavour for buying a few more festive rounds leaves publicans with the singular choice of decorations. At the Richmond tinsel is bar sales.
After the pokey interior of the Rose and Crown, the Richmond was a red-carpeted grand hall. The front bar is a very welcoming room with a counter bulging out from the wall opposite the entrance. Again it was a trip to gents that afforded further exploration – a large function room at the rear was the find.
One imagines loyal regulars are this pub’s lifeblood. They most certainly enjoy well-kept beer.
Coming from the warmth and care of the Richmond, the Red Lion is in stark contrast. Sometimes it’s immediately apparent crossing the threshold that no one cares about a pub – not the punters, not the staff, not even its website. It’s just a set of numbers on a balance sheet in a brewery HQ hundreds of miles away. The landlord’s cutting his teeth and building his CV in the hope of moving on to a more illustrious tippler. That’s the Red Lion.
As a result this pub lacks charm, the beer’s dreadful and the only factor keeping it in the game is its size and location in the middle of town. There’s live music performed in the evenings, which appears to help give it all the character of a beer stand at the O2 Dome.
While crawlers made the best of the Red Lion’s inhospitable front bar the Godalming Christmas lights were turned on. Everyone doubled back to Vicki and Binksy’s for chilli and gin.
It was widely accepted the first boozer, The Star Inn, was the best. It did mean the rest of crawl was like a slow puncture of quality – with a small rally at the Richmond – ending in the flat Red Lion experience.
As Kenna pub crawls visit and assess more and more pubs, it’s clear that striking the delicate balance between running a business, keeping an imaginative array of beers and building an assembly of loyal regulars not too cliquey so strangers feel unwelcome is a complicated demand, and one publicans approach with varying degrees of success. A Kenna pub rating system is on the drawing board.
By the Hairy Fadjeetas manager
ST REATHAM FC’s weekend preparations were thrown into turmoil as club star striker Wayne Rooney was sent into space by the Persian Mafia.
Rooney, who has bagged 81 points for the mid-table outfit, missed key training sessions due to the unscheduled rocket ride but was said to have returned ‘in perfect health’.
It’s rumoured that Rooney and St Reatham were approached by the Persians after their first choice cosmonaut overdosed on bananas. It’s thought he was allowed to take his own life after he embarrassed state officials by sending an unconvincing stand-in to a scheduled photo call with the world’s media.
The St Reatham boss was unavailable for comment this afternoon with the club’s press office informing journalists that ‘he has not fled to Switzerland to avoid difficult questions about an incident on Chobham Common – that’s just speculation’.
England manager Roy Hodgson was also unavailable for comment.
DEEP in the bowls of Kenna HQ lies a vast underground record of all the notable, notorious and mediocre football management achievements in the league.
Chronicled for posterity in those dark annals are such guilded histories as FC Testiculadew’s Kenna in the bag season, the time Fat Ladies ended the most dismal of campaigns more than 200 points adrift and perhaps most importantly of all the 2009/10 Judean Peoples’ Front side becoming the most average team ever to compete in the league.
Whispers in the corridors and smoking areas of Kenna HQ maintain that hidden in these depths, amongst dusty artefacts like the March 2007 third transfer window and the mysterious soundproofed door to which only the chairman has the key, is a list of the highest individual weekly scores written in virgin’s blood on a beermat preserved from the first ever auction.
Statisticians are praying this sacred parchment is found soon, as Luis Suarez is believed to have had the best ever seven days in the Kenna.
The Uruguayan’s manager at This is Sparta…Prague is so delighted with the striker’s five goals and four assists he’s had T-shirts made bearing the slogan ‘He’ll miss the first eight games though’.
The jibe is a reference to a popular remark made by Kenna managers at August’s pre-season auction dismissing the player as a poor investment, and which allowed the Sparta manager to cheerfully pick Luis up for just £0.5m.
Suarez’ exploits now see him overtaking £38m KS West Green striker Sergio Aguero as the top performing player in the league. The Still Don’t Know Yet manager can only rue his decision to make Robin van Persie the most expensive Kenna player ever. The glass Dutchman does not warrant his £46m price tag.
Unfortunately for Sparta, the unprecedented individual display of Suarez was only enough to lift them one place in the relegation zone.
Canesten Combi Cup results
|1||FC Testiculadew||James N||69||4|
|2||KS West Green||Stix||63||4|
|5||This is Sparta…Prague||Rich||55||5|
|7||Lokomotiv Leeds||Ben S||54||2|
|8||Team Panda Rules OK||George||50||2|
|9||Still Don’t Know Yet||Pete||47||2|
|11||Sporting Lesbian||Ben M||41||0|
|12||St. Reatham FC||Mike||35||2|
|14||Headless Chickens||John N||32||2|
|15||Judean Peoples Front||Sholto||32||2|
|16||Just put Carles||Carles||32||0|
|19||Rapids De Cullons CF||Jorge||31||0|
|22||Dulwich Red Sox||Luke||28||1|
|23||PSV Mornington||El Pons||27||1|
|Player of the week||38||Suarez, L – LIV – STR|
|Club||This is Sparta…Prague|