The Old Bank of England: birthplace of the Kenna

In the summer of 2005 a group of gentlemen met up at The Old Bank of England on Fleet Street with the simple idea of creating a football competition that would one of them could win.

Their philosophy was the antidote to national competitions where, experience teaches from an early age, the chances of keeping interest in a team’s progress, let alone winning, are extremely slim.

Around a small table of ashtrays, player lists and premium Belgian lager, and with a suggested budget of £100m, the group proceeded to buy an XI each at auction. The prescribed formation was as it remains today: 4-4-2.

Four hours of hard bargaining, blasphemy and inappropriate remarks about Tomas Repka later, The Barry Norgrove League was born.

Little did they know it at the time, but as the sun rose over London the next morning it announced the dawning of a new era. Over time the Norgrove briefly became the Watkiss, before turning permanently into The Jeff Kenna League in 2006.

Over the following years the format both evolved and gained momentum. Rules were modified, only one Premiership player was allowed from each team and more managers joined the ranks of the original few.

Currently in its seventh season, the 2011/12 Jeff Kenna League auction hosted 19 ambitious managers from England, Wales, Scotland, Spain, Catalunya, Somalia and Yorkshire.


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