DURING the final stage of the Tour de France it’s customary for the cyclist wearing the yellow jersey to toast his journey into Paris with a glass of champagne.
Even though there are still 100 or so kilometres to go at the start of the day, a challenge for the top spot in cycling on such a flat leg is considered over after a month of punishing mountains, gruelling time trials and simple French country folk. It’s also considered ungentlemanly.
Ironic then that the man who killed the chivalrous spirit of the Kenna by discovering the sharp practice of tactical Brambling finds himself in a similar champagne finish in the league this week as his team march inexorably towards the elysian fields of an unprecedented second Kenna double.
A goal from Juan Mata and two from the irrepressible Edin Dzeko saw FC Testiculadew beat Northern Monkeys 3-2 in the Canesten Combi Cup final this week. FCT now only have one more match to negotiate until adding the league title to a groaning club trophy cabinet.
Barring an unlikely 12 goals on Saturday from second-placed Piedmonte‘s Shane Long, the FCT manager will pick up two Kenna doubles in three seasons, potentially making him the most successful Kenna boss of all time.
Agonisingly for the Piedmonte manager, the fact remains that getting rid of Samir Nasri at the February transfer window cost him the league.
JPF were in the top three for 13 weeks until now, but are in danger of dropping even further down the table if Team Panda Rules OK striker Olivier Giroud can continue his streak this weekend, or in the remote chance Ahmed Elmohamady and Laurent Koscielny have the game of their lives for Pikey Scum.
In the jostle of the peloton no amount of substance abuse will make the season anything but an exercise in mediocrity.
Bringing up the rear in Bramble Jerseys, the bottom three found themselves aching and tangled in a barbed wire fence on a rural roadside in the Auvergne sometime ago. P45s await, or in one case was an early Christmas present.
|1||Still Don’t Know Yet||Pete||55||6|
|3||FC Testiculadew||James N||37||3|
|4||St. Reatham FC||Mike||36||2|
|6||Sporting Lesbian||Ben M||33||0|
|7||Team Panda Rules OK||George||32||0|
|9||Just put Carles||Carles||31||1|
|11||Headless Chickens||John N||29||1|
|13||Lokomotiv Leeds||Ben S||28||1|
|17||KS West Green||Stix||20||1|
|18||Rapids De Cullons CF||Jorge||18||0|
|19||Judean Peoples Front||Sholto||17||0|
|21||PSV Mornington||El Pons||14||1|
|22||Dulwich Red Sox||Luke||10||0|
|23||This is Sparta…Prague||Rich||6||0|
|Player of the week||18||Zabaleta, P – MCY – DEF|
TURKISH convenience stores seldom come less complete than the premises around the corner from Kenna HQ.
Marathon opening hours, ready access to tonic water and fresh limes, and a proprietor always up for a discussion on the latest developments at Galatasaray mean the chairman is often found locked in conversation over a can of Coke, litre of Delmonte orange juice or 10 Camel Lights.
During one particularly lengthy debate on the decline of Wesley Sneijder while buying a 750ml bottle of Leffe Brune, it emerged the shop’s cash cow is beer, a large array of which dominates one refrigerated wall.
What has this to do with the Kenna title race? There are two parallels.
First, much like Gala in the Turkish Super Lig, Piedmonte find themselves well and truly beaten into second place this week. Two goals from Edin Dzeko have put FC Testiculadew well in control of the Kenna: 53 points ahead with 10 days to go.
It would take hat-tricks from Shane Long, Peter Odemwingie, Mark Noble, Jason Puncheon and no more slip ups from Steve Gerrard this Sunday to get Pies back in contention. A remote scenario considering the second parallel.
Tweeting a photo of two cans of Polish beer about to be consumed in public can only confirm the Piedmonte boss has lost interest in his side’s pursuit of the Kenna title and has turned into the average customer of the International Food Centre.
— Phil Davis (@PhillyD55) May 3, 2014
It’s only a matter of time before he’s sitting on a park bench in an obscure replica football shirt, fiercely telling anyone who’ll listen about the two times he almost won the Kenna, while seamlessly inserting the word ‘kurwa’ three times into each sentence without breaking syntax (see demonstration below).
Looking ahead to this weekend, the FC Testiculadew manager has the chance to scoop his second double in three seasons as his team face Northern Monkeys in the Canesten Combi Cup final.
Considering FCT have scored 2.83 goals a week for the last six and Northern Monkeys just 1.16, the bookies are favouring the Tactical Brambler.
Should the tie be a draw, the final will be decided on number of points scored.
In the unlikely event the two sides are equal on goals and points, a tie breaker will be played over the last weekend of the season, on goals then points.
|5||Just put Carles||Carles||30||2|
|6||FC Testiculadew||James N||28||2|
|7||Headless Chickens||John N||28||0|
|8||Team Panda Rules OK||George||27||1|
|9||Still Don’t Know Yet||Pete||26||2|
|11||PSV Mornington||El Pons||22||1|
|12||Judean Peoples Front||Sholto||22||0|
|13||St. Reatham FC||Mike||20||1|
|14||KS West Green||Stix||19||1|
|15||Lokomotiv Leeds||Ben S||19||0|
|16||Rapids De Cullons CF||Jorge||19||0|
|19||Dulwich Red Sox||Luke||17||0|
|21||Sporting Lesbian||Ben M||13||0|
|22||This is Sparta…Prague||Rich||11||1|
|Player of the week||12||Weimann, A – AVL – STR|
KEVIN Mirallas and Christian Benteke may be a mini Belgian injury crisis for FC Testiculadew, but the club still moved one step closer to a second Kenna double in three campaigns this week with an assured display.
On his way to the physio’s bench winger Mirallas notched two goals to put the side managed by the founder of tactical Brambling both in the Canesten Combi Cup final and extend their lead over Piedmonte to 36 points.
Hopes of snatching the title at the final fence look even more remote for the Piedmonte manager even though his side put in another solid week led again by Jason Puncheon. If only he’d kept Samir Nasri – the Frenchman picked up a goal and an assist to help Bala Rinas into fourth place.
With just four weeks left of the season and relegation all but rubber stamped for the bottom three clubs, the race for the Wenger Trophy is shaping up to take centre stage in the league’s remaining narrative.
Just 30 points separate the five clubs floating around the final prize spot, and the cast are varied: Sporting Lesbian are defending champions, Team Panda Rules OK debutants and the other three managers are league committee members yet to find silverware in the quagmire of political intrigue at Kenna HQ.
Another subplot is the miraculous cup run of Northern Monkeys. The manager voiced concerns over the ability of Samuel Eto’o and Fabio Borini back in February, but the pair earned the Monkeys a place in the final at the expense of a toothless St Reatham FC.
It seems unlikely the Monkeys’ luck will continue into the pageantry of that May afternoon. With David Silva possibly out injured for the rest of the season, the midfield consists of Antonio Valencia, Stewart Downing and forfeit player Stuart Hazell.
No amount of cash in the attic could buy a goal for that lot.
Road to the Canesten Combi Cup final
|1||Sporting Lesbian||Ben M||60||5|
|2||KS West Green||Stix||48||2|
|4||FC Testiculadew||James N||41||2|
|5||Team Panda Rules OK||George||41||1|
|7||St. Reatham FC||Mike||35||0|
|8||Lokomotiv Leeds||Ben S||34||2|
|9||Just put Carles||Carles||30||2|
|15||PSV Mornington||El Pons||25||0|
|16||Headless Chickens||John N||23||1|
|17||Judean Peoples Front||Sholto||20||1|
|18||Rapids De Cullons CF||Jorge||17||0|
|21||Still Don’t Know Yet||Pete||16||0|
|22||Dulwich Red Sox||Luke||14||0|
|23||This is Sparta…Prague||Rich||13||1|
|Player of the week||24||Podolski, L – ARS – STR|
BLUNDERING blazers at Kenna HQ are desperately scrabbling to find a tie-break solution after chances mounted this week that the top two clubs could end the season on the same points and goals.
Another notch from in-form Jason Puncheon and an assist from Steve Gerrard helped Piedmonte close the gap on league leaders FC Testiculadew to just 25 points. With five weeks left of the campaign only two goals scored separates the sides.
What’s now being billed as the closest Kenna title race ever could turn into a shambles as bungling officials at league headquarters admitted there was no contingency plan should two sides end level on points and goals scored.
An extraordinary committee meeting was convoked earlier today to discuss a solution.
Leaked minutes revealed the Kenna executive is considering a number of tie-break options, which include going down to points scored in the final week, ranking the teams on the number of clean sheets kept or declaring the 10-month competition a draw.
One committee member even suggested managers sending in a one-minute video plea for the championship so the rest of the league could vote on the most deserving.
The news will be of severe concern to both the Piedmonte and FCT managers, the former hoping for his first title in nine years of trying and the latter in the hunt for an unprecedented second Kenna league and cup double.
Should the FCT manager win the league outright, he could rue his team’s Canesten Combi Cup semi-final performance this weekend. The former cup winners failed to register an away goal in their sibling derby with Headless Chickens.
The second leg will take place this weekend.
Canesten Combi Cup semi-final first leg results
Northern Monkeys 2 – 0 St Reatham FC
Headless Chickens 0 – 0 FC Testiculadew
|1||Team Panda Rules OK||George||32||1|
|2||Sporting Lesbian||Ben M||29||1|
|3||Lokomotiv Leeds||Ben S||26||0|
|7||Rapids De Cullons CF||Jorge||24||0|
|8||KS West Green||Stix||23||0|
|10||Judean Peoples Front||Sholto||20||1|
|11||St. Reatham FC||Mike||20||0|
|13||Just put Carles||Carles||18||0|
|14||Dulwich Red Sox||Luke||17||1|
|15||PSV Mornington||El Pons||17||0|
|17||This is Sparta…Prague||Rich||15||0|
|19||FC Testiculadew||James N||13||0|
|21||Headless Chickens||John N||11||0|
|22||Still Don’t Know Yet||Pete||7||0|
|Player of the week||12||Fabianski, L – ARS – GK|
POOR Stewart Downing.
His only crime was to have a left foot and enough talent to get him into the top flight of domestic football.
Yet coming of age at a time when the English public were dreaming of a world class left winger to solve all the problems of the national side, his inferiority to the likes of a Ryan Giggs, a Leo Messi or even a Diego Maradonna, has brought Stewart into the firing line for much criticism over matters completely out of his control.
All of which means that while Kenna managers may appreciate Downing is a regular starter, they are also quick to blame him when things aren’t going well.
His demeanour doesn’t help. Constantly looking like a small boy at an information desk awkwardly hearing his own name being read out over the shopping centre tannoy and dreading the moment his relieved mother makes a tearful reunion now the school bully has clocked him while out for a spot of shoplifting, Stewart’s expression appears to invite contempt.
This season Downing is the only player to appear for three different Kenna teams, having found himself released at both transfer windows.
Bought for £9.5m by Judean Peoples’ Front at the August auction, the winger overcame injury and settling in to West Ham to only score at an average of 1.33 points a week. Downing found himself released at the October transfer window.
The Newington Reds manager snaffled Downing for half a million pounds and throughout autumn, Christmas and January he scored at a very creditable three points a week. League leaders FC Testiculadew have seen their players score at 2.9 points a week on average this campaign.
A Liverpool fan, perhaps it was the Newington Reds manager’s memory of that season of no goals and no assists, but he saw fit to jettison Downing at the February window.
Northern Monkeys picked up the winger for the nominal £0.5m, and have seen him continue that form to score at 2.67 points a week.
What was the Reds manager’s midfield doing while his former player was helping Monkeys to the Canesten Combi Cup semi final?
Assembled for £13m at that raucous night in The Enterprise, the trio of Nathan Redmond, Adnan Januzaj and Oussama Assiadi have scored just two more points between them than Downing.
“The nine-year trophy hunt for Reds continues,” said the chairman, his PhD in hindsight neatly framed on his Kenna HQ office wall.
Stewart Downing’s season
Judean Peoples’ Front – £9.5m – six weeks / eight points – 1.33 point a week
Newington Reds – £0.5m – 13 weeks / 39 points – 3 points a week
Northern Monkeys – £0.5m – nine weeks / 24 points – 2.67 points a week
Newington Reds replacement midfield:
Redmond – £0.5m – 12 points
Januzaj – £12m – 11 points
Assaidi – £0.5m – 3 points
BREATHLESS attacking football from two teams challenging for the Kenna title lit up the league with six weeks left of the season.
FC Testiculadew may have extended their lead by two points at the top with goals from Juan Mata and Edin Dzeko, but led by Jason Puncheon’s player-of-the-week performance and a double strike from Stevie G, Piedmonte refused to let up.
In the tightest Kenna since Vasco De Beauvoir pipped Insomnia’s Titans in 2010, FCT and the Pies find themselves like two sluggers in the ring Puncheon it out, which makes a refreshing change from the midfielder’s reputation for Puncheon one off mid match.
Whether either side can maintain this scintillating offensive play for the rest of the title race is uncertain. FCT have lost striker Christian Benteke for the rest of the season through injury and the imminent return of KS West Green striker Sergio Aguero could mean demotion to the bench for Dzeko.
From the Piedmonte perspective, it would take a Herculean effort from their ragtag bunch of misfits to overhaul a 47-point gap in the handful of games left.
What is clear is that Judean Peoples’ Front have dropped out of the race, their chances of competing stretchered off along with Jay Rodriguez on Saturday afternoon.
Looking ahead to the weekend, FCT are still in the hunt for a Kenna double. They take on Headless Chickens in a semi final first leg sibling derby.
Last year’s bottom-placed manager, now in charge of St Reatham FC, appears to have overcome the anxiety that led to a dark spring night on Chobham Common and will battle it out with Northern Monkeys in the other tie.
|1||FC Testiculadew||James N||49||3|
|3||Headless Chickens||John N||37||2|
|4||Just put Carles||Carles||36||1|
|6||Judean Peoples Front||Sholto||32||1|
|10||Sporting Lesbian||Ben M||21||0|
|11||St. Reatham FC||Mike||21||0|
|12||Team Panda Rules OK||George||20||0|
|14||KS West Green||Stix||19||0|
|15||This is Sparta…Prague||Rich||19||0|
|17||Lokomotiv Leeds||Ben S||15||0|
|19||PSV Mornington||El Pons||10||0|
|21||Rapids De Cullons CF||Jorge||8||0|
|22||Still Don’t Know Yet||Pete||6||0|
|23||Dulwich Red Sox||Luke||5||0|
|Player of the week||15||Puncheon, J – CRY – MID|
HUNDREDS of column inches have been dedicated to the shortcomings of Argentine defender Martin Demichelis this season and in the most part for good reason.
The pony-tailed centre back appears most at home lumbering around just outside his own 18-yard line with all the agility of a ginned-up lollipop lady, desperately trying to keep up with his sleeker teammates.
Up against the cream of European talent, Demichelis’ height, chunky bearing and lantern jaw make him look less a professional footballer and more like he should be wearing a leather jacket and fencing stolen goods from a rusty van outside the back of a pub glued to At The Races all Tuesday afternoon.
But one Kenna manager has found that at the domestic level, Demichelis is statistically delivering more than well-respected ‘top top player’ Vincent Kompany.
Guffaws rang around the upstairs bar of The Three Stags in Kennington in early October, when the Young Boys of Vauxhall manager took what was considered to be the outlandish decision to jettison Kompany at the first transfer window and sign the bungling Argentine.
In the face of much criticism, Young Boys vehemently defended the move at the time. Selling Kompany to St Reatham FC for £5m and picking up Demichelis on the open market for a token point five, the Welshman trousered £4.5m, he argued.
The Young Boys manager was also keen to point out that Kompany was recently injured. No one thought it so serious at the time, but the Belgian didn’t play again until the New Year.
Up until that afternoon south of the river, Demichelis was picking up a measly 1.25 points a week. The Belgian was making hay at 3.76.
Since that window the Argentine has gone on to score at a very creditable average of 3.12 points a week, while Kompany has contributed less than two-and-a-half.
In hindsight, the whole affair was a masterstroke for the Young Boys manager.
Of course, in all other respects the Young Boys season has been an utter disaster. At the same transfer window the manager turned a profit on Kompany he ended up Brambling himself and found Operation Yewtree suspect Rolf Harris starting in his midfield as forfeit. At the second window in February his frenzy of eight transfers descended into Tinkerman farce.
The St Reatham manager, on the other hand, finds his team safely ensconced in midtable and in the semi finals of the Canesten Combi Cup.
Despite his failure in all other respects, the Young Boys manager has successfully underlined two recurring themes to emerge from any statistical analysis of the Kenna – due to the scoring system a defender is only as good or bad as the team he’s in and never sign players based on who you like.
In the first eight weeks of the season
Demichelis scored 1.25 points per week
Kompany scored 3.76 points per week
In the 25 weeks since the October transfer window
Demichelis started on 10 points now has 88 (3.12 points per week)
Kompany started on 27 points now has 89 (2.48 points per week)