FLURRIES of foreign footballers being signed by English clubs are a staple of the summer.
Unlike George Weah’s cousin, many new players arriving in the Premier League have proven success in other countries, but that doesn’t always translate to the rough and tumble of the English game.
Take Eric Djemba-Djemba. An impressive debut season in Ligue Une earned the tough-tackling midfielder a dream move to Manchester United in the summer of 2003.
Viewed as a potential long-term successor to Roy Keane, it soon became clear that Eric’s biggest impact in a Red Devils shirt came in his debut game – a clattering challenge on Arsenal’s Sol Campbell branded ‘obscene’ by Arsene Wenger.
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 Chalkstripes in Kenna HQ’s speculations department predict the move will introduce a new dimension to the league, with less money sloshing around windows than last season and individual performance deciding a player’s value.
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.”
The changes to transfer windows wasn’t the only change in the new season’s Kenna rules and regulations published today.
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.
AS THE SPORTING Lesbian manager bathes in the success of winning the Kenna title on his debut, time has run out at the other end of the league.
The Vasco manager’s disastrous campaign is being pinpointed to the moment he lost a £40m Sergio Aguero under the Titus Bramble ruling at the August auction. The strike force of Leroy Lita and Fabio Borini offered little recompense.
Aguero went on to the snapped up for £12m and became an integral component of Sporting Lesbian’s team.
Speaking to Sky Sports News this morning outside Vasco’s Shoreditch Park ground, which was as far he got when it turned out club wallahs had already ordered the locks to be changed, the outgoing manager said: “Is it opening time yet?”
In south London, the Kenna diversity police are hot on the trail of another manager with a P45 fresh in his in tray.
No one expected Wandsworth Window Lickers to put up much of a fight this season considering their registered status as intellectually disabled.
But the team bus with rainbows on the side and disproportionately high number of grab handles at their home ground was just a ruse, the whole team turned out to be physically fit athletes who possessed all their mental faculties – with the exception of Peter Odemwingie, who was mostly a knob.
The Wandsworth manager was last seen boarding a plane to South America on a ‘scouting mission’. Club bean counters are said to be keen to speak to the errant manager over missing disability allowance funds.
The Woking manager is still AWOL, and has been since the mysterious death of Sky Sports News presenter Natalie Sawyer on Chobam Common.
Surrey Police were believed to have made a breakthrough in the manhunt when an early-hours 999 call from a club admin girl claimed the manager’s car was parked outside her Worplesdon flat.
A response was dispatched, but officers arrived to find the property empty and ransacked. Two days later the girl was fished out of the Basingstoke Canal with a broken neck.
The search continues.
Managers will flock to a central London pub on Friday for the Kenna end-of-season awards night.
The Chairman said: “It’s been a long season and for all that hard work managers deserve nothing less than to buy me a beer. There’ll also be a short quiz to see how much people remember from the campaign’s shenanigans.”
Final league table
|3||Just put Carles||Carles||40||2|
|4||Lokomotiv Leeds||Ben S||37||1|
|6||Headless Chickens||John N||34||3|
|7||PSV Mornington||El Pons||34||1|
|12||Judean Peoples’ Front||Sholto||30||0|
|14||Vasco De Beauvoir||Stix||26||2|
|15||Still Don’t Know Yet||Pete||25||2|
|16||FC Testicluadew||James N||24||1|
|17||Wandsworth Window Lickers||Will||24||0|
|18||Sporting Lesbian||Ben M||23||1|
A CHRISTIAN Benteke hat-trick in 18 minutes secured a cup final place for Spartak Mogadishu.
The Pirates had looked unlikely to beat Canesten Combi Cup holders FC Testiculadew but the Belgian international supplied a last-gasp lifeline. Benteke’s Somali manager was overjoyed.
“Yarrrrr! I be waitin’ many o’ year to get me mitts on some booty, and I don’t mean western tourists wit’ rope burn on tharr wrists, for I be gettin’ plenty o’ that!” said the Spartak Mogadishu boss banging his fist on the table to the raucous cheers of his management team, before ordering a petrified and dehydrated hostage to ‘blow the man down’.
Just Put Carles will be the other side contesting the 19 May final after their Catalan manager progressed with a rare Jordan Henderson brace in the second leg against Still Don’t Know Yet.
Continuing the bitter rivalry with the Kenna League’s other Catalan manager, the JPC boss said: *”PSV Mornington són els fills bastards de cabrers il · legítims, i aquesta victòria és un testimoni de la nostra superioritat sobre aquesta escòria que ni tan sols estan en condicions de menjar xoriço a la taula dels Castillianos.”
Commentators are citing the final between foreign managers as further evidence of the decline of managerial talent in England.
Failure to defend the Canesten Combi trophy will come as a double blow to the FC Testiculadew manager, as his chances of retaining the league title ebbed away even more with three weeks to go.
The FCT manager said: “Fools! Every thousand years, I test each life system in the universe. I visit it with mysteries, earthquakes, unpredicted eclipses, strange craters in the wilderness, irregular bidding practices at fantasy football auctions… If these are taken as natural, I judge that system ignorant and harmless – I spare it.
“But if the Hand of tactical Brambling is recognized in these events, I judge that system dangerous to us. I call upon the great god Titus, and for his greater glory, and for our mutual pleasure, I destroy it utterly!”
Many neutrals will lament the semi final exit of Still Don’t Know Yet. On his Kenna debut their manager was enjoying a fairy tale cup run against a background of indifferent league form and some harsh treatment from the league’s Manager Experiences Department early in the season.
*”PSV Mornington are the bastard sons of illegitimate goatherds, and this victory is testament to our superiority over those scum who are not even fit to eat chorizo at the table of the Castillianos.”
|2||Just put Carles||Carles||43||2|
|7||Judean Peoples’ Front||Sholto||25||0|
|9||Still Don’t Know Yet||Pete||23||1|
|11||FC Testicluadew||James N||22||2|
|13||Sporting Lesbian||Ben M||20||1|
|14||PSV Mornington||El Pons||19||1|
|15||Headless Chickens||John N||19||0|
|16||Vasco De Beauvoir||Stix||19||0|
|18||Wandsworth Window Lickers||Will||13||0|
|19||Lokomotiv Leeds||Ben S||8||0|
|Player of the week||17||Benteke, C – AVL – STR|
TITUS BRAMBLE lived up to his Kenna reputation by scoring an own goal, but it wasn’t enough to stop his team from progressing to the semi finals of the Canesten Combi Cup.
Spartak Mogadishu took a first-leg lead home to win a close-fought battle with Northern Monkeys in the Somali capital on aggregate.
“Yarrrrr! That yellow-bellied scoundrel Bramble will be feelin’ the tip o’ me cutlass in training this week,” said the Pirates boss suggestively of his haphazard defender.
A draw in Mogadishu was a good result for Northern Monkeys, particularly given security fears that Islamic extremists Al Shabaab may target the fixture.
The Northern Monkeys manager said: “We covercame home-grown terrorists, a crumbling infrastructure, high unemployment and a lack of decent plumbing to make it this far in life only to be undone by an unlucky first leg.”
Spartak will face FC Testiculadew in the semis after, as predicted on these very pages last week, Dimitar Berbatov and Loic Remy helped poach a win from a two-goal deficit.
In the other semi, Still Don’t Know Yet trounced Vasco De Beauvoir to set up a tie with the untouchable Sporting Lesbian.
The Still Don’t Know Yet manager said: “When a van load of heavvies in balaclavas kidnapped James Collins from the team hotel in August I vowed revenge on the league, and to knock the Chairman’s team out of the cup is sweet revenge.”
Asked by media to respond to this claim at a press conference, the Chairman fumed: “Why can’t you vultures just leave these allegations alone? I will only talk about football.
“There is no hard evidence linking me to the Collins affair, far-right political groups in Italy or the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.”
Still Don’t Know Yet v Sporting Lesbian
Spartak Mogadishu v FC Testiculadew
League table and weekly scores are available by downloading The Rub from the link on the right-hand side of this page.
FRANCE have been refused rights to a Kenna franchise after delegates deemed Paris ‘just not suitable’.
A Gallic consortium hoping to bring the world’s best format of fantasy football to the Continent were told their country wouldn’t be ready for at least a few years.
Speaking to L’Equipe after a quick crêpe on the Champs-Élysées, Kenna suits explained their decision to snub ‘Le Jeff’.
“I paid a king’s ransom to wander round some dimly-lit rooms staring at young women in the buff, but when in Paris one must visit the Louvre,” quipped the Chairman, once he’d scrubbed every trace of the stamp for Pussy’s nightclub from his wrist.
“Joking aside, these cheese eating surrender monkeys now have a good standard of football in Ligue Uhhhne, and we’ve long since forgiven their poor taste in stonewashed jeans and floppy mullets, but the truth is the conditions we’ve seen in Paris are just not suitable.
“I went to a pub where they were showing football and ordered a beer. Not only was I served the shabbiest pint since records began, but the waitress kept a straight face while charging me 11 Euros. 11 Euros! Am I supposed to be paying Zlatan’s wages?
“The slow table service and expensive lager means this city cannot, I repeat cannot, be trusted to allow 20 managers to bid for their teams at auction.”
The news comes as a big blow to the French capital after they lost out to London on their bid to host the 2012 Games.
Le Kenna: French forms of common league phrases
La Folie Anglaise – 4-4-2, the prescriptive formation of all Kenna League teams.
Hôtel de Jeff – Kenna HQ, where the organs of league business are based.
Le nuit des boissons vigoureux – auction night, the pre-season event in August where 20 managers buy their teams. Held in the pub.
Le chef du chaos – the auctioneer, who sells players at the pre-season event.
La Coupe de la Chatte Mal – the Canesten Combi Cup, knock-out tournament run during the season.
Hors de combat – injured, commonly murmured by competitors to undermine a manager’s confidence in the player he’s just bought.
Manger le Bramble – to fall foul of the Titus Bramble forfeit ruling and be awarded a bogey player.
Le Bramble stratégique – tactical Brambling, the pernicious act of deliberately trying to trigger a Titus Bramble forfeit to gain a financial advantage late in the auction.
Le Maillot Merde – the Bramble jersey, worn by the last-placed manager at auction and transfer nights.
La fenêtre de chance – transfer window, event held twice a season where players can be bought and sold.
L’Absenteé – the Still Don’t Know Yet goalkeeper Drusille Ngako, who absconded from the Cameroon Olympic women’s football team during London 2012 and hasn’t been seen since. The name can also refer to Still Don’t Know Yet defender Anton Ferdinand.
Le Corsaire d’Afrique – the Spartak Mogadishu manager.
Le Comte de Fléchettes – the Newington Reds manager, who bears a remarkable resemblance to professional darts player Ted ‘The Count’ Hankey.
Le Provocateur Malveillent – the FC Testiculadew manager, who founded the sharp practice of tactical Brambling.
Le tumulte Catalan – the bitter incident between rival Catalans the PSV Mornington and Just Put Carles managers, resulting in an ongoing grudge match.
Le Chevalier sans Charme – the former Dan Terry Seduction manager.
Canesten Combi Cup quarter final first leg results
Vasco De Beauvoir 1 – 1 Still Don’t Know Yet
Just Put Carles 1 – 2 Sporting Lesbian
Silva Figueroa, Suarez
Northern Monkeys 1 – 2 Spartak Mogadishu
Cisse Benteke, Lukaku
Dynamo Charlton 3 – 1 FC Testiculadew
Tevez x3 Remy
|2||Lokomotiv Leeds||Ben S||32||4|
|3||Sporting Lesbian||Ben M||30||2|
|8||FC Testicluadew||James N||22||1|
|9||Just put Carles||Carles||21||1|
|10||PSV Mornington||El Pons||20||1|
|11||Still Don’t Know Yet||Pete||19||1|
|15||Headless Chickens||John N||14||1|
|17||Judean Peoples’ Front||Sholto||14||0|
|18||Vasco De Beauvoir||Stix||13||1|
|20||Wandsworth Window Lickers||Will||9||0|
|Player of the week||23||Tevez, C – MCY – STR|