A SOMALI, a Jew, two Catalans, three Welshmen and nine blokes who once considered it their capital city walk into a London pub.
It’s not the start of an inappropriate joke, but what happened last Friday night when Kenna League managers gathered for the season’s second transfer window.
Over three hours in the busy bar of The Enterprise in Holborn, nearly 40 football players went under the hammer as managers shouted above the din of brisk trade.
For those that turned out there was plenty to whet the appetite.
Sporting Lesbian laid £15m on Wilfred Zaha, the most expensive player of the evening.
Bala Rinas, in the mix for a first league title, splashed just £1m less on the formerly unfashionable Marouane Chamakh, and were immediately rewarded with a goal this week.
Despite grumblings afterwards about connectivity, the Headless Chickens manager was able to Whatsapp in from an Austrian skiing chalet to scoop Kostantinos Mitroglu for £14m, and keep the team’s title hopes alive.
At the other end of the table, Young Boys were ringing the changes in a bid to escape relegation. Among seven new players was another £14m signing of the evening in the shape of Emmanuel Adebayor.
It was a typically haphazard night for fellow relegation strugglers Spartak Mogadishu.
Much to everyone’s amusement, the Pirates manager signed Danny Graham in earnest, but then realised the striker was ineligible to score points while languishing on the banks of the River Tees.
Graham was quickly tossed overboard under the new wildcard ruling, which allows any manager to dispense of one player at random during the window.
— Carles Duz Palau (@cduzpalau) February 7, 2014
As an intermediary battled the miserable London winter to make five signings for Just Put Carles, the manager tweeted a photo of himself on the beach in Antigua.
When the Catalan returns from the Caribbean imagine just how much colder and wetter the runway at Heathrow will be when he discovers his new striker is Shola Ameobi.
The concerning trend of absenteeism, so prevalent at – or not at – October’s window, gave way to new far more dangerous practice on Friday: presenteeism.
The former PSV Mornington manager turned up to the window, collected the Bramble Jersey for being bottom of the league and proceeded to make no signings all night. He preferred to consume pints and cigarettes at an alarming rate until midnight.
It just goes to show the pressure of propping up the Kenna table can never be underestimated.
With the window closing at around 10.30pm to end transfer business for the season, managers were left to open the envelopes containing the mystery forfeit Titus Bramble players.
Made up of some of the most high-profile deviants of the last 20 years, the inappropriate jokes could finally begin.
|1||Judean Peoples Front||Sholto||49||3|
|2||St. Reatham FC||Mike||40||3|
|4||Still Don’t Know Yet||Pete||38||2|
|8||FC Testiculadew||James N||31||0|
|9||KS West Green||Stix||31||0|
|12||Just put Carles||Carles||25||0|
|13||Sporting Lesbian||Ben M||24||0|
|14||Rapids De Cullons CF||Jorge||23||2|
|15||Lokomotiv Leeds||Ben S||22||1|
|16||This is Sparta…Prague||Rich||22||0|
|17||Dulwich Red Sox||Luke||21||2|
|21||Headless Chickens||John N||11||0|
|22||Team Panda Rules OK||George||11||0|
|23||PSV Mornington||El Pons||7||0|
|Player of the week||17||Hazard, E – CHE – MID|
By the Hairy Fadjeetas manager
TWO of the Kenna’s current powerhouses reacted with dismay after the season’s second transfer window descended in to farce on Friday evening.
Hairy Fadjeetas and Headless Chickens – two of the league’s so-called Big Four – were frozen out of proceedings as managers scrambled to fine tune or radically overhaul their teams in readiness for the business end of the season.
Accusations from the two mangers centre on the fact that league chiefs were unable to organise a piss up in a brewery/use Skype to allow team bosses on overseas scouting missions to bid for players. Skype has been the preferred method of bidding in abstentia for a number of years.
Speaking from an Alpine retreat, the Headless Chickens manager said: “Those at the top need to ask themselves some serious questions. Why we couldn’t engage in proceedings using a freemium voice-over-IP service and instant messaging client, I don’t know.
“I was asked to take part in what could be a season-defining auction using Whatsapp, that’s the digital equivalent of a carrier pigeon. They’re just self-interested Luddites.”
And the Hairy Fadjeetas boss, who recently fired a foul-mouthed salvo across the bows of Kenna HQ, added: “It’s not often that I feel like writing a strongly worded letter, but I am rather annoyed. C*nts.”
Kenna transfers nights are no strangers to controversy. During the Emmanuel Olisadebe 2012 Euros auction, the Horn of Africa threatened to resign his commission after a series of blunders while the very same evening saw the introduction of the pernicious practice known as tactical Brambling – the unloved brainchild of the current FC Testiculadew boss.
The Kenna chairman said: “Promises were made about wifi that weren’t kept.”
RAZVAN Rat is one of eleven players likely to be jettisoned by his club tomorrow as Kenna League managers prepare for this Friday’s transfer window.
The Romanian defender was signed by Dynamo Charlton in August for £3m, but will surely be given the heave ho having been told to scurry away from the Premier League last week.
Another disappointed rat will be the Dulwich Red Sox manager, who sees his £24m striker Dimitar Berbatov slouch off to the French Riviera.
The Still Don’t Know Yet manager was also given plenty more to complain about as the £20m pair of Yohan Cabaye and Danny Graham went their separate ways.
Floundering at 16th in the Kenna table, the under-pressure manager is the subject of an investigation from the league’s manager experiences department after being caught up in a vicious Twitter rant at the chairman.
— Peter Ball (@peterball01) January 31, 2014
Meanwhile, four managers find themselves Titus Bramble tied – they now have two players from the same Premier League club and must release one tomorrow.
FC Testiculadew will surely keep Juan Mata over Rafael, but three other managers find some pretty tough choices to make.
As well as a rat, or lack of a rat, problem, the Dynamo manager has the humdinger of picking between striker Peter Odemwingie and defender Erik Pieters, now both plying their trade in the potteries.
Anders Brievik lookalike the Judean Peoples’ Front manager must choose between goalkeeper Allan McGregor or striker Nikica Jelavic. McGregor’s red card makes it likely the Croat will stay.
Bottom-of-the-table PSV Mornington, now being managed by a cardboard cut out of Pep Guardiola since the former boss was sacked just before Christmas, will probably keep regular starter Leroy ‘The Bouncer’ Fer over a crocked Jonas Gutierrez.
Dimitar Berbatov (£24m) – Dulwich Red Sox
Yohan Cabaye (£11), Danny Graham (£9m) – Still Don’t Know Yet
Bryan Ruiz (£14m) – KS West Green
Razvan Rat (£3m) – Dynamo Charlton
Philipe Senderos (£2m) – Pikey Scum
Danny Osvaldo (£1.5m) – Newington Green
FC Testiculadew – Juan Mata or Rafael
PSV Mornington – Jonas Gutierrez or Leroy Fer
Dynamo Charlton – Peter Odemwingie or Erik Pieters
Judean Peoples’ Front – Allan McGregor or Nikica Jelavic
‘There’s never been a better time to change your car.’
A lifetime ago when the Kenna chairman prowled the forecourt of a provincial dealership of premium German cars, this was the mantra of the managing director.
He said the phrase so often one likely mechanic went as far as to suggest the MD uttered it to his wife ‘before slipping her one’.
There was much sniggering and raised eyebrows, but after a while the penny dropped. As an opening pitch it was cast iron. It could woo any customer.
Those just browsing were suddenly reminded their current car was losing value every day. Those seriously looking were gently spurred towards the dotted line. Those salivating over the garish demonstrator with all the knobs and buttons whole-heartedly agreed.
But there was an overriding reason this phrase worked so well: everyone turns up to a premium German car dealership in a car.
It seems obvious, but whether it’s another prestige motor, a mass market Volkswagen or a clapped out Ford Scorpio, everyone visiting a premium German car showroom has one thing in common: they’re thinking of an upgrade.
And many are dreamers. If they were shopping for a drive within their means and with hard science, they would be in a Kia garage.
And that’s why shiny foreign cars and are like shiny foreign footballers.
When it comes to those big-money signings, clubs are always looking for an upgrade. They want to say to their fans and to their rivals ‘look at us, we mean business, we’re up there with the best’.
Just like some pinstripe at the top of his game would rather turn up to that important meeting in a BMW 7-series rather than a Kia Ceed.
The Kenna League transfer window takes place this Friday night. Managers will gather in The Enterprise on Red Lion Street looking to inject some fresh football talent into their teams.
Over the last month a selection of shiny foreign imports have filtered into England’s top flight.
Who will Kenna managers go after? Who will fetch the most money at auction?
Of course, there’s no sure way of telling how successful a silky continental striker will be in the Kenna. Take Dani Osvaldo – a failure sure to be released by Newington Reds by Wednesday’s Kenna deadline.
So when it comes to the auction – three pints of strong lager on an empty stomach, the pressure of getting results by May – Kenna managers aren’t going for the Kia Ceed. They don’t care about fuel consumption or seven-year guarantees. They want a Beamer with all the trimmings, with ‘skin, wind and bark’.
Like a car showroom full of eager sales executives, the media is full of managers, new team mates and former teammates expounding the virtues of their latest delivery.
Now is the time that Kenna managers must choose between the flattery and the pad, because that hour of shooting from the hip in the pub on Friday night will define the rest of their season.
There’s never been a better time to change your car.
Konstantinos Mitroglu (Fulham): “Eric Cantona was a great, great player – one of the best, but Konstantinos is very strong. I remember watching Cantona on television and he was holding the ball up – that’s the type of player Konstantinos is.” Roy Carroll, former teammate at Olympiakos.
Marco Boriello (West Ham) – “It’s not too difficult to say what we want from Marco – that’s goals and Italian flair.” Sam Allardyce.
Luke De Jong (Newcastle) – ‘He’s a great character and a proven goalscorer who I know is very keen to replicate the prolific form he showed for FC Twente in the Eredivisie.’ Joe Kinnear.
Aiden McGeady (Everton) – “The first time I saw Aiden was in 2007 in an Old Firm game against Rangers. He was special. He was a match winner, playing with his socks down. I love a player who is as good in one-versus-one situations as Aiden.” Roberto Martinez.
Anotnio Nocerino (West Ham) – “Antonio is a link between defence and forward play that makes us more creative in possession and more resilient when we’re out of it.” Sam Allardyce.
Mohamed Salah (Chelsea) – “He reminds me of Robben, the way he plays going from the right wing but going inside left-footed. I hope he is going to be important for us.” Jose Mourinho.
Nemanja Matic (Chelsea) – “Nemanja’s a spider, stealing balls and the way he runs and moves.” Branislav Ivanovic.
Magnus Wolff Eikram (Cardiff) – “He’s a playmaker, a quarterback if you will, someone who likes to get on the ball and can see a pass.” Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Kim Kallstrom (Arsenal) – “We identified he would be injured for four to six weeks, so they will pay him for the first six weeks of his wages. There’s a possibility he will not play, but also a possibility he will score a vital winning goal.” Arsene Wenger.
Kurt Zouma (Chelsea) – “He’s a player with big potential, physically ready. One thing is to be physically ready, another thing is to be tactically ready. Well done Chelsea.” Jose Mourinho.
Marcos Alonso (Sunderland) – “I watch a lot of Spanish football and I saw him play for Real Madrid. When he joined Bolton, it surprised me.” Gus Poyet.
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
|2||KS West Green||Stix||37||2|
|6||Team Panda Rules OK||George||28||3|
|9||This is Sparta…Prague||Rich||26||3|
|10||Dulwich Red Sox||Luke||20||1|
|11||Rapids De Cullons CF||Jorge||20||1|
|12||Lokomotiv Leeds||Ben S||19||0|
|14||FC Testiculadew||James N||18||2|
|15||St. Reatham FC||Mike||17||1|
|16||Just put Carles||Carles||16||0|
|17||Headless Chickens||John N||15||0|
|18||Judean Peoples Front||Sholto||15||0|
|20||PSV Mornington||El Pons||13||1|
|21||Sporting Lesbian||Ben M||13||1|
|22||Still Don’t Know Yet||Pete||13||1|
|Player of the week||15||Lampard, F – CHE – MID|
By the Hairy Fadjeetas manager
PROTESTS have flooded into the homely surrounds of Kenna HQ following calls for a cull of managers.
The deluge comes after it had been suggested in some quarters that team bosses are more interested in lifting shirts than silverware. Saturday saw the poorest turnout at a Kenna transfer window in years.
Leading the outcry is a battered and bruised Still Don’t Know Yet manager.
Speaking through an electrolarynx he said: “It was a Friday night drinking injury that caused my Kenna non-attendance, not a lack of commitment. I’ve got a big fat lip and a face that has swollen out of all proportions.”
Saying that he “probably fell” and that the night was a “bit blank”, the SDKY chief, who has had well-publicised disagreements with Kenna hierarchy in the past, added: “The timing is a bit too convenient if you ask me. It looks like some kind of Kenna dirty tricks campaign to keep me from the title.”
SDKY currently occupy 17th position in the league table, just four places above the relegation zone.
Kenna HQ indicated managers failing to attend the February transfer window could be subject to increased entry fees next season.
By the Hairy Fadjeetas manager
THE KENNA’S sexuality has been called into question as just eight managers turned out for the first transfer window of the season – a record low since the league expanded to double figures.
And in scenes reminiscent of the graveyard shift at BBC World only a handful of players changed hands in the first two hours of the event on the upper floor of a south London boozer.
Fans’ groups are now demanding root and branch reform at Kenna HQ starting with a cull of ‘otherwise engaged’ bosses.
The league quickly cranked its PR machine in to gear in an attempt to deflect the criticism, with the St Reatham FC boss fronting the backlash.
Skyping in from Woking he said: “We’re all 110 per cent fully committed to the Kenna, but Saturdays are difficult with so many distractions.
“I’m sorry but I’ve got to go now, my mum says dinner is ready and Strictly is on in half an hour.”
Kenna chiefs have yet to comment on the debacle but a source close to the league said: “This is yet another example of useless Kenna blazers losing the plot. Even the 50p game was so embarrassed it only made a brief appearance.”