|01||Atletico Magicmen 94||Matthew Jermy||541||35||11||2.5||1163|
|02||Fourteen Men and a Fantasy||Ross Peggs||343||60||18||7.4||1108|
|03||Borussia Munsongladbach||Scott Pritchard||442||56||23||0.5||1101|
|04||Butt Kickers||Lawrence Baynes||433||29||14||2.2||1077|
|05||Perdoc Byzeusthains||Quentin Baynes||442||21||9||5.0||1057|
|07||Da Roo Ron Don||Nick Jermy||541||30||13||4.5||1017|
|08||Crockford's Crackers||Peter Crockford||361||44||8||4.5||977|
|09||Brexit Bingo||Adam Walters||541||11||15||5.9||951|
|10||AC Spartak||Michael Lucchesi||433||29||19||21.6||931|
|11||You Say Cabaye, I Say Hello||Martin Edwards||343||32||15||0.5||900|
|12||Swings And Roundabouts||Edward Mcnamara||343||15||12||7.5||890|
|13||50 Shades Of O'Shea||Adam Pritchard||432||13||4||21.7||875|
|14||Just The Tip||Adam Patterson||343||26||11||7.2||742|
At 1415hrs on Saturday, Borussia Munsongladbach announced the signing of one of the players of the season, in the form of striker Romelu Lukaku.
It is a major coup for title hopefuls Munson, who have the 4th worst forward line in the league and have recently lost their emerging superstar Gabriel Jesus to a season ending injury.
However, the news wasn’t received without controversy, as the deal that brought Lukaku to Munsongladbach was called into question by fellow managers. It was a swap deal with 50 Shades Of O'Shea for defender John Stones and the under-achieving Berahino. Was this an opportunistic 'Munson master stroke' in a dog-eat-dog environment, or a morally questionable act that shrugs it’s shoulder’s towards the honest manager who paid an entry fee and has given season long commitment? The fact that 50Shades are yet to officially register their new signings with squad numbers, or acknowledge the departure of their star man in their starting line-up, doesn’t help the former argument.
While some weren’t surprised and suggested the move was ’predictable’, others felt it was unsporting behaviour that goes against the moral values of the league. Some suggested it was no worse than other questionable dealings from earlier in the campaign, or indeed throughout 23 years of SFP history, while others have gone even further and suggested there should be an official SFP intervention and a review of the rules.
However, that fact that no rules have been broken here is key. Instead it is simply a question of is it right? Is it the type of sporting behaviour that is expected, or indeed the kind the league should tolerate? The very nature of football regularly sees star players leaving struggling teams for a chance to play at a top side. Or is this more like someone giving up two thirds of the way through a game of Monopoly and giving all of their properties and hotels to the player next them as they walk out the door?
To balance up a lot of the negative communication that surrounded the deal, both Pritchard managers have made official statements.
From Borussia Munsongladbach:
"[It's] Always a risk taking a want-away striker. I have jeopardised my cup chances with the new guy being cup tied and having a player down in my squad too."
"But, if we outscore Magicmen by 8 points every week from here on in... I'll be the only one left on the dance floor while Jermy will have had his shots and pizza and got his taxi home. Can it be done?"
"I can quite understand [the negative comments], although I'm coming from the Walters school of negotiation: if you don't ask, you don't get. We pushed hard for a deal, after Shades expressed their squad were for sale (following their cup exit) and I'm led to believe that up until the weekend no specific offers had been made for any of their players - although you'd have to qualify that with Shades."
"Obviously I'm happy with the outcome and I'll openly admit that it was asset stripping. Shades have nothing to play for so I ground them down. Most of the leagues most decorated managers have made the transfer market work in their favour and that's always our goal. Munson always admire the teams that are willing to have a deal and thank Shades."
"I hope this explanation is epistemically sufficient to avoid any more rash judgements of my morality which damage my reputation. Might make the run in more interesting…"
From 50 Shades Of O'Shea:
"In part I can see why people would ask questions but I made it very clear to everyone that all players were for sale when we went out of the cup and no one else made any offers for specific players apart from Munson . People can obviously think what they wish, but as has been rightly said, no rules have been broken and there's certainly nothing immoral about it."
"The quote 'opportunity dances with those on already on the dance floor' is a good way of looking at it too from my perspective. We are nowhere near the dance floor and literally have nothing to play for now we're out of the cup. I think that anyone questioning the deal needs to appreciate that. Our attitude in this situation has always been to sell and keep things interesting for those dancing with opportunity and I would expect a similar attitude from others if in the same situation (although we're all different)."
On a shortened fixture list weekend, with only ten Premier League teams featuring, it was always going to be a low scoring week for most.
It means most managers still have huge chunks of their squads left to play an extra game at a later date, but Atletico Magicmen stormed on regardless, as they fielded 9 players and racked up nearly as many points as they did the previous week. Winjaldam and Can grabbed a goal each in the Sunday game which helped to give Jermy Senior an astonishing 80 point buffer over the other title hopefuls. Manager Jermy is still playing it down, but is understandably excited by the prospect of claiming his first 'proper' SFP title in 22 years:
"Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor - Peggs Baynes and Pritchard all still bustin' shapes."
It's left some calling it as "title race done":
"We've finished throwing out those shapes, we're off to the bar! DJ is gonna have to play one incredible track for Gladbach to move. Even Marté would close this lead out to a championship." - Borussia Munsongladbach.
"60 points clear!? Bookies must be paying out now." - Perdoc Byzeusthains, prior to the weekend.
"This weekend is the one where Matt seals it. Can't throw it away now. Basically it's all over. Be the biggest bottle ever if it goes tits up now. " - Fourteen Men.
"Just checked the scores. Agreed." - Da Roo Ron Don.
After a pulsating weekend of goal scoring action, the final four have progressed to the Semi Final stage.
Despite losing 2:1 to Perdoc Byzeusthains, Borissia Munsongladbach held onto a narrow single goal lead to bok theor place. Scott Pritchard's men will face AC Spartak in the first Semi Final after Lucchesi's men turned a 2-1 deficite into a 4:2 aggregate win over arch rivals You Say Cabaye, afte a thumping 3:0 2nd leg win.
The other two Quarter Finals went right down to the final match of the weekend, late on Monday night. It was Butt Kicker's Chelsea duo of Hazard and Costa who eventually put Crackers to the sword, helping Baynes to a 3:1 aggregate win. And in the final tie, Atletico Magicmen and 50 Shades shared 9 goals over teh weekend - a joint SFP record for goals in a tie. As the clock ticked into injury time late in West Ham V Chelsea match, Manuel Lanzini popped up with a goal for Atletico Magicmen, sending Jermy Senior through, and Pritchard Senior reflecting on what could have been:
"Sums up my season! Hey ho. If you score 5 in a weekend, deserve to go through! Well done Mr J! All players at Shades are for sale.... that's my season done!"
For full details and scoring, click here.
Numbers will drop from eight to four this weekend, as the SFP Cup Quarter Final legs are played out.
Borissia Munsongladbach might feel they are the only team to have one foot in the Semi Finals, after a Mane brace helped Pritchard Junior to bag a 3:1 lead over Perdoc Byzeusthinas.
In what was billed as tie of the round, You Say Cabaye take a one goal advantage into their second leg tie with AC Spartak, while the remaining two match-ups finished all square.
For full details and scoring, click here.
The 2016/17 season is the title race that just keeps giving, as a rejuvenated Jamie Vardy helped Ross Pegs not only take the MOTM award for February, but also put his name firmly in the ring for a top spot finish.
The other runners and riders, Scott Pritchard, Matthew Jermy, Quentin Baynes and Nick Jermy all comfortably tipped the ton in the 3 weeks of February to continue what is an amazing title chase. But the man in form is Peggs, and he's been reminiscing about days gone by:
"Jermy, Baynes and Peggs at the top of the league. The sleeping giants have woken and it brings back memories of Friday nights with woggles and wide games. Kelvin Prime would faint in the intensity, Bob Prior would $h!t himself with excitement and Hazza, well, nobody knows what he would do - least of all him. A few months to go and it is still a long way to the finish line, but the pressure is cranking up. And the reason for anyone not making it there first? Simple: You Are Fat!"
At the other end of the scale, Adam Patterson continues to fall further and further away, with Martin and Walters also drifting into 'forgettable season' territory, as they focus on the 5ASide Cup.
For a closer inspection, check the expanded league table here.
|133||Fourteen Men and a Fantasy|
|116||Atletico Magicmen 94|
|111||50 Shades Of O'Shea|
|104||Da Roo Ron Don|
|93||Swings And Roundabouts|
|80||You Say Cabaye, I Say Hello|
|60||Just The Tip|
With 13 match days still to play, Munsongladbach seem to have either thrown in the towel, or are up to their usual mind games.
Pritchard Junior, who climbed to 2nd last game week, has stated that his side are no longer in contention, due to the season ending injury to Gabriel Jesus:
"Ah, Jesus… We need miracles from now on in. I reckon you [the other teams in the race] would've been thinking that Munson were on a march. Title conceded. I honestly think we'd have done it with him."
In reaction to this, Butt Kickers boss Baynes, was in a more positive mood:
"So happy. I thought it was all over."
Current leader Jermy Senior is still reluctant to write off the other teams in the top four as title contenders, and is keen to focus on their own task:
”We won’t be drawn into mind games. We had one aim – to build a squad to get to 1500 points for the season. We remain on track for that, if we’re still in around the top spot come April, then we talk about a title assault."