Okay… time to ‘fess up’. Back in August some of the MFW team decided to go all Mystic Mick and had a bash at predicting how the top and bottom of the Championship table would look. It’s here. Typically it didn’t end well…
The ‘predictions’, in the loosest sense…
Top of the table:
Steve: Newcastle, Norwich, Derby, Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds, Brighton.
Russ: Sheff Wed, Newcastle, Norwich, Derby, Brighton, Bristol City.
Stewart: Newcastle, City, Brighton, Sheff Wed, Derby, Leeds (not Villa).
Ed: Heart says 2nd place for City – head says 6th. So let’s go for the mean – 4th.
Mick: Newcastle, Norwich, Brighton, Derby, Wigan, Forest
Robin: I think we’ll win it.
Gary: Newcastle, Derby, Sheffield Wednesday, City, Ipswich, Brighton.
Steve: Rotherham, Preston, Burton Albion.
Russ: Rotherham, Barnsley and Blackburn.
Stewart: Burton, Huddersfield, Barnsley or Rotherham.
Ed: Rotherham, Barnsley, Burton Albion.
Mick: Rotherham, Wolves, Ipswich
Robin: Rotherham, Burton, Wigan
Gary: Preston, Barnsley, Rotherham.
Ed’s defence of his predictions (and the swerve he gave to offering a top six) was, it has to be said, more honest and solid than City’s was for most of the season:
” My stabs in the dark (you could never call them predictions) show just how wonderful and easy football is when it’s a game that is played in the mind.
“When we are either a Hucks, a Holty or a Hoolahan on the pitch and a scribe with strange mystic qualities off it.
“Sadly we are neither. But that is the reality of this wonderful game and the wonderful club we support, one that can take us to heaven or send us to the deepest depths of depressing hell-often, as we have discovered over the last two seasons in the same match.
“Who am I kidding, they can do it in the same half now…
“2016/17 has, for me, been one of the most frustrating I can remember as a Norwich fan.
“Every time I’ve thought the club is about to chase the rainbow, its fallen down into the mud and come up smelling of disappointment.
“Fool that I am, I just want to put a plaster on its knees, kiss it better and send it on its merry way.
“I think, I believe that next season will be one to remember for all the right reasons.
And that the rainbow in the sky will be a yellow and green one…”
[Ed will back on MFW on a more regular basis before the season begins, which is a big bonus]
The rest of the team (understandably) offered up little more than a litany of excuses until a longish email arrived in my Inbox on Tuesday from Mr Cook. I naturally expected another long list of excuses and mitigation but at the bottom of said email there was a table, and then it all became clear.
Steve, who in the same email confessed to having too much time on his hands and no friends, had taken the time to collate said predictions into a league table.
The ‘winner’ of the mini-league is probably already obvious to all but can be confirmed by Stewart’s response to it:
“History is written by the winners”.
And there it was – in all its glory. The winner of the 2016/17 MFW ‘columnists predict’ league: Mr Steve Cook.
Little did he (or I ) know at the time but his prize was a bacon roll on MFW, which was presented – along with all the other MFW end-of-season awards – at a pre-match ceremony last Sunday. I hope he enjoyed it.
For what it’s worth, the final table (which doesn’t include Ed and Robin for obvious reasons) was thus…
1st: Steve………………………………51 points
2nd: (Joint) Russ and Stewart ………56
(It’s a ‘Pointless’ type scoring system – lowest wins)
My own Achilles heel was an inherent fear that ‘that lot’ would somehow awake from their 15 year slumber and sneak into the play-offs, and Mick’s – as Steve highlighted in his summary – was the opposite: an inability to see past his “hate for Wolves and Ipswich”.
Joking aside, thanks to Steve for taking the time to formalise our collective embarrassment and if nothing else it does confirm the lottery of predicting a single result in the Championship and then multiplying it by 24 teams over 46 matches.
We’ll be doing the same again August and, if Steve and his spreadsheet are up for it, extending it beyond the MFW team to also include any of our commenters and friends who wish to also risk their pride. It might even be fun.
So, that’s almost a wrap for 2016/17, albeit Steve extended his celebrations to writing a City-related piece on the impact of the cut-throat nature of the pro game, which will be live tomorrow.
And then we’re into the James Nursey season (like the silly season but a bit sillier) where rumour, gossip and ‘in the knows’ will offer us talking points aplenty as the club’s playing roster undergoes its biggest transformation for many a season. Let’s however brace ourselves and prepare for the majority of said rumours to be nonsense.
Here at MFW we’ll do our best to separate the wheat from the chaff, and we’ll steer clear, as much as possible, of recycled, unsubstantiated gossip. I will however be asking the team to give us their considered view on how the rebuild is going, and hopefully Dave B, Jeff et al will continue the NCFC debate over the coming months.
But now’s a good time to thank you all – writers, commenters and readers – for making the MFW community such a vibrant one, and over the summer we hope to offer you a MFW that’s rather more aesthetically pleasing that the current version, which is held together with string and sticky tape.
Enjoy your summer. We’ll be here throughout.