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Season Preview (2008-2009)

Keech the Bookie has completed his season preview below now all teams are in. It is based on past history (last 3 years performance in brackets with the latest first) and only looks at your original team selected this time around if you are newcomer. If your transfers and picks are imaginative and inspirational, clearly Keech the bookie cannot predict that. Hope you take it as it is, a little bit of fun and the challenge is for you to either prove me right or completely wrong !!!

Only get concerned if I predict you to win !  

1st Ryan Moody (3/1F). (2nd, 4th, No entry).

This season Ryan has received the cursed top spot prediction. After a brilliant first season and excellent follow-up last term he has no distraction from brother Shaun this time around to stop him going one better. All the Moody's have been knocking on the door and its time for one of them to step up to the mark to achieve the big one.

2nd Tim Owen (10/3). Last season (6th, 11th, 1st)

This new format will reward the hard workers and this will suit former triple champion down to a tee. Disappointing campaigns in the last two years should become a dim and distant memory by this time next season.

3rd Rob Bushell (7/2). (4th, 12th, 7th)

A number of times I have doubted the staying power of Rob but nobody was more pleased than Rob with the introduction of this new format. The hours of study, finding obscure players that nobody has ever heard of will surely present him with his best chance yet. 12th two years ago was unusually low, a genuine challenger !   

4th Colin Rigby (4/1). (1st, 33rd, 11th)

Before last season Colin had never really broken any pots in MLW, 33rd two years ago says it all. His surprise victory will have given him so much confidence though. Saying that, he has the difficulty of trying to defend the title, which nobody has ever done before and the pain of finally getting to grips with the technique required to do well and then we go and change all the rules! Despite all this I expect him to be in the mix.  

5th Dan Owen (9/2). (3rd, 9th, 8th)

Mr ultra consistent with 3 top 10 finishes in the last 3 years. He relies less and less on the dodgy advice of his dad as the years go by and his finishing position last season proves this as it was the first time he had finished ahead of Tim in the all the years they have played (according to Tim!). Same old story again re final prediction but I am sorry to say that I think the new format will suit Tim more than Dan. We could have a Jimmy White on our hands, lots of natural ability but just cant win the big one.

6th Steve Chaney (5/1). (Newcomer)

Always like to throw a newcomer in the higher echelons because generally there is always one who performs very well in their first season. Saying that based on the new system we are all new to it this season. From looking at Steve's selections there are some clever choices. Although he has gone in early with his transfers he has wisely picked up David McGoldrick who could be the surprise package in the Championship (some Southampton knowledge perhaps) and a promising looking Chris Eagles. One slight concern though are the no of midfielders in his squad. He does have an extremely tight backline with Birmingham and United though. 

7th Paul Keech/Craig Frost (11/2). (9th, no entry, no entry)

After a promising revival of a team going nowhere last season, the Keech/Frost partnership could blossom into something very special in 08/09. With two of us to check out the injury situations, rotation policies etc surely this gives us an advantage in some respect over the single managers. All we now need is a system to agree our weekly picks, not so easy. All this could be to the detriment of our individual teams, we shall see.

8th Craig Frost (33/1). (37th, 30th, 17th) 

A lofty prediction for someone who has been in the lower reaches in the last 3 seasons (and gradually getting worse!). Saying that this new format will suit Craig down to the ground, he has his internet connection back which he badly missed last season and will be definately want to erase the memory of his wooden spoon performances in his and his 3rd from bottom position in MLW.  

9th Andrea Howard (13/2). (Newcomer)

After a spectacular start in the Euros, her fantasy league experience elsewhere and her overall knowledge of the game she has been catapulted into the top 10 (her fudge bribe this week also helped!).

10th Wayne Moody (7/1). (5th, no entry, no entry)

A good start for Wayne last season, possibly riding on the Moody crest of a wave from the previous season. Should be there or thereabouts again. Will play the game as it is intended to be played.

11th Paul Leech (8/1). (11th, 5th, 6th)

Another who is always in the mix. Will still be celebrating the Euro victory but is sure to put on a good show. He might be distracted with his bro's team and it might take his eye off the ball.

12th Lynne Stokoe  (9/1). (No entry, 22nd, no entry)

Former champion in our first year all those years ago. Has been in and out over the last few years but always welcomed back to fold. Now retired to a life or leisure she may be able to dedicate a little more time to the cause (depending on the no of holidays!) but Lynne would probably say she is busier now than when she she was working! 

13th Stevie G (10/1). (13th, no entry, no entry)

Newcomer representing the Union Tavern in Runcorn back for another tilt at the title. Good effort last season at the first attempt, I suggest he may well finish in and around the same place but I suppose it depends whether there is any help forthcoming from Elaine and Ste or any other regulars in the pub.

14th Paul Keech (11/1). (22nd, 1st, 12th)

Very up and down in the last 3 years. 2 very disappointing campaigns sandwiched between a momentous 2nd victory. Last season was totally distracted with the whole website experience and probably likely to happen again (although much less work now). As usual the aim will be to finish above Tim and Russ, the latter more likely than the former! 

15th Richard Smith (12/1). (Newcomer)

Our techie wizard is a self confessed footy virgin. Saying that he knows the system inside out and knows exactly where to go to get the latest stats and facts on every player and team. This surely will be a massive benefit. Blackpool may just have to go early but the firepower more than makes up for that. Campbell at United is very interesting but to get the best of him he may have to be loaned out again.  

16th Simon Baldwin (12/1). (17th, 13th, 2nd)

In his 4th season, Simon did very well to finish runner up in his debut 3 years ago. Slightly disapponting since, something to prove. 

17th Graham Highton (14/1). (16th, 14th, 31st)

Our newest committee member does have the general all round knowledge to challenge but he has been extremely disappointing so far. Only Graham will know why that is. This new format will suit and as a result I may have underestimated his chances but hey I can only go off form. 

18th Russ Farnham (14/1). (14th, 6th, 3rd)

What has happened to Stato, has old age set in? Is the apathy regarding his beloved Watford spread into the fantasy version. I think if was Fantasy Rugby League he would probably run away with it (how strange for such a dedicated Southerner!). I have to admit there are aspects of the oval game which the players using the round one could learn from, so perhaps he has a point.   

19th Royce Frankin (16/1). (8th, 15th, no entry)

Royce will admit he struggled in his debut season but he surprised me in season 2 with his overall performance and transfer dealings. I have to be honest I dont how well he will do with the new format so I suppose you could say this one is a guesstimate.

20th Phil Hall (16/1). (Newcomer)

Nothing to go on really, if I match his knowledge to that of bro Matt he will finish mid-table. If I look at his initial selection he looks stong at the back (Man U and Palace) but will miss big hitters Ronaldo and Beattie early doors and may have too many midfielders which indicates mid table, so therefore I have gone.............er mid-table.

21st Stuart Jones (18/1). (7th, 3rd, 14th)

Now some would say how come you place Stu who is always up there so low down the league. It would be a good and valid question. Perhaps he is due a poor campaign, perhaps he wont take to the extra work required, perhaps his reluctance to enter into the 21st century. Just a hunch I suppose.    

22nd Tim Mcfarlane (20/1). (Newcomer)

Now Tim is an interesting one. Brother of former manager Emma Mcfarlane, managing remotely from New York. He obviously doesn't get the day to day knowledge from friends, newspapers etc. If he keeps in touch and uses the internet wisely who knows. He looks strong at the back with Chelsea and Reading and his first 7 at least (if they play regularly) will contribute.

23rd Ian Cowburn (20/1). (12th, 31st, 18th)

Gradual improvement from Ian with probably his best finish last season. Still capable of a comfortable top 10 finish. Left his selections extremely late 5 mins after deadline which cost him. A suppose one season I will get it wrong with Ian and this one will probably be it.

24th Matt Hall (20/1). (15th, 27th, 10th)

Either just top half or just bottom usually for Matt, so not sure why this time would be any different. I suppose predicting Steve Chaney and bro Phil to finish above him will spur him on to prove me wrong.

25th Paul Gerrard (20/1). (18th, 26th, 16th)

Paul's kamikaze style over the last few seasons has cost him better final placings overall. Not sure what the format will do to him in that respect, probably still copy my transfers and pick rubbish defences as normal!

26th Deb/David Long (22/1). (19th, 23rd, no entry)

2 mid to lower half finishes. Some slightly unlucky individual months, just missing out on prizes on a number of occasions. Again the two heads are better than one scenario for the weekly picks will create some advantages. Lets wait and see.

27th Jimmy Lyons (25/1). (no entry, 25th, 20th)

Surprising omission from last seasons comp. His first experience of the website and the usual 20 something finish has created a similar outcome this time around.  

28th John/Phil Kelly (25/1). (29th, 8th, no entry)

3rd season in, one very good after a marvellous 8th and winning month one two years ago but pretty baron since. With the wedding and the house still top of the agenda I expect a slow start and then a sustained run from October onwards.

29th Mark Davies (25/1). (27th, no entry, no entry)

Back last season from a few years away and to be honest the performance did not really change. A safe 29th and I dont think I will be far away.  

30th Paul O'Brien (33/1).  (31st, no entry, no entry)

Paul will be first to admit he did not do himself justice on his debut. Perhaps a years experience will provide a platform for a better performance hence the improvement of one place to 30th! 

31st Ishtiaq Beg (6/1). (Newcomer)

A combination of too many midfielders and slightly unlucky early season injuries to big stars Beattie and Rooney could mean a slow start for Ishtiaq. Always difficult to catch up when you have so little experience.  

32nd Jeff Miller (40/1). (23rd, 17th, 21st)

Jeff plain and simply has to get himself onto the net otherwise there could be a long hard season ahead again. Without it the picks will just not be updated enough.  

33rd Austin Kershaw (40/1). (24th, no entry, no entry)

Another who has the knowledge but again just needs to get involved more. A good spell over a 6 week period propelled Austin up 10 places without it he would be were he has been predicted this time around.  

34th Simon Waller (50/1). (28th, no entry, 26th) 

The variation in performance from Mr Waller is incredible. A former champion whose defensive technique is legendary. It clearly worked once but hasn't since, the rule change limiting 2 of the big 4 has hindered his chances and may do some again. If he can be a little canny with his strikers and the weekly selections he may benefit from the new format.  

35th Dave Leech (50/1). (Newcomer)

His disrupted pre season has an influence on this prediction. To do well this season the workers will rise to the top. Not sure from what I have seen so far  Dave will be one of them.

36th Hazel/Natalie Farnham (66/1). (21st, no entry, no entry)

An ok debut, again some prompting required from dad this time around may mean the heart totally isn't in it. A struggle on the cards. 

37th Young Gerrards (66/1), (36th, 10th, 9th)

An extremely disappointing campaign last time around after top 10 finishes the two years previous. As the boys get older there has been some in-fighting just the same as happened to the Owen boys a couple of years ago. Perhaps some management rules have to be applied for progress to former glories is restored.

38th Patrick Williams (100/1). (26th, 29th, 30th)

He talked his chance up so much last season I blundered and predicted an unreasonable 8th place. Will not fall for that again. 3 seasons with no finish higher than 26th does not fill me with encouragement and may have to go through the dreaded vote of confidence if results do not pick up. An Eduardo style blunder has not helped!

39th Alan Keech (200/1). (35th, 28th, 23rd)

Oh dear. One marvellous campaign to win it a few years ago but that is well in the past now. The gradual pattern of decline indicates next to bottom for the old man.

40th Gavin Kelly (250/1), (33rd, no entry, no entry)

Gavin did not play the game to its full potential last time around hence the long hard season. He has full home internet now and so has no excuse, will he play the picks like is designed for, I really dont know.

Paul