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For those of you keen to learn the results of the HolicsRopeyLeague annual contest, the long wait is over. 

I would like to announce that TTG emerged triumphant after a last day that saw the coveted title change hands several times over a nail-bitingly tense final 90 minutes. I would like to, but I can’t as with the honourable exception of GSD and his masterfully marshalled mastodons, the rest of us folded quicker than a kwik-fit fitter’s mum with a basket of towels, or a billionaire big club boss if you prefer a more recent analogy. As went Pep’s season, so went TTG`s – some early hovering around the fringes before taking a lead that was never likely to be threatened from around March.

So, it is once again through gritted teeth, as I am a very poor loser, that I must congratulate The Kentish Magician on his jamminess tactical acumen.  He even managed to hog the Berkley’s Manager of the Month Awards too with the top score in three of the nine months. Honourable mentions to Bath, GSD, BTM and myself for snaffling the others. The Trophy pictured above is I think a fair and fitting reward for TTG and his practically perfect picking – just tell the Russian bloke I said it’s yours, TTG.

However, enough of the congratulations what is an awards ceremony without some special awards too?

Top Tottsless Team

The award goes to All Aboard in a highly creditable third place. Modestly, obviously, forbids me from mentioning the manager so I shall just say “well done me”. Oh, it seems it didn’t forbid after all.

Top Team With No Good Players

This special award goes to the Mighty Pangloss for not selecting any players from the other big clubs and spuds but still finishing in the Top Ten. Well played indeed sir. 

The Social Distancing Award

This award is to be shared by all the members who at no point during a long and difficult season approached within two metres of each other (to the best of my knowledge, and if they did, I didn’t see it, so it can’t be true).

A fitting end as everyone has now won an award and, as I am sure we all agree, it is not the winning but the taking part that counts. 

To the future then and all I can tell you about next season is we shouldn’t call it the RopeyLeague anymore now that the club has decided not to take part in that silly competition again. As a wiser man than me recently asked “is that progress or change?”

I do believe that it is quite enough nonsense for one announcement and so finally, a sincere thanks to all who joined. It was fun, I hope we do it again!! 

60 Drinks to “The HolicsRopeyLeague – TTG Triumphant Again”

  1. 1
    TTG says:

    Thankyou for your kind words. The Kentish Magicians , after a season of total abstinence from alcohol and the sins of the flesh have gone seriously on the lash and are enjoying themselves in fleshpots all over the world whilst observing strict social distancing of course I enter another league which I triumphed in by a bigger margin but as I had to use the same team I couldn’t ensure that we had three Gunners at all times in the squad. It takes a lot of thinking to run two teams but I’d be prepared to run a team on ‘ Pangloss rules ‘ as long as they were clearly spelt out for all participants . Most of us compete in other leagues so may draw the line at running two teams , although once picked I only spend about twenty minutes a week max on tweaking the team.
    Frankly if you pick the loathsome Jamie Vardy you might as well pick other players from top clubs but that’s my view .
    Thanks for the picture of the trophy Matt. It’s likely to be the closest I get to it 😃

  2. 2
    TTG says:

    Sorry I should have congratulated the other players with particular reference to GSD who did get his dinosaur snout ahead at one stage and was very resourceful in using his ‘ ‘boosts’ very effectively . Matt and Bath had strong purple patches earlier in the season and without my bribe to Fantasy League Central I would have been lost .

  3. 3
    bt8 says:

    Pangloss did better than I ever knew it seems. Congratulations to all, and to the winning TTG too.

  4. 4
    scruzgooner says:

    well done, folks. i played in europey a couple years but my participation was panglossian, and never so successful as to win even an award from the toilers i passed on the way to the bus station begging for change. or begging for progress, i never could fully understand them…

  5. 5
    Bathgooner says:

    A fine awards ceremony Matt and congratulations on winning the Tottsless trophy aka the moral high ground trophy or ‘fair play’ award. Congratulations to TTG for his literally run away success. His mid season surge was simply extraordinary and suggests that he really should be invited to join the Arsenal board as others have opined. Despite my earlier observations on his use of a certain pair of divers from up the road, I do recognse the logic of his comments about Vardy. Well done, sir.

  6. 6
    scruzgooner says:

    btw, baff, from the last drinks, belew is a wonderful musician, and i do enjoy his songs. he was with the talking heads for a while in the early years (check out this video of them in rome, 1980: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwWW742T0Wc). his albums through “young lions” are all worth listening to, and remember, he became one of the members of king crimson for twenty something years (“discipline”, “three of a perfect pair”, “beat”, etc.).

    antonio conte to tottenham? is he trying to ruin his reputation?

  7. 7
    scruzgooner says:

    by the way, another gooner (mike feinberg, from the gooners podcast) is running his annual “gooners vs. cancer” campaign…check it out, help if you can!

  8. 8
    bt8 says:

    Conti to Sprrz? Are they trying to corner the market on Chav managerial rejects?

  9. 9
    TTG says:

    A Chav reject who has just won Serie A. I very much hope he doesn’t go to WHL

  10. 10
    Countryman100 says:

    Conte is a proper serial winner and not always via the cheque book. I agree with TTG. Let’s hope Levy is too tight to pay him what he demands and agree his transfer budget demands.

  11. 11
    TTG says:

    He has left Inter allegedly because financially they are in deep doo doo ( like so many Continental clubs) and are not going to strengthen the side as he was hoping . Enter Daniel Levy , the chairman of a club owing hundreds of millions and about to lose their best player admittedly for a lot of money . Levy will have to lie through his teeth to get Conte to WHL .
    The lack of money to finance moves for a lot of our players is worrying . Hopefully clubs may have to let players go to us much cheaper

  12. 12
    TTG says:

    Bukayo Saka – England goalscorer

  13. 13
    scruzgooner says:

    hell of a goal, too, ttg. he’s such a talented player, and we’re lucky as well he’s a good, good person (by all accounts).

  14. 14
    bt8 says:

    Well done Bukayo Saka and every inch deserved.

  15. 15
    Osakamatt says:

    Thanks gents, the moral high ground was
    of course just for fun. I hope we will do
    again next season and TTG’s idea is
    good I think.

  16. 16
    Osakamatt says:

    I am happy for Bukayo but must
    admit to mixed feelings on his
    Conte may feel he has unfinished
    business with the PL, let’s hope
    he realises the spuds are actually
    a never finished business proposition.

  17. 17
    Countryman100 says:

    I think if you have good players you accept that they will go and play for their countries, especially big tournaments like Euros, World Cups, Africa Nations and Copa America. In our most recent dominant period, 98-04, practically every player was playing international football. Saka is clearly thrilled to be in the team and thrilled to score. He spoke of it as a boyhood dream. It’s also making him even more of a role model for other academy graduates.

    Where it gets annoying is when the player is unfit and still played for 90 minutes by the National coach, or picked for meaningless friendlies when they need a break. One of Arteta’s jobs is to be on the phone to national managers explaining how players are and how much work they can get through.

  18. 18
    Countryman100 says:

    In other news, Niklas Bendtner has just announced his retirement from football, aged 33. He was a a bit of a prat, but leaves some good memories, not least running on as a sub against Spurs and scoring immediately with a thumping header from a corner.

  19. 19
    ClockEndRider says:

    Afraid I can’t join in with the eulogies for Barry Bendtner’s career. He was a waster, and something of a symbol for Wengers latter period in terms of pinning hopes on players who clearly were never going to be good enough. Sorry.

  20. 20
    Countryman100 says:

    CER – not sure it was a eulogy! Read it again “a bit of a prat, but with some good memories.”. The goal against Spurs is one, the hat trick against Porto is another.

  21. 21
    ClockEndRider says:

    Good point, we’ll made. I stand corrected!

  22. 22
    TTG says:

    I’ve been considering the Holics FF League next season . With the greatest respect I think PG’s stance is bizarre in not picking players from a list of teams he doesn’t like but there is a germ of a idea here . Maybe the rules could be that you must have 3 Arsenal players in your squad and no Spuds . I think that honours the spirit of Goonerholics but enables you to pick a talented side . I wouldn’t want to go any further than that especially as I enter a league where there are no restrictions and you’d never be competitive in that situation and I don’t want to pick too many different sides
    Interested in what the main protagonists think ?

  23. 23
    TTG says:

    A friend of mine lived in the same luxury block of flats as Bendtner. He remembers rising at 5 am to drive to the airport for a business flight only to encounter the very pissed Bendtner staggering home . It suggests Arsenal didn’t have the whistleblowers in North London that SAF had in Manchester

  24. 24
    Bathgooner says:

    Here’s a link sent by our friend Victoria to an interview with the Guvna in 2017 published in the Islington Gazette:

  25. 25
    ClockEndRider says:

    Lovely piece in The Gazette. Still read it every week courtesy of my butcher ( an Essex Road boy, but least said, soonest mended). Just live The Guvs Private Schulz reference!
    Gone, but most definitely not forgotten.

  26. 26
    scruzgooner says:

    c100, that thumping header was his first prem goal, too. what an entrance, sorry to say he never lived up to his potential. but for a while he was playing at just shy of that, even after the little headbutt manoeuvre with adebayor that left a bad taste. then his shenanigans got weird, and weirder, and that was that. a waste, really, but, yeah, what an entrance.

  27. 27
    bathgooner says:

    TTG @22, that sounds like a very good plan.

    You used to get thrown off the Arseblog league if you selected a Sp*d. Hazza used to ejaculate people forcefully. I note that this season the top teams at the end of this season all had Kane and Song. It seems that Chinua Achebe was right: (All) things fall apart.

  28. 28
    scruzgooner says:

    “hazza used to…” oh, er, matron!!

  29. 29
    TTG says:

    For a couple of seasons I didn’t pick any Spuds . When Kane started winning Golden Boots it meant you were cutting off your nose to spite your face if you competed against people who picked across the Board .
    So if we suggest that every player must maintain three Gunners at all times in their squad if Arsenal have a fixture and are not allowed to pick Spuds under any circumstances that would be a sensible way to proceed .
    I have a bitter battle in the prestigious Borden Lane League with several ruthless competitors. These include my nephew in law ( a happy Hammer ) who told me ‘ he exists solely to beat me ‘! I finished about 120 points ahead of him but would not assume I could repeat that if I was restricted so I will run two teams . I’m working on converting his four year old son to Arsenal but don’t see it happening . His grandfather is a Fulham fan ( and a major Bath Rugby supporter) and he’s desperate to recruit the little fellow . But it’s not an easy conversion despite lots of subtle and not so subtle bribery !
    I think we’d need to ensure that any change wouldn’t lose any regulars because it’s too much hassle

  30. 30
    TTG says:

    I haven’t been ejaculated forcefully for some time ( from a Fantasy League ) ..Is that too much information? But it does indicate how to put the Fantasy back into the League .

  31. 31
    bt8 says:

    Tim Stillman has an interesting piece on Thomas Partey’s first half season and prospects:

    It’s time to get the Partey started

    Tim also has an interesting personal motto, Victory Through Sanctimony. At least it is not in Latin.

  32. 32
    North Bank Ned says:

    Congratulations on your fantasy win, TTG. I was going to say, got to hand it to you, until I read your @30.

    What a delight to read the Guv’nor’s Q&A with the Islington Gazette. He could conjure up wonderful images with such economy of language. His love for the club came shining through but never blinded him. Wonderful man. As CER says, gone but not forgotten.

  33. 33
    bt8 says:

    Wot CER and Ned said about ‘holic and his words in that interview. We were all lucky to read his stuff and be a small part of his world (very small in my case but he was always so welcoming).

  34. 34
    North Bank Ned says:

    Inter’s financial situation is particular. Its owner, Suning, is a Chinee electronics retailer that over diversified and had a serious liquidity crisis, i.e., ran out of money, after losing $630 million last year. Earlier this year, it had to sell a quarter of itself for a knock-down $2.3 billion to state entities and then got a further $3 billion in state support in April. It has just had another $500 million state bailout. In shedding non-core assets, it disbanded its domestic football team, Jiangsu (the club Bale was meant to go to), which had just won the Chinese Super League. Similarly pulling the plug on Inter would have been too damaging to China’s international standing to be allowed, but Conte was told that Inter’s wage bill would be cut by 20% next season and his best players sold. Meanwhile, the city of Milan has put on hold Inter’s plans for a new stadium. The club also has a $459 million bond that falls due at the end of next year, which it has this week partially refinanced through Oaktree Capital, an LA-based investment firm that specialises in distressed debt. Inter’s shares are being used as collateral for the refinancing. All that is on top of the problems the pandemic has caused all clubs. In such circumstances, not surprisingly, Conte bailed after winning Serie A. If he does go to the wrong end of the Seven Sisters Road, it will be an oasis of financial calm by comparison. TTG is right that we’d better hope Conte does not end up there. He has won four Serie A titles, the Premier League and three domestic cups in the past ten seasons.

  35. 35
    TTG says:

    Dave was really Ill by then but his kindness , patience and knowledge still shine through. He was a special man , much missed

  36. 36
    OsakaMatt says:

    My own tuppenceworth on next season would be keep it simple and have no spuds and at least one Arsenal player as the only rules – will be much easier once Kane moves on. Plus the double game weeks and no Arsenal game weeks make it quite punitive to have three from one team.
    Having no spuds cost me my own hard fought family league this year I’d guess but with no Kane I think I can stay competitive following the no spuds rule.
    Anyway, if we get any kind on consensus I’ll be happy to go with it.

  37. 37
    TTG says:

    RIP our old goalkeeper , Alan Miller whose tragically early death at age 51 has just been reported

  38. 38
    bt8 says:

    OM’s suggestions make good sense. Arsenal being just one of 20 clubs, requiring that managers have one Arsenal player is challenging enough seeing as managers need to learn about players from all 20 clubs in order to remain competitive. If three Arsenal players are required opportunities will be considerably diminished to follow the performances of opposition players whose points will be essential, and particularly so if Arsenal remain a midtable side. No Spurs players I can certainly agree to, but I wouldn’t want to say no players from other clubs.

  39. 39
    OsakaMatt says:

    Unlucky for Alexander-Arnold to be out after all that hoopla. Media don’t seem to have realized that Calum is the obvious replacement.

  40. 40
    bathgooner says:

    Sad news on Alan Millar, no age at all. RIP.

    No news that Niklas Bendtner has retired. That effectively happened many years ago. I will never forget the classic line from a Sunday Supplement – forget by whom, possibly Patrick Barclay – “If he was half as good as he thinks he is, he’d be twice as good as he actually is!” I’ll never forgive him missing that late chance superbly set up by LJW in the Nou Camp, directly below us way up ‘in the Gods’. Even Thomas Partey could have scored that.

    Matt, that is a very good suggestion. It was hard this season to find a single Arsenal player capable of contributing significantly to point acquisition. Happy with no Spudz and a compulsory Arsenal player – does the Arsenal player have to play each game when available?

  41. 41
    TTG says:

    Shall we keep it as simple as possible . One Arsenal player in squad at all times and no Spuds? I had three Gunners at the end of the season if you counted Martinez but I do agree with Bath that they weren’t obvious picks .

  42. 42
    Bathgooner says:

    That sounds like a good plan, TTG.

  43. 43
    North Bank Ned says:

    The drum beats about Conte joining the neighbours are getting louder. Not good, from our perspective.

  44. 44
    Osakamatt says:

    Conte’s stock should be high after
    winning with Inter and breaking the
    Juventus stranglehold – surely he can
    do better than the spuds.

  45. 45
    Countryman100 says:

    Reports that Brazil have withdrawn from the Copa America, due to the raging COVID. They’d just moved the competition from Argentina to Brazil. Any of our North American contingent have any idea what’s going on?

  46. 46
    bt8 says:

    I dunno c100 but the death count has continued to mount in Brazil quite rapidly even as it has slowed in those countries that used to be known as developed. It wouldn’t be fun to succumb to it after all this time, just saying.

  47. 47
    TTG says:

    I’ve been talking to a friend who is very knowledgeable about global football particularly the big European leagues. He thinks that English clubs are in a very favourable position to sign the top talent because none of the other leagues have the same financial clout.
    His suggestion is that we look at three players in central midfield that might be obtainable – Gravenberch of Ajax, Neuhaus of MoenchenGladbach and Sambi Lokonga of Anderlecht . All are likely to play in the Euros and Gravenberch ( who is only 19 ) really does look like PV4. My mate feels IF KSE are prepared to push the boat out this summer and if we achieve sales for our surplus players we could sign some generational talent despite not being in Europe . The big problem is players that would have fetched £ 25 m plus a couple of years ago are only going to go for a third of that price and most of the ‘ buyers’ will be pushing for loans . See Kolasinac as an example . We do hope Garlick can make progress in his selling endeavours . Edu has done very little of note . The deal to shift Ozil saved us a pittance .
    I also hear Trippier is looking to return and Atletico like the look of Hector . Although Trippier is older and slightly tainted by scandal and by being an ex- Spud he is much better than Bellerin defensively .
    Would he be a swap option ?

  48. 48
    Bathgooner says:

    Trippier almost certainly wants European football, ttg. Or we would have to compensate with a ridiculous salary. I understand that Manure are interested in him. If I were a betting man…

  49. 49
    scruzgooner says:

    c100@45, according to this story the brazil team are discussing withdrawing from the copa because it will be held in brazil, due to covid. other teams aren’t mentioned. brazil is the only host; argentina was dropped due to covid, and columbia were dropped because of street protests against their president, duque.

    apparently the brazil team isn’t going to decide until after their world cup qualifiers today and tuesday (i think those are the days).


  50. 50
    scruzgooner says:

    oh, go on.

  51. 51
    TTG says:

    Manure have a young right back in Wan- Bissaka who I doubt they would displace to include Trippier . He might be prepared to take second-billing but as a current international I’d be dubious he’d fancy being an understudy.

  52. 52
    Bathgooner says:

    Fair point, TTG. I did wonder about that myself but they do seem to be genuinely interested in Trippier according to several sources.

    In other news, Sp*rz have given up on Conte. Negotiations have broken down apparently.

  53. 53
    OsakaMatt says:

    Well in scruz
    That is quite an amazing story out of Brazil though I don’t blame the team at all for considering withdrawing. It looked a very strange decision to move the tournament to Brazil.

  54. 54
    Osakamatt says:

    good news from the spuds👍
    well done on failing again.

  55. 55
    TTG says:

    Poor old Sperz. Hope was just stirring in their breast . I genuinely think Levy entered into it as a PR stunt to try to kid the fans they are ambitious . He could never have worked for Levy with the budget he would get there . Everton will swoop for him now .
    I guess it’s Rafa for them now which would be a sound choice. I’d love NES or Howe to go there before Arry returns from the jungle to save them from relegation

  56. 56
    Osakamatt says:

    Bath, TTG, bt8
    I’m good with no spuds, one
    players from The Arsenal in the squad.
    Failing any strong objections, I suggest
    that’s our consensus for August done

  57. 57
    bt8 says:

    If only this Norwich fella’s first name were Aureliano instead of Emiliano he’d be a heckuva signing for just that alone.


  58. 58
    North Bank Ned says:

    Good news on the Conte front. Restores one’s faith that there is nothing that the neighbours cannot Spurz up. I did think that the PR spin that they were putting on it — philosophical differences over team-building, with Levy wanting to go the development route but Conte wanting to buy stars — was over-egging the pudding. Levy just doesn’t like spending money.

  59. 59
    North Bank Ned says:

    Wan-Bissaka is a far better full back than Trippier. There is no way that Trippier would be No 1 at OT. I am not even sure that Trippier would be much of an upgrade on Chambers and Hector. Plus I would question the wisdom of bringing in a 29-year-old unless we were pretty sure we had a youngster coming through who would be first-team ready in a couple of years.

  60. 60
    scruzgooner says: