How we f***ed it: Revisiting F365’s pre-season predictions

Date published: Tuesday 28th July 2020 7:42

We're usually bad, but Christ this was awful. Predicting stuff is really, really hard.

You can see them in full here – but we are happy to mea culpa all over the place, for your pleasure. We’re sh*t…and we know we are.


As is traditional, tell me who will win the league. Extra points if you pretend it’s not Man City…
Joe Williams gets the extra points shunned by the rest of us. We will at least credit Ian Watson with saying City’s inevitable title victory would be ‘by a cat’s c*ck hair again’, while the rest of us blithely declared that Manchester City would stroll away with the title. Seb Stafford-Bloor said that ‘dispiritingly, I don’t think it’ll be nearly as interesting this time around’ but he definitely did not mean that Liverpool would basically p*** it.


And the rest of the top four, in order. Which nobody ever gets right.
As is traditional, nobody got this right. There was far too much faith in Tottenham, with only Sarah Winterburn and John Nicholson correctly surmising that they would drop out of the top four. Winterburn, Daniel Storey and Watson all plumped for Manchester United, with only Nicholson picking Chelsea with this chilling prophesy: ‘Frank Lampard’s Chelsea will be hailed as having a successful season despite it being worse than last.‘ Seriously though, most of us picked Arsenal; will we ever sodding learn?


Three picks for relegation please.
We all picked Norwich (experts) and more than half of us predicted that Sheffield United would survive and none of us picked Villa, so we did pretty well when it came to judging the promoted clubs. But there were multiple shouts for Burnley, Brighton and Crystal Palace, while nobody was brave enough to pick Bournemouth or confused enough to pick Watford. Matt Stead claims it’s the one year he did not back the Hornets, which basically guaranteed they would be relegated. The dick.


Which club will be a pleasant surprise?
‘Southampton will join the mid-table chasers. I love Ralph,’ wrote Winterburn, who did not predict that said Southampton would get tw***ed 9-0 first, but that’s not a bad start for the boss.

Deputy Dog Stead said Brighton so earns some respect, not afforded to Storey and his ‘Villa will be comfortable enough’ prediction, which was echoed by Nicholson. But at least they did not say Bournemouth (‘they’ve cured their long-standing defensive problems’) like Stafford-Bloor.

The winners were Watson for saying Sheffield United and Williams for suggesting Leicester will be found ‘hovering around sixth place’. And as they are the top two in our Expectation Table, we bow to their prescience.



Who will win the Golden Boot?
Nobody forecast Jamie Vardy would be victorious at the age of 47 but can we have our usual round of applause for Storey’s ‘value picks’, which included Che Adams at 200s.


Which new signing will have the greatest positive impact?
This was a time before Bruno Fernandes so we have no idea what the right answer is here. What we do know is that it wasn’t Moise Kean (Winterburn, Nicholson) or Tanguy Ndombele (Stafford-Bloor). Watson and Storey claw back some points by naming Harry Maguire. He may not have been £80m-worth of brilliant, but he has objectively improved that Manchester United defence.


And which one will turn out to be a massive flop?
Stead smashed it with his Joelinton call, which means he has now been promoted to editor ahead of Winterburn (Christian Pulisic). Also wide of the mark were Storey (Mateo Kovacic) and Nicholson (Maguire), while Williams nailed it with Kean thanks to his hunch. The right answer? Probably loser Tanguy Ndombele.


The ‘Pascal Gross award’ for bargain of the summer goes to…
‘My favourite category, fact fans. Josip Drmic on a free transfer and Ezri Konsa at Villa, please’ said Storey, who should perhaps choose a different favourite category. Williams undid all his fine work by opting for Adams while Stafford-Bloor’s ‘bold’ shout that Lloyd Kelly would become an England international looks more bonkers than bold now.

Nobody chose the right answer, which was Jordan Ayew, whose nine goals cost just £2.5m.


Who will be named the PFA Player of the Year?
We don’t know for sure yet, but we’re pretty sure it won’t be David Silva. Sorry Steady, you sentimental fool.


First manager to leave their Premier League job?
Oh Steady, you win this whole shebang with ‘Javi Gracia – made a rod for his own back last season by being brilliant, and will be gone after a hectic deadline day and slow start’. Nicholson gets half a point for Mauricio Pochettino and Stafford-Bloor gets a handshake for Manuel Pellegrini, while the rest of us should feel terrible for questioning Roy Hodgson.


In five words, tell us what you are most excited about this season.
Read them all here
 for some classic Storey.




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