Football Betting Predictions and Football Odds - William

Liga NOS returns today - here is my guide for you!

Hello and welcome! As you lads might know tonight the Portuguese league returns. Yes, I know, most of you don't give a damn. But then again, football is football and right now we are probably even excited about marble races, so let's give it a try, shall we?
So, to start up with here are the matches for today and tomorrow:
Today
Portimonense x Gil Vicente - 7pm UK Famalicao x Porto - 9.15pm UK
Tomorrow:
Maritimo x Vitoria FC - 6pm UK Benfica x Tondela - 7.15pm UK Vitoria SC x Sporting CP - 9.15pm UK
Friday:
Santa Clara x SC Braga - 7pm UK Aves x B SAD - 9.15pm UK
Saturday:
Boavista x Moreirense - 9.15pm UK
If you want to jump to the end, check out the Liga NOS table at the moment and also some interesting curiosities about it.
P.S.: NOS is the sponsorship, it's a big TV/Internet provider, but they will stop being the sponsor in 2021/22.
Now a small sum up of each teams current status, hopes and expectations.
1. PORTO Porto had quite a recovery after being 7 points down on the title race, as they won to Benfica at home and saw Benfica losing against Braga and drawing against Moreirense. Then again, they could have further their lead if they hadn't dropped points against Rio Ave, but they let that one slide.
+ STRONG POINTS Porto's defense Alex Telles and goalkeeper Marchesin mostly, have been their best assets. Although Telles is not available for Famalicao, but if he comes back with the usual pinpoint crossing accuracy they might have gather some victories with the usual Sergio Conceicao goals: set pieces! Players to watch: Diogo Leite, Fabio Silva, Fabio Vieira, Vitor Ferreira (young blood from the UEFA Youth League victorious team)
- WEAK POINTS Well, you might have figured through my nickname that I am not the biggest Sergio fan. He is not very well known to make a proper use of the youth academy and his tactics are neither productive or attractive to watch. Porto does not have the best attack or defense (Benfica holds both) and has just lost Marcano on an injury that will sideline him for 3 months. The option is to finally let Diogo Leite shine, but might be too much pressure on the youngster. Added to that, add games against Braga and Sporting to a heavy calendar and they are sure to lose some points on the way.
BENFICA They are one point behind Porto, but due to the injuries of their direct rival, they might have an edge. Plus they do not have such a difficult calendar, besides trips to face Rio Ave and hosting Sporting on last matchday.
+ STRONG POINTS They got the best defense and attack in the league. That said, they also can rely on players that can finish with ease, like Carlos Vinicius, Rafa Silva, Pizzi, while Porto's attackers are all quite clumsy in front of goal. Players to watch: Vinicius, Florentino Luis, Ferro.
- Weak Points Benfica has a strong squad but the insistence in having Seferovic upfront has brought quite some nightmares to Benfica fans, as the Swiss is not very sharp in front of goal. He has only 2 goals this season in Liga NOS (10 games) and averages 1.6 shots on goal. If Bruno Lage strategy goes through bringing Seferovic in times of need, he might be shooting blanks once again.
Verdict on the title hopes: I would say Benfica will have the edge if Porto's defense crumbles under the absence of Marcano. Pepe is 37 and is injured often, so they will have to rely on Mbemba and Leite, a duo who is unexperienced and might cost points.
The other teams:
SC BRAGA Currently in 3rd place, 4 points ahead of Sporting, they have not lost a single game since December. Their manager Ruben Amorim arrived and left undefeated, winning to Porto, Benfica, and Sporting on the way. Sadly though, jealous Sporting down there scooped him for €10M (either the best or worst deal ever?). The new coach Custodio is not a strange face as he coached their youth squads and will likely keep the tactics and routines of Amorim, so trust in Braga to keep their 3rd place (their most challenging match will be on last day against Porto).
Players to look for: Palhinha, Trincão, Paulinho, Abel Ruiz.
SPORTING CP The loss of Bruno Fernandes to United in January impacted the team immensely , as they have already accounted 2 losses since then. Then the president had the brilliant idea of spending some of the cash he just got on a shiny new coach, only for corona to come up and ruin his spotlight. Well, Amorim might not have enough eggs to make omelets and Sporting should not go further than the 4th place, as they are struggling to find a player who can bring the creativity that Bruno once did. Sporar, the striker they signed in January, does seem like a good asset as a player with the same characteristics of Bas Dost.
Players to watch: Jovane Cabral, Sporar, Big Dick Wendel
RIO AVE Probably the best surprise of the league so far, Rio Ave have been playing very attractive football, under the command of former Swansea manager Carlos Carvalhal. They haven't lost a game since 14 of January and if they stick to 5th place they might sneak into Europa League. They have less goals conceded than Sporting and SC Braga. Matches against Benfica and SC Braga probably will be the highest worries.
Players to watch: Taremi, Lucas Piazon (remember him?), Borevkovic
Vitoria SC To start with it's Vitoria Sport Club, not Vitoria Guimaraes. Don't trigger a vimaranense! Vitoria are 6th and close to the desired 5th place, but they got a difficult calendar ahead with matches against Porto, Benfica and Sporting. They sold Tapsoba in January and that might impact their defense, although they won 4 of their last 5 games (the only defeat was against Porto).
Players to watch: Sacko, Marcus Edwards, João Carlos Teixeira (will this kid finally bloom? Wait he is 27 already, wtf!!)
Famalicao Back in October I posted here an article about the Famalicao phenomenon. Well, they are still making an impressive campaign but the hype quickly faded away as they conceded defeats to their closest rivals, being thumped by Benfica and Porto. For a newly promoted team 7th place is still a feat, but they got the top 3 on their calendar so an Europa League place seems too far out the horizon for now. Jorge Mendes will have to wait for this child to grow older.
Players to watch: Neuhen Perez, Gustavo Assunção, Toni Martinez
Moreirense They haven't been as strong as last season, when they finished 6th under Ivo Vieira. However they haven't lost a game since January. They have already faced Benfica (1x1 draw), but they will have matches against the other 3 teams in the top 4..
Players to watch: Fabio Abreu, Patricio Rodriguez, Pedro Nuno
Santa Clara - The only team from Azores in the league, has gone through some extra sporting issues, but they have a complicated calendar with matches against 5 of the top 6. They haven't won any of their last 3 games, so they might drop some positions. They should be safe from relegation by now, though.
Players to watch: Lincoln, Osama Rashid, Fabio Cardoso.
Gil Vicente Guided by the veteran coach Vitor Pereira, the team from Barcelos has already played the top 3, so they got an easier calendar ahead. They have only lost one game in the last 5 matches (0-1 against Benfica) and they got a better attack than the opponents below (25 goals).
Players to watch: Lourency, Lima, Kraev.
Boavista They were a serious case of success in the beginning of the season, being mostly unbeaten. However, somehow they went through a managerial change (even though their coach Lito Vidigal had 18 points in 14 points) and since the appointment of Daniel Ramos they have struggled. They have 3 losses in the last 5 games and they might risk being relegation threatened if they don't get their shit together.
Players to watch: Helton Leite (GK), Heriberto Tavares, Marlon
Vitoria FC The other Vitoria, this one is called Futebol Clube but is from Setubal, south from Lisbon. They are coached by Spanish manager Julio Velasquez. They got only 2 points in the last month, but if it serves as consolation one of those points was against Benfica. Also, they already played the top 3 teams, so the calendar is on their favor. Don't fuck up sadinos!
Players to watch: Mirko Antonucci (remember this guy Roma fans?), Tofol Montiel, Brian Mansilla
Belenenses SAD Well, this is the only team who probably does not mind playing under closed doors, as this is the only way they can equal their opponents on fans. If you haven't heard about the Belenenses division interesting read here Anyway, they ere doing fine before the interruption and didn't lose any of the last 4 games. They have to face Porto and Braga still, but they should be safe from relegation (even though I wouldn't mind they dropped).
Players to watch: Koffi (GK), Cassierra, Marco Matias (where are my Sheffield Wednesday fans at?) and Cafu Phete (for the South Africans out there!).
Tondela This is a mystery for me, as this team always struggles but ends up being saved at last call. You know, like Sunderland years ago (so I guess when Tondela finally drops dark times wait for them: Tondela Until I Die?). They are coached by Spaniard Natxo Gonzalez and they had a pretty good season start being 6th, now dropping until 14th. They failed to win a game in the last 5 matches and they got the top 4 all in their calendar. Stay strong Tondela fans, hold up your buttcheeks together.
Players to watch: Claudio Ramos (GK - seriously, how is this guy still not in a better team?), Jhon Murillo (FIFA legend), Fahd Moufi.
Maritimo Edging close to the relegation zone is Maritimo, who somehow has the player with most successful take ons on all the league (Zainadine Jr), yet seem to be struggling anyway. 3 defeats in a row in their last 3 matches with games in hand against 5 of the top 6 will test the team from Madeira. Won't be surprised if they get back to Segunda Liga.
Players to watch: Zainadine Junior (again, how is this guy not in a better team?), Daizen Maeda, Xadas (what happened to you mate?)
Paços de Ferreira After 14 rounds on the relegation zone they finally saw the light to get out of the hole. Paços future might be positive as they got 6 points out of the last 5 games and they played Benfica already. A match against Portimonense who is just below might be a decider on who gets down and who stays up.
Players to watch: Pedrinho, Tanque, Eustaquio (Canadian international!)
Portimonense If you were expecting to see two teams from Algarve in the league next season and see some more Primeira Liga games while you are on Spring Break on Portimao... it might not happen. Farense did get promoted, but their counterpart Portimonense are edging by a thread. They got 5 points in the last 4 months so future seems dark.
Players to watch: Jackson Martinez (he is likely to retire after this season), Mohanad Ali, Koki Anzai, Marlos Moreno (wonder where this guy had been?)
Aves Well finally, if you thought Portimonense was doomed to drop, well what can we say about bottom placed Aves? Not only they are dead last, they also have some problems leaving due to owing them salaries. Their calendar contemplates matches against Porto, Benfica and Braga, so betting on them to drop seems like easy money. And thinking that not so long ago this team won the Portuguese Cup!
Players to watch: Mehrdad Mohammadi, Adam Dźwigała.
That's it lads. If you want to give some support and read further in depth on the league return click here
Wish you some good games and might the odds be in your favor. Also fuck you Sergio Conceiçao!
submitted by FireSergioConceicao to soccer [link] [comments]

Tinaja Girl

Hi everyone! This is another unsolved case from Spain. This one in particular has been ranked by various Spanish crime and mystery polls as one of the most intriguing cases of our country.
This is, as always, a long read. But I hope you can enjoy it. Here it goes;

"Luci 13-12-1962"



Madrid, Spain
Wednesday, August 13th, 1969


A 20-years old firefighter walked into an old abandoned farmstead colloquially referred to by locals as Casa de la Viuda (Widow's House), near the municipality of Hortaleza. He would later tell LE that he frequented that place on his spare time; the old house was spacious, and he liked to go there to exercise and keep himself in excellent shape -as his job required him to be. Since it had been abandoned, the farm was frequented by locals at night only, as at the time it was used as a lover's lane. However, the morning of that August 13 his routine would be shattered in the spookiest way possible.

There were lots of old tools, furniture and other agricultural paraphernalia there. Among these there were several large tinajas (a type of jar-like and big recipient typical of Mediterranean and North African cultures, often used to store water, oil, or grain). One of these was particularly big. That morning the firefighter, motivated by curiosity, decided to peek inside that big tinaja. And that's when he made the disturbing discovery.

There was a dead woman stuffed inside.

Knowing that the police would secure the area for preserving evidence, the firefighter exited the house avoiding touching anything. He got into his car and drove to the nearest police station, informing LE about the gruesome finding. A team of investigators drove to the scene.

The woman was naked. A black turtleneck sweater was wrapped tightly around her neck. Her blue jeans and her panties were later found down around her ankles. She was young, her age at the time estimated to be somewhere in her 20's. Her bleached hair was of a very pale shade of blonde which, along with her at the time fashionable late 1960's clothing and her silver shoes and purse, inspired a there present LE investigator to eloquently define her appearance as 'like a space doll'.

She stood 160 cm tall (or 5'3''). Slender complexion.

He face had been battered, but later on it would be ruled that the cause of dead had been mechanical asphyxiation. More specifically, her killer had squeezed her throat hard with one hand, as the finger-shaped bruises on her neck attested. She had numerous defensive wounds in the form of bruises. Death had taken place less than 48 hours earlier, and her body was barely entering into the first stages of decomposition. The swelling in her face wasn't due to the decaying process, but due to the blunt trauma-induced inflammation. This detail would make the identification process much harder than expected. There was some dry blood on her cheeks and her clothing, but no traces of blood were found on the tinaja nor around; she had been murdered somewhere else and then dropped there later.

The contents of her purse, as well as the pockets in her jeans, were examined. This didn't produce any evidence that would point at the woman's identity. A strange piece of evidence was found trapped between her clenched teeth though; a small golden medallion with the following inscription embedded on it;


LUCI 13-12-1962


Could her name be Lucía? And what was that date referring to? Obviously, it couldn't be her birth date, since the body belonged clearly to an adult woman. Investigators at the scene pondered that maybe it could be the name and birth date of her daughter. This clue was used in the investigation.

The soil at the abandoned house showed that her killer had dragged her all the way to the tinaja where she was found in. It also showed that a car had been there. Based on the tire's pattern and the approximate wheelbase of the vehicle, investigators concluded that the car used to take the woman to there was a Renault 4L, a very popular car back then in Spain. What is more; they could also find a dent on the metal frame of the property's narrow gate. It was likely caused by a car speeding through it. Although the gate was narrow, anyone who could drive a car could easily go through it slowly. However, it seemed that someone -likely the killer- had rushed through with their car, hitting the frame in their way out, and probably full of anxiety about being seen dropping a body there.

The investigators managed to retrieve samples of red colored car paint from the dent, which gave them more information about where to look. A red Renault 4L.

It seemed that the tinaja, which was made of clay, had created conditions on its interior that had slowed down the decaying process in spite of the summer temperatures -tinajas make a rather cool storage space by keeping the heat out. Because of that, LE investigators managed to produce an excellent fingerprint profile from the murdered woman. It took the team just twelve hours since sampling her fingerprints to find a match. Keep in mind this was back in 1969, before fingerprint registries were in electronic form; the team had to split into several groups to compare (visually) the fingerprints with the registries of different public agencies. Twelve hours was a really quick time for a fingerprint match back then.

The fingerprint match came with a strange surprise. It was found by the team that had been assigned to compare the sample with the fingerprints from the Registry of Foreign Passports.

According to the match, it belonged to Kerry Payne, an American citizen. Born on December 25th, 1944 in Venice, Italy. Her parents were Richard and Nuria. The additional information in the registry mentioned 'housewife' as her professional occupation.

With the new data about her identity, LE tried to contact her family and relatives to tell them the unfortunate news about her death, as well as to move forward with the murder investigation. However, things would just start to get weirder and bizarre.

Payne's parents could not be located. Neither the US embassy, nor the personnel from the nearby USAF base in Torrejón de Ardoz could find anything about her within their databases. However, a matchbox advertising for a nightclub in Raleigh, North Carolina, had been found in the crime scene near the tinaja inside of which the woman had been found. The presence of this item had made investigators to put a lot of faith in thinking that sooner or later a relative of Kerry Payne would be found. The matchbox set them to contact North Carolina's authorities, leading them into another frustrating turn as this move didn't produce any results; There were no matching records of any Kerry Payne fitting the woman's personal information.

It was almost like Kerry Payne, also known as Tinaja Girl and Space Doll, didn't exist. So who was that dead woman really then? Where did she come from? And of course... who killed her, and why?



Chameleon among Wolves



Having clear that the whole Kerry Payne ID was fake, the investigation had stalled. Without knowing the woman's ID, solving the crime was off question. They couldn't trace down her last movements, nor question her family nor acquaintances.

The investigators split once again in teams to look for other fingerprint matches, which took a bit longer time than the initial twelve hours before the first match. After a couple of days of arduous work the investigators managed to produce a second match -which turned out to be legit. Here's another surprising aspect of the discovery of this match; it came from the team looking for results on the public mental health internment records. And so they finally had a solid name.

She wasn't American, nor Italian. In fact, her origins weren't at all exotic; she was Spanish. Natividad Romero Rodríguez (commonly addressed as "Nati") was born in the small town of Siles, located at 130 km (80 mi) east of Jaén, in the middle of the semiarid, deep Manchegan countryside. Nati came to this world on July 15h, 1941, which means that she was 28 years-old when she was killed. Her mother and her brother positively identified the body by an old scar on her right forearm.
Picture of a young Nati
Nati had been problematic from a very young age; volatile, kleptomaniac and narcissistic. She also developed an addiction to alcohol and used drugs during her teenage years. Her working-class family could not manage to deal with her extremely difficult behavior. At the age of 16 she was committed to a mental institution in Jaén, for a total of seven years, after two suicide attempts. In the first one Nati had jumped from the window of a 4th floor. The second time she had tried slicing her wrists on the bathtub.
Nati, circa 1965 The investigators' inquires revealed that Nati escaped from the mental institution and moved to Madrid in 1964. She quickly adapted to the underworld and the night life of the big city; first as a pickpocket and confidence trickster, but soon as a prostitute too. She used the name "Tania" as her identity at the time. Fifty-something questioned people later (being shown Nati's pictures), the investigators found that she lived with a man named Juan between August of 1964 and some point of the fall of 1965. There isn't much information about Juan, except that he was a black man and had a large scar on his face. He apparently was a soldier, and was sent to serve at a navy base in Rota (some 480 km, or 300 mi, southwest of Madrid). Nati didn't follow him to Rota; instead, she remained in Madrid, surviving by making money 'out of the night'.

Sometimes known by the name of Tania, sometimes by the name of Luci... and yes, also known as Kerry. She also liked to change her hair color very often, sometimes up to three times a week. These questioned about Nati -including other prostitutes- stated that she often 'worked' at the bars and nightclubs near the USAF base in Torrejón de Ardoz (active from 1953 to 1992), targeting American soldiers looking to spend some of their money on local women. She seemed to have a preference for black American soldiers, as she was often seen with them. When she was not heading to a hotel room escorted by an African-American soldier, Nati catered to local patrons posing as an American woman. She was reportedly very good at feigning an American accent, and she had discovered she was better paid for her services because of that. As for her personal life, Nati claimed to be a lesbian that the only thing she wanted from men was their money, and many people recalled her being physical with women (paid or not). Nati had, however, a worrisome tendency to seek very young girls for her personal pleasure.

Her acquaintances also mentioned than Nati always looked 'off' or 'sleepy', like on drugs. Although when considering this point it's worth remembering that Nati was an alcoholic and frequent drug user, on top of suffering from serious mental illness. When she didn't look drugged Nati was seen either drinking, looking for patrons or just looking for a fight; she was a violent woman who made an extensive use of foul language and profanity.

As the whole story unraveled, the investigators bumped into a big 'a-ha' moment when they learned that Nati had married in 1966. The name of her husband?

Leonard Payne. American citizen. USAF Airman First Class, stationed at Torrejón de Ardoz Air Base.

And yes; he was African-American.
Nati and Leonard, around 1966

The marriage was blessed with two children later on. It was also blessed, more obscurely, with generous money transfers from the US. These transfers amounted an average of around $2,000 a month, which in 2020 is the equivalent to about $16,000, or some 14,000€. It's not clear what kind of family background Leonard had, but his monthly salary at USAF certainly wouldn't match such amounts of money. The origin and motive of these money transfers has never been clear. The couple had rented a very expensive flat to live in.
Nati, with one of the children she had with Leonard

In early 1968 Leonard, who has an avionics expert, was sent to Vietnam, leaving Nati alone in Madrid. At some point of that year Leonard went MIA in Vietnam, and soon presumed dead. Seems like not long after the news of Leonard's tragic demise were received the money stopped coming, and Nati's behavior became even more erratic and unpredictable. She was eventually arrested for drugging a teen girl and sexually abusing her, a crime for which she was sent to the Ventas Prison for Women. She spent eight months there.

During her time in prison she became an inmate most of the women there avoided; Nati was too volatile, too unpredictable (except for the fact that she'd resort to aggression sooner or later) and always trying to smuggle alcohol inside. In one occasion she and other two inmates ended up in the infirmary after a disastrous attempt to produce moonshine; their drink contained enough methanol to poison them. Nati and one of the two women survived. The other one died.

She was often getting into scuffles there, especially taking into account the nature of the crime she'd been sent there for. One night another inmate made fun of Nati's deceased African-American husband, using a pejorative racial slur. Nati reacted by walking up to that woman and smacking her with a heavy oil can so hard that the woman needed several stitches on her face.

After her release from prison in early 1969 Nati moved in with one of her friends -a former prostitute- and her boyfriend. It's not clear if this couple was taking care of Nati's children while she was in prison, or if the children were sent to the US to live with Leonard's family. Soon after Nati was kicked out of that residence, after she had been caught stealing from them; this friend's name was Lucía, and she was the owner of the golden medallion that would later be found between Neti's teeth. Apparently, Nati had found a job at a club, but she was fired soon after for being frequently caught drunk at work.

From this point up until her death six months later, Nati's movements become unclear. One night of late February a police patrol car found her lying unconscious and bloodied on the sidewalk at El Retiro Park. Someone had subjected her to a savage beating. The policemen drove Nati to a hospital and, after she received treatment, they tried to convince her to fill an assault report. However Nati -concussed and with her lips grotesquely swollen- refused to do so. She also claimed that she didn't know the person who had attacked her. The policemen didn't believe that, and suspected that she had been beaten up by a pimp or a patron.

According to other sex workers, Nati had spent the spring and summer of 1969 resuming her routine of trying to get black USAF soldiers to pay for her services. However, she had also expressed some concerns about her own safety, confiding to her friends that she felt 'followed'. She didn't seem to explain to them further about these feelings though.

Nati was seen alive for the last time at around 4:00 AM of August 12th, 1969. Whatever happened to her between that moment and the morning of the following day when the firefighter discovered her body was a complete mystery. By early 1970 the investigation had stalled and the case became cold. Ironically, it would take one particularly cold night about one year later to warm the case back into life...



Thugs and Knives



Madrid, Spain
Saturday, January 30th, 1971


7th Barbieri Street, early morning hours. The Piloto Bar was full of patrons, as it was habitual on weekend nights. Everyone was having a good time on that gelid winter night under the warm roof of the bar. Patrons drank, smoked cigarettes and chatted with their friends, probably about football. Others would bet rounds of beers among their friends over a game of table football. A barman in his 50's named Pedro Herraiz was the owner of the bar. That busy night the 32-years old waiter Álvaro Coque was working alongside with him, as well as another waiter, a kitchen porter and the cook.

It was a busy, but peaceful night until that guy and his friends walked into the bar.

His name was José Antonio Sánchez Gil, but everyone around knew him by the nickname 'Pepe el Guapo' ('Handsome Pepe'). His good looks and his success with women made his nickname self-explanatory. He was a tall, intimidating man who, along with his friends, regularly terrorized the neighborhood. The 29-years old Pepe was a ruthless pimp with many girls under his 'protection services'. He used that fearsome reputation to drink as much as he pleased at the local bars without paying a cent. Standing up to him would mean having Pepe and his friends doing a number to the bar, trashing the place and assaulting the staff.

Pepe ordered whiskey, as he always did. And he invited his friends to drink, as he always did. Everyone at the Piloto Bar knew that standing up to Pepe was a very bad idea. However, that night Pepe made a big mistake. It would be his last one. Apparently, Mr. Herraiz had stood behind the counter looking at Pepe as he drank, not hiding his animosity towards that thug. Then Pepe, probably feeling challenged, decided to cap the night off with the ultimate humiliation; he invited Herraiz to drink a glass of his best whiskey. A drink which, of course, Pepe had zero intentions to pay for.

The 'invitation' was met with a counter-offer from Herraiz; Pepe and his friends should leave the bar immediately and never come back. Herraiz had had enough, and that drink suggestion had been the straw that broke the camel's back. Pepe then grabbed an empty beer bottle from the counter and smashed it against Herraiz's forehead, dazzling him. Almost immediately Pepe jumped over the counter and started beating up Herraiz; his friends soon joined the beating, and the floored Herraiz was at the receiving end of a brutal barrage of kicks and stomps.

The Piloto's staff wasted no time; they all grabbed ham knives from the kitchen and rushed back out to help their boss. Pepe and his gang pulled out their switchblades and a violent knife fight ensued. It didn't seem that things would go well for the staff, as they were being outnumbered by the thugs. The cook suffered a severe stab wound in one of his buttocks. But the waiter Coque managed to catch Pepe off-guard (the criminal was distracted fighting someone else) and drove the long knife blade into his ribcage, slicing part of his heart. Pepe collapsed almost immediately.

Probably emboldened after seeing Pepe finally being at the wrong end of a knife blade, many of the patrons that night at the Piloto bar joined the fight too, siding with the staff. Pepe's gang was now overwhelmed with punches, beer bottles and even bar stools. Around this time several police officers reached the bar. All except for a couple of Pepe's friends managed to escape the beating and flee running down the street. These who couldn't had to be rescued by the police officers; the scuffle and the agitation were so intense that the officers had to use their batons to dissuade the patrons from continuing their attack on these thugs.

Herraiz, who had been badly beaten, was taken to hospital, and so was the cook because of his stab wound. Both men eventually made a full recovery. Pepe, on the other hand, was pronounced dead at hospital. His violent death surprised no one, and saddened no one either. In fact, locals joked around afterwards noticing the irony behind the fact that 'Handsome Pepe' had died, literally, from a broken heart. It seems that the man who put an end to his life, the waiter Álvaro Coque (a husband and a father of two kids who had no criminal record), faced minimal or no charges.

That night the police officers made some arrests. Obviously the thugs that didn't manage to escape were arrested, as well as the most aggressive patrons that had still some fight in them. But they also arrested a patron in particular, one who during the melee had been seen trying to not to get involved and leaving the scene discreetly.

His name was Gregorio Ávila Sotoca, more known locally as 'Goyo'. The reasons he had tried his best to avoid the fight had nothing to do with ethics or pacifism; Goyo was well known by Madrid's LE at the time. At 28, he was a mugger, thief, and a drug dealer. But he was known especially as a pimp. He had been the subject of a search and arrest warrant for the previous six months due to a string of robberies he was a suspect of, and had spent that time trying to keep a low profile to fly under LE's radar.
A picture of Gregorio Ávila Sotoca, alias 'Goyo'

Goyo was placed on a cell at the main police station -something he wasn't unfamiliar with. The police chief on command of Goyo's arrest that night was a man named Manuel Lista. Mr. Lista was a tall and big man who, in spite of his intimidating appearance, never used physical force against any detainee -back in the 1970's Spain police brutality was the norm rather than the exception, especially when the detainees were regular offenders like Goyo was. Instead, Lista preferred a slow and patient method of interrogation; without even raising his voice (looking almost fatherly, in fact) he would come up with the same questions over and over, staring into the offender's eyes. He would also question the detainees at early morning hours, waking them up several times a night.

That weekend Lista was reportedly trying to make Goyo confess to pimping women and robbery charges. However (according to him and his subordinates) something extremely unexpected happened.

Goyo finally broke down and said; "It's about that Tinaja Girl, right? Well, I killed her".

Why would Goyo supposedly admit that is not clear. Apparently, he blurted that out after Lista had asked him many times "to start talking", but no one at the station expected him to have anything to do with Nati. Goyo told them that the night of August 11th, 1969 he was very drunk and had met Nati at a café-bar. They drank some more there and then Goyo proposed Nati to go to his place, to which she refused. Then he drove her in his car -a red Renault 4L- to the abandoned house where Nati's dead body was later found. Goyo reportedly told Lista and his men that once there they 'couldn't reach and agreement and Nati started nagging and making fun of him'. This enraged Goyo, who described to Lista how he put both hands on Nati's throat and squeezed until she passed out. After that Goyo slapped her face, trying to wake her up, until he realized that Nati was dead. Finally, Goyo stripped her naked, took her money and her jewelry and hid her body inside the big tinaja.

Goyo also described how he was so full of anxiety when leaving that his car gazed the gate's frame, scratching the bodywork. By the morning he had stayed at one of his girl's apartment, and Goyo told her he was leaving later that day 'for a road trip'. He told her he was leaving to León (340 kilometers, or some 210 miles, northwest from Madrid) for a few days. However, Goyo moved into the apartment of another of the prostitutes he pimped. He later called the first girl and told her he was in León, although he hadn't left Madrid. He asked her if someone 'had asked about him lately'. Goyo returned from his 'trip' a few days after Nati's body was found.



An international affair?



With that unexpected confession Goyo thereby became the main suspect for the mysterious murder of Nati Romero, the Tinaja Girl.

When the word that Goyo had been arrested as a suspect for murder spread around, many girls mustered enough courage to speak up to LE about Goyo. It turned out that Goyo was a sadistic and violent pimp whose girls feared him enough to not to report even the most gruesome abuse. LE considered the girls' statements as very likely, as apparently they were quite consistent. In one particularly disturbing statement, Goyo had locked up one of the girls in his apartment and beat her up very badly. The girl managed to endure the beating, thinking that that would be all. But then Goyo had pulled out a pocketknife; this girl feared so much for her life that she jumped from the window (a 2nd floor) onto the street, and then hid under a car while a deranged Goyo screamed that he was going 'to rip her heart out' while looking for her. This girl had been found later that day by a police officer, who asked her who had attacked her. She insisted that a gang of teenage boys had jumped on her to take her money, never mentioning Goyo.

What is more; Goyo had a big collection of 'tools' at home (he called them 'his toys') that he would use to discipline the girls. According to the women who came forward after his arrest, Goyo would administer, in his own words, 'pain or pleasure, depending of what the girl in particular required'. The full nature of these tools is never specified, though. A total of 54 women had come forward to tell LE what kind of monster Goyo was.

Thanks to these reports, Lista and his team though they got a solid suspect in custody. It matched what they already knew about Goyo beforehand. He was often involved in street fights and had a reputation of being quick to pull out his knife when challenged or threatened. He was a very violent man, and the girls he extorted were absolutely terrified of him.

Goyo was brought to trial. And then, when everyone thought that he'd be facing a long time in prison for the murder of Nati Romero, the whole case fell apart.

First, Goyo denied ever having confessed killing Nati. He told the judge that he had been coerced into a confession and that he had been physically tortured.

This wouldn't have gone further if not for what the defense came up with. Goyo had stated many times (according to the questioning with Lista) that he had used both hands to strangle Nati. However, the forensic doctor that had performed the autopsy had noticed that it just couldn't have been that way; whoever strangled Nati did so using only his right hand; the killer had used his left hand to pin Nati's right arm to the ground, making her more defenseless. Also, whoever killed her had hands much bigger than Goyo's (who was an average sized man).

That wasn't all; Goyo said that after noticing that Nati had passed out he smacked her face several times trying to make her regain consciousness. But again, this didn't fit the forensic findings. Nati's facial injuries didn't suggest a few slaps in the face; they suggested a brutal beating, probably punched or knee'd several times in the face. Also, the facial injuries happened, in all likelihood, before being strangled, not after.

The scenario provided by the forensic doctor and his team didn't suggest a quick murder like the one described by Goyo's confession. Nati had put up a tremendous fight against her attacker, reason why the killer had to pin Nati's right arm to the ground. The high amount of defensive wounds found in her body supported this scenario. If she panicked when she was attacked, she certainly did not freeze in fear.

The confession is one of the darkest spots in this case. Manuel Lista was said to have never engaged in physical torture -which Goyo accused him of. However, his questioning methods could be considered psychological torture, at least nowadays. It's stated, though, that when Goyo was finally transferred from the station's cell to jail he had gone from 'dangerous hardened criminal' to a 'sobbing little boy' in the matter of a weekend.

Because of the lack of evidence and the forensic findings pointing at a different story, Goyo was declared non guilty of the murder of Natividad Romero. This didn't mean he walked free though; he was sentenced to five years in prison for his pending pimping and theft charges. Goyo's lawyer appealed to the Supreme Court about his sentence; the appeal was rejected.

Meanwhile, Nati's killer was still unidentified and likely at large. The Crime Brigade handed the case to the superintendent Antonio Viqueira. Viqueira (1916-1998) was a highly esteemed detective with an impressive resume; in 1958 he was behind the team that managed to catch the first official spree killers in Spain, José María Jarabo. He had also cracked several cult-related crime cases in the 1960's and 1970's, as well as apprehending a serial rapist who targeted prostitutes in the 1960's, using a clever strategy with the collaboration of the sex workers. Because of his brilliant career he was often invited for talks at Universities aimed at Crime Science students. Reportedly, he used to explain to these students that 'not only dead bodies talk; the objects found in the crime scene talk too'. And also that 'simplicity, along with logic, brings the truth to light'.

Viqueira put his method to work in the Tinaja Girl case. Following his own experience, he paid attention to the objects found at the crime scene. Let's remember a particularly unusual item found near the tinaja were Nati ended up in; the matchbox.

This matchbox was traced to a nightclub in Raleigh, North Carolina, in the United States. There was no way to buy it in Spanish territory, and locals would buy matches from Spanish companies. USAF airmen didn't frequent the abandoned house Nati was found at, making extremely unlikely that the matchbox had been there before Nati's murder. There were just two likely scenarios; a) Given her involvement with USAF African-American airmen -let's remember she had married one-, the matchbox belonged to Nati and b) it belonged to the killer.

The Torrejón de Ardoz Air Base became the target of Viqueira's attention. He believed that the killer had ties to there. More so because according to the girl whose flat Goyo had hidden at, one time she casually discussed the Tinaja Girl case with him (whose investigation was often making headlines then) and Goyo had expressed; 'I think the Yanks did it, but don't go around talking about it'.

In fact, Viqueira's inquires eventually led him to an USAF airman. He was known for patronizing prostitutes, was a physically large man... and he was also African-American. It seems that Viqueira managed to gather a significant amount of evidence against him, but the airman was never prosecuted. Some have speculated that neither American nor Spanish authorities wanted the case to move forward.

A few words about US-Spain relations at the time. In December of 1959 Dwight Eisenhower became the first American president to make an official visit to Spain -some ten years earlier Truman had expressed his hatred towards the Francoist Regime, vowing to never visit Spain for as long as Franco ruled the country. Spain wouldn't receive the visit of another US president until October of 1970, when Richard Nixon met with Francisco Franco and the Monarchy at the Moncloa Palace. John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson had avoided visiting Spain while they were in office; both were vocal about their opposition to the Francoist dictatorship. US-Spain international relationship was not at its best during that time, and it started to improve slowly with Nixon. There had been recently another incident that had created a conflict between both countries, creating a sense of distrust among Spaniards towards Americans; the 1966 Palomares incident, whose social consequences had an impact even up to 1986, year in which a public referendum was held in Spain about remaining in NATO -Spain had joined in 1982, but not without a significant opposition from a good percentage of the Spanish people.

By early 1970's both countries had improved their diplomatic relationship significantly, a trend that would later continue with Gerald Ford (who visited Spain in May of 1975, six months before Franco's death). Because of this, some believed that the Tinaja Girl case couldn't move forward. However, this was not the first case Viqueira had to accuse an American citizen of a serious crime; in August of 1960 an American woman named Mildred A. H. had rushed her 22-month old daughter Marcella H. to the Torrenjón de Ardoz Hospital with severe head injuries. She said that the little girl had fallen from her bed. Unfortunately, Marcella succumbed to her injuries that night. An investigation led by Viqueira ended up proving that Marcella's injuries had been caused after she had sustained a beating at the hands of her own father, Allen W. H., USAF sergeant stationed at Torrejón de Ardoz Air Base. Both husband and wife were arrested for the murder of the little Marcella; Allen as the culprit and Mildred as accomplice. Allen W. H. faced a court martial and was sentenced to prison. He ended up at the Leavenworth Penitentiary, in Kansas, where his sentence included penal labor. Apparently, the day after he murdered his daughter Allen had showed up to work, and his coworkers didn't notice anything odd or amiss; he looked absolutely calm and collected.



Aftermath



Whatever the true reason may have been, the African-American airman was never arrested. It could have been because the evidence gathered by Viqueira was not enough to warrant an arrest, but there's not much information about this.

Gregorio 'Goyo' Ávila Sotoca has been the only person to ever face trial for the murder of Natividad 'Nati' Romero Rodríguez. Besides the African-American airman, no other suspect has come up in subsequent investigations.

Once all the forensic work was done, Nati was buried on August 25th, 1969 at her hometown of Siles. While her family was very saddened about her early dead, they said that they were not surprised; Nati had been a very difficult person since a very young age, and was a matter of time before she would end up dead. She lived very fast, and died very young.
Another picture of Nati

Goyo Ávila Sotoca passed away in September of 1998. He was 55-years old.

The case remained cold until it expired in August 13th, 1989 due to statute of limitations. The investigation was abandoned more than 30 years ago.





Some sources (Spanish)


https://criminalia.es/asesino/el-crimen-de-la-tinaja/
http://elojocritico.info/los-casos-del-comisario-antonio-viqueira-y-ii/
http://manuelcarballal.blogspot.com/2008/07/los-casos-del-comisario-viqueira.html
http://psicokillers.com/el-crimen-de-la-tinaja/
https://espaciodeindrianiblog2.blogspot.com/2016/09/el-crimen-de-la-tinaja.html
https://www.libertaddigital.com/opinion/fin-de-semana/el-crimen-de-la-tinaja-1276230125.html
http://manoquemecelacuna.blogspot.com/2017/03/el-crimen-de-la-tinaja.html
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Emirates D10 Tournament

Emirates D10 Tournament
The Emirates Cricket Board will check its arrival on the cricket field with the all-new residential T10 alliance - Emirates D10 2020. The league will be facilitated at two UAE venues, in particular, the ICC Academy Ground and Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
The Emirates D10 will highlight six teams which comprise five regional teams and one Emirates Cricket Board group named ECB Blues. The regional teams partaking in the league are Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah, Dubai, and Sharjah.
According to the Emirates D10 association format, each team will confront each other twice in a twofold round-robin format between 24th July and 6th August. The main four teams toward the finish of the Emirates D10 bunch stage will qualify the playoffs, which are like the ones directed during the IPL.

The Emirates D10 league playoffs would involve a qualifier, an eliminator, a second qualifier between the loser of the main qualifier and the winner of the eliminator, and the last.
The Emirates D10 league will be spilled worldwide on the Cricket Gateway App and site. The nearby cricket fans in the UAE can likewise stream the games on the Etisalat. Indian cricket watchers can get the action on the Fan code App
Emirates D10 League 2020 Squads
The two teams consist of a few domestic players in the UAE. The structure of the t10 league energizes the fans and it's picking up consideration around the world. It is not yet clear how the players perform on the initial day of the tournament.
Abu Dhabi: Vinayak Vijayan, Osama Hassan Shah, Rahul Bhatia Noor Khan, Rizwan Amanat Ali, Riyan Mohammed, Rameez Shahzad, Khalid Mahmood, Kai Smith, Jalal Bhukari Graeme Cremer, Ghulam Murtaza, Ghulam Farid, Dilawar Khan Orakzai, Ali Abid, and Aryan Lakra
Ajman: Abdul Shakoor, Ali Mirza, Ameer Hamza, Amjad Gul Khan, Anand Kumar, Asif Mumtaz, Omer Farooq, Safeer Tariq, Nasir Aziz, Sandeep Sandy, Sapandee Singh, Saqib Mashad, Shareef Asadullah, Syed Haider Shah, Hamad Arshad, Mohammad Azhar, and Zawar Farid.
ECB Blues: Ahmed Raza, Adhitya Shetty, Ali Naseer, Arsalan Javed, Chirag Suri, Muhammad Usman, Rohan Mustafa, Sultan Ahmad, Kashif Daud, Matiullah Khan, Muhammad Ayaz, Muhammad Boota, Taimoor Ali, Junaid Siddique, Kartik Meiyappan, and Vritya Aravind.
Fujairah - Ali Shan Sharafu, Asif Khan, Baseel Hameed, Hamdan Tahir, Hassan Khalid, Iqrar Shah, Luqman Hazrat, Maroof Merchant, Jash Giyanani, Muhamad Kaleem, Rishab Mukherjee, Sanchit Sharma, Sheraj Piya, Lovepreet Singh, and Waseem Muhammad.
Dubai: Aagam Shah, Abdul Rehman, Adnaan Khan, Mohammad Rashid, Rahman Gull, Faisal Amin, Faizan Sheikh, Ibthisam Sait, Imran Haider, Fahad Al Hashmi, Fahad Nawaz, Fahad Tariq, Shafaqat Ali, Umar Hafeez, and Usman Munir.
Sharjah: Ali Anwar, Ansh Tandon, Rizwan CP, Syam Ramesh, Hafeez Rahman, Hazrat Bilal, Junaid Shamzu, Khalid Shah, Fayyaz Ahmad, Gopakumar Gopalakrishnan, Muhammad Farooq, Nathan Shibu, Renjith Mani, Tahir Latif and Umair Ali.
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submitted by swathishivaram-97 to u/swathishivaram-97 [link] [comments]

[OC] What if every world cup team had the same population? - Group C

Hello again all, trying to distract myself from the fact that it’s already May, I’ve put my matching Friday pants and socks set on to bring you another edition of the alternative World Cup. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the premise of this series why not indulge yourself in the last two groups.
Group A, Group B
Whilst yesterday featured a group with sprinkles of quality throughout, I’m afraid to say this gathering is a little one-sided. One African team dwarfs three squads of an Asian persuasion, so with more utopian island spots than full time pro’s on display, I’ll try my utmost not to drift into a Thomas Cook holiday blog, no promises though.
Group C
West Africa
Togo, Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinnea Bissau, Senegal, The Gambia, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Western Sahara, Algeria, Morrocco
Population (millions): 240.19
When it comes to brainchildren it’s strongly advised not to have favourites, but between you and me this is the funnest squad of the lot.
Similarly to Eastern Europe, West Africa has often been a hive of sporting talent restrained by the labyrinth of borders within its confines. George Weah, Emmanuel Adebayor, Yaya Toure, Didier Drogba and Abedi Pele are some notable stars of the past, but the conveyor belt of sporadic world-class attacking talent over the last 30 years appears to have crescendoed into a full blown production line of stars in every outfield position.
Something that my hypothesis can’t fairly simulate is what affect an open plan Africa would have on the decision making of some of our games Euro-Africano elite. N’Golo Kante is of Malean descent whilst fellow Parisian Paul Pogba boasts his Guinean parentage. It would be a safe bet to assume at least some juggling would take place with the region's newfound affluence, but until I am able to read the minds of millionaire athletes I’m not going to touch the subject with a barge pole, besides I think I’d go for the sort codes well before I look at their national preference.
What we DO have however is a terrific squad on paper that will continue to improve as the years continue, with 17 year old Barcelona wunderkind Ansu Fati hailing from Guinea-Bissau, as long as he doesn’t succumb to a Spanish inquisition.
Goalkeepers Birthplace FM20 Value Age
Edouard Mendy SEN Rennes GK Montivilliers, France 65 €4.40 28
Yassine Bounou MAR Sevilla GK Montreal, Canada 68 €10.00 29
Defenders
Faouzi Ghoulam ALG Napoli LB Saint-Priest, France 72 €17.10 29
Dakonam Djene TOG Getafe CB Dapaong 74 €26.80 28
Kalidou Koulibaly SEN Napoli CB Saint-Die, France 84 €64.30 28
Achraf Hakimi MAR B. Dortmund RWB Madrid, Spain 72 €23.30 21
Eric Bailly CIV Man United CB Bingerville 72 €31.40 26
Salif Sane SEN Schalke 04 CB Lormont, France 69 €9.00 29
Serge Aurier CIV Tottenham RB Ouragahio 70 €19.90 27
Kwadwo Asamoah GHA Inter Milan LWB Accra 74 €21.10 31
Midfielders
Riyad Mahrez ALG Man City RW Sarcelles, France 77 €62.00 29
Hakim Ziyech MAR Ajax CAM Dronten, Netherlands 79 €42.80 27
Thomas Partey GHA Atleti CDM Krobo Odumase 76 €33.40 26
Naby Keita GUI Liverpool CM Conakry 78 €52.20 25
Ismaila Sarr SEN Watford RW Saint-Louis 67 €22.20 22
Pepe CIV Arsenal RW Mantes-la-Jolie, France 76 €45.60 24
Idrissa Gana Gueye SEN PSG CDM Dakar 75 €28.80 30
Amine Harit MOR Schalke CAM Pontoise, France 69 €10.07 22
Forwards
Sadio Mane SEN Liverpool LF Sedhiou 90 €92.40 28
Wilfried Zaha CIV Crystal Palace CF Abidjan 77 €59.60 27
Moussa Marega MLI Porto ST Les Ulis, France 70 €16.80 29
Islam Slimani ALG Monaco ST Algiers 68 €19.80 31
Average/Totals 74 €712.90 27.13636364
A difficult pick but I’ve settled on a squad that could play in numerous formations, Sadio Mané and Riyad Mahrez are two of the Premier Leagues most potent wide players whilst the midfield is a superfluity of athleticism and technique.
The likes of Feghouli, Kessie and Gervinho didn’t survive the longlist but the competition was stiff. I’m not overly happy with the inclusion of goal starved Islam Slimani but the area is surprisingly scarce of talented out and out forwards.
If this team fails to collect all nine points in this group it would be the worst thing to happen to West Africa since Di Caprio’s accent in Blood Diamond.
South India & Arabian Sea
6 Indian provinces (Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Goa), Sri Lanka, Maldives
Population (millions):239.70
Another region that practises footballing atheism, this was one of the most difficult to research. But if any documentarians want to make this into a series then I’d be happy to take some time out to fly out and research the Maldives for a while.
The two island nations donate their services to an uninspiring mess of Indian nonentity. Including the world’s sixth highest scoring active player Ali Ashfaq, never heard of him? Nah me neither.
Goalkeepers Birthplace FM20 Value Age
Kamaljit Singh IND Hyderabad GK Goa 24 €0.02 24
Chathura Ekanayake SRI Eagles Malé GK Sri Lanka 22 €0.00 27
Defenders
Anas Edathodika IND ATK CB Kerala 33 €0.03 33
Adil Khan IND Hyderabad RB Goa 32 €0.02 31
Mandar Rao Dessal IND Mumbai City LB Goa 31 €0.02 28
Lenny Ridrigues IND Goa CDM Goa 24 €0.02 32
Mohamed Imtiyas SRI Renown CB Kotahena 25 €0.01 24
Akram Abdul Ghanee MDV Valencia (MDV) CB Maafaru 28 €0.01 33
Edwin Sydney IND Chennaiyin RWB Kerala 21 €0.01 27
Asikur Alawadeen SRI Pelicans CB Kurunegala 23 €0.01 26
Midfielders
Brandon Fernandes IND Goa CAM Goa 33 €0.03 25
Rowllin Borges IND Mumbai City CDM Goa 32 €0.02 27
Sahal Abdul Samad IND Kerala Blasters CM Kerala 34 €0.04 23
Michael Soosairaj IND ATK CM Tamil Nadu 32 €0.03 25
Nikhil Poojari IND Hyderabad CM Karnataka 29 €0.02 24
Ahmed Razeek SRI Berliner AK CDM Berlin 44 €0.06 26
Mohamed Umair MDV Maziya CM Malé 27 €0.01 20
Romeo Fernandes IND Odisha RM Goa 23 €0.02 27
Forwards
Ashique Kuruniyan IND Bengaluru CF Kerala 35 €0.04 22
Jobby Justin IND ATK ST Kerala 28 €0.02 26
CK Vineeth IND Jamshedpur ST Kerala 27 €0.02 31
Ali Ashfaq MDV Club Green Streets ST Malé 27 €0.01 34
Average/Totals 29 €0.47 27.04545455
Ali Ashfaq has officially netted 463 times in his now 19 year career. Haters will say most of that was in the Maldivian league but I think I’d only be able to score half that amount so fair play to him.
The most notable islander is German born Sri Lankan Ahmed Razeek, the Berliner came through the ranks at now-Bundesliga team Union Berlin, but finds himself playing fourth tier football at the time of writing. At 25, Razeek only dedicated his services to Golden Lion in 2019, a bit of European experience may help the nation who have commanded just four wins in the last five years.
India’s most promising contribution to the side is 22 year old Ashique Kuruniyan, the young forward lacks goals but is known as something of a playmaker, Kuruniyan to Ashfaq could be the new Ozil to Ronaldo, but realistically I think this team will be lucky to find the net at all if the ratings are anything to Goa on.
Oceania and Southeast Asia
Australia, American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Cambodia, Singapore, Phillipines, Malaysia, 11 Indonisian Provinces (Papua, West Papua, Maluku, North Maluku, Sulawesi Island, East Nusa Tenggara, West Nusa Tenggara)
Population: 231.57
I almost broke the comma button on my laptop writing out all those islands, and it still doesn’t quite reach 240m. The pacific islands are home to some of the worst national teams out there, none more infamous than American Samoa who hold the record for the biggest ever defeat in international football, a 31-0 loss to Australia. If anyone hasn’t seen the documentary that was inspired subsequently to the loss, ‘next goal wins’ is perhaps my favourite football film and couldn’t recommend it highly enough when trying to explain the humanity of playing football in this part of the world.
The antagonists of the Samoan’s defeat, Australia have since changed confederations from lack of challenge. Joining the Asian Football Confederation in early 2006, the Socceroo’s have since won the Asian Cup on home soil and qualified for each of the previous four iterations of the World Cup. In 2006 a ‘golden generation’ fronted by Harry Kewell and Tim Cahill narrow missed out on a quarter final berth being beaten by eventual champions Italy in the 95th minute thanks to a controversial penalty.
While the likes of Kewell, Cahill and Mark Schwarzer have long since retired, the Aussies produce a modest yet constant procession of pro’s. Along with fellow anglophone New Zealand, the select Oceanic islanders often choose a path of playing in England’s football pyramid, with a few Premier League stalwarts found within the squad below.
Southeast Asia has a curious footballing culture, a strong general interest in the European game with seemingly little rewards for their appropriation, no malaysians manage to sneak into the selection whilst the Phillipines’ most famous athlete behind Manny Pacquiao only makes back up keeper.
Goalkeepers Birthplace Football manager Value Age
Matthew Ryan AUS Brighton GK Plumpton 66 €15.80 28
Neil Etheridge PH Cardiff GK London, England 64 €11.00 30
Defenders
Winston Reid NZ West Ham CB Auckland 66 €14.50 31
Milos Degenek AUS Red Star CB Knin, Croatia 62 €1.30 26
Trent Sainsbury AUS Maccabi Haifa RB Thornlie 60 €0.88 28
Bailey Wright AUS Bristol City CB Melbourne 59 €3.30 27
Wesley Lautoa NCA Dijon CB Epernay, France 62 €2.20 32
Aziz Behich AUS Basaksehir LB Melbourne 60 €2.20 29
Brad Smith AUS Bournemouth LWB Penrith 63 €9.50 26
Stephan Schrock PHI Cares RB Schweinfurt, Germany 57 €0.77 33
Midfielders
Aaron Mooy AUS Brighton CM Sydney 70 €26.70 29
Tom Rogic AUS Celtic CAM Griffith 67 €11.90 27
Mathew Leckie AUS Hertha Berlin CM Melbourne 65 €4.80 29
Robbie Kruse AUS Mebourne Victory RM Brisbane 64 €1.30 31
Awer Mabil AUS Mitdtjylland RW Kakuma, Kenya 63 €1.50 24
Craig Goodwin AUS Al-Wehda LM Adelaide 58 €4.60 28
Ryan Thomas NZ PSV CDM Te Puke 65 €6.50 25
Massimo Luongo AUS Sheffield W CDM Sydney 62 €7.80 27
Forwards
Chris Wood NZ Burnley ST Auckland 67 €23.40 28
Adam Taggart AUS Suwon Bluewings ST Perth 62 €0.84 26
Aposrolos Giannou AUS AEK Larnaka ST Nousa, Greece 63 €1.30 30
Daniel Arzani AUS Celtic CF Khorramabad, Iran 60 €8.20 21
Average/Totals 63 €160.29 29.68181818
As you can see the team is dominated by Aussie and Kiwi men, but there is some polynesian persuasion in the way of Wesley Lautoa who takes restbite trying to defend the likes of Neymar, Mbappe and Depay by bullying semi-pro strikers playing for New Caledonia.
Daniel Arzani is the best bet for a future talisman, despite really struggling to make the grade in Europe he’s still only 21 and could yet fulfil his potential. The Celtic forward has impeccable technical ability and has an eye on one day becoming a regular at his parent club Man City.
Chris Wood has a Premier League goal record that any striker would be proud of and is the archetypal Sean Dyche forward, but I would suggest that his physical play style precedes his genuine international quality. New Zealand famously exited the 2010 World Cup as the only side to leave undefeated, and part of that was due to the defensive talents of Winston Reid, who at that time was a 21 year old padawan learner to Blackburn hero Ryan Nelson. Now 31, The former West Ham captain Reid leads this sides defensive line where he’ll do his best to make the younger lads do most of the legwork.
Neil Etheridge is unlucky not to be the standout number one in this team, the keeper come underwear model caught the eyes of English fans saving three penalties in the 2018-19 season, although when on loan to Bristol Rovers he caught a free-kick and stepped backwards into his own goal, don’t think we’ve forgotten Neil.
Western China
9 Chinese Provinces (Feng Jin, Gansu, Shaanxi, Sichaun, Tibet, Xinjiang Uygur, Ningxia, Qinghai)
Population (millions): 256.25
A little over the limit for this one but you wouldn’t notice from the squad. The west of China is the least densely populated region and the one with the least investment in the club game, so it is no surprise that there is correlation to the talent, or lack thereof.
Every metric I’ve used in research points to this being the Chinese team that will struggle the most, the bulk of the players hail from Sichuan, which since we’re on reddit may give most of you PTSD of Rick and Morty fans standing on McDonalds counters.
None of the following players featured in the most recent Chinese national squad. In a sporting wilderness that hasn’t been invited to the game of Monopoly out east, you can’t blame this side for underwhelming.
Goalkeepers Birthplace FM20 Value Age
Wang QI CHI Shaanxi Athletic GK Shaanxi 35 €0.60 27
Yerjet Yerzat CHI Chongqing Lifan GK Xinjiang Uygur 36 €0.72 27
Defenders
Yang Xiaotian CHI Jiangsu Suning LB Shaanxi 40 €1.40 30
Wang Erzhuo CHI Shaanxi Athletic CB Shaanxi 28 €0.24 33
Alishat CHI Xinjiang Sport Lottery CB Xinjiang 40 €0.43 25
Zhang Ao CHI Xinjiang Sport Lottery RB Shanxi 28 €0.37 29
Liu Yu CHI Shanghai Shenxin CB Sichuan 30 €0.44 25
Zhou Xuri CHI Dalian Yifang CB Sichuan 29 €0.30 21
Otkur Hesen CHI Sichaun Jiuniu LB Xinjiang 20 €0.00 27
Bari Mamatil CHI Qiangdao Huanghai RWB Xinjiang 39 €1.50 31
Midfielders
Peng Xinli CHI Shanghai Shenhua CM Shanxi 47 €2.60 29
Mirahmetjan Muzepper CHI Shanghai SIPG CAM Xinjiang 46 €3.30 29
Zhang Xiuwei CHI Guangzhou E CM Sichuan 46 €2.70 24
Luo Senwen CHI Hebei China Fortune CDM Sichuan 44 €2.10 27
Li Yuanyi CHI Shenzhen CM SIchuan 42 €1.30 26
Zhang Chiming CHI Tianjin RW SIchuan 38 €1.10 31
Shewket Yalqun CHI Guangzhou E LW Xinjiang 33 €0.94 27
Yehya CHI Xinjiang Tianshan CM Xinjiang 24 €0.24 32
Forwards
Yan Dinghao CHI Gondomar CF Sichuan 45 €2.40 22
Li Fang CHI Chongqing Lifan ST Sichuan 34 €1.30 27
Gan Yingbo CHI Sichaun Longfor CF Sichuan 24 €0.16 35
Abduhamit Abdugheni CHI Jiangsu Suning CF Shaanxi 35 €0.75 23
Average/Totals 36 €24.89 27.59090909
Finding a 22 was a real struggle and there is an imbalance of positions to show for it. The only true striker is Chongqing’s Li Fang, who is officially listed as a striker-come-right back which is an oddly specific duology of skills.
The squad is predominantly composed of players from the nations second tier CL1, which to enlight the general reader means they probably aren’t going to win the tournament.
Another day another group, tomorrow we finally see one of the long anticipated Western European megasquads, and play a game of spot the Uzbekistani. Thanks again for reading, let me know if you think I've missed anyone from the squads or made an error and try to have a stab at the starting XI’s for today's teams.
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[TD] Island of Challenges: Episode 5

Last time, on Island of Challenges...
Balls, balls and more balls were dodged on the game that left many mental scars on the minds of our campers in their youths... Dodgeball! Many painful blows were dealt, both physically and mentally. But in the end, the Snarky Sharks pulled ahead in a surprising team sweep, where they destroyed the Mellow Mouses without having even one of their members eliminated from any of the matches!
Despite winning the challenge, of course even that didn’t faze out the shady atmosphere of the team. King was given all the credit of the win for dealing the final blow, leaving Logan and Pratyush completely baffled in the sidelines. Gretchen attempted to praise Logan for his work in the challenge, but given her previous record, he was skeptical to believe she was being genuine, that led to a fight ensueing, however, Gretchen shockingly backed down and apologized, leaving Logan even more confused.
The Mouses losing for the first time ever had an impact on breaking their egos! Sass had a meltdown, Ian had a breakdown, and things only went downhill from there. While at first Ed’s fate seemed to be sealed due to his poor performance in the challenge, Violet overheard Sass and Ana talking trash about all of their teammates, starting a chain of events which ended with Violet, Famesh and Ed teaming up to convince the team to overthrow the alleged royalty out of her high throne. The rest is history...
Except... for the shock of the nation, instead of Sass being eliminated, her fellow gossip partner Ana was axed instead! Being voted out in an almost unanimous 8-2-1 for her laziness in challenges and general mistreatment of others. With one shit talking session at the wrong place and time putting the nail in the coffin to extinguish her very persistent fire.
However, this leaves many questions hanging in the air. Why didn’t Dylan comfort his friend Ian with Surf? Why was Sass kept around? And with 19 campers remaining, whose voice in the game will be muted at the next Campfire Ceremony?
Find out the answers to all these questions now, on ISLAND... OF... CHALLENGES!
—————

Episode 5: Come Clean

—————
Current Status:
Snarky Sharks: Angelina, Don, Gretchen, King, Logan, Pratyush, Sammy, Taylor and The Syncopation
Mellow Mouses: Annika, Dylan, Ed, Famesh, Flik, Ian, Kaity, Surf, Sass and Violet
—————
The Mouses return from the vote, no one seemed particularly sad that Ana was gone. In fact, things felt more peaceful without her around.
Ian and Surf make their way up to the cabin, but before they can enter, they’re stopped by Sass. She asks both what happened at the vote, and why did Ed stay over... literally anyone else, Ian puts his hands in the air and says he also voted for Ed, Surf isn’t a liar though, he straight up reveals the entire team gunned for Ana because of the way she talked shit before the ceremony. Sass is a bit surprised to hear that, she thought she was discreet, but that apparently wasn’t the case. She asks Surf how the team found out about Ana talking behind their backs, but... he doesn’t remember. The model feels like she’ll explode at how useless they’re being, but she calms down, and just demands knowing if voting out Ana was a necessary action, as well as if they’ll vote with her if they lose again, Ian quickly confirms this so she can leave them alone, which is a good enough answer for her to turn around and strut away without another word.
Annika is seen walking barefoot on the beach, she was enjoying skipping around on the warm ocean water. Eventually, she finds Dylan, who was making a sand castle, she was about to go up to him and ask if she could help, however, he kicks the castle to the ground! Some sand flies over in her direction, making her cough, Dylan notices her, and half-apologizes, adding he has destructive tendencies. She questions why he was at the beach in the middle of the night, and he responds by asking her the same thing... which is a fair response. She comments she has been thinking about the game, and how she hasn’t done much to this point, Dylan immediately retorts by telling her that it may be the best course of action for her, offering his perspective that you do not want to stand out this early in the competition, pointing out Sass, how she thought she was in control, but instead, her friend was blindsided tonight. Him cutting her off rubs her the wrong way a little, but Annika does think about what his words... she thanks him for the input, and he just shrugs it off.
Flik was walking through the forest, hitting every tree branch, tripping on every rock, and she even stepped on a squirrel! Before she can hurt herself more, she’s stopped by Kaity, who was stalking her, god knows why. Kaity asks what is she doing at the forest, the dumb blonde answers that she wanted to use the confessional, but she forgot where it was. The kooky girl opens up to who she feels is her closest confidant that Sass may not actually be a ruler of a kingdom, Flik gasps in shock! Sass is an actual queen!? Not realizing she was the one who put that idea in her head to begin with. The blonde bimbo also confesses she’s a little scared, considering the host said that she received votes at the Campfire Ceremony, Kaity bursts into laughter, telling her not to worry, there’s no reason anyone would vote for her, Flik considers her point and... yes! It makes total sense! There must have been a miscount. Eventually, Kaity directs her to the outhouse, before going off, not realizing Flik would only come back to camp by morning.
—————
Confessionals:
Dylan: I’m not exactly the best when it comes to conversations, I can get pretty heated if I smell something bad. That’s why I’ve been trying to avoid talking, I have very strong opinions on this entire bullshit with Ana and Sass, but I know that I’d probably get eliminated if I go off like those two did, not something I should do if I want to win this for my family.
Sass: (She’s using a file to fix up her nails). Welp, seems like those people actually have brains, I know I’m awfully calm for someone who could have gone home last night, but I’m not worried, I still have a few tricks up my... wait, I don’t have sleeves. The point is, I’m not going home so soon! You can bet on that. (She says while pointing at the camera with the nail file)
Ed: (He’s seen griping his tiger shirt, almost hyperventilating). That was... one rush of adrenaline (he lets the breath he was holding), I don’t know why, but I feel... accomplished? Of course, being in the Bottom 2 was bad, but I helped get a huge bully off the island, so that was nice. I still haven’t figured out why Violet wanted Ana gone over Sass though...
Flik: Sadie is left, I don’t think anyone figured out my trap level yet, but I don’t want to just stand and live while the competition folds! I want to make grooves! It may be finale the time for me to switch this game downside up!
Surf: Bruh... one of my bros told me once that people only get mad at things they love, and Saucy just yelled at me with such passion! Does that mean what I think it does? No, she also got angry at Ian... wait, am I stuck in a love triangle!? Dude... not again...
—————
As time passes by, eventually challenge day arrives, the campers are called to the center of the island, where they are met with a gigantic but professional looking-stage, the contestants stare in awe at the glamorous set up, it seemed like something right out of (Insert Country Of Origin)’s Got Talent, or other reality shows of the genre. As they find seating space on the bleachers in their respective team divisions, the host appears, wearing a fancy tuxedo:
“Welcome everyone to The Island Show! a talent contest in which teams will select three of their members to entertain their fellow campers. The judge for this challenge is a very special guest... the one and only Chef Helga! She’ll rate your performances from a score of 1-10 based on her own criteria, in the end, the team with the highest combined score will win invincibility! As well as the reward of watching a firework show right here on the center of the island!”
For once, everybody is cheering! This is a nice break from all of the physical exhaustion they had to go through for the first week of the competition. Teams are told to pick the 3 members who will be participating, they then will be given a few hours to prepare their acts before the show starts.
Flik elects herself as the leader of the team for this challenge, and asks who wants to participate, Ian and Violet are the only ones who raise their hands, with one more person left to choose... she decides to pull out her pen and randomly point at... Ed! Which means he’ll be competing. He was on the verge of standing up to complain, but decides against it to not cause problems, Famesh quietly lets out a breath of relief for not being chosen. Flik hands her clipboard to the host, not only was it upside down, but everything written was barely legible.
No one on the Sharks wants to step up, besides the Syncopation, since this type of challenge puts a huge target on your back, if you mess up, you’re almost certain to be a target. Don comes up with a sort of fair way to decide who will represent them, he brought a few straws from the kitchen, and suggests that they do the old game... whoever pulls one of the 3 smallest straws has to perform. They were being timed on selecting their representatives, so that was their best option, everyone draws and... Angelina, Gretchen and King have the shortest ones, Sync is about to protest, but there’s no time, the host is informed that Angelina, Gretchen and King will be doing acts.
—————
Confessionals:
The Syncopation: Are these dumbasses serious? Is Don serious!? I AM A FUCKING MUSICIAN! But no, we have to “play fair”, and the best solution he pulled out of his ass is something as shitty as drawing a straw!? Don should pick a drumstick and shove it up his -(The rest of his speech is bleeped, but it still goes on for quite a while)... stupid fucking morons, every one of them for going along with this bullshit.
Violet: Yes! Okay, actually... I’m pretty nervous about what I have prepared (She’s flushed), it’s... an original piece, but now there’s no backing down, I have to go out there and perform it, get yourself together Vanessa- I-I mean Violet! You can do this!
Famesh: (He’s seen gripping his wrist), I really wanted to play my guitar on the talent show but... my wrist has only gotten worse, thankfully Flik is pretty oblivious sometimes. I checked in with the medical team, but what if the others find out? I’ve been thinking, should I do what Ed suggested and just keep quiet, or should I come clean...?
Angelina: Out of all the people chosen, why me universe!? I’m a YouTuber, but I’m good at what I do because at the end of the day, I’m just talking to a camera, and I can fix whatever mistakes I make! Now ALL EYES will be on me, and I can’t afford to mess up! I am sophie, the queen of YouTube! Please help me! Ok, that was clearly a joke, I’ve been trying to embrace more of my... humor.
—————
A few hours later, all of the numbers were ready, the Sharks and Mouses that weren’t competing sat on the bleachers, grabbing their sacks of popcorn and preparing to watch the spectacle, Chef Helga looked like she would hate everything thrown at her.
Scores: Mouses - 0 | Sharks - 0
Ed is up first, his talent is his knowledge in mathematics, he quickly solves a gigantic equation on a whiteboard, after he is done, he is met with mixed reactions from the audience. Chef Helga gives him a 3, congratulating him for “knowing math”, but that she doesn’t care since she didn’t understand a single bit what he did.
Scores: Mouses - 3 | Sharks - 0
King does fast beatboxing with a beat accompanying it. He receives a round of applause, and Helga gives him a perfect score of 10! She’s biased because she loves music of “the youngsters”, but she’s the judge, so what can you do?
Scores: Mouses - 3 | Sharks - 10
Ian takes the stage, he throws a football at a distance of 80 yards, everyone is impressed by it, but Helga only gives him 5 points, as that was boring to her. Ian is very inclined into giving up on being a try hard at this point.
Scores: Mouses - 8 | Sharks - 10
Gretchen does a dance routine, her energy and coordination gives her cheers from the audience despite her personality. Helga gives her a score of 8, saying that it was great, but she could have at least added some background music!
Scores: Mouses - 8 | Sharks - 18
Vanessa is the last one for the Mouses, she seems nervous, but begins performing her song “Busted”, a hit she created herself. As the music progresses, she becomes more confident! Some of the people on the bleachers even get up to dance! After the music ends, she is met with the biggest cheering of all the performances. Helga also gives her a 10, calling what she did beautiful.
Scores: Mouses - 18 | Sharks - 18
It was all down to Angelina, she had to score one point to give her team the win. As she steps onto the stage and holds a microphone, she admits she doesn’t think she has a talent in the truest sense of the word, before leaving the stage like lightning, the Sharks don’t know how to react to that.
Helga...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...gives her a pity point for being honest with herself.
Scores: Mouses - 18 | Sharks - 19
After seeing the scores, as you’d expect, the Snarky Sharks are declared the winners! They win invincibility, and are told to stay in the challenge site, as the fireworks show was happening in a few minutes. The host tells the Mellow Mouses to go back to camp, and that he has nothing for them, besides another meeting with him at the Campfire Ceremony, where someone will be voted off tonight.
—————
The 9 Sharks stare at the beautiful fireworks blowing up in the sky while sitting on the grass, for some reason, they were all yellow and rodent themed. When Angelina questions the host, he reveals he thought the Mouses were going to win, since when he asked the fireworks to be made, they were the ones winning everything, so he didn’t bother making an alternative pack.
Gretchen is seen sitting by herself, far away from everyone, Logan sits down beside her, but she crawls away from him. This makes him pretty angry, he blows up on her, saying he just wanted to apologize for the last time they talked, and that she did a great job in the challenge. As a revenge for when he said that to her, she hits him with a “what’s the catch”, he scoffs and just goes as far away from her as possible.
That conflict was mostly ignored by the team. The Syncopation and Taylor are cuddling at the back so that no one sees them, Taylor asks Sync if she could get a peek at his third drumstick later that night, and he gladly accepts it, but then realizes she was just joking, which legitimately made him upset. Don watches Sync and Taylor, he looks at Sammy, who was sitting beside him, he puts his arm around her shoulder, and she squeaks in surprise, he then pulls away, however, she tells him he didn’t need to stop... he does it once again, and pulls her closer, she leans her head on his shoulder as they keep on watching the fireworks.
—————
Confessionals:
Logan: UGH! My god Gretchen is so annoying and confusing, I actually tried being nice to her, because I felt bad for doubting her before. And then she straight up mocks me! I’m making sure she gets voted off if we ever lose another challenge.
Don: (He looks a bit flustered while entering the confessional, one could see a light blush on his face) I don’t know what came over me in that moment... I’ve been spending most of my time here with Sammy, and vice-versa. I know we’ve only been here for about 10 days, but I’m really starting to like her... a-as a friend! Of course!
King: We win yet another challenge, all thanks to me! Technically Gretchen and Angelina helped too, but only I got praise again! It feels great to be appreciated, I kind of wish they would have given some recognition to the others, but hey, if they want to keep on feeding my ego, so be it! I’m not letting it get to my head anyway.
Taylor: Sorry people, I was just joking, you won’t see two teenagers getting freaky on TV today. Well, I was sorta joking... kinda... I don’t know! Sync has this aura to him, it makes me attracted to him... not just because he’s mega hot, there’s so much about him, and I’m getting into him in more ways than one!
—————
The Mouses were appalled at their loss, it was the second time in a row where they’d be attending the ceremony, and that last point was really questionable on Helga’s part, so understandably, they were a bit put off.
They’re served dinner, at the table, Violet gets a lot of praise for her performance, however, the goth highlights Flik, since she was the one who didn’t even question her abilities, which most people have done in the past to her. The blonde bimbo gets showered with compliments from the rest of her team, making her blush from embarrassment.
With all the commotion around the table, Ed sees Sass glaring at him, she mouths to that he may have been able to avoid being eliminated last time, but that he won’t be so lucky now, he scoffs at her and leaves the mess hall. Kaity, who was sitting besides her, was able to read her lip movements perfectly, which makes her start getting even more suspicious of Sass. After dinner, Sass reunites all of the people in her alliance together in one go, or everyone on the team besides Ed. She asks if there’s any opposition to voting out the nerd tonight, she wants them to let her know, so that nothing unfortunate happens again... this clearly ticks most of her teammates, the tension on the room was pretty high, with no one saying anything. She takes this as no objections being made, and lets everybody leave.
Almost immediately, Famesh and Violet go up to Ed to warn him that Sass is after him again, he groans in annoyance, and sarcastically asks Violet who she wants to vote out, since apparently the model isn’t a viable option even after everything she’s done. Violet gets really offended by his words, she just reveals she just wanted to have Ana leave before Sass since she was more of a jerk, but if he’s going to treat the person who saved him like that, he can say bye bye to her help, before leaving without another word. Famesh looks at him disapprovingly, telling he shouldn’t have done that, now who are they going to vote for!? He tells him they might as well go for Annika, since he doubts they’ll get enough people to blindside Sass without Violet’s help, the best option would be to go after one of her minions. Famesh nods and starts jogging to try and convince people to follow their plan... but when he turns around, and notices Ed wasn’t getting up from his spot... he was really done, wasnt he? He’s just not one to show it.
Dylan is about to leave the male side of the cabin, however, he’s blocked by Ian, in a fit of annoyance, Dylan forcefully tries to push Ian out of the way, but the athlete was way stronger than him... he gives up, and angrily questions the motives. Ian just wants to know... why has he changed? Why has he been so distant!? Just now, he tried to avoid him! Dylan is quite straight with his “old pal”, he tells him he’s not the one who changed, it was Ian who has been desperate for the attention of the team, and he’s also the one obsessing over one guy who messed up in one challenge! He just wants this stupid drama to end! Ian tells him that if he wants it to be over, all he has to do is vote for Ed, before closing the door on his face, in response to that, Dylan picks up Ian’s luggage and throws it out of the window with no regrets!
Violet is seen sighing in as she leans against a tree, she notices Famesh coming up to her, which prompts her to keep moving, however, his pleas make her stop. She lets him know that if she wants to make up with Ed, HE has to apologize to HER, but to her surprise... that’s not why he was there, he tells her he needs her help with something, and after he explains said idea, her mouth is wide open. She asks him if that’s really what he wants, and he confirms it without a doubt in his soul, Violet nods, and sets off to do whatever Famesh requested.
Annika is making a sand castle on the beach along with Surf, she got that idea thanks to Dylan a few days ago, but unlike him, she won’t destroy it. While building, she asks Surf what he thinks about Sass, he answers that she’s one of the hottest girls on the island, and he thinks she’s into him, her face at his response says at all, she looks at the camera and does a “cuckoo” sound while pointing at him when he’s not looking. Their creation process is stopped by Violet, who runs over to them, and accidentally hits some sand on them, she apologizes, and quickly fills them in Famesh’s suggestion, they are both surprised when they hear it, Annika is in, while Surf takes some convincing to do, but eventually, he realizes he kind of own Famesh for it.
Violet just needs one more person for the idea to work, it was almost time for the vote, so she had to be quick, she stumbles onto Flik, which actually is who she was looking for. She explains everything to Flik, however, the dumb blonde doesn’t understand what she meant because she talked too fast, Violet obviously gets frustrated, and to make things worse, they’re called to the Campfire Ceremony. Violet just states that this was Famesh’s plea, and that she hopes she can vote for the person he requested.
—————
Confessionals:
Violet: Well...(She’s catching her breath in between her words) I tried... I hope everything can go along like Famesh intended, otherwise, all the effort I put in was just for nothing.
Ian: I actually feel like I’ve gotten somewhere here, even after all of my setbacks. The real problems are Ed and Dylan... hopefully the team sticks together on this one, gosh, it would be embarrassing if anyone went home over either of them!
Kaity: Everybody, I have the most shocking piece of information... Sass, is NOT a queen! Now that the truth is out, she will pay for tricking me into giving her power.. I can’t get her out today, but Annika will suffice... since I’m not the only one after her, i ran the idea with Flik, and she seemed fine with it. How do I know she’s a target? I’m actually really good at hide and seek! I would spend days without getting found back home because my Granparents would forget we were playing! Plus, no one knows the concept of secret messages, if that was the case, I wouldn’t know everything that goes around so easily!
Flik: I have a thought decision to make today, Sadie told me Famish and Edward are firearming for Anitta, Savage still wants Edward out the trapdoor, but Violin proposed me quite the springing idea... so many possibreezingties, and I get to choose! I feel like I’ll just go with my stomach on this one, and help out a fellow international.
—————
The Mouses reunite for their second Campfire Ceremony in a row, they all sit on the tree stumps, looking at the host across from the fire, who held a tray with 9 marshmallows on it. He starts wondering if their first two wins were just pure luck, considering that after this, they’ll go back to being tied with the Sharks in the numbers.
After everyone had cast their votes, marshmallows are handed out to...
Kaity
Violet
Ian
Surf
Sass
Dylan
Flik
After Flik forgets to catch her marshmallow, we’re left with the Bottom 3... Annika, Famesh and Flik. Annika was surprised, why would anyone vote for her when she never did anything!? Ed wasn’t shocked he was there, he was more taken aback that his friend still hadn’t been called safe. The host announces everyone left has received votes, making half of the team gasp in shock.
The host shushes everyone, and hands the next marshmallow to...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...Annika
Annika breathes in relief, catching her marshmallow and holding onto it for her dear life. Ed could not comprehend what was happening, while Famesh seemed oddly at peace with himself.
The final marshmallow goes to...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...Ed
As the marshmallow is thrown at him, half of the team turns in shock at Famesh! How did he get voted off!? He stands up, and turns to his fellow campers, he explains that he broke his wrist during the dodgeball challenge, as his condition worsened, he realized it was better if he asked a few people to vote him off, as he felt like his time was up.
The mood gets really sad, everyone gets up to give him a hug. He apologizes specifically to Ed, since he did all of this behind his back, since he knew he would try and stop him if he did it otherwise. Before he leaves, he tells the team that he hopes they can solve their differences with this extra time, he believes they can do it.
He turns to leave, walking through the Dock of Shame and boarding on the boat with his head held up high. Everyone waves to him as the boat takes him away...
—————
That was one heartbreaking exit! Unfortunately, we now have to say goodbye to Famesh, how ironic that the musician of all people was muted...
Since pretty no one’s plan came to fruition today, except for the person who got eliminated, what does that mean for the Mouses moving forward? Will Gretchen ever have a positive interaction with another contestant? And who will be the next person eliminated in the most crazy way possible!?
Find out next time! On ISLAND... OF... CHALLENGES!
—————
Votes:
Famesh: Annika, Flik, Surf and Violet
Annika: Ed, Famesh and Kaity
Ed: Sass, Dylan and Ian
—————
Thoughts on Famesh:
Likely the hardest vote I had to explain so far, I hope I managed to do enough of a good job. Anyway, Famesh’s elimination was plain sad, especially since he essentially eliminated himself so that the rest of the team could fix up their problems... will that actually happen? We’ll see. Also, rip the Sharks’ screentime this episode.
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OBLIGATORY FILLER MATERIAL – BAR FIGHT? NOT WITH DOC BIONICFINGERS! Part one.

That reminds me of a story.
I’m going cooped-up crazy. Shacky-wacky. Hotel doldrums have set in.
Yes, I know. Es and I just got back from a resounding tour of a shipbreaking yard in India.
Flew way above First Class.
Never had to even touch our luggage.
♫Oh, what fun it is to charter flights. Limos all the way. Hey! ♫.
But, the hotel bars here are paling quickly. Quiet. Too quiet. Same old, dull, dazed, and dormant crowd. The Expat population in Dubai is dwindling mightily. The COVID craziness is a madness that is taking a heavy toll. Everything’s shut down. Everyone’s staying at home.
I’m almost nostalgic for a good old Dubai 35 car pile-up and traffic jam.
Es sees that I’m in a quandary. She had quite a few friends here in Dubai. The ones I had have all left due to cratering oil prices or they’re what’s considered an ‘essential employee’, and thus unavailable.
“ROCK! QUIT YOUR PACING!” Es says in her most inimitable manner. “YOU’RE MAKING ME CRAZY!”
“A thousand pardons, my darling. But, Boditek. I suffer! Klytus, I’m bored. Bored out of my fucking mind. I can only write so much on the Precambrian Hydrocarbon reservoirs of Eastern Siberia. Television’s a bust, there’s no Netflix, even Pirate Bay is blocked here, and I’m going spare!” I whimper.
“Go then. Begone with thee. Go find a dark bar and grab a seat on Mahogany Ridge. You need a night off. Just take your fingers with so you won’t scare the locals. And be home before they open the borders. We want to be first in line when that happens” she says.
“By your command!”, I say, grab her around the waist, give her a spin, a quick smooch on the cheek, and pat on the backside before I hit the stairs in our suite in a flat-out gallop to retrieve my now charged digits from their charging port on my nightstand.
A few minutes later…
Stately, plump Dr. Rocknocker came from the stairhead bearing three incredibly expensive technologically-derived Kevlar-ed digits. He was clad in his finest Desert Fox chino shorts, freshly cleaned and oiled field boots, a new pair of jade Merino Rannoch Luxury Country Socks, best new Hawaiian drinking shirt, a Blasting technician T-shirt and black, recently blocked, Stetson.
He was so full of himself, that he actually stopped talking about his own self in the narrative in the third person.
“Esme? Darling? I’m off!” I say with a lilt in my voice and a cheeseburger in my pocket.
But that’s another story.
“You’re off, all right”, Es chuckles. “Now Rock, remember. This is the first time in a long time I’m letting you off the chain, out unsupervised among the general population. Don’t break anyone if you can avoid it and even if someone needs a quick killing, remember, you’re on vacation. OK?”
“Oh, my dear!” I chuckle and snicker, “You know me. I wouldn’t kill anyone here in Dubai. There’s no money in it.”
“Still. Best behavior?” She admonishes.
“I can’t guarantee anything, but I will try,” I reply.
“Pinkie promise?” she requests.
Damn. One of the few fingers of which left I have a natural set.
Now I can’t say that it was just a Kevlar-coated contract.
“But of course”, I say as we entwine pinkies. Hers nice, clean, and pink; mine keloidal, gnarled, and scarred.
Yeah, it about makes me retch. But Es sort of enjoys these silly things now and again.
I’m waiting in the hotel bar for my cab to arrive. I have a quick Long Island Iced Tea or three before I hit the streets. I’ve got this weird hankering for a sports bar. Don’t know why. I hate football, i.e., soccer, cricket, and those other weird forms of ball chasing they call sports over here.
But I yearn to be in a bar full of leather, hewn wood, and smoke. Attended by the smell of manly men drinking as they see fit.
In Dubai? Fat chance.
I ask my driver, who has just arrived, and who will be with me all night; if he minds me smoking, having a drink in a plain brown wrapper, and if he knows of a decent sports bar in Dubai.
No.
Nope.
Quantum Sports Bar.
“It’s sort of pricey”, he tells me.
My driver for the duration is one Roy Toisuta, an Indonesian chap who looks like he fell off a charm bracelet. In reality, I could make up three of him. But he’s affable, quick on the gas and bound to be a boon companion.
He is wiry in that whipsaw sort of kill-you-with-a-paperclip-1000-different-ways sort of manner. Like the human personification of a gaunt wolverine.
We’ll get along famously.
He tells me he doesn’t drink for whatever reason. He announces that he would wait for me out in the car while I go in and do whatever one does in a Sports Bar in Dubai for a few hours.
“Look, Roy”, I say, “I’m on retainer. C’mon in and I’ll buy you dinner and all the coffee, tea, or fizz water you could want. I just need someone non-judgmental. See, I have this affliction. I’m an alcohol-fueled carbon-based organism. I tend to drink a lot, but only to excess. You have any sort of problem with that?”
“Well, Rock”, he says, “As long as we’re being honest, I have no problem. The way I see it, the more you drink, the looser your wallet becomes.”
“I don’t suppose you’d care to lay a small wager on that conclusion?” I ask, leerily in that strange way I have that makes Komodo Dragons gulp in disbelief.
“I’ll bet, after what you told me about your recent confinement, that I’ll be dragging and/or carrying you out of the bar tonight. “ he snickers, dreaming of my very loose wallet and its contents. “You’re going to be tying one on, I can see that.”
“You can see me. But you can’t see my past” I think.
“Well, you’re not drinking, so what’s in it for me if I win?” I ask.
“A free driver for the next week?” he asks.
“Want to make it a month? I’m really, really thirsty.” I sneer.
“Make it a fortnight.”, he laughs. “Easiest money I’ve ever made. I can barely hold you back.”
“Deal”, as we shake hands. He notices my gloves for the first time.
“What’s that all about?” he asks.
“Industrial accident years ago. Not terribly pretty.” I say.
“Oh. OK. Ready to go?” He asks.
“Gentlemen”, I announce, “Forward. Drink!”
Roy accepts a cigar from one of my travel pocket humidors and we walk up to the entrance.
“You be who?” asks the doorman.
“Well, my good man, I am the Motherfucking Pro from Dover, and this is my able-bodied companion, Kato”, I say in my most affected Elliott Gould imitation.
“What?” he asks trying to corral at least two functioning synapses.
“Pardons. I’m Dr. Rocknocker and this is my trusty driver, Roy.” I continue.
“Ah. What? Hmm? Who?” was the response.
“Oh, I am sorry. Which word confused you?” I asked, most deferentially.
“You trying to be smart?” he asks.
“Well, I reckoned that at least one of us should,” I replied.
He sat there and fumbled with that reply like a nun in a warm bathtub fumbles with a bar of soap. You know the type, she has hope in her soul…
As he struggles to come up with an answer, I offer him a cigar the likes of which I’m certain he’s never seen outside of a Hollywoo movie.
“Here, my good man. My card.” I say as I hand over a large example of the perfection of the tobacconist’s art.
He gratefully accepts the cigar and removes the rope barrier.
“Have yourself a good time, gents.” He says.
“Oh. We intend to”, I reply.
“Ever need anything, just ask for Sandeep” the towering Nepali remarks with a smile.
“Thanks. Have a night yourself…”, I reply and stuff another cigar in his shirt pocket for later.
He grins wide as Dubai Creek and just as brown. He shoots me a wide smile and a universal thumbs-up sign.
“Best to make friends rather than antagonize the locals”, I muse.
“You’re an odd bird, Doctor Rocknocker.” Roy chortles.
“Roy, it’s just ‘Rock’, OK? It’ll save both time and cuts down on CO2 exhalations. And I’m all for protecting the environment.” I smiled back.
Roy chewed on that one for most the rest of the night.
The Sports Bar was quiet. Fairly empty, with probably more wait-persons than patrons.
One particularly buxom specimen of the female side of the equation welcomed us in an overtly and obviously affected mien. She wanted to show us to a table that was within the sphere of her waitressy influence.
“No, thank you”, I said as I spied acres and acres of glistening unoccupied Mahogany with tens of unoccupied seats that both faced the long bar and the several large-screen televisions there.
Seemingly bereft of people to wait and prey upon, she ignored us roundly. To her financial detriment as we would all find out during the course of the evening.
I chose a likely looking seat at the bar and Roy joined me, cautiously, a seat or two away.
“I don’t bite, Roy”, I said.
“Social distancing”, he replied.
“Ah. Well, I have a fully functional immune system as well as the hardest working liver in the galaxy. I assure you I’m in no way communicable.” I replied, slightly miffed. “Besides, after that cab ride here, whatever ætiology I have, you have as well, and vice versa.”
He scooted over one seat but shuttled that seat back to the right about 15 more centimeters.
“Some folks just don’t like their personal space invaded”, I surmised.
I pulled out one of my cigar cases, a cutter, lighter, and a stack of currencies that I was going to try and get rid of that night.
I had freshly minted UK Pounds, Euros of many nations, Indian Rupees, Russian Rubles, Japanese Yen, Chinese Renmimbi, some Uzbek Som, Afghani Afghans, Argentinian Pesos, down under Ozzian Dollarydoos, Mongolian Tugriks, Omani Rials, a few Samoan Tālā, and a bunch of US dollars.
How I ended up with that last group remains a mystery.
Roy goggled at the stack of weirdly colored and weirdly wonderful currencies of many nations.
“Sorry, Roy”, I said, “No Indonesian rupiah. Haven’t been to Jakarta in a long time.”
“What the hell are those weird ones there?” he asked.
“Which ones?” I chuckled back.
It was at that time our reverie was broken.
The bartender, one Zac O'Madden, an Irish national currently working for the hotel to which this bar is attached, interrupts our nascent debauch and asks for our drink orders.
“Not so fast there!” I say. “Introductions first. We’re not savages here.”
Zac chuckles. “You’re obviously American.”
“Вы уверены в этом? [Are you certain of that?]”, I say in return.
Zac just stands there and laughs.
“Та үнэхээр итгэлтэй байна уу? [Are you really certain?]” I ask in Mongolian. “Ĉu vi vere certas? Bạn có thực sự chắc chắn?”
“You’re as Russian or whatever that was as I am Kenyan. Now I know it. You’re American.” He says assuredly.
“And you have this nasty habit of being correct. I’m Dr. Rocknocker, call me Rock. This slight but solid fellow to my right is Roy, late of Jakarta and Krakatoa, actually west of Java.” I snicker.
“And I am Zac O’Madden, of Dublin and points east. Nice to meet you all. What can I get for you?” he asks.
After we shake hands in a very manly, indeed, manner, I ask Roy what is his pleasure.
“A tall club soda with a twist of lime, on the rocks.” He replies offhandedly.
“You’ve done this before”, I observe rather unnecessarily. “Zac, Roy gets what he wants tonight, my tab. I’ll have a Sazerac, hold the sugar. Actually several. You see, on the flight over, I sat through another showing of ’Live and Let Die’, and now I miss Mardi Gras, New Orleans, and Pat O’Brien’s. But I don’t like sweet drinks.”
“Coming right up”, Zac says with a well-practiced swish of his bar rag.
“Oh, but I’m not finished. I’d also like a beer chaser. A pint of…ah, do you have a beer menu?” I ask, looking down the long row of tappers.
“Coming up”, he says, and races off to find me one.
A few minutes later he returns with my cocktail, Roy’s fizz water, and a bar beer menu.
I raise my glass to Zac and then to Roy. We clink and I say, “I like this guy. And I like this bar. We’re going to have us a large night.”
I drain my unsweet Sazerac in one go.
Hey. I was thirsty. Needs a scootch more absinthe I observe.
Roy and Zac just sort of stare, wide-eyed, as I peruse the beer menu.
Nice menu, nice diversity. Oh, very nice.
“I’ll have the Asahi Kuronama Black if you don’t mind. Plus another Sazerac, a bit more absinthe if you please. You see, I have this genetic condition I need to keep in balance.” I grinned.
Zac looked at me like I had some sort of adverse medical condition.
“You OK, Rock?” he asked most earnestly.
“Look, Zac, I just met you and you’re a hell of a tarbender, far be it from me to tell you your job, but you see, there is this…” I said, trailing off.
“Yes?” His was a look of genuine concern. The genuine concern he won’t own that pile of currency on the bar in front of me by the end of the night.
“Yeah. Genetics dealt me a weird hand. See. I’m an ethanol-fueled carbon-based organism…”
Roy just rolled his eyes.
Zac looked puzzled.
“Yeah, I require alcohol in good-tasting and heroic amounts on a regular basis. I also have to smoke huge, black cigars in order to moderate the bioreactor.” I smiled, as I leaned back and fired up a heater.
Zac looked at me. Chewed over what I said for a moment or two. He shrugged his shoulders, grabbed my empty glass, and said, “OK, whatever. Round two in moments.”
Roy went to ask me something, thought better of it, and just leaned over and grabbed my Zippo from Irkutsk.
He looked at the cameo-relief silver and amber city crest attached to the lighter, flipped it open, and tried firing up his cigar.
“They draw better if you cut the end first,” I said, absently; and not looking, just hand him my V-cutter.
Zac returns with a new Sazerac, a chilled bottle of Asahi Kuronama Black, a tall pilsner glass, and a new club soda for Roy.
I puffed my cigar, drained another Sazerac in one go, tried the Japanese black beer, and found it to my liking. I leaned back to observe what sort of sports carnage they were observing on the big screens.
Roy just looked at me with wide eyes but said nothing.
The evening wore on. After a couple or twelve more Sazeracs, I decided it was time to teach Zac the finer points of mixology via premium vodka, bubbly citrus, ice, and lime wheels.
I also found that they had a stock of Pabst Blue Ribbon 1844, from China.
“PBR!”, I almost yelled, “Holy wow! I grew up on the stuff.”
“Not this stuff, Rock”, Zac said, “Look at the price. We only got a small amount due to a shipping error. It’s not sold outside of China normally.”
It was UAE 165 per bottle, about US$45, and worth every dirham. Zak was amazed when I told him to go ahead and have one on Roy and me.
“Really, Rock?”, Zac exclaimed. “The usual buggers here are so tight, they hum when the wind blows. Hardly anyone buys me a drink. Except for you Americans. Finest kind.”
“That’s me. An international ambassador of amity and alcohol,”, I say and toast in his general direction. “Crack tubes!”
Roy was getting tired as a newt. Evidently not drinking, listening to old war stories, and watching recorded US Football games due to the COVID lack of anything live, can take its toll as well.
I’m going strong as I’m asking Zac to explain what the fuck cricket is all about.
“So, let me get this straight,” I say, ordering another double cocktail and a couple of PBR chasers for Zac and myself. “The guy on the mound runs up and pitches to the guy dressed in the body armor. He uses a bent 2x4 to defend the wicket, which, if I recall correctly, can be sticky. Then he keeps the aliens from stealing the stumps and burning them to ashes in Australia...”
“God”, Zac exclaims, “You’re fucking hopeless.”
“Everything I know about cricket I learned from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the galaxy.” I smiled proudly.
“That was rather obvious…” Zac sheeshed. He left to attend to another patron, a loud and woozy Kiwi.
I looked at the source of all the bad noise and in my inattention, just clicked my full beer glass. I inadvertently violated Rule #1 and spilled a small soupçon of expensive, imported beer onto my left hand.
“Whoops!”, I said and stripped off my sodden left-hand glove. I used Zac’s bar towel to sop up the bar and dry my techno-digits.
Roy looked not only at my ‘whoops’, but goggled my Japanese one-off, so far, electro-fingers.
“Rock. What the hell, man. I mean, what the fuck. Are those for real?” he asked.
“Yeah, they are a new prototype and I’m the lab rat.”, I said, waggling them and seeing that something as mundane a beer spill could never possibly injure them.
By this time, Zac wanders back, sees I’ve used his bar rag, and looks at my hand for real for the first time.
“What the fuck, Rocko? You some sort of cyborg?” he asks.
“By definition; yes, I am. And my grandfather used to call me that. Thanks.”, I replied. “But, yeah, I’m an alcohol-fueled one at that,” I say, tapping and pointing rather pointedly at my currently unpopulated cocktail glass.
Zac returns with a reload. He and Roy demand to know the whole story.
“If you must pry…” I say.
“Oh, we must, we must”, they reply in unison.
So, I regale them with the tale of the Siberian rig. The blowout, fire, and the moderately overzealous Russian FNG.
“Rock, I don’t know if that’s true, but by your appearance, it has to be. Let me buy you a drink.” Zac says.
Roy asks for a Molson Light.
“Roy! You old fraud.” I said.
“I usually don’t drink. But after that story, I think I need something cold, wet, and with a little punch.” He said, staring at my hand.
“Then you’ve chosen well”, as I down another Rocknocker, sip at my PBR and snip a new cigar.
“Rock, can I ask you a question?” Roy asks. Zac is polishing our spot at the bar insistently. I think he has a question or two as well.
“Sure. Go nuts.” I reply, puffing on my new cigar and sipping this lovely amber 1844 brew.
He crouches conspiratorially and asks in a low sotto voce: “Is that why you drink as you do? To dull the pain? From the accident. That’s it, right? Isn’t it?” Roy asks, almost genuinely concerned.
I laughed loud and long. I chuckled, snorted, and had to calm myself with gulps of my beer and cocktail.
“Roy, Roy, Roy…I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’m from Baja Canada originally. I’m a multiply-degreed petroleum geologist. I’ve lived and worked in Russia for many, many years. And, as I’ve said, I’m an ethanol-fueled organism. Quadruple perfect storm. My fingers don’t hurt. Or they might, I have no idea. I don’t even know where hell they are.” I laughed at my own witty repartee.
Roy actually paled some. He took a long draught of his anemic beer and just stared at me.
Zac had disappeared. He presently returned with a bottle of Beluga Gold Line Vodka.
“Rock, after that, this one’s for you. On the house.” He said.
“Only if you will join me. And let me pay for yours.” I said.
Zac agrees.
The shnozzled Kiwi from previous in the narrative staggers by and hears the tag-end of our conversation.
He leans over to grab the expensive bottle of vodka and says “Don’t mind if I do.”
“None for you, asshole. You’re lucky I let you stay here waiting on a cab” Zac growls, and grabs the bottle away.
The Kiwi looks at Zac. He looks at Roy. Then he looks at me, my drinks, cigar, and the smaller pile of currency on the bar.
He may have been loaded, but something swam upstream against his internal current of booze and made him decide that right now, discretion was the better part of valor. He toddled unsteadily away.
“Asswipe”, Zac spits, “He’s here every other month. He pays for his drinks, but he can’t hold them. Never once tips or buys a round. General asshole. Still, management won’t let me toss nor ban him.”
“Some people”, I distastefully agreed and poured Zac and myself a healthy double-tot of the fine, smooth, and icy vodka. “I weep for our species sometimes.”
I insisted Zac join me. I asked Roy if he’d like a taste.
“Thanks, Rock. But you’ve already been too much of a bad influence on me.” he smiled, and tipped his almost empty pilsner glass.
“OK, no pressure. I may drink like a school of belugas, but if someone else doesn’t want to, I respect that all day long. Still, the offer stands.” I continue.
“I’ll think about it, Rock. I’m still not over how you can just sit there and joke about your cybernetic fingers and how you got them. I’d…I don’t know. I don’t want to think about it. “ he shudders.
“Want to see the scar on my leg where I got shot with a .45? Or the scar on my coconut from a hunk of falling ice on a drilling rig?” I asked.
“Fuck no!”, Roy almost screams. “What the hell. You held together by scar tissue?”
”That. Baling wire and Duct Tape.” I laughed, “And people wonder why I drink.”
“I thought so!” Roy exclaimed.
“I drink because I chose to. I can stop anytime. In fact, I stopped smoking and drinking once; by nothing more than sheer force of will.” I said proudly.
“Really?” Roy asked.
“Yep”, I replied, “It was the worst 45 minutes of my life.”
To be continued…
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What if... One-club men lived forever

The year is 2017. Top scientists have finally cracked the ability to stop ageing, and the world rejoices. The discovery prompts an immediate FIFA investigation into exactly what this means for world football from now on. How will the careers come and go when every team can just preserve their best stars? How will the next Messi break through? The Qatar FA suggest restricting it to only Qatari players, a motion that's only narrowly defeated. In unrelated news, a bunch of mysterious Qatari bank accounts are seized the day before the vote. Eventually, a compromise is decided upon between. Only those players who’ve proven themselves to be in it for the sport, and their team, can use it. The players who have stuck with their team through thick and thin, who’ve turned down bigger money offers to stay where they are. One-Club Men. However, should their loyalty ever waiver, and they choose to leave, those players will lose their right to an everlasting career, and have to face the advance years once again. Who will remain loyal the longest? Who will ride out the lowest of lows to stay at their lifelong club?
Unfortunately for those of you hoping I’ve found a secret miracle, that’s just the best nonsense I could come up with to frame this scenario. In less dramatic terms, using FM 2017, I'm going to select 50 one-club men from the top 5 leagues and de-age them to around 22. Every 5 years I'll de-age them down to 22 again, unless they abandon their loyalty. I'll also be adjusting everyone's contract to expire in 2020 to make it equal, and undoing international retirements where necessary. Nothing overly complicated, but I’m expecting this one to run a long long time if I’m going to have everyone leave, so I’m good with it not being too complicated.
Reddit side note! It's me again. Some may remember my experiments from ages ago. I'm back and writing again, but as you can probably tell, with a new name and website. If you want to see this post with much better formatting, all the images, and everyone's profile at the end, go here to read it in full: link You can stay here if you prefer though!
So who actually qualifies for this? I've restricted it to players from the Top 5 leagues of England, Italy, Spain, Germany and France, and only included those that have been at their clubs the longest. As well as the genuine candidates like Messi and Totti, loaned out players like Lahm qualify, as do those like Iniesta who haven't left in FM 2017, and even those that have left in-game, but are known for their careers at one club. Buffon is a good example of the latter. I've included a link to an image with all 5 players here: link
With all this loyalty around, I wanted to mix it up a bit by adding in one final player. Someone completely opposite to everyone picked so far, the anti-one-club man, the journeyman of all journeymen. And after some research, I came up with the perfect candidate. Sebastián Abreu, a man who in his career has played at an impressive 29 different teams in 11 different countries, setting a Guinness world record along the way. Abreu will receive the same treatment as the loyal players, except it won’t stop when he moves team. I want him to move around more, spread his wings, see how many teams he can collect over an illustrious career.
That’s enough explaining for now. Should be pretty clear what’s going on, just a bunch of footballers never getting old. Time to get things rolling and see who eliminates themselves. Who can stick it out the longest, who will become THE one-club man?

2016/17

With our younger one club men unleashed on the world, many of them attract instant attention from new clubs. For a while it stays quiet and looks like the first transfer window may pass without incident. Only a few loans crop up... until Javi López because the first man to fall. With Espanyol not meeting his standards, he makes a £2.4M trip down the coast to join Valencia. He proves to be the only summer casualty by the time the window slams shut.
January brings the winter window, and the Premier League clubs start to sniff around, ready to throw bags of cash at unsuspecting players. It doesn’t take long before the next two players are reeled in by money and lose their eternal youth. First Marcel Schmelzer in a £20.5M move to Liverpool, followed by Bruno joining moneybags Man City. By the end of the window, Nacho also heads to the north of England, joining rivals Man United. I’m not sure if any of them have realised how damn cold it is up there. That window swiftly ends, settling the bottom 4 finishers in the competition.
Returning to the world of actual football results briefly, and there aren’t many shocks to be seen. Man City finish 6th, Everton get relegated and Borussia Mönchengladbach reach the Champions League Semi-Finals. A few players see their team relegated, as Werder Bremen, Caen and Freiburg go down, so there could be a few casualties once that disappointment has set in. But all in all, the footballing world has coped just fine.
Loyal Players Remaining: 46
Abreu Club Count: 23 clubs in 10 countries
Odd Winners: None

2017/18

With everyone’s transfer budgets warmed up, it doesn’t take long for the action to get back underway. The previous season has barely finished before Chris Solly trades in his morals for a Premier League move to Norwich. Sergio Álvarez joins him in England, making the slightly odd move to Bournemouth before a big £52M move sees Koke trade loyalty for a big move to Man City. That’s the most surprising move so far, as I expected many of the players at top clubs to stick around. The final two transfers of the window take us to sunny Spain, where both Xabi Prieto and Mario become massive glory hunters, trading in their life long clubs for Atletico Madrid and Barcelona respectively. Javi López, having left Espanyol to join Valencia last year, immediately realises his mistake and rejoins Espanyol. It’s too little too late though, his status as a one-club man is already ruined.
The winter window comes and goes without even a hint of action, so things may already be starting to quieten down. Over in Brazil, Sebastián Abreu has his contract with Bangu come to an end after a good season but fails to attract any new suitors before the European season ends.
Around the world, things keep ticking on relatively normally. Watford take a surprising FA Cup win despite finishing rock bottom of the league, meaning they’ll have European nights alongside their Championship campaign. The loyalty of Seube, Höfler and Bargfrede is rewarded, as Caen, Bremen and Freiburg are immediately promoted back to the top tier. Las Palmas head in the opposite direction, which causes David García to hand in an immediate transfer request. The Spaniard could very well be the next player to go.
Loyal Players Remaining: 41
Abreu Club Count: 23 clubs in 10 countries
Odd Winners: Watford (FA Cup)

2018/19

My suggestion that things may be quietening down is immediately disproved by the biggest move so far. Bayern Munich legend Philipp Lahm makes a huge £82M transfer to Manchester City, throwing away all he’d built up at Bayern so far. But it doesn't end there, as 2 more huge transfers are finalised right after. First Claudio Marchisio drops Juventus, clearly not happy with them losing the title to AC Milan, and moves to Real Madrid. Then Daniele De Rossi trades in Roma for Barcelona. Whilst both have moved in real life, I didn’t expect either to fall so early in this, being icons at such huge clubs. A little later, David García makes his predicted move away from relegated Las Palmas, opting to stay in Spain with Osasuna. And then on the final day of the window, one last move. David Zurutuza decides the Premier League is more to his taste and joins Noble at West Ham. Javi López continues his tour of Spain, realising rejoining Espanyol doesn’t earn him back everlasting youth, and so heads to Sevilla instead. Currently, he’s moved around more than the specific journeyman player I chose to actually move around. Talking of, Abreu does find a new contract, heading back to Uruguay to join River Plate Montevideo.
The winter transfer window is again mostly quiet, with very little potential action. There are still some transfers though, as Robin Knoche becomes the 15th person out, heading to Borussia Dortmund. Then a legend moves on, as Iker Casillas decides that barely getting any game time behind Keylor Navas isn’t worth it, and so joins Monaco for a mere £11M. I guess you can't escape the real world after all.
The summer of 2018 means a World Cup, a tournament which regularly creates bizarre results in Football Manager. This year is no exception, as the likes of Italy, Belgium and Argentina fall in the group stages, before South Korea beat both Germany and France in the knockouts. The final between Brazil and Croatia proves 100% less heartbreaking than the real 2018 final for the Croatians, as they become champions of the world. In domestic football, Man United take all the English trophies on offer in a Quadruple, whilst Freiburg find themselves relegated yet again, as do Montpellier.
Loyal Players Remaining: 34
Abreu Club Count: 24 clubs in 10 countries
Odd Winners: Croatia (World Cup)

2019/20

Another season, another transfer window, another set of swirling rumours around our one-club men. Borussia Dortmund manage to steal away another of our competitors from a German rival, taking Timo Horn early in the window. Having been relegated yet again last season, Nicolas Höfler decides enough is enough and leaves Freiburg for Hertha Berlin. Over in Italy, and Chievo Legend Sergio Pellissier finally caves, leaving his relegation-threatened lifelong team for European battlers Fiorentina. But that's all the entertainment I can offer, no big signings this time around I’m afraid. Let's go see what Javi López is up to instead. His merry-go-round of clubs continues yet again, moving over to Deportivo de La Coruña in the latest of his ever-decreasing value of transfers.
January retains its typical bleak and dull atmosphere, with no sign of action whatsoever until the final day of the window. Hugo Mallo decides to try and add to his trophy cabinet and heads to Man United. Not the worst career move to throw away eternal life for considering their dominance right now. And with his departure, the total number of players that we've lost hits a nice round 20.
In the Premier League, Man United claim their 4th title in a row, exerting total dominance over everyone. But where one dominance rises, another falls, with Dortmund claiming the Bundesliga to knock Bayern off their perch. The shock of the season comes in the Coupe de France, where 3rd tier LB Châteauroux knock out Lyon, Auxerre and PSG before falling to Caen in the semi-finals. With Monaco having fallen to 4th tier SA Spinalien, Caen beat an easier opposition of RC Lens in the final, leading to Seube lifting the teams first-ever Coupe de France. Not bad for a player I expected to never lift a trophy. On a less joyous note, Höfler having left relegated Freiburg, sees his new team Hertha relegated immediately too. It seems there is no escaping the 2. Bundesliga!
On the record front, Gianluigi Buffon sets a huge benchmark, breaking the 200 cap mark for Italy. With no-one else close to him, he’ll stay the leader for a long time. Messi also breaks a boundary, climbing through 400 league goals during his career at Barcelona. Like Buffon, he’s way clear of any competitor, and unless a miracle happens that sees him abandon Barcelona, I can’t see anyone catching him soon.
Loyal Players Remaining: 30
Abreu Club Count: 24 clubs in 10 countries
Odd Winners: Caen (Coupe de France)

2020/21

2020 arrives, and with it, two important points arrive too. Firstly, everyone gets de-aged for the first time in this experiment. The 20 that have left get to watch from a distance thinking about what could have been. Second, the initial contracts are set to expire, so anyone that hasn’t re-signed will out the door. Which is exactly what happens to Víctor Valdés. Having barely appeared for Barcelona since his return, he leaves the club on a free and heads to the southern French coast to join Marseille. A day later and someone else leaves France, as Romain Danzé who decides one de-ageing is enough and moves to Schalke. Tony Hibbert also struggled for games at Everton despite his new youthful look, and so he walks out the door. He opts for Aston Villa, who to my great surprise have sunk to a mid-table League 1 team. Feeling left out, Spain joins in, with Oier Sanjurjo departing Osasuna and moving to Villarreal. The window is then capped by a bizarre final free transfer. Despite appearing regularly, Xavi isn’t offered a new contract by Barcelona. Man City can’t quite believe their luck and snap up the Spanish wizard a few days before the window shuts.
Winter brings with it just one transfer in its usual action-heavy way. Roberto Torres leaves Osasuna, making a £35.5M switch to Atletico. I’m not sure whether Atletico thought they were getting a different de-aged Torres because that can only be described as an overpayment. Either way, that means we've now lost over half the competitors.
Euro 2020 passes, and Croatia prove their World Cup victory was no fluke, becoming both champions of the World, and champions of Europe. On the Continental front, things have been fairly predictable so far, at least until this years Europa League. Hoffenheim escape a tough group and go all the way to win the entire thing. Not bad for a team that barely qualified in the first place. Oh, and Messi wins a little thing called the Ballon d’Or for the 10th time. I think he’s only just getting started.
Loyal Players Remaining: 24
Abreu Club Count: 24 clubs in 10 countries
Odd Winners: Hoffenheim (Europa League)

2021/22

The 21/22 season begins with two transfers on the first day. Loïc Perrin makes his way to the Premier League to join Leicester. But that's a minor splash compared to the other move, as after 768 appearances and 302 goals, Francesco Totti leaves Roma. It seems wrong to see it, but he’ll now be wearing a Man United kit. Dortmund continue their run of stealing loyalty, this time bringing Tony Jantschke into the fold. Another contract is run to the end, forcing Álex Bergantiños out of Deportivo without much choice, before being picked up by Cagliari. Mikel González opts to end his time at Real Sociedad, joining Pellissier over at Fiorentina. And as August comes to a close, it looks like Totti may be the only big departure. That is until Gianluigi Buffon decides to call time on his Juventus career. It’s an odd move, with the legend going sorta sideways from a regular starting Juventus spot to Bayern Munich. But there’s no going back now, as his 636 league appearance career with the Italians comes to a close. Two legends down in one window.
No season is complete without a single winter signing to warrant an entire separate paragraph, and this season is no different. Sergi Roberto moves away from Barcelona, in a £24M move to French giants PSG. A good way to guarantee yourself plenty of titles I guess. Abreu also makes a winter move, adding Guarani in the Brasilian second tier to his collection.
Roberto’s decision proves to be a good one, as PSG go on to claim their 10th one in a row. Not many surprises elsewhere, although Real Oviedo get close to pulling off a shock in the Copa del Rey. The second tier team beat Osasuna, Barcelona and Sevilla on the way to the final, but ultimately Real Madrid prove a step too far. Elsewhere everything is won by a team you’d probably expect. Exciting stuff.
Loyal Players Remaining: 17
Abreu Club Count: 25 clubs in 10 countries
Odd Winners: None

2022/23

With the pool of players rapidly decreasing, very few of the crew are even wanted by other clubs anymore. Perhaps deterred by their steadfast loyalty? A few moves do still happen though, so we’re not dead yet. Firstly Anthony Lopes gets fed up of PSG dominating his league and moves to AC Milan for a better shot at a trophy. It’s not long before that story is forgotten, as the biggest transfer fee in the competition so far is dropped. Andrés Iniesta is stolen away from Barcelona, in a huge £86M move to Man United. The midfield maestro fell 2 appearances short of 600 league games for Barcelona, but with his new £300K per-week contract it’s not hard to guess why. That proves to be all the action for the summer window, with no-one willing to top that huge move.
After half a season of hearing their noisy neighbours gloating about their star signing, Man City snap. And if there’s one thing City are good at, it’s splashing the cash. In probably the easiest negotiation over fee Barcelona has ever had, Sergio Busquets makes a £95M move to the sky blues. Yeh, that’ll show United. Once again no-one wants to get in the middle of the awkward Manchester squabble, and the winter transfer closes with a whimper.
The second World Cup of this experiment comes and goes. This time all the giants make it safely through the Group Stages, but it’s Africa that really excels. Morocco make the knockouts, Egypt battle through to the Quarter Finals, but Nigeria come out best. They beat South Korea and Argentina before falling valiantly to France in the Semi-Finals. A 1-0 victory of Italy does see them finish in an impressive 3rd place, becoming the first African team to finish in the top 3 of the World Cup. France win the title on penalties after a deceivingly action-filled 0-0 draw with Spain. The domestic scene follows that with a similar lack of real shocks. In the Carabao Cup, Bournemouth beat Arsenal, Chelsea and Man United on the way to lifting the trophy. But it’s the lesser Cup, so outside of Bournemouth no-one really cares. PSG finally have their grip on the Ligue 1 broken, as Casillas leads Monaco to a fantastic title. Otherwise, all the league titles and cups fall to teams you’d expect them too. Another thrilling year.
Loyal Players Remaining: 14
Abreu Club Count: 25 clubs in 10 countries
Odd Winners: Bournemouth (Carabao Cup)

2023/24

Literally nothing happens. Thomas Kessler decides that no team can ignore his existence for 20 seasons in a row and get away with it, leaving Köln to join Trabzonspor. So as I said, literally nothing happens. Even Javi López moving to yet another club would be more interesting than that.
The same applies to the footballing season. Asides from Casillas captaining Monaco to a Champions League title, or Atletico winning the title again, exactly 10 years after their last win, everything is frustratingly normal. And even those two events are hardly shocks.
Before I start to lose hope, there are a few interesting moves over the last few years from the losing group that are worth highlighting. First season mover Bruno didn’t make the impact he hoped and found himself moving to the lovely Stoke. Robin Knoche barely received any playtime at Dortmund and found himself cast out to Dinamo Zagreb. Even in League 1, Tony Hibbert could barely get any game time at Villa and so moved on the Scunthorpe in League 2. But the winner of the oddest move has to be Zurutuza, who somehow manage to pull off a move to Liverpool after West Ham found themselves relegated, only make a few disappointing performances, before being released on a free to join Al-Arabi in Qatar. Not quite the career he was anticipating when joining the Premier League I bet.
Loyal Players Remaining: 13
Abreu Club Count: 25 clubs in 10 countries
Odd Winners: None

2024/25

The summer transfer window arrives for another season, and with it finally comes a huge deal! Javi López has found yet another club! Hooray! As for actual competitors, absolutely no movement whatsoever. Even from Abreu, who’s been at Guarani for 2.5 years now. Manceau, Lewington and Seube complain to their managers about playing time or relegation, but none of them actually make a move anywhere. So our final 13 will add another 5 years onto their career length.
There are some fun statistics from our 51 worth mentioning at this point. Buffon leads the way with both total league appearances (935) and international caps (259). His caps are at a point where they’re too high for the game to display, as the value is stored as an unsigned 8-bit integer, and so has rolled over to just show 3. Most appearances for a single club goes to Dean Lewington however, who thanks to being a regular sits at 857 league appearances for the MK Dons (or 889 if you include Wimbledon). In the goals department, the winner is obvious. With almost 500 league goals, 100 international goals and 14 Ballon d’Or awards, Messi sits on top of everyone. On the international scene, he’s run close by Müller and the fast-approaching Kane, but for league goals, it’s not even close.
2024 brings with it a Euro tournament, which doesn’t provide much in the way of surprises, but brings with it some exciting high scoring matches. All ending in a 4-3 victory for a Thomas Müller led Germany over neighbours Netherlands. Which I’m sure went down very well. The domestic scene decides to spring a few shocks though. In Serie A, Roma claim an impressive title thanks to main striker Iheanacho, their first since 2001. The German and French cups provide surprise winners, in the form of Hertha Berlin and Dijon. Both cap an impressive run by beating their respective league winners, Bayern and Monaco. Even the continental tournaments turn up too. First Monaco cement their place as a top power in football by winning their second Champions League in a row. That coming a week after the best win there could possibly be. Tottenham win the Europa League! Screw the other stuff, that last part is all I need!
Loyal Players Remaining: 13
Abreu Club Count: 25 clubs in 10 countries
Odd Winners: Dijon (Coupe de France), Hertha Berlin (DFB Pokal)

At this point though it’s fair to say that the competition results are more interesting than the movements of the players. Which is the perfect signal that things need to speed up a little bit. So from now on, updates will be every 5 years, which lines up perfectly with player age resets, letting us see who has made it to the next checkpoint.

2025-2030

Another round of de-ageing hits, and you’d think that would incite some interest in our final 13. Instead, it’s a ghost town. We do have an immediate dropout though, as Nicolas Seube finally gets fed up with his lack of playtime at Caen and heads for Panionios in Greece. A year later the situation is repeated. I’m not entirely sure what his unhappiness was about, but Iker Muniain decides he’s had enough of Athletic Club and moves to Hamburger SV. At least he left on exactly 100 goals for Athletic though, a nice round number. With 11 left, a standoff to reach the top 10 ensues. For 3 years no-one budges in their show of loyalty, until in 2029… Dean Lewington leaves for Derby County on a free. It’s a huge move, with Lewington becoming the first man to break through 1000 league appearances for a single club before leaving. But he’s moved on now, and it won’t be long before that record is broken. That move means we’re left with our final 10 contestants. Terry, Iraola, Messi, Susaeta, Noble, Jourdren, Müller, Kane, Manceau and Bargfrede have secured a top 10 spot, and now all that’s left to do is fight it out for number 1.
Over in Brazil, our anti-one-club man continues his journey, although it remains in Brazil for the moment. Only 2 clubs are added to his count, with a long stay at Atletico Goianiense followed by a £2M move to top tier Coritiba. I’m kind of hoping he starts to make enough waves in the Brazilian league to move to Europe and add some new countries to his history.
Those that fell before the first de-ageing are retiring, finishing off their magnificent, or in some cases very un-magnificent, careers (as losers). Javi López finishes his fine anti-loyalty tour around Spain with 7 transfers to his name. Schmelzer, Nacho, Solly, Álvarez, Koke, Mario, Prieto, Marchisio, De Rossi, David García, Zurutuza, Knoche, Höfler, Pellissier, Mallo, Horn and Hibbert end their careers. Many, such as Nacho, Horn and De Rossi stay just as committed to their new clubs as they did their old, finishing out their careers after just a single transfer. Of the pensioners, Sergio Pellissier manages to rack up the most career league appearances and goals, at 894 and 246, although that’s largely thanks to a huge head start. De Rossi dominates on the international scene, earning a whopping 197 caps over his 30-year career. Naturally, all those records will be blown out the water once the next group start retiring, but it’s nice to have some benchmarks.
Around the world, plenty has gone on worth hearing about. The Netherlands claim their first-ever World Cup win, beating Brazil in the final, whilst in the Euro’s Germany win their second tournament in a row. The Gold Cup throws up a few interesting results too, as first, the Mexico B team win it, with their A team tied up in the Confederations Cup. Then 4 years later Canada take the title, only the second time in their history. Over in Italy, Lazio find themselves relegated as the league starts to shake itself up a bit. But other than that, domestic football remains relatively unspectacular. Oh except… TOTTENHAM WINNING THE LEAGUE. Didn’t even have to reset it and we won it before Arsenal did. North London is very much Lilywhite now, suck it Gooners!
Loyal Players Remaining: 10
Abreu Club Count: 27 clubs in 10 countries
Odd Winners: Tottenham (Premier League)

2030-2035

Another 5 years pass and to start with it looks like the top 10 are going to hold firm. Eventually though, the temptation of money proves too much for one man. That man is Geoffrey Jourdren who trades in his starting slot at Montpellier for a cosy backup contract at PSG. Then comes… dead silence. Not even a rumour, or an unhappy player. No-one even hints at leaving for the next 4 years, which means we end the period with nine players on the books. The real waiting game has begun. Even our journeyman Abreu is moving in a very slow way, as a five year Coritiba stint finishes with a free transfer to Red Bull Brasil. I think my hopes for a European move have died.
At least there are a lot of retirements to run through. Bruno, Lahm, Casillas, Valdés, Danzé, Oier, Xavi, Torres, Perrin, Jantschke, Bergantiños, González, Roberto, Iniesta and Busquets hang up their playing boots. That does leave us without some noted legends, with Lahm, Casillas, Iniesta and Busquets reaching 200 caps for their country. You’d think Spain would have won more with that golden generation. Casillas and Xavi also both hit 1000 league appearances thanks to a strong head start before the experiment. But it’s Andrés Iniesta who is the most loyal of the bunch, racking up nearly 600 appearances for his original club before departing.
Five years leaves plenty of time for interesting results once again. England take a World Cup win, which is always a sign of the apocalypse, only made more bizarre by Scotland making the semi-finals in the same competition. Portugal take the other title in that period, whilst the Euros also see a surprise winner in Switzerland. France provides the biggest shock at club level, as Lille come from nowhere to win Ligue 1, and then immediately revert back to mid-table once again. Otherwise, the time belongs to Manchester City. The oil bar… sky blues take 4 out of 5 titles in both the Premier League and Champions League, with all that cash flinging finally paying off.
Loyal Players Remaining: 9
Abreu Club Count: 28 clubs in 10 countries
Odd Winners: England (World Cup), Lille (Ligue 1)

2035-40

With just nine players left, once again we get a transfer fairly early on in the period. Early as in the first transfer window, which makes me wonder why they waited so long. Anyway, Mark Noble has had his patience tested by West Ham’s yoyoing between the Premier League and Championship a bit too much and finally caves. He makes a £20M move to Burnley, who… are doing the exact same thing. Not sure that was the brightest idea. Like the previous 5 years though, one transfer is all we get. None of the others move, despite some pretty heavy unhappiness from Bargfrede and Manceau. Abreu keeps up his trail, running out his contract with Red Bull Brasil and opting for Chapecoense to reach 29 clubs in his career.
With very few moving recently, that also means less and less are retiring, as just 7 ex-competitors leave the game. Totti, Buffon, Lopes, Kessler, Seube, Muniain and Lewington call time on their football life. The fact they all stuck with it for so long means there’s so impressive stats between them. Totti racked up 1154 league appearances, with 768 at Roma. Dean Lewington, after leaving MK Dons with 1003 appearances finished with a total of 1287. Italian legend Gianluigi Buffon finished with a whopping 1307 league appearances, but perhaps more impressively, 334 international caps. But the single most surprising statistic goes to Thomas Kessler. Despite barely playing in Germany he manages to notch a grand total of 7 goals after his move to Turkey. Maybe if he’d been a striker he’d have actually played at Koln. Oh and Seube ends his career Greek. Because why not.
As per every time, a quick look around the world’s results is needed. Spain win back the World Cup titles, whilst Italy take a Euro win. Argentina, Mexico and Australia claim all their continents international trophies in the window, so no massive surprises there. The domestic world isn’t exactly littered with shocks either. Brescia win a Coppa Italia, and Nîmes Olympique grab 4 top 5 finishes in a row in France, but there’s not really much to shout about. I think it’s best to just get on with the next de-ageing.
Loyal Players Remaining: 8
Abreu Club Count: 29 clubs in 10 countries
Odd Winners: Brescia (Coppa Italia)

2040-45

Down to 8 now, so it’s getting tougher. And a lot slower, so slow in fact that not a single transfer in our group happens in five years. For a moment I was excited to see Manceau at Recreativo de Huelva, but that was just a loan. So I was back to being crushed. On the plus side, Abreu makes some huge steps. He adds not just 1, but 2 new countries to his history! The first is Portugal, in a huge step up to join Braga. As usual, it’s just until his contract ends, before he moves on to Frankfurt in the Bundesliga. He’s hardly setting Europe alight but I don’t care, he’s actually moving!
There’s only one retiree to talk about too, as pretty much everyone has already gone. Geoffrey Jourdren finishes up with 925 total league appearances. It probably could have been a bit more, if he’d not spent 10 years of his career being a backup at PSG and Bayern. On a far more interesting note, Terry breaks through 1500 career league appearances. Kane also hits 256 international goals, which results in the number resetting to 0 just like caps. So the game has him on 96 caps with 11 goals, when the actual numbers are a stunning 352 caps with 267 goals.
Having seen my disappointment last time around, the world decides to liven things up. Denmark become both Champions of the World and Champions of Europe in 2042 and 2040, although they lose the European title to Germany 4 years later. At the continental level, the Champions League stays on track, but the Europa League brings some bizarre winners into the mix. Nîmes Olympique, Real Sociedad, Leicester and Bristol City all win a trophy. It seems Mark Noble finally made a right move transferring to Bristol City, as the club is now a strong top 6 Premier League side. Manceau wins a Coupe de France at Angers, but it’s still Nîmes making waves, forming a big three with PSG and Monaco. It may not be long before either Nîmes or Bristol City win their league, which is not something I expected to be saying.
Loyal Players Remaining: 8
Abreu Club Count: 31 clubs in 12 countries
Odd Winners: Nîmes Olympique/Bristol City (Europa League), Angers (Coupe de France)

2045-50

2045 kicks off and once again Manceau deceives me. This time it’s a loan spell in Denmark with Brøndby that had me thinking he was gone. Well you know what they say, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice… I’m probably gonna fall for it. It looks like there’s going to be no moves whatsoever once again, until June 2047 arrives and I notice a contract is set to expire. Imagine my shock when Lionel Messi is not offered a contract by Barcelona and is let go. It’s made doubly worse by the fact that of all teams to pick him up, it's Atletico Madrid. Apparently, 37 Ballon d’Or awards aren’t good enough for Barcelona anymore. I don’t even care that nothing else happens. That’s enough to stun me.
Over in the retirement home, Mark Noble moves into a room. After an up and down career, the Englishman did manage some silverware with Bristol City and ended his career with 1317 league appearances. He even earned not just 1, but 90 England caps across his 44-year career.
Around the world, interesting results are still cropping up. England grab their third World Cup win beating Colombia, whilst Honduras win their first-ever Gold Cup. Much to my bitter disappointment, Arsenal win 4 of the 5 Champions Leagues on offer, as well as 3 Premier League titles. Chelsea have a period of bottom 10 finishes which deeply upsets Terry, whilst over in France, Chamois Niortais begin to try and join the top 3. Don’t worry I’ve never heard of them either.
Loyal Players Remaining: 7
Abreu Club Count: 32 clubs in 12 countries
Odd Winners: Honduras (Gold Cup)

2050-55

With the world still reeling at the fact the Messi has moved from Barcelona, everyone kinda forgets to make any moves. In fact, Messi is the first person to move yet again, leaving Atletico in a very cheap 34.5M move to Man City. Which is more in line with where I originally expected him to go. Abreu finishes one contract, at Hapoel Be’er Sheva, and moves onto the next, but it’s with Monterrey so doesn’t count. Sebastian, it has to be new clubs. John Terry is starting to get frustrated with a Chelsea team that has really fallen from grace. The Londoners barely survive relegation in 2052/53, so Terry may be the next to go. Or maybe I know nothing and it’s completely random.
No-one retires this year, so let’s take a brief look at some statistics of our remaining 7 + Messi. All our players have now reached 1000 appearances, with Bargfrede in last at 1173. Messi has crossed 1000 league goals, now a full 300 clear of the chasing pack of Abreu and Kane. On the international level, Thomas Müller becomes the first player to need a rollover of caps twice, moving on to a massive 524 international caps. But it’s Kane who still leads the international goal stat, nearly breaking 350, a full 50 ahead of the German.
Müller does, however, grab a World Cup win for Germany so I’m sure he won’t be too upset. At least until they’re deposed by Holland 4 years later. On the continental level, Bristol City win another Europa League title beating previous champions Espanyol. Middlesbrough also nearly earn a trophy, having joined Bristol as a top 6 team. But the winner of the biggest shock, although I did say this might happen, goes to Chamois Niortais, who topple the dominance of PSG and Monaco to capture a miraculous Ligue 1 title in the last season of the period.
Loyal Players Remaining: 7
Abreu Club Count: 32 clubs in 12 countries
Odd Winners: Chamois Niortais (Ligue 1), Bristol City/Espanyol (Europa League)

2055-60

The summer window of 2055 opens and as I warned may happen, there’s an almost immediate transfer. Fed up with Chelsea’s mediocre finishes, John Terry decides to move on. Unfortunately for Chelsea fans, Arsenal is his next club, which I’m sure will cause a few shudders. A year later and another move comes around, once again due to unhappiness over the club’s performance. Surprisingly it's Thomas Müller,who's annoyed by the fact that Bayern haven’t won a Bundesliga title since 2048, and so runs down his contract. Leverkusen almost earn his signature, but eventually its the glory of PSG that proves too much to resist. But we’re not done there! Another player runs down their contract, opting to move to Vitoria de Setubal in Portugal. Vincent Manceau finally makes a real move rather than constantly faking me out. So with another 3 players down, we’re left with our final 4. The race for the top 3 is hotting up now!
We do have a retirement this time thanks to the transfer window livening up. The world's best-ever player, Lionel Messi, retires from football. He ends up on a total of 1858 league appearances, scoring a massive 1068 goals in this time. 1430 appearances and 895 goals of those belonging to his 45-year career at Barcelona. On the international scene, he earned an impressive 505 caps and 276 goals. But it’s the awards where he shines. 279 individual awards, 82 team titles, 22 league titles, 6 Champions League titles, 45 Ballon d’Or awards. What makes it even crazier is 41 of those Ballon d’Or awards were in a row, as he earned every single one from 2015 to 2056. I don’t think I’ll see another player like that crop up in any save, truly the world’s best player.
Looking out on the world, I can say that it’s a Chamois Niortais player that breaks Messi’s streak, as the French team claim another two Ligue 1 titles. It’s hard to say they’re a “surprise winner” at this point. Bristol City finally make the full step up to join the big guns, winning 3 Carabao Cups, 1 FA Cup, 2 Premier League titles and even a Champions League trophy. If any Bristol City fans want this save to give themselves hope over the future, I can send it over. Internationally it's the era of Portugal, as they claim both the Euro and World Cup trophies.
Loyal Players Remaining: 4
Abreu Club Count: 32 clubs in 12 countries
Odd Winners: Bristol City (Premier League/Champions League), Lyon (Relegation)

With so few players left, now is probably a good time to speed it up once again. The final four will be tough to budge, so how about we move to 10-year intervals to try and cut down on dead years. And I'll be moving to the comments, because I've hit reddits character limit.
submitted by whatif_gaming to footballmanagergames [link] [comments]

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